“I can’t believe you’re leaving tomorrow.” I sigh as Stella and I are standing beside each other looking at the loaded stock trailer that is full of hers and Gemma’s belongings. We just finished shoving her last box of bathroom crap into the back, and now John is closing the door, hoping it’s going to shut. I spent the majority of the day yesterday cleaning the damn trailer out so it wouldn’t smell like cow shit for Stella and Gemma, but alas, I think the smell will forever be embedded into the metal. They said they’d just Febreeze everything really well once they get settled, and I had no qualms about that.
“Me either.” She finally replies after her dad has shut the gate and flipped the lock, meaning that everything they needed to get in the trailer fit, which is a downright miracle. I never thought all of Stella’s boxes that have been lining the living room and hallway for the past two weeks would fit in the trailer, let alone with the rest of EM’s stuff. “Hey, it’s the last night I’ll be home, we should do something special. Maybe pack a picnic and ride down to the lake?”
“A lake picnic sounds nice.” I grin, wrapping my arm around her waist and hooking my thumb in one of her belt loops while I jerk her towards me so I can kiss her temple. I’m only going to be able to hold her so many more times before she leaves for college, and I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity I get.
“Good. Go saddle the horses and I’ll get the picnic basket.” She smiles, and leans up on her toes to eagerly press her lips to mine. I hold onto her for a minute before John clears his throat, and I reluctantly let her pull away and giggle at her dad.
“Sorry, padre.” She grins before sauntering over and giving him a hug and they walk inside, leaving me to head to the barn.
Once inside, I chuckle as I grab Zeus’s purple brow-band bridle and slip it over his head while he’s in the stall. Normally, I’d pull them out into the aisle and do it right, but I’m in a hurry so I just want to get them saddled and ready to go. Surprisingly, Zeus doesn’t fight me when I bring Stella’s heavy-ass saddle into the stall and heave it up on the tall horse’s back. I have no idea how she does that every day, because she’s a lot smaller than I am, and I had trouble getting that thing up over his back. It takes me a solid five minutes to get Zeus to stop horsing around – pun intended – and let me cinch his girth up all the way. As soon as Zeus is saddled, I head into Apollo’s stall to saddle him, making sure I steer clear of his nipping teeth. It takes me a solid ten minutes to get him to stop sidestepping me, and I debate crosstying him when he finally stops and lets me heave my saddle onto his back. When I turn around after cinching his girth up, I figure out why he stopped moving for me. Stella’s holding an apple just out of his reach, and he’s so focused on the apple he stopped paying attention to me.
“You looked like you were struggling.” She smiles, stepping up to the stall and feeding Apollo the apple.
“He’s the biggest pain in my ass ever.” I grunt, leading the horse out of the stall while Stella goes and straps our picnic to her saddle before following me out of the barn.
“Yeah, speaking of which, are you ever going to make that appointment to get the stitches out?” She asks, taking a step closer to me and softly trailing her fingers over my shirt that’s covering the 28 stitches. My skin prickles where her fingers nearly touched my skin, and I snake my arm around waist and tug her to me, trying to keep as little space between us as possible. It’s been less than a month with this girl, but holy shit I’m in love with her. “What?”
“What what?” I ask, gazing down at her beautiful face.
“Did you just say what I think you said?” She giggles, and shows me her beautiful white teeth while her eyes crinkle with the smile.
“What did I say?” I ask, confused.
“That you love me.” Stella continues grinning while I’m slammed back in my shoes, almost literally.
“Did I say that out loud?”
“You betcha. But you know what? I love you, too, Beau.” I didn’t think it was possible for her grin to get any bigger, but it somehow does.
“For the record I was going to wait to tell you that until it felt special, but since my mouth spoke before my brain, I love you, Stella.” I murmur, pressing my lips into her forehead before she tips her head up and kisses me, pushing my cowboy hat back and locking her lips on mine.
“Come on cowboy, let’s go find us a place to have a picnic.” She smirks, pulling away and slapping my ass before turning and swinging up on Zeus, who has been standing patiently.
“Yes ma’am.” I smile at my gorgeous girl, and climb on my own horse.
“Can we stay here forever?” Stella asks as we’re looking at the stars. Her head is pressed into my chest, and I’m pretty sure her eyes are closed, but I love being alone with her more than anything. Just having her close to me when I know there isn’t anybody else around gives me a sense of calmness, and I think that’s partly why I love her. She makes me feel things I’ve never felt before; see the world differently.
“I’d love that more than anything.” I whisper, trailing my fingers down her back.
“You’re going to come visit me all the time, right?”
“As much as I can. But you’re coming home, too. I know your dad is going to miss you.”
“Yeah, of course I’ll come home.” She sighs, snuggling closer to my body in the cool night air.
We’re currently laying on the dock on the blanket she packed with the picnic while the horses are grazing back up in the lot tied to stakes. The water is emitting a cool breeze that has caused goosebumps on Stella’s arms, and every time it happens she shivers and holds me tighter, so no complains on my part. I watch the breeze pick up a piece of Stella’s blonde hair and move it closer to her face, and it’s instinct to pull it back and tuck it away for her. God, I want to marry this woman right now.
“Stel, I don’t know how I’m going to live without seeing you every day now that you’ve become part of my life.” I sigh, trying to will tomorrow away.
“We’ll talk all the time. Video chat every night if we can. It’ll be like I’m still here.” She promises, pressing her lips into my chest and smiling up at me.
“Yeah, except I won’t be able to do this.” I murmur, running my hand under her shirt and softly trailing my fingers up her bony spine. She cuddles closer into me every time my fingers hit a sensitive spot, which makes me crave even more of her.
“We have weekends, babe.” Stella finally answers, sitting up and staring at the lake. She’s so beautiful to me, I’m pretty sure God made her specifically for me. I never believed in soulmates until I met this amazing girl, and I honestly knew instantly that I wanted to marry her. “Hey, let’s go skinny dipping!”
Stella immediately strips her tank top and shorts and jumps into the water off the dock, leaving me grabbing her shorts to keep them from blowing off the edge and into the water. I laugh and watch her swim in the moonlight for a few seconds, trying to seduce me into getting into the water. Of course, she’s impossible to resist, so I put my shirt and jeans with her stuff and dive into the water beside her, coming up and grabbing the hook to her bra. “It’s not true skinny dipping unless we’re both naked.” I whisper into her ear, and she giggles and grabs at the waistband of my boxers.
“Then take it off for me.” She answers, and I’m not sure if she’s meaning my boxers or her bra, but I unhook her bra first before sliding the straps down her arms and flinging it back up to the dock. “Your turn.”
Her fingers work to pull down my boxers that are clinging to my legs, but she finally manages to succeed – with a little help from me. After my underwear have been put on the dock with hers, she swims towards me and meets me with a sweet kiss, running her fingers through my hair while my hands gravitate towards her ass, which is still covered in a pair of very lacy panties that probably cost a fortune and shouldn’t be in the lake. Stel doesn’t seem to mind though, so I’m not going to complain – instead I enjoy the taste of her lips and the feeling of her pressing her body against mine and kissing me with everything she has.
Have you ever tried making out with an extremely hot girl while treading water? Well, let me tell you that it’s extremely difficult. I’m very quickly out of breath and I feel like my legs are becoming Jell-O from all of the kicking I’m doing to keep us both afloat, and it doesn’t take long for me to start gravitating back to shallower water where I can stand up and hold her. The pads of her fingers dig into the skin of my shoulder as she holds on to me for dear life, almost like she can’t get enough of me, and I’m so thrilled I almost slip on a moss covered rock because I’m not paying attention.
“You almost fell.” Stella giggles, pulling away from my lips for a couple of seconds to catch her breath after feeling me stumble.
“Well, you were kinda distracting me.” I tease, squeezing her ass enough for her face to break into a gasp.
“That wasn’t very nice.” She frowns at me, pressing her forehead into mine.
“Since when am I a nice person?”
“Good point.” She grins again, kissing the tip of my nose and then looking up at the stars, giving me a good access point to her neck, where I attach my lips and softly kiss. “Do you think there’s life out there? You know, like, in a galaxy that isn’t ours?”
“Well I think there’s an awful lot of other planets out there, and there’s no way ours is the only one that can support life.” I answer, softly kissing up her neck to my favorite spot under her jaw. “But do I think the other life forms are green? Probably not. They’re probably exactly like us, living lives like we are.”
“I think that’s what they mean when people talk about alternate universes. Or eternal life. I bet when we die, our souls are cast to another planet where we’re born again. Maybe not as humans, but as some other lifeform. Wouldn’t it be cool if you were turned into the equivalent of how you lived your life on Earth? Like, if you were a bad person you’d be turned into a rat or ant, and if you were an amazing person be an eagle or lion or something.”
“Considering we’re skinny dipping, this is not the conversation I would have thought we’d be having.” I chuckle, thoroughly amused with her train of thought tonight. It’s not very often a beautiful girl can be completely naked in the water with you and then want to talk about aliens.
“Yeah, well I was looking at the stars.”
“I know you were.”
“Beau, I can’t think straight.” Stella sighs after I’ve moved my lips and started softly pressing kisses along her collarbone and down her chest.
“Keep talking, darlin’. I love listening to you voice.”
“What do you want me to talk about?”
“Anything. Tell me about your art.”
And with that, Stella dives into her ceramics and then tells me about her goals and dreams, and I fall even more in love with her.
“Do you think we’ll be able to do the distance thing?” Stella asks me later after we both have our clothes back on and are laying back on the dock. We’d been talking about constellations and I’d been telling her the mythology behind each of them that I learned through a class at Georgia Tech.
“I know we can.” I assure her, kissing the top of her head and brushing her hair out of her face. “If anybody can, it’s us.”
“I know, I’m just worried.”
“About you or me?”
“About just us in general. Who knows what can happen between now and the time I’m done with college? Hell, I don’t even need to go to college. I can just buy all the equipment I need and just work from here.” She sighs, and I squeeze her shoulders, trying to console her worries.
“You need to go to college, babe. You’ll have so many more tools, and supportive people who are there to help you learn and find your groove. Of course I’ll always be here, but you need more than just me.”
“You’re right. I know you are. I just don’t want to leave this place.”
“I’m sure your dad will miss you and will be thrilled every time you come home. Then again, he’s probably not going to be thrilled with all the trips I’m going to be taking to see you!”
“You could always say that you’re going to visit Gunnar and happened to swing by and see me for a while, make sure I’m doing okay.”
“Stel, he’d see right through me. Plus, I’m the world’s shittiest liar, and I’d feel like a dick if I lied to your dad. You can throw that idea right out of the bus.” I chuckle, trailing my fingers softly under her shirt. Her skin is so soft it’s like a magnet for my fingers. I can’t seem to ever keep my hands off of her, and it’s starting to become a problem. Her hair still smells like her lemon shampoo, despite the fact that she has been in the lake, and as it’s drying on my chest it’s starting to poof up, tickling my neck.
“Mmhmm. Can we just stay here forever? No adulthood, no responsibilities, no college, no jobs, just you and me in each other’s arms forever?”
“I’d love that more than anything.” I reply, letting my eyes close and listen to the sounds of the night. Eventually I feel Stella’s breathing even out and then I’m able to let myself fall asleep.
Part 2: College