That Blue-Eyed Boy

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Chapter 13

Love’s in the Air

Stella

“So what are you and Beau doing for Valentine’s Day?” Gemma asks as she plops down onto the couch beside me where I’m currently binge watching The Office and trying to study my art appreciation textbook.

“I don’t know – we haven’t really talked about it.” I shrug, glancing at the promise ring on my finger that hasn’t moved from its spot since Christmas Eve. Honestly, it kind of freaks me out knowing how serious he is already. I’m barely 19 and never planned on getting married until I am at least out of college and have a steady career. “Since we went out and did a big birthday celebration together, I’m not expecting a big V-Day.”

“But it’s y’all’s first Valentine’s as a couple! You have to do something.” She pesters, and I have a feeling she isn’t going to leave me alone until I actually talk to her.

“What are you and Fernando doing? Is he flying back here since you seem to always go to New York for him?” I ask, closing my book, pausing my TV show, and giving my best friend my full attention.

That was enough to get her attention turned to her own boyfriend. “Yeah. He’s coming down here for the weekend and we’re just going to enjoy the weekend together.”

“Ah, so that’s why you want me and Beau out of the house. You want alone time with Fernando.” I smack my forehead as I realize her plan. “I suppose I can go home and we can do something there.”

“Oh, would you? That would be wonderful, Stel. It’s just that it’ll be the first time he’ll be staying in our house, and I kinda wanna be alone with him. I mean, you and Beau get alone time here all the time.” Gemma slightly pouts, and I pull my best friend in for a hug.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m missing Zeus anyway.” I smile, and seem to have satisfied her need for conversation, because she grabs the remote and resumes the episode while I go back to studying the renaissance.

“You’re sure you want to come home and do something here?” Beau asks for the hundredth time in the last two days after I told him about my plan.

“Yeah. I mean, Gemma really wants the house to herself this weekend and I needed an excuse to come home and see Dad and Zeus. Win-win on all parts.” I shrug as I’m gassing my Jeep up to head home. It’s Thursday and my last class of the week just ended so I figured I’d go home early and spend a little time with Auntie if I can.

“Um, I’m pretty sure that you have an excuse to come home every weekend if you wanted to.” He chuckles, and I sigh as the gas hose clicks.

“You’re right. I’ll see you in an hour and a half. Love you!” I call into the phone before hanging up and crawling into the driver’s seat and glancing at the ring again.

Slapping my sunglasses on my face, I turn the Jeep southwest and head for home. It’s nearly 6 when I pull in the driveway, and my dad is the first one to meet me outside before I can pull it into the garage. He pulls me out of the vehicle and into a bear hug because he hasn’t seen me since winter break.

“Oh, I missed you so much, Pumpkin.” He cries, finally putting me back on the ground and just looking at me as if I’ve changed a lot in a month.

“I missed you too, Dad.” I sigh, hugging his waist again. Gosh, I didn’t realize how much I missed his hugs.

“How’s 19 treating you?” He asks, grabbing my bag out of the backseat and slinging it over his shoulder as he leads me inside.

“My joints are starting to creak with my old age.” I joke, grabbing my elbow and pretending like it hurts.

“You’re hilarious, darling.” He lightly glares at me, before I return a grin.

“Guess what though!” I exclaim, realizing I have huge news to tell him.

“You’re a monkey and I’m not?” He guesses, and I roll my eyes at his ridiculous comeback.

“No. Kristin got me a feature in Ceramic’s Monthly for my last project! I made a plate set that featured image transfers of wild mustangs that were featured in our school’s last art show, and I also have my own show coming up next month!” I exclaim, extremely excited for how much exposure I’m getting, and I’m still only a freshman. “And I started selling the mugs I made last semester for $30 bucks a pop, and I’ve sold probably 20 of them.”

“You’re making bank, sweetie! That’s awesome!” Dad grins, hugging me again as he eyes the ring on my finger. He knows it’s there, and knows it isn’t an engagement ring, but I think it still makes him as uncomfortable as it makes me.

“If I’m selling them for that much now, just think how much I could possibly make in the future after my Ceramic’s Monthly feature and after I finish school.” I grin, beyond thankful that my future in ceramics is looking up.

“I guess I should probably start saving for that wheel and kiln you’ve been begging for for years.” Dad chuckles and I shrug.

“At this rate, I’ll be able to buy it myself by the time I graduate since I already have access to my own wheel and kilns at the college. Don’t burden yourself with that expense, Dad. I know we need a new combine, and that’s half a million dollars right there.”

“Don’t be ridiculous sweetie. The combine we have now will work just fine after we have the transmission changed and a new attachment.”

“Well those two things right there will be a quarter million, and it’ll still be an old POS that’ll need something else just as expensive replaced in a few more years.” I argue, but know he’s right. Farming like this is one hell of an expensive lifestyle.

“We’ll see, Stella. It’s helping that I don’t have to pay for your college right now, but we did just buy you and Gemma a house.” Dad sighs.

“You’ll get that money back in 4 more years, Dad. I love you.” I kiss his cheek before grabbing an apple out of the fridge and heading to the barn to see my favorite guy. Beau’s truck is missing, so I’m assuming he’s in town for something, which is perfect because it gives me time to love on Zeus, who happens to be feeling good today as I watch him race around the paddock with Tank, who has grown a lot in the last six months and took a liking to my big gelding.

“Here boys!” I whistle, climbing on the fence and grinning as Zeus’s head snaps towards me and he whines as he trots towards me with Tank hot on his heels. “Hey buddy. I missed you!” I giggle as he nearly plows into the fence trying to get as close to me as possible. “I know it’s been entirely too long since I’ve been home. I’ll try to come home more often, okay?” I coo at my baby before planting a kiss on his nose and he angles his body towards the fence as if he’s begging me to ride him. “Okay, boy.” I grin, leaping onto his back and grabbing a chunk of mane as he lopes around the field with Tank again. I squeeze my legs and release his mane, just letting the wind flow through my blonde hair and enjoying time with my #1 guy – until my #2 guy pulls in the driveway. I manage to cluck Zeus down to a walk, and angle him towards the fence where Beau is standing by his truck, watching me with a grin on his face.

“Hey cowboy.” I smile when Zeus stops at the fence, but I don’t get off.

“God, I could totally get used to seeing that every day. You look so free when you’re riding him.” Beau grins, jogging over and climbing up the fence so he’s at the same level I am. I blink a few times, trying to brush his words off a little bit before I lean over and give him a kiss. “It’s good to have you home.”

“It’s good to be home.” I smile, and finally slide off Zeus and crawl through the fence so I can hug my boyfriend properly before heading towards the house. “I was planning on going into town to spend some time with Auntie tonight, if you don’t mind.”

“Why would I mind? I haven’t seen her in a while, and I kind of miss the old woman.” Beau grins, and I take a step away from him and glance up at his face. He looks down at me and seems to read into my soul. “Oh, you didn’t mean me going too.”

“It’s not that I don’t want you to go, it’s just that I haven’t had any alone time with her in a while, and I have a feeling that today’s one of her good days. I promise, we can go visit her tomorrow if you’d like.”

“Okay. I understand that.” He sighs, wrapping his arm around my shoulder and pulling me back to him so he can kiss my temple. “I’ll be working out Valentine’s date ideas while you’re gone.”

“I’d love that.” I reply, grabbing a drink out of the fridge before I go change my pants so I can go into town.

“Hey, Auntie.” I call, knocking on her doorway as I peer around the corner to see if she’s having a good day or not. The nurses told me she’s been having more bad days than good lately, but that she seems okay today.

“Is that my Stella I hear around here?” She asks, opening her arms and motioning me to her bed when she sees me. “Oh, I’ve missed you, dear. It’s been entirely too long since you’ve been to visit, and the wretched nurses here won’t let me come visit you in Savannah. They say it’s too far.” Auntie frowns as I crawl into her bed and let myself be surrounded by her arms. She’s the only thing I have left of any of my grandparents, and I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like without her.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been here in a while, Auntie.” I sniffle, doing my best to not crush her frail body with my hug.

“You sound sad, my dear. What’s wrong? Is it something to do with that boy you introduced me to last time? Or perhaps you’re failing a class and are too afraid to tell your father? Come on, you can tell me.” She smiles, trying to tease me, but she always seems to know things.

“It’s about Beau.” I sniffle again, pulling back from the hug and settling myself into her bed as I curl up next to her and spill my guts about everything I’ve been feeling.

“I love him, but he’s moving way too fast for me. I already feel like I’m being tied down and that I’m not going to get the chance to live my life the way I want to if I continue down this path with him.” I sigh, helping myself to one of the two pudding cups that a nurse brought in about five minutes ago after I’d told Auntie the beginning of my story.

“And what way is that, dear? How do you want to live your life that he can’t be there with you for?” She asks softly, eating her pudding cup, too.

“I don’t know. I want to travel and go to concerts. I want to see the world without having to be tied down to any place, any one, anything. I want to experience life.” I sigh, as I try to explain what I want, but I’m not sure I’m making any sense.

“Well darling, from what you’ve told me about this boy, and from what I saw when he was here, is that he’s not going to hold you back from living your dreams. That boy is head over heels for you, and you may feel like he’s tying you down, but what if you’re just looking for an excuse because you’re afraid that you’ll end up like your parents? Their divorce was nasty, sugar, but you are your own person. You’re nothing like your mother was at your age – and trust me, I remember her very well. Don’t be afraid of love because of your parents, sweetheart.” Auntie murmurs, stroking my hair before kissing my forehead and telling me more stories about my mother and grandmother over the next two hours before the nurses kick me out and tell me to go home.

Even after talking to Auntie and listening to her advice, I still can’t shake that feeling, but I decide to not run from love. I mean, I love Beau. I really, really do, and I’m determined to get past this little bump I’m feeling in our relationship. As soon as I return to the farm, it’s nearly midnight and all of the lights in the house are shut off, so I quietly sneak into Bryndle’s old room, where Beau has been sleeping since break, and crawl into his bed. He’s fast asleep, but he rolls over and pulls me to his chest in his sleep, and I press my cheek into his chest, listening to and praying that his strong, steady heartbeat will eventually lull me to sleep.

It must have worked, because the next thing I know, Beau is softly trying to shift me out of his arms and detach himself from mine without waking me up, but it obviously doesn’t work out for him. “Good morning.” I yawn, allowing him to stand up.

“What are you doing in here? If your dad finds you in here –”

“Honestly, Beau. Dad’s not that dense. He knows what happens when you stay up in Savannah for the weekend. I think he’ll allow us to sleep in the same bed now.” I chuckle, interrupting him and standing up on my knees on the bed so I can wrap my arms around his neck at kiss him – despite morning breath.

“I still don’t feel right about it. It’s a different story when we’re under his roof than when we’re under yours.” Beau chuckles, softly trailing his fingers up my spine as he smiles at me. “And how’d your visit with Auntie go?”

“Actually, she really helped me work through some things that nobody else would understand right now. I don’t know what I’m going to do without her after she’s gone.” I sigh, sitting back on my heels until Beau sits down beside me.

“You can talk to me about anything, Stel.”

“It’s okay now. Talking to Auntie really helped.” I smile, and kiss his cheek before standing up and snagging the bathroom before he can. I can hear him groan outside the door as I turn the shower on, and then hear his muffled voice talking to Dad while I step into the shower and wash my hair so I can French braid it and leave it until tomorrow, so it’ll be wavy for our date tomorrow.

“So do you have our Valentine’s date planned yet?” I ask Beau as I saunter into the kitchen after my shower wearing a pair of painted on jeans and a racerback tank top I have a jacket to put over it.

“Oh, I nearly forgot tomorrow’s Valentine’s day.” Dad grumbles, stabbing at his Honey Comb floating in the milk in his cereal bowl. “I guess you’re going to want me to make myself scarce?”

“I have a plan, but I’m going to need your truck, John.” Beau shoots a sideways grin at me, before I watch my dad shrug.

“I suppose. Anyway, since it’s your first Valentines together, I suppose Jimmy and I are in need of a guy’s night out. Maybe we can go bowling or something.” Dad chuckles, and I realize I haven’t seen Dad’s best friend in years. The old bachelor who has been Dad’s best friend since high school, has never been married and doesn’t plan on it. He’s rich, and instead of spending money on a woman, he spends it on safaris, and big hunting trips up in the Yucatan and Montana. He’s been on an Alaskan fishing trip, and multiple trips to Africa where he shoots lions and elephants, but not with a gun – with his camera. He has some beautiful shots that are framed in his house, and several shots hanging in various places around Savannah and Atlanta that he’s sold.

“How is Jimmy, anyway?” I ask, grabbing a granola bar and apple out of the fridge and leaning against the counter.

“He just got back from a 3-month trip to London where he visited his family that lives over there, and is getting ready to return to Alaska next month. He promised he’d bring us home some fresh salmon and tilapia.” Dad grins, and I raise my eyebrows.

“I thought his family was from Raleigh?”

“His parents are, but his sisters both live in England after begging their parents to send them to a boarding school over there when they were only 14. I guess they wanted the British accents and not southern ones.” Dad chuckles, and I’m genuinely surprised about this. I never knew he had sisters in London, or else I probably would have asked for him to take me there so I could visit.

I’ve always wanted to travel overseas. I think a backpack tour of Europe would be so much fun – I could visit Spain and see Barcelona and Madrid, and then go to Portugal, Germany, Amsterdam, England, Ireland, Greece, Italy – basically anywhere I could get to by train. I’d love that trip so much, I almost asked for it for a graduation gift, but I had no one to go with since Gemma was on her Greek cruise. Now, maybe I could talk Beau into going with me. Ha!

“Wow. I’d like to see Europe sometime, actually.” I try to make it an offhand comment, but I see Beau’s eyes narrow like they do when he’s really thinking about something.

“Anyway, I’m off to town to pick up the weekly supply of feed. Do either of you need anything?” Dad asks after slurping down his milk and scooting his chair back.

“No, I’m just planning on spending the day with Zeus.” I answer, and watch Beau. Honestly, there’s not much to do around here since it isn’t hay season, so I’m excited to see what he’s planning on doing.

“Um, actually, I think I figured out what the problem is on the Case finally. Do you think you could pick up a new carburetor while you’re in town?”

“I’ve tried fixing the carburetor, son. That’s not it.” Dad shakes his head, and Beau returns the gesture.

“I know, but when I was looking at the connections, one of the connection holes on the one in it now is faulty, so I’m going to replace both parts. I found the new line I need yesterday, just didn’t have enough time to grab the actual carburetor.” Beau explains, and I raise my eyebrows. That old thing hasn’t run in years, but Dad’s been determined to fix it up so we can use it to haul hay and hook the rake up to it so we don’t have to continually switch the swather and rake during the summers.

“Sure, I’ll pick one up for you. I’ll be back after lunch.” Dad calls, slapping his hat on his head and walking out the door, letting the screen bang behind him.

“So now that he’s gone will you tell me what we’re doing?” I ask, walking over and planting myself on his lap before he has the chance to escape.

“Nope. It’s a surprise.” He grins, and I give him a peck kiss before hopping up and retrieving my own hat. I didn’t actually think he was going to tell me, but I was hoping.

“Well then. I’ll be pampering Zeus while you get all greasy working with the POS tractor Dad refuses to get rid of. Hey, have you seen any green poles that look like they could be horse jumps lying around the shop?” I ask, hoping he doesn’t question me too hard. I know he’s seen the English saddle lying on the top peg of the tack room, but he’s never asked about it. I went through an Eventing phase when I was 16 and 17, and trained the 3-4-year old Zeus to be a jumper and dancer. I swear, that boy would do anything I asked after a few practice runs. We competed, and even got up to 4’2 in the show ring before my senior year started and I gave it up, focusing on classes.

“Um, yeah I think I tripped over one the other day while I was in the back. Did you used to show jump or something?” He asks, apparently surprised.

“I went through a phase.” I blush, and follow him out to the barn.

“I mean, I’ve cleaned the English saddle several times, but I just figured it was your mom’s or Bryndle’s. She seems more like the English type than you do.” Beau chuckles, shoving the shop doors to the side and pointing to the back corner where my old jumps are. They’re covered in an inch of dust, but I don’t care.

“I trained Zeus to be an all-around horse, and since he’s a Friesian x Thoroughbred cross, he’s an excellent jumper and dressage dancer. We just haven’t competed in about a year and a half.” I shrug, and he helps me drag my jumps and posts out to the open yard area where I always used to set up the course. “Maybe just keep the poles on the ground while I go get Zeus so I can see if he remembers any of this.”

I head into the barn and crosstie Zeus before finding the fleece jumping pad and settling my black jumping saddle on his back. He’s grown quite a bit since the last time this saddle was cinched around him, so I spend a few minutes loosening the girth so it’ll fit comfortably around him before going in search of the broken snaffle D-ring bit that was gentle on his mouth. I smile as I glance at my handsome boy who hasn’t worn this ensemble since 2 summers ago. I lead him outside and let him take in the jumps, watching carefully as his ears perk forward in interest. He prances over to the poles and then easily jogs beside me over the poles like they’re not even there. I smile as I help Beau put the jumps up to the 2’2 cross-rails, and he gives me a leg up onto my tall horse.

“I haven’t done this in years, so you can’t laugh if I fall.” I chuckle as I move Zeus around the yard, readjusting myself to the English saddle.

“I won’t be laughing if you fall, trust me.” He calls back, and after I’ve figured out the strides, I steer Zeus to the jumps, doing my best to hang on and not fall as he soars over the three consecutive jumps with a few feet to spare. “That was incredible, Stel! Do you want me to raise them more?”

“Yeah, will you put them up to 3’ please? That was always our warmup jump, but I needed to make sure I remembered how to do my job.” I chuckle, and pat Zeus’s neck while he stands at attention with his ears still perked towards the jumps. As soon as the jumps are set, I push Zeus into a canter, and remember to count our strides before squeezing my legs and leaning over his neck while he does the rest.

Beau ends up putting the jumps back up to our old show height of 4’2, before I decide Zeus has had enough of this crap and give him a bath while Beau goes to work on the tractor some more. After I’ve put Zeus out to the paddock – and watched him promptly roll in a patch of dirt just to spite my bath – I walk to the barn and ask Beau if he wants anything for lunch, even though it’s only 11.

“Yeah, you in my bed.” He answers, and I lift an eyebrow, considering the thought.

“Only if we’re in my bed.” I answer, lightly kicking his boot with my own and grinning at him when he rolls out from under the tractor to look at me.

“Seriously?”

“Think of it as an early Valentine’s present.” I grin, and he scrambles up, grabbing my hand and towing me inside.

“Ugh, I couldn’t take my eyes off of how beautiful you were when you and Zeus were jumping. I’m seriously the luckiest guy in the world.” Beau sighs, unzipping my jacket and leaving it on the back of a kitchen chair.

“You’re damn right you are.” I nearly growl, grabbing his face and pulling his lips to mine as I drag my fingers through his shirt, trying to get it unbuttoned while he pushes me backwards to my room. “It’s been entirely too long since we’ve done this.”

“I agree.” He breathlessly whispers against my lips before he pulls my tank top over my head and lifts me off the ground so he doesn’t have to bend over to kiss me anymore. I wrap my legs around his waist as I finally finish the buttons on his shirt and push it off his shoulders before he climbs into my bed and starts with the button on my jeans, slowly working them off my hips and peeling them off my legs until I’m under him in my second favorite pair of navy Calvin Klein matching undies – I’m saving the black ones for tomorrow, because I hope a lot more of this is going to be involved. “I hate sports bras.” He grumbles, lightly snapping the band before I can squeeze out of it and deposit it on the floor. Guess I’m rethinking my bra for tomorrow, then.

“They’re not so bad. I mean we needed a reason to catch our breaths anyway.” I breathe heavily after I’ve discarded my bra and am sitting in front of him while he still straddles my knees, softly trailing his fingers along the white waistband of my bikini style undies.

Before I can give him the chance to strip me completely, I quickly bite my lip and take a little bit of control, pushing him onto his back so I can tug his jeans and usual black boxer-briefs down to his ankles and wrap my fingers around him before putting my mouth where my hand is. I don’t particularly enjoy this, but I know Beau does just by the pure bliss that’s hiding behind his closed eyes and strained features as he tangles his fingers in my hair, holding it away from my chest while I continue to lick and please him, carefully noticing what makes him tense up and what makes him bite back moans. Storing this new information in my brain for later use, after I’m sure I’ve brought him to the brink where he quite often leaves me with his mouth, I crawl up his chest and plant my lips back on his, allowing him to finally reach for one of the condoms he stashed in my bedside table.

“You drive me insane.” Beau grins, quickly regaining the control he relinquished to me earlier, and taking me to the edge of my own insanity – twice.

“What are we doing that involves us being up so early again?” I ask as Beau hands me a cup of coffee and leads me outside where I find his truck hooked to our horse trailer and Zeus’s and Jessie’s heads hanging out of the slants looking at the apple I’m currently eating. It’s barely 7, but Beau’s grinning and excited about whatever surprises he has on the schedule for today.

“Just get in the truck, Stel.” He commands, but then decides I’m not moving fast enough, so he sweeps me off my feet and plants me in his truck before climbing in and rumbling the engine to life. “We’ll be where we’re going in about an hour.”

“Awesome. That means an hour of more sleep.” I yawn, scooting to the middle and trying to ignore how sore I am from last night. After our lunch sex, Dad finally came home, which forced us to get out of bed, but left again last night to go to poker night at the local bar. He didn’t come home until 3 this morning, and I only know that because Beau and I were in the middle of a new position. I can’t describe how incredibly naïve I was when it came to sex – and it wasn’t like I was completely inexperienced before. The occasional backseat hookup was the majority of where I gained my sexual knowledge, but not all of it. Now though, Beau has taught me so many things about myself and has honestly kind of pulled out a little bit of stripper in me because he adores lap dances, and I enjoy giving them, honestly. And with each new position we learn – he taught me a few until he ran out of the ones he knew, and then we went to Google for help – I discover more about him, too. For example, he hates any position that he can’t kiss some part of my body, and he loves sniffing my hair while we’re cuddling after sex – especially if it had been a brutal position for us. I never knew I’d be so adventurous in the bedroom, but I guess that’s what makes Beau so great – he can find the sides of me I never knew existed.

When Beau shakes me to let me know we’ve arrived, I’m surprised when I sit up to find he’s parked on the beach. He’s already climbing out of the truck and heading to the trailer, waiting for me to follow him.

“What are we doing here?” I ask, bewildered by the fact that we’re actually at the beach.

“Well, your dad told me you’ve never ridden a horse on the beach and that you used to be obsessed with the idea. Plus, I figured Zeus could use the saltwater treatment for his joints after all the jumping you guys did yesterday.” He shoots me a grin before disappearing to open the back latch while I work on climbing out of the truck. I’m still yawning and saying that it’s way too early for us to be up after yesterday, but I’m not really complaining. Once I see Beau backing Jessie out of the trailer, I wait until he has her tied up before I stop him from going in the trailer and just wrap my hoodie covered arms around him. I bury my face in his chest and just breathe him in.

I still think he’s moving too fast for me, but I’m willing to try and see things from his perspective. Just as long as there isn’t an engagement ring for a few more years, I’ll be fine with the promise ring sitting on my finger as a reminder of how much he loves me – not that I’ll ever find someone who is as amazing and satisfying as Beau is. I don’t even have to be kissing him to enjoy being around him, and his hugs are bomb as hell. I love his hugs. “Happy Valentine’s day, Beau.”

“I hope it will be.” He says, and I can feel him grinning at me after he rests his chin on the top of my head.

“Any day with you is a good day though.”

“This is true.” He simply states, before moving his arms to rub my shoulders, softly pulling away from him. “But we need to get saddled and riding before there are a ton of people on the beach.”

I reluctantly sigh and open the mini tack room to find my English saddle on the middle rack and Beau’s western saddle on the bottom rack. “Why didn’t you bring my western?” I ask, confused as I quickly saddle Jessie while Zeus is trying to grab the carrot out of Beau’s back pocket instead of focusing on backing out of the trailer.

“I don’t know, I thought you might want it since you used it yesterday.” Beau shrugs, and I smile and saddle Zeus while Beau grabs bridles and quickly swaps the halters for bits and gives me a leg up.

We walk towards the waves, giving the horses time to adjust to the new terrain, and I can barely keep Zeus from charging towards the water. I should have known – he absolutely adores water. I laugh as he trots directly into the waves and acts like he’s a colt again, jumping around in them and pawing at the larger waves. Jessie doesn’t seem as sure about the ocean as Zeus was, and Beau is having to coax her towards the water’s edge while Zeus carries me out until he’s nearly touching his belly to the water before I get him turned around. I do not want to have to clean the salt water out of this tack, even though it’s probably inevitable.

“Looks like you’re having a tough time, Beau.” I smile as Zeus dances back to the tide and continues to jump around like I’m not even on his back.

“She’s not sure about the crashing waves, that’s for sure.” Beau chuckles, and I glance at the nearly open coast.

“Well you could keep her up in the packed sand and Zeus and I could run through the waves. How about a race?” I ask, grinning towards the open coast.

“Despite the fact that your horse’s legs are longer and he’s bigger, I’ll take that challenge.” Beau sighs, and we shake on it, before I direct Zeus and squeeze my legs, urging him into a lope.

The morning ocean breeze catches my blonde waves that I failed to braid this morning, and I can’t keep a smile off my face as I turn around and smile at Beau while we’re galloping down the beach, thankful there are no people to worry about. I love the beach anyway, but riding horses on the beach is an entirely different story compared to the rest of the times.

“Beau, today has been wonderful.” I sigh, rolling into his side and resting my cheek on his chest while I study our tangled fingers in front of the stars.

After a day of amazing surprises, and a delicious supper that we cooked together, I finally found out why he needed Dad’s truck – for the bed. He made another one of my dreams come true when he literally made us a bed in the back of Dad’s truck – pillows, blankets, everything.

“I told you you’d love it.” He answers, tracing my back scar from Apollo through my shirt. After he got bitten, he became obsessed with my scar and now knows the outline of it by heart. His stitches didn’t leave much of a mark after they healed.

“I think the cooking was the best part though.” I smile, shifting my head so I can gaze up at him.

“You just liked making fun of my dance moves.” Beau laughs, and starts to tickle me.

“It’s your fault for having such lame and cheesy moves!” I giggle, squirmy under his fingers until I burst into laughter, fully trying to ward him off while I remember our dances while we were cooking quesadillas which are one of my favorite meals.

“At least I didn’t pull out the Macarena.” He teases, and I shrug.

“Hey, you can’t dis the classics! Everyone knows that song!” I laugh again, hoping his fingers have given up and that I can continue using him as a pillow. “Oh, hey I have a question for you. I don’t know why I waited this long to ask, but I guess I just forgot. Gemma and I and a few of our friends are going up to Myrtle beach for some of Spring Break. Do you want to come?”

“Hmm. I haven’t been to Myrtle beach since I was probably 15 or 16. I’d love to go. Who else is going?”

“My friend Connor who’s on an art scholarship like I am, and one of Gemma’s friends from one of her classes. I think Fernando is coming, too.”

“Hmm, Connor huh? Should I be worried?” He asks, running his fingers through my hair.

“Are you jealous?”

“Not at all. I’ve just never heard you talk about Connor.” Beau shrugs, and I can tell he’s really not worried, just curious.

“He’s a painter from Florida – Orlando area I think. He’s funny, extremely talented, and has great style. Seriously, this boy is about ten up on you, even though I’m kind of partial to your button down and jeans.” I grin, thinking about the only real friend I’ve made this year who happens to be gay. Honestly, if his great sense of style hadn’t tipped me off from the beginning, I found out as he was talking about some blind date that his cousin had set him up on with this guy from Alabama and how bad it was one day when we were cleaning one of the rooms like our scholarships say we’re supposed to.

“You better love my style.” Beau smiles smugly, closing his eyes and settling back into the pillows he brought. “I love you, Stella. More than anything. Happy Valentine’s day.”

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