Still Holding On

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Chapter Seven

I never thought I'd get turned on watching someone eat a cupcake. But the way that Amelia is licking the frosting off her fingers makes it hard not to be turned on.
"You didn't want to come ridin'?" I blurt out making her freeze with her finger in her mouth. Bad timing Tag. She pulls her finger out of her mouth with a pop.
"Something came up sorry. I should've rang." She says looking down at the table. "Everything okay?" I ask taking a sip of my coffee. "Just some shit came up from back home." She mumbles avoiding eye contact still.
"I can take you whenever you want." I say getting she doesn't want to talk about whatever happened. "Really?" She asks looking at me. "Yeah." I reply.
"I get off work at five tomorrow." She smiles shly. "You want me to pick you up?" I offer. "You'd do that?" She almost gasps. "It's not far." I shrug trying to remain calm despite my heart rate picking up.
"Your girlfriend is coming." She says picking up her cupcake and taking a massive bite. "What?" I frown and look around for Susie but don't see her only Barbra and Young Mary, who are walking right towards us.
"Oh." I sigh. "Not funny." I say to Amelia who is smiling widely and waggles her eyebrows at me. "Tag, sweetie. How are you?" Barbra smiles placing her hand on my shoulder. "How are you Mrs Smith?" I smile politely.
"I'm fantastic thank you." She smiles still resting her on my shoulder. "Mary was just wondering if you could take her ridin' after church this weekend?" She asks while Mary is standing there fluttering her eyelashes at me.
"I can't sorry." I decline hoping she just accepts the no. "Oh. Why ever not?" She asks frowning. "I'm out of town this weekend." I say vaguely. "Maybe next time." She nods while Young Mary pouts.
"Will you be at Missys tomorrow for dinner?" She asks moving her hand down to my bicep. "No ma'am." I shake my head hoping they will stop touching me and just fuck off.
"Well you'll have to come round to mine with Missy next time." She smiles so wide it actually looks creepy. Thankfully my phone starts ringing and they excuse themselves.
"Are you going to get that?" Amelia asks pointing to my pocket. "Nope." I answer popping the P. "What if it's important?" She asks sipping her drink. "They'll ring back." I shrug as it stops ringing.
"I better get to work." She sighs as my phone starts ringing again. "Must be important." She says raising an eyebrow. I frown and pull my phone out and see Juddsons name flashing across the screen along with the stupid flash on the camera.
I tried for four days to turn it off and still couldn't.
"I'll walk you back." I say silencing the call and sliding my phone back into my pocket. "It's just next door." She says but I throw down some money and stand up waiting for her.
By the time we've reached the bar my phone has rang another two times. "I better answer this." I mutter as she walks behind the bar giving me an understanding smile.
"Hello?" I answer Juddson who instantly begins yelling at me. "You better have a good fucking excuse for not answering me!"
"I was having coffee." I say sitting down at the bar. "Fucking hell Tag. Please tell me you haven't sign any copies of these fucking papers." He says and I hear a door slam on his end.
"No. I haven't." I frown. "Thank god. Whoever this women is she's a real piece of work." He says. "Did you even read this?" He adds.
"You're an idiot." He mutters. "She wants all of your assets that's your cars, any houses you have and your share of the ranch." My blood boils at his words and I rip out the papers from my pocket and start reading it.
"What the fuck?" I seethe, wanting to yell.
"I don't have any shares in the ranch." I tell him as a glass of whiskey appears in front of me. I glance up to see Amelia giving me a sad smile. I give her a nod of thanks before concentrating on what Juddson is saying.
"I'm going to draw up some new papers and email them to you. What assets do you have?"
"A one bed house worth piss all, the townhouse we lived in together and my truck." I list off. I don't give two shits about the townhouse. I hate it. But there's no way in hell I'm giving up my house and more importantly my truck.
"Okay what are you willing to give up?"
"The townhouse. I don't want that shit. No way in hell I'm givin' up my truck."
"Alright. I'll draft something up and send them you to actually read." He tells me. "Thanks man." I reply before hanging up and picking up the glass of whiskey and downing it.

Pulling up outside the dinner the next day I get butterflies in my stomach. Something that has happened three times in my life. The first time I rode a horse by myself, the first time I shot a gun and before I seen Sissy for the first time in four years.
I take a deep breathe as I shut off my truck. "Stop being an idiot Tag." I mutter to myself before I climb out and head inside.
Amelia is standing by the cash register laughing with Lucy. I watch her for a moment before walking up to them.
"Hey Tag, you want coffee?" Lucy smiles grabbing the coffee pot. "No thanks, just here to pick up Amelia." I smile back. "I still have ten minutes left." Amelia says. "You can go now, it's not busy." Lucy shrugs putting the coffee down. "I'll just get my stuff." Amelia smiles before disappearing out the back.
"Amelia?" Lucy asks me with a goofy grin as she waggles her eyebrows. "I'm teaching her how to ride." I shrug casually. "Ride what?" She smirks and I roll my eyes at her.
"How's Will?" I ask making her shut her mouth and blush. Lucy went to school with us and has had the biggest crush on Will since, forever. Not that she'd ever tell him that.
"You're his friend." She states still blushing. "I am. Want me to put a good word in for you?" I tease. "Not like it'd do any good." She mumbles leaning her elbows on the bar.
"I'll see what I can do." I tell her as Amelia comes through the door with a small backpack. "Thank you so much." She smiles to Lucy and gives her a hug.
"Did you have a good day?" I ask Amelia as we walk through the diner. "It was pretty good actually." She smiles widely. "Lucy is so much fun to work with." She adds as I told the door open for her. "No ma'am today?" She asks with a playful smile. "Ma'am." I nod grinning down at her.
"Do I get to ride Sid again?" She asks practically skipping towards my truck. "Yes ma'am." I answer opening the passanger door for her. "You really are a Southern gentlemen aren't you?" She asks climbing in.
"Granny would kill me if I wasn't." I answer before closing the door.
Once I'm driving us towards the ranch I ask if she's already eaten. "No." She draws out narrowing her eyes slightly. "We're not having dinner with those awful women are we?" She asks sounding unsure. "You think my Granny is awful?" I gasp pretending to be offended.
"No! Not Missy, I love Missy. She's great. I meant Barbra and Mary." She babbles quickly making me laugh. "No we're not eating with them." I reassure her. "Oh thank god." I sighs as I pull into Granny's driveway. "We better saddle up quickly, they'll be here soon." I state jumping out and heading towards her door to help her out but she's already out by the time I get to her.
"Do I have enough time to change?" She asks biting her lip slightly and holding up her backpack. "Do you remember where the bathroom is?" I ask gesturing towards the house. "I think so." She says frowning slightly. "Or you can change in the barn office." I suggest. "I think the barn." She says surprising me.
I lead her over to the barn and show her where to change while I grab two saddles and head to the pasture Sid and Sugar are waiting.
"Hey boy." I say to Sid, giving him a scratch before I start saddling him up. Just as I finish with him Amelia comes out of the barn dressed in jeans, a t shirt and converses.
"You want some boots?" I ask grabbing the other saddle. "Are these shoes not okay?" She asks looking down at her feet. "They'll slip, boots are better." I tell her. "What size shoe are you?" I ask not giving her a chance to reply.
"I'll be back in a sec." I say we I finish doing the saddle up, then climb over the fence and heading to the barn. I riffle through a cupboard until I find a pair of my momma's old riding boots that'll fit her before going back.
She's standing in front of Sid rubbing his nose gently with a barely there smile. I stand there watching her while my stomach does that stupid butterfly thing again.
"Next time I want a hat like yours." She says breaking me out of whatever trance I'd fallen into. "A hat like mine or my hat?" I ask not being able to stop the smile on my face.
"Hmm, is your hat sweaty and gross?" She ask scrunching up her nose. "Probably is." I tell her truthfully as I hand her over the boots. "Then I want my own one." She says sitting down on the grass before pulling off her shoes.
"I'll see what I can do."
"Okay I'm ready." Amelia smiles tapping her heels together. I offer her my hand and help her up off the ground before helping her up onto Sid.
I try not to let my fingers linger on the small sliver of skin showing on her lower back but I can't help myself.
I quickly climb onto Sugar and lead us down to a track only I usually take. I've never taken Young Mary this way because I feel like she'd just ruin my spot. I never took Susie here and honestly, I'm not sure why. I mean she was my wife, why wouldn't I show her my spot? But I never did. And I'm glad.
Pappy took me and Sissy to this spot when we were ten one afternoon and I fell in love with it immediately.
About ten minutes after walking through some trees we reach the clearing revealing a small lake with a rickety old dock.
I came out earlier and dropped off a picnic basket and blanket. The sun is starting to set, bouncing orange and pink hues off the water.
"Whoa." Amelia breathes out looking out to the water. "You hungry?" I ask climbing off Sugar. "Are we fishing?" She asks looking around. "Not today." I smile. "Reckon you can get off by yourself?" I ask holding onto to Sid bridal.
"Um, probably not." She replies before chewing on her lip looking down to the ground. I move to the side and let her put her hand on my shoulder before I wrap my arm around her waist and lift her off.
Her body slides down mine, feeling every curve against me as I slowly put her on the ground. "Thanks." Amelia whispers moving her hand slowly off my shoulder and down my arm.
"We should eat." I say clearing my throat and taking a step back. "Yeah. Food." She mumbles. I walk over to where I put the basket and blanket and grab both of them.
"Can we eat over there?" Amelia asks pointing to the dock. I nod and walk over to it and lay the blanket near the end. I sit down stretching my legs out in front of me and Amelia sits crossed legged next to me.
"I made chicken sandwiches." I say opening the basket revealing the four sandwiches. "You made them?" She asks grabbing one out. "Well Granny cooked the chicken but I made them." I say grabbing one for me.
"Oh my god these are amazing." She moans, eyes closing, I take a large bite of my sandwich and look out to the water trying to not to think about how she'd sound moaning my name.
"This place is beautiful." She says after finishing her sandwich. "I love it here." I agree watching a duck land on the water across the way.
"I have a lawyer writing new divroce papers." I blurt out. "New ones?" She asks scruching her nose up again. I tell Amelia about how Susie wanted to take everything I have and my non existent shares in the ranch.
"She sounds like a fucking bitch." Amelia spits out. "She is." I agree. "Did she tell you why she, you know?"
"No." I shake my head accepting the fact I'll never know. "Why does it bother you so much?" She whispers. "That's a story for another time." I say turning to look at her. My breath catches in my throat and stomach flips at how beautiful she looks in the setting sun.
Her eyes look two shades lighter, her hair and skin look like they're glowing. "Luke." She whispers as I scan her face, trying to burn the image of her into my brain. "Amelia." I whisper back. "If I kiss you right now will you hate me?" She asks quietly. "No." I reply.
"Would you kiss me back?"
I don't bother saying anything. Instead I lean forward and gently cups her cheek with my hand and rest my forehead against hers. I stroke her slightly chapped lips with my thumb as our noses brush against one another.
"Luke." She whispers again and I can't wait any longer. I lean forward and press my lips against hers as softly as I can, giving her the chance to pull away but she doesn't.
She raises her hand and places it on the back of my neck pulling me closer as she kisses me back.
If I was getting butterflies before they've now exploded.
Amelia deepens the kiss and slips her tongue into my mouth making me moan from the back of my throat making me feel like I was falling.
Suddenly we're pulled apart and I'm underwater. I kick myself to the surface only to see the rickety old dock is broke. "What the fuck?" I say out loud as Amelia head pops up next to me before she bursts out laughing.

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