AN: First chapter Hopefully everyone likes it, although it's mostly just the story-starting fluff right now. It'll get better, though, I promise X Review only if you'd like, but I would appreciate it if you did. And remember, nothing will happen the first few chapters, but expect some mxm later on. Stop reading right now if you don't like that sort of thing. Also, read my page for more information, if you'd like. Enjoy!

With lines of bright white light shining though the blinds of his bedroom window, Alex looked up at the clock with sleep hooded eyes. 9:46. He rolled over onto his back, staring up at the ceiling with a sigh. He rubbed one eye, and let out a yawn. He'd never been a morning person. Even this was way too early for him to be up. Usually it would be almost lunch time before he'd crack open an eye, unless it was a school day. It was a Saturday, mid-April. He shouldn't even be up, but he knew that if he didn't get up, his mom would be in to shake him out of his sleep soon enough.

As another sigh, he pushed himself up into a sitting position, and looked around the room. All his things were in various cardboard boxes, some already taped, some not. The one closest to his bed was labeled 'clothes' in black sharpie. Next to that was one that held books, and next to that was his t.v., which got a box to itself. Then there was one for his DVD's and games, things like that. Another one for clothes was sitting next to his open closet door, and after that was two more boxes filled with random things he hadn't bothered to label.

He gently pulled the covers off himself to the left, and swung his legs over the edge of his bed. He really didn't want to get up. He ran a hand through his hair, which he was sure looked pretty crazy at the moment. He pushed himself up, and walked over to his door, opening it to find his mother standing right there. She was sitting in front of the hall closet, putting towels and sheets into more boxes. She smiled up at him, and he grinned back tiredly.

"How are you this morning?" she asked, turning back to fold a towel.

"Okay." he replied shortly, walking past her and into the bathroom. He brushed his teeth, and then reached for his brush in the drawer, only to realize it wasn't there. He opened the door, and looked over at his mother.

"Where's my comb and stuff?" He asked, seeing that he didn't have anything left except for his toothbrush and toothpaste.

"Already packed. We need to get moving. Have you finished packing in your room?"

"Almost." he said, seeing his mom shake her head at another towel. He was supposed to have started packing a long time ago, like last week. He had just started last night.

He sighed again, and looked at his reflection in the mirror. He looked like a mess. His jet black hair was tangled up into knots, poking out all over, and he really needed to straighten it. It was naturally mostly straight, but he liked it just right. This definitely wasn't it. He reached up and tried to fix it with just his fingers, but it wasn't working.

Around his eyes were smudges of black, which he'd forgotten to wash off last night. He wasn't into the full out makeup, really, but a little something was required to feel complete. He felt that his eyes were too small sometimes, and thought that a little something around the edges would help them pop. They were a vibrant blue color, and he always got people who thought they were fake. He liked that, though.

He left the bathroom, and walked silently back into his room, and closed the door. A quick glance around told him that there really wasn't all that much left to shove into boxes. He sat in front of one pile of things, and put them gently into a mostly empty box. Most of the things were just random things he'd collected over the years. A few photos of friends, some old school awards, gifts from people.

As he reached the bottom of the pile, there was a picture laying face-down on the floor, and his hand hovered over it for a second, and then rested down on the back. His fingers traced over the words his mother had written on it; "Alex and David, '93 ".

He sighed and slowly picked up the picture, flipping it over to reveal he and his father standing in the yard. His dad was holding a baseball, a grin on his face. Next to him was a much younger Alex, holding a baseball bat awkwardly with a crooked baseball cap resting on his head. He had a huge smile on his face; one that only an innocent child could wear.

Alex showed no emotion on his face now, though. His father had died only a few months after that picture was taken from cancer. A "mean lump on daddy's brain" as he'd been told back then. He sighed one more, and placed the picture in with all the rest.

An hour before the sun was up, Ryan had been down at the barn. He had moved the horses out into the pasture, after giving each a light brushing and pat on the neck. There were six in all now, with only two of them being their own.

The first was Skye, his beautiful bay paint mare. She was getting on up there in age, but still had the same spunk she'd had all along. The next was Rusty, Skye's foal from a few years back. He was a bay paint, too, only a bit darker with less white.

The other four were all being stabled there by their owners. That was one of the many things that went on at the ranch. Boarding horses, growing crops, raising chickens and pigs. They had a few cattle, too. Horses were the main focus for him, though. His father and their hired help dealt with the rest.

After filling up the trough with fresh water, Ryan made his way back to the barn to continue with his morning chores. He headed for the store room, and grabbed the pitchfork before heading over to the stall that was set aside just for hay. It was originally meant to be a stall for birthing, but they hadn't had a foal born since Rusty, and even then Skye had been fine in her own stall. He couldn't remember a time when it hadn't been filled with hay, to be honest.

He piled a few bales into the wheelbarrow, and then headed down to the first stall after slipping into his rubber work boots. He unlatched the painted wooden door, and slid it open. This stall was currently holding a black quarter horse stallion that they'd been boarding for quite a while. His owners were very nice, and payed more than expected so he'd get the best of care. His name was Barney, and he was a nightmare.

Next to him was a stall that held a pretty little mare by the name of Bell. She was a bay, white blaze running the length of her face. She was a sweet one, they'd only had her there for a couple weeks, along with another horse by the same people; a dapple grey mare. She was very calm, hardly ever made a fuss at all. Zora was her name. Across from Barney was a buckskin gelding they'd been keeping after for a while, almost a year. He was the oldest they had, but was still a great horse. He went by Old Jack. Next to him were the two stalls for Skye and Rusty.

When Ryan had finished mucking the stalls and laying new hay, he slipped out of his boots and went to put everything away. When he'd done that, he walked into the office to grab a drink. Their barn was quite large, given the fact that most barns around them didn't even have stalls for six horses alone. Theirs had room for twelve, along with the birthing stall that was filled with hay, the feed/tack room, the store room, and the office on the main ground level.

Above that, with a set of stairs leading up from the birthing stall, was a roomy loft where he spent a lot of his time. It stretched half the length of the barn, leaving plenty of room up there. The half furthest from the stairs was full of more hay and a few retired tools, like shovels and brushes. The half closest to the stairs held an old couch that folded out into a bed, an even older and unmatching love seat, and a coffee table in between them. Off to the side was a smaller side table that held an old lamp, which plugged into the only outlet up there. There was a single window that was clouded over with dirt. The space made for a great spot to chill with friends.

As Ryan entered the office, he spotted his father on the phone, and closed the door quietly. His dad shot him a smile, and he smiled back. He walked over to the mini-fridge, and grabbed a coke. He popped the tab lightly, though it still made the loud sound soda cans always did. He grabbed a seat on the couch, and took a sip. He listened to what his after was saying on the phone.

"Yes, we have it all cleaned out, and ready to go. I think it should work perfectly for you... Yes, two bedrooms, three if you don't need an office... Mhmm, all appliances are already there. So we'll see you later, then? Fantastic. Great talking to you. You too. Goodbye."

With that, he placed the phone back on the base, and took down a note on some paper, before looking up at his son.

"Who was that?" Ryan asked, taking another swig of coke.

"Someone interested in renting our other house. She's called twice now, which I think is promising. We need to go over there, though, and make sure everything is cleaned up."

"Sure, I'll help. What is she like?" he asked, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees.

"She sounds like a nice woman. She has a son, just a bit younger than you I believe. They're moving from Ohio to be closer to her mother, now that she's getting older."

Ryan nodded, taking the information in. He'd never been out of the state, it would be nice to meet someone from outside the area. The only person he'd met that hadn't grown up or lived in Clarendon for quite some time was his friend Rebecca, but she was still from Texas. Needless to say, it was a pretty small town.

"When are they going to get here?" He asked, finishing off his drink and tossing it into the trash.

"Sometime tomorrow, probably later in the day." his dad replied, standing from his chair.

"Alright, cool." Ryan nodded, standing also. He followed his father out of the office door, and they both walked down the long hallway of the barn and down the dirt road to the house. Their house was further on down the road, and was a lot bigger than this one, but the rented house was still a really nice size. They walked down the path to the front door, and his dad unlocked it, and went inside.

It hadn't been rented out in quite a while, but they kept good tabs on it. No mold or mildew, no foul odors, no stains. It was in good shape. It had been their old house, before they built the new one down the road.

His dad flipped the main light on, and he walked into the kitchen, which was right off the front entrance. If you took a right, though, it took you into the living room. Off the living room was the master bedroom, with a full bath. Going through the kitchen, there was a smaller dining room off the back of it, and between the two was a hallway that led to two smaller bedrooms that had a conjoined bathroom. There was no basement, but there was a garage, with room for the washer and dryer.

Ryan looked in all the bathrooms as his dad checked the fridge and cabinets, looking for anything that needed to be cleaned out or fixed. Everything looked good.

They agreed that it looked fine, and headed on down to their own house. They walked up the steps on the front porch and walked through the front door, and they were met with the smell of sizzling bacon and eggs, probably pancakes, too. They both looked at each other, and grinned; walking into the kitchen.

"Well hello, you busy bees. Care for some breakfast?" Anne grinned, kissing her husband as he made his way over to her. He wrapped his arms around her waist, and they kissed again.

"Aw, guys, come on." Ryan groaned, looking away. "Get a room."

The two laughed, and then he sat down to join his son, Anne walking over with hot eggs to add to their plates.

"Thanks, mom." Ryan grinned at her, grabbing a few pieces of bacon. She walked back over with the pancakes, which were already done and on a big plate. Ryan grabbed three, and then passed the plate on. He poured on some syrup, and then took a bite.

"We have people coming to look at the house tomorrow." Mike said, grabbing two pancakes for himself. "It looks good."

"That's great!" Anne replied with a smile. "What are they like?"

"A mother and son, the boy is around Ryan's age." He said, looking over at Ryan. "Maybe you can make him feel more at home?"

"Yeah, I can show him around." He nodded, swallowing some milk down after his bacon.

"Thanks for breakfast, mom. It was great as always." He got up from the table, and took his plate to the sink. This will be interesting he thought to himself, as he went out the front door again, headed back down to the barn. He still had chores to do.