*A/N it's been awhile I know and I have no excuses that wouldn't sound like well excuses so I'll just say...I'm sorry. Now on to the story!

Chapter 6

Facing Up (Sort Of)


I turned on the shower's tap stepping into the heat, exhausted. It had been a hectic day; I had trail rides going out almost every two hours, Alison had two lessons going on back to back and Cal had called in sick sounding like death personified. So I had been running around all afternoon tacking and un-tacking horses, giving pointers to guests about where to ride, and generally losing my head.

There was only one person I wanted to see now and he wasn't available tonight, having to go with his family for dinner at another guest's house. I took a deep breath easing the air out slowly. Four weeks that's how much time I had left with Nate, a month, until August twenty-eighth to be exact. I'd only had him for three so far, seven in total was not enough time to be with someone that could stop your heart in one beat and send it into overdrive in the next. Seven weeks was not enough time to be with someone you loved. Yes, I raised my face to the pounding shower head, I loved Nate, stupidly. I knew he felt the same way though we hadn't said it in such a direct way to one another.

It was just to me saying it out loud made everything that much more real, the weight of our situation forefront to whatever happened after such a proclamation. Because how could you go from loving someone to never seeing them again?

We could stay in touch. My brain suggested now just like it had done every time I had dwelled on this subject. But really as much as my stereotypes on the upper-class had been shattered I still didn't see Nate going home and telling his friends he was in a relationship with a stable hand. That stereotype was so well ingrained in my mind that it didn't hurt; it was the leaving that hurt, knowing that every minute that we were together was another minute closer to when we would be apart.

The water ceased and I grabbed a towel patting off the excess water droplets. Scrunching my hair into ringlets with my towel I stared into the mirror and groaned at the dark circles appearing beneath my baby blues. I was beyond exhausted and my constant grief over the imminent loss of Nate was making my long days longer than usual. Instead of falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow like I had done pretty much every night since I could remember, I would lie in bed and toss and turn my thoughts racing through my brain giving me glimpses of scenarios I dreaded and scenarios I loved - I pulled on an old tee and my favourite pair of sweats - but don't get me wrong I wouldn't trade my time with Nate back and if it meant tired drawn out nights tossing and turning in bed in turn for bright sunny days riding into the back woods with Nate then it was something I would take.

I padded to my first floor bedroom listening to the soft snoring of both Jules and Cody from their own distinct rooms. My door clicked silently as I shut it firmly behind me. My desk lamp shone dully as I flopped face first onto my bed. My body sunk into the soft comforter and for once my brain mercifully stopped its infernal race, I sighed and pulled my pillow under my head not wanting to risk starting up my brain again by moving positions. The clock flashed two minutes shy of midnight.

Suddenly my body went rigid pulled back from the blissful slumber it had been seconds away from succumbing to, as a soft rap-tap came from my glass window. My fingers crept to my pillow digging into the soft cotton as if readying the feather filled case for an assault on the noise intruder. Rap-tap the window went again this time followed by a familiar deep voice.

I pulled myself off the bed with a silent groan, pillow still clutched between my fingers. Gently I pulled back the curtain. "Nate?" I questioned the figure standing ominously outside my window.

The shadow made a sweeping hand motion. "Open the window." Nate's voice barely filtered through the double paned window.

Confused and sleepy I did as told, watching with great interest as the lanky body twisted through the barely big enough window.

"Nate." I chuckled my voice slightly deeper thanks to the sleep I had been about to take. "What are you..." I didn't get any farther as his lips sucked the breath out of me. His hand ran through my damp locks tilting my head back to deepen the kiss. Instinctively my arms locked around his neck wanting him as close as possible and he obliged our bodies melding to one, my pillow wedged between us, a literal symbol.

He pulled back slightly, his breath ghosting across my cheek. "What was that?" I shuddered.

"Four weeks." His voice was thick with emotion. My breath hitched I couldn't say anything, because as much as I thought about the little time we had left, Nate had never mentioned it, once. Until now.

"At dinner," He went on realizing I was not going to add anything to the cold hard fact he had sent into the inches of breath between us. "I was sitting on the couch at the Gustav's house listening but not really to the din of our families talking-when out of nowhere I heard Emily say to my Mom that they had to leave earlier than expected as her husband had the opportunity to go back to Sweden for a conference at the end of August. And then I got to thinking about when we were going back and it hit me like a big ol' proverbial ton of bricks. We are leaving in four weeks." His voice dropped off considerably in volume as if he could make it not be true. "And then I had to sit through four and half hours of insufferable chit chat and board games." I laughed quietly at the face he pulled. "All I wanted to do was rush to you and tell you Ryan," His face went serious his eyes glinting. "I l..." As the consonant began to leave his lips my eyes widened in horror I did not, could not hear those words out loud. Quickly I closed the gap between us pushing the words back into his mouth.

"Ryan." He pulled back.

"Don't." I pleaded with him. He looked at me quizzical eyes searching.

"Ok." He finally breathed back, leaning in to run his lips along my jaw sending shivers down my spine. "Should I...?" Stop. I could feel the awkwardness I brought on threatening to break the night.

Oh fuck this. My mind screamed at me. I leaned away from him just enough to un-wedge the pillow from between our bodies. I hastily threw it in the general direction of my bed before crushing my body against Nate's, bruising my lips with his. I wrapped my fingers in the front of his white cotton tee, and backed us in the direction of my discarded pillow. I licked my way down his neck, following the curve of his neck along his collarbone. A groan escaped his lips and I reached back up to suck lightly on his bottom lip my knees hitting the firm mattress. His hands were burning trails along the top of my sweats, but he was frustratingly not going any farther. I reached up to thread my fingers in his blonde locks pulling him closer deepening the kiss. His hands stopped their wandering to grip my hips closer as if to keep me from moving as his lips parted from mine and he pulled back from me. My breath hitched as I took in his blue eyes brighter than usual with lust. I leaned forward to press a kiss to his lips.

"Have you...?" His lips moved against mine. I pulled back suddenly, confused at the half asked question hastily put before me. I quirked my head slightly. "Are you..." Now he sputtered nervously.

My eyes suddenly widened in understanding and I let a chuckle reverberate through my body.

"Am I a...?" I smirked now wanting him to say it aloud. He looked unsurely at me and suddenly I wondered if we were supposed to have had this talk earlier, and if it mattered one way or the other. If I was a virgin would he run in horror? If I wasn't would he flee in terror?

...Wait. I looked at him with wide eyes again. "Are you a virgin?" I finished the question for him; turning it on him. "I mean I just assumed you're from New York and you're well a guy." I rubbed my knee along his inner thigh, to prove the point.

It was his turn to let out a chuckle; I revelled in the feel of his body vibrating against mine. "God what am I doing?" He ran a hand through his already dishevelled locks.

"I don't know." I smirked up at him through my lashes.

"I don't usually get all girly. It's just you are special."

"Eat the paste special?" I pouted.

He laughed. "No." He shook his head pressing a soft kiss to my lips. "The perfect kind of special."

"Aww." I cooed. "So cheesy."

"But seriously folks." He smiled and I couldn't resist running my tongue along his pearly whites.

"Seriously? This is too much talking for my liking." My fingers slipped under the back of his tee to trace circles along his spine.

He leant down to hover his lips just below my ear, sending heat up my neck. "Just for the record I'm not." He whispered his breath causing me to groan and move my hands back to grab the front of his tee.

"Neither am I." I whispered into the base of his neck before toppling backwards onto my bed pulling him with me.