I jogged into the pub where Liam was cleaning the bar while Ma was polishing a glass, I sat down at the bar as Liam placed a coffee in front of me but Ma took it and replaced it with another coffee while Liam slumped his shoulders and pouted before sipped the coffee:
"Good run, love," she said as I looked up at her.
"Why didn't you tell me Nefetari was housesitting for Eric let alone the fact that she spends time with Roisin," I asked as I sipped the coffee.
"Well, firstly, I didn't know I had psychic powers," she said sarcastically "you should have told me earlier" she laughed as Liam joined in.
"serious, ma" I expressed "she is the one I have been talking about, in Paris," I said as my mother looked me up and down.
"if she is the one you spoke about so passionate why aren't you with her and why didn't you know she was here," she asked I looked down at my coffee shyly.
"Did something happen?"
"she caught me kissing a girl, twice" without hesitation both Liam and Ma hit me over the head with their cloth "hey! We weren't anything" I explained.
"listen here now son" she leaned against the table "the way you described your relationship, you were in one, just needed the titles" she explained as I knew she was right.
"How do I fix it?" I asked out of desperation.
"go and apologise," my ma said like it's the simplest thing in the world.
"I have," I said flatly as I stirred the spoon into black coffee.
"well" she shrugged her shoulders "all you can do is wait" she mentioned before turning her back on me "Edward, dear, would you please go and get wood for Tari, a young girl as herself all alone with no wood, ugh," she said as I smiled and jumped out of my seat, running for the door "Hey! Go wash first" she shouted before I reached the door.
I stood with the phone to my ear as I spoke to Julia and Rhea, I paced the longhouse as I spoke my whole morning out and they waited patiently while Walter ignored my rumbling and slept on the bed:
"He is here" I explained after a long-winded panic. "How can He be here in this little corner of nowhere?"
"maybe it's a sign, babe," Rhea said as she crushed on some chips "I mean of all places he ended up there and it being his hometown, big universe sign"
"But how?" I expressed with my hands "Julia how did you not know this?" I asked but she was quiet, be quiet for the whole conversation. "Julia?"
"oh my gosh, you knew!" Rhea shouted over the phone "you knew that's why you offered Eric's place"
"Julia!" I shouted when I heard some weird hitting sound, I moved to the window, I peaked through to find Edward with his shirt off, chopping wood under a tree not too far from where I was "he is here" I whispered into the phone.
"what?" Rhea asked
"What is he doing?" Julia whispered forgetting she was on the phone and not here in person.
"chopping wood," I said back.
"Oh my god!" Rhea scream "tells me he is shirtless, gosh !" she shouted in frustration "is his pants riding low" she growled into my ear.
I looked at the image with sudden interest, forgetting they were on the phone, his muscles flex every time he would move and his silk pale skin would move over it, his hair was fanning his face as his jeans looked like they were about to fall off, showing off his adonis belt which had my imagination off into tangles of our bodies.
"Shhh," I said into the phone as Rhea and Julia got rowdy "I am hanging up, bye" I shut off the phone and moved to the door, I opened it and Walter went out because of the commotion, Edward looked up at me and smile; I walked over to him and a deep musk filled my nose, I had the sudden urge to step back because of the power smell "what are you doing?"
"chopping wood," he said not looking up at me, "my mother said you might need it"
"well, I can do it by myself" I crossed my arms "so you can go," I said.
"I doubt you can," he said as he chopped the wood, splitting it in two with one hit "it's harder than it looks.
"please" I rolled my eyes and shooed him off before gripping it.
"You gonna hurt yourself"
"Shhh," I said as I lifted and slammed it down, the wood split in two with one clean sweep and I turned to him "see?"
"fuck" he cursed as he cleared his throat
"that's amazing" he stepped closer, he grabbed the edge of my jersey and played with it "listen," he said in a very serious tone "I know we didn't work in New Orleans and Paris, I was a dick for the whole Cecilia thing, she kissed me and I should have pushed her off but my contract" he whispered in a deep murmur "I knew you saw us the first time but you failed to see me pushing her off, I know I hurt you, unintentionally but I did and I want us to start fresh" he moved closer and took my waist in his hands, I gasped as his fingers touched the skin under my jersey "I like you a lot, Tari, more then words could say, let's take it slow, just you and me" I looked down at his hands on my waist but he grabbed my face and placed his hand on my cheek "but I will stop all this if you don't trust me" I looked into his eyes and my heart picked up, my brain was going at hundreds, so my breathing began to waver.
I nodded "yes, let's start fresh" I whispered as he pulled me into a hug.
"Oh, thank god" he whispered into my hair as leaned into him "now, what if I take you out for a nice dinner?"
He asked but laughed into his chest "what about a nice pint?" I asked.
"I thought you had plans" he eyebrow raised.
"I did but it fell through," I said knowing Roisin was helping Emma move into a cottage up north, where she has been for the last few days.
"good," he said as he helped me carry the wood into the house.
I stood before the mirror with two different shoes on, mismatched outfits with Rhea and Julia on a Zoom call while we try to figure out what would be the best date outfit which wasn't going well because Rhea and Julia were trying to get me into a cotton summer dress but with this weather I refused, it causes an argument with Rhea and Julia against me as I kept showing cute winterish outfits:
"no no no" Rhea giggled as she shook her head "cotton dress equals him giving you his jacket" she explained as I shook my head
"Or!" Julia voice up "Or you can snuggle into him, get all cosy"
"Great," I said sarcastically "great suggestions, would be great, if I didn't die of pneumonia," I said as they just laughed, obviously drunk off their asses.
"Ok ok," Rhea said as she tried to control her laughing "what about your leopard long sleeve top with your high waist corduroy skirt with some stocking and your ankle boots" she suggested as I held up my finger as I got dressed into the outfit and stepped into view.
"how about this?" they scream at the top of their lung.
"Perfect!" Rhea said with a smile.
"showing all that leg" Julia squealed as I looked myself over and my thick legs.
"I don't think this is ok," I said as I stared at my short skirt. "why did I even buy this?"
"for moments like this" Rhea said as I cringed "you look, gorgeous babe"
"yes, channel..." she waved her hands back and forth "...diva," she said with a smile. "ok, love, we are out, kisses"
"bye-bye babe," Rhea said with a smile.
I smiled as I sat before the vanity mirror, slowly applying light makeup to my skin, I kept thinking to Edward, the butterflies were exposing in my stomach as I couldn't pass by the thought of this not working out, even though 'fate' seemed to push us together but fate could also be called Julia yet this uneasy feeling in the air like something was about to go wrong; I was pushed out of mind by a knock at the door, I grabbed my clutch and I made my way to door to Edward leaning against it.
He wore a leather jacket in a tight pair of jeans and a grey dress shirt, he looked down at me with a smirk "you beautiful, love" he said as he pulled into a hug.
"not too bad yourself, sir" I nudged him as his eyes widened
"Shall we go?" he asked as I nodded.
We hopped into the car and drove down the almost deserted road to the pub, the light was on and the joyful noises could be heard from the outside, he opened the door for me as I smiled at him before I could walk on he grabbed my arm then slowly moved it down my hand and grasped it; I stared at him for a moment before we walked into the pub.
It will be filled with people, mostly sitting at tables while others crowded the bar, I watched a very flushed Mrs O'Connor towards us and Liam tried to take as many orders as possible:
"oh dearies, I am so happy to see you," she said as Edward looked concerned.
"What's happening? Ma" he said which I turned to look at him.
"Ma?" I said as Edward smiled softly and patted my shoulders.
"I will explain later" he whispered then turned to me "what is wrong?" he asked as Mrs O'Connor took a deep breath.
"We are short staff and Roisin went to Mr O'Malley to help him with a new tenant," she said with a pout "can you help out tonight?"
"well, Tari and I are on a date" he explained as he looked at me for a moment. "we just got onto a new page and we just feeling.." he was explaining when I touch his arm and he stopped to look at me.
"it's fine, Mrs O'Connor, what can we help with?" I asked as Edward looked a bit annoyed.
"Firstly, you need to change those gorgeous shoes and grab an apron," she said as she rushed through the crowd to the bar to get us some apron before escorting us to the back, it was an office with a table, chair and two computers, one for surveillance while the other was a normal computer "now, I bought Roisin some a few new ride boots but this one wasn't her size and the bloody shoe place won't take it back, so try them on, meet you out there," she said before rushing off.
I turned away from him as I tried to tie the apron onto my waist when Edward grabbed it from my hands and tied it "we could have gone to a nice restaurant" he growled in my ear before spinning me to face as he lifted me off the ground and sat me on the table in a gust of wind "I wanted to be alone with you" he began to untie my boot laces which turned me on for some reason but he was too into his rant that he missed the moan and gasped I just made.
"Ed" I whispered in a cooing tone "I wouldn't have enjoyed myself with you and I know you won't have enjoyed yourself too, no matter how you protest at this," I said as I grabbed his hand and pulled him closer, I bumped his nose as he chuckled.
"that might be true..." he slowly stopped his sentence to look at our position, he stood in-between my legs, my skirt had hutched up a bit, straining against my thick hips, he looked up at me as bit my bottom lip; he stared at me for a moment as his eyes darkened, he placed hands on my waist and pulled me to the end of the table. His tight grip on the fabric told me he was fighting with himself for the next step, he exhaled as he leaned his forehead against mine "we need to take it slow" he whispered as his breath fanned my eyelashes.
"do we have to?" I whispered as he grabbed my waist and nodded more to himself than anything else.
"Yup," he said before he turned away from me to grab the boots and put them onto my feet as he avoided all eye contact until he placed me back on my feet and turned around so I may help him with his apron.
We exited the sexual tense room and began taking up orders, working the room as it was crowded to the brim with people, mostly men but full, I found it hard to walk between tables and often I would glance across the room to Edward who was hard at work, he handled the place with ease as he had done time and time again, the local's response to him was homely with a few 'hey Hollywood" which was adorable, I watched his arms flex as he held the tray in place as he placed drinks onto the needed tables; ever so often some women would grab his arm or rub his shoulder, he would give them a sweet smile before rushing off.
As I was standing watching him closely I was suddenly lifted into the air by some random man then passed to another man who got me to through the crowded pub and placed me before Liam who laughed at my surprised face but I brushed it off as I gave him orders before taking them to the proper table; not long before a man picked me up again and placed me on one of the tables.
"Sing!" he shouted as the crowd shouted a big cheer before moving into a chant, I kept shaking my head and show my notepad as to say I was working but the crowd more aggressive until Mrs O'Connor appeared on the stage with a live band behind her.
"Alright you sorry sack of potatoes," she said as she turned to me "will the songbird enchanted us with a beautiful voice tonight?" she asked as the crowd went wild.
"for you, I would be honoured" I shouted as the crowd cheered.
"Well, bring her over boys" I helped down from the table and escorted them to the bar where I turned to the live band, I told them my request.
The band began to blast X's and O's by Elle King, I shook my hips as Edward stood leaning against the bar with a cute smirk on his lips, I winked at him as he shook his head, I began to move to the beat as the crowd sang with me and brought hopeful memories of New Orleans, Pops and everyone in the little jazz club so I enjoyed the music, the people and cosy charm about this little pub and its spirited owner, quiet barkeep, adventurous horse trainer and the gorgeous blue-eyed gentleman who was looking at me now with something I could not explain.
Next Edward and I found ourselves laying on the couch in Eric's cottage, I was laying with my feet on Edward's chest as he massaged them while the tv remote sat on his chest while a popcorn bowl sat on my lap as Edward's legs laid on either side of me, he would squeeze my legs now and then with his legs; on the tv played one of my favourite Korean dramas while Edward commented on the different characters and why the main female lead choose the male lead.
"Why would she go for the man who treats her so cold?" he asked I smiled to myself "if it were me I would go for the sweet, caring and soft-spoken best friend, he seems nice, he is cute with the way his hair falls and a twinkle in his eye" he looked at me as I started giggling "what...you don't agree?"
"well I do agree that soft-spoken prince should have been a better choice but he is so dimensional" I explained as I stared at the tv "purposely so, but the dark cold king is very interesting, especially when they show the sweet part of him, he has a past which give him that mysterious some woman love while the soft-spoken one is only associated by being a childhood friend" I turned to Edward who was listening, looking at me instead of tv and taking everything in which made me blush "plus that," I said as the tv program went into slow motion scene that every kdrama has as the cold male walked in an expensive suit, the power flowed off his shoulders as he kept his face straight into the camera before the camera panned away.
"Ok...well I see that," he said in a flushed voice which made me laugh.
Sometime during the early morning, I had fallen asleep, I didn't know how I ended up in bed but I woke up to my head on Edwards's chest, the scent of citrus, coffee, papers and a certain musk filled my nose as I moaned snuggling into his warm hard body, I fell into this aesthetic aromatic bliss when Walter decided jumped onto the bed to interrupt this beautiful scene, pushing his snout into my hair; begging to me to let him out, I was about to roll myself out of bed but Edward grabbed my arm softly.
"I will get it" he whispered as I whined at the thought of him leaving me in bed alone "I will be back, love" he kissed my forehead before leaving the bed.
I stretched and smile as I couldn't believe how happy I am now but I knew it wouldn't last, as soon as he finds out about my past, he will leave, I know won't be able to take it but I would rather live in this moment then to not experience at all, so I will live in it before crumples and falls apart; before I could fall into my depression, Edward jumped onto the bed with the brightest smile as he placed his head on my chest.
"you're thinking so hard" he whispered as I shook my head "penny for your thoughts, love"
"it's nothing" I whispered as I run my fingers through his hair as he grabbed my hand and kissed it.
"Well, in your own time, love," he said as he played with my fingers "I still want to spend time with you,"
"We just did" I whispered as he chuckled.
"I want to take you out," he said, he sat on the back of his legs "how about a picnic, cool breeze, great food and maybe I can sneak some champagne" he wiggled his eyebrows at me as I giggled.
"Sounds perfect" he smiled, he leaned down and kissed my forehead before jumping off the bed.
"I will be back in an hour, get dressed and wear a pair of good boots, it's a long walk to the best spot" he smiled as he ran for the door "see you in a moment, love" he shouted as I laid in bed, I looked to the ceiling and let out a girly giggle that was so cringing that I couldn't help but cover my face.
I pulled up to the cottage as Tari came running to the car, her mane of hair was curly and flew wind while I watched her in wonder, she wore a denim dress with an asymmetric bottom with a pair of ankle combat boots as requested, she was adorable, she jumped into the car and we drove off to old candy store then to a radio store and then to a blanket store to get what we needed for our little outing.
I drove up to the hill to an empty field, we unpacked the car and began our walk towards the spot I have always come to, I looked to the field to relive all the memories, Eric and I running through the field of wildflower, grass almost as tall as us as we slew dragons and saving the princess in distress, I didn't notice I had stopped walking until Tari cleared her throat and I grabbed her hand, we began to walk through the field; I leaned her by her soft fingers as she watched me closely as we came upon the end of a hill.
Down sat the peaceful city, I watched Tari walk past me to look at the magnificent view, she gasped at the wind that blew her hair back, its smelt of water and salt, she closed her eyes as I watched her, trying to capture this moment in my mind, she looked in utter bliss as she outreached out her hands to her side with a sweet smile on her face; she looks content with being in the moment so I didn't interrupt her, I began to set up the picnic.
We sat watching the clouds roll by with radio play soft music, forgetting about the world and living in each other words, each other smiles and each other's lustful glance, these past few hours I have presented with a less shy, less timid version of Tari, this version was flirty, courageous and open to the point I was falling for her all over again:
"So, tell about your childhood," she asked as we looked down the hill to the sea, she was sitting in between my legs as I held her close.
"This is my childhood" I explained as I stared at her lips as she turned enough to look into my face "this field is where I ran, played, slain and rescue the pretty princess and flower nymphs," I said as I placed a wildflower behind her ear "it was an escape" I whispered as a wave of an old harmful memory flooded my mind, I felt her hand on my cheek. "My dad was not the best person, after years of abuse, harmful words and horrid nightmares, my mother left him though those years were darkest they paved the way to the brightest times of my life and my mother could genuinely smile again" I looked at her face which riddled with sadness "so this was home, I could make anything, imagine a whole new life, we did, over and over again"
She kissed my forehead and hugged me as I smiled into her embrace "so sorry" she whispered into my hair as I pulled away, even though I didn't want to.
"It's fine, it's the past and it made us strong," I said I shook my body off the emotions "so, tell me about you and why you won't audition in Hollywood?" she looked away from me, this question has been on my mind for months now; she is impossibly talented yet she didn't take up Cecilia part.
"it's a long story" she whispered, looking at her fingers "bad memories, I can't..." she gasped as I pulled her hands in mine.
"ok..." I whispered as I laid down and invited her to lay on my arm "let's talk about good memories" she laid her head on my arm and began to tell me tales of her childhood, of her parents, of her sister and Maya, of her nieces and nephews, the barbeque they planned, the pool parties and birthdays; I could see her living the memories over and over.
I stood before the door of the O'Connor's with sweaty hands in my purple corduroy crop jacket and boots match well but my gut told me I should have worn a dress for this but Edward insisted that it would be a casual dinner, so I decided to trust that but I couldn't help by feeling out of place; maybe I should have tied my hair up, ugh, I know what you thinking, why I am nervous when the last few weeks the O'Connor's have been family but tonight I meet Olivia, Edward's oldest sister and I was terrified.
I was about to knock on the door when it opened at Edward leaned against the door frame with a smirk as Walter ran into the room without me "I have been watching you hesitate for half an hour"
He pulled me into a hug which I gladly accepted "it's a big deal" I whispered into his hold
"Olivia is a sweetheart" he escorted me into the house and I was immediately cooed into a cosy room
The walls were white with different paints, rugs and art on them, the couch was littered with pillows and the fireplace was roaring, the room had a calm atmosphere like you could take a fresh nap by the arched ceiling windows, I turned to Edward who stood watching me when Mrs O'Connor rushed in pushing Edward out of the way to give me a big hug.
"ugh, dearie you are looking so pretty," she said in an overexcited tone "now, I know that Olivia can come off cold, very cold but believe me she is ok" she explained as she wrapped her arm around my waist.
I turned to Edward "you said she was a sweetheart"
"reassurance" he struggled as he lifted his hands in surrender.
"don't worry," Mrs O'Connor said as a woman appears opposite us, her blonde hair glowed against the orange lights while her eyes had a curious tone to them like she was trying to read my mind.
"Nefertari Black," she said in a low smooth voice
"Yes, that's me" I walked forward with my hand stretched out to shake hers but she just folded her arms instead. "Nice to meet you"
"we will see," she said as she turned her back on me and walking into what seemed like the kitchen "come on,"
"ok, dear, maintain eye contact and try not to smile" Mrs O'Connor whispered before walking into the kitchen following her daughter.
I turned to Edward who looked pissed, I grabbed his arm "don't worry," I smiled at him, rubbing his arm.
"I need to talk to her" he made a move to follow her but I grabbed him back, turned him and placed my hands on his cheeks.
"it's fine, she is just an older sister looking out for her baby brother, I can handle it" I whispered, he still looked unsure "trust me" I smiled as I entered the kitchen, it gorgeous in bright white as well but this was in the wood, it had a modern yet vintage touch to it, I did love the plants that sat in the windowsill and island with marble top and pine wood on the sides; Roisin on the bar stools, she nodded at me with a sweet smile while Mrs O'Connor was stirring a pot of stew and Olivia had her back towards me:
"Edward why don't you go and see to the horses" she smiled as she turned towards us, Edward stood unsure of the comment "I won't bite, Roisin and Ma are here to observe" Edward looked at me and I nodded, he turned away and went the back door.
"So Tari," she said in a condensing tone "you and my brother, huh?"
"I suppose" I stood awkwardly in the middle of the kitchen when Roisin flagged me over to sit next to her, she stood and grabbed a wine glass, pouring me some wine as Olivia started firing question at me.
"Are you and my brother serious?"
"have you put a title on it?"
"no, we are taking things slow"
"Hmm," she said as she walked towards me. "are you intimate?"
Mrs O'Connor hit the wooden spoon on the pot "that's too much, Olly"
"it ok, Mrs O'Connor, we are not, we wanted to take it slow as I said," I said again as she stared into my eyes "are you a lawyer?" I asked as she smirks.
"Maybe" she walked to the end of the kitchen again. "are you aware that I did some research on you, Miss Black?"
My heart stopped in my chest then began pounding in my head at a fast speed then it still as I put on a face used every time I was questioned about the past "no I wasn't aware"
She smirked, "are you aware that you are all over the internet?"
"yes, I was" the room grew still as Mrs O'Connor and Roisin were as still as a mouse, I knew they were looking at me and I tried to avoid their stares
"Does my brother know of your past?" she asked as she leaned against the island.
"No, he doesn't"
"will you ever tell him?" she asked as she turned to Mrs O'Connor "I mean keeping something as big as this secret...seems...suspicious"
"I will tell him when I feel comfortable" I responded in a flat tone. "Edward and I like each other, I would never hurt him intentionally, trust me"
"that's a bit unreasonable, seeing as you are asking us to trust you without knowing your past" she mentioned,d "how do I know you won't hurt my brother?"
I looked to the window "Edward is a good person, a good man and I am privileged to have known him, I will never hurt him" I said quietly "he has his suspicious and he has asked me about my past but being the man he is, he will never force me to tell until I am comfortable, so trust Edwards trust in me" I looked to Olivia who stood with her fingers to her lip.
"that was very cliché," she said "why are you here?" she asked in a weird tone "in the hometown of a man you had relations with onset"
"It was fate," Mrs O'Connor said as she was dishing up the stew into a fancy bowl, Olivia rolled her eyes.
"More like a person called Julia" I mentioned unintentionally, trying to make a joke, I smiled but Olivia turned to look at me, the smile fell.
"Julia..." She looked at me "you know Julia McCain?" She asked as I nodded my head before I knew what was happening Olivia hugged me, Mrs O'Connor stopped dishing up and stood ready while Roisin stood up ready to interfere.
"it's a trap," Mrs O'Connor said in a sigh of panic
"Don't make a sudden movement's?" Roisin said as Olivia laughed into my neck.
"It's fine" she stared at me "I am sorry, I...I didn't know...can we start all over again?" I nodded wide-eyed "I am Olivia O'Connor, Eddy's older sister, I am a lawyer, it's nice to meet you"
"it's nice to meet you as well," I said as Edward came rushing into the room.
"I came as fast as I could," he said as he looked at Olivia and my hands moved from side to side "Release her!" he jumped but Roisin pulled him back.
"it's fine, don't overreact," Olivia said as she helped her mom take the dishes into the dining room.
Edward moved his hand to my lower back "are you ok?" he whispered in my ear as I grabbed a bowl of salad and I nodded "we could ditch, there is no back door here but I can get us out the window, granted I will have to kind of throw you out but it will work" I grabbed his cheeks with one hand and smiled.
"It's ok, everything is fine" I smiled as we moved into a beautiful dining area, it was long, could only fix the dining table and its chairs, at the end stood a display closet with different little figurines, I placed the bowl down and we all took a seat, Mrs O'Connor sat at the head of the table, her daughters sat either side of her while I sat next to Roisin and Edward next to Olivia, we said grace and began to dish onto our plates
"Not to intrude but why didn't you two come here together?" she asked as she passed the salad around
"Some minor inconveniences occurred," I said with a smile as Edward rubbed the back of his head.
"he kissed a woman in front of her" Mrs O'Connor said as Olivia turned to Edward with a frown.
"Twice" Roisin signalled with her fingers.
The next thing I knew Edward was hit across the head by Olivia "ouch!" he cried as Olivia sat back and shook her.
"Don't do that again" she hissed as I laughed softly.
"he can explain" I expressed as the notion "the woman forced herself onto him" Olivia turned back to Edward again and hit him once more.
"This is the part where you call big sister and charge the bitch" she said to him as he rubbed his head.
"I already got a restraining order against her" he explained which made me confused "it's all good"
"good" she responded before eating her salad and moving into a light conversation.
Later that night we were lounging about in the picturesque tv room, as we sipped on whiskey and ate some very delicious oats biscuits and the fire warmed the house, Roisin was talking animatedly about the new tenant at Mr O'Malley cottage and how the woman interested her; we sat entrained by her story while Olivia teases her sister for having a crush, we all were in a deep conversation when the door open and a young man walked in.
"Hey George, how are you doing?" Mrs O'Connor asked for her chair by the fire.
"I am quite well, Mrs O'Connor but Marie just went into Labor" he expressed as the room went quiet.
"How long about?" Edward asked as I stare at the odd atmosphere that settled in the room
"About five minutes ago," he said with a soft tone "you should probably get ready, Ed," the guy said before leaving.
"Is everything ok?" I asked cautiously.
"yes, of course, dear," Mrs O' Connor said with a wave of her hand.
"Marie is a fairly old horse and her labour can last for hours" Roisin explained "she is only receptive to Edward"
"how long should a horse be in labour?" I asked as I looked at Edward.
"about 30 to 45 minutes with an older horse" Olivia said as she crossed her arm "I know it might seem weird of us to feel so deeply for a horse but she was the first one we ever bought, she creates the stable" she explained with a tear in her eye.
"I get it" I smiled as I looked to Edward "how can I help?"
"No, it's ok, you stay here and enjoy some good conversation, I will take care of this" he smiled before turning away but I grabbed his hand.
"I want to help" I whispered as he nodded before grabbing my hand and taking me upstairs, I waved at the lounging ladies.
We walked up the stairs down the hallway to his bedroom door, he stood hesitantly before a door that said keep out and does not enter, I looked at him with a smile as he shook his head with a shy smile appearing on his lips, he opened the door and it was like I step into a time capsule to the '90s, the room was small but held a lot of pictures, posters and stickers, some of the bands, some of 90's icons and cute phrases; an old tv-sat next to an old console with a computer next to a small window and queen bed in the middle on the room.
"This is adorable," I said as Edward went to dig in a draw with sweaters in it.
"stop" he chuckled as I looked at an old poster of Baywatch.
"interesting" I teased as he turned towards me, he walked towards me and handed me an old ugly jersey.
"What...she is hot...look at her," he said as I turned to look at the poster.
"I would hit that," I said as Edward chuckled and threw some socks at me.
After I had dressed into something warm before we tracked towards the barn where George had set up for Marie, Marie laid on her side, wail and whimpering as we walked in, I walked up to her and rubbed her head softly while Edward went to set up the birthing zone, he told me to relax upstairs which had fairy lights, a bed of hay, a few books and a map of the world; there was a skylight in the middle of the room which was open now.
I went back to the stairs and sat down watching him move around the bottom of the barn, he had bottles of stuff ready, had made sure there was enough space for the foal and the mother, then rubbed Marie's head, her tummy slowly over and over again.
"you are regularly farm boy, huh?" I said as he looked at me.
"Born and bred," he smiled as I made my way down to him. "We have time" he whispered to the horse then sat down, not too near but not too far either, I sat next to him as he placed his arm around me "might take a while"
"so you are a horse whisperer" I leaned my head on his shoulder. "the more you know"
He chuckled "I grow up around horses, feeding them, nurturing them and Marie was the first horse to begin this stable, she gave us the reputation we have today" he looked at me as I took his hand, suddenly think of Olivia in the kitchen, to Edward telling me about his father and this feeling of guilt swept over me, he trusted me enough to tell about his father, his past and I can't tell him mine "you ok?" he asked as he touched my cheek.
I looked up into those blue searching eyes "when I was twenty, I audition for a part in dream girls, I was gonna be the next Deena Jones" I said with stars in my eyes which vanished shortly after, I grabbed his hand for strength to get me through this story "I met this guy, he seemed sweet, smart but he had this rebellious streak, I think it was something in his eyes, they shone with mischief so naturally, we got close then we started dating, from the start the public love the story of two theatrical prodigies were falling for each other, we were in magazines, gossip channels and the media ate it up." I expressed avoiding eye contact "why wouldn't they? It was the perfect love story." I laughed bitterly "then everything changed as cliché that sounds, it did, he changes, he would miss rehearsals then he would miss dates and avoiding my calls then one day an article was released that he was seen with someone else, my heart dropped, honestly I was shocked, I didn't believe it until I got to his apartment and there he sat with her on top of him, I stood in utter disbelief until he realised I was there" Edward grabbed my hand "he tried to tell me it wasn't anything, that he felt trapped that he didn't want to lose me and for a moment I thought this is what men do, that men deserve to be 'free' and I shouldn't stop him, so I kept quiet and accepted his infertility" I paused as I remember how naïve I was.
Edward pulled me into his lap, making me straddle him so that it was just him and me, in this moment "Go on, I am here" and he was here, he was listening to me.
"a few weeks went by and he became braver with his affairs, to the point it was a slap in my face but I still turned a blind eye until Maya" I paused at her name "she gave me the biggest awaking and I decided to leave him, we didn't know he was dangerous or I wouldn't have stay alone that night but I did, it was the end of rehearsals and I waited for everyone to leave, I didn't want to make a scene, I didn't want any of this to go this far but it did, he stood backstage when I confronted him, the thing about him, he never showed his rage so I didn't see the slap coming" Edward wiped my tears as I held on his t-shirt shirt with his another hand grabbed my jersey with such rage "I looked at this man who I shared a year of my life with, hit me across the face, he told me that I would never leave him, he told me he will make sure I didn't and if I did, my world will be ruined forever. I should have listened but I didn't, next thing I knew I was beaten to the floor and he..." I broke down in his arms as I heard his heart beating fast, I rested my head on his shoulder "he took everything from me, my dignity, my passion, my soul and then he left me there laying in this air of lost, he stripped me of any emotions, I had screamed and cried while he took what he wanted, he stood over me, he buckled his belt as I laid there numb and he whispered you will never leave me..." I let out a sign "I reported it but when I woke the next morning my name was plastered all over the tabloids, it said I accused him and the weeks that followed were a nightmare from hell. Court dates, reporters, death threats...until I knew I wouldn't win, I knew he had the world in his pocket, so dropped the charges which made me look guilty but my mental health couldn't take anymore, so I left. I left and was blacklist from the industry" I took a deep breath in "that's why I don't audition for main parts or any parts, I just stick something that has a hint of my talent so I can at least live in that passion." I looked up at Edward think I would see disgust or pity but all I saw was adoration.
"you are so brave" he whispered as he leaned his head against mine "you went through the dark side of the industry and still made a beautiful career for yourself, I admired you," he said as I smiled as the tears disappear from my eyes, we stared at each other for the longest time until Marie interrupted us a loud neigh.
Edward looked to her then back at me and slowly placed me next to him as he attended to Marie, I smiled at his strong arms as he touched the mare stomach before looking under her tail.
I stood and made my way to them "is it time?" I asked as I stay a bit back.
"yes," he said as she rubbed her behind "grab those gloves for me" I rushed to get the gloves and handed them to him as he put them on.
"How can I help?" I asked as I looked at the two.
"calm her down," he said in a serious tone which made my insides do a twirl "sit at her head and just rub it gently" he instructed which I followed.
I was too sure about this but I did get to sit behind her and stroke her head "shhh" I whispered and somehow she began to still "think what good mama you are gonna be" I said into the horse's ear as Edward looked at me and I looked back.
He winked before he looked down again "ok, Marie, here it comes" Marie began to fuss and I began to sing softly calming her until a sweet, brown foal come out of her, it cried, wiggled and moaned as it was birth into life, Edward rush about doing stuff I couldn't see until he let the foal try to sit up and eventually started walking.
I laughed "see, good job, mama" I whispered as Marie rubbed her muzzle into my face and hair then stood as if she didn't give birth, she walked up to her young and they rubbed against each other, the foal began to nurse. "that was amazing," I said as Edward pulled me to my feet.
With his hand on my waist and his head against mine, "it was" he whispered as he pulled me in and I knew the adrenaline was coursing through his body because it was coursing through mine, I wrapped my arms around his neck as we pulled each other closer but Mrs O'Connor and the girls came running out in celebration which caused us to part away but we still kept an eye on each other as they wanted to know all the details.