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He had have seemed happy on the putside, laughing and talking with new friends that he had made but he had always been torn on the inside. His mind would constantly wander to Cori and their high school years..what they had been and what they could have been. Yeah he had a few relationships after everything happened but NONE had lasted long because face it..none of the girls were her. It was her words..her answer that even made him think about all of that. And it was hell because they were thoughts he had tried to bury and to not revisit. But it seemed in this that could not be helped.
[b "It may have looked that way.. But I wasn't. Not really. The only thing..one that ever made me happy was bein' with you. You had been my home and sanity for so long and without you I was lost. I wanted to call or to talk. Maybe even get to try and set us right.. But I had been a damn fool and figured you would have moved on. So I just tried to move on with my life and let you move on with yours. God I wish I would have known all of this back then."] He said quietly as he stood at her side and gazed up at the moon. It was all out there now and he wondered what she might think of what he had just said.
[b "That last time, I visited... Daddy wanted to take a ride, so I borrowed one of Momma's horses and went with him, then I realized where he was leading towards, I don't know if he understood what happened when I took the horse to a full on run back to Momma, I'm not sure.. I tihnk somehow he knew, he never asked me about it, to this day..."] she said softly.
She held onto Travis' shoulders as she went to slide off Misty. She listened to his answer, and practically stared off into space as she heard his own question next. [b "I have.. Especially at first. I figured out what University you had finally decided on about a year after I left, I wanted to swallow my pride, drive down and beg you to take me back... I actually did.. I was on campus, but I seen you, seen the group of friends you had made... And I decided that you were better off without me..."] she said.
[b "You just seemed so happy with all of them.. Who was I to tear up that life that you had built there?"] she asked. [b "I couldn't mess that experience up for you.."]
He had been down the old trail a couple of times since their high school days but it had not been without difficulty. There were so many memories along the way and years that rhe places just brought back. And just doing this with her as they were now was making it seem like they uears had melted away and it was all just like yesterday. He would be dreading the ending of this night but also knew that he had to keep the msmory and make it last too.
Her words had not shocked him when she said she had not traveled the parh in years. [b "I did a couple of times since... But more because I didn't want to forget. It jusr always made me think of them good ol' days.. And I wanted to. The last I came out here was the last time I came to see mama and daddy before school became too much and I decided I couldn't continue the back and forth.."] The man admitted.
It was up on the hill as he helped her down from Misty did her question come. It was the last thing he would have thought she would ask and so had caught the man off his guard if only for a moment. [b "Honestly all the time.. But we had been kids too and didn't know what the world was.. How it ran. Cori, do you ever think of what was and what could have been if we could have swallowed our pride?"] He really was curious.
Even though she knew Travis couldn't see her, because it was dark, and he was sitting behind her, she couldn't help but smirk. [b "When did you ever know me to back down from a dare?"] she asked.
She leaned back against Travis' chest slightly, breathing everything in. This was exactly like it had been in highschool, sure they went on a ton of date outings, but this had always been her favorite, it was so intimate, just the two of them. [b "I know you do."] she mumbled slightly, relishing the feeling of his arms around her waist.
The young woman was having a hard time keeping her emotions in check while on the trail ride. She honestly didn't want it to end, she was dreading it, honestly. [b "I haven't been up here in years... Not even when I came home for Momma and Daddy's anniversiry, I couldn't bring my self to come out this way.."] she explained.
[b "Travis? ... Do you ever think about what would've happened had we both not been so stubborn and hardheaded?"] she questioned.
[b "You had a couple of shots on a dare because you wanted to prove you could handle it. And from there I had to stop you from it. Only reason I didn't get drunk or feel it really was my uncle used to slip me some Tequila and told me not to tell mama or she would skin him alive."] Travis said with a chuckle as he really did have fond memories of that night. The man didn't lie when he said he could never forget it.
A smile came to his lips when she had agreed to come to his graduation. Maybe he shouldn't have been as happy or as excited as he was, but it just meant a lot to him. Cori had always been special to him. And looking back, the man did realise that maybe he should have told her so. [b "Mama was goin' to be there. But still it would mean a lot to have you there too."] The only words he could say as his mind was still trying to grasp the fact that she had actually said yes.
The gasp that she had let our was cute and made him chuckle. Oh he should have warned her but it had been more fun not to. Actually more like their youth because back then he had never warned her either. [b "Don't worry. I've gotcha."] He said as his arms stayed around her and he kept Misty at a slow trot as she agreed to the ride before the hill.
Because it had been so long, Travos literally took them down memorylane. First was the old apple trees, along the stream, and then back to the barn and up the hill. And all the while he did talk to her about some of their old memories.. Things he missed but had been keeping locked away.
Cori couldn’t help but grin when he mentioned how the bonfire was so innocent at first. [b “That’s definitely true.”] she said [b “It was as actually the Vaughn’s, remember? That was the first night I ever had Tequila. Thought I was going to die until you made me stop.”]
She looked up to him and nodded. [b “I wouldn’t miss your graduation for the world. Is your Momma going?”] she questioned.
She couldn’t help but gasp when she felt Travis’ hands on her waist, soon enough she was sitting on top of Misty. She shivered when she felt Travis climb up and sit behind her. [b “Sounds like a plan.”] she said.
A chuckle slipped from him and he nodded. [b "It started off so innocent too. Dancing and just hangin' out.. then someone thought bringing drinks would be a good idea and the rest.. Well I'm glad we got out of there and managed to be back at pur favourite spot on the hill and watched that sunrise."] He said, the faintest sparkle in his eyes at that memory.
He could see that Cori was thinking for a moment and he had been about to ask her what about. But as was a common theme, the young woman beat him to the punch. And she told him EXACTLY what was on her mind. [b "You know that would be fitting. And I would like if you would come."] He said with a smile. And his words were true as he would like for her to see it. He only wished he would not have missed hers.
[b "And you had always been my sanity..."] But that was all he said. A smirk came to his lips and he nodded. Trafis soon lifted Cori into the saddle and he was up behind her, arms around her waist and reigns in his hand. [b "So a quick ride and then the hill like we used to?"] He asked as he did get Misty into a slow walk.
Cori couldn't help but smile when she heard Travis agree; it was a nice memory for him as well. [b "It was one of the weekends of our life. Remember that Bonfire at the Flemings Ranch? After Graduation, I think the entire senior class was there, maybe the juniors too."]
She thought for moment when he mentioned he still had a few more weeks of school. [b "Wait.. You graduate from Law School this year... Right?"] she questioned. [b "I was at your high school graduation, don't you think it's fitting that I'm at your University as well? If you'd like, that is."]
She blushed when she felt his hands hold onto hers, moments later. She nodded softly. [b "You were always my protector."] she said softly. [b "Lets go then. Night times a wastin."]
The man had not been sure if she ever did think on all those nights that they used to slip out or not. But in hearing that it had been a good memory for her, a faint smile came to his lips. [b "That's real nice to know, Cori.. Because it is one of my favourite memories and the best times I remember too. It has helped me get through so much."] Okay so maybe he should not have told her that but it was out before he could stop himself. Always was it so easy to be around her.
A chuckle escaped him when she seemed to be excited to see Misty again. If he was honest, Travis was too. It really would feel like old times. [b "Well if you do I've got a couple weeks left of school.. Maybe we could make plans and visit the other?"] He asked with a faint tilt of his head.
Slowly he did nod to the blanket as he knew that meant the old hill beyond her family's property. As teens the two would stay out all night and watch the sunrise. [b "You know I won't let anything happen.. Besides riding a horse is like riding a bike...once you learn you never forget."] The man said as his hand moved into hers and gave a small squeeze.
Her deep eyes studied Travis as she walked out on the porch. [b “One of the last really great memories I have with you is the night before graduation.”] she said softly. [b “It was one of the best nights of my life though.”]
She glanced over Travis’ shoulder when she heard Travis say Misty. She just grinned. [b “I haven’t seen her in forever..”] she said. [b “Dknt worry. I wasn’t sleep. I have another two weeks of lesson plans to get ready for my sub. I think I’m gonna take the last two weeks off, maybe stay around for the summer or something. At least part of it.”]
She missed riding with Travis. It was her safety net, so it seemed. You would think being on top of a horse would be kind of scary, but when Travis was in front of her, it was like she was the safest person on the planet. [b “I’d love to.. We can grab a blanket from the barn?”] she questioned. Sometimes when they were in high school they would stay out all night, I top of the big hill on her families property, watching the sunrise. [b “Travis, I haven’t been on a horse since that night...”] She was nervous for sure, but it was Travis. He would make sure she was okay one hundred percent of the time.
The last he had even come to her house in the middle of the night like this was right before high school graduation. Back then, his head had been full just as it was now. He probably shouldn't have tirned to her like this, but Cori had always been where he turned when he was lost. As cheesy as it would sound, the girl was like home. And it seemed he still felt that way even now with it being such a long time.
When she opened the window and had told him to hold on, the man looked up and gave a nod. From the dim light and what he could see, Travis knew she needed to get properly dressed first. And it made him almost laugh as this had been a CONSTANT thing of their past.
So he went to wait for her at the base of the porch and leaned on the railing. [b "Sorry to wake you if I did.. But couldn't sleep and some company sounded nice. Besides I also thought we could take Misty out like we used to."] He said as he motioned back to the mare.
Cori was situated in bed. She only had one small lamp on, typing away at her computer. While she was technically using a vacation week, she had to type up more lesson plans for her students. It was only two weeks until school was out for the summer. Her parents nor anyone else, had no idea. But Cori was trying to work it out so she could take leave for those weeks. Something was holding her to this town, at least for a little while longer. She wasn't sure what the future had in store for her.
She was almost finished with the history aspect of glass, when she heard a horse. She shook that thought off, as her parents owned horses. It wasn't until she heard pebbles being thrown on her window, that she grew really curious. She hadn't heard that sound in forever. She stood up, pulling her robe closer to her body, before walking to her window. She grinned softly when she realized it was Travis. She leaned back and pulled up the window. [b "Travis?"] She could tell by the look on his face, even in the dim light, that he was thinking. [b "Hold on."] she said. She shut the window softly, and ran around her room. She pulled on a pair of jeans, and hoodie, before slipping on her boots. Slowly, she walked down the stairs. It was like she was sneaking out like a teenager again. She slipped out of the house unnoticed.
A couple more stories were told and even his mother and her parents had been involved. Finally though, everyone seemed to be wearing down. It had been a long day and they were all tired. His mother, Travis had noticed to be especially. But he didn't say and offered Xori and her family a small smile and thanks for having come. His mother gave each a hug brfore the two went back to his truck and went home.
The drive had been silepnt between them, but both their minds racing. When they got back to the house, Travis parked and helped his mama out and into the house. She made him sit in the livingroom until dinner of chicken salad was done. And she called him in, the two eating and having small talk. Things just weren"t the same without his daddy their to tease them and to make jokes. It just all felt so heavy.
By the time it was about ten, the young man kissed his mother's cheek and went up to bed. He hoped sleep would find him but was sure he would not. It was maybe midnight and being completely restless that had him up and changing into a white shirt, black jacket, jeans, boots, and his cowboy hat. He didn't wuite know where he was going but knew he could not sleep. It was that that had him slip out of his room and down the stairs and out to the barn. Trav smiled when he came to his horse, Misty and pet her. [b "Up for a run?"] He asked as saddled her up and led her from the stable. Once out, he got up in the saddle and rode, only stopping when he ended up at Cori's parents.
Slowly he slipped down and tied the reigns to the old fence and gathered a handful of white pebbles. He used to do this all the time when they were teenagers and couldn't sleep. And now it seemed history was repeating. Without much more thought, Travis walked to where he remembered the window to her room was and began to throw the pebbles, HOPING he would get her attention.
After a while, everyone had said their goodbyes. Everyone was tired and it seemed like Mrs. Chamberlin was the most tired. [b "Please. Let me know if you need anything, both of you."] she said softly before walking back to her rental car.
Cori helped her Mother with a light dinner. They were just having sandwiches. Her Father was in the barn working on who knows what. That's what he did when he's upset or doesn't want to talk. It was his stress relief. [b "Momma, you think Daddy is alright?"] she asked.
After dinner, Cori headed upstairs. She showered and braided her wet hair back once she was out. She felt clean, and was ready for a good night sleep, she only hoped that it would come.
The woman gave both Travis and Cori a smile. She had not known what they would remember or what they would share. If she were to be perfectly honest, Mrs. Chamberlin almost thought that they would try harder to get out of it. But it had been nice to hear the stories even if she knew them so well.
[i "No...I'm just having a hard time knowing he is gone..but it does this old heart some good to see what you both remember and having gone with it."] The woman said with a small smile, eyes still filled with tears as she moved to hug Cori and then Travis. She knew it could not have been any easier for them then it had been for her.
Travis gave a small smile to Cori and nodded. He remembered having heard about that all week. But when prom had come, Cori had been the most beautiful girl there. Took his breath away and made him nervous that while night. Why he had chosen that story, he didn't know. It had just come out.
[b "You know we loved daddy very much, mama..and we love you. We would have played along like this.."] The man whispered when his mother had hugged him. Dark eyes did go to Cori though as if asking if she did have anymore stories to tell.. He knew he did.
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