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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.
Cori glanced up at Travis and simply smiled. She knew that know that she had told her story, he would really have no choice than to join. It had always been like that. [b "I'll never ever forget that day."] she said. That was the day that she first realized Travis made her feel some type of way.
She blushed when she remembered the reality of the story that Travis was telling them. [b "Only gave me and Momma a week to find my dress. I had never been so stressed out in my entire life."] She glanced over at Mrs Chamberlin, who was reaching up to wipe her eyes. [b "We don't have to do this, you know. Mrs Chamberlin... If its too hard.."]
His mother was a crafty woman indeed. He REALLY should have figured she would try something like this and to rope them in. But the man of twenty-seven had been too caught up with the funeral and being back home that he did not think about it. With Cori giving her soft agreement to his mother, Travis knew he was done for. For if Cori gave he would have to too.
So he was silent and listened to the story that was told. Even a small smile tugged at the corner of his lips. He had never forgotten that but had expected that she might have. [b "Can't believe you still remembered that."] Travis said quietly.
[i "That is one of my favourite memories. Thank you for sharing, Cori."] Mrs.Chamberlain said. She then looked to her own son and gave a pointed look. Clearly she wanted him to give one of his own now.
Cori had always been the storyteller, not him. But he figured he had no choice. [b "It was a week before prom and papa asked me who I would be taking. I told him I didn't do dances and he gave me one of his looks...the kind that could kill if looks could. Before I could stop him he was on the phone. At the time I didn't listen and he soon sent me out...then had called Cori to meet him at a local restaraunt.. turns out he had had a friend set up a dinner for the two of us. And at I had asked her to prom that night. He always did seem to have different ideas about things than we did...but he always kept us on our toes too."] The words were quiet as he spoke them, sad to a degree.
Cori sighed soflty as she glanced over to look at Travis. [b "Might as well."] she whispered. She looked over at Mrs Chamberlin and chuckled. [b "Remember that time Momma and Daddy were working on the ranch, and I got on their nerves sooo much that they just sent me down to your farm. I wanted to go swimming in the pond, but Mr. Chamberlin had other ideas. He forced me and Travis to hangout. Sent us to the next town over for something, I can't even remember what it was anymore."]
She looked up at Travis and grinned. [b "It was an hour and half drive there and back."] she said [b "I think it was a part for the tractor or something. That's a day I'll never forget."] she said. [b "That was the day that I realized just what the boy next door really was."]
His feelings he knew had never died for Cori. Sure he had TRIED to move on and to forget the hurt but it had bot worked. None of those relationships lasted long after her. Not that he could or wpuld ever admit it fully. Hell for all he knew she could have moved on. Might even be engaged or something. The fact that he still loved her now was constantly hell and ate at him.
When his mother said what she said and had hugged Cori and her parents, Travis was almost frozen in fear. What was the wretched woman up to? She KNEW that he and Cori had a A LONG history. She and his father had even been a part of it. So what kind of stories was she even thinking that they be telling in a time like this?
[b "Mama, what kind of stories? And you know them just as well as anyone does...Do we have to be doin' this?"] He asked as he was trying to get out of it. This would open up a lot he did not want to. A lot that he did not want to be facing.
[i "They are simply memories, Travis. And who better to tell them than those involved? Cori you would be willing, wouldn't you?"] The woman turned to the girl. She KNEW that if she could get one of them.to go along the otjer would. That had always been the case in the past and she figured it would be now.
Cori was silent on the way to the cemetery. It was almost like none of her feelings for Travis had changed, but she wasn't that naïve. That was a lifetime ago. Travis had moved on for all she knew. There was no way she would make a fool of herself again.
Once they arrived, she climbed out of the backseat and walked over to the grave sit. [b "Hi Mrs. Chamberlin."] she whispered as she bent down to return the woman's hug. [b "We wouldn't have missed this for the entire world. I couldn't have stayed away even if I wanted too"] she said.
She froze when she heard Mrs Chamberlin mention story telling. Her frightful eyes met Travis'. What kind of stories? What on earth was this woman trying to do? She stepped back as she seen her own Mother walk up to the two. She wedged herself closer to Travis. [b "What is going on?"
Travis had barely gotten his answer out when Cori had left to find her parents. He honestly hadn't the slightest ifea of what his mother was wanting. But he knew that what she had in mind she had only wanted the four of them for. He had tried to ask the woman, yet she would not give him a direct answer either. When she still gave him nothing, Travis had gotten his daddy's old truck and took the woman to the cemetary to wait for the others.
[i "It was good of you to come. I just wanted to be able for all of us to have our own time to say good-bye... Even share stories that we would not have wanted everyone else hearing."] The woman said with a smile as she did give Cori and her parents a hug.
Travis' eyes met Cori's over his mother's shoulder. It was clear he had NO idea this had been coming. But he gave a weak smile. So his mama really did expect it all to be like old times. Now he wanted to know what stories all would share.
The girl blushed softly when she realized just what Travis had said. [b "I... I guess it's one of my greater qualities."] she mumbled slightly. She really didn't know what she could say or do at this point. [b "I'm gonna go track down my parents and let them know the game plan.. I assume you're gonna drive your Mother?"] she asked. She all but heard him answer before she took off toward the back of the funeral home. She knew she was playing with fire, but it was... exciting?
[b "Momma, Daddy. Mrs. Chamberlin and Travis want us to go to the cemetery with them, and then back to their house for Dinner. I told Travis that I would track you two down. I get the sense that Mrs. Chamberlin wants this next part to be private, as it will be very hard on her.."] she said softly. [b "I'll go get Daddys truck, and I'll meet you out back."]
The young woman before him was still in a sense the girl he had always known. The one who would go out of her way to help someone she cared for. Somehow he had forgotten about just how gentle and sweet she truly had been and always would be. But he had guessed that came from the time apart and the broken heart he was sure the both of them had since all had been said and done. He had not meant his words to be so open and to show what he felt. Or more like he did not want her to hurt in that sense and certaintly not for him.
[b "I know you would. One of the things I have always admired and adored.."] Oh he had not meant to say it. But it had been out before he could think. Well there could not be too much a consequence could there? [b "She wanted all of us to go together...and then possibly back to the house for supper."] Travis really was trying to get his mind back on order and back on track.
Even after all the time she and Travis had spent together, he still seemed to be walking on eggshells around her. Asking how she was, after it was his father that they just attended the service for? Well, that was just Travis. He was always making sure everyone else was okay. He always put everyone else before himself.
Her eyes searched his face as he spoke. The words he spoke ran over and over again in her head. She knew this couldn't have been easy. This was probably one of the most painful things he would ever have to go through. [b "I'm so sorry, Travis.. I wish there was something I could do to take the pain away from you and your mama both.. I- I would in a heartbeat.."] she said softly.
She simply nodded when she heard him say that Mrs Chamberlin wanted her and her parents. [b "Do- Does she want us to go to the cemetery? Do.. Do you?"] she asked. She would do whatever they wanted her to do.
Honestly he had not expected her to answer him. He had been stupid in the way that he had decided to approach her. Hell if she had told him to get lost, Travis would not blame her. What he did not expect was her turning to him and giving the soft smile she did or saying her soft words. But then she had always had a soft spirit and a caring nature. Those had been two of the things that he had loved most about her growing up and when they had been together.
For a moment, dark eyes stayed upon her and he seemd at a loss. He then nodded slowly and looked to the ground. [b "I know that. It's always been easy to be myself and to show my emotions with you..But for my mama and everyone else I just can't. And if I answer you honestly...all of this is just sinkin' in...the fact that I'll never see or hear daddy and all his jokes and advice again..."] He had given a hint of what he felt but not the whole of it. Because even he was not sure what the whole of his emotional state was.
[b "Anyway...mama told me to come and get you. She wanted you and your mama and daddy to stay awhile longer."] The man said and slowly looked up at the young woman before him again.
Cori sat through the service as quiet and still as one could possibly be. She hadn't been so close to Travis in years. She still didn't understand why they were in the reserved family section, it was something that she would bring up to her mother once things had calmed down a little bit.
It was a beautiful service. Everyone was practically moved to tears after the service had ended. She wasn't sure if the Chamberlin's wanted everyone to attend the small service at the burial site, or not. She would do whatever Travis and Mrs. Chamberlin wanted.
She found herself in the back of the room, looking at the pictures that were spread all over. She almost jumped out of her skin when she heard Travis' voice. She smiled softly and nodded. [b "I'm fine.. Ho-How're you holding up, Travis? You know you don't have to have that big strong front, right? Not with me..."]
He could have sworn his mother had set all of this up. Omay well he knew she had the funeral, but the seating ended up the main thing on his mind. Or it did after he found out who he would be sitting next to. As much as he wanted to ask his mother how Cori and her parents ended up in the front with them, the young man knew better. It was his mama's wishes and he had to respect that. Besides, if he were honest sitting next to Cori in its way was a comfort. If he had been sitting beside anyone else he would have probably broken by the end of everything.
When the last words had been said, everyone was able to get up and to mingle or to say their own fairwells. Travis was torn in what he wanted to do. Or rather he wasn't sure if he could bring himself to actually say good-bye. All of it was still sinking in and he was sure for some of the others it was too.
Without being conscious of it, brown eyes skinmed the room and landed on Cori. He then looked to his mother who seemed busy and he sighed. Slowly he went up to the young woman and gave a weak smile. [b "Sorry for ditchin' you with the chairs earlier..."] Stupid! That had not been what he had been trying to say. [b "How are you holdin' up after this..?"] He tried again and stayed still, waiting for an answer.
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