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Madcow

Oh Nostalgia

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When he closed his eyes, breaking her ability to see what he was thinking she was absolutely terrified that she had pushed too hard, asked for too much way too soon. An apology was on her lips when he grabbed her hand and spoke. The relief that he didn't suddenly not want her was short lived though, because as soon as she caught sight of his features she was back to needing to take his pain away. She stood with a slight nod, well aware that a theater was probably one of the worst places to be having their current conversation. She followed him blindly, her fingers wound tightly around his hand, and she realized that she would probably be willing to follow him anywhere. Which was highly melodramatic, especially for her, but it was the truth.

The pace he set was easy for her to keep up with and she waited patiently for him to come to a stop and speak. She hardly noticed the change from cement to gravel as they walked, her heart too busy constricting as they entered the cemetery. Her father made her visit her mother's grave in Charleston once a month, it was the only time she ever saw her father look anything less than imposing. Her thoughts raced quickly, she had remembered seeing both his parents at church that morning so, who were they visiting?

As the stopped in front of a grave, her hand tightened around his, a gentle, comforting squeeze. She read the tombstone with a mixture of horror and sadness. Eight years old? That was so young, so terribly young. Colette didn't press him to speak once they arrived, giving him all the time that he could possibly need. When he did start talking, she caught every single word, every emotion. She felt his sadness and the blame he carried with him. The way he said his sister's name, as though he didn't very often, made the sadness expand and well inside of her chest.

Of all the things she had been expecting to hear from him, this hadn't even been thought of. His gentle squeeze pulled her from the vivid images his story had filled her head with and drew her back to the present, back to his side. Colette's body moved of its own accord, so she was standing in front of him, her other hand reaching forward to take his free one. She thought back to what her father had told her about grief and loss over the years, how saying that you were sorry never helped the situation at all. "That's awful," she said, compromising her wish to apologize for the loss and what she'd been told not to do. Colette continued quickly, her voice soft, but unwavering and firm, "I can't even begin to understand how you feel," which was only partly true; she had never had a mother to miss, but she was the reason she was dead, "But Roman, it's not your fault. And, she died happy, laughing with you, and she was able to feel the warmth of the sunshine."

She paused, unsure of her words and what they would do, but that was how she felt. Colette released his hands, her hands quickly sliding around his neck as she pulled him into a warm, tender embrace. His sadness washed over her like cold bath water, but she clung desperately to him, waiting to see if he'd melt around her or turn to ice."It's not your fault," she repeated fiercely into his ear, her voice hardly a whisper in the inky twilight.

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The long silence between them hung in the fading light, giving him the time to try his best to compose himself. He didn't like crying, he was always taught it showed weakness. He also didn't want Colette to see him so weak so early, make her overly sympathetic for him, like he was using it to draw her in. He didn't want to appear weak, he wanted to be strong and courageous for her, the strong one in everything, not the other way around. But this subject, so tender and dear to him was something he knew he had to share, let out and deal with now so it didn't come later. His guilt was the one thing that restricted him from feeling anything but pain.

Colette's gentle words only made his heart ache more, hearing how she was so strong and the way she believed so wholeheartedly that it wasn't his fault. He had always been told that, but he never fully believed it himself. Coming from Colette should seem no different than before, but somehow it eased just an ounce of his guilt, like maybe this was it, the last time he felt it was his fault. Her hands wrapping around his neck was the last straw and immediately he could feel himself breaking down. He reached out, his hands around her waist, wrapping tightly in a strong embrace. He buried his face in her soft, silky hair, tears slowly falling from his eyes onto the top of her sweet head. He was trying so hard to not let it all out, but her last four words were it.

His body shook in silent sobs, his throat catching any noise that tried to escape his mouth. The way she said it, so strongly and passionately convinced him that it was the truth and always had been. Doubts haunted him, but something about the way she said it made it seem so true. He thanked God for Colette as they embraced, his tears silently shedding. He knew there would be no way he could ever let her go after this.

"Thank you," he croaked, his voice barely audible as it was muffled in her hair. His hand reached up, stroking the back of her head in the most compassionate way, just wanting to feel that she was real in this moment.

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Colette held him close to her as he cried, her heart breaking for him and his loss. She couldn't feel his tears or hear him crying, but by the way his body shuddered around hers she knew without a doubt that he was. Her body was soft as he clung to her, but solid, never wavering or shifting. She breathed him in deeply, trying to convince herself that this wasn't just some sad dream but that it was real.

She would stand there for as long as he needed. It felt like his body shook for hours, but it was really probably only a few minutes before his words broke into her ear. The tone of his voice was enough to kill her as his lips brushed against her scalp. His hand brushing against the back of her head made her press closer to him, a feeble attempt to pull some of his anguish into her. Colette hated seeing him so distraught.

"You would do the same for me," she said her lips against the fabric of his shirt, completely sure in the validity of her statement. He would be her rock when she needed him, just as she would always be his. The thought that this was some sort of a ploy to make her feelings toward him stronger never even entered her mind.

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Roman believed every word she spoke because he knew it was true. The way she knew it, it convinced him they had something special. He was so thankful for someone as strong and loving as Colette. Slowly after she spoke his sobs subsided, his body relaxing but still aching in a pain. He knew that this time he had finally let it go, felt he'd found the truth and understood it. A weight seemed lifted. He took a couple last deep breathes, calming himself before pulling away gently. He still kept his arms around Colette, holding her small waist, but looked down into her eyes with his puffy and a slightly tear-stained face. He had so much love for her already and yet it was only their second real date together. It was a bit fantastical, that they could fall in love so fast, but deep down he knew it was possible.

"You mean so much to me," he spoke so gently with a small affectionate smile, knowing his words were forward for something so short, but he had to speak the truth. Somehow, without her saying anything, he believed she felt the same way and he didn't want to try and hide it. Roman reached down, his lips gently touched her forehead in an endearing way. He let them linger, reveling in the sensation he got when her soft skin touched his lips, and then slowly pulled away, his eyes looking down into hers.

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The puffiness around his eyes made a worried frown cross her features for a second before it flashed back to tender. She never wanted to be responsible for hurting him, not that she even knew how she would hurt him. Her hands stayed secure around his neck and she pressed her forehead against his lips, sighing with pleasure at both the words and the way it made her feel. She was fighting back a smile when his eyes found hers, but there was something about standing in a graveyard that made it difficult for her to really smile. Although, his words made her heart do backflips. Maudlin would call her crazy if she knew how quickly Colette had fallen for him, especially since he didn't come from anything, but that had never been important to her.

"And you to me," she said honestly, her eyes shimmering with bliss. She slowly slid out of his tender hold, her fingers running down his arm until they caught his hand again. Colette shifted so she was standing beside him again, so that they were both looking at his sisters grave. She was struck again by the sadness of the situation, but she stood stoically beside him until he was ready to leave. They walked quietly out of the graveyard, and back toward town. She felt a shift in their relationship, a positive, uplifting kind of shift that excited her.

It was as they were walking back that she realized how late it must be getting, and how mad Maudlin would be when she arrived because of her early lessons. Not to mention she still had the walk back. But, it was well worth it. Her gaze shifted to Roman, stopping their bodies just before they entered the town lights, in an almost sheepish manner. "I probably should head back soon," she said quietly, a small note of sadness in her tone as she thought of their parting, "Early lessons."

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Colette's words made his heart flutter and his body hum with warmth. Wasn't the one things humans wanted was to love and be loved in return? Roman knew he was slowly starting to fulfill that, something telling him she was the only person in the world who could. He could feel a sorrow-filled five year chapter was closing in his life tonight, he was finally letting go of his guilt in Adelaide's death and starting a new one with Colette. The shift was noticeable as they turned outwards to face her grave again, his eyes scanning the headstone in silence. This time he didn't feel as much pain. He still missed her just as much as before, but no more guilt tied him down. He knew if Adelaide could talk to him now, she was tell him to let it go, live his life and that she would always be smiling down on him. He felt the closure. He closed his eyes one last time, sending a silent prayer before deciding they could finally leave.

Walking alongside Colette, hand in hand in the inky darkness, he knew this night was coming to a close, but he didn't dread it much. He never wanted to part with Colette, he would always feel that way, but she had given him comfort and a sense of peace. He would sleep well tonight knowing they always had tomorrow and they could only grow from where they were now.

As she slowly to a stop, he turned to her, watching her expression as she spoke. He could hear the sadness in her voice and it only made him smile, knowing every parting they had would make them ache a bit inside. "I'll walk you home," he declared, not wanting her to walk home alone in the darkness.

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Colette could tell by his tone that protesting his declaration would be futile. Even if she mentioned how out of the way it was for him and how much time he would be wasting by doing it. But the selfish part of her, that she rarely creep out, was glad he'd offered, if only because it meant they would have more time together. Though, there was something in the serenity of his features when she had mentioned it that had soothed her, and reminded her of their plans the very next day. Even though she knew it was pointless, her upbringing meant her manners won, "You don't have to do that."

Even as she was speaking, Colette began walking again, a quiet smile radiating through her body. Her fingers loosened around his, not feeling the desperate need to cling to him as though they were going to be ripped apart at any moment. She walked freely beside him as they traveled down the dark road toward her father's estate. Occasionally glances of front lights would splash across the two of them and she wondered if anyone happened to see them walking by, and if they did what their impression was.

Roman seemed lighter beside her as she walked, which allowed her to not feel the need to contain her own happiness in the moment. She broke away from him at the sight of a log on the side of the road, gracefully climbing up on to it so her narrow feet were precariously balanced on it. She grinned at him, raising her slender arms to help her balance as she slowly made her way to the middle of the log like a child might, leaning each way with her hips to maintain balance. "What do you like to do with your free time?" she asked curiously, keeping the conversation light while trying to learn more about him, "When you aren't working or helping on the farm?"

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Roman ignored her polite words, conscious of her true feelings. The walk was enjoyable, their slow pace down the dimly lit street was comfortable and serene. He liked the hum of nature's nightlife, it reminded him of times when he and Henry camped out under the stars, engulfing themselves with what nature had to offer. He was always dumbfounded by how magnificent the world was and how ignorant some people were to it's beauty. he could spend hours just walking with Colette, taking in her, their surroundings, it was all so peaceful and relaxing.

Pulled back to the moment when she let go of his hand, he immediately smiled at the sight of her on the log, admiring everything about the moment. His hands in his pockets, Roman noted the way she balanced herself, arms out, the sweetly concentrated look on her face, how graceful she was. It seemed that everything she didn't only intensified his adoration of her. Her question was light, easy conversation that Roman liked.

"Well, Henry and I like to do stuff together," he started, looking at the dark road beneath him and then back up at her. "I like fishing and hiking, canoeing... Outdoor stuff like that. Camping out under the stars when I get the chance," he told her, reminiscing on all the times he had with and without Henry. After a moment of thought, he returned, "What about you?"

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Colette watched him as he spoke, unable to read his expression from the distance in the dark, but she could tell, by his tone, that he was reflecting on memories as he spoke. Memories that she wanted to know. She hadn't done any of the things that he had just listed off, and was somewhat discouraged by how little their likes seemed to line up. But, she reminded herself, she'd never actually had the opportunity to do any of the things he was talking about and didn't really know whether or not she would enjoy them. And the Henry he kept mentioning was someone who she longed to meet, knowing she would like him if only because Roman did.

She considered his question mildly as she lithely finished the log, stepping down to cross back over to him. Until this summer she hadn't had that much free time. Her father had made sure that all her time and attention was spent on her studies and making sure that she made it into society with high social graces. Colette picked his hand up again as they began walking. "Well," she said thoughtfully, "I spend a lot of time reading, for classes mainly, but occasionally something my Father recommends. I'll go shopping or have a meal with a friend. Sometimes Maudlin and I will take a walk on the beach." She trailed off, knowing that she probably sounded awfully dull in comparison to his semi-adventurous activities.

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His eyes trained on Colette as she stepped off the log with all the grace he'd ever seen. He guessed her family and society had valued a graceful, well educated women, forcing her to be the epitome of the female sex. It was something Roman hadn't every really seen, someone as sophisticated as her. Other girls in town had manners and such, but that had never been their focus in their young life. He knew Colette and himself came from very different backgrounds and values, but he didn't want to let that separate them in any way. Her hand gently taking his again made him smile, aware of the fact that he would probably never get used to the feeling he got when they touched.

As she began to speak, Roman listened quietly, taking in the plain answers she gave him. He understood they were all things to do, but nothing he would say were exciting or time well spent. In his opinion, he would say she didn't really know how to live life for herself. Almost everything she said was done to please others, to satisfy what they wanted from her, but never what she wanted from herself. He didn't want to pity her for it, she probably didn't even know any different, but it made a playful smirk cross his features. "You call that stuff fun?" he asked, trying to catch her eyes, but the lack of lighting made it a bit hard.

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Colette couldn't even pretend to be hurt or upset by his comment, it was completely true. The activities that had filled her free time up until that summer had always been mandated or important to someone so she had willingly complied. It wasn't until she had arrived at Seabrook that she was even aware that not all teenagers were raised without education and manners as the forefront of their parent's desires. She liked the freedom that seemed to come from the other option, the ability to be yourself and find activities that you actually enjoyed. Not that she was bitter toward her upbringing, she was thankful for the lifestyle afforded to her and she didn't mind anything that she had to do. Plus, the balls and other gatherings in Charleston could be interesting.

His eyes were seemed to sear her and she instantly turned to look at him, longing to see the green of his blackened eyes. His smirk was easily read and she couldn't help but shake her head with a small laugh. "No one said anything about fun," she reminded him with a genial grin, suddenly grateful for the darkness to hide the mixture of emotions in her eyes. What did she like doing? For fun? Time for fun had never been a part of the plan that her dad had set out for her. There had been a time when piano and music in general had been enjoyable, but between all the lessons and the necessity for it to be at a certain par, it had lost some of its attraction.

"Although, nothing about sitting on a stump waiting for a fish seems very fun to me," she said with a flash of her teeth. Colette didn't want to look away from him, even though she knew that not watching the road would more than likely end up in her stumbling and looking stupid, studying him in the intimate lighting of nighttime was well worth it.

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Her comment made his laugh because it was completely valid, it was just his association with free time and fun. It was a subject to personal opinion, but he knew most people he knew would agree with his association. He liked how Colette was sharp, witty and well-behaved at the same time. She managed to balance everything so well, without any visible trouble at all. He admired her for it, he didn't believe he could do everything she did and stay completely sane. Her second comment made him laugh again, this time a bit more jovial than before. Fishing was definitely hard to love, not something every enjoyed. He didn't know many girls who liked to sit and wait long hours like he did.

"You'll never know 'til ya try it," he quipped, nudging her gently with his arm, making sure she didn't stumble in the darkness. The way she looked at him, her expression cloaked by the darkness made his longing for her increase. A silence fell between them for a moment, his eyes glancing from the road to her occasionally. After a moment, he asked, "What the most risky thing you've done?" He wanted to see what her definition of risk was, if she even had one. Her life seemed sheltered, too calm for any normal teenagers.

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Colette loved his laugh, the ease of the blissful noise that touched her heart, wishing she could always make him do it. She chuckled as his comment, knowing that it was true, but she had a feeling that it didn't have enough movement for her. Being alone with her thoughts was not something that had ever interested her, she preferred movement and noise. All the other activities he had mentioned were things that sounded like the could be fun, but she was doubtful about fishing. But she knew, without even having to think about it too long, that if he ever asked her to come she would agree without hesitation.

The silence that fell between them was light and relaxed. Just as she was about to drop her gaze from him, his voice broke through. His question made her think. Really think. She didn't want to answer him flippantly or just tell him something. She knew that he would probably scoff at the things she had thought were risky before she had come there, sneaking out, lying about where she was going, things that portrayed her more of a spoiled brat than a risk taker. It wasn't until she got there that she even knew what risk was.

"Falling for you," she said, her voice tender but firm, daring him to question her. Falling for Roman wasn't part of the plan, and going against the plan wasn't something that she had even pondered doing. It opened the doors to hurt and pain that she was positive she had never experienced. Everything about falling in love with him was risky; her father's impending disapproval, the goodbye at the end of the summer. Nothing except being together was really simple about it.

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Roman was pondering different things she might say, knowing the question could come off rude, like he wanted to mock the lack of excitement in her life. It was true, teasing her was always in good fun, but he didn't want her hurt her, ever. A knowing smirk sat his lips, expecting something childish and simple to come from her lips, but her words made his breath catch, his heart skip a beat and that cocky grin to fade from his face. Not in a hundred years would he have expected that to come out of her mouth, it showed his ignorance in their budding relationship. It made him want to shout with joy, run through the dark street and twirl her around in circles in his arms.

He didn't do any of the three, but instead stopped, grabbed her waist, picked her up like a feather and pressed her to him, his lips finding herself in the most endearing and romantic way possible. He had been planning on waiting for their first real kiss, follow all social rules about waiting a substantial amount of time for it, but he threw that out the window. Her words made him want her more than anything in the world. The feeling he got when their lips connected was beyond words. Pleasure ran through him, his heart nearly stopped beating and every inch of him tingled from the sensation.

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Colette wondered if she had said too much, if she would scare him off. But she remembered the cemetery, she remembered him telling her how much she meant to him and she knew that it wasn't too forward. She was unsure of how he would respond though, if he would try and pass it off as a joke or tease her endlessly about it. What she hadn't been expecting was for him to stop walking. Her heart sank when he did. Before she could glance over at him and apologize, or back pedal, his fingers were tight around her waist and her feet were off the dusty road.

And her lips were against his, she gasped softly around them, not expecting the gesture. Every daydream she'd slipped into over the past few days was nothing compared to this perfect moment. The feelings that rolled through her would have knocked her off her feet if she wasn't already in his arms. Colette had no control over her body or her mind, acting with a passion she didn't even know she possessed. Every longing glance and ache of desire was being answered right then. Her fingers wound their way through his hair and her other hand dug into the material of his shirt by his shoulder, knotting the fabric tightly. His lips were impossibly soft, especially compared to the solidness of the body she was pressed against.

Her mind felt dizzy and foggy, as she moved her lips against his for a long moment. A car could have come screeching toward them right then and she wasn't sure she would be aware enough to move out of the way. Colette pulled away slightly, but found herself unable to say anything and pressed her lips back against his, pressing her body more tightly into him. And then, something, in the farthest recess of her head broke through the fog, reminding her that this was not how a lady should be acting; kissing a boy she hardly knew in the middle of a dark street. But she shoved the voice away, it wasn't a boy she hardly knew, it was Roman. Her Roman. And she didn't have the power to even want to pull herself away from him.

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Roman was overjoyed with happiness as he felt her response, all he had been hoping for in that moment was her desire matching his. It was the most passionate kiss he could have imagined. Her hand in his hair, the other tugging at his shirt sent him skyrocketing, his head filled with the the buzz of satisfaction fogging his thoughts. He could stay like that forever, holding her, their warm bodies pressed together with a fieriness. When she pulled away, he felt high in the moment, his eyes barely catching focus of her face before she went back again, their lips pressed hard. Although the dark street was dangerous and it wasn't the most romantic spot for a first kiss, he knew it was better than anything they both could have dreamed. He had never felt such a passion for someone who equaled it so strongly. Colette was a vision he had never conjured, something he could have never wished for in a thousand years.

He could feel all the longing, lust and desire being fulfilled in that moment, but knew they would never once ever tire of each other. She was his soul mate, he knew it, whether they both believed in that or not. Their was something so strong about their relationship, so unearthly and unreal that he sensed they were meant to be together. All his doubts about how this summer would end faded away, he didn't care if the summer put an expiration date on it, he would never let time hold them. After some amount of time, Roman gently pulled away, his green eyes finding hers just inches away, the most content smile on his face.

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They could have kissed for eternity and Colette wasn't sure that she could ever have her fill. She knew that from then on, all bets were off, she could kiss him whenever, wherever. He was hers and she was completely and utterly his. Whether he liked it or not. Her lips tried to follow his when he finally pulled away but she settled back with a smile as his eyes found hers. The air suddenly felt cold compared to the heat that had just passed between the two of them. It sizzled still, crackling between the small space between them, making her ache for him again. But she just bit at her bottom lip as they stared at each other, resisting the urge.

Her heart beat, she was sure, would never be regular again, not with how hard it was pounding inside of its cage right then. Even though the kiss and Roman in general, made her feel like her heart was finally freed. Her fingers slowly unfurled from his shirt, an apologetic glint in her grin when she noticed the wrinkles that seemed to radiate outward as it rested against his solid chest to see if his heart beat echoed hers. Colette had only kissed a handful of boys, but she knew that it would be impossible for it to feel like that with anyone else. No matter how she tried, she couldn't seem to get all the fog out of her head and didn't trust her voice to not waver with need or breathlessness. Instead, she just stood there, staring up at him with her wide brown eyes, trying to catch her breath - and her senses.

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The distance between their two faces seemed too far and it urged him to kiss her again, but he knew they had to let up and get her home. He no longer dreaded leaving her because he knew where they stood, passionately infatuated with each other. He watched as she bit her lip, the gesture making his body ache, but he just smiled, a drunk off of their moment, and slowly let her back down to her feet. He didn't let go of her waist, not yet, still wanting to feel a physical connection between him. There was no reason for words, they could communicate just through their eyes, but they couldn't spend all night staring at each other on the side of a dark road. He didn't want anyone in her household to think ill of him, start him off with a bad rap.

Roman's hands released her waist, one taking her hand in his and lacing their fingers together. He turned to face forward, starting their journey onwards again before another fit of kissing occurred. It didn't take long to reach her house, they had been close when they stopped and the walk down the long driveway went quickly. He led her up the steps and on the porch, stopping in front of the door, turning back to her. "What time should I come by and get you?" he asked, knowing no matter what time she set, he would be ready. Early, he would finish his work as the sun rose, or late, he would work slowly 'til the time came. His green eyes sought hers, gazing deep within them.

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Her hand stayed wrapped tightly around his neck as her feet touched back on the ground. She was glad that he was still holding onto her waist as she wasn't sure that her knees could have taken her full weight. Colette had never had an experience like this, where she felt heady and out of control and completely in love with it. His hand around hers and eyes ripping away from her reminded her of exacty where they were, and where they were going. She lowered her gaze to the dust, blushing slightly at the thought that passion had so entirely consumed her.

It wasn't until they hit her driveway that her heartbeat slowed, and she wondered if that was remotely healthy. She was about to stop him, not wanting to make him walk all the way up the drive but she still wasn't sure what her voice was going to sound like. Colette tried to convince herself that she was being absolutely ridiculous, that it had just been a kiss. But when their eyes found each other again in the porch light she knew it was so much more. It had seared her heart to his, in the most wonderful way possible.

Colette had to think for a moment, had to remember that she had a world apart from Roman. Completely and entirely separate from him. And didn't like it at all. "My last lesson is around two," she said after a moment, her voice the same natural, soft cadence as usual, "So probably around 2:30?"

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Roman let Colette's answer run around his head for a moment, making quick calculations. If he had to be at her house at 2:30, then he'd have to wake up and hour early, start his work early and be completely done by 2. He would have to make sure his father didn't have any extra chores beyond the usual planned because that would crunch his timeline. It was very doable, her time choice, so he smiled, agreeing with just one look. "Alright," he answered, nodding, all the previous passions of their kiss rising in his as he stared into her warm, vibrant eyes.

After the briefest of moments, he bent his head down and he kissed her softly on one cheek. "Goodnight, Colette," he said, his voice low, enjoying the way her name sounded on his lips. He didn't want to show too much affection on her porch, in case anyone was watching, because he was still concerned about his impression on her household. His eyes were back on hers, his hand releasing her hand as a sign that it was truly time for them to part.

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The hairs on the back of her neck stood up on end, in the good way, when he said her name in his low, sweet voice. She wanted to pull him back into her, but was aware that he had avoided her lips for a reason. Colette wanted to tell him that nobody was there to care about what they did on the front porch. But that would open up a whole other intense conversation that she just wasn't prepared to handle that evening. Instead, she tilted her head to the side, smiling a light, alluring smile as she held his gaze, "Goodnight, Roman." She turned slowly from him before heading into the house, locking the door firmly behind her.

She walked stoically up the steps, just in case Maudlin was waiting up for her again, but the house was unmistakably still. It wasn't until she got into her room that she allowed herself to think about everything that happened, to just let it crash over her in waves. The memories flashed before her and consumed her as she set about getting ready for bed. It had been an interesting evening. Heart-breaking. Thrilling. Passionate. Intense. Every emotion she could think of had been fit into the evening - except for anger. Sleep didn't come for a long time. Instead, her unpinned, loose curls splayed out on the pillow beneath her, enveloping her in the soft, sweet smell and she resorted to counting sheep, trying to get her mind to shut off.

Colette wasn't sure when sleep had finally found her, maybe around the thousandth sheep, but when Maudlin came in and drew her bath she knew she wasn't ready to get up. Her eyelids felt heavy and her body felt sluggish. Maudlin's lips were pursed by the time she finally dragged herself out of bed and her bath was chilly. She almost felt dead on her feet as she slogged her way through her lessons and her instructors seemed to be quite aware that she wasn't fully focused. Part of it was the sleepiness, she couldn't seem to wake herself up, but another, larger part, was that she was already thinking about Roman, wondering how he was doing on the farm, what he actually did, what he would be wearing that day, what they would be doing, etc.

Maudlin made her stay in her Latin lesson an extra twenty minutes, making her extremely late. She had told him 2:30 and it was almost that already. She couldn't go out in the house dress she'd worn all day! And she was positive her hair and make-up needed fixing. She gave Maudlin strict instructions to let Roman in and still him that she would be down as soon as she could. Rushing up the stairs, Colette could feel herself flustering, which was absurd, she highly doubted Roman would care what she looked like, but she wasn't quite comfortable enough to test that theory.

She pulled on a floaty, floral print romper that was in various shades of pink. It was sleeveless and the shorts were slightly shorter than the skirts she normally wore, exposing more of her smooth, alabaster skin. But, if they were going to be outside in midday, she wanted the sun to touch as much of her as possible. Colette glanced in the mirror, doing minor adjustments to both her hair and makeup before slipping into a pair of white flats and her bag, refusing to allow Roman to pay for anything that day. With a final, approving glance at herself, she hurriedly slid down the hall, slowing down so that she looked calm and collected walking down the stairs, though her eyes were instantly roaming, searching for him, aching for the mere sight of him.

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After watching her disappear behind the front door, Roman sighed, smiling happily to himself, completely satisfied with the evening. Hands in his pockets, he turned, walked down the steps and slowly home. His thoughts consumed him, keeping him busy on the dark street. It was amazing how things had progressed through the night, from somber, to sad, painful, then quickly to passionate, thrilling love that kept his body at a constant high. It wasn't until he got home and lay in his bed that he felt his body unwind. He could feel an exhaustion fill his muscles and mind, aching. His eyes became heavy and soon he was out like a light, sleeping deep and hard through the night.

His alarm clock rung loud and clear at five, jolting him to consciousness. He was tired, but he felt refreshed, renewed and well-rested. Something about last night's events managed to put and new drive in him, a new energy and vigor. He dressed in his sloppy work clothes, paint-stained white t-shirt and jeans with work boots. He ate a fast breakfast and headed out to the barn, the animals already awake and calling for breakfast. Since his pa wasn't out yet, he fed them all quickly, then went to work on fixing various things, a hole in the loft, a broken gate, and so on. They had a lot of land and the outer parts were pretty unkempt, needing constant attention. Once his pa was out, they handled it all well and were done by noon.

Roman ate a hearty meal his mother prepared and then took a bath, getting clean and fresh for his later plans with Colette. He changed into a dark green short sleeved button-down, one that unintentionally matched his eyes, along with dark gray slacks. He checked the time, two o'clock, and combed his hair one last time, making sure it sat right, before telling his parents he was going out and heading out the door. The walk took about fifteen minutes usually, but he walked extra slow, not wanting to arrive too early. That crunched ten more minutes, so he arrived five minutes ahead of schedule. Knocking on the door, he was greeted by an older lady and he greeted her with a smile and hello, following her invitation to come in.

He waited for Colette patiently, excited about all the time they had to spend together. He was aching to see her again for she had never left her mind all day. He stood in the foyer, taking in the grandness of the house. It was extremely expensive looking, everything of the finest quality and best taste. It didn't intimidate him as much this time, now that he felt so comfortable with Colette, Roman felt comfortable with her lifestyle a bit more. After a short time waiting, he caught sight of her coming down the stairs and his heart skipped. She looked stunning in her summer romper, the shorts exposing her long, soft legs and the colors complimenting her skin. He couldn't help but grin at the sight of her, feeling so lucky that she was his.

"Hey," was all he said, like he couldn't find any other words at the sight of her, watching every step she took on her way down to him.

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She found him almost immediately, hardly paying attention to where she was stepping as she made her way down to him. Almost immediately she felt awake and invigorated, ready to really start the day. "Hi," she chirped happily as she came to a stop in front of him, a wide smile on her face, "Sorry, one of my lessons ran over." The fact that Maudlin was somewhere close enough to hear what they were saying made her anxious to leave. She picked up his hand, gently pulling him back out the front door and onto the large porch.

Colette wasn't sure what he was thinking that they could do, but whatever it was she longed to be outside. The heat was wonderful and the sun felt fantastic as it brushed over her bare skin. She rested the back of her legs against the railing of the porch so that the sun could wash over her shoulders as they decided what to do. Colette picked up his other hand so that they were facing one another, twining their fingers together as she looked up at him, pulling his body close to hers. "What do you want to do?" she asked, her voice soft but cheerful.

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Roman didn't mind her being late, something small like that didn't matter to him. All he cared about was that they got to spend time together. The touch of her hand made his body pulse again, like he was just again coming to life. He followed her out onto the porch, the sun warm on his skin as they stood close. He could smell her perfume and admired the way the sun reflected in her soft blonde hair. He listened to her question, smiling as he thought for a short moment. "Anything you want to do," he commented, knowing it was an answer that didn't really answer anything since she probably wanted him to chose.

"We could go canoe down the lake, go to the beach, spend time in town," he suggested, spinning off different ideas to see if any piqued her interest. He didn't mind any of them, he could do anything with Colette and it would be the best time he'd ever had. His green eyes watched her face, wanting so badly to kiss her again, but he resisted, still not wanting to show too much affection at her house.

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"I've never been canoeing," she murmured thoughtfully. Colette tried to ignore the longing she saw in his glance, otherwise she wouldn't be able to stop herself and she knew he wasn't comfortable with the idea of such affection near her house. But, unconsciously, she shifted her body, almost imperceptibly toward him before she forced herself to move away from him. She released one of his hands and moved so that they were both walking down the stairs, needing to move if she was meant to quell her desire to feel him against her again. She was relaxed and cheerful as the sun fully washed over her.

"Lead the way to the lake," she said, nudging him softly as they left her driveway onto the main road. They slowly made their way to the lake, where they talked about their days. She talked about her distaste of her Latin instructor, trying not to complain too much, just mentioning it in passing. Colette asked him about what he did on the farm, curious about what he did as she had never had the chance to even talk to someone about this kind of stuff before. The lake ended up being somewhat in the woods, secluded and cool compared to the roadway. She was thankful that she'd decided on the romper as opposed to a dress or skirt.

Colette stopped when the lake came into view and she smiled at it, the beauty unlike the rivers or ocean of Charleston. There was something utterly peaceful about the stillness and quiet of the lake. She turned toward him, excitement clear on her features, "This is beautiful." She was so thrilled about the prospect of doing something new and out of the ordinary for her. A small flicker of concern touched the corners of her lips, what if she flipped the boat over, or looked stupid? "But," she said, her eyes intent on his, "How do we do this, exactly?"

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[[sorry, I was out of town for a few days!]]

Roman smiled at her comment, knowing there were probably a lot of things she hadn't done that he would consider normal for himself. He was excited at the prospect of showing her new things. He followed her as she led him down the stairs, then caught her request and led the way without hesitation. Roman knew it would be a fun adventure, something to bond them together more. He conversed easily with her as they walked, listening to her day and then telling her about his. Her interest in his farming was amusing, he didn't think it was in any way captivating, but she hadn't grown up around it, so she probably didn't know anything about it. He answered every single one of her questions, never growing bored of their conversation.

When they reached the river, he stopped them, taking in the view. He knew it by heart, but he still was always taken back by it's beauty. The waterfowl, rushing water, grassy beach, it was all amazing to him how harmonious and peaceful it was. Her question made him laugh, his eyes twinkling as he did so, looking over at her concerned face. She was so adorable in this state. "Well," he started, dropping her hand and moving over to where the canoe was hidden, flipped upside down under the brush of the shrubbery, "you're going to get in first, then me, and then we'll paddle down the river. It's not very difficult, you'll catch on just fine." As he spoke he pulled the canoe out, flipping it right side up and throwing two paddles in. He moved it down into the water, parallel to the shore, just inches in the water.

"Climb in," he prompted, holding a hand out for her to balance with while he held the canoe still. He smiled at her encouragingly, hoping she trusted him, "slow and gentle," he added, not wanting her to make it tip and have her fall in.

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[[No problem! I've been trying - and mostly failing, to pack for school.]]

Colette watched him as he spoke, noting the slight strain of his muscles under his shirt as he pulled the boat along. His muscles, unlike guys she'd previously known, obviously came from the work he did - she highly doubted he was the type to lift weights or try different aerobic exercises. She glanced between him and the boat that he now had partially in the water, a dubious expression in her gaze. But she trusted him entirely. Gladly accepting his warm hand, she stepped up into the thin boat, carefully stepping over the different rungs and seats that seemed to be everywhere until she was able to settle at the front of the boat. She wanted to sit facing him, but she had enough sense to know that she was supposed to be facing out, to see where they were going.

While she was clearly excited to try something like this, she was also hesitant. Colette liked to know what she was getting herself into and more than that, she liked to know she would be successful before she tried anything. It was the nasty competitive streak she had been raised to possess. It was the product of her father really wanting a son and attempting to subtly raise his daughter as such. She glanced over her shoulder, to watch how he was going to get into the boat and get them going, her fingers gripping the sides tightly as they jostled into the water.

She listened carefully to Roman's instructions as she picked up one of the paddles. It took them a moment to fall into a rhythm so that they were moving forward, as opposed to left or right, but it was a steady, natural flow. Colette paddled in the quiet of the mid-afternoon, relaxed and at ease. He hadn't been kidding, it was a simple enough activity, but it was also incredibly enjoyable. The waterfowl moved out of their way, but in a slow way that showed they weren't remotely afraid.

"Do you ever feed them?" she asked as a small, nearly black duck paddled alongside the boat. Colette pulled her paddle into the boat, content to just float for a moment and soak up the warm sun rays as they wrapped around her skin. Carefully, she turned around in her seat so that she was facing him, no longer able to stand the fact that he could look at her but she couldn't look at him. She smiled widely as she reached over the side of the boat, making sure her motions didn't disturb the boat, so that her fingers could skim through the water for a second.

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Once Colette made it into the boat, he held it with one hand, making sure it didn't drift away, and pulled off his shoes and socks. He tossed them into the canoe, then quickly rolled up his pants almost to his knees. He then carefully pushed the boat out off the shallow and into the river, the water wading up to his mid-calf. At that point, he gently climbed in, making sure that it was balanced the whole time so there was no chance of Colette tipping in. Settled in, he handed her a paddle and took one himself, instructing her on how to maneuver the boat. It took a while to finally get going straight, but once they had the hang of it together, it was extremely pleasant.

The hum of the water and waterfowl all around them put him at ease, feeling alive in his element. It was romantic too, the quietness of the river and beauty of the nature around them made his heart soar, in love with the moment he had here with Colette. Roman watched the way she paddle, her gentle movements and concentration. He liked being able to watch her without her seeing him. Her question soon pulled him from his state of daydreaming and he had to repeat the question in his head before he spoke.

"Sometimes," he responded, thinking back to when he did, "but every once in a while they go crazy over the food and swarm the boat, then you're lucky to get away," he said with a smirk, remembering times when the birds got mad at the lack of food he had brought them. He watched as she turned, glad to see her beautiful face again, watching how she leaned over and ran her fingers in the water, something simple, yet for some reason endearing.

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Colette grinned at his response, picturing the ducks attacking the boat out of anger. While she was sure that it hadn't been funny at the time, she couldn't help but think of it as such. She rested her hands on the bench, pressing her shoulders back so that she could comfortably tilt her head backwards and look up at the cloudless sky. There was no doubt in her mind that she could have floated on the water for hours, even days, in his presence. She was pretty sure that she could just sit silently beside him doing nothing because she just adored spending time with him. Snapping quickly out of her reverie, she glanced across the boat to him, a playful smile on her face.

"What about," she asked, her fingers skimming through the water, careful to take aim so that the droplets hit him, "Swimming?" There was something about just jumping into the temperate water that sounded so appealing. Colette had no hesitations in going in, fully clothed, unless he told her they shouldn't. While she had always been a free spirit, there was something about Roman that made her embrace it and want to bring it more to light. But, in case he had no interest, her question came off as simply curious instead of eager.

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Roman liked the way she reacted to his words, imagining what she was thinking a smile lit up her face. He could sit all day just looking at her, the two of them together in the silence, being totally enamored with each other. He watched as she leaned back, following her gaze upwards to the spotless blue sky. Everything about that day seemed perfect, the weather, the river, Colette ? Roman couldn't have asked for more. At least not until she spoke again, flicking the water at him with her questioning words. He grinned at her, thrilled with her adventuresome antics, not even considering swimming before she mentioned it.

"What about it?" he teased, placing his paddle down on the canoe floor, a mischievous smile playing on his lips. He stood carefully, but without any break of eye contact, watching her before glancing down at his shirt, unbuttoning the top two buttons, then grabbing the collar on the back and pulling it up and over his head. The taut and toned muscles of his upper body revealed, he dropped the shirt, winked at Colette and then dove gracefully off the canoe and into the cool river. He knew the dive would unsettle the boat, but he'd done it before and knew Colette wouldn't quite tip in at the jostle he caused. Roman swam under the water, going ten feet out before surfacing, his head popping up, shaking his head, the water flying off of his hair.

He grinned at her, treading water as he spoke. "What are you waiting for?" once again teasing Colette.

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