I Love You, Anyway, No Matter What They Say

"Honey, I'm afraid I haven't been completely honest with you," Stevie's father said quietly. She raised her eyebrows, signalling for him to continue. "You know Maura?" "Your girlfriend?" she smiled. Maura was sweet, perfect for her father. "She has a son; Niall."

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"What is going on?" Maura asked quietly. The teenagers sprang apart. Stevie wiped her mouth, her face turning red. "Well?"

 "It's our English play. We're doing Romeo and Juliet in drama." Niall handed his mother the sheets, his head high. 

 Maura flicked through the sheets. "Thank God. I thought you two were together." The relief on her face was obvious. She smiled at them, handing Niall the sheets. "We got a present for you. It's kind of a thank you for accepting each other so well." She waved for them to follow her.

 Stevie's face cooled down as she skipped down the stairs. She heard a weird noise and her father telling someone to shush. Not someone, something. He held a rope in his hands. Stevie squealed in excitement as she took in the cob's skewbald coat and feathered feet.

 "Now you can teach Niall to ride. He's only six, so, yes Stevie, he can still jump. They had a lovely mare, but I thought that it wasn't the smartest idea to get her when we had a stallion. Wait, Mars is a stallion, isn't he?"

 "What? Oh, Mars. Yeah, he's a stallion. He's lovely, dad. Where'd you get him?" Stevie ran her hand down his leg, feeling the strong bone. The gelding sniffed her cautiously. 

 "Rose Road. He was rescued a year ago. There's a scar on his neck somewhere." Adam stood at the end of the rope, nervous of the sixteen hand horse. 

 Stevie lifted his long, slightly knotted, mane and stifled a gasp. She was expecting a little one centimetre scar, not the thing that ran almost the whole way from his shoulder to his poll. She ran her hand over it and felt the horse tense. It was a raised line, obviously very deep when he got it. The hair over it had lost pigment, leaving a white stripe through his brown patches. 

 "We can keep him at Maura's. She has a few fields that came with the house. There's a forest to ride in, so you can keep him stabled in the bad weather. They didn't name him, by the way."

 "That can be Niall's job, then. He's more going to be your horse, anyway." Stevie smiled at him. Niall's eyes widened.

 "He's big." Then he grinned. "I have to take a picture; there's a huge horse in your sitting room." Stevie face-palmed. How did she not notice? After taking a few snapshots of the skewbald, Niall began to think. "Winter Forest. It kinda suits him, doesn't it. He's brown and white and big. Forests, during Winter, are big and brown and white." He smiled, proud of himself. Stevie did like it, though.

 Maura and Adam left for a work party at Maura's office after dropping the three horses, Stevie and Niall to her house. Stevie spent a while teaching Niall about the gelding before grooming him and giving him a hay net.

 "We should practice." Niall smiled, his face brownish with dust from grooming. Stevie giggled at him. 

 "After you wash your face." She figured that hers needed washing, too, but she needed a shower. They walked upstairs, holding a cup of tea each.

 "There's clothes for you in the room beside mine. Mam bought them when her and your dad got serious." Stevie just smiled and walked into the bathroom. The towels were fluffy. Adam wasn't poor, but he didn't spend money on towels. More on the horses. Stevie felt a rush of guilt; they didn't go out much because the horses needed so much attention.

 She hopped into the shower after downing her tea. She had a quick shower, only taking five minutes to scrub her body and wash her hair. When she emerged, she wrapped herself in a towel, shivering slightly. 

 Her room was plain, just a bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers and a bedside locker. The walls were painted with horses and music notes. All except for one wall. That had a note on it. Stevie read it, a grin brightening her face. 

 Hey, Stevie.

I'm guessing you noticed the bare wall. :P I got mam to leave it so you can paint on it. Adam told me you love art. Don't thanks me, I always have good ideas. ;) 

 From Niall, of course. :)

 Stevie looked through the drawers, her eyebrows raising and a laugh escaping. Her usual clothes were jodhpurs or jeans. There were shorts, hotpants, belly tops, skirts, etc. She looked for the pyjamas drawer. All shorts and dresses. Laughing, she picked out a blue tank top and purple checked shorts. 

 After stepping outside the door, she stopped. Stevie tiptoed to Niall's door and listened. He was playing the guitar and singing. "'Cause you were mine for the Summer. Now we know it's nearly over..." 

 "You write that?" Niall jumped, almost dropping his guitar. He looked up and smiled. 

 "Yeah," he laughed. He patted the bed, signalling for her to sit down. "We should start at the kiss, seeing as that's where we were interrupted." Stevie laughed, but agreed.

 Without warning, Niall grabbed her shoulders, pulling the small teenager into his arms. Her eyes widened before closing. Niall pushed her farther up the bed without breaking the kiss. He lay on top of her, not pressing hard, though.

 Stevie pushed his chest. "Got a bit carried away, there?"

 Niall didn't answer, just kissing her again, more passionately this time.

 A/N: Seven likes and two comments. I broke it this time, but not next time, sorry. :) xx

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