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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 "Stop!" Stevie yelled. Niall smirked down at her.

 "Never." He ran his large hands down Stevie's sides. She tried to wiggle away, but he kept on tickling her. She giggled and Niall leaned down to kiss her.

 "We're not doing the play anymore," Stevie said quietly, sitting up.

 "I don't care. Stevie, I love you." Niall made his eyes bigger, going for a sad puppy look.

 Stevie looked away. "You can't love someone after a week," she scoffed. "Stop with the look."

 "Okay, I really like you, then. We could do it, you know. We could be together." He took her chin and faced it towards him.

 "You sound like Gale." Stevie rolled her eyes. "I don't want to, though." Niall dropped his hand and got off the bed, his face showing his hurt. "God, I didn't mean it like that, Niall." Stevie stood up and wrapped her arms around him, her head on his back. "I mean that I don't want to lie."

 "We don't have to lie. We just won't tell the full truth. Anyway, our time will be taken up with the horses." He turned around and shot her a wink before kissing her forehead. "You should go to sleep, little duck."

 "That's Katniss. Nice try, though." She walked away, swaying her hips a little more than usual. When she turned to close the door, she saw where Niall was looking. "It's my bum, so stop looking at it like that." She closed the door and raced to her room, switching off the light and launching herself into bed.

 "Now, that was cheeky." Niall closed the door behind him but kept the light off. "You are a cheeky one. But you're a cutie, too."

 "You could become nice." Stevie tapped his nose as he climbed in with her. "And I'll have taught you everything you know."

 "One day. One day I will do it... I'll give you all the credit." He kissed Stevie's cheek.

 She turned to him. "I'd like to accept this award..."

 "Hey, it's my award!" He tugged at her plait. "I love this."

 Stevie pulled her hair back. "Fine. I accept this award of most amazing teacher!"

 "Okay, I owe you for being such an amazing teacher." He tapped his chin.

 "How about a kiss?" Stevie could feel him smile against her lips during the brief kiss. It made her smile, too. "Goodnight, Nialler."

 "Night, Wonder."

 Stevie rolled over. "Wonder?"

 "Stevie. Stevie wonder. I think it's cute." He wrapped his arms around Stevie, who shook her head and giggled.

 The sunlight flooded through the window and Stevie panicked at the feel of arms around her. She was in an unfamiliar room. When she struggled, Niall tightened his grip, groaning sleepily. Stevie turned around and sighed in relief, the memories of the night before replaying in her groggy mind.

 He wanted them to be together. She had to escape all of the 'What if..'s shoving each other around in her head. She slipped into a pair of jeans and rubber riding boots before grabbing a jacket and rushing outside.

Behind the house was a kilometer long trail and then a quiet road. She decided to hack Mars out; she hadn't ridden him in a few days, so he'd be fresh and take up all of her concentration.

 He had been grazing, so she could feed him after. Her feet crunched on the gravel as she walked to the paddock.The three horses were standing close together, dozing in the morning light. 

 At least they're being nice to Forest, Stevie thought as she walked to the shed. There were no stables, but the horses could live out in the fields until they were built.

 She grabbed everything she needed and headed back towards the field. This time, Mars stirred. He whinnied loudly and took a few stiff steps before launching into a canter and bucking a few times. Stevie giggled as he stopped and tossed his head. The grey horse saw the tack and whinnied again.

 Stevie shushed him and slipped a head collar over his nose. She brought him out from the field and tied him to the fence. The other two ambled slowly up the fiend and only reached the fence when she was tying his martingale. 

 She laughed and gave them a treat each before tightening Mars' flash. She buckled her hat and bounced into the saddle. Mars pulled at the reins and trotted forward, his fine white ears perked forward.

 A/N:

 I'm so sorry that this update was so late!! I've been going through a lot lately. It's you guys that keep me living each day, though. :* <3

 Thirteen likes and seven comments for the next chapter. :) Love yous all. xxxx

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