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I made my way down the sandy bank with a six pack in one hand and a blunt in the other, my friends ahead of me. I heard them out and I looked, smiling seeing the people we were meeting there. I raised the six pack and blunt, they cheered. We greeted each other when we got down to the fire, laughing and catching up. As I smoked the bunt, passing it on to the next person, incoming people caught my attention and I studied them. I knew four out of five people. They shouted down to us and we shouted back, greeting them when they got closer.
“Hi, Leni.” Jess, one of the people and a good friend, said, hugging me. I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her tightly.
“It’s been way too long Jess, you’re all famous now,” I said and she laughed, shaking her head.
“Famous? No, I work for famous people but I am not famous.” She corrected and I smiled. “Alright, alright.” I surrendered and we went back to the fire, I grabbed another beer from the cooler. “So who’s the bloke you brought??” I asked, pointing to the guy standing by the fire and she looked over.
“Ah, that’s one of my famous clients. He’s local and I thought he could use some down time.” She said and I studied him.
“Local, famous and I have no idea who the fuck he is,” I said and she laughed, shaking her head.
“I forget you don’t pay attention to the world.” She said and I rolled my eyes.
“Fame is not the world, I pay attention to what matters in the world,” I said and she laughed again. “C’mere, I’ll introduce you.” She said, grabbing my hand and I shrugged, taking a drink of my beer as we walked over. “Travis!” she said loudly as everyone was talking extremely loudly for being so close together. He turned and I was taken by his eyes, such a gorgeous blue. Other than that though. “Travis, meet my friend Helene.” She said and I scrunched my nose up at my full name.
“Leni,” I said, putting out my hand and he smiled, shaking it.
“Travis, nice to meet you.” He said and I nodded.
“So you’re from around here?” I asked and he nodded.
“I’m from Lockington originally.” He said and I nodded.
“Ah, Lockington,” I said and he nodded. “Did you go to Echuca High?” I asked and he nodded.
“How the hell don’t I know you then?” I asked and he shrugged.
“Len, he’s 38.” She said and I raised my eyebrows.
“Oh shit, you went way before me,” I said and he laughed.
“Thanks.” He replied and I nodded.
“Sorry, but it makes sense now. I thought you were younger, I’m 20.” I said and he nodded.
“Yeah, I went a bit before you.” He agreed and I nodded.
“A bit,” I said and turned back to the fire.
Chapter 2
I sat on the swing in my friend’s back yard, pushing myself back and forth, listening to the conversations around me. I sipped on my beer and sighed. I was bored, planning on leaving but I hadn’t mustered the ambition yet.
“Hey.” A voice said and I looked up, squinting in the bright sunshine.
“Travis, hey. I didn’t know you knew these guys as well.” I said and he shrugged.
“I know a few of them but they’re older than you so I was surprised to see you here.” He said and
I nodded.
“I’m friends with Stephanie.” I said, pointing her out and he nodded.
“Younger sibling.” He said and I nodded. “Can I join you?” he asked, I scooted down and he sat down beside me, sighing as he did.
“I’m sorry I didn’t know you before.” I said and he smiled, shaking his head.
“No I’m glad you didn’t, it was nice.” He said and I nodded.
“I guess. I feel like you’d want people to know your body of works.” I said and he shrugged.
“They’re not for everyone.” He said and I nodded. “What do you do?” he asked.
“Nothing as adventurous as you. I work in a café as a barista.” I said and he nodded.
“That’s cool.” He replied and I laughed.
“Is it? I don’t think it is.” I said and he smiled, shrugging.
“It’s keeping you afloat, right?” he asked and I nodded.
“Yeah, suppose it is but barely.” I said and he nodded. “So if you’re so famous why are you here?” I asked.
“Missed home, I like being around people that know me from before the whole fame thing happened.” He said and I nodded.
“Nice.” I said and he nodded. We sat in silence, swinging on the swing as he pushed us with his feet and I watched the party.
“Do you want another?” he asked, shaking his empty beer bottle and I nodded.
“Yeah please” I said and he grabbed my empty bottle, going to get us new beers. My phone went off as I sat there and I grabbed it out of my pocket, looking at the text.
“Got yourself a hunk?” was the text and it was from Stephanie, I glanced up at her. She smiled at me and I rolled my eyes.
“No, I met him before and we’re talking. Normal people talk.” I sent back and put my phone away, Travis returned with the beer. He handed me one and sat back down. “So what have you done?” I asked and he looked at me. “Your movies or whatever you do.” I said and he nodded, catching on.
“I’ve been in a show called Vikings, it’s on the History channel.” He said and I nodded.
“I heard of it but never sat down to watch.” I said and he nodded.
“Fair enough. I did a couple of movies.” He said and I nodded.
“And they are?” I asked and he sighed, leaning back looking up to the sky.
“There was one called Warcraft, then there’s one called Baytown Outlaws.” He listed and I shook my head.
“Well I guess I am that oblivious.” I said and he laughed, shaking his head.
“No, you just have better things to do.” He said and I smiled.
“I guess.” I said and we fell silent again. “So what do you do when you’re not being famous?” I asked and he smiled.
“I like to fish.” He said and I nodded.
“I like fishing, a lot of people get swept up in the competition. I like the relaxation part.” I said and he nodded.
“Me too. I like to bungee jump.” He said and I nodded.
“I’ve done that before, not my cup of tea.” I said and he nodded.
“Not everyone’s.” he agreed and we fell quiet again. We stayed that way for some time until Stephanie came over, giving her best flirty grin at Travis.
“I hate to break up the party over here but I’ve gotta go, you coming Leni?” she asked and I
sighed, standing.
“I suppose so as you’re my ride. Travis, great seeing you again.” I said and put my hand out. He shook it with a smile and stood.
“You too, maybe we’ll see each other at another party.” He said and I smiled.
“Hopefully.” I replied and left with Stephanie. 
Chapter 3
I floated on my back in the pool, staring up at the afternoon sky and enjoyed the muffled noises when my ears would dip below the water’s surface.
“Leni!” someone called and I looked over. I saw my sister, Kate walking out from the house and I sighed, standing.
“Are people arriving?” I asked and she nodded, putting down the chip bowl. “I’ll get out,” I said and she went back in the house. I walked up the ladder and grabbed my towel, drying myself off. I slung the towel over my shoulder and walked into the house, going upstairs to my room. Kate was having a party for something and she had made it clear I was invited as long as I stayed out of the way. I changed into a pair of shorts and t-shirt, going down the stairs. I stationed myself in the kitchen, leaning against the counter and ready to make a getaway if I was yelled at.
“Len!” Stephanie shouted, I looked up and smiled. We hugged.
“What are you doing here?” I asked and she shrugged.
“Lauren said I could come since you would be here and she’d probably be doing a favor to Kate by distracting you with me.” She said, referencing her sister and I nodded.
“I’m glad cause so far this sucks,” I said and she laughed. We walked out to the pool area, taking up seats beneath an umbrella on the lawn chairs and talked, ignoring everyone else.
“Imagine this.” A voice said and we looked up, I laughed.
“You seriously know everyone I know but I’ve never met you before, what the fuck?” I asked, standing and hugged Travis this time, surprising him I think. It might’ve been the three beers I had before or the two shots of Jägermeister but I was feeling good.
“Yeah, apparently.” He said and I smiled.
“Oh, this is my friend Stephanie, Stephanie, Travis,” I said and she smiled, doing some weird thing with her face again and I ignored her. “So who do you know this time?” I asked and he pointed out some guy I only recognized by his face.
“Ah, that’s one of my sister’s friends,” I said and he nodded.
“I figured since I’m so old.” He replied and I laughed, shaking my head.
“I never said that I just said you were older,” I replied and he smiled. “Come on, let’s get you a drink,” I said and walked over to where the alcohol was. I had him two shots in and one beer down by the time Kate caught sight of me.
“Leni!” she exclaimed and I jumped, looking back at her.
“What?” I demanded and she rolled her eyes.
“I even had Stephanie come so you’d leave people alone.” She said as she got closer.
“Well Christ Kate, it’s not like I’m going to do anything, I’m just talking to Travis,” I said and she looked at him. She grabbed me and pulled me away from him.
“Do you realize how old he is?” she asked and I nodded.
“Thirty-eight,” I replied and she shook her head.
“No, mom would kill me if she knew I had you talking to men 18 years older than you.” She said and I rolled my eyes.
“Then mom doesn’t have to know but I’m not letting age control who I talk to,” I said and pulled away from her, going back to Travis who was standing awkwardly alone. He smiled seeing me return and I called for another shot.
Travis stumbled, I did my best to catch him but he was taller than me, we both fell down to the grass. I laughed lying on my back and heard him laughing too.
“Okay, so that last shot was unnecessary,” I said and looked at him, staring up at the sky with a hand on his chest.
“Yeah, I think so.” He said and I smiled.
“The sky does look pretty tonight though,” I said.
“It does.” He agreed and we fell silent. I looked over at him and then sat up on my elbow.
“So tell me, how famous is your girlfriend?” I asked and he smiled, rolling his eyes.
“Not famous.” He said. So he had a girlfriend, good to keep in my mind so I would keep myself in check.
“Well, that’s good because you don’t seem the type to like fame,” I said and he shook his head.
“I don’t.” he replied and I nodded, falling back on the grass.
“Where is she?” I asked.
“My girlfriend?” he asked and I nodded.
“Yeah, I’ve never seen her at any of these parties,” I said and he shrugged.
“She’s back in California.” He said and I nodded.
“Ah, an American?” I asked and he nodded.
“Nice,” I replied and he smiled.
“She is.” He answered and I laughed.
“C’mon, let’s go get some food,” I said, lurching up from the ground and reaching down, trying to pull him up. Failing, he helped himself up and we went back to the party to scavenge. 
Chapter 4
“Camping?” I asked and Stephanie nodded.
“Yeah, Lauren wants to go and I wanted to go. She said as long as I brought you along so I wouldn’t annoy her.” She said and I laughed.
“What is it with our sisters? Are we that horrible?” I asked and she shrugged.
“Must be.” She said and I laughed.
“I’ll see if I can get the time off.” I said and looked back to Erik, the manager who was going over some paperwork. “Hey Erik.” I started with a sweet tone and he glanced at me.
“Three days.” He said and I smiled.
“Thank you.” I said and looked back at Stephanie. “Let’s do it.” I said and she smiled
“Awesome.” She replied.
So the next day I had my backpack filled and ready to go, waiting on Kate. She came down the stairs with her own stuff and caught sight of me.
“Listen, I want you to behave please.” She said.
“Meaning?” I asked.
“Meaning if you see a 38 year old man, you leave him alone.” She said and I rolled my eyes. “Kate, it’s not like we’ve done anything. We’re just talking and being friendly because we keep showing up at the same parties.” I said.
“Yeah, that’s how it starts. Be smart Len, he’s famous and there’s crazy stories about him.” She said and I raised my eyebrows. “Jesus, I think I just made him more endearing to you.” She said, shaking her head and we walked outside to the car.
Showing up to where everyone was meeting, I looked for Stephanie and found her standing with her sister. We walked over to each other, happy to see each other and waited for everyone to unpack. I looked around and spotted Travis, I smiled. I had started to like him, he was fun to be around and I was glad he’d be there for the camping trip.
We were settled in, tents were set up and Stephanie with me was in the river on tubes. Beer in hand, we were enjoying the relaxing current.
“Leni!” someone shouted from the shore and I looked, Kate was standing there with her hands cupped around her mouth.
“What!” I called back.
“Food’s ready!” she called and I sighed. For not wanting me to go on these things with her she treated me like her child and it annoyed the ever living piss out of me.
“You going back?” I asked Stephanie and she shrugged.
“Not hungry.” She said and I nodded.
“Neither am I,” I replied and sank back in the tube.
“Leni!” she called again. I groaned and got off the tube. I swam back with it, coming on shore and pulling it up on the beach. I glanced back and saw Stephanie still on her tube, the lucky bitch. I made my way over to where the food was and started filling a plate. I sat down in my chair by our tent and started eating.
“Again.” A voice said and I recognized it this time. He sat beside me with his own plate of food and put his beer on the ground. “So you really know everyone I know.” He said and I shrugged. “Apparently.” I replied and he nodded, I dug into my food. We ate in silence and finishing, he took my empty plate for me. He returned with a beer and sat back down beside me. “So how long do you stay away from your girlfriend?” I asked and he looked at me. “I don’t know, I would’ve thought she’d come.” I said and he sighed.
“She’s busy.” He replied and I nodded.
“I’m starting to think you’re just telling stories,” I said and he laughed.
“I’m not, I have pictures.” He said.
“Photoshop is a big thing nowadays,” I said and he nodded.
“True.” He replied and fell silent. I glanced up and saw Kate watching me.
“My sister doesn’t want me to talk to you,” I said and he glanced up, seeing her looking too.
“Why?” he asked.
“Well because you’re 18 years old than me. And I don’t think she trusts you.” I said and he smiled.
“Yeah, I know there’s been stories passed around about me.” He said and I glanced at him.
“Stories? I haven’t heard any of them.” I said.
“Well no you wouldn’t of, you’re the younger group.” He said and I nodded.
“Well, now I want to know them,” I replied and he shook his head.
“They’re not all true.” He replied.
“Not all true? So there is some truth? Oh this makes it more interesting.” I said and he smiled. “I guess.” He replied and I nodded. I recognized quickly he didn’t want to go into them and so I dropped it. “So what about you? You got a fella?” he asked and I shook my head.
“No, none have caught my fancy.” I said and he nodded. “I know a lot of the guys and so they’re a bit boring.” I said and he nodded.
“So you’re looking for a wild boy then.” He said and I shrugged. “Someone with a little fire under their ass,” I said and he nodded.
“I get it.” He said and I nodded. “Well I hope you find that guy cause you deserve someone taking care of you right.” He said with a smile and then left, leaving me confused.
Later in the night, I was sitting by the fire with a beer, most of everyone had retired to the tent but I wasn’t tired. I didn’t sleep much, I had a habit of being up most of the night, crashing for three hours and then being back up. I’d seen doctors concerning it but no one had an answer. So I usually stewed by myself and going over my thoughts.
“Mind if I join you?” he asked and I looked up at Travis, shaking my head as I looked back at the
fire.
“Not if you throw another log in.” I said and he nodded, grabbing one from the pile. He thrust it into the fire and sat down.
“So I lied to you.” He said a few minutes later and I looked to him.
“About what?” I asked and he smiled, rubbing a finger on his lips.
“About having a girlfriend.” He said and I smiled.
“Really? Why would you lie about that?” I asked and he shrugged.
“I dunno. We broke up and that’s part of the reason I’m here, to get over her.” He said and I nodded.
“That makes sense but why lie about it? Not worth lying about.” I said.
“Yeah, I know, I know but I didn’t know what you’re intentions were.” He said and I raised my eyebrows.
“My intentions? With you?” I asked and he shrugged.
“I’m famous, I have to keep my guard up.” He said and I laughed.
“I didn’t even know who the fuck you were,” I said and he nodded.
“True but I didn’t know if you were lying or not.” He said and I rolled my eyes.
“God, you are full of yourself,” I said and he sighed, rubbing his eyes.
“It wasn’t like that.” He said and shook his head. “Fuck, I don’t know. You’re 20 years old, I figured you were up to date with this shit.” He said and I laughed again.
“You Hollywood people, all assume everyone knows who the fuck you are,” I said and he sighed. “I don’t know, jesus. I’m going to bed.” He said getting up and I watched as he walked away. I had no idea what his original intentions were or why he had told me he didn’t have a girlfriend in the end. I didn’t know if he was interested in me or if it was just because we had got along so well that he wanted to be honest with me. I had the rest of the night to go over it in my head and I
knew I would until about 5am, then I would crash.
Chapter 5
I fell asleep at 5 like I had guessed and woke up at 8 before most of the people at the camp site. I went down past the camp site to the river we were on and waded in to test the temperature. Feeling it was a bit chilly but not freezing, I began to undress. I glanced up at the camp to be sure no one was awake and discarded the last of my clothing, wading further into the river. I swam happily for a while, enjoying the silence but keeping my eyes out for any slight danger, as nature always forced you to do. Finishing, I looked to the shore and saw my clothes gone.
“What the fuck?” I muttered, looking around, thinking I had gone further down the river than I
thought but there was no sign of them. People had started waking up at the camp and I could hear voices coming down towards the lake. “Fuck, fuck,” I mumbled.
“Leni! What are you doing?” Stephanie called out as she came down.
“Enjoying this beautiful morning,” I said and she nodded.
“Helene!” my sister shouted and I winced, glancing at her. Trust her to notice what no one else had yet. “Where the fuck is your clothes!” she demanded and soon everyone’s eyes were on me. “Yeah, see, that’s my problem. I put them on the shore and when I was done, well.” I said and she shook her head at me. She turned on her heel and headed back up to the camp. She came back down a few minutes later after everyone had a good laugh at me, with a handful of clothing and Stephanie waded in with a towel, handing it to me. I smiled at her gratefully and wrapped it around myself, wading back on shore. I grabbed the clothes and walked back up to the tent, ducking inside. I quickly changed and stepped back out again. Standing outside my tent, Travis had my clothes from earlier and a cheeky smile on his face. “You cunt,” I said, grabbing them and he grinned wider. I threw them in the tent and shook my head, pushing past him.
“Leni, it was a joke!” he called after me but I ignored him. I did not enjoy being embarrassed publicly.
To avoid Travis, I went to the store with Stephanie to grab a few things, it was a two-hour round trip and I stalled as much as I could.
“He really pissed you off, huh?” she asked as we drove down the road and I glanced at her. “Yes, he fucking did. How would you like to have to be completely nude in front of a bunch of people that you really don’t know all that well?” I asked and she nodded.
“I get that but I think he thought it really was a joke. He’s a known prankster.” She said and I shook y head, looking out the window.
“Yeah, well there’s a time for pranking and there’s a time for knowing when you’ve crossed a line,” I said and she nodded, falling silent.
We got back with snacks and more beer. I opened a beer after we had put the snacks away and fell back into my seat, staying away from everyone. I saw him before he could reach me and I
shook my head.
“Don’t even fucking bother,” I said and he sighed.
“Leni, I’m sorry. I didn’t think you’d get this upset.” He said and I looked at him, I laughed in disbelief.
“You didn’t think to steal my clothes and hiding them so I’d have to be completely naked in front of everyone wouldn’t make me upset?” I asked and he sighed, shrugging.
“When you put it like that, yeah, it makes it sound worse.” He said and I shook my head. “Just leave me alone, I shouldn’t even be talking to you,” I said and looked away. He stood for a moment and then retreated, leaving me alone. I did not like to be embarrassed and it was a hard thing for me to forgive, something I thought completely normal.
Chapter 6
I convinced Stephanie to come back home with me, interrupting the trip and we returned home before everyone else. I went back to work early, surprising Erik but he was happy to have me back.
My sister returned two days later, dumping her stuff in the front hall and crashing on the couch beside me. I continued watching television as she stared at me and finally I looked to her.
“So.” She said and I rolled my eyes. “Oh don’t do that.” She said and I sighed.
“I already know what you’re going to talk about,” I said.
“Well, I mean, it was kind of the biggest event of the trip.” She said and I sighed.
“So everyone was talking about it?” I asked.
“Oh yeah.” She said and I groaned.
“Why is he such a dick?” I asked.
“I tried to warn you, he’s a strange guy.” She said and I shook my head. “But at least now you’ll listen and stay the fuck away from him.” She said.
“Believe me I will,” I said pulling myself off the couch and disappearing into my room.
I must’ve fallen asleep because I woke up to my cell rining. I grabbed it from the bedside table and squinted at the ID, Stephanie.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Leni, you’ll never believe who contacted me.” She said.
“I don’t know,” I said, rubbing my eyes.
“That Travis guy.” She said.
“Travis? How the hell and why?” I asked.
“I don’t know how, he had to go through a lot of people to get my sister’s number and then promise her something to get mine. But then he asked me for your number.” She said and I groaned. “But I didn’t give it to him! I promise. I told him you weren’t interested in talking to him and he asked me to give you a message.” She said.
“Well?” I asked.
“Oh, right. He asked for me to tell you that he is very sorry, he didn’t realize how upset you would be and to let him make it up to you.” She said.
“Fat fucking chance.” I laughed.
“That’s what I told him.” She replied.
“Good and what did he say to that?” I asked and she paused.
“He said money was no object, he just wanted to apologize. Whatever you wanted.” She said and I paused, thinking about the words.
“Jesus,” I said.
“Yeah, exactly. That’s why I’m calling, it seemed pretty intense and I wanted you to have the choice on what to do.” She said.
“Yeah, wow. This guy really feels bad.” I said.
“I know, what are you going to do?” she asked.
“I have no idea, no idea. I mean, it’s a tempting offer but if I give in…I mean, that will just reward him.” I said.
“Yeah, but if you give in, who knows what you could get out of him?” she asked and I sighed.
“I know, man. I could use a new car.” I said and she laughed.
“Right?” she asked.
“I don’t know, I think I have to think about it,” I said.
“Understandable. Well when you’re ready, I’ll send you his number.” She said.
“Thanks,” I said and we hung up. I laid back down in bed and stared at my ceiling. I had never had a guy so apologetic that they would say money was no object, I never had a guy that could afford to say that actually.

 

Chapter 7
It was four weeks later; the parties had died down as summer disappeared and I was more focused on work. Travis had gone to the back of my mind and I instead enjoyed the waning Summer days with Stephanie, going on adventures in the outback.
My sister was throwing one last bash for the Summer, she invited me and said Stephanie would be there too. It was well known within our group what had happened with Travis and myself, he was basically banned from the party.
I was pouring drinks for people when Stephanie rushed up to me and grabbed my elbow.
“He’s here.” She whispered and I looked to her.
“Here? But everyone knew he wasn’t welcome.” I said to her.
“I know, that’s what I thought but…” she trailed off and looked to the sliding doors where he stood. He had trimmed his beard and got a hair cut. He seemed more dressed up but still casual. “He looks good.” She whispered and I looked at her, she smiled with a shrug. “He does.” She said and then left my side. I continued pouring drinks and glanced up to see where Travis was. He was talking to a few people and I quickly finished pouring the drinks, ducking out behind the table.
“Leni!” his voice shouted and I shook my head, weaving between people. “Leni, wait.” He said and I moved faster. I broke out onto the grass and heard him coming after me. He was quicker than I thought and grabbed my arm, I quickly turned to him.
“What?” I asked and he sighed.
“Look, I’m sorry about the prank. I didn’t think it through clearly.” He said and I shook my head.
“Clearly,” I said, crossing my arms.
“I am sorry, Leni. I really am.” He said and I studied him. There was regret in his eyes, in his expression and I felt my anger ebb. It was a while ago and nothing more had come of it.
“Fine but you owe me,” I said and he nodded.
“Fine, fine, whatever.” He said and I studied him again.
“I could use a car,” I said and he laughed.
“Are you serious?” he asked and I shrugged.
“It's worth a try,” I said and he smiled.
“Yeah, it was, fine, fine.” He agreed.
“Are you serious? Don’t buy me a fucking car.” I said and he laughed.
“Thank god.” He said and I shook my head.
“You’re a strange one,” I said and he nodded, looking away.
“Yeah, I know.” He said and I saw there was some insecurity behind that reply, as though he had been told that his entire life.
“But I like you,” I said and he looked back at me, a smile on his face.
“Yeah?” he asked and I nodded.
“Yeah. Strange is an adventure.” I said and he smiled again.
Chapter 8
I watched him as he fished, he was a quiet, introverted guy but there was something about him. He was humble, kind and sweet. The fame didn’t get to him, didn’t ruin him and he stayed true to his roots. He was happy to bare footed and running wild, being in nature.
“I think I got one.” He said and his rod bent slightly, he slowly reeled it in. I stood up and went down to the shore, watching as he pulled the line in. He pulled in a beautiful fish, I grabbed the line and held it for him to admire his catch. “That’s a pretty one.” He said and I nodded. He took the fish and gently unhooked it, releasing it back in the water.
“Catch and release kind of guy, huh?” I asked and he nodded, wiping his hands on his shirt. “Yeah, I’m not gonna eat it so no sense in keeping it.” He said and I nodded. He stood awkwardly for a minute as I stood in front of him and I reached out, taking his hand. He looked down at our hands together and then to me. “I can’t always be there, Leni.” He said and I looked up at him. “I have a job that takes me around the world and for months at a time.” He continued and I smiled. “I’m a weird guy too, I don’t like to talk a lot and usually won’t tell you how I’m feeling.” He said and I nodded.
“I get that,” I said and he nodded.
“You still want to get involved with me? I am older than you.” He said and I shrugged. “Meh, age isn’t really significant to me. You’re strange, you don’t follow the same rules as everyone else, I like that about you. You’re your own man, even when people tease you, you stay true to you.” I said and he smiled.
“I tried changing, fitting in but it just wasn’t me.” He said and I nodded.
“See? I like that. I’m not looking for the typical relationship, I don’t think I’d survive a typical relationship.” I said and he smiled.
“So what do you want?” he asked and I shrugged.
“I don’t know but I think I’ll find out as we go,” I said and he smiled again, leaning down. I met him half way and we kissed.
“As long as you’re sure.” He said and I smiled.
“I’m never sure,” I said and he smiled, shaking his head.
And so we began to be a thing. My sister got over it when she saw that I had my head on my shoulders and wasn’t being lured away by money.
We hadn’t slept together yet, Travis was anxious but I was anxious in another way. I had only had sex with one other guy and it wasn't pleasurable, I didn’t think highly of sex. I could see it frustrated him but he was a patient guy.
I helped him pack for his trip back to America where he was working on a project, he sat on the bed watching television as I packed his suitcase.
“You’re not interested at all what I’m packing?” I asked and he shrugged.
“You’re using a suitcase, you’re already doing it better than I have ever.” He replied and I laughed, shaking my head.
“Yeah, you gotta wash that thing,” I said, looking at the dirty orange bag crumpled in the corner.
“Yeah.” He said and I continued packing. I finished and zipped it, putting it on the floor.
“That’s done,” I said and he smiled at me, patting the bed.
“C’mere.” He said and I walked over, sitting beside him on the bed. “I’m going to miss you.” He said, trailing his fingers on my neck and I smiled, tilting my head to give him room.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Yeah, of course.” He said and kissed my ear. “Even though you keep denying me.” He said and pushed my hair over my shoulder, trailing his fingers down my back. They slipped up under the hem of my shirt and up my back, beneath the hooks of my bra.
“Travis…” I trailed and he sighed, removing his hand.
“I know, I know.” He replied and pulled away. I looked back at him, studying his face and leaned in, kissing his lips.
“I promise, I will get help on this while you’re gone so when you come back I will be nothing else but yours,” I said, smiling at him and holding his gaze. He smiled and nodded.
“I hope so.” He replied and we kissed again. He pulled back and continued watching the show, I studied him for some time. With a smile, I got off the bed, grabbed the orange bag and went to the washroom, throwing it in the washer. 
Chapter 9
Travis was in California, filming or whatever he did. Christmas was coming up, then it would be back to school for the kids and that meant more hours for me. Travis wasn’t going to be home for Christmas which slightly bummed me but I’d spend the holiday without him before so it wouldn’t be any different. I got him a gift anyway in case he came home or when he got home, I could give it to him. My parents were divorced and I was planning on spending the holiday with my dad in
Cabnerra while my sister would spend it with my mom.
I was packed and ready to go, waiting for my dad to pick me up. I was sitting on the couch watching television when my phone went off and I glanced at it, Travis.
“Hello,” I said.
“Hey, how are you?” he asked and I shrugged to myself.
“Living the dream,” I replied and he laughed.
“Yeah?” he asked.
“Oh yeah, just waiting for my dad to come grab me, spending the holidays with him,” I said.
“Nice.” He replied. “Sorry I won’t be there.” He said
“It’s fine, you weren’t with me for the last 20 so it won’t be different,” I said and he laughed.
“Suppose that’s right.” He said and I smiled.
“So are you having fun?” I asked.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s pretty nice, weather’s gorgeous.” He said.
“Nice. Weather’s pretty good here too.” I said.
“Nice.” He replied and we fell silent. It felt more like talking to my best friend than to my boyfriend, which we had never said out loud. “I got you a gift.” He said.
“Oh yeah?” I asked.
“Yeah, it should be arriving on Christmas morning.” He said.
“Well you’ve done better than me, I got you a gift but it won’t get to you until you’re standing in front of me,” I said and he laughed.
“No worries.” He said and I smiled. “D’ya miss me?” he asked and I laughed.
“Course I do, I have no one here that’s stranger than me so I’m the only weirdo,” I said and he laughed.
“Glad to see I have a place in your life.” He replied and I laughed.
“You do,” I said and we fell silent again.
“Well I’m gonna go, I have a meeting.” He said.
“Okay, talk to you,” I said.
“Yeah.” He replied and we hung up, I put the phone in my bag. The conversation might seem awkward to people outside our relationship but it was comfortable for us.
I was nestled in bed, sleeping in on Christmas morning as the magic of the holiday had left when I was 8 and now I just enjoyed having the time off. A knock came on my door and I mumbled to myself. The knock came again and I sighed, pushing the blankets off me.
“What?” I asked and rubbed my eyes. The door opened and I heard footsteps across the carpet. Before I could open my eyes, a large and heavy body was on top of me. I grunted as my breath left me but before it did, I inhaled a familiar scent. I pressed my hands on shoulders and pushed the person back, squinting in the bright morning sunlight. “Travis?” I asked and he smiled at me. “Good morning.” He said and kissed me, I embraced him. “Merry Christmas.” He said and I laughed.
“Are you my Christmas gift?” I asked and he smiled.
“Yup.” He replied and rolled off me. I stretched, yawning and rolled on my side. He was still dressed, he must’ve just got in from the airport and looked tired, it was a long ass flight from America.
“I like it,” I said and he smiled at me. “Where’s my dad?” I asked. He hadn’t met my dad and I was surprised my dad would just let him in.
“He’s gone out to the store he said, I had called Kate to let her know my plan and she called your dad. Didn’t want him thinking I was some strange creep.” He said and I laughed, nodding. “He would too.” I agreed. I leaned down, kissing his lips and he deepened the kiss. “I bought you a gift.” I started and he smiled at me as I hung over him, then I kissed him again. “But I just thought of a better one,” I said and kissed him again.
“Oh yeah?” he asked and I nodded, kissing him again. I sat up and took my shirt off, he watched me like he was entranced.It wasn't about getting over the last experience I had but instead about bravery in my attraction to Travis, how much I wanted him. And in this moment I wanted him. The feeling of his fingers running over my skin was electric, he took his time with me, making sure I was enjoying every moment and that I wasn’t feeling anything but pleasure. His lips stayed on mine as much as they could and when he finally entered me, it was a slow, gentle pace that built up. I dug my fingers into his arms as the pleasure washed over my body, leaning back into the pillows and gasping for air. He was a much better lover then the first boy I had slept with and his age showed in his experience.
We laid side by side after, holding hands and he brought my knuckles to his lips.
“Thank you.” He said, keeping his eyes on me and I smiled.
“Merry Christmas,” I said and he moved to me, kissing me again. “We should get dressed before my dad gets back,” I said and he nodded, we got up. We dressed and I went to my closet, digging out a wrapped object. I pushed it into his hands and he laughed.
“You’re making me look bad.” He said and I laughed.
“No,” I said and he smiled. He unwrapped the present and studied it. “It’s a fishing trip to
Bermagui,” I said.
“Fishing trip?” he asked and I nodded.
“I booked a place for you to stay, you’ll have the services of skipper and crew and it’s in the prime season for marlin and tuna,” I said and he started nodding. “Good?” I asked and he looked at me, smiling.
“Surprisingly. First girl to get me something I’m actually interested in using.” He said and I laughed.
“Good and this is for a couple people, so you can bring a friend,” I said and he looked at me. “Not me, I don’t do well with boats,” I said and he laughed, kissing me.
“Thank you.” He said and I nodded.
“Absolutely, just glad I got it right,” I said and he smiled.
“You did.” He agreed. We heard the front door and my dad called out. We headed down stairs and I introduced Travis properly, I could tell my dad was weary but quickly took a liking to Travis. In fact so much that I soon got bored of the conversation between them as my dad was a big angler and started swapping stories with Travis over beers. I dozed off listening to them going back and forth with stories, a smile on my face.
Chapter 10
It was my twenty first birthday soon after the holidays, I was born January 13th and Stephanie had planned a large party for me with plenty of alcohol at my father's house. He was the most lenient parent and was more than happy to host.
"So I have everyone coming." Stephanie said as we sat in my room and I was on my cell phone.
"Even Travis?" I asked and she rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, I have that weird experiment coming." she said and I looked at her.
"What the fuck does that mean? He's not an experiment." I said and she stared at me.
"Really? Have you guys even slept together yet?" she demanded and I shook my head.
"That's not your business." I said, looking back to my Instagram and she laughed.
"Ha, knew it." she said.
"I'll have you know we did." I said and she looked back to me again.
"Really? When?" she asked.
"Christmas morning." I said.
"Well la-di-da. Was it just that one time or more?" she asked.
"That one time." I muttered and went back to my phone.
"You guys have the weirdest relationship." she said shaking her head and looking back at the guest list. "So like I said, everyone is invited, I have a live band performing for you and plenty of booze. Anything else you can think of?" she asked.
"No." I replied.
"Good because I don't want to do anymore work." She said, dropping her notepad and leaned her head back. "I still have to get you a fucking gift." she said and I laughed.
"You don't have to." I said.
"No I do. I won't live it down if I don't." she said.
---
It was three hours into the party and I was properly smashed. I had Jaegermeister shots aplenty, beers and some Vodka as well. The band was well into their set, I was dancing with my friends and Travis was drifting somewhere in the crowd, not a friend to the dance floor.
"Can we have the birthday girl out here?" the lead singer called out, after they finished the song and I shouted, making my way to the front of the crowd. "We've got a special song for you, happy birthday Leni! she shouted and I smiled, raising my hand as I shouted in excitement again. They started a cover of Birthday by Selena Gomez and I sang along, taking another shot from Stephanie. My eyes searched for Travis, finding him talking with some guys and I made my way over to him, taking his hand. He laughed, tugging away as I tugged him towards the front of the crowd and finally I settled with dancing with him, gyrating against him as I sang along. I wrapped my arms around his neck and danced by myself as he put his hands awkwardly on my hips. The song ended and I shouted out in excitement again with the rest of the crowd. I pressed my lips against Travis' and he returned the kiss, I parted from him.
It was another hour later and I was feeling extremely warm from all the booze.
"Pool time!" I shouted and the people around me shouted in encouragement as I took off my top, revealing my pink lace trimmed leopard printed bra. I unbuttoned my jean shorts and felt a hand on my arm, I glanced back to see Travis.
"Hey, hey, why don't you let me get you some food?" he asked and I pulled my arm away.
"Not hungry." I said and kicked my shorts off, running to the pool. I jumped in and pushed myself back up to the surface, raising my arms as people cheered in encouragement again. I climbed out, wiping my hair back and someone handed me a towel. I wrapped it around myself, tucking it in and went back to get another shot.
"Leni, you gotta eat something." his voice came again and I sighed.
"Fine, fine." I said, grabbing potato chips and shoving them in my mouth. "There, you happy?" I asked and made my way into the party with a shot in hand. Travis sighed watching after me and glanced up at my sister as she came beside him.
"I told you it'd be a pain in the ass dating someone younger than you." she said and he nodded, looking back at me.
"Yeah but I love her." he said and she studied him.
"But you understand you can't control her, right? She deserves the same time you had when you were younger." she said and Travis nodded. "That even though you know the mistakes she's about to make, you need to let her make them?" she asked and he nodded.
"Yeah, I know." he said.
"And you're going to be able to let her?" she asked and he looked at her.
"Kate, I'm not in this to hurt her." he said and Kate nodded.
"I know but I don't know if you'll mean it when you do." she said and looked back to me as I sang the song with Stephanie in a loud drunk voice. "She just turned twenty one, you're almost twenty years older than her, do you really think you're going to be able to keep up with her?" she asked and Travis watched me. "She's going to be wild, she's going to do very stupid things and she's going to make you regret being with her, do you think it's fair to her to stay with her?" she asked and turned back to look at Travis.
"I'm not going to break her heart just because of what might happen, Kate. I love her and am willing to go to the ends of the earth for her, I understand what I got myself into." he said and she nodded.
"All right, as long as you're aware of it all." she said, shrugging and moving off into the party. Travis looked back at me and I looked over to him, feeling eyes on me. I smiled at him, raising my shot glass.
"I love you!" I shouted across the party in a very drunk manner and he laughed to himself, raising his beer.
"Love you." he repeated and I went back to my drunk duet with Stephanie. Life in this moment was perfect and I couldn't see any flaws in our relationship. 
Chapter 11
We sat out in the restaurant the next morning, and I was sipping heavily on a Bloody Mary. Travis was digging into his eggs and I was trying not to throw up from the scent of them. He finished, sitting back and looked to me, a smile on his face.
"Party a little hard?" he asked and I nodded, putting my empty cup down.
"Yeah, a bit." I said and sighed, stretching my legs out.
"So I have to fly out to America again to start filming my new series." He said and I nodded.
"Yeah? Looking forward to it?" I asked and he shrugged.
"I guess, I'll miss you." he said studying me and I smiled.
"Well that's silly, its not like you're not going to see me again." I said and he nodded.
"I know but I can still miss you." he said and I shrugged.
"Suppose so." I said and he nodded.
"What are you going to do when I'm gone?" he asked and I smiled.
"Stephanie and I are going to Amsterdam, it was a birthday gift from my dad." I said and he raised his eyebrows.
"Really? Why Amsterdam?" he asked and I made a face.
"Come on, why not?" I asked and he laughed, nodding.
"So you're one of those." he said and I rolled my eyes.
"I guess, whatever one of those is." I said and he smiled. The waiter took our plates and disappeared to retrieve the check.
"How long will you be there?" he asked and I sighed.
"A month, one whole glorious month." I said and Travis nodded.
"That's nice, its beautiful there." he said. "Do you have plans for there?" he asked.
"Well obviously visit some cafes and then we wanted to check out the Red Light District." I said and he raised his eyebrows.
"Rossebuurt huh?" he asked and I looked at him, he laughed. "It's what they call it there, why are you going there?" he asked and I shrugged.
"The experience mostly, I want to go to the Banana Club." I said and he laughed out loud.
"Jesus Christ, you're going all out, huh?" he asked and I smiled, nodding.
"Why not? Drugs and sex, that's what life is all about, right?" I asked and he smiled at me.
"Where have you been all my life?" he asked and I smiled at him.
"Well I was jail bait for a while." I said and he rolled his eyes, he hated being reminded of how much younger I was than him. Or at least how old he was. 
Chapter 12
The Banana Club was more insane then I had imagined, each girl had their own trick and it cost money to see them but they were well worth it. The drinks were bottomless and I got properly drunk that night, more drunk than I had been in a really long time. We somehow rambled back to our hotel room and crashed at around 4am, fully dressed.
I woke up first, groaning in pain and remained where I was. I soon heard similar noises in the room and realized that must've been Stephanie. Slowly I pulled myself up to my elbows and squinted, looking around the room for her.
"What the fuck happened last night?" I asked seeing the room in complete disarray and then found Stephanie on the floor, starting to wake up.
"I don't know but I feel like I hit a brick wall," she muttered and I nodded, falling back in bed.
"Fuck yeah." I said and covered my eyes.
"Your phone," she said.
"What about it?" I asked.
"It won't shut the hell up," she said and chucked it in my direction, it hit the floor. I groaned, slunk down the bed and on to the floor. I grabbed the phone and unlocked it, looking at my text messages. I started laughing. "What?" she asked.
"Apparently....at some point last night, I texted Travis." I said. "Like a lot." I said, going through the text messages that were severely misspelled and using wrong words that autocorrect must've adjusted. Photos weren't allowed in the club so thankfully there wasn't any evidence of what I got up to but the texts described pretty much what was going on.
"I wonder what the time difference is," she said and I sighed, pulling myself up to a sitting position leaning on the bed.
"I don't know but he doesn't seem to have been upset." I said and scrolled down to his group of messages. "He says he wishes he was with me." I said and she laughed.
"Any guy would, you went to a sex club," she said and I smiled.
"I'm gonna give him a call." I said, going into the bathroom and shutting the door. I sat on the toilet and called his number.
"Hello?" he said.
"Hey, how are you?" I asked.
"Good, how are you feeling?" he asked and I laughed.
"Head ache but that's it." I said.
"Well, that's good, those were some insane texts last night." He said and I laughed.
"I know, I don't even remember sending them." I said and he laughed.
"You seemed pretty blazed," he said and I laughed.
"Blazed, drunk and horny." I said.
"Wish I had been there to help you with the last," he said and I smiled.
"Me too. Even this morning." I said.
"Damn. Wrong place wrong time," he said.
"Yup. What are you up to today?" I asked.
"Just filming." He said and I nodded. Travis wasn't the type to get really into the details of filming, he was good at his craft and always improving but he didn't bogged down by the "art" of it.
"Nice, when are you done?" I asked and he sighed.
"In April," he said.
"Damn that's a long time." I said.
"I know, that's what I told you," he replied.
"It didn't seem that long when you just said 3 months but when you use the month, it just seems longer." I said.
"Yeah, I know," he sighed. "And with your horniness is only making me horney." he said and I laughed.
"Well, don't hold back on my account, please." I said.
"What do you mean?" he asked?
"Like if you find a nice piece of ass, don't hold back because of me." I said and he was silent.
"Hello?" I asked.
"Sorry but wait, so if I find a girl who I'm attracted you, you want me to just sleep with her?" he asked and I shrugged.
"Yeah, why not? It sucks that you have to wait three months to get off." I said.
"You are not like any other girl I've been with." He said and I laughed.
"I think that's a good thing. I dunno, it just never made sense to me. To me, relationships are never just physical, there is a spiritual and emotional bond there. I don't see how that can be broken by physical interaction with someone else. You're not around me for 3 months and I'm going to expect you to not get off for that long?" I asked.
"So does that mean you..." he trailed off.
"Well, yeah, if I'm giving you the option, I get the same option." I said.
"This is strange," he said and I smiled.
"It's a good strange, just do it. Don't over think it." I said.
"I guess," he said and I rolled my eyes.
"Listen, stick your dick in some pussy and enjoy life. When you come home, I'll still be there waiting for you." I said.
"Alright." he said and I laughed, I could tell he was really thrown off.
"All right well I'm going to shower and probably go grab breakfast. Have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do." I said.
"What wouldn't you do?" he asked?
"Exactly." I said and he laughed. "Bye." I said.
"Bye," he replied and hung up. I went out to the room and saw Stephanie sitting on the couch.
"You guys have your little love connection?" she asked and I smiled.
"Yeah, I freaked him out. I told him he could fuck other girls." I said and Stephanie laughed.
"Yeah most guys would think that's a trap," she said and I smiled, grabbing clothes from my suitcase.
"I know, that's the fun part of it." I said. "I'm going to go shower and then we'll grab breakfast?" I asked and she nodded.
"Sounds good to me," she said and I went into the bathroom, turning the shower on. I leaned against the counter, staring at my reflection as the water warmed up and smiled. Travis might be older but apparently I was teaching him new things. 
Chapter 13
It was later that day and we were exploring historical Amsterdam when my phone went off. I looked at it and I smiled seeing Travis' name.
"Twice in one day." I said.
"Yeah, I just wanted to double check something." He said and I smiled, knowing what it was.
"Yeah?" I asked.
"You meant it when you said I could hook up with other girls, right?" He asked and I laughed.
"Did you seriously find someone already?" I asked.
"Well yeah." He said and I smiled, shaking my head.
"That was easy." I said.
"Its one of the perks of being famous." He said.
"And having those billboards." I said.
"Yeah, and those." He said and I smiled. "So did you mean it?" he asked.
"Course." I said.
"Alright. You sure? I don't have to." He said and I smiled.
"Do it, just do it." I said.
"I love you." he said and I smiled.
"I know you do and I love you." I replied.
"Alright." He said and I laughed.
"Alright, good bye Travis. Before the girl loses interest." I said and hung up, putting my phone away. Stephanie looked to me.
"All good?" she asked and I nodded.
"He was double checking that I was still cool with the hook up." I said and she smiled.
"You have him really confused." she said and I nodded.
"I know, its fun." I said and we went back to admiring the artwork of Amsterdam.
---
We went to the Red Light District again later that night but went to a cafe instead. There I met a cute guy who I was highly attracted to and brought back to the hotel, Stephanie found something do during the time.
"So you're from Australia?" he asked with his handsome British accent and I nodded.
"Yeah." I said.
"Brilliant. I find it hard to believe you don't have a boyfriend." he said and I smiled.
"I do." I said.
"You do? But we..." he said and I laughed, nodding.
"Yeah, we did and it's totally fine, we have an open relationship. He's gone a lot and we know we can't expect the other one to control their sexual needs." I said.
"That's a different relationship." He said and I smiled.
"I know, it's healthy in my opinion." I said.
"What does he do? Why is he gone all the time?" he asked and I shrugged. I hadn't thought ahead what to say when someone asked me who my boyfriend was, he was supposedly famous and I really didn't know who knew him and who didn't.
"He travels for work, he's self employed." I said and he nodded.
"Good for him." he replied and I nodded.
"He enjoys it." I said, getting bored with the conversation. "So have you been to the Banana Club?" I asked and he smiled, nodding.
"It's amazing." he said and I nodded.
"We went the other night and spent too much money but it was well worth it." I said and he nodded.
"I'm in complete agreement with you." he said and I smiled.
It was a half hour later, he was dressed and we were at the hotel room door, saying good bye.
"Your boyfriend is one lucky guy." he said and I smiled.
"I think so." I replied and he laughed.
"Enjoy Amsterdam." he said and I nodded.
"You too." I replied and he kissed my cheek before departing, I closed the door behind him. Texting Stephanie that she could come back, I sank into bed and and closed my eyes, ready for a nap.
It was time to go back home and I got on the play, taking sleeping pills. It was roughly 21 hours and I didn't want to enjoy any of it.
Chapter 14
April 7th. Travis was coming home and I was excited, unexpectedly. I had grown more attached to him without him there than I probably would have if he had been by my side like a normal boyfriend. We hadn't even put that label on our relationship yet, boyfriend and girlfriend. We didn't even talk about it to be honest, it was kind of just we went together and everyone around us understood what was going on between us.
I was waiting at the airport, anxious for his arrival but still trying to play it cool. I stood waiting in Arrivals, keeping my eyes on his gate and chewed on my nails impatiently. At last I saw him approaching the door and I smiled. He looked up, his orange bag slung over his shoulder and seeing me, smiled as well. As we neared, we embraced and I kissed him hard.
"Miss me did you?" he asked pulling back and I smiled, nodding.
"Very much apparently." I said and he laughed. He grabbed my hand and we walked out of the airport to my car.
"This thing really is a piece of shit." he said as we got in and I smiled.
"Yeah but its my piece of shit." I replied, turning the ignition and pulling out of the parking spot. He directed me to his house and pulling up I admired it. It wasn't your typical celeb pad, it wasn't a mansion but it was nice. "I feel like I should be parking my car around the block so it doesn't bring down your property value." I said, shutting my door and he smiled.
"It's a rental." he said and I nodded.
"Ah." I replied as I followed him up the front walk and he put the key in, opening the front door. He threw his bag in the corner and stepped back to let me in, I looked around. "So, were you planning on moving in soon?" I asked, taking note of the starkness of it and he laughed, shutting the door.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I"m not much for decorating and I haven't had a girl around to do it." He said and I nodded.
"I'm sure there are people that do this for a living. I think they're called, designers?" I said sarcastically and he rolled his eyes.
"Money." he replied.
"So you're stingy." I said and he made a face at me. "What? I'm just clarifying things so we're upfront with each other." I Replied and he sighed, walking down the hall. We entered his living room that surprisingly had a couch in it and he fell into it, putting his feet up on the table as he kicked his sandals off. "So what, am I supposed to be making you a sandwich?" I asked and he looked up at me with a smile, shrugging.
"Only if you want to." he said and I laughed, sitting beside him.
"Nope." I said and he smiled, leaning his head back. "So tell me, how good was she?" I asked and he looked at me, studying my face.
"Do you really want to know the details?" He asked and I shrugged.
"I dunno, its interesting." I said and he sighed, looking up at the ceiling.
"She was a fuck." he said.
"Oh come on, there's gotta be more details than that." I said and he shook his head.
"Not really, I don't know what you want to know." he said and I shrugged.
"Like, were you guys really kinky or was it just missionary?" I asked and he laughed.
"Jesus Christ." He said and I smiled.
"What? C'mon." I said, shoving his shoulder gently and he sighed.
"It was anal." he said and my eyebrows raised.
"Anal? You riding dirty?" I asked and he laughed.
"I guess so." He said and I smiled. "Why? You don't like anal?" he asked and I smiled.
"I think you'll find there's not a lot I say no to." I said and I saw interest piqued in his eyes.
"Oh?" He asked and I smiled.
"My first time really sucked but it wasn't my fault, it was the guy's. I realized then I'm what do they call it? Like I love sex." I said.
"Nymphomaniac?" he asked and I nodded.
"Yeah, like I think about it a lot but there just hasn't been a guy that gets what I want." I said and he smiled.
"And what do you want?" he asked and I shrugged.
"I want drop down dirty sex, like whatever brings me pleasure." I said.
"How do you know this if you've only had sex one time?" he asked and I shrugged.
"Because. I know it." I said and he smiled.
"Okay." he replied and I stared at him.
"You don't believe me." I said and he looked back at me.
"Not really." he said.
"Why not?" I demanded.
"Leni...you've had sex with two guys, including myself and you want me to believe you're a nymphomaniac? That in itself defeats the definition." he said and I sighed.
"Well, you can either disbelieve me or you can try me out." I said and he studied me for a minute with a smile on his face.
"Try you out? You sound like I'm buying a car or something." he said and I shrugged.
"Whatever. I'm willing but if you're not, that's fine." I said and stood up, going to explore his house.
A half hour later, I had seen it all and even explored the garden he had out back that was in sore need of weeding. I headed back into the living room to see what he was doing and found him asleep the same way I had left him. I stood for a minute and then searched for some paper with pen. I wrote a quick note and left, returning home. Clearly tonight was not my lucky night. 
Chapter 15
I was over Stephanie's house, she was packing her stuff up as she had found an apartment finally and I was helping her pack. Travis had kept texting me, causing me to stop every five minutes.
"Would you just put the phone down?" she demanded and I looked at her then sighed, sending my message. I put the phone in my pocket and continued packing her stuff. "So clearly you two are still together or whatever you guys are calling it," she said.
"Yup," I said and she nodded.
"He must be good in bed." she said and I shrugged.
"He's decent," I Said and she studied me but continued packing. We packed in silence for a while, my phone randomly going off but I ignored it for Stephanie's benefit. Finally, we were nearly done and I stood up, stretching.
"The rest of the stuff I can do later, want some lunch?" she asked and I nodded.
"Yes," I said and she nodded, we headed down the stairs. "Are we going out or staying in?" I asked and she shrugged.
"Whichever. What do you want to do?" she asked.
"Why don't we just go to the cafe?" I asked and she nodded, we headed out the door. As I sat in the car, I pulled my cell phone out and saw I had several messages from him. I sighed.
"What's wrong?" Stephanie asked and I shook my head.
"Travis, he's driving me crazy," I said.
"How?" she asked.
"He wants me to come over today and hang out," I said.
"Oh god forbid." she said and I rolled my eyes, looking out the window.
"I don't want to go over, I wanted to just go home after this and sleep," I said and she laughed.
"You are so lazy." she said and I smiled.
"Eh," I said. I ignored his texts for a while, through lunch and then Stephanie dropped me off at home, thanking me for helping. I fell into my bed and closed my eyes, smiling happily. I soon drifted off and only woke up to the ringing of my phone, I sighed. I rolled on my side and waited through the rings, smiling when it ended.
When I finally woke it was dark out and I groaned, I had slept until the night. I grabbed my phone out of my jeans and looked at the time, past dinner time. I saw there were two missed calls and bunches of texts. I sighed, getting up and shuffling to the kitchen as the phone rang on his end.
"Where the fuck have you been?" he asked and I sighed, opening the fridge.
"I was helping Stephanie move and then took a nap," I said.
"What happened though? You were replying and then you just dropped off," he said and I grabbed out a piece of cake that had been left over.
"She yelled at me for texting and not packing, then I just wanted to take a nap," I said.
"Well, I wanted you to come over to my mom's and meet my family but now it's too late for that." He said.
"Oh shit, I forgot that was today. Shit, I'm sorry." I said and he sighed.
"It's fine, I didn't tell them so they weren't expecting you," he said and I nodded, digging into the cake. "So what are you doing now that you're up?" he asked.
"Nothing, just eating cake," I said.
"Do you wanna come by?" He asked.
"Sure," I said and there was a pause.
"Okay, I'll be here." He said.
"I'll be there too," I said and threw my plate into the sink, heading into the bathroom.
"See ya," he said and we hung up. I took a shower, changing and heading out the door. I got into my shitbox car and drove over to his house, smoking one last cigarette before I got there. Putting it out, I headed up his front walk and rang the door bell. I waited, looking around his front yard that was unkempt but not overgrown. The door opened and his face appeared, he smiled. "Hey." He said and let me in, we kissed.
"How are you?" I asked and he nodded, shutting the door.
"Good," he said and led me into the backyard where he had been sitting. He had papers on the table, his phone, and a laptop.
"Is that a laptop?" I asked and he glanced at it.
"Yeah..." he said and I shook my head.
"I never thought I'd see the day when the anti-technology guy would have a laptop," I said, admiring it. "Especially one that's so expensive," I said, noticing it was a Mac and then looked back at him, he shrugged.
"I was told I couldn't write my series on paper, that it was too tedious for them to read through if it was all in my handwriting." he said and I laughed.
"Fair enough," I said and he nodded.
"That's what I said." He agreed and I sat down, he joined me. "That's yours," he said, pointing at the beer on the table and I smiled.
"Thanks!" I said and took a swig. "I'm sorry I missed the meeting with your family," I said and he laughed.
"It wasn't a meeting, it was dinner." he said and I nodded.
"Whatever, you know what I meant," I said and he smiled, continuing to scribble things down on paper.
"It's fine, they didn't know you were coming so they weren't disappointed." He said and I nodded.
"But I'd like it if you would meet them at some point." He said.
"Yeah?" I asked and he glanced up at me.
"Why you don't want to?" he asked and I shrugged.
"I always thought that of couples in a more serious relationship," I said and he studied me but let his eyes fall back to his paper.
"Guess." He said and I took another drink. I watched him as he focused intently on whatever he was doing and sighed.
"I mean, I'll meet them if you want me to. It doesn't have to mean anything, I don't need to read into it." I said and he nodded.
"Yeah." He agreed but I didn't like the way he replied like there were things he wasn't saying. I looked out to the backyard and stared at it for a while, he continued working. It was pretty much that awkward for the rest of the night, it was like we were having two different conversations and would never meet in the middle. Finally, three hours into it, I was bored and didn't want to stick around, I stood up.
"Alright well, I'm going to head out," I said and he looked up at me.
"Where you going?" he asked and I paused, hadn't thought that far yet.
"Uh, probably just the bar," I said and he nodded.
"I'll come." He said and gathered his papers, I nodded quietly. I had kind of hoped to go on my own but couldn't say that out loud. He brought his stuff in the house and we headed out. "Take my car?" he asked, glancing at my car and I smiled.
"Sure," I said and he nodded, digging his keys out of his pocket. We got in his car and he pulled into the street. We drove to the local bar and sat down, ordering two beers. The night progressed, we got drunker and louder. "I'm telling you, she is checking you out!" I shouted over the music that wasn't that loud but seemed loud in my head, Travis shook his head.
"No, she's not." He said making a face and I rolled my eyes, looking to the girl at the end of the bar.
"Hey!" I shouted down the bar and she didn't hear me. "Hey!" I shouted again and felt Travis grab my hand, trying to stop me. She glanced up as did half the people at the bar and I smiled at her. "Are you checking him out?" I asked, pointing in Travis direction and she looked, then smiled. "Ha! I told you!" I shouted, slapping the bar and looking back at him, he was red.
"Will you stop, Leni?" he asked in a more sober tone and I glanced back at her, then at him.
"Oh shit, I'm sorry," I said realizing I had embarrassed him and probably acted like an asshole.
"It's fine, just stop. You're going to get us kicked out." He said, eyeing the bartender and I sighed, finishing my beer.
"You sound like you know what you're talking about," I said and he nodded.
"They just started letting me back in." He said and I laughed, nearly falling off my chair.
"Are you serious? You've been kicked out?" I asked and he nodded.
"Yeah, they let me in again I think when they realized my fame might bring them customers." he said and I nodded.
"Well then fuck 'em, let's go somewhere else," I said, stepping down and grabbing his hand. He finished his beer and followed me out, throwing money on the counter. I stopped and he nearly stumbled over me. "Wait, did you want to get her number?" I asked, looking back at the girl and he shook his head, resting his hands on my hips to guide me out.
"No, I have yours." he said and I smiled as we walked in the street.
"You want to hit another one?" I asked, looking up at him. He was almost 6' and I was only 5'1, he stood well over me. He sighed, glancing around at how busy the streets had got and shaken his head. "Well, we're both too drunk to drive," I said and he nodded. "We can walk?" I asked, stepping out from in front of him and he glanced around again, I could see there was some slight anxiety in him at the growing crowds. "You alright?" I asked and he looked at me.
"Yeah, there's just a lot more people than when we first got here." he said and I nodded.
"Are you antisocial?" I asked.
"No, but I get recognized more than I like." He said and I nodded, I forgot he was famous. I saw a taxi headed down the street and I stepped out, waving my hand. They pulled over and I opened the back door.
"Well then let's get out of here," I said and he paused.
"What about my car?" he asked and I shrugged.
"It's locked, you can get it tomorrow," I said and he nodded, we got in. He gave him the address and we drove off, I stared at the passing scenery. I felt his warm hand take mine and I looked over at him, he smiled at me.
"Thank you." He said and I nodded. I didn't understand the big deal about it but at the same time, I could recognize he was uncomfortable and anxious in a larger group of strangers. The taxi driver pulled up to the curb of the house, Travis handed him money and we got out, heading into his house. I stopped by my car and he looked back. He came over to me, I leaned against my door. "Stay?" he asked and I studied him. I think it was that moment I realized the gravity of my place in his life, that he had got more attached than I had let myself get and that things were taking a serious turn.
"You sure?" I asked and he smiled, nodding. He put his hands on my hips, pulling me into him and kissing me.
"Yeah," he said as he pulled away and I smiled, following him into the house. As he laid above me, pacing in and out of me, I studied his face and he opened his eyes, smiling when he saw me looking at him. "What?" he asked, closing his eyes as the pleasure filled him.
"You really like me, don't you?" I asked and he stopped, looking at me. I studied his crystal blue eyes, searching for the answer before he said and he laughed, shaking his head.
"Of course I do," he said and continued. "I love you." He said and I wrapped my arms around his shoulders, pulling him closer to me. I listened to his breath, his pants of pleasure in my ear as we fucked and I kissed his shoulder. It had happened so naturally between us, I didn't recognize what was happening and I don't know how I missed it. He had been falling in love with me and I had been too self-absorbed to see it. I heard his breath hitch as he came and I pulled my arms from around him, he pulled back. He pressed his lips against mine and I deepened the kiss. He rolled on his back and I laid in bed, staring at the ceiling. "You alright?" he asked and I looked at his back, running my fingers down his tan skin.
"Yeah." I agreed and he nodded. Finishing cleaning himself up, he laid back down and I curled into him. He kissed the top of my head and wrapped an arm around me, I listened to his steady heartbeat.
"Did I freak you out?" he asked and I looked up at him.
"How?" I asked and he shrugged.
"By telling you I love you." He said and I laughed.
"No, we've said that a bunch of times to each other," I said and he nodded.
"Ok." he said.
I slept the rest of the night there, my phone's alarm went off and I groaned, rolling over to get it.
"Fuck," I said, realizing I was going to be late for work and got out of bed.
"Where you going?" he asked, watching as I dressed.
"Gotta go to work," I said and pulled my shirt on.
"Can't you call in?" he asked and I leaned over the bed, kissing him.
"No, I need the money, you've seen my shit box," I said and he laughed.
"Yeah, call me when you're out?" he asked and I nodded.
"Yeah, will do," I said and put my shoes on, heading out of his house. As I drove to work, taking drags off my morning cigarette, the thoughts of the night before ran through my mind and I couldn't help but smile. I usually didn't like to deal with all the emotions that came with being in a relationship and I'd probably hate the shit out of it even now but I liked him, I liked him a lot.
Chapter 16
It was late at night, we were beneath the stars and in front of a camp fire at a friend's get together. Travis was in his normal sandals, shorts, and ball cap. It was warm for the beginning of June, I had as little clothing as I could on to battle it and we both had a cold beer in our hand. I looked over at Travis, his head was leaned back and his eyes were closed, I was pretty sure he was snoring. I smiled to myself, no one had told me how it would be to date an old man, always falling asleep and always so mellow. I got up and walked over to the tub of water balloons from earlier, grabbing one.
"That's mean." Adam, a friend, said and I looked at him, smiling seeing he was looking at me.
"Is it? Or am I doing him a favor?" I asked and Adam shook his head but smiled. I walked closer and lined up my shot. I threw it at his chest and it hit with a thud, startling him as well as soaking him. He sat up and looked up, his eyes falling on me. I smiled and he laughed, shaking his head.
He stood up and walked over, grabbing a balloon from the tub.
"You better run." He said and I yelled, running into the night. He chased after me, I continued screaming as we ran and suddenly I felt the thud with the following wetness down my back. I laughed, slowing my run and I felt his arms wrap around my waist, pulling me close. I could feel it in his fingers, they were greedy and he was horny. I turned around, wrapping my arms around his neck and we kissed. He pulled me closer, holding me as tightly as he could against his wet front and we stumbled down to the ground. His lips ran down my jaw, over my ear, and down my neck. I closed my eyes as I felt his lips graze over my skin and I struggled to push his face away, his eyes met mine as he hung over me.
"Not here." I breathed and I could see he was willing to fuck me there on the spot but even though we were enveloped by the night, I didn't know if someone would wander over. He stood up, dragging me up with him and led me to his car, unlocking it. He opened the back door and pushed me gently in, I laid on my back and he climbed in over me, shutting the door. I had never fucked in the back seat of a car, it was uncomfortable for him because of his height but it was exciting at the same time, seeing as everyone else was parked around us.
"Fuck." he muttered as he came and I put my hands on his biceps, feeling the strain of his muscles as he held himself above me. I kissed him again and we made out before he pulled out.
"I gotta see how many water balloons they have left," I said and he smiled. "Keep throwing them at you, keep getting laid," I said, pulling my shorts back on and he laughed.
"You don't need water balloons to get laid by me," he said, eyeing me. "Just wear skimpy clothes like that." He said as I pulled my bikini top back down and I smiled.
"You like it? Wore it with you in mind." I said and he nodded, buttoning his shorts.
"Glad you did." He said and slid his sandals on, opening the door. We stepped out and went back to the campfire. We endured the cat calls and knowing jeers, with smiles.
Chapter 17
"Really?" I asked and he nodded. His blue eyes studying me, there was so much behind the eyes that he didn't say and sometimes it made me feel insecure. Right now, though, I was just aggravated and annoyed. "For how long?" I asked and he shrugged.
"I don't know, they say four months but they say it could take longer." He replied, shoving his hands in his jean pockets and I sighed.
"This is harder than when it started," I said, crossing my arms and looking out the window. I felt his hand on my elbow and I looked to him.
"I told you this though, in the beginning, I told you I couldn't always be there." he said and I nodded.
"I know you did but it's one thing to say it and another to live it." I said and he sighed, dropping his hand. He crossed his arms as well and we stood in silence, in his living room.
"I don't know." I said with a shrug and a shake of my head.
"Don't know what?" he asked and I looked to him.
"I don't know if I can do this all the time." I said.
"Leni, don't." he said and I cocked my head to the side, studying him.
"Dude, do you know how hard it is when you leave?" I asked.
"Yeah, I'm the one leaving." he said and I scoffed.
"Who the fuck cares? You leave, you get to see the world and you work every day so it's not even like you have time to think. I'm the one that's stuck here, living in this podunk small town and being miserable while everyone else gets to move on with their life. It's like I'm stuck in time until you fucking return." I said.
"Leni, it's not that fucking easy for me." he said and I laughed.
"Fuck it isn't." I said and he stared at me, it was an angry look, one I wasn't used to with him.
"You think I'd rather be somewhere else, with other people and working? Fuck no. I'd rather be here with you!" he exclaimed.
"I get that but I don't think it's fair to expect me to stop my life every time you leave." I said.
"I don't ask you to stop your fucking life." he said.
"But you do. When you leave, it's like half of me leaves, half of my world, gone. And I gotta wait three, four fucking months and even longer for it to return." I said.
"I told you what it was, Leni before we even fucking started and you said you could fucking handle it. Now you're ready to fucking end it." he said, shaking his head and I turned my eyes to the window. I didn't usually get emotional, hardly cried but I felt it coming out in me now. "I thought this was something, I thought you were something. Fuck woman, I'm in love with you!" he shouted.
"Travis, what the fuck do you want me to do? I think so far I've been pretty fucking awesome about it, I even gave you carte blanche to fuck other girls so you wouldn't be lonely!" I shouted.
"I never asked for that!" he said, his voice getting louder.
"But I did it, I tried to be understanding, I tried." I said.
"Did you?" he asked and I stared at him. "It feels like you just stayed until it got hard for you." he said and I shook my head. I didn't understand how he didn't understand how difficult it was to get left behind and I didn't know how to make him understand either.
"Fuck you." was my genius reply and I pushed past him, leaving the house.
"So, what is it Leni?" he demanded as he followed me out of the house and I looked to him.
"What is what?" I asked.
"Are we done? Are you ending this because you can't stick by me when it gets hard?" he asked and I stared at him for a minute.
"I'm going to make it easy for you, yes. We're done, over. Go date a fucking actress, someone as self-absorbed as you are, someone who won't miss you when you're gone." I said and got in my car. I tried to not look at him as I started the car and pulled out into the street. "Fuck." I mumbled as I wiped the tears and drove home. 
Chapter 18
I moved on quickly, not with another guy but with my life. I went back to what it was before he popped up and I went so far as to change my number, I went to the extremes to remove him from my life. I didn't want memories, I didn't want any chance of him calling me or texting me. I wanted everything to end and pretend like it never happened.
"But you can't." my sister said, she had taken me out for lunch and we were sitting on the patio.
"Why not?" I asked and she sighed, putting her drink down.
"Because he was a part of your life, you loved him." she said and I shrugged.
"I love our golden retriever too but when he died, I moved on," I said and she made a face at me.
"Leni. That was our dog and he died. You loved Travis and he's still alive, he's still out there in the world and will return because this is his home." she said. "He runs in the same circles as you, you'll probably see him again," she said and I shrugged.
"And so I do, so what? By that time, I'll be over him." I said and she laughed.
"I love your confidence is but you were pretty hardcore for him." she said.
"No, I wasn't," I said.
"No? So tell me, for the past two months where have you been? I haven't seen you at the house, mum hasn't seen you and Stephanie called me looking for you." she said and I shifted uncomfortably in my seat.
"With Travis," I said.
"With Travis. He had become a big part of your world, Len and I don't think you understand how difficult this is going to be." she said. "But don't get depressed about it, its better to understand the reality of the situation than to ignore it and be unprepared when it hits you," she said and I nodded, looking at the floor. "If this is truly what you want and you're sure about it." she finished and I looked at her.
"It's not easy when he leaves, Kate," I said and she nodded as she ate her salad.
"I know it isn't easy, I can't imagine if Jeff left for as long as Travis but at the same time, what matters more? The time you're separated or the time you spend together?" she asked and I sighed.
"You think I'm an idiot," I said and she shrugged.
"I always do but this in particular, yes." she agreed. "As much as I fought it, in the beginning, I was surprised at how well you two worked out. He gave you the maturity you needed and you gave him the humbleness he needed," she said and I sighed.
"I can't go running back to him now, he's halfway across the world and I don't remember his damn number, I deleted it out of my phone." I said and she laughed.
"Jesus, Len, you really overreacted." she said and I nodded.
"Yeah, realizing that now," I said and stared into the sunlit street.
---
It was winter again. The weather had got colder, the cafe got busier with more people stopping in for warm drinks and I was happy for the distraction. Even after five months, he was still in the back of my mind, especially after the conversation with Kate. As I finished one drink and moved on to the next, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and I took a quick glance at it. It was a text from Stephanie and I put the phone back, moving on to the drink.
During my break, I went out back to the cafe and sat on a crate, lighting a cigarette. I pulled my phone out and unlocked it, looking at the text messages. I opened Stephanie's and a picture of Travis at a local bar popped out.
"Shit," I mumbled and scrolled down to read her text.
"Someone sent this to me. Just giving you a head's up." she had said and I sighed, going back to the picture. He looked good, tan, smiling and relaxed. He must be home for the holidays and I sighed. I still missed him and I still wished he had come home to me. I had come to terms with how big of an idiot I had been but it didn't make it easier. I switched over to my Instagram and started scrolling down. Pictures of him with friends of Kate's popped up, private accounts that no one besides those in his circle knew and I stared at them.
"Leni!" someone shouted out the back door and I nearly dropped my phone, I looked up. Erik stood there and looked down at me. "You alright?" he asked, recognizing he had startled me and I nodded, standing. I put the phone back in my pocket, putting the cigarette out. "Can you take half your break now and half later? It's busy." He said and I nodded, following him in and washing my hands, heading back to work.
---
"Stop it," I whispered to Stephanie. She had dragged me out to a bar, saying I needed to get my drink on and that she was sick of me being sober Leni. Now she was shoving a glass of beer towards me and I took it finally, drinking.
"You need this more than I do." she said and I sighed, nodding.
"I do." I agreed and kept drinking.
An hour in and three beers down, I was feeling better all ready. Stephanie was in line with me with the beer numbers and I called for shots. There was a commotion at the door and I glanced over, a group of guys was coming in.
"Fresh meat," Stephanie whispered and I looked to her laughing. We grabbed our shots, downed them and turned around on the stools, ready to conquer. "Oh shit, maybe not," she muttered seeing Travis at the same I did and I quickly turned back to the bar, successfully falling off my stool. She helped me up and I sat back down, laying my head on my arm.
"Fuck," I said, both embarrassed and in a bit of pain.
"Are you all right?" she asked and I nodded, she rubbed my back. "Do you want to go?" she asked and I nodded again. She hopped off the stool, grabbing my hand and leading me out the back way, we quickly made an exit. We crept around the side of the building and seeing no one around, looking like proper idiots probably, we hit the side walk. I inhaled deeply, glad to be out of the situation and Stephanie wrapped an arm around me, holding me close.
"Why does he have to look so fucking good?" I asked and she laughed.
"I thought he looked rather old." she said and I smiled at her, grateful for her support.
"Leni?" a voice came and we both stopped. I silently prayed it wasn't the voice I recognized and then turned slowly, my eyes landed on him.
"Hey," I said, both nervous and aggravated that he had found me.
"Are you alright? I saw you fall off that stool," he said as he stepped closer and I smiled, humiliated.
"Yeah, great," I said and he nodded.
"Was I that bad, Len? That you had to escape out the back exit?" he asked and I shifted in the spot I stood, averting my eyes. "You can't even look at me anymore, c'mon Leni. What the fuck?" he asked and I sighed.
"I'm going to go...stand somewhere else," Stephanie said and she left, I looked after her.
"Leni," he repeated and I looked back at him. "Talk to me," he said and I saw the genuine hurt in his eyes.
"Look, it wasn't that you were that bad, it was that I was bad," I said and he raised his eyebrows, I scowled at my wording. "No, that's not what I meant, what the fuck. I mean...when you left after I broke it off, I realized what an ass I was." I said and he nodded. "Well Christ you don't have to agree with me," I said, crossing an arm in front of my chest and he laughed.
"I'm sorry." He replied and I nodded. "When you broke it off, it sucked Leni," he said and I looked at him, finally meeting his eyes.
"I'm sorry," I said and he shook his head.
"You know, I thought I'd love to hear those words from you but now that you said them, I don't know. I feel like it doesn't mean as much as it would've five, six months back. You dropped off the fucking face of the earth when you broke it off and that's what hurt the most." he said and I
nodded. "Don't fucking nod like you knew what it felt like. Even though we broke up, you were still the person I wanted to tell so many things to, share a lot with and you weren't there, didn't fucking care," he said and I bit my lip. "Now, you're here and I can't imagine any place I would rather be," he said and I looked to him.
"Dude, I'm sorry, what else am I supposed to say? There's really nothing." I said and he nodded then shook his head.
"I don't fucking know Leni but I thought you would have had a better answer by now," he said and then looked to me. "Great seeing you, not really but have a great holiday," he said and then went back to the bar, I watched him walk away.
"Fuck," I growled and then looked for Stephanie who was looking in a store window, I walked over to her.
"Well?" she asked and I shook my head.
"I am a bitch, that's fucking clear. A cunt even." I said and she sighed, wrapping an arm around me and kissed my temple.
"As long as you're saying it." she said as we walked down the street and I rolled my eyes.

 

Chapter 19
I was sat in my grandmother's home, wearing one of her homemade jumpers and feeling miserable. Pictures of Travis had popped up on Instagram, I was following his sister in law and some more of his family members. He looked happy and completely over me, while I felt like an absolute asshole. I had left the meeting at that, I hadn't tried to find him or contact him, his words made it clear there was no point in that.
"How are you doing?" Kate asked as she sat by me and I shrugged.
"Wonderful, don't I look it?" I asked and she smiled sympathetically at me.
"No you look awful." she said.
"Great, thanks." I replied.
"You haven't run into him since then?" she asked and I shook my head. "Small town for that." she said and I nodded.
"Yeah, I know, obviously its intentional." I said and she smiled again, kissing my forehead.
"It'll be fine, Len, I promise." she said and then left for a happier conversation. I sat there quietly, by myself and with a holiday cocktail in hand, sipping at it.
---
It was a New Year's Eve party, Stephanie had demanded I go so I could get over my slump and I knew she was right, I wasn't this depressive usually. We had gone out, bought new dresses and been to the salon to get our hair done as well as nails, something I rarely did. We had a couple different invitations but had narrowed it down to two, the second was for the escape if we needed
it.
I was in the corner with a drink in hand and enjoying the music, Stephanie had gone to fetch herself another drink.
"Leni." a voice came and I glanced up, my eyes focusing on Travis. He was in a polo shirt, odd and jeans.
"Hey." I Said and he nodded, we stood there awkwardly for a few moments. "You look...fancy." I said, eyeing him and he glanced down with a sigh.
"Yeah. I dunno, forgot to do laundry." he said and I laughed, he smiled at me. "You look good." He said, admiring the blue shimmery dress that clung to me and I smiled.
"Thanks." I said and he nodded, I saw his eyes linger on my cleavage that my bra enhanced.
"So what've you been up to?" he asked and I shrugged.
"Working." I said and he nodded. "You?" I asked.
"Same." he said and I nodded.
"Surprised to see you here." I replied.
"I came back for the holidays, don't live round here anymore though." He said and my eyebrows raised. "My parents sold the farm, not much left for me here." he said and I nodded, realizing he was right.
"Where do you live then?" I asked.
"Santa Clarita, in California." he replied and I nodded.
"I've never been a fan of California." I said and he smiled, nodding.
"You been?" he asked and i Laughed.
"No." I said and he shook his head.
"Just judging it then?" he asked and I shrugged.
"Guess so." I said and he nodded. "You got rid of the beard then?" I asked and he nodded, stroking his bare chin. "Interesting." I said and he laughed, shaking his head.
"You don't like it?" he asked and I shook my head. "Well guess its good we're not together than." he said and I paused for a moment but quickly nodded.
"Guess so." I said. We stood there awkwardly and then I figured that was as far as the conversation would good. "Well, I'm going to find my friend." I said. "Nice seeing you again." I said with a short nod and headed into the party to find Stephanie. There was still a lot of anger from him and I didn't know how to fix that.
"Leni!" I heard him call after me and I paused, looking back over my shoulder. "Can I at least have your new number?" he asked and I studied him.
"What for?" I asked and he gave me a strange look.
"To text you sometime?" he asked, I sighed and nodded, walking back over to him. I pulled out my phone and read him off the number. "I still love you Len." he said and I looked up at him, locking my phone.
"What?" I asked, breathless and feeling my heart beat pick up, he shrugged.
"I still love you." he replied and I shook my head.
"That's a really random thing to say in the middle of the party when we haven't seen each other for months." I said and he nodded, scratching the back of his head.
"Yeah, well, things have made me realize that I still love you." He said and I raised my eyebrows.
"What would do that?" I asked and he rolled his eyes at me, like he did whenever I was being dumb.
"Can we go talk somewhere else?" he asked, glancing around the party with people nearby and I nodded. I led him through the people, down a hall and found an empty room, walking in. Travis followed and shut the door, he leaned against it.
"So what the hell are you saying to me?" I asked and he sighed. I could tell he was completely uncomfortable with the situation and topic, he normally didn't wear his heart on his sleeve like this.
"I went back to California after you broke it off and after a while, ran into the girlfriend I had before you came into my life. We picked things back up but it just wasn't the same, like when we were together." he said and I nodded. "I don't know, you were electric to me, there was a new shock and awe about you every time we were together. With her, it was just kind of boring." he said and I nodded. "I'm the boring one, so stick me with someone else boring and it's not a great thing." he said and I smiled. "I tried to move on but it just kept coming back to me, the feeling I
had with you. I dunno, I don't know if I believe in that whole there's only one person out there for you but I kinda am being forced to because of you." he said and his eyes met mine finally.
"Travis." I said. "Why the fuck didn't you tell me that six or seven months ago? When I was standing in front of you?" I asked.
"You made it kind of difficult Len, you were impatient, you didn't want to wait for me and I didn't want to give my heart to a girl that wouldn't put the time or effort in." he said and I sighed, rubbing my eyes.
"Fuck, we really are morons, aren't we?" I asked and he smiled.
"Guess so." He said and I smiled.
"Look, I don't know what I want right now, this is all kind of sudden but can we at least be friends again?" I asked and he nodded.
"I'd really like that." he said and I smiled. I walked over to him and hugged him, he wrapped his arms around me. We stayed like that for a couple minutes, both of us happy to be doing what we had wanted to do for months and then parted.
"So I guess we should go back into the party." I said and he nodded.
"Yeah." he agreed and I opened the door, leaving the room. He followed me out and we enjoyed the rest of the party together, Stephanie gave me a look when she made her way over but was placated by my smile. She knew I'd explain it all later.
Chapter 20
As the days progressed, I started to realize that I wasn't sure if I wanted to be romantically back with Travis, that perhaps friendship was the best option for us and that he'd be leaving soon enough to go to California, where he lived permanently. I kept my feelings hidden, kept my emotions quiet and simply enjoyed the time with him.
January came to an end and he was leaving the first week of February. We sat on the back deck of his parents house, where he was staying while in Australia and we silent, both of us thinking everything over.
"So." he started and I looked to him.
"So." I repeated and he sighed.
"I don't know." he said and I nodded.
"Me either." I replied.
"I want you to come with me." He said and I glanced at him.
"To California?" I asked and he nodded. "No I can't do that, this is where I live." I said and he nodded.
"So you want to stay in your hometown your whole life?" he asked and I shrugged.
"I mean, I'm down for visiting other places but if I go to California with you, I don't know if I'll ever come back." I said.
"Would that be a bad thing? You'd be with me." he said and I smiled at him.
"Yeah, I know but I can't see living anywhere else but Australia." I replied and he nodded, taking a drink out of his beer.
"So we're back to where we were in the beginning of the holidays." He said.
"No, we're still friends, that's better than not talking to each other." I said.
"I guess." he said and I sighed.
"Travis, I love you and I know you love me but right now, I think, this is where we're supposed to be in our lives. We moved way too quick last time and I think that's what fucked us over, we both expected completely different things." I said and he met my gaze.
"We still do." He said and I nodded.
"Exactly but now we recognize it." I said. "I don't know what we're going to end up being, if anything but right now, I'm happy just being your friend." I said.
"Oh." he said and I stared at him. I could tell that was not what he wanted to hear but I also knew I was doing him a favor by keeping it slow. We could've just jumped back into where we left off but that would still lead to heartache when we were separated, I knew I didn't want to go to California.
"Travis, can you give me a hand?" his dad asked from the door and we glanced back, Travis nodded standing. He walked in after his dad and I remained in my seat, looking at the view. I felt a presence and his mom sat beside me, I smiled at her.
"My son loves you very much, Leni." she said and I nodded.
"I love him very much." I said and she nodded.
"Last time, you broke his heart, I've never seen him in such shambles." she said.
"I know, I didn't do it on purpose." I said and she nodded.
"I know that." she said and then leaned into the arm of the chair, holding my gaze. "Travis is a hopeless romantic, he will always hold the picturesque love story in his mind as what he aspires for but he won't admit it out loud. He takes after his father." she said and I nodded.
"I just don't think it's our time." I said and she sighed.
"It is always your time, life is short, Leni and you'll always think you have more time than you do." she said. "I'm old now and wish I had spent more time with my husband, wished we had more time together. Don't waste the time you do have on trying to control the situations and just go with it, let things happen naturally." she said and I stared at her. She reached over and held my hand, squeezing it. "He's a good boy, Len and I'd love to see you with him." she said and then left, just like that. I stared at the empty seat and processed her words. I knew she was right, I knew that time wasn't on my side and that I should just take the chance, just be with him.
"Sorry about that." he said as he came back out and sat down, I looked over to him. "What?" he asked and I shook my head.
"Your mom was talking to me." I said and he rolled his eyes.
"What did she say?" he asked and I smiled.
"She's a very wise person." I said and he shrugged.
"She can be when she's not trying to help." He replied and I smiled. I stood up and pushed my way into his lap, he looked up at me. "What did she say?" he asked and I leaned down, pressing my lips against his. He welcomed the kiss and deepened it as he slipped his tongue past my lips. Parting, I looked in his eyes and he shook his head. "Whatever it was, I could've used those words weeks ago." he said and I laughed, kissing him again.
"She just made me realize that I need to stop trying to control things." I said and he nodded, rubbing my lower back.
"I agree." he said and I smiled, kissing him again. "Will you come to California with me?" he asked.
"No." I said and he sighed.
"Then what did that kiss mean?" he asked.
"I'll come visit California with you but I won't live there." I said and he nodded.
"All I can ask for." he said and I smiled, kissing him. "Is your mom home?" he asked and I smiled.
"Why?" I asked.
"You know why. Obviously my parents are home." he said and I laughed.
"No, I think she's working." I said and he wiggled his eyebrows at me. "You are a horny one, aren't you?" i asked and he smiled.
"I haven't got any for like five months." he said.
"Five months? What the hell have you been doing in California?" I asked and he shrugged.
"Wanking off." he said and I snorted.
"Well then you're due." I said and kissed him again. "Come on." I said standing and taking his hand. We said a quick bye to his parents and got in his car, going to my mom's house. Her car wasn't there, neither was Kate's and I eagerly led him upstairs to my room. I shut the door behind us and turned to him.
I looked down on him as I rode him, his hands on my breasts and I smiled.
"Is this better than wanking off?" I asked and he smiled.
"Fucking hell yeah." he said and I smiled, closing my eyes as I felt my climax nearing. I let go and groaned as came, moaning his name. "Christ." he muttered, I felt him slam upwards into me and with a growl, he came too. I fell on to the bed and smiled.
"You're still as fucking amazing as I remember." I said and looked at him, he smiled.
"You're a fucking goddess." he said and I laughed. "Seriously, its so intense with you." he said and I laughed. He rolled on his side and stroked my cheek. "I love you Len." he said and I smiled.
"And I love you." I said.
"Please move to California with me." he said and I sighed.
"No Travis." I replied and he sighed now.
"I'll wear you down." he said and I laughed.
"You won't but please keep trying." I said and he smiled.
Chapter 21
I walked out of my bathroom and looked at him, he looked at me.
"Well, I guess you had to let yourself go at some point, better now than later." he said and I rolled my eyes.
"It's just for the plane ride, that's for 24 fucking hours!" I exclaimed and he smiled, tugging at the leg of my sweat pants.
"Yeah, let's just hope there are no cameras." he said and I laughed, flicking his chest.
"And clothes four days old and unwashed are in vogue?" I asked and he looked down, shrugging.
"I've never been en vogue except when people dress me." he said and I smiled.
"I hope you tipped your publicist well at Christmas," I said and he smiled, shrugging.
"I did," he said and I smiled, I grabbed my backpack off the floor. I put it on my shoulders and pulled the handle of my suit case up.
"Let's go bitches," I said and he smiled, kissing my forehead. We walked out of the room, finding my mom downstairs waiting for us and she hugged me tightly.
"Be smart," she said as she hugged me and I smiled. She pulled back and stared into my eyes.
"Don't come back pregnant," she said and looked pointedly at Travis who's eyebrows raised.
"I do my best," he said and she nodded, hugging me again. I headed out to his car, he put my suit case in the back and I got in the passenger seat. He got in the drivers and we took off to the airport.
Twenty some odd hours later we landed in LAX and there was a car waiting for us. As we exited the gate, I saw paparazzi and quickly veered off to the right, trying to separate myself from them. I kept an eye on Travis as he walked making sure I was following and not losing him but keeping out of the flashes. I paused as he left the airport, waiting for the paparazzi to fade out but they followed him out. I slipped by them and made my way out to the waiting vehicle. Hoping I was right, I got in and shut the door. Within two minutes, the door opened and he entered, shutting the door behind him. He looked over at me and smiled.
"Was wondering where you disappeared to." he said and leaned in, kissing me.
"Yeah, wow, what the fuck is that?" I asked and he shrugged as we pulled off.
"I call that the beast." he said and I nodded.
"I'd say. Shit." I muttered and we drove off.
Chapter 22
We had arrived at his house, it had a barn on it with what I assumed were horses and a riding ring. The dust rose about the car as we drove down the lane and parked in front of the house. I stepped out, looking around and he grabbed our bags, I took my suitcase from him. He tipped the driver and turned back to me, slinging an arm around my neck.
"You ready?" he asked as we walked up the front pathway and I nodded, leaning on him. He took his keys out of his short's pocket and unlocked the front door, we entered. It was not a surprise to me at how stark the house looked, there were moving boxes against the wall in the hall way but nothing on the walls, barely any furniture.
"Well apparently you haven't been here much." I said and he smiled.
"No, well I have but I just never got around to putting stuff away." he said and I nodded. "Come on, I think I have beer in the fridge." he said and we walked into his kitchen, he grabbed two beers out of the fridge. He opened one and I opened the other. He sipped it and made a face, looking to the bottle.
"Skunked?" I asked and he nodded, dumping it down the sink.
"I don't know why, its been in the fridge." he said and I shrugged.
"Maybe it got left out at some point." I said and he nodded.
"Maybe." he replied and took mine, dumping it as well. He sighed and crossed his arms. "Well now what, no beer, no food." he said and I smiled.
"Sleep?" I asked and he rubbed his stomach.
"I could use some food first though." he said and I nodded. "I know a place, hold on." He said and started digging through the drawers in his kitchen. "Ah." he said, grabbing a take out menu and opening it on the island, I looked at it. We ordered our food and sat down in the living room waiting, surprisingly his television was hooked up but no cable. He had Netflix on it and so we started watching some movie. By the time the food got there, we were dozing off and ate quickly.
We retired to bed and fell asleep quickly, severely jet lagged.
I woke late the next morning and blinked in the sunshine that came in the window. I looked beside me and smiled seeing him fast asleep still. He looked peaceful and handsome even as he slept. I got out of bed, grabbed one of his t-shirts and headed down stairs, grabbing the keys. I drove to town finding a coffee shop and got us two coffees, heading back to the house. As I stood in the kitchen, I glanced to the hall and went to the boxes, opening one. I peeked inside and saw there were kitchen things. I carried it into the kitchen and started putting the stuff away. By the time he woke up, his kitchen was fully put away and I was on to the dining room.
"Whoa." He said and I turned, smiling.
"Yeah, I got bored." I said and he nodded, looking around.
"You put a lot away." he said and then looked at my shirt. "And you're wearing my shirt." he said and I looked down at the Dickies logo.
"Yeah, I didn't feel like going into my suit case." I said and he nodded.
"That's fine, it looks good on you." he said and took the cold coffee I handed him.
"It was warm when I got it." I said and he laughed.
"Yeah, I slept late. It looks good." he said, looking around and I joined him. "I would've put it the same way too." he said and I smiled. "Thank you." he said and we kissed.
"Now you can help me with the rest of it." I said and he rolled his eyes. "C'mon, half a day of putting this stuff away and you'll never have to think about it again." I said and he sighed, nodding.
"Yeah, yeah." he agreed and we spent the rest of the day putting stuff away. By dinner time we were done and he rewarded my ambition with a trip to a local restaurant. As we sat at the table, I saw him glance over to the corner and I looked. There were three girls huddled at one table and it was clear they were looking in his direction.
"You alright?" I asked and he nodded.
"Yeah, I'm going to grab more beer, so they won't come over to the table." he said and stood up, going to the bar. Most girls might be insulted that he didn't want anyone coming by the table but I knew he was doing his best to protect me from the harsh light of fame. I watched as he went to the bar, leaning against it and one of the girls got brave, going to Travis. I averted my eyes so they wouldn't think anything of me and continued to eat. He returned twenty minutes later with two beers and sat back down to his food.
"Good?" I asked and he nodded.
"They got their autographs and pictures." he said and I smiled.
"I don't know how you do it, I would hate to have my picture taken as much as you do." I said and he nodded.
"Yeah, its not my favorite." He agreed and I smiled, we continued to eat.
"So are there other things to do in this town?" I asked and he looked up at me.
"I think so but I don't usually do them." he said and I laughed.
"Well thank christ you have me around." I said and he sighed but smiled. I made him take me on a tour of the town which lasted for two hours and we ended it at a wildlife refuge where we got to interact with the animals. They said they didn't normally take people that just showed up but since it was Travis, they would make an acceptation. I got to see animals I normally wouldn't and was amazed by them. They even let us visit with the monkeys which normally was extra but again, his fame let us in on that perk. Leaving later that night, I realized his fame was a double edged sword and that it was something one had to walk very carefully on. Go too far to one side and it'd all be over.
"Did you have fun?" he asked as we drove home and I nodded, he smiled. "Good." he said and I studied his profile.
"Is it weird for you?" I asked and he glanced at me then looked back at the road.
"Is what weird for me?" he asked and I shrugged.
"Having someone else around." I said and he nodded.
"A little but I like it." he said and I smiled, looking out at the passing scenery.
"Good." I replied and we were silent the rest of the ride home. 
Chapter 23
Travis sat at the bar with his friend and stared at the television that had the latest game on.
"So when do we get to meet her?" his friend asked and he looked at him, then smiled.
"Whenever." he said.
"I'm interested to meet her, I don't think I remember you ever bringing a girl all the way from Australia." he said and Travis shook his head.
"I don't think I ever have." he agreed.
"So she must be something special." his friend said and Travis nodded, drinking.
"I think she is." he replied.
"Now I'm really interested." He said and Travis laughed.
"Come back to the house, I'm sure she's just watching tv." he said and his friend's face lit up.
"Really?" he asked and Travis nodded.
"Yeah." he said, taking his phone out and texting.
---
I was sitting in front of the tv watching a Netflix movie when my phone went off and I looked to
it.
"Bringing a friend by, wants to meet you." he said and I raised my eyebrows.
"Oh fuck." I muttered, shutting the television off and quickly cleaning up. I took out beers, fresh beers that we had bought and started putting together some snacks. I heard the car first, the doors shutting and then the front door opened, their voices carried down the hall.
"And here she is. Leni, meet John, John, meet Leni." Travis introduced and I smiled at him, John walked over quickly.
"It is so nice to have proof that Travis can get a girl." he said, hugging me and I laughed. "Thank you for being with him." he said and I laughed again, Travis rolled his eyes with a smile on his face.
"Well he did pay for the trip." I said and his friend laughed.
"Bribing her, are you?" he asked and Travis shook his head. We went outside to sit and talked for a while. I found out John was involved in the world of Hollywood but much like Travis didn't like the beast, tried to stay on the outskirts of Hollywood as much as he could. They regaled me with stories of their fishing, hiking adventures and even party adventures. John left after a few hours and I looked to Travis.
"Did I pass?" I asked and Travis looked at me.
"What?" he asked.
"Did I pass the friend test?" I asked and he smiled.
"Yeah, I think so." he said and I nodded.
"Good, first step in a long lasting relationship." I said.
"Oh is this a long lasting relationship?" he asked.
"Not yet but who knows." I said and he smiled, kissing me.

---
We got invited to a party that night and went, his friends were eager to meet me as Travis didn't normally bring girls around. They were all friendly and very happy to have me there. I got on with the lot of them and enjoyed my drinks, especially my shots. As I downed my fourth one, Travis placed his hand on mine and I looked to him.
"Slow it down." he said and I rolled my eyes.
"Don't act like my dad." I said and leaned into him. "Unless you're into that sort of thing." I said and winked at him, grabbing another shot before walking away.
"You are fucked man." one of his friends said as they looked after me and Travis nodded.
"Yeah, yeah I am." he replied and followed after me through the party. He spent the night trying to make sure I didn't get too drunk and that I didn't do anything too stupid. I passed out on the ride home but woke quickly, punching his arm.
"Pull over." I demanded and he did quickly, I jumped out of the car. I leaned over on the side of the rode and threw up whatever contents of my stomach remained. I felt him pull my hair back and rub my back. Finishing, I stood back up and he handed me a napkin, I wiped my face.
"See why I was telling you to slow down?" he asked and I made a face.
"There's no fun in going slow." I said and he walked back to the car, I heard him sigh though. We got back in the car and he dragged me into the house, up to bed. I felt him undressing me and he denied my sloppy advances, I soon passed out again.
I woke the next morning alone in bed and spread out like a star fish, centered in the middle. I groaned at the hang over but pulled myself out of bed. I made my way down stairs and found Travis sitting in the living room.
"Good morning." he said and I rubbed my head. "Feeling good?" he asked and I made a face sitting beside him.
"I don't even remember most of last night." I said and he nodded.
"Can't imagine why." he said and I sighed, leaning my head back. "Here." he said, handing me his coffee and I chugged it.
"Nasty." I said and he nodded.
"I like it without sugar." he said and I made a face, shaking my head.
"No thank you." I said and got up going to the kitchen. I poured a cup and got the creamer out of the fridge that we had bought, filling my cup with it. He came out into the kitchen as I drank it happily and watched me.
"I've got an a reading to do today, you gonna be alright alone?" he asked and I nodded. "You're not going to get into any trouble?" he asked and I sighed.
"I'm old enough to take care of myself." I muttered and he looked at me. "As long as there isn't any shots around." I said and he nodded.
"Well there's no booze in the house but beer so I think we're fine." he said and I nodded, drinking my coffee. "You really can't drink like that Len, it's not good for you." he said.
"You never drank like that?" I asked.
"Yeah I did and I remember where it left me, I'm just trying to save you some trouble." he said and I laughed.
"Didn't Kate warn you that I don't listen to advice?" I asked, putting my cup down and he nodded.
"Yeah, she did." he said and I smiled.
"Listen to her." I replied and walked out, heading upstairs to take a shower. When I came out, Travis was changed and looked handsome as well as smelled good. "Do you have to leave?" I asked, straightening his collar and he smiled, I kissed him.
"Yeah." he said but I kissed him again, kissing down his neck. "Don't." he whispered and I laughed quietly.
"Don't what?" I asked, nibbling on his earlobe and he groaned, placing his hands on my back.
"You know what you're doing." he said and I pulled him towards the bed, we fell over it. We made out, I wrapped my legs around his waist and pulled him tighter to me. "I'm gonna be late." he said and I shrugged.
"So?" I asked and he sighed but I knew he wouldn't be leaving any time soon.
Chapter 24
We had been in California for a week and I had started missing home. California was great, the weather was nice and the people just as nice but it wasn't Australia. I missed Stephanie, missed my job, missed my family and missed my bed. It was late that night as I stared up at the ceiling thinking and listening to his steady breathing as he slept. I looked over and studied his calm face. I knew he wanted me to stay with him, I knew he thought I'd be fine there but I didn't want to be there anymore. I was a homebody and being so far from home for the first time was killing me. I rolled on my side, tucking my hands beneath my head and watched him. I fell asleep watching him and woke when I felt him getting out of bed.
"Hey." I said, rubbing my eyes and rolling on my back, he glanced at me as he headed to the
toilet.
"Hey." he said and disappeared into the bathroom, I yawned as I stretched. He came back in after a couple minutes and laid back in bed.
"I think I want to go home." I said and the room was silent for a minute, I looked over at him to make sure he was awake. His blue eyes were focused on my face and I held his gaze.
"Home?" he asked and I nodded.
"Yeah, I miss it." I said.
"Oh." he replied and then rolled on his back, I sighed.
"I like being with you but..." I trailed off.
"You want to be home." he said and I nodded.
"Yeah." I replied and he sighed, rubbing his eyes.
"That's fine, I can buy you a ticket." he said. I pulled myself up on my elbow and looked at him, he looked over at me.
"Are you mad?" I asked and he shrugged.
"Not mad I guess, just frustrated." he said and I ran my finger down his tan arm.
"I never promised forever." I said and he nodded.
"I know, just thought more than a week." he said and I smiled, kissing his shoulder.
"I'm sorry." I said and he looked at me again.
"It's alright." he said and I laid my face on his shoulder, closing my eyes.
---
It was a couple days later and I was standing in the doorway of his house, saying good bye to him. He thought it better if he didn't go, he didn't want to cause a scene and knew I didn't want to be involved with paparazzi. He stroked my face and I leaned into his palm.
"I love you." I said and he smiled at me though his eyes showed sadness.
"I love you." he replied and kissed me. Pulling back, I looked into his eyes and grabbed his hand, pulling it away from my shoulder.
"This isn't me breaking up with you, you know that right?" I asked and he nodded.
"Yeah." he replied. "Just not sure how it's going to work with me here and you there." he said and I sighed, kissing his palm.
"We'll figure it out. Whatever is meant to be will be." I said and kissed him again, I felt an arm around my waist as he held me there for a minute. "I love you." I said again and he squeezed me tight for a minute, not letting go.
"I love you." he whispered and pulling back, I swear I saw tears in his eyes but turned to go to the awaiting SUV. I got in as the driver put my suitcase and back pack in the back. I shut the door, rolling down the window and waved at him, he waved back at me. As the car pulled away, I felt my heart breaking and my brain telling me to go back, to run back to him. But I knew even if I did, I'd always have a want to return home, that I'd never be happy in California. Instead, I settled in my seat, stared out at the passing scenery and tried to block my thoughts of him alone in the house. 
Chapter 25
It was the night after she had left. Travis walked through the house when the car had gone, looking in each room silently and studying them as though it was the first time he had seen them. It was, the first time he had seen them without her in the four walls that she had decorated so warmly, the house spoke of her memory now and it was painful without her with him. He grabbed a beer and went on the back deck, sitting on the patio chair. He sat there for hours, watching the sunset and thinking on her, wondering how long they could keep up their relationship when they were so far apart.
----
I was laid out on the porch, on a lounge chair and soaking up the sun rays. Summer was waning down and I was enjoying every last ray of sun I could. I had been home for two weeks and those two weeks were an adjustment, not waking up to Travis. Even when we had been in Australia, I would sleep at his side like a loyal dog and loved waking up to his face beside me. Now when I
opened my eyes in the morning, there was nothing there but the empty reminder that we were thousand of miles apart. I had snagged his Dickies' t-shirt before I left and slept in it every night, his scent had started to fade from it sadly. We texted, called and video chatted a lot, abnormally. Above all we were best friends and with best friends, you want to tell them everything, the same case with us.
"Hey," Stephanie said as she slid open the back door and came out, throwing her beach bag on the porch. I glanced up and smiled.
"Hey." I said and she sighed, removing her shirt to reveal her hot pink pinstriped bikini. She laid on the chair beside me and sighed happily in the warm sunlight.
"How you holding up?" she asked.
"Alright. We talked until 3 last night, the conversation just happens so easily. I don't want to hang up." I said.
"I'm surprised you guys do hang up, I thought you fell asleep talking to each other." she said.
"No, sadly. There's such a time difference, it fucks everything up." I said.
"Yeah I bet." she said and fell silent. "He has no want to come home?" she asked.
"I dunno, I think a lot of it is that he hates being home and not having his parent's farm to return to." I said.
"Yeah, that does suck. All his childhood memories were there." she said.
"Yeah." I agreed.
"Well, he can always make more memories with you." she said and I smiled.
"He can but I don't think right now is the right time. He's got a career in America." I said.
"Well I just think if you guys remain separated you're going to fall apart." she said.
"Thanks." I replied.
"No, I'm just being honest. Its hard when you don't have the physical part of the relationship." she said.
"Yeah, I know." I said and sighed. "Can we talk about something else or nothing else?" I asked.
"Yeah, sorry." she said and we fell quiet, enjoying the warm sun rays.
Later, I had gone in the house for a drink and grabbed my cell phone. I had followed a few fan pages on Instagram of his to see what he was up to in public and I saw there was a new photograph with some fans that found him at a local restaurant. I smiled seeing him, he had stubble and looked tired but still happy. He looked as disheveled and crumpled as usually but he could pull it off. I double tapped to like it and moved on, grabbing a couple of waters for us before heading back out. Right now, all I had was Instagram and fleeting video calls, phone calls between us. 
Chapter 26
It had been a long day at work, I had picked up a double shift for someone who had called in last minute and I was happy to reach home. I walked in the house and dropped my stuff on the floor there by the front door.
"Len?" my mom's voice called.
"Yeah mom." I said as I slipped my shoes off and walked into the kitchen. I was faced with a beautiful bouquet of dark red and white roses on the counter.
"These arrived this afternoon for you." she said and pushed them towards me, I took the card.
"And all of the steps that led me to you. And all of the hell I had to walk through. But I wouldn’t trade a day for the chance to say. My love, I’m in love with you." I smiled reading it.
"What does it say love?" my mom asked and I smiled, reading it to her. "Oh you two are disgusting." she said with a wink and I smiled, taking the flowers upstairs to my room. I put the vase on the desk and took the card to my bed, pulling out my cell phone as I laid down with a happy sigh. I texted him a thank you for the flowers and turned my television on, relaxing. As I dozed off, my phone vibrated and I picked it up, squinting in the bright light as I read his reply.
"Didn't write those words but I meant them." he said and I smiled.
"Where did you find them?" I asked.
"It's a song I heard, dunno who but it fit the purpose." he said and I smiled.
"Love you." I said and put my phone down, rolling on my side falling asleep.
I woke up later in the night, my mom had gone to bed and I wandered down stairs to get some late night dinner. As I sat at the table, my phone lit up and I glanced at it, seeing a video call request. I
smiled and accepted, Travis' tired face came into view.
"Hey." he said and I smiled.
"Hey Shakespeare." I said and he laughed.
"Yeah, no. I just thought the words worked out." he said and I smiled.
"They were lovely to come home to." I said.
"Rough day?" he asked and I shrugged, propping the phone up so I could eat.
"Long." I said and he nodded.
"Just got home from rehearsals." he said and I nodded.
"Were they fun?" I asked and he laughed.
"Wouldn't call them fun." he said and I smiled.
"I dunno what they're like." I said and he smiled.
"I like that you don't know anything about Hollywood." he said and I smiled.
"Hey, out of touch and out of date, that's me." I said and he smiled.
"Did you like the flowers?" he asked and I nodded.
"I like the contrast between the red and white." I said and he nodded.
"They're called the Fantasy Bouquet." he said.
"Well then." I said and he smiled.
"I just said to send the most expensive bouquet." he said and I laughed.
"You really don't have to spend that much money on me." I said and he smiled.
"I know but that's why I want to." he said and i shook my head with a smiled.
"You're crazy." I said.
"So you just wake up?" he asked and I nodded. "You probably going to be up for the rest of the night?" he asked and I smiled sheepishly, he knew me well. "Good, you can talk dirty to me while I wank off." he said and I snorted into my cereal.
"If that's what you want, don't know how good at dirty talk I am." I said and he shrugged.
"I just need your face." He said. "And maybe your tits." he finished, his eyes roaming down my chest and I laughed.
"Well then I need to finish my cereal and go upstairs because that would not be a good thing for my mom to walk in on." I said.
"We need to get you your own place, woman." he said and I smiled, drinking my milk. I dumped my bowl in the sink and went back upstairs with the phone. We spent the next hour telling eachother all the things we were going to do when we were finally together and there might've been a little peep show on my end that brought him over the top, but it was well worth it as he let out a satisfied sigh. "Now I can go to sleep." he said and I smiled.
"Well that makes one of us." I said and he came back into view after disappearing to clean himself off.
"Don't worry, I'll take care of you when I come back." he said and I raised my eyebrows.
"You're coming back?" I asked and he stared at me for a minute.
"Yeah, why wouldn't I?" He asked and I smiled.
"Do you know when?" I asked and he shook his head.
"Not yet but really soon." he said and I smiled.
"Well now I can go to sleep." I said and he laughed. I slept well the rest of the night, the first time in a long time.
Chapter 27
The first mistake I made was getting drunk and I feel like that was the catalyst. But in my defense, I was working on the notion that we were in an understanding still about our relationship and whenever loneliness came on our doorstep. Apparently we weren't. My second mistake was doing the act, having it happen and enjoying it I suppose. But my biggest mistake was the next morning. I don't know why I told him but I didn't understand that it was wrong. There was a quiet silence afterwards and I suddenly felt my heartbeat pick up. Sometimes silence was the absolute worst thing you could have happen.
"Hello?" I asked.
"Yeah, I'm here." He said and I stared out the window, watching the rain falling against the glass.
"Are you...are you mad?" I asked, biting on my nail and waiting. He sighed and I knew that was not a happy sigh.
"Not happy." He said and I shook my head to myself.
"I don't...understand? I thought that's what we agreed to?" I asked.
"We did but that was before, I thought that had fallen through since." He said.
"Oh my god Trav, this is just one big misunderstanding, please believe me." I said. "I would never have done it if I thought it'd upset you." I said.
"Yeah I know." he said.
"So...we're good?" I asked.
"I guess. I can't be mad at you." he said and I sat on my bed, laying back.
"Travis, I'd rather you ten million times over than any other person in this world." I said. "You just haven't been here in months and it gets lonely." I said.
"I get that I guess." He said and then paused again. "Look I gotta go now but we'll talk later." he said.
"Okay." I said and we hung up, not even an I love you.I dropped my phone on the bed and covered my eyes. I groaned to myself and rolled on my side in the fetal position. I dialed Stephanie's phone number and waited through the rings.
"Hello?" she asked.
"I was wrong when I said we had an agreement." I said and she gasped.
"No way." she said. "He's mad at you?" she asked and I sighed.
"He won't say it but I can tell." I said and she groaned.
"Oh Len, I'm sorry. I thought you said you had given him permission and that made you have permission?" she asked me.
"Yeah I thought so too but he said he thought that had fallen through since." I said.
"Oh no, I'm sorry." she repeated.
"Me too, he says he'll call me later but I dunno." I said.
"Well until then do you want me to take you out?" she asked and I smiled. Its why I loved her, she was such good friend and would drop whatever the hell she was doing whenever I needed me, I would do the same for her.
"Yeah, I think so." I said.
"I'll be there in five." she said and I smiled.
"Thanks." I said.
"Absolutely." she said and hung up, I sighed as I laid for a moment longer. I pulled myself out of bed and went to my closet to change. I grabbed my phone as I walked out of the bedroom and down to the front hall, opening the front door as the bell rang. "hey." she said, giving me a big hug and taking my hand, leading me down to her car. I followed her, getting in and put my feet up on the dashboard, leaning my head back. "Let's go get drunk." she said.
"Ohhh no, I don't want to do that again." I said and she laughed.
"Alright, high?" she asked and I smiled.
"Fuck yes." I said and she smiled, nodding in agreement. The rest of the night after we landed at our destination was a blur, a really hazy and happy blur that I know I enjoyed greatly. There was no sex involved, as much as I would've loved it but I refused to do it again to him. Instead I ended up crashing somewhere and when I woke, I was very confused as well as sober. I pulled myself up from the couch and looked around, trying to recognize it. I saw Stephanie asleep in the arm chair and realized then we were at her place. I went to the bathroom and sat down, holding my head.
"You alright?" she asked as she knocked on the door.
"Yeah, yeah, just need water." I said.
"Got some bottles out here." she said and I finished up, washing my hands. I walked out and grabbed a water bottle from her, leaning on the counter. "Your phones been lighting up like crazy this morning." she said and I nodded, grabbing it. Apparently I was aware enough to plug it into the charger and I pressed the home button. Texts and two missed calls from Travis showed up as well as my mom. I opened his texts first.
"I tried calling but you didn't answer, call me back." was the first one and then "Guess you're busy, just calling to say good night. Love you." and I smiled at that one. I called my mom back to let her know I wasn't dead in the gutters and then called Travis as I sat back down on the couch.
"Hey." his voice came over the line and I smiled again.
"Hey, sorry, I was out with Stephanie last night and you must've called when we crashed." I said. "Crashed?" He asked.
"Yeah, we had a little misery party last night because I was so upset about what happened." I said and he sighed.
"You didn't have to have a misery party, it was a miscommunication." he said.
"I know but still." I replied.
"Well I'm glad you're alright, thought something had happened." he said and I laughed.
"You sound like my mom." I said.
"Well I guess I must care about you like she does." He said.
"Guess." I replied.
"So I'll be home next week." he said and a smile flew to my face.
"Will you?" I asked.
"I will." he said and I squealed, like a teen ager meeting One Direction. He laughed.
"I can't tell you how fucking excited I am." I said.
"Well good but I'm only coming home on one condition." he said.
"What?" I asked.
"You and I are going to find a place for you to live beside your moms." he said and I smiled.
"Fine, fine." I agreed. "It was a nice free ride." I said and he laughed.
"Yeah, if we're going to be making a life together, I gotta get you to be a bit more responsible." he said.
"A life together?" I asked.
"Well yeah, that's obviously happening, right?" he asked and I smiled.
"Obviously." I said, trying to remain as calm as he was.
"Good. So the day after I come home, you and I along with a real estate agent are going to find a home." he said.
"Whoa, whoa, I can't afford a home on my cafe paycheck." I said and he sighed.
"Len, obviously I'm buying the house but you're going to live in it." he said.
"How is that going to make me more responsible?" I asked.
"Well you're going to have to buy groceries and keep it clean, aren't you? While I'm away?" he asked.
"Wait, wait, wait." I said shaking my head. "So why are you buying the house?" I asked and he sighed.
"Can I video chat you? This is annoying to do over the phone." he said.
"Yeah, yeah." I agreed and we hung up, I waited. The request came through and I answered it, smiling when I saw his face. He laughed and shook his head.
"Every time you get that silly smile on your face." he said and I smiled brighter.
"I can't help it, I love you." I said and he rolled his eyes.
"Anyway, what I'm saying in not so many words and that's probably what's confusing you is this." he said and looked off camera for a moment then back to me. "I am going to buy a house because obviously I can afford to do that and at the moment you can't. You are moving in with me and we are going to live together, I'm relocating back to Australia to be with you." He said and I smiled brighter.
"We're that serious?" I asked and he shrugged.
"It's not about that is it? It's just natural between us and I want to return home to you when I'm done with the insanity of the beast." he said and I couldn't help but coo over it, he rolled his eyes. "Don't make me regret it." he said and I smiled. "I hate living in California, it was good when I
was single but now that I have you, I dunno. I want to come home to you, sleep next to you, wake up next to you and eat breakfast with you. I just want to be with you." he said.
"You're breaking my heart that you're so far away and I can't kiss you." I said and he laughed.
"Let's not get fucking sappy, that wouldn't be us." He said and I smiled.
"True. I am absolutely looking forward to this." I said and he smiled.
"Good, I'll be home next Wednesday and Thursday we'll start looking." He said and I smiled.
"Absofuckinglutely." I agreed. Hanging up I felt higher than I had felt the night before and couldn't believe the way we were progressing. He was right, it wasn't like we had some time line, that we were trying to compete with everyone else or trying to fit into a mold. It just happened naturally, it felt natural between us and even with fuck ups, it still felt like there wasn't another soul in the world that could make us as happy. I was just surprised I found him so close to home and so handsome. I was damn fucking lucky.
Chapter 28
I picked Travis up from the airport when he arrived and parked the car in the garage when I
arrived at my mom’s home. I climbed over the console and into his lap, he laughed. I kissed him passionately and he held my ass as we made out. I let my lips run down his stubbled jaw, down his neck and I heard him groan quietly as my lips grazed over whatever skin they could find. I kissed his lips again and then pulled back, a smile on my face.

“So happy you’re home.” I said and he laughed, we hugged. “But I gotta get out, I’m getting a cramp.” I said and he opened the door, guiding me out before climbing out with me. He grabbed his bag out of the back of my car and we walked into the hall from the garage. “You hungry?” I asked as I opened the fridge and looked inside. I felt his hands on my hips and I smiled as he leaned over me, kissing my back where the tank top didn’t cover.

“Not for anything you’d find in the fridge.” He whispered and I turned, wrapping my arms around his neck. We kissed passionately, he pushed me against the fridge and I could feel his hunger, his need in his body as it pressed against in mine.

“Oh for Christ’s sake.” My mom’s voice came and he was off me quicker than he had been on me.

“Mom.” I said and she rolled her eyes, putting her empty cup in the sink. “Travis is back.” I said and she looked to him, I saw him smile at her but clearly embarrassed.

“Travis, good to see you but that’s about I want to see of you.” She said and I rolled my eyes.
“Let’s not be making babies in my kitchen.” She said and I sighed.

“Mom, it’s called sex. You can say it.” I said and went back to the fridge, pulling out left overs from dinner. I put them in the microwave and heated them up.

“So how long are you back for Travis?” she asked and he shrugged.

“A while, I don’t have any projects that I can’t do from home.” He said and she nodded.

“Well that’ll keep my daughter from being so moody.” She said and I glared a there. “Oh no, I guess not.” She replied and left the kitchen, I shook my head. I pulled the food out of the microwave and pulled two plates out, dishing the food out. We sat down at the table and dug in, he was clearly hungry. As I ate, I felt his eyes on me and I looked up.

“So tomorrow we’ll start house searching?” he asked and I laughed, nodding.

“I think it’s best.” I said and he smiled, we finished up eating. I dumped the plates in the sink and led Travis upstairs to my room.

“You sure about this?” he asked.

“What?? You’re taking a nap, you’re tired from that flight.” I said and started taking his shirt off. He helped me and then I unbuckled his jeans, unbuttoning them and taking those down as well. I flipped over the bedspread and motioned for him to get in. He got in and I put the bedspread on top of him. I leaned down and kissed him. “Sleep.” I said and I saw him try to fight it but he knew I was right, I quietly left the room.
The next morning we headed out to do some house hunting and I was looking forward to it, I had never been before. We met up with a real estate agent who he had contacted when in California and she drove us 2 hours to Melbourne as there were better options there. We saw a few houses that were more modern looking, a couple of townhouses and last on her last was the one I fell in love with. It was a Victorian style house and I wanted it the moment we pulled up but I didn't say anything, I wanted Travis to make the decision. She led us through, a lot of it had been updated but it still had the same features it would've back in the day. Ending back in the hall, Travis looked at me and I stared at him.
"What do you think?" he finally asked and I shrugged.
"It's nice." I said and he sighed.
"You've said that about all the houses before, you've gotta have a better opinion." He said and I smiled.
"I love it but I didn't want to say that because I wanted it to be your decision." I stated.
"Why? We're both living here." he replied, stroking his stubble as he looked around the house and nodded. "Yeah, you're right, out of all of them, this is the best. Doesn't have a lot of land but I like it." He said and I smiled. "We'll take this one." he said and the real estate agent looked both thrilled as well as relieved, I don't think she had any hope in this one being the one we chose. They got down to brass tacks and talking over the price while I explored the house. The yard had been let go but I was excited to do it up. My dad had a green thumb and I had inherited the talent. As I stood in the back yard, the door opened and I looked behind me, smiling seeing Travis coming out."Well, we are officially home owners." He said, jingling the keys and I laughed.
"You are." I said and he shook his head.
"No, I put your name on the lease." he said and my eyebrows shot up.
"What? Why would you do that?" I asked and he shrugged, putting the keys in his pocket.
"Why not? Pretty sure I'm going to be stuck with you for the rest of my life." He said and I laughed, shaking my head.
"You are crazy Mr. Fimmel, do you know that?" I asked and he smiled, leaning down to kiss me.
"You only drive me crazier." he replied and I laughed.
"God help the world." I said and he smiled, we stood in our back yard, admiring it weeds and all. 
Chapter 29
It was Travis' 40th birthday. We had been together on and off for two years, we were now officially living together. I had planned a quiet get together with friends at the house, knowing his personality and knowing he wouldn't want any big party. I made the cake myself, trying my best with the food and my mom came by to help me as well knowing my talent in the kitchen. Travis had gone out for a drink with his mates' and I had instructed them to be back by 5:30. I had just set the last thing on the table when I heard the car pulling up and I glanced out the window, smiling as they gave him a rough time as they walked up the front walk. They didn't let Travis' fame go to his head and still treated him like the same old daft kid he had always been. They came in and I met them in the hall.
"Did you guys have fun?" I asked and they all nodded, saying hello to me. "The foods' ready and on the table." I said pointing behind me and they moved into the dining room where their girlfriends/wives were. I looked to Travis and smiled as I walked closer. "They didn't get you too drunk, did they?" I asked, resting my hands on his shoulders and he smiled, shaking his head.
"I like to think I can handle my alcohol now." he said and I smiled, kissing him.
"Well c'mon, I've got the food ready." I said, taking his hand and leading him into the dining room. He pulled back on my hand and I looked at him. "What's wrong?" I asked and he smiled, shaking his head.
"Nothing." he said, pulling me into him and kissing me passionately. "I just missed you." He said and I smiled, returning the kiss. "Can we skip dinner?" he asked and I laughed.
"I'd say yes if I didn't work so hard on it." I replied and his eyebrows raised, a smile on his face as we walked in.
"You made this?" he asked, looking at the spread. "Guys, be careful, she made it." he said and I slapped him, he laughed. He pulled my seat out for me and I sat down, he kissed the top of my head then took his seat. We all served ourselves and then I stood.
"I'm going to attempt a speech but probably will end up fucking it royally." I said and sighed. "I may not have known this guy as long as you all have but being with him for two years has enlightened me to things about him. He's a very humble guy, a very intelligent guy, a very loyal guy but he is also a very messy guy." I said and he laughed. "Travis, when I first met you I hated you but you won me over and you keep winning me over every day. I love you, happy birthday." I said, raising my glass and all his mates cheered in agreement, raising their glasses. I sat back down and drank from my cup, winking at Travis. The dinner came out pretty good, surprisingly to me and I brought the cake out with candles. I put it in front of him.
"Wait a minute! There's only four candles on that cake!" someone shouted.
"He's way older than that!" someone else shouted and I laughed.
"Yeah well I didn't want to light the house on fire." I said and smiled at Travis, he shook his head but with a smile. Knowing he hated having Happy Birthday sung to him, we skipped it, he thought, made a mental wish and blew the candles out.
It was hours later, everyone had gone home after helping clean up and we were sitting in the back yard beneath the stars, beers in hand.
"That was really nice." Travis said, his hand resting on his stomach and I smiled.
"I'm glad, I was trying not to go too over the top." I said.
"You did good." he said and I smiled.
"Yay." I replied and he laughed, we fell silent as we looked at the sky. I looked over at him and he soon met my gaze.
"What?" He asked and I shrugged.
"Nothing, I just can't believe that your forty and I can't believe we've been together for 2 years." I said and he smiled, nodding.
"Tell me about it. I'm feeling the age in my bones." he said and I snorted.
"Please, you can outdo me in anything." I said and he smiled.
"I don't know, pretty soon you're going to have to fuck me because I won't be able to fuck you. I'll be too old." he said and I made a face at him. He took my hand, running his fingers over it and sighed. "I used to hate the thought of being forty." he said.
"Really? I didn't think guys cared." I said and he shrugged.
"It wasn't the age, it was my accomplishments." he said.
"Accomplishments? You've done more than a lot of people have at 80." I replied.
"Yeah but not everything I wanted to." He said and I studied him.
"What haven't you done? I've never known you to hold back." I said and he looked at me. I could see the words in his mind, could see the thought behind his eyes but he only smiled a time.
"It doesn't matter, let's just enjoy tonight." he said and looked back up at the stars, I stared at him for a moment then turned my eyes back to the heavens as well. I hated words unsaid and even more when they were unsaid by him.
Chapter 30
We had gone to visit one of his friends at the beach, where they owned a house and were enjoying the weather on the sand. I had a deep love of the sea since I was a kid and it never ended, I loved being in the water. Travis stayed up on the beach more, underneath the umbrella with a beer in his hand and talking to his friends. I hung out with Clare and her son, laughing at his antics.
"So have you thought of settling down with Leni?" Xavier, Travis' friend, asked and Travis shrugged his shoulders, drinking his beer.
"Yeah but she's young." he said.
"But you're not." Xavier replied and Travis glanced at him then back at the ocean.
"I don't know." He said and Xavier nodded, quieting down about it.
---
I was sat on the blanket beside Travis and Freddie, Xavier's son, who had taken a liking to me.
We were eating lunch and I was enjoying a cold beer.
"You have fun?" he asked, glancing at me and I smiled.
"Yeah, it's been a while since I've been to the beach." I said and Travis nodded.
"Glad to help." He said and I smiled, returning to my salad.
Later, Xavier, Clare, Freddie and Francesca headed up to grab some ice cream, leaving us alone. I laid back on the blanket, tucking my towel beneath my head and closed my eyes, sighing.
"I love you." he said and I looked over at him, squinting in the sun.
"I love you." I said and he smiled. "Travis, is everything alright?" I asked, shading my eyes with my hand and he nodded.
"Yeah." he said and I studied him for a minute, then closed my eyes again. If he wasn't going to bring it up, I wasn't going to push it. I was enjoying the day too much and didn't want to ruin it by forcing things to be said that he wouldn't normally say to me.
---
I was in bed later that night, watching television, I had left Travis down on the deck with Xavier sharing a beer and looked to the door as I heard footsteps creeping up the stairs. The door pushed open and Travis entered, he smiled at me.
"You're awake." he said, undressing and I nodded.
"Yeah, feel tired but I don't know." I said and he got into bed beside me, tucking an arm behind his head. We sat in silence for a few minutes, watching rerun episodes of The Office on Netflix and then I sighed. "I feel like you're hiding something." I said, looking at him and he looked at me.
"Yeah?" he asked and I nodded. "Sorry." He said and I rolled my eyes.
"Travis, we've been together for two years, it's impossible for me not to read you." I said. "What's going on?" I asked and he sighed, shaking his head. "Don't tell me nothing again." I said and he sighed again.
"Look, turning forty this year was an eyeopener for me." he started, scratching his beard. "I realized that I'm not getting younger and though I've accomplished a lot of stuff, I haven't done a lot of what I want to." he said.
"What do you have left?" I asked and he looked at me.
"A family." he said.
"Ah." I said, as all the pieces all fell in line and it all made sense to me. Why he acted the way he did on his birthday, why he had been introverted since and his hesitation to tell me.
"But I don't know if you're ready for that, you're still young and I don't want to tie you down if you think you're not ready." he said and I stared at him. I laughed and shook my head. "What?" he asked and I sighed this time. I put my hand out to stroke his face and leaned in kissing his lips.
"I have lists of things I haven't accomplished yet, tons of things." I said.
"Oh." he replied and I could hear the disappointment in his voice.
"But they all include you." I said and he glanced at me, searching my eyes to see if I was lying. "Before I met you, I had these dreams, these things I wanted to do but as I kept running into you, as we started becoming more, I realized you were supposed to be in my way. You were put there for a reason, what good are these things that I do if I don't have someone beside me to enjoy them?" I asked and he smiled. "And honestly, you're the only one I've ever put in that position in my mind and not panicked about." I said and he laughed.
"So at your age, you're willing to accept me as your only sexual partner?" he asked and I laughed.
"Babe, you are more than enough for me. I can't handle you sometimes." I said and he smiled. "I love you Travis, I know you think I just say it to make you feel good when you say it to me but I fucking love you." I said and he smiled.
"I'll make sure every item gets checked off on your bucket list." he said and I smiled.
"I know you will." I replied and we kissed again. Falling asleep that night, I couldn't help the smile on my face. I had never thought the secrets he was keeping were good secrets and it was a relief to know.
Chapter 31
We were back home again, tanned and happy from the beach. I was unpacking in the bedroom when Travis entered.
“Hey.” He said and I smiled.
“Hey,” I replied as he sat on the bed.
“So I got two tickets for the AVP MBO.” He said, holding them up and waving them in the air. I looked at him and shook my head.
“I have no idea what that is,” I said and he smiled.
“It’s a volleyball tournament in Manhattan.” He said and I nodded.
“Sounds riveting,” I said and he laughed, I put stuff away in the drawers.
“So I take it you’re not interested?” he asked and I shrugged.
“Not really,” I replied and he nodded. “Why are you?” I asked.
“Kinda.” He said and I nodded.
“Well then go,” I said.
“Without you?” he asked.
“Why not?” I asked and he sighed, looking back at the tickets in his hand.
“I dunno thought it’d be fun to take you to California again.” He said and I smiled.
“Appreciate it but not really looking to travel right now,” I said.
“I thought you wanted to travel?” he asked and I sighed, standing up as I rested my hands on my hips.
“Yeah, I am but to more exotic places, not to California,” I said and he nodded.
“Oh.” He replied.
“Travis, take one of your buddies and go,” I said.
“I guess.” He said and left the room, I returned to packing.
He had scavenged someone to go with him, they lived in California so it was easier and I was soon back to packing for him, trying to make sure he didn’t look like a complete vagabond.
“You’re going to put my stylist out of a job.” He said and I laughed.
“No, I’m not. I can’t match ties and shoes or whatever it is.” I said and he smiled. I closed up the bag, we had come to an agreement that the orange bag stayed but only if I packed it for him.
“You sure I can’t convince you?” he said and I laughed, shaking my head.
“Really, you can’t,” I said.
“What are you going to do while I’m gone?” he asked.
“Dunno, probably meet up with Stephanie, go to my old stomping grounds,” I said sitting beside him on the bed and he nodded.
“Sounds good. Don’t get yourself into too much trouble.” He said and I smiled.
“Where’s the fun in that?” I asked and he made a face at me.
“Well, I meant more your kind of fun.” He said and I smiled, kissing him.
“Oh C'mon, you wouldn’t be with me if I didn’t get into my kind of fun,” I said and kissed him again, he wrapped an arm around me.
The next morning he was off back to America and I was on my way to my mom’s house, to spend some time with everyone.
Stephanie and I had hit up the café where I used to work, where she still worked. Saying a hello to
Erick, we sat down at a table with our coffee and tea, taking in the passerby's out the window.
“So you guys doing alright?” she asked and I glanced at her, nodding.
“I think so,” I said.
“Kinda weird that he went without you.” She said and I shrugged.
“Not really. I had no interest in volleyball.” I said and she smiled.
“Yeah, I get that. You’re not worried about the girls he’ll meet there?” she asked.
“If I worry about every girl he ever meets, we’re not going to go very far,” I said and she nodded.
“I guess. I would just be nervous with a guy that handsome and that famous.” She said.
“I don’t think about how famous he is, it surprises me sometimes when we’re out and people recognize him. I don’t know, it’s not that big of a deal for me.” I said.
“Yeah, guess not. You were the one that was giving him an open relationship.” She said. “I was.” I agreed with a nod and took a sip of my coffee. “What about you? When are you going to settle down?” I asked and she laughed.
“Gotta find the right guy first and we’re not all as lucky as you Len.” She said and I smiled.
“I did get lucky, that’s for sure,” I said and she rolled her eyes.
I woke up randomly in the morning, early before the sun was out and sighed, rolling on my back in my old bed. I knew it was because he wasn’t beside me sleeping but there was no cure for that. I grabbed my phone and went on my Instagram account. Immediately a picture of him popped up with one girl and then two more, I smiled. He looked happy but he also looked really fucking tired from the flight. I scrolled down, seeing friends and family’s photos, the same pictures of him kept popping up. I locked my phone and got up, knowing I wouldn’t sleep. I went downstairs and made coffee, sitting at the island waiting.
“Saw your pictures on Instagram, you’re looking old.” I texted him. As I drank my coffee, my phone went off and I turned it over.
“You’re sounding jealous.” He replied and I Laughed.
“Jealous? I’ve got nothing to be jealous of.” I replied and continued to look through the magazine, drinking my coffee. My phone went off again.
“You’re jealous of my baby blues, admit it.” He said and I laughed. It was the one feature he got compliments on a regular and it usually would elicit an eye roll from him when done off camera. I made sure to compliment him on them as often as I could just to drive him crazy.
“More jealous of those girls that get to be beside you,” I replied.
“You know I’d rather you than them.” He said and I smiled.
“Duh but still,” I said.
“Hey gave you the option.” He said.
“Yeah, yeah. Enjoying the time at home though.” I replied.
“Good, don’t enjoy it too much, I want you to miss me.” He said.
“Obviously,” I replied.
“Can I call you?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I replied, taking my phone and going outside so it wouldn’t wake anyone up. It rang as I hit the porch and I shivered in the cool air, answering it. “Hey,” I said.
“Hey.” He replied and I smiled, hearing his voice was nice. “So my agent said I have some stuff to handle in LA before I head back to you, is that alright?” he asked.
“Well it has to be, doesn’t it?” I asked, feeling my heart drop a bit.
“No, if you’re not alright with it, I’ll see if there are ways around it.” He said and I smiled.
“No, babe, it’s work, you gotta do it. I’ll still be here when you get back.” I said.
“It won’t be much longer.” He said.
“Ah so the lust for Australia remains,” I said and he laughed.
“Yeah, I’d love to get work there.” He said.
“You should.’ I replied.
“Easier said than done, haven’t been offered anything.” He replied.
“Or you haven’t tried?” I asked.
“No, I’ve tried, just nothing’s come up.” He said.
“I feel like it’d be going backward in your career,” I said.
“How?” he asked.
“Well most actors consider they’re career peaked when they hit the big screens in America and you’ve done that, so coming back here will be like retirement,” I said and he laughed. “No, not for me.” He said and I smiled. “I can stay home then and not have to constantly leave you.” He said.
“True, I’d like that,” I replied.
“Course you would.” He said and I rolled my eyes.
“Aren’t we full of ourselves,” I said and he laughed.
“No, definitely not.” He replied and I smiled.
“Well, I miss you,” I said.
“Yeah, I miss you too. It’s lonely here.” He said.
“Same here, can’t sleep through the night,” I said.
“You don’t sleep anyway.” He replied.
“But I sleep better when you’re next to me,” I said and he laughed.
“Well, I’ll be there soon enough.” He said and I smiled.
“I hope so,” I replied. 
Chapter 32
I make a lot of mistakes when drunk, so much so that I should be disallowed to drink alcohol. This was a shared mistake but it still didn’t make it a good one. Stephanie and I had gone out drinking like the old days, it had been a while since I got plastered. Unfortunately, our point A and point B were a few miles apart, so we had to drive. Neither of us was in any state to drink but we both were filled with booze confidence, Stephanie took the wheel. She drove below the speed limit but at some point, someone got behind us as well as in front of us. She started getting nervous with how close the car behind her was getting and sped up a bit. Suddenly, the car in front of us braked and Stephanie slammed on the brakes, my head slammed on the dashboard, that was the last thing I remembered. I woke up next to laying down and bright lights illuminating the night sky. “Miss, can you hear me?” a voice asked and I blinked again, my head was throbbing. “Don’t try to turn your head, you were in an accident, we’re going to take you to the hospital and check you out.” The voice said again.
“Stephanie?” I asked.
“Your friend is fine, minor scrapes and bruises but you weren’t wearing your seat belt, you hit your head pretty hard. Just relax, we’ll get you there.” The voice said again and I felt the stretcher being loaded into the ambulance.
It was four hours later and I had been fully checked out, coming out with a slight concussion but they still wanted to observe me. My mom had been waiting at the hospital and she came into the room when she was cleared to.
“Hey.” She said with a smile as she entered and I smiled back. “How you feeling?” she asked.
“Alright, a bit of soreness but nothing other than that,” I said and she nodded. “Have you seen
Stephanie?” I asked and she shook her head.
“She called to make sure you were alright but I think she’s feeling a bit bad.” She said.
“It was both our mistake,” I said.
“I’d say, what were you thinking? Getting in the car with someone who was drunk while you have drunk yourself?” she asked and I sighed.
“I wasn’t obviously.” I said and she pursed her lips, in the normal, I disapprove of your decisions
in life.
“I called Travis.” She said.
“Oh Christ Mom, why would you do that?” I asked.
“I’m sorry but I think he deserved to know.” She said and I sighed.
“Mom, he’s going to get upset and try to fly home early,” I said. “Where is my mobile?” I asked and she sighed, digging it out of her purse. She handed it to me and I unlocked it. I called his number.
“Leni?” he asked.
“Hi Travis, I’m just calling to let you know I’m fine, just a bit of soreness,” I said.
“What the hell were you thinking?” he asked and I was taken aback, I wasn't expecting him to be mad.
“What?” I asked.
“What the hell were you thinking? You knew she was drunk and that you were drunk. Why would you get in the car and drive?” he demanded.
“Travis, I’m fine, she’s fine, it’s fine,” I said.
“You don’t get it, do you Leni? It might not have been fine, you might not be getting off so easily.” He said.
“Whoa, you’re sounding like my mom Travis, calm down,” I said.
“Calm down? I’m over here in the States and I’ve got your mom calling me to tell me you were in a drunk driving accident. Do you know what that’s like? Being twenty-four hours away and not being able to see you?” he exclaimed.
“Travis, I’m calling you to let you know I’m fine! I don’t need the fucking speech.” I said and he laughed but it wasn’t a happy laugh. It was more of a parental laugh.
“You’re ridiculous. Leni, it could’ve been so much worse but you’re just shrugging it off. When are you going to grow up?” he asked and I paused, shocked by his reaction.
“Grow up? Travis, this was one stupid mistake, it’s not like I do this all the fucking time!” I shouted.
“Once is more than enough.” He said.
“Whatever. Look, I just called to let you know I’m fine but I’m not staying on the line to hear you give me a speech I’ve already got from my mom.” I said and hung up. “Stupid wanker,” I said, tossing the phone to the end of the bed and looked at my mom. “Don’t, really,” I said and she sighed, shrugging.
“Well, you’re only getting upset because you know he’s right.” She said and I rolled my eyes.
“I think I need more sleep,” I said and she was quiet for a minute.
“I’ll be back later, I love you.” She said and kissed my forehead, leaving the room. I wasn’t mad at Travis for caring, my mom was right, I knew what an idiot I was and having him call me out on it sucked. That was what my mom, my dad was for, not Travis. But he was still right. 
Chapter 33
They released me from the hospital the next morning, my tests had all come back negative and my mom brought me back to her house, making sure I was resting. Travis hadn’t tried to contact me again and I didn’t try to contact him. I was not used to his anger, it had never shown towards me and so I didn’t know how to react to it. I wasn’t sure if I should make the first move or if I just let him blow some steam.
My mom and I were sat in the dining room, eating lunch. She had taken time off to take care of me for a bit and I think she was enjoying it more than she would show.
“Haven’t heard from Travis,” I said as I ate and she glanced up at me.
“I have.” She said and I looked up at her.
“Have you?” I asked and she nodded.
“He called yesterday and today to check on you.” She replied.
“Why wouldn’t he just call me?” I asked and she shrugged.
“I think he’s probably still mad at you.” She said and I sighed.
“Why? It’s not like I did anything to him.” I said.
“Leni, he cares about you and putting yourself in danger is going to upset him.” She said and I stared at her. “If your father, even now, ever did what you did, I’d be irate at him as well.” She said.
“Really?” I asked. My parent’s divorce was a bit messy but they had mellowed out in later years.
"Yes really. I think you don't realize how much he cares for you," she said, clearing the dishes and I sighed.
"I do, I know he loves me but I didn't think it would upset him this much that he won't even talk to me," I replied and she shrugged, doing the washing.
"That's something you need to discuss with him. Have you tried calling him?" she asked and I
went to the counter, drying the dishes.
"No, I don't know what to say to him," I said and she glanced at me.
"An apology would be the first thing," she said. "Then I would think he'd like to hear you say that you'll never do something as stupid as that again," she replied.
"Well, I can't promise that. I'm full of stupid ideas," I said and she rolled her eyes.
"Leni, he is forty this year. He has started thinking about settling down and you apparently and for some reason are the one he wants to settle down with. He needs to know that you're not going to continue doing these very stupid and very dangerous things like that whenever he's away. He's your boyfriend, not your parent and it isn't his job to chase you around, watching you." she said. "It's time to grow up and assess if being with him is something you're willing to sacrifice all those stupid ideas for." she finished as she rinsed the final dishes and turned the water off. "It's up to you," she said and left me standing there, still drying dishes.

 

Chapter 34
I spent the next three days without Travis contemplating my life, figuring out what I wanted truly. I was only 22 and I wasn't sure if I was ready to settle down with him, settle down with a 40 year old. All the things I wanted to do, he had already done them and without me, made memories without me. There were 40 years that he had made without me and I'd be playing the catch up game. I loved him, don't get me wrong but there was something about falling in love with a man that was nearly 20 years your senior. Especially one that was famous, a world I would never understand nor did I ever want to. I had stood in the shine of that light for a brief moment and it was harsh, I didn't like it. I'd have to share him with the rest of the world, there would always be another part of him that I would never understand or never get to see. It was the side he'd show to the fans, to the cameras and to the public. Then he'd come home and settle back into the life that had gone on without him while he was across the seas. And then there was always the question of children. I knew he wanted them, I knew I wanted them but I didn't know how soon I wanted them. I had someone tell me once, albeit a bit drunk, that kids should never be rushed, that they were like a fine wine and when you had aged properly, they were a blessing. Anytime before that it was a hassle and hardship to truly enjoy them. I didn't want to do that to our kids, never mind myself nor Travis. I wanted to enjoy our life together and I wasn't sure if where I was now would prevent that. He didn't try to call me, it made it easier to see the darker side, to see the end of the relationship and to try to understand that sometimes people come together for brief moments just to make a sparkle, make a shine in the night sky. Then they go their separate ways.
He was home. He texted me and told me he was back home in Melbourne. He wanted to see me but I was nervous. Of course I told him yes, told him I was still at my mom's and he said he was driving the two hours to come get me for lunch. I waited patiently on the couch, watching television and chewing on my nails. I had used my make up to cover the bruises and scratches the best I could from the accident but it hadn't been very useful, it was still a bit painful to touch them. The door bell rang and I stood, inhaling slowly. I smoothed down my top, taking a moment to compose myself and then went to the door, opening it. He stood there encased in the afternoon sun, his beard had begun to grow back in, he had his usual ball cap on and a plaid blue shirt over a white t-shirt with his jeans, sandals. His blue eyes studied me as though they weren't sure they were seeing the same person, like I had changed since he had been gone. I saw his eyes run over the places where the bruises and scratches were, pausing on them momentarily before returning to my eyes.
"Hey." he said, wrapping an arm around me and pulling me in for a kiss which I gave gratefully.
It was the first thing that had felt familiar in a few days and I cherished that kiss.
"Hi." I said smiling at him, tucking my hair behind my ear and looking at my freshly painted red toenails. It was strange but I was nervous in front of him. The man I had fallen asleep beside for two and a half years. The man whose lips I had kissed on a constant and the man who by looking in his eyes, I read him like a book. Now I couldn't bear to look at him, nervous of the judgement, the anger and the hurt. I felt his fingers below my chin and they brought my eyes up to meet him.
"Hey." He said more firmly and searched my eyes for something, just a tidbit of what was going on in my head. "How are you?" He asked and I shrugged.
"Sore and feeling stupid." I said and he nodded but there was no hint of a smile on his face.
"Come on, we'll talk on the drive. Is your mum home?" he asked, looking past me into the house and I shook my head, closing the door.
"No, she had to go back to work. I told her I'd be going with you." I said and he nodded, glancing down at the hospital bag in my hand. "Been living out of this for a while." I said rustling it and he nodded, leading me down to his Kia. We got in and he drove off. I glanced over at him, he had his elbow rested on the window controls and was rubbing his lips in thought. "Travis, I'm sorry." I said and he glanced at me, then back at the road.
"I know you are." He said and I nodded, gazing out my side window. "But do you understand why you're sorry?" he asked and I looked back at him.
"Because you cared about me and I didn't recognize that when I basically took my life into my own drunk hands?" I asked and he nodded, shrugging as he leaned back in the seat.
"Pretty much." He said. "I love you Leni, I really do but sometimes you make it difficult to love you. You make it so easy to walk away and just let you fall into the fires you make." he said and came to a stop light, looking at me.
"I know." I said quietly and looked to my hands when he put his on them.
"But I still fucking love you woman." he said and I looked up at him, smiling. He leaned in and kissed me again, looking back to the road. "So come back home and we can keep trying to make our life together." he said as he pulled out and I smiled.
"I'd like that." I said. "But I want to talk first." I said and he glanced at me, I could see the shift of worry in his face. "We need to talk, we've never talked before. We just let everything happen and didn't question it, I think we need to now. I'm realizing that I'm young, a lot younger than you and I need to talk about your expectations." I said and he nodded.
"Alright." he agreed pulling into the parking lot of the restaurant and pulling into a space. Getting out, we headed in and were talking to a booth in the back. I ordered an iced tea and he ordered a beer. "So." he started and I nodded.
"My mom gave me the first realization that maybe I was being a bit oblivious to this whole relationship." I said and his eyebrows raised. "Like, I never really thought about what you wanted out of this. I was just taking this in stride, enjoying it as we went and not really thinking about the future. I mean you brought up settling down but at the same time, that was in the future. It wasn't something I needed to consider right now." I said and he nodded, stroking his beard. "Then when I did that whole stupid thing, I couldn't understand why you were so fucking angry at me, I mean it was me that got hurt, not you." I said and he laughed, shaking his head. "I know, I know, stupid now. She made me realize you were angry because you cared about me and didn't want anything bad to happen to me. It was that moment that I realized that this was something bigger than I had first thought, that you were like ready to commit to me for your whole life and that you'd want to the same from me." I said.
"I told you that though." He said and I nodded.
"Yeah I know that but telling me is one thing, for me to realize it was like mind blowing." I said and he laughed again.
"You're daft." he said and I smiled.
"Well that's fucking obvious isn't it? But really, when I realized that there was a whole floodgate of questions opened in my mind. Was this something I wanted? Was this something I was ready for? And then what about kids? You were going to want them, was I ready for them right now?" I asked and he sighed, still stroking his beard.
"Christ Len, what the hell did you think I meant when I asked you all that when we were visiting Xander?" he asked, leaning back in his seat and I bit my lip nervously.
"I don't know, I was a bit drunk then and nothing was really hitting me." I said.
"So, when it all finally hit you what did you decide?" he asked and I sighed, folding my hands, leaning into the table.
"That I didn't know." I said and he nodded, drumming his fingers on the table as he looked out into the restaurant.
"Great." he said and I watched his fingers. "So now where does that leave us?" he asked and I
shrugged.
"I don't know but those are big questions that aren't easily answered Travis." I said.
"I thought you knew already. I've known for two years, ever since we were standing on the banks of Murray River and you clearly accepted me in all my weirdness, I knew. But apparently you still haven't figured it all out." he said.
"I'm still 22." I said and he nodded.
"I don't have time to wait around Len, I'm 40. I gotta get on this shit or I'm going to be dead before my fucking kids graduate." he said and we quieted as the waiter came back with the drinks.
We ordered random plates and the waiter left again.
"I understand Travis and that's why I'm giving an opt out." I said and he studied me.
"An opt out?" he asked and I nodded, he scoffed. "You're a fucking daft girl." he said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"I can't just walk away from this, wash my hands of you. I've put you in my future, Leni, I've planned around you and now you're saying for me to just to say fuck it." he said, raising his hands and then shook his head, leaning back in the seat as he crossed his arms. "That's never going to happen." He said and I nodded.
"Well then you're going to have to wait around me to figure out what the fuck I want." I said and he shrugged.
"Fine by me." He said and I sighed.
"But how is that fair to you? Like you said, you're forty, you need to start having kids." I replied and he sighed.
"It's not fair to me but sometimes you gotta take unfairness in love to get to the point you want to." he replied, leaning his elbows on the table and his eyes held mine. "I love you Helene, I love you more than I've loved any girl in my life and as corny as this shit sounds, I want to be with you for the rest of my life. I want us to make babies together, for our hair to go grey together and to be buried next to each other. I want to spend all of my life with you." he said and I felt my heart leap into my throat, I was pretty sure those words were only in romance movies.
"Even when I fuck up?" I asked and he laughed.
"Especially when you fuck up." he said and I smiled.
"You're a fucking idiot." I said and he laughed.
"Must be." he replied and I smiled, shaking my head as the food was put on the table.

When we got back home I could tell Travis was done with all the seriousness. He was normally a fun loving, laid back guy but I had pushed him to a place I don't think he was even aware he had.
Now he wanted to get back to normality and how he did that baffled me.
"You what?" I asked and he smiled at me as he leaned against the kitchen counter while I made my morning coffee.
"I booked us two tickets to go bungee jumping." he said and I shook my head.
"Why would I ever do that?" I asked, pushing the filter in and pressing the button, turning to him.
"Why not?" he asked.
"That's insane," I said and he laughed.
"And getting in the car with a drunk driver isn't?" he asked and I sighed. "You know I'm right," he said, needling my side with his finger and I rolled my eyes.
"Alright, maybe you are but I don't want to trust my life to a rope," I said.
"Oh C'mon, millions of people have done this before and I bet there have hardly been any fatalities." he said and I looked at him.
"You could've made it more appealing by saying millions of people have done it before and you bet there have hardly been any accidents," I replied and he smiled at me. "You are crazy," I said.
"But you'll do it," he said and I sighed. He moved closer to me and I felt his fingers tickling the back of my neck. "Come on," he said and I sighed.
"Fine, I'll do it," I said and he smiled, kissing me.
"We'll go tandem." he replied and I turned as the coffee maker beeped, pouring it into a cup.
"I don't even know what the hell that means," I said.
"Tandem? It means we'll jump together," he said and I nodded.
"Well that might make it better," I said. "At least then I have you to dig my nails into as we fall to our deaths," I said, walking away with my coffee.
"We're not going to die, Len! I've done this before!" he shouted after me and I shook my head. I knew I'd always need someone to push me but I don't think I meant literally over the edge of a tall structure.
We took a flight to Queenstown, New Zealand the next morning and were driven to Kawarau
Bridge. As I stood with him, watching the people before us jump, I felt nauseous and clung to Travis' arm, he smiled down at me.
"You're a real dick, do you know that?" I asked and he laughed, looking back at a couple going tandem.
"Look, that's tandem," he said, wrapping an arm around my waist and pointing, I looked. I watched as they faced each other, listening to the count down and watched as they fell downwards.
"Christ that's a long way down," I muttered, leaning over the edge and Travis pulled me back.
"I'll be with you." he said, kissing my forehead.
"Travis and Leni?" the instructor called out and Travis practically dragged me over. We had the entire kit put on, I prayed my nausea would remain just nausea and not become vomit. We were waved out on the ledge, we slowly made our way out, I had my arm wrapped around his waist and I made the mistake of looking down.
"Oh fuck, fuck," I muttered. "If you push me off this, I swear, I am going to fucking kill you," I said and he laughed.
"Isn't that the whole point of this?" he asked and I shook my head, I couldn't speak at the moment. Suddenly the countdown started and before I knew it, I was flying through the air. We got snapped back up and I screamed, I'll admit it. It was over sooner than I had expected, a boat came out, sticking out a large pole and Travis grabbed on to it, the other guy in the boat held on to us.
As we sat at the bar drinking our beers, I looked at him and shook my head.
"I can't believe you got me to do that," I said and he laughed.
"Neither can I honestly," he replied and I smiled. "But are you happy you did it?" he asked and I
nodded.
"It's freeing almost," I said and he nodded.
"That's why I do it," he replied and I smiled. "That's why I do half the stuff I do," he said.
“Well you’ll either live a long life or a very short, sudden one,” I said and he smiled, I drank my beer. My heart was still beating fast and I was still out of breath, it was going to stay with me for a while I think.
"It'll be for six months." he said and I stared at him.
"Six months? That's half a year, almost the time it takes to have a human." I said and he laughed.
"Yeah, I know. That's why I want you to come with me," he replied, hand on his beer and his eyes on me. I cocked my head to the side and shook it.
"I thought we talked about this before?" I asked and he nodded.
"We did but at the same time, this is different. It's not California, it's not only for three months and we can rent a house. So it won't even be like you're traveling." he said and I sighed.
"I don't know, where is it again?" I asked.
"Sierra Vista, Arizona." he said.
"I know nothing about that area," I said.
"So you'll come?" he asked and I shrugged.
"Well, I can't trust myself to stay behind and not get into trouble, so why not," I said. "If I don't like it, I can always come home," I said and he rolled his eyes with a smile.
"I guess." he replied.
---
Lots of packing, good byes and a twenty some odd flight later, we were in Sierra Vista. We arrived in the middle of September, the temperatures were cooler than their summer ones and I enjoyed the landscape. Travis had rented a simple house, it wasn't some luxury mansion and when he went off to meet with the cast as well as the director, I settled us into the house. I took a venture to the grocery store and walked around for a bit, overwhelmed by everything. I didn't know there could be that many versions of butter. I found the beer I thought Travis would be able to deal with, got a few more things and headed home. As I put everything away, my cell phone rang and I grabbed it out of my back pocket.
"Hello," I said.
"You alright?" his voice asked and I sighed.
"Yeah, I just can't fit everything in the fridge," I said, angrily shoving the milk back and the orange juice fell out.
"Sorry." he said and I sighed.
"It's whatever," I said. "What's going on with you?" I asked.
"Nothing, just breaking for lunch, do you wanna meet me?" he asked.
"Really? I just went grocery shopping." I said.
"I can come home if you want me to, it's just a long trip." he said.

"Oh, well how long is your break?" I asked.
"Dunno, like an hour?" he said and I sighed, glancing at the time.
"Yeah, text me where you want me to go and I'll meet you there," I said.
"Ok." he replied.
"Bye," I said and hung up. I angrily shoved the orange juice with my foot and the milk nearly fell out before I caught it. 
Chapter 38
I rested my hands on his shoulders as I paced myself on top of him and I looked down at him, I
loved watching the pleasure build in his expression. He glanced up at me and smiled, shaking his head.
"You're throwing me off." he muttered and I laughed, looking away. I looked to the horizon, seeing the sun setting and then around the barren land where there was a human in sight. "Fuck." he muttered and I glanced down, I saw the familiar sign that he had released. I smiled and leaned back, pulling myself carefully off of him. I grabbed my panties and shorts from the ground pulling them back on. Buttoning, I sat down on the other patio chair and sighed. "I'm glad you're into playing russian roulette with sex." he said and I glanced at him.
"Russian roulette?" I asked and he nodded.
"Not wearing a condom." he replied and I laughed.
"Never heard it called that before." I said and shrugged. "I just figure, you want a kid, its not like we can't afford it and its so much better without the condom, so, win, win." I said and he smiled.
"Absolutely." he replied and lit a cigarette. I sighed, looking sadly at it and he looked over.
"Sorry." he said and I nodded.
"It's whatever." I said. I had given up smoking when I had decided to not worry about getting pregnant, I didn't want to start the kid off bad if it was going to happen. "Its crazy to think that there could be a little one growing in here without me even knowing." I said, resting my hand on my stomach and Travis looked to it.
"It is." he agreed. We fell silent looking at the scenery. "I hope there is." he said finally and I looked to him.
"Obviously." I said and he smiled.
"What would you want if you got pregnant." he said
"A baby." I replied. "Or a koala, I like koalas." I said and he rolled his eyes, I smiled. "I always wanted a boy for my first." I said.
"Me too. I wanted all boys." he said and I smiled.
"You know that means you're going to have all girls, right?" I asked and he shook his head with a smile.
"It would be my luck." he replied and I laughed.
"Imagining you with a house full of girls, its hilarious. They'd have you wrapped around their fingers." I said and he smiled, looking at me.
"Well I'd be used to that, you already do." he said and I smiled.
"Hardly." I said and looked back to the sunset.
"I'd be happy with whichever in the end." He said.
"Me too." I agreed. 
Chapter 39
I had hit my limit and was on a plane ride back to Echuca without Travis. This time I had made him mad, he wouldn't say it but I could see it. He was annoyed and mad. I still wasn't pregnant, not for lack of trying and now I was leaving him. There was nothing I could, I wasn't a
Californian and I didn't like it there. I liked the quietness of Echuca, missed just hanging out with friends and family. Melbourne would have to wait until Travis came home, I couldn't stay in that house without him.
I had been in Echuca for three days before I got an actual phone call from him, we had texted back and forth but hadn't spoken on the phone since I left. I was out food shopping with my sister when my phone went off and I stepped outside to take the call.
"Hey." I said, knowing it was him already.
"Hey." he replied. It was a stern greeting and I worried what was to come next.
"What's going on?" I asked and he sighed.
"Been thinking." he said. When his sentences got really short, I knew I was in trouble but I waited
it out.
"Thinking about what?" I asked and he sighed again.
"Us." he said.
"Oh god." I said.
"Listen, I love you, you know I love you but maybe you were right the first time. Maybe we should take a break." he said.
"Yeah?" I asked.
"I dunno, we're always apart, maybe it's for the best." he said.
"Maybe." I replied. I had no idea, wasn't sure what to do but I felt like he knew better than me.
"Guess so." he said and we were silent for a minute. "So." he started.
"Yeah, guess I'll talk to you...sometime." I said.
"Yeah." he said.
"Good bye." I said and hung up, my eyes welling with tears. Damn him. I knew our separation was hard on him, that he wanted someone who would be by his side and I knew I couldn't last out there but I kinda hoped it would be different this time. It wasn't different this time.
Chapter 40
---Six Months Later---

He was home. My phone had received a notification that the security code had been entered in the security system at the house in Melbourne and the only person other than me who knew it was Travis. I looked at the camera through the app that I had on my phone and saw him sitting in the living room watching TV. I watched him for a couple of minutes and then felt like a creep, I shut
it off.
"Welcome home." I texted him and within five minutes received a return text.
"How'd you know?" he asked.
"The security system alerted me someone entered the code." I replied.
"Hate technology." he answered and smiled, that had always been true. "You coming over?" was his next text.
"Should I?" I asked.
"Why not? All your stuff is still here." he answered and I smiled. A lot of it was still there, hadn't been back for six months and hadn't missed it, so hadn't bothered to get it.
"Sure." I said. "Be there in 2 hours." I replied and put my phone in my back pocket. I threw some clothes in a back pack, zipped it up and got in my car. I headed out on the road, cigarette in hand and smile on my face. I'd admit it to anyone, I missed the asshole.
I arrived at the house long after dark and parked, heading up the front walk. I used my key on the front door and entered, checking the alarm. He had disarmed it, not sure if he knew that so I turned it back on and put my back pack down on the floor. I moved further down and popped my head in the living room, I saw him seated on the couch. His bare feet up on the coffee table, beer in hand and eyes on the television, watching a game. He looked over at me and got out of the seat quickly, walking over to me. He wrapped his arms around me and held me close to him, I closed my eyes at his warmth.
"I missed you." I said and he puled back, kissing my forehead.
"Me too." he said and we sat back on the couch, I nestled into the crook of his arm watching the game. I hated sports but when I was with him, I could bear to watch them.
We must've dozed off because when I woke up, we were still on the couch and the sun was up. I got up carefully and went into the kitchen, fishing for the coffee. I started a pot and went back to the living room where he was. I leaned down and kissed his lips, his eyes fluttered open.
"Morning." I said with a smile and he smiled, rubbing his eyes.
"Morning." he said and winced as he took his feet off the coffee table, his knees must hurt from sleeping like that. He stretched and I turned the television off.
"I put on some coffee. Breakfast after?" I asked and he nodded. "I'm going to take a shower then."
I said and headed to the hall, grabbing my bag. I ran up the familiar steps and into our master bedroom that was littered with pictures of us, our adventures. I started the water and went back into the bedroom, fishing through my back pack for a change of clothes. I felt hands on my hips and I stood, he pulled me into him. He pressed his lips against mine and I wrapped my arms around his neck. We made out as he pushed me over the bed and I tangled my fingers into his hair that had grown out since I last saw him. He kissed down my jaw, my neck and back to my lips.
"Don't leave me again." he said and I smiled.
"You left me this time." I reminded.
"Only because I was mad you left me." he replied as he undid my jeans and I rolled my eyes.
"I didn't leave you, I just went home to wait for you." I said and his hand slipped down under my panties, in between my legs.
"Fuck you, just shut up." He said and I closed my eyes at his touch, happy to let him have his way.
At breakfast later, I couldn't keep my eyes off him and grabbed his hand, he looked to me surprised as he had been in the middle of eating.
"Marry me." I said and he raised his eyebrows.
"No, you don't ask me." he said and I smiled.
"Why not?" I asked.
"It's not the way it's supposed to be, I ask you." he said and I shrugged.
"But who cares? I just want to be your wife and have your babies, I'm sick of the run around." I said and he smiled.
"Me too but I need to ask you." he said and I rolled my eyes.
"If you have to, I guess." I said and he nodded.
"I do, I won't feel right if I don't. But now that i know you want to get married, I will." he said and I smiled.
"I don't want to be from your side again, I'll suffer California if I have to." I said and he laughed.
"Thank you." he replied and went back to eating. I didn't care about a ring, a proposal, I just wanted him to be my husband.