Wow! And here it is! I love this chapter, I liked writing it so... yep, I guess it came out pretty good? Well, I hope so! hahah
Let me know what you think about it, I guess there are other... 3? 4 chapters left? I loved writing this story since the beginning, and I can't believe I'm amost done with it! Well, I leave y'all with the reading part... hear ya soon guys!
PS Jeremy's gonna be a daddy!! And Hayley cut her hair! (I hate it but that's ok, they're gonna grow up eventually) and this chapter is for Kat (revolutionstar)... she knows why (well... you'll know when you'll finish to read it!)
Hayley got off of her car, downtown Franklin was all ready for the little local party in honor of the upcoming battle; she had decided to take part of it, it would have been a great way to leave her town.
A lot of people were already there, she walked to a gazebo full with tables and kids to enjoy her dinner, but she puzzled as she noticed who was there.
Kat looked down as she noticed her, and she went near her baby’s stroller, but Hayley readily approached her.
“I'm sorry about what I said. Really sorry.”
Kat took the little baby girl into her arms and turned to Hayley “Hayley, forget it”
She smiled thankful at her while Kat glanced quickly at her other kids at the table “Okay y'all, you need to eat and be quiet”
Hayley stared at the little kids playing all around, and a strange feeling kicked into her stomach, but actually, even without her noticing, a smile was on her lips.
Kat bit her lip as she looked at her “You know, he went up there.”
She turned, perplexed “Who, Josh? When?” Hayley asked, her eyes wide open.
“About a year after you left… He doesn't know I know, but Jeremy let it slip once”
Hayley was still frozen, she couldn’t believe to her ears.
“Josh was in New York?”
Kat nodded “He told Jeremy he'd never seen anything like it. He realized straight off he'd need more than an apology to win you back… he needed to conquer the world first” she sighed “He's been tryin' ever since”
Hayley lost her gaze in front of her, everything was falling into place now.
She slowly turned her face back to Kat “That's why he kept sending the papers back.”
Kat nodded “Yeah… It's funny how things don't work out.”
The little baby in her arms gurgled, grabbing a smile from Hayley’s lips “It's funny how they do.” she whispered, taking carefully the little one’s hand.
The sun was already down, but the music and the lights were already on.
Everybody was already dancing to some folk music from the little stage, the harmonica echoing all around.
Josh walked through the crowd, Taylor next to him.
“Hey, look who I found hangin' out by the parkin' lot, hesitant to join us” he said to his friends, placing his hand on Taylor’s shoulder.
Hayley turned and stared at the two.
“Anybody think of anything in here that, uh, might bother Tay?”
“Uh, Jeremy’s breath?” Wade said, causing everyone to laugh.
Josh smiled and pointed Taylor “You’re still the same Taylor York from last night?”
Taylor smirked amused, nodding “Last time I checked, yeah”
“Well, then, I'm gonna buy you a drink” Josh said, resting his arm around Taylor’s shoulders.
He looked at him “Well, you're really not my type, I mean...” he lose himself from Josh’s arm laughing and everybody followed right after.
Hayley put her drink up, glancing at his bottom, and Kat smiled “Oh, honey, you -- you drink that from the top.” She joked, and Hayley put her tongue out “I'm just lookin' to see who makes this deep South Glass” she mumbled, referring to the glass.
“I wonder if you can get it in New York… it’s beautiful”
Josh was staring at her but Eldon entered in his thoughts “Hey, Josh, Hayles would like to know where she can find some of that snooty-faluty glass”
Josh glanced at him, raising an eyebrow “Why ask me?”
Kat shrugged “Oh, I don't know. Maybe because you're –“ Josh gave her a death glare and Jeremy lightly pushed her from behind, making her change her sentence “You're all spiffed up and -- and all” she mumbled in the end.
Hayley frowned, looking around at all of them “Am I missing something?”
Nobody replied, most of all because “Peaceful World” by John Mellencamp was being played and they all wanted to dance with it.
Hayley looked at all her friends rushing in front of the stage where a band was playing the song, but then she noticed Josh still there, arms crossed on his chest, staring at her with his deep chocolate eyes.
While Jeremy was enjoying the show, Kat noticed how the two were staring at each other and she smiled
He suddenly interrupted the connection they had made and turned to Kat.
She walked toward him “When was the last time you pushed me around the floor? Jeremy here has got two left feet”
Josh chuckled “Well, Mrs Davis, I'd be honored” she grabbed her hand and brought her to the dance floor.
Taylor looked at Hayley “C’mon Hayles, get on out here!” he almost yelled, dancing like a old cowboy.
“Well, aren't you the Lord of the Dance? “Hayley chuckled and without her noticing Jeremy stepped behind her.
“I ain't as clumsy as I look. She just can't keep time.”
He said on her shoulder. Hayley smiled and turned to his direction, facing him.
“You might have to prove that to me” she said, grabbing him by the collar of his jacket and pushing him right into the crowd of dancing people.
The two couples found each other next to the other “You know, he's pretty good. It might be you”
Hayley said to Kat, catching her attention.
She made a surprise face “Oh, the hell you say. Let me at him!” and with that she pushed herself into Jeremy’s arms, leaving Hayley and Josh in front of each other.
Cristi was not far away with two of her friends, staring at all the situation
“Aw, look at them two welded together… why do they fight it?” Gloria, one of her friend, said.
Cristi was dumbfounded, she didn’t like that situation, not at all.
Josh smiled at Hayley and she smirked back.
He extended his hand toward her “Maybe we could just talk.” she said, erasing all the enthusiasm from him.
Josh shook his head and walked away, Hayley sighed deeply.
She couldn’t get why everytime, with him, everything had to be so damn difficult.
Josh found himself sat at the top of a big silos with his friends, staring at the vacuum, emotionless.
Eldon moved him slowly with his elbow “Come on, let's go to the Roadhouse”
He shook his head “Nah”
“What do you say we drive out to Fairview and bowl?” Jeremy asked, but Josh could only sigh “I don’t think so”
A drunk Wade looked at him “Do you want to go harass somebody?”
They all chuckled, still except for Josh, when he noticed a well known figure walking down the street and looking all around.
He took another gulp from his bottle of beer “Y'all, I think I'm gonna call it a night.”
Everybody nodded and he got down, throwing the empty bottle somewhere.
Hayley had her hands in her jeans pockets, she was walking slowly along the desert road, thoughts fighting into her mind, when a signal caught her attention.
It read “Coon Dog Cemetery”.
That place was kind of famous, there some of the best and most beloved hunting dogs known to man lied under the soil in the middle of some of the best coon hunting land anywhere, and she knew almost too well who was buried there, and a strong feeling of emptiness and melancholy pushed into her chest, and before realizing it, Hayley found herself kneeled down in front of his grave.
She smiled unconsciously, smoothly caressing it.
“Hi, there, boy… sorry it took me so long. I would have come sooner if I'd known you were sick”
She sighed “Actually, that's probably not true…”
She exhaled sharply “I've been pretty selfish lately… but dogs don't know anything about that, do they, though?” she gulped as she felt tears forming into her eyes, a feeling like a heavy rock was swinging into her chest
“You were always like a big old pillow, like when everything went pear-shaped...” her voice started shaking, a tear dropped silently from the corner of her eyes along her pale cheek
“you never left my side, and then I just left you… I bet you sat there wondering what you'd done wrong.”
“I told him it was my fault.”
A voice from behind her said, and Hayley quickly turned, scared.
Josh was standing not far away from her, hand in his jeans pockets, his gaze on her.
Hayley readily wiped away the humid from her cheeks, sighing.
“Quit bein' so nice”
He shrugged “It’s the truth”
Hayley looked down, sighing deeply “How come it has to be so complicated?”
She looked back at him “Truth, life… this”
She sat on a bench not far away and Josh walked slowly toward her “He was one hell of a good dog, wasn't he?”
She nodded, smiling “Yeah”
Josh bit his lip and slowly sat next to her “You looked like you were having fun out there tonight”
“I'm happy in New York, Josh…” he sighed, resting his elbows on his knees, and Hayley continued “But then I come down here and... this fits, too”
Josh smiled sympathetically at her “Since when does it have to be one or the other? You can have roots and wings, Hayles.”
“Maybe I could just fly south for the winter” she said, sighing, when Josh called her attention again.
“Look, there” he said, pointing to some shrubs “Do you seem ‘em?”
Hayley smiled, noticing “Lightning bugs?” she pushed softly his shoulder with hers, chuckling “Only you”
Josh smiled and stood up “You know… I still go out there sometimes. I see those big thunderheads rollin' in… It's like a religion”
Hayley sighed “I had a dream about it the other night.” She said, remembering the dream she had back in New York.
Josh glanced at her, unable to look away.
He bit his lip ring, sighing deeply and suddenly looking down “You ever wonder what would have happened if we hadn't have gotten pregnant?” he breathed out, walking in front of her.
Hayley looked up at him “Josh…”
He kneeled a bit to have his face almost at her same frequency “Just... Iet me get this out before I can't” he said, cutting her sentence and taking the chance to fill his lungs.
“I thought that baby would be an adventure. And it took me a while to realize it would have been your only adventure. I just guess Mother Nature knew better… huh?”
Hayley shook her head “I… I was so ashamed, 'cause I felt... relieved” she said, remembering when she had the miscarriage.
“And all of a sudden, I just... needed a different life” she said, her voice was barely audible, her eyes were watery.
“You done real well for yourself… I'm proud of you, Hayles” he said, carefully taking her hand with his.
“I'm just sorry I never danced with you at our weddin'” They both chuckled softly and Hayley soon lost her gaze into his deep chocolate eyes.
Josh smiled at her “I'm sure this next one's gonna go better for ya”
The smile on her lips faded and she sighed deeply, quickly standing up “Josh, I can’t do this”
“Hey” Josh called, readily grabbing again her hand and facing her “I know”
They didn’t know how, but they found themselves staring deeply into each other’s eyes, when Hayley almost unconsciously felt the need of doing the only thing she wanted the most in that moment, not thinking about anything else or about any consequence.
She pulled herself toward Josh and with her hand on his neck she placed her lips on his, feeling a deep shiver run along her back.
They looked at each other for what seemed an eternity and Josh leaned again toward her, deepening the kiss.
Hayley didn’t mind a bit when she felt Josh’s tongue smoothly caressing hers, it all came like the best of the memory, she had missed him every single day of those 5 years, but she simply didn’t realize it, until now.
That kiss had everything they both could ever think of, all the feelings they had hidden from each other since her departure, and now they were rushing back, all at once.
She felt Josh’s hands slipping on her back, under her shirt, and she moaned softly as he sweetly bit her lower lip, they didn’t feel like stopping it, they didn’t want to stop it.
But suddenly it all started to fall right into place.
She was engaged, with Chad, and she was actually happy with him.
Josh was part of her past, he had made her suffer, he had never been a good husband, and it was more common to see him drunk than sober, and it had always hurt her.
It seemed like she wasn’t the only who remembered that, since they stepped back almost at the same time.
Hayley looked at him, trying to catch her breath, and Josh sighed deeply, his deep eyes in hers.
“Go home” he whispered, trying to avoid any other feeling.
Hayley couldn’t stop to look at him, but as soon as his words hit her, she walked away without adding another word, and most of all without looking back.