Alex pulled out the Pine Ridge file, figuring she would brush up on the details of the house. 8 bedrooms, 10.5 baths, with huge sliding glass doors in the master bedroom and views out to the lake. Custom built kitchen with top of the line cook top and fridge. All marble counters. The list of gorgeous amenities went on and on, but she knew that all it would take was for the Mr. and Mr. Samuels to see the house to be sold on it. They had been looking for a house above the lake for 6 months, and this one just came on the market 3 days ago. They had 2 kids, both of whom were in college, so the huge house was really just for them. They wanted a home that the kids would want to come back to, but more importantly, a home they could host all of their lavish parties in. Mrs. Samuels was known for throwing formal dinner parties almost every weekend. Alex heard the gossip from her mom, as she was usually invited.

Despite the high price tag, the houses in that area sold very quickly, as it was rare for them to come up for sale. She even had a list of people on file that she was supposed to call every time one went up. Mr. Samuels had been at the top of the list, and it only took him 2 days from when she called for him to come in for an appointment. She just wished he hadn’t ‘assumed’ Alex would be available whenever he wanted.
Alex wiggled her mouse; her computer had gone to sleep while she was out talking to Sarah. She scanned through her emails; she had about 40 junk emails, a few requests for info about homes, and a few she actually cared about. Her dad had sent her a joke, her mom had sent her some article about dating, and Val had sent her a comment on her MySpace. Her dad’s jokes tended to be funny, her mom always sent her dating advice, and the MySpace comment from Val was probably about how hung-over she was. She decided to ignore the emails and went straight to her RSS feeds. Clicking on her folder for Perez Hilton, she was excited to see what was going on in the world of gossip.

She heard a knock at her door, and looked at the clock, surprised that it had already been 10 minutes. She called out ‘come in’ and looked back at her computer screen, clicking on the next post.

“Hey Alex”, the deepness of the voice surprised her. She had expected Sarah, but when she looked up, she locked eyes with a 9 year older, but still just as handsome as ever, Jackson Taylor.


“You’re stubborn and can’t handle not being in charge” Alexis yelled, still in shock of what he told her.

“No I’m not! You just can’t handle change.” Jackson responded, wishing he could stop this argument.

“I can handle change, I just love Rakesford. I don’t want to leave my family and friends”, she was trying to maintain her cool, but it was getting difficult.

“Why is it so hard for you to see that it is a chance for a future?” he continued.

“With you? You can’t even tell me that you love me!”  She was flabbergasted.

“You know how much I care about you. Why are you so adamant about me saying I love you! Can’t we just move in together and see where it goes?” Jackson couldn’t believe his own words. He loves her! More than anything in the world, so why couldn’t he just tell her?

“No, if you can’t say those 3 words, I can’t say yes.” She wanted to say yes, but she had to maintain her strength.

“Well I’m not ready, so what can we do?”

“Apparently nothing. I’ve tried. And I can’t try anymore”. She was hoping that he wouldn’t go, but his next words destroyed her hopes.

“If that’s your choice, then fine”, as he turned and walked out the door. Headed to California. 

What had she done? She just wanted him to understand that she couldn’t just give up what she loved to move with him. Her life was here. She wanted to be with him, but how was she supposed to just say goodbye to everything she knows, without even hearing ‘I love you’. No, she wouldn’t do it. She was staying and if he didn’t get it, then he could do whatever he pleased. At least this was she was trying to convince herself as the tears began to fall down her cheeks. She collapsed to the floor, pressing her back against her couch, beginning to sob. She just watched the her heart walk out the door. 

Hey darlin’,” Scott drawled, “taking the horse out today? You ought to ask Jackson to go, he’s leaving in two days and he’ll want to say goodbye to Stone.”

His last comment was followed by a little wink. Her father knew about the crush she had on Jackson. At 6’1″, dark unruly hair, shinning blue eyes and a cowboy’s build, he was definitely the heartthrob type. Her mom and dad knew she had a romantic side under that tomboy exterior; she was just damn good at making sure others didn’t.  Being a tomboy had kept her from acting like a fool around the guys like most of her girlfriends did.

            “Yeah dad, I planned on it, thanks.”

She plopped down at the table and downed the glass of OJ in front of her.

            “Sweetie, you might want to take it easy on him racing today”

            “And why is that, mom?”

            “You know how much he hates to lose baby, and it is his last couple days in town.”

            “Well then, tell him to stop treating me like a little sister and I might give in,” Alexis chided back.