Clay was used to many evenings starting out this way, the sun beginning to set as he made quick work of what he needed to do around the ranch. Well really that was every day for him but tonight was different. Tonight was a weekly or twice weekly tradition, the cowboy might not have a lot of friends but he knew how to keep the good ones around. Besides there were very few who could really understand the world he grew up in opposed to the world of today, few other than the woman who would soon be arriving. Champ, one of the Great Pyrenees who called the ranch home came lumber up the steps of the front porch as Clay sat upon one of the wooden rocking chairs to rest. For the moment the rancher was done with his work and Champ seemed to believe he was done as well as he sat down beside Clay wanting the vampire to scratch behind his ears. “Ya know what day it is too don’t ya buddy?” He inquired of the overly lazy cattle dog who spent more of his time at the ranch style house other than out in the pasture with the actual cattle. “Shadow’s gonna kick your hind end if ya don’t start helping out.” He said speaking of his Anatolian shepherd who actually did his job of keeping an eye on the livestock.

The Pyrenees released an odd mixture of a howl and bark as if back talking the cowboy as he laid down on the wooden porch unconcerned with his purpose on the ranch or the other cattle dog. “Champ ya know she ain’t your girlfriend right?” He asked the dog who tilted his head sideways to look at Clay like he was crazy, though he was having a one-sided conversation with a dog so maybe he was crazy. Grabbing the hand rolled cigarette from the ash tray it was sitting in he picked up the lighter resting beside it before placing the cigarette between his lips and lighting it as he took a long drag. The smoke filled his lungs which no longer really had a purpose, then again smoking no longer held much of a purpose anymore either, it was merely a habit.

Taking a few more, slow drags he watched as Champ’s ears perked up for just a moment before laying back down. The Pyrenees knew what to listen for and was pretty much Clay’s early warning system because the dog was completely smitten with his Aspect friend. Clay had known Aurantia for a good six months or more at this point, he’d run into her at one of the first Monday farmers markets which oddly enough fell on a Sunday. Most people didn’t stay once the sun started to go down but that was the only time Clay could attend. The produce she had for sell was nearly gone but there had been two tomatoes and a cucumber left, of course as he was talking to her someone picked up the three-final piece of produce. She offered to met him another time or drop some produce by his place if he told her what he wanted. Taking her up on the offer she promised to drop it by his place, when she got to the ranch though it was obviously not what she had expected.

Southern charm always had the tendency to go both ways and when she asked to see the stable he couldn’t tell her no. Tia talked about her animals and Clay showed her his, what he didn’t expect was for her to suggest a ride. Never being one to turn down a lady’s request one ride turned into a weekly tradition and a strong friendship grew from it. Which was why he sat on the porch in a rocking chair, smoking a cigarette as he watched for her to arrive.

Champ’s ear went up and the dog stood up, tail wagging as he looked towards the long dirt road that lead from a simple push gate, down a mile and a half or so before it reached the house. Clay listened as well to the all too familiar sound of a vehicle on the mostly well-maintained dirt road. He wouldn’t suggest trying to drive some sort of low riding sports car or anything down it but most other vehicles could make it alright.

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The touch was soft, almost tentative and yet the Ailward felt the kiss clear down to her toes. Every inch of her being rejoiced in the contact, the earth around the pair of them blooming with life. The swirled around them in a happy gust as her fingers curled into the material of his shirt and yanked him closer. In an instant the kiss went from tender to firm, with a hunger behind it she hadn't realized she’d been keeping in check. His scent and taste were rustic and addicting, and now that she had her first taste she doubt she would ever get enough.

Breaking away only when she ran out of breath, the redhead shuddered as her eyes drifted closed. In a moment her entire world had shifted and now a dozens doors were open to her. It was exhilarating and infinitely terrifying at the same time. A forced pushed against her shoulder sending her stumbling against Clay, his strong arms holding her up. Turning around she confronted the Appaloosa who was staring at her with wide eyes. “Excuse me, that was rude sir.”

Placing her hands on her hips she tried to look stern but to no avail, Mojo took another step closer and shoved his muzzle against her chest in another plea for attention. Laughing she stroked along his cheeks and scratched under his chin, “Big jealous baby.” Placated he turned and ambled off at a jaunty trot leaving the Aspect to turn back to her Vampire beau. Stepping back into his space she gave him a small grin, looking up through her long lashes at him. “So ya were sayin’ somethin’ ‘bout me stayin’ with you?” Her expression was flirty as was her tone though the question was serious. Now that their feelings and intentions were clear Tia saw no other reason for refusing his offer. Perhaps it was quick, or might seem like that to anyone looking in but the pair of them had lived long lives and had been friends for a good long while.

Maybe Tia was right and instead of considering what he wasn’t good enough to have he should be grateful for what he had. Whether or not he deserved the Aspect was no longer a question on his mind. After all he if she wanted him then how bad could he really be? Though her kiss completely shattered all his thoughts and unsure thoughts as she pulled him closer deepening the kiss. It had started out innocent enough but the building tension had finally erupted and it didn’t seem to be alleviated by gentle kisses. It was a burning fire that was working on consuming them both whole as he held the redhead close. There was an earthiness to Tia and yet she was so sweet but not in the tooth rotting way. If they could stay in this moment for eternity Clay wouldn’t complain.

The kiss seemed to end too soon enough though it quite obviously stole Aurantia’s breath away. A smile pulled at him lips as he reached up and softly slip his thumb against the Aspect’s reddened lips. “Wanted ta do that for a long time darlin’.” He admitted before he was catching her as Mojo seemed to grow time of no one paying attention to him and Tia giving another male all her attention. “Ya know pushin’ her inta my arms just makes her more mine.” He jested as the Appaloosa whined at Clay as if to disagree as Tia gave him the attention he had been seeking. “Spoiled brat.” He muttered at Mojo who was no ignoring Clay and giving Tia all his attention and gaining all of hers.

“Swear my dog and horses think they get ta claim ya and keep before I do.” He chuckled shaking his head since apparently his animals had decided Tia belonged here before Clay had even realized it himself. “I don’t think Mojo wants ta share ya with me.” He said as the large creature leaned into Tia’s touch and seemed to find a solace there before trotting off having gotten the time and attention he wanted.

Glancing at Tia as she started to speak again, a smirk spread across his lips as he stepped up to Tia and rested his hands on either side of her hips as he stared down into her eyes. “I was sayin’ something along the line of it bein’ a real big place an’ I could sure use the company.” He said in a teasing tone ready to take that leap and try this out since it better than allowing it to slip away without giving it the proper chance. “How ‘bout we get back ta the house and figure it out? I’m sure Champ is wondering where I stole his girlfriend off to.” He jested knowing his dog was just as in love with Tia as the Appaloosa was.

The stroke of his thumb across her lower lips sent a shiver of awareness shooting through her body, the urge to take his thumb between her lips was nearly overwhelming. Before she could act on the urge though she was propelled forward into his arms, a sputtering laugh issue from her lips as Mojo pushed her forward in an attempt to gain her attention. The Appaloosa was used to have all of her attention or at least most of it during these trail rides and yet this one had taken a turn into untrodden territory. Granted it was territory she had stared longingly at for quite some time and dreamed about traversing, so finding herself suddenly in the middle of it was a big heady. Reaching out she pet him lightly while staying within arms reach of Clay, this new found situation they found themselves in was one she didn’t plan on leaving anytime soon, and a part of her was afraid if she moved too far away the mood might be broken.

Mojo pranced off with a satisfied whinney that made the redhead laugh lightly, shaking her head at the spoiled animal. Then again she couldn’t say that he was the only spoiled animal she had, in fact every animal she’d ever come into contact with was spoiled. There was something incredibly innocent about animals, they were so much more than just instinct and drive. They were smart and had feelings that went far beyond anything most beings were capable of. Innocence was personified in the body of each animal, no matter whether wild or domesticated the way they viewed the world was both pure and simple. The connection the Ailward felt to each of them she encountered was indescribable and the pleasure she took in getting to know them even more so.

Turning once more to the vampire cowboy she reached up and linked her hands behind his neck, his possession of her hips a pleasantly warm weight that she didn’t want to end. Smiling she shrugged, “I’ll always have time for ya cowboy. Plenty a’ love and attention ta go ‘round.” Glancing over her shoulder at the horse in question who at the moment was staring at the pair of them like a concerned parent or an extremely jealous ex, she snickered and shook her head. “Such’a ham.” Listening to his response her smile grew wider, the slight blush staining her cheeks at the implications of moving in with him. It was something she wanted desperately and yet a wave of shyness had her simply nodding as he suggested they head back and figure things out.

“Sounds good. Mo? Let’s head home ya jealous boy.” Once more he pranced up, moving broadside so that she could place her foot in the stirrup and hoist herself into the saddle. The moment she was seated comfortable Mojo took off with a snort, making her laugh as she lay down over his back and let the Appaloosa run free.

~ Completed ~

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