"I, uh, don't know…"

Raine giggled from the dressing room as she heard her boyfriend going on about wedding stuff on the other side. To say James wasn't a wedding planner would be an understatement. She was sure if he ever had a daughter he would give her cash, tell her to plan and let him know when to show up.

"No, I understand it's important. I told you I would show up and I told you to put me down for two. Other than that I can't give you any more information."

"How do you like this one?" Raine pulled the curtain to reveal her dress for Thea's cheer competition that night. The competition was clearly not formal, but after she was going to take James to this cool little piano bar she loved and plus she just wanted to wear a pretty dress.

"Shit…" James' eyes widen and jaw dropped. "Tay, I'm going to have to call you back," he clicked off the phone and Raine giggled.

"You like it?"

"Extremely," he moved toward her and slid his hands across the black material making her shiver. "You're legs look amazing," he leaned back to inspect the slender tan legs and ran his tongue across his lower lip.

"Yeah?" she wrapped her arms around his neck and grinned. Swearing anytime James looked at her like that her insides turned to goo. She truly wondered if he had any idea how beautiful he was.

"Ever do it in a dressing room?" he growled in her ear making a shiver run down her spin and twist around to cause an ache between her legs.

"What am I going to do with you?" she slammed her hand into his chest pushing him back a step. Moving her hair to her left shoulder she faced the mirror and smoothed out the few wrinkles "What?" she cut her eyes up and tucked her lower lip between her teeth as she looked at the boy leaning against the door frame smiling at her. "Why you looking at me like that, huh?"

Pushing forward his arms came around her waist and dropped his chin to her shoulder. "I love you…" he leaned to kiss her neck loving her light smile. "I love you so much…"

"I love you too…and I love that you are here with me," Raine turned her head to place a kiss on his soft lips as her fingers curled around his jaw. "And by here I don't mean this fabulous store, but actually here with me," she joked causing him to chuckle.

"I like here with you, in the store and just here here."

"Here here," she sung out with a sweet laugh before looking back at her dress in the mirror. "So I will get this one. Now come on, we have to get to Thea's soon and I think I would like to show you something else I bought when you were on the phone."

"Can I see it now?"

"Think you will definitely want to see it at home," she smirked, dragging her hand down his chest and stopping at the button on his jeans.

"Let's get on that," he swallowed the large lump in his throat running his eyes over her.

"Please let's get on it," she winked causing him to growl as she quickly changed and left.

The sky cracked above their heads as James pulled into the parking lot and killed the ignition. Rolling the windows up he opened his door, walked over to open her door and taking her slender hand in his he helped her out. Surveying the area, James chuckled to himself at the memory of the last time he was actually at a high school.

He was pretty sure it was his sister's graduation which ended in a mildly embarrassing moment he tries not to think about anymore. Though it worked out fine he still remembers the look on the young girl's face and how her big brown eyes cracked when he told her goodbye. He really did miss her and he made a mental note to call and check on her.

"So Thea is Max's little girl?" James cleared his throat and mind to question as they walked the steps of the school.

"Yeah, but I wouldn't really say little girl anymore," she laughed, pulling the door open to step inside. "She's fifteen and she is already a knock out like her mom with the personality of her dad. A perfect mix of the two."

"And where is her mom?" he asked slowly, Thea really never being one Raine spoke of often. Of course she has mentioned her in passing, but never much. Honestly, he was surprised he had been there three days and still hadn't met Max yet. She spoke about him almost as much as she talked of her parents and Tenley and Colton.

"Well, I guess…well I guess it's ok to tell you now," she spun down a hall and leaned against the old lockers she used to use. "See I was always nervous to tell you about Max and his…lifestyle."


"Yeah, which I realize is just stupid because I mean…hello look at you, but he used to play pro ball…for…well for a long while…His name is Max Brady."

"Brady…" James breathed out and Raine slowly nodded as she nervously chewed her lip. "You're related to the Max Brady."

"Yeah, and I didn't want to make it a big deal because every guy I dated made it a big deal and it shouldn't be. I guess in the beginning I wanted you to talk to me because of well me, not because of my family."

"Funny, there were many times I feared the exact same thing," his hands skimmed across her shoulders and brushed some hair off her neck. "But is it cool your…uncle or whatever he technically is…was an amazing ball player who carried his team through the playoffs and tragically injured himself before the final game… Is it cool I'm…I'm about to meet his daughter and possible him," he looked to where the gym was and Raine chuckled. "Yes, yes it's totally cool, but I'm going to be so cool. Promise," he held out his pinky making Raine's eyes roll as she locked her pinky with his. "But honestly, do I look ok?"

"Oh shut up," she shoved him and started to pull him toward the gym. "But while Max was out…we call it sowing his wild oats he got this leggy model pregnant. Her name is Carmen and honestly really sweet, but Maxie and her got married when Thea was five. Apparently our family is against doing things the right way. You know marriage and then kids."

"Well maybe at some point we could start a new tradition," his arm skimmed across her shoulders, causing Raine's eyes to widen. However, he missed it as he looked at all the trophies and awards in the trophy case beside them.

"Uh," she felt a heat spread through her entire body as she chewed her lower lip. "Yeah…maybe…" she felt her heart race, pretty sure he was completely clueless to what he just said. Or how she took what he had just said. They never really discussed their thoughts on marriage or if they ever wished to be. Of course if you asked her she had the dream of the perfect wedding that ever young girl dreamed of, but she wasn't sure what he had planned. What he had wanted.

She felt they were serious, hell she was in love with him, but she had only known him face to face for about a month. Though she knew him a little over a year it seemed so unreal to her that she felt so strongly for him. Yet it didn't change she wasn't sure if they should discuss marriage and kids and a future.

"Is that Colton?" he pointed to an older photo in its frame of Max, Lee, and Colton and some guy Raine didn't really know, just knew her brother growled when he was mentioned. Apparently from the cliff notes she learned he had a thing for Tenley in high school, or not really a thing but more played her. She wasn't sure the details just knew when the guy got brought up in conversation Tenley would roll her eyes and tell Colton to relax. But the picture was of them all standing on the field with a large trophy that sat beside the frame in their hand.

"Yeah, they were state champs their senior year. Kinda cool, huh?"

"Extremely cool," James squinted as he looked at all the other pictures before landing on another newer looking one and grinned. "Why am I not shocked you and Laken were cheerleaders?" he shook his head with a laugh as the strawberry blonde on Laken's shoulders at some football game. "Let me guess, the said ex you sometimes speak of was the captain of the football team?"

"And the baseball," she blushed a little causing James to release a laugh. "But if it makes you feel better I'm totally over the whole athlete stage."

"Are you now?" he spun her to face him and circles his arms around her small waist.

"Yeah totally into the band nerds now…"

"Hey, I'll have you know I was not in band. My best friend was the captain of the basketball team and I too dabbled in popularity. I was more of the strong silent type who played music in his garage and Greg bragged about becoming famous one day and taking care of him," he teased, a gentle smile falling on her lips as she watched him light up at the mention of his friend. "What?"

"Nothing…I just…I like when you talk about Greg," she shrugged and his gaze dropped to the ground. "You're entire face lights up and you…you look so happy. I'd really like to hear more about yall's crazy adventures, because from what you have said so far he seemed like a really great guy."

"He was the best," he gave a light shrug, watching a strand of her hair as he tucked it back behind her ear. "And I promise to talk about him more…about all of that more."

"Good," she leaned up to press a sweet kiss to his soft lips and dropped down with a hint of a smile. "Now let's go meet Max."

"Finally!" he spun on his feet causing her to laugh as they headed into the gym. The loud talking of everyone inside causing James to turn only slightly nervous.

"I love how nervous my family makes you," she teased giving his hand a tight squeeze and his eyes narrowed.

"I told you I'm not nervous," he lied causing her to laugh. It wasn't real nerves that was messing with him, it was the fact he knew how Raine felt about her family and it scared the hell out of him if they hated him then she would end things. Tenley and her mom he passed with flying colors but her dad he could tell was just protective of his little girl and Colton…well he couldn't figure out if Colton hated him or liked him. He honestly wasn't sure if Colton liked anyone but Tenley and Raine.

"Raine!" the twosome looked up to see a miniature Tenley sprint toward them.

"Ariel!" Raine mocked her tone as she reached out her arms and lifted her in her arms. "How is my favorite niece doing?"

"Great, I got an A on my spelling test the other day. Daddy said I get ice cream now."

"Pink berry?" Raine questioned and Ariel nodded excited. "I'm totally in," she high fived the young girl before turning to James who was smiling at the two of them. Watching Raine interact with her niece making him just that much crazier about her. He swore she was the perfect girl. "But Ariel I want you to meet James. James this is Ariel. Colton's daughter."

"Well nice to meet you, Ariel," James held out his hand which the young brunette took. "I've heard a lot about you," he grinned making her blush and twist into Raine's arms.

"He's beautiful, Raine," she whispered causing Raine to laugh and slowly nod as she sent a wink to her boyfriend.

"He also sings."

"Whoa," Ariel's eyes widened as she looked back at her family on the other side of the gym. "Benji sings," she informs him of her big brother. "He's the best."

"Well maybe he could sing with us sometime?" James offered and Ariel looked at him like that was the best idea she had ever heard in her life.

"I'll go tell him!" she wiggled from Raine's arm and darted off before anyone could stop her.

"Sorry," Raine started to follow as her head shook. "She gets really excited. Colton and Ten swear she gets it from me which is just ridiculous. I'm not that hyper."

"Yeah ok," James eyes rolled as he poked her side making her squeal loud causing the gym to turn and look at them.

"Oh god, come on," she tugged him toward her family. "Hey guys," she flashed a bright smile and started to hug them all. "Maxwell."

"Raine," Max mocked her tone, looking over her shoulder noticing the guy behind his favorite strawberry blonde wasn't the guy he saw her with at the club last week. "Sup," he nodded at James causing him to swallow hard.

"Max," Tenley touched her brother's shoulder and squeezed tight enough to make him cringe. "This is James. Raine's boyfriend."

"Max Brady," he held out his hand and shook probably too tight. Cutting his eyes at Colton who kinda offered a shrug and Max slowly started to ease up on the shake.

"James Hewitt," James held his ground as they held eyes contact.

"Wait…like the singer?" Max shocked the group with that knowledge and James nervously nodded as he held his breath. "My daughter loves your stuff. Blast that one uh, bad guy something…"

"If you want a bad boy," James chewed his lip, not really wanting that to be the song his daughter played. He wrote it when he was with Alex and he really wasn't a bad boy…not anymore. He had his moments but he was a good guy now or at least was trying.

"Yeah that one. Says it makes her think of her boyfriend which honestly doesn't make me too happy, but your voice, it's really good."

"Oh thanks. Yeah we did that song in high school and it barely made the album. It's more what my friends wrote...EJ," he mumbled out that not being fully true, but not really a lie either. They co-wrote it and then EJ wrote the guitar part for Jonah.

"Still really cool. You mind meeting her when she's done? She'll freak."

"No of course," James relaxed, laughing at the fact he was in awe of Max Brady and was shocked he knew who he was. Suddenly for the first time in all the years he had been doing music did he feel like a celebrity. He didn't like it still, but he didn't hate it.

"Well, why don't we take our seats? I think the competition is about to start," Tenley ushered everyone up the bleachers, sending a wink to Raine as they all took their seats.

Sitting on the bleacher, Raine grinned as she watched her boyfriend on the court with Ariel and her friends. She wasn't sure why Ariel attached to James the way she did, but the little girl hadn't left his said since Thea's competition started. She ended up in his lap, explained all the tricks everyone was doing like James really understood it and when it was over she told him he just had to come meet her friends. Which after he met her friends, he met Thea and instantly she introduced him to her friends and now she watched her boyfriend as his nervous side came out and he kept scratching his neck.

He really did have an issue with attention.

"Well…" Tenley eased down beside her and clapped her hands together. "Looks like someone is getting along well with everyone."

"I know, how cute is he with Arie? I mean, he swears he isn't great with kids, but look at him?"

"Kids are the best at judging ones character. They don't know to be fake or lie and they get a vibe off people."

"Colton used to always tell me that," Raine smiled at the memories of her older brother swearing guys she dated weren't right because Benji and Ariel didn't like them.

"That's because I always told him I fell in love with him because of the way he was with you," Tenley stared forward as Raine's head snapped over to look at her.

"I didn't know that…"

"Well, let's just say if I judge Colton on my first impression of him I wouldn't be sitting here with you right now. Yet seeing him with you really helped me see who he is on the inside."

"Who he still is…" Raine whispered and Tenley's head dropped. "Ten I know you hate talking about it. I know you feel like you are burnt out on this conversation, but I don't get it."

"Get what?" she released a dry laugh tossing her hands up.

"You love him," she said like it was so obvious. "My god you slept with him just last week," she hushed whispered and Tenley's head snapped over to look at her with wide eyes. "Benji told me. You know Colton wouldn't whisper to a soul what happens with you two."

"I didn't mean for it to happened. We just…it happened. We were out and having a few drinks and I laughed Ray. I laughed in a way I haven't in so long and we were dancing and it just…it happened. It was wrong and I know that but it just did."

"Then why is Nick here?" Raine questioned, Tenley looking up in the air as she felt tears start to form in her eyes. "I mean, shit Ten."

"My life is so fucked up," Tenley looked over at Nick talking to Benji and inhaled a sharp breath. She didn't know how her life got so turned upside down. "I mentioned to Nick weeks ago Thea's competition and he wanted to come so he could bond with Max," a tear dropped and her eyes closed. "And he sat here with my brother and my son laughing having no clue the man behind him I'm craving for all over again."

"Why can't you just forgive him? I know, trust me Tenley I know he hurt you so bad. I know that. I saw it. I saw you trying over and over for him to see you and I saw it crush you when he didn't, but he's been trying so hard," Raine's voice cracked hating seeing Tenley this way, but it destroying her to see Colton the way he was.

Tenley looking forward at Colton on the phone in the corner of the same gym they met in years back and frowned. "Did you know Colton and I separated once before?" she whispered and Raine's eyes widen and jaw dropped as she looked at the older woman. "It wasn't long. Barely a month, but right after I had Ariel he did this. He just…forgot I was there and it wasn't as bad as it was this last time but it…it didn't feel good. I mean, when you are this persons entire world for years you don't know how to handle when they just don't talk to you anymore. So I told him to leave. Told him I needed time to think and I said maybe…maybe we rushed into this life together."


"It was the one comment of my life I regret the most…but he left and stayed with Max for a while and everyday he made it up to me. He tried so hard," she repeated Raine's words as she turned to face her. "And I took him back because he was my Colton again. He was the boy I fell in love with again and we were good. Then Ariel turned three and it happened all over again."

"I never knew that…"

"My heart can't handle taking him back for this to happen again. I love that man, Raine. I've loved that man since I was sixteen years old and I'm never going to stop, but I can't do this with him anymore. I don't know what I did. I don't know why I'm not enough for him anymore," she released a broken cry twisting away from facing everyone and knocked the tears that started to fall.

"So I just talked to-" Colton moved up the bleachers and paused. "Ten…"

"I'll be right back," she rose up quickly and moved down the steps. Ignoring everyone staring at her as she rushed out the gym.

"What just happened? Was she crying?" panic rose in him as he looked back to where she left. "Raine, what is wrong with her?"

"She just…" Raine shook her head and stood up. "Shit Colty…"

"What? What happened?"

"I just now realized how much you hurt her…" Raine's brows creased as she looked at her older brother. "I don't think I've ever seen a person's heart break in front of me before just now," she released a dry laugh causing Colton to move down the bleachers. "Colton!" she yelled, but he ignored her as he rushed out the gym and into his old high school.

Wandering down the halls he still remembered so well, he checked bathrooms and classrooms trying to find his wife. Not until passing a familiar janitors closets did he hear her soft cries and his heart dropped. Turning the handle to the door he twisted it and heard it click unlocked as he pushed the door open to reveal the woman inside. The light from the small window hitting her just the right way and for a split second he swore they were in high school just skipping class again.

Not speaking a word to her he heard her release a soft cry and he moved toward her, wrapping his hand around her waist she twisted in his arms and collapsed her tiny body into his. Clinging tight to her, his hand gripped in her hair as she started to cry.

"I'm sorry," he whispered in her hair holding her to his chest. "Oh baby, I'm so sorry."

"I want to be sixteen again," she kept her face buried in his chest as she cried. "I want to be sixteen and I want to be in history class and I want you to text me and tell me to meet you in here. I want to bitch about it and groan about wondering if you will ever love me because wondering if you ever loved me never hurt as bad as knowing you do and losing it."

"You didn't lose it," he yanked her back to look at him and gripped her chin lifting it to look at him. "Tenley, hey!" he forced her to make eye contact. "You didn't lose it. Do you honestly believe I don't love you anymore? Do you seriously think that?"

"I think I'm your comfort zone. I think I'm the only woman you've ever been with longer than a month and I think I am tired. I'm so tired, Colton. I can't do this anymore."

"And you don't have too!" he released a dry laugh knocking the tears. "God Ten you don't have to put this façade up. You don't have to pretend with me. You can be upset or mad, you don't have to happy and strong all the time. Not with me," he leaned his head against hers and breathed her in. "Let me fix us. Let me fix you," his hand slid to her heart and felt it race under his palm. "Let me show you that. Do you know how much it kills me to think you think I look at you as a comfort zone? Fuck, Ten," his mouth lingered dangerously close over hers, pulling her lower lip between her teeth she put her hand to his chest trying to stop whatever was about to happen.

"We need to go back out there…" she whispered but didn't dare move. "Everyone is going to wonder where we are. What's going on…"

"Then go…" he pushed her chin up and stroked his thumb across her bottom lip. "Go, love," his heart started to race in his chest as she released a sharp breath and swallowed hard.

"Don't do this to me…please," she felt her body start to move backward until her body hit the table behind her. "Colton…" she pulled back panting as he picked her up sitting her on the table. "Uh…" he stepped between her legs making a familiar ache build up in her.

"I want you…" he whispered gripping his hand in her hair. "I want you so damn bad, Tenley. God, I'd do anything if you let me have you right now, but I know it will just make things harder for you and us, but I need you to hear me, Tenley Wells…I need you to hear me, ok?"


"If you never believe anything else I ever say, if you walk out this door and never speak to me again believe this from me please. I love you. I love you and I crave you and I want you and you are my everything. I know I've screwed up a lot, I know I've made you question things, but baby it is not my fault I found the person I wanted for the rest of my life so young. It's not my fault I fell for the perfect girl before I tried dating anyone else. No one has ever even registered to me since I trapped you in that bathroom at seventeen and I will never apologize for that and I will never agree it was because I feel a comfort zone. I wish I could tell you that when we met I planned this life with you, but I didn't because I wasn't looking for you, but when I knew I loved you I knew you were always going to be my only one."


"I always had a past and you looked past it and you loved me for all my demons and fuck ups and because of that I knew it would always just be you. Yet if you need to breathe without me, if you need time to think I will take a step back, a true step back and let you do it, but I won't do it if you think it's me walking away. I refuse to do it if you think it's me throwing in a white towel, but I am not giving up on us. We have been through way too much for me not to believe we will end up together."

"Ok…" she swallowed hard and slowly nodded as he knocked a tear on her cheek. "I hear you."

"Good," he pressed a kiss to her forehead and closed his eyes.

"I miss us…" he heard her whisper causing her heart to chip just that much more. "The old us."

"We're going to find them again," he promised, knowing she wouldn't respond to that. She might want to but he knew she was afraid to show her guard drop a little more than she was ready for. No shock being as he usually failed her when she did drop it.

"I need to get back out there," she ran her thumb under her eye to remove the stains and hopped off the table. "Think Arie is about to steal James away from Raine."

"I like him," Colton randomly stated as she stood in front of him. "I didn't want too, but I do."

"Your mom says they remind her of us when we were young. So carefree and crazy. Not a care in the world."

"Then they will be ok," he flashed a half smile and after a moment she gave a slow nod. "Come on. I need to get you out of this closet. To many memories," he tried to lighten the mood, but both knowing it didn't do much to ease the pain they felt in their chests. Yet Tenley knowing she was caving to him so fast and there wasn't much she could do to stop it.

I know ya'll are wanting to smack me one for taking so long to update and two because Tenley and Colton aren't together yet, but have faith in me and trust it's right around the corner! I mean it's Colton and Tenley! Of course they have to end up happy!

Please review!