Author: SailorPerfect PM
Set in the heart of Wyoming, spoiled city girl Serenity Rothschild meets Darien Champion Navarre, a modern warrior apache who will test the boundaries of her heart, and struggle to overcome the threat of another nearby...S/D..R/RRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Usagi T./Serena/Bunny/Sailor Moon & Mamoru C./Darien S./Tuxedo Kamen - Chapters: 2 - Words: 11,575 - Reviews: 131 - Favs: 51 - Follows: 46 - Updated: 04-04-04 - Published: 06-19-03 - id: 1390559
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Here's the new story I'd told you guys I was working on, it's an idea I've been toying with for sometime and finally got around to writing it down. I hope you guys enjoy this new concept and please leave me a review telling me what you thought!
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Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue
Set me free oh I pray
Closer to heaven above and closer to you
Closer to you
~Dixie Chicks, Cowboy Take Me Away, Fly Album
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City of Coronado, California
Like a steady promise, the sun rose into the sky and beamed brightly across the island surrounded by the sea. Couples, tourists and native's alike, walked along the rough sands, watching the waves crash rhythmically against the earth, only to retreat back into the mysterious depths once again.
The heat that enveloped the day was welcomed after months of harsh winter and cold. Ripples, waves of heat signifying the rising temperatures, could be seen against the humid air, the brutal sun beating down heavily and causing sweat to trickle in a single drop down her bare back.
Impatient with her hair, she took the heavy, silvery mass and tossed it up into a ponytail, tying it securely so only a few wisps of hair touched her neck and face. Returning to her sketching, she smiled when a few seagulls flew overhead, children chasing after them below, laughing with one another as they followed them down the beach.
Serenity Rothschild stuck her pencil between her teeth and studied the drawing of Hotel Del Coronado, casting her eyes up to critically analyze what she saw with what she'd put down. The likeness was amazing, but to her eyes only half finished with the possibilities she could contribute to it.
Adjusting her tank top and shorts because they were beginning to stick because of the heat, she once again resumed sketching, blocking out all other sounds and thought.
Swiftly, and with long experienced expertise, her pencil moved across the sketch pad, her eyes remaining on the hotel. Her mind focused in on her objective, not even registering whistles and leers that were directed at her. Her mind was firmly set on the present task at hand.
When a shadow suddenly crossed her line of vision, she hissed out an impatient breath, her gaze snapping up to land on the face of a handsome, blonde man.
His eyes were sweeping her form, admiring the tight, little body barely covered by the tank top and shorts. Her long, glorious hair hung in a ponytail down to the middle of her back, curling at the ends. Her eyes, darkened to a stormy blue by anger, were shaped perfectly, slanted at the ends just a little, lending her a seductive, almost sultry look. Her cheekbones rode high on magnificently sculpted features, ivory skin covering sharp slopes and plains that enhanced the beauty that came so naturally to her.
She cocked a slender brow, the one movement sending a bolt of lust straight through his belly. He wondered if she would ever realize the power she had over men.
"Jackson, you're in my way." She snapped it at him, her tone impatient.
He laughed, sitting down next to her in the sand. "I love how you get when you're working. It makes me want to toss you over my shoulder and take you to bed." He nuzzled her bare shoulder, tracing a single finger down her arm. "Want to take a break with me?"
"I want to finish this." Her concentration on her work had always been a strong force inside of her. She could be sketching in the middle of a war zone and not falter once in what she was doing.
Jackson (AN: This is Jedeite, if you guys haven't figured that out yet) sighed heavily, knowing he was in for a long wait. Serena could sketch for hours and never tire of it. It had been a fascinating trait in her, although over the past months it had begun to frustrate him because she never listened to him when he wanted her too.
He squinted against the brutal sun, setting his eyes on Serena's slim figure. She was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen in his life and he'd seen quite a few. He still remembered when he had first laid eyes on her two years before.
He had agreed to go to an art gallery with his latest girlfriend at the time in Serena's favor. Serena had only been twenty three at the time but rapidly becoming a thriving, well known artist already. He had been amazed by the young woman's work, taken back by the beauty and mystery of it, until he had seen the woman herself.
She had been enchanting. Dressed in a glittering white gown that clung to her sensuous curves and left her back and shoulders bare, she had been magnificent. Her ivory skin had seemed to shimmer beneath the lights set up for the paintings, the gown whispering with every movement she made. Her hair had been twisted into a sophisticated knot, small curls escaping and brushing teasingly at her cheeks and neck. Her face had been expertly painted to enhance her beauty, her eyes lined darkly and causing the smoky blue to look almost like fog settling gently against the ocean's surface. In one moment he had been struck by a swift bolt of lightening and had never recovered.
He had left his girlfriend to argue with another man over one of the works and had followed her, mesmerized when her laughter had escaped over a joke another man had told her. The sound had been tantalizing, sending slices of desire rippling through his belly. He had sworn to himself that he would have her before anything else.
He had finally gotten his chance with her alone when she had exited the building and wandered into the courtyard. Under the moonlight she had shivered delicately, wrapping her arms around herself and glancing up at the stars winking overhead.
Speaking to her had been easy, making her laugh another triumph, but dating her had been a challenge. She had been adamant on not wanting to see men, claiming she was young and had her entire life ahead of her. It had taken months of persuasion and endless kiss's until she had finally agreed to become his, succumbing to him and his heart.
In their relationship of two years he had never looked at another woman, never been tempted to have an affair, never wanted any other in his bed except Serena. She had become everything for him and he had secretly swore to himself that one day she would be his wife.
He thought of the diamond ring in their rooms at the hotel and smiled. He had planned the weekend carefully, inviting her for a week to the island, pointing out the hotel and the scenery, knowing that the artist inside her would be unable to refuse such a prospect.
Once she had seen the brochures and images, she had agreed and packed her things immediately. Jackson had been relieved by her excitement, and also filled with anxiety that he would finally be asking her the most important question of their lives.
When she was finished with the sketch they returned to the hotel hand in hand, going up to their rooms to shower and change for dinner. Serena grabbed a towel, shaving lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and several other female products that left him scratching his head. He'd never understood the need for so many different bottles in the shower when shampoo and soap did the job well.
She stripped down naked and walked into the bathroom, leaving him gaping behind her. He had seen her naked several times before, but every time it sent a sharp thrill through him and made him feel as fumbling and clumsy as a teenage boy.
He tore his own clothing from his body, striding into the bathroom where she already stood beneath the spray, her hands filled with shampoo as she scrubbed at her long, silvery hair. When he opened the shower door and stood drinking the sight of her in, she turned toward him, cocking a brow in question.
"Are you going to join me or not?" her smoky laughter tantalized his senses, and soon the shower stalls were steaming with their combined love making.
He planned the night perfectly, taking her to a restaurant on the water, ordering champagne, making her laugh and giving her small touch's. After dinner he took her for a walk on the beach, taking her hand in his and stopping her, the waves crashing quietly behind them. He gazed into her eyes, hoping her love for him would sway her to saying yes.
"There's something I want to ask you." He whispered it, cupping her cheek and caressing her soft skin.
She brought her hand up and covered his hand with hers, smiling. "What is it?"
He took a deep breath, reassured himself a moment, then dropped down on one knee at the same moment he removed the diamond from his pocket. When his eyes met hers again she was staring at him in utter shock, her mouth slightly agape.
"Serenity," he whispered her name, cleared his throat, and continued, "you've been mine for two years, the most wonderful and thrilling two years of my life. I've never wanted anything as much as I want you, I've never loved or desired another woman like I have you, and I can't imagine my life without you."
"No, let me finish." He cut her off quickly, took a deep, calming breath, and continued, "It would fulfill my heart and my life, if you would do me the honor of becoming my wife. Serenity Rothschild, will you marry me?"
The silence that followed was the longest of his life, and the most torturous. He swallowed fear and glanced up at her, his dark eyes meeting hers in the quiet, gentle night.
He didn't see joy, he didn't see excitement. He didn't see any of the emotions he had thought or hoped to see in her eyes. All he saw was fear, and a deep regret he understood even before she spoke.
"Jackson, I can't." her voice was quiet, and filled with remorse. "I….I love you, I do, but I just—can't."
His temper was a strong force inside him and he battled with it to remain calm. "Why not?"
"It's---well it's too—oh! I don't know!" she tore away from him, pacing down the beach toward the lapping water. "Jackson, I don't know if I can."
"But you love me." He followed her, determined to see this through. "Serena, I'm not letting you go, ever. I love you more then anything on this earth." He caught her arm and whirled her around to face him, their eyes locking on one another's. "Why can't you commit yourself to me?"
"I need time." She was pleading with him now and his heart constricted, melting at the look in her eyes. "Please, just let me think. I can't think about this right now with you."
He could feel his heart freeze. "What are you saying?"
She gently moved her arm away from his grasp. "Let me go. I need time to myself to be able to figure out what it is I need to do." She took a deep breath, rose on her toes and kissed his cheek. "I'll call you when I can. Goodbye Jackson."
He watched her walk away from him, watched the only woman he'd ever felt could complete him leave him standing alone, with the crashing waves at his back.
* * * * * *
Champion Navarre Ranch
With the sun peaking over the horizon and the glow of dawn spreading across the land, the quick warmth of early spring stretched it's delightful arms toward the silent ranch, the snow that had once settled like a blanket across the land now replaced with green and the flowering of new birth. Pushing at the darkness that was struggling to remain, the shining sun burned through the damp mists and gave early heat to a new day.
Already having awoken when the sun was still absent, he rode quietly with his black stallion bareback, keeping a firm grip on the reigns. Pressing his knees into the thoroughbred's flanks, he urged the horse into a trot, adjusting the brim of his Stetson as the sun began its brutal glare against him.
He could feel the thoroughbred stallion vibrating beneath him, impatient with the simple trot he had pushed him too. Because he knew the animal wanted more and he did as well, he took a firmer grip on the reigns, angled forward and kicked the horse into a fast paced run.
They raced over hills, through valleys, and further still where the ranch receded behind them and only land surrounded them. Here the deep country and open spaces dominated, with the sky shimmering from a pale grey to a deepening blue. With the wind slapping him in the face and his head near his stallion's, he raced deep into Navarre land.
He knew he could race Phantom for miles without winding the horse. He was built for speed, for racing and exercise. Because he could feel himself panting and his own heart accelerating, he slowed Phantom into a canter, having steered him to the top of a hill, overlooking his land below.
He felt the pride swell, felt the love of the country and his heritage come in a moment of deep thought. His name was Darien Champion Navarre, and he had the blood of his apache ancestors running strong through his veins.
At first look one would see a cowboy, a lone rider who traveled the land and kept quietly to himself. But as he sat with Phantom, gazing at his land, he removed his Stetson and the dark hair of his ancestors was revealed, thick and black as midnight. His skin was bronze, a deep tan that came naturally and was added by the work he did under the burning sun. His cheekbones were honed like a knife, his jaw as sharp as a dagger, shadowed by the growth of a day's beard. The features of his ancestors could be seen in him, but it was the eyes that gave a small glimpse of the French that descended lightly in his blood. The opaque blue stood out brilliantly, a deep granite that gave the apache the look of a mysterious warrior surveying the land he had conquered and held.
He wore a button up shirt that was slightly agape, baring his dark, muscled chest to view, the sleeves rolled to his forearms, showing how tanned he was beneath. His hands were strong over the reigns, one hand bringing the Stetson back up and placing it over his head. With a slight movement to the stallion, he directed him back down the hills toward his ranch.
Already tourists wanting to spend a spring and summer on a real live ranch had begun to arrive, arriving in the early mornings through the transportation he had assigned to them. He gave his manager orders on what to do, standing in the shadows and watching as people came to remain at the ranch his grandfather had built.
His own home was a huge, two story, six bedroom home that resided two miles from the ranch where the tourists remained. When his grandfather had converted the ranch into a guest ranch and retreat, he had built another new larger home for the guests to remain in. This had been for those wishing to relax and spend a few days in the country, leaving the home his ancestors had built two miles away from them for the privacy of their family.
His thoughts drifted as he made his way back to his home, lingered on the sister who had left his life several years before. Only three years after their father's death, she had taken her things and run away from him and their home.
He wasn't fool enough to not have kept close tabs on her, making sure to know where she was and what she was doing at all times. He wondered if she realized that several times, when money had been running low for her, he had used his own connections and helped her back on her feet. Of course she would choose to believe it was by her own doing. Amy Navarre had always been an independent, stubborn woman and little had changed about her for the past seven years.
He had made a promise to his parents, an oath to himself, to always keep her safe. Her very existence was precious, a rare thing in his family, and he would see to it that nothing or no one ever harmed her. Even if it meant earning her anger and wrath.
He wondered how long it would take her to come home, how long it would be until she admitted to herself that she did indeed have a brother in this world and a home she had grown in. Someday her past would call her back and she would have to face everything she had run away from.
Until then he could only watch her grow from afar and hope with all his heart that she would one day remember him and choose to return.
He led Phantom into the cool shade of the stables, nodding to his men who were already awake and saddling the horses, preparing them for the day. Dismounting, he handed him off to one of them, turning and striding from the building back toward his home.
He spotted his friend standing on the porch of his home waiting for him. The tall, dark man looked almost violent, with the fierce build of a barbaric warrior that had lived so many hundreds of years before. His eyes were as black as his hair, topped by slashing dark brows, one of them with a small scar just above the eye. Darien had always wondered how he had received the scar, but his friend had refused to comment on it. It was a shock to him that any man could have been able to land even a small hit on Greg. He was large in build, with just a little more muscle on him then Darien, and heavily muscled as well from manual labor he put in at his own ranch some twenty miles away. Several men in the past had taken one look at him and backed down quickly, choosing cowardice over fighting a man who was so powerfully strong.
He watched the other man unfold his large frame from the porch railing, and grinned as he came forward to meet him.
"Didn't expect to see you here so early." Darien spoke as he mounted the porch steps, going to his front door and opening it. "I thought you'd be in Kentucky by now."
"Change of plans." Greg Hunter followed him inside, shutting the door behind him. "Thought I'd come pay a quick visit on my way to town."
Darien merely lifted a dark brow. "What did you do?"
"Can't an old friend just visit another old friend?"
"Greg, don't bullshit me." Darien took the morning paper from the coffee table in the living room and began reading through it.
"The little brunette, the one that came with her group of friends?" at Darien's questioning look, he grinned. "Let's just say she's a firecracker."
"Greg, Goddamnit." Darien rolled his eyes in exasperation. "I've told you the guests are off limits."
"I couldn't help myself, she was so willing. Besides, what about you and that widow?"
Darien didn't even flush. "She climbed into my bed, what was I supposed to do?"
"Right. At least thank me for letting you know. I could have just kept it to myself."
"Did you break her heart?"
Greg shrugged. "She's going home with a new lesson learned, put it that way."
Darien shook his head. "And she has you to thank for that. All right, thanks for warning me. If she gives me trouble I'll know why now."
"She and her friends are leaving today."
"Is that why you're taking off to town?"
"Very good." Greg slapped him on the back. "I'll be seeing you."
Darien wasn't angry by Greg's confession, was only mildly bothered by it. It was a simple rule he had for the staff and himself not to become romantically involved with the guests. Greg wasn't part of his staff, but the rule applied to him because Darien knew of his past history with women. Never once had any mattered.
Taking up his Stetson from where he had placed it on the coffee table, he walked toward the front doors to begin the work for the day.
* * * * * *
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
"You told Jackson Tucker you wouldn't marry him?" disbelief and humor mingled together. "Are you serious?!"
"Shut up Amy, you're not helping matters." Serena snapped back.
Serena had just picked Amy up from the airport, the two women driving through the city back to Amy's beach house on the coast of South Carolina. Amy had been gone for three weeks, two weeks of those where Serena had been under pure torture.
She missed Jackson. She hated admitting it, especially after what she had done to him, but she wanted him back. She wanted him holding her as she drifted into sleep, whispering he loved her, making love to her in the dark hours of the night. In the two weeks since she had told him she needed to be alone, it had taken all her willpower not to run back to him.
It had been a great relief when Amy had called and said she was finally coming back from Europe. Serena had been nearly crying with the relief and the joy the return would bring. She had missed her friend more then she had realized she could.
Serena glanced at her now, simmering with temper when she saw Amy was chuckling beneath her breath. The other woman was the same age as her, but with short, black hair that was cut in a stylish fashion, her eyes a deep blue that reminded Serena of the oceans dark waves at night. Amy Navarre was a beautiful woman, sultry in the looks she had inherited from her mother and her female ancestors, the golden hue of her skin contrasting beautifully with the dark hair and deeply set eyes.
She was a woman, who like Serena, knew the power her beauty gave her.
"I want him back." Serena muttered it quietly, stopping Amy's amusement. "I miss him."
"Oh no, no you don't. You don't even know if you want to marry him, so don't even think of saying yes just because you're used to him." Amy spoke ruthlessly, not at all compassionate for her friend.
Serena glared at her for a moment before returning her eyes to the road. "Amy, I do love him you know."
"Ok, but how do you know you don't just love him because you're used to him? Serena, you've been with him for two years, who wouldn't love someone after that long?" Amy cut her off before she could snap at her again. "I think you need to get away and take some time to yourself. You need to really think this through, figure out if he's what you really want or what you're telling yourself you want."
"Since when did you get all knowing?"
"I've always been all knowing. I think a small vacation would do you good on gathering your thoughts and emotions." Amy's mind wandered back to a country that had always helped her in times of need, to a home she had never forgotten in her heart. "How about a retreat?" the words came out in a whisper, and she was shocked she had actually spoken them.
"A retreat? What kind of retreat?"
"Well…..there are ranch's that people like to go to so they can get away from their daily lives and learn how to go country." She knew she was risking much in telling her friend about this, her home, but in the past months her own restlessness to see her brother had begun to grow until it was all she thought of.
Serena laughed. "A ranch? Me? Are you serious? Come on Amy, I would be totally lost. I'm a city girl"
"It would help you, I'm telling you. And that way Jackson wouldn't know where to find you either. You would have a couple of weeks to figure out what you wanted to do."
Serena pondered the idea, a little distasteful by the sound of it. "Well—I don't know. You really think it would help me?"
"Trust me, these places are made for people in you're situation." She couldn't believe she was actually pushing her friend into going where she had grown up. But even she knew that one someday had to face their past, especially the brother and man she had left behind. "What do you think?"
"Well…..I suppose it's a good idea. But I couldn't go alone. You would come with me, wouldn't you?"
Amy knew she had to return, but she needed to gather herself before she did. Facing two men would take all her willpower and courage to do. "Sure, I'd go with you. I think you should go as soon as possible though. I could join you there in, say…..another week."
"A week? No, I'd need you with me, I couldn't do it alone." When she heard her friend's laughter she shot her a fierce glare. "What is so funny?!"
"You. You can't even go to a ranch by yourself. Maybe you've lost you're touch since you've been with Jackson. I remember a time when you used to take off to Europe and climb mountains just for the hell of it." Amy knew exactly how to dig at her friend. "I guess without him you just can't exist."
The simple statement had Serena fuming. "Yes I can. I don't need him or any man with me. And I don't need you to go with me either. I could do it alone and I will."
Amy tapped her nails against her thigh, amused despite the situation she had put herself into. "So you'll give me a week?"
"Take a month, I don't care." Serena was now determined. "I'll show you and him that I don't need anyone to exist."
"I'm glad to hear that, very glad to hear that. I'll make the necessary reservations as soon as we get home." Amy slid her friend a look, feeling a little sympathetic when she saw the light shadows darkening Serena's pale complexion. "Has it really been that bad for you?"
Serena knew what Amy was referring to and didn't pretend to go around it. "Yes, it has. But you're right. I need to find out for myself and doing this is the perfect plan."
Amy had always liked Jackson, but had also been annoyed by his presence. Before he had come along she and Serena had done everything together, and had never taken any relationship seriously. When he had begun his pursuit of Serena they had both laughed and thought he would be just another heart to break.
Five months later Amy had been shocked and not too pleased when Serena had told her she had entered into a relationship with him. Amy wasn't fool enough to know that there wasn't a man out there meant for each of them, but she had never once believe Jackson was meant for Serena. She had been happy for her friend, tolerant of him, but never felt Serena could be completely happy with him. He wasn't the one her friend was meant to remain with.
She knew her thoughts had to do with the blood flowing through her veins, the power her ancestors had always had in knowing and feeling things. Amy had pushed the past of her life away in order to actually live for herself. How could anyone exist in a childhood where men constantly watched over and monitored every movement you made? She knew she had been a rarity, something precious to be watched over in her family, but to have your freedom and independence given only partially to you? She knew, after her father's death, that soon she would take what she had and run from the past that weighed heavily on her.
With the thoughts of home came the thoughts of him. She had never forgotten him, not for one moment. But neither had she forgotten the violence he was capable of, and the possessive side of him that had frightened her more she could even admit.
She shook herself from her thoughts when she realized Serena was speaking to her. "What?"
"I said 'I haven't even told my Dad yet.'" Serena turned down a secluded street, driving slowly as she made her way to Amy's apartment building. "I'm afraid to tell him."
"Who blames you? The man isn't going to be happy to know his only daughter just dumped a future candidate for president." Amy laughed when Serena groaned. "Tell me, how does it feel to have told Senator Jackson Tucker, 'no, I won't marry you?'"
"Will you please stop making fun of me for just two seconds?" she parked the car, shutting it off and climbing out with Amy. "He's going to kill me."
"No, he won't." handing one of her bags to Serena, she took the other as they made their way up the stairs to her apartment. "He loves you Serena, plain and simple. He supports any decision you make, even if it is dumping Jackson."
"You're right. It's good to know he won't bite my head off to bad by this." Once they were inside Amy's quiet apartment, Serena set her bags down near the entrance doors. "It's been peaceful to be staying here the last two weeks."
"Has Jackson been calling you?" Amy was already sifting through her mail.
"He hasn't so much anymore." When Amy merely lifted a slim brow, Serena blew out a breath. "I had to cancel my cell phone."
"He always did border on obsessive, didn't he?" Amy snickered when Serena shook her head. "I'm going to call and make those reservations now. Are you sure about this?"
Serena could hear the challenge in her friend's voice and met it with an equally fiery one of her own. "Yes, I'm sure. Make the reservations."
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Last Notes: I hope you guys liked the first chapter to my new fic. I was mostly trying to introduce everyone here and show who's where and who's with who.
Also, if you guys don't know this, a Stetson is a western hat, a cowboy hat in other words.
Please leave me a review telling me what you guys thought. And don't worry, my other unfinished fics I will be adding to as well very soon! ~SailorP