Authors Note

So while I have time to update every day, I'll just be writing where the inspiration hits. I'm trying to get a chapter of WP going but it's tricky. And I figured no one would be TOO disappointed with this one. And I'll do it just one more time: purdy please read and review my newest story Elysium :)

Steph

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THE RIDGE

Chapter 4: Homecoming

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Heartland

Amy couldn't remember a time in her entire life when she had been so excited.

Ty was coming back to Heartland! After all those years, he was finally coming back home. He might not have remembered home, but Amy was determined to make him remember it. He would love Heartland just as much as the old Ty had loved it and by the end of the summer he wouldn't want to leave.

That morning during breakfast, no one else had quite shared Amy's level of enthusiasm over Ty's impending arrival, but Amy was far from deterred.

It had all all started when she had skidded around the corner into the kitchen on her socked feet, crashing right into grandpa. While Amy had apologized profusely with a gigantic smile still stretched across her face, Jack had frowned down at her with his hands on her shoulders.

"In a hurry, Ames?" he couldn't help but laugh as he watched his granddaughter practically bounce across the kitchen to the pot of fresh coffee on the counter.

"Oh, grandpa…" Amy sighed as she poured herself a mug of coffee. "Ty's coming this afternoon."

Jack could hear the smile in Amy's voice, though her back was still turned to him, but he couldn't help the frown that crossed over his face. The truth was, even though a part of him would always remember Ty as the boy that was as good as his grandson, he was still less than one hundred percent about the boy spending the summer with them. In the short few weeks they had been reacquainted during the spring, he had witnessed Ty get into more trouble than he ever had in the years he had known him before. He'd even managed to drag his bright, perfectly sane and sound in the head granddaughter into his schemes more than once! Jack was a little more than wary about what Ty would do to them all this summer, Amy especially.

"Yes," he said finally, as Amy turned back to face him. "So he is."

Amy noticed his frown. "Oh, grandpa!" she exclaimed. "Everything will be fine, you'll see."

Jack sighed and rubbed a weary hand over his weathered face. "I do hope so."

"Ty is still Ty you know," she said, setting her mug in the sink. "Just…" she paused thoughtfully and ran a finger along the cool tiles of the counter, "just a little different is all. Just try to give him a chance this summer. Please. For me?"

Jack sighed. "Of course I'll try." He never could deny her anything when she looked at him like that. "But that boy isn't who you remember him to be." Amy started to protest but Jack held up a hand to stop her. "I know you still like him, and that you've accepted him for who he is but… I just don't want 

you to have any false hopes about this summer. You just can't be to set on the idea that Heartland will bring back the Ty you lost."

"I know that, grandpa," Amy rolled her eyes playfully. "I'm just looking forwards to seeing him again. And yes, to having him around Heartland again," she admitted, "even if it isn't the same as it was before."

"I don't want to see you hurt when everything isn't back to the way it was."

"I'm not expecting that," Amy said quickly, glancing out the window quickly towards Dazzle. "I'm just expecting to spend time with Ty, and to show him something about his old life."

Jack looked out towards Dazzle too. The roan colt was grazing in the early morning sun, looking peaceful for once in his short life. But the young horse was a symbol of something much greater at Heartland. "You're playing with fire here, Amy, and you're not the only one that's going to get burned."

"No one's going to get burned, grandpa," Amy said, rolling her eyes at him once before grinning and bounding across the kitchen to lace up her boots.

"I hope you're right," Jack said with a sigh as he eased himself down into a chair at the table. He picked up the front section of the newspaper.

"So I'm going to do the normal routine this morning and then see if I can make any progress with Dazzle," Amy swiftly changed the topic of conversation and she stood up from the floor. "I'll pick Ty up from the airport at four, anyone that wants to come can but I was just planning on going alone."

Jack lowered the paper and appraised her briefly. "Alright. The horses should be expecting breakfast right about now," he said with a smile.

Amy left the farmhouse, her good mood barely touched. So no one else understood. They didn't have to. She was the one that would need to help Ty, and she understood him. She accepted who he had become and she loved him, she really did. But sometimes she needed to know what would have happened if the accident had never occurred.

Later that morning, Amy found herself perched on the fence of Dazzle's paddock. The ten month old colt avoided her at all costs and put on quite a show at staying as far away from her as possible. It was times like this when she knew she needed Ty to talk to. Ty was the only one she had ever been able to talk about the horses with. Tom and Joni were good but they didn't understand the horses on the same level that she did, or that Ty did.

Dazzle had been quiet for a good few minutes when a gentle breeze blew through the paddock, lifting Amy's hair. Dazzle caught her scent and threw his head up and squealed. He gave a half rear and took off once more. Amy sighed as she watched him canter back and forth along the far side of the paddock, this head angled over the fence towards the woods. She needed to do something about Dazzle. It broke her heart to see him acting like that all the time.

She stood up in determination; she had three months to get through to him. Which he— the man or the horse— she was talking about, she didn't know.

Healing horses, healing hearts…

Amy smiled as she repeated her mother's old saying in her head and she watched Dazzle's antics with a new eye.

--

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Five and a half hours had never passed so slowly in Ty's entire life.

He may not have had the slightest idea who this Ashley girl was, but he would have sworn up and down that she was not Amy's best friend, as Ashley had earlier professed. In fact, he would have been blown away if they were even friendly acquaintances. If it wasn't the blond girl's racy magazine or provocative clothes and makeup, it was her incessant, mindless chatter that tipped Ty off to her lie. No way would the Amy he knew be able to stand this girl. He was about ready to smother her with her sex advice filled magazine—the same one she kept hitting him on the arm with as she talked—and he would have, if only that grandmotherly-like woman hadn't been sitting on her other side.

The real icing on the cake though was when his iPod lost all battery less than halfway through the flight. Now he couldn't even drown out her tittering voice with blaring music. He sat with the ear-buds in his ears for a while, staring out the small window, hoping that she's get the message and stop talking, but Ashley Grant had never been one to notice others. So after a while Ty wrenched the headphones out of his ears and shoved the traitorous piece of technology back into his bag.

"… so then Macy showed up at my Christmas ball wearing the same gown as me!" Ashley exclaimed. Ty could feel his eyes glazing over already. "Can you believe that? Everyone was just simply scandalized and I… well I had gotten the dress first. I remembered telling her about it. And it was my party after all, so I marched over to her and I said—"

"Can I get you folks anything to drink?"

"Coke!" Ty nearly shouted the first beverage he could think of. What he really wanted was something high in alcohol but the coke would do. The flight attendant fixed their drinks and Ty gladly watched three minutes of the flight pass in peace.

"So where was I?" Ashley turned back to him as soon as the flight attendant had passed. She tilted her head to the side and taped the rim of her plastic glass of sparkling water. "Ah yes, Macy. So I—"

"So you said you live near Heartland?"

"Oh yes," Ashley said brightly, completely deterred from the Macy and the Dress Scandal, for which Ty was relieved. "I drive by Heartland and visit all the time."

"Huh."

"It's a charming place, really. Nothing like Green Briar though… but you know all about that, of course." She patted his arm with her magazine and Ty wanted to throttle her once more. "I'm planning on having a small get-together later this week," Ashley said, twirling a lock or hair around her finger. "You know, kind of a welcome home for me," she flashed a smile and Ty frowned. This girl was just… he slumped forward; he didn't even know what she was. "You should come by."

"I don't think so," Ty said gruffly.

"Oh come one," Ashley pouted, this time laying her hand on his arm sans the magazine. "It would be a great way to meet some people… or, you know, re-meet some people," she tittered at her own joke.

"I'm pretty sure no," Ty said again.

"Oh don't be such a party pooper," Ashley leaned towards him batted her eyelashes. Ty gagged as she pressed her chest against his arm. His reaction made him from even more frustrated. He used to live for this… but not anymore. "You could spend some time with me..." Ashley said suggestively. He thought about Amy and shrugged Ashley off his arm.

"I'm pretty sure I'll have other plans."



Ashley was relentless. "You could bring Amy if you wanted to I suppose… one of our stable hands would be just darling for her!" she cooed. Ty's eyes narrowed dangerously and he stiffened as Ashley touched his arm again.

"No," he said firmly. "I actually think I'll be busy that day."

Ashley pouted again but Ty just stared at her. He would sooner slap her then give into that pathetic excuse for puppy dog eyes. "Well another time then."

"I'll be busy all summer."

At this Ashley laughed loudly. The elderly woman next to them glanced over at the sound. Ty looked at her briefly, hoping that she would notice his predicament but she just smiled at him and turned back to her magazine. Ty scowled at himself again, now he was trying to get other people to help him.

"You can't spend the whole summer at Heartland," Ashley's voice drew him back to the present.

"Why not?"

"Well," Ashley began, holding up her hand to tick off the reasons. "First, there's no one there. Second, there's nothing to do, you'll get dreadfully bored. All they do there is work with the horses—" here she threw in an eye role for added affect. "It's not exactly good living around there, if you know what I mean, and—"

"Well not that it's any of your business at all," Ty cut her off, his eyes flashing dangerously, "but I'm going to Virginia to visit Heartland so that is exactly where I will be spending my summer."

Ashley's eyes narrowed dangerously at the blatant rejection. No one rejected her. Especially not for that little farm girl Amy Fleming! Her mouth worked up and down furiously several times but she could think of nothing to say with Ty staring her down like that. She crossed her arms tightly over her chest and leaned heavily back against the seat. She stared forwards at the back of the seat in front of her.

Ty, on the other hand, just smiled. So she had finally shut up. He relished in the silence for as long as it would last.

A while later, while Ty had his head against the window and his eyes closed, Ashley chanced a look over at him. Her eyebrows furrowed together in the middle. Sure he looked like she imagined he would, but that man sitting next to her was nothing at all like the Ty that used to practically live at Heartland. She sighed and turned away from him. But then she stopped and looked back him, her lips twisting up. He was too good looking for Amy, and no one rejected Ashley. She'd make sure she showed Ty a fun time while he was in Virginia.

--

--

By the time she got to the airport, Amy's happiness was still present in full force. Just now she was nervous too. The combination of both intense emotions was making her bounce up and down on the balls of her feet as she waited just outside of the security gates amidst a crowd of people. She kept smoothing her fingers over her hair, making sure it was all in place and checking her outfit in the reflection of the shop windows. She had showered and changed before she'd left to make sure she didn't smell like the barn. She had put on a cute pair of dark denim shorts, a white lacy tank and a black, short sleeve zip up hoodie over top. She thought the outfit was cute and summery, and Soraya had promised that the shorts showed of her long, tan legs.

Amy checked the time on her cell phone: 4:15. Ty's plane was meant to get in at four, and the monitor that she was keeping close tabs on said the plane had landed… but she still didn't see Ty.



Amy bounced up and down some more. She stood on her tiptoes to peer into the terminal but there was no sign of Ty. She looked around at the people waiting with her and caught the eye of a young mother holding a baby to her chest. Amy smiled at the woman before looking forwards again.

Amy had been so busy simultaneously concentrating on the flight monitor, the clock of her cell phone, and scanning the crowd for Ty—all so that she wouldn't miss him— that she had managed to miss him completely. Ty, however, had not missed her. He smiled as he saw her busily checking the various screens displayed before her and fiddling with her phone, obviously debating whether or not to call him.

Her lack of attention made it all very easy for Ty to sneak up on her, slip his arms around her waist and hoist her off the ground.

On her end of this whole scheme, Amy shrieked when she found herself suddenly lifted off the ground by someone she could not see. She gripped her attacker's hands. When her attacker laughed in her ear her breathing practically stopped. She would know that laugh anywhere. She managed to get her feet back on the ground and, though her mysterious 'attacker' did not let her out of his arms, she managed to turn around to face him. The smiling face that met her was the one she had been waiting months to see.

"Ty!" she yelped and threw her arms around his neck, practically toppling him over to the floor.

Ty laughed again, but held her tighter against him, tucking his head into her shoulder. "It's good to see you too."

Amy pulled back from him just slightly and looked at him for a moment, hardly believing that he was really standing right in front of her. Then she stood up on her tiptoes and pressed her lips against his. Ty's response was exactly as she had hoped it would be but Amy pulled away quickly—they were in an airport after all!

"Now it's good to see you," she joked and leaned her head against his shoulder.

Ty had one hand on her lower back and the other rubbed over her shoulders. He didn't care that they were standing in the middle of a crowded airport, or that other people were being reunited and parting ways all around them. He didn't care that he'd never acted this way with a girl before. This just felt right.

He leaned his head down towards Amy ear and whispered, "I really like those shorts, by the way."

Without lifting her head—she needed to hide her blush—Amy smacked his arm. Ty snickered. Amy sighed happily after a moment. "I was hoping you would."

"I don't think it would be possible…" Ty trailed off, something in the crowd having caught his eye.

Amy lifted her head and looked at him curiously. "Ty? What's the matter?" He had the strangest look on his face.

Ty snapped his head back down to look at her. "We need to go. Now." He grabbed her hand and tried to drag her away.

Amy followed after him slowly. "Wait… what? Ty! What's going on?" she demanded.

Ty turned his head around and he had a hard look in his emerald eyes. "Just trust me. You do not want to—"

"Oh Ty! Amy!" the high pitched voice was easily heard over the din of the terminal. Ty tried to keep dragging Amy towards baggage claim but Amy made the fatal mistake of turning to see who had yelled her name. She had enough to time to see Ashley Grant running—as best she could in heels—and waving furiously, in their direction.

Amy looked up at Ty and was surprised to see that Ty was looking at her with a grim expression. Did he… no. It wasn't possible that he remembered Ashley Grant out of all things! Was it?

"Oh I am just so glad I caught up with you!" Ashley cooed once she was in front of them.

"Fortunate," Ty grumbled under his breath. Amy heard it and looked up at him. Ty was scowling darkly at the far wall. He looked like he would murder a puppy if he saw one. What was she missing?

"Hello, Ashley," Amy said, trying to be pleasant.

"Oh, hello there, Amy," Ashley said, remembering that Amy was there. She spared her a quick glance. Ty stepped closer to Amy and wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her closer to his side. Ashley hardly seemed to notice the gesture, and if she did she just didn't acknowledge it. "I just wanted to know if you had thought about that invitation anymore, Ty," Ashley said brightly, batting her eyelashes.

"No. I'm still going to be otherwise occupied."

"Oh, sorry, have you met Ty, Ashley?" Amy cut in curiously. She looked back and forth between the two, trying to take Ashley's cheery face and Ty's murderous one in stride.

Ashley turned her smile on Amy, though it was a good deal less friendly now. "Oh yes. We were seat buddies on the flight, chatted the whole way! I invited Ty here to a little party I'm having later in the week, but he seems to feel obligated to stick around Heartland." Ashley shrugged, making it apparent that she obviously found the notion of this completely ridiculous. "Shame really. I'll send you an invite for the next party though. I'll expect to see you there, even if I have to come and get you myself!"

Ty was silent, but Amy felt his hand tighten on her hip.

"That's, um… nice of you, Ashley," Amy said slowly.

"Maybe you could talk some sense into him, yeah?" Ashley suggested, leaning closer to Amy. Amy raised an eyebrow. "You know, use your femin—"

"I already told you no twice," Ty finally snapped. "How many times do you need to hear it?"

Ashley seemed unaffected by Ty's anger. Amy took Ty's other hand in her own and threaded her fingers through his. She rubbed her thumb in circles over his hand, hoping to calm him down just a little.

"You don't know what you'll be missing," Ashley said coyly, striking a pose: stuck out chest, head held high, jutted out hip, outstretched leg.

"I have standards for the parties I go to," Ty said calmly, "and I can already see that you will not be meeting them." Ashley's pose dropped and she stared up at Ty. "Now," he said, taking a step back and pulling Amy along with him, "I have to go. Never bother me or my girlfriend again."

Amy and Ty walked away from the scene in silence. So many things were running through Amy's head, but she couldn't put any of them into a coherent sentence. What had just happened?

"Please tell me you're not actually friends with that girl," Ty finally said.

"God no," Amy said, shivering at the mere thought.

"Good. I didn't think so, but as soon as I told her my name she said she was your best friend."

"Ah… so you were really seat buddies then?" Amy asked innocently.



They stepped onto the moving sidewalk and stood in the 'no walking' lane. Amy leaned back against the rail and looked up at Ty. "That was the longest five hours of my life," he finally said. "My iPod died halfway through the flight and that girl does not know how to take a hint…"

Amy stared up at him for a moment. The look on his face was priceless as he remembered his cross-country flight. It was caught somewhere between horror, repulsion and utter denial. Amy couldn't help it: a little laugh escaped her lips. Ty's eyes snapped to her face and she instantly became the picture of innocence. They stared at each other for several moments before Amy couldn't help it anymore. She brought her hand up to her lips but the giggles still escaped.

"It wasn't funny," Ty huffed.

"I'm sorry," Amy said through her laughter. "I feel bad, honest I do—"

"You should, that girl is an absolute horror," he grumbled.

"—but it was just the expression on your face. And she said seat buddies!" Amy could hardly get it out through her laughter. "How often do you hear that?"

"It's almost as bad as the fact that I had the window seat," Ty said without thinking. Amy was able to laugh about that the rest of the way down to baggage claim. Although Ty hated being laughed at, by the time they were standing in front of his flights carousel, even he was chuckling a bit. But he was laughing at Amy's hysterics.

Eventually Amy quieted down. "Sorry," she said, smiling up at Ty and taking a deep breath.

Without saying anything, Ty put his arms around her and pulled her into him. Amy wrapped her arms around his back and tucked her head under his chin. As she breathed him in, she had never felt so complete.

"Can you promise me something?" Ty said quietly.

"Mmmm." She loved how she could feel his heart beating, could feel him breathing, could feel his voice in his chest when he talked, could feel his chin move against her head when he talked. She never wanted to move.

"Let's not talk about Ashley Grant anymore," he said. "I came here to see you, and quite frankly, I've had more than enough of her in the last five hours to last a life time."

Amy lifted her head her head and smiled up at him. "I'd like that," she said warmly. She kissed him quickly but again pulled away before he respond the way he wanted to.

Ty groaned and leaned his forehead against hers. "I am going to be so glad to get out of this airport," he said in a low voice.

Amy giggled. "You know my grandfather is at home…"

"I have ways," he said. "I'll kidnap you if that is how I have to be alone with you."

"Oh, you are so lucky my father isn't here," Amy laughed at him.

Ty smiled down at her and pulled her back into his chest. "I don't know about that," he contradicted. "I've got the girl… what can he do to me now?"

Amy looked about and their eyes met. They laughed together at the ridiculousness of their situation and the ridiculousness of how it had been before. One thing was for sure, they both knew, it was going to be quite a summer.



a/n: sorry it's a little late! I hope the chapter makes up for it. It's my favorite so far from this story. It was supposed to go into them getting back to Heartland but it went long enough and I just want to post, so that will be another chapter. And this chapter had the happy tone so… it works out I guess. REVIEW!! -Steph