Save a Horse. Ride a Cowboy!

She was so nervous. Bella couldn't believe she was shaking as much as a new foal trying to stand for the first time. Every part of her body was quivering. This is so embarrassing. I hope no one notices.

As she stepped into the house, her eyes began searching. The lights were dimmed. Music could be heard pounding out of the speakers; not too loud, but not so soft you couldn't hear it over the guests talking. And boy were there a lot of guests here tonight. It seemed like everyone in Forks had come out to help celebrate Seth's birthday.

Seth. Her shaking got worse as his name crossed her mind. Seth Clearwater, the reason for her nervousness, had never looked twice at her. For years she had pined for him, but he'd never shown any interest in anything but his horses. If only she could get his attention and show him how much she wanted him, loved him, and had for years.

All of a sudden, he appeared from the direction of what she knew to be the kitchen. He looked like a god. Her eyes traveled his body, not for the first time. His brown cowboy hat had seen better days. She remembered when he first got it. It was five years before. Bella and Seth were fresh out of high school at the time.

"What do you think of my new hat?" Seth had asked her as he took it off to show her.

She could still remember reaching out with trembling fingers and running them along the hat. The fibers tickled her as she said, "It's great. Where did you get it?"

"From Andy's. Thought I deserved something for working so hard on those finals."

Something hit her hard from behind, bringing her back to the here and now. She turned quickly, almost dropping the gift in her hands in the process. The door. She'd never even moved from the door. She moved a bit from the doorway and turned back around. Seth had seen the door literally hitting her in the ass. The blood rushed to the surface and colored her cheeks.

Why did he have to see that? Oh my God! What am I going to do? He's still staring at me! She watched as Seth started walking toward her, his huge smile never wavering.

As he walked, she let her eyes wander again. She watched as his baby blue button-down shirt opened and revealed the white tank top below. It was so thin, she could see his golden tan skin through it. A groan almost escaped her lips at the thought of running her hands along his sun-kissed skin. Would she ever be able to kiss it herself?

His jeans rode low on his hips and he finally stopped in front of her. "BB, it's about time you got here!" He gave her a strong hug.

She reveled in the feel of him in her arms, took in his scent. He always smelled like the outdoors. Hazard of owning a ranch, she guessed.

"I wasn't sure if I should come. You didn't exactly invite me, Seth." She leaned back, looking at him with a crooked eyebrow.

"What are you talking about? Of course you're invited. We've been best friends all our lives. You're crazy if you think I wouldn't invite you, B!"

She lifted her gift to him, drawing his eyes to it and away from her face. She didn't want him to see the smile crossing her face. Maybe there is hope after all.

"What did you get me?"

"I guess you'll just have to open it and find out."

He took the box from her. "I would open it now, but then Mom would kill me. So let's put this on the gift table and get you some food. I swear you get tinier every time I see you. What's wrong?"

She bit her lip. "Nothing. I'm just trying a new diet."

He gave her an incredulous look. "Diet? Now I know there's something wrong. You're as skinny as an underfed mare. You don't need a damn diet, B. You look wonderful."

Bella couldn't help the blush rising to her cheeks again any more than she could the happiness at the realization that he did notice her, and he thought she looked wonderful.

He took her hand and led her to the kitchen, dropping her gift off on the gift table as they went. As soon as they entered, the aromas hit her. Seth's mom was a wonderful cook. Bella loved sitting in the kitchen with Sue Clearwater as she cooked because it always smelled like Heaven. Unlike when her own mother cooked-when it smelled like burnt fish.

Sue looked up and saw her son and Bella. Why can't those two see how amazing they would be together? They've been in love for years. Why won't they just admit it to each other? Sue put her stirring spoon down and ran to Bella, engulfing her in a hug. "Where have you been? You haven't come by the house in weeks!" She lightly hit Bella on the shoulder.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. C. I haven't had time to even think lately. I've been trying to find a good job."

"Child, you know better than to call me Mrs. C. I thought you learned a long time ago to call me Sue." She wagged her finger in front of Bella's face. She loved this little, albeit skinny as hell, girl like she was her own, and she'd be damned if any child of hers was going to call her 'Mrs. C'.

"Sorry, Sue." Rightfully so, Bella looked as if she were a child who'd been chastised.

"I'll forgive you once you come by the house." Sue turned and went back to stirring what was in her pot.

Bella looked around the room and noticed how full it was. She grabbed a strand of her strawberry blond hair and began wrapping it around her finger.

Seth noticed Bella's actions and a confused look came over his face. He turned to his mom and raised an eyebrow at her. She shrugged her shoulders understanding him completely. He placed a hand on Bella's back and rubbed it trying to comfort whatever nerves were plaguing her.

"Hey, Mom. Bella needs some food. She's looking a bit skinny. Think she could get a plate?" He needed to take B's mind off what was bothering her. If this didn't work, he didn't know what to do.

Bella took the full plate from Sue and started picking at the food. How am I going to get through tonight? She had gone away to attend college in an attempt to get over Seth. The problem was she had graduated, come back, and the feelings were still there. He was still there.

She felt his hand still drawing circles on her back. He had always been sweet, but she couldn't remember a time when he was so touchy-feely. He had never touched her as much as he had that night.

With half the food on her plate gone, she set it down on the counter. If she ate anymore, she feared everyone would see the food again. Her fingers went back to her hair and started playing with it again.

Bella turned her head toward Seth quickly. "Can I have a beer? I need a beer."

He wasn't sure if it was a good idea. He knew from experience that drinking when you're upset always turns into getting drunk. But he'd never seen Bella drunk. "Are you sure, B? I mean, you seem like you could use a talk more than you could use a beer."

She adamantly shook her head. "No. Talking is the last thing I want to do right now." Having known Seth for as long as she had, she knew exactly what would get her what she wanted. She stuck out her bottom lip and made what he called her 'puppy dog' look. "Pwease?"

Five beers, two shots of tequila and an hour later, Bella was well on her way to being extremely drunk. She didn't care. At the moment, the way things were going, she didn't care if she woke up in the morning. What did it matter? Seth wasn't going to be there when she woke up. He still wouldn't know she even cared about him. Why? WHY? Because he didn't care. Because he didn't even care enough to open his eyes to see she was there, had always been there, would always be there.

The man in question had left her to drink her miseries away halfway through her second drink. He was currently searching for her. Feeling horrible for leaving her in the first place to help his mom with something, he walked into the living room. Apparently, it had been turned into a dance studio.

Seth stopped in his tracks just inside the doorway. Bella was standing on top of the coffee table dancing to Jason Aldean's "She's Country". He loved this song. It always made him think of Bella. She was country. Maybe not from the south, maybe she didn't have a southern drawl. But she was country. She loved her family, and would do absolutely anything for them. She was fiercely loyal.

He had seen her break a horse with her own two hands. B knew how to party. She loved her Dodge Ram, and had told him many times since she got it at 16 that it was her baby; she couldn't understand how people could drive little cars. She knew how to throw a punch if she needed, and she had needed plenty while they were going through school.

Bella wouldn't be caught dead, she'd told him, in some of the clothes that 'city-folk' drive. Much more comfortable was she in a pair of jeans, button up shirt, and her boots. Even now, she was wearing her pink and purple button up shirt with short shorts and her boots. God, how he wished he could put his hands on that tight ass. There was one problem, though. She didn't think of him that way. To her, he was just a brother; he would never be anything else.

She knew he was watching; she could feel him when he walked in the room. As the next song came on, she recognized it as "Laughed Until We Cried". A slow song. She wished Seth would dance with her. But as she looked at him, she knew that wasn't going to happen as she saw him, beer in hand, with pretty little Jessica Stanley. She was pressing up against him as they danced together.

She stared at Seth and Jessica. She couldn't believe he could do that to her. Tears crept into Bella's eyes as her hand joined with Paul's. Shock crossed his face for a split second before he started dancing with her. He was another dear friend of hers. They had hooked up back in high school, but they both knew they were better off as friends.

The tears wouldn't be held back and slowly made their way down her cheeks. She sniffled and took a drink as her hips swayed in rhythm with the music.

Paul leaned back and wiped the wetness from her cheeks. "Hey, what's wrong?"

Bella tipped her chin toward Seth. "I was going to tell him tonight how I felt. Thought it was about time. But apparently, yet again, he just doesn't care. He'd rather have that tramp. Why am I not good enough, Paul? What's wrong with me? Why am I always the one pining for someone I can't have?"

Paul took her face in his hands and looked straight into her eyes. "Hey, you are good enough. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Do you hear me? Don't you ever talk about yourself like that again. Seth is a fucking idiot if he doesn't see what's right in front of him."

She sniffled again and nodded her head. "All right. I'm sorry. I just don't understand. I even tried to get away and go to fucking college to get past this. I guess I just can't get past him. So, I'll be 30 with no husband, living by myself, probably a house full of cats and shit." Just the thought made the tears start rolling again. "I'm gonna go. I don't want to ruin Seth's party because of my stupid shit."

Paul watched her walk out the door, wiping her eyes and looking at the floor. How stupid is Seth to pass her up? She's obviously in love with him. Why can't he see that? The fact that he's so blind has been hurting her for years. I'm sick of this shit. With that thought fueling his anger, he walked up to Seth and dragged him outside.

He turned around and his fist flew into Seth's face before Seth knew what was going on.

"What the fuck was that about?" Seth asked, wiping blood from his nose.

"How could you? Are you fucking stupid or that cold-hearted?"

"What are you talking about? How much have you had to drink, bro?"

The fact that Seth was still being stupid, especially to Paul, earned him another punch in the face." You're pissing me off. Stop hitting me before I start hitting back. You know I can take your ass!"

"She loves you and you stand there feeling up that slut in front of her. Didn't you think she'd see? That it would hurt more than anything?"

"Who are you talking about? You know what? I don't care. I have a party to get back to."

Paul grabbed Seth by the shirt collar and got up in his face. "Fine. Go back to your party, but you might find, if you care, that one person is missing." Paul pushed him back and walked away. He wasn't going to stick around anymore and watch one of his best friends make a fool of himself.

Seth turned and walked back toward the house. What got into Paul? What was he talking about? Who loved him? Who would it hurt if he hooked up with Jessica for some birthday sex? He shrugged his shoulders, not knowing the answer to any of the questions plaguing him.

As he walked in the house, his eyes scanned. Paul had said something about someone missing. Who was missing? Everyone had come that he wanted to see. He mentally went through the guest list and there was one person missing. Bella. Where had B run off to?

He searched every room, even outside, but he couldn't find her. He ran out to check the barn, where she loved to hide out sometimes, but she wasn't there either. He stepped back in the kitchen through the back door. Walking up to his mom, he leaned down and kissed her cheek. "I gotta run for a few minutes. B's gone. I gotta find her."

A smile crossed his mother's face. She was careful not to let him see it, but she knew, somehow she knew, this was it. Bella and her son were finally going to have a long needed talk.

It wasn't hard to find her. She had gone to her parent's house, where she was staying until she could get a place of her own. Her car was like a beacon to him in the driveway.

He found the house locked, which left one place for her to be - the barn. He walked around the house and the closer he got to her hiding place, the angrier he got.

Walking in, he saw her mucking out stalls to make the horses comfortable for the night. He leaned on the barn door and crossed his feet at the ankles. "It's rude to leave your best friend's birthday party without saying goodbye."

She didn't jump, at least not that anyone could see. Her heart did, though. "It's also rude to leave your own birthday party. Why are you here, Seth? I have things to get done."

"Why'd you leave?"

"Because I had to get this done. Satisfied? Now go back to your party."

"No, I'm not, because I know you're lying to me. Why did you really leave, B?"

She threw the shovel in the wheelbarrow. "You know what? I don't care if you believe me or not. Lightening needed to have his stall cleaned. So, I had to come home and do it. If you have a problem with that, you can clean them if you want. I don't care. Now get the fuck out of my barn."

He took a step toward her – toward the woman of his dreams - and then another. Bella was seeing red by the time he was standing right in front of her. "You missed the door. It's the other direction." She pointed toward the exit that would take him far away from her.

"I wasn't aiming for the door. I want the truth, B, and I want it now. Why'd you leave? Last time I saw you, you were having a great time dancing on the coffee table."

"I was, but then I wasn't. So I left. Now you can." She turned around to pick up the shovel again to finish cleaning. The hand that took hold of her arm stopped her. She glared at it. Her eyes traveled up the arm and into the eyes of the man it belonged to. "You may want to remove that hand before I break it."

"I'm not scared of you. You know I'm not. So why don't you just come out with the truth, save us both some time."

Her fist connected with his face before she even had the chance to think about what she was doing. "Because I love you, you ass. How do you think it felt for me to watch her all over you? Oh, and you were really pushing her away. Don't you think I dream about doing exactly that to you on a daily basis? You know what? You stay. I'll leave. I'm not doing this anymore."

She headed out of the barn and toward the house. She had no clue why she just told him everything. How could she have been so stupid? Now he was just going to reject her. What else could he do? Their friendship was definitely over. She couldn't exactly expect him to be able to even look at her after what she just told him.

It took him a moment to let what she'd said sink in, and as soon as it clicked, he was off the ground and running to catch up with her. She hadn't gotten far. He grabbed her arm and turned her around swiftly. "Are you serious? Did you mean what you said back there?"

"What do you care?"

"Just answer me, B." He lightly shook her arm.

With a confused look on her face, she answered him truthfully. "Yes."

That was all she was able to say before his lips crashed down on hers.

She couldn't believe what was happening. This had only ever happened in her dreams. That was it. She wasn't awake right now. She was living in a very vivid dream.

Thinking she was living in a dream world didn't stop her from responding to Seth's touch. Her hands went to fist in his sandy colored hair. Her lips moved over his as if they were made for his alone. She couldn't be held responsible for the moan that escaped her lips.

Bella had dreamed of being with Seth many times over the years, but this time seemed so much more real. Could it be that he really wanted her? That was impossible. She had just passed out while cleaning the stalls. Wouldn't be the first time.

How could it be that one woman would make Seth feel so many things at once? He was upset that it had taken them this long to get to this point. He was happy they finally had gotten to this point. One more day having to keep his hands off her may very well have killed him. And he was having to hold himself back from taking her right there on the lawn.

Seth leaned back a fraction of an inch. "I love you, Bella. I've dreamed of having my hands on you since I figured out girls didn't have cooties."

She enveloped his face in her hands. "Then don't keep them off me, cowboy."

His hands were immediately on her hips lifting her up. "You'd better hold on tight. This is gonna be wilder than any eight second ride."

Bella giggled and wrapped her legs around him as tight as she could. Her smile was wider than ever before as he walked them into the barn.

As Seth laid Bella down on the hay, he couldn't help thinking to himself. Damn, my dream's about to come true. His nervousness skyrocketed. Would she still like him after this? Would they both still be the same when the sun rose?

She could see the nerves plaguing him. "Hey, cowboy? You all right?"

He knelt down by her feet, not taking his eyes off her. "I'm great," he whispered as he slowly took off her boots. He set them beside the hay she laid on. Next, her shorts were slowly taken off and thrown.

He ran his hands back up her legs, slowly. As he watched her, he moved a hand to her center and rubbed it.

Her eyes rolled back into her head and a guttural sound of sheer pleasure escaped her. Sensations flooded her body. The song "Good Vibrations" popped into her mind. She felt her panties being pushed to the side as he kissed and sucked on her inner thigh. Then, she could have sworn she could see fireworks behind her lids as she felt his fingers enter her body.

Her fingers grabbed at the hay as Seth found a rhythm with his fingers. His mouth sucked at the button of her center, quickly lapping up any honey that might find its way out of her.

She felt the orgasm rising inside of her. Riding it to the peak, Bella clenched her fists in Seth's hair and pulled. She screamed as her body shook with the climax.

Once her ecstasy was over, Seth sat back on his heels again and slowly took her panties from her body. Once he'd thrown them toward where he'd thrown her shorts, he started crawling up her body like a cougar stalking its prey.

She couldn't help but smile. Bella grabbed the front of his shirt and dragged him down to her. Their lips crashed together in the hottest kiss she had ever experienced. She started unbuttoning his shirt and tore it from his shoulders. Her fingers found their way between the heated bodies to his pants. Unfastening the button, she looked him in the eye. "I've waited too long. I need you inside me. Now!"

He pushed his pants off him just enough to be able to enter her, and when he did, it wasn't with the sweetness he had imagined or the care Bella deserved. He forced himself inside her with an urgency only she could bring out of him.

They both screamed out in pleasure. They had waited far too long to feel each other the way they were just then.

Seth took her breasts through her shirt into his hand, massaging them, pulling at the nipple, and sending her further toward ecstasy once again.

It didn't take long before they both were letting themselves go. Once they both finished with their release, he collapsed on top of her, completely spent. Breathing heavily, he leaned up on his elbows and looked into her eyes. "I love you so much, B. Sorry this wasn't how I planned it."

She was confused for a second as something clicked in her mind. "This wasn't a dream then?"

He chuckled. "No, it wasn't a dream."

She fell asleep thinking how wonderful it was for dreams to really come true.

Her eyes flickered open, feeling feather light touches all over her skin. She stretched her sore muscles feeling a lot like a cat who had lapped up too much warm milk the night before. Looking down, she saw Seth was leaving kisses all over her body.

He felt her shift under him and looked up at her. "Good morning, Beautiful!"

She groaned with a smile on her face. "What time is it?"

"Just shy of dawn. I wanted to show you something special. Get up. We need to go." He pulled her up and bent down to help her up her panties back on.

She giggled when she realized what was going on. Why hadn't she told him long ago she loved him? All she had done was deprive herself and him of happiness.

When he was finished dressing her, they saddled a horse and were on their way, riding together on her favorite horse, Chavez.

It didn't take long for them to arrive at their destination. She looked around and saw they were in a very beautiful meadow. Purple, pink, blue, and yellow flowers surrounded the new lovers.

Bella turned in the saddle to look at Seth. "Where are we?" she whispered. A place like this seemed to require the quiet so as not to disturb the beauty.

"A place I love to sit and watch the sun rise. I've always wanted to bring you here to see it. I've always wanted to do something here. Will you let me?"

Once she had nodded her consent, he turned her so she was facing him and managed to get her pants and panties off her. Then, he managed the same for himself.

Her eyes went wide when she realized his intent. "You want to have sex on the horse?"

"Why not?"

She couldn't think of a single reason why they shouldn't. It just seemed so wrong.

He lifted her up and brought her so their chests were pressed together. Then, he lowered her slowly onto the head of his shaft.

Her arms flung around him as she groaned. "Oh my God! That's the spot, Baby!"

He bounced her up and down on him. How had he lived so long without her wrapped around him? He latched his mouth onto the sensitive spot of her neck and sucked as if his life depended on it.

She screamed his name as she ground her hips against his in a rhythm that matched his. "Oh my God. Oh my God! I love you, Seth."

"I love you too, baby. You're perfect. Do you know that? Absolutely perfect!"

She felt as though she was going to break in half. The pressure of her impending orgasm was building inside her like an explosive volcano. She felt him hardening more inside her and knew he was as close to climax as she was.

"I'm gonna cum, baby. Are you ready? I want you to cum with me this time, darlin'!" he whispered in her ear.

"Yes! God, Yes!"

They jumped off the cliff together. She vowed then and there that was how it was going to be forever, if she had any say in matters. They would forever do everything together.

As they climbed back toward reality, she couldn't help the chuckle that rose in her throat.

He gave her a funny look. "Was it that bad?"

"Hell, no. I just had a funny thought pop in my head." When she saw him tilt his head to the side in question, she told him, "I thought you were supposed to save the horse by riding the cowboy. Not ride the cowboy while sitting on the horse!"

He laughed deep and loud. This was why he loved her. This was why he would love her forever.