Pre- A/N: I got this little plot bunny stuck in my brain when I was re-reading drotuno's Angel's series. I love love LOVE her Jasper and wanted to write something loosely based on him and his love of meaningful country songs. I only hope I did him justice ; )
I have a lot of love for this little story, and I hope y'all like it. = )
This was my donation to the Fandom for Tsunami compilation.
I grew up in a small town in rural Georgia. A town where everyone knew each other, because at one point or another they'd gone to school together, and grew up together.
There were a few things that got the town excited – the Peach Festival, the 4th of July parade, and Friday night football games in the fall.
Our little town was filled with an immense amount of pride—the people, the land, the history. Growing up, I was taught to respect it and to put as much back into it as I took out of it. It was a place that I would always call home.
When I got into high school I followed my buddies and joined the football team. It was such a rush to be out there on the field. By the time my sophomore year started, they had moved me up to varsity. Not long after, I started dating Maria. Much like everyone else, we grew up together but hadn't given a second thought to anything more than friendship. It worked out that she was a cheerleader and I'd often give her a ride home after practice. One thing led to another and we found ourselves confessing to having a crush on each other.
Maria and I had an easy kind of relationship. I couldn't have asked for more. With everything I had going on; I didn't need a complicated relationship. I got up every morning helping my dad out on our farm, go off to school, and then practice. After dropping Maria off at her job at the Quik Mart, I'd head over to my part time job at Brookhaven Farms. I spent the evening hours preparing the horses for the night, and I usually spent the weekends working with the horses, training them.
John Carmichael was the owner of the ranch; he was friends with my parents, as well as my godfather. John took me under his wing at a young age, teaching me everything he knew about horses—from caring for, to breeding them. He hoped one day to find someone to take over Brookhaven Farms and I had a feeling that he was priming me for the job.
Every once in a while, Maria would come out to the ranch on the weekend, she'd bring me lunch and we'd sit out on the hill that over looked the pasture while we ate. There was nothing better than sitting with the girl that I loved in my favorite spot in the world—in the warm Georgia sunshine.
Honestly, I don't know which one I loved more, the sunshine or her. Maria quickly went from being my friend, to being my world. She was beautiful with long chestnut hair that floated in the breeze, lovely almond shaped hazel colored eyes that danced when she laughed and she had a smattering of freckles across her face that were completely adorable. She was tall, five foot ten which worked well with my six foot two stature.
Maria was sweet, loving, honest, funny and loyal, but she could be hell on wheels if you made her mad. God, she was beautiful when she was angry, but I didn't want to be the object of her wrath very often. Every weekend, I'd make a point to take her out somewhere. Usually it was just the drive in or the Dairy Queen—sometimes both—but it was something we did and it made us both happy. For a while at least anyway.
I had saved every penny I'd earned over the past four summers, only spending what I made during the school year. I'm a simple man, and I have simple means. The only money spent was for Maria, because she deserved it.
One day I wanted to renovate the house on the farm just for her, so that it could be whatever she wanted it to be, and I wanted to add the white picket fence to it. I had visions of fixing broken pickets as she watched from the swing on the front porch, her belly swollen with my child, while our dog wrestled in the yard with a chestnut haired toddler.
About the middle of my junior year I prayed for that very thing… every night. It was all I thought I ever wanted, and I wanted it bad. I wanted Maria and I wanted her forever. She was everything to me, and I'd work everyday of my life just to prove it to her.
Our senior year of high school came fast. At homecoming we were crowned King and Queen, the perfect couple. And we were, at least I thought we were. After discussing my future at length with my parents, we decided that I would go to the University of Atlanta for a degree in business so that I could take over my godfather's ranch one day. Maria was nothing but supportive through every decision I made that year, and with each decision I made, I had our future in mind.
My world came crashing down on me the day after graduation. I was supposed to pick Maria up; we had planned to go to Six Flags with our friends. I knocked on her door and her mother just stood there holding an envelope in her hand with a sad look on her face.
"She's gone sweetie. I'm sorry."
"Gone? What do you mean gone?"
"She left on a Greyhound bus early this mornin' sweetie. She said to give you that letter that it would explain everything. I'm sorry. I really am, but that's what she wanted."
I made my way back to my truck stunned. She left. She bought a one way ticket and got on a bus; to where, I had no idea. I drove out to Brookhaven Farms, barely registering John when I told him that I was taking Coca-Cola and riding up to the ridge. I tied her up to a tree and gave her an apple I had thought to grab after saddling her up, and I sat down under the tree and pulled out Maria's letter.
Dear Sweet Jasper,
I almost don't know where to begin. I feel so badly about the way that I left, but I really think it was the only way. I've loved you for so long.
Oh,how I've loved you.
But I don't think I loved you the right way—the way you needed me to.
You are such a good man, with noble intentions. I didn't have the heart to tell you that I didn't want the same things, but I knew that I needed to, before it was too late.
I know that you've always wanted the entire package; running the farm, breeding horses, and fixing up the house for me. I know you would've given me everything I'd ever want, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt I was drowning in it because it was the furthest thing from what I truly wanted.
You deserve it though. That life just fits you, and I hope with all my heart that someday you'll find someone who will love that life as much as you do. That person would be your perfect match, not me. I'm so sorry. I really do want the best for you, and that's why I left. Be happy, please?
"Jasper? Your mama called. She asked me to check on you, she said Maria's mother called her."
"What's going on son, is Maria alright?"
"I guess. Hell, I don't know. She left this morning… all she left me was a letter. She didn't even tell me she was planning on leaving," I muttered, shaking my head, but I couldn't look John in the eye.
I felt like I'd failed. I'd failed Maria, and I'd failed myself.
"This life isn't for everyone, son. Maybe its better that she realized that now, before she left you with little ones to look after."
"How did you know that's what I wanted?"
"Son, I saw how you looked at that girl. I know that part of your heart belonged to her, and what didn't, belongs to the land you're sitting on. This place will always be a part of you; it's who you are. It's in your blood and has been since you were little. You can't change that."
I nodded. I did love this land and this place. I was born here and I wanted to die here. It was the air that pushed life into me. My only option was to stay and give the life to it that it gave to me.
I won't lie; it was a jab to my chest when I read that letter. It felt like it left a huge gaping hole. I immersed myself into working and getting ready to head to Atlanta in the fall. I'd be renting a small apartment just off campus. I'd always thought that Maria and I would be choosing our college apartment together, but obviously that wasn't the case.
John had given me a few pieces of furniture that he no longer needed – a table and a few chairs, a sofa, and a coffee table. I piled it into the back of my truck, along with my bed and a desk, and I made my way to Atlanta to start school and essentially a new life.
One year later…
"Bye, Ma… I'll see you soon. Tell Pop I'll talk to him on Sunday."
"Alright sweetie, you drive safe. Say hello to those two handsome boys you live with for me."
I met Edward and Alec in one of my business classes. They were brothers and were planning on taking over their family business together. Both of them were great guys—Alec could be a little trouble maker, but Edward was a pretty nice guy. By the middle of the year we had found ourselves in a study group together, working on statistics. They both had girlfriends, of course, which sometimes made going out awkward, but I worked my way through it. Edward was the most sympathetic while Alec was a little crasser about it, saying I should just "let the bitch go".
But as it turned out, Ed and Alec grew up a few towns over. We went to rival high schools. Alec played football and recalled a few choice games, so the three of us definitely had a lot in common, and we became fast friends, so we decided at the beginning of our second year thatwe'd get a bigger apartment. Splitting the rent three ways meant that my rent was less than what I was paying for a single apartment.
I had found a job working a couple nights a week and weekends at a place that was a bar and grill by day and a honky tonk by night. Alec got me the job there, actually; he was a bouncer, and I was hired to bus tables. It was menial work, but at least it was an honest paycheck.
So I eagerly drove toward school and my new apartment I'd share with Ed and Alec. I easily fell back into the routine of my classes and work. Luckily, the honky tonk I'd worked at the year before had offered my job back after the summer. They didn't have to, but they said I was a hard worker and they'd be happy to have me.
A few weeks into my classes, I was sitting in one of my lectures taking notes when I heard the sweetest voice debating with the instructor over ethical business practices. She was sharp as a tack with her arguments, and not once did she back down. I tried to get a look at her, but I couldn't get a good view. It wasn't until the end of class that I saw her shaking hands with the instructor, that I really saw her.
She was beautiful.
She had long chocolate brown hair that stopped halfway down her back; she wore a pair of tight, dark blue jeans, and a gauzy top that showed just enough of her perfect derriere. She wasn't exceptionally tall, maybe five foot six on a good day. I never did get a view of her face since by the time I made my way down the steps of the lecture hall she was already out the door.
After that day, I began to look for her in class and on campus. I figured the business building might be a good place to start looking. After two weeks of zero-luck seeing her, I found myself walking into a little diner across the street from the university.
There she was, sitting at the end of the counter. As I walked in and sat down, she looked over at me and smiled the sweetest smile. I couldn't help myself; I was drawn to her, so I introduced myself.
"Howdy, I'm Jasper Whitlock. I believe we're in a class together with Professor Banner," I said with a crooked smile.
"Well hi, Jasper. It's nice to meet you. I'm Alice Brandon."
She laughed the most adorable laugh, and her beautiful blue gray eyes sparkled with excitement. That was it, I was done for. She invited me to sit with her, and we chatted for a good few hours over milkshakes and french fries. We talked about anything and everything. I learned that she was originally from Mississippi but her parents moved to Atlanta when her grandparents took ill and she loved it so much she stayed. I learned that she was going to school to get her degree in business, because she wanted to open a bed and breakfast one day. We exchanged numbers and agreed to meet up again before our next class.
Ed had noticed that something in me had changed. I told him all about a girl that I'd seen in one of my classes, and how I'd been trying to find her. He understood that I just needed to meet her. He said he'd felt the same way about his girlfriend, Bella, when he first saw her.
When I told him that evening that I'd spent the afternoon with her at the diner talking, he knew I was a goner, but he made me promise that I'd go out with them the following night, since Bella was coming to visit a friend and she thought maybe she'd introduce us. I told Ed it would be fruitless because I'd spent the afternoon with the girl that I wanted, but I would still go.
When we walked into the pizza parlor the next evening, I was shocked. Sitting there next to Bella laughing her adorable laugh was Alice.
"Jasper! Oh my goodness, I wasn't expecting to see you tonight."
"Well, hello Miss Alice, I wasn't expecting to see you either, but it's definitely a pleasant surprise."
Edward looked at the two of us.
"You two know each other?"
"Yeah, we spent the afternoon at the diner together yesterday." I chuckled.
Edward couldn't help the grin that spread across his face. Here he and Bella thought they'd play matchmaker and Alice and I had already met.
"Alice, you best be careful. Jasper here might try and take you home with him," Edward said with a wink.
"Now Edward, come over here and explain to me why in the world you think that," Alice giggled.
We spent the majority of the evening talking and laughing. It felt really good. At the end of the night, Edward and I walked the girls back to Alice's apartment, which wasn't too far from our own. Alice promised she'd see me before class the next morning and kissed my cheek sweetly.
"Jas man, you got a shit eating grin on your face."
"I can't help it Ed. I really like her… but what if she's like…"
Edward interrupted me.
"Jas, you can't think like that. Alice isn't the same person; you can't let your opinions of Maria overtake the goodness of others. Give Alice a chance, and let her show you that she's not the same. I've known Alice for as long as I've known Bella. She's sweet and a really good person."
Edward was right; I couldn't let the memory of what Maria did cloud my judgment of others. I could feel it in my bones that Alice was different—I just had to convince my heart.
I met Alice the next day before class, and afterwards, we stopped for a cup of coffee. That's how we would come to spend the days that we attended class together.
She invited me to her apartment one evening for dinner, and I discovered that she was a great cook. Edward was right. Alice was very sweet, but she was also funny, smart, caring, and honest. In Alice, I found a great friend, and I knew that friendship needed to be solid before we explored anything else.
We spent more and more time together—studying, talking over coffee, hanging out with Edward and Bella, enjoying a quiet dinner, and sometimes watching movies on her sofa.
When Thanksgiving rolled around, she asked what my plans were and I was surprised to hear that she was planning on staying at her apartment, choosing to go home to Mississippi for Christmas instead. I immediately invited her to come home with me. I couldn't bear to leave her there alone.
My mother was shocked to hear that I was bringing a girl home. I explained to her about Alice. Both of my parents were very understanding, especially after what happened with Maria. My mother knew I could not give my heart away again so easily, but she knew that I liked Alice.
I couldn't help but smile at the adorable creature sitting in the seat next to me. I pulled off the main highway onto the dirt road that led to my parents' farm. Alice was in awe of the rolling land that surrounded my childhood home.
"It's so beautiful here."
"I think so, but I might be a little biased."
"Are those peach trees?"
"Yes ma'am, the pride of Georgia."
Alice closed her eyes with a small smile on her lips as if she were remembering something.
"You okay there?"
"Mmmhmm, I was just remembering when I was little. My Mamaw used to cut up peaches and sugar them while my Papaw sat outside on the porch cranking homemade ice cream, and when the ice cream was done, we'd put the peaches over the ice cream. It was my favorite thing about going to visit them during the summer. If I think about it really hard, I can still smell how sweet the peaches were."
I chuckled at her memory.
"I used to sit on the front porch with my Papaw making ice cream too. We used to make it three or four times every summer."
"Really?" Alice lit up as she asked. It was like she'd never met anyone else who had made homemade ice cream before.
"Really. I'm sure if you're missing the taste of those peaches there will be plenty on the table. My mama doesn't know how to serve a meal without peaches."
I parked my truck on the gravel drive just to the side of the house. I warned Alice about the hound dogs that tended to run around the house. They weren't anything to be frightened of, but they did tend to drool and lick a lot. Some people just have an aversion to that sort of thing.
I rounded the truck to open Alice's door for her and helped her down out of the cab.
"This is beautiful, Jasper."
I smiled. "This is home. Come on in, I'm sure my mama's anxious to meet you."
Sure enough, my mama was waiting for us just inside the screen door. I gave her a hug, a kiss on the cheek, and introduced Alice. It was kind of awkward at first, because my mama was usually a hugger, but she wasn't sure how to gauge Alice, until Alice reached out and gave mama a warm hug.
"Thank you so much for welcoming me into your home, Mrs. Whitlock." Alice gushed, smiling brightly.
"Oh sweetie, you're quite welcome. I hope the drive up wasn't too bad for you. Now, come on upstairs. I'll show you where you'll be staying. Jasper can bring your things up for you, so you just don't worry about that, honey. And Alice? Please, call me Nora. Mrs. Whitlock is my mother-in-law, and you'll get to meet her tomorrow."
After supper, Alice helped Mama with the dishes, while I went out onto the back porch with Pop and sat with the dogs surrounding us, just listening to the sounds of the animals settling in for the night.
"How's it going at school, son?"
"It's going good, Pop. You know me, I'd rather be here or at John's working, but I know this will be a really good thing in the long run."
Pop nodded at me. I was the first person in my family to go to college. No one else really felt the need to, but in this day and age, I felt that it was important. After all, John could only teach me so much.
"Alice seems really nice," he said softly.
"Yeah, she is," I agreed.
"You're different with her. Better, I think."
"I'm definitely more cautious, that's for sure, but I really like her. She was going to spend Thanksgiving at her apartment all alone. I just couldn't bear the thought of that."
"Son, you look at Alice like a man deeply in love, whether you want to admit it or not. Your eyes always wander to her, and when she laughs, your face lights up. I know, because I look at your mother the same way."
Pop never was one to beat around the bush. He didn't always outwardly show his feelings or emotion, but if something was on his mind, he'd voice it quicker than anything. I appreciated his honesty.
Alice carefully opened the screen door that led out onto the back porch.
"Am I interrupting something?" she asked softly.
"Nah, I'm just sitting out here shooting the breeze with my son. Come on out here, young lady, and enjoy the evening, before it gets too chilly."
Pop got up to hold open the screen door for Mama as she carried a tray of sweet tea and pie out onto the porch.
"This is a wonderful way to spend an evening," Alice softly commented.
"This is how we spend most evenings, especially during the spring and summer."
"I could get used to this."
Alice smiled sweetly, and I couldn't help but smile back at her.
I carried Alice's things back up to her apartment for her as she balanced a peach pie in one hand and two big bags full of leftovers in the other.
"Thank you for inviting me home with you for Thanksgiving, Jas. I really had a good time, and I especially enjoyed meeting your family."
"I'm glad you had fun. My family really liked you too, my mama especially. She made that pie special for you this morning. I know my mama, and she wouldn't do that for just anyone."
I noticed that she didn't mention me taking her over to John's farm when I showed her my favorite spot in the world next to that old willow tree. The thought that maybe she didn't like it made my heart sink.
"I think she did it because she knew it would make you happy if she made me a pie."
Alice smiled and nudged my arm. That was exactly why mama made that pie.
I said goodnight to Alice. I had to get back to my apartment and make a couple last minute revisions on a paper that was due the following morning.
"Jas!" Alice hollered as I walked toward the stairs, and she ran toward me.
"I couldn't let you leave without telling you thank you for taking me to John's farm. That was my favorite part of the entire weekend… Well, that, and spending it with you. You're a special man, Jasper Whitlock."
I sighed with relief and looked down toward my shoes, and my eyes were met with steely blue ones as Alice looked up at me. I closed my eyes and gently brushed my lips against hers. Her lips were so soft and warm, I hated to separate them from my own.
Alice brought her little hand up to cup my face. "I don't know what that girl did to you Jasper, but I'm not her. I really like you, and if time is what you need to trust me, I'm willing to give it to you."
I nodded and took her hand and softly squeezed it.
"Thank you, Allie," I kissed her cheek softly.
"I'll call you tomorrow, okay?"
Alice smiled and nodded.
I went home feeling lighter than I had in a while, but utterly confused about what to do about Alice. The past few days had been incredible; she fit in wonderfully with my family. Alice just seemed to fit in where Maria never had.
I walked into my apartment and immediately went to the fridge to grab a beer. I sunk down onto our well used sofa and hung my head in my hands.
Edward and Alec walked in the door not five minutes later.
"Jas man, everything okay?" Edward asked.
"Yeah, I've just gotta sort some shit out is all."
"How was your weekend with Allie?"
"It was… amazing. We had such a great time, and she fit in with my family like she'd been there all along.
Edward smiled. "So what's the problem?"
"I'm still trying to convince myself to take a chance on her."
"Convince your head or your heart? And I'm sure you know what the saying is about taking chances." Edward looked at me pointedly
"My head. If it was up to my heart, I'd have given in long ago."
Edward chuckled, waiting for me to continue.
"And I know, the chances I don't take will be my biggest regrets."
Edward slapped me gently on the shoulder and retreated to his room, leaving me to ponder with my beer.
I called Alice the next day after my classes let out and she asked me over for dinner. I told her about Maria that evening, about everything that happened between us and how I felt afterward. Alice's eyes filled up with tears when I told her about the letter. I couldn't help but wipe them away.
"Allie, it's okay. If it weren't for her doing that, I probably wouldn't be here with you right now, and this is a much better place to be."
Two and a half years later...
I smiled as Allie proudly walked across the stage to accept her diploma. I gave her my heart two and a half years ago and I never looked back. She was the half that made me whole, my love and partner in every way. The love I thought I had for Maria was nothing compared to the love I had for Alice.
I accepted my own diploma when they finally managed to get to the W's. I felt my own sense of pride and accomplishment.
John, my godfather and owner of Brookhaven Farms gave me the deed to his house and all the land and buildings on it for graduation; in addition to a large amount of starter money.
"You build that girl a house up there on the ridge, and love her and never let her go."
Those were the last words my friend, mentor, and godfather spoke to me. He passed away about three weeks after graduation, and we buried him under a big willow tree where my new acquired property met the mountains. John was taken by cancer, but not before I gave him the news that Alice agreed to marry me.
Alice and I said our vows under the willow tree on the ridge on a warm, early November afternoon. We could see the progress on our new house from where we stood, pledging to love and protect one another always.
The following spring, our new house was completed and just in time, Alice was expecting our first child.
Brandon Alexander Whitlock came into the world on a rainy night in late November, a couple weeks ahead of schedule. He was perfect, just like his mama. I thanked God everyday – multiple times a day – for all the blessings in my life.
After the holidays, Allie and I began to discuss the renovation on the old farmhouse. We made plans to turn it into a bed and breakfast and would put on an addition to the back allowing for offices for our businesses.
Watching Alice in her element as an interior designer, while juggling being a wife and mother was amazing. She did it with grace and never complained, even when things didn't go just right.
There were days that she'd leave Brandon with me and she'd slip away for a few hours, but I learned from the farmhands that she wasn't far – she was up on the ridge under our willow tree. She loved this land and this place as much as I did and found that spot under that old tree a place of calm and reflection.
"Hey, darlin', what's got ya out here all by yourself?" I asked as I sat down behind her wrapping my arms around my beautiful wife and pulling her to my chest.
"Hey, handsome. I just had too many things go wrong today and I needed to blow off some steam. Where's my little bear?"
"My mama stopped by, and I asked her to watch him for a few minutes while I came to see why you were up here all alone. I heard those deliveries you were expecting didn't come. It'll be alright, baby, so things are delayed a few days."
"I know, but Bella and Edward are coming out to see the place, I just wanted it to be done. I thought they could be our first 'guests.'"
I kissed her temple. "If that's what you want, then they will be. Come on darlin', let's go make some phone calls."
There wasn't anything in the world that I wouldn't give Alice. She rarely asked for anything, and she was perfectly content with her life.
We had the grand opening of the bed and breakfast the weekend of the Peach Festival in June. We thought the timing would be ideal, and it was. In fact, we were fully booked up the rest of the summer. Both of our businesses were successful, we were blessed with a beautiful little boy, and we thought life just couldn't get any better.
At the end of the summer, Allie found out that we had another little one on the way.
We were ecstatic.
The following spring, not only did our farm welcome four new foals, but we welcomed twin girls; Madelyn Elizabeth and Alyssa Grace.
With two newborns and a toddler under the age of two, running the bed and breakfast was definitely a challenge. The winter months had been quiet, but now that spring was here, we were starting to fill up. Thankfully, Bella volunteered to come out and help for the summer. Bella and Edward had one little one of their own, Masen was a year older than Brandon, but at least the little guys could keep each other entertained.
Alice and I were never more grateful to have such good friends than we were that summer. We had our ups and downs, but as long as we were together and kept our faith that there wasn't any storm we couldn't weather.
Three years later….
"Jas… we got the announcement for your tenth reunion."
"It's been ten years already?"
I had a hard time believing how quickly time had gone by. My little man was nearly five and my precious little princesses had just turned three. Alice and I had been married for close to six years—six of the best years of my life.
"Jas, I can't believe that in all the years that we've been married, you've never brought me to a football game."
"I'm sorry, darlin', had I known you wanted to come, I would have brought you."
It was the homecoming game, the night before my tenth reunion and there was supposed to be some type of alumni reception briefly after the game. Bella and Edward tagged along with us, taking advantage of our poor babysitter.
We found seats up in the stands and let Bella and Allie settle in, while Edward and I went down to the concession stand. I was standing by the fence, waiting for Edward to come back from the facilities, when I heard a not so familiar voice behind me.
I turned to see both Maria and Edward walking toward me.
"Maria…" I breathed.
I hadn't seen her since the day of our high school graduation, but time had not been kind to her. The lines on her face were rough and deep, and her once beautiful nose was crooked and misshapen; her hair and eyes were dull, no longer carrying the shine they once had.
"You're a sight for sore eyes, Jasper Whitlock. Time has been good to you, I see. You look really good."
I felt a sense of peace envelope me as my wife joined me at my side.
"Thank you. Maria, this is my wife, Alice. Alice, this is Maria…" I trailed off, not knowing what her last name was.
"Wow. How long have you two been married?"
"Six wonderful years," Alice answered sweetly as she kissed my cheek.
Alice and I chatted with Maria for a while, telling her briefly about the farm and bed and breakfast. We mentioned our little ones and our beautiful house up on the ridge.
"You really did it. You got everything you've ever wanted," Maria said, her voice shaking and tears threatening to fall.
"We did, and we've worked hard for every bit of it."
I looked down at Alice with a smile, and she smiled back at me. We were a team and without each other, we never could have accomplished so much.
Maria mentioned that she went to California the day she left. She tried to pursue a career in acting. She met a man who would eventually become her 'agent,' but in the end, he only used and abused her. He beat her so badly, she was rendered unable to bear children. She apologized profusely for the way that she left, saying that I deserved better than that.
I felt sorry for Maria that night, but I'll never feel sorry that she left me.
"Maria, I don't regret what happened anymore. I haven't had regrets about it in eight long, wonderful years."
Maria nodded and bid her goodbye, encouraging us to rejoin our friends and watch the game.
As she walked away, I looked down at Alice, and I was never more thankful for my prayers that had gone unanswered.
A/N: I owe a great big THANK YOU to drotuno and twimom817 for reading this and fixing my mistakes and being so encouraging and supportive! Thanks bb's! I 3 you both!
I also owe a great big THANKS to vbfb19 for creating the AMAZING banner for this story! It can be found on my profile page. Thanks bb, you rock!