The next morning seemed to drag on forever. Sam hurried to her job at the mall in the afternoon and prayed for time to speed by.

The second she stepped foot in their house, Sam heard Jake's voice coming from the kitchen. Oh great, just what I need after a long day.

Her head began to ache so she slipped into the kitchen to grab some medicine.

"Hello Sam, wanna help with dinner?" Gram asked while slicing onions.

"Sure."

Jake turned around, a grin plastered to his face. "Come help me fry this bacon. It's taking so long with only one person."

She noded and stood next to Jake, careful not to touch him. Get a grip Sam, he's not interested in you.

"How was work?" Gram questioned.

"I have a headache," Sam answered, knowing that Gram needed no more information about her day. Sam grabbed a pack of bacon and placed some in a pan.

Jake's arm brushed hers as she turned on the burner, leaving a warm tingling feeling to linger on her skin. Gram must've known something was up between her and Jake so she left the kitchen, saying that she needed to check the Rhode Island Reds for eggs.

"Alright," Sam blurted out, "what were you going to tell me yesterday?"

"Well, if you ask," Jake replied, a hint of a smile forming on his lips, "I wanted to know if you...well...um... I don't know."

She stepped closer to him, looking deep into his brown eyes. "C'mon, tell me, no one's listening."

He rubbed the back of his neck with his hand. "I love you, Sam, and I've missed you so much while I was gone."

Sam couldn't help but smile. He did share her feelings. In the next instant Jake had taken her in his arms.

"I love you, too," Sam said, blushing.

His lips brushed hers, and for a second, she thought they were going to kiss, but Jake turned suddenly.

"What's going on?" Gram exclaimed, bursting through the door.

Blushing, Sam faced Gram. "Nothing," she said quickly.

But she couldn't lie. Every time she tried, they knew she was lying.

"I wouldn't call kissing Jake 'nothing'," Gram replied, clicking her tongue. She plopped onto the couch and grabbed her knitting project.

"How long have you been spying on us?" Sam asked as she grabbed Jake's hand for support. Her knees wobbled, threatening to pull her down.

"The whole time."

"Next time, we'll have to go somewhere where she won't be," Jake muttered under his breath."

"I agree," she whispered back, smiling.

As they finished the bacon, Sam heard Gram mumbling something about young love and how it always ended in tragedy. Dad came in minutes later and dinner was served. He seemed to be in a great mood, making everyone laugh.

Sam caught Jake glancing at her ever minute or two, that irresistible sparkle in his eyes. She smiled back at him. After dinner, Jake nodded to Sam to join him outside.

"What if your dad finds out?" Jake asked.

"About us? Then I guess we'll just have to run away," Sam said, playfully slapping Jake's shoulder.

He laughed. That good laugh Sam had always enjoyed when they were younger.

His eyes caught hers. "Not a bad idea... Maybe, when you're done with college, we can go together somewhere. Go to Las Vegas. Have fun."

"I don't know how Dad and Gram would react to that... probably freak out," Sam stood on the fence, patting old Ace's neck.

"Definitely. Wanna take a–" Jake started.

Dad burst through the door. His brow was knotted in worry.

"Sam! The animal rescue just called. They found a horse that's been injured badly. You're needed now," he called from the porch.

Sam hurried inside, grabbed a jacket and her truck keys, and ran outside.

"I'm coming, too," Jake informed them as he followed Sam to her truck.

"I'll let you know when I get there, Dad," she told her father after starting the engine. What's happened? I hope the horse isn't too hurt. She gripped the steering wheel tighter, feeling her clammy hands starting to slip.

As Sam pulled into the parking lot, a dread overtook her. Inside the small building dozens of veterinarians scurried here and there, shouting orders over their shoulders. Everyone seemed focused on one job: The injured horse.

Jake seemed to sense her reaction. He placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Hey, everything's going to be alright. Trust me," he said.

Sam nodded.

"Thank goodness you're here. There's been a really bad accident with a horse you're very familiar with. I pray that we don't have to put him down," Sam's friend Jen, told her as she locked the truck.

Her heart skidded to a halt.