"Jodie!" Stevie exclaims through the fog of drugs.

Jodie smiles and says "Hey! How are you? "

Stevie grins and says "I'm thirsty."

"Well hang on I don't know if you're allowed to have fluids yet? " Jodie answers.

Rising she rings the buzzer and directly a nurse enters.

...

Alex is panicked so Nick drives them to the hospital.

"This is all my fault." Alex says as they drive along.

"What a load of rubbish Alex. It was an accident that's all. You can't blame yourself for this." Tess growls at him.

Alex replies "If I hadn't said what I did she wouldn't have left!"

Tess looks at him and says "And if Harry hadn't been a bastard he wouldn't have left Kilarney to Stevie and she wouldn't have fought with you and she wouldn't have run off the road."

Alex looks at her and asks "Are you trying to make me feel better?'

Smiling she replies "Alex you're blaming yourself and we don't even know how the accident happened."

...

Arriving at the hospital Alex speaks to the nurse on duty and she replies "Just a moment Mr Ryan the Doctor's in with your wife at the moment just take a seat in the waiting room with her sister."

Alex looks puzzled and moves over to the waiting room and finds Jodie.

"Since when have you been Stevie's sister?" Alex asks.

Jodie replies "Since only family can go in the ambulance."

Smiling he hugs her.

They all ask a million questions and then the Doctor joins them.

Alex has been pacing backwards and forwards.

"Mr Ryan!" The Doctor states.

Alex moves swiftly too him while the others wait to hear how Stevie is.

"Your wife has minor bruising and a broken wrist and a small laceration on her forehead which shouldn't scar. I wnat you to bring her back in a few days so we can check on her ." The Doctor tells him.

"Oh thank goodness she's alright. When can I see her?" Alex asks.

Smiling the Doctors. "You can see her now the nurses were just tidying her up a bit."

"So I can take her home?' Alex asks.

"Yes we just want to observe her for a few more hours and then you can take her home. But remember I want you to bring her back in a few days time." The Doctor replies.

Shaking the doctors hand Alex smiles and says "Yes of course I will. Can I see her now?"

...

Opening the door to Stevie's room Alex inhales unsure of what to say or do or how she'll receive him.

Heart pounding he moves over her, she's asleep.

Reaching down he kisses her softly on the lips.

As he is about to straighten up she quips. "So does that mean we're friends again?"

Smiling he kisses her again and says "No matter what happens Stevie we'll always be friends first.'

Smiling she touches his face.

"You're lucky Jodie and Kate found you!" Alex offers.

" I was so angry with you and I thought I'd go for a drive to cool off and I was on the way back and stupidly swerved to miss a kangaroo and I braked! First rule of driving a gravel road don't hit the brakes and I did Alex and that's all I remember." She offers.

...

He drags a chair over beside her bed and sits leaning his head on the bed.

She caresses his hair and says "Alex I'm sorry for scaring you."

She's shocked when his lifts his face to her and his eyes are glassy and he says. "I shouldn't have said what I did Stevie that was really mean. I'm sorry I hurt you like that."

She looks at him and says "You didn't hurt me Alex."

He stares at her and says "Don't lie to protect me Stevie I could tell you the second my words hit your ears and the second it registered in your heart I saw it in your eyes."

She chuckles and says "When did you get so smart Alex Ryan?"

Smiling he stands and kisses her and says "As soon as I worked out you were more than my friend. I love you Stevie."

"I love you too Alex. " She replies.

...

"I guess we'll have to cancel the pool party next Saturday Cowgirl." Alex muses

"Why Alex?" She asks.

"Well you're all bruised and your wrist is all wrapped up." He offers.

"No we'll still have the party Alex I'll just put a plastic bag on my wrist." She states.

"I'll get the others they're waiting to see you."He tells her and moves out of the room.

...

Everyone turns up to the pool party on Kilarney it's late in the summer but still quite hot.

Nick and Alex have hired a new manager for Wilgul, his name is Rob Sheldon and he's a quiet sort of a guy but very professional.

Rob has been invited and turns up early wanting to help out.

Jodie and Kate are also over early and Jodie is intrigued with him.

...

Things have changed a lot over the two and a bit years since the last big pool party the Ryan's held.

Many have married and have children, some have moved away and some are as they always were.

Alex changed the plan for the party slightly asking everyone to bring salads or deserts.

No one minded because they'd heard about Stevie's accident and was glad to help.

...

Late in the day when the parties in full swing.

Tess and Nick are in the water and so are Alex and Stevie.

Kate has baby Jack and he's happily playing splash with her.

Bull is in Alex's arms.

"Stevie that's definitely a fashion statement." Tess laughs referring to the plastic bag over Stevie's plastered wrist.

Stevie laughs and says " Well I can get away with looking less than perfect now Tess, he's worked out I've got brains."

They both laugh.

...

Jodie is chatting to Rob Shelton about Wilgul and all the fencing she helped with while Alex and Stevie lived there.

Rob asks her questions about different areas around the farm and she offers answers.

He really just wants to look at her and her beautiful figure shown to its best in her skimpy bikini.

He likes everything about her.

She has twinkling eyes, a cute smile and quirky sense of humour and a melodic laugh.

...

Kate moves over to where Stevie and Tess and says "Rob seems nice."

Stevie chuckles and says "Well he's certainly checking Jodie out."

Kate asks "Do you think he's noticed her brain yet?'

Alex grins and says "Kate it only takes about two sentences to work out if a woman has brains or not. He's just keeping her talking so he can check out her body!"

Tess laughs and says "And you know this because?'

"Girls like you to notice their brains so you talked to them and ask them questions while you check em out." He offers.

Stevie chuckles and says "Really Alex!"

Grinning he nods and replies. "Of course with you I already knew you had brains but I played the game because you were so nice to look at."

Tess and Kate are shocked to think he knew what they were up to until Stevie says "You are full of it Alex you've only just worked that out listening to us."

He laughs and admits. "I wish I'd known then what I know now I could have had so much more fun. Look at Rob he's in hook, line and sinker! He doesn't stand a chance."

Nick asks "You reckon he likes her?"

Tess answers. "Oh Nick you can't be that naive surely?"

Alex offers" That's our next couple right there folks."

They all laugh when Kate says "Well where in the hell is my partner? I need to buy a skimpier bikini that's for sure."

Alex winks at Stevie and says "Just go nude Kate! It worked for me!"

They all laugh when Stevie says "Yes just a swim in the pool Kate that's all it took."

The end :)

...