"Morning." He said with a smile, leaning against the fence with a confident, but charming attitude, just the way he was.
Stevie turned around to face Alex, her eyes lightened up immediately. "Well..Good morning to you too.." She said a little awkwardly.
Alex didn't stop looking at her, as Stevie continued brushing her horse, Banjo. Every now and then she took a quick look at him.
He suddenly shook his head a carefully smiled. "What...?"
Stevie stopped brushing. "What? What?"
"You're staring at me." He teased and he had a naughty smile on his face.
She shyly smiled and glanced at him, then looked down. Her voice suddenly sounded sweeter and softer. "Noo...you are staring at me."
Funny how some things slightly had changed since they shared a kiss a while ago. They both couldn't help look at (or check out) each other in a different way sometimes.
The expression on his face got more serious. "Hey Stevie, listen, I was wondering.."
Stevie continued brushing the horse again. "I'm listening..."
Alex bite his lip as he hesitated. "If you want to go for a ride with me..Spend some time together and ehm...While we're on it, you'd maybe...Help me mustering the cattle?"
Stevie looked kind of disappointed when she heard the last part. "I would say 'that's an early ride', but now I get it."
Alex already had doubts about asking Stevie for this. "I wouldn't ask you if it wasn't necessary, would I?" Alex looked at her with puppy eyes.
Stevie sighed as she finished brushing the horse. "I don't know Alex..We're pretty stuffed up here too, you know. The only one I can rely on is Kate at the moment."
Alex gave her a sarcastic look. "The only one I can rely on at the moment is myself." He was desperate for her help. "You know what? I;ll help you, if you help me. How does that sound?"
She smiled. "So we can do double as much as we use to?"
He pulled up his eyebrows and grinned. "Yeah..So we deserve double as much beer afterwards."
She widely smiled. "Ah sounds good." She playfully pushed him in his arm, as she walked past him.
Alex looked pleased as she almost agreed on helping him. "I take that as a yes." He said and quickly walked away to his Ute.
"Hey wait a minute..Alex!? Come back here!" She groaned. He didn't respond, because he was already sure she would help him out. She quickly followed him with large steps. Tried to hide her smile when he immediately stopped and turned when she yelled for a second time: "You stop right there Alex Ryan!"
When he stared into her eyes she suddenly started to feel warmer inside. Oh, those eyes, sometimes it was like he could see right trough her. She felt her heartbeat speed up a bit when they both looked in to each others eyes.
She looked appealing, softly and slowly saying. "I haven't said 'yes' yet."
Alex was disappointed, not in her, but because of the fact he had to do it by himself now. "Right o. Too bad, but I understand. I better get going then, catch ya later."
And he left, leaving Stevie behind, feeling really bad about it. Once upon a time, when everything was running smoothly on Drovers Run, she could easily get away for a day, or maybe two. But now she thought it wasn't possible.
While Nick was busy with Harrison..and Sally..Alex had to do a lot of work on his own. Harry was being a pain in the ass, like he could be so often. But it looked like things got even worse lately. Maybe because of the fact that his healthiness was changing. Harry was more in a demanding kind of state. And stubborn as they both could be, Alex and Harry were more like fire and water lately. Only for the past few days it was like the fire got even bigger. Alex was fed up by it, he had his hands full with Killarney and the old man.
At Drovers Run things weren't any better. Tess was trying to work very hard, to forget her problems with Nick. But most of the work came on to Stevie. Jodi was being stubborn -as Stevie fired her a few days ago- and so she still wasn't working on Drovers again. Stevie had to pick up all the pieces. Luckily Kate was still working like nothing had changed.
"Go on! Go and help him, it's a more like a three-day-job alone, together you maybe finish it in one day. I'm handling things here. It's nice being back and I'd like to make myself useful." Meg stated as Stevie just explained the situation.
Meg learned a lot about farming through the years, she would almost be able to run the whole property on her own. And as she always stood up for her daughter, she'd liked it that Stevie had learned her a lesson. Besides, if Jodi would pick up her old job, she might value it more. It was a very motherly thought of Meg and for 'Prinsess' Jodi a good one, not to get help from mommy immediately.
Tess walked in the kitchen, she was pale and looked worried, she sighed. "I really can't miss you around here." She said when she heard Meg and Stevie talk.
Stevie looked annoyed, she wanted to get 'out' and could use some time with her best mate. "I know, but I'll be back before you know it and with me gone for the day, maybe Jodi is ready to come back?"
"I don't think so, she's being to stubborn. Sorry Meg. So that means it's just me and Kate then?" Tess sighed.
Meg smiled. "And me. I'm sure we can manage Tess. Besides, Alex could really use some help."
Tess her sad face got even more sad, she sighed again and then walked out of the kitchen.
"Tess, your coffee." Stevie said, feeling a little guilty.
"She'll come around..I'll talk to her today, give her some support. Maybe even talk some sense into Jodi..." Meg rolled her eyes, as if she already knew the outcome of the conversation with Jodi.
"Thanks Meg, you're like a mother to Tess, I guess she really needs that now. You're really sure you guys manage here?" Meg nodded and looked very sure of it.
"Oy!" She yelled at him when she finally caught up with him. Her whole face smiled when she rode towards him.
He looked surprised, but very pleased to see her. "Hey you. Changed your mind?" He widely smiled. She nodded at him as they automatically started working together. They're good together.
"So even Nad couldn't help you out?" Stevie asked.
Alex shook his head. "No the old man thought of some other chores for him."
Stevie was amazed to hear Harry let Alex do this all by himself. "Really? Don't you have a say about anything?"
"Off course I do, but you know Harry, as stubborn as always. I've had it with him, really. I'm fed up by everything."He sighed. "You know, sometimes I think I should leave and start my own place, somewhere."
Hearing him say that gave her a scare. "You can't just leave like that."
"Well you're family lives here.."
Alex looked amazed, he sarcastically responded. "My family? Come on Stevie...Almost non of it is real, you know that."
"Oehg...That sounds very impassive mate."
It affected her, but Stevie also got a little annoyed hearing him talk like that. She couldn't help thinking of Rose. Her daughter grew up with lies, just like Alex had. But Stevie was sure of everyone wanting the best for Rose. As Liz and Harry had wanted for Alex, the best. Liz was far from a perfect mom and Harry was Harry. But he build up Killarney and worked real hard to make something out of his life, for the future, for his sons. Because family means a lot to him, even though, he could be a bastard.
"You're starting to sound a little selfish Alex. What about Nick?..What about Charlotte?..What about your friends?" She waited a moment to see if he was paying attention. "Believe me, I know what I'm talking about. Leaving isn't going to solve your problems, if that's what you think."
The conversation turned out a little sad. Alex felt his heart became heavy and he dropped his serious look like it was nothing. He started to joke about it. "I will call you Stevie. And you can call me any time..And you know what? You could visit me... If, you bring a sixpack with you." He grinned.
But Stevie still looked serious. "I wasn't talking about me. Stop trying to be funny and think about it. Seriously."
"Hey!? Ease up will ya? I'm not going anywhere...Yet."
Stevie shook her head in disbelieve, she just didn't get it and she didn't want to think about it either. Alex leaving..It made her heart ache when she thought about it longer. While working with the cattle she tried to get rid of those thoughts and feelings.