This chapter is for StevieLUVSAlex because she didn't think I could do it? I hope I've proved you wrong:)

Monday Morning

Breakfast is ready and the girls are sitting eating theirs when Stevie enters the kitchen.

"Morning Stevie!" Tess offers.

"Yeah morning." Stevie replies absent mindedly.

Jodi asks "Stevie are you alright? Stevie!"

Stevie looks at Jodi and asks "What?"

"Are you ok?" Jodi asks again.

"Yeah just got a lot on my mind." Stevie replies faking a smile.


Monday Morning

Nick and Alex have just pulled back up at homestead.

As they climb from the car Nick speaks "You need to talk to her Alex and explain what happened and why you stayed at the pub."

Alex looks annoyed and replies "It's none of your business Nick I'll handle it my way."

Nick growls. "You're asking for trouble Alex this is going to bite you on the arse if you're not careful."

"Stay out of it Nick, it's my life not yours. I understand her better than you."Alex snarls.


Monday morning

"Morning!" Nick calls as the two men enter the kitchen.

"Morning!" The girls offer.

Stevie glances at Alex and grabbing her coffee moves outside.

Kate is already outside and reading her roster when Stevie joins her.

"Stevie the Ag Company rang this morning and they've sent a different pilot out. Apparently the other one was injured and is unable to work" Kate offers.

Stevie looks at her and says "Ok thanks Kate."

Well at least she won't have to deal with him Stevie thinks to herself.


Alex appears in the doorway and says "Stevie do you want to drive out with me today?"

She looks at him and says "No I don't Alex. I'm driving out with Kate."

Kate looks at Stevie and says "No that's ok Stevie go with Alex. I'll head out with Jodi."

Stevie growls and says "No Kate I'm with you."

Kate doesn't say anything else but finds it strange that Stevie isn't riding with Alex and deduces they must have had a fight.


Monday morning

Harry and Sandra are waiting for the others to arrive and the tension between them is dark and charged with hatred.

"Typical he's late again!" Sandra snarls.

Harry spins and yells" Shut up Sandra shut the hell up! I've had enough of you and your constant sniping. It's over Sandra go and pack your bags."

"You're making a big mistake Harry!" She yells back at him.

Snarling he answers "The big mistake I made was getting involved with you in the first place. Alex worked that out faster than I did."

Sandra storms off and says "Watch your back Harry you'll pay for this!"


Monday afternoon

Later in the day as the Ag pilot takes his last run.

Stevie is feeling very uncomfortable.

Harry is being extremely nice to her and Alex has hardly spoken to anyone.

Harry's behaviour has her baffled completely, she vaguely remembers fighting with Harry and recalls that Sandra had a go at her and she had a nasty fight with Alex.

What in the hell did she say?

She just wants to go home and hide in her room.


Monday evening

"Tess I'm sorry but if they're coming over for dinner I'll stay in my room." Stevie protests.

"Stevie go and talk to Alex!" Tess states.

"Why would I do that?" Stevie asks.

Tess smiles at her and replies "I think you need to speak to him about what happened at the pub on Saturday night."

Stevie looks shocked and says "You know what happened?"

Tess looks puzzled and replies "Stevie the entire district knows. "

"Oh god Tess you're kidding aren't you?" Stevie quizzes.

"Go and talk to him Stevie and he'll explain." Tess says.

"I'll wait until he gets here and then I'll sort this out! I can't believe he told anyone let alone everyone." Stevie growls.

Tess looks confused and asks "What are you talking about Stevie? Alex is staying in the shearer's quarters."

Stevie stares at her for a moment and then turning she walks quickly outside.


Monday Evening

Shearers Quarters

Alex is lying back on the bed his hands clasped behind his head and is half asleep when the door bursts open.

"What in the hell do you think you're doing Alex? How dare you tell everyone what happened Saturday night?"

Stevie yells at him.

Grinning he asks "Well I thought you'd want me to tell everyone how good you were Stevie! You were amazing."

Her face blushes and she yells "Oh my god Alex I thought we were friends! I thought we watched out for each other!"

Rises from the bed he moves towards her and smirking says "I just wish everyone could have seen you in action."

"Oh my god Alex that's disgusting!" She yells at him.

She stands staring at him and she is so angry she wants to hit him.


Monday Evening

Shearer's quarters

Alex licks his lip and grinning at Stevie says "You have no idea what happened do you?"

She looks at him and says "Well no, not exactly but I'm not stupid Alex. I'm so embarrassed I thought you were my friend."

"You told me you didn't want to be my friend anymore!" Alex replies.

"What so I'm drunk and I say that and you take it as gospel?"She asks.

"Sit down Stevie and I'll tell you what happened?" Alex offers.

Screwing up her face she says "No I don't want to know! You mustn't have been very good Alex or I'd remember!"

He laughs.

She looks shocked and angry and says "I was only in underwear and you were naked!"

"Yeah." He says smiling.

She blushes but asks. "Oh god Alex what did I do? What did Fiona say? Why was Harry nice to me today?' Stevie gushes.


Saturday night


Stevie watches Alex walk away.

Turning back to Leo she takes the offered beer from him and stands chatting to him.

"So what are you doing here?" Stevie asks.

"I'm an Ag pilot." Leo replies.

"Oh right so are you doing Drover's Run on Monday?" Stevie asks.

"Yeah that's right and then Kilarney on Tuesday and Wednesday." Leo answers.

They stand chatting for awhile and Stevie quickly finishes her drink.

Leo grins noticing how drunk she is.

Easy picking he thinks to himself easy pickings.

Leo offers to get two more and Stevie agrees.


Saturday Night


Leo stands at the bar and Fiona walks up beside him and whispers. "What are you doing here?"

Leo grins and replies "At the moment I'm entertaining your Fiancé's friend. "

Then he adds. "I missed you and I thought I'd come for a visit."

Grabbing the two beers he returns outside.

Fiona stands looking around the room.

Alex has gone to the bathroom and no one else is looking this way.

She quickly moves outside.


Saturday night


Stevie feels ill and moves out into the car park despite her best efforts she vomits several times into the garden.

Leo walks out and the red head has disappeared.

Damn he thinks to himself.

The other couple that were out having a smoke have returned inside.

Fiona moves quickly outside and searches the area then says "Leon why did you come? If any one finds out we know each other you could ruin everything."

Wrapping his arms around her he kisses her and says "I haven't seen you in weeks and you're sleeping with that bloke. Do you know how difficult that is for me Fi? To watch my Fiancé with another man."

She hugs him tightly and says "I know it's terrible for me too Leon but just think in a few months we'll have millions of dollars and we can go wherever we want. You just have to be patient."


Stevie has finished being ill and is silently standing in the darkness and has listened to the two of them.

Her gut turns and she tries to think quickly.

Now she wishes she hadn't had so much to drink.

What can she do?

Who'll believe her?


Saturday night


"No Harry that's it! I won't put up with you speaking to Stevie that way anymore. Nick's offered me a room on Drover's until Fi and I sort out something else!" Alex yells.

Harry Ryan is furious and his face is scarlet. "Go ahead Alex see if I care. I can run Kilarney without you. I built it with my sweat and my hard work and I won't let it fail."

Alex storms off over to Nick.

"Bloody old bastard" Alex fumes.

Nick says "Alex are you alright?"

"No but I will be once I'm as far away from him as possible." Alex laments.


Saturday night


Nick and Alex's conversation finishes abruptly as a commotion erupts from the doorway.

"Bloody hell!" Alex yells as he rushes over to help Fiona.

"Stevie what in the hell do you think you're doing? Let Fiona go!" Alex shouts.

The pub had gone quiet and someone has pulled the plug on the jukebox.

Stevie has Fiona's arm twisted up her back and is yelling "Go on Fiona tell Alex what you've been up too!"

Fiona whimpers "Alex she's hurting me."

Alex moves forward and yells" Stevie let her go."

"One step closer Alex and I'll snap her arm, and you know I will!" Stevie growls back at him.

Alex stands still.

Harry says "See Alex nothing but trouble I told you she's just scum.'

"Shut up Harry." Alex yells.

Stevie applies pressure to Fiona's arm and says "Tell him Fiona or I'll break it!'

Fiona remains silent so Stevie offers. "Our little friend here is still engaged, and she's just had a lovely little reunion with Leo the Ag pilot outside. Didn't you Fi Fi?"

Stevie lifts Fiona's arm higher and she squeals "Yes, yes, please let go of my arm!"

Alex is shocked but Harry sneers at Stevie." Why would she do that? You just want Alex for yourself you little gold digger!"

"Shut up Harry you are so stupid sometimes. I don't want your farm but Fi FI here does. I just heard her tell Leon in just a few more months they'll have millions. She wants your farm Harry but not your son! Isn't that right Fi Fi?" Again Stevie applies pressure.

"Ow Ow yes its true." Fiona says crying.

Alex looks furious and says "Fiona I thought you loved me?"

Snarling she replies "I love your money but not you! How can you fall in love in five days? You're on the rebound Alex and you don't even know it!"

Humiliation drips from every pore in his body but anger covers it and he thinks clearly and replies. " Thank god I thought I was going to have to go through with marrying you and live with a bitch for the rest of my life."

Fiona actually looks hurt.

He smiles at her and she sees the disgust and hatred in his eyes.

Stevie calls to the barman. "Open the cellar and call the police we'll leave her in there until they get here and I whacked her partner over the head with a pot plant and he's out cold on the veranda someone can bring him in too."

Several men rush outside but return quickly who ever Stevie hit has gone.


Saturday night

Inside the pub.

Stevie pushes Fiona into the cellar and the publican closes the door.

Stevie looks at him and says "I think I need a room I need to lie down."

The pub is in uproar and the police arrive quickly they question Stevie and take a statement.

They've found no trace of Leo so they send out officers to look for him.


Saturday Night

Stevie's room at the pub

Finally Stevie gets her room the publican says "It's on the house Stevie you've provided more entertainment than we've seen in years.

Chuckling she takes the keys.

The hall is spinning and she struggles to reach her room.

She is about to strip down for bed when there is a knock at the door.

She flings it open and finds Alex standing there.

"Alex!" She proclaims her thoughts spinning.

"Stevie I'm really sorry for everything and I wanted to say thank you." Alex offers.

"Arr was nothing!" She slurs.

She moves away from the door and he notices she's having trouble getting her boots off.

He enters the room and closing the door behind him smiles and offers. "They haven't caught Leo yet so I thought I'd sit with you in case he comes after you!"

"Right." She replies then adds "I need to sleep Alex I've had way too much to drink! One bed two people! You strip off and I'll stay clothed."

Grinning he understands how very drunk she is and offers." No it's ok it's your room you get comfortable."

Looking at him she grins and says "Don't mess with me Ryan! I just citizen arrested ya Mrs get your gear off and get into bed now!"

Grinning he does as he's told.

She jumps onto the bed beside him once he's under the covers.

"There that's better." She muses.

She chatters on for five minutes then says "Oh bugger this Alex we're friends and I'm uncomfortable close your eyes."

Grinning he shuts them for a second and then smiling watches as she strips to her underwear and pulls back the blanket and snuggles up to him.

He smiles as she chatters on as if they're not in bed together and half dressed.

Just an ordinary conversation.

His heart beats rapidly and he has trouble listening to her.

"Alex." She whispers.

'Yes Stevie."He enquires.

"Did you know that I'm in love with you?" She offers so very softly.

His heart feels like its exploding.

Smiling he realizes she's falling asleep but replies "No but I'm so glad you are."

He waits for a reaction but doesn't get one.

"Stevie? Stevie?" He calls in a whisper.

She doesn't reply.

He holds her closely knowing she's asleep and whispers "It's ok cowgirl I'll tell you how much I love you tomorrow."

Kissing her forehead he closes his eyes trying not to think about the fact that he can feel the softness of her against his skin.

Eventually he sleeps.


Monday Night

In the shearers Quarters

Alex leaves out the part about telling her he loves her.

Stevie stands staring at him and he waits for her to smile.

He's not prepared for her response." You bastard Alex!" She yells at him.

He looks stunned as she rails against him. "l thought we were friends Alex and you've let me worry about this for days! I hardly slept last night and all day I've been so uncomfortable thinking I'd slept with you."

He smiles at her and says "Come on Stevie lighten up I was just having a little fun!"

She is furious and yells "Fun Alex! Fun is teasing me for ten minutes maybe twenty but not for days! Do you have any idea how this has affected me? I thought you were still engaged and I'd slept with you. Do you have any idea the disgust I felt for myself?"

"Stevie I'm sorry ok. I didn't even think of it like that. We're friends and I thought you'd see the funny side of it!"

"Wrong Alex! Were friends! I don't need friends like you." She yells so close to tears and so angry all at once.

She turns and rushes from the room slamming the door.

Glass smashing behind her doesn't slow her.

Alex watches in disbelief as she slams the door in his face and the window pops out and smashes to the floor.

"Stevie wait please I'm sorry." He yells after her.

"Go to hell Alex." She yells over her shoulder.

He stops and slumps down onto the veranda.

Running his hands over his face and through his hair he exhales contemplating what to do now.