.Affairs of the heart.

Prolouge

10 years earlier: Joe: 11 years old, Felicity: 12 years old

PART 1

Joe Cartwright and Felicity Chambers where best friends. They never spent a moment apart, you would never see one without the other. Joe had dragged Felicity out to the lake on his fathers ranch 'the Ponderosa' that day and they where making shapes out of the clouds as they lay on the grass.

''look at that one Joe. It looks like an Elaphant' said Felicity as she giggled at the 'animal'.

''what about that one it looks like a wagon'' Joe said clearly trying to top what Felicity had sceen.

''Joe'' Felicity's voice had suddenly gottan serious.

''yer Felicity''

He looked at Felicity with a worried exspression on his face the mood had suddenly changed from cheerful to serious.

''where moving'' Felicity said while looking at her dress not wanting to see the look on her best friends face.

''WHAT'' Joe shouted and jumped up from where he was sitting.

''they told me this morning''

'' but you cant move''

Joe was now pacing rappidly back and forth

After a few more minutes Felicity hadn't spoken. Her parents had died of Scarlet fever a month ago. And she had moved in with her aunt Genevive and her husband John; Genevive and John loved Felicity dearly as they did not have a child of there own. Genevive had decided that she wanted to get away from where her brother had died.

''When are you leaving'' Joe asked sitting back down next to best frioend.

''as soon as the house is packed up, about a week. Uncle John has already found someone to buy the farm'' Felicity said looking at the lake flow back and forth.

''I'm going to miss you Felicity'' Joe said sincerly. '' I'll miss you so much Joe. Your my best friend how could I not'' Felicity said while trying not to cry.

''we'll be best friends forever. Dont worry its clean'' Joe said handing Felicity a hankichief.

Felicity laughed at what Joe had said. Felicity stood up, as did Joe ''your a very special person to me Joesph Cartwright'' Felicity leaned in and kissed Joe on the lips.

''I have to go, I'll see you later'' said Felicity while collecting her shoes and ran home.

Ten Years Later

Chapter 1

Joe was now twenty-one and working full time in the ranch. He is now in charge of all horse operations on the Ponderosa.

As he was walking out if the Cafe' when he bumped into a young lady who was wearing a pale purple dree with white frill at the botton.

''sorry ma'm'' said he helping the young lady up.

''oh thats quite alright sir'' said the lady looking at Joe now in the face.

''Felicity '' he was completly shocked at seeing his childhood friend after so many years.

''Joesph Cartwright. I was hoping I'd see you sooner or later'' Felicity was grining widley.

'' how have you beeen'' Joe had picked Felicity up and was spinning her around whilst hugging her greatly.

The people in the streets where watching the two with shock at the 'spectical' of themselves. though Joe and Felicity seemed to be unawear of the peoples looks as they were in there own little word.

'' You have to come out to the Ponderosa. Pa, Hoss and Adam will love to see you'' Joe had finally put Felicity down as he proposed the question.

''oh yes. But could I go to the Hotel to collect my shawl'' she said whilst admiring her dear friend.

''nonsence you can't stay in a Hotel. What would the community stay of Cartwright hospitality if we didn't invite an old friend to stay with us'' Joe said as he took Felicity's hand and led them towards the Hotel.

BUGGIE RIDE.

They had gottan Felicitys things from the Hotel very quickly and hired a Buggie for the ride back to the Ponderosa.

Felicity was lost in a deep thought she hadn't excpected her day to turn out so, 'different' she had gone to the bank to cash the money her uncle John had left her in his will then was going to have a quiet lunch and head back to the Hotel to rest. But then she had seen Joe and had had this sudden and unexspected need to want to be with him, hold him and never leave his side.

Just as she was shaken from her thought's as the Wagon rolled into the Ponderosa yard. Felicity looked at it in awe it had not changed a bit in all of the twelve years she had been away (which she was greatful for) as a child she had come to think of the Ponderosa as a second home, especially after her parents death. As she began to get down from the Buggie she felt Joes hands grasp he waist and help her down.

''thankyou Joe'' she said while smiling.

''no problem, Char'' Joe was in the midst of talking to Felicity he heard the front door to the ranch house open, As he looked over to the door he could see his fathe Ben Cartwright walking towards the Buggie where he and Felicity were standing.

'' so Joe whose this'' said Ben gesturing with is hand to the Felicity.

''Mr Cartwright its me Felicity'' Felicity said with mock insult.

''well, well Miss Chambers you have grown into a lovely youg lady'' Ben said smilling at the now grown young lady.

''oh thankyou Mr Cartwright''

''well why dont you go wash up. Supper should be ready quite soon'' Ben said indicating with his hand where the door was even though he was sure she knew where it was.

Chapter Two

Supper was a wholesome event everyone was laughing and retelling storys of Joe and Felicity's childhood. After Supper this the Cartwrights and Felicity retired to the living room and talked more of old times when Felicity anounced that she was going to go to bed.

''so Joe what do you think of Felicity'' said Adam while sipping at his Tea. Joe looked at Adam with confused look when he suddenly he understood the tone of Adams voice.

''I think nothing older brother, where just old friends'' Joe's voice was forcefull but his family could deffinatley detect a hint of unncertainty in his voice. ''well I think I'll go to bed'' Joe said lifting himself from the Setee'.

''nite Joe'' the Cartwrights spoke in unison.

As Joe was getting ready for bed he couldn't help but think of Felicity everything about her made him want to be with her more; her hair was a rich auburn the sound of her voice and the way she laughed at little jokes. Joe could feel himself falling for her.

The next morning Ben, Adam, Hoss and Joe where sitting at the table disscussing todays events. Adam was heading out to the Timber camp, Hoss was going to be supervising the Mining operations and Joe would be breaking the last of the horese for the Army. Just as the four Cartwrights where finishing their breakfast Felicity decended from the stairs wearing a Yellow boat neck dress. Joe thought she looked stunning and Felicity thought Joe looked very handsome in his work clothes of green coudary Jacket light pink shirt and tan pants.

''Good morning everyone'' Felicity said as she sat next to Hoss on the right side of the table. '

''we'll Miss Felicity how did you sleep'' Bens voice was happy as it was usually on sunny summer mornings

''oh I slept just splendidly Mr Cartwright And you''

''Just marvelous Felicity''

After pleasentries where made Felicity began to eat her breakfast. Joe really wanted to spend time with Felicity but knew he had to break the last string of horses . He decided he would just try and make it through the day without thinking of Felicity.

'' better get these horse done. I'll should be back before super pa.''

Joe got up aand headed out the door trying not to think of Felicity.

Felicity was starting to feel very unsure of herself'Joe hadn't even said goodbye to her she knew she liked Joe and had felt her childhood feelings for him all come rushing back only the feelings had somehow doubled in her time away.

Chaper 3

He had beeen breaking horse's for hours he was sore and tired he wanted nothing more then a nice hot bath. There was one more horse left 'FireBolt' the hands had nicknamed the beast; the horse was mean, big and aggresive. As Joe was getting on the 'beast' the animal broke out of its holding and came loose. Joes controll on the animal was good untill the animal starting pelting him against the corral fence when Joe tried to turn the Animal his foot became snaged in the stirips and fell whilst being dragged along the dirt ground. Joe yelled for help, the hands who where talking not even noticing there boss' struggle. Jack Strepson was a young Irishman who had recentley been hired by Hoss had been trying to catch FireBolt from the word go but the hosre was just to fast for the man. After a few more minutes Jack got hold of the animal and had managed to contain him until the other hands came to retrive the horse. Joe was struggling to get up after being dragged on the ground for a considerable amount of time.

''Are you alright there Joe'' Jack said helping Joe off of the ground.

He didn't answer right away Joe was still trying to compahend what had just taken place. ''I'm fine Jack. Could you do me a favour and don't tell my Pa he'll just blow it all out of puportion''

Unfourtuntly for Joe one of the other hands had been conserned for him and had ridden out to the ranch house and brought back his father.

Ben Cartwright was a hard worker and loved the Ponderosa that he had worked so hard for but he cared for his son's more and would give the Ponderosa up in an instint for anyone of them. He had been sitting at his desk when he heard a horse ride up the front yard. Geting up from his chair and walked outside wondering what the ridder could be wanting.

'' Afternoon Mr cartwright'' said Jesse Owens tipping his hat

'' Afternoon Jesse. What do you need?''

''there was an insident up at the Coral; Joe was hurt''

Ben suddenly became very alert after hearing that Joe had been hurt. ''what happened is he o.k'' his voice was firm and in need of information. ''I'm sorry Mr Cartwright but I left as soon as possible''.

''well we better hurry and hope his alright''

Ben was trying to calm himself down. He quickly got a horse and starting ridding quickly, Jesse took off behind him.

As reached the Corall they could see Joe leaning on an outta post of the Corral holding his left arm to his chest wincing in pain.

''Joe'' Ben rushed over to his youngest son knowing full well that Joe had brocken his arm by the way he was holding it.

''do you think you can ride Joe'' Ben asked leading Joe towards Chochise.

''yeah Pa I'll Just ride slowly''.

Joe mounted Chochise being carefull of his arm and rode home to the ranch house. Ben helped Joe off of Chochise and into the house. It was no secret that Joe hated attention when it came to something like brocken bones or any type illness and this time would be no different.

Felicity had been having a very relaxing day Hoss had finished at the mining camp earlier than exspectedand took Felicity for a ride around the Pondrosa to see the seanary so niether of them had been around to help Ben at the Corall with Joe.

When Felicity and Hoss returned from there ride they saw a little black Buggie out the front of the house Hoss hoped down from the Surrey and helped Felicity down they both entered the house quickly sencing that something wasn't right. Dr Martin was decending the stairs as the two entered the house '' whats wrong Doc'' Hoss asked as the Dr reached the bottom of the stairs '' Joseph broke his arm. He should be out of bed in a day or two, the only problem is it's his left arm so he won't be doing anything for a while'' Doctor Martin said while frowning.

'' he will be okay though won't he'' Felicity had been listening to Hoss and the Doctor talk and had been getting worried for Joe's sake. '' oh he will be fine his a strong boy'' Doctor Martin's voice was very reasuring to Felicity. ''I'll be going now, don't hesitate to come get me if a problem should arrise'' The Doctor left Felicity and Hoss to their thoughts when they heard the Buggie leave the Ponderosa. Hoss and Felicity headed straight for the stairs.

Joe was sitting up leaning against a pillow Hoss and Felicity enterd '' bout time I got some visitors'' Joe said with mock hurt ''well we had things to tend to'' Felicity's voice was equally as sarcastic '' yeah little brother you don't exspect the work around here to revolve aroud you do ya''everyone laughed at Hoss' comment ''so what did the doctor say Joe'' Felicity's voice was serious and intruiged '' brocken arm and slight concussion'' Joe answered while looking at his arm '' won't be able to finish the last of the string'' Joe was frowning immensley ''well wont the hands be able take care of it'' Joe looked almost crestfallen he had really been excitted to be finally full-filling a contract without the help of his brothers or his Pa '' yes I supose'' he mumbled.

Chapter 4

Joe had to stay indoors during his recuvary from the fall. Felicity had been more than happy to help him whenever it was needed which Joe was greatful for all of her help. When the other Cartwrights headed out for the day He and Felicity would got closer and more comfortable with eachother.

It wasn't until the third week when they were both in the kitchen and Felicity was making him a sandwhich for lunch that he snuck up behind her and huged her waist and kissing up her neck Felicity head leaned backwards and she let out a slight moan and pushed Joe away ''we can't, your injured'' Felicity's voice was weak there was nothing more then to love Joe she had dreamed of him everynight since she had been on the Ponderosa everything about him made her 'Ƨrazy' his hair; the way it curled so perfectly on his loverly bronze skin the way his eyes where always alight, he made her happy in a way that no-one else could.

Joe's feelings where similar. He wanted to marry Felicity and be with her forever he loved her which he knew. Joe had claimed that he loved alot of girls in his short twenty-one years but their was something about Felicity that was different maybe it was the history behind their relationship that made Joe feel more for her then he could any other girl. Joe knew he wanted to be with Felicity for the rest of his life he just didnt know how she felt. He had spent nearly every waking hour thinking and hoping that she felt the same.

After a few more weeks Joe's arm had healed perfectly and he was alowed to go back to work for this Joe was exstremly happy to not have to sit around and do nothing all day but he would miss spending time with Felicity and catching her little smiles out of the corner of his eye. Both of them had revealed how they felt about each other which released alot of the Anxiety from both of them.

Chapter 5

All four Cartwrights and Felicity where sitting at the table eating having a lovely time Hopsing had perpared a special meal as it was Adam's thirty-third birthday he made roast Pork with roast Potato's and vegtables. Adam's favourite meal. It had always been hard for Adam to celebrate his birthday with his father as a child he always felt like he kild his mother and that his Pa recented him for it. It wasn't untill Adam was Thirteen that Ben found out his son had been thinking like this. Ben sat Adam down and told him that he never in the time Adam had been alive did he blame him for his mothers death. From that day on Adam hadn't felt like murdera on his birthday and felt like he could actully celebrate it.

When dinner was over the Cartwrights and Felicity retired to the living room for Brandy. '' Felicity why don't we leave these old men to there Brandy and go take a look at the lake'' the way Joe spoke made it hard for Felicity to turn him down so she gave a slight node not trusting her head to speak as she was thrilled to be getting some more alone time with him.

The view of the lake was entrancing the was the water was practically glowing and the tree's were such a lovely rich powerfull green it made it hard to believe it was real. It took Felicity a moment to take all of it in ''Joe this is just beautiful'' she said as she breathed in some of the fresh air surrounding her.

''Felicity I love you''

Felicity spun around upon hearing the word exit his mouth. ''Joe I-I dont know what to say. I love you to''

Joe had been leaning on a rock watching Felicity take in the sight he wanted nothing more than to take her. Joe motioned for her to sit next to him which she did without hesitation. As she layed culed up against the body that she wanted more than anything.

Joe leened agaist Felicity using the rock to keep himself in place Felicity let out a small moan of sweet exstacy this please Joe as he licked her lips begging for entrace their tounge's intertwined Joe's movments full of dominance as he forced Felicity against the rock ''Joe I love you'' Felicity murmerd as thier tounges were till smashing against the others. Felicity began to unbutton Joe's shirt and had it completly off when Joe parted their lips '' Char we can't'' ''why not'' Joe frowned at her reluctance '' because of what could happen''

''we better get dressed and head back to the ranch'' Joe said as he started to put is pants back on. ''yes your right'' Felicity was now also getting dressed.

The ride back to the house was quiet so quiet you could here every little sound nature made. The two rode into the yard and decided not to mention their act of 'indecentcy'.

they entered the house and Felicity went straight to bed. Ben was sitting at his desk doing some paper work when Joe entered the house after bedding the horces down for the night. ''how was the lake Joe'' Ben asked eyes still on the account paper's ''It was great Pa. the lake look's great at night'' Joe found himself in many different senario's to lie to his Pa found it easy to do unlike his brother's who couldn't lie to save themselves. ''Pa im gonna go to bed now. Goodnight'' Joe said walking to the stairs. Ben looked at his son suprised at his son usually Joe would go to town on a friday night. Ben studied his son as Joe walked up the stairs and couldn't help but notice Joe's shirt was inside-out.

Chapter 6

Ben hadn't slept well at all he hadn't ever thought that any of his son's would take advantage of a girl of course he knew that they had had sexual relations with women. Especially Adam and Hoss. He knew that Joe was 'mature' in the feild but he try'd to not think about it afterall he was onlt twenty-one and practically still a child. In Bens eye's anyway. He made himself promise to have a talk to his youngest son.

Joe wasn't having any better luck sleeping he kept thinking back to the lake and how far they could have gone she was his best friend since they were seven years old and he was ready to make love to her it had taken all of his strength to stop himself. Sure he had made love to girls before but this was his best friend not Susie from the 'Silver Dollar'. He love's Felicity and he couldn't bring himself to do something that couldn't ruin her life just to make him feel good for a short time.

Joe had finally gotten to sleep at around four-am in the morning. He decended the stairs to see his pa and brothers sitting around the table most likley disscusing the day's event's.

''Where's Felicity?'' questioned Joe as he sat down on Ben's left.

''she went for a morning ride about a half hour ago'' Ben said as he took a sip of his Coffee studying his son it was clear the Joe had'nt gotten much sleep that night but neither had he.

''Joe do you think you could give me a hand with the book's today'' everyone looked up at Ben as he made that statement Adam was the best at arithmatic in the family and Joe had never pushed himself in school to be better.

''Uh sure Pa''

A/N: Please Review I'd lbe more to this to hear what everyone thinks. There will most definetly be more to this story!