AN: Y'all have no idea how nervous I am about this part. Hints and talk of abuse are heavy in this part of chapter 10 and fingers crossed I pulled all this off alright. Anyways I am not going to drag this out or anything Nashville does not belong to me and neither do any songs that may be used in this piece. As usual ANY similarities to any other Deyna stories is completely unintended and all rights and praise belong to those writers. Happy reading my darlings(:


Ch 10-Cowboys and Angels: Part 2

Previously…

Taking in the character of the room put a smile onto her face. She made her way to the fireplace and stepped in front of it her eyes taking in the display of photos on the mantel. Rayna tipped her head back admiring one picture in particular that was framed and propped on the mantel. Leaning up on her tiptoes she took it down in order to get a better look at the snap shot of the family. Her finger tentatively reached out and lightly brushed the cool glass tracing over the boyish grin that held Deacon's lips and the glasses that rested on the bridge of his nose.

"And who the hell do you think you are?"

Rayna whirled around surprised by harshness of the voice that boomed throughout the small room. Her eyes darted up to a tall gangly man, his skin weathered and held tell tale signs of his age etched on his forehead. "Uh-I'm…I'm Deacon's girlfriend, Rayna…Rayna Jaymes, and you are sir?" She said softly, politely extending her hand towards him to shake.

His eyes glinted in the small light that bounced off the walls of the room. "Oh, so you're Deacon's little slut are ya?"

XXX

"Excuse me?" retracting her hand almost instantly Rayna glared up at him resisting the urge to place her palms onto her hip bones.

"Hey, Ray do you wan-" Deacon stopped short his face turning to stone as he registered the man in the room. "What the hell are you doin' here?"

"Well, it's nice to see you too son."

Stepping forward Deacon placed himself in front of Rayna which effectively created a barrier between his father and her, "ain't nobody said it was nice to see you Pops. What the hell are you doin' here? Mama said you'd left."

"That bitch…" The older man spat in disgust lifting the bottle clutched in his hand to his mouth and pouring some of the liquor down his throat.

Taking this as his opportunity Deacon rotated on the balls of his feet so that he faced Rayna. "Ray, babe I want you to get outta here, right now."

"Deacon." Her hands reached forward and clasped onto his shaking her head in protest.

"Rayna, now." The words came out short and hard, each one staccato and like a jab to her gut. It was a tone which Rayna registered as he wasn't messing around. Never before had she heard him sound so detached, so serious.

"Fine." She gave him a weary look before she removed her hands from him and turned out of the room.

Once he was sure Rayna was out of earshot he whirled back towards his father. "I see the bottle hasn't killed you yet, unfortunately for us."

"Shut it boy, or do you want me to break all your fingers?" Staggering toward Deacon the older man shoved him towards the opposite wall. "What would ya have then? That bitch sure as hell wouldn't want you then."

Deacon wobbled on his feet momentarily as his back bounced off the wall and rattled a picture frame in the process. "You don't know anything bout her."

"You're tellin' me that your guitar pickin' ain't the only thing she sees in you…I doubt it. You're nothing. I should show her what being with a real man is like." Sneered the older man stumbling ever so slightly on his feet as he took a clumsy step forward.

"If you ever, lay a finger on her, I'll kill ya myself." The younger guitar protégé matched his father's step but with much more conviction making the pair reside nearly chest to chest. He gave his father a warning look, and little did he know Rayna was smooshed up against the side wall and a bookshelf in the next room and heard every word exchanged between the two. There was so much for her to absorb from their heated words and the threats made on Deacon and herself. She tipped her head back and allowed her eyelids to close as it all became glaringly obvious to her why he hadn't been home in the past five years. Letting out a deep breath she felt as if she had heard enough and it seemed their fight was nearing a close so Rayna bolted to the kitchen where she joined his mother at the table so that Deacon wouldn't catch her eavesdropping.

An evil laugh poured from his lips before he lifted the bottle and swallowed down more of the amber colored poison. "Oh, you're not man enough to do that son."

"And you're man enough? Stumblin' round drunk, beatin' your wife and kids…? Well then, I'm glad I'm not...cause I'll be damned if I ever end up like you." With that Deacon trekked out of the room in a haste, he could hear his father hollering: son, you best get your ass back here, but he couldn't spend one more minute in his father's company. Letting out a huff he bent down, his fingers wrapped around the handle of his guitar case and lifted it off the floor. As he approached the kitchen he heard murmuring voices and clinkering dishware. Exhaling loudly he stepped foot over the threshold of the kitchen door and rushed into the room, guitar case clutched in his right hand, knuckles a stark white while Rayna sat at the table chattering away with his mother Colleen nowhere to be seen, "Mama we're leaving."

To this news Rayna's head sprung up and her eyes attempted to search his so she could figure out what was going on but she couldn't, his eyes were too guarded. "Son, you best get back here before I whop your ass," Rayna heard boom from the living room where Deacon had emerged from and the threat was followed by the sound of crashing glass.

"But y'all just got here."

"And you told me Pops was outta town, gone." His voice sliced through the tension in the kitchen like an ice pick, Rayna's lower lip curled into her mouth as she observed the scene, she'd never heard his voice so harsh, so cold before. Shifting in her seat Rayna glanced towards the doorway that lead into the living room her eyes catching sight of Deacon's father stumbling through the room knocking things over cursing up a storm, looking away quickly she eyed his mother who was so calm and collected seemingly unaffected by all the commotion.

"Deacon, can't we all just have some family time like ol' times?"

"No. Was livin' through it the first time not bad enough?" Deacon spat, not trying to hide his disgust for the situation once so ever, he shook his head a bitter laugh escaped his lips. "No, Ma I'm not subjectin' Rayna to all that bullshit."

"Babe, I can handle it." Even as the words tumbled off her tongue Rayna wasn't so sure she believed them. A part of her was more concerned for his mother's wellbeing than her own, because she had an idea of just what his father might do once they left and that thought alone made her skin crawl.

"I can't. Come on baby, let's go." Encouraged Deacon who reached with his free hand and collected Rayna's hand helping her out of her chair. Rayna shot his mother an apologetic look as she pushed herself up off the chair and followed closely behind Deacon.

"Deacon!" His mother cried as the pair headed towards the door.

"Get back here boy, this ain't finished." Deacon's father sneered as he stumbled over the threshold of the living room and entered the kitchen by them amber liquor splashing over and landing on the floor as he gulped some more down.

Ignoring the yelling Deacon closed his eyes pacing across the porch, "Deacon, babe your Dad doesn't scare me." His eyes were focused on the toe of his boots and the boards under his feet that he was pacing across that Deacon didn't make an attempt to meet her gaze all too consumed in his own tortured thoughts. Taking a step forward Rayna invaded his space and lightly ran her fingers across his forearms, tracing them up and down, practically forcing him to look at her. "Let's just go into town maybe stay at that cute bed and breakfast we passed on the way here and you can cool down. Then tomorrow, we can come back. How's that sound, okay?"

"Yeah, that sounds…okay," he agreed giving her a half-hearted smile. Rayna caught him by surprise as she leaned up and let her fingers lightly comb through his hair before she brushed her lips gently against his. The distinct sound of a fist going through the wall caught his ear and forced him to disconnect from her lips, his eyes shifted to the window and let out a deep breath shaking his head as he saw his father slap his mother across the face. "Ray, babe, take my guitar and go to the truck, wait for me there."

"Deacon," Rayna said unsure of where his mind was, hell she'd overheard him tell his father he'd kill him.

"This isn't a debate, go." Handing over his guitar case he nodded his head towards his truck and waited for her to do as he said. After a short stare down, she finally conceded letting out a huff and slowly walked down the porch steps. Once she was walking across the driveway to his truck Deacon spun on his heel and threw open the porch door. The door caught in the wind and slammed back against the house catching his father's attention.

"What the hell ya back for son?"

"Get your hands off her," Deacon warned his eyes ice as he glared at his father.

"What'd ya gonna do bout it boy?" Wondered his father out loud as he shook Leann like a rag doll.

Witnessing his father's anger and abuse was almost worse than being on the receiving end. "Do you wanna see?" Deacon challenged taking a confident step forward.

"Deacon, please don't…just take Rayna and go, I can handle myself." His mother piped up breathlessly her voice choked with tears.

"Shut it Leann!" Shouted his father as he swatted the back of his free hand across her cheek and spat in her general direction as he swaggered towards Deacon taking another long swig from the bottle the fingers of his right hand clutched so protectively. "I wanna see how tough this little shit thinks he is."

"You're a real piece of shit, ya know that?" Taking several more steps into the house Deacon reached where his father was and ducked as he swung a fist at his head. Using his father's temporary imbalance to his advantage Deacon looped his arms around his father's body and threw him to the tile floor of the kitchen. The cheap bourbon sloshed around inside the bottle before it crashed next to them glass and liquor spraying everywhere as Deacon's fists walled on his father's flesh. It all became a daze as Deacon delivered blow after blow to his dad's face and when his father finally came too he surprised Deacon and delivered a weak punch to his cheek. Shaking it out Deacon wound back and winced slightly as he felt his knuckles connect with the bones in his father's nose. Breathing heavily he gazed down at the damage he'd done, there was blood creeping out from his knuckles as he moved off his father. When his eyes caught the rise and fall of his father's chest Deacon let out a sigh of relief his mother's crying bringing him back down to earth. "Ma, I'm-I'm sorry," Deacon said in a small voice as he pushed himself off his knees and approached his mother.

"Oh, no baby, you don't have anythin' to be sorry for" she whispered as she gathered him into her arms and clung tightly to him, hot tears staining his shirt.

"I just-" the words caught in the back of his throat as his arms folded around his mother's frail body and he fought back tears.

"I know." Mother and son held on to one another for a minute until her breaths were more steady. As they parted Leann brushed a hand over Deacon's cheek in that nurturing way that was so distinct to mothers, "go…I'll be fine."

Deacon eyed his mother for a second but with a reassuring nod from her he glanced down and nodded himself. "We'll come back tomorrow, as long as he's gone." He informed his mother shooting daggers at the floor where his father's battered body laid motionless, blood speckled the floor next to the smashed bottle of bourbon.

Rayna had always hated waiting, she swore she was the most impatient person on the planet her eyes kept darting up towards the house trying to get a glimpse of just was unfolding inside. But from her place in the truck she had no luck at all, she couldn't see a damn thing. Her fingers drummed against the dashboard, how long was she meant to wait for him, she briefly wondered. To hell with it, opening up the passengers door Rayna hopped out and began to make her way across the driveway and up to the house but halted when the screen door opened to reveal Deacon. "What took you so-" her voice stopped short as her eyes landed on his bleeding knuckles.

Seeing where her eyes fell caused him to instantly shake his head and avoid eye contact, "Ray, please don't ask…let's just go." Skipping a few of the steps on the porch Deacon joined Rayna in the driveway.

"But Deacon, you're bleeding…what the hell happened?"

"Please, don't" Deacon pleaded his voice raw and desperate.

Concern filled her pupils as she eyed him, shaking her head and shrugging her shoulders Rayna stepped forward and took his right hand. She held it carefully in her own as her eyes assessed the damage that had been done to his knuckles, a frown carving over her features. Only one thing could've done that to his knuckles, another persons face. "Fine, let's go."

Nodding his head not another word was exchanged Deacon stepped forward and grazed her temple with a kiss, letting her hold his hand as they walked towards his truck. She released his hand after he helped her climb into his truck and sighed to herself. Giving his folks house one last glance Deacon jumped into the driver's seat and started up the truck not giving his rear-view mirror a backward glance as they tore down the driveway.

XXX

Flashing a million dollar smile to the average sized man behind the counter at the bed and breakfast Rayna accepted the key from him and swiveled on the balls of her feet. When her eyes landed on Deacon she frowned, unable to overlook the vacant stare that held his eyes. Stepping forward she reached for his hand, with a firm hold on his hand she gave it a gentle tug and led him towards the stairs. One hand clutched hers while the other cradled his wooden friend, a friend that had been there for him when nothing else had; in the middle of the night, after enduring a beating from his father, during a loud fighting match between his parents that echoed through the paper thin walls, moments when he thought he'd reached his lowest. They made their way up the staircase with Deacon trailing closely behind Rayna. Upon reaching the top of the staircase Deacon bumped into Rayna's back which forced him to tip his head upright so that he could see what the hold up was. Tossing a look over her shoulder at him Rayna jerked on his hand to gain his attention and the couple fell into step with one another as she led them further down the corridor. It was known soon enough as her footfalls halted to a stop that their room was the second door on the left. He hung his head directly behind her waiting as she fiddled with the key fumbling several different times to get it into the lock before being successful and opening the door.

Stepping into the room Rayna searched blindly for the light switch allowing Deacon to enter the room, as the door swung closed behind him. Deacon ventured into the room his head bowed as he propped his guitar against the wall adjacent to the bed. Rayna hovered a couple feet away from the door, eyes fixated on his movements trying to gauge his demeanor and figure out the best way to proceed. "Deacon babe you haven't said a word since we-" before she could continue Deacon advanced toward her quickly, a fire raging in his cobalt irises. He backed her up against the closed door as their bodies melted against each other and his lips smashed onto hers hungrily.

It felt as if he'd torn right down to her core in that instance, each and every movement he made was needy and desperate. When his hands grasped onto her face her body naturally lifted off the wooden panel of the door ricocheting against his as his tongue sank into her mouth. Quickly he glided his palms down from her face and his fingers clawed at the fabric of her blouse the silky material creating a difficulty level Deacon wasn't expecting as the fabric slipped right through his thick fingers. His hands smacked either side of her hips lightly in frustration, establishing his grasp on her body as he forced her body back against the door so that she was laid flat against it. The weight of Deacon's body as it curved into her effectively caged her in place there, leaving her completely at his mercy.

Hastily Deacon grasped onto Rayna's shirt and lifted it over her head. She automatically extended her arms above her head and aided him with the removal process. In no time his lips landed back on hers as he kissed her fervently, desperate for her. Desperate to lose himself in her, the smell of her hair, the taste of her kiss. All of her. Deacon wanted nothing more than to bury himself deep inside of her and forget all the painful memories that had surged back from simply seeing his father again. To forget the pain shooting through his knuckles from the multiple times they connected with his father's face.

Their lips moved together sloppily establishing a pace as Rayna clutched a fist full of his flannel, blindly her hand released the plaid material and smoothed over the buttons. And much like a pro Rayna's fingers began to blindly unbutton his flannel her lips still swapping kisses with Deacon. When she felt his tongue wiggle into her mouth her lips wrapped around it and she tugged back gently sucking on it. This action caused Deacon to buck his hips into hers, his groin grinding into hers impatiently as a groan rumbled out of the back of his throat and vibrated against her lips.

Once she released his tongue Deacon trailed his lips down her jaw, neck, shoulder, his teeth scrapping across her collar bone, and then he skimmed down the middle of her body pausing momentarily as he reached her waist band. Deacon dropped to his knees in front of her planting kisses across her stomach his hands curving around the back of her calf's as he lifted her left foot up and removed her cowboy boot. Repeating the same action with her right foot Deacon distracted her with his mouth as his tongue dipped into her navel swirling around it and then peppered kisses horizontally across her rib cage popping out the button in her jeans before he tore the zipper down. As the pressure was relieved Rayna arched her body off the wall her eyes shifted down as she watched Deacon hook his thumbs in her belt loops and yanked her jeans right off her hips. The denim coiled together as it worked its way over her hips and slid down her thighs pooling at her feet making her step out of them standing before Deacon clad in only her undergarments. Deacon stared up at her in awe completely a look of carnal desire for her flashing like a bolt of lightening in his eyes as he slid his arms around her his body sashaying against hers as he lifted her feet off the floor.

Her lips inched closer to his her mouth parted as her chest rose and fell in anticipation to what was going to come. Pushing back the flannel from off his shoulders Rayna bit down on her lower lip, her eyes lids fluttering closed just before her lips crashed down against his. Lost and distracted by the battle for control Deacon's large hand wrapped around Rayna's back and fumbled for a second before he managed to unhook the clasp on her bra and worked the flimsy material off her upper body. Tossing the article of clothing over his shoulder Deacon lent forward his weight forcing her against the wooden door, his lips fused with hers, as tongues engaged in their own dance in his mouth. His fingers hands slid around to the front of her body as he cupped her breasts between his wounded hands. Deacon rolled his thumb around her nipples flicking them playfully feeling her legs wrap around his midsection caused him to smirk against her mouth as her wetness pressed against him.

The jeans he still wore created a high yet delicious friction and it was one that Rayna used to her advantage trying to spur him as she rotated her hips and grinded against him. His tongue twisted around hers before he retracted it and their lips parted with a smack. Unwrapping her legs from around his body he watched through half lidded eyes as Rayna rolled her neck and slid down his body. "What are you doin' babe?"

Bright pink manicured fingernails trailed down his torso resting on the top of his jeans before skimming over the bulge in his pants. A smirk fell onto her lips as she let her hand rub against his growth teasing him through the fabric. "What's it look like?" Rolled off her tongue eyes darting up to meet his her index finger tracing the familiar lines of his abs before she reached his belt buckle. Snapping open his belt Rayna's body stayed sandwiched tight against the panel of the door and Deacon's body, so that he felt every movement her body made. Painfully slowly she undid the button on his jeans and then pulled down the zipper. Her eyes trailed up to meet his as she slipped her hands around to grab a hold of his ass before she tugged the pants from his body.

Feeling her hands caress his body caused Deacon to groan, stepping closer to her their bodies brushed against one another's their individual space completely eliminated. Both of his hands shimmied up her legs until they rested on her hipbones, his fingers found the elastic of her panties and he snapped the cotton back before he hooked his thumbs into either side and wiggled the material from off her sex. Rayna's hair fell into her face as she watched the way he carefully removed the article of clothing from her body, he was so gentle with her. Deacon tipped his head back and their eyes met as Rayna's fingers curled around the waistband of his boxers freeing him as she worked the material off his hips. They each stepped out of their underwear, eyes locked on one another as Rayna pressed herself firmly against him feeling him hard at her hip. Reaching down her hand curved around him her fingertips not quite touching as she began to slid her hand up and down his shaft, eliciting a moan from his mouth. Their chests collided as he reached between her legs and stroked his fingers over her folds smirking as they met the wetness that he was responsible for.

Rayna let out a pleasurable sigh as she tipped her hips forward and allowed them to brush against his, their bodies coming together as Deacon's hands brushed across her silky smooth skin. Gazing up at her in wonderment Deacon brushed back the hair from her face so he could get a full look at her and brushed a gentle kiss to her lips. Winding her arms around Deacon's neck Rayna kept their faces close together kissing him deeply as he cupped her ass and for the second time since they arrived at the bed and breakfast he lifted her off her feet. Instinctively her legs twined around his waist her arms loosening from around his neck and sliding through his hair across his shoulders before her palms curved around his shoulder bones. The tip of his penis teased her center as he caged he reestablished their former position her back slamming into the wood of the door as he entered her quickly and without warning.

As he buried himself inside of her hard, Rayna moaned her chest heaving a little bit as their lips broke apart and she felt his nose wedge between the valley of her breasts his lips assaulting her chest. "Mmm, oh" Rayna breathed out as she felt her walls stretch while they wrapped around his hard member as he began to thrust deep inside of her. Their bodies moved against one another's Rayna's perky breasts skidded against his firm chest, their hips grinding against each other as Deacon thrusted in and out of her.

Panting against her skin Deacon left a trail of sloppy kisses across her shoulders his teeth irritating the flesh as he nipped at it. He slowed his pace smirking as he felt Rayna counter the rotation of his hips, filling her completely and touching every bit of her. "Fuck babe," came out in a low husky voice as he gazed up at Rayna, rough palms jetting up her sides.

Their faces drifted closer to each other as Rayna brushed her lips teasingly against his, needing to taste his kiss again. Latching on to her bottom lip Deacon sucked gently on it as he drove into her relentlessly, his teeth gripped on to her bottom lip as he semi-roughly tugged it back. A ragged breath sputtered out of her mouth as she bucked her hips into his meeting his quick thrusts. "Oh," Rayna moaned feeling the tip of his penis hit her undoing with every thrust, her chest rising and falling in conjunction to the shift in her breathing. Her nails clawed the tight skin on his back as he ruthlessly thrusted deep inside of her, over and over again.

The pace he had initially set thrown out the window as he rocked his hips against hers delivering body blowing thrust after thrust. Unleashing some of the pent up memories that he had yet to dispel to her Deacon found therapeutic in a way. This probably wasn't the best way to handle the emotions but for now it would do, boy would it do. Deacon angled his thrusts expertly his tip brushing against her undoing repeatedly causing her to yelp. As he thrusted into her sharply, a whimper scratched out of her throat her nails sinking into his flesh, her body bowing into his. The only sound heard throughout the room was their labored breathing and the clashing of their bodies against one another. Rayna felt the muscles in her thighs tighten up and the rest was all a hazy. Her vision blurred as her eyes rolled to the back of her head, her breathing shallow as her walls clamped down around him stilling him for a moment as her body convulsed around him.

Deacon held himself still giving her a moment, before he picked up his pace and slammed into her. Each of his thrust came short and quick, as he found himself desperate to reach that same point that Rayna had. A couple more sharp thrusts had him slithering deeper inside her quivering body, "Ugh, Ray yes" Deacon called out as he poured himself inside of her. The weight of his body leant heavily against hers as he collapsed on her his body crushing hers against the door. Raking her fingers lazily through his matted brown hair Rayna sighed contentedly. Silence swallowing the room as their chests collided against one another's in time with their breathing.

As she reached her peek, Rayna swore it pierced through her body like a cannonball. Her body shuddered as she explored around him and bits of herself splattered across the walls. Deacon held her against the door until her body stopped its' convulsing and then carried her to the bed where he laid her down, still buried deep inside of her. Enjoying the intimacy being connected during the whole process provided, neither one quite ready to disconnect from one another. It wasn't until Deacon felt himself soften inside of her that he carefully hovered above her and gently removed himself from her depths. He dropped a kiss square to the middle of her forehead. "You okay?"

"Mhmmm" she'd mumbled against his toned flesh. "I feel like I should be one askin' you that."

"Oh no, no…I'm fine." Dismissed Deacon as he stroked back her auburn strands. A slight lull separated them creating an intangible distance as Deacon found himself brooding over the dark memories that had boiled to the surface an hour ago. Shaking his head he attempted to physically ward off the memories before he tipped his head down and tried to get a direct look in her eye. "You know I'd never intentionally hurt you, right?"

The ends of her hair tickled his chest as Rayna shifted her head, her face twisted together as she took in his words. With the use of her palm curved against Deacon's pec Rayna lifted her body off of him slightly and eyed him, "of course, babe…where'd that come from?"

"Nowhere."

Her eyebrows scrunched together reading his tone and sensing there was more to it than what he was letting on to. Rayna's legs tangled with Deacon's sinking back into him, her ear pressed over where his heart resided while her fingers lazily traced up and down his arm. Her eyes became distracted by a small pink scar that blemished the pale flesh on the inside of his elbow, tentatively her finger traced it. "O-kay…so, are we just not gonna talk about what happened back at your parents house then?"

"Nope. There's nothing to talk about." He replied simply his wall rolling back up.

"Really?" Rayna propped her head up off his naked chest again her eyes flinting up to meet his. "What about the fact that you told your dad you were going to kill him?" A long pause filled the air between them as Deacon looked at her with confusion written in his eyes to how she knew he'd said such a thing, "I over-heard." Clarified Rayna as she gathered the sheets and bunched them to her chest, her hands balled up fistfuls of sheets bringing them under her chin. "I mean you went back into that house and came out with bloody knuckles."

"That man, he-he is not my father…not after the things he did. A father doesn't, doesn't act that way."

"Babe, what did he do?" With this new disclosure Rayna's mind was going ten times crazier with jumbled possibilities of just how tortured, sad, and more than likely abusive childhood the man laying beside her had. She clutched the sheets covering their bodies closer to her chest almost protectively as she sat up next to him in bed the king sized bed. Leaning back against the pillows and headboard Rayna glanced down at Deacon reaching her hand out toward him, "Deacon, come on babe, talk to me." She could feel him shutting down, slipping away from her and she was desperate to make sure that didn't happen.

Shaking his head he breathed out, "it doesn't matter." His tone crushed her, he sounded defeated, lost, his eyes cast far off as he stared ahead of himself, his pupils glazing over slightly. Not even offering her so much as a sideways glance he inhaled deeply trying to collect his emotions.

"Yes, it does" she protested giving him a look which he knew good and well by now meant she wasn't backing down.

Deacon sighed his eyes softening the slightest as he caught sight of her expression. "Ray, baby…it's the past, can we just leave it there?" His damaged hand, which now had dried blood on it, reached out towards her the pads of his fingertips skidding over her soft skin.

She glanced down almost surprised that there wasn't a trail of flames in the wake of his simple touch. Rayna tried with all her might to ignore the stirrings that the look in his eye was caused in her hormones, she knew what he was doing, he was trying to distract her. Trying to get her to give up on probing for information that Deacon was clearly reluctant to reveal. "Fine," and she had fallen right into his trap, allowing him to lead her straight into a world where words were obsolete. A world where they didn't talk about whatever was plaguing them and instead lost themselves in a series of clawed flesh, gasped breaths, and conjoined bodies.

"Thank you."

All Rayna could muster was a shrug of her shoulders that she paired with a soft smile while his fingers continued their ascent and traveled higher up her thighs until they curled around her hips. It only took a tad of applied pressure on her hips to get her to sink back down onto the bed next to him, his lips grazing hers. "Of course," she giggled into his mouth before she brushed another kiss to his lips. As they parted Rayna tilted her head back admiring him as she raked her fingers through his hair.

"No, no…not for that."

When he said that Rayna's eyebrows scrunched together her eyes flashing curiously up to Deacon's "then what were you thanking me for?"

"For being here. For just, being you." The blue of his eyes sparkled down at her and caused her legs to turn to jelly, her heart quickening all over again, but for an entirely different reason.

"Babe," Rayna cupped both of his cheeks, gazing deep into his eyes, her thumbs rolled over his jaw line "there's really no where else I'd rather be…then right here, with you."

"Good, I'm glad to hear it." Drinking in the ocean depths of her eyes in the dimly lit room Deacon couldn't help but grin down at her. Tucking a loose strand of copper hair behind her ear Deacon's hand cradled the back of Rayna's neck bringing her face closer to his. "I…I-" the words caught at the back of his throat scratching it ,desperate to work their way to the cavity of his mouth where they could swoosh around until they would find their desired release.

"What?" holding her breath she eyed him wondering if those three words were gonna fall from lips.

Deacon licked his lips and shook his head, eyes shifting down to the sheets covering their naked bodies. "I'm really glad you came with me, I don't know what I'd do if you weren't here."

"Me too," was her whispered reply their eyes trained to one another's their lips naturally coming together in a slow passionate, all consuming kiss.


Saturday, October 24th, 1992

There was a shift of the covers and Deacon watched in amusement as some more of the sheet was shed from his lower half as Rayna stirred under the covers shivering. He caught her fist the sheets as she reached out into the space next to her. When Rayna's hands didn't meet the normal body contours a frown made its' home on her face a whimper sputtering from her lips, she must have wanted to snuggle up in that familiar warmth and unmistakable scent. Instead though she settled for cuddling deeper into the sheets and comforter. Something caught her ear as she shifted, it was a soft melody that she'd remembered Deacon messing with earlier that week when they'd been writing together. She squeezed her eyes shut snuggling into the pillow hoping that he'd surprise her with a lyric, surprise her with something that had never licked the air before.

"There's a want and there's a need," his voice cut through the silent room drenched with that thick drowsy, oh so sexy morning voice. "There's a history between…girls like her and guys like me, cowboys and angels." The sound of his fingers sliding over the heavy steel strings on his guitar caused her to smile into her pillow patiently waiting to hear the next set of lyrics. "I've got boots and she's got wings…I'm hell on wheels and she's heavenly." Even with her head buried in the pillow that was indented with the shape of her head she could feel his eyes on her. "I'd die for her and she lives for me, cowboys and angels."

Whoa, did he really feel that way? Would he really die for her? So many thoughts were darting through her head. Being unable to contain herself Rayna moved closer to him the words washing over her naked flesh and leaving a trail of goose bumps in their path. Much to her distaste Deacon's playing halted which in turn caused her eyes snap open. "Please don't stop," pleaded Rayna with a smile on her face as she slowly pushed herself up next to him her hand dragging the sheet with her to cover her bare chest. Not that she was uncomfortable with being naked like that but it was more so because she knew her perky breasts would distract Deacon far too much that he wouldn't do any singing. He would have only thing on his mind if she was sitting there completely naked and exposed to him.

"I'm sorry I didn't mean to wake you," he softly informed, ignoring her plea.

"You didn't wake me babe," she smiled and leaned over placing a kiss to his lips. "Morning," Rayna whispered against his lips her eyelashes grazing his cheek as her eyelids fluttered open and their eyes locked.

"Morning beautiful," Deacon returned the greeting his lips forming a small grin as his eyes swept over the bare flesh that was poking out from the sheet that she was clinging to. He moved slightly his hand curling around the circumference of the neck of his guitar lifting it from his lap and turning to prop it against the wall next to the bed. The feel of Rayna's soft hand brushing against his forearm and the words that fell from her lips stopped him.

"Wait, I wanna hear that song you were singin'."

"Babe, I was just messin' round with all that."

"I don't care, I wanna hear it." Her fingers lightly danced against the inside of his forearm until she reached his hand where she drew random shapes in the crater of his palm. "Please…" she whispered as her index finger traced a heart in the center of his palm her eyes darting up to meet his, "play it for me."

When their eyes meet he licked his lips, she looked just like an angel before him with her tousled waves framing her face that was softened by the southern morning sun that was splintering throughout the room. In that moment Deacon was well aware that he was wrapped around her pretty little finger, under her spell, however he really didn't care. Deacon couldn't help himself and leaned into her his hand cradling the back of her neck as he smothered her lips with a passionate kiss. "Okay darlin' but only because you asked so nicely."

"Thank you, and please start at the beginning."

He smiled and nodded his head in agreement bringing his Gibson back to his lap his fingers reacquainting themselves along the frets as he began to pick out that melody that she'd recalled him strumming earlier that week. "There's a want and there's a need," his eyes flickered away from the neck of his guitar and drank in the beautiful sight next to him singing the next words softly, "there's a history between…girls like her and guys like me, cowboys and angels." Deacon took a small breath not bothering to check his finger placement, all the practice he'd had over the week must've perfected it "I've got boots and she's got wings…I'm hell on wheels and she's heavenly," he sang directly to her, his eyes drinking her in. "I'd die for her and she lives for me… cowboys and angels. We ride side by side..a cloud of dust, a ray of light." His blue eyes never left her own as he caught a quick breath before he continued to sing "my touch is her temptation, her kiss is my salvation. She's sweet, I'm wild, we're dangerous…cowboys and angels."

Rayna was completely absorbed in the words that his tongue was so carefully molding, his voice was unbelievably sexy and the words that he was singing were single-handedly rearranging her insides. She couldn't bring herself to break their eye contact, this song, it was about her, and she was completely entranced by it. Captivated. It wasn't brand new information that he could sing, Rayna just wasn't quite prepared for this, for the words he was singing to her, about her, about them.

"I'm not sure why her path crossed mine. Accident or grand design," he tipped his head towards her giving her his signature grin. "Maybe God just kinda likes, cowboys and angels."

That smile he offered her, his signature grin, well it was so damn contagious and Rayna matched his smile her eyes shining in the morning light.

"We ride side by side…a cloud of dust, a ray of light." Deacon drank in every detail of the beautiful sight propped up against the headboard next to him. Flaming locks of auburn hair, bright sapphire eyes, and bare shoulders dotted with tiny freckles, she was breathtaking, " my touch is her temptation. Her kiss is my salvation…she's sweet, I'm wild, we're dangerous." Gazing deep into her eyes Deacon continued to sing, his fingers naturally creating the melody behind his words, "cowboys and angels."

Captivated by him Rayna tipped her head so that it leant against the headboard, her eyes bounced to the bed momentarily before they were drawn like a magnetic poll back to Deacon. It was as if it was completely out of her control. She assessed the ease of which his fingers manipulated the strings of his Gibson and bit down on her lower lip, instantly being reminded of just how easy those same fingers manipulated her insides and had her begging him for more. God, he was far too sexy for his own good, especially in that moment she thought to herself as she felt her body react to him a dampness developing from between her thighs. For the first time since he started playing the song his eyes dropped to the neck of his guitar as he played a small guitar solo that lasted about twenty seconds. Rayna licked her lips and lifted her head off the head board scooting as close to him as she could get, her entire body consumed by the music he was creating.

When he felt the slight shift on the mattress Deacon smirked and continued to hang his head not meeting her eyes as he skillfully exited his small guitar solo and transitioned back to the melody. "There's a want and there's a need, there's a history between…girls like you," Deacon sang his eyes lighting up significantly as he smiled widely staring directly at her as he sang that line and continued, "and guys like me. Cowboys and angels." Offering Rayna a smile Deacon slowly worked his fingers against the strings playing the song out expertly and taking her breath away in the process. Clutching the neck of his guitar after the last chord rung throughout their room his eyes lifted from his guitar to meet hers a bashful look casting over his features.

"Wow…that was," Rayna glanced down to the sheets as if she was contemplating the right words to express what his words had just done to her. Rubbing her lips together she inhaled deeply feeling chills on her skin from that performance, from those words he'd just sung to her.

"That bad huh?"

"No, no…it was amazing, babe." Her body slid even closer to his, her legs tangled with his under the sheets before she straddled his lap. Only a piece of hollowed out wood separated their mid-regions from one another as she reached forward her hand curled around the back of his neck and her fingers tickled the base of his hairline briefly. Pausing her fingers movements Rayna brought his face so that it was mere inches away from hers as she spoke softly against his lips, "that song is absolutely amazing, babe, I love it." Without any hesitation Rayna leaned forward her intentions clear as she kissed him hard and slow, passion leaking out of her and pouring into him.

Reaching out to pull her closer to himself Deacon's hand instead caught the side of his guitar, finding the obstruction frustrating. Rayna surprised him when her hand clasped around the neck of the instrument and blindly lifted it from his body carefully propping it against the wall close to the bed. With the wooden instrument out of their way her body sank against his and Deacon's arms linked around her back. There was a new and heightened passion behind every kiss that lingered on his lips. Clear of the any obstruction Rayna straddled his lap her fingers gripping the back of his neck as they let the passion consume them.

His rough palms skated around her body the sheets covering her body breaking loose and falling off her as she staddled him completely naked. Deacon reached up and grasped a fistful of her shiny hair their lips brushing against one anothers as they exchanged deep desire fueled kisses. Gyrating her hips against his Rayna sighed into his mouth contentedly feeling him grow harder beneath her as she grinded into him. Deacon let her have her fun and smiled against her lips as he met the motion of her hips. There was so many perks to sleeping naked he thought as their lips broke apart and his eyes mentally tried to burn the sight of her straddling him into his memory forever. Tiny freckles dotted across her pale flesh, and firey copper hair tumbled over her shoulders grazing his skin when she leaned into him. Her fingers tapped lightly against his flesh as they traveled across the impressive muscles that laid in front of her. It was a canvas of definition lines, each one telling its own story. Her index finger followed the valleys of the definition lines leading her to his torso where she traced the v-line that cut across either one of his hips.

Leaning forward Deacon's hands curled around her hips encouaging her to continue the rotations they were making as he skimmed his lips across the curve of her neck and smothered several kisses to her shoulder bone. Man, was she riling him up, spurring him on. Grinding his hips against hers Deacon inhaled deeply his eyelids fluttering closed as he absorbed the sensation of her body moving against him like that. He felt himself harden underneath the swievl of her hips. As her hand continued to explore the ridges of his upper body Deacon caught her wrist and rolled them over so that he towered above her.

Rayna giggled like a school girl as his body teasingly brushed against her own, making all her girly parts awaken. Her eyes settled on his as he pinned her arms above her hand and dropped a knee shattering kiss to her lips. Catching the twenty year old off gaurd as her body naturally curved off the bed and bounced into his. Their lips moved together their urgancy for each other setting the tempo. Tilting his hip towards her Deacon's penis cirlced hed clit rubbing along her folds teasing her, hearing her whimper only made him do it again. The second time he rotated his hips so that he made a figure eight along her. "Stop messin' around Deac, take me, right now!" Demanded Rayna almost surprising herself for being so in control, even though he had her arms restrained above her head.

"Yes, Ma'am," came out in a voice that reaked playfulness. Rayna's demand was all the more he needed to hear, his lips latched onto the skin of her neck, he sucked it gently before he entered her with one deep long thrust. As hembhe began moving inside of her he felt her legs bend around him essentially giving him a better angle. With the lack of her arms she tipped her own hips to him and decorated his chest with kisses. They were sprawled out across the bed the wrong way as Deacon thruster into her smoothly hovering above her, their slow pace now set.

Taking his time with her Deacon used his free and let it travel down her body, when he found her clit he strummed his free fingers against it humming lightly as he drove deep into her. There was no better way that he could think of to start of this new day than exactly the way he was. Rayna moaned beneath him her arms fighting against his for any leeway from his firm grip, but there was no use. Lowering his body to hers, Rayna felt her back imprint itself into the matress as it sank down underneath their against her shoulder Deacon scrapped his teeth across her flesh nipping at it before he claimed her lips for himself.

Swirling her tongue expertly around his mouth Rayna rocked her hips upward clashing against his. Feeling complete she arched off the mattress her body surrendering to him as he nipped her bottom lip. "Hmm" fell off her tongue as he plowed deep inside of her watching im delight at the faces she made.

"Yeah," he agreed voice drenched with pleasure and lust as he flicked her bundle of nerves reminding her that he was still there. Thrusting within her repeatedly Deacon slowly leaned back until he was no longer submerged in her depths. He slid his thick rock hard penis against her folds teasing her and making her body wiggle against him. Her nails clawed at his hand that was restricting her from moving her arms at all.

"Deacon," scratched the back of her throat as she pleaded with him to finish what they had started. Dipping his head Deacon began to worship her upper body with loving kisses, tightening his hold on her wrists. He continued to tease her his tip brushing her hot core as but not penatrating her like she wanted. Everytime he inched closer and rubbed against Rayna whimpered in distaste for the game he was playing. Her hips tilted off the mattress giving him a clearmessage to what she really wanted and before he thought she couldn't take anymore he plunged back inside of her. When he finally reentered her Rayna moaned loudly in approval her hips meeting his as he used long deep thrusts. Rayna could feel her body building to that explosive relase with every thrust. A flick of his wrist and his fingers stroked her clitoris his lips imprinting themselves across her pale flesh.

Their bodies were tangled and twined around one another, a few beads of sweat chasing theor brows as their lower halfs worked together to reach the same goal. Deacon did his part quickening their pace by thrusting into her faster residing deep within her, he blinked several times making sure to maintain a good view of the beautiful woman thrashing around beneath him. Pumping in and out of her with a two-step tempo , quick, quick, slow Deacon knew she was on the edge. Not letting up on his thrusts he soldiered on, his thrusts pointed and coming in cession. The sound of her labored breathing gave her away but the breathy moan that came from her lips signaled her orgasm. Feeling her shudder against his as she lost all her bearings Deacon slowly began to move again until he was emptying himself into her calling out her name in ecstasy. They stayed conjoined for a while and when Deacon felt himself go limp her realsed her arms from his grasp and removed himself from inside of her. Rolling off of her he exhaled and closed his eyes briefly as he attempted to catch his breath.

The couple laid the opppsite way on the bed limbs all haywire as they stared at the ceiling. "What time is it?"

"Almost 10," Rayna rolled onto her side so that she was now facing Deacon and snuggled into him laying her head on his chest. "We should probably go back over to your Mama's house."

"I s'ppouse we should."

"You ready for all that?" Shot out of her mouth relaying the same question back to Deacon that he'd asked her the day before when they had just arrived.

"Yup," confirmed Deacon as he tilted her chin up so that he got a good view of her beautiful eyes before his lips meshed with hers in a slow union. The urgency no longer a driving force behind their lip lock.

Knitting her fingers through her tangled mane Rayna sectioned it into three, tossing the pieces over and under on another until her hair was all gathered into a loose side braid. Grabbing a hair tie from the side table Rayna secured it in place.

XXX

Cutting the engine Deacon squinted through the cloud of dust trying to make out what cars were in the driveway but the bright sun that was casting it's light down on the earth made that task especially difficult. Flinging open his door Deacon hopped out of the truck and Rayna mimicked his actions. Her cowboy boots had just met the dirt as the rust that lined the trim of the door shook as she slammed the passengers door shut on Deacon's truck.

"Hey you two, where'd y'all run off too last night?" Colleen called after them as she emerged from the barn dusting off her hands on her blue jeans.

Turning on his heel so that he could address his sister Deacon hung by the tailgate of his truck as he waited for her to reach them. "We went and stayed in town cause I didn't wanna deal with Pa."

"That piece of shit was here?"

"Yeah, where were you anyways?"

Colleen cussed and shook her head, "thank god I didn't see him, I woulda killed him. Me? Oh, don't you worry about that…I just had some business to attend to is all." She replied ominously which made Deacon give her a questioning look, unsure of what business his sister would have to attend to around their hometown considering she'd been gone for quite some time, hell they both had been.

"That's what I told him."

"You didn't."

"I did, then I kicked his ass." Rayna stood awkwardly next to him at his closed tailgate, finally receiving her answer to what happened when he went back into the house.

"Well, shoot…didn't know you had it in ya little brother." Colleen said swatting Deacon on the arm in a playful manner.

This action warranted a shrug from Deacon who also managed to crack a half smile at his sister's response. Killing their father wasn't necessarily a topic worth a smile, since it would more than likely result in jail time unless they could prove it was a motive of self defense, which the way his father was that wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility. However, the thought that curled his lips into a smile was the mere thought of his father no longer posing a threat to their family, the thought of him no longer bringing them all so much anguish delighted him. Deacon wanted to make that a reality for his mother and sister, he wanted his father to no longer pose a threat to their family. The image of his father's motionless body laying beneath him would be forever torched in his mind. His father had already caused more than enough destruction for all of them, the physical reminders faded, but the emotional ones still felt like scorching branding irons.

Breaking her brother out of his wayward thoughts Colleen spoke, "anyways…I'm gonna run into town. Gotta pick up a few things, wanna come with Rayna?"

"Uh-" Rayna's eyes searched Deacon's eyes they'd only just gotten back to his folks house, she felt strange leaving him alone. However, his eyes only smiled down at her in encouragement, "sure" Rayna replied with a small shrug of her shoulders. Maybe this was a good idea, maybe a little one on one time with his sister would aid her with some more insight about what kind of childhood they had.

XXX

"Sarah Winters, is that you?" Rayna's eyes skirted away from the canned food that was in the narrow aisle they were in and tried to gauge who Colleen was yelling to. It didn't take much for Rayna to figure out who Deacon's sister was talking to as a short blond woman barreled towards them.

"Colleen!" Shrieked the short blonde woman as the two embraced fiercely. Sarah, the shorter of the two, pulled away first her brown eyes darting over towards Rayna recognizing her instantly. The twenty year old shined, even if she wasn't trying to in a pair of faded distressed blue jeans and a blush v-neck three quarter length shirt, Rayna just stood out.

Eying the two women Colleen shook her head and attempted to defuse whatever seemed to be brewing between them. "My god, where are my manners? Sarah…this is Rayna. Rayna this is Sarah."

Both ladies eyed one another a smile painted itself across Rayna's lips as she waved. "Hi, it's nice to meet you."

"You too." Sarah offered a smile that didn't quite meet her eyes which she coupled with a nod of her head. "You're Deacon girlfriend right?"

"Yes! Yes, I am."

"That's great." Fiddling with the watch wrapped around her right wrist Sarah exhaled, "Unfortunately I should probably get going. Rayna it was lovely meetin' you…Colleen, I'll catch up with you soon."

"A'right" Colleen had responded watching in entertainment as Sarah backed away and was gone as quick as she'd appeared. "Not bad, RayRay."

"What?"

"I think that's the shortest conversation I've ever had with that girl. Apparently seeing you caused her to flee faster than a coon runnin' from daylight."

"Hmm, so that's the famous ex huh?"

"Yeah, don't tell me Deacon didn't tell ya about her?

"Oh no…he did I just have never seen her before."

The young women continued on with their shopping collecting all the items Colleen had written on a crumpled coffee stained piece of paper. Once they had everything Colleen said they needed the two made their way to the checkout aisles and after a short wait it was finally their turn. Rayna experienced first hand that whole "everybody knows everybody" in a small town sense as the lady who rang them up asked Colleen questions that would normally be deemed as too personal for most acquaintances.

XXX

Once they'd arrived back at the small farm Rayna waved at Deacon who she thought looked extra sexy in the October sun, as he lifted an axe over his head and slashed through a large piece of wood. Helping Colleen with the groceries Rayna disappeared inside, her mind distracted the entire time by the image of Deacon that had just been seared into her brain. After they'd put away all the groceries Rayna moved with ease around the kitchen and poured Deacon a glass of sweet tea taking it out to him and rewarding him with several kisses that could get them in major hot water. "Hmm babe,"

"What?"

"Manual labor looks sexy on you," she'd admitted her fingers brushing over his defined biceps that were slicked with a small amount of sweat.

"Oh you think so, do ya?"

"Uh-ah.." she sucked on her lip, eyes distracted by the way his white shirt clung to his body and the lines of the muscles that she could make out.

"Darlin' if you keep standin' there lookin' just like that I ain't gonna get a thing done."

"A'right, a'right…I'm going," stepping around the stack of logs Rayna brushed a long kiss to his lips before retreating towards the house. She noticed the rust red compact car was no longer parked next to Deacon's in the driveway and figured his sister and mother had gone out again. Stepping up the porch Rayna gave Deacon on last backward glance as he chopped wood to stock pile for the winter. Pushing open the screen door Rayna entered the house and absorbed the character of the walls that held her. Venturing around the quite empty home aimlessly Rayna took in the nicked walls, some of which had fist shaped holes that were now covered over with plaster, she sighed sadly at these giveaways to his childhood. Rayna wandered around the house allowing select photos that decorated the place to sink into her brain, they looked happy. In one particular photo Rayna noticed that Deacon's glasses were held together by duct tape and it made her snicker, god he was one adorable kid. Eventually she found herself in Deacon's childhood bedroom and she inhaled sharply, it felt as if she was trespassing. Not bothering to shut the door blue eyes shot around the small space, the walls were covered with the faces of iconic country artists namely Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, and Conway Twitty. The room appeared as if he had just left for a gig with discarded clothing strewn all over the floor, rumbled sheets, and his distinctive musk wafting through the room. Taking a few short steps Rayna stood in front of his dresser her hands gathering up a stack of disheveled Polaroid photos. There wasn't a photo album or frame in sight, which didn't entirely surprise her sitting down on his bed she began to flick through the photos. A photo that passed through her vision was of Deacon and Vince so young both holding rifles in their slender arms as they towered over two lifeless deer. Shuffling through the rest of the photos Rayna grinned taking in the one that currently laid on top of the stack, Deacon must've been about four years old large black oval rimmed glasses covered half of his face as he sat in his granddaddy's lap holding a guitar upside down and strumming it. After flicking through all the photos Rayna realized that even through all the hurt that lived in this house they appeared to have some wonderful memories nonetheless. Returning the stack of photos to their former place Rayna's eyes darted around his room until she found his guitar.

Undoing the clasps Rayna removed the guitar from the case and took it down stairs with her. Making a pit stop at her room Rayna gathered her journal where she kept all her lyrics stored and made her way into the living room. The house was silent and it caused her to smile, exhaling Rayna took a seat on the couch sinking into the cushions slightly as she crossed her legs pretzel style and flipped open her journal to the song she had been working on writing. Her fingers slid along the neck of Deacon's guitar as her voice softly creeped out filling the room as she began to strum.

"That sounds beautiful."

"Oh-" her hand clumsily rattled the guitar strings as she cranked her head to the doorway seeing Deacon's mother standing there. "I-I didn't know you were here, I, uh I thought you and Colleen went over to your friend's house?"

"We did, sorry I didn't mean to scare you, what was that lovely little thing you were playin' ?" The older woman asked curiously while she settled herself into an armchair next to the couch.

"Uh-it's just somethin' I was messin' with." Rayna shrugged smiling shyly at his mother, her eyes catching sight of a faint red blotch that was mostly hidden under a layer of foundation on Leann's face.

"What's it about?"

Rayna chewed on her lower lip, "it's, well, actually it's about your son."

"Can you play it for me?" Her voice came out small yet hopeful, and on the edge of almost pleading.

"Um," Rayna's eyes bounced around and it must've been enough to give her away.

"Deacon's still outside."

"Oh, okay…cause he hasn't heard it yet…and I-well I don't want him to hear it just yet."

"I understand sweetheart."

The two women formed an understanding that made Rayna smile gently before she shifted on the couch, resituating her songbook so that she could read it better. After her book allowed her eyes easier readability Rayna's left hand curled around the neck of Deacon's Gibson adjusting her finger placement along the frets her opposite arm slung over the hollowed wood strumming the center. Her ears listened to the chord she played checking that what echoed back to her was in tune. Once she was satisfied with the sound of the instrument Rayna dove into her song, picking out a short introduction, "all the pieces I know that make you whole…have a way of cutting me in half. Thought I had a handle… some kind of control, but now I know I'm not getting it back." Her fingers strummed out the back beat setting a tempo for the song she was singing . "Heart and soul, and all of that…you've got me, tangled up and untied…you've got me."

Tipping her head down her eyes focused on her fingers that lined the frets as her voice fluttered into the mix once again, "all the things that you do, things that you don't know about me…Like everything that I feel when you smile, And whenever you do…makes me want to just freeze time around me, and stay forever in that while." With an intake of air words poured out of her that had already touched the air, "heart and soul, and all of that…you've got me, tangled up and untied…you've got me." The repetition of this series of words established the words as the chorus of the song.

Her fingers worked against the strings producing a whimsical sound, made her look up when she let up on the strings. "So caught up in your whole world around me…I'd be fine to stay, never want to leave." Taking a quick breath she paused letting her voice alone be what filled the room as she took this small moment to sing a capella. The pads of her fingers sank back down against the frets easily while her right fingers carefully picking out the melody that she'd established before her playing dropped out. "Ahhhh," she sang floating to her upper register, the combination of the music she created with the guitar and her voice brought goose bumps to her own flesh. "Ahhhh" glancing down at her fingers she eased them across the strings and floated to her upper register again "ahhhh" she completed the phrase about mid range. " Heart and soul…and all of that, you've got me."

"Heart and soul…and all of that, you've got me" she repeated but her voice lifted hitting a higher note than she had any other time she sang the course. "Tangled up and untied…You've got me. You've got me."

The final chord rang in the air around them, "that was absolutely beautiful." A look clouded grey eyes as she became wrapped up in her own thoughts. "We used to be happy like that, so in love."

"You and Deacon's father?" Questioned Rayna doing her best to not let her eyes focus on the red blotch that cracked through the foundation she wore.

"Yeah, we were crazy about each other, couldn't keep our hands off one another." Leann had said at the risk of over sharing.

"What happened?" Ventured Rayna carefully her tone soft and unthreatening, trying her best not to pry into the older woman's life.

"I'm not sure exactly, he just changed, stopped turnin' to me, talkin' to me. Instead, he drowned himself in women and bourbon. The trips would get longer and longer…and when he'd finally surprise us and make an appearance he was always angrier than the last time he'd left us." A haunted expression captured her features and caused Rayna to lay the guitar down in her lap and reach for his mother's hand. The older woman gladly clasped onto her hand giving it a squeeze, "you're good for him, real good."

A red tint crept across her cheeks at his mother's declaration, dipping her head Rayna smiled and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "Thank you ma'am."

"No, thank you dear, I don't know if I can remember the last time I've seen Deacon this happy."

"Well, to tell ya the truth…I don't know the last time I've been this happy-and that's because of your son." Confessed Rayna a wide smile decorating her entire face, making Deacon's mother grin happily in return but Rayna noted that it was cracked. The expression didn't quite reach his mother's eyes, it saddened her to catch that, how much damage could one person do to another before love simply was not enough?

"What's goin' on here?" Broke the women out of their heart-to-heart, Deacon had questioned as he leant against the doorway eyes curiously darting between the women. Colleen peaked around his shoulder before walking around him and into the living room plopping down on the other side of Rayna on the couch.

"Oh, nothing, Rayna just played me a beautiful song is all."

"Oh, did she now?" To this information his eyes lit up and caused him to shoot Rayna that signature grin of his, one she realized was reserved for her only. "What song did you play babe?"

Rayna ducked her head and readjusted his guitar that laid across her lap. "Oh, um…nothing you know…it was somethin' new, somethin' I just wrote."

"Well, let me here it babe."

"No, no its not ready yet."

"Then how come Mama got to hear it?"

"Cause she overheard me playin' it." Rayna said coyly smiling shyly over at his mother who laughed lightly and nodded her head to that statement.

"It was a wonderful song, you're a lucky man, don't go messin' this up!" Leann warned as she pushed herself out of the arm chair and strode past Deacon patting his arm as she made her way into the kitchen.

Assessing the interaction between mother and son Rayna covered her mouth letting out a soft snicker shrugging her shoulders when Deacon turned towards her. The expression he wore was curious. And she knew the wheels in his head were spinning, he wanted to know what had happened while he was outside. They had clearly bonded and that fact alone pleased him a great deal, his mother had subtly just given him her stamp of approval not that he really needed it, but still. Collecting her notebook Rayna flipped it closed and tucked it underneath her knee wedging it between her leg and the couch as she fiddled with a couple chords. Leaning against his guitar that separated them Deacon reached for her fingers that lined the frets and readjusted their placements. It was such a simple act yet the closeness of his body and the feel of his fingers helping her made it all the more intimate and took her breath away. Their faces were so close and for a brief second they both forgot that Colleen was still an occupant in the room as their faces drifted towards one another. As their lips met Colleen let out a wolf whistle making the pair, namely Rayna pull away quickly.

"Y'all need to get a room," rolled off Colleen's tongue in a sarcastic tone.

"Oh, Ray and I don't mind if you watch!" Deacon shot in a completely joking manner, but the statement only gained him a hard punch from Rayna and a groan of disgust from his sister.

"You're gross little brother…get some class." His sister encouraged as she pushed herself up off the couch. "Good luck with this one," Colleen offered Rayna as she walked out of the living room and swatted the back of her brother's head.

Once Colleen was out of the room Deacon approached Rayna, however, she extended her leg which effectively pushed him back down into place on his side of the couch. "Oh, no no cowboy…your mama and sister are right in the other room. Behave yourself." The country princess fixed him with a stern look before she focused her eyes back to the Gibson in her arms as she began to coax an unforgettable melody from the strings.

XXX

Deacon knocked lightly on the wooden panel of the room that his mother had set up for Rayna. He held his breath as he waited for her to answer, when the door slowly creaked open Rayna's face was wiped free of any makeup, her braid was undone and loose damp waves framed her face as her eyes shined up at him curiously. Lifting his index finger to his lips in order to make sure she didn't speak, he reached down and grabbed onto her hand tugging her out of the room. The pair walked gingerly down the hallway in silence until a board creaked underneath their weight as they scurried down the stairs causing Deacon to curse under his breath as they reached the landing and made their way through the living room.

"Deacon, what are we doing?" Rayna whispered unsure of what was going on inside that head of his.

Without answering her Deacon tugged her hand, and their feet padded across the linoleum of the kitchen floor until they reached the door. Quietly unlocking the door Deacon twisted the handle and opened it up, kicking open the screen door the couple hurried out into the night. Rayna carefully let the doors settle into place not wanting to make any extra noise. Making their way down the porch they wordlessly made a beeline for his truck.

"I wanna take you somewhere," Deacon informed her as he offered her a hand to step up into his truck.

That was all she need to hear, she loved him showing her around his hometown, where he grew up. There was just something so intimate to him reveling places that shaped him. And the more she thought about it, she really didn't need to know a destination. They both got into his truck and he revved the engine before he cranked the steering wheel, keeping his headlights off as they rolled down the driveway. Once they reached the bottom of the driveway Deacon flipped the headlights on lighting their path as he drove them into the night.

When Deacon saw the moon beams shoot through the windshield and bounce off Rayna's pink manicured toes that were propped up on the dashboard, he couldn't help but smile. He'd literally scooped her up and didn't stop long enough for her to grab shoes. It was a little cool out, but not outrageously cold where she'd get sick from lack of footwear. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed her roll her ankles against the dash, then heard her right foot begin to tap out the beat of the song playing on the radio. Her head tipped to the side and Deacon felt it fall gently onto his shoulder as he veered his truck down the back road. Giving the top of her head a quick peck Deacon slung his arm over her shoulders a grin on his face as she reached up with her right hand and interlocked her own fingers between the spaces of his. The tips of her fingers on her left hand teased up and down the inseam of Deacon's wranglers while he flicked the directional and cranked the wheel sending them down a pitch black dirt road. Her fingers pressed firmly against the inside of his thigh as his truck kicked up a cloud of dirt. Deacon's foot pumped the brake pedal bringing his truck to a stop as he switched gears putting his truck in park. Shutting off the engine Deacon pulled the keys out of the ignition and tossed them to the floorboard of the truck, "we're here!"

"Where?" Rayna asked curiously as she squinted trying to make out anything in the darkness that surrounded them.

"You'll see.." he replied as he reached down and opened his door. As he jumped down out of the truck Deacon smiled up at Rayna offering his hand. She grasped his hand willingly and scooted across the bench seat. Swinging her legs around the seat they dangled out the drivers door and Rayna gazed up at Deacon. A smile curled the corners of his lips upward as he leaned forward and kissed the tip of her nose. "Ya know, I've been thinkin' bout you, bout this…all day." Deacon said as he helped her out of his truck and lit up at the way her face scrunched up as her feet were licked by the damp grass.

"Oh yeah cowboy, whatcha got planned for me?" Rayna questioned tipping her head backward so she could see his face.

"Just wait babe," he answered back as he dropped her hand momentarily so he could retrieve a blanket and thermos from the cab of his truck. After he tucked the blanket under his arm he kicked his door shut and grabbed a hold of her hand. With a slight tug on her hand he gently led them out into an open grassy field, the moon shone down lighting the grass in front of them. A distant train horn sounded and Rayna glanced up at Deacon. "Come on baby," his speed increased slightly as he broke out into a jog, her legs a bit shorter than his but still attempted to match his speed. Once they reached a slope sitting above a valley that overlooked a set of railroad tracks Deacon smiled and released her hand laying down the blanket that was under his arm. It seemed like about a million stars hung high in the velvet sky above them, Rayna spun around on the balls of her feet assessing the area they were in hearing a cow bellowing near by. Her head shifted, eyes darting from side to side until they finally landed on Deacon who wrapped an arm around her legs. "Babe, sit with me" he pleaded in a soft voice as he tilted his head backwards his chin resting on the side of her thigh.

One look at those big blue eyes of his and Rayna couldn't resist, she was happy he had a firm hold on her legs because she felt the strength leaving them from his fixed stare. Carefully bending her knees Deacon took the hint and unwrapped his arm from around her legs and scooted over so that she could settle onto the blanket next to him.

"Here we go," remarked Deacon with a tipped chin towards the tracks as a long horn blared, a single light illuminating the tracks, as steel box cars clashed behind the main car. This was something she'd never done before listen to and watch a night train, it was different.

"So, did you and Sarah come out here?" she couldn't resist, the thought had embedded itself in her brain; that nearly every spot he showed her around this town, he already had shared memories with Sarah. It hadn't helped when she ran-into his infamous first love earlier with Colleen.

"Well, yeah…a couple times, but- where'd that come from?"

Rayna shrugged her shoulders a little bit distracting herself by taking the thermos from him that was filled with a delicious concoction. It was so damn strong, but scrumptious nonetheless. Her copper ringlets looked darker underneath the moonlit sky falling into her face as the stars smiled down over them. "I ran into her today, I met her." She softly informed him slowly trailing her eyes up to meet his.

"She's in town?" The expression that painted itself across his face was one of pure surprise.

"You didn't know?"

"No, I haven't talked to her since, we went our separate ways."

"Oh-well, she seemed to be doin' well."

"Good," he said offering an indifferent expression before he slung his arm around Rayna's shoulders and tugged her closer to himself, dropping a kiss to her temple. Deacon turned his head back towards the train that was flying down the tracks his eyes lighting up as small sparks sprouted out from the wheels. "I used to sit out here…just listening to the train, sometimes with Sarah but mostly by myself." Tipping his head to the side, his eyes transfixed on the train that continued to roll down the track. "Just listenin' to the steel and box cars wonderin' where it was headin' thinkin' bout gettin' out here…ya know? Make somethin' of myself, become more than this lil town…more than the poor excuse of a man my father is."

There it was, a tiny glimpse into his life before Nashville, and Rayna felt his sorrow in her bones. "Hey, listen to me…you're not him. You're nothing like him, you're just not. You're a good man babe, a real good man." Rayna whispered reaching up and cupping his chin with her palm and tipping his head towards her own. Truth be told she'd never had a man be so gentle with her before him, she'd never had a man be so wonderfully caring and respectful to her. All she knew thus far of his father was that he was a mean abusive man, which was everything Deacon wasn't, not once had he raised his voice at her, not once had he laid his hands on her in a manner that would frighten her. Their eyes locked and a small smile cracked through his tough exterior, his head drifted towards hers as he grazed her lips with his own.

"Thank you," he mumbled against her lips.

"You're welcome." Rayna whispered back to him her thumb stroking over his jaw line gazing up into his eyes before she reached for the thermos taking another large gulp. "What is this?"

"Apple pie moonshine."

"Ah, well it's damn good."

"You've never had it before?" Came out in an almost incredulous tone, it shocked him, since he'd kind of grown up with it.

"Nope."

"Hmm," he tilted his head to the side eyeing her carefully as he reached for the thermos that her hand was curved around. "Well babe, don't drink too much of it. It's real strong and won't take much to get you messed up." After he removed the thermos from her hand he lifted it to his lips and took a swig of the moonshine himself watching as the train continued to barrel down the tracks.

The more moonshine that seeped into their systems the more light headed she felt and she knew Deacon was feeling the same as they laid cuddled together on the blanket he'd laid out for them on the grass. Both stared up at the cover of stars twinkling down on them. "Ya know, there was this time…I had to have been bout three years old, my daddy came home piss ass drunk yellin' bout somethin' and well, like always he and my mama got into it and by then I'd learned to hide, or at lease duck. So, I did my best to try and block out what he was yellin' bout so I squeezed my eyes shut and crouched under this little side table thing we had in the livin' room…and the next thing I knew, my daddy whirled a lamp across the room and it smashed against the wall right next to where I was hidin'. I can still remember the sound of the lamp crackin' to bits sparks shooting out from the electrical connection an' ceramic an' glass shattered everywhere. It wasn't until then that my Mama realized I had woken up and…was hiddin' underneath the table. She screamed at my father and for split second I think he realized what he'd done an' apologies just started pourin' outta his mouth. Mama wouldn't have any of it and carefully made her way to me and scooped me and took me back upstairs."

Rayna's eyes welled with tears as she heard this recollected childhood memory of his, and knowing that this memory was just the beginning to his tortured upbringing. "Deacon, I-I had no idea."

"I know...I wanted to keep it that way." Came from his lips in a somber tone.

"Deacon,"

"I'm a'right now babe," he rubbed a strong hand up and down her back feeling her spine beneath the tendons in his palm.

Snuggling in deeper to his embrace Rayna laid her head on his chest and allowed her fingers to skim over his rib cage in a soothing manner. "I guess that explains why you're so restless when you sleep."

"Oh, you noticed that?" His voice was laced with surprise to this revelation.

"It's kinda hard not too babe," tipping her head so that her chin poked into the crevasse of his chest.

"Sorry."

"No, no it's fine. Do you relive it all when you're sleepin'?"

Deacon exhaled and inhaled deeply letting the night sounds of the country side fill the silence. "Sometimes, yeah and sometimes when it wakes me up I can't member exactly what it was bout."

"I wish you woulda told me all this sooner...how bad are the nightmares?" Rayna said sadly realizing for the first time just how little about him she knew.

"Ya know...the nightmares, and flashbacks don't seem to come as much when I've got you in my arms." A small smile captured his lips as he gazed down at her in the moonlight, "so, don't go anywhere… okay?"

"I wouldn't dream of it." Declared Rayna as she gazed up at him, her body slithered up his until her lips hovered millimeters away from his. The heat of her breath was enough to drive him insane and she smirked slightly before she slowly brushed a kiss to his lips.


Sunday, October 25th, 1992

All four of them packed in the rust red compact car as Leann veered the vehicle slowly down the gravel driveway kicking up grey clouds in the process. Deacon was sat behind the driver's seat because it allowed him more leg room and Rayna took the seat behind Colleen's seat. As they drove down the back road Deacon noticed the way Rayna's fingers curled around the hemline of her light blue dress that was speckled with tiny daisies and cut off just above her knees. Scooting over slightly to the middle of the back bench seat Deacon reached over and covered her hand with his own. Her head was turned and facing toward the window trundles of hair cascaded over her shoulders and fell down her back clipped half up, which pulled any stray pieces from falling in her face. A few stubborn wispy pieces framed her face as she tipped her head back to the car as Deacon's hand grasped onto hers. They neared town and Rayna let out a deep breath as his mother parked the car down the street from the church a line of cars already there congesting the streets.

They all stepped out of the car, Rayna turning many heads in the process and setting a circle of hushed whispers to begin circulating. Eyeing the small church and the flower patch that was tucked behind the church caused Rayna to smile slightly. As Deacon staked his claim on her twining an arm around her the couple followed Colleen and Leann towards the church. When Deacon stepped inside his hand was clasped securely around a young fiery haired dame, the one that was gossiped to have checked into the bed and breakfast with Deacon on Friday night. Almost instantly people gathered around Deacon greeting him with a mixture of warm embraces, cheek kisses, firm handshakes, and playful claps on the back. Standing proudly next to him Rayna smiled politely and shook hands with the people Deacon wasted no time introducing her to. They went on this way for sometime and Rayna faded in and out of his conversations as she heard her name fall from an unfamiliar voice.

Doing her best to not appear to be eavesdropping Rayna tilted her head slightly and overheard a few of the fellow church members making snide comments about how she stuck out like a sore thumb, didn't fit in around here, and even that she was the devil's daughter. She did her best to not let their words get to her but as she looked around the small-town worn church where everyone knew everyone and the most intimate details about their lives, it made her question if they were right. Did she belong here? Letting out a heavy sigh her eyes took in the shabby line of wooden pews that laid out in the main quarters of the church. There was so much history and faith in these paint chipped walls, worn songbooks, and the oversized cross that hung on the back wall of the alter that made her want to know more. Internally Rayna was thrown back in time as an old black and white photo flashed in her mind, it was one that had been scored into her mind while she had explored Deacon's folks house. It was Deacon's mother Leann in a high neck full white lace wedding gown smiling excitedly at the prospect of starting her life with the man standing next to her as they stood close together on this same alter twenty plus years ago. Shaking the image from her head Rayna tried to gauge where it had all gone so wrong for his parents.

"Hey, what's wrong?" Deacon asked reading into her silence and stand offish attitude.

"These people, they don't like me…I don't fit in." Came out in a hushed whisper as she glanced up at him briefly before her eyes fell to her scuffed cowboy boots.

"Oh, don't be silly dear, come with me." Leann piped up grabbing Rayna by the arm and maneuvering them through throngs of people.

"Marisol, darlin' have you met Rayna Jaymes…Deacon's girlfriend, she's got quite the set of pipes on her this one. Deacon has been touring with her for the past four months."

The older woman eyed Rayna as if she was a poisonous insect of some sort, "is that so?"

"Yes, openin' up for a Mr. Garth Brooks himself."

All Rayna could muster was a shrug in response shyly ducking her head so that her eyes left the older woman's. She never could deal much with people raving about her and her talent, it made her bashful at best. And maybe that reaction was just because she was still coming into her own and discovering who she was as a person as well as what her musical voice was.

"Oh, really? Well it looks to me like we've got a star in our midst." Marisol's tone was polite but her eyes showcased that she was hardly impressed with this new information.

"That we do!" Leann beamed proudly almost as if Rayna was her own kin, her own flesh and blood and wound an arm around the twenty year old's mid-back. His mother ushered her around the small congregation while she introduced Rayna to several other people, through all the madness Rayna lost Deacon in her field of vision. After giving a heavy sigh she glanced around the small church searching for him and shrugged her shoulders looking awkward at best as she slid herself onto a wooden pew toward the middle of the collection of pews.

"So, spill…where'd y'all go last night?"

Glancing to her right Rayna tried to mask her surprise to Colleen's question and presence, "I don't know what you're talking about." Came out of her lips in a nonchalant manner.

"Oh, come on now, I am the queen of sneaking out ya'll really need to be a little quieter." Rayna ducked her head and blushed slightly in response to Colleen's statement. "So-what'd he show ya round town?"

"No, we-we just went out is all." Dismissed Rayna really not wanting to get into the new things she'd discovered about Deacon and his childhood last night.

"Ahh, he took you to the tracks, didn't he?"

"Uh-yeah…" her head turned and her blue depths met Colleen's green ones, "if that's what y'all call it."

Before Colleen could ask another question Rayna heard his voice and it came close to what she suspected angels singing sounded like. To the sound of his voice Rayna cranked her neck almost uncomfortably to the side her entire face illuminating in response to seeing him. It was as if a weight visibly had been lifted from her shoulders. Deacon's simple presence relaxed her, put her at ease. A smile graced his face too as he shook hands with a young man who appeared to be around his age before he slid onto the pew next to her bible clasped loosely in his wounded right hand. Before long the pews filled up, not a single space left unaccounted for. The music rang beautifully throughout the church and Rayna found herself following along in one of the ratty books trying her best to fit in to this role, even though she knew Deacon didn't attend service in Nashville every Sunday this felt different. It wasn't Deacon she was trying to impress it was this town, these people who knew him far better than she realized she did. After a wicker basket for offering made its rounds through the congregation the music faded out, prayers were said and then the children were dismissed for their own service. The pastor began preaching to the adults in the congregation and Rayna did her best to focus and make sense of his words but a hushed female voice broke her concentration.

"Come on…I'm gonna loosen you up."

"Huh?" Rayna whispered back to Colleen making sure to not be disruptive, because that was literally the last thing she needed these people pinning her for.

"You wanna make a good impression don't ya?" Colleen questioned in a soft voice.

"Well, yeah…of course."

"Okay then, you're too wound up…but I don't know why ya even care what these people think of ya." Colleen dropped sarcastically before taking the lead and slowly scooting across the pew and crouched down carefully maneuvering herself out of the pew and scurrying towards the entrance of the Church.

Rayna glanced behind herself to see if she could spot Colleen but she couldn't, leaning against Deacon she whispered, "babe where's the bathroom?"

"It's just to the right of the entrance darlin'" he informed her.

"Thanks," brushing a kiss to his cheek Rayna pushed herself off the pew and stepped over the other occupants whispering apologies and excuse me's as she passed. His eyes followed her as she snuck out of the pew and slowly walked towards the entrance of the church, noticing for the first time that his sister was gone too. As Rayna neared the entrance of the church her eyes skirted around the white paneled walls, "Colleen…" she whispered into the dim hallway.

A hand shot out and grabbed onto Rayna pulling her into the dimly lit hallway. "Shhh, keep it down." Colleen scolded with an index finger placed in the center of her pursed lips. Tugging on her arm Colleen led them down the hallway and out a side door stepping down into the grass Colleen released her hold on Rayna and began to trek quietly through the grass away from the church a ways.

There was a corn field that laid to the right of the church and Rayna was semi surprised as Colleen led them into it. Once they were emerged into the area completely the dried corn stalks covered them and shielded them adequately enough from the outside world. Unzipping her purse Colleen began to rifle through it pulling out a lighter and handing it to Rayna before she went back to digging through her bag. Her fingers produced a pipe which she handed over to Rayna who eyed the small glass device skeptically. "Ah," cried Colleen as she removed a small plastic baggie that contained a little less than an ounce of weed in it from her purse. Dipping her hand into the small plastic baggie Colleen pinched a small amount of weed and packed it into the circular bowl of the glass pipe that Rayna held.

Slinging her purse onto her shoulder Colleen took the pipe from Rayna and retrieved a little more weed from the plastic bag and made sure that it was fully packed. Zipping the plastic bag back up Colleen dropped it carelessly back into her purse, placing the pipe between her lips Rayna handing over the lighter. Her thumb rolled over the steel wheel of the lighter coaxing a flame from the small semi rectangular red object. She tipped the flame towards the weed and held her thumb over the carb while she inhaled causing the weed to catch the flame and glow to life. Lifting her thumb off the carb for a moment Colleen inhaled once again replacing her thumb as she silently passed the pipe over to Rayna.

Accepting the pipe from Colleen, Rayna mimicked his sisters actions and placed the pipe between her lips, and placed her thumb over the small hole on the side. While she'd smoked before, Rayna had never smoked from a pipe. Her blue eyes glanced at the bowl of the pipe that was barely glowing and inhaled deeply, as the smoke floated into her mouth she felt it slither down her throat and make it's way to her lungs. Passing the pipe back to Colleen Rayna held in the smoke for as long as she could manage before a cloud of smoke billowed out of her mouth and was carried away with the breeze. They passed the pipe back and forth for a while in silence relighting the weed when need been while they each took hits and allowed the weed to take effect. "He's really into you, ya know." Colleen blurted out, as she blew out her most recent hit catching Rayna completely off guard.

With the pipe being held captive between Rayna's lips her eyes widened at Colleen's words. As she inhaled she wasn't met with the normal trail of smoke and her eyes noted that the weed was blackened and appeared to no longer be lit. Removing the pipe from her mouth she glanced over at Colleen, "can I have the lighter real quick?" Tossing the lighter to the younger girl Colleen watched as she managed to strike a flame from the touchy lighter and light the weed that was held in the pipe again. Rayna inhaled deeply her thumb bouncing off the carb as she inhaled again quickly trying to get the maximum amount she could from this hit. It was harsh and nipped the back of her throat, she held the smoke in as long as she could and then as she exhaled she coughed. Sliding her tongue around her mouth she shook her head and spit, she'd definitely gotten more than she'd bargained for with that last hit.

"Hmm, its cashed." Colleen declared as she poured the bowl out into her hand and assessed the mostly charred substance. Dropping it to the ground she leaned down and rubbed the palm of her hand in the dirt tossing her pipe back into her purse and zipping it closed.

"So, how do you know he's really into me?"

"Come on, you can't be serious." Came from Colleen's lips in an incredulous tone.

"Colleen, just tell me."

"Well, for starters he brought you here." She elaborated while she walked out of the field a fallen corn stalk crunched underneath her feet. Nodding her head to his sister's statement Rayna followed her out of the corn field a goofy grin capturing her lips, she didn't need any more of an explanation.

XXX

Service had come to an end and Deacon couldn't help but notice there was still no sign of Rayna or his sister. He knew girls had a strange mentality and had to go to the bathroom in pairs but this was ridiculous. The small church was hot and sticky even in late October, so Deacon made his way outside and inhaled the fresh air, feeling himself cool down a bit. His eyes scanned the somewhat open fields that seemed to surround the church looking for nothing in particular just admiring the view. A small part of himself had missed it, the brown corn stalks rattling as a breeze blew through.

"Deacon Clayboure, is that you?

"In the flesh.." Deacon offered humor dripping from his tone as he turned on his heel to address the culprit, "Marisol, hi, how are you doin' ?"

"Wonderful, Deacon thank you for askin'. How bout yourself? Your Mama tells me you've been tourin' with Garth Brooks?" A smile graced the short brunette's lips as she looked up at him.

"Yes ma'am, playin' lead guitar for my girlfriend Rayna Jaymes-"

"What about me?" Rayna said making her presence known as she materialized next to Deacon.

"There you are babe…" glancing over her appearance he quirked an eyebrow at her drawing the conclusion to where she had been from the sight of her bloodshot eyes. "Oh, uh…I was just tellin' Marisol here that I've been tourin' with you…playin' lead guitar, have y'all met?"

"Ah…and yeah, yeah we met earlier. Hello again Marisol" smiling warmly at the older woman Rayna looped her arm around Deacon's body leaning against him ever so slightly.

"You too dear, so will y'all be staying for the pot luck?"

Casting his eyes over her Deacon made a subtle face which only served to make her bite back a giggle as he nodded, "I believe we are."

"Well that's great, maybe you two can grace us with somethin' easy on the ears."

"I think we can manage that," he nodded his head to what Marisol had just suggested, "right babe?"

"Definitely!" Agreed Rayna enthusiasm dripping from her tongue.

"Great, well I'll catch up with y'all later."

"Okay," with a parting wave the older woman waddled away her voice ringing as she greeted another member of the congregation. Rayna watched her interact with other people hardly noticing Deacon sliding in front of her his arms gaining a firm hold on her hips. "Hey babe," his eyes washed over her and he shook his head, "oh no, you didn't."

"Didn't what?" came out in a small innocent voice.

His voice lowered and his eyes met hers. "You didn't let Colleen talk you into that?"

"Pftt, so what if I did?" With a swat of her hand to the air Rayna brushed off his comment her eyes slowly assessing their surroundings taking in the conglomerate clusters of people huddled together conversing, and the bustle of people setting up tables and chairs. "Ya know, she was right…I needed that, I needed to loosen up, I'm too wound up, too high strung. I just needed to take the edge off…a little bit."

"Well, you can't go back in there or talk to anyone else in this condition."

"No? Hmm…well, if that's the case…why don't you and I…" Rayna's voice dwindled to nothing as her hand reached forward and grabbed the shiny metal plated belt buckle on his black denim jeans effortlessly popping it open wordlessly making her intentions clear.

"Aww no…babe," he was quick to grab onto her wrist before she had the chance to full on grope him.

"Are you turnin' me down?"

"Yes, sweetheart…we can't do that, here."

"Why not? I'll be quiet I promise…you can ravage me against that tree over there," with a slight turn she did a semi-circle and lifted her right hand using her index finger to point to a tree that stood tall in the distance.

"You can't be quiet." Deacon countered an amused expression taking over his face. His palms released their hold on her hips, his arms naturally encircling her hips as he brought her body closer to his own.

"Come on babe, please…" Rayna purred into his ear her body dangerously close to his as she continued, "I haven't gotten my daily fill of you," drawled out off the tip of her tongue drenched in suggestion as she stepped forward even more her hips teasingly colliding with his.

"You're killin' me, ya know that?"

"It wouldn't be killin' ya if you'd just take me over to that tree and just-"

"We can't do that darlin'…" He cut her off before she could breathe a word of just what he could do to her against that tree. "Come on, let's go behind the church over there."

"Hmm, fine." Conceding, Rayna knew good and well that he was right, they couldn't do that there. Well they could but they shouldn't. Holding onto his hand for dear life Rayna closed her eyes briefly trying to regain some of her normal senses. The sun was bleeding across the blue sky as he lead her away from the church, she squinted to make sure she hadn't lost his silhouette. There was a field of wildflowers just set behind the church, it had always served as a wonderful back drop. Deacon recalled sneaking off to the field when he was younger with Colleen and the other children. As memories washed over him Deacon squeezed Rayna's hand taking long strides through the grass walking around to the back of the church. Loosely swinging their clasped hands Rayna beamed and gasped at the beautiful field of wildflowers the colors vibrant and the fragrance dizzying. A piece of plywood with two holes on both ends dangled by thick ropes was strung from a branch to the right of the field of flowers. Rayna ran towards the makeshift swing squealing in delight, "Deacon, come push me!" Rayna ordered playfully as she took a seat on the plywood her fingers wrapping around the coarse rope that was beginning to fray. Slowly she used her legs to move herself on the swing, it swayed in the direction of the breeze propelling her forward.

Standing to the side Deacon watched her as her legs lazily pumped her body on the small swing, grass skidded against her legs on either side, her boots completely submerged in the tall grass. Her copper hair had been pulled half up and twisted together by a small clip at the back of her skull and several hours later it drooped and loose trundles of curls fell around her face. Shaking his head at her Deacon approached her and dropped a kiss to her nose then left one on her lips. His hand wrapped around hers as he cleared the side of the swing and stood behind Rayna. Moving his hand from hers Deacon bent his knees and gently shoved Rayna's lower back sending her forward. They continued on this way with each push Deacon gave her Rayna soared higher and higher into the sky. Hair blowing the smell of fresh berries taunting him every time she flung back away from him.

"Whoa, whoa…that's enough babe," Rayna informed him as she planted her cowboy boots into the overgrown grass stalling her swinging.

A smirk glided over his features as he circled to the front of the swing so that he was now standing in front of her. Leaning forward Deacon's legs straddled hers that were still swaying ever so slightly, his fingers wrapping around where hers gripped the unraveling rope. Rayna giggled as her eyes drank him in, the young starlit lifted herself off the plywood as Deacon's head dipped towards her, their lips coming together naturally. After sharing a long kiss and feeling steady enough Rayna pushed herself off the swing and smirked at Deacon before taking off for the field of flowers. Walking into the field Rayna flattened a path for herself pollen from the knocked over flowers sputtered into the air and caused her to sneeze. Stepping into the center of it all she held her arms out and began to twirl around the flowers, giggles echoed around them, and Rayna stopped dead in her tracks chest rising and falling as she tried to focus her wavering vision. "What?"

"Nothing."

"No-no why, what was that look for?" Pressed Rayna as she matched his awestruck expression with a look of wonderment.

"I just don't think I've ever seen anything so beautiful."

"Aw I know…this is breathtaking." The country princess gushed inhaling deeply as she twirled around in the flowers, small puffs of pollen swirling around in the wake of her rotation.

"Yeah, you are." Upon hearing Deacon's confession Rayna halted in her twirling and gazed over at him, the sun streaked through her hair, while a smile chased the corners of her lips upward. Taking a step into the field of flowers Deacon carefully followed the path she'd already flattened and joined her in the middle of it all. "It's just, you…surrounded by, all this…it's by far the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

Tipping her head back their eyes locked with one another's and Rayna reached up, her hands cupping his cheeks as she brought his lips to her own. Holy hell, what was she going to do with him? It surely hadn't been the first time he had called her beautiful, but it still took her breath away all the same as it did the first time he'd ever told her that. The look in his eye erupted butterflies in her stomach and caused her toes to go tingly, and she refused to believe that this was all an effect of the weed she and Colleen had smoked. Rayna knew in this moment that she had fallen totally and completely head over heels for him, and hard, there was no backpedaling now, no reversing, no denying this feeling. His lips smothered hers as he returned her initial kiss with a deep kiss while his arms cradled her body close to his keeping her secure.

XXX

They walked back towards the church and Rayna grinned at the set up that laid before her eyes. Tables were set with white linens, folding chairs circling the tables as the congregation joked and mingled with one another. People were clustered by what appeared to be a buffet line, children played possibly a little too roughly in their Sunday best as mother's scolded them. Rayna snickered leaning against Deacon who took a flower he'd been holding and tucked it behind her ear. Her face scrunched up as his fingers brushed her cheek, she'd definitely needed their little moment in the field of flowers. She felt less high now as they walked side by side, Deacon's arm slung over her shoulders, and Rayna's left arm hugged his back her thumb hooked in his belt loop.

"Well, there y'all are!" Colleen exclaimed holding a plate piled high with a collection of food.

"Yeah, we needed a moment alone." Deacon narrowed his eyes at his sister who rolled her eyes and walked over to a table taking a seat.

"Oh, I'm sure you did."

A hand brushed across Deacon's shoulder, "Y'all should go get somethin' to eat." His mother suggested with a nod of her head towards the table that housed a series of glass pans, and shiny steel cooking pots.

"I think we will." Leading her away from his sister and mother Deacon nodded his head to people they passed as he directed them towards the table. They got in line behind the pastor who struck up a conversation with Deacon instantly. Rayna stood there content to just listen to recollected memories of services, learning more than she'd expected about him. The music for the Christmas program was arranged and written by Deacon at the ripe age of fourteen. It fascinated her but didn't surprise her how much he had influenced people in this small town. As the line shifted Rayna swayed on her feet, moving forward with the small crowd, once they reached the start Deacon handed her a plate and they each helped one another fill their plates before they headed over to the table where Colleen and his mother were sitting. Deacon placed his plate down on the table before he pulled the empty chair next to his seat out for Rayna who brushed a kiss to his cheek before he sat down. Unfolding a napkin slowly in her lap Rayna glanced up at Deacon who reappeared with two glasses of lemonade for them. Accepting the glass Rayna smiled and eyed her plate before digging into the delicious meal, chatter could be heard from every which way and it made her smile at how tightly nit this congregation, this town was. Poking her fork onto Deacon's plate Rayna stabbed a baby pickle and smiled at him innocently as she popped it into her mouth.

"So darlin' what are you doin' for Thanksgiving?"

Glancing up from her plate Rayna bit down on her lower lip, "uh-um…well I haven't really given it much thought to be honest, normally, I have Thanksgiving at my aunt's with the whole family. However, I'm not exactly speaking to my father so-"

"Well, then maybe I could convince you to come to ours, and bring my wonderful son with you."

"MA" Deacon interjected sternly.

"What?" His mother shook her head and returned her gaze to Rayna. "Just know you're welcome to come dear."

Deacon shook his head and reached over for Rayna's hand which she willingly clasped a smile gliding across her lips. "Thank you ma'am, I'll keep that in mind."

XXX

Bittersweet goodbyes were exchanged and hopeful pleas for them to return for the holidays were made. The couple had made no commitments, or promises for anything as they climbed into Deacon's truck and set out in the late afternoon for Nashville. They made the two/three hour drive in what seemed to be record time, with the classics as their guide. A drive that went by relatively fast in Rayna's opinion has she snuggled alongside of Deacon while they harmonized along with Johnny Cash, Kitty Wills, and Conway Twitty. Watching out the passengers window a flurry of blurred murky browns, vibrant reds, and dazzling yellows passed by them, fall decorating the trees. After a solid forty five minutes into their drive a dead weight began to settle on his shoulder and he tired to wiggle it free of her head but she looked too darn adorable to wake so Deacon dealt with the pain. And nearly three hours later they were almost home, he veered his truck down Broadway and smiled. It felt good to be back home, back in Nashville. Glancing down at Rayna who was still sleeping off around he couldn't help but drop kiss to the crown on her head as his hand reached down and grasped the window crank. Fresh air flowed freely through the crack he'd made of his window and with several more stop lights, stop signs and a series of houses that were too close together for their own good Deacon pulled his truck into Tandy's driveway.

Inhaling the Nashville air deeply Deacon cut the engine and glanced down at Rayna, "baby, we're home."

"Hmm?" Was her sleepy response as she rubbed her eyes clear of the drowsiness. Once her eyes flickered open and she realized they were indeed back in Nashville she smiled slightly. "We're home."

"Yes we are," he agreed with a laugh.

Opening his door Deacon's damaged hand reached inside taking a hold of Rayna's as she slid out the drivers side and the pair stretched out their bodies. His eyes followed her movements as her arms extended to the heavens and then contorted all different ways as she worked out the sore muscles and kinks. They walked to his tailgate in silence breathing in the Nashville air both seemingly happy to be back. "So, what my mama said bout Thanksgiving…" Deacon choose to start off with as he reached into the bed of his truck and lifted Rayna's bag out of it.

"You don't want me to come?" Swiveling on the balls of her feet Rayna faced Deacon reaching for her bag.

"No, its not that…its just, I don't want you to feel pressured-cause I know this whole meetin' my folks…my mama and sister, was kind of big for us…and just-"

"I don't…feel pressured." Tumbled out of her lips cutting his tangent short.

"Okay. Well, just take your time darlin' and let me know."

She shook her head a smile curling her lips upward, "I don't need time…I'd love to go."

"Are you sure? I mean, you haven't met the whole family."

"Aw come on, they can't be worse than you babe."

"Ow-" with a hand placed over his heart Deacon feigned hurt as their eyes locked.

"I was just kidding. I'm sure they're all great."

"You might wanna hold off on your assertion until you meet them."

"Whys that?"

"Well, I've got some, mean Uncles."

Rayna shook her head and laughed. "I'm sure you do, but-it's nothing I can't handle. I survived this weekend unharmed."

"Don't I know it?" Leaning in closer to her Deacon brushed a gentle kiss to her lips. A kiss that Rayna deepened quickly her hand moving to cup the back of his neck, her fingers slowly glided up the back of his neck slipping into his hair.

"Wanna come in?" She mumbled against his lips before his covered hers once more. Deacon stepped forward which caused her to begin to walk backward toward the house, her hand instinctively gripped the back of his neck tighter in order to keep herself steady. The couple stumbled with one another, bodies sashayed against one another's, lips rarely parting enough for an intake of fresh oxygen. "I'll take that as a yes." Rayna just barely managed to get out between kisses as Deacon twirled them around so that he was now the one walking backward. He carefully led her up the porch steps abandoning her luggage that was propped next to the back tires of his truck.

TBC…


A/N: Hopefully at least some of you made it here haha I am sorry if this was painful I truly am. Boy, did I run into some difficulties trying to get this posted for y'all today. My laptop was spazing out on me and randomly shutting itself down, and so here I sit on my phone finishing up this chapter for yall and thank god my phone is working because it wasn't yesterday morning..on account of me dropping it in some water. Anywayyyy songs used in this part would be "Cowboys and Angels" by Dustin Lynch and then "You've got Me" by Jillian Edwards…I own nothing in affiliation to either song ALL rights and such belong to the writers and artists in company. I really hope I did this justice..let me know what ya think! Love yall...until next time, mauuuh!