Bobby’s funeral was simple, but very, very sad.  Saying goodbye to a peer was never easy.  It was even worse because he left two young children fatherless.  Tony had picked Bonnie up before the ceremony and stayed at her side throughout.  They were both lost in thought as the pastor spoke, both realizing it could be them up there.

They opted not to go to the after funeral get together.  Tony was flying back to Daytona that evening.  They had wanted to spend what little time they had together.  They were silent on the drive to her house.  Tony got changed in her living room, while she went into her bedroom.  She threw on her jeans, a black hoodie and her work boots.  She pulled her hair into a ponytail and met Tony in the living room.

“Damn, you look nice!”  He said, giving her a once over with his eyes.

“Shut up.  I’m wearing old work boots.  What’s so nice about that?” she said.

“I think girls who wear work boots are hot.” He said, giving her a lopsided grin.

“Oh pu-leeze.  Let’s go.” She said, rolling her eyes.

They walked out to his truck, Bonnie leading the way.

“You still have a nice ass, I see.”  He said under his breath, but loud enough for her to hear.

“Shut UP!” she said, smacking his arm.

“What?  I can’t pay you a compliment?” he gave her an innocent look.

“No…you can’t.” she said scowling at him.  He laughed all the way to the truck.  She hadn’t changed one bit!

They talked and laughed all the way to Tony’s new house.  The conversation flowed effortlessly.  There were no lulls or awkward silences.  This is what’s it’s like when kindred spirits meet up again, Bonnie thought.  He was almost too easy to talk to.  She watched his facial expressions as he told a story.  His eyes were hidden by his sunglasses, but his animated smile said everything.  He was extremely happy.  And even cuter than she remembered.  Damn it.  She was not going to look at him like…that.

Tony signaled, pulling into a long driveway.  About a mile in, the house appeared in the distance.  Bonnie gasped.

“Oh my God Tony!  It’s huge!  The pictures don’t do it justice!”

They pulled up in front, getting out.  “Come on in, wait’ll you see inside!” he said excitedly.

The inside didn’t disappoint.  There was water and an enormous fish tank and…a bridge?  Bonnie walked over the bridge, admiring the waterfall and river. 

“This is amazing Tony.  It’s so…” she said, trailing off.

“Romantic?” he said softly behind her.

“I figured you say rugged.  I wasn’t expecting such sap from you!”  She said over her shoulder as she continued exploring.  Tony followed her, blushing.

They walked and talked.  He gave her details about each room...until they got to the master suite.  It was bigger than her entire house!

“What’s the purpose of such an enormous house if you’ll be living here alone?” she asked him honestly.

“I’ve always loved log cabins.  When I was little I used to use all of my Lincoln Logs to build the biggest house.  I have the money, why not build one for real?”  He said, stepping towards her. 

“It’s just…huge.  Your bedroom is the same size as my house.  I like my little house.  I can’t imagine wanting to live here by myself.  It would be lonely, I think.”  She said.

He wrapped his arms around her.  “Who says I plan on living here alone?  A beautiful woman could come back into my life and change how I see this house…and my life.” 

He leaned down, capturing her lips in a slow kiss.  Bonnie’s heart raced at the gentleness of his touch.  He pried her lips apart with his tongue, seeking her out.  He pulled her closer, deepening the kiss.  Bonnie came to her senses before anything more could happen with them and broke the kiss.

“Why don’t we, um, go for a ride on the quad, show me the, uh, property?”  Bonnie was completely flustered, and Tony knew it.  He was blown away too, but wasn’t letting on.  He simply grinned.

“Sure, it’s out back in the barn.  There’s something I want to show you anyway.”  He said as they walked outside.

“What’s that?”  She asked, curious.

“You’ll see!”  He gave her a mischievous wink.

He handed her a helmet and fired up his quad.  They took off down a tree lined trail along the lake.  Tony knew exactly where he was going.  He pulled up to a grassy area along the lake, cutting the engine.

She took off her helmet, shaking out her hair.  Tony took his helmet off, hanging it from his handlebar.  He looked up at the sky, suddenly nervous.  He looked down, kicking a rock.

“What is it Tony?  What did you want to show me?”  She asked softly.  She was confused.

He took her hand.  “Follow me.”

They walked through the woods, coming to a clearing.

“Look.” Tony whispered, pointing to a tree.

“Oh my God Tony!”  Bonnie cried.  “Our tree!  It’s still standing!” 

She ran over to it, running her hand across the rough bark of the old maple tree. “T loves B” was still carved there after twenty-four years.  She bit her bottom lip trying not to cry.  They were seventeen and so in love when he carved that.  Life was so much simpler then.

Tony came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist.  He put his chin on her shoulder.  “When I bought this piece of property I spent an entire day looking for this tree.  I made sure there was a clearing looking out to the lake.  This is where I go when I don’t want the world to find me.”

She turned to face him.  “Really?  After all the hurtful things and all the pain, our spot brings you peace?”

“Mm hm.  I never got over you Bonnie.  I raced hard to bury the pain of losing you.  You’re right, we were kids.  We needed to break up to find ourselves.  Now that I’ve spent time with you, I want to get to know you again.” He said with such sincerity it almost killed Bonnie to look at him.

“I’m not promising you anything Tony.  You hurt me so bad when we split up.  I never got over that.  But it made me the woman I am today.  You need to prove to me that you’re ready to be in a relationship.  I’m not the little girl you broke up with.  I have a low bullshit tolerance…and I refuse to be the dead weight you discard at season’s end.”  She said seriously.

“Oh my God Bonnie, you’d never be dead weight.  Ever.  We’ll go slow, OK?  Can I at least call you at night before bedtime and text you during the day?” he asked.

“Of course.  Do you Skype?  I have a video camera on my laptop.” She said.

“So do I.  That would make being apart a little easier.  Maybe you can come to a race one of these days.” He said.

“That would be fun.  I’d like that.”  She shuddered.

“Are you cold?  Come here, let me warm you up.”  Tony wrapped her in a hug, pushing her against their tree.

“I’m feeling warmer already.” She giggled.  “One more before we leave?”

Tony grinned, leaning in for a kiss.  This time she took control, wrapping her arms around his neck, teasing him by playing keep away with her tongue.  He groaned deeply, pulling her into him.  They broke the kiss, both of them breathless.  “Let’s get out of here.” He said smiling at her.

They dropped off the quad then headed back to his truck.  After they grabbed a late lunch, he took her home.  He had to catch his flight to Daytona in two hours.

“Can I call you tonight to say good night to you?” Tony asked, rubbing his nose against hers.

“Not too late.  I have to be up early for work.  Thank you for today.  I had a lot of fun.” Bonnie said as she unlocked her front door.

“So did I.”  He gave her a slow good bye kiss.  “I’ll see you soon.  I know where you live!” he said with a wink.  He was stalling and she knew it.

“Go, you’re going to be late.”  She said, kissing him one last time.

“Alright.” He sighed.  “I…” he hesitated. “…have to go.”  He touched her face, not wanting to leave.

“K. I’ll talk to you later.  Have a safe flight!” she said smiling and giving him a nudge.

“I will.  See you soon!” he said waving good bye to her.

She closed the front door with a dreamy sigh.  Halfway to her kitchen, there was a knock on the door.  Now what?

She opened the door to a grinning Tony.  He stepped over the threshold, taking her head in his hands.  He gave her a breathtaking, soul searing kiss. 

“I learned one thing today from Bobby.  Life is too short.  Believe in kismet.  And…” he kissed her deeply once more. “I’m still in love with you Bonnie.  Let me prove it.” He gave her once last kiss and was off.

Bonnie closed the door and just stood there with her mouth open.  Wow.

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