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Story Notes:
You're probably better off reading Second Chance first :) problems of understanding might ensue otherwise!

Yes, this one is rated R. Aiken and Beomia are newlyweds. Derry and Anna are teenagers in a budding relationship. Need I say more?

I'll do my best to avoid the NC-17, as I know I have some younger readers who follow this.
The stubble in the mown field dug into the skin on Anna’s knees and legs, and the gold stud earring she held clasped in her hand needled against her palm. The salty taste of the tears on her lips mingled with the sweet musk of the crop. The sunset spilled over the ground, dyeing the earth red, and Derry’s fingers played in her hair and kept her tied to the present.

“Are you sure it was a good idea to come back here? Today?”

She jumped. He had been silent so far. “It’s exactly a year.”

“I know. That’s why I thought...”

“It started here, a year ago.”

“Not for me. And for you there’s too much here. Memories.”

She smiled and shifted so that the stubble was no longer stabbing at her legs. “You sound like a bad film.”

“I mean it.” He crouched beside her and trailed his fingers over her neck, then down towards her collarbone. Her breath quickened. “I don’t think this is doing you any good. And I don’t think it will help us. I haven’t dragged you off up to Newcastle to that park where I got shot. That’s where it started for me.”

Irritation flickered vaguely somewhere inside her. His fingers were sliding towards the V-neck of her t-shirt and her skin was beginning to awaken under his touch, but she pulled herself away. “It feels right to be here. For me and for Izzy.”

“Anna...”

“Please, Derry. Don’t touch me.”

He paused, and she heard him suck at the roof of his mouth, but after a moment he kissed the top of her head and withdrew his hand. The stubble crackled under his feet. She remembered standing here a year ago, scuffling her feet and breaking the stalks while she waited for the ambulance to arrive, for her Dad to make it across from the house, for Izzy to come round, not wanting to touch her just in case her back was injured. She hadn’t been too worried at first. Izzy had got up and run after the horse, then collapsed. She, Anna, had assumed that her sister had hit her head after falling and had a concussion; it wouldn’t have been the first time. But no. “Massive internal bleeding,” the coroner had said. “Nothing anybody could have done.”

She ran her fingers across the rough tops of the stalks. They itched and prickled against her.

“Derry?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap.”

He moved closer, and she leaned against his legs. Again his fingers wound into her hair and drew circles on her scalp.

“Time to go?” he asked softly.

How did he know? she wondered. But then he had always been able to read her well. She nodded. “Yeah. Yeah. Sorry for dragging you out here.”

He pulled her up and spun her round so that she fell against him, and she yelped as he squeezed her tight. “Idiot,” she giggled in spite of herself.

“Would you have me any other way?”

“No.”

“Exactly.” A kiss on her forehead, then another that lingered near her temple. “Come on. Home time. I’ll make you dinner, how’s that?”

“Sounds good to me.” She gripped at the fabric of his t-shirt and nestled into the space under his chin. “Derry?”

“Mm?”

She opened her mouth but her words dissolved on her tongue. Her intention had been to say “I love you.” Now, though, she decided, was neither the time nor the place. “Nothing. Thanks for walking out here with me.”

He took her right hand, and with her left she dropped the earring she had been clutching all afternoon. Derry raised an eyebrow, but she simply smiled. “I wanted to bring something for her. Not flowers, it’s not a grave. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.”

“I understand – I think.”

She nodded and squeezed his hand. He didn’t understand, but he didn’t mind, she could tell. She had thought of bringing the horse pendant, but it was too obvious; someone would find it and either take it for themselves or bring it back up to the farmhouse. She couldn’t bear the thought of either. The pendant was too distinctively Izzy’s to be worn by anyone else, and if somebody brought it up to the house as lost property on farmland then her Dad would know that she, Anna, had not been taking good care of it. No-one, though, would miss a solitary plain gold stud.

“Prawn and chilli pasta for dinner?” he asked, hooking the fingers of his spare hand through the belt loop on her shorts.

“That’s what you made the first time you cooked for me, isn’t it?” she laughed.

“Is it? I can’t remember.”

“Don’t you? Well, it was delicious, so no objections from me. Afraid we won’t be able to open a bottle of wine though, my Grandma won’t like that.”

“I’m sure we’ll cope without.” He tugged her hand. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

There was a peculiar note in his voice that she hadn’t detected earlier, a kind of hollowness, like he was trying to hide something. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. I feel like we shouldn’t be here. This place is...” He gesticulated hopelessly. “I want to say it’s creepy but it’s broad daylight, and it sounds disrespectful to your sister, and it’s only a field and I don’t understand...”

“Derry.” She pulled her hands free and cupped his face with them, stroking along the lines of his cheekbones with her thumbs. His skin was warm and stuck to her palms. “Calm down. We’re going.”

“Yeah.” He nodded and hugged her again. She felt the pounding of his heart as she leaned against him, far faster than it should be. Anxious, she bit her lip, but she said nothing. She knew he hated fuss. “Sorry.”
Chapter End Notes:
I should be revising, so naturally I've started work on this. *headdesk*

Anyway, hope you like!
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