'This is the living room,' said Carter as he motioned toward a cozy room with a large fireplace and leather couches.

'Very nice,' I said with a smile.

He led me through what seemed like hundreds of rooms(the offices, the parlor, the library, the great room, the sunroom) until we came to a closed door at the end of the hallway.

'The dining room,' Carter stated as he opened the door. I gaped at the massive room in front of me. Two silver candelabras stood on the gleaming oval table. My eyes swept over the murals on the walls, great rural scenes of moss-hung oaks, and furrowed farmland. The doors and windows soared far over my head, I noticed.

'Wow,' I breathed.

'Yeah. It's kind of the crown jewel of the house,' he said humorously.

We walked up the massive winding staircase, my hand trailing along the satin-smooth rail. The long hall at the top of the stairs was paneled with shining mahogany, the same as the floorboards.

'My parents' room...Betsy's room...guest bedroom...another guest bedroom...another guest bedroom...ano-'

'How many guest bedrooms are in this place?' I excalimed.

'A lot,' Carter chuckled.

We came to the end of the hallway and my eyes locked on a magnificent floor-to-ceiling portrait.

'My great-great-grandmother,' Carter said proudly.

'She's beautiful,' I stated. Her raven black hair was pulled back into loose ringlets that cascaded down her back. She had high cheekbones and piercing green eyes that were prominent against her pale skin, her red lips parted into a coquettish smile. The folds of her bustled lace gown were spread fashionably across the setee that she was gracefully perched on. Carter had to pull me away from it. We turned right and came to the last door of the corridor.

'My room,' he informed me, opening it and pulling me through. His room faced south, with a wall-sized window like the sunroom below. His view looked across the untouched forest to the icy marshes. The western wall was completely covered with shelf after shelf of CDs. His room was better stocked than a music store.

In the corner was a sophisticated-looking sound system, the kind I was afraid to touch beacuse I'd be sure to break something. There was a large canopied bed in the center of the room. The floor was covered with a thick golden carpet, and the walls were paneled just like the hallway.

I browsed his bookshelf and ticked off the books I recognized: Gone With the Wind(of course), Wuthering Heights, Lonesome Dove, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lady Chatterley's Lover.

'Very impressive,' I said affectionately.

Then I moved on to his music collection. I froze when I saw his massive collection of opera. Seriously? He was the last person I would have expected to be so cultured. He had all of my favorites: La Traviata, I Puritani, Lucia de Lammermoor, La Boheme, Rigoletto, Tristan und Isolde, La Sonnambula, Carmen.

'You like opera?' I asked, surprised.

'Absolutley. So does my mother. She's been playing it around the house for years, and I fell in love with it,' he said sheepishly.

'What a coincidence, it happens to be my favorite kind of music,' I replied as I wrapped my arms around his waist.

'Something else we have in commom,' he said quietly as he bent to kiss me.

Right at that moment we heard Eugenia shout that 'suppa' was ready. It was the most delicious meal I had ever had: mashed potatoes, fried chicken, collards, and some kind of patty she called 'corn pone.'

After dinner, Carter and I went and lay down on his massive bed.

'I don't want to go to school tomorrow,' he groaned as he pulled me close.

'Speaking of which, how are we going to handle this at school?' I asked.

'The same as we always do, you'll sit with me at lunch and I'll be able to take you home now that football it over.'

'Ok,' I said, silently shaking at having to face his group of social kings and queens. A picture on his nightstand, a group picture of his family with balloons in the background.

'When was this?' I asked.

'My 18th birthday,' he stated.

'Oh. When was it?'

He hesitated. 'About a week ago,' he said quietly.

'Oh, my God,' I whispered as I buried my face in my hands.

Carter wrapped his arms tight around me, cradling against him.

'Matt, it's ok,' he said vehemently.

'No, it's not,' I said, my words muffled by my hands.

He lifted my face up to meet his. 'It doesn't matter, Matt. I'll have more birthdays,' he repleid as he kissed me cheek.

'And how do you know that I'll be around for them?' I asked.

'I know because I don't plan on losing you anytime soon,' he whispered in my ear.

I looked up and took his flawless face in my hands. 'I love you, Carter. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me,' I said in a quivering voice.

'I love you too. My life was boring until you came stumbling into it,' he chuckled.


Carter parked further away from the school that usual the next morning. I soon figured out why when Carter scooped me up and laid one on me.

'You sure you wanna go in?' he asked with a smile.

'No, I want to stay with you, but I have to go in. Catching up in AP classes is a bitch,' I replied.

He chuckled. 'Ok. But clear your schedule for Saturday, because I have a date night planned for us,' he said.

I got butterflies just thinking about it.

'And you clear yours for Friday night, because I want you to meet my parents,' I ordered.

'Alright, babe,' he said with one last kiss before we walked towards the building.


Carter dropped me off at my house after school, promising that he would call me later. I just hung out, because I had done all of my homework in study hall. So I sat and anxiously awaited for my parents to come home. My mind kept repeating Carter's statment last night about not letting me go. It scared me at first, but now I knew that nothing could tear me away from him.

My thoughts were interrupted by my parents coming in the front door. I could hear my mother's distinct footsteps on the marble floor.

'Hi, honey,' she said as she hugged me.

'Hey, mama. We're gonna have a talk later,' I said with a significant look.

'Alright. We're long overdue for one anyway,' she replied.

I walked into the kitchen and greeted my dad with a hug.

'What's for dinner?' My dad and I both asked.

'Hell if I know, I just got home,' Mama said.


'So what is it you wanted to talk to me about?' Mama asked as she sat with me on the couch in her office that night.

'Well.....it's about Carter. We're together now, and I want to bring him to meet you two this Friday,' I said.

'That sounds great! We'd love to meet him,' she replied happily.

'Ok, um, I guess that's settled.'

'Do you love him?' she asked me abruptly.

'Yes...I do. Completely,' I said meaningfully.

'Well, then in that case, we'll love him too,' she said as she hugged me tightly.

'I hope so,' I said, kissing her cheek.


After I had talked to Carter and we had affirmed our love once more, I lay in bed and tried to concentrate on my book. I tried to read, but my mind kept dwelling on this Friday, and our date the next day. I wondered if it would lead to me losing my virginity but I wasn't sure. I loved Carter with my whole soul and I knew he was the one, but I would just have to see where it leads. Great, I thought, now all I'm going to think about is sex!

I knew I was ready, but it was a matter of going about it. I had no earthly idea about how to initiate sex, but I'm sure Carter did, so I would rely on him to make the moves. Pathetic, huh?

It felt strange not to have Carter holding me, but I don't think my parents would have been very cool with him staying over. I thought about the warmth of his arms until I began to drift off, knowing that Carter would be present in my dreams.

To be continued.......



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