"Morning boo" I looked up in to his green eyes.
"Morning darlin" he leaned down and gently gave me a kiss.
"You sleep ok?"
"Yeah, it helped having a pillow that smelled like you to snuggle with all night" I giggled.
"Glad I could be of service." He winked.
"Mama's just about got breakfast finished, you hungry?"
"Umm Hmm" I mumbled as I rolled over on to his lap. His arms wrapped around me and I snuggled into his chest.
"Well, I was thinking that maybe you and I could go horseback riding today, would you like that?" He asked.
"I'd love to, I haven't been riding in so long and I miss it so much."
"Ok then, you better get up and get dressed and I'll meet you down stairs. Ok?"
"I'm gonna get mama to pack us a picnic and we'll just spend the day together out there in the woods. I want to show you all the places I used hang out at when I was growing up and some things that I would like to do in the future? You up for that"
"Yep, I'll be down in a few." He stood us up and I reached up and placed a kiss on his cheek.
"I'll see ya downstairs" he headed for the door.
"I like waking up next you." I grinned and walked into the bathroom.
"I like it to darlin, and one day it will be permanent." He turned and walked down the stairs. I was glad that I hadn't heard him or I probably would have fainted right there on the spot.
"I brushed my teeth and got dressed. I threw on a pair of blue jeans and another one of Kevin's flannel shirts from his closet. I pulled my hair back into a ponytail. If we were going to be in the woods all day I didn't want to have to worry about what my hair was doing. Besides Kevin said he liked it when I wore my hair up. I threw on my timberland boots and headed down to the kitchen. I could smell bacon and coffee. I was getting real hungry by the time I made it to the bottom of the stairs.
"Morning Mama Ann" I walked over and gave her a hug.
"Morning Cass, you sleep ok?" She hugged me back.
"Yeah. I can't remember ever sleeping so well before?"
"Morning boo," I leaned down and wrapped my arms over Kevin's shoulders placing my head on his shoulder.
"Morning darlin" he turned and kissed me on the cheek.
"Have a seat Cass breakfast is just about ready," Kevin poured me a cup of coffee as I took the seat next to him at the table. Mama Ann began placing all the food around us and looked at Kevin.
"Honey, do you mind saying grace for us this morning"
"Dear Lord, Thank you for the blessings that you have bestowed upon each and everyone of us. Thank you for our families, friends and loved ones. Thank you for the bounty you have placed before us on this table as we take this nourishment to our bodies let us remember to give back to you what is rightfully yours. In your sons precious name, AMEN."
"Amen" we echoed.
The breakfast was delicious. We sat and talked about our plans for the day and Kevin began to tell his mom how he was going to show me around the property.
"Well, that will be nice. I've got the picnic basket all ready for you Kev, just the way you asked me to fix it" I missed the wink they shared.
"OH, Mama Anne, I could have helped you with that" I spoke up.
"Oh, it was no trouble dear. Besides I made sure I packed everything that Kevin wanted."
"Ok. Can I help you clean up the breakfast dishes?"
"Sure that would be great."
"I'm going to head on down to the barn and get the horses ready. Just meet me down there when you're done ok Cass."
"Sure Kev. I'll see ya in a few" He grabbed the picnic basket and headed out the back door towards the barn.
"Well then, what are you plans for today Mama Ann?"
"I think I'll do a little housework and then I may ride into town. The church is having its Annual Bizarre and I thought that I would meet my sister Jackie in town and spend sometime with her." Thanks for asking.
"Well that sounds nice. Is there anything I can help you do before I go ride with Kevin."?
"No dear, you go spend time with that gorgeous guy of ours and leave all this to me."
"Ok, but I don't mind helping if you need me to."
"I know dear and it's fine, there will be plenty of time for that later. Go on now before that son of mine get's antsy. I don't need him in hear fussing about me taking you away from him."
"Ok, well, we'll see ya later this afternoon then right?"
"Oh yeah, didn't Kevin tell you that we were having dinner at Jackie and Harold's tonight? Brian and Leighanne just flew in the morning and we were going to go over for a Bar-b-cue with the whole gang tonight. That's ok with you isn't it?"
"Oh that would be great, I would love to meet more of Kev's family and I love Bri and Leigh. Ok then we'll see ya later." I headed out the back door.
"Lord, please let all of Kev's plans work out today. She's just what he needs. Amen" Ann Richardson watched as Cass headed towards the barn and towards her unknown future.
"Be good to him Cass, he's worth it." She whispered as she closed the door and turned to go finish her chores.
"Hey Boo" I called as I came into the barn.
"Hey to you too. I was beginning to get worried that you forgot about me out here?"
"Nah, I was just having fun talking to your mom, she's so sweet."
"Yeah, she's great. So what were you two talking about?"
"Oh she was telling about the plans for the bar-b-cue tonight. Why didn't you say something about it sooner? It sounds like so much fun?"
"Well, I was just going to see how our day went, I mean we might be to tired to go tonight?" His eyes began to sparkle with mischief.
"Oh no, Now don't you be getting any ideas about what may happen out in them woods dear. We will be attending that dinner tonight with your family. Besides Bri and Leigh flew in this morning and I want to see them."
"Oh well, there goes my plans for the day" he chuckled.
"Kevin Scott" I laughed and turned to walk away.
"OH no you don't" he grabbed me and spun me back around. I was right up against his body and his lips came down to devour mine.
"Mmmmmm" was all I could say. My legs began to grow weak. God what this man could do to me with just one kiss.
"Ok, let's go" He stepped back. "This here is Lady Caramel, she's one of the last one's my dad bought before he got sick. She's as gentle as a lamb."
She was a beautiful palomino with a blonde main.
"And this here is Midnight Storm, or Stormy for short. My dad and I trained him together, he's always been my favorite." Kevin helped me get up on Caramel and I watched as he mounted Stormy. He was so strong and moved with ease on the horse. I could tell that he had spent a lot of time on this one in particular.
"Yep, let's go"
We rode all over the property. It was so beautiful. The leaves and the colors were magnificent. Kevin showed the places where he and Tim and Jerald would build forts and hide. He showed me the spot where his dad would take them hunting and where he killed his first deer. I could see the pride in Kevin's face as he talked about his childhood and growing up on this farm. I just watched in awe as memory after memory replayed through Kevin's mind. We began to wander down a trail and I began to hear the sound of running water.
"What's that Kev."? I asked.
"Oh that's just the stream up ahead I thought that's where we would have the picnic. If that's ok with you?"
"Sure, I'll go wherever you lead dear." I giggled. We came to an opening and just on the other side was the most spectacular view I had ever seen. There was a stream running thru the middle of the property, beside the stream stretching all the way across was a Weeping Willow tree. Its branches were huge and it looked to be very old. I could see just to the right of the tree a driveway leading up to a clearing. In the distance I could see what looked to be like construction up on the clearing. It was almost like magic. The sun shown off the stream causing a glittering effect. I just held my breath and stared.
"Hey, you ok over there?" his voice brought me back to reality.
"Uh, yeah. Sorry, I just don't think I've ever seen a place so beautiful before."
"Yeah, it did the same thing to me the first time I ever came here. My brothers and me used to race down here for swims all the time. Mr. Jackson our neighbor owned the place and told us that we could come over anytime we wanted." He slid down off his horse as we neared the stream. I watched as he tied stormy up to a post next to the water. He walked over and held out his hand to help me down.
"Why thank you Mr. Richardson." I said as I took his hand. I slid down into his arms.
"I like this" I softly whispered as I buried my head into his chest.
"I do to." He whispered back. He took Caramel over to another post and tied her up and grabbed the picnic basket and blanket from off of Stormy. We walked hand in hand over to the willow tree. I stood back and watched as Kevin spread the blanket out under the branches of the tree and began to set out the food from the basket.
"Come over here and join me," he said.
"Ok," I walked over and sat down on the blanket. Kevin scooted up and placed his back against the tree.
"Up here" he motioned for me to slide in next to him. I didn't hesitate. I snuggled up under his arm and placed my cheek in the crook of his shoulder.
"We used to come down here and listen to the stream as it made it's way across the rocks. We would run and grab hold of handfuls of the willows and swing out into the steam and just let go and fall to the water. God, we had so much fun here. Cass, this place is so special to me. I used to sneak down here whenever I had a bad day. The sounds of the wind blowing through the willow branches were like listening to heaven take a breath. The sound of the stream has such a calming effect. I felt like nothing bad could ever happen to me when I was here."
"Oh Kevin, it's so beautiful here. It must have been amazing growing up in a place like this. I mean, Orlando's great, but it's got nothing on this place." I looked around.
"Oh it is amazing, that's why when Mr. Jackson decided to sell the place a few years back I bought it from him. I couldn't imagine not ever being able to bring my kids here one day and watch them play the way Jerald and Tim and I did. Come with me!" He quickly stood up and pulled me up to his side. He took my hand in his and began walking towards the driveway that led up to the clearing. "I want you to see this."
We walked up the driveway, it didn't matter where you looked all around us was pure beauty. Nature at it's best. As we reached the top of the driveway, I took a deep breath.
"Kevin this is beautiful" It was like sitting on top of a mountain and having full view of the valley below you. I could still see the tree and blanket we had been sitting on from where I stood. "What is this place" I began to look around.
"This is home Cass?"
"Yeah, I started the construction here about 4 months ago, right after I bought this place. I knew that this would be where I would want to live someday, well retire to someday. I know that as long as I'm in show business that I won't be able to live here permanantley, but it will be the place that my family and me can come to whenever we want. Cass, this will be the place where everything will always be Ok. Come over here and let me show you the plans." We walked across the front of the house and I could tell it was going to be beautiful. Kevin pulled the plans out from a file desk and began to show me what the house was going to look like when it was all-complete.
"This here will be the master bedroom. It will have a study off to the side and this huge bathroom, complete with Jacuzzi big enough for me and the Mrs. A double shower also big enough for two. I could see the mischief reappearing in his eyes. There will be two walk in closets in the bathroom one for me and one for her. Right here the door that connect through the bathroom, I want that to be the nursery. That way the baby won't be far from us. I watched as he talked about his future in this house with the woman that he would marry, about the children that they would have and where there rooms would be. He told me about the pool that he was going to put out back with a big Jacuzzi so all his friends could come over and hang out. He showed me the gourmet kitchen he was designing so that he and his wife could cook together side by side. I was so impressed by how he had every detail figured out. He knew exactly what he wanted; I just wish I knew if he already had the Mrs. Part figured out as well. I heard him talking about the big swing he would have on the front so that he could sit out there at night and listen to the stream and the breeze thru the willows. He walked me around and showed me every inch of the place, and then we headed back down by the stream. We sat down and leaned back up against the willow.
"Yeah, sure." I said half-heartedly.
"Ok, lets see what mama fixed for us." He looked like a kid at Christmas; he had just shown me his surprise and now he was going to get to eat to. It was so cute; watching him pull out all of the food his mom had packed. We enjoyed the lunch and then snuggled back up together by the tree.
"This is the life Cass."
"Yeah, it's great' I sighed.
"Hey, you ok?" He took his hand and tilted my face up towards his.
"Yeah" I said.
"Uh Uh, your not being straight with me here, tell me what's going on in that pretty little head of yours?"
"It ‘s nothing Kevin, really."
"Hey, I thought we promised no secrets?"
"We did, really Kevin its nothing?" He stood up and walked over beside the stream. I stood up and followed him. I wrapped my arms around his waist and leaned into his back.
"Cass, don't do this, don't shut me out, please tell me what's wrong" I could hear the sadness in his voice.
"Kevin, really there's nothing wrong." He spun me around so that we were facing each other. I knew he would see the tears.
"Yeah, right, now your lying to me, come on Cass out with it."
"Fine, you wanna know what's wrong with me." I pushed away from him and started to walk away. He started to take a step to come after me and I spun back around.
"YOU WANNA KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME" I yelled.
"You Kevin, this Kevin. This is what's wrong. I'm here with you in this wonderful place and you showing me all of your future plans. Your plans with some Mrs.? Your up there on that hill showing the plans for you and your wives house and where your kids will be sleeping, where you'll be sleeping and taking long relaxing baths with your wife. God, Kevin. How do you expect me to sit here and listen to you talk about your future like that. You are my everything Kevin. I can't imagine even taking a breath if your not part of my world." The tears were beginning flow faster. "I can't stand the thought of not hearing your voice everyday or feeling you touch me. The way you make me feel when you hold me in your arms and the electricity that shoots through my body when you just brush by. I love you so much, but I can't stand here and listen to you talk about your future with out me." I turned to walk away. I felt his hand's grab me and spin me back around.
"Oh Darlin, I'm so sorry. I got so caught up in my own excitement that I didn't even think. Can you forgive me?" I could see tears filling his eyes. "Cass, I love you more than life itself. God, don't you know that by now. Don't you know that I feel the exact same way you do? I'm incomplete if you're not in my life. I wake up every morning wanting to reach over and feel you next to me. To be able to make love to you in the early morning after we've made love all night long. Cass, everything I was talking about up there on that hill is for us baby. I don't want any other woman to live in that house Cass, nobody but you. I want you to be the one I take long relaxing baths with in that tub. The one who sneaks into the nursery at night to peep in on the babies before we go to bed? I want to wrap up in a blanket on the porch swing with you at night and sit out and stare at the stars as we listen to the sounds of nature all around us. I want to make love to you in the moonlight right here under this willow tree on the night we get married. Cass..." He dropped down to one knee. My hand flew up to my mouth, and the tears began to fall harder.
"Cassidy Lynn Nicholson, would you do me the honor of being my wife. Will you marry me?" he looked up at me with tears in his eyes. He had pulled a black velvet box from his pocket and was holding it in his right hand.
"Oh Kevin? I didn't mean, I mean. Oh god."
"No Cass, this is why I brought you here today. I've had this ring since we left Italy last month, but I just had to make sure that everything was perfect. Cass, you're the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I want us to be a family. Please say you'll marry me." I dropped to my knees in front of him and wrapped my arms around his shoulders, I began to sob into his chest."
"Cass, please answer me."
"Oh Kevin, yes, yes I'll marry you. I've wanted that so much, since the first day we met. Yes."
Kevin took the ring from the box and slid it onto my left hand. It was gorgeous. A three-carat emerald cut diamond sat in the middle with two 1 carat trillion cut green emeralds flanking both sides. The color of the emeralds matched his eyes. He leaned in and we kissed. It was so passionate and soft. I felt him start to stand and he pulled me to my feet.
"Come sit back with me on the blanket"
"Ok." My legs were still shaking. I can't believe this is happening. Oh God, if this is a dream please don't ever let me wake up.
We curled up together on the blanket under the tree. I couldn't get close enough to him. He finally pulled me into his lap and snuggled me up to his chest.
"Much." We sat there in the silence neither daring to speak.
"Cass, I'm sorry if I scared you. I thought you knew that when I was talking about my future that you were included in that?"
"Kevin, I had hoped that I would be part of your future. But, why Kevin, how did I get so lucky to deserve someone like you?"
"Because you loved ME, Cass. The real me. Not the Backstreet Boy, but Kevin Richardson from Kentucky. I should be asking you how I got so lucky? I mean, you're so perfect for me." He leaned down and placed a kiss on the top of my head. We sat there and slowly drifted off to sleep in each other's arms.
"Cass, darling" He was pushing the hair out of my eyes for a second time today. "Wake up" he kissed me gently on the lips.
"Hey boo." I sat up and stretched. "How long were we asleep for?"
"I'd say about an hour to an hour and a half? You ok?" He asked.
"I couldn't be better. I caught the reflection of the sun off my ring. It was real. He did ask me to marry him.
"Tell me I'm not dreaming. Tell me you really did ask me to marry you?"
"Well," He stood up and started to walk towards the stream.
"If you must know the truth. Yes, I did ask you and You did say yes. Your not backing out on me are you?"
I jumped up and ran over to him and jumped into his arms. "NEVER, your stuck with me now buddy"
"Good that's all I've wanted. Cass, are you going to be ok with all of this here? I mean the house we can change if you don't like it, We can look somewhere else?"
"Oh no Kevin. I love it here. This place will be so amazing."
"What would you say if I told you I would love to have the wedding right here under the willow tree?"
"I'd say you're a genius and ask you when you'd want that?"
"Well, we have to tell your mom and my dad first?"
"Nope, already taken care of."
"Well, that's what mama and I were talking about before you came down this morning. I wanted her to know that I was going to ask you to marry me and I wanted her to be ok with it."
"And she couldn't be happier. She loves you Cass, I told you she would. She told me I'd be a fool if I let you get away and I think she's right again?"
"And my dad?"
"Well, now what kind of gentleman would I be if I didn't get the father's permission before asking his only daughter to marry me?"
"Oh Kevin, you didn't"
"Yep and he said as long as I took care of you and loved you that he was fine with it."
"Well, that won't be hard at all, cause I already love you and all I've ever wanted to do is take care of you."
"Kevin you are so amazing. I'm the luckiest person in the world?"
"Nope I am darlin." He leaned down and we got lost in a kiss.
We sat around talking about the plans for our future. It was such a great day.
"So Cass, when did you say that you wanted to have that wedding?"
"Well, let's see today is May 1st. The tour starts back in August, right?"
"Yep, with rehearsal's starting in July."
"Ok, then you guys will be on break again what, in December?"
"Yeah, we'll have the whole month of December off and then we'll go back out on the road the second week of January."
"Ok, so what about let's get married in December?"
"What do you mean what?"
"That way it would give us time together as a husband and wife before you head back out on the road?"
"I mean you really want to wait 7 months to get married?" The questions in his eyes were unmistakable.
"Well, not really, but we don't have much of a choice here do we. I mean your schedule is already set."
"Cass, what abut if we got married in June."
"June, Kevin that's like only a month away. I mean."
"What's the matter Cass, don't you want to marry me."?
"Kevin, of course I do, it's just that's not a lot of time to get a wedding put together"
"So what kind of wedding do you want?" He asked.
"Well, like I said, I want to get married here, by the stream, if that's still ok with you" He nodded.
"I want it to just be immediate family. You know your mom and brothers, lacey and the twins, my dad, Lisa and of course we couldn't leave out the boys, Nick, Howie, AJ and Brian. Leighanne would of course be invited, your Aunt Jackie and Uncle Harold, but other than a minister I think that's all we would need."
"What do you think?"
"I think I just fell more in love with you. That would be perfect for me. Just the family, quite and personal just us. Cass, I could probably get the house finished by June 27th. What if we had the wedding on the 28th and we could honeymoon here in the house for a couple of days, then we could fly back to Orlando for rehearsal's?"
"Oh Kevin that sounds perfect. Just think In less than two months I will be Mrs. Kevin Scott Richardson."
I was so excited. We finished talking more about the wedding and decided that it was time we started heading back towards the house. We needed to get ready for the bar-b-cue.
"Hey Cass" he spoke as we rode back towards the house.
"I hope you don't mind, but I got a little presumptuous and invited everyone to the bar-b-cue so we could make the announcement. Is that ok with you?"
"That's perfect. No time like the present."
I sat in the barn as Kevin unsaddled the horses and got them ready to put away in the stalls. I watched every move he made, memorizing every step and touch. How could I be so lucky? I looked down at my ring and began to rub my other fingers over it.
"You like it?" he asked stepping up in front of me.
"Love it. The emeralds remind me of your eyes."
"Same thing mama said when I showed it to her."
"Well, I'll always have a way now to see you." I reached out and drew him close to me.
"Cass, when we head back out in August on the tour."
"Will you go with me? I mean, we'll have only been married for a month. I couldn't stand to be on the road with out you. Please say you'll go?"
"Of course I will silly, you think I'm going to want to be away from my husband that soon after we get married. Are you crazy? I mean. We have a lot of catching up to do Mr. Richardson and I intend to take full advantage of my wifely privileges once we say I do."
"Really?" He wiggled his eyebrows and his eyes began to sparkle.
"OH yes, really. I can't wait to be your wife in everyway Kevin."
"Did I say a June wedding, can we move that up to like tomorrow?" We both began to laugh.
Let's go get dressed for this party shall we. We started walking hand in hand towards the house. I knew that no matter what Kevin and I would always be together. He would always take care of me.