There were rules in Jack Bartlett's house. Rules that were very very clear, and Ty Borden was well aware of the specific ways in which the old man planned to ...alter... his anatomy for behaviors that fell outside of said rules. The consequences were made explicit from almost the moment Jack allowed Ty to stay at Heartland, and Ty never forgot them. He'd never planned to break those rules, because the old man was not one to renege on a promise, and the number of ways in which Ty was sure he could "go missing" were extensive in the wilds of Hudson.
It was never the plan, but then Ty fell for Amy. The kind of falling that was head over heels, first person he thought about in the morning, last before his fell asleep, and even stupid butterflies when their hands brushed accidentally as they worked together. He'd once tried to pen a song on the guitar for her, though the result was abysmal, A secret Ty would never tell a soul, no matter what. Poems, for the record, were no more successful.
When they came together, really came together, when they really decided to give things a go, Ty struggled. He finally had her- the smartest, bravest, most amazing, and absolutely beautiful girl he'd ever hoped could look at him that way was his. She only had to give him a look from across the barn and he'd want to carry her upstairs and pepper her with kisses.
But there were rules under Jack Bartlett's roof, and as much as Ty would like to think he was exempt once his probation was over he knew well that Jack would not forget old promises. Of course, they were both still teenagers, and blood could quickly run hot.
Amy not so secretly loved to see just how worked up she could make him. It was mostly innocent, in the way that any teenage girl explored how her lips placed just below her boyfriend's jawline could make his breath quicken, and his grip tighten wherever his hand respectfully rested. She trusted him, and he made it very clear early in the relationship that he was not going to pressure her. They both knew their age difference also brought a difference in experience, and Ty wanted to be sure Amy felt no obligation to push things forward she was uncomfortable with. They weren't always great at communicating, but he'd made sure to stumble through that conversation with her.
When they started dating, some rules became more explicit, especially in the house. Sitting on the same couch was acceptable, but falling asleep there was not. This lesson was learned after a long day of training and a movie started late in the evening. Though Amy had fallen asleep innocently enough resting her head on his lap, and Ty had passed out soon after, his fingers in her hair, waking to Jack standing in his pajamas, arms crossed in front of him was possibly scarier for Ty than waking up to a guard in the detention center. Back rubs, foot rubs, or any sort of massage was definitely not approved. Hand holding was acceptable as long as all hands were visible. And blankets? Well, Ty was sure there could be a whole book on rules around blankets, most of which he was sure boiled down to being cold was an easier choice.
They were still young, and completely in love. So Amy and Ty found ways around the rules. Mostly at night when they promised to go to bed after a movie, and Jack reluctantly turned in, knowing he couldn't make it on as little sleep as they did. They often skipped the movie back several chapters several times, so if Jack wandered from his room "parched", he'd see some action sequence that looked like all the others. Other stolen moments were found on the porch while the others set about their evening rituals, or in the barn before breakfast.
There were places that were strictly off limits. Bedrooms were not meant for coexisting, and one afternoon when Amy innocently brought Ty up to her room to show him something of her mom's, the tension at dinner had been so icy, Ty never wanted to risk it again. Even when he had to, when his mom was in town, he'd spent a full 15 minutes wondering if a note tacked at the bottom of the stairs would suffice. His loft was definitely off limits, which made it one of Amy's favorite places to push boundaries.
The first time she snuck into his room, it was still early. The night air had chilled considerably, so while Ty fell asleep in his boxers, he'd burrowed under the quilt sometime in the night. Her body was cool as she slipped under the covers and wrapped an arm around his torso. Her jeans were brisk against the back of his legs. She'd just settled in when he registered her presence and all but sprang out of bed, sure that Jack would shoot first and ask questions later if he saw them. She'd laughed and reminded him that Jack's backache from a ride the day prior meant that he was laid up for the day. Not completely satisfied, but unable to resist her draw, Ty had only relaxed when she laid her head upon his chest and pressed a searing kiss as he held her in his arms.
The first night they spent together was under Lou's watch. Jack had to be out of town with Lisa for some fundraiser or another. Lou wasn't stupid. She heard them both sneak out after their movie finished. She'd already played the big sister role and talked to Amy earlier in the day. Amy had rolled her eyes at Lou's approach to protection and not rushing into anything. Amy knew it wasn't about sex that night. Mind you, there was plenty of exploring and more intimacy than they'd had together before, but it was about the falling asleep and waking up entwined in each other's arms. She confessed she'd thought about it since their night in the fishing cabin. From that point, Amy tried to slip into Ty's bed at least once a week.
Yes, there were rules at Heartland, and Jack was the one who chose when to enforce them and when he could back off. He knew Amy thought him unaware of her dalancies when night check stretched on for over an hour, or she came in for breakfast with flushed cheeks. Just as he knew that Lou thought him daft when she was Amy's age and Marion before her.
Jack also knew they were good together, and that Ty's heart was good. Confused, and stupid as all teenage boys were, but good overall. Respectful. Honest. And still just a bit scared of the old man, a fear which Jack liked to cultivate, though his threats no longer required the specificity they once did. They didn't seem to notice the increased racket he made when he came close to the barn- coughing, dropped pails, exaggerated struggling with the door. They never noticed that before he interrupted their movie nights that he first did an extraneous lap around the bed, muttering to himself as he "accidentally" bumped the chest of drawers against the wall and fumbled for the door knob. They were so involved in their thrills that he could easily surprise them whenever he needed to keep them on their toes. So those times when they needed each other- after the plane crash, when they reunited after Katy's birth- Jack often gave more leniency. Though when he felt his generosity pressed too far, his warning shots became few and far between.
Yes, there were rules under Jack Bartlett's roof, but everyone involved knew that some rules were made to be broken.