-sighs- I know, I know, WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GO?! DID YOU DIE?! WHY HAVEN'T YOU UPDATED?! T.T I'm so sorry it's been, let's see, OMFG almost exactly two moths since I last updated! :( Damn I'm so sorry you guys. Part of the reason I haven't updated was because of my trip to florida...but that was a month ago and only a week long.

But also it's because Peter died. Now wait wait, don't freak out. Peter is my computer. XD His name is Peter, com-PUTER. Peter. Get it? lol I'm weird I know. Peter was repaired exactly a week ago. (OMG Jean karmas a bitch! T.T) Me and Jean had a double funeral for her and my computer. (Her computer broke as well :p) Anyways I would have updated like a couple days ago, but one of my best guy friends, Andy, moved today. So me and my other friends were spending tons of time with him. It was really sad to see him go. :( But I worked super hard today and I finished chapter twenty! Finally! :D

On the brighter side, LMoHM now has almost 250 reviews! Thank you all so much guys! :) Also thanks to all of you who voted in my poll for TaC! 46 of you! :D Oh and also, althoguh fanfiction keeps crapping up and doesn't show it all the time, my C2, Gorgeous Graire, is now the number one C2! I was so happy when I saw that I seriously screamed. XD GG has 17 subscribers, and I love each and every one of you! But don't the rest of you forget to subscrib as well, I really hope GG can stay number one for a long while. :)

Oh and I don't know if I told you guys or not, but I'm on crutches now. :p yes like Claire, de ja vu much? XD But don't worry people, SERIOUSLY, I'm okay. Nothing serious so don't freak.

Oh and has anyone noticed that all the chapter each start with a different letter of the alphabet? I'm trying to have each be a different letter! :) Only D, E, V, X, Y, and Z left! (DOn't worry that's NOT how many chapters LMoHM will be.) Anyways I hope you all review like always and still love me and LMoHM like always! :)

OH YEAH AND ALISSA (TWILIGHT GUARDIAN) SHOWED ME THE SONG FRO MTHE LST CHAPTER! SHE'S AWESOME AND FINDS THE MOST AMAZING SOGNS FOR ME! :D ALL CREDIT TO HERR!
-Jenna

Okay now for review replies and disclaimer.

Disclaimer- I don't own Harvest Moon or any of its characters.

Sara- HELL YEAH YOU KNOW HE IS! :D

Chrissi- Ah yes I know. :( But i was tired and desperate to have the next chapter out soon. I'll fix it up sometime later. Mehh.

EightRedRoses- lol yeah writing it was tons of fun too! :D

shadowtiger21- Ahh yes karma. Blehh I've had my fair share of karam for now. :p

Dia- Yeah I loved that too! XD

dragonfire262- Nico will be here soon enough I promise you! XD Yeah Ann is JUST like my one good friend, ahhaaa. Oh well you'll deff. love it! Hawaii is one of my favorite places in the world! (my family likes to travel a lot.)

UzumakiNasadi- Thankyou thankyou!

Annie- lol they do? XD Well they probably do I spose. XD And whatever it's an early birthday gift! :D

Ryan- This ones longer I hope! ;D

harvestmoonrox- XD Glad you're so excited for it!

iChocoLove- Yay! :)

monekygirl82000- Ahh thankyou thankyou thankyou! That makes me so happy! :D Oh and do you have an AIM? My lil cousin said she talked to you and I'd love to too if you want. :)

AsianFlipGurl- A little late (little?) but here it is!

.flowers- Soon enough!

Perminatly Lost In Thought- lol thanks tons! I like to be funny for you all once in a while! i hope my humor is actually funny and not lame and pathetic to you guys. lol

Aneko Nomiya- Aww thanks so much! I'm glad you guys care and don't just like me for my stories! (although it is the main reason) And Hawaii was great! And me and Shane are amazing! He's just... :) I can't even explain it. Thanks again!

IIyana- I know right? XD She will soon enough! But Gray just might first. -wink wink-

Alissa- Heehee credit for you for the song above! -dances- lol

emma- MBF, (still never gets old; XD love itt!) thanksss! I'm glad I can be funny for you guys! :D

Carynne Bloodmoon- Glad he cares at least a little! :D -hugs Skye- lol coudn't resist!

pisceanchic101- I'm all healed from that but the legs and crutches are driving me bonkers. :p

jensulli11- You haven't but thanks! Glad you like it! :)

poesumo- Oh so would I, so would I. ;)

Bunnylia- Addictive? You don't know how great it is to hear you say that. Seriosuly. Anyways yes I DO know how I want it to end and for a little hint -hint hint- I don't think it'll end 'til about winter or fall. O.o lol I do! No I mean definitely. lol

Flaming Black Skull- lol it cracks me up stil and I wrote it! XD Oh and thanks for caring. I'm okay so it's all good! :D

Kouji Girl- I'm gald you liked it for one! For two I actaully AM thinking of doing what you mentioned. But it a different way. ;) Be on the lookout!

Chocoholistar- OMG thank you! You're like the first person to say that! I hope this was worth the wait! :)

GuyBoyPerson- lol I'm not gonna say I have...but I'm not gonna say I haven't. ;) Sorry it took so long! T.T Hope you like it!

xxsummerangelxx- Wow if LMoHM has that effect it must be pretty decent! :)

SammyFace- Ahh there's that word again! -hearts addicted- Ahh thank you!

HellsxFirexBunny- Yessiree! :D

Midnight Shine- So glad it's good and enjoyable! Thanks for reviewing! And SOON!

Dawnheart468- Thanks! And NOW! :D

topaz-skye- OMG thankyouuuuuu! I'm so glad all of you people love this story! Seriously! I love you all! -hugs everyone to pieces- Hope I didn't make you suuffer too long. ;)

AHH THAT TOOK FOREVER! T.T Seriously this is the MOST reviews yet! Love you all and KEEP reviewing! A happy review leaves a happpy author who is inspired to type more! :D And for you silent readers who don't review, REIVEW! Don't be shy! I don't bite! Much. ;) jkjk lol but thank you all!


(Spring 12) Cliff's POV

I sighed and wiped my brow as I set down the last crate of grapes. Another job well done. Who knew picking grapes for hours upon hours could be so tiring? And boring for that matter. Man I should really think about getting a job at the Inn or as a farmhand at one of the farms around this small town.

I slowly trudged down the path, asking myself who in town would hire me to do some work on their farm. Barely? Rick and Popuri? Claire? Suddenly I heard what sounded like Claire's crutches and her dog Baby.

"Speak of the devil," I muttered to myself as I hurried towards her.

I turned the corner to see Claire hobbling along, head down. Baby was trotting merrily next to her, chasing butterflies or whatever else may interest the hyper pup. I jogged towards Claire, expecting her to look up any second and give me one of those famous smiles of hers, but as I neared her I realized she wasn't watching where she was going.

"Claire!" I yelled just seconds before slamming into her.

Her crutches flew through the air and landed who-knows-where, Claire herself merely landing in the grass a few feet away.

"Oh my goddess Claire are you okay?!" I asked her, my voice full of worry.

She slowly opened her eyes and smiled up at me with a twisted, cheeky grin. "C-Cliff?" she sputtered, "Is that you?"

I leaned closer and examined her face to see that she was slightly cross-eyed and had a large red lump forming on the right side of her forehead. "Claire are you okay?" I questioned again in a concerned tone, "You don't look so good," I held out my hand for her to grab, shifting my weight from foot to foot nervously.

"Of course Cliff! I feel f-fine!" she assured me. She then reached out her hand and attempted to grab mine, only to cause her to miss by a long shot, get a puzzled look on her face, and grab at the air some more.

"Uhh Claire-"

"How rude are you Cliff!" she suddenly cried, "It's mean to pull your hand away when I'm trying to grab it!"

"Umm Claire, I'm not." I confessed.

"Whaa?" she mumbled in a confused tone.

"I think you need to go to the Clinic." I stated before pulling her up by the arm.

"Okay Cliffy let's go to the Clinic!" she cheered, wobbling a bit on her one leg.

I instantly put her arm around my neck and held her waist with my other hand as we walked towards the Clinic. Then I remembered her dog. "Baby," I called, "come on!" The pooch barked and merrily bounded after us.

"Yeah come on little piggy!" Claire giggled, "We're going to see the man in white and get yummy lollipops!"

Claire then turned back to me and grinned. I blushed and smiled weakly at her, keeping my jaw firmly in place and away from the floor. How Claire managed to still look gorgeous with a giant lump on her head is beyond me but she pulled it off. Somehow we made it to the Clinic and I sat her down on one of the benches.

"Wait here." I commanded before hurrying over to Elli's desk.

"Oh hello Cliff!" Elli greeted, "What brings you here today?"

"Her." I murmured, pointing to Claire who was making faces at Baby, who looked quite confused.

"Wh-What's wrong with her?" Elli questioned awkwardly.

"Well," I hesitated. "I kind of, sort of, slammed into her." I finally admitted.

"Cliff!" Elli scolded, "I expected better out of you!"

"I- I-" I hung my head. "I'm s-sorry."

"Cliff I was just kidding," she laughed, "it was just an accident right?" I nodded. "Well then no harm done, you're barely ever in here anyways." Her voice then instantly got all serous. "But we have to check to see if Claire has a concussion or any injuries right away." I nodded again and hurried over to get said blonde.

"Trent!" I heard Elli call as I reached the babbling cripple.

"Claire," I began, grabbing her arm.

"Hiya Cliffy!" she replied in a singsong voice, "Have you met the little bunny here? She's funny! Haha, funny bunny!"

I mentally groaned as I pulled her to her feet, well foot, and lead her in the direction Elli had went.

"Okay Elli I'll be there right away once I'm done with Gray." I heard Trent say in a serious manor.

Gray's here? Did he cut his hand open again or something? He's always doing that. I swear Gray and Claire are here the most frequently. Even more then Ellen, and Rick who's always complaining that he has some kind of deadly disease. Claire suddenly started looking this way and that like she had just lost her cow.

"Grayway's here?" she questioned, "I wanna see Grayway!"

"You'll see Grayway after the nice doctor fixes you okay?" I told her in the nicest tone I could muster.

She sighed. "Okay Cliffy." I blushed again at the name.

We walked into a room and I quickly sat her down on the table. Moments later Trent came flying in through the door, doctor's bag in hand. Claire grinned at him and waved wildly.

"What's wrong with Claire?!" Trent gasped, catching his breath.

"She bumped heads with Cliff and now she's all giddy and obnoxious." Elli explained.

"You should be more careful Cliff!" Trent grunted, hurrying to Claire's side. I hung my head again knowing he was probably right. She was on crutches after all. I'm such a bad person.

"I'm s-sorry," I mumbled, "it was an a-accident."

"Even so, she could be severally hurt!" Trent growled. He then turned back to Claire and his face softened. "Claire, are you okay? What hurts?"

"I know you," Claire replied, concentrating hard "you're the funny man who wears that weird donut disk thingy on his head!"

Elli choked back laughter and I couldn't help but grin as Trent's face went blank and Claire blew a raspberry.

"Doctor dude wears a donut disk!" Claire chanted mindlessly, "Doctor dude wears a donut disk! Doctor dude wears a donut disk! Doctor dude wears a- OW!"

I looked up to see Trent pulling a needle out of Claire's arm. Claire whined in protest and rubbed her arm tenderly.

"It's to numb any pain." Trent explained, "It should also make her a little less..." He hesitated and thought of the right word. "crazy."

I nodded and stared at Claire. She was rubbing her head and looking around with a confused expression. Suddenly her eyes lit up, then went back to that glassy, cross-eyed, goofy look. I furrowed my brow then turned back to Trent.

"Well," Trent began, straightening his jacket, "the medicine should start working any second now, its weird it hasn't started already. And other than that she's okay, no concussion or fractures."

"Well that's good," I concluded, quite relieved. I couldn't hurt Claire! I'd never forgive myself! And besides, I technically never apologized for just kissing her the day after the Stocking Festival...

"Come on Claire, I'll walk you home," I heard the doctor say as he grabbed her arm.

"No!" I cried. I immediately blushed and looked away. "I mean, I'll do it."

"No it's quite alright Cliff, she is my patient and I ought to make sure she makes it home okay." Trent told me as he started to take her out the door.

I ran after them and grabbed her other arm. "But I was the one who did it so I owe her!" I insisted, tugging her in the other direction.

"It's quite alright, I'm sure she forgives you." Trent argued, "Why don't you just let me take her so you can go home and rest, you hit your head too remember?"

"N-Nonsense!" I shouted in an uneasy tone, getting slightly annoyed, "It's too far of a walk, what if someone comes in and needs you?"

"That's-"

"I'll take her." someone said firmly, pulled Claire out of my grasp. Before I could complain or even say anything for that matter, Claire was already out the door.

Gray's POV

I really ought to pay better attention when I'm dealing with hot metals and tools. But, of course, I wasn't paying attention and grabbed the hot coal instead of the hammer. Stupid. Careless. Me. Well at least that's what grandpa always said when I do something wrong.

"Stop being so stupid Gray! Stop being so careless! Stop being so...you!"

Easy enough, I mean I wasn't Gray now was I? The old geezer, we all know he's just talking out of his ass when asked about tools and ores. I know everything he does, plus more! He just makes me so...

Anyways so here I am, sitting in the Clinic while that bastard Trent fixes my blistering hand.

"For a blacksmith you seem to get hurt quite a lot," sneered Trent, "maybe it's time to throw in the towel." I rolled my eyes at his remark as he finished wrapping my hand in gauze.

Suddenly Elli came running in. "Trent!" she called.

"What is it Elli?" Trent questioned, looking up at her.

"Cliff just brought Claire in, they apparently bashed heads or something. She's delusional!" Elli said with a sigh.

Delusional?! I held my breath as Trent jumped up and started putting everything back into his bag. "Okay Elli I'll be there right away once I'm done with Gray." he told the petite nurse.

Once he's done with me? He's already done with me! Probably just said that so he didn't sound too desperate. I rolled my eyes and stood up.

"Am I done?" I grumbled, flexing my bandaged hand.

"Yeah whatever." Trent mumbled, shooing me with a wave of his hand.

"Works for me." I muttered as I exited.

As I walked out I saw Cliff supporting Claire as they disappeared into another room. Then Claire's loud, bouncy voice suddenly echoed through the halls. "Grayway's here?" she yelled, "I wanna see Grayway!"

"You'll see Grayway after the nice doctor fixes you okay?" Cliff told her in a calm, nervous tone.

I chuckled and sat down on the bench. I might as well wait since Clairebear just had to see me.

That's not the only reason you're staying, something deep in my mind said. Well yeah I'm also staying because I want to make sure she's okay! I mean she's my friend after all. It's not like I like her.

Do I?

I mean sure Claire is a very...attractive girl, but I don't love her. Then again I always do seem to be smiling around her. But that's only because of her sassy remarks and amusing comments! We tease each other all the time so it's only natural that I feel comfortable around her now.

But what about that fact that I'm always...happy, around her. Does that mean anything? I'm always trying to look, well, good around her. Stating impressive facts about myself whenever she's around, trying to act cool around her, and not to mention my lame jokes and puns.

Man I really am a loser.

So does that mean I...like like her?

Suddenly the sound of two people arguing caused me to look up. Before me was Trent and Cliff, tugging Claire back and forth like in a tug-o-war game.

"It's quite alright, I'm sure she forgives you." Trent growled, "Why don't you just let me take her so you can go home and rest, you hit your head too remember?"

"N-Nonsense!" Cliff shouted in an uneasy tone, quite unlike himself, "It's too far of a walk, what if someone comes in and needs you?" I quickly jumped up and strode towards them.

"That's-"

"I'll take her." I said firmly, pulling Claire away from them. I then turned and dragged the blonde out before they could stop me.

I didn't stop running until we got Rose Square. And I, being the idiot that I was, didn't remember Claire had her broken foot until I stopped and saw that she was on my back, holding on for dear life.

"Claire I'm sorry-"

"Thank you thank you thank you!" Claire cried, clinging to me again.

Thoughts from earlier floated into my mind and I'm sure my face turned a deep shade of crimson. A couple seconds later she released me and I stepped back a little.

"Uh, sure no problem." I mumbled, rubbing the back of my neck, "You're okay right?"

"Huh what?" Claire questioned, staring off at something else.

"Uh Claire?" I repeated, waving a hand in front of her face.

"Hmm? What did you say Gray?" Claire asked curiously, finally looking back at me.

I tilted my head and tried to see what she had been looking at, but all I saw was a whole lot of nothing. I cocked an eyebrow and turned back to Claire. But what I saw made me more confused. Claire was biting her lip and twiddling a strand of her golden hair. She looked very...nervous. She was nervous? I thought I was supposed to be the nervous one here! What was she nervous about? Was there something on my face? I lowered the brim of my hat to hide my now raspberry red face.

"Uh, I, uh, thought you were delusional." I muttered, not looking her straight in the eye.

"What?" Claire replied, a dumbstruck look on her face, "Oh that!" She then laughed nervously and looked at her feet. "Well, uh, I kind of came back to my senses after Trent injected me with that liquid." she confessed.

I couldn't help but chuckle at this point. "So you continued to be crazy even though you were completely sane again?" I asked curiously, raising an eyebrow.

She then blushed slightly and smiled weakly. "Well if I didn't Cliff and Trent would be asking me fifty questions and checking to make sure I was okay!" she cried, "And besides, Trent still scares me." She shuttered and shook her head.

I laughed freely at this and grinned. It was good to know that Claire felt fine around me and uncomfortable around that asshole.

There was a thick tension in the air as I stared into Claire's eyes, and her blue orbs poured back into mine. I don't know how long we stared, all I know is that I had closed the gap between us in that time. She stared up at me, unable to move or speak. I stared back, and couldn't help but notice the strand of hair that had fallen in front of one of her eyes. I cautiously reached out a hand and carefully tucked the hair behind her ear where it belonged. Just as I was about to pull my hand away her small, delicate hand flew up and landed on mine. She attempted to look at my bulky hand with her eyes, then looked back at me.

Unable to control myself, I slid my hand down so I was now cupping her cheek. She tried to look at my hand again before closing her eyes and sighing pleasantly. She then traced circles on the back side of my hand causing shivers to tingle up my spine. I stared down at Claire and couldn't help but smile.

It was then that I noticed she was still standing on one leg. I instantly let go of her cheek and scooped her up in my arms. This was where I made my first mistake.

"Gray!" she wailed, "What are you doing?!"

I quickly hurried over to the bench and sat her down. "Wait here," I mumbled before running off.

That was where I made mistake two. "GRAY!" she shrieked after me as I quickly sprinted around the corner.

I dashed past the Clinic, praying neither Trent nor Cliff would come out of it. Turning the corner at the library I saw a bewildered Cliff staring at me, Claire's crutches in hand.

"Gray-" he began.

"Thanks Cliff!" I yelled, snatching the crutches from him and running off towards Rose Square.

When I returned to the square I saw a steaming blonde grumbling to herself. I slowly made my way towards her and held out her crutches. "Here," I murmured before she swiped them from me.

I followed the cripple as she headed for home, a look of disgust evident on her face. Finally I spoke up, trying to make some friendly conversation.

"So how's Baby doing?" I tried.

"Baby's-" she broke off and her face took on one of sheer horror.

Mistake three.

"She was left at the Clinic when you dragged me out you asshole!" she roared. Not giving her any time to yell at me more, I hurried off to fetch her dog.

When I burst through the doors to the Clinic and barged into Trent's office, I saw something that made me want to throw Trent into an airless box, lock that box twenty times, light the box on fire, throw the box over a cliff, then blow up the cliff itself crushing every bone Trent had left. In front of me I saw a very frightened Baby being held down as Trent lowered a small knife towards her.

"You sick bastard!" I cried, "I knew you were messed up, but to dissect a live dog?!"

"No Gray, you don't understand I was just-" I didn't give him time to finish as I pushed him away, grabbed Baby, and ran out.

I found Claire sitting on the ground, arms crossed. When she saw me she held out her hands for Baby.

"You should be happy to know I saved your dog from being dissected by the scum that is known as Trent." I announced proudly as I handed the bouncy pup to her.

"Hmph!" she scowled, but I could see her smiling slightly as she stroked Baby's head.

"Shall I walk you home?" I asked politely, crossing my fingers behind my back at the same time.

I finally did something right.

"Well okay," she agreed, setting down Baby and standing.

The walk to her farm was quiet and uneventful. When we were finally at her door, her facing me, I didn't know what to say.

"Well thank you Gray," she said with a smile, "although you screwed up quite a few times you still did save Baby and I."

"No problem," I nodded, grinning as well.

"Oh and Gray I've been meaning to talk to you," she confessed, changing the subject.

"About what?" I asked nervously. Please don't let it be about her birthday party, please don't let it be about her birthday party-

"I actually wanted to talk to you about my birthday party, you see-"

"I gotta go Claire!" I yelled over my shoulder as I sprinted off, "grandpa wants me to finish upgrading Barley's hoe by tonight!"

Claire's POV

Before I could stop the boy he had already hurried off. I sighed and leaned against the door to my house. Gray was driving me crazy lately. If it wasn't because of something he did if was because of thoughts I had about him. I couldn't get Gray off my mind. Ann's words had stuck in my head and stayed there.

"Face it Claire," Ann began, "you're in love with a certain blacksmith boy and he's in love with you."

And. He's. In. Love. With. You.

I squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head. Gray couldn't like me! We were such opposites and not to mention once mortal enemies! Why would he have any feelings for me? Besides, he loved Mary now didn't he? I pushed open the door to my house and Baby dashed inside.

Of course Gray didn't like me, I mean how could he? What was there to like anyways? I looked into the human sized mirror and examined myself. I wasn't pretty, that was for sure. My ears were too big. My teeth weren't straight. My eyebrows were too thin. I was pale although I spent most of my time outdoors under the blazing sun. I guess I was curvy, I'd give him that, but I wore my baggy overalls most of the time so how could he notice? I had stopped wearing nice outfits and fixing my hair about a month ago, much to May's displease. So what would he possibly like about me?

My personality wasn't great either. I was stubborn, rude, hotheaded, snappy, loud, negative, judgmental, and overall a tomboy for the most part. How could Gray, or anyone for that matter, love a man-like, ugly, overall wearing farmer like me?

I sighed and rubbed my temples. All this thought of Gray was giving me a headache. Although I wanted to talk to Gray and sort things out, I think getting away from him and relaxing would do me some good.

That's when I decided to go to the Hot Springs.

"I'll back later!" I told Baby as I eagerly left for the springs, my bathing suit in hand.

Once I had slipped out of my disgusting overalls and into my light purple two piece with black polka dots, I exited the girl's changing room. I had a little trouble getting into the pool, for I had to find a position where I could sit and prop my foot up so it was out of the water. If only Elli had left my brace on, I could've just taken it off! Once I was situated just right so I was laying against the side and my foot was out of the water, I closed my eyes.

Finally! A place where I could relax and be at peace. A place where I could forget everything. A place where that blacksmith wouldn't dare to go-

"Hello?" a very familiar voice called, "Is anyone in there?"

I opened my eyes to see that drenched red and blue UMA hat visible over the top of the fence. I groaned and banged my head against the side a few times before I heard his footsteps.

"Uh, Claire?" he questioned, "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?" I growled, "I'm trying to get an annoying redhead's voice out of my head."

"Oh come on," he laughed, "Ann isn't that annoying."

I shot daggers at him at he laughed and pulled off his shirt. I fought the urge to drool and let my tongue hang out of my mouth as I saw his chest. He had a six- no eight pack that I just yearned to run my hands over. I quickly looked away before he caught me ogling his body, and closed my eyes. I frowned as I heard him hop in next to me.

"Why won't you leave me alone?" I sighed, opening my eyes and looking at him.

"I'm sorry I hurt my hand and decided to go to the Hot Springs to relax." he said with a grin.

I noticed that his left arm was out and away from the water just as my right leg was. "Next time go to the beach for a swim." I said flatly, closing my eyes again.

He chuckled once more then started whistling merrily to himself. I narrowed my closed eyes and scowled. Why was he in such a good mood?! Couldn't I be the one happy and cheery while he was the one depressed and confused? Then I remembered what I wanted to discuss with Gray.

I opened my eyes and turned towards Gray, an evil smile spreading across my face. "So Gray," I began, smiling sweetly for effect.

"Yeah?" he answered uneasily. His smile had vanished and was replaced with a look of discomfort.

"Since we're both here why don't we talk about my birthday." I offered, "You obviously have no where to go, and neither do I."

"Well I-"

"It's settled then!" I announced, talking over him, "So, where shall we begin?"

"Uh, how about we talk about your gifts?" he mumbled.

"Oh sure!" I cheered, grinning that he had taken my bait, "That bear you got me was just lovely! I've never seen one like it around here! Did you have to have it specially ordered just for little old me?"

A hint of pink formed on his cheeks as he changed the subject. "So twenty-eight huh? Surprised you aren't married yet."

"Well I was waiting for someone my age." I continued, smirking, "Twenty-eight, say isn't that how old you are Gray?"

Gray's eyes widened as he coughed uneasily, an aftershock of what I had just said. "Why don't you decide what we talk about." he offered.

Finally!

"Sure!" I sneered, my mouth curling into a grin, "I was thinking of talking about when we were standing out on the balcony."

"But-"

"Do you remember when I said my night was almost perfect?" I questioned innocently.

"Vaguely," he nodded, inching away from me.

"And do you remember how you made it perfect?" I asked with fake curiosity. I leaned towards him and grinned.

"I-" He suddenly broke off. "Wait a second, I made it perfect? I didn't know that 'it' actually made it perfect." he smirked and leaned towards me as well. I knew perfectly well what 'it' was.

"I- Well- No!" I sputtered, "I mean I just-"

"You liked it, just admit it." Gray stated, with a grin, "You liked it and you want to do it again. Face it, you think I'm sexy." He then broke out into hysterics and wiped tears from his eyes.

I grunted and crossed my arms. Then I got an idea. "Maybe I do." I confessed, coming closer to him.

"Wh-What?!" he stuttered.

I leaned even closer so our faces were now just inches away from each other. I then slowly leaned in as if for a kiss. He closed his eyes and opened his lips slightly, waiting for me to kiss him. I then grinned and puffed a gust of air which moved some of the hair out of his eyes.

"But then again how could I think a pig-like ox is sexy?" I finished, standing up and pulling myself out of the water.

"Wha?" Gray uttered, a look of stupidity on his face.

I held in giggles and the urge to celebrate my complete victory as I turned. Then instant I started turning I knew I had whipped around too fast. My hands flew out and waved about madly as I slipped and started to fall backwards. My scream turned to bubbles as I fell and was submerged in the water. I sank, wide eyed, to the bottom of the deep end before pushing off the bottom with my good foot. Once I was at the surface I coughed rapidly and swatted my arms around, attempting to stay above water.

I felt something grab me and throw me over it's, well his, shoulder with ease. At this point I scowled and crossed my arms as Gray slowly trudged up the stairs leading out of the pool. When we were both fully out of the springs he set me done and grinned proudly.

"Hmph!"

"What is little Miss 'make-fun-of-Gray' upset that the big tough blacksmith outsmarted her?" he teased.

"Shut it miner boy." I grunted, starting to hop towards the girl's changing room.

"Claire wait!" Gray called after me.

I sighed and stopped. "What?" I questioned, refusing to face him.

"Hey I was just kidding okay?" he told me, "Please don't be mad."

I slowly looked over my shoulder and raised an eyebrow at him. What the hell was up with Gray? First he's humming and now he doesn't want me to be mad at him?! Who shoved a happy pill in his food?

"Okay whatever." I nodded, continuing on once more.

I was silently praying nothing embarrassing would happen on the way. Don't let me trip. Don't let me say something stupid! Don't let me pull on the push door! Don't let me have a wedgie that's exposing my ass to Gray this very second! I sighed in relief as I reached the door. I quickly pulled open the door when it happened.

For Goddess knows why, the string on my bathing suit top just so happened to be right near my shoulder that the door just so happened to brush past. While the door brushed past, that string amazingly snagged on a piece of wood splintering out of the frame. And, of course, my top had only been merely tied in a simple bow so lets just say it came off pretty easily.

At that precise moment everything just stopped. There was no sound. You couldn't even hear the sounds of us breathing for we both had obviously held our breath. My heart traveled up to my throat, making it hard for me to breathe. I 'swallowed' it then did the only thing I could think of.

I screamed.

I screamed at Gray. I screamed at the Harvest Goddess. I screamed at the door. I just screamed in general. I then flew into the changing room, my arms squeezed tightly over my breasts. Not bothering to fetch my top, I slammed the door leaving an open-mouthed blacksmith to drool over the naked images of me he still had in his mind. I slowly sank to the floor as the tears welled up in my eyes.

"Why do things have to be so difficult?!" I wailed, not caring if Gray could here my or not. Tears streaked down my cheeks as I buried my head in my hands.

I cried at the thought of Gray telling everyone he saw my boobs. I cried at thoughts of what Gray thought about me now. I cried at the fact that my breasts had been exposed in public. But mostly, I cried just to cry. So much had been dwelling on my shoulders, it felt good to let it all out.

Wiping my eyes on a nearby towel, I slowly stood and threw my overalls on. Once I was fully clothed and for the most part dry, I walked towards the exit and peeked out. There was nobody in sight. Gray, it seemed, had left already. I closed my eyes, hoping Gray was gone, then hurried home as quickly as my crutches would carry me. It was just one of those days again.

One of those days you desperately wanted to forget and lock away inside of you for eternity.


The days went by quickly. On the day of the Spring Thanksgiving Festival I awoke to the smell of burnt 'mushroom cookies' (As Karen had called them; New recipe she created herself) and spoiled milk. ("The shop was all out of fresh milk, I hope you understand!" Karen mumbled guiltily.) On the sixteenth we had a big girls only party for Elli. There was lots of drinking, pranks and jokes, and new nick names (Oh joy!) to be shared that night.

Finally today was the day. There was a thick, red circle around a particular date on my calender, making it stand out even more then the others.

Spring 17.

The day my cast came off.

I wasn't the happiest camper when I went into the Clinic the day after my Hot Springs 'incident' and found that my leg had reacted to the soggy cast left on it overnight. I had tons of incredibly itchy red bumps on every possible part of my right leg. Even between my toes. And even worse, all those bumps had to be recovered by another thick cast to rub up against them and cause me to have urges to chop the thing off with my axe and scratch the little bumps. But today I could finally get this drenched thing taken off.

"You're going to miss having your cast on your foot once it's off." Elli had told me. She was wrong.

So very wrong.

The morning of Spring 17 I jumped out of bed singing merely about having no cast and how I would burn it to ashes in my newly installed fireplace. On my way to the Clinic I sang other songs that reminded my of getting rid of my horrid cast.

Na na na na

Na na na na

Hey hey hey

I instantly swung the door to the Clinic open and screamed out the last word.

Goodbye!

"Hello Claire!" Elli giggled, "May I ask why you're telling me goodbye when you just entered?"

"Because Ell Bell! (Another nick name, horary!)" I cheered, "My cast is coming off today!"

"Oh yes you're right!" Elli nodded, peering down at her book full of appointments, "I'm scheduled to take off your and Gray's casts today."

This would be the time were the happy music stops like a recorder on an old time music player does when it skips a beat. The world came crashing down around me as I realized I would have to see Gray for the first time since my top...came...undone. I must of looked truly upset for Elli frowned and looked at me with a concerned expression.

"Something wrong Claire?" she asked curiously.

"What? Ah no it's nothing!" I lied, putting on a fake grin.

"Oh okay!" Elli replied with a smile as she turned and hurried to the backroom to get something.

My grin faltered then disappeared at I heard the door behind me open and close. I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed that it was anyone, anyone, other than Gray.

"Hey...Claire..." the blacksmith murmured awkwardly.

"Shit,"

"What?"

"Ah nothing!" I exclaimed, turning and giving a big toothy grin.

He stared at me cautiously before taking a seat. "So we get our casts off today, that's a big relief huh?" he tried, desperately trying to make things less awkward then they already were.

"Uh yeah," I nodded, gulping at the same time. I felt something building up inside of me, like a burp that wanted to be let out only it wasn't a burp.

"What're you going to do about-"

I couldn't take it anymore. I shook my head then shouted, "You saw me naked! I know you saw me naked! It happened, it's over with, we can move on with our lives now!" I caught my breath then looked at the redhead, waiting to see what he was going to do.

"What are you talking about?" I heard him say.

"You saw me naked at the Hot Springs!" I sputtered angrily. This was hard enough already! Why did he have to play these mind games with me as well?!

"No I didn't." he said simply.

"Yes you-" I stopped mid-sentence after realizing what he was going. "Oh." was all I could stutter out after that.

Gray merely grinned and shrugged. "Maybe you should stop eating all that apple pie, it's messing with you mind!" he teased.

I licked my lips at the thought of apple pie and laughed. "Speaking of apple pie," I continued, "let's me and you go get some at the Inn after we're done to celebrate."

"Celebrate what?" he questioned, "Getting our casts off?"

"No," I replied, "our friendship."


Does this mean Gray LIKE likes Claire now?! Who knows? Me. XD You'll find out next chapter! heh heh you have to wait! Now you HAVE to read the next chapter to find out! ;)

God I'm so tried. It's like 10 here and I have NOT been getting enough sleep recently. heh heh -sweatdrop- Anyways I'm working on chapter 21 immediatly tomorrow after school then theropy (for my foot guys XD) ANd I PROMISE no more long waits liek this ever again! T.T Anyways there might be some mistakes towards the end because I didn't re-read because I'm exhausted. I expect to see tons of review alrets in my inbox when I wake up tomorrow guys! ;) Love you all!
-Jenna