After our shower, we changed back into our pajamas and Willow texted her dad. We climbed into bed and she fell asleep almost at once. I kissed the top of her head as she curled up next to me. I had so desperately wanted to tell her how much I loved her but I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Ten minutes later, the door opened and Aaron walked in. I smiled at him. He smelled of beer and cigarettes and he was smirking at me. He leaned against the wall.
"Did you have fun?" he asked.
"We watched a scary movie," I said. "Turns out she's awful with them."
Aaron scoffed. "I wasn't born yesterday, son," he said and laughed when I groaned, tossing my head back. "Just don't break her heart, Nathan. If you do, I'll kill you."
"I won't," I said seriously, meeting his gaze. "I swear to you I won't." Making sure she was still asleep, I added, "I love her, Aaron."
He laughed, getting into bed and yawning. "It's about time you figured that out."
"Oh shut up," I grumbled.
The next morning, Willow got a phone call from Polly. A very furious Polly.
"Who do you think you are!?" she screeched over speaker phone and Willow rolled her eyes.
"I could ask you the same thing," I snapped.
"Do you know how much damage this is going to cause?"
"Damage?" Willow asked sarcastically. "Oh no, Nathan! Damage! Do you know anything about damage?"
"Mm, no," I said. "Maybe it's like having your house blown up and your horses almost burning to death."
"Oh shut up," she snapped. "We didn't do that. Some stupid teenagers did."
"But it's because of the shit you pulled that it happened!" Aaron yelled, surprising me. I hadn't heard him swear before. "You know that!"
"You can't let this get out," my mother said. "It'll destroy us!"
"I guess it's too bad that we already have," Willow said, leaning into the wall with a satisfied smirk at the shocked silence.
"You did what?" my father hissed.
"You heard me," she snapped. "I'm sure you'll see the story on the magazines if you ever leave your damn house. Nice job at selling Nathan's, by the way."
"We bought it," my mother said with a sniff. "We can do with it what we want. Now he'll really know what it's like to go from the bottom and up!"
"He already does," Aaron snapped. "Trust me, we haven't made it easy on him."
"I highly doubt that," Polly said haughtily. "We'll deny this."
"Good luck doing that," I said, smirking, too. "You see, not only did we make the letter public, we made several copies of that check." I laughed at the indignant noise from Polly. "They'll be in the articles."
"We'll get Brandon back on our side," my father snapped.
Willow laughed harshly. "No you won't. He's in Paris. By the time he gets back this will be over." She leaned closer to the phone, her face angry. "You ruined his life. You ruined my life. You will now learn what it feels like."
She hung up and we high-fived each other. Aaron looked sad, though.
"I wish it hadn't come to this," he said quietly.
"I want my life back, Daddy," Willow said, sitting on the bed next to him and holding his hand back. "If this is the way to do it, then so be it."
His phone rang. It was Vince.
"Way to go you three," he said, laughing. "Garrett just called me, trying to bribe me."
"Why am I not surprised?" I said sarcastically. "What did you tell him?"
"That if he tried it again we would increase the amount of money we would be suing. I record all my phone calls so we have evidence."
Willow shook her head then rested it on her father's shoulder.
"What's the next step?"
"We wait," he said simply. "The judge is reviewing our case and will then give us a court date. Once we get that to the public, we'll reconsider if we want to really move forward or not." He chuckled. "Check the magazines when you go out tomorrow. You'll like what you see."
"Why?" Willow asked.
"Well, unfortunately, your relationship got out there." We groaned in unison. "A family saw you kissing at a lake, I guess. Anyway, I was sent an early draft of the article and you'll like it, I promise. I think you guys are getting your lives back."
I beamed. "Thanks Vince."
"No problem. I've got a client coming in. You guys keep safe and don't do anything stupid."
"We'll try," Aaron said and we all laughed.
The next morning, we all left around nine. Willow was nervous but I was excited. Not only did I get to hold her hand in public, I really believed what Vince said. If the article was positive....
"Wow," Willow breathed when she saw the headline and my jaw dropped.
It was a picture of when we were at the lake. Whoever got it was sneaky but a good shot. It was just before I kissed her the first time.
The headline made up for it, though.
Oklahoma's New Elite Couple
Willow excitedly paid for the magazine and we sat on a bench, reading over her shoulder.
After three months of scandals, Nathaniel Banker and Willow Turner have made their relationship a solid deal now. Mr. Banker fell from grace when rumors circulated that he was helping Miss Turner indulge in a cheating relationship with her ex-boyfriend. Word then spread that he was working with the Turners at their ranch.
Tragedy struck when their home was destroyed and their barn set on fire. Witnesses saw Mr. Banker frantically helping the Turners save their horses and help put the fire out. Many came forward with their accounts and the public view began to change in Mr. Banker's favor.
The Banker Family has been trying to squash these claims with Polly Banker appearing on many news stations saying it was a lie. Then, just a few days ago, Aaron Turner, Willow Turner, and Nathaniel Banker approached a lawyer to sue the Banker Family for slander at a total of $200,000.
"They're well within their rights," their lawyer, Vince Hardy, said. "After the destruction of their home, they have reached their breaking point."
Mr. Hardy confirmed their relationship and how serious they were about their claim for suing.
Three months of rumors. Three months of harassment. Three months of nothing but hatred from the public. Three months of heartache.
For Willow Turner and Nathaniel Banker, this has meant nothing. Against all odds, they have stayed strong and even come together as a couple.
Though we won't know the outcome of the court trial for several weeks, we do know one thing: Nathaniel Banker has reached the top again with the help of his faithful girlfriend and her supportive father.
It took up two pages and there was even the picture of the bribe check with a caption stating it as such. The other pictures were of us fighting the fire and one of me helping load up after the competition. I smiled proudly and Willow nudged me happily
"You know what this means, right?" Aaron said with a grin.
"We have our lives back," Willow and I said in unison.