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Running Away on Hooves, Heart, and Hope

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        08-07-2014, 09:56 PM
      #41
    Yearling
    Chapter 11

    The next morning came more quickly today, as the buzzer rang that woke Miranda and I pierced the quiet veil that had surrounded the room. I sat up in bad, throwing my legs to the side of the bed, and rubbed my face for a bit. My eyes still hurt a bit, and my face could stand a good wash. “You okay, Cassie?” I looked up at Miranda, wondering if I really looked that bad. Before I could say anything, Miranda gasped, “have you been crying? Your eyes are totally bloodshot, what’s wrong?” She immediately jumped up and switched over to my bed, laying a hand on my back. “It’s nothing Miranda, I promise. Just … dealing with some stuff from where I came from.” I tried to be careful with my wording, not wanting to call the place ‘home’ in fear of insulting Miranda. She reached over for a hug, “You can talk to me about anything, Cassie. We’re practically sisters now; I’ve got your back!”



    I thanked Miranda, but her comforting words came with a pang of guilt. If I went to the ranch, I would have to leave Miranda behind. It seemed no matter what I did, someone had to be left behind. If I left for the ranch, I let Xavier down. If I left for home, I let Dean down. If I don’t stay, I let Miranda down. How could anyone make a decision in just one week?


    For now, I had more immediate things to keep my brain occupied. Chores had to be done, and my workload was no lighter than anyone else’s. I got up to wash my face and get ready before heading downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast was always a lot more quiet than dinner was, since everyone was still waking up. There wasn’t much talking to the whole house, but many people just mumbled to whoever they were sitting around. I sat between Dean and Miranda as I usually did, so I typically spoke the most to them. Adam was on the other side of Dean, and I talked to him a lot too, but he had been abnormally quiet lately. This morning, I had too much on my mind to do a lot of speaking. Instead, I lay gently against Dean’s arm as we both ate slowly. He was talking to Adam.


    “Where have you been, man? You’re coming back to the room as late as you’re allowed to, I never see you during rec hours … where do you keep sneaking off to?” Dean questioned quietly, keeping his voice low so that the counselors wouldn’t hear. Adam sighed, “I’m just working harder with my chores is all. Trying to earn my keep and stuff.” I felt Dean tense up, and couldn’t help but think that Adam was hiding something. Glancing across the table, I noticed the Blonde Brigade seemed to be having a disagreement, but they were speaking too quietly for anyone to hear what they were saying. What was so weird about everyone today?


    After breakfast, we headed out to the barn to take care of our horses. I moved with more ambition now, entirely focused on Donner instead of my situation. I loved taking care of my boy. It was a release for me, a time where I could relax and enjoy myself. I brushed him off completely, checked his water and his hay, cleaned his hooves … anything I could think of to make my boy more comfortable. Leaving him was hard, but I was eventually called back into the house to do my chores.



    I was starting to notice Adam’s absence more and more. His chores got done very quickly, yet nobody seemed able to find him. Checking the board caused another growing suspicion, but I tried to push it down. Surely that couldn’t be true … it was Adam we were talking about! He would never do such a thing. I shrugged it off and finished up my chores so that I could chill out with Dean and Miranda, whom were both in the recreation area. Lilith was also there, reading some sort of teen magazine in a far lounge. I didn’t say a word to her, knowing her feelings towards me. I plopped down on the couch my friends were at. “What’s up guys?” They grinned, Miranda replying, “nothing much, just talking about going to a small water-park that is just up the road. If Vickie will take us, do you want to come with? You can borrow one of my suits again.” I quickly nodded, loving the sound of it. “What about Adam?” I asked, though my question was met with a scornful face from Dean. “He can stay and do whatever it is he does that is too good for us.” His tone left a, “just let it be” impression, so neither me nor Miranda said anything more about it.


    Vickie agreed to take us, and said she would pick us up around dinner time. We threw ourselves in the van, and were ready to pull away when we were stopped by surprise. “Wait!” Strangely enough, it was Lilith. She was decked out in a skimpy bathing suit cover, carrying a full bag and sunglasses. She jumped into the van before we pulled away, snapping herself into a seat. “I’m just going to tan. I could use the sun.” She had made an attempt to make it sound snappy, but it didn’t sound true. She almost sounded … hurt? Sad? I couldn’t tell for sure, but whatever it was made my suspicions rise even further.


    We had a wonderful time at the water park. Lilith stuck true to her intentions and stuck mostly to the outside of the pool, frequently rubbing on oils and tanners of all sorts. She did come back home with us a shade darker, I must admit. Dean, Miranda, and I on the other hand, came home with minor burns and thorough exhaustion. I ended up falling asleep on Miranda’s shoulder on the way home, Dean falling asleep on mine.



    Vickie woke everyone up when we got back to the Haven, and shooed us inside to hurry up and change. Dinner would be on the table in just minutes. When we sat at the table for our meal, something was clearly awry. While Dean, Miranda and I were in our normal spots, Adam and Chelsea were not. Instead of Adam sitting on our side of the counselors, they now sat directly next to us, with Adam on the side of the BB. He stared at his meal the whole time, while Dean was busy glaring at him, daring him to look up from his plate. Dinner was unusually quiet tonight, but I knew as soon as it was time for us to head to our rooms, that Adam and Dean would be in for some trouble.



    I wasn’t wrong. I kept my ears open, and for good reason. Soon enough, I heard shouting. Since Dean’s and Adam’s room was right next to ours, Miranda and I could hear everything when we sat near the far wall. “Are you kidding me, Adam?! Who do you think you are?? You are sick, man, a traitor at best!” Dean’s voice, then Adam’s shouted reply. “I love her, man! You don’t know what that’s like! How could I ignore it?” Dean cut him short, scoffing and making angry noises, “You don’t love her, you used to hate her! This is Chelsea we are talking about! I mean, you are practically hooking up with the devil’s mistress!” “Oh, like you know Cassie so well? You’ve got no room to talk Dean; you went and latched on to the next piece of meat that showed up here!” The comment stung, but I waited for Dean’s reply. Instead of an instant reply, we heard a dull BANG. Something muttered coming from Dean, then another sound, though this sounded like a smack or … I jumped up, instantly bolting out of the room. I threw myself into the boys’ room, and found Dean crouched over Adam, on the floor with a raised fist. I jumped onto him, pulling him away from Adam’s now bloody face. Dean looked at me with a wild eye for a moment, as if stunned or lost. After a second, he just smoothed my hair back and held me back, going limp in my arms. “Miranda, please go get –“ I was cut off by loud footsteps. Miranda didn’t need to go and get anyone, they were already here. I didn’t turn to face the door. I knew what was coming. Silent tears fell down my face. I suddenly had a lot less than a week to make up my mind. Dean would probably be leaving in the next few days … if not right now.
         
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        08-07-2014, 10:16 PM
      #42
    Yearling
    Chapter 12

    It was Vickie that had come up. She brought us all downstairs, now. Me, Dean, Adam, and Miranda, all seated around the dining room table. Vickie and Tamira sat around Adam, with Dean between Miranda and I on the other side of the table. For only a second, there was silence. Vickie had patched Adam up, him only needing a bit of a good face-wash and some bandages by his cheek where Dean had hit him. Vickie was the first to speak, though she was hushed. “As you know, we have a strict policy against violence. Since Dean had already had arrangements to leave the Haven within the week, we are now simply taking the choice away from him. He will be forced to go.” Dean seemed angry, and was about to object. I placed my hand on his arm, hoping to hush him. I was successful. Miranda was the one to speak, “what? What do you mean?”


    Tamira briefed Miranda on the situation, adding my plan on the end. “It will be Cassandra’s choice if she is to stay, or leave. Cassandra, we will need that answer by this time two days from now.” I took a sharp breath, fearful to make such a big decision so quickly. How could I ever choose between Dean and Xavier? And what about Miranda? I hated this. I was starting to wish I was still on the run. Maybe that would be the best path to take …


    Dean squeezed my hand, breaking my train of thought. He wanted me to go with him. I wanted to go with him. But I couldn’t be multiple places at once. How could I explain to him if I didn’t want to go? Vickie broke my train of thought. “I was actually coming up to your rooms for a different reason, when I saw … the situation.” Our ears perked up, curious as to what Vickie could have wanted us for. “It’s Miranda,” she noted, turning to my friend. “She has a family that would like to adopt her.”


    ~*~


    Miranda was set to meet this family the very next day. As it turns out, they were perfect. She would have an older brother by two years, and a mother and father that had always wanted a girl, but the mother had had complications in birthing their first child and lost her ability to have any more children. The brother seemed very kind and extremely welcoming to Miranda. They really liked her, and I could tell she really liked them. It was bittersweet, helping her pack. We reminisced the memories we had together, and I told her to keep in touch with me, writing down my phone number for her. She swore that she would, and I believed her. She “forgot” to pack her Supernatural bathing suit, and told me she didn’t want to bother with getting back into her suitcase. “I can’t take it from you,” I pleaded. “No, I have like a billion. I need to give it to you,” she laughed. We joked around a bit more, and then I was forced to lead her down a more serious road.


    It was obvious that I had no reason to stay at the Haven now. The question was, who do I go to? “Cassie, you’ve got to do what you think is best for you. Your family is your blood, but you ran off for a reason. Dean really loves you, and you and Donner would find success at the Ranch, but do you want to wait a few years to see Xavier again?” She begged great questions, and I was forced to ponder upon them. When she was walking out the door, I was still unsure.


    Everyone at the Haven gave big hugs to Miranda as she left, even the Blonde Brigade. There were many tears shed, but I knew Miranda would be happy in her new home. As the van drove away, we headed to the barn to do our nightly chores. I spent a long while just talking to Donner, wishing he could tell me what the right thing to do was. I knew he would be happy wherever we went. But could I be sure my parents wouldn’t threaten to sell him again? What if the Ranch wasn’t as fancy as the Haven? Though the trek home would be immensely hard, the Ranch would trailer him there. But if we went home, he would be going back to familiar territory.


    Once again, I had to be forced to come back inside. I wished I could spend all night out in the barn, just being with my horse. No matter what, he was the biggest part in my life. I don’t know where I would be without him. I know I couldn’t have survived without him, that’s for sure. At dinner, there was a bit more chatter from yesterday, but nothing substantial. Mostly, we reminisced about Miranda, and that kept the bygones at bay between the conflicting groups. After dinner, Vickie reminded me that I only had a day left to decide. I nodded, understanding, and head up to a room that I no longer shared. I sighed, before finally falling asleep after a long while.
         
        08-07-2014, 10:18 PM
      #43
    Yearling
    The last chapter will be up either late tonight or tomorrow afternoon. Thank you all for your patience, I hope you guys have enjoyed this story! It still needs a title, if anyone has any ideas!

    Where do you guys think she will go now?? The Ranch? Back home? Will she run off again, just travel? Either way, she has Donner, but where will she call her new home?
    Roadyy likes this.
         
        08-08-2014, 01:51 AM
      #44
    Foal
    I don't think she should run off again! I think she should go to the ranch at this point. But I do think she should get to see or at least talk to Xavier and tell him about Dean.
    faiza425 likes this.
         
        08-10-2014, 01:03 PM
      #45
    Yearling
    Chapter 13

    I placed the bathing suit in my suitcase, the last thing to go in. I was dressed in jean shorts and a comfortable tee, though I made sure to look presentable. I had already been out to get Donner ready for the trip. He had polos and bandages on his legs for the haul, and was brushed impeccably. I zipped up the suitcase with a sigh. The adventure had been fun, but it was time for me to get to where I belong.



    I grabbed my new smartphone, a gift from Vickie. The iPhone was newer than my old one, and I was already quite fond of it. I had added back the phone numbers I still remembered, including Miranda’s, but there was only one person I had to dial right now. “Hello?” Came the voice. “Xavier? It’s me – it’s Cassie.”



    The conversation wasn’t an easy one to have. “I miss you, Xavier, I do. I will see you soon, okay?” I assured him. “Are you coming home, Cas?” His voice chirped a bit, clearly hopeful. I sighed, unable to aide his excitement. “There is someone here, his name is Dean. He was given the opportunity to go to a permanent Ranch, and he’s asked me to go with him.” The line was quiet for a moment, but I could have guessed it would be. “So, you’re going?” His voice was dull, and I hated it. I wanted nothing more than to please Xavier, but I knew I couldn’t do that now. Going home wasn’t an option anymore, not if I was to be happy. “Once I’m 18, we can meet up as soon as possible. It’s only a bit more than a year away, and I’ll still call you all the time. We’ll be okay, Xavi,” I attempted to convince him. I knew our friendship could last the distance, but I also knew it would be hard. “I know, Cas. I’ll see you soon, okay? Make sure you call me when you’re settled at your new place.” His voice was genuine, and caring. I knew we would be okay.


    We said our goodbyes, and hung up. I grabbed the heavy suitcase from the bed. Tamira had given me a suitcase to use for packing, so that I didn’t have to lug everything in separate bags like I had on the way here. I had given the farm the temporary pasture, plus anything else I didn’t need anymore. They were grateful for the extra utensils, and I was glad to have offered them something for keeping me around. I met Dean at the bottom of the stairs. “You ready to roll, Cas?” I nodded, grabbing his free hand. We had already said goodbye to everyone, and now just had to make our way to the truck that would take us to our new home. We threw our stuff in the back, loaded up the horses, and made our way to what would be our own little slice of paradise.


    ~*~



    The alarm clock clicked on, playing whatever was on the radio at the time at full volume. The time flashed on the little screen, and signified the time for us to be getting up. I sat up in bed, wearing a pair of cloth shorts and one of Dean’s t-shirts. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and got up. I walked across the room to the door that divided mine and Dean’s rooms. His alarm clock was also going off, but of course, he was still sound asleep. “Come on, sleepy-head, it’s Regionals today!” He turned over in his bed, slowly at first. “What day is it again?” He muttered groggily, still half-asleep. I plopped down beside him on the bed, with enough excitement for the both of us. “Regionals! Regionals! You’re going to get first in Trail, and I’m going to kick some tail in the Jumpers class, and we’re on our way to Nationals!”



    He finally sprung up, grabbing me by the waist and lifting me up while he jumped up. “Yeah buddy! Go get dressed, we gotta go!” He set me down, and I ran back for my room to get ready. We entered the hallway at the same time, and giggled like school children, racing down the stairs to Louise and Jake, our counselors. Louise and Jake were also married, and loved treating us as if we were their own. We really felt at home here, like we truly belonged. After eating a wonderful breakfast, we ran off to the barn to get our horses ready for the trailer. The barn was pristine, essentially everything I had ever dreamed of. Shoot, the whole place was a dream come true.


    With horses in the trailer, and counselors in the front seats, Dean and I shared the back. Considering it wasn’t even light out yet, we found ourselves sleeping on each other’s shoulders pretty quickly. There was no doubt in my mind that I had made the right choice. With Dean by my side, anything was possible. With Donner by my side, the possibilities were made even better.
    faiza425 and Roadyy like this.
         
        08-10-2014, 01:45 PM
      #46
    Weanling
    Love! Yay Dean and Cas!!
         
        08-10-2014, 06:28 PM
      #47
    Yearling
    Hope you guys loved it!
    While I enjoyed writing this one more, I personally think I like Heartlands a bit better as a whole. This read is aimed more for younger audiences, but if I made one reader happy, that's a success for me! :)

    Hope you guys enjoyed! I'll let you know if I put anything else out!
    horsedream568 likes this.
         
        08-11-2014, 08:58 AM
      #48
    Green Broke
    I have to agree about my enjoyment of Heartlands more as the story went on, but that is because I am older and not much about reading the teenage romance stuff. It was still a good read and my girls loved it.
    Heartlands had a little, but not the triangle and not really the teenage frills that come with it. I am sure the younger teens will enjoy this one very much.
    xJumperx likes this.
         
        08-11-2014, 03:30 PM
      #49
    Yearling
    Yes, Roadyy, I agree completely. I did want to go with something different for this story, and see if I could appeal to different audiences. I would also really like to play around with equine novels aimed at an adult level, but I'm not sure that my writing ability will match that age range. I'm continuing to practice, though!
         
        08-11-2014, 03:47 PM
      #50
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xJumperx    
    Yes, Roadyy, I agree completely. I did want to go with something different for this story, and see if I could appeal to different audiences. I would also really like to play around with equine novels aimed at an adult level, but I'm not sure that my writing ability will match that age range. I'm continuing to practice, though!



    Pssst! I'm 43 years young and a dad of four daughters. I think you can get the attention of us "Adults" lol. Ok, so being tenderized after raising four girls and raising someone else's 2 year old daughter since she was 7 weeks old may attribute to my ability to get these stories, but they are really good to my limited experience in these types of stories.
    xJumperx likes this.
         

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