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Jared looked to me as well, wondering how I could get out of this. After my fearful glance back at him, he seemed to realize I had no plans whatsoever. He sighed, then turned to Trina. “She and that horse are really something, Trina. They totally aced everyone in their divisions. Kiro has amazing potential, and Ka- Krista, is an amazing eventer herself. I really think it would be a good idea to …” She cut him off harshly, storming closer to us, “Shut up. I don’t want to hear a response from you, I want it from Kristene.” I was instantly infuriated with her for speaking so critically to Jared, but she gave me no time to tell her about it, “you are not an eventer. I don’t care what that horse is, he could be a freaking rabbit for all I care, you are not an eventer. You will not set foot in that ring ever again, and if you think that it is acceptable to do so, I hope you have great luck finding a new barn. I’m half tempted to throw you out anyway, seeing as to how you lied to me. That horse is gone, Kristene, you did that to yourself,” her words cut so deeply, I wasn’t sure I could keep my composure. Trina had always been there for me. She had always helped me through everything – I was sure I would never leave her barn. As she was making her way out the door, her final words to me were most certaintly the most harsh, “don’t bring that horse back to my barn. He is for sale to the highest offer as soon as he’s healed. He can stay at your boyfriend’s barn until then. You defy me now, Krista, I’ll make sure that horse is sold across the country, and by god you can go with him.”
She slammed the door behind her and I lost it. Tears streamed from my eyes, and I couldn’t begin to comprehend half of what Trina had said. After too long of me sitting in Jared’s lap, bawling my eyes out, I took out every machine attached to me and began getting dressed. Jared tried to stop me, “Kat! Kat, what are you doing? You can’t leave yet, not until you are healed.” I ignored his pleas, until he wouldn’t stop pestering me. Once I was dressed, I looked him straight in the eye, and told him what was happening. “I’m in stable condition. I’m going to sign out of this hospital, and you are going to drive me to your barn. I’m going to see my horse, and I’m going to find a way to buy him. Okay?” He shook his head, “No Kat. I’m not letting you walk out of here-“ I cut him off, “What if it was Northgate? What if your barn owner was selling Northgate, and you had one chance to see him before he was gone?”
He paused, thinking hard about the situation. His closed his eyes slowly, then reached for some rental-car keys. “Go to the front desk and sign out. I’ll get the car warm and pull it around front.”
It was terrible. Seeing my boy all strung up to the ceiling, weight off his hooves, held still. His glistening black coat had spots of blood where he had been scratched and bruised, and his perfect nose held a thin slice where the hay manger must have hit him. “Oh god …” was the only thing I could mutter. Suddenly, though, Kiro perked up. His ears swiveled to my small sound, and his eyes shot to me as he lifted his head in an overexcited way. He then neighed, loudly and with purpose, and somehow I knew he was going to be alright. I smiled wide through burning tears, and went into the stall to comfort him. “Oh my Kiro, I’m so sorry. It’s going to be okay buddy. You’re a fighter, and you’ll get through this. I’ll get a few extra jobs here and there, I’ve got my savings account, and you’ll be mine. It will just be us, Kiro.”
I stood there for a little while longer, before checking on Northgate quickly. He was in a bit better condition, with no sling needed to hold him still. “They’re both very sore,” Jared told me, “but the vet said they’ll make full recoveries, probably be ride-able in the next 2 months. It’s great news, considering.” I nodded, understanding. Knowing that it was good news, and being happy about that, but also being disappointed that it had happened at all. Stupid trucks.
“Kat, how are you going to buy that horse?” Jared asked me solemnly. I could tell he was doubt-full, and I wasn’t too sure of myself either. “I’ll get him. I have some savings; about three thousand. I’ll work what I can and get as much money as possible while he heals. Wait till the first buyer comes along, tell Trina I’ll take more than that, and she’ll have to give him to me.” I sighed, wishing me and Trina were still on good terms, “she may be upset, but she’s not stupid. She knows that horse is as good as mine.” Jared stared into the stall, as we were standing at the gates of them now, just watching the horses. “I’ll help,” he offered. “You don’t have to do that, Jared. I would never ask that after all you’ve done,” I rejected. There was no way I could ask him for money, not after he was already keeping my horse here for the meantime. “No,” he countered, “It’s not going to be cheap, Krista. These vet bills will be too much to handle. Heck, the vet bills alone will eat up that three grand. There’s no way you can do this alone, and I’m not going to sit here and let this horse get away from you when I know I can do something about it. Consider the vet bills paid. I’ll get you guys taken care of there, that way you can put all your focus into just getting the purchase done. If you need any help with that, I want you to call me.” I tried to disallow this offer, but he simply hushed me, “I don’t want to hear it. Unless you are about to say, ‘of course Jared, I’d love for you to help,’ I don’t want to hear anything else.”
I shook my head, giggling at the thought that I had been so lucky to have such an amazing person in my life, “Fine. Jared, I’d love for you to help.” He smiled and nodded, “Good. Glad we are on the same page! Now come on, let’s get you home. No worries, I’ll drive you back to the barn before school, and also get you home afterwards. No ‘buts’ there, either, missy,” he threw me a wayside grin, “good boyfriends take care of their girlfriends.” I smiled wide, in a childish, bubbly fashion, “and a good boyfriend you are.”
I didn’t want to leave the horses, but settled on knowing I’d be back tomorrow morning. The drive home was a bit of a long one, as my mind was swimming with all sorts of thoughts. Walking in the door was worth it, though. “Sissy!” Navy cried out, running to the door and gently wrapping his arms around my legs, “Mommy said to be careful with Sissy, but I missed you so much! Sissy, are you hurt? Are you going to be better?” I laughed, and knelt down to Navy’s level, “Of course Sissy is going to be better. I’m a little beat up, but your big sister has a little more fight in her than that!” Navy smiled wide, and gave me another careful hug around the neck. Jared picked him up as he requested, and I stood to find my mother standing before me. She frowned, obviously upset with herself, “Krista, I’m sorry. I should have never left you like that. I just didn’t think that anything could happen …” I really wanted to agree with her, tell her that her choice was stupid and pathetic. But the pain in her eyes told me that wasn’t the best idea.
“No, mom. This could have happened to anybody at any time. There’s nothing anyone could do. I have good people that are helping, and I’m going to be fine; though I do have to talk to you about my situation later. For now, I think we owe Jared a dinner. He’s kind of doing a lot to help,” I suggested, hoping my mother would oblige. Thankfully she did. “Yes of course, he’s been wonderful while you’ve been at the hospital. It’s the least we can do.” Jared attempted to play it off as no big deal, but my mother was like myself, and wouldn’t let him carry on thinking in such a fashion. After dinner and a few minutes of relaxing and talking about what was going on with Kiro and Trina, it was time for Jared to leave and for me to head to bed.
It had been decided that Jared would drive me to the barn quickly before school, but he would drop me off at the house before he went. I had to take a few days off, he said, to recover. My mother obviously agreed, and I wasn’t opposed to the idea. Once I had head to my bedroom, I caught notice of the framed drawing of my spectacular horse. “Don’t worry, my boy. You’ll be back this way soon.” I stroked the glass carefully, before snuggling into bed, “You’ll be mine, soon.”