Sorry this next installment is so poor in quality. Just getting back into the swing of it. More tonight or tomorrow!
“Well good morning, sleepyhead!” I woke abruptly, sitting up much faster than I should. I groaned in pain, but turned to see Jared standing in the doorway of the loft, coming in and dropping his heavy-looking book bag. “Take it easy, Kat, it’s just me,” he almost commanded, clearly worried. He was a good friend. “What time is it?” I muttered sleepily, “about three o’clock. Just got home from school. Don’t worry about it though, you need to sleep as much as possible. It’s the best way for you to heal, considering you never sit still when you are up and about,” he teased, and I made a snarky face in turn. “Yeah yeah, you hush.” I pulled myself out of the small bed slowly, and began to strip the sheets to convert it back into a couch. Jared walked over quickly to stop me, “I’ll take care of it. You go see Kiro, I’ll be down in a moment,” he knew me too well, knowing exactly what I was aiming for. I nodded in agreement and went back down to see my horse.
Just the thought … ‘my horse’ … was a sad reminder that he wasn’t yet mine. How was I ever going to get the money to purchase him? Trina would charge a hefty price for him, considering he now had a winning streak in Eventing. I knew the people that had been at the circuit Jared and I had entered before the crash would flock him like birds to a fishing hole. I could only hope that his anti-stranger ways could scare them away. “Is that bad to wish for?” I thought aloud, thinking I was out of earshot of anyone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. “What did you say, madam?” The new voice startled me, causing me to jump uncomfortably. The voice came from a man, dressed in high-class riding gear, standing by the stall near Northgate. I knew it was the owner of the barn from his location – the horse stalled next to Northgate was Standfordshire Delight.
Jared had told me many things about the barn owner and his horse. Standford was remarkable animal, one of amazing talent. Gary Richard had brought him up from scratch, born from one of the top Warmbloods in Germany. Gary had Standford shipped back to the US with him, and the rest is history. Today, Standford held countless awards, won about half a million Grand Prix’s, anything you could think of. Oddly enough, he wasn’t an Eventer, but a show jumper. Gary did own a mare that he evented with, but she was up and coming. I might have asked him why he spent all the extra money to make the barn one of the eventing type if I didn’t have other things on my mind.
“I’m sorry miss; I didn’t mean to startle you. You are Kristene, aren’t you- Jared’s friend, owner of that black over there?” I nodded quickly, wanting to seem more professional than I had so far. “Yes sir, I am.” I walked up to him and reached my hand out in greeting, “Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Richards, Jared has said great things.” He chuckled to himself a bit, shaking my hand firmly. “Yes, I’m sure he has. He’s a good kid, and he has a nice horse. Much like yours,” he gestured his hand over to Kiro’s stall, and began walking to his door. I walked a bit ahead of Mr. Richards, terrified of what Kiro may do. “Please be careful sir, he’s a bit … afraid of strangers, I guess you could say.” Gary stopped just short of Kiro’s stall, continuing his content chuckle, “Yes Kristene, I found that out a little bit ago,” My face went pink, and I gave a stink eye to my black beast. He gave me a sparkly look, ears pricked, almost to say ‘well what’s wrong?’
“I’m really sorry about that, Mr. Richards,” I muttered apologetically. He just shook his head and waved his hand, “Don’t be sorry little lady, I’ve met many a horse that has the personality like yours. Just good with his master, nobody else.” I smiled and nodded, glad that Gary Richards seemed so understanding. “Mister, I’m in a bit of a predicament. See, my trainer owns Kiro, he’s not mine. She wants to sell him, though. It would be devastating for both me and Kiro, and I really don’t want to see that happen. Unfortunately, I don’t have the funds to purchase Kiro right now. I’d like to ask for the opportunity to work at this beautiful stable. I can start as soon as I am well enough to lift a water bucket.” I didn’t have to inform him of the accident – considering he was stalling my horse, he had to know.
He nodded slowly, pondering the offer. “Kristene, as I’ve said before, I’ve met many horses like yours,” he paused, looking in at Kiro, “you need that horse. Jared has told me about how amazing of a team you two make, and I’m convinced that you need each other.” He turned back to me, a small kind grin on his face. Things looked hopeful. “The job is yours, Kristene. Welcome to the family. You’ll have to call me Gary, though, no need for over formalities.” I laughed, “In that case, call me Krista.” He nodded in agreement, “alright, Krista. You can start whenever you are well, you just let me know. You’ll get twenty an hour to do all the stalls, all the water, and bring everybody in in the mornings. Sound good?” I was somewhat shocked. Twenty an hour was a lot more than I was expecting, more than Trina had ever been able to pay me. “Can I come in around 4 AM? That’s before school for me, I can do that.” Gary smiled wide, “4 AM is perfect! Most kids won’t come before nine!” I shook my head just thinking of the preposterous number. I could tell me and Gary were going to get along just fine.
Finding another job, on the other hand, was a bit of a stretch. Sitting at my desk in my room, looking through my laptop, I realized my predicament. I didn’t have much experience in doing anything other than working at the stables. I knew this was my fault, but I really never needed another job. What I got from Trina was enough to pay my way and get by, as I didn’t really need much more than the horses and some art supplies to keep me happy. Now I had to really get a high sum in the bank, though, and it would be a challenge; but no matter what, I couldn’t let that horse go. After tallying everything up for endless hours, I decided I needed to know what Trina was planning on selling Kiro for. The only way I could find out was to call Trina … considering the last time we had spoken, I had low hopes for this event.
After a good amount of time just building up the confidence to dial the number, I picked up the phone and hit call. Three rings pass, but finally she picks up. “Hello Krista,” came a less-than-pleased response. “How is Kiro?” she asked, though I instantly assumed she was more interested in knowing so that she knew she’d have something against me. I know it was a terrible thing to think, but with what she had said, I had no other reason to think this way, “He’s coming along really nicely, Trina. Thanks for asking,” I replied lightly, in hopes to ease her mood. “So what is it you want? You didn’t call just to chat about rainbows and unicorns, I hope.” Guess it didn’t work. “Trina, look, I’m sorry I went behind your back. Kiro is really meant for that life, he’s so good at it! You should have seen him Trina, you would have loved to see…” she cut me off, “Kristene, I don’t care! I don’t care what he’s good at. He can do that with someone else! The fact of the matter is you lied to me, more than once! You risked your life for something pointless, and his too! You could have been seriously hurt, Krista! I just don’t understand what was going through your mind, but you best know it was the dumbest thing you’ve ever done. There’s no sorry for this, Krista. You’re going to have to fix what you’ve done. You can figure out how to do it.”
I could tell she was ready to hang up, so I caught her before she did, “Trina, wait! Just let me know what you want to sell Kiro for. We can discuss … things later. I need to know what you want to sell him for.” She was silent.
“Seven. Seven thousand. He’s got eventing potential. As ridiculous as it is, some eventer will take him for seven.”
I hung up. I wanted to cry. I wanted to just bawl my eyes out. All those years with Krista, all we’ve been through, and this is how it was going to end. It crushed me, made me want to curl up in a ball and just die. But I didn’t. I sat up, and wrote down the number. Seven thousand. 7,000. $7,000. Seven grand. I wrote it in a million ways. “I’m going to get that. I’m going to get that seven thousand, and I’m going to get my horse.
After finally making up all the math, I realized with an income of $20 an hour starting in about 30 days, with 21 hours a week I could have eight thousand in twenty weeks. “Four months,” I said aloud. The vet estimated Kiro would be healthy and able to be ridden in two. Even after a month of bringing him back, which even Trina would probably accept, I would still need a whole month, and he’d be gone by then. I’d need a job that paid at least ten an hour. “Easy! A fast food joint! They’ll take me, no problem.”
I searched the web all over, collecting phone numbers and contacts to call and apply for jobs. Before I knew it, it was midnight. Figuring it was too late to call, I slipped into bed. It would be an early morning, after all. I glanced to the framed sketch on my wall before heading to bed, as I always did. “We’re going to make it, Kiro. We’re going to make it.”
~ When I Die, Remember Me By My Horses ~
* Because They Are Responsible *
.: For Letting Me Live :. (c) xJumperx