Summary- Annabelle grew up on her father's ranch along side her best friend Beau. The two always loved to ride off on their horses and race through the open fields and into the mountains. When Annie was 18 a man came into town and swept her off her feet. They married and he took Annie back to his home town. New York City. The story begins with Annie lost and confused no longer the free strong girl she had once been. She feels trapped and ready to let go of life as she holds on to her last strand of life a voice comes on the answering machine. A voice she had long forgotten. Beau. The story goes to her daughter and how the City girl discovers the world where her mother grew up, she learns how she can find freedom on the open range.
The horses thundered up the rolling hill that over looked the valley, the small girl atop her huge black horse in the lead her hat flying in the lead only being held on by the thread that was around her neck. Her laughter seemed to echo in the valley. The boy only moments behind her on his solid paint horse looked defeated as they reached the top.
“Ya going to have to try better Beau .” The girl spoke pulling her hat on to her head
“Well I aint never going to catch you if ya cheat.” The boy said glaring at her, “Ya took a head start.”
“I aint never cheeted, my horse is jus better” the girl said folding her arms glaring back at the boy.
“Aint no horse better then my old girl she good for ranch work.” He told her, after all he grew up on a ranch of working horses like her, but unlike the girl he didn’t have his mind filled with thoughts of grandeur.
“My girl is built for speed, better then any horse on any old ranch round here.” The girl said
“She never be good at rounding cattle or pullin any.” He told her “Only for you to race round on and eat up good grass for workin horses.” He told her
“I’ll still beat you at any race any time any where Beau ” she said “and that aint ever going to chance.”
“Race you back to the Ranch.” Beau said without waiting for her to respond, he turned his paint and kicked her into a gallop back in the direction of the ranch.
“Hey!” the girl yelled out, “Beau you lousy cheat!” she yelled sending her mare in pursuit.
Bo raced away on his mare knowing that the only way he could win against his friend was to get a head start. As he raced away he would never forget the look in her eyes, how free she was how full of spirit she was, from that day on he knew he would always love her.
The woman sat alone as she remembered her old rides into the valley with dear Beau , she longed for those days back riding like the wind on her spirited mare. She wanted to be free like she had once been, where she didn’t dress to impress anyone, where all she had to worry about was beating Beau at a race and arguing about what made a better horse. The light was no longer in her eyes the years of being a trophy wife on the arm of powerful man had seemed to tame her. It had been sixteen years since she left her small ranching town to marry her husband she had been young, only eighteen but she was beautiful. She caught the eye of a rich man who always got what he wanted, he wooed the girl that wanted to see the world promised her an adventure of a life time, but after she married him everything he promised her was put on hold for his career. She didn’t find out until long after she married him he never intended on following through with his promises, he just wanted someone beautiful to hold on his arm and show off to society.
After years of falling for his lies she finally realized the only place she truly wanted to be was home, on her ranch with her horses. Yet she knew that wouldn’t happen there was no way she would ever get out of her husbands grasp. He was powerful he had already let her know there was no way out of a marriage to him, it would look bad on him if his wife left. There was only one thing left to do, one thing left that would make her free. She picked up the bottle of pain pills she had just bought, all she had to do was take them, take them all and she would be free forever. Carefully she lifted each pill to her mouth and began to swallow them one by one she began to empty the bottle until the bottle was empty she would be free soon. After a while she began to grow tired she went to stand to lie down on the couch, but stumbled to the floor. The end was near she was going to be free away from the life she hated, the life she had thought she wanted. She never knew until she left that her life was meant to take place on an open ranch, while and free. Her world began to fade away. As she was about to slip away she could hear the phone ringing. The answering machine would get it. Then she heard the front door open.
“Mom, are you going to answer the phone?” Came a voice from the front hall.
She hadn’t expected her daughter home; she was supposed to be at her friends.
“I just came to pick up my bag I forgot it.” There was a pause, “Mom, are you home?”
Then through blurry vision she saw her daughter’s feet “Mom!” her daughter yelled and ran to her. She knelt down and picked up the bottle, “Mom what did you do?”
The phone rang once more before the answering machine got it.
“You have reached the Monroe’s” Came her voice that sounded so happy, so fake. “Please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.”
“Er Annie, its me.” Came a gruff voice from the machine, “it’s your girl she’s fading fast she needs you.” Then the line went dead.
Her girl? Her girl.
“Mom” her daughter yelled through tears as she grabbed the phone and dialed 911. “Please come quick my mother swallowed a lot of pills please hurry she’s not awake she’s just laying here on the floor.” Then everything went black for Annie. Her last thoughts were very few. Her first thought was why did her daughter have to come back so soon. Then the voice on the phone it was someone who knew her, someone who called her Annie no one called her Annie every one called her Mrs. Monroe or Anna. Only one person called her Annie, Bo. He spoke of, Her Girl it took her a moment but only a moment to know that he meant her horse, her beautiful black mare, Image. Her mare was fading and now so was she, how the world worked.
Sarah Monroe walked off the plane slowly; this was an end to the life. The past few weeks had been hard her mother had tried to kill her self. While she hadn’t fully succeeded the doctors still weren’t sure if she would be all right. Her life hung on now only by a machine that kept her alive. She wasn’t breathing on her own she was in a coma no one knew if she would come out. Her father said it was to hard to care for a child on his own. He actually called her a child and told her without giving her any choice that she would be going to live with her grandparents, or her mother’s parents. She had only met them a few times, but never for long amount of times. They only came to the city twice and they only met for dinner then went their separate ways. She never knew why, she just assumed they wanted nothing to do with her. Now here she was going to live with them out west away from New York City, away from all her friends and away from the hospital where her mother was. Now she would be stranded on some large patch of ground with the nearest neighbor being miles away. In her eyes her life was over, her social life away ways. She hated her father for sending her away from her mother, but there was nothing she could do her father always got his way.
“Sarah” Came an older lady’s voice, “You have grown.”
Sarah turned to see an old lady she recognized as her grandmother. “Hi.” She said trying to force a smile.
“Sorry your granddad couldn’t make it some fencing was down and he had to tend to it before the animal got lose.”
“It’s fine.” Sarah told her with a shrug of her shoulders.
“But I brought one of the ranch hands to help carry your things and drive the truck.” The old lady seemed happy, “being I don’t drive.”
“Alright.” Sarah told her still not really caring.
An attractive man picked up her bags, or rather he would be attractive if he smiled and didn’t frown. He was older, old enough to be her dad but that didn’t stop her from thinking he was a good-looking guy.
“This is Beau ” her grandma told her, “He’s worked for us since he was younger then you, he’s just about family.”
“Hi” Sarah said.
“hi.” He answered and walked off in the direction of the truck. So far she liked him he was a man of simple words who didn’t see it a point to talk, unlike her grandmother who seemed to speak a mile a minute.