Stuck In Fire 2 - Justin Bieber

Justin is finally reunited with Katie.. and that's awesome. I don't know what to write, 'cause i haven't read the story o.o IT'S NOT MIIIINE. I JUST POST IT TO READ IT :P

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25. 25

EPOV

Two more hours passed…Selena and Bob kept getting up to call the vet again…they kept getting no answer. I was getting so pissed off that I almost cried a few times…I stayed near the quiet little horse, doing whatever Sharon and Jenna said to make her as comfortable as she could be.

I tried to offer her a carrot again…but her head hung down limply around by my knees as I stood there, stroking her…

"Come on girl…you hungry baby?", I asked, not believing that she wasn't gobbling it up after not having anything to eat for so long. You could see she was starving to death just by looking at her. Sharon said it was okay for her to try a little of the carrot or an apple before the vet arrived. He might have to put her on a special diet, as it's unsafe to feed her full on now that she's emaciated.

"Can you eat a little for me, cutie?", I cooed, like talking to a baby…it almost reminded me of my 3am feedings with Katie when she was an infant. Yes, I was Mr. Mom…and I loved every second of it. I didn't know it until now but…I had missed it…having someone to take care of…someone depending on me.

The horse gently moved her head away from the long orange stick and stared down sleepily at the hay…not even interested in trying to eat THAT.

"Please?", I asked, my bottom lip trembling a bit, remembering all too well how fun hunger was for me, "Look, I'm eating some…"

I took a bite of it and chewed it, despite the taste. Sharon just smiled at me from where she was, at the back right side of the horse…trickling cool hose water over the more serious looking wounds there…it relieved some of the horse's pain.

"Yummm…", I crunched the bite in my mouth, then offered it to her, "Want some? It's really good."

She looked away again and peeked up at me like I was annoying her now.

"You don't know what you're missing…", I sold the carrot with all my might, "I can't believe you're gonna just let me eat it all…"

Selena walked up to the open doorway of the pen we were in and Bob was right behind her. I turned and looked at them, a huge bulge in the side of my cheek.

"Still no answer.", Bob said, looking as pissed as I was.

"FUCK!", I shouted and the horse jerked her head up, looking at me with a little fear…like I'd strike her. But she didn't kick or make any sounds.

"No, no…shhh…", I instantly went gentle…realizing my mistake…stroking her face with my free hand, "Sorry, baby…Daddy's not mad at YOU…it's alright…"

"Call someone else.", I thought, turning towards Selena and Bob.

"I called two other vets, further out…they'll be here tomorrow afternoon.", Bob informed, several steps ahead of me. Good Bob.

Selena came inside the pen, asking what she could do to help…walking around near Sharon, keeping her distance from Jenna for the moment.

"Where the fuck is he?", I asked calmly, inhaling and flexing my jaw tensely.

Bob came up next to me and softly said, "He pulls this shit a lot. Which is why we've learned a little bit to do while waiting for him to arrive. He knows he's the closest vet around…so he doesn't exactly hustle to get here when we call. We've wanted someone else for years…but everyone else is even more expensive and farther away. It sucks but…what else can we do?"

Kick his ass! I thought immediately. Maybe if he's scared enough, he won't be late next time.

But on the outside, I kept trying to feed the white horse…but she wasn't interested no matter what I tried. It felt like she was saying, 'Don't bother…just let me go…'

A little while later, the horse began to get into a laying down position again…Selena and Sharon had to run out from where they were standing so they didn't get sat on…

"She's laying down again.", I said aloud, watching her…she looked so tired.

"Is that normal?", I asked Sharon, "I thought horses slept standing up."

"They do.", Jenna said sadly, "It's sometimes okay for a horse to lay down…it means they feel safe and relaxed…but if we leave her down for too long, it could be bad. Fluid collects in the lungs while they're laying on their sides like that. 30 minutes…an hour max – is the limit for her laying down. Then we need to get her standing again. But if she starts rolling or thrashing, it could twist up her intestines…and…if she stays laying down for a long time, and we can't get her up…that's bad. She'll die, Anthony."

I hated the way that last sentence sounded, even though Jenna had said it gently, and I appreciated her directness and honesty here. I found my eyes looking at Selena, Bob…and Sharon…hoping one of them would say something to contradict Jenna's prediction. But none of them did…they just looked at me with sad eyes.

"It doesn't mean she's definitely going to die.", Sharon offered a bit of hope, "She just laid down…some horses do that sometimes."

"Don't lie to him, Mom.", Jenna wiped her forehead with her sleeve and looked at the horse as her eyes drooped half closed.

"It's not a lie.", Sharon defended, "I have hope, that's all."

"That's great, Ma.", Jenna said a little bitterly, "More fairy tales."

The horse opened her eyes a little more now, staring right at me. And then, she made a little horse sound of hurt…and scraped her overgrown hoof on the hay…almost like she was reaching out for me, trying to move me closer. She called to me again…weaker than before.

"I'm here baby…", I carefully stepped closer to where her head was, "You wanna cuddle again?"

I sat in the hay beside her….and like before…she placed her head on my legs…very carefully, like she was taking care not to hurt me either.

Her head was so heavy and so hot against my jeans…I felt her breaths, each one of them, exhaling…and inhaling on my thighs as I looked down at her eyes…and used both hands to rub behind her cute little ears. She closed her eyes all the way and made a little sigh of pleasure.

"Oh, you like that, huh?", I smiled at her face, almost seeing a little smile there in return, "You girls all LOVE the massage…okay…"

BPOV

"I'll be right back.", Jenna said, walking out of the pen and going outside, into the dark night air.

"I'll be right back too.", I said, getting a concerned stare from Justin, who was trapped for now under the horse.

"Selena.", he said, not sure what he should do.

"It's okay, stay with her.", I smiled at him with love…watching him with this horse today was magical to me. He was so wonderful and loving…it just reinforced all my feelings for him and also gave me some insights into why I was so angry with Jenna, besides the fact that she was a filthy man stealing slob. I had some things to say…and now that I was calmer, I could say them…and hope, for HER sake…that she listened…and really had changed her ways. But people don't change overnight. I know that.

"It'll be alright.", I assured Justin, "No punching. Just gonna have a girl talk with Jenna. I'll be right back."

He looked so cute and afraid…I had to jog a little to catch up to the bitch…but I got there.

"Jenna!", I called without too much volume…but my distaste for her was not hidden as I said her name.

She turned and saw me…and stopped walking. With a little bit of apprehension, she looked at my face as I approached slowly, showing her no aggressive walk.

"Can we talk a minute?", I asked, thinking that was a good start. I kept trying to think as Dr. Selena…not Selena Gomez, ordinary girl trying to hang onto her Adonis while Miss Popular Western Barbie Doll had him in her sights.

"Sure.", she said, "Just tell me when you're gonna swing, okay? I won't stop you…but I need a second or two warning."

She was serious. God, she's messed up. That wasn't very Dr. Selena of me.

"I'm not going to hit you, Jenna.", I said, "YET. But I have some things to say."

"Shoot."

I let out a breath and began.

"Anthony…", I said, "Has been through a lot of pain…in his life. Both mental…and physical. I'm not telling you the whole story, but when I met him, he was NUMB from the pain it was such a part of him. It wasn't that long ago. A couple months. He's healing now…like that horse in there…but it's gonna be a long time before he'll be truly strong enough for…people like you. I mean…what you did to him…I HATE that!"

"I know—", she began but I cut her off.

"NO!", I shouted, then lowered my voice, sounding deadly, "You DON'T know. You never will. But that day, when you locked him in that cellar…you brought him right back to where he started – just like that – with the turn of that fucking lock.

One second – almost erased all the weeks of progress he was making. It's the equivalent of a person going into where that horse is now and starting to beat her all over again, just as she's starting to relax and trust.

That's what you did to him.

We came here to get away from people like that…so many people have hurt him. In ways you'll never know or imagine. And he is very afraid of people and who could fucking blame him? And then he comes to work here, busting his ASS to make a new life for himself…and you just swooped in and turned this nice place into the fucking HOLE he worked so hard to escape from!

I hate you for that!

I promised him he'd never have to be afraid again. And maybe that was a naïve promise. And not mine to make. But because of you, my promise is broken. I want him to make friends and trust people around here…to build a life! He was just starting to come out of his shell and look around…and then you sprang out like a fucking COBRA! Thanks!

And the only reason I'm telling you all this is because of HIM. After all he's been through, he should be hard and ice cold…even mean. He could very easily be someone like YOU.

But you see how he is, after watching him all day with this horse! By some miracle, he's kind. He's patient. He's…so innocent and god damned loving…to everyone! (I heard my voice crack…and had tears in my eyes, but I went on)

He's good. TOO good sometimes for people…for this crummy world. Even after what you did to him, I can see he still wants to forgive you…and forget it happened already. I know him. In you, he sees a fellow victim, another lost person walking the same path he's on…whatever. I don't trust you but I can see he is already doing it…and forgetting that you CAUSED his meltdown in that cellar…all he remembers now is that you were nice to him after he lost it down there.

He thinks you're worth befriending. Okay. That's his choice. I won't lose him by ordering him who he can have as his friends. I can't stop him from giving you a chance. And that's what I mean. He wants to love everyone…and trust them…so badly…even if it puts him and his heart in danger. And that makes the pain that much worse for him, because he trusted half the FUCKS who screwed him over!

If his assault was just to his body, he'd be able to come back from that. Anthony's biggest healing is to be done inside him…in his head…in his heart. And I'll be DAMNED if I'm gonna let YOU fuck his healing up! I CAN STOP THAT!

He's a miracle…and a mystery. And I love him with all of my heart. I wouldn't change a thing in him."

Jenna listened, looking still and sad as I made my voice turn lethal now.

"So because I love him I'm going to be his protector until he's ready to protect himself.", I stated, "I'm not great at threats but let me tell you one thing. If you EVER…EVER…betray his trust again…or hurt him in ANY FUCKING WAY…or even make him feel unsafe or uncomfortable - I will be on your ass in SECONDS! And believe THIS – I WILL…kill you. Don't let my face or size fool you, either, Jenna. I CAN do it. And I WILL do it."

I HAVE done it. I killed Victoria to save Justin and his daughter. And I'm certain that God was there, cheering me on as I did! Maybe I'm getting crazy or cold…but I'd be willing to line up the bodies of every bitch who'd ever harmed him – and that includes Jenna…and Sir Kevin.

"Fuck with him just once.", I said in a low voice, my eyes shooting daggers at her, "And you're over. You got all that Jenna?"

"Yea.", Jenna looked right back at me, her eyes staring into mine, "I got all that."

"Good.", I sneered a little, "That's all I wanted to say."

I went to walk away from her but as I did, she said to my turned back:

"Don't worry, Selena. I won't hurt him. I know you don't believe me or trust me…but I mean that.", she said.

"Don't tell me.", I stopped and turned my face a bit, "Show me."

And I kept walking until I was back where I belonged, with my Justin. My sweet love.

"AAARRRGGHHHH!", I heard someone screaming as I got close to the pen where they were…I began running, scared…what the hell…it's not Justin's voice…

"WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?", Justin was screaming, his eyes frightening as he slammed a medium sized, older looking man against the wooden wall of the pen.

His eyes looked murderous…psychotic…the horse laid on her side on the other end of the pen…making aggravated noises as she watched Justin fight with this other guy I'd never seen before.

Bob and Sharon were trying to pull Justin off this poor skinny guy…but Justin's fists were clutching the man's shirt, near his neck…cutting off his air a little as he slammed his head into the wall one more time.

But they couldn't restrain Justin at all, and he was roaring at the man in his clutches.

"DID YOU GO TO DINNER FIRST? IS THAT WHAT YOU DID? HAD A NICE EXPENSIVE MEAL?", he guessed, tightening his hold on the man's shirt…his hands itching to coil around the guy's neck, "WHILE THIS POOR LITTLE HORSE HASN'T EATEN FOR WEEKS! WHILE SHE'S IN AGONY, WAITING FOR YOUR USELESS, LATE ASS TO SHOW UP SO SHE CAN ACTUALLY EAT!"

"Marie, help us!", Bob pleaded.

I wasn't surprised they couldn't yank Justin off…he was mostly sweet and gentle, but also very strong and deadly when someone he loved was threatened. I'd never seen him quite this angry, though. He was right, he does have a very nasty temper…and I could see why in this case. This must be the vet.

"Anthony…", I wished I could use his real name here…"Baby…"

I got close to his side and put my hand on his shoulder, gently, calmly saying, "Anthony, please let that man go."

"RRRRRRR!", Justin growled like an animal and slammed him again, his eyes raging as he looked at the pathetic, weak face of the vet, who cowered in his grasp.

I knew it wasn't only the vet Justin was seeing…it was Victoria…Sir Kevin…all of them…

"No, baby…no.", I said, a little bit of disapproval in my voice, "You don't want to hurt anyone…this is the veterinarian…he's here to help the horse. You want the horse to be alright, don't you, Anthony?"

The vet even looked at me, helpless and glad that I was trying to talk him down.

Justin looked a little less angry now…but he still had a long way to go.

"Anthony…", I said further, rubbing his arm, "The horse is in a lot of pain…she wants you…she needs help. Think of her. Let the man go, please?"

We all waited a minute…and Justin began to come back…and finally, he shoved the vet into the wall, releasing him.

The vet looked so terrified…he didn't move at first. Justin kept glaring at him, not breathing, looking ready to re attack him if necessary…Bob grabbed the vet's arm and dragged him along the wall, out of eyeshot with Justin…and brought him over to the horse…followed every inch of the way by Justin's livid stare.

After the man took a breath or two, and realized he was attacked, he began to complain.

"I'm pressing charges…", he said, "And I'm not treating this horse either…"

Justin grunted like Frankenstein's monster and lurched forward at the stupid jerk.

"Alright, alright!", he backed from Justin, "Look out, let me see the mare."

Quickly and timidly, the vet opened his case and took out his stethoscope, putting it in his ears, knelt down beside the horse's legs.

He began to perform his examination…and I eased Justin a couple feet back. The horse looked at Justin the whole time…nervous and anxious. We all watched and waited to see what the doctor would say. I was so afraid of what that would be…so afraid Justin would kill the vet if the verdict was not good.

The vet began to stand up at last and Justin was right on him, the ability to form words happily back in him.

"She won't eat.", Justin said, "I tried to give her a carrot but she wouldn't take it. What should we give her instead?"

The vet sighed and put his stethoscope around his neck, his hands on his hips.

"I wouldn't force her to eat.", he said, looking at Bob, "This animal's in very bad shape…very bad."

"So fix her!", Justin said, just like a child would have said it. Demanding, angry…expecting a miracle.

"I can't.", the vet answered, "There's just too much damage…besides the starvation and dehydration, her legs and hooves are infected…among other things…she'll never run again. Then there's the gash in her neck…infected. The big chunks of skin torn off the back side, infected…and her eye, the swollen one…that's infected too. In addition to all that working against her, she's in a lot of pain…some of those wounds on her legs and knees go down to the bones."

"So what do we do?", Justin asked, as if this was all within reach to cure.

"There's nothing to do.", the vet shook his head, looking at her, "Not with this horse. Sorry."

The vet began to walk away a step or two and I cringed as Justin went to grab the man again.

"Where are you GOING?", he shouted, "There IS something to do! Get your ass in gear and HELP HER!"

"Anthony…", Sharon began but he would not listen.

"Listen, I know how you feel.", the vet said to Justin, "But rescuing an animal, ANY animal is very draining…emotionally, physically, and financially. It takes not only TLC, food, wormer - but the vet, the farrier, the equine chiropractic, floating the teeth, the re-training. Depending on how degraded the body condition, the foot care, the teeth, the emotional well-being of the horse. It's a thankless job with tons of hours, money and tears."

"It's not thankless.", Sharon said sternly, "And all that is made worthwhile with one single nuzzle or grateful nicker."

"I'm touched that you care so much for me.", Justin sneered at the vet, "I don't care about all that, I want her taken care of!"

"Are YOU paying for all this?", the vet asked Justin.

And I hated that look on his face. For a moment, he looked defeated.

"I am.", Sharon said right away, stepping in where Justin couldn't. I got tears in my eyes seeing the look Justin gave to her…he was so grateful.

"This horse will never be able to perform in a rodeo.", the vet looked at Sharon, confused, wondering why they'd spend so much on a "useless" horse.

"Is THIS what we waited all day and night for?", Justin asked, shoving the vet, "Some HACK who shrugs and says, 'Just give up…she can't perform!' Maybe when I'm done with YOU, YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO PERFORM EITHER!"

"Anthony.", Bob put a hand on his shoulder, "I don't want you going to jail tonight, kid. You're needed here. Got me?"

And Justin just stared the vet down, not saying anything else.

"Sometimes you do everything you can to ease the pain, fix the issues that can be fixed, only to have to make the hardest decision. Is it better for the horse to gently, peacefully end their suffering and pain - even thought it's going to financially and emotionally train wreck you? If you don't think you can make that decision, then, please, don't rescue a horse. Or any animal. Sometimes we can't fix them. Sometimes everything isn't enough."

"It's like you WANT this horse to die!", Justin scowled at him with disgust.

"He's not completely wrong about this, Ant.", Bob said warmly, looking at his friend, "Sometimes it's just in God's hands."

"God again.", he sneered, as if the word was poison and he paced a bit, "No, it's not in GOD'S hands…it's in ours now…tell us what to do so she's okay again!"

"First of all," the vet said, "This horse looks like she's already made her decision. When they lay down that way, they've lost the will to live. You said yourself she won't eat. She wants to go. She's got nothing left."

"No.", Justin's voice cracked, as he looked at her, then he looked at the vet with rage, "NO, you don't know what you're talking about! She's just tired and weak! And you won't lift a finger to help her!"

Justin's eyes were filled with tears now and I felt myself crying, just watching him.

"Because she can't EARN money for the FUCKING RODEO!", Justin screamed, throwing the doctor's kit so hard across the room that it pounded against the wall in back.

"It's all about MONEY, isn't it, you fucking PRICK?", Justin accused, "How much is a life fucking WORTH to YOU?"

"Anthony…stop…", Bob tried but he flung Bob away, still going after the vet.

"I'll call my father tonight…and he'll pay whatever you want.", Justin informed as my mouth fell open. He can't do that!

"Can you help her now?", he looked at the vet like he was vermin, "I'll bet you can."

"Sure, if you're not going to accept the truth.", the vet shrugged, "There are some things you can do to ease her pain a bit…make the end kinder…easier. But it won't stop the agony this horse is in…it won't cure anything. Sometimes, you get a miracle…sometimes, it's just not meant to be. Because YOU can't come to terms with it, this poor animal will keep on suffering."

"I haven't heard ONE medical statement out of your mouth.", Justin gritted through his clenched teeth, "Are you a licensed veterinarian?"

Now the vet looked very pissed off and insulted.

"Bob…", the vet looked at him now, ignoring Justin's glare, "I usually deal with YOU. This horse needs to be put down. It'll live in constant pain if it's not. I can do it now. It's just two shots: one to make her unconscious…and one to cause immediate death. $150…instead of the thousands it'll cost to prolong the inevitable."

"I don't NEED TWO shots to cause YOUR immediate death!", Justin was back in the vet's face again, threatening him.

"Or you could just use a firearm.", the vet was trying to anger Justin now, foolishly.."Most cowboys just do it that way…firing directly in the forehead…"

I leapt on the vet myself before Justin drank his blood.

"Get your ass outta here!", I yanked him backwards, away from Justin, out of the pen, "Take a break! We need to talk to him, and have a meeting, just us HUMAN BEINGS!"

"Asshole.", I muttered as I came back in.

"Good job, Marie.", Sharon smirked at me.

Justin wasn't paying attention, because Bob was talking to him.

"I know you're attached to this horse, buddy, I know…", he was saying, "I saw that out in the canyon. But maybe he's right about this one…he's worked for me for years…"

"You think he's right that we shouldn't even TRY?", Justin had tears in his eyes again, standing his ground in front of the sick horse, "If this was a person laying here, would we be saying that?"

Jenna was standing in the doorway of the pen now, watching silently.

"But it's not a person, Ant…", Bob reasoned softly, trying to be understanding.

Sharon looked down, sadly, not saying much.

"She's a living thing!", Justin cried, a tear falling, looking at each of our faces for support…"Please…I'll pay whatever it costs, I swear! She doesn't want to die…I know that."

Then he looked at me, with a look like he was drowning and croaked, "Selena…."

He needed me and I rushed to him…holding him and placing a kiss against his heart, through his shirt. He held me and touched my hair, his hands shaking.

I didn't know what to say. I don't know anything about horses and frankly didn't know what was the more humane thing to do: try to save her in vein…or just let her be put out of her misery. I knew why Justin wanted to save her. He WAS her. I saw they were soul mates, kindred spirits…and that was so beautiful…but now it just hurt like Hell.

His heart was breaking…and I didn't know what to do about that.

Jenna was the next person to speak up.

"I've seen horses come back from heavy shit before.", she stated without emotion, and we all turned to her.

"Some horses make it, some don't.", she said, "Doctors don't know everything. They're wrong all the time. I say we wait it out with her tonight. See what the morning brings. If she's still laying down by then, there's nothing we can really do but let her go. But if she fights, even a little…then we do what we have to do to make her whole again."

I hated to admit it, but Jenna was right. She wasn't promising the horse would live, she was just saying it should have a chance. One more night wasn't a big thing to ask for.

Personally, I wouldn't be able to bear it if they had to put the horse down. Justin would fight it…and it would kill me to see that all happen. Once it was decided officially, I was calling Peter to get over here pronto.

"Yea…", Justin agreed right away, and I hated it that I wasn't the one who had the knowledge to suggest it. In Justin's eyes a little light of hope flickered.

"I think she's right.", Justin continued, looking at Bob and Sharon, "The horse is tired from the sedatives and all the things that happened today. She'll get up again. She was so full of life in the trailer today…she was cuddling with me…and moving her face up and down over mine…even when I wasn't touching her, just holding on in there. She was like a pony…she was playing."

"You know my vote.", Sharon said, looking at Justin, "I try to do all I can NOT to put a horse down. So I'm with you."

Bob looked down and exhaled.

"I understand what all you guys are saying…", Bob said kindly, "But I hate to prolong a horse's suffering. I like this horse, too…that's why I would like to put her at peace. I just don't think she's strong enough to do it."

"Bob…", Justin spoke now, firmly and calmly, "I am the absolute LAST person who wants to see anyone or anything suffer. I know what you're saying. And if this was totally hopeless, I'd say let her go…and I'd hold her until the last breath. But I really think she can do it. Please? I want your help with her, too, Bob…you're the best horse guy ever."

"Damn it.", he took his hat off, tossing it aside…"Alright…one night. You promise me, Ant. If she's got nothing left tomorrow, you'll be calm when it's time to put her to sleep."

"I can't promise I'll be calm.", he said honestly, "But I won't try to stop it."

"Alright.", he agreed.

So we all began to do everything the vet told us to do. We tried to give her water and she did drink a little, we tried to feed her the food the vet instructed…but she didn't eat any of that…we kept dressing and treating the wounds all over the horse…keeping her cool with the low pressure from the hose…then we placed a huge horse blanket over the body, keeping her warm as the night air became colder.

Justin was the hardest worker in the bunch. He wanted to almost everything! He even went and got buckets of warm water and lugged them all the way back here so he could wet towels and hold them against the wounds and stitches in the horse's neck. He kept kissing the horse's face and forehead, smoothing her hair to the side and talking…always talking to her. Some of the words were heartbreaking to listen to.

"You have to think about getting up soon, baby girl…", he said in a very soothing, slow voice, "It's okay to lay down for a little while, but…you have so much to do tomorrow…carrots to eat…new horses to make friends with…and before you know it, you'll be running around again…probably chasing Yoyo…he's a little thief. You'll meet him tomorrow. Ugh…and Psycho…I'm not letting you play with HIM. He's trouble."

I was so glad to see Peter looking into the pen when I looked up, trying to blink the tears away.

He looked a little lost until he saw us and then smiled! I waved him in and smiled back, saying, "Hey Peter."

Justin looked and his smile was dazzling.

"DOC!", he said in surprise, "What are you doing here?"

"I was in the neighborhood so I dropped by.", he chuckled, coming in further, squatting down near the legs of the horse, "You'd be surprised how many horses need to talk over their problems."

Justin snorted. "No I wouldn't!", he said, "All the horses in that stable are nutjobs! If they had cash, Doc, you'd never have to work again."

We all laughed and then Peter smiled at the horse's face.

"What've you got THERE, Anthony?", he asked with a grin.

"It's my mare.", he answered and I got new tears in my eyes.

She IS his. And she is dying. This is killing me.

"She's beautiful. Can I pet her?", he asked Justin.

"Yea…be careful!", Justin was now a mother hen watching over her chick, paranoid.

"I will, I will…", he hardly made contact as he stroked along the side of the horse's face, "Hey girl…you're so sweet…"

Justin smiled down at the battered, scarred face of the poor little horse like it was the most gorgeous creature that ever lived. I understood that. That was me when I looked at Justin for the first time.

"Yea, she is.", he leaned in and kissed the head of the horse, petting the spot afterwards, "She's asleep right now…but she'll wake up soon. She has the prettiest little eyes."

"Okay…", Peter said, as if everything was fine, "Can I sit with you until she wakes up?"

"Yes.", Justin nodded, not taking his eyes off the face in his lap.

Bob and Sharon quietly walked out of the pen, taking Jenna with them…they didn't even say hello to Peter and that didn't seem like them. Maybe they were just sad about the horse…or Justin.

"What's her name, Anthony?", Peter asked curiously.

Justin looked at him and then me…as if it was a secret…or that he'd been thinking of it and had already chosen one…I gave him a smile…and he smiled back at me…and answered. It was good…for the horse to have a name…even if she did die…no one should die without at least a name. It would be like no one loved her at all while she was here.

"Her name is Dancer.", Justin informed, "She dances…kind of. It's cute."

And because he was a dancer once, I said to myself. I'm sure Peter got that too.

Even each hoof had a little black edge around it…and that reminded me of leather cuffs, the ones Justin always told me he had to wear…like I saw him wear when he was a vampire that night in his cage.

Before too long, Peter had Justin talking with a little more clearness.

"Well, they want to put her to sleep.", Justin was saying later, "And that DICK vet, you should've seen him! What a waste of space that guy is! He was FIVE hours LATE! Knowing a horse was suffering!"

"Not every doctor can be as legendary as ME.", Peter smirked.

"Yea, you didn't want to put me to sleep when I came to see you…and I'm millions worse than this innocent little horse.", he smiled down at her again.

"No you're not, Anthony.", Peter said with affection, "You and that horse are kindred spirits…you're the same. You love this horse…and that's wonderful. But part of you also sees this horse as yourself. And you probably think - if this horse can be saved…then you can be saved too. But Anthony…if the horse does…pass away…I don't want you to feel that you're lost as well. Do you know what I mean?"

"I know it's stupid, how attached I am to this horse…", Justin answered with a weak voice, "I mean, I just found it this morning…it makes no sense…but I love it…HER. Are you saying it's wrong that I care about her so much? Isn't it good to care about things?"

"Yes, yes of course!", Peter furrowed his brow a bit, "Love is a wonderful, selfless thing, especially when you love an animal…but I don't want you to have false hopes…or suffer a setback if this horse does have to be put out of her misery. I care about YOU. I don't want you to hurt yourself if something happens to his horse."

Justin frowned at him as if he was on drugs.

"I wouldn't do that.", he said, "I have Selena…and Katie…I wouldn't kill myself over a horse…even this one."

"Good.", Peter smiled, "You say that like it never happens. It does…more than you know. You'd be amazed."

Peter saw the little pail of carrots and apples next to Justin and he took one, asking, "Can I feed this to her?"

"She won't eat anything.", Justin shook his head…and then I heard crunching!

"HEY!", Justin squealed like a twelve year old girl, "She's eating it! How'd you do that?"

"I just put it up to her mouth.", Peter smiled, laughing a little.

And Justin threw his arms around Peter while Dancer ate her first carrot.

"Selena!", Justin looked up at me with teary eyes, his voice creaking, "She's eating! Peter got her to!"

I came over, feeling invited to join now, and smiled as I watched. It was wonderful to see any little sign of improvement…of desire to live.

"See, she wants to get better.", Justin said, his hopes skyrocketing now, it was obvious, "She's going to live, Selena. I told that quack. He's a moron."

Peter spent the entire night there with us…helping us take care of Dancer. He did anything she needed, he even went to get us coffee and donuts…and yes, he brought Justin a slurpee.

I followed Justin, running to keep up, in the morning…at 5:30 am…as he ran to where the vet was asleep in the house area where Sharon and Jenna lived.

I had to see this!

Justin busted into the vet's guest room and grabbed the guy by his nightshirt, growling, "GET UP ASSHOLE! I want to show you something very interesting!"

Sharon was just waking up, in her bathrobe…and asked, "What's going on? Anthony?"

"Come on, Sharon!", Justin leaned in and gave her a big kiss on the cheek, "You had a big part in it, come SEE!"

The vet struggled and shouted as Justin pulled the door open to the pen where we had spent the night.

"Take a good look, dickhead!", he tossed the vet inside, face down on the hay…at the feet of the white horse, Dancer, who was standing next to Peter and Bob, who were smiling like idiots…but it was the same smile I was wearing.

It wasn't just the fact that Dancer was on her feet again…or that she was eating another carrot…it was the look in her eyes. Before, it was a disinterested, solemn gaze…and now she looked…well…alert…and well, not exactly happy but…there was life in those eyes now.

There was real hope!

I thought Justin was losing it last night but he never gave up…he hung in there, even when everyone told him there was no reason to…again…Justin teaches ME something. Justin touches my heart with the depth of his love, not just for me…but for everything.

His physical beauty is great…but the more I get to know this man…the more I SEE…the real beauty is inside him…and if it came out and saw the light of day…this world couldn't HANDLE the magnificence of it.

I had never been much of a believer, I didn't see that until now. My father was a cop…and cops see a lot of stories end in death…or worse. I was kind of raised not to expect a happy ending to every story. I have to change my thinking. As a doctor, like I want to be, I have to believe…I have to be able to see my patients happy ending out there…if they work hard enough to make it come true.

The vet checked Dancer out now and kept asking, "What did you do to her? You must've done something…"

He couldn't even admit and say it out loud that Dancer was much improved this morning. But she was. We all knew it.

She wasn't cured overnight…that would take a lot of time and money and work, like the vet had said. But the most important thing had changed: Dancer now had the will to live…she had a fight in her that wasn't there yesterday. And why not? She had two hunks waiting on her all night long.

"We LOVED her, you FUCKSTAIN!", Justin replied, and tossed his ass out the door, slamming it in his face.

Justin smiled at Peter and said, "I'll bet they didn't teach him THAT in VET school!"

"The one medicine a lot of doctors forget about, Anthony…", Peter agreed.

Jenna and Sharon came in…and they were celebrating, gasping and gently petting Dancer. It was almost like Christmas morning! Only better.

And in moments, Justin was thanking all of us and he pulled us all into a huge group hug, his eyes filling with tears as we all joined him in crying like a pack of saps…

"I love you guys…", Justin said softly, his voice breaking a bit, "Thank you all…you saved her."

"WE saved her.", I corrected, so he'd be included in that.

Everyone agreed, saying, "Yea, WE ALL saved her…"

"WELL NOT THAT FUCKED UP VET!", Justin shouted.

Everyone also agreed with that statement.

"Can you fire that guy, Bob?", Justin asked a little loudly, "Sharon?"

"He certainly deserves it, doesn't he?", Sharon asked, almost to herself.

"Yea.", we all said at once.

"That settles it then.", Sharon smiled, laughing.

And then Dancer was rubbing her muzzle against Justin's back…like she wanted him to herself now, jealous of the others in our circle.

"Oh, I'm sorry baby…", he giggled like a kid, turning to her, "Do you want a hug, too? Huh? Okay…a soft one…"

He hugged the horse's face and kissed her forehead, whispering, "I love you, Dancer. You've got a name, baby."

"And soon she's gonna dance for real, not rock in pain.", Bob added.

"DAMN RIGHT!", Justin shouted and we all laughed at him.

"She already dances…", I thought aloud, smiling at her, "Look at her eyes…"

"She danced right into my heart.", Justin added more corn to the mix….but I loved him for it.

"Someone I know did that to my heart, too, once.", I smiled up at my cowboy.

"Selena…", he smiled and lifted me straight up in his arms, lifting me off my feet for a moment as he kissed my lips and then let me slide down his body a bit until I was back on my own feet again, "How do I love you more and more every day? How is that POSSIBLE?"

"I'm ME.", I teased back, getting another wonderful kiss.

I'm so glad that Jenna bitch was there to witness it. It was better than breaking her nose with my fist.

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