Like A Whisper...

Alice loves horses. She helps out at her local yard. Her mother and father hate not being able to afford to buy their daughter a horse.
Alice doesn't like school, though she gets good grades. She's not popular, but she's not bullied.
What will happen when her perfectly normal life is turned upside down?

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7. Chapter 7

 

 

I wake up as my alarm rings. Pádraig hands me a bowl or porridge and a cup of tea. He runs his hand through his black hair and his a smile brightens up his tanned face.

 "Thanks," I smile. We sit at his table in the truck. It's still dark outside by the time we're finished. I check my phone. It's only half four. I don't have to be at the stable for another hour. "We have loads of time."

 "How long?" Well, I don't have to be at the stables for another hour. So about half an hour, maybe. Are you grooming any horses?"

 "Two. So, will we go down in half an hour?"

 "Yeah, sure. What will we do until then?"

 "Hmm... We could... We could go down now and groom Pear?"

 I laugh; he loves his mare as much as he ever did. "Okay. I'll need to go to my truck to get changed, though."

 We go outside into the crisp early morning air. I inhale deeply, smelling the grass and horses. Pádraig walks beside me and we talk about the competition.

 "So, who do you think will go better in the cross country?"

 "Hatter. Jack's got smooth paces which make him good at dressage so he beat Hatter. But I'll say Hatter will go faster than him. Hopefully neither of them will refuse. They're both good cross country horses, though. But they're so sweet. They'll both nuzzle you in the stall, and I love the way Hatter scratches his head off my arm after a ride."

 "You haven't changed."

 "Oh?"

 "The way you talk about the horses. It's cute." I blush. What? Pádraig made me blush? I shake the thought from my head. No boys, only horses.

 "I'll be a few minutes. Do you want tea or anything?"

 "No, it's fine, I'll stay out here."

 "Okay. I won't be long." I rush inside and grab my nave jodhpurs from my bed. Cathal wakes.

 "Hey," I smile.

 "Hi," he says bluntly.

 "What's wrong?"

 "Nothing." I sigh and begin to walk away, fully changed. "Wait, I'm sorry." I walk back.

 "It's fine. Just tell me what's putting you in a bad mood."

 He doesn't say anything, he just leans out of the bed towards me. He closes his eyes and moves in for a kiss. I step back and he falls out of the bunk to the floor.

 "Oh, my god, are you okay?"

 "Yeah, just bruised my pride."

 "Well, I gotta go. Pádraig's outside." I run to the door and open it, glad to be away from the tension.

 We walk, just talking about the horses. I've walked the cross country course four times and planned my route with both horses.

 *****

 "Okay, Alice, be careful. He'll go well, though." Mally smiles up at me, putting a small bit more liniment on Jack's legs.

 "You ready?" the steward at the starting box asks.

 "As I'll ever be." He says something into the walkie-talkie and nod.

 "Okay, three... two... one... GO!" Jack leaps from the start box and towards the first jump; a stone wall.

 Over it and on to the trakehner jump. I slow him a small bit to let him have a good look at the ditch before he takes off. He flicks up his heels before powering towards the tiger trap.

 By the time we're at the last jump, number twenty five; a simple brush, Jack was still going at a steady pace. Ten strides away, I hear barking. Jack raises his head slightly, but keeps going. Suddenly, he falters, slowing then bucking. I look down to see a terrier on his leg, the dog's teeth digging into the flesh of Jack's skin.

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