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  • Publiceret: 18 jul. 2019
  • Opdateret: 22 jul. 2019
  • Status: Igang
Nataliya Savchenko is a foreign exchange student to a small town in the middle of nowhere South Dakota to a family of horse ranchers. Nataliya has never once been around a horse, and they scare her half to death, but what happens when she falls in love with the wild Bronte?


1. Welcome to America!

Looking out the window of the plane, I wondered if this was the best thing to do. I was headed to America, for an entire year, leaving my parents, my boyfriend, my best friend, and literally everything else I had ever known. My host family apparently lived on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, 40 minutes away from the nearest town... and that town was a town of 500 people. Trust me, I did not choose this place - if I had had my choice, I would be heading to Florida or some other warm state, not South Dakota. I didn't even know where South Dakota was until I looked it up. But I suppose there was no turning back now... not as the plane took off.

The first flight was 15 and a half hours long and landed me in Dallas Texas. I slept most of the way while eating and watching movies. And the second flight from Dallas to Bismark North Dakota was another two hours and thirty minutes. Thankfully everything went okay, and both flights landed safely. My host family was waiting in the Bismark Airport, which was super, super small. 

"Hi!" The woman started, she had the longest hair I had ever seen, and a warm smile, "I'm guessing you are Nataliya, I am Shanna, and this is my husband Rusty." she said bringing me into a hug. I looked in between the two, and wondered at their strange names. Rusty... and Shanna, well, I suppose Shanna isn't all that weird - but Rusty was. 

"Yes, I am Nataliya." I said, trying to give my warmest smile. 

"Well, welcome to America!" Shanna wrapped an arm around my shoulders as her and her husband lead me through the airport to get my luggage. "You came at the perfect time, we have a few more weeks before you start school, so we can get you used to the area and the route you will have to take to get to school every day. I promise it's not hard, and Rusty has to go to town every day for his job." 

"And what is that?" I asked looking over at her husband who was now pulling my bags behind him. 

"He works at the bank." Of course I already knew that, just how I knew that Shanna worked as a teacher and that they both raised and trained horses. I was still sort of hoping that the horse raising thing was a joke, but I could tell from their attire that it wasn't. Both Shanna and Rusty wore flannel shirts, jeans, and boots.

"So what is your first impression of America?" Shanna asked as we walked outside.

"Dark," I answered looking around. The sky was so clear, and we were in their city of sorts.

"Well, it is almost midnight," Rusty said leading us to their car - but it wasn't a car, it was a truck. "Are you hungry? We can stop at a gas station on the way out of here." He asked starting up the truck. 

"I'm good." 

"Okay, then onto home we go." Shanna said smiling back at me. We pulled out of the airport parking lot and through the sleeping city and into the wide vast of country around us. And somehow the sky seemed impossibly larger, and closer. 

I didn't know I had fallen asleep when I was awaken by the truck jostling around. I looked out the window's to see nothing, everything was so dark. I looked up to see the time. 3:13 am. Shanna and Rusty were talking quietly about something, seeming completely at ease with the jostling around. "Where are we?" I asked and Shanna looked back at me. 

"Oh we are almost home, we just live on a dirt road." She faced forward again and I tried to study the land out the windshield, but everything was still too dark. We turned onto another road and an awful smell filled the truck. 

"What's that smell?" I asked. 

"Oh, just the horses." Rusty answered with a small chuckle. "You'll get used to it, I promise you." I didn't want to get used it, I wanted to be back in that small city, with paved roads, and not be stuck in the middle of nowhere. 

A dark shadow ran across the road and Rusty stopped the car, "What's wrong?" I asked. 

Shanna, opening her door, answered, "Bronte got out. Rusty, take Nataliya inside, I'll deal with him." then she was off, slamming the truck door closed. 

"Who's Bronte?" I asked. 

"Nothing you need to worry about," He replied as the truck started to move. We came upon a large house and Rusty stopped the truck and got out before opening my door for me. I jumped out of the truck and looked around. There were around six other buildings in the small circle we were at - at least that was what I could see. The sounds of horses came from all around, and I wondered exactly how many horses these two had. 

Before I could really look around the opening, Rusty was ushering me inside the house with my bags in tow. "Your bedroom is to the right and up the stairs." he said setting my bags down, "We actually gave you the entire upstairs, so just pick whatever room you want." he said smiling slightly, "Now I must be off," He grabbed a long rope from a peg near the door. 

"Where are you going?" I asked a bit frightened. 

"Shanna may be good, but she's not good enough to capture Bronte on her own," he said, which must have been explanation enough for him, because he ran outside without another word.

Taking a deep breath, I grabbed my bags and pulled them to the right and up the stairs. A large sign was tied at the top saying, "NATALIYA WELCOME TO AMERICA!" I let out a huff, yeah, what a wonderful welcome this was. I found a room that should be suitable enough down a long hallway. The walls were painted a pale but warm shade of red, and the bed - a queen sized bed - was covered in a quilt with a large star. I supposed this would have to do, and so I started to put my clothes away before changing into my pj's and walking down stairs. Rusty and Shanna still weren't back yet, and so I looked around. 

There was a large kitchen connected to a sitting room filled with warm furnishings and blankets. I sat down on one of the couches, curling my legs under me, and waited for Rusty and Shanna to get back. 

Around 20 minutes later, when I was just about to fall asleep, the front door opened and Shanna and Rusty came into the house. Shanna was limping slightly, and Rusty's jaw was set, but other than that, the two looked fine. "Oh, I'm sorry we couldn't show you around properly," Shanna said limping over to me. "I would have loved to show you upstairs, but sadly Bronte had other ideas." 

"Is that why you are limping?" I asked and she raised an eyebrow. 

"You noticed my limp? I thought I was hiding it well - yes, it's because of Bronte. He kicked my leg, I bet I'll have a nasty bruise tomorrow. Anyway, you should be off to bed." She said and I stood. 

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"I'm completely fine, it's my fault that he kicked me anyway. Now go off to bed." she ushered me toward the stairs and I went up them slowly. I wanted to listen to Rusty and Shanna's conversation, but I knew it was wrong. So instead, I went to my room, shut the door, and crawled into bed. 



The next morning I woke to the smell of horses, but under that smell was eggs and bacon. I got out of bed and walked down the hallway and down the stairs into the foyer and then into the kitchen where Shanna was cooking. "Morning!" she greeted, "I didn't know when you would be up, so I already sent Rusty out to take care of some chores." I looked at the time - it was around 6 in the morning, they must have not had any sleep. "Do you like eggs?" she asked as I sat down. 

"They are good." I said and watched her move around the kitchen. She was still limping, and I wondered if she did have a nasty bruise today. 

"I was thinking, after breakfast, would you want to go on a ride with me?" 

"A ride?" I asked looking out the window to see a four-wheeler roll by, steered by Rusty.

"Yeah, Symphony and Orpheus need to be ran this morning." Shanna set a plate of eggs and bacon in front of me. 

"You mean that I will be riding a horse? While it is running?" Shanna nodded sitting next to me. "Is that safe?" 

"Of course, Symphony and Orpheus are the kindest horses you will ever meet, I promise you - and you can choose which one to ride." she said excitedly. I didn't know how a person could be so excited over an animal who kicked it the night before, but Shanna looked super excited to show me, and so I couldn't refuse. "Great! After you eat, go put on some pants, and I have an extra pare of boots that can be yours for the year."

I wanted to spit out my food... the year... I was stuck on this stinky horse ranch for a whole year. At least I could go to school and make friends, and hopefully spend the night at there houses all the time instead of staying here. I swallowed my food and continued eating slowly - maybe it wouldn't be as bad as I thought. Its only that I would have to be riding that very large animal who could very well possibly kill me. 

I finished my food and went to go get changed. When I was dressed, I walked down the stairs to find Shanna by the door with a pare of boots in her hands. "Here, these should fit you well enough," Shanna said handing over the shin length boots to me. 

"These aren't like yours." I said looking down at her cowgirl boots and then to the boots she handed me. 

"Those are for riding, my boots are for working." She replied and I sat down on the ground and pulled on the boots. They were a tad bit big, but other than that they were all good. I stood up and Shanna lead me outside. 

We were halfway to the stables when a man on a white grey horse with a black mane came racing by followed by a dog. Shanna turned to me, "That's Henry White, one of our best riders." I followed the man with my eyes until he turned a corner. 

"That was a beautiful horse," I said as we continued to walk. 

"Indeed, Lucas is one of the best jumping horses we have, Henry raised him from a foal." Shanna said and we entered the stables. "So who do you want to ride? Symphony or Orpheus?" 

I hadn't really put much thought on which horse I wanted to ride. "Orpheus," I said just picking a name. Shanna lead me to a stall and I looked inside to see a brown horse, his tail rustling to either side fending off flies. We entered the stall and walked to the side, and I made sure to stay behind Shanna. 

"Don't be frightened, go pet him." Shanna urged, pushing me lightly toward the horse. 

"I -I don't think I'm ready to ride." I said backing up until I hit the side of the stall. 

"No one is truly ready their first time riding, just make sure to stay clear of their hind legs, or come in close from behind, and talk to him, make him know that you are there. They can sense your fear." she said, and taking my hand lead me toward the horse. I tried to back away again, but Shanna was a stone block behind me, blocking my exit. Sucking in a breath, I reached out a hand slowly, and pet the horses nose. "That's good Nataliya." Shanna let go of my arm and stepped back to watch me, "Now, I will let you talk to him, get to know him, while I saddle him up for you, but sooner or later you will have to learn how to do it yourself if you like riding." She said and walked out of the stall, leaving me alone with the horse. 

I suppose this wasn't so bad, this horse was nice enough. He nudged his head into my chest, and I patted his neck, smiling a bit. Yeah, I could do this.

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