---Chapter 3 "To Save a Life"---
I dumped a bucket of feed into some horse's bowl. An over night patient of Grandpa's, I was sure. I wased back to the feed room to fill my bucket again. After dumping half the bucket into Tinkerbell's bowl, I waslked over and dumped the rest in Rebel's. He greeted me with his usual kick at the door, but this time I didn't jump. I just stood ther and glared at him. He kicked the door again, but I didn't even flinch, "That will be enough!"
He straightened his neck and perked up his ears, still glaring at me. I held my ground and glared at him as hard as I could, letting him know I wasn't afraid of him. Finally, he lowered his head and dropped his ears in defeat. He backed up to the corner of his stall and turned away from me. He wasn't completely harmless, just needed someone to stand up to him.
I walked back to the feed room and found a carrot sitting on a shelf, not completely sanitary but it wasn't molded or nasty. I took it back to Rebel's stall and held it out to him, "Come here, Rebel. Come get the juicy, crunchy carrot."
Rebel's ears stood up in alarm as he turned his neck to look at me. I waved the carrot and called him again, "Come get it."
He walked over and sniffed the carrot, slowing nibbeling away at it. He kicked the door, I guess expecting me to jump and drop it, but I pulled it away and glared at him, "No. No kicking."
He kicked the door again, so I tucked the carrot in my back pocket and held out both hands to show him I didn't have it any more, "No carrot."
Rebel gave a huff and backed away from the door. He looked at both my hands and stepped forward, touching my open palms, looking for his treat. I reached out and began to stroke his nose, surprised when he didn't try to bite me or kick the door again. I reached back for the carrot in my pocket and presented it to him, watching as he slowly chomped on it. He nuzzeled my hand when he was done, looking for more I guessed. I stood there and rubbed his nose for a while, he really wasn't as bad as everybody assumed.
If I could get him to stop kicking and biting, maybe... just maybe I could break him in.
"No! No", Paul exclaimed, "No, out of the question!"
I looked over my shoulders and tried to hush him, "Will you please lower your voice. The last thing I need is my Grandfather getting all worked up over nothing..."
"Really? Because I think wanting to break Rebel in yourself is a big something", Paul said a little quieter, but still angry, "Are you trying to commit suicide?"
"I've been standing outside Rebel's stall for the past four days amd he hasn't kicked or try to bite from day one."
Paul rested his elbows on the table and held his head in his hands, "Lana, its going to take a proffessional to break that horse in. No offense, I admire your fire, but you're just not cut out for it. I'm sorry, but putting you on his back is just... I don't even want to think about what would happen to you. Did you not remember what I told you happened to me?"
I shook my head, "He needs someone he is familiar with. Bringing someone new in would just set him off again. And no offense Paul, but you spend all your time with Tinkerbell. Even you trying to ride him would feel like a total stranger to him."
Paul rubbed his forehead and smeared his hand down his face and slapping them on the table, "I don't want to put you in harms way. That horse is still wild and I just... I can't. Please, just drop it, okay?"
I just looked at him, I had nothing to say. I was so angry, but I couldn't let it out here, so I stood up and walked out the back door of the trailer, slamming it shut behind me. I stomped into the barn and began to pace around in a circle in frustration. There was a bucket sitting on the ground, so I walked over and kicked it as hard as I could, sending it flying through the air and tumbeling to the ground. That made me feel a little bit better, but I was still furious. I began to pace again, twisting my finger around a loose curl hanging from my face.
A horse huffed behind me, but I paid him no mind. Suddenly, a loud thumping noise made me turn around to see Rebel sticking his head out the window and watching me pace. He dropped his head, looking apologetic and I couldn't help but smile. I walked over and leaned against his door, proping my elbows on the window. Rebel tossed his head and rested it on my shoulder, allowing me to hold his head and stroke his nose, "I tried."
Rebel huffed and nuzzeled my hand, looking as if he really did understand. I couldn't give up on him, wouldn't give up on him. I had to do something.
For the next two days I avoided Paul, not speaking to him when he said something to me, acting as if we didn't work in the same barn. He would sigh sometimes, I was hoping I made him feel bad, he deserved it. Didn't he?
I was sweeping the floor when Paul came storming in, fist balled at his side, red face, mumbeling under his breath and then kicking a bucket on the ground. I was sure that was the same bucket I kicked over a few days ago.
I walked to where it lay, picking it up and brushing the dust off the dent Paul's foot left. He turned and looked at me, his eyes were angry, his face was as still as stone... maybe I should lighten up on him and start talking to him.
I set the bucket in its normal place and wiped my hand on my hips, "What's wrong?"
Paul turned and began to walk towards me, but instead of saying anything he kicked the bucket again. I walked over and picked it up a second time, "What's the bucket do to deserve that?"
Paul stopped pacing and held his head in his hand, "I'm sorry. I'm just... I don't... I'm sorry."
I set the bucket back up and leaned again a stall, "What are you sorry for? The bucket is fine, just a few dents."
Paul smiled at that, "Its not the bucket. I found a rider to break in Rebel, he'll be here in a few minutes."
The thought of someone else riding Rebel made me angry, but I contained the anger inside me and tried to talk to Paul, "How would that anger you? That's what you wanted."
Paul rubbed the back of his neck and shook his head, making the locks of brown hair fall around his face. He looked really hot all angry like that. I shook my head, trying to stay focused on Paul's anger and not his looks. Paul began pacing again as he explained, "You remember that guy, Venny, the one I was telling you about?"
I shuttered, just hearing that guy's name was enough to set anyone off, "What about him?"
"Your Grandfather got a phone call from the guy. He offered more money then you could ever imagine... Enough to make your Grandfather consider selling Rebel to him."
I gasped, "Grandpa would never..."
"But he did", Paul exclaimed and walked over, giving the bucket another kick, "I can't stand that guy!"
I sighed as I began to walk over and pick up the bucket again, "You need to find yourself another way to deal with this besides kicking the poor bucket."
Paul smiled again, "I'm sorry, I'll stop. He made a deal with him, he's coming over the same time the rider is. If we can't break him in today, Venny's buying him."
I gasped, "No..."
Paul shook his head, "I'm sorry, Lana. I don't like it just as much as you do."
I ran over and grabbed Rebel's head, stroking his neck and burying my face into him. Rebel huffed, but let me cry into his neck. I stroked his neck and mane, "No..."
Paul walked over and rest a hand on my shoulder, "I'm sorry, I know you wanted to keep him..."
I didn't catch what Paul said, I was too busy crying and loving Rebel. He had really come around the past few days and even let me lead him around on a rope, no jerking or tugging. I was determined not to give up on him, why had everybody else?
Paul patted my shoulder, "Come on, pull yourself together. Maybe with you working on him like you have... Maybe he won't be as bad or maybe he'll actually let this guy ride him."
"No he won't", I shook my head and turned to face Paul, "he doesn't trust anybody else. Just me."
Paul shook his head and sighed, "We've got an while before they all get here. Lets finish up this and pray for the best."
I couldn't work, or at least I could but not without wanting to cry whenever I walked past Rebel's stall. They couldn't take him away. I would buy him off this Venny guy if I had to. They couldn't take anything that I loved, that had happened to much lately and I wasn't going to let it happen again.
A car pulled up, two doors slammed close, feet walking on gravel and came towards the barn. I looked up from my sweeping to see one man wearing a cowboy hat, blue and red plaid button up shirt, jeans too tight for him, a huge belt buckle around his waist, and brown boots with spurs on the back of them. His upper lip was covered by a bushy black mustache, making him look like a cartoon character more than a professional rider. I cupped my hand over my mouth and coughed, trying to cover up my laugh.
The other guy worn a brown jacket and jeans, fresh clean shoes, his face was round and clean shaved, and he wore a smile that sent shivers up my spin. This was Venny, the most hated man around the vet clinic.
"Hey there, little lady", Venny said in a deep southern accent, "we're looking for Doc Ronald."
I glared at him and pulled the walkie talkie from my back pocket, "Grandpa."
"The rider is here."
Venny cleared his throat as if to say, "And me too." I rolled my eyes and pushed the walkie talkie button again, "And we got some weird-o who's shoes are about to get messed up on."
"Must be Venny. Be there in a minute."
I slipped the walkie talkie back into my back pocket and began to sweep again, pushing the mess towards the rider and Venny. The rider moved, but Venny didn't, so I pushed all the mess his way and ruined his nice leather Italian shoes. He looked up at me and smiled, "Oopsie."
"Yeah, not really", I said as I threw the broom against the wall and walked to get a rope for Rebel. When I returned, Venny and the rider were standing outside Rebel's stall, trying to call him over. Venny pointed to him, "Fine horse, he truely is. Its a shame things have to end the way they do."
"You don't have him", I said as I bumped past him to open the door and walk in. Venny followed up behind, but I lift my hand to him and pushed him out, "He doesn't like people in his stall."
Venny pointed to me, "You're in there."
"Correction", I said with a smierk, "he doesn't like you in his stall. In fact, he doesn't like you in the barn at all, so I would go back to your car and wait patiently until we're done."
Venny chuckled, "You're cute..."
"And way to young for you", I turned to hook Rebel up to the rope and wrap my arms around his neck for what felt like would be the last time. Rebel huffed as I kissed his nose, "Be good, boy. Please?"
He huffed again and I smiled, "Just try."
Venny watched me closely and laughed, "Like he can really understand you."
"He's not stupid", I fired back, fist balled up at my side and turning red with anger, "if you actually spend some time with a horse instead of murdering them for your own personal needs, maybe one of them would actually like you too. Course something liking you back would be a first."
"Afternoon, gentlemen", Grandpa said as he walked up behind them and patted both their backs, "I see you've met my lovely granddaughter, Lana."
The rider nodded, "Lovely indeed." His voice was high pitched with a Spanish accent, that would explain why he looked the way he did. Venny looked back at me and then at Grandpa again, "I didn't know this was the one you spoke so highly of! She's a doll."
"I'm not plastic, like you're heart..."
"Lana! Take Rebel to the ring, please", Grandpa said with a glare that told me to watch my tone. I walked past the three of them and stopped when we reached the middle of the ring. Paul followed up behind me, carrying a saddle in his arms, "You really handled yourself well out there."
My mouth dropped open, "You were there the whole time?"
Paul smiled, "Hiden in the corner, trygin to calm myself down so I wouldn't punch that Venny guy across the face."
"Well thanks for leaving me to fend for myself", I said with a laugh as Paul threw the saddle over Rebel's back. He stepped forward, but then stood still and let him strape the saddle on. I stroke his nose and kissed his neck a couple times, whispering in his ear, "Please, be good?"
He huffed and flicked his tail a couple time. I smiled and turned to see the rider and Venny walking our way. I was so disgusted with Venny, I hoped Rebel would give him a good kick.
"Nice horse", the rider said as he stroke his side and looked him over. I glanced down at his spurs, "You're gonna have to take those off, he doesn't like them."
The rider glanced down at his spurse, "They teach discipline, let him know who is in charge."
I shook my head, "He'll kick you off, they make him angry."
"Does this girl really think she knows what is best for a horse", Venny asked as he walked our way and stood infront of Rebel, "the spurs stay on. Its all apart of the learning process."
Rebel kicked his front hoof out to try and kick Venny, but he back off before Rebel could reach him. I smiled and patted his neck, "Good boy."
Venny walked past all of us and stood outside the gate, Grandpa following him and Paul right behind him. I stood there and held the rope as the rider threw himself on Rebel's back, he didn't flinch. I was praying he would go crazy as soon as those spurs dug into his side. I unhooked the rope and kissed Rebel's nose one last time and walked over to the gate, sitting on the top of it, praying he would behave himself. The rider kicked his side and it began.
Rebel jumped and tossed him around, the rider hanging on for dear life. Rebel bucked and jumped, tossing the rider around, but not throwing him off. I watched, hoping he was doing better then the last time. Rebel jumped and bucked even hard, throwing his back legs in the air and jumping around wildly. He bumped up again the fence, scrapping the rider hard in the leg, but he held on.
I gripped the fence tighter, whispering, "Come on Rebel, just let him ride you."
He bucked even harder, throwing the rider every which way, scrapping him against the fence and trying to shake him off. Finally the rider let go and fell on the ground, making Rebel stop and just stare at him. The rider walked over to where we stood, "That thing is crazy! A monster, I say!"
"He is not", I shouted back. Paul touched my hand, trying to assure me it was alright. Venny smiled, "Well, a deal is a deal. If you guys here can load him on the trailer, I'll be more than happy to go inside and write a check."
I jumped from the fence and turned to him, "You can't just take him away..."
"Apparently, I can", Venny snapped back, "Your grandpa and I had a deal. Pedro here can't break and neither can anyone else. He's a beast, too wild for anybody to ride."
"No he's not, and I'll prove it", I shouted back as I went running for Rebel. Grandpa and Paul hollared for me to come back and opened the gate to try and ran after me, trying to get me to stop. I reached Rebel and threw myself on his back before they could reach me and just sat there. I closed my eyes and prayed hard as I flicked the reigns and lightly kicked his side. Rebel took off running around the ring, me sitting on his back. He didn't jump or buck, just ran. I gave the reigns a slight tug and he slowed down to a prance and eventually a walk. Grandpa and Paul stood in the middle of the ring, mouthes wide open in complete shock. I didn't blame them, I was shocked myself.
"Impossible", Venny called from outside the fence, "that is impossible!"
I pulled Rebel to a stop right in front of him and looked down at him, "I told you, if you actually spend time with them, they'll like you back. Now you can't buy him."
Venny smiled as if I had made a mistake, "The deal was the rider could break him. You're not a professional rider, sweetheart."
"The deal was that Rebel couldn't be broken in by a rider. I never said a professional", Grandpa said as he walked over and patted Rebel's neck, "Lana is a rider."
Venny's face turned red as he turned and stormed out of the barn and got in his car. The rider looked at all of us and followed behind him, no goodbyes or anything. I jumped off Rebel's back and hugged him, "Good boy! Yes, you're such a good boy."
"Well you know what this means", Paul said as he walked up and pet Rebel's nose, "he's your's."
I smiled and hugged him again, "What do you think, Grandpa?"
Grandpa just stared at me and then at Rebel, rubbing the back of his neck, "That is the strangest thing I had ever seen. I've never known a horse to reject one rider, but accept another. It seems like you're the only one he likes, so yeah. He is your's."
I giggled and hugged Rebel's neck even tighter, "Thanks Grandpa."
"No", Grandpa said as he began to walk past us, "thank you. I think that'll be the last of Venny."
I watched as Grandpa walked away and then turned to Paul. He stood there and tucked his hands in his pocket, not saying anything, his eyes darted down to the ground. I wanted himt to say something, but nothing came out. I nodded my head and turned, leading Rebel back to his stall. After pulled the saddle off his back and brushing him, I kissed his nose one last time for the day and closed the stall door to find Paul leaning against the wall, "He really does like you."
I nodded, "Do you think we could go for a ride tomorrow? Take Rebel with us this time?"
Paul smiled, "I don't think that would be a problem at all."
I smiled, staring at Paul. I don't know what I expected, maybe an apology or something. I think I was really just looking for words myself, but had nothing to say. I nodded and started to walk out, but not before being stopped by Paul, "Lana, wait."
I turned as he walked towards me, "I owe you an apology. I should have never doubted you and for that I'm sorry."
I smiled, "You don't need to be sorry..."
"But I do", Paul said as he stepped closer to me and placed his hand on my arm. His touch was gentle, sweet and nothing more. I liked it. Paul sighed and smiled, "You're unbelieveable. Daring and scary at times, but I adore your fire and will to never give up. I kind of wish I was more like you."
I shook my head, "Then that wouldn't make you, you."
"True", Paul said as he ducked his head, hiding his beautiful green eyes behind his grogeous brown hair. His hair had grown longer and now touched his eyebrows and covered his ears. I liked it. Paul looked back up at me, "Thank you, for never giving up on him and proving all of us wrong."
I rested my hand on his muscular forearm, trying to contain myself from jumping him and wrapping my arms around him, showering him in kisses and love. He had no idea what kind of effect he had on me whenever he touched my arm, even looking at me sent my heart wild and flutters in my stomach. I shook my head, "I just wanted to show people that I'm not all city slicker, I've actually got a little cowgirl in me."
Paul chuckled, "No doubt now. Taking a risk like you did just saved Rebel's life. And you've deffinatly changed mine..."
I looked up at him, our eyes locked but this time there was something else there. His eyes had a sparkle in them as he smiled down at me. I was lost in his eyes, his smile, his smooth and beautiful face. He leaned in closer to me and whispered, "Can I kiss you?"
His breath was warm on my face, smelled clean and minty. I smiled, "I don't know, can you?"
Paul laughed in the back of his throat and touched my face, "I don't know, there's only one way to find out."
I stepped up on my tip toes as his lips gently touched mine. His lips were warm and so inviting as he held the kiss, his hand rested on my cheek, everything was perfect. He was perfect, this moment was perfect.
Finally, he slowly pulled his lips away and smiled at me, "I guess that answers our question."
I giggled and wrapped my arms around his neck as he pulled me closer to him and picked me up, swinging me around in a complete circle. We kissed again as he set me down on the ground, his arms still held me close to his body. For the first time in a while, I actually felt good about myself, about everything! I now had the horse I despreatly wanted to save and now the perfect guy. I felt like I was standing on top of the world and nothing could bring me down.