Chapter 1 Ava

In some moments of my life, those moments felt surreal like I was dreaming. It's like my whole being couldn't comprehend what was going on around me. All the sounds, the feelings just disappeared. Today was one of those moments.

A couple of months ago, my Dad was laid off from his job. The family, even I, couldn't believe it. It was something I couldn't grasp because my Dad was very good at his job, an architectural engineer. He has passion and drive and, most importantly, talent. He is loyal and focused and wiser than other engineers I know. Well, I am his daughter, so in my eyes he is the best of the best. However, I know he is good at his job because this was the first time in my seventeen years of life that he has ever been laid off.

Life wasn't so bad after Dad lost his job. I mean sure we had to budget our money and my friends supported me and our food wasn't the best, but we had a home, our horses, and most importantly each other. But today changed my life forever. Dad was hired from some company in Fairfield, Illinois.

I was very proud of my father, a little disappointed that I would be moving, but very proud, until my mother broke some upsetting news to me. Apparently, we can't take our horses with us, my two precious Arabians, Ruby and Gracie.

"What about bordering them? Just put them somewhere, I will even except that they can stay here in Colorado," I suggested to my mother.

She just shakes her head sadly, "We can't. Not where we are going. It would cost too much to border them somewhere." I remember I was about to protest again, but my mother cut me off. "You're going to be selfish and put them in tiny stables when you know that they have been in a twenty-two acre pasture. We just can't."

Those bone-chilling words broke my heart to the point that I sprinted to my room and slammed the door in my mother's face. I didn't mean it, but it felt good to smash something. I never cry; it is hard to break me, but selling my precious babies shattered my heart into tiny, painful pieces. I didn't want to think about the logic behind my mother's words; all I heard was those heart-shattering words. We can't. Not where we are going. We just can't. My mom liked the horses, but she didn't love them like I did. She didn't understand what I was going through.

I sobbed uncontrollably into the pillows, silently cursing the people who fired my father because they just ruined my life. My chest constricted painfully when I choked on endless sobs. Also, I realized I would leave my friends behind. And I was a senior; it would be hard to settle into a new school. I don't even know if the school I will be attending to has a good academic program.

I heard a soft knock on my door, but I just threw my pillow ferociously at the door like I would cause immense damage. It just gave a light thud and plopped on the ground, no harm done, except the crumpled pillow. In frustration, I screamed at whoever it was to go away. Whoever it was, didn't say a word as I heard their soft sigh and their light, padded footsteps go down the hallway.

It was night, and it felt like I have been crying for hours. I probably have considering that I could feel my nose running and my eyes growing swollen. My mom had informed me that we will be moving next week; I am not looking forward to it. With a deep, shaky breath I silently get off my bed and drag myself to the door. As I open the door, I realized my parents went to bed; I'm glad.

I grab my boots and silently rush outside to the barn. My barn was just like an ordinary barn: red, peeled paint with white trimmings, had a hay loft, and was surrounded by a nice, grassy pasture, well now it's covered with glittering snow. More tears had flown down my face, but I quickly wiped them away. I didn't notice the cold, night air blowing through my wavy, brown curls. I didn't even notice the light crunching sounds of my boots shuffling through the thick snow, or the little stars twinkling in the clear sky. All I thought about was my horses while I forced my numb body forward.

I opened the barn doors and was immediately greeted with a light snort. I felt my throat tighten, but I quickly collected myself. My horses' dark eyes brightened when they saw me and nickered to me. My bottom lip trembled because they don't know what's coming. They are my innocent babies, so oblivious to the world.

"Hey g-guys," I choked out as I strolled toward them.

Ruby and Gracie's stalls were beside each other, so they nipped at each other as I approached them. I scolded them lightly as I stepped in between them and laid my hands on their warm, furry faces. They were contented with the equal attention and leaned into my touch. I choked out a laugh as their big, strong heads knocked lightly against my shoulders. I stroked Ruby's copper-red mane and her little white mark on her forehead. As I stroked her, I laid my throbbing head against her warm neck, smelling the fragrance of hay and grass. Abruptly, Gracie lightly nipped at my shoulder from the lack of attention. I picked up my head and started stroking her golden-brown mane, letting the pads of my fingers slowly stroke the coarse, fine hair. I choked on another sob as I looked into Gracie's kind, dark eyes.

"I love you guys so much, I just wanted you to know that," I whispered as I gave them soft kisses on their prickly noses. They leaned into my kiss as a response.