The morning was long, cleaning stalls, feeding and putting horses out to pastures wasn't his idea of fun, but it was a job. Quinn Miller was tall and skinny, with dark black hair the color of coal. He had just moved from the west coast to a small town in Massachusetts. A week ago he would have been hanging out with friends and having a good time, today he was sweaty and tired and all he wanted was to rest, but the morning hours moved on and so did he.
"Quinn, can you come give me a hand?" It was his boss, who was old, and he didn't get along with people well. He had heard that he had an eighteen year old daughter. Quinn was yet to see her.
"Yeah, sure." He put down the pitch fork he was working with and walked out in the stable isle, he stopped dead in his tracks. Next to where his boss was standing there was a girl, looked to be around eighteen, with blonde hair the color of sunflowers in the summer, her body was sleek and smooth, her clothes tight, but hanging loosely. Her skin the color of buttermilk. She was smiling, her smile was bright and full. He couldn't see the color of her eyes, but he knew they were beautiful. She was wearing a Beatles t-shirt, and was talking to his boss, her father, about a new foal that was just born. They were discussing names for it.
"Dad I think we should name him, Mars something."
"Give it a couple days, find out his personality. Quinn, will you go out to the back pasture and get Bingo? Thanks."
He didn't even say yes, he just grabbed the halter and lead line that was hanging from the stall marked, with a gold name plate, Bingo, and kept walking. As he got farther out, he could still hear her arguing with her father about the name of the foal. He couldn't get the image of her out of his head. He wasn't the kind of guy to fall for a girl like that, but she wasn't just any girl, she was, like a goddess, and she was also the boss's daughter. Off limits to stable boys.
On the way in from getting the old horse that could barely walk, Quinn watched all the new foals play with their mothers, and sleep in the mid-morning sun. It was hot outside already and only going to get hotter. He reached the stable, not only to find her by herself, but she was smiling at him, like she was waiting for him.
"I told him I could go out and get him myself, but he insisted that you could do it."
"I don't mind, here. He's a little stiff today, might want to help him stretch before you ride."
"I'll make sure to do that, thanks for the warning," she smiled again, "You're the new stable hand right, the one from Oregon?"
"Yeah, my names Quinn," he extended his hand, to give her the lead line, "I take it you're the boss's daughter."
"Thanks," she took the lead line, "Yeah, no one special though, my name's Aleise." She let out a laugh. He was so cute, tall, tan from working out in the fields, and his hair was like the color of the tail of her buckskin, black as coal. But she couldn't get over the color of his eyes, they were intense, bright blue, the kind where it seems like you can see through them if you tried hard enough. His lips were thin and plump, his eyebrows were thick, and shapely, light colored compared to his hair.
"Nice to meet you. Do you need help getting him ready?" now that he was close enough to tell her eyes were the color of the sky right after sundown. Dark blue on the rim and light blue-green in the middle, with a light blue ring around the pupil. They looked sad, as if she was hiding something, but happy at the same time. Her lips were full and lively.
"You too. No I got him, he gets moody. You should get back to work though, before my dad catches me talking to you. See you around though." And with that she turned and walked down the isle. He watched her walk down the isle, watching her bum as she walked. He noticed that with every move it jiggled just a little bit. It was shaped just the right way, fit from riding horses. Her legs were muscular, and long, she was still shorter then him, he was six foot two inches, she came up to about his shoulders, putting her at about five foot seven maybe eight.
She was what her father called a "free bird". She didn't want to be tied down by anyone, especially a guy that worked for her dad... but it was a possibility. As she groomed out her horse she watched him work. She knew he'd watched her walk down the isle. She had felt his eyes on her the whole time, and now, it was her turn to stare. She couldn't help it. She saw what little muscle he had in his arms flex as he picked up the buggy he just filled. How his bum filled his jeans, and how he walked. He was graceful for a guy, and she admired it.
When she got tacked up and walked out she ran into him. Not on purpose, but by accident. She felt his sweaty body on her for just a split second, and all she wanted to do was jump on him and take him down on the ground and kiss him like she had never kissed before. Sadly she held herself back.
"Sorry, I wasn't watching where I was going." He looked so innocent.
"Neither was I. Isn't it time for you to take a break. You've been out here for hours."
"After two more stalls, I get to go home." He smiled then scuffed back a laugh.
"Yeah, well if I'm not back by the time you are gone, see you tomorrow, when you come to clean stalls again," smiling she added, "but before you go clean more stalls, feel like giving me a leg up?"
"Sure, why not." He helped her up and sent her on her way. Once he finished the last stalls and some various chores, he gathered his things and drove home, thinking of her the entire time.
By the time he got home it was after five o'clock. He was exhausted and smelled of the stables. He walked into his house to see all the boxes still needing to be unpacked, boxes he didn't want to touch. From the kitchen he could hear his mother bustling around. His dad was in his office on the phone, while his younger sister sat at the table doing what appeared to be math work.
"Hey Ash, whatcha doin'?" He patted her on the head and kept walking.
"Quinn, you smell! And I'm doing homework so go away." She went back to work.
"Nice to see you too. Mom, do you remember what box the bath towels are in?" he leaned against the counter and waited.
"No, I don't. Check in the living room, and if it's not in there check my room. Sorry sweetie." She went back to making dinner.
"It's okay. How was your day?" He stood up straight, "And where is Dad?"
"My day was good, how was work? And Dad is in his office fighting with the insurance company."
"The day was pretty long. So..." he trailed off, "is Dad going to grace us with his presence at all today?" Quinn and his father had never really got along. They wanted to do different things and his dad worked too much.
"Quinn, he's been working hard today, would you just TRY to get along with him. Please? And yes he's going to sit down and have dinner, and if he doesn't I'm going to make him tomorrow."
"That's what you said the last four nights." He started to walk out of the kitchen, and then stopped. Turned around, "I'm sorry, but the whole reason for moving here was so he would change, and he hasn't changed. He will never change." Then he walked out.
"Quinn, come back here!"
But he kept walking. He hated watching his mom be so unhappy. He went and found the towels then headed up stairs. He took his shower then walked across the hall to his room, which was also full of boxes. These, however, were empty boxes, as he had already unpacked his clothes. He had already arranged his posters on the wall and had set up his radio.
"QUINN DINNER!" his sister had the biggest mouth he had ever heard.
"Be down in a minute!" He got dressed then headed back down the stairs. All he was wearing was a pair of basketball shorts, no need for a shirt, only at home right.
"Gross! Don't you know what a shirt is?" asked Ashlynn as she was setting the table. His mother was putting out the food, while his father sat there waiting for dinner to be over; most likely so he could go lock himself away in his office again.
"Shut up midget. Nice to see you dad." He sat down
"How's the new job going? I heard that barn has a really good riding program, maybe you can put in a word for your sister, so she can start riding again. Would you like to do that Ash?" His dad smiled at his sister like she was an angel.
"I would love that. Can you ask for me Quinn?" Ashlynn smiled at him, it made him want to throw up.
"How about you go there and ask yourself. I have work to do, I don't have time to ask my boss for favors to help out my brat sister." He started to get back up to leave, he didn't want to deal with his father and his sister.
"Don't you get up young man." His mom was the only one in his family that understood how he felt. "You're going to have dinner with the rest of us, and Ashlynn we'll go find a barn for you to ride at, one where your brother is not working. Okay?"
"Yeah, I wouldn't want to deal with him more then I already have to," Ashlynn gave him a smirk, "Plus I heard that barn isn't very good anyway." She gave him another smirk.
After dinner Quinn helped his mom with the dishes while his dad and sister sat at the table talking about all the old riding shows she had been in, and how they missed their old house. Quinn looked at his mom who seemed to be ignoring them. He didn't know how she did it. When he was done he walked back up to his room and turned up his radio. He took out his old electric guitar and started to act like he was playing along with the band coming out of the speakers. Soon after that, he turned down the radio and went to bed. The whole time, thinking of the blonde hair girl he had met just that day, wondering if she would be there the next day.
The whole day was just a blur to her. How could her dad hire someone that hot? How can she concentrate on riding with him around? She knew she couldn't say anything to her dad, because he would get rid of him in a heartbeat. Her dad didn't believe in being able to date and still keep up with riding at the same time. She didn't care, he was hot, sexy even, and she wanted him. She would do anything to get him.
"Aleise, do you feel like working Mora for me today?" Her dad disrupted her thinking.
"What?" She turned around, "Yeah I can work her today." She reached over and grabbed the halter and lead line and started walking. "Hey dad, where's the new stable boy?"
"He's out washing buckets. Why?" He looked at her funny.
"Just wondering, haven't seen him today, and I'm surprised you didn't have him go and get Mora for me." Not that she wanted her dad to make him go get the horse, she just hadn't seen him all day, and was truly wondering where he was.
"No, you go get Mora, and work her. She needs to be worked she's starting to get fat." Then he walked off.
Sure enough, when she walked out of the stable she saw him sitting on one bucket scrubbing another one. He looked kind of funny when he did it. He had headphones on, and it looked like he was singing along with what ever he was listening too. She could tell by the way his was moving his head he was listening to rock. Guess she would have to find out.
She walked over and stood in front of him, waiting for him to realize she was standing there. Holding the halter and lead line on her shoulder she put her hands on her hips and kicked out on leg, like she was mad. That's when he looked up.
"Shhhh... what the hell?!" He took off his headphones. "Do you need me to do something?"
She started laughing, "No, I was just on my way to go get Mora, and saw you working really hard on those buckets. What are you listening too?"
"Skynyrd. Which ones Mora?"
"Wow, classics, she's the Friesian filly. The spoiled one," She smiled. "What song?"
"Free Bird. You know Skynyrd? A little young don't you think." He laughed.
"A little old don't you think? Yeah, I know Skynyrd, hence my cat named Lynyrd. How old are you anyway?" She just had to know, making sure he wasn't too young for her.
"Twenty-one, yeah I know, older then what you expected." He went back to scrubbing buckets.
"Oh, so you moved here from Oregon, for what reason?" she felt like a bitch, she had to ask though.
"Moved with my parents, I don't know what my mom would do without me." He didn't even look up at her to say that. He was still scrubbing that damn bucket. "My dad and my sister aren't any help, my mom's sick so I take care of her and anything else that needs to be done." She didn't expect to get that kind of answer out of him. He was so open about it.
"Oh, Well I'll let you go back to work," She started to walk off, and then stopped. "I'm sorry to hear your mom's sick. If you ever want to talk."
"Yeah, thanks." That's all he said, he put his headphones back on and went on with scrubbing buckets.
She went and got Mora, the young Friesian filly, brushed her out then tacked her up and got ready to go. She turned around to walk out and he was standing there watching her. She smiled at him, he smiled back. She looked at his eyes, they weren't as bright as they were yesterday, and they seemed dark and distant like he was hiding something. They looked like they had pain, like he was hurting and needed to get out how he felt, but couldn't. He was leaning against the wall holding something in his hand. She unhooked Mora from the cross ties and stated leading her towards him. She walked by him slowly, he was holding, what looked like a picture. She just kept walking.
"She has cancer," She stopped, "We found out when I was eighteen. The worst hasn't hit yet, but we still don't know how much longer she's going to last." He was looking at her, "My dad is in denial about it, my sister doesn't understand, I try to be strong for all of us, my mom doesn't want me to be, but I can't see myself not being strong for her." She looked at him. He had tears in his eyes, they were brighter, like the tears were making them shine more then they already did.
"Quinn, I'm so sorry. I know what its like to lose your mom. Mine passed away when I was ten. I thought my world came to an end. I guess I was too young to realize what it would be like, but growing up with only my dad, and horses, I found a way to get over it." She walked over to him and rubbed his arm. He was warm, she wanted to hug him, but didn't know how he would take it. "Do you ride? I mean horses."
"Use to. My sister's the only one that has carried on with it. Why?"
"Let me go get Bingo, go for a ride with me, I want to show you something."
"Okay, here, I'll go get him. Meet you outside." He grabbed Bingo's halter and lead line, walked out, the old bay Quarter horse gelding, with a white blaze down his face and brought him back. When he walked back in, Mora was hooked to the cross ties again and Aleise was standing in the isle with the bag of brushes in her hand. "I told you I would meet you outside." He smiled.
"I know, I'm stubborn, you'll get use to it." She started brushing out Bingo's neck, then his chest. He grabbed the other soft brush and started working on the other side, working his way down to the horse's rump. When they were both done, she left to get the riding gear. He didn't want her to have to carry all of it, so he went to help her. He reached the tack room, only to be grabbed by her and slammed against the wall and kissed. He was shocked at first, after the shock was done, and she pulled her lips from him, he smiled and reached down rubbed her chin with his hand. He pulled her face to his and kissed her, this time both of them were in on the action.
Her lips were soft, and warm. She was pressing her body close to him. He took his left hand and put it in the middle of her back, trying to bring her as close to him as he could get her. His right hand playing with the back of her golden hair, twirling it in his fingers.
They heard the horses stir, so they quickly broke apart, staring at each other. Aleise poked her head out the door and looked around, and then she started laughing.
"What are you laughing at?" he looked at her like she was crazy.
"No one's out there, the horses are just getting impatient. Let's go before one of them has a breakdown." She started walking out the door, and then she realized she forgot what she went in there for, and grabbed the bridle. "Can you get the saddle? It's too heavy for me." She smiled then walked out the door.
Shaking his head he grabbed the saddle, and walked out behind her. She had Bingo's head out of his halter and was putting on the bridal when he walked up and started putting on the saddle. After he got the saddle on he looked up and saw her dad walking through the wide door. Her dad looked pissed.
She looked up, "Hi dad, I thought you were going to be in town the rest of the day."
"I haven't left yet. What are you doing?"
"I thought Quinn might want to go ride, and Bingo needed to be worked. Why not kill two birds with one stone right?" she looked back a Quinn and smiled.
"Oh, I guess that's not a problem. Just stay away from the lake. I know what you do up there, and I don't want that happening." Then the turned around and walked off.
"That was close." She looked at him and smiled again, "Ready?"
"Yeah, what happens at the lake?" He just had to know. "Why doesn't your dad want you going there, and where are we going?"
"Stop asking questions," she unhooked Bingo from the cross ties, and handed him the reigns, and then she walked over and unhooked Mora, and started walking out. "You'll find out." She kept walking, when she got outside, she stopped and mounted, looked back to see if he was coming. He was right behind her shaking his head. When he got next to her, he did the same, adjusting himself when he got up.
"It's been awhile since I did this." He looked at her she was smiling at him. "What?"
"Nothing, you'll be fine, it'll all come back to you. You look hot on a horse." She kicked Mora into a walk and started laughing. He did the same to Bingo, he just wasn't laughing.
They went through a bunch of trails, talking about family, and their moms. He found out that her mom was killed in a car accident and her father never let her do anything except go to school and ride horses. She knew her dad missed her mom, and that he didn't want anything to happen to her, but she wanted more space. Her dad didn't understand that. He told her about the day he found out his mom had cancer, which was also the day he gave up on a lot of things. He was only eighteen then, and the typical teenager, maybe worse. He told her about his old drug and drinking habits, and how he gave up on all of the things he use to love. They talked for about a half hour about everything that was going on.
"Where are we going?" He had been lost since they left the stable.
"We're almost there. It just around this corner." She smiled at him. He couldn't get over it. It was so, beautiful, it was warm and bright. "Here." She stopped Mora and dismounted. "We have to walk from here." He dismounted and fallowed her. The path was slender, and there were trees all over the place. When the got through the thick trees it opened up to a lake, the lake they weren't supposed to be at. "This was my mom's favorite place to go. She use to bring me here all the time when I was younger."
The lake wasn't very big, there were lily pads and flowers all over the place. The trees hid it very well, the trees opened up at the top and let the sun float on the top of the water. Butterflies and other insects flew around, hopping from one flower to the next. Aleise walked over to where there was a tree branch hanging down and tied Mora to it, then reached and took the reigns from him, and tied Bingo the same way. She walked over to him and took his hand.