Galloping Hills Academy 1 part 1 | Teen Ink

Galloping Hills Academy 1 part 1

May 2, 2012
By Horseracer, Richmond, Virginia
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Horseracer, Richmond, Virginia
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Favorite Quote:
I'm a lover not a fighter, but i'll fight for what i love.

Author's note: some content not sutible for kids under the age of 14

“Mom, I’ll be fine.” I put a peice of strawberry kiwi flavored gum in my mouth and started chewing. Even though I wasn’t so sure that I would be fine, but I didn’t want my parents taking me home now.
As we pulled into the driveway of the elite Galloping Hills Academy, I took in everything around me. The white fences holding horses in, the ivy covered fences, the remarkable stone buildings that looked to be a hundred years old.
“Natalie, I want you to be happy. Are you sure this is what you want sweetie?” my dad asked concerned.
“I’m sure dad, Justin and I need this. The riding program here can take us so many places.”
We pulled into an empty parking place and got out of the car. So many people were there already. Parents and kids rolled luggage down the sidewalks to there dorms. My dorm was called Cedarspring. We unloaded my horse, Justin. He was a black, 5 year old, Morgan Gelding. I had Justin for 2 years and it had been love at first site for both of us.
As I unloaded him he looked around, excited to be in a new place.
“Do you need any help taking him to the barn?” Mom asked
“No, I got it I’ll meet you in my dorm.” I reassured
I followed the signs to the stable and as I walked in, a prissy looking girl eyed me carefully. She walked so close to Justin I thought she was going to run into him. Just as she was pacing Justin reached out and chomped down on her arm. The girls let out a piercing scream.
“I’m so sorry. Are you ok?” I asked her.
She glared at me with piercing eyes. Great, now she's crying. A man I assumed was Mr.West, my riding instructor, strode down the aisle. He didn't look happy. Oh, perfect timing! Right when this priss starts with the water works.
“What is going on over here Isabelle?”
“This new girl’s horse just bit me.” She sobbed.
He turned to me. “What happened?”
“She walked really close to my horse and he reached out and lightly bit her. He's never done anything like this before. I think he’s nervous, he doesn’t trust many people and he’s young.”
“Alright, well it sounds like it won’t happen again so I’ll let it go but be sure it never happens again!” He boomed
“Alright Isabelle, lets get you to the infirmary.
“Yes sir, Mr.West” Isabelle wimpered.

After I found Justin’s stall and checked him in, I made sure he had water and hay. I walked back, following the signs to Cedarspring. When I finally got there I decided not to tell my parents what had just happened. I didn’t need them getting into my problems. I walked inside the old, stone building and found my parents in the corner of the hall holding my luggage.
“Okay, lets go to my room. My information sheet says its on the second floor, room eight.” I told my parents.
“We’ll follow you.” My mother said.
I walked up the stairs with my parents following close behind me. After pacing down the hall I finally found my room, I knocked to see if anyone was there.
“Come in” A female vocie said from behind the door.
We walked inside the spacious room. It had a desk to the side with bookshelves everywhere. Everything was so organized. I looked at the desk chair where a petite women with blond hair was sitting at.
“Hi, I’m Olivia your dorm moniter.” She said as she turned around in the chair and stood up to greet us.
“I’m Natalie.”
“Well here’s the key to your room Natalie," She said handing over a small bronze key with the Galloping Hills Academy crest on the end. "If you have any questions let me know.” We walked out and headed down the hallway to my room. I unlocked the door and walked in. There were two beds to the right and a closet and desk to the left. Another closet and desk was straight ahead and the backroom was in the far corner. There was one more bed in the back of the room and it looked like it had already been claimed. There were two girls on there beds. One with blond hair about waist level the other with brown hair just below her shoulders.
“Hi, I’m Natalie.”
“Hi I’m Sadie” the girl with brown hair said
“I’m Katelynne. Welcome to Galloping Hills.” The other girl said.
"Thanks" I said.
Mom and dad sat my stuff down on the unclaimed bed. We said our goodbyes in the other room, my mom shed a few tears before long and I tried to keep from the same teary fate as my mother and my dad walked out of the door. Sadie and Katelynne tried to chear me up and so I had forgotten all about the stupid priss at the barn.

My roomates and I unpacked and talked the whole time. We talked about horses classes and our hometowns. We discovered we all like the show McLeods Daughters and we watched four episodes of my DVDS.
"I'm hungery want to go to dinner?" Katelynne suggested.
"Um, I guess so." I said reluctantly. I was a littel afraid of going out of the dorm but I didnt want them to know that. I didnt want to look like a chicken. We walked out of the dorm and acroos campus to the cafeteria. The old stone building looked spectacular up close. We walked inside and I was amazed at the buaety of the old building. We walked to the line and I got spaghetti and meatballs with a sprite.I didn't feel like eating much.
"Let's go sit over there." Sadie pointed to a table in the back. Thank god. We walked across the cafeteria and we passed the girl from the stable. I made a mental note to ask Katelynne and Sadie who she was. When we sat down I looked around in amazment.
"Who is that girl with dark brown, straight hair?" I asked.
"That's Isabelle. She rides, you want to stay away from her. She will do whatever it takes to be the best in the arena. Sadie answered.
We finished eating our food and as we ate I zoned out thinking about what she might do. I pictured her stealing Justin and hiding him somewhere that he could get hurt. It was enough to make me start sweating just thinking about what could happen. For the first time since my parents left I realized there was know going bac

I woke up at 5:30 for my first class. I was so scared, all I did was talk. It’s one of my habits that if I’m excited or nervous I talk too much. Katelynne, Sadie, and I got ready fast and headed to the stables to see our horses. Sadie’s horse Lavendel was an eight year old bay gelding. Katelynne’s horse Cheyenne was a six year old chestnut gelding. We walked to the stables giggling the whole time and when we got there I thought I was going to pass out. There standing with his horse, was Elijah from my old stable. We are friends but he never told me he was coming to Galloping Hills. I ran over him and scared him half to death just by saying “hi”. He jumped and whirled around. When he saw me he had the biggest smile on his face. People think he’s weird for the way he looks but I think he is really cute. I’ve sort of always had a crush on him. He is the nicest person I have ever met in my life.

“Hey, I didn’t think I’d see you this soon. I was hoping to surprise you at lunch or something but it’s too late for that now.” He said a little too excitedly.

“You still surprised me. I can’t believe you came here. How did Yaida do on the trip here?”

Yaida was Elijah’s seven year old bay gelding he had had for three years. They hadn’t exactly clicked when they first meet each other but there was something about Yaida that Elijah loved. I had ridden Yaida three times when Elijah was sick. I loved the way he jumps.

“So do you want to come see Justin after you put Yaida away?” I asked him.

“Sure, that would be great.” He Exclaimed

These are my roommates and friends Sadie,” I pointed to the one with brown hair, “and Katelynne.” I pointed to the blond one. “Guess, this is Elijah Bullocks from my old stable, River Run Equestrian.”

“Nice to meet you.” They said reaching out there hand to shake his.

“Okay, lets take Yaida in then go meet Katelynne, Sadie, and I horses, okay?” I asked

“Okay, sounds good.” They said in unison.

We walked down the barn aisle scanning the silver name plates on each door for Yaida’s. We walked half way down the aisle and it was on the left. The stalls were huge here, bigger than I have ever seen. He walked him in then unhooked his halter and let him loose in his stall. Then we followed Katelynne to her horses stall, Cheyenne. He was right beside Justin. When we got there I gasped. Someone had given him a shot in the neck; we saw the blood from it. We ran to Mr. West’s office not even caring if we got caught. Katelynne was almost in tears by the time we got there. We knocked on the door.

“Come in.” he called.

“Mr. West, Katelynne’s horse has a spot on hi neck were he was given a shot.” I told him.

Sadie and I hugged Katelynne trying to calm her.

“Calm down Katelynne, we give all the horses a shot to see if they have any allergies and the beginning of the year. They are closely monitored to see if they have any reactions.” Mr. West soothed.

“Really? I was so scared someone had given him something bad.” Katelynne Cried.

“I’ll go take a look at Cheyenne to make sure he’s ok, but don’t worry we keep a close eye on all our horses here.” He said trying to calm her down.

We walked down the aisle to Cheyenne’s stall and Katelynne started crying again when she saw him. He was lying down breathing really hard. Mr. West looked pail.

“Katelynne I’m going o call the vet. I want you four to stay with him and try to keep him calm. Don’t panic Katelynne, if you do he will get nervous. Only two people in the stall at once, we don’t want him getting to excited.”

Mr. West walked briskly down the aisle to his office. I went into his stall and sat down beside him talking calmly to him. I tried to T Touch technique I had seen Amy Fleming use and it seemed to work. He calmed down after a few minutes and Katelynne came in and sat beside me stroking him.

“Katelynne he’ll be fine. Don’t worry I’m sure it’s nothing major. The vet will be here soon.” I soothed

We sat there for another few minutes and the vet arrived. She said Cheyenne was going to be fine. He had a mild case of colic, having nothing to do with the shot Mr. West had given him earlier. Katelynne was so relieved, I had a feeling I would be best friends with Katelynne and Sadie very soon.

Katelynne, Sadie, and I walked to class together. We had finally talked Katelynne into leaving Cheyenne. Katelynne and I had our first class together, Ace.

“Bye Sadie, see you at lunch.” Katelynne and I said.

“Bye, good luck with your first class.” She called.

As Katelynne and I walked silently to the foreign language and elective building I admired the view. I had told Eli to find me at lunch so we could sit together and he had agreed. We walked into the building and found our classroom. There weren’t very many people in there yet so we took our seats in the back. The classroom started filling up and I took out my baby blue phone.

Wats ur first class

I sent it to Eli. Katelynne looked over with a giant smile on her face.

“Sadie likes Eli, she thinks he’s cute.” Katelynne said

“I know, she told me.” I said unhappily.


Just then the teacher walked in, Mrs.Edin

“Good morning class, I’m going to take role and then we’ll get started.”

I half way zoned out waiting for him to call my name. that class flew by and so did the next, before I new it, it was lunch time. I found Katelynne and Sadie and walked to the lunch line. I got chicken and rice, a bowl of grapes, and a piece of chocolate pie. We found table with two people sitting there, I guess they new that we lived in Cedarspring because they waved us over.

“Hi, I’m Natalie, and this is Sadie and Katelynne.” I said introducing us.

“Hi, I’m Penelope and this is Qween. We ride too, out horses names are Vincent and Cathargo. We saw you guys at the barn yesterday, I’m glad your horse is feeling better. I think they should warn the riders about that because riders freak out a lot.”

“Yeah that is a good idea. So how many years have you been at Galloping Hills?” Sadie asked.

“I have been here for a year and this is Qween’s first year.”

We sat in silence for a few minutes and ate then started talking about the riding program here and our horses. We finished our lunches then Sadie, Katelynne, and I headed to the barn.

“Oh-my-gosh, I am so nervous about our lesson this afternoon.” I confessed.

“Me too.” Sadie said

“Me three.” Katelynne said

We walked into the stable and Katelynne and I walked down the aisle towards our horses stalls since they were right next to each other. We had twelve minutes until we had to be at our next class.

“Hey boy.” I cooed

He nuzzled my arm and I gave him a kiss on his muzzle.

“Look what I have boy.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out two peppermints. He ate them like he hadn’t eaten in days. I said goodbye to him and walked out of his stall, closing it behind me.

“Katelynne, you ready to go, we only have eight minutes before our next class.”

“Yeah I’m coming.”

We walked down the aisle to Sadie and then walked out of the barn together and to our dorm.

“Ok, I have English next, does anyone else?” I asked

“I do.” Sadie said.

“Yes, I’m glad we all have classes together.”

We walked out of our dorm and Katelynne went her way and Sadie and I went our way. We walked into our class and found seats in the back. A minute later Eli walks in.

“Hey, come sit over here.” I motioned to the seat beside me. Oh-my-gosh I forgot how cute he is.

“Tonight we should go to the Sugar Shoppe. I heard they have really good milkshakes.” Eli suggested.

“That’s a great idea, Katelynne, Sadie and I aren’t doing anything except riding and homework. Well, I might drown in it though.” I said laughing.

“Yeah, I’d love to go. I’ll text Katelynne and ask her.” Sadie responded.

We talked for a few minutes then Sadie texted back and said she’d love to come too. Our teacher, Mrs.Edin walked in and took role. Then handed out folders and paperwork to fill out. We talked while we filled it out about riding. Turns out we all ride together, for now.

Class let out and Eli and I headed to Spanish class.

“I need to tell you why I really came here.” Eli said

My heart started racing.

“I didn’t come her for the academic reasons. A little for the equestrian. But mostly for you. I missed you in the five days I didn’t see you over vacation and I realized I had to come here. I really like you Natalie and I hope you feel the same about me.”

I didn’t know what to say. I was in shock, I had always liked him and I thought he was so cute. “I don’t know what to say. I really like you too, and I think your really, really cute. If you’re asking me to go out with you I don’t think I’m ready yet, just give me a few weeks. I need to settle in but after that I would love to go out with you.” I answered.

“I hoped you would say that. So, for now were just friends. Deal!” We smiled at each other and walked into the Elective building. He got the door for me and we found room 204.

We walked in and sat in the back together. I hate sitting in the front, I feel like everyone is watching my every move. The teacher walked in and smiled at the class.

“Hi, on your schedule you have me as Mrs. Hall but you are to call me Senora Hall. I will take role and then explain the syllabus.”

She took role then started explaining our Syllabus.

“You will sit were you are sitting now and this will be your study buddy. This is a high school credit class so I expect nothing but A’s, B’s ,and high C’s. You need to study for at least thirty minutes every night.”

She went on for the rest of the block and Eli and I kept sneaking glances at each other. We walked out of the Spanish building together and split up were our dorms were.

“I’ll see you in a few minutes at the stable.” He said.

“Ok, see you in a few.” I walked away beaming. I couldn’t wait to tell Sadie and Katelynne.

I walked into my dorm and started getting ready for my riding lesson.

“Hey guys, you’ll never guess what Eli said to me.”

“What did he say?” they both asked.

“He said he came her for me. He couldn’t bare being away from me. He asked me out and I said that I would love to in a few weeks after we settle in. He was so happy and so am I. I think he is so cute its not even funny.” I said smiling.

“Well were happy for you.” Sadie said. I guess she didn’t like him as much as I thought she did.

We walked to the stable together and into the indoor arena. We had a meeting in there before our lesson. We sat beside Eli, who was already in there and started talking. All I could do was stare at him and he stared at me too. Mr. West walked in and looked at all of us.

“Welcome, I’m glad to see some familiar faces, and for those of you who are new, I am your riding instructor, Mr. West. You will practice in the afternoon and sometimes in the morning. Now, what time you practice depends on what team you make, weather its beginner or intermediate. For now I have split you into groups. I will teach one group and Mrs. Good will teach the other, she is new and has only been her a day so be nice to her and listen to her.”

I looked at Eli with wide eyes. After the meeting I asked Mr. West if the teacher’s first name was Charlene and he said yes. Eli and I speed walked into the barn and found Char walking down the aisle. We ran up to her and gave her a hug.

“I can’t believe you’re here. Why didn’t you tell us?” we questioned.

“I wanted it to be a surprise just like it was for Eli. Now you guys need to go get ready, I’ll talk to ya’ll later.”

Eli and I went to Yaida and Justin’s stalls and got them ready super quick. I walked outside and mounted Justin. Mr. West was about to announce who our teacher was and I hoped I was with Eli, Sadie, and Katelynne.

“Ok, Mrs. Good who has asked that she be called Charlene, is teaching Maggen, Khloe, Izzy, and Walker. I will be teaching Sadie, Natalie, Eli, Katelynne, and Isabelle. Group one goes to the indoor arena and my kids follow me.” We walked with him and started warming up. Posting, sitting, 2-point, no stirrups.

“Ok, were going to work on jumping. The jumps are set really low at two foot three so everyone can jump them comfortably.”

Isabelle rolled her eyes at that comment but Mr. West didn’t Notice. I was a little nervous about riding in front of everybody but I new Justin would do great.

“Ok, Natalie you can go first.”

My stomach flip flopped. I collected Justin and got him into a trot. I did circle then cantered to the first jump. He cleared it by a mile and I galloped a little to the second jump. He was a little up on his toes since he was in a new place. We cleared the third and fourth jump with three strides in-between. Next was a white gate. He soared over it and we headed to the final jump, a purple and yellow oxar. We made a clear round and I trotted over to the group and Eli, Katelynne, and Sadie all gave me a smile. Isabelle looked mad, almost like she was mad at me for doing good.

“Very good Natalie, you new just how to get Justin to the next jump without being to slow. Next it Eli, then Katelynne, Isabelle, then finally Sadie.”

Eli did just how I new he would do and got all praise from Mr. West. So did Katelynne, I thought she handled Cheyenne really well for him being so spirited. Isabelle did a perfect round, as I suspected she would and so did Sadie, even though she was the least experienced out of all of us.

“Ok, all of you did a great job today, I’ll see you tomorrow, remember that on Saturday you will be testing.”

Isabelle gave me a look like You know that comment was directed to me right? We cooled our horses out then untacked them. We walked to our dorm and agreed to me at the Sugar Shoppe in and hour.

We got ready, talking about our riding lesson and what they thought the Sugar Shoppe would look like. We walked down the side walk and walked into the cozy little Shoppe. Eli was sitting at a table in a suite and I beamed. He was Hot!

“Hey I said, you look amazing.” I said. I had worn a purple strapless dress with black wedges.

“So do you.” He replied back. We just smiled at each other for a while.

“Um, guys, can we sit down?” Katelynne said jerking me out of my daze.

“Uh, yeah sorry.” I answered

“So I ordered you and I chocolate milkshakes since I new that’s what you would want. Sorry I didn’t know what to order you girls.” Elijah answered.

Personally, I like Elijah better than Eli, but that’s what he likes to be called.

“That sounds, great, thanks Elijah. You know, I like Elijah better than Eli.” I said

“Well if you really like Elijah better you can call me that but only you can call me that.” he said.

We all ate our milkshakes and talked for an hour and a half then headed back to our dorms. I hated say good bye to him but I would see him tomorrow. That was the best night ever. I couldn’t wait to be his official girlfriend. We went back to our dorm and got ready for bed.

I had survived my first week at Galloping Hills. A couple of times I wondered if I was going to drown in homework, but I didn’t. I had to test for the riding team tomorrow, so I had to go to the barn and practice and so did Sadie and Katelynne.

“Hey, guys you ready to go to the barn.” I asked

“Yeah, so ready. Lets go.” We walked out the door and down the sidewalk, to the barn. When we got there Elijah was riding, it turns out that Sadie doesn’t like Elijah after all. We were all dressed in tan riding breaches and yellow shirts, we had decided to all match.

“Hey, how’s Yaida doing?” I asked Elijah.

“Good, we need to work on our leads though, he seems to want to pick up the wrong lead.”

“Can we practice with you? If you don’t mind waiting ten minutes for us to get ready.”

“Sure, meet you in the outdoor arena in ten minutes.” Elijah answered.

I walked to Justin’s stall and walked inside. “Hey, boy.” He reached out and rubbed his head on my arm. I put his halter on and hooked the lead line to his halter. We walked out into the aisle and got the pair of cross-ties right in front of his stall and Katelynne was at the pair in front of us.

I went through the motions of grooming, Curry comb, hard brush, soft brush, hoof pick, and mane and tail comb. Then I put the light blue saddle pad on his back then the black gel pad. After that I placed the saddle gently on his back and fastened the girth under his belly. He stood quietly while I tightened it then got my helmet on. I put on his bridle and waited for Katelynne to finish putting her bridle on.

We walked out of the barn meeting Sadie out there at the same exact moment. We mounted our horses and walked to the biggest outdoor arena. Elijah looked like he was day dreaming.

“What are you staring at?” I asked. He jumped when I said it.

“Oh nothing.” He said in an innocent voice. Sadie, Katelynne, and I walked in and stood beside Elijah.

“How about we do flatwork then jump?” Elijah suggested.

“Ok sounds good.” I answered smiling at him.

We spread out and started walking. I walked for a lap then did a posting and sitting trot. I dropped my stirrups and did posting and sitting, then I did some stretches in my saddle. I cantered a little each direction working on keeping an even pace and doing flying lead changes.

“Ok, I’m ready to jump when ya’ll are.” I said pulling Justin up.

“Ok, the jumps look like there about two foot four so that’s good. Who wants to go first?” I asked.

“I'll go” Katelynne said.

Katelynne collected Cheyenne and turned her towards the first jump at a rocking horse canter. They soared over the first purple and yellow jump and moved toward the second black oxar. They kept moving around the coarse and Katelynne road back to us beaming.

“That was really good. You should make sure you don't throw yourself at the jump and keep your hands down and together.” I said.

Everyone else gave there feedback and then it was Elijah's turn. He turned Yaida at the first jump and jumped it cleanly. They soared over the rest of the coarse and he rode back to us. For some reason he was frowning.

“Why the long face?” I asked him.

“I kept throwing myself at the jump.”

“It was really good except for the part of throwing yourself at the jump. You kept Yaida at an even pace.”

“That was really good, just that one thing.” Katelynne answered.

Sadie went next and she had the most amazing ride. She trotted over on Lavendel smiling a mile wide.

“That was amazing, you and Lavendel were flawless.” I said.

“That was spectacular.” Elijah and Katelynne said.

“Do you want to walk our horses out then go to the sugar shop?” Katelynne asked.

“Sounds good to me.” Everyone answered.

We untacked our horses. I gave Justin a really good groom, gave him a treat, and put him in his stall. I put my tack in the tackroom and put my grooming box in my trunk. I walked down the aisle and found Elijah in Yaida's stall.

“Hey, hows it going.” I asked him walking into the stall.

“Good, I'm almost done. I just need to brush out his mane and tail, then I'm done.” Elijah answered, smiling at me.

“So, you have really improved on your riding. You and Yaida have really bonded.” I complimented.

“Thanks, I really appreciate that compliment, it feels like I'm not getting anywhere with him.” He answered.

We walked out of the stall together and down the aisle to Sadie, and Katelynne was there too.

“You want to go change and meet at the Sugar Shoppe in fifteen minutes?” Sadie asked.

“Yeah, that sounds great.” Elijah answered.

We walked towards our dorms until we had to split up. We walked into our dorm and I called the bathroom first. We got ready fast. I wore a black shirt and a green skirt, Sadie wore black dress pants and a blue shirt, and Katelynne wore a black sun dress. We walked out the door with our purses, towards the Sugar Shoppe. As we walked down the sidewalk I noticed the trees starting to turn colors. We turned the corner and ran right into Elijah, I started to fall but Elijah caught me.

“ Thanks, I would have hit the ground if it wasn’t for you.” I said smiling at him.

“Your more than welcome.” He answered smiling back at me.

“Well lets go, we don’t want to miss the six o’clock sale.” Elijah said teasingly.

I gave him THE look, like that was so not funny. But your so cute for trying.

He just smiled back as we walked to the Sugar Shoppe and I stopped outside.

“You guys go in, I need to talk to Elijah alone for a minute.”
I said

They walked inside and I just stared right into Elijah’s gorgeous eyes.

“So, I’ve been thinking about what you said, and, if you still want to I would love to go out with you now, I just needed to rap my brain around everything but I really like you.”

“So do I, I can’t wait to go on our first date alone, just the two of us.” He said back smiling a mile wide.

“Lets go inside then, I don’t want Sadie and Katelynne to order without us.” I said only half jokingly.

He opened the door for me and I walked in and found Sadie and Katelynne in a corner table for four. I walked over and sat across from Katelynne and beside Elijah.

“Hey guys, guess what?”


“Elijah and I are dating now.” I said excitedly.

“Wow, that's good. So, Elijah, do you know how do to do Dressage?” Katelynne said.

“A little, Natalie and I took a summer camp together, it was 4 weeks long and it covered mostly dressage and cross-country” Elijah said.

"Well, that's good, I'm nervous about trying out for the advanced team, since Cheyenne is so inexperienced" Katelynne admitted.
"I think we all are, I mean Elijah and I are new, and Sadie has only been riding for two years." I said.
"Well, Isabell is really competitive and will do whatever it takes to win." Sadie said.
"So, Elijah, how long have you been riding?" Katelynne asked.
"I've been riding for five years, but I started off riding at a place that didn't teach for showing, that's were Natalie and I originaly ment." Elijah answred, giving me a quick smile.
"So what are you going to order?" I asked Elijah.
"I'm going to get a chocolate milkshake and give you the cherry, since I know you love them." He smiled and then put his arm around me. My heart skipped a beat and I started to feel a bit of butterflies forming in my stomach. I could feel my face start to hurt from smiling and I knew that my face was red from blushing.

"That sounds good." came from somewhere behind me. I saw Sadie's eyes grow huge for a second, and then I turned around to face Isabelle and her two other friends. I gave her a look that said go away, this is my boyfriend.

"Oh, I'm sorry Natalie, did I interrupt something?" Isabelle said in an angelic voice that made me want to pull her hair out.

"Know, but I didn't know you listened to other people's conversations." I said in an equally as angelic voice as hers.

"What ever, you think you’re so special because you have a super cute boyfriend that you've know forever from that little hick town of yours."

"It is not a hick town, you don't know what you’re talking about, so just but out." Elijah answered annoyed at her rudeness.

"We'll see what you think when I kick your but at the schooling show, then we'll see who's from a hick town and who's not." Isabelle said, turning around as her friends followed giving us a look.
I turned back around to face Sadie, and saw that she was was glaring after them.
"Who do they think they are?" Sadie said in a clearly pissed-off voice, but quiet enough to where the "trio" couldn't hear how much they'd gotten to her.
"All I know is that they are going to get pay-back next time they decide to be obnoxious little know-it-alls."
"Ok, from now on, this is war between us and the trio." Katelynne said.
"I know we have our own work to be doing, but what have we ever done to Isabelle and her friends?"
"Yeah we do need to show them their place." I said.
After we received our desserts, we talked for 45 minutes about anything else other than the "trio".
“We have to practice tomorrow since it’s Sunday.” I said.
“We should practice together.” Katelynne suggested.
“Yeah, I can do that.” Elijah answered.
“What time can you meet us?” Katelynne asked.
“Is 10:00 ok?” Elijah asked.
“Yeah, 10:00 is perfect.” I said, not giving Katelynne a chance to answer.
As we left the Sugar Shoppe I knew that I was going to step up my game to survive here and make the advanced team.

I woke up the next morning and Katelynne and Sadie weren’t up yet, so I decided to get on Connect. I crawled out of bed and looked at my alarm clock, 7:00, oh well, I guess it’s just my habit of getting up early.

I walked over to the computer and sat down in my comfy purple desk chair and turned on the sleeping computer. It bubbled to life and I brought up Connect. I had a message from someone, I opened my messages and my mouth hit the floor when I saw who it was from. It was from, none other than, my major crush Cameron. I read it:

Dear Natalie, I know you liked me for a while and I kind of ignored it, but the truth is, I really like you. If you still like me back then I will apply to Galloping Hills for the second semester so we can be together. I wanted to wait until you were gone because it was too hard to do it face to face. I’m sorry I treated you like I did for so long, but I was trying to hide my true feelings.


Cameron ♥
I read it four times trying to comprehend what I was reading. I sat there and I had to think about what I was going to say, I wanted to date him more than I wanted to date Elijah, but I didn’t want to risk ruining our friendship. I thought about it and I new what my heart was telling me to do. I quickly typed my message before I changed my mind.

Dear Cameron,
I do still want to date you, you have been on my mind and I really want to see you. I hope that you get accepted considering how bad your grades have been. But you are amazing at basketball, so if you work on your grades you might get accepted. Can’t wait to here from you and we should totally video chat sometime soon, call or text me anytime.

Love always,
Natalie ♥
I heard Sadie start to get up and quickly shut my laptop and turned around to face her.
"What are you doing?" she asked in a tired voice.
"Just checking my email." I replied. I didn't want to tell her that I was emailing another one of my crushes and kind of cheating on Elijah.
"Want some tea?" I asked her.
"Sure." She mumbled. "How do you manage to get up so early?"
"It's just natural." I replied. She moaned as she got her clothes and went into the bathroom to change. I let out a sigh of relief, thankful that she wasn't suspicious of anything, because that was way too close. Just, what was I going to do about Elijah and Cameron?
I got up to go to the common room as Sadie was coming out of the bathroom in a baby blue short sleeve shirt and jeans.
“Want to come with me to pick out which one we want?” I asked
“Sure, let’s make a cup for Katelynne too, I’m sure she will be up in a few minutes.” She answered groggily.
We walked over to the common room and then I saw HER. Isabelle was sitting on the couch laughing into the phone. She looked up at us and gave as an angelic smile. She hung up and walked over to us.
“I guess you listened to me yesterday when I said you needed to practice more. I’m thinking that you’re heading to the barn in a few minutes to practice your buts off just to try to fix those beginner mistakes you know you still make.” Isabelle said still with an angelic smile across her face.
“Actually I was going to hang out with my BOYFRIEND. You know, the really cute one that you were eyeing yesterday, sitting beside me? But I guess you wouldn’t know anything about that since you don’t have one.” I answered with an equally cheery voice as she had.
“What ever, I guess we’ll see what team you make later this afternoon.” She said, almost in defeat.
“We’ll see.” Sadie said with a smirk on her face.
I walked over to the counter with Sadie following closely behind.
“What kind do you want? I like regular iced tea, but we can have what ever you want.” I asked her.
“Iced tea sounds good for me, I’m not big on tea, but that’s what I usually have.” She pointed to the iced tea.
“Okay, can you get down the mugs? I’ll get the water boiling.
Ten minutes later Katelynne, Sadie, and I were seated on our beds talking about how we think testing will go today.
“Okay, well I got to head to the stables to get ready for testing, are ya’ll coming?” Sadie asked.
“Let me get dressed in my riding cloths, then I’ll head to the stables with you.” I said.
“Me too, let me get a granola bar first though.” Katelynne put in.
A few minutes later we were walking to the stables in the warm September weather. I texted Elijah:
Sadie,Kate, and I r goin 2 the st. u comin?
I sent the text and my phone buzzed a couple seconds later.
Ya, in 5 min
I looked up smiling, part of me wanted that to be Cameron, but the other part was happy that I had a hot boyfriend.
I walked into the stables and Sadie went her way to find Lavendel, and Katelynne and I went our way to find Cheyenne and Justin.
“Hey boy, did you sleep well last night?” I asked, slipping into his stall. “ We have to test today to see what team Mr. West thinks we can ride on” I told him.
He bobbed his head up and down.
“Ok, let’s get you shining.” I put on his green halter and black lead rope and put him in the cross-ties in front of his stall. I grabbed the hoof pick first, that was Justin’s least favorite because he was abused before I got him, he gets nervous when ever someone messes with his hooves. After I picked his hooves I moved on to currying him, dust flew in the hair. His coat hold a lot of dirt and it makes it really hard to groom him. I left him for a second to go get my Lexmark saddle, green saddle pad, girth, and bridle. When I got back to him he had closed his eyes and was starting to doze off.
“Hey big guy, you can’t fall asleep yet, we have to go test silly.” I said, waking him up. I lifted the English saddle onto his tall back and fastened the girth. I got my helmet out of my tack box and put on his bridle.
We walked down the stable aisle and I met up with Sadie and Katelynne out in the stable yard.
“Are you guys ready to warm-up?” Katelynne asked.
“Lets wait for Elijah, he will be out her any minute.” Replied, looking into the stable for him.
Five minutes later I saw him walking down the aisle towards us.
“Hey, it took you long enough” I said jokingly.
“Well, I had a little run in with Isabelle, she talked to me about how I’m so much better than you and that I should date someone like her. I just told her to go away and that I liked you.” I answered giving me an extremely cute smile.
“Lets go get warmed up, Sadie tests in half an twenty minutes and I test right after her.” I answered in kind of a panic.
“Lets go then, I think the outdoor ring by the hay shed is empty.” Sadie said.
We walked our horses to the ring and started warming up. I didn’t a posting trot for two laps then dropped my stirrups and did figure eights and serpentines. I picked up my left lead canter and did a few circles, then a flying lead change. We had been working on those a lot lately and it took forever for him to get it, but we finally did about three weeks ago. I cantered a few more times, then pulled him up. Katelynne, Sadie, and Elijah did the same.
“You want to take those five jumping twice then head over to the indoor arena?” Sadie suggested.

“Yeah, definitely.” I said.

“Okay, you go first Elijah.” Katelynne said, smiling at him.

Elijah heeled Yaida into an even canter and headed to the first two-foot four vertical. They cleared it with ease and headed to the bending line. He jumped the first yellow vertical and cantered five strides to the purple oxar. They jumped the next jump and headed to the final jump. Yaida quickened his pace, but Elijah didn’t have enough time to pull up, he went with him but they knocked the rail. He rode over to us, disappointment clear on his face.

“That was amazing.” I said, proud of him.

“But I knocked the last rail, I should have been expecting that.” He said

“But that was still amazing and you learned from your mistake so next time you won’t do that.” I answered giving him a reassuring smile.

We all finished our rounds and Katelynne knocked a rail too, but the rest of her round was excellent. I walked over to the indoor arena trying to get a peek of how Sadie was doing, but I couldn’t see anything. I sat there for five minutes and then Sadie walked out with a smile on her face.

“How’d you do?” I asked her.

“Mr. West says he thinks I did good and that I have a lot of potential.” Sadie answered.

“Good job, I hope you make it.”

“Thanks, good luck with your test.” Sadie responded.

I walked through the big double doors and walked aver to Mr. West.

“Good morning Natalie? Are you ready to test?” Mr. West asked.

“Yes sir” I answered.

“Good, do you have any questions?” he asked

“No” I replied, barely able to get the word out, I was so nervous. I had to calm down, I didn’t want to make Justin nervous.

“Go out to the rail and pick up a posting trot.” Mr. West instructed.

I walked Justin to the rail and healed him into a trot. I did a lap around the ring, making sure that my heals were down and that I was looking ahead.

“I want you to do a posting canter. Do you know how to do that?” he asked.

“Yes.” I answered, nodding my head.

I got Justin to pick up his left lead canter and I sat a stride and stood a stride, to Justin rhythmical canter.

“Do a flying lead change.” He instructed.

My stomach fell, I had been practicing those, but he didn’t do them every time. I turned him towards the center of the arena and at the right second I signaled him to swap leads, I crossed my fingers. He finally did it, and we suspended in the air for a split second.

Yes, I thought. We cantered on the right lead for a lap and then Mr. West put his hand up for us to stop.

“I want you to take those four jumps and then you’ll be done.” He said.

I looked at the jumps of increasing heights up to about 2’4. I could totally do this. I urged Justin into a rocking horse canter and pointed him towards the first eighteen-inch vertical. I popped over it and we cantered four strides to the second jump, about two foot high. We cleared that one and the third and were cantering toward the final jump, a 2’4 oxar. I counted down strides in my head, Three, two, one. He popped over it and I walked over to Mr. West.

“Excellent job Natalie, there will be a meeting at 6 pm in my office to let you know my decision.” Mr. West told me.

As soon as I left the indoor arena with a smiling face, my face fell. Isabelle was standing right there in front of Elijah flirting and they were both laughing. I did not need this right now, I stormed up to her with Justin in toe.

“What do you think you’re doing?” I yelled at Isabelle.

“What am I doing? I’m just having a friendly little conversation with your boyfriend. Is that alright or do you need bodyguards around him at all times so no other girl can talk to him?” Isabelle said with a smirk on her face.

“It didn’t look like you were just having a friendly conversation from where I was standing! It looked like you were flirting with my boyfriend!”

“Stop it girls,” he said firmly. “Natalie, can I talk to you for a second?”

“Whatever you say to her, you can say to me,” Isabelle said.

“But you’re not my girlfriend, Natalie is,” Elijah said. “And I love her.” I looked into his eyes and blushed.

“Just remember you said you had a crush on me,” Isabelle said smirking in my direction. “And might I mention that he told me not to tell you.” Elijah turned pale and glared at Isabelle.

“You have no idea who you’re messing with.” Elijah said, gritting his teeth.

“What? You dated me last year, opps, wasn’t supposed to say that either,” Isabelle said, still smirking at me. “Our parents have known each other since we were in fourth grade. Guess Elijah forgot to tell you that tiny detail.” Isabelle said loving every minute of this torture.

I wanted to slap her across the face, but I held myself back.

“Natalie, come on, can we..” “Leave me alone,” I interrupted him. Tears stung my eyes but I didn’t show it, I pushed myself in between Isabelle and Elijah.

“Sounds like someone should stop keeping secrets.” Isabelle said looking at Elijah.

I couldn’t take this anymore, I had to get out of here. Justin, being the good sport that he is, stood there the whole time, quiet as a mouse.

“Come on boy, let’s get you back to your stall and cooled off.” I told him. We walked away leaving Isabelle and Elijah behind.

Twenty minutes later I was back in my dorm, emailing my parents to tell them how school was going.

Hey!” Katelynne and Sadie said as they walked in. But there smiles faded when they saw the look on my face.

“What’s wrong?” Katelynne asked.

“Isabelle dated Elijah last year, apparently they have known each other since fourth grade. Elijah told Isabelle that he had a crush on her and she’s ruining everything.” I practically screamed.

“That’s awful, how could he treat you like that.” Sadie said, sympathetically. If only they new I was doing almost the exact same thing to Elijah.

“I need to show ya’ll something.” I said truthfully.

We walked over to my laptop and pulled up my Connect account. I opened my messages from Cameron and let them read it.

“How can you be mad at him when your doing the same exact thing to him?” Sadie said in an upset tone.

“I have feelings for Elijah but I have stronger feelings for Cameron, I don’t know what to do. I wish I only liked one of them, it would make life so much easier.” I said truthfully.

“You have to figure things out, you can’t do that to both of them.” Katelynne said.

“I know, I just need time, but I think I’m going to have to tell Elijah that I like Cameron. They don’t like each other either, they both want to date me so it’s like a rivalry for them.

“Well, let’s watch some McLeod’s Daughters until it’s time to meet Mr. West, we only have three hour to kill.” Sadie suggested.

I watched the TV, allowing myself to get absorbed. I soon forgot everything that had happened in the past few minutes.

Three hours later we walked to the stables, we were all really nervous about finding out what teams we were on.

“I hope I make the intermediate team so I can try out for the advanced team.” Katelynne said.

“Me too, I think that’s what everyone wants.” I said.

“We’re all fighting for the same thing.” Sadie said.

We finished walking to the meeting room above the indoor arena in silence. We took seats in the back. There was only a few people already sitting in there that I didn’t know. As more people came in the tension in the room grew.

“Good luck!” Katelynne said to Sadie and I.

“You too” Sadie and I said.

“Good luck” I said to all of us.

“Yeah” Sadie said.

Mr. West walked in right behind Isabelle and her crew, they sat in the front row, and one by one they turned around and gave us a smirk.

“Ok, I’ll get right to business. They members of the intermediate team are… Isabelle, congratulations.” Mr. West said.

She went up to shake Mr. West’s hand and receive her certificate.

“The next member is Katelynne.” Mr. West said,

Sadie and I gave a cheer for her.

“The next member is… Magen” Mr. West said.

The next member is Elijah.” Mr. West annoynced.

“The final member is….” Oh please let it be me, I thought. “Natalie, congratulations.”

I couldn’t believe he just called my name. I was so happy, Sadie and Katelynne pulled me to my feet and I walked up and got my certificate.

“Thank you sir.” I said almost dancing.

“Everyone who didn’t make the intermediate team may leave, I hope you won’t get discouraged and after advanced team tryout there will be more testing for the intermediate team. Thank you for coming.” Mr. West said.

Everyone that didn’t make the team filed out and Isabelle, Magen, Elijah, Katelynne, and I stayed in our seats.

“Welcome to the intermediate team, you will have lessons in the morning and the evening to prepare you for the schooling show coming up in two weeks. I know you just found out you made the team but I need you to sign up for your classes for the show, you may right down your choice of two classes.” He passed around the clipboard and when it came to me I wrote Show-Jumping and Cross-Country, my favorite disciplines. I could do dressage pretty well, but I liked jumping better. Elijah had signed up for Equitation and Dressage, Katelynne signed up for Cross-Country and Jumpers, Magen signed up for Dressage and show-jumping, and Isabelle signed up for Show-Jumping and Cross-Country.

“You will be testing for the Advanced team the weekend after the show. If you do not make the team, you can stay on the intermediate team and try again next fall. Are there any questions?” Mr. West asked.

No one raised there hand.

“Well, then your free to go, enjoy the rest of your weekend and I’ll see you on Monday at 7 am.” We all filed out of the meeting room.

“Wow, I’m surprised you actually made the team, well you don’t have a chance at the advanced team. Magen and I are the only ones that have a chance, you shouldn’t even try.” Isabelle said.

“Your not scaring us. We aren’t going to listen to you, we know how good we are.” I said.

“What ever. We’ll see who makes the advanced team.” Isabelle said.

The three of us walked away leaving Isabelle and Magen behind.

“Do ya’ll want to go to the diner after we get cleaned up?” Katelynne asked Sadie and I. I had forgotten that Sadie hadn’t made the team, she had waited for us outside Mr. West’s office.

“Yeah, that sounds good, I’ve never been there before.” I answered.

“Are you okay, I’m so sorry you didn’t make the intermediate team.” I said sympathetically.

“Yeah, I don’t have as much experience as ya’ll do, I figured I wouldn’t make the team.” Sadie said, but I could tell she was upset.

We walked back to our dorms, and changed. I put on jeans and a loose purple shirt with flower designs, Katelynne put on skinny jeans and a navy blue tank top, and Sadie put on jeans and a pink shirt. We walked out of our dorm and down the sidewalk to the Diner. I breathed in the smell of all different kinds of foods once we entered the diner. We found a booth and I sat next to Katelynne who sat near the window, and Sadie sat across from Katelynne. A cute blond haired waiter came by and we ordered our drinks first. I ordered sprite, Katelynne ordered Dr. Pepper, and Sadie ordered Root Beer. Once he left I looked outside.
"Good God." I said with my jaw clenched. Elijah was there with Isabelle and her friends! How could this get any worse. I wondered why he was with her. He looked at me and then Isabelle caught his eye , she looked at me and smirked. I looked away and then saw them starting to walk over out of the corner of my eye. no, No, No!!! I thought Isabelle sat in the booth right in front of my face, next to Elijah. Tears pricked the back of my eyes but I pushed them away. I didn’t know it was going to be this hard to see him with another girl.

“Are you okay Natalie, you look really pale?” Katelynne asked. Then her eyes shifted and she saw them. “Oh, I’m so sorry Natalie,” she lowered her voice, “At least you don’t have to break p with him for Cameron.” She finished at a whisper.
“Yeah, but it’s still really hard to see them together.” I said in a the same tone she did.
"We can leave if you want to." Sadie said in a low voice as well. "No thanks," I said.
"I don't want Isabelle to know that I'm that weak. At that moment, Isabelle snuggled up to Elijah resting her head on his shoulder. He looked at ease. He didn't even seem to mind that I was there watching them. I couldn't help it, they were pretty much right in my face.
"Ok, maybe I can't do this." I said grabbing my drink and heading for the server.
"Could we get our food to go?" I said in almost a demanding voice in anger.
"Yes miss." He replied. I went back to our table.
"Come on, let's go." I said trying to look calm even though I was completely furious. Isabelle lifted her head,
"Oh hi Natalie," she said acting as though she just saw me. "What's wrong, is your stomach in a twist from hearing the good news? Me and Elijah are dating again." She said in a totally bragging voice smiling at me with her evil blue eyes.
I walked out of there, totally ignoring what she said, but that didn’t stop the tears from coming as soon as I was out of the door.
“Natalie, come on, let’s go back to the dorm, Katelynne is getting the food.” Sadie said, trying to comfort me.
“Okay, I don’t feel like eating much right now though.” I said, sobbing.
“I know, let’s go back and put in McLeod’s daughters. That should distract you.” Sadie said.
“Okay thanks.”
We walked back the rest of the way in silence and when I got in the dorm I fell on my bed and cried into my pillow, I didn’t like be a cry baby, but I had never broken up with a guy before.
Once I gotten myself together with dry tears still on my cheeks. I checked I email, and there were two. I checked the first one and it was from Elijah. Oh my gosh. I thought.
Dear Natalie,
I'm sorry I never told you that I went out with Isabelle. I just didn't feel like you needed to know. I don't think this is going to work out though. I hope you forgive me and find someone who's right for you. Best of luck.
You friend,
Tears started running down my cheeks again. STOP. I thought, I don't need Elijah and he can't just be my friend after what he just did to me. Remember, he's going out with Isabelle again and broke up with me through an email. He's such a jerk.
I clicked on the other email I recieved, it was from Cameron. My heart felt warm with comfort.
Dear Natalie,
My grades are coming up and I'm going to apply sooner or later once they're really high. The more I think about you, the more I want to be there for you. I hope I get accepted and I miss you.
My tears had stopped once again and I felt full of joy. I felt his comfort and needed him here. I hopes he gets accepted. I thought. The only thing I knew was that Cameron is the one I love and NO ONE ELSE. Elijah and I are done. Isabelle can have him, but no matter what, we're still at war. I watched McLeods Daughters with Sadie and Katelynne and ate popcorn and the rest of the pizza we had gotten to go. But when we went to bed, all I could think about was Cameron.
We watched four episodes of McLeods Daughters, then we got ready for bed. I climbed into my soft blue and purple designed comforter, with two horse blankets underneath and started reading Canterwood Crest: Initiation. That didn’t last very long though, my thoughts drifted to Elijah and Isabelle, then to Cameron.

I woke up the next morning at Seven-thirty. Sadie was still asleep, but Katelynne was sitting at her computer checking her email.
“Hey, how long have you been up?” I asked her.
“Since Seven, I couldn’t sleep, I was thinking about what Isabelle did.” Katelynne confessed.
"Why?" I asked.
"You know you're better than her, even though you do even better riding western."
"Thanks." she replied.
"Want some tea?" I asked.
"Sure." she said.
"What kind?" I asked.
"I don't know, something soothing, but sweet." she replied.
"I know just the kind." I said walking towards the cabinet. I boiled the water and then soaked the tea bag in the cup. Just then Sadie got up and walked groggily into the bathroom to change. I pulled the tea bag out of the cup and added some sugar to it, then gave it to Katelynne.
"Thanks." she said warming her hands on the cup.
"You're welcome." I replied. "I'm going to the stables, wanna come?"
"No thanks, I'll stay here with Sadie." she said tired.
"Ok, that's fine. I'll see ya in later." I said grabbing my stuff and heading out the door.
"Ok, bye." she said.
I walked down the isle with my black boots clicking on the floor. When I got to Justin’s stall he was still asleep in the back.
“Hey boy, time to wake up.” I said to him in a soft voice so I didn’t scare him. he turned towards me and blinked sleepily. I got his halter and lead line and slipped it on. We walked down the aisle to a free set of cross-ties and I got to grooming him. I picked his hooves and curry combed him, then I brushed out his mane and tail until they shine, and finally I hard and soft brushed his coat and face.
Twenty minutes later he was a shiny black, not a dull, dusty black like when I had started grooming him. I put him in the paddock and asked Shane, a groom, to get him in, in a little while.
I walked down the aisle and when I turned the corner I almost ran right into Elijah and Isabelle KISSING! I turned around so fast I almost fell over, but I caught myself and almost ran down the aisle back to my dorm. The tears had already started again and I plopped down on my bed when I got back to the dorm. Katelynne and Sadie were watching Virginia’s Run when I got in.
“What happened?” Sadie asked, a little concern showing in her voice.
“I almost ran into Elijah and Isabelle kissing at the stables.” I said trying to fight the tears that poured down my face.

“How can he do this to you?” Katelynne said angrily.
“I can’t keep going through this every time I leave the dorm, I wish Cameron would hurry up and get here. I know he would help me get over this, just seeing him.” I said, the tears finally stopping at the mention of Cameron’s name.
“Let’s watch this movie and put in another.” Sadie suggested.
“Okay, thanks guys, ya’ll are the best.” I said.
“Your welcome, that’s what best friends are for.” Katelynne said smiling at me.
“Yeah, were always there for you.” Sadie said.
We settled back on our beds and finished watching the movie.
An hour later we had finished Virginia’s run, made a run to the common room for Doritos, M&M’s, Cheez-It’s, and soda’s. Then we put on one of our favorite non-horse movies, The Notebook. We munched on our food and laughed about the funny stuff Beethoven did, I completely forgot about Isabelle, Elijah, and Cameron for the hour and a half the movie was on.
By the time The Notebook was over it was twelve fifteen and we were ready for lunch. The thought of going out of the door and possibly seeing Elijah and Isabelle made me loose my appetite. But I was with Katelynne and Sadie, that made me feel a little better.
We walked to the cafeteria and I got a turkey sub with lettuce and tomato, with a cookie and Ginger-Ale. Katelynne got the same except she got Dr.Pepper to drink. Sadie got Mixed vegetables and salmon with pudding and I Pepsi.
We sat at out usual table and chatted about how we though that the teachers would make us drown in homework next week. Then I saw THEM walk in and I squirmed in my seat beside Sadie. She looked up when she saw that I had stopped eating. When she saw them she groaned, then Katelynne did the same when she saw them.
“Do you want to leave?” Katelynne asked.
“I can’t run away every time I see them somewhere, we can leave when we’re done with our food.” I answered.
I managed to eat the rest of my food without looking up at them, but I could feel Elijah’s eyes on me from across the cafeteria.
We finished out food ten minutes later and walked out of the cafeteria to change into riding cloths.
I wore tan colored breeches, black boots, and a solid, sapphire blue shirt that Justin could sneeze on and I wouldn’t get mad.
We walked to the stables and got out horses ready. I walked to the outdoor arena and mounted Justin, I was the first here since I didn’t have much grooming to do. I walked Justin around while I waited for Katelynne and Sadie.
When the got there, five minutes later, we started trotting around.
“Hey guys, we should take turns telling each other what exercises to do and critique each other.” I suggested.
“Okay, you can go first.” Katelynne and Sadie both agreed.
“Do a sitting trot and drop your stirrups.” I instructed. I heard them both groan and I tried to hide a smile, riding without stirrups was painful after a while but it was good for strengthening your legs.
“Posting, and start figure-eighting, post on the turns and sit on the curves.” I told them.
I looked to the side of the arena and, surprise surprise, I saw Isabelle and Elijah walking there horses to the trails. That was it, I had lost my focus for the rest of practice. I was sick of seeing them everywhere I went. I had to get Cameron here, and fast.

I got out of bed at six fifteen on Monday morning and Katelynne and Sadie got up too. We put on our riding cloths and went to the cafeteria to choke down some food. I got a bowl of lucky charms and strawberries.

Fifteen minutes later I was at Justin’s stall putting him in the cross-ties. I brushed him in record time and got him tacked up in ten minutes. I walked to the biggest outdoor arena and mounted. I started warming up Justin while I waited for the others and Mr. West. He walked in and motioned for us to come line up in-front of him.
We warmed and by the time we finished everyone was there, plus Elijah and Isabelle. This was going to take forever. How was I going to do this? Stop it, you know he's nothing but a jerk.
"Alright everyone, it's time to do some jumps." Mr. West said. "Natalie gets to go first, then Sadie, Elijah, Katelynne, and then Isabelle. Isabelle, would you mind setting up the jumps at 2’4 foot?" Just then an evil smile crosses her face and I knew exactly what she was thinking.
"Why of coarse Mr. West." She says sweetly. No, no, no...I thought in my mind. She was going to raise the jumps. I wasn't positive she was going to do that, but it would be better to not look like an idiot and tell on her then to just make the jumps.
"Alright Natalie, you're up." Mr. West said after she finished raising the jumps. "Wait, Isabelle. Did you raise the jumps to 2’4?" He asked.
"Yes. Why do you ask that?" She replied sweetly.
"Because the jumps just look a little taller than they need to be." Mr.West said.
"Trust me, they're at 2’4 foot." She said firmly. They are sooo not at 2’4 foot. I thought.
"Ok Natalie are you ready?" Mr.West asked.
"Yes sir." I replied firmly. Isabelle smiled an evil grin at me. I ignored her and circled Justin twice. I headed for the first jump, a simple yellow and purple striped jump. 3, 2, 1. We soared over it and landed perfectly. We still had 3 more jumps to do. I collected Justin and we went over the second jump much better than the first. The Third jump was a double oxar. I pushed Justin a bit faster and he clicked one of the rails when we went over it, but it didn't fall. Okay Justin we can do this. I thought. 3, 2, 1, the feeling was amazing, we had done a perfect job, considering Isabelle had without a doubt raised the jumps higher than they should've been raised. Plus, it was suppose to be practice, and that was NOT practice. I had just proved to Isabelle that she should not underestimate me.
"Excellent job Natalie!" Mr. West praised me. "The only thing I want you to watch out for is the double oxar."
"Yes sir, and thank you." I said.
"Alright Sadie, your next." Mr. West said.
"Excuse me, are you Mr. West?" I new that voice. I turned around and nearly fainted. It was Cameron! He was here! He had gotten accepted! I pinched myself so I wouldn't run over there and give a giant hug. He had done this for me, and I knew he worked so hard. I beamed at him. His face softened into a smile once he saw me.
"Yes I am, and you are..?" Mr. West asked.
"Cameron Williams." He replied.
“Ah, yes I’ve been waiting for you to arrive.” Mr. West said.
“Were should I take my horse, Cherokee?” Cameron asked, holding the black horse.
“There is a stall beside Natalie that you can take him to, Natalie can you show him were that is?” Mr. West asked me.
“Absolutely.” I motioned for Cameron to follow me and Mr. West resumed the lesson.
“I missed you SO much.” Cameron said as soon as we were out of earshot of the others.
“Me too, you have NO idea.” I said, smiling at him.
We walked down the aisle chatting about how we were and put Cherokee in his stall, then sat on the tack trunk outside of his stall. I looked into Cameron’s eyes and at that moment, all I wanted to do was be in his arms. I could tell he was thinking the exact same thing. He leaned in and grabbed me in hug. We just sat there, me on his lap and hugged for about a minute
“I missed you soooooo much!” he said.
“I know, we should do that more often.” Then he grabbed me and hugged me again.
Five minutes later we were, hand in hand , watching Katelynne finish her jumping round. Isabelle gathered her horse and didn’t let him circle before heading to the first jump. I could tell he was going way to fast! She had to slow down or they wouldn’t make it. Matisse refused the jump sending Isabelle flying through the air. Everyone gasped. She landed with a thud about four feet away from the jump. She lay there on the ground not moving.
I ran over to her with everyone else following closely behind. She was unconscious.
“Somebody call 911” Mr. West instructed, pushing me out of the way. Elijah, of course, ran to call 911 and everyone just stood around her with there mouths hung open, except Cameron, he caught Matisse and brought him over to us.
“Mr. West, he looks to be okay, I’ll take him into the barn and get him settled, cooled off, and untacked.” Cameron said.
“Okay, thank you so much Cameron.” Mr. West said in a panic.
The ambulance arrived ten minutes later and Isabelle was still unconscious. The paramedics loaded her in the ambulance and Mr. West followed them to the hospital. I had had enough drama for one day, all I wanted to do was hang out with Cameron.
“Hey Cameron, do you want some help unpacking?” I asked him.
“Sure, that would be great.” He said.
“Katelynne, Sadie I want you to meet Cameron, my true love.” I said enthusiastically.
“Cameron, this is Katelynne and Sadie.” I said pointing to them.
“Nice to meet you.” Cameron said, offering his hand.
“We’ve heard a lot about you.” Katelynne said, shaking his hand.”
“Yeah, your all Natalie can talk about.” Sadie said, also shaking his hand.
“I’m going back to his dorm to help him unpack, call me when you hear something about Isabelle, oh yeah, I’m going to measure those jumps real quick before we leave. I guess her plan didn’t work very well, she ended up hurting herself, not us.” I said,
I walked into the tack room and got the tape measure. I walked over to the first jump and Katelynne, Sadie, and Cameron followed. I put the tape measure up to the jump and it measured 2’8, four inches higher then they were supposed to be.
“Wow, that’s the highest I’ve ever jumped.” Katelynne said.
“I think that’s the highest all of us have ever jumped.” I said.
“Well, there’s nothing we can do now, we should tell Mr. West we he comes back though.” Sadie said.
“Yeah, well we’re going to go to Cameron’s dorm now so I can help him unpack.” I said.
“Okay, I’ll call you as soon as we know something about Isabelle.” Katelynne reassured.
“Thanks, I’ll be back in a couple of hours.” I said
Cameron and I walked back to his dorm and started unpacking his things. I was putting his cloths away. Black skinny jeans, grey skinny jeans, purple capri skinny jeans, turquoise Capri skinny jeans, black basketball shorts… I stopped what I was doing and just started at his gorgeous face. I had missed that so much, even though he had snake bites, (two lip piercings on the bottom lip), andgle bites (two piercings on your top lip), gauges ( that stretch your ears), and his tongue pierced people would judge him, but he is the nicest guy I know.

We finished unpacking his things and talked about our classes, when he got accepted, and how he raised his grades.
"So, I was thinking, do you wanna go to the Sugar Shoppe with me?"
"Sure!" I exclaimed. "When?"
"Right now, if that's ok." He answered.
"I'm still in my breeches and t-shirt though." I replied.
"I don't care." He said. "It's just a the Sugar Shoppe."
"Ok, let's go." I said laughing at him. When we entered the Sugar Shoppe, several people stared at Cameron, but then went back to what they were doing. I got a chocalate milk shake with whipped cream. Cameron got a vanilla milkshake with chocolate fudge.
“I’m going to ask the Spanish teacher if Elijah can move so you can sit beside me.” I said.
“Okay, I’m really nervous about tomorrow, I’m so used to being friends with everyone.” He confessed.
“Well, you have three friends, me, Katelynne, and Sadie.” I said, trying to sooth his worries.
“Thanks, you always cheer me up.’ He said, smiling at me.
Out milkshakes arrived I immediately started drinking mine super fast, he did the same.
“Brain…. Freeze!” we said at the same time.
“Hahaha, yeah maybe next time we should drink them a little slower.” Cameron said as we both laughed until our sides hurt.
Buzz, Buzz I picked up my phone, it was Katelynne
“Hello!” I said into the phone.
“Hey, Mr. West just called Sadie, he said Isabelle is staying in the hospital for a few hours atleast to run tests. She is conscious now and they think she fractured her wrist and broke a rib.” Katelynne said.
“That’s terrible, well kid of, she deserves a little punishment for what she did, but not hat much.”
“Yeah, Mr. West said she can’t write for at least a month. That’s kind of good for us, but bad for the team.” Katelynne responded.
“She is one of the best. It will give us time to get a lot of extra practice in, and she can’t try out for the advanced team or go to the schooling show.” I said, kind of joyfully.
“That makes our chances of making the advanced team a lot better.” Katelynne said happily.
“Well, I’ll be back at the dorm in ten minutes, we should have another marathon of McLeods Daughters to celebrate. Can I invite Cameron over too?” I asked her.
“Sure, if he wants to watch a girl soap opera with three girls.” Katelynne said in return.
“Okay, I’ll see you in a few minutes.” I said, hanging up.
“Do, you want to come back to the dorm with me? We’re watching McLeods Daughters.” I asked Cameron.
“Sure, how is Isabelle?” he asked
“She might have fractured her wrist and broken a rib. There keeping her for at least a couple of hours to run some tests. She can’t ride for at least a month too, so the chances of us making the advanced team got so much better.” I said.
“Okay, cool, let’s go to your dorm.” He said walking to the door and opening it for me.

I woke up on Monday morning and got ready for my lesson. It was 6:10 and I was checking my email. My inbox said 1. It was from Cameron, it said:

I missed you, tomorrow can’t come fast enough, can’t wait to see you at the barn. Oh, and I made the Intermediate team, so I will be riding with you.

Love always,

Cameron ♥
I smiled, I could here his voice in my head reading the email. I pulled on tan riding breaches while Katelynne and Sadie got ready too.

When we were done getting ready, the three of us walked to the Cafeteria for a quick breakfast. At 6:30 we were in the barn getting our horses ready for our lesson. Cameron was getting Cherokee ready in the cross-ties behind Justin and I.

“Hey, I missed you so much. Did you get my email?” Cameron asked me, smiling really wide.

“Yeah, I read it right before I came to the barn, I think it was really nice. I missed you too.” I said giving him a sweet smile.

“Well, I guess we better get ready for our lesson, I don’t want to be late for my first lesson at Galloping Hills academy on the Intermediate team.”

“See you in the arena.” I said, turning away from him.

I finished getting Justin ready, regretting being in the same lesson with Elijah and Cameron and Isabelle. I wish it was just me, Katelynne, Sadie, and Cameron. I walked out of the stable and walked over to the mounting block, tightening me girth. I put my left foot in the stirrup and swung my right leg over the saddle.

I started warming up while I waited for everyone else to arrive. Elijah was the next one in the arena, of course he was. I ignored him the best I could and worked on figure eights.

Five minutes later everyone was there and Mr. West was walking into the arena.

“Okay, is everyone ready to get started?” Mr. West asked.

We all nodded.

“Move out to the rail and do a posting canter on your left lead.” Mr. West instructed.

I squeezed Justin and guided him to the rail. I put my weight in the right stirrup, squeezed with my left leg, and pulled the left rein. Justin picked up his left lead and we started cantering around the arena. We circled the arena twice.

“Do a flying lead change across the center of the arena please.” Mr. West said.

I turned Justin towards the center of the arena following Katelynne. Cheyenne changed his lead at the exact moment he was supposed to. I signaled Justin to change his lead and he did.

“Good boy.” I said patting his neck.

We rode for 20 more minutes before Mr. West dismissed us. I handed Justin to Ty, my favorite groom and walked down the sidewalk with Katelynne, Sadie, and Cameron.

“Bye, I hope we have classes together.” Cameron said hopefully.

“So do I. See you in Spanish.” I said to him.

Katelynne, Sadie, and I walked down the sidewalk to our dorm to get changed for class. I put on boot cut jeans and a navy blue, three quarter length sleeve, shirt. Sadie wore a baby blue tank top and boot cut jeans. Katelynne wore a green shirt with skinny jeans. We walked down the sidewalk to our first class, hoping we wouldn’t run into Isabelle and Elijah. Sadie walked to her class and Katelynne and I headed to ours, Ace. Both of us HATE Ace but at least we have it first thing in the morning to get it over with.

We walked in and took our seats in the back. Luckily I only have to take six classes instead of eight, like everyone else because I do riding and Spanish, I only take Math, Civics, English, Physical science, Ace, and Spanish. I pulled my notebook out of my bag and when I looked up, my face spread into a smile. Cameron was standing right above me and I motioned for the seat next to me.

“Hey, looks like we have our first class together. Oh, I totally forgot to ask you, how many classes do you have?” I asked Cameron, hoping he would say six.

“I have six. Why do you ask?” he said, confused. He turned around and pulled out a notebook and pencil.

“Most people take eight, but if you ride and take a foreign language then you have an extra block of time after first block everyday. I have any extra block and so do you.” I said, educating him.

“Sweet, we can spend extra time together.”
“You mean extra time STUDYING, right?” I said, only half jokingly. He laughed at my joke and then my phone buzzed in my pocket.

"Crap!" I said loud enough that only Cameron could hear my. I couldn't help but laugh at the vibration tickling my leg. Cameron smiled at me and I looked at the text. It was from Sadie and said- Just a heads up, I heard that Isabelle and Elijah have officially started dating again, someone told me she saw them making out, sorry.
I looked up at Cameron with my eyes wide.
"What is it?" He asked.
"Isabelle and Elijah are dating now nad someone told Sadie that they were making out." I said dissapointedly.
"How do you know that?" He asked. "Sadie texted m--" I said but then cut off when Isabelle and Elijah entered the classroom, holding hands.

I had to look away and then I felt Cameron reach for my hand under the desks, suddenly, when our hands touched, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. I looked into his eyes and smiled. At that moment all I wanted to do was kiss him and I killed me that I couldn’t right in the middle of class. I could tell he was thinking the same thing.

“How are you love birds doing, I hope he doesn’t destract you from riding Natalie.” Isabelle said having no real concern in her voice at all.

“Don’t worry, I don’t get destracted very easily, but you on the other hand….” I said with defiance.

“Hah,” she scoffed, “You wish, Elijah and I spend all our time practicing together.” Isabelle smirked at us.

“Thank you for giving Cameron and I that idea, we’ll be sure to thank you again when we make the advanced team.” I said smiling.

She was stunned, before she got a chance to answer, Mrs. Edin walked in and Elijah and Isabelle quickly took there seats. I hoped that Mrs. Edin saw that they weren’t in there seats when class started but she hadn’t. The rest of class, I couldn’t concentrate, I was thinking about Elijah and Isabelle.
I was so relieved when the bell finally rang. Cameron walked so close to me in the hallway I could barely breathe. When we arrived in the Studyhall room together, we see Katelynne and another girl talking to one another very seriously. Is that one of Isabelle's friends? I thought. I walk over to Katelynne and the girl.
"Hey Katelynne." I say.
The other girl looks at me and says,"I seriously doubt you'll make the advance team either." At first I'm taken by surprise, but then I start to laugh.
"I seriously doubt you know me, so don't go judging people you don't even know! Maddy, is it? Do you even ride? Cause I'm sure I haven't seen you in practice. You're just giving me trouble because you're Isabelle's friend, and I've done nothing to you. That makes perfect sence!" I exclaim sarcastically turning around with Katelynne and I arm to arm.
“Wow, that was impressive.” Cameron said impressed.
“Thanks, so Katelynne what class do you have next?”
“I have toturing, I need a little extra help with math.” She anwered.
“Oh, well I could have helped you.” Cameron said.
“It’s know problem, I think it would have been a little akward for my best friends boyfriend to be toturing me, but thanks anyway.” Katelynne said grateful for his offer.
“Well, Cameron and I are going to get a table on the fourth floor to study, see you at lunch?”
“See you then, have fun studying.” She said teasingly.
Cameron and I took the stairs to get a little extra excersise. We found a table and unloaded our books, I had to study for civics nad spanish.
“What do you have to study?” I asked cameron
“Well, I should study for spanish but I don’t have the notes, can we share?” He said smiling.
“Sure, I need to study for spanish and civics. How about we quiz each other on spanish so we know what we have to study, then you can study spanish while I study civcs. Sound god?” I asked him
“Sure, okay, I’ll ask you first. What does la cabeza mean?”
“The head.” I said, not pausing a second.
“Good, what does la lechuga mean?”
He asked me 20 more words, then I asked him some. We studied for an hour, then it was time for lunch. We walked to the cafeteria, hand in hand and went to the lunch line, I’m glad we could spend a lot of time together on his first day, and every A day. I got a cheese bugur, chocolate pudding(what other flavor), and a sprite. Cameron got the same except he got Coke to drink. We walked across the cafeteria to my usual table and Cameron and I sat down, I waited for Katelynne and Sadie to come and I dug into my bugur.
Cameron and I ate in silence for a few minutes then we started chatting about classes.
Five minutes later and got in the lunch line, Sadie got a ham and cheese sandwich, Katelynne got penut butter and jelly(she’s funny about eating school food, she still thinks its like her old school). We talked about riding for the rest of lunch.
I had to go to english, unfortunetly with was with Isabelle nad Maddy, but I was so happy Cameron was here, I hardly even cared. Cameron had Civics and I wished him luck. I walked to class with Sadie, and we took our seats.
“I’m so excited Cameron and I can spend so much time together.’ I said smiling as I pulled out my notebook.
“I’m glad your happy, but don’t forget about riding.” She said in a warning tone.
“I know, he’s a rider so that should make it easier. We can practice together.” I said
“Yeah, ugh.” She groaned, I looked up and groaned too. Isabelle and Maddy were making there way over to our seats and I was NOT in the mood to be dealing with there crap.
“You still doing that riding thing that you fail at really badley?” Maddy asked me as Isabelle’s eyes burned right through me.
“Yes, we are. You shoudn’t talk about things you have know idea about.” I adviced.
“Well, I’ve seen Sadie at practice and I can’t even believe Mr. West let her on the team.” Isabelle said stepping up to us.
“Sadie is as good as anyone else. Your just jelous because we’re better than you.” I said in a sassy tone.
“You little…”
“Good morning class, Maddy, Isabelle, why aren’t you in your seats?” Mrs.Edin questioned. I secretly smiled to my self and reached under the desk to give Sadie a high-five.
“We were um…. We were just….”
“Take your seats immediately, you have detention with me after school today. I expect you to be in your seats on time for the rest of the year! understood?!” she questioned sternly.

The rest of class I concentrated on pronouns and we read our class book, Alice in Wonderland. After english I had spanish with Cameron. I smiled to myself, just thinking about him made me all bubbly inside. I walked towards the elective building and opened the door to the old building. The white walls had flags painted on them from all the different coutries around the world, that was my favorite part about the building.

I wanted to get to class early so I could talk to Mrs. Hall about sitting beside Cameron and not Elijah. I opened the door to room 204 and Mrs. Hall was at her desk.

“Hola senora Hall. Buenas Tardes”

“Hola! Buenas Tardes. What can I do for you?”

“I was wondering, I know the new guy in our class Cameron, from my hometown. Do you think I could sit beside him?”

“Certainly, that is very kind of you to want to make him feel more comfortable. I was going to give new seats anyway. You and Cameron can take the two desks in the back corner, make sure he feels welcome.” She said smiling

“Mucho Gracias senora Hall.”


I walked to Cameron and I’s desks and took out my spanish binder. I started studying from my list until Cameron came in. He looked around for me and I waved him over.

“Hey, you sit beside me, I talked to her nad she was happy that I was going to make you feel comfortable.” I told him

“Thanks, can I use your notes for today? I have to come in toamrrow during my free block to get all of my notes and activities that I missed the first week. She doesn’t have a class so if you want to come….?”

“Yeah, then we can study together in my room if you want?”

“Yeah, that would be good.”

We got silent as class started and we ended up holding hands under the desks for most of the class. I was the happiest I had ever been in my life.

Sadie, Katelynne, and I walked to the stable for our lesson. I walked down the aisle to get Justin out of his stall and cleaned up. His black coat really shows dust. I curry combed him, picked his hooves, soft and hard brushed him, and brushed his mane and tail to a shine. As soon as it got warm enough I needed to give him a bath. I got Katelynne to watch Justin while I went to the tack room to get his tack and when I got outside the door I froze.

“She’s really good and I’m worried she’s going to make the advanced team. We have to do something, if I don’t make the team, I will have to transfer out of Galloping Hills.” I voice that sounded like Isabelle’s came from the tack room. As much as I didn’t want to go in there, I had to. I pushed open the door and walked straight o my tack. I got it and was almost out the door when Isabelle spoke.

“Did you hear my conversation with Megan?” she questioned, clearly pissed off.

“Know, I just came to get my tack, that’s all.” I said, feeling the size of a kitten.

“Well, I’m just surprised you still bother to show up to lessons. I can’t believe your stupid boyfriend is on the intermediate team. He isn’t good enough. He doesn’t even belong at Galloping Hills. He’s just white trash with piercings.” Isabelle said smirking.

“You haven’t seen him ride before so don’t go judging his riding skills and he isn’t white trash, you don’t even know him, just because he has piercings you start judging him, your just jealous that I am a better rider than you are. Just shut up and stop bothering me and my friends, know one likes you for who you are, they just want to hang with you to be protected, when are you going to see that?” I walked out of the door before she got a chance to say anything.

I finished getting ready for my lesson and headed to the big outdoor arena. I mounted Justin and started walking him around on a loose rein. Elijah came into the ring a few seconds after I did and I hoped Sadie, Katelynne, or Cameron would get here soon. It was kind of awkward being in the arena with him alone. Cameron was the next one there and I trotted over to him to give him a quick hug from atop our horses. Cherokee was looking good and I could tell that Cameron was comfortable riding him.

“Hey, we better start warming up or we will do the entire lesson without stirrups. We both know how much we would HATE that.” I said smiling at ihm.

“Yeah, I hate riding with know stirrups as much as I hate not seeing you.” He said, giving me a very genuine smile.

We headed out to the rail and urged Justin into a trot and started posting to it. Then I started figure eighting across the arena, trying my best to avoid Elijah. Then Isabelle and Sadie walked in. But were was Katelynne? Five minutes passed and she still hadn’t showed up yet and I was getting worried. Then, when Mr. West walked in and she still wasn’t there, I got scared. Something had to have happened.

“Good afternoon, if you all are warmed up then we can get started, we are going to do a little flatwork then work on jumping. Spread your horses out on the rail and start a sitting trot and drop your stirrups.” He instructed.

I groaned and headed to the rail. I made a lap around the arena, then he asked us to start posting. We posted a lap then my legs started burning but I didn’t show it.

“Get your stirrups back then canter, canter two laps then do a flying lead change.” I told us.

I picked up my stirrups right away and started cantering, Cameron looked so hot on a horse.

“Natalie, shoulders back and don’t move your hands so much.”

I sat up straight and kept my hands still. I couldn’t mess up again. Isabelle did an amazing flying lead change, but mine was better. She made her form look perfect and I mirrored her. This was all out war.

“Okay, bring your horses to a walk and line up in front of me please.”

We all guided our horses to him and sat perfectly still.

“I am going to lower the jumps to 2’2 and you will jump the coarse, you will do it three times and each time I will raise the jumps two inches. Sadie, you go first followed my Elijah, Katelynne, Cameron, Isabelle, and Natalie, then you will go in reverse order the second time. Any questions?” we all shook our heads and Mr. West lowered the jumps.

Sadie, Elijah, and Katelynne had perfect rounds except Sadie had a rail down. Isabelle smiled to herself when Sadie road over to us.

When it was Cameron’s turn I glued my eyes to him. I knew he would do good and I couldn’t wait for Isabelle to eat her words. Cameron urged Cherokee into a canter and turned him towards the first black and white vertical. They cleared it with ease and there was something about his ride that made it stand out. He cantered to the combo, the first jump was a yellow vertical, they cleared that and he had to kick him to get his momentum up in two strides for the green and blue oxar. They made a sweeping turn and Cherokee started to charge the brown rails to the vertical. Cameron did a half halt and got him settled and bounded over the second to last jump. The last jump was a blue and white striped oxar and they soared over it. He rode over to us and got in line beside me.

“That was very good, I like that you half halted before the brown vertical and in the combo you had to work hard to get his momentum up before the oxar, but you did it. Very nice ride.”

The rest of the lesson was a war between Isabelle and I. we had clear rounds all three times and our form was impeccable. I had a feeling that from now on, lessons would be exactly like this, a war to see who’s a better rider.




I huirridly cooled and untacked Justin after my lesson so I could find Katelynne. I was really worried hat something bad had happened. I walked Justin around for about ten minutes after untacking him, then I put him in his stall. I tried to call Katelynne but she wasn't picking up so I decided to go find Sadie. I speed walked down the aisle to Lavendel's stall.

“Have you heard from Katelynne?” I asked her frantically.

“No, I was just about to come and ask you the same thing. I'm really worried.”

“Me too, I saw her in the stable getting Cheyenne ready but then she disappeared. Should we tell someone?” I questioned, still in a panic.

“No, let's go back to the dorm and wait a little while, then if she isn't back or we haven't heard from her in a couple hours then we can tell a teacher.

“Okay, let's go back and watch McLeods Daughters, that will hopefully distract us, I'm sure she's fine, I like being positive.” I said trying to sound less worried then I was.

“Let's go, I need a distraction now.”

We walked down the sidewalk to our dorm willing our phone's to ring with news from Katelynne. We walked into our dorm and froze I our tracks, someone had totally destroyed our room. Everything was everywhere, and after checking our things, we found nothing missing.

“Why would someone do this if they didn't steal anything, It males no sense.” I said, confused.

“Unless they just wanted to scare us, I bet you it was Maddy and Isabelle.” Sadie said drawing a conclusion.

“I'm kind of nervous ow, I thought they were all talk and know action, but this proves me wrong for sure.” I said in a shaky voice. “Oh, and I didn't want to tell you but I think I should now, I heard Isabelle talking to Megen in the tack room today and she said that someone was a better than they thought and that they would do anything to make sure they made the advanced team.”
“Wow, and you didn't want to tell me because?”
“I don't know, I didn't really seem important at the time, but now it does.” I said.
“That makes things a little more serious, I really need to tell you something that might make you scared. You might want to sit down.”
“Okay.... just tell me already.” I said sitting down. Nothing could have prepared me for what she was about to say.
“Last year things happened and at the time I had know idea what it ment. Now I'm putting the pieces together. A girl went missing last year and everyone thought she just couldn't handle school and riding. But she was a really good rider...... and getting rid of her would give SOME people a better chance at making the intermediate team. I think Isabelle might have Gotten rid of her.” My whole world turned upside down. I gripped the bed and tried to take deep breathes in. what if they took Katelynne, or worse, what if there going to “Get rid of” me.
I turned to Sadie. “Do you think...... they could have taken Katelynne?”
“That's what I'm worried about. Knowone ever saw the girl that disappeared last year again.”
“We can't just sit around when Katelynne could be in trouble, we have to do something!” I said in a panic.
“NO, you can't do anything yet, if we tell someone that Katelynne is missing, then if Isabelle and her friends have her, they might hurt her. Trust me, I think that's what happened last year.” Sadie warned.
“Okay, let's just clean the room up, I I keep thinking about it I'm gonna go crazy.”
We started cleaning our room, I hug up my cloths and put my books back on the shelf. I made my bed and picked up other random things and put them back in there places, in half an hour the room was back to normal.
“Want to watch McLeods Daughters?” Sadie asked. How could she be so calm, I was freaking out over here. “Um..... can I ask you something?”
“Does Katelynne know your theory about Isabelle and her friends?”
“No, I didn't tell her. I didn't want to make her worry and get more stressed out then she already was.” Sadie answered.
“That makes sense.” I said.
I put in the third DVD to the first season of McLeods Daughters. I had seen this episode a couple of times so I went to the common room get some popcorn and soda. I walked back to our room and the TV was paused. Sadie's face was as white as a ghost.
“What happened?” I said.
“I got a text, theirs no easy way to say this so I'm just going to, someone kidnapped Cameron.” she said, worry clear In her vouice.
I keeled to the floor and tears started rushing down my face like a river. Sadie came over and wrapped me in a hug and just held me until I stopped crying, fifteen minutes later. I couldn't believe this, I had lost one of my best friends and my boyfriend all in the same day.
“We have to find him, I can't loosed him.” I cried.
“We will don't worry.”
Just then I heard that ringtone.
“We have you boyfriend, if you ever want to see him again, you will do exactly as we say. You will not tell anyone about this, your little friend Sadie already knows though. Go find a flower called Litheranium and take it to the east forest, you will find a symbol on a tree that is an upside down P. place the flower there and walk away. Only you and Sadie can help Cameron now.”
They hung up the phone and I just sat there in shock. Sadie finally got me to the real world again.
“I take it that wasn't him.”
“No, the person that has Cameron said to find a flower called litharanium and take it to a curtain place in the east forest. If I told anyone but you, I would never see him alive again.” I barly finished before the tears came again. But then I heard my phone ring again, this time, it was Katelynne's ringtone.
“H-Hello?” “Oh Natalie, my best friend died. I had to go home to her family and to the funeral that is in two days.” Katelynne sobbed into the phone.
“Oh know, i'm so sorry Katelynne, we will be there as soon as we can, it's going to be okay.”
“Thank you. Bye.”
“We have to go to Katelynne, her best friend died. Do you know were she lives?” I told Sadie.
“Yes, and that's awful. We have to get there fast.”
“I now, let's go tell the Headmaster and pack. The funeral isn't for two days.” I unformed her.
“Okay, let's pack then go to the headmaster. I can't believe this all happened in one day. At least we know that Maddy and Isabelle didn't take her.” Sadie said, trying to lighten the mood a little, but nothing would.
“Let's hurry, she needs us.”
An hour and a half later we were at Katelynne's house. We had just pulled in when Katelynne runs out of her house and grabs us in a hug as she cries.
“Thank you for coming so fast, I couldn't last much longer by myself.” she said as she cries.
“What are friends for?” I said trying to sooth her.
We walked inside and we got her to tell us all about her friend, Arianna. She cried a lot, but it's good to get your emotions out. One tragedy after another left me wanting to cry myself. Today had been an emotional roller coaster and I was ready for it to end

It had been two days since Katelynne’s best friend died and Cameron went missing and I was still a mess and so was Katelynne. Sadie was the only sane one of us now. Sadie and I had gone looking for the flower twice and couldn’t find it so we decided to look it up on the internet. It was bright green and what a coincidence that green was Cameron’s favorite color.

We decided, since it was Wednesday to go to the forest after our lesson. We had to find this plant so I could get my man back. I missed him so much, every time I think about him I get tears in my eyes. We walked down the hallway and snuck behind Cedarsprings. We walked across the field covered with lush purple and blue flowers. The grass was only about four inches high and I wanted to run through it to find this special flower to get my boyfriend back. We reached the forest and started walking through the under brush. It was so thick that I couldn’t see the ground in some places. But, even though it was hard, I had to see the ground to fins this flower.

We looked around for an hour and it was getting dark. We sat down on a stump and I started crying again, I couldn’t take it, I had to get my boyfriend back and soon. I looked up at the sky and gasped, there, on the tree was a green flower. I reached up and pulled it.

“Look! I found it.” I said excitedly.

“Wow, okay, lets take it to were we’re supposed to take it. Then we can get Cameron back.” Sadie said.

We walked hurriedly to the place we were supposed to take it, we place it there and waited. We waited for ten minutes and the sky was pink and purple hinting that we only had a few more minutes of light. Crack!

I whirled around, falling, but strong arms caught me.

“CAMERON! I missed you so much!” I hugged him and then he pulled away and looked into my eyes. He leaned in and gave me a light kiss on the lips. His lips were soft and warm, the kiss lasted about six seconds and when he pulled away I looked into his eyes again before he came in for more. Sadie was standing there, watching us make out and I kind of felt bad for her, but the more we kissed, the more we kissed, the more I forgot she was standing there.

“Okay, that’s enough for now, we have to get back before we can’t see anymore.” Sadie interrupted after another two minutes.

“Fine, sorry, we kind of got caught up in the moment.” I said, not taking my eyes of Cameron.
Cameron and I walked back, hand in hand. Sadie walked in front of us, not wanting to see what we were doing behind her.

Katelynne had stayed behind, Sadie and I had told her we were going to the Sugar Shoppe to pick up something and we might stop at the Diner.

Suddenly, everything from the past three days caught up with my and I broke down crying. I felt Cameron’s arm around me, leading me to the sidewalk.

“What’s wrong?” Cameron said worriedly.

“Well, you went missing and Katelynne’s best friend died. I’m mostly upset over you.” I sobbed.

“It’s okay, I’m here now, I’m never leaving you again.”

“I have wanted to tell you this since the beginning of last year. I love you. I have for a while and when you had the cancer scare, I cried every night until I found out that you didn’t. I can’t loose you, every time I thought about you while you were missing, I got tears in my eyes.”

“Natalie, I love you too. I didn’t realized how much I liked you until after you were gone. I will never leave you, know matter what. We will go through our eighth year and then go onto high school. I will be with you through it all, I promise.” he smiled at me and then his warm eyes got closer to my face and our lips met again.

Twenty minutes later, Sadie, Katelynne, Cameron, and I were sitting at the diner eating hamburgers, French fries, and sodas.

“So, when is our first show?” Cameron asked, taking a bite of his burger.

“It’s in two weeks, it’s a schooling show.” Katelynne answered.

“Cool, I’m kind of nervous about it. I haven’t showed since June.” Cameron admitted.

Katelynne seemed to space out a couple of times and I was worried about her. She had been like sisters with Arianna and now she was gone, Katelynne tried to hide how sad she was, but I could tell she was having a hard time with this.


Class let out on Friday afternoon and Katelynne and I headed to the barn for our afternoon lesson. Sadie road in the mornings and we rode in the morning and the evening to get ready for the schooling show.

I walked down the stable aisle dodging horses in cross-ties and went to Justin’s stall.

“Hey boy, did you have a good day?” He was sleeping in the back corner of his stall. “Let’s get you ready for our lesson, we have to make you shine.” I seemed to wake up with that and walked over to me. I got my grooming box out of my tack trunk and started picking his hooves.

Fifteen minutes later I was in the ring, with Isabelle and Cameron walking around. I started to post to Justin’s trot. We made two laps around the ring and then I started sitting. I picked up my left and right leads at the canter and then Mr. West walked in.

“Good afternoon, please spread your horses out and we’ll get started.” He instructed.

We all spread our horses out and waited for instructions.

“Start at a sitting trot and drop your stirrups.” This was going to be intense.

We made two laps before he asked us to start posting. Two laps later, my legs were burning, and when I looked around I could tell everyone else’s were too.

“Canter a lap then do a flying lead change.” I urged Justin to canter with my legs, hands, and seat, and he picked it up without hesitation. We went around lap and turned to the middle. Justin did an amazing lead change and we cantered on the right.

“Pull your horses up and line up in front of me.” He said. We guided our horses to the middle and stopped.

“I would like you to dismount and ride the horse to your left.” I looked to my left and saw Cameron, then I looked to my right and saw Katelynne. I could totally ride Cherokee and I knew that Katelynne would love Justin.

“Cool, I haven’t ridden Cherokee in a long time.” I said smiling at Cameron.

“I want to work on jumping, the jumps are set at 2’4 so there shouldn’t we any problems. Katelynne, you can go first with Justin, Natalie second, then Cameron, Elijah, and finally Isabelle.

Katelynne urged Justin forward and did two circles at a trot and two circles at a canter before turning him to the first jump. He jumped the black rail easily and I noticed for the first time, how fluent he was. Katelynne moved slightly in the saddle over the second and they cantered to the third. I started counting down strides in my head and I new Justin was going to shove a step in. Katelynne through herself at the jump, expecting him to take off. She went up on his neck but stayed on. She was rattled but she tried to focus. They got over the fourth and fifth and were cantering towards the final jump, a double oxar. I counted down strides and Justin cleared it perfectly. She road over to us with a frown on her face.

“Very good Katelynne, Justin likes to shove steps in before the jump and it takes practice to get used to it.” Mr. West praised.

“Thank you.” She said, a hint of a smile showing on her face.

“Go ahead Natalie.” I gathered Cherokee and could feel everyone watching me as a turned him away from everyone and started at a circle. I only did two circles before turning Cherokee to the first jump and he sailed over it, his powerful stride carrying is to the second jump fast. We landed from the second jump and three strides later we took off for the third. We landed and I did a half halt because he started to speed up. We cleared the fourth and fifth and I let him speed up a fraction to get over the spread of the oxar. Three, two, one. We sailed through the air and landed cleanly on the other side. We rode over and I tried hard not to smile, that had been a pretty good ride. But I knew that my heels had come up over a jump and my wrists weren’t straight the whole time.

“Good job, make sure you keep your heals down, I think you should try jumping with know hands sometime. Also keep your wrists straight. Other than that, it was an amazing round. Have you ridden Cherokee before?” Mr. West asked.

“Yes, I rode him a couple times over the summer.” I said.

“Okay, go ahead Cameron.” I knew that he would do great on Yaida. They had a clear round and so did everyone else. We cooled out our own horses and untacked them. I walked down the aisle after cooling and untacking Justin. I found Cameron at the end of the aisle waiting for me.

“Hey, great lesson. You were amazing on Cherokee.” Cameron said, putting his arm around my waist.

“Thanks, you did great on Yaida too. He can be difficult sometimes.” I wrapped my arms around him and let him hold me.

“Want to go to the Diner then the Sugar Shoppe later with me, you can bring Katelynne and Sadie if you want.” Cameron asked me.

“Yeah, that would be great, then you can come over and watch movie’s with us.”

“Sounds like the perfect night, with the perfect girl.” He said smiling a mile wide.

“How about, we meet at the Diner at 7:00?” I suggested.

“Okay, see you then. I’ll miss you.”

“Miss you too.”

I walked down the aisle to find Katelynne so we could go back to our dorm and change and do some of our homework before we start our Friday night.

“Cameron wants to know if you and Sadie want to come with us to the Diner and the Sugar Shoppe?”

“Yeah, sounds good to me.”

“You ready to go back to the dorm?” I asked her.

“Yup, let’s go. We cant have you starting the water works again cause you miss your boyfriend.” She teased.

We walked into our dorm and Sadie was sitting at her desk doing homework.

“Hey, want to go to the Diner and then the Sugar Shoppe with Katelynne, Cameron, and I?” I asked Sadie.

“Sure.” She said, seeming distant.

“Katelynne and I are going to freshen up and do some homework.”

“Okay, I have a lot to do too.” She said. I couldn’t help but think that something was wrong. She didn’t seem like herself.

Katelynne got the bathroom first and while I waited I got started on my Spanish homework. I never new that seventh grade could be so demanding. I always had at least an hour of homework, and that was very light.

Thirty minutes later we were on our way to the Diner. I was in skinny jeans and a strapless, pink and white shirt. Katelynne wore dark navy blue skinny jeans and a navy blue, ruffle shirt and Sadie wore jeans and a green shirt.

We walked inside the Diner and saw Cameron at a table in the back. I walked up to him and gave him a big hug.

“You look amazing.” He said.

“So do you.” He wore black skinny jeans and a purple dress shirt. His brown hair was straightened and touched the top of his nose, he did that really cute hair flip thing that guys do and I tried not to swoon.

He gestured for me to slide into the booth first and he sat beside me. Katelynne and Sadie sat across from us.

“What are you going to get?” I asked Cameron.

“I think I’m gonna get Pizza, what about you?”

“The same.” I said. “Sadie, Katelynne, what are ya’ll going to get?”

“Probably pizza.” Sadie said. Katelynne nodded her agreement.

“Want to get a large and get half cheese and pepperoni and half supreme?” Sadie suggested.

“Sure, sounds good to me. We also need to order drinks.” I answered.

The waitress walked over. “What can I get you kids to drink?” she asked.

“I would like a sprite.” I said.

“I want Pepsi.” Sadie told her.

“Dr. Pepper please.” Katelynne said politely.

“I’ll take a sweet tea.” Cameron said.

I looked at him wide eyed.

“I didn’t know that you drank sweet tea.” I said surprised.

“Yup, it gives me energy.” He said.

“Have ya’ll decided what your going to order?” the waitress asked.

“We would like a large pizza, half pepperoni half supreme please.” Katelynne told her.

“Okay, I’ll be right back with your drinks.” She said walking away.

“I can’t believe the schooling show is next weekend.” I said.

“I know, I cant believe it either, I’m so nervous.” Cameron said.

“So am I.” I agreed.

“Me too.” Katelynne said.

“Well at least ya’ll get to go!” Sadie snapped.

I was surprised at her outburst.

She got up and walked to the bathroom.

“Wow, I didn’t know she was that upset over not being on the intermediate team. She said she didn’t care.” Katelynne said after Sadie was out of ear shot.

“I know, I cant believe she didn’t tell us that she was upset over it, we wouldn’t have talked about it in front of her.” I said.

“Yeah, I had know idea either.” Cameron said.

“Should we go talk to her?” I asked Katelynne.

“Know, she’ll be out in a few minutes, she needs time to be alone.”

For the next five minutes we talked about riding and school. Sadie still hadn’t come back and I was worried about her.

“I’m going to talk to her.” I said.


I walked into the bathroom and there was know sign of her.

“Sadie?” Know answer.

“Sadie, come on, I’m sorry, can we please talk?”

Still know answer. I could have sworn she came in here. Maybe she went out the back door. She’s probably back in the dorm. But even as I told myself that I still felt a twitch of worry in my stomach.

“She wasn’t in there, I guess she went out the back door and back to the dorm.” I said, rejoining Katelynne and Cameron.

“Should we got back to the dorm?” Cameron asked.

“Know, Sadie just needs to be alone. That’s just how she is.” Katelynne said.

We left the Diner five minutes later and went to the Sugar Shoppe. I ordered a piece of chocolate cheese cake and so did Katelynne. Cameron got two chocolate donuts and we devoured our desserts.

“So, do you watch horse racing?” I asked Cameron and Katelynne.

“I do a little.” Katelynne said.

“No, I never watch horse racing.” Cameron said taking a giant bite of his second donut.

“Katelynne, have you heard of the jockey Sheldon Russell?”

“Yeah, a won the 2011 Virginia turf cup and the Maryland Million.” She said.

“He’s my favorite jockey, I go crazy when I watch him race.” I admitted.

“We should go to my dorm and watch movies so Sadie can have time to herself.” Cameron said, changing the subject. Could he be jealous?

“Okay, she would probably get pretty mad if we tried to talk to her before she’s ready.” Katelynne said.

Fifteen minutes later we were in Cameron’s dorm and trying to pick a movie.

“We should watch a horse movie because Cameron would probably want to watch something we don’t and the other way around with Katelynne and I.” I suggested.

“Okay, what horse movie’s do you have.” Katelynne asked Cameron.

“Ummm….I have Secretariat.” I finally said.

“Okay sounds good to me. Cameron, want to put in the DVD and Katelynne and I could go get some snacks from the common room.”

“Sure, get lots of junk food and soda.” He said barley looking up from the DVD player.

“Do you think Sadie is at the dorm? Or do you think she is somewhere else?” we both new were “somewhere else” was.

“I don’t know for sure, but I don’t know why she would be ‘somewhere else’, she’s not on the intermediate team…… unless they did it to try to hurt us. But lets not worry about that now, its Friday night, she’ll probably be in the dorm doing homework when we get back.” She said, but I wasn’t so sure she was right.

We got sprites from the refrigerator. Then we piled a tray full of Pretzels, Doritos, M&Ms, Jolly Ranchers, and Pringles. For the two hours that the movie was playing I couldn’t concentrate. I had already seen this movie, like a million times. Why would they take Sadie I thought.

We walked down the sidewalk to Cedarpring and with each step I got more and more nervous. If Sadie wasn’t there…. No Natalie stop. You can’t think like that.

We opened the door and the dorm was quiet. Most people were still out since it was only 9:30 on Friday night. We walked up the steps to the second floor and made our way to room eight.

I couldn’t open the door. We stood there for a minute seeing who would open the door first. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, Katelynne reached for the door and pushed it open.

I peered inside the room, know sign of Sadie. Panic rose in my chest and I looked at Katelynne.

“She isn’t hear.” I said in a daze.

“Know, really? I hadn’t noticed.” Katelynne said sarcastically.

“Were else could she be? She had to have been kidnapped.” I rambled.

“Chill, we can’t freak out, it will just make things worse.” She tried to cover up the wariness in her voice.

“Okay, what do we do?” I asked.

“We go to bed. She can take care of herself. If she hadn’t acted the way she did, she wouldn’t be in this situation. We can’t keep worrying about this. Go get ready for bed, she’ll probably be here in the morning.” Katelynne said.

“Okay, your right, but you can’t blame Sadie for getting kidnapped, it’s not her fault.” I said before heading into the bathroom.

Ten minutes later we were in our beds trying to concentrate on reading. I could tell Katelynne couldn’t concentrate either. I crawled down in my bed and turned off my purple light.

“Night.” I said.


But I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep either. I thought about what she might be doing right now and I shivered. I laid there for what felt like forever and when I rolled over to look at the clock it said 11:59. I looked over at Katelynne and could clearly tell she couldn’t sleep either.

I rolled back over and went back to thinking. Again, after what felt like eternity I rolled over to see what time it was and the clock said 3:08. Katelynne still wasn’t asleep either.

“Katelynne, are you thinking about Sadie?” I asked, my voice light.

“Yeah, I cant shut my brain off. If I cant get to sleep soon im just going to get up and go ride, that should distract me. Well better than anything else can.” She answered, I could tell from her voice that she was tired.

“Me too. I can’t keep doing this for much longer, I will drive myself crazy.” I agreed.

I rolled over and, surprise, not, I went back to thinking about Sadie. An hour later I crawled out of bed and so did Katelynne. We took turns in the bathroom and got dressed. We went to the common room to get a muffin and then headed to the stables. I walked to Justin’s stall and went in. I hugged him and started crying.

“I can’t keep doing this, Sadie has been kidnapped now too.” I sobbed to Justin. He blinked his gorgeous eyes at me as if encouraging me to keep talking. “I came for a ride to distract me.” I finished crying and got my grooming box out of my tack trunk and started grooming Justin. I got him tacked up and headed to the small outdoor arena. Katelynne was already there and warming up Cheyenne.

“Want to just do our own warm up then jump?” she asked.


I moved Justin out to the rail and started trotting around. I put everything into riding to distract me. I dropped my stirrups and did five laps without them before getting them back and picking up my canter. I sat to Justin’s smooth canter and then I did a simple lead change and cantered the other direction. I worked on keeping my shoulders back and worked one handed. I did some down-down-up and up-up-down. I looked over at Katelynne and she was still working so I started doing figure eights. I did them at the trot with no stirrups, then I did them at the canter without stirrups too. I looked over at Katelynne again and walked to the center of the ring. I waited for here to see me.

“Want to start jumping?” I asked her.

“Sure. You can go first.” She answered.

I turned Justin to the course of 8 jumps Mr. West had set up at about 2’6. We cantered to the first red and white jump and breezed over it. We did a fast round with zero faults and I rode over to Katelynne.

“Nice ride.” She said.

“Thanks.” I answered smiling.

She turned Cheyenne to the course and they had a fast, clear round too.

“Want to do it again before we quit?” I asked her.

“Sure, you can go.” She answered.

I made it over the first and second jumps, we cantered around to the third and headed to the fourth. I started counting five, four I looked up for a spilt second and forgot I was heading to a jump, Sadie was standing at the fence, her eyes on me.


Justin was holding his leg inches off the ground, I started crying. How could I have been so stupid! He had broken his leg. I started to cry, now he had to be put down. I would never forgive myself. Justin, Justin, I cried.

“Natalie, Natalie.”

Slowly I opened my eyes and Sadie was standing over top of my, worry in her eyes.

“What happened?” I asked.

“You fell off nad blacked out when you saw me standing at the fence. I’m so sorry, its all my fault.” She said, sorrowful.

“I thought you had been kidnapped, I was so worried.” I said, still crying from my dream.

“I went to Lavendel’s stall to be with him. I fell asleep and when I woke up I forgot were I was. I got up and remembered I had come to the barn last night. I started walking back to the dorm and saw ya’ll practicing; I stood by the fence for fie minutes before ya’ll noticed me. I’m so sorry; I didn’t mean to make you fall. I feel terrible.” She told me.

“It’s okay, were is Justin.” I said, remembering my dream.

“He’s fine; Katelynne took him and Cheyenne and cooled then out. You’ve been knocked out for about ten minutes, I was about to go get Mr. West.” Sadie informed me.

“Well, I’m fine now. I’m just glad your okay.” I said relieved.

“Did you really think I had been kidnapped?” she asked surprised.

“Yeah, I was so scared.” I admitted.

On Wednesday I got up and headed out to the stables with Katelynne . We had a good four days and I was so happy to not have any more kidnappings.

“Do you think Mr.West will be hard on us?” Katelynne asked.

“Probably, since the show is this weekend and advanced team tryouts are the weekend after.” I answered her.

“Yeah, I’m so nervous about the show, I have Jumpers and Cross- Country.” Katelynne said.

“I’m showing in show jumping and cross-country.” I answered back.

“Well, let’s start getting ready, I cant wait to be in the ring the Cameron.” I said as we entered the stables.

“Okay, see you in the ring.” She said back.

I walked into Justin’s stall and greeted him. I put on his halter and hooked him to the tie ring in his stall. I got out my purple curry comb and started getting the mud from yesterday off his coat. He had gone outside after yesterdays shower and rolled. I had gotten some of the mud off but I had to finish it today before my lesson. When I was finished with the curry comb I grabbed the hard brush and whisked it over his coat. I quickly finished that and the soft brush and moved onto his hooves. Then I brushed out his mane and tail. I got his saddle, girth, and saddle pad out of his tack box. I placed the purple saddle pad on his back and then lightly put the saddle on top. I secured the girth and put on my helmet. I got his bridle and he willingly took the bit, I could tell he was ready to work.

“You ready boy?” he nickered ever so softly and I led him out to his stall and to the biggest out door ring. Katelynne was already in there with Elijah and Isabelle. Cameron wasn’t here yet and I was anxious to see him. I mounted Justin and started walking around. Less than five minutes later, Cameron walked into the ring on Cherokee. I rode over to him.

“Hey, how was your day?” he asked as I approached him.

“Good, I just couldn’t wait to see you. How was yours?” I smiled at him and he couldn’t help but smile back.

“Mine was good too except I couldn’t wait to see you.” He said smiling back. I tried not to blush and get all OMG-a-guy-likes-me and keep my cool.

“Would you two stop flirting and start riding.” A snarky Isabelle snapped.

We ignored her and I through a smile over my shoulder at Cameron and he did the same.

Throughout the warm-up I get looking at Cameron and smiling. Once, Isabelle caught me and gave me the look like stop making googly eyes at your boyfriend and practice already but I ignored it.

Mr. West walked in and signaled for us to line up in front of him.

“Good morning. Let’s go ahead and get started. Move out to the rail and do a sitting trot. Today we are going to work on dressage.”

I urged Justin forward and sat deep in the saddle to his smooth trot.

“Do a working trot and cut across the diagonal.” He instructed.

“Very nice Natalie. Cameron, try to get Cherokee more in between your leg and hang. Add more leg pressure and shorten your reins a little.”

Cameron did as he was told and Cherokee looked amazing at a working trot.

“Do a leg yield. Does everyone know how to do that?”

“No sir, I don’t.” Cameron said.

I heard Isabelle scoff behind me. I turned around and glared at her.

“Natalie, show him how to do a leg yield please.”

I shifted my weight to the outside, moved my inside leg behind the girth, and moved my inside rein slightly forward and backwards to encourage him to bend. He did a perfect leg yield and tried to hide my giant smile. I looked at Cameron and I could tell he was trying to hide a smile too. He did the leg yield perfectly and Mr. West worked us for another 20 minutes, working us through various different dressage moves and Cameron didn’t know most of the which meant I had to keep glaring at Isabelle every time she scoffed at him.

After our lesson a asked Katelynne if she wanted to go on a trail ride and she said yes. I texted Sadie and she said she was coming too. Cameron also came, fifteen minutes after our lesson we were walking across the field to the trails.

“So, I can’t wait for the schooling show. But I’m also so nervous. I can’t believe its in TWO days!” I said half excitedly, half nervously.

“I know! Cameron, what classes are you doing?” Katelynne asked him.

“I’m doing Show-Jumping and Cross- Country, I didn’t know what to pick so I just picked the same classes as Natalie. Sadie, isn’t the beginner team competing in there own levels too?” he asked, giving Cherokee a slight pull on the reins because he was getting a little too fast.

“Yeah, I’m competing in 2’2 jumpers and 2’2 equitation.” Sadie answered.

“Want to gallop across the field?” Katelynne asked.

“Let’s go!” we all said together.

I squeezed my legs against Justin’s side and he surged into a flat gallop, which surprised me. We all knew it was a race even though know one said that. I held him back and I could see Sadie behind me with Cameron beside me and Katelynne in front of us. Cherokee inched his nose in front of Justin’s but I still held him back. At about 150 feet in front of the woods I let Justin go and he unleashed his speed and we sprang to the lead. We made it to the woods a few seconds before Cameron with Katelynne and Sadie tied for third.

“Nice job Nat. Way to use jockey techniques.” Cameron said, giving me a high five.

“Wow, you cam out of know where.” Katelynne said, out of breath. She must have been kicking Cheyenne a lot.

“Well, I used jockey technique. Everyone knows that you hold back and then let them go on the stretch, I used Sheldon Russell’s signature technique.” I said proud of Justin.

“Wow, well, next time I race you, I will know exactly how to win. Thanks Nat!” Cameron teased.

“Okay, lets go back, we might be late for class is we don’t.” I said.

We trotted our horses all the way back and I gave Justin to Ty. I didn’t want to leave Cameron for a second, but I didn’t want to be a clingy girlfriend. Cameron and I had a few long kisses before we said good-bye for an hour and a half. Yeah, I know, its pretty bad the we don’t want to leave each other for an hour and a half but we are quickly growing closer and closer.

I woke up at 5:00 on Saturday and headed to the stables. My first class wasn’t until 8:00, but I wanted to have a lot of extra time. I had been at the barn last night until 9:00 braiding Justin’s mane. I had also had to trim his mane, whiskers, and bridle path. It had taken me three hours to braid his mane and clip him. I walked down the barn aisle with Katelynne, Cameron, and Sadie. We got to Lavendel’s stall first then Cheyenne’s. I walked next door and peered into Justin’s stall. He wasn’t in there.

“Cameron, where’s Justin?” I said trying not to panic.

“We’ll find him Nat, don’t worry.” Cameron said trying to reassure me.

We quickly jogged up and down the aisles trying to see if he was In a different stall but he wasn’t there. I met up with Cameron at the end of the aisle.

“Were do you want to look now?” he asked.

“Umm, I don’t know, how about you look around outside and I’ll go talk to Mr. West. If Maggen or Isabelle did this, they aren’t going to get away with it.” I said in a defiant tone.

I walked up the stairs to Mr. West’s office and knocked on the door.

“Come in.” he answered.

“Mr. West, I went to Justin’s stall this morning and he wasn’t in there. Cameron and I searched every stall and we cant find him.” I said, not sharing my theory that Isabelle and Maggen took him.

“Well, I will help you look but I have know idea were he is.” Mr. West said slightly concerned.

We walked down the aisle and he scanned all of the stalls but there was no sign of Justin anywhere. I walked outside to tr to find Cameron. I was standing outside near the small jumping ring just staring at something with his mouth slightly open.

“What are you looking at?” I asked him.

“Look,” he pointed to the pasture just beyond the arena. “I think that’s your horse, but I’m not sure.” When I looked at where he had pointed I gasped and understood why he said “I think its your horse” Justin was grazing but he was covered from head to hoof to tail.

“Oh-My-Gosh!” I said in shock. I didn’t know how I was going to get him cleaned up in time but I new I had to.

“Oh, Natalie, you found Chester. Thank you.” A girl named Renee’ said.

“What? That’s Chester?” I asked. Wait, if that isn’t Justin, there where is he? Oh-No.


I ran into Cameron’s arms. “What am I going to do, where could he be?” I said almost in tears.

“Natalie, are you looking for your horse?” I heard Isabelle say from behind me. She sounded almost satisfied with herself but there was something wrong.

“Where is he!” I said in a stern tone.

“I took him out to the pasture but someone screamed and spooked him, I couldn’t hold onto him and he ran away. I have been looking for him for ten minutes but I can’t find……” I ran away to find Mr. West before she could finish.

“Mr. West, Isabelle told me she took Justin out to the pasture but he got spooked and ran away. She said has been looking for him for ten minutes but cant find him. Can I barrow one of the lesson horses to try to find him?” I said in a panic.

“Sure, you can take Emerald, he is at the end of this aisle, but don’t go alone.” By now Cameron had wandered up behind me and offered to go with me.

We tacked up in ten minutes and by then it was 6:00 and I only had two hours until my first class. We trotted to the woods keeping our eyes open for Justin but he was know where in sight. When I looked down at the path I saw fresh hoof prints but they could belong to anyone that had ridden through in the past day, so they didn’t help very much. What if he tripped on the lead line. He could have broken a leg. I tried to push the bad thoughts out of my mind and concentrate on finding him.

“Don’t worry Nat, we’ll find him. He’ll be fine.” Cameron tried to sooth my worries.

“But will it be in time for our classes and will he be hurt. What if he tripped on the lead line.” I said in a panic.

“He’s a smart horse, he can take care of himself for a little while.” With that we fell into comfortable silence. For the next ten minutes we just walked and trotted covering as many of the trails as we could and every now and again we would say something to each other. Suddenly I heard rustling leaves and I looked at Cameron and he nodded. We walked to were we thought we heard the noise and I saw Justin. I was so excited. I walked very slowly over to him and grabbed his lead line and ponyed him back to the barn.

I had gotten Justin back to the barn and looked him over very carefully to make sure he wasn’t hurt. He looked to be in perfect condition. I started brushing and tacking him up then headed to the warm-up ring. I walked in and got him to stretch his legs out and then asked him for a trot. Cameron came into the ring a few minutes after and I just gave him a smile so I didn’t get distracted. I trotted for a few minutes then Isabelle and Elijah came in. I glanced at Cameron and immediately regretted the decision.

“God Natalie, you can’t even warm up your horse without making googly eyes at your boyfriend.” She scolded.

“It’s none of your business if I look at my boyfriend. How about you mind your own business.” I said in the exact same tone that she did.

“What ever, don’t come crying to me when you loose because your distracted by your boyfriend. “ she said, returning to her warm up.

I urged Justin into a canter and we cantered a few laps around the arena and then worked on flying lead changes. I got him to do two and then worked on the warm up jump in the ring. It was set at about 2’2. We cantered over it a few times in each direction and then I pulled him up and watched Cameron, Isabelle, and Elijah go. They did perfect and then Cameron and I headed to the indoor arena. They were at entry number 204 and Cameron was 207. I went right after he did.

“You’ll do great, I know you will.” I said, trying to reassure him.

“Thanks, you will too.” He said giving me a smile.

“Number 205 has a score of four faults and seventy two seconds.” The announcer said.

“Wow, know one has gone clear. If one of us goes clear that means we will win.” He said.

“Know, really?” I said sarcastically.

“Sorry, guess I’m just nervous.” I bumped my shoulder to his and smiled.

“I know, I’m just messing with you.”

“Number 206 please enter the ring.” The announcer said.

“Well, I guess I better mount and get ready, I’m on deck.” Cameron said.

He mounted Cherokee and walked to the entrance.

“Number 206 has a score of four faults and seventy three seconds.” The announcer said. “Number 207 please enter the ring.”

I mounted Justin and walked to the entrance of the ring so I could watch Cameron’s round. They flew around the course and I held by breath as they went over the final two jumps. He landed after the last oxar clear. Yes!

“Great job!” I said to Cameron excitedly. For a few seconds I forgot I was up next.

“Thanks, I cant believe I had a clear round.” Cameron said.

“Number 207 has a score of zero faults and seventy two seconds.” The announcer said. “Number 208 please enter the ring.” I gathered the reins and squeezed Justin. We walked to the starting line and waited for the bell. Ding!

Justin shot forward and I got him collected before the first blue and white vertical. He flew over it and cantered swiftly to the next jump. He cleared that and we made a sweeping turn to the first combination. He cleared the first half and two strides later we jumped a black and red oxar. We galloped a little to the next oxar and I settled him before the jump but he was still strung out. We took off way too early but he still cleared the spread. We cantered to the final obstacle, a triple combination. I slowed him by doing a half halt and started counting strides. Four, three, two, one! He lifted off the ground and cleared the vertical. We took one stride and took off for the second part. Then we took two strides to the final oxar. He took off early and I thought we weren’t going to make it over. He took off and we soared through the air and landed on the other side, I waited for a thud as my heart sank. I looked behind me and saw the pole wobbling in the holder, I held my breath. Finally, It settled in the holder and I finally took a deep breath. Yes! We had done it, we were going against Cameron, Isabelle, and Elijah in the jump off. I rode over to Cameron and gave him a high five. Then, we kissed, it was the most amazing thing ever.

“Great job Natalie, you and Justin were amazing.” He said, smiling t me.

“Thanks! Now we’re going head to head in the jump off with Isabelle and Elijah.” He stated.

“Williams, you ready to get your ass kicked?” Elijah said in a challenging but not at all joking way.

“Not by you, if by anybody, my girlfriend.” Cameron said in a stern way.

“Number 197 please enter the ring for the jump off.” The announcer said.

“Well, we’ll see after my girlfriend goes.” He said, turning Yaida away from us.

“Wow, he is way out of his league messing with me nad my girlfriend.” Cameron said and a serious way, like he would defend me with his life.

Isabelle galloped swiftly to the first jump and made it over cleanly and did a half halt before the next oxar. They cleared that and moved to the double combination. They jumped through that and galloped to the final two jumps. They made it over both with a time of fifty four seconds and zero faults.

“Number 207, please enter the ring for the jump off.” The announcer said.

“Good luck, I know you can do it.” He said.

“Number 207 has a time of fifty five seconds.” The announcer said.

“Great job Cameron, you did the pace that you felt was comfortable, don’t worry about it.” I said trying to reassure him, by the look on his face he was not happy that he was slower than Isabelle.

“Thanks Natalie.” Cameron said trying to smile.

“Number 208 please enter the ring for the jump off.” The announcer said. I cantered in and then urged him into a hand gallop and made my way through the coarse. We almost knocked down the second half of the double combination.

“Number 208 has a score of fifty….” please say two, please let me have done better. “two seconds.” Yes! I had done it!

“Great job Natalie, you did it.” Cameron gave me a kiss on the lips.

“Thanks, I can’t believe I had that time, I didn’t think I could beat her.” I said smiling. “Now I can bite my finger nails as I watch Elijah go.” I said, only half jokingly.

“Number 199 please enter the ring for the jump off.” The announcer said.

Elijah rode into the ring and Yaida shot forward. Elijah didn’t bother trying to slow him down before the first jump and the same thing happened with the second.

“What is he doing heading into the double going that fast, there not going to make it.” I said in a panic.

Yaida went to take off for the first part but stopped just short. He came down right on the bar for the jump and it broke under his feet.

“Oh my god!” I said in shock. I jumped off of Justin and dropped the reins, I walked briskly to Yaida. I was going to kill Elijah for this. Yaida was my favorite horse at my old barn. He was suck a sweet horse, if he was hurt I was going to kill Elijah. I had won but that didn’t matter.

I made it over to Yaida and he looked okay but he needed to be checked out by a vet.

At the end of the day I had a blue ribbon and a 3rd place in cross-country. Cameron got 3rd in show jumping and 4th at cross country. Yaida had pieces of wood in the bottom of his hoof and it was swollen. The vet said he needed time to see if anything else was wrong.

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