Chapter Eleven

Chapter Eleven

A Chapter by Elizabeth Reed

When I got home later that day I got straight to my chores in the barn. I was kind of worried about what Beck had said earlier. If I did get caught I would be in huge trouble. Way more than I would have gotten in at Maxwell. I probably would be suspended for a week or something.
I wiped my forehead with the back of my hand after dumping a heavy shovel full into the wheelbarrow. As I turned back to grab another shovel full I heard footsteps come into the barn. Assuming it was Beck, I didn't turn to look. I just scooped up more dirty shavings and dumped them into the wheelbarrow. But when I dumped them I noticed it was Aunt Hailey who walked in, not Beck.

"Oh, Aunt Hailey!" I said, surprised. "I didn't think it was you."
Aunt Hailey smiled wide at me.

"Hey, there." she said happily. "I have something else I want you to do."
I sighed a little, trying to hide an exhausted expression. Aunt Hailey took the shovel from my hand and leaned it against the door of the stall. "You get Duke out of the paddock and I'll get Riley, then we're gonna hook them to the cross ties."
A bit hesitantly, I agreed and went with Aunt Hailey to the paddock. I slipped on Duke's halter, holding tight to the lead line and bringing him into the barn, hooking him to the cross ties near the back of the barn. Aunt Hailey took the one's at the front, bringing me Duke's tack box once she was done hooking Riley. "Give him a good brushing." she instructed.
I nodded, picking up one of the brushes. As soon as I took it to Duke's neck I could see in his eyes how good it felt to him. I went over a few of his sweet spots a few more times than needed before dropping the brush back in the box. When I looked over to see if Aunt Hailey was done I saw her coming out of the tack room with a saddle and saddle pad in hand. Hauling it over the cross ties she handed it over to me and I looked at her a little nervously. "Today, you learn how to ride." she said.
I swallowed. "But, I rode once with Beck." I said.
Aunt Hailey smiled.
"He didn't teach you how to ride properly, though." she explained. "We're going to do that today. So, put on the saddle pad, high up on the withers."
I gave her a confused look. I had no idea what 'withers' were. When I heard the word 'wither' I thought of 'withering away'. Like a flower or something. Aunt Hailey smirked a little and pointed to the highest part of Duke's back, where there was a small bump. "That's the wither." she said.
"Oh..." I muttered before placing the pad and saddle on at the same time.

Aunt Hailey instructed me the whole way as I saddled up Duke. She taught me how to buckle and tighten the girth, adjust the stirrups and make sure it's high up enough on the withers so it won't slip down too far. Then came the bridle, which involved buckling a few straps, slipping it correctly over the ears and feeding him the bit, all while making sure he's secure so he can't run off. Finally, when he was all tacked up, she came out and handed me a helmet.
I smiled a little a shook my head. "I don't wear helmets." I explained. "It's kind of a self imposed rule."
Aunt Hailey stuck the helmet on my head.
"Yes, well your rule has been superseded." she said.
I rolled my eyes when she turned her back and buckled the straps of my helmet. We led the horses out into the riding ring and the two of us mounted. After we took a few steps deeper into the paddock I unbuckled my helmet and threw it like a frisbee over the fence.
"Oops!" I said, shrugging. "I dropped my helmet. Guess I can't wear it now."
Aunt Hailey shook her head, but let it slide. She instructed me through some moves on how to keep your balance on the horse. I felt a little silly doing them, but did it anyway. She had me let the reins go and stick my arms straight out at my sides as Duke walked the rail, then switch to rotating from side to side. She had me practice stopping properly, then going, then bringing him to a slow trot. It was kind of fun, but kind of boring at the same time. I feel like Duke must have sensed it because he started trotting without me telling him to.
"It's alright, he's testing you." Aunt Hailey said. "Just pull him to a stop."
As she was telling me this, he picked up his pace to a canter, and I started to lose my footing. I could feel him picking up more speed and I got nervous, so I tugged back on his reins. But, I tugged much too hard and Duke reared up. Not much, but I my feet had already slipped from the stirrups, so I slid right out of the saddle and onto my back on the ground. Duke took a few steps away from me before just standing there.
"Kodah!" I heard Aunt Hailey cry. She dismounted and ran over to me just as I was getting up. I rubbed the back of my head. "Sweety, are you okay?" she asked, putting her hands on my arms, then one of my cheek.
I nodded. "I'm fine." I answered. "But... I may have changed my policy on helmets..."


My head hurt for a little while after falling, but Aunt Hailey and I were pretty sure I didn't have a concussion. She told me if my headache didn't go away we would get it checked out, but it went away soon enough. Of course, that didn't mean I didn't have to finish my chores. I was sent back to the barn, shovel in hand to continue my work and Beck showed up shortly after to help. Naturally, Aunt Hailey asked him to stay for dinner, and naturally, he accepted. So I had to sit through his 'charming' demeanor and 'funny' stories all through dinner and dessert, before finally Aunt Hailey said it was time for bed.

"Do you need a ride home, son?" Uncle Chris asked. Beck smiled and shook his head.

"No, thank you, sir." he answered. "I don't mind the walk. Thank you so much for dinner, Mrs. McQuaid."
Aunt Hailey grinned wide.

"No problem, dear." she assured him. "Anytime. You sleep well. Would you like to come over for breakfast?"
Please, no, please, no, please, no! I screamed in my head.
"I would love that, Mrs. McQuaid, thank you." Beck answered with a grin.
Aunt Hailey smiled even wider. "Great, we'll see you bright and early then." she said. "You have a good night."
"You too, ma'am. Sir." he directed at Uncle Chris. "Good night, Cody." he then said to me.
I nodded.

"Night." I said plainly.
Beck frowned just a bit before turning and leaving.

"What a sweet boy." Aunt Hailey said.

"He's a good kid." Uncle Chris agreed.
I sighed.

"Good night." I said as I turned to go upstairs.

"Sleep well, Cody!" Aunt Hailey called.
"Yep." I answered back before closing my door. I didn't even change out of my clothes before I fell into bed and fell asleep.


My first thought when I woke up the next morning was, I have detention tonight...
I didn't want to go at all, even though it was something I was used to. But I was really only used to it with Fiona.
Grumbling, I pushed myself out of bed and trudged to the bathroom. I stretched my arms up and out, then quickly brushed my teeth, relieved myself and hopped in the shower. When I was done, I wrapped my hair in a towel, changed, did my makeup, then straightened my hair, tying it back into a braid. I looked at myself in the mirror, hating my school uniform. I never thought I would ache for Maxwell High, but I did.
I shook my head and left my room, trotting down stairs.

The smell of waffles, bacon, coffee and toast nearly smacked me in the face. The smell of coffee depressed me a bit, as I had been a while without an ice coffee. I sighed and pushed the thought from my mind.
Aunt Hailey greeted me warmly, handed me a hot cup of coffee.

"I hope I made it the way you like." she said with a grin.
I took a careful sip from the steaming cup and smiled up at her.
"It's very good, thank you." I replied.
"Beck should be here any minute, so why don't wait for him to eat?" she asked. I sighed and forced a smile.
"Sure, why not?" I answered. I turned around to head to the diningroom and added ever so faintly, "It's not like I'm starving or anything."
I sat down at the already set table where Uncle Chris was reading the newspaper and sipping his coffee.

"Morning, Cody." he said, glancing over his paper. "Sleep well?"
"Like I was dead." I answered. Uncle Chris laughed.
"You had a busy day yesterday. Duke and Beck ware you out?"
I nodded. "Yeah, they kept me busy." I answered, taking another sip of my coffee.
"Well, you best get used to it." Uncle Chris said, flipping the page of his paper. "It's gonna be like that almost every day."
I sighed quietly to myself. I liked being kept busy, but I liked being busy with stuff I liked. Friends, skateboarding, snowboarding, going to the mall, stuff like that. Not shoveling out horse stalls and herding sheep and spending all my time with a boy-band-member-wannabe.

"Hello?" Beck's voice came from the door.

"Oh, Beck! Come on in, sweety." Aunt Hailey called. I took a slow, quiet breath, feeling instantly irritated. I took another sip from my coffee as Beck walked into the diningroom with his own coffee in hand.
"Good morning, Mr. McQuaid. Cody." he said politely.

"Good morning, Beck. Have a seat." Uncle Chris said, setting down his paper.
He can set down his paper for Beck, but not me... I thought bitterly.
Beck walked to the other side of the coffee and sat directly across from me.
"Sleep well, son?" Uncle Chris asked.
"Like a rock." Beck answered with a smile. "How about yourself?"
Uncle Chris nodded a bit. "I slept alright." he answered.

"Who's hungry?" Aunt Hailey asked in a cheery voice.
"Well, you know I am." Uncle Chris said, tugging his seat in closer to the table. Aunt Hailey set a massive plate of waffles and a massive plate of bacon on the table, then coming back out with an equally massive plate of toast and a pitcher of orange juice. We all helped ourselves, and it almost seemed like me and Uncle Chris were competing to see who could fit more on their plate. I sucked up my food like a vacuum cleaner and finished a few bites before Uncle Chris.
He smiled and laughed a bit. "You eat like your father." he said.
I nodded, dabbing my mouth with a napkin. "I eat faster than my father."
Uncle Chris raised his eyebrows. "You do?" he asked.
I smiled wider and nodded again. "I do." I answered. "Usually just by a bite or two."

"Oh, come on now, you two." Aunt Hailey said. "It's not a competition to see who can eat the fastest. That's not healthy."

"Oh, Hailey, it's just some friendly fun." Uncle Chris said.
"Well, I don't care, it's not healthy to be eating so quickly." Aunt Hailey said. "Maybe I should start rationing your portions."

"No!" Uncle Chris and I shouted together. Aunt Hailey and Beck exchanged glances and laughed.
"Well, I prepare the food, it's my decision." Aunt Hailey said. "Now you two should be off to school before you're late." Beck nodded and stood up, grabbing his plate. I was soon to follow, bring my plate to the sink.
"Beck, sweety?" Aunt Hailey called.

"Yes, ma'am?" Beck called back from the kitchen.
Aunt Hailey walked into the kitchen and looked at both of us.
"Could I ask a favour of you?" she asked.
Beck nodded. "Of course." he answered.
"Would you mind waiting for Kodah to be through with detention before leaving school?" 

"What?!" I cried at the same time Beck said, "Of course."
"Now, Kodah," Aunt Hailey said. "I want him to walk home with you. And I want to be sure everything goes smoothly."

"Aunt Hailey, I'm not going to ditch out on detention or my chores." I tried to explain.
"I have made my decision and Beck has agreed." Aunt Hailey said. "Now off to school." Beck looked at me then quickly walked out the door. I didn't refrain from a heavy eye roll before grabbing my bag and heading out after him.
This sucks.

© 2012 Elizabeth Reed

Author's Note

Elizabeth Reed
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DId you re edit the whole series? I feel lost! lol

Posted 7 Years Ago

Elizabeth Reed

7 Years Ago

No, no, not the whole thing! I'm so sorry. Took some wrong turns I had to correct. Mostly just chapt.. read more

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Added on September 27, 2012
Last Updated on September 27, 2012
Tags: Teen, Teenager, Angst, Farm, Horse, Horses, Barn, School, Love, Romance, Trouble


Elizabeth Reed
Elizabeth Reed


I absolutely love to write, but I'm not very confident in myself. I would love honest feedback. Negative or not. If you'd like to see pictures of my characters, go to my photos. The letter(s) at th.. more..