Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen

A Chapter by Elizabeth Reed

A few days later things were going pretty smoothly and it was a Saturday, so Beck and I slept in to about 9:00am before getting up and heading downstairs. My date with Josh went really well. He even came to meet Aunt Hailey and Uncle Chris the next day and we set up another date. I refrained from telling Beck many details, still feeling a little bad and actually a bit confused. That morning I walked down to the diningroom where Aunt Hailey was setting down plates of pancakes, bacon, sausage and toast. Uncle Chris and I filled our plates as much as Aunt Hailey would allow, leaving some for when Laina would get there. And sure enough Laina was there in no time. So we all ate our breakfast then rushed out to the barn. I took Zuko from his stall and started grooming him while led some horses from their stalls to the paddock and Beck filled water buckets. I brushed down Zuko's dusty white hair and brushed out his mane and tail. The gigantic horse closed his eyes, loving the feeling of the brush. He relaxed his back leg on the tip of his hoof as I gave him a scratch behind his ear. I sighed as I peered over at Duke, who was waiting to be taken out to the paddock.

"I wanna go for a ride." I directed to no one. "Warm up Duke in case Josh wants to ride today." Beck glanced back at me then shut off the hose.

"Go for it." he replied. I looked over at him, setting the brush down.
"Come with me. You, me and Laina can slip out then come back and finish." I suggested. Beck grinned at me as Laina walked back into the barn. She paused and looked at us.

"I know those looks," she said. "What are you planning?" I unclipped Zuko from the restraints on the barn door frame and pulled him closer to Laina.
"Bring him out to the paddock then meet us back here." I told her. She nodded, grabbing into Zuko's halter and leading him off. I took Duke from his stall and put a bridle on him, not bothering with a saddle. I handed the reins to Beck then took Vector from his stall and bridled him. I helped Beck up onto Duke then got on him myself, holding tight to Vector's reins. I took us out a few steps when Laina met us by the door. She grinned up at us then quickly mounted Vector. We walked out a few steps, Beck's arm around my waist to hold his balance, when we heard a car skid into the driveway. We all exchanged glances and I directed Duke forward to check out when I heard the last voice any of us wanted to hear. Mike's voice hollering for Beck. I backed Duke up, eyes wide, and I could feel Beck tighten his grip. Mike made his way around the back of the house and spotted us just as we were turning to make a break for the path in the woods.

"Beck!" I yelled. Beck yelled at me to go, so I snapped Duke's reins and the two horses galloped off together into the woods, Mike screaming after us, eventually being met by screams from Uncle Chris. Beck whispered into my ear not to stop and I could practically feel the fear radiating off of him. I knew Laina must have started to get confused since we walked, trotted and ran for over an hour into the woods. I wanted to stop to give Duke a rest, but Beck didn't want to, so I kept him going. We walked and trotted in silence for hours before Beck finally let us stop when we came to the clearing I let Kujo free in.
I wonder if Josh is there yet... I thought. What if he met Mike?
We dismounted and let the horses graze while the three of us lay out on the grass. The light gray clouds covered the sky, leaving it warm, but not unbearable. I lay inbetween Beck and Laina, holding Beck's hand for comfort as we stared up in silence. Beck was squeezing my hand like if he let go he might explode. I felt so bad for him. I squeezed his hand back like I was sucking out all of his sorrow. But it made me feel like I was going to explode, so I decided to distribute some of the sorrow to Laina. So I slowly reached over and squeezed her hand. The three of us lay there, hand in hand, holding in and passing on our sorrows. It made me feel a little better as a tear fell down my cheek when I heard Beck and Laina sniff gently, trying to hide it. I heard the horses exhale sharply which made me feel a little better since I knew they weren't wandering off. We lay for about an hour, still in silence, listening to the sounds of the horses when finally Beck sat up and looked at me and Laina who were pushing ourselves up off the ground. "I need to face this." he said to us. I shook my head.
"No, Beck, you already admitted you can't take him." I said standing up after he did.
"I know that, but I have to face him or it will never stop. And he could go after Ryan. I need to keep him safe."
"Your aunt and uncle will keep him safe, Beck. They wont let your father take him."

"Who's Ryan?" Laina asked.

"My little brother." Beck explained. "He's living in Knoxville with my aunt and uncle for safety... But, that's not fair that he needs to be so far from me." I sighed.

"You're right." I agreed. "We need to do something about this." I took his hand and looked him in the eye. "Together." Beck nodded, accepting that I wouldn't let him go it alone. The three of us mounted our horses, Beck insisting to ride in front of me. We assumed that by the time we got there he would be gone, since it had been hours and was around dusk. But when we finally got back home we saw Mike sitting in his truck. We quickly put the horses in their stables, leaving the tack on them so we could get it over with. Beck started walking forward with a determined look and I raced up to take his hand again, to let him know I was there. He squeezed it tightly, but didn't look at me. You could feel the tension in the air as clouds started to form over the sky. A gentle gust of wind blew my hair back as we reached the front yard. As soon as Mike spotted us he got out of his truck and slammed the door shut. I wondered why Aunt Hailey and Uncle Chris hadn't just called the police, then I noticed their truck was gone and I swallowed. "Uhm, Beck?" I whispered as Mike approached us. "Maybe we should wait? Uncle Chris isn't here." Beck shook his head, not taking his eyes of his angry father. I squeezed his hand tighter and Mike stopped in front of us.

"You finally ready to listen to me and come home, boy?" Mike asked, folding his arms. Beck took a deep, slow breath.

"Mike," he started. This alone made Mike's face grow redder. "I'm not going home with you. Not now and not ever. I'm going to get Ryan and we're going to stay here with the McQuaid's." Mike narrowed his eyes.
"Not the right answer, boy." he said dangerously. Next thing I knew the backside of Mike's hand was connecting quite roughly with my cheek and I fell to the ground. Beck immediately raised his fist to fight his father as Laina made sure I was okay. Mike grabbed Beck fist and his hand and twisted his arm around to his back, holding it in place and using it to force Beck to move towards the truck.

"Oh, I don't think so." I said to myself. I raced over to Mike and used a move I used to use on my father when we would wrestle. As quick as I could I wrapped my arm around his neck and curved my leg around his leg, yanking my arm backwards and making him fall back over my leg. Unfortunately as a reaction he grabbed me as he fell and I landed on top of him. Beck tried to help me before Mike could get a hold of me, but he was too late. As Mike pulled himself off the ground he pulled me with him, bending my arm back like he was with Beck. He bent it as far as it would go and I winced. He held my other arm, assuring I wouldn't be able to wriggle my way out. Breathing heavily Beck told him to let me go.
"You agree to come with me," Mike began. "Or I brake her arm. Your choice." I looked Beck in the eye. I knew what he was going to choose, and obviously I was hoping Mike wouldn't actually brake my arm, but I didn't want Beck to give in either.
"Don't, Beck." I said.
"Shut up." Mike warned with a slight jerk of my arm. Laina's hands were clasped over her mouth, waiting to see what would happen.

"Don't hurt her." Beck said finally.
"You gonna come with me?" Mike asked. Beck sighed and nodded. "Get in the truck and I'll let her go."

"Beck, don't." I said again and was quickly met with another jerk of the arm.

"It's okay, Cody. I'll be fine." Beck tried to assure me.

"Don't count on that." Mike said. Just as Beck opened the door of the truck and I almost started to cry I heard a car pull into the driveway. Automatically thinking of Uncle Chris I got scared when I saw a police cruiser. I hadn't called the police, so I almost thought maybe they were here for me. But, I hadn't done anything. Then it hit me. I looked over at Laina and she gave me a small nod. She called the police. Smart move. Mike quickly released my arm and I cradled it for a second.

"There a problem here?" asked the officer with a thick accent. Mike said "No" at the same time the three of us said "Yes".
"No, officer, there ain't no problem here. Just trying to get my son away from this harlot." Mike lied. I narrowed my eyes then looked at Beck.

"Tell him or I will." I said firmly. Beck sighed then walked away from the truck.
"Beck, come on, now, we need to be going." Mike tried.

"What is it, son?" the officer urged Beck. He looked down at his injured arm. "What happened here?" he asked, glancing up at Mike.
"It was an accident." Mike lied again. "He fell."

"Oh, come on!" I cried, getting annoyed. I stepped forward, tucking my hair behind my ears. The officer looked me over.

"What happened to you're hair, darlin'?" the officer asked. I rolled my eyes.
"Never mind that." I insisted. "This man is beating this boy." I said, pointing to Beck. "He has been almost his whole life. He broke his arm just recently and Beck had to send away his little brother for safety. He's shoved me twice, once today, and was just threatening to brake my arm if Beck didn't go with him just before you got here." The officer frowned and looked from Mike to Beck.
"That true?" he asked Beck. Beck sighed then nodded.

"Yes, sir, it is." he confessed. The officer sighed.
"Unfortunately there isn't much I can do with an investigation..." the officer said. I thought for a second then stepped forward just as Mike tried to get Beck to leave with him again.

"Well, can't you arrest him for trespassing?" I asked. The officer paused.
"Have you asked him to leave the property already?" he asked me.
"We told him the other day never to come back. He tried to start fights when he barged into our house." Mike laughed nervously.

"No, officer, that isn't what happened at all. I-"

"Do you live here, sir?" the officer asked Mike.
"W-well, no, but-" Mike tried. But the officer arrested him and told us to go down to the station for a statement once my aunt and uncle got home and that something could be done about the abuse. We agreed and were happy this would finally be over.


As soon as Uncle Chris and Aunt Hailey got home we explained what happened and rushed the the police station. Before we left Beck stopped me and Laina and pulled us aside. He looked nervous and a little panicked and it made my heart race faster. I didn't like that look in his eyes, the look of uncertainty and fear. I swallowed hard.

"I need you two to do something for me." he started.

"Yes, sir, anything." I said and Laina nodded in agreement. Beck sighed and glanced over his shoulder, as if someone was watching him.
"I need you to go to Knoxville and get my little brother and bring him back here." Beck explained. "If my father isn't arrested and held in jail he'll go after Ryan. He needs to be safe, with me. Okay?"
"Of course." Laina and I said at the same time.
"Thank you." Beck breathed. "I'll write down the address and warn my aunt and uncle that you're coming. Go get him then text me and I'll tell you where we are." He hugged Laina and I quickly before we all rushed off. Laina and I jumped into my car and sped off, Laina telling me where to go at every turn. The whole thing was pretty nerve wracking, but also kind of exciting. I felt like some sort of secret spy on a mission to save a precious object that lead to the destruction of the world. I went as fast as possible without the risk of being pulled over, Laina rushing to give me the directions to Knoxville. When we finally made it we slowed down to find the right house. Knoxville was much bigger than Little Creek, but it still had that down home country feel, like everything in Tennessee did.
"What number was it?" I asked. Laina looked down at the paper she was holding.

"Uhm, sixty-four." she answered. I slammed on the brakes, realizing we were right in front of the house.
"Here it is." I said, Laina moving her hair from her face. A little nervous we slowly got out of the car and walked up to the nice, big, pale yellow house. We stepped up the stairs and onto the small deck and knocked on the door.

"Who is it?"" I heard a thickly accented female voice ask.
"Uhm, Cody and Laina." I replied. "We're here for Ryan, Beck sent us." A few locks clicked and the girl opened the door. She looked so much like Beck. The same big, round eyes and perfect smile.
"Oh, thank heavens." she said. "I was worried it would be Mike coming for the little guy. I'm Beck's aunt, Rachel." she paused then looked me over. "My goodness, Beck wasn't joking about the blue hair, I thought he was just playing with me." I forced a smile.
"No, ma'am, he wasn't. I have blue hair. Can we come in?" I asked.
"Oh, yes, of course." she gestured for us to walk inside then she closed the door behind us. "Ryan doesn't really know what's going on." Rachel explained. "We just told him a couple girls were coming to get him to spend a little while with Beck." I nodded.
"It's probably best he doesn't know." I replied. "He'll stay with us for as long as Beck wants and then we'll see what happens."
"We love Ryan dearly," Rachel went on. "But we understand that he needs Beck and Beck needs him. So, as long as we get visitation rights, I think that will be fine." She grinned at me and I grinned back.
"I think that will fine." I said. Suddenly a little burst of energy came whizzing into the room.

"Aunty Rachel, Aunty Rachel!" Ryan cried out. Now he looks like Beck. I thought. Ryan had the same soft, dark hair and his eyes were identical to Beck's in shape, size and color. Not only that but they had the same chin, cheek bones and eyebrows. It was insane. "Aunty Rachel, is it time to go? Where's Beck and Mommy?" As my heart sank I could see Rachel's did too. I looked at Laina who frowned at me. The poor kid... Rachel bent down on one knee to be closer to Ryan's height. She put her hands on his shoulders and forced a sad smile.
"Sweety," she started. I could hear her getting choked up. "These girl's are going to take you to stay with Beck..." she paused. "Just Beck." Ryan's little face fell and looked Rachel in the eye.
"Where's Mommy?" he asked. Rachel's eyes started to water and it was all I could to stop mine from doing the same.
"She isn't here right now, sweety." Rachel said. "I'm not sure when she's coming back, but I'm sure she will." Ryan lowered his head.
"Okay..." he muttered. Rachel hugged him tightly.
"I'll see you soon, okay?" she said. "Go with Cody and Laina, they'll take you to Beck."
"Well, what about Daddy?" Ryan asked. Rachel froze and I stepped forward.

"Daddy's a little tied up right now, sweety." I said, bending down next to Rachel. "But, maybe if you're a really good boy we can take you to see him just for a little while." Rachel frowned at me, unsure if I knew what I was doing. Ryan smiled just a little.
"Okay." he said. I stood up with Rachel who was giving me a questioning look.
"We're going to have to take him down to the station for question, I'm sure." I explained. "So, he'll see him for a little bit under police supervision." Rachel sighed and looked at Ryan who was staring intently at a small goldfish in a bowl on a side table. His Cars backpack fitting loosely on his back and his Cars sneakers lighting up every time he moved.

"It's not fair..." Rachel whispered. "He's only seven... He shouldn't have to go through this." I nodded, tucking my hair behind an ear.
"I know, ma'am, it isn't far." I agreed. "But, we'll make it as painless as possible for him. You may be called in for question too. Has Mike ever hit Ryan?" Rachel inhaled and exhaled deeply, rubbing one of her arms.
"Uhm, yeah, I think so." she answered. "When he was four Beck took him over here and he had a bruise on his cheek and a broken finger. Beck said he fell off a jungle gym at the playground, but I didn't believe it."
"Is that when he came to live with you?" I asked.
"Shortly after that, yes."
I nodded. "Alright, well, thank you, ma'am. I'll let the police know. We'll take good care of Ryan."
"Thank you..." she muttered. "As you can tell, he loves Cars. Especially Lightning McQueen." I smiled as Ryan turned around and I noticed he had a Lightning McQueen shirt on.
"I can see that." I said with a small laugh. As I was watching him I felt her touch my cheek and I looked at her confusedly.
"Did Mike hit you?" she asked me. I frowned and touched my cheek, noticing it hurt. There must be a bruise. I thought. I nodded slowly.
"He did." I answered. "Today and a few days ago he shoved me." Rachel frowned and started to tear up. She reached over and hugged me tightly.
"Beck is so fortunate to have someone like you, who will put up with this and help him through it." she whispered. I squeezed her tightly, trying not to cry. I think that was the first time I've ever emotionally hugged a stranger in that way.

"Cody?" I heard. I had forgotten about Laina. Rachel and I pulled away and laughed a little.

"Sorry." I directed at Laina. She shrugged, smiling.
"No problem, it's just Beck is waiting." she said. I nodded.
"Right, well, we should go." I walked over to Ryan and offered my hand. He looked at it for a second then put his little hand in it. I smiled at Rachel. "We'll let you know as soon as you can come and visit, okay? I'm sure Beck would love to see you." Rachel nodded, thanked us and hugged Ryan one more time before we left, packing Ryan's things into my car and driving away.


The whole way to the police station Ryan looked pretty sad, and I knew taking him to a busy Police Station where he would have to see his father in that situation wouldn't help at all. I wished I could just take him back to the house, but even though he was only seven he would probably be needed as an extra statement, if we could get one out of him. I tucked my hair behind my ears, once again noticing how out of place I looked because of it. And then out of no where I remembered that I still owed Aunt Hailey and Uncle Chris for Kujo. I sighed and pulled my hair over one shoulder, glancing back at Ryan again. I caught sight of my hair in the rear view mirror again, frowning. I tried to shake the thoughts of myself and focus on the task at hand. I had to be there for Beck and for Ryan and help everyone get through this and I had to tell Josh that we would have to reschedule. I pulled into the station parking lot and took Ryan's hand, walking inside with him and Laina. Cops bustled around us, shuffling seedy looking people around in cuffs, running around with papers. I frowned and looked around, trying to find my aunt and uncle, Beck or Mike.

"Do you see them?" Laina asked. I shook my head and felt Ryan scoot closer to me, a little afraid of all the commotion.

"No, I don't." I answered.

"Can I help you, ladies?" I heard. I turned around and saw a nice looking cop standing behind us.
"Oh, hello." I said with a smile and he gave my hair a strange look. I pushed through it. "Yes, you can help us. I'm looking for my aunt and uncle and my boyfriend. They might be with a man named Michael Anderson. Their names are Hailey and Chris McQuaid and Beck Anderson." The officer thought for a second. "There's a tall man with dark hair, kind of a cocky look, a blonde woman, wearing a plaid shirt and riding boots, a teenage boy with shaggy, dark hair and a man with brown hair, looks pretty rundown." The officer nodded.
"Yeah, I know who you mean. They came in a whole ago and filed a couple complaints. Are you involved with that?" I nodded.
"Yeah, I was there when it all happened, as well as her and this little boy. He's the man's son. The victim's brother." The officer nodded again.
"Alright, well, they're down in the interrogation rooms. You should go down as well, follow me." The man led us down a few halls and a set of stairs to an area with four different rooms with doors that read Interrogation room A, B, C and D. "Your aunt and uncle are in A, Michael Anderson is in B and I assume the one who is your boyfriend is in C. Why don't you come into D with me and answer a few questions?" I nodded.
"All three of us?" I asked.
"Yes, all three of you." he replied. So we all followed him into the room, Ryan still holding tight to my hand. He gripped it tighter when we actually entered the room. It was all concrete with a metal table in the middle and a light hanging down. Not a very good feeling room. The officer left and came back with two more chairs, setting them on one side of the table, telling us to take a seat. So I sat in between Ryan and Laina and the officer (which I then saw his name tag read Davids) sat down on the other side. The officer opened his mouth to speak then let out a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry, I forgot my notebook. Excuse me." He stood up and left the room one more time and I was so thankful when my cell phone went off after he left. Still holding Ryan's hand I reached with my other hand into my pocket. Fiona texted me.

Hey cody! Havent talked to you in a little. Whats up? 

I glanced at the door to make sure he wasn't coming back and quickly responded.

Cant talk im in an interrogation room at the police station. Call you later. 

And just before he got back she wrote

...... Why am i not surprised?

I shoved my phone back into my pocket as the door opened and he sat back down. "Alright, first I need you to state your full names and relationship to the accused or accuser."
"Uhm, my name is Dakotah Rose McQuaid, I'm the accuser's friend." I answered. "The uhm... The niece of the man and woman he's staying with."

"I'm Laina Elizabeth McCarthy. I'm just a friend of the accuser and her family." Laina said in a shy tone. The three of us looked down at Ryan but he just buried his face on my arm. I frowned.
"Uhm, his name is Ryan Anderson. I'm not sure what his middle name is. He's the accuser's brother and the accused's son." Officer Davids nodded.

"That's okay, we can get his middle name from his father or brother." he said. "Alright, so this is a case of domestic abuse?" Me and Laina nodded. "Have you ever seen this-" he flipped through his notebook. "Michael Anderson hurt-" another glance down. "Beck Anderson?"
"Yes, sir, we have. He also has gone after me a couple times." I answered. The officer nodded.
"Alright." he said, taking notes. He asked us a million questions and tried to get Ryan to speak, but it wasn't happening. I suggested getting Beck because he could probably get him to talk. Officer Davids nodded and excused himself once again to get Beck. I turned in my seat and looked at Ryan.
"Ryan," I started. "Sweety, why don't you speak to the nice police man?" Ryan frowned and shook his head. I pushed out of my seat and got down on my knees to see him at eye level. "This nice man is trying to help you." I tried to explain. "He's trying to help you and Beck so you can be together and be safe. Do you understand?" Ryan stared up at me with his big, beautiful eyes that were starting to water. I picked him up and set him in my lap. "Do you want to see Beck?" I asked. Ryan nodded. "If you see him and he's here with you, do you think you could talk to the nice police officer?" After a second Ryan nodded again and I smiled. "You're so brave." I said. The door opened once again and Beck walked in, immediately looking for Ryan.

"Beck!" Ryan cried in a squeaky voice.

"Ryan!" Beck said, swooping Ryan up into his arms and hugging him for a good minute. "Oh, Ryan, I missed you..."
"I missed you too, Beck." Ryan replied. Beck moved Ryan to one hip (as best he could with his arm) so he could give me a hug before we sat down together, Ryan in Beck's lap. Beck looked at Ryan with a serious but gentle face.
"I heard that you aren't speaking the officer Davids." Beck said. Ryan shook his head.

"He told me if you were here he would." I said quietly to Beck. Beck looked from me to Ryan.
"Is that true? Will  you talk to him if I'm here?" Ryan nodded and Beck nodded after him. "Very good." Beck looked up at Officer Davids.

"Alright then," Officer Davids said. "Does Ryan have a middle name?"
"Ryan Wesley Anderson." Beck answered. Over the next half an hour or so Officer Davids asked us many questions about what had happened, for how long. He asked for lots of details. He explained that they had enough evidence (witnesses, bruises, his broken arm) to convict Mike right there and he would go to jail for quite sometime. Ryan started frowning and sniffing and Beck held him close. Beck requested a restraining order to be placed for when Mike go tout of jail so him and Ryan could stay safe. Officer Davids agreed and said he would get a restraining order for Beck, Ryan and me and Laina's families. He wasn't allowed within 200 hundred feet of us or our houses, so he would have to move after he got out of jail. Officer Davids also said that as long as Aunt Hailey and Uncle Chris would agree to being his and Ryan's legal guardians child services would not have to be called and him and Ryan could stay together. I knew they would, and when we asked they agreed right away. Beck was holding tight to Ryan, but Ryan still insisted on holding my hand. Beck smiled at me. "I guess we know how he feels about you." he said. I smiled and nodded, happy that Ryan liked me, especially since he would be living with us. As we were heading out to leave two officers were walking with Mike and Mike asked them to stop. Uncle Chris stopped in front of me, Laina and Aunt Hailey, standing next to Beck who was still holding Ryan, holding him now to the side, giving Mike and evil look.

"Please," Mike said with sad eyes. "I have't seen Ryan in a year. Please, just let me hug my son one last time." Ryan and Chris stared Mike down and Chris stepped forward to refuse, but Beck stopped him, stepping forward farther.

"You don't deserve to even look at this kid." Beck said in a dangerously low, calm voice. "You're an evil, heartless man who only hurts people." Mike lowered his eyes. "But, I'm not like you." Beck looked at the officers, letting them know it was okay with him if it was with them. The officers uncuffed him, but kept their hands ready. Mike smiled a genuine smile and took Ryan into his arms.

"Hi, Daddy." Ryan said, wrapping his arms around Mike. My lip started to quiver and I forced tears back.
"Hi, son." Mike said. "I missed you."
"I missed you too, Daddy." Ryan replied. For the first time since I had seen him Mike looked like a real man with feelings and a heart. He looked like he actually cared about at least Ryan. "Daddy, where's Mommy?" Ryan asked. Mike exhaled, tears falling from his eyes.
"Mommy is- away, son." Mike answered. "I'm not sure when she's coming back, but I'm sure she misses you very much."

"Alright." one of the officers said, putting his hand on Mike's arm. Mike hugged Ryan one last time and handed him back to Beck as the officers cuffed his hands again.
"I love you very much, Ryan, okay? Do you understand?" Mike asked. Ryan nodded.
"I love you too, Daddy." he said. Mike and Beck locked eyes for a second.
"I love you too, Beck." Mike said. Beck stepped backwards, silent. Mike's face fell. "I'm sorry, son." Mike added before being led away. I put my hand on Beck's shoulder with a frown.

"Beck, I-"

"Let's go." Beck said before I could finish. Laina gave me a sad look and we all headed out the door.

The Eighteenth Part

Beck and Ryan were inseparable for weeks, not doing anything without each other, Beck even skipped some of his barn chores so he could spend time with Ryan. So I (and sometimes Laina) adjusted to doing more chores and working more horses. But it was worth it to see Ryan take to us and his new home so well. We turned the sitting room into a room for Ryan and I had gotten in touch with Fiona, too, and explained that I wasn't in the police station because of something I did, but because of something more serious. I called Mom, Dad and Fender too. Fender told me he was thinking about buying Fiona something special for there 4 month anniversary, he was thinking something like a necklace or bracelet, but I told him to get her a video game. He agreed. I also called Josh and rescheduled for the next day and we had few dates after that before I insisted he come hang out at my house. And that whole morning I was getting everything ready. I cleaned the barn extra good, had Laina help me groom the horses, cleaned the house, baked cookies. I went mental for this visit, I'm not sure why. Beck leaned against the wall, looking at me as I scrubbed dishes. He had finally managed to get Ryan to watch cartoons on his own for a minute.

"You'r really excited for this, aren't you?" he asked me. I peeked back at him for a second and smiled.

"Yeah, I am..." I answered. "I really like Josh and I want everything to be nice." Beck nodded.
"Well, I'm glad." he said. "As long as he treats you right and you're happy." I paused and turned to him, smiling a little.
"He does." I replied. "And I am." Beck smiled a bit then left to go back with Ryan. After I finished with the dishes I headed upstairs to change. I was glad Beck was taking things okay and wasn't acting like a jealous tool. It made it easier to remain friends, which is what I really wanted. I threw on my nicer, purple plaid shirt and a pair of skinny jeans with my riding boots over them. I left my hair down, but touched up my make up then headed down stairs. Just as I was walking down the door bell rang. "I got it!" I called. Reaching the bottom of the stairs I opened the door and grinned widely at Josh, who was standing with his arm behind his back.

"Well, hello there." he said with his cute accent and country smile.
"Hi." I replied, giggling a bit at his stance. He gave me a small kiss on the cheek before presenting me with what he was hiding. A bouquet of blue wild indigo and blackberry lilies. I gasped and took them from his hand, sniffing them gently. "They're beautiful!" I cried. I gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you so much." I said. "These put my cookies to shame!"
"Whoa, now," Josh began with a smile. "Don't go doing anything rash until I get to taste them." I giggled a little.
"Come on in." I said, stepping aside so he could enter. I closed the door behind him and rushed to get a vase for the beautiful flowers. I heard Josh take in a deep breath, taking in the thick smell of the freshly baked cookies.

"Cody!" I heard Ryan's voice shout, as well as the sound of him running into the kitchen. "Cody!" he cried again. He raced into the kitchen and latched onto my legs, looking up at me with his big eyes. I smiled down at him, tussling his hair a bit.
"Hey, buddy." I said.
"Can I have a cookie?" he asked. I giggled a little.
"Of course, sweety." I replied. I grabbed a cookie from the pan, making sure it wasn't too hot, and handed it to Ryan, along with a glass of milk. With the happiest look, Ryan raced back to the living room. "Don't spill that milk!" I called after him. I tucked my thumbs into pants pockets, smiling a bit at Josh.

"Cute kid." he said. "Your brother?" I shook my head.
"Beck's." I answered. "They're, uh, they're staying with us for a bit while their parents are away." Josh nodded, looking a little awkward. I shuffled my foot against the floor for a second. "Uhm, why don't you try a cookie?" I offered. Josh grinned.
"Uh, yeah, yeah I will. Thanks." he said. He grabbed one from the tray and accepted my offer of a glass of milk. We sat at the table for a second eating and making a bit of small talk before I offered to show him the barn. "Yeah, I'd love to see it." he responded. Smiling, I stood and led him outside and down to the barn. I smiled as I widened my stride a bit, excited to get to the horses.
"I can't wait for you to meet Duke." I said, tucking my thumbs into my pockets again. "I think he'll like you. He's very friendly."
"Yeah? Well, that's good." Josh replied. We walked into the barn and I marched straight up to Duke and kissed his nose. I heard Josh cough a bit and mutter something about the smell.
"Hey there, big boy!" I said happily to Duke. "I have someone for you to meet." I looked at Josh then back at Duke. "Josh, this is Duke. My baby." Josh walked closer as I gave Duke a good scratch behind the ear.
"Uh, hey, Duke." Josh said awkwardly. "He's, uhm- he's cute. He's big." I chuckled.
"He's not big at all." I said. "Not for a horse. He's only 14.7 hands."
"Well, he's big compared to my pitbull." Josh said with a smirk. I nodded with a smile.
"Yes, he is a lot bigger than a pitbull." I agreed. "Why don't you pet him?" Josh looked nervously at Duke then at me. I narrowed my eyes a bit. I knew he couldn't be afraid of horses. So many people in Little Creek had them, that would be crazy. "Come on, he's wicked friendly." I said. Josh gave me a weird look and I smiled. "Sorry, Eastern word... He's very friendly, come pet him." With a bit of a sigh and a small smile, Josh stepped closer and reached out his hand. As soon as he did Duke jerked his head with a bit of a snort and stepped back. Josh jumped and yanked his hand back. I frowned at Duke. "Duke, it's okay, buddy!" I assured him. "Josh is nice." I shook my head. "That's so weird... He's usually so friendly." Josh shrugged with a nervous chuckle.
"It's fine." he said.
"Do you want to pet a different horse?"
"No, no. It's fine."
"No, really. I thought maybe we could even ride a little."
"No, it's okay... Riding and horses- they aren't really my thing. I like sports."
I lowered my head. "Oh... Well, okay..." I muttered. Josh stepped directly in front of me and lifted my head with his chin.
"Besides, I had a different plan for today." he said softly. He then leaned in a kissed me. I was extremely surprised at how forward he was. I'd never been kissed so fast after dating someone, let alone so soon after meeting them. But for some reason I didn't pull away. I didn't quite kiss back, but I let him kiss me. He had his hand on the back of my head, almost like he was trying to make my head stay there so he could kiss me and I couldn't pull back. His other hand was lingering around my waist. I pulled my head away, eyes closed for a second.
"Josh, I-" I began. Suddenly we heard someone clear their throat loudly and we both jumped. Josh quickly dropped his hands and stepped back. I turned to see Beck and Ryan standing there and a wave of shame and guilt washed over me and I wasn't sure why.

"Sorry for interrupting." Beck said. I shook my head.

"Not at all." I said with a forced smile.
"Ryan wanted to see the horses and help me clean." he explained.
"That's fine. A lot of it's already done, but some of the horses could use grooming." I replied. "Especially Zira. You know, with the white one's you have to keep up with their grooming so they don't look gross." Beck nodded.
"Yeah. Yeah, I know." he said. We all stood there for a minute. You could almost reach out and just feel the awkward. Beck cleared his throat again. "Uh, do you know if that radio is still in the tack room?" I nodded.
"Yeah, I think it is." I answered. Beck smirked.
"Okay... Well, thanks..." he muttered. He walked into the tack room and I glanced at Ryan then at Josh.

"Well, I was actually going to surprise you with a trip to the boardwalk." Josh said, taking my hand in his. "Do you want to go?" I smiled and nodded.

"Yeah, that sounds fun." I answered. I tussled Ryan's hair as we walked by. "See ya, Ryan." I said. "Have fun with Beck."

"Have fun kissing." Ryan said back. Purely innocent, he didn't know. But I still blushed and lowered my head.


Part of me wanted to stay at the barn. Sometimes Beck would play the country station on the radio and then he'd start dancing all weird, trying to get me and Laina to dance along. It was always really fun... But Josh and I had a lot of fun too. We walked around for a while, we got some food, we went on a couple rides and we ended with sitting at the edge of boardwalk, feet hanging off, watching the sun go down. It was like the perfect date, but I still felt weird. He drove us back home at the end of the night and I allowed him to kiss my cheek.

"I'll text you tomorrow." he said. I smiled and nodded...
"Okay." I said. He winked at me then pulled out of the driveway. I sighed. I didn't want to go inside yet, so I walked down to the barn and into Duke's stall, pulling myself onto his back. I leaned forward against his neck, rubbing his chest and sides. "I don't know what happened today, Duke..." I said quietly, cheek pressed against Duke's neck. "It was so perfect... He was such a gentlemen and he's so cute... But it still felt- I don't know, it felt weird..." I pushed myself up and exhaled sharply. "Well I've never really dated someone for real before." I said. "Just little dates here and there... Maybe this is how you're supposed to feel." Duke shook his head, his mane flapping back and forth. I smiled, giving his neck a scratch. "I'm sure that's it, huh, boy?" Sliding off his back I gave his cheek a kiss and patted his neck. "I'll be back tomorrow to go for a ride. I do love Saturdays."

© 2012 Elizabeth Reed

Author's Note

Elizabeth Reed
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you are ahhmazziingggaaahh!!!!I kind of have writers block on myfirst book, on the inside. I think It started after a rude comment. do you think you could read it and let me know if you have any ideas???

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1 Review
Added on December 21, 2012
Last Updated on December 21, 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..