Still Burning - Chapter One - The Rude Awakening
 By Moose   •   21st Mar 2013   •   3,486 views   •   8 comments
Horse Story - Still Burning

“So Mom, I was thinking, we should paint the bunkhouse green. You know so it matches trim on the-” As Jane looked up after taking off her boots her voice stopped but her mouth hung open. She glanced from her mother to her father in utter confusion. After a long, uncomfortable silence, she spoke. “Mom, dad, is there something you want to tell me?”

Elise looked to Will and Will looked to Elise. After they exchanged glances, her father was the first to speak. “Jane, this is Andrew. He’s going to be staying with us.” Jane narrowed her eyes and tried to comprehend what her father had just told her. She rewound his words in her mind and looked at this complete stranger, who was sitting at her kitchen table and talking to her parents. As she looked at him, she felt repulsed by his clean, city shoes and his untouched, unworn blue jeans. Even his shirt looked like it hadn't been outside of the house, more or less been worn more than once. She stared at him from across the room like a rare species of animal. Her icy blue eyes scanned over him with disgust.

“Jane,” her father’s sudden, sharp tone made her jump. She felt his eyes on her, as thought he was praying she would say something intelligent and well-mannered.

“Andrew,” she said with a forced smile, “Great.” Her father clenched his teeth together and gave her a look. No words were necessary, it was quite clear the way Will looked at his daughter that he was scolding her. But Jane pretended she didn't see it and kept her eyes locked with Andrew’s. “Allow me to show you to the hay loft, where you will be staying.” She said with strong sarcasm and a faked grin.

“Will,” Elise nudged her husband, encouraging him to take action.

Her father had seen enough of Jane’s rudeness and stood abruptly, making the table shake. “That’s it.” He said sternly, “Go to your room now.” He spoke each word loud and sharp. It cut through the air like a knife, sending chills up Jane’s spine.

“Gladly,” Jane responded and disappeared up the staircase where she was not seen again. Elise pressed her fingers into her forehead in embarrassment of her daughter’s horrible behavior.

That was Andrew’s first impression of Will’s daughter. As Will seated himself again, he looked exhausted. Jane was difficult to handle; Andrew could see the years of trouble Jane had put her parents through just by the looks in their eyes.

“I’m sorry, Andrew,” her mother explained with a soft, gentle tone, “We should have told her you were coming, she’s just a bit upset with his us.”

Andrew held back a smile, a bit? He nodded in understanding and looked to the staircase, expecting the feisty blonde to come back down for another round.

Will cut in, “I’ll have Liam show you to where you’ll be staying. It was Noah’s room.” he said as Liam appeared in the doorway. Liam was a tall, masculine figure who looked about his age or older. His hair was a dirty blonde color and curly, a lot like Jane’s, only darker. He could see the resemblance. Liam was much better mannered than his little sister. He stood across from Andrew and offered him a warm smile.

“I’ll go have a talk with Jane, you can go ahead and get settled in.” Elise said as she rose from her seat and started for the stairs.

Liam looked to his father and exchanged what seemed like a secret language. “Um, your room is this way,” Liam said at last. Andrew stood and followed obediently with his duffle bags.

As he neared the top of the stairs, he heard voices... One of them sounded like Jane’s. “You and dad just decided to tell me about this now? Why don’t I get a say in this? What were you thinking? He’s from the city! He’s afraid to get dirty, for God sakes!” she shouted. And just as Jane said the words, Andrew appeared in the hallway, staring back at her.

Before Jane had the chance to apologize or explain herself, Andrew followed Liam into his room and she had lost her chance. She felt a bit guilty for what she said, but she did not take it back. It was her opinion and she had a right to speak it.

Elise could feel the tension in the hallway as Jane and Andrew locked eyes. “Please, Jane, try to get along.” Her mother passed by her with a pleading glance before starting down the stairs. But Jane couldn't stand the thought. She didn't see herself ever getting along with a person like him, nor would she pretend to.

In the other room, Liam threw open the closet door and pushed miscellaneous items of clothing and storage boxes aside to make room for Andrew’s things. “My brother left a few of his suits in here when he left for the marines. I’ll have my mom find another place for them.” He said as he rummaged through the closet.

Andrew had his eyes fixed on a painting above the bed. It was a magnificent bald eagle, wings spread into full span, a determined gaze in its eyes of gold, talons prepared for kill. It looked as if it could fly off the canvas and out the window. Andrew squinted at the signature in the corner, trying to make out the scribbles resembling letters.

“Oh, Noah had a thing for eagles.” Liam said as he came to stand beside Andrew and admire the work of art.

“Who’s the artist?” Andrew asked with interest and curiosity.


“Jane who?” He asked with even more eagerness.

Liam let out a short, dry laugh, “My sister.”

Andrew thought at first that he had not heard Liam correctly. But the look on his face was completely serious. With a quick glance back at the signature, he could make out a J in the first name and a K in the last name. He wasn't joking. The girl who had so brutally insulted him earlier had created this jaw-dropping masterpiece… And Andrew still couldn't wrap his mind around that.

“Yea, I know, hard to believe,” Liam said, returning to the closet and moving boxes to the doorway. “She made it for Noah right after he enlisted.”

Andrew had a found a new respect for Jane. As it turned out, she did have a heart. It was somewhat touching that she did this for her brother, and impressing that Jane had a talent like this.

“Making people feel at home isn't the only thing she’s good at,” Liam said with a sarcastic grin. Andrew laughed and tore his eyes off the painting to start unpacking his things. “If you need anything, I’ll be around.” Liam said, picking up the boxes he dug out from the closet.

“Thanks,” Andrew answered.

Liam left the room with a polite smile and started down the stairs. When Andrew heard his footsteps fade he looked to the painting again. He became more curious about Noah, and who he was. It was obvious that Noah meant a lot to Jane and her brother. Andrew wondered if he would ever meet him. Suddenly, something caught Andrew’s eye on the dresser. It was a golden bronze badge, propped up against an American flag. On it was an engraving that read United States Marine Corps. Andrew ran his fingers over the letters carefully and tried to picture the man who wore it. He was curious about the older brother Liam kept mentioning...

“Are you hungry yet?” The voice startled Andrew. He turned to the doorway to see Elise and felt a bit embarrassed to get caught looking at Noah’s stuff.

“Uh, yea, I was just… looking.” Andrew explained, running his hand down his leg.

“Well, dinner will be ready soon.” She smiled.

“Thank you, ma’am,” Andrew said politely and followed her to the table.

Andrew was down-right dreading dinner. Having to sit across a table from Jane honestly scared him. She had made it quite clear that she didn't like him at all. The last thing he wanted to do was share a meal with her. But he figured, he would be spending quite a few meals with her until he could work up enough money to get a place of his own... and that day couldn't come soon enough.
My Paper Heart  
This is completely.....AMAZING! You are a true writer, Moosey! I can't wait to read more. :D
  Mar 22, 2013  •  3,816 views
That was awesome moosy next one please good job
  Mar 22, 2013  •  3,895 views
Moose! That was great! Hope to see the next one soon! :)
  Mar 22, 2013  •  3,814 views
Love it, and I love the banner, too!
"...and Will looked to Elise. After they exchanged glances, her father was..." Watch out, though, for a second I thought Elise was Will's daughter! When you get famous I'll be like, "Oh yeah I was her editor..." XD
  Mar 23, 2013  •  4,586 views
I usually don't bother with the stories posted by Ponybox members.
But the banner was so eye-catchy, and the story so interesting that I think I'll be anticipating your next chapter!
  Mar 23, 2013  •  4,197 views
This is so awesome! I want to read on. Although I'm confuzzled: Will and Elise are Jane's parents,right? Noah is Jane's other brother who I'm guessing is in his 20's seeming he is in the marines. Liam seems about 18 although I'm not sure about Jane's or Liam's ages. Sorry if I'm being nit-picky I just find I can imagine characters better when I know their age :)
  Mar 25, 2013  •  4,108 views
Sapphire Flames  
Great job Moose!!! :)
  Mar 28, 2013  •  3,779 views
Just joined and started reading this and I... L O V E I T. Going to read the next chapter then the next then the next until it ends.
  Apr 20, 2013  •  3,726 views
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