Still Burning - Chapter Six - The Way Of The River
 By Moose   •   15th Apr 2013   •   2,109 views   •   4 comments
Horse Story - Still Burning

“Wait there,” Andrew said standing and climbing up to his window. Jane’s eyes followed him, but she stayed where she was and waited, curiously.

He reappeared with something under his arm. She squinted and watched him slide along the shingles back to where she sat patiently. He sat and unfolded a blanket from under his arm, bringing a smile to Jane’s face. He carefully spread it across Jane and himself. Her heart leapt as he looked back at her with the smallest, sweetest little smile. “Thank you.”

Andrew’s smile grew into a grin where she could count almost all of his perfect teeth. When Andrew leaned back and laid his head down next to hers, she felt completely content. What more could she ask for? She couldn't care less that mosquitoes poked at her skin, or that her hair was a wild mess, or that she wasn't wearing a trace of makeup, or that it was probably close to morning by now, or that she had the risk of falling off the roof. She couldn't care less. This is what she wanted. She wanted to wake up next to Andrew and a beautiful country sunrise.

Jane wriggled herself under his arm and smiled up at him. “Goodnight Jane,” Andrew whispered. His deep, devouring voice tickled her ear. As he kissed her forehead, she shut her eyes and whispered back, “Goodnight Andrew.”

Jane’s eyes flicked open to the sound of dogs, barking and whimpering. The first thing she saw was a pale blue. Then as she sat up, she saw the blue fade into a intense red. Clouds of yellow and peach and pale violet shot out from the horizon like rays of light. And there, hanging low in the center of the sky was the sun, crawling out of the hills like a blanket. It gave off soft orange light, igniting the fields with shades of pink and orange. It had to be one of the most beautiful sunrises Jane had seen. She saw the distant, ghostly silhouettes of horses scattered in the fields. Their dim figures were barely visible in the dull morning light and soft fog. Her heart dropped in her chest.

“Andrew,” she whispered. His chest rose and fell undisturbed. “Andrew,” she whispered again, closer and louder. She touched the side of his face gently and like a switch, his eyelids opened, revealing his icy blue eyes. “My dad is awake.” She hissed.

Andrew sat up and looked out at the horse pastures, but he couldn't help but stare. The sunrise had practically taken his breath away. “It’s beautiful,” he whispered.

Jane started gathering the blanket. “You can see that from your bed. Right now we need to get back before someone sees us.” Andrew sighed and pulled himself to his feet and took the blanket. He helped Jane up to her window. “Don’t you breathe a word of this to anyone. Please.” She asked with desperation.

“I won’t, I won’t...” He assured her as she climbed back into her window.

“And don’t forget to close your window!” she called after him as he stepped across the roof, klutzy and wobbly from sleep.

“What? Don’t close my window?” he teased as he lifted himself up to his window and crawled inside.

Jane simply rolled her eyes and shut her window. When the window shut, the room became completely silent. The sounds of the birds just beginning to sing and the sound the morning breeze made as it blew through the trees disappeared with the thud of the window against the pane. Jane’s hair fell in front of her eyes as the gentle breeze no longer swept it from her face. She turned herself away and looked around the room with a soft sigh. Was she dreaming?

Jane glanced down at Andrew’s sweatshirt and smiled. Then, just like any girl would do, she pulled it up to her face and took in a deep breath. The feel of the soft cotton against her cheek and the distinct, indescribable smell that resembled Andrew made her feel giddy inside.

Jane regained her focus and went back to her window. She watched as Liam and Andrew left the house and walked across the yard to the barn to start their chores. Jane pulled Andrew’s sweatshirt over her head. She quickly threw open her dresser and stuffed it into the drawer like evidence from a crime scene.

Downstairs, the smell of pancake batter drove her into the kitchen, where her mother was clearing plates from the table. “Well look who decided to join us?” her mother teased as she set the dishes into the sink. “How did you sleep, dear?”

“Fine,” Jane smiled and helped carry dishes to the sink. “Any chance there’s some left for me?” she asked, peeking into the empty pan.

“You’re in luck,” her mother replied, “Some on the table.”

Jane pulled a clean plate from the cupboard above her head, along with a fork from the drawer and helped herself to the leftovers on the table. “Jane, I think your father wanted to talk to you after chores.” She said softly.

Jane felt her heart skip a beat. She was caught off guard by the mentioning of her father. Her father wanted to talk to her? He hardly ever spoke to her by choice. To be honest, the thought of talking to her father scared her a bit. In reply, Jane was silent and pretended not to hear her mother.

Elise knew her daughter all too well. She knew exactly what Jane was doing, “Jane,” she said louder. “I know the last thing you want to do is talk to him,”

“You’re right,” Jane interrupted.

“But we are a family,” Elise continued as if Jane had not budged in, “and we communicate.”

Jane sighed and turned around to face her, “Can I take a guess here? Tell me if I’m close. You went and talked to dad, told him that he was too hard on me, made up excuses for me, and made me sound like a helpless baby animal.” Elise stared at Jane with a stern look. “I was pretty close, wasn't I?” she asked as she cut through her pancakes.

“Janey, please talk to him. You are never going to fix this by avoiding him. He wants to apologize to you.”

“Avoiding him has worked for 17 years, Mom. And who says I’m ready to forgive him? What if I never want to forgive him?” she asked, raising her voice.

“Forgiving is the first step you have to take in order to move on.”

“That’s not true,” Jane argued. “I can easily forget about this without forgiving him.”

“I’m not arguing with you about this, do as I say.” Elise said, turning her back on Jane.

Somehow she could not wrap her mind about having a real talk with her dad. The only conversations they ever had were usually him telling her what to do and her making up excuses to get out of it. She couldn't remember the last time she really talked to her father, or even heard him say the words I’m sorry.

Just as Jane was finishing her pancakes, her father walked in. Instantly there was tension, followed by an uncomfortable silence. Her heart had started beating faster already.

“Jane,” he said at last, “let’s go for a ride.”

The sound of the horse’s hooves thumping against the dry ground filled the empty space between Jane and Will. The sun was the only thing in the sky, beating down on their heads like fire, but the horses didn't seem to mind. Their ears were perked and alert, catching every sound and every creature’s tiny noises.

Jane rode her mare, Flora, the young paint, while her father rode Dakota, the black gelding that was used mainly for ranch work.

Dakota was a horse taught to herd and sort cattle. His job on the ranch was to move the herd from one pasture to another and occasionally sort the herd into separate groups. He was an experienced, well-mannered horse. Outside of working, Dakota was a great trail horse. Noah used to take Jane on trail rides all the time. Before she found Flora, Jane road Dakota and Noah road Aquillo.

Will’s silence was beginning to worry Jane as he led the way, all the while Jane waited and wondered where he was taking her. She began to think he was bringing her into the middle of nowhere to sacrifice her like Abraham did to his only son, Isaac. Just as the suspense was becoming almost too much to bear, Dakota stopped. They had reached what she called the Valley View. It was a gorgeous place where the trees cleared and revealed the valley like a secret. The sporadic combination of pines, birch, maples, and oaks were strewn over rolling hills. The taller trees poked their heads above the rest in what seemed like an ongoing competition to out-grow the others. In the center of the valley was a thin, meandering string of water. The way the river chose its path reminded Jane of pouring syrup over pancakes. A few exposed boulders of granite seemed to hold up the sides of the valley from caving in on the river as it cut its way through the trees. The river cut sharp edges, leaving behind steep cliffs and trees that hung over the water by just a few roots. The sun’s light glistened and sparkled as the wind danced through the tree’s leaves. The way the light bounced off the granite made Jane squint.

Gazing down at the valley gave her goose-bumps. She felt so powerful and strong as she overlooked the winding river. She could stare for hours, but one thing brought her out of her day dream. Why had her father brought her here?

“The river,” he said at last, talking over peaceful noises of wind and birds “is a wild, untamable thing. It cuts through the Earth mercilessly. No matter how many walls you try to build around the river, it will eventually break free.” He paused to look at Jane, and their eyes met. In his eyes, Jane saw true sincerity. It was then that Jane realized that her father was truly sorry, from the bottom of his heart. And no one could force him to say what he said next, “Jane, I have been trying to build walls around you. I've tried, and failed to keep you from making wrong decisions. And instead of listening to you and working it out, I punished you and ignored you. I am truly sorry. You might not find it in your heart to forgive me now, but I hope that someday you can.”

Her feelings for her father were completely changed by his apology. There was an overwhelming change in emotions and she found herself doing something she had never imagined herself doing. There was a long silence as Jane read into her father’s words and answered simply, “I forgive you.”
Woohooooo!!!!!! Iam the first to comment on this outstanding chapter!!!!!!! hahahaha!!!!!!

this was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Cant wait to read the next chapter! Now when the book is published can I be apart of it? Like the front cover designer Please?? Oh, and when the DVD is made can I please be an actor? ( I always thought I may be a good at something one day. Maybe Acting would be the one??) :)
  Apr 16, 2013  •  3,989 views
yessss! im sooo happy she forgave her dad. and this is soooo well writen!! o my gosh. good analogy the river. u are a great writer moose. still amazed.
  Apr 16, 2013  •  3,601 views
Me and Moose  
AMAZING!! Can't wait for chapter 7!!! I wish this was a book:):)
  Apr 16, 2013  •  3,738 views
Sapphire Flames have such talent. Thanks for sharing this story with us! :)
  Apr 16, 2013  •  3,670 views
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