The Way I Loved You
Author's note: I am really proud of this novel. One of my best friends inspired me and helped me to write this.... Show full author's note »
A Dream Come TrueI threw on a sweater and stuffed my feet into my boots. I ran downstairs, tore open the door and sprinted to the barn. Once inside I stopped to catch my breath. Daddy was leaning against a post and looking strained. When he saw me he looked surprised.
“Honey, it’s way too early for you to be up,” he scolded, but then Jean gave another strained whinny and I ran to the stall door. She was pacing back and forth, her coat gleaming with sweat, and she was tossing her head. Suddenly she stopped and lay down, breathing heavily. Daddy looked at me. “It’s starting.”
I pushed open the stall door and sat down beside Jean. Her eyes were wide, like she was just as afraid as I was.
“It’s ok, girl. You’ll do fine,” I told her, more reassuring myself than the soon-to-be mother next to me. Suddenly a stream of water streamed out of her. My breath quickened and I felt light-headed. I had never watched a foaling before and I wasn’t sure I wanted too, but I wasn’t going to leave Jean’s side.
Then, it happened. A hoof poked out. It was tiny, so tiny, and it melted my heart to see it.
“Can you see a second one?” Daddy could see most of what was going on from outside the stall, but not all of it.
“No,” I replied, panicking. “Should there be?”
A second hoof appeared. Daddy gave a sigh of relief behind me.
Seconds passed. Then, without warning except for a grunt from Jean, a head peeked out. It was the sweetest thing I had ever seen, tiny and delicate looking. Jean gave another grunt and I could see her sides heaving as she pushed. The foal seemed stuck. Without really thinking, I reached forward, gently touched the foal’s shoulders, and pulled a little. The foal slid out some more and Jean gave a sigh, took a breath and pushed again. Little by little we got the foal out, me pulling as lightly as possible, and Jean on the other end pushing with all her might. After what seemed like hours, the foal was all out, and I nudged it over to Jean’s head, so she could lick it. The umbilical cord snapped and I winced, hoping that it was supposed to happen like that.
Daddy knelt down and rubbed antiseptic around the stomach of the foal. Then he straightened up and smiled at me.
“It’s a filly,” he said. And he showed me his watch. It was 2:15. Jean’s filly was a birthday foal… My birthday foal.
I could see now that the filly was going to be even more beautiful than her mother. She was a gold cream color, same with her mane and tail; she had three white sock markings on her legs and a white blaze running down the middle of her face. Right away I could tell that she was Optimus’s daughter. She carried his high crest and long legs.
“Get to bed now,” Daddy told me as I tore my eyes away from the beautiful sight before me. “You need to sleep.” We walked back to the house together, his arm around me. I felt exhausted beyond belief. Momma was at the kitchen table wearing a bathrobe over her pajamas. She shook her head and smiled at me as we entered the house, and she helped Daddy get me upstairs. I didn’t even take off my shoes as I collapsed into bed and fell immediately asleep.
Rebecca was sulking. After she had heard about the filly being the obvious daughter of Optimus and not Rebel, well, that was bad enough. But then Momma and Daddy told me that Jean’s foal was mine as an unexpected birthday present, and she got so jealous because there was no way we could share the filly since it had been my present. I have never known Rebecca to not talk to someone for more than one hour (and I can’t remember the last time even that happened) and so her way of sulking was basically being even more of a brat than usual, which I didn’t think possible. I was just waiting for her to get back at me somehow.
I was brainstorming names for the filly the day after my birthday, which was June 16th, when Momma poked her head into the barn.
“The Harpers are coming over for dinner, Marcy, so, can you start getting ready?”
“Yeah, hold on.” I looked over at the filly again, my face screwed up in concentration. Bailey? Taylor? Missy? None of the names sounded… Right to me. They didn’t match her.
I reluctantly got up and hurried to my room to change for the Harpers. They were coming to wish me a happy birthday, since they couldn’t come yesterday. I put on a blue tank top, a light sweater and a nicer pair of jeans. I did my hair in a French braid down my back and sat down to think again. Sara? Runner? Macy? Emma? Isabel? I came up with nothing again, and I had to go downstairs because the doorbell rang.
“Happy birthday, Marcy!” Tally was in the front, her long blonde hair in a bun, and she handed me a present. Nick came in next. I suddenly recalled my dream from a couple nights ago, and I felt so weird, I was glad he hadn’t brought a birthday present.
“Can we go see the foal? Mom told us what it looked like, but it’s not the same at all.” Tally was bouncing up and down with excitement.
“Sure,” I replied, and I led them (Nick, unfortunately, came along too) into the barn.
“Wow,” he said, stopping in his tracks. “Wow.”
“Oh my gosh, she’s so beautiful!” Tally crooned as she gawked at the tiny golden filly nursing from her mother. “What are you going to name her?”
“I have no idea,” I admitted, feeling ashamed. “None of them fit, and I want it to be perfect.”
“Can I take a picture?” Tally asked.
Soon it was time to go back inside. Daddy ordered a pizza that wouldn’t be here for a while, since they have to drive all the way up here. I opened the present that Tally had gotten me, and found a whistle, a nice silver whistle with a horse engraved on the front, with a green lanyard and blue rubber cover.
“Oh, it’s so awesome! Thank you so much!” I hugged Tally tightly. Now that I think back, I don’t remember seeing Rebecca around this time. I probably should have focused on that.
It was getting dark outside, and I still had to feed the horses, so I hopped through the grass barefoot until I got used to the cool dampness of it. I quickly fed Jean and stared at her filly for a while longer before carrying hay to the stallions. We have four of them, so I dumped five piles, and then was done.
I was heading back inside when a voice called out, “Marcy!” I turned around and saw someone silhouetted in the light coming from the barn. It was Nick.
“Hold on,” he said as he ran closer. “Come here.”
We sat on the fence, which gave me that uneasy feeling of déjà vu, but this time Nick wasn’t giving me an odd look at all.
“I got you a present,” he told me quietly. “I didn’t want them to see it, though.” He pulled a small box out of his jacket pocket and handed it to me. I took it and felt that it wasn’t an ordinary box. It felt oddly smooth with bumps in strange places. I looked at him, and then opened it up.
There was a necklace. It was a horse, a gold horse, running with its legs spread out and its mane and tail also gold. In the place of its eye was a pretty looking stone with many colors flecked around in it. I looked up at Nick and before I could even ask, he said “It’s an opal. It’s wasn’t the most expensive choice,” he added quickly, “but I thought it looked pretty in the necklace.”
I was staring at him in shock, my mouth open.
“It’s perfect,” I breathed.
“Um, ok,” Nick looked a little confused. “I’m… Glad you like it.”
“No,” I replied, jumping up. “It’s perfect! Opal! That’s what I’ll name her! Oh, you’re a genius, Nick!”
He looked pleased and surprised at the same time.
“And the necklace, it’s very nice. Thank you,” I told him, and before I knew it I was hugging him. He took the necklace from me and made a circle motion with his finger. I turned around and felt him fasten the tiny clasp around my neck. I turned back around and he whistled soft and long.
“It looks really pretty on you, Marcy,” he said. “You look really pretty.” I stared at him. He slid off the fence and stood next to me. His eyes danced in the dim light and made me feel so real. A lot more real than I had in my dream. My feet were wet from the grass, and there was no wind, so I could smell the sweet wildflowers that grew in the woods near the fence. We leaned closer to each other, and without thinking I tilted my face towards him and he went along. Our lips were touching—
The night seemed to envelop us, extinguishing the light and then all I could see were his eyes, staring into mine, and all I could hear were the crickets chirping, the trees rustling… Hang on. There was no wind. Why were the trees rustling?
I broke off of Nick and whirled around. At first all I could see in the darkness was an empty space between trees. Then, I made out a face. Rebecca’s face. She was smiling, her eyes wild with mischief. She had seen everything.