Over the Obstacle

"He's amazing! Skye, where'd you find him?" Marissa whined in awe as she stroked Phantom's muzzle.

"While you were on your two week long vacation, my parents decided I proved that I deserved a horse of my own," Skye stated as she stuffed hay into a nearby horse's stall. Marissa forced herself to stop looking at Phantom and followed Skye to help her feed the rest of the horses.

"Marissa, is that you?!" a muffled voice came from inside of a stall. The girls turned to see one of the stablehands, Austin, leaning on his pitchfork with a surprised yet happy look.

"Yeah, it is me, Austin," Marissa snapped with folded arms. "I've gotta go, Skye. Later." She marched off without a second glance at Austin. He watched her leave, amazement and sadness in his brown eyes.

"Skye, what did I say? What did I do wrong?" Austin looked at his cousin for help. Skye shrugged and looked at Austin's horse, Rascal. The gelding just ruffled his mane and gazed at her with his loving blue eyes. The girl smiled at the Paint horse and Austin. Then, she turned to leave.

"I'll talk to her, Aus," Skye said over her shoulder as she ran to catch up with Marissa. Austin watched her go and turned to Rascal.

"I'll never understand girls. I don't even understand my own mother!" he told his gelding. As usual, Rascal just nickered and stared at him.


"What is up with you? You've changed a lot since that vacation. Did something happen there?" Skye evened her pace with Marissa's purposeful power walk. When she didn't answer, Skye put her hand on Marissa's shoulder and spun the silent girl to face her.

"What is up with you?" Skye repeated herself. Marissa tried to get away, but Skye grasped her shoulder tighter. After all, Skye was stronger because she worked around the ranch all day.

"I'm not in the mood to..." she started to growl at Skye.

"To what? Tell Austin why you snapped at him for no reason back there?" Skye finished her sentence. Marissa looked away with a tightened jaw, color creeping up into her already rosy cheeks.

"Aus did nothing to you. Don't treat him that way. If you wanna be in a bad mood, leave," Skye continued as she let go of Marissa's shoulder. Marissa stalked up with a scowl until she was in her friend's face.

"Fine. I'm gonna go. I'm not coming back, though," Marissa spat as she stormed off to her car. She drove off in her gray Porsche, heavy metal blaring as she sped out of the ranch. Skye stood frozen in her spot, shock taking over. She couldn't believe that her best friend just deserted her.

"Where's Marissa, Skye?" Austin joined her at her side, holding Rascal's reins. Rascal started to pull at them when he saw grass.

"She left. She was kinda mad. I mean, all I said was to leave you alone if she was in a bad mood," Skye admitted as she fed Rascal a piece of sugar from her pocket. He lipped it up and crunched noisily as he searched her hands for more. Austin patted Skye's shoulder and stood in thoughtful silence.

"If she did that, then you shouldn't worry about her. Girls like that don't deserve to come here. At least, not with that attitude," he concluded with an assuring smile at her.

"Aus, it takes you to say something that smart! Are you sure you don't belong in college already?"