I patted Snowflake's nose as I closed her stable door. She nuzzled my hand affectionately in return. I smiled for the second time that day. As I turned, I saw Carlotta go out of the next door stable and swing the door shut. She kissed the black mare's nose and glanced at me. She stuck her nose in the air and turned.
"You got lucky," she said swishing her blonde curls "Yeah, that's right, beginner's luck. Tomorrow she will throw you off for sure."
She strutted off down the stables. I raised an eyebrow as Snowflake snorted and pounded the floor. She head-butted the side of my head kindly. I patted her neck softly in response. Jet stuck his head out and looked at me. I glared at him coldly.
"See why I can't stay here?" I said to him as I walked past "I don't belong here. I won't be here tomorrow."
There was a deep snort and a loud stomp. I looked back at him.
"You fail at intimidating," I stated as he looked at me with his coal black eyes.
Jet snorted which sounded more like a laugh. I growled.
"OK," I said with a shrug "I was tired this morning and I didn't want any…"
I was halted by a foul stench. I tilted my head in confusion with a frown. Snowflake's stable was clean… I looked into Jet's stable to see muck everywhere on the floor.
"Doesn't Carlotta even take care of you?" I asked looking at the dark horse.
Jet shook his head then stomped his foot.
"Fine," I said rolling my eyes and going down to the shed to grab a bucket and shovel "I don't care if Carlotta told me to stay away from you; I hate to see animals in such a neglected environment."
Damn me and my love for animals. At least fifteen minutes later I had cleaned the stable and was carrying the bucket out and throwing the contents onto the compost heap. I walked past the stables on my way to the house when suddenly something hit me roughly yet gently on the side of my head. I staggered sideways awkwardly, ear nearly glued to my shoulder. I turned, setting my head up straight and looked at Jet with a raised eyebrow.
"Uh…you're welcome," I said with a nod then walked off.
"Are you sure Ren hasn't been riding before?" asked Malcolm at the lunch table.
"Just once or twice," said Janet with a shrug "Why? Did she do well in her first lesson?"
"Did well?" repeated Malcolm with a slight chuckle "She tamed the, what we had thought, the untameable horse! One minute I went out to grab two guys to help me calm her down, we came in not two minutes later she was trotting around the field without a problem! I haven't seen Angel so calm!"
"Snowflake," I cut in.
The three people eating Janet's recently made sandwiches looked at me.
"Pardon?" asked Malcolm.
"Oh, wow," commented Carlotta "Her first word. Oh what joy!"
I glared at the blonde next to me then looked at Malcolm.
"I think her name is Snowflake," I said blankly "That's what she responded to."
"But her name is Angel," sneered Carlotta "It says so on her stable door."
I felt something in me snap as I looked at her.
"Supposing I put a sign on your bedroom door saying 'Justin'. Would that be your name from then on?"
"Ren!" said Janet as she gently nudged my leg "Don't be so rude!"
My eyes flickered towards her then back at Carlotta.
"I've lost my appetite," I stated as I dumped my sandwich on its plate.
I stood up and walked out of the door. I needed a walk to clear my thoughts.