Twenty-Six: Home Sweet Home

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I fall asleep on the long three hour drive home from the academy. I get home and go straight to my room, texting Monique, Ashley, and Brianna. Moni, Ash, and Bri are my best friends from Indiana. I ask them if they want to meet at the mall. They all reply instantly.

C~ Guys, I'm back home for Christmas. Wanna go to the mall to catch up? I have some good news <3

M~ Sure girl! I can pick y'all up

A~ Did you pass your test?

M~ Yes!!!

C~ Awesome! I'll be ready at 2, what about you guys?

B~ Yeah, same.

A~ Ditto

M~Mkay, I'll see you girls in a half hour

I brush my hair and take my contacts out, replacing them with glasses. I hurry downstairs to the kitchen where Mom and Dad are sitting.

"Uh, Mom?" I ask, opening my wallet. I only have twenty dollars.

"Mhmm?" she replies, not looking up from her iPad.

"Do you have twenty dollars I can use to go to the mall with Moni, Bri, and Ash?" I ask.

"Sure, check in my pocketbook," she says. "Who's driving you?"

"Uh, Monique is. She's gonna be here soon," I reply.

"Okay. Well, I'm gonna go take a shower, I'll see you when you get back," she says, giving me a hug. Her hugs aren't anything like Mason's warm, cuddly hugs. I grab a twenty from Mom's pocketbook and put it in my wallet, which slides into my back pocket nicely. I pull out my phone and text Mason.

C~ Five minutes in Indiana and I already have a mall day planned

He replies a minute later.

M~ Oh? Well, have fun. My parents are coming to pick me up tomorrow instead of in two days. Blehh.

I reply with a :( when i hear a knock on my door. Sure enough, Monique is standing there with Bri. They see me and pull me into a hug.

"I'm so happy to see you!" they exclaim. We walk back to the car laughing. Monique pulls out of the driveway and heads towards Ashley's house. Her car smells like horses, Monique being the equestrian she is. We pull up in Ashley's drivewat, and Monique and Brii go get her. When they get back, my phonr goes off.

"Hey Cam, who are you texting?" Ash asks, sitting next to me in the back seat.

"Oh, no one," I say smiling, looking down at my phone.

M~ ikr. I dont want to drive all the way to SC for three days just to turn back around ugh

I laugh and reply.

C~ You sound like a basic white girl

"Cami, who are you texting?" Monique asks, repeating Ashley's question.

"I'll tell you when we eat dinner," I say, making sure my text sent.

~

We went to the mall, got coffee, bought some clothes, and went out to eat at Arby's.

"Will you tell us now?" Bri asks as she takes a bite of a curly fry.

"Fine," I give in, sighing. "At Maple Stream Riding Academy, I met a ton of new people and friends. And someone special." Ashley squeals.

"A male equestrian?" she asks, knowing they're hard to come by. "Cam, show me a picture of him!"

I pull out my phone and onto my text conversation with Reagan. The day of the show, she sent me a picture. It was Mason and I talking and brushing Flame, each on a different side of the big black horse. I was also wearing my captain's jacket.

"Oh, he's a cutie," Bri says as she looks at my phone. "Hey, does your jacket say 'Captain' on it?"

"Oh, yeah. I'm on the elite cross country team. And I'm the captain," I say, proud of my accomplishment.

"Oh, great job!" Monique says. "Is that your boyfriend's horse?"

"No, it's not Mason's horse," I say. "That's 'Dancing in a Ring of Fire'." They stare at me with wide eyes.

"No. Way!" Ash exclaims. "But what happened to Raquel?"

"A jealous boy on the elite team purposely injured her," I explain.

"Dang," Bri says. "The pretty talented girl makes all the boys jelly." I laugh and continue picking at my food. I don't eat much, only a few frys and a piece of chicken. I frown at my food and throw it away.

~

I get home at about nine after going to the movies with the girls. I go straight to bed and text Mason good night. I go to bed with a rumbling stomach but I ignore it.

When I wake up at eight, I change into old barn clothes and go outside. I'm still starving, but I want to ride Raquel. I see her in her stall, so I grab her old bridle and walk her into it. I mount her bareback and get to work. We jump low and high, and we gallop fast and slow. Raquel's been cooped up for so long that she wants to work and run. We work on exercises that will help me develop abdomen muscles and leg muscles. By noon I'm exhausted but I feel refreshed after my intense work out. I work around the barn more, cleaning all the stall, filling all the water, and making sure they have enough hay. I also play some snow soccer with Callie, and we run around playfully.

By dinner, I'm exhausted and I go straight to sleep, skipping the meal.

~

The next day, I do the same routine. I like the rush I get after a long, hard day of working. I text Mason before I go to sleep at 6:00.

C~ I miss you like crazy.

M~ Ugh, I miss you too. My parents are asking a bunch of questions about you.

C~ Aha. Well, I'm exhausted and starving, I'm gonna go to bed.

M~ Why it's 6:00

C~ Idk i don't want to talk to my parents.

M~ Okay. I'll talk to you tomorrow. Good night

C~ Goodnight <3

Shortly after I finish my conversation with Mason, I hear a knock on my door. "Yeah?" I ask, drowsily. The door opens and my mom steps in.

"Honey, are you alright?" she asks. "You haven't eaten dinner for two days."

"Yeah, I'm fine," I say. "I just done feel very well."

"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow," she replies as she leaves and shuts my door.

~

It's December 26th, the day before I get to go back to the academy and have another week of vacation. I wake up at eight o' clock, as usual, and begin my normal routine.

At 5:30, I step into the bathroom to take a shower. I turn the water on and strip, and look in the mirror. I look shockingly thin. I don't know what's up, but I've had no drive to eat whatsoever, so I don't. Maybe not eating and overworking don't go well together.

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