A shadow casted over Moonshine and myself. I feared the worst. Was I late for the cleaning up of breakfast? I glanced down at my watch. No, I still have another hour. I hesitated to turn around, the sound of heavy breathing caught my heart in my throat. What did I do now?
"You may want to brush the fetlocks a bit more," a gruff voice mentioned behind me.
I whipped around to catch my arm on the stable door. I winced at the pain shooting through my body, my free hand rubbed ferociously at the pain. I blinked back the tears welling up in my eyes before I lifted my head up to face the intruder who rudely disturbed my joyous time. The sight before my eyes took my breath away at the first instant.
"Who are you?" the conviction took him back.
"Jacob Waters, pleased to meet you, Miss," He tipped his hat towards me in that gorgeous fashion I have now come to yearn for.
I stared him down in disgust before reaching down to pick up the comb brush which lay laiden on the floor. The pain rushed through my arm again, bringing stars to my eyes. I totally forgot about my arm. I gasped out loud causing me to slap my hand over my mouth.
"Are you okay?" The concern and sincerity in his voice...hm.
"I'm fine!" I snapped, "What are you doing here?"
His deep brown eyes shone in sympathy as he gripped his hat that little bit tighter.
"Didn't your grandparents tell you who I am?"
There was a momentary lull before my blood boiled to its hottest point yet. Why have my grandprents hired this...this, person to help round? Aren't I good enough for them?
I cradled my injured arm as I marched out of the stable door, locking it nimbly so to not cause any pain. Jacob didn't get out of my way, so as I turned around my face collided with his chest. I didn't care about hitting him in the chest with my face - I thought I had lost all feeling in bones but apparently not. I pushed by him, tramped down the gravel driveway once again. My arm was killing me, jolts of electricity burned through me with each step I took. The house just never seemed to appear.
"Miss! Wait up! You're obviously hurt."
I ignored him and kept up my pace. The house finally arose from the ground where my grandmother sat at her rocking chair on the verandah, hastily knitting a scarf to the sound of the news playing on her old radio. The adrenalin pumped through me, my strides lengthened whilst my body tremored slightly with anticipation to be allowed to yell at my grandparents.
"What in God's name is this Jacob Waters doing here?" I shouted, stamping my feet.
Grandmother slowly glanced up from her knitting.
"That is no way to be speaking about a gentleman, Jess. You should know that."
"JUST TELL ME WHO HE IS AND WHY HE IS HERE!" I screeched.
"Calm down, Jess. He is here to help out around the place. We told you that by the time you were 16, we would hire a stablehand to take some of the slack of your chores. Your grandfather decided that this would be a great way for you to meet people too."
I believe you could see smoke raging out of my ears and my skin turning bright, cherry red. I felt like the Big Bad Wolf actually. I'll huff, and I'll puff till I blow this intruder down!
"May I please intervene for one second?"
That sent me over the edge.
"Stop being so bloody polite! We are not the queen!" I pointed my finger at him, dismissing my lame arm which stung at the lack of support. 'And as for you, grandmother," I whipped back around to face her wrinkled face, "This is just not acceptable! I have had enough of this!"
"Jessica." That one word and hard voice stopped me in my tracks, leaving me to quiver in my boots.
No sound, nothing to be heard. No movement, just plain - NOTHING.
"Mr. Waters is here to help you with your stable chores and will be staying with us for a while as everything settles down in his life. There are to be no 'if's' or 'buts', do you understand?"
I glared at grandfather. My body screamed inside telling me to dismiss him but the only thing that came out of my mouth was a feeble, "Yes, sir."
Both arms lay limp at my side, both bare for everyone to see. Evidently this caught someone's eye.
"Excuse me, but Miss Jessica here has hurt her arm quite severely from my judgements. I think it may be broken." Jacob spoke confidently but quietly.
Grandmother called me over and took me by the wrong arm. I yelped in pain, drawing my arm back quickly. Grandmother reached for it again, more softly and examined the destruction.
"It's not broken, just a bit bruised and swollen here. I'll run and get you some ice but you are to go back to your house and stay there. I'll do the dishes from breakfast but I expect you to be able to cook lunch in the next two hours."
Grandmother hobbled into the kitchen where I was left alone with Jacob and grandfather. I didn't say anything, but Jacob was attempting to make small talk with him. Goodluck with that, Jacob!
Garndmother handed me the ice before shooing me off back to my house. The cool sensation brought tingles to my arm, washing over the red and irritated skin. I couldn't help but let out a moan of relief, Jacob looked at me with the weirdest expression. I shrugged my shoulders and hastily walked back to my place. But Jacob followed me.
I sat down on the door-bed where my eyes fluttered in utter relief. My eyes opened but I realised straight away that something was different. I scanned the room before my eyes fell upon the items that turned my house upside down. Two foreign bags.
Jacob walked out through the bathroom door, looking so neat and clean.
"What's this?" I pointed disapprovingly at the bags.
"I am staying with you for the next few weeks," he smiled.
"Where are you going to sleep?"
Jacob thought deeply about this for a second, his brow furrowed with his hand touching his mouth softly. His eyes lit up subtly at an idea.
"With you...?" He trailed off.
My jaw dropped open. Nuh uh! He ain't sleeping with me!
"Are you kidding me?"
"Uh...yeah. Yes I am. Haha!" Nice try at a cover-up, didn't work though, Jacob!
"The floor I guess."
"Oh delightful. Just sleep in the kitchen or somewhere around there. Set up your clothes and then go down to the..." Stables. The stables were my favourite part of the day! This is what I looked forward to. And now, my one delight and luxury was snapped up by this stranger who was so polite and innocent and all the good things. NO! This was my thing - NOT his.
As Jacob was folding his clothes away under one of the cupboards, I tip-toed into his 'room' and pulled out one of the chairs.
"Why are you afraid of your grandparents?" He asked suddenly.
"Just family business that you have no right to," I stuttered.
Jacob nodded his head up and down, his bushy, mousse brown hair bobbed with him. He packed away the last of his clothes before standing up and uttered his goodbye.
"Well, I must be off to the stables. Stay safe and don't hurt yourself anymore, okay?"
"I'll be fine, now just go!".
Off he bounded towards the stables, his head bowed down pushing against the heat whilst his clothes stuck to him in all the RIGHT places. The feeling of something came creeping back into my broken soul.
"No," I tell myself, "Do not think that."