Saddle tramp

Megan a teenage girl is mad about horses and works at a stables during the weekend in return for free rides.

She is madly in love with Luke, stable owner even though he is much her senior.

Eventually she gets her revenge on Luke's two -timing attitude. Megan finds a job at a professional stables and walks out of his life.

Megan dropped the hay net on the floor as Luke peered around the door. She raked her hands through her long hair and  smiled  at him.     

            ‘Hello love  can you do  me a  favour,’  he  said  with  a wolfish smile.  ‘I’m  getting  married next Sunday.  Can  you bring Bella  to Greenwood church.  Angela  and  I  would like the mare on the wedding photos?’

            Megan nodded and blushed  profusely as  Luke  walked  across the room.  He put his arm around her shoulders and lifted her chin to kiss her lips.  She  removed  his  other hand from the seat of her jodhpurs.  As she stepped away from him the tantalizing aroma of  his after shave made  it  even  more  difficult  for her to  gain  any composure.

            ‘The wedding  is  next  Sunday  at 11 am. Can you  tack  Bella  up in  her show bridle and navy travelling  rug?’  Said Luke.  He frowned  as  his  mobile  phone  buzzed  in the pocket of his jeans and winked at Megan.  As he walked  out  of  the  feed  room holding his phone to his ear  she heard  his  slow sexy voice and knew  it would  be Angela  his wife-to-be.    

            Megan peered around  the  door  and  watched  as  Luke drove  out of  the  stable yard.  She walked across to the  tack  room and  opened  the door  to  be greeted  by  an aroma of  saddle  soap  and leather.  Bella’s  show  bridle  hung on  a  hook  in  the  corner, she took  it down and caressed the leather with her fingers.  So Luke  was  finally  getting  married.  A feeling  of  sadness combined with  anger washed  over  her.  

            For the  past four years Megan  had  worked  at  Raintree stables  owned  by Luke Gibson.  She  adored  Luke  and  like most other girls who came to  ride at his yard,  found it hard to resist his charms. He was thirty  three  years  old,  six feet  tall with jet black hair.             Engaged to  Angela Carlton-Hughes for over  a  year, they  met  while  competing  in  a horse show  two  years ago.

            Angela’s  father  James Carlton-Hughes, owned  Oxborn  manor and coach stables.  The rambling house stood  in  its  own  grounds  on  the  edge  of  Dovedale  village.             

            Megan  James  at  sixteen  years old  was  still  at  school and  absolutely  adored  Luke.  The age  gap  made  no  difference  to  her feelings  for  him.  She was at the stables by the crack of dawn every weekend  and worked  mainly for  the love of horses and  the free  rides.       

            The day of the wedding dawned fine and dry.  Megan  cycled  to  the stables wearing a  checked  hacking jacket, with a  pair of  jodhpurs  and   black  riding boots  in a  bag  suspended on  the handlebars.   Butterflies  somersaulted  in  her  stomach as she thought about the day ahead.  The bike  tyre  skidded  on  a  pebble  in  the stable yard  as  she  jumped off and  pushed  her bike  inside  the feed room.     

            In the tack room she collected a grooming kit and halter.  The stables  were closed for the day, with the  other  horses  and  ponies  turned out  in the paddock.  Bella, a  16.2hh  black  Anglo Arab mare, whickered softly as Megan opened the stable door.

            Megan  was  occasionally  allowed  to  exercise  Bella, if  Luke was away on business.   She  found  the mare’s  smooth  pace and flighty nature a  pleasure  compared to  the other  riding  school horses.        

            ‘Right Bella,  lets  get  you cleaned  up, you have to  look your best!’  She said patting the  mare’s  warm neck.  

            As she brushed the  mare’s  coat  the  smooth  strokes began  to  calm  her  nerves.   On one hand she was  proud to  take  Bella  to  the church.  But once Luke was married, would she  still  be  able  to  meet  him  at  their  secret place?  Life without Luke would be unbearable!         

            Megan stood  back  and  admired  the mare’s  coat which  gleamed  like  polished ebony,  the long  black mane  lay  in waves  across her withers.  She  applied  a  coat of  hoof  oil to  Bella’s  hooves and shut the stable door behind her. As  she  glanced  at  her  watch  she realised it was  nearly  10.15am.  She  rinsed  her  hands  underneath  the tap at the side of the feed room, wiping  them on her  dusty  jeans.   

            As the stable yard  was  deserted  she  changed  into  jodhpurs  and riding  jacket in the tack room. With a  comb she gathered  her  long  dark brown  hair  into  a  neat pony tail  held together with an elastic band.  The long  black  riding  boots  completed  the outfit. With  the  bridle  slung  over  her  shoulder  she  picked  up the navy rug and locked the door behind her.

            Ten minutes later, Bella followed her out of the stable wearing the show bridle and smart navy rug.  The horse  towered  over  her  with  head  held  high,  nostrils  flared. 

            ‘Yes I  know  you’re  beautiful,’  laughed  Megan.     

             She walked the horse down the track  and out  onto the  deserted country road.  A  tractor  in  a  nearby  field  dug  deep  furrows  in the soil, accompanied by  seagulls swooping and diving behind the plough.  Suddenly a  pigeon  flew  across her  path  and  Bella  side-stepped  in  fright, snagging  Megan’s  finger nail  on the reins.  

            ‘Steady girl,’ said  Megan,  muttering  under  her  breath  as blood began to ooze from her broken finger nail.  She pulled a hanky out of her pocket and wrapped it around the finger nail. The last  thing  she  wanted was  blood  on  her clean  jodhpurs!  Perhaps riding Bella to the church might have been a better plan?

            As they turned  the  corner  Megan  could  see  the small  clock tower  on  the church in the distance.  Sunlight  glinted  on  cars  that  were  parked  along  the grass verge.               

            As she reached the  gate  to  the  church  music, echoed from within.  Megan  led  Bella along  a  track at the side of the cemetery  and through  a gate.  She  stopped  beneath  a chestnut tree a  few yards from the church door.  Now  all she had to do was wait until the ceremony was over.    

            Bella, put her head down to eat the  lush  grass  and  in  doing  so  promptly trod on Megan’s boot.

            ‘Ouch,’  she  said  as  pain  spread  through her foot  from the weight of the iron-clad hoof. ‘Get off my toe, you stupid animal!’ She  muttered,  pushing  with all  her strength against the mare’s shoulder.   

            Megan  blinked  as  coloured stars  flashed  before her  eyes.  After what seemed like an eternity  Bella  moved  her  front leg.  Megan  wrenched  her  foot  free and  stood on one leg.  ‘Damn  I  hope my toe isn’t broken,’ she whimpered in pain.  

            She couldn’t believe her luck.  What with a broken finger nail and now a crushed toe.   The image  of  an  elegant  girl  groom with  a  handsome black mare  had completely vanished.  She was  temporarily  blinded  by  the sunlight  as  beads  of  sweat broke out on her forehead.      

            Bella lifted her head with  ears  pricked  as  the  church door opened. Bride and groom  walked  out together  into  the  sunlight.  Angela’s pale blue wedding dress clung to her slim frame, glossy  blonde hair cascaded  over her shoulders. Luke  wore  an  immaculate  grey  suit  with his  black hair sleeked back  and  a broad smile on his handsome face.    

            Megan sighed miserably why did she love the handsome rogue?   A photographer  stepped forward  with  his  long  hair  tied up  in a pony tail. He wore a  black  beret  perched on his head at a jaunty angle and  a  camera  hung  on  a  strap  over his shoulder.  He gestured  to  the  bride and groom  to  take  their positions  for  the  photographs.          

            ‘Just a  minute  Bob  I  want my  horse in some of the pictures,’ said Luke.  He turned and waved hurriedly to Megan.

            Bob  gave  Luke a  quizzical look and stepped out  of  the way,  as Megan led Bella across the grass.   She  tried  to  conceal the limp  and  gritted her teeth with  a  rather grim smile on her face 

            As  she  handed over the reins to Luke  their  hands touched briefly. ‘Thanks love, Bella looks superb,’ he said.

            Luke stood with Bella at his right  side  and  holding  Angela’s  delicate  left hand in his.  The wedding guests  stood  each  side  of  the  church  path.   Megan  decided  to take  refuge  behind them.  Bella  stood  like  a  rock  and  seemed  unperturbed  by the flash  on the camera.  Fifteen  minutes  later  the photo  session was over.  

            A  navy limousine  drew  up  at  the  church  gate  with  sunlight  reflecting  off the sleek bodywork.  The  reception was  to  be  held  in the Fox  and Hounds pub in the village. Apparently Luke and Angela  were  taking  a  honeymoon  in  the  Seychelles  at the end of the month.

            Megan walked over  and  took  the  reins  from Luke, Bella  sidled and snorted at her side, she was eager to go home.

            ‘I’ll see you next Saturday at the stables,’ whispered Luke and winked at Megan.    

            Megan smiled  shyly  as  her heart  turned  somersaults.

            Confetti  thrown by  the guests  rained  over  the bride and groom, to flutter onto the grass like coloured snowflakes.

            The limousine driver watched the bride and groom walk down the path.  He opened the back door of the car and waited  as  they  climbed  inside. The car glided off down the road in style, followed  a  few minutes later  by  the guests  in their vehicles.

                        Megan limped down the road  leading  Bella.  Even though  Luke was  now a  married  man, it was obvious he  still wanted  to see her. She knew it was wrong, but unfortunately her heart ruled her head!    

            Megan heard a car approaching on the road behind her and gripped Bella’s reins tightly.  A black Land Rover with  registration  number  JH1  pulled  to  a halt  at the grass verge.  A  woman  got  out clad  in  a  navy blue trouser suit and white sandals.       

            ‘Hello Megan, you  help  at  Raintree stables  is  that right?’ she said smiling as she put her hand up to stroke the mare’s neck.      

            Megan nodded,  a  frown  creasing her brow  as  a  sudden  jolt of  pain shot through her big  toe  encased in the  tight riding boot.   

            The woman held out her hand, Megan shook it briefly. ‘I’m  Jenny  Hill and  I own Tremane Stud in Haxton. I saw you at the church and wondered  if you’re  interested in a job with horses?’

            Megan stared  at  the  small  dark  haired  woman  in  shock, for a moment she was speechless. ‘But I’m still at school Mrs Hill,’ she said dejectedly.

            Jenny  smiled and pulled  a  card from her pocket. ‘Here’s  my business card. Will you  think  it  over,  I’m  looking  for  another   groom  to work with  my  young horses?’

            With that  the woman  walked  back  to  her  Land Rover,  climbed  in  and drove off along the country lane.  Megan looked  down  at  the  business card  clasped tightly in her hand.

            Back at the  stables  Megan  hobbled  up to  the paddock leading Bella.  She opened the gate and led the mare through. With a tug she pulled off the navy rug and took off the bridle leaving  Bella to  graze on the lush grass. 

            Bella shook her head and with  a  deep sigh  dropped to the ground and rolled over and over, legs waving in the air.   Megan frowned, ‘all that grooming wasted,’ she muttered.        She  was  glad  the  ordeal was over. Apart from  a  sore toe  and  broken finger nail she hadn’t  made too much of  a  fool of  herself, either with Bella or Luke.

            The journey home  took  longer  than usual.  She  struggled to turn the pedals on her bike as  her toe throbbed painfully and  the  riding  boots  chafed  her  calves.    

            At last she  arrived  home  and  put  her bike in the shed.  She limped  over  to the back door and pushed the key in the lock.  In the  kitchen  she  pulled off  her  riding jacket and  hung it on the back of the chair.  She took  two  paracetamol  from  the first aid  box in the cupboard and made herself a strong mug of tea.  As she lay down on the sofa in the lounge, she began  to  realise  that  Luke  was a total cad.  Even though he was  married to Angela, it looked as  though he  presumed she would still want to meet him in secret.     

            Julie, Megan’s mum,  arrived home  at  five thirty.  She walked  in  the  front door and dropped her car keys onto the windowsill. 

            ‘Hello love how did the wedding go?’ said Julie as she tossed her briefcase onto the armchair  in  the lounge  and took  off her crumpled jacket.  

            ‘Well apart from a broken finger nail, Bella  trod  on my foot outside the church,’ sighed Megan.

            ‘Let me see your toe,’ said Julie, with  a  worried  frown  on her face.  Megan took off her sock  to  reveal her swollen toe, now a dark shade of blue,  with  the nail cracked down the side.

            Julie shuddered ‘Go and have a soak in the bath, that  will  help to soothe  the pain.’

            Megan began to cry,  tear  drops  soaked  into  her polo shirt. ‘He’s finally gone and got married,’ she  sobbed  as she  put her foot  to the ground.  

            Julie shook her head, sat down  and  handed Megan a  hanky  ‘Listen, I know you’ve a crush on  Luke, but  he’s  much too old for you.’

            ‘How did you know Mum?’ said  Megan,  as  she  blew her nose loudly on the hanky.  

            ‘You can’t pull the wool over my eyes love,’ said Julie.  Apart from the horse  talk  all  I  ever  hear  is  Luke  did  this and  Luke did that.  Not to mention he  has  a reputation too!’

            Megan blushed and looked down at her hands as she twisted  her  fingers together in embarrassment.   

            ‘Listen love I hope you’ve been careful, did you have sex with him?’ said Julie gazing intently at Megan.

            ‘No, well almost, but I refused to go the whole way,’ said Megan shifting in the seat as her cheeks turned red.

            ‘Did you know he’s been married before?’ said Julie perching on the arm of the sofa.  

            ‘No I didn’t, what happened?’ said  Megan.

            ‘He married an older woman called Madeline Horn, she  owns  an equitation centre in Sandstone.  Apparently the marriage only lasted eighteen months because she caught him with one of  her  girl grooms in  a  stable!’  

            Megan  stood  up  and  followed her  Mum into the kitchen.  She stared  sadly out of the window.  So  the  rumours  about  Luke were  true!

            ‘Can you boil the kettle  love  and  put the oven on for me?’  ‘I’ll just go and change out of my suit.’ Said  Julie.

            On Monday morning  Megan  hobbled  into  the kitchen. ‘I can’t go to school Mum, my toe is no better.’  

            Julie  nodded as she  pushed papers  into her briefcase.  Dressed in a smart black jacket and pencil  skirt  with  a  crisp white  blouse  she  was ready to go.  She worked  as  a  secretary for a  lawyer in  Haxton  a  nearby  farming town.  Divorced  from  her  husband  Alan  for over five years, she had  remained  with Megan  in  their  family home  in  Scarsgale village. 

            ‘Are you going to ring the school when it opens?’ said Julie as she opened the front door.  

            Megan nodded and pecked her briefly on the cheek.  

            ‘Alright love see you later and  take  care,’ said  Julie  as  she  walked  over to  her car  and climbed inside. She waved to Megan as she reversed out of the driveway.  

            Megan  limped  into  the kitchen and made  a  cup  of  tea.  A  wave  of  relief washed over her, no school today thank goodness!

            At nine fifteen  she  picked  up  phone  in  the lounge  and  rang  the school. ‘Hello Mrs Andrews,   its  Megan  Saunders.  I’m  afraid  a  horse  trod on  my toe at  the  weekend  and I can’t  come in to school today.’

            ‘Oh dear I  hope  you  are  alright  Megan  and thank you for ringing me.’ said the Headmistress.

            Megan  put the phone down and looked  at her watch, it was going to be a long day,  her Mum would not be home until after 5pm.  

            She stood and stared out the lounge window.  No matter what her Mum had said, she must go and  see  Luke at the  stables,  she knew  he  always schooled  Bella on Mondays.  She  limped  down  the hall and took down her coat from the peg. She closed  the  back  door behind her and locked it.  As she wheeled her bike out of the shed, she knew she had to be home before  noon, in case anyone from the school saw her out and about.  

            With a struggle she climbed onto the  bike and gingerly pedalled down the road using  her  right  foot  to  try and  alleviate  any  pressure on  her left toe.   

            As she turned into the stable yard, she applied the brakes carefully and climbed  off the bike to lean it again the feed room door.  The stables were empty  and  the tack  room door closed. Perhaps Luke is out on a hack, she muttered to herself.

            For a moment she thought she heard voices.  She limped  across to the  tack  room  and turned the door knob, it was locked.  With  her  hand  she shaded  her  eyes and  peered through the dusty window. 

            A cold  shiver  of  revulsion  ran down  her spine.  Luke was sprawled on the sofa with Sophie Lewis  beneath  him,  with  her  jodhpurs  around her ankles.  Megan had no doubt in her mind what they were doing.

            Megan ducked down from the window  and  edged  along  the  side of the tack room.  Nausea rose in her throat.  Mum was  right  he’s  a  total love rat!   She stifled  a cry of pain as her shoe connected  with  a  stone on the floor.  

            With a creak the  tack  room  door  swung open and  Luke peered  out  with  his  black hair tousled.  His face  turned  white  as  he saw  Megan climbing  onto  her  bike.

            ‘Wait love I can explain.’ He  shouted  as  he  struggled  to  fasten  up  the fly on his jeans.  

            A sob  escaped  from  her  as  she  turned  the  corner and cycled out onto the road.  Sophie was married to Oliver Manning the local blacksmith. How long had Luke been seeing her  she  wondered?  Tears  dripped  off  her  chin  as  she  careered  along the  road.  How dare Luke make  a  fool  of  her,  and  he’d  only been  married  a week! 

            Back  at  home  she flung her  bike  into the shed,  and slammed the door.  In the kitchen  she  sat  at  the  table with her head in her hands. While  she  was  at school  he’d  been seeing Sophie and who knows how many other  women!

            She stood up  and  limped  into the hall and opened the cupboard door. Inside  her riding  jacket  pocket  she found  the crumpled  business card.  With  a  notepad and  pen beside  her  on   the  hall  table  she  rang  the  number.  

              ‘Hello Tremane  stud, how  may I  help you ?’ said a voice at the other end.

            ‘Hello my name is Megan Saunders, can  I  book  an  appointment to see Mrs Hill,’ said Megan, as she doodled with the pen on  the notepad.     

            ‘Yes can you hold on a moment,’ said the secretary.

            Megan could hear pages being turned over  at  the other  end of the phone.

            ‘Jenny  will see you  at 10am on Saturday, if that’s  convenient?’ said the secretary.  

            ‘Yes that’s fine  and  could  you  give  me  directions  to the stables,’ said Megan.

            She  listened  and  scribbled  down  the  information  on  the  notepad before  putting down the receiver.  It was time to move on in her life!   

            Early on Saturday  morning  Megan  stood  in front of the long mirror  in the hallway.  ‘Mum do I look smart enough?’ she  shouted  as she  fiddled with  her blouse buttons.  

            Julie  peered around  the kitchen door.  ‘Yes you  look  absolutely fine  love  but brush your hair.’

            At  nine  thirty  mother and  daughter set off  to  Tremane  stables in  Haxton  five miles from their home in Scarsgale.   After following the directions on the scrap of paper, Julie drew up at the side  of  a pair of large iron gates.

            ‘Good luck  love,’  I’m going to the supermarket, and  I’ll  be back  within the hour.’ She said as  Megan got out of  the car.         

            Megan  stood for  a moment  staring  at  the smart sign ‘Tremane Stud,’ with a  picture  of  a  prancing black  horse below the letters.  She glanced at her watch and waved to her Mum  as  the  car drew away from the kerb.    

            Megan  breathed  in  deeply  trying to calm the butterflies in her stomach.  As  she  entered the  stable yard her mouth dropped open  in awe.  She counted  ten  loose  boxes  on  each  side  of the yard.

            Several  horses  looked  over  their doors,  and she smiled as a  handsome  chestnut whickered a welcome.  A stable  girl  appeared  from  a  loosebox  at the  end  of the row, pushing  a wheelbarrow  piled high with dirty straw.  

            ‘Hello  I’ve  come to  see Mrs Hill,’ said Megan, blushing profusely.  

            ‘The office is at the end of the yard,’ said the  girl  as  she  smiled at Megan and walked off towards the muck heap at the rear of the  stables.          

            Megan  admired  the  plaque  with  a name  in bold  black letters on each stable door.  The yard was immaculate, not a wisp of hay or straw to be seen.

            Megan stood outside the  office,  cleared  her  throat and tapped  gently  on the door.  

            ‘Come in,’ said a voice from within.

            Megan opened the door and walked inside.  Mrs Hill sat behind a dark mahogany desk  staring  at  a  computer screen. She took off her spectacles and smiled.

            ‘Hello  Megan, you  found us then?’ said  Jenny  waving  to a chair.

            ‘Yes thanks, my Mum gave me a lift,’ said  Megan   as  she took  a seat.  She  was  a  little out  of  her comfort  zone  in  the  luxury surroundings, having  never had an interview in her life!   A scraggy black mongrel crawled  out  from beneath the desk and licked Megan’s hand.

            ‘Sorry that’s Bertie,  he  hardly  ever  leaves   my side,’ laughed Jenny as the little dog sat down at Megan’s feet. She began  to  relax  as she  stroked the dog’s wiry coat.  

            ‘I  breed  horses, and  Dan  James  is  my  trainer. I  need  another  groom  to help out with  the mares and foals.  Have you had much experience with horses Megan?’  said  Jenny as  she  twisted  her  spectacles   around  in   her  tanned hands.  

            ‘Yes Mrs Hill, I  started  riding when  I was nine years old, and I’ve  worked at Raintree stables for nearly four years,’ said  Megan.  ‘I  don’t   get  paid   but  have  free rides in return!’

            ‘Well  I’ve  known  Luke  for  a few years and he  is  quite  highly ranked  in the event world  too!’ said Jenny as she closed her notebook.

            Megan  nodded  and wondered  if  Jenny  was  one  of  Luke’s ex-girlfriends.

            ‘Lets go and see the horses,’ said  Jenny  as  she  stood  up  from  the desk with  Bertie following close behind her.  

            Megan quashed  the  thoughts of  Luke  and  followed Jenny out  into the yard. They walked  down  a  tarmac track  before  reaching  a  gate to a  large paddock.

            The field was separated by a fence, behind which grazed at least twenty horses.  Megan admired the chestnuts, greys, blacks  and  bays  all  obviously well  bred.  In the paddock  a  tall blonde haired man  lunged  a  beautiful chestnut filly.  Jenny chuckled as the horse  bucked  and sidled, but the  man took it  in his  stride and gently waved a long whip on the floor to  keep  the  horse moving around him  in  a wide circle.         

            ‘I’ve got  forty  five  horses  and  five  foals  at the moment,’ said Jenny  proudly.

            Megan nodded sagely, realising that Tremane  Stud  was  a  much more  professional  establishment  than the rather  down-to-earth  Raintree  riding school.

            ‘Dan have you got a minute,’ shouted Jenny.

            The filly  slowed  to  a  halt and joined  the man to walk beside him, her  nostrils  flared from the exercise.

            ‘Dan this is Megan Saunders, I’m showing her around the stables, with a possibility of her coming to work for me,’ said Jenny.

            Megan smiled at Dan, his wavy blonde hair contrasted by a pair of ice blue eyes. He looked around thirty and  she  wondered if he was married.  

            ‘Hello there.’  ‘This is Dancer, she’s  a  two year old, I’m  just schooling her today,’ said Dan,  eyes  twinkling  in amusement  as  he gazed  at  Megan’s  red face.

            Jenny leaned over the gate to pat the  filly’s  warm  neck  and  broke  the  spell between the two of them.  

            ‘Dancer’s  going  well  Dan,  we’ll  leave  you  to  your work,’ said Jenny briskly. She walked back with  Megan to the stable yard.   

            In the office, Jenny opened a filing cabinet and took out two sheets of paper. 

            ‘I’d   like  to  offer you  the  position  as  a  groom,  Megan,’ she said   as she  stapled the two pieces of  paper together.

            Megan didn’t even pause to think, she had nothing  to lose with  a  full time  job  at  a  professional   stables.

            ‘Yes Mrs Hill I’d  love  the job. I’m leaving school at the end of term  anyway which  is  in  a  month’s time,’  said Megan.

            ‘My name’s Jenny and  this  is  a  contract  for  the  job. Can you read it through and sign your name at the bottom.’ She said handing Megan the papers. 

            With a pen Megan signed her name at the bottom of the page.  

            ‘I’ll  keep a copy  and you take the other one home with you,’ said Jenny.  

            ‘Just one more thing, can  you  ring  me on Monday evening to confirm that you can  start work by the end of  the month?’ said Jenny  as  she opened the office door and walked  out into  the yard.

            ‘Yes I will Jenny,  and  thanks  for  showing  me  around  your stables,’ said Megan, her cheeks aching from the  broad  grin on  her face. ‘I  must  go  my  Mum will  be waiting for me at the end of the drive.’

            Megan clasped  the  piece  of  paper  in  her hand and walked  down  to  the gate  in high spirits.  Dan, the handsome,  blonde  haired trainer remained in her thoughts for the rest of the day.   

            ‘Hello love.’  ‘How did the interview go?’ said Julie as  Megan opened the door and sat down in the passenger seat.  

            ‘I’ll tell you all about it when we get home,’ said  Megan  stretching  out  her  legs completely drained  of energy.         

            Megan  set  off  for  school on  Monday, she couldn’t wait  to speak to the Headmistress.   She knocked sharply on the door of the office  and walked inside.           

            ‘I’ve  been  offered  a  job at a  stables, Mrs Andrews,’ said  Megan.

            The  headmistress  folded  her  hands  together  on  top  of the desk  and  peered over her spectacles.

            ‘That’s good news Megan and I hope you’ll be happy,’ said the Headmistress, eyes twinkling behind her heavy rimmed glasses. 

            ‘I’ve always wanted to work  with horses, and Tremane  stud  is  a very professional stables!’ said Megan as she  stood up. She left the office with a spring in her step, only two more weeks and she was free as a bird, no more boring lessons!    

            On Friday evening Megan waited patiently for her Mum to return from work.

            Before Julie had even got  in  the  door Megan  approached  her with  ‘Mum can you lend me some money until I get my first wage packet?’  

            Julie gave her daughter a quizzical look. ‘And what do you need the money for love?’

            ‘I need two pairs of jodhpurs and two polo shirts for my new job,’ said Megan tapping the toe of her slipper against the cupboard door. 

            Julie walked through into the lounge and opened the writing desk.  She took  five crisp twenty pound  notes from her purse and  shut the  desk lid, turning  the key in the lock.              

            ‘Now  don’t  go  wasting  it will you?’ said Julie,   as she handed the money over to Megan.

            ‘I’ll be able to  pay  you  back  within  three  months,’ said  Megan  squeezing  her Mum’s hand  in thanks. She knew how hard her  Mum worked  to  pay the bills and support them both.    

            Saturday morning dawned  fine  and  dry.  Megan  couldn’t  believe  how  her life  had changed within the last few weeks.  By luck more than judgement she had managed to avoid  Luke  and  deleted  his  number  from  her  mobile phone.  Somehow  she  couldn’t  forget  the grotesque  image of him lying  on the  sofa with  Sophie  in  the tack room.

            With a shrug of her shoulders she jumped out of bed and opened the wardrobe.  She dressed in a smart white blouse and pulled  on  her  best  pair of  boot cut  jeans.  Today she had to carry  out  some serious  retail  therapy,  it was  time to change her image – big time!

            After a hurried breakfast she picked up her handbag and coat. ‘I’m back  for lunch Mum,’ she said running out of the front door. 

            The bus arrived  five  minutes  later  which meant  she would be  in Haxton within half an hour. Megan alighted from the bus around the corner from Greenemarle shopping centre.

            With handbag slung over her shoulder she walked through the automatic doors and into the bright atmosphere of the shopping  mall.  She found  Montegues,  a  smart  clothing  shop for the horse and  rider.  After purchasing the riding gear, she  rode the  escalator taking in the colourful shop windows as she reached the  next floor.

            Megan glanced through the window of the salon.  With a deep breath she walked inside.  Half an hour later she stared in the mirror, she looked a different person! 

            Four hours later tired but happy Megan arrived home, laden with shopping bags.

            ‘Hello love,’  said Julie  dropping   a  fork  on  the  kitchen floor  in  shock,  as she smiled at her daughter.    

            Megan twirled around  in  a  circle.  Her  long  straight hair  had  been  replaced  with a  short, sassy bob. She  looked at least five years  older.    

            ‘Oh what have you done to your hair  it  looks great!’  said  Julie reaching out to  pat her  daughter’s  shiny hair.

            ‘Thanks Mum,  I’ve  had  a  fantastic  morning  in town,’ said Megan picking  up a bag and opening it.  Two pairs   of  jodhpurs  and  two  black polo shirts,’ she said proudly holding them up in the air.

            ‘Good to hear, are you hungry?’ said Julie wiping  a  hand  across  her forehead. The heat in  the  kitchen  and  her  daughter’s  carefree  mood  had  caught  her  unawares.

            Monday morning  found  Megan  wide awake, the clock on the bedside table showed three thirty in the morning.  Today she  started  work  at  Tremane  stud. She flinched as her stomach  grumbled loudly, not in  hunger,  sheer  anticipation of the day ahead.

            At five thirty she decided to get up and dressed quickly in the work clothes. In the kitchen she packed a  few sandwiches and  a Mars Bar into  her lunchbox.           

            ‘Now  take  care  around  those  horses won’t  you love,’ said Julie as she walked into the kitchen in her dressing gown.     

            ‘Yes of course I will,’ said Megan dropping a kiss on her Mum’s cheek as she hung her rucksack over her shoulders.                 

              The wind  lifted  Megan’s  short dark hair as  she wheeled her bike out of the shed and shut the door.  Julie waved from the window as Megan pedalled down the drive and onto the road.

            The days at Tremane  stud  were  long  and  arduous but  enjoyable.  Megan soon made friends  with  Kerry  the groom.  At least  she could  talk  about  horses  and  get some experienced feedback!          

            Samba, a dark bay mare tossed her head as flies buzzed in a cloud around her face.   Megan patted  the  mare on  the  neck  and  sat up  straight in the saddle.  She  followed on  behind Dan  riding  Matilda,  a  rather highly-strung  grey mare.  His blonde hair ruffled in the wind beneath his riding hat.

            She smiled as he  turned  in the  saddle  to  glance  over  his  shoulder. ‘Are you alright on Samba?’ he said.

            Megan  nodded  and  shortened the  reins  as  the  two horses broke into a trot,  iron shod hooves echoing on the country lane.  A Land Rover  turned  the  corner ahead of them.  Megan’s  heart  sunk  into  her boots,  she  recognised  the  vehicle,  it was Luke!

            Dan turned  his horse  onto  the  grass  verge  and  slowed  to  a  walk.  Megan’s heart began  to  race  as  she put  pressure  on  Samba’s  reins.  The  Land  Rover  slowed  down  and stopped  at the side of the road.   Luke’s  mouth  dropped  open  in shock  as  he  saw   Megan  astride the  beautiful horse.

            Time  stood  still  for  an  instance  as  they  stared  into  each  other’s eyes.  Megan stuck her nose in  the  air  and  broke  the spell.  She  dug  her  heels  into  the mare’s  side  and trotted away to catch up  with  Dan. With  that Luke  pressed  down on the accelerator and the  tyres  screeched  on  the tarmac  as  the  truck  disappeared down the road.

                        ‘Who on  earth  was  that ?’ said  Dan.

            Megan  shrugged  her  shoulders  and  smiled  shyly  at  him.  Luke  Gibson was out of her life forever. She only had eyes for Dan that was for sure!


WC 5.507



































The End

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