Willow made hamburgers for dinner again. We ate mostly in silence. I really had enjoyed working with the filly. At first I thought Little Bit was a silly name but it seemed to match the horse's personality.
"That's why we wait to name them," Aaron explained. "Little Bit was born while Willow and I were away at a conference in Tulsa so we haven't really gotten the chance to watch her. We find out what their personalities are like, you see. For example: Flame has the worst temper."
"And you put me in a stall with her," I groaned and they both laughed.
"You did fine," Aaron said, passing Willow his plate. "You both ought to get some sleep. We're going to the ranch to get ready for classes nice and early. Willow, I think you'll finally get to go back down."
Willow yawned. "In that case, g'night gentlemen."
I watched her walk up the stairs with a frown on my face.
"It's okay to get along with her, you know," Aaron said and I looked over at him.
He was watching me with a smile on his face. I shook my head.
"Nah," I said, stretching. "We're too similar."
"Ain't that the truth," he snorted. "Good night, Nathan."
"Fuck me sideways! God damn it! Shit!"
I sat up straight and stumbled to my door. I threw it open and looked around. Willow was hopping on one foot in the bathroom, struggling with a towel and bandages. I snorted and she glared at me.
"Well don't just stand there," she snapped. "Help me out!"
"Ah, shaving," I said and got a bandage out for her. "Jesus Christ!" I cried when she pulled the towel away. "What did you shave with!? A steak knife!?"
"Shut up," she snarled. "Fuck," she hissed. "I can't get the blood to stop."
"Of course you can't," I said, taking the towel and running it under hot water. "That cut is four inches long!"
"It's not that bad," she pouted and I pressed the towel to her leg.
I rolled my eyes. "Whatever."
We waited until the blood finally stopped. She propped her leg up on the sink and took at least five Band-Aids and put them on. It was then I noticed she had the perfect hourglass figure and was surprisingly flexible.
"Stop gaping and go put a shirt on," she grumbled, her face pink.
"What's the matter, Willow?" I teased, leaning against the wall. "Can't handle the sight of a sexy man?"
She glared. "Out," she ordered.
"But I'm comfortable," I said.
She rolled her eyes and shoved on my left shoulder. I stumbled back and she slammed the bathroom door in my face. I laughed and changed into a sleeveless shirt and blue jeans. Downstairs, Aaron was pouring orange juice.
"Everything okay up there?" he asked. "I haven't heard her swear like that in a long time."
I shrugged. "She was shaving and cut herself pretty badly."
"Well, time to make a fattening breakfast," he chuckled. "Do you know how to make pancakes?"
"I pity the man who can't," I laughed.
I was feeling more comfortable around Aaron and in the house. I didn't feel like I had to ask for permission whenever I wanted water or to turn the TV on. I wondered if I'd get used to being around Willow.... As I turned and saw her coming down the stairs, though, I knew I probably wouldn't.
She was in a pair of shorts that stopped mid-thigh and a pink tank top. She was pulling a brush through her hair and wearing boots that covered where she had cut herself.
"I swear to God I hate shaving," she grumbled, not noticing my open jaw.
I shook myself and went back to making the pancakes.
"I heard your cry of anger," Aaron laughed. "It's been a while since you've said all that."
She huffed and opened the fridge to get the eggs.
"Hey," she snapped at me. "Where are my eggs?"
"We're having pancakes," I snapped back. "Where do you think they are?"
"Ass," she grumbled, snatching them.
"Bitch," I retorted, grabbing two before she could run off with them.
Aaron snorted and sat at the table with his orange juice and the newspaper. Willow got her phone out and I groaned.
"Not your Pandora," I begged. "Seriously, you have the strangest taste in music."
"Says the man who still listens to the Backstreet Boys and Avril Lavigne," she said, rolling her eyes and turning the volume up.
I pointed my whisk at her. "Do not diss the 90's. Avril is classic!"
"No. The Beatles are classic. Avril is just-"
"You're in the paper," Aaron interrupted and we looked up at him, frowning. "Apparently, Brandon is now claiming you're pregnant with his child."
Willow's jaw dropped and her whisk clattered to the floor.
"What!? That bastard!"
Aaron snorted. "And you have an STD, Nathan."
"That I don't have trouble believing," Willow muttered and I glared at her.
"Damn it," I groaned.
"The fun never stops," Willow sighed, washing her whisk then returning to the eggs. "How many kids have we got coming today, Dad?"
"Fifteen," he answered. "Today it'll just be me and Willow teaching, Nathan. You'll observe and take notes from Willow."
Willow laughed and nudged me obnoxiously. "You have to do what I say," she said in a sing song voice and I shoved her.
"Just make the eggs, woman," I snapped.
It was 7:30 by the time we finished a quick - but definitely large - breakfast and got down to the ranch. Cars were already pulling up and kids came running out happily. They ranged from 10 to 22. There was one, though, that looked my age. He walked with his nose in the air and reminded me of a Hollywood stereotype: polo shirt with a pastel sweater around his neck and khaki shorts.
I looked at Willow. "Is he for real?" I whispered. "He's riding in that?"
"Don't let looks deceive you," she whispered back, watching him get on a horse. "Matt's the best rider we have. His outfits are ridiculous, though. Tennis shoes," she added with a sigh. "Well, time to begin."
Parents backed their cars up and converged onto the tailgates to watch their kids. The first thing Willow and Aaron did was go among the kids and make sure their feet were in right and they were holding the reins correctly. When we passed by Matt, he winked at Willow but she ignored him.
"Lookin' good today, Teach," he flirted.
"Your stirrup is too loose," she said and he turned a little red, tightening it. "We'll start with warmups," she said to the group at large. "Millie, make sure you're tight, remember?"
"Yes, Miss Turner!" a little girl in pig tails said happily.
"Dude. That girl is itty-bitty!" I said. "How is she on that horse?"
"Millie's a decent rider," Willow answered, passing me a piece of gum. "Pitch is the best size for her."
Matt trotted over, looking angry. "Where's Spirit?" he demanded and I frowned.
"Back in line, Matt," Willow said.
"I'm supposed to be riding with Spirit this weekend," he snapped. "Where is she?"
Willow's eyes were filling with tears.
"Let me guess: you sold her," he sneered.
"How about you shut your fucking mouth and do what she said?" I hissed. "She said get in line. Go get in the damn line."
He glared at me but flicked the reins.
"Thanks," she whispered.