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Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Summer Rain, Jan 30, 2013.
The Right Road
Melody Foster was always the shy, sweet girl that seemed to get along with everyone. The youngest of her triplet sisters Kate and Rosie, she always stood in the background. Her parents were always supportive, never judgemental, and more than any blooming teenager could ask for. It wasn't until a rough-and-tough rancher named Richard Rickland came into town that Melody found herself being noticed. It wasn't long before word spread that Richard was after Melody's heart. Within a year they were dating, and just eighteen months into their relationship, Richard popped the question. Melody was smitten - the man had a beautiful home, a kind heart, and a plethora of horses that Melody was able to ride. The young woman - just 22 at the time of her engagement - figured that this was what dreams were made of.
It wasn't until a cool September afternoon that Melody's fairytale dream was shattered. While riding in the forest with a neighbor, Melody's horse was bit by a rattlesnake. Unable to dismount before the animal lashed out, Melody found herself knocking on death's door. She was eventually thrown onto the ground and trampled many times over before the beast succumbed to its wound and fell to the ground.
Melody woke up in ICU two weeks later with little feeling below her waist. Doctors told her she would probably never walk, much less ride, ever again.
But the true devastation came when Richard, Melody's devoted fiance, never showed up to comfort his bride. He had merely explained to Melody's family that he couldn't have a wife on his ranch that could barely even walk. Melody was heartbroken, and felt as though her entire dream had been pulled out from underneath her.
Richard's betrayal eventually motivated the young woman to work harder. She was only bound to a wheelchair for a year before she regained most feeling in her legs; the nerve damage is still apparent, but the young woman worked grueling for months to regain her footing.
And now, though lonely and timid, Melody has embraced life. She still sees her ex-fiance around town every so-often, and she makes sure to shake her hips a bit whenever he is near. But Melody's family is now insistent that she ride again, and Melody is terrified she will end up in that position all over again. She only prays she can fight off their coaxes until she finds herself a good job and gets out of this town.
Name: Emmanuel Donahan
Personality: Relaxed, easy going, happy go lucky
Likes: Wet dirt smell, peaches, a good meal, dancing,leather, lasso jumping, lemonade<o:p></o:p>
Emmanuel grew up in the field; he lived with his mother anduncle, and knew nothing of his father. Since he could remember he’d get upearly and work nonstop with uncle “Vic”, and soon found his passion in horseriding. He enjoyed it so much Emmanuel received his very own horse “Snippy” at 18. Although not wealthy they lived their days comfortably, that is until his father Kenneth appeared.
Unexpected and unwanted he had come with two guys stating that he needed $30,000. He spent his time drinking and gambling away,and now he demanded payment in the form of their house. Although they resisted, a deed to the house in Kenneth’s hand ended the fight. Before taking possession Emmanuel’s uncle worked a deal with him. If they could keep the house they’dpay over time, and he could have the horses he was raising for the rodeo. Kenneth considered this and agreed to the terms departing with a set date to return.
After Kenneth’s visit his family was in turmoil, major changes were made. All unnecessary commodities were sold, the family worked as hard as they could. Kenneth would send his goons monthly to collect without delay, andrumors spread how the Donahan family had dealings with outlaws. Victor found workin the mine where one’s reputation isn’t needed, and Sarah became a barmaid.
Since his mother forbade him to work in the mines no other job prospect was open and his uncle suggested moving towns. Aunt Maggie lived in a town not too faraway and he could go live with her. Taking his horse Snippy he quickly found a job at the local rodeo taking care of horses. Emmanuel sends as much money back home and is trying to get his life in order. <o:p></o:p>
"Mother, you don't understand!" Melody cried, cupping her hands over her face and taking a few deep breaths, "you've never been through this... isn't not that easy!"
Melody felt like they had had this conversation a thousand times before. After regaining most of the feeling in her legs and the ability to walk short distances, her family was insistent that she ride again.
Only her parents and sisters truly didn't understand; riding reminded Melody of everything she feared and hated. First of all, she didn't want to be trampled again by an animal she thought she could trust. She was scared shitless of the beasts; they were a lot bigger than she remembered, not to mention stronger. Then of course there was the aspect of her ex-fiance Richard; just the smell of a horse reminded her of him, leather and dirt all rolled together. She hated just thinking about him, and definitely didn't want any further reminders.
"Melody Lianne Foster!" her mother called, crossing her arms resolutely across her chest.
Melody sat back against the couch, sighing deeply through her nose. As soon as she food a job out of town, she'd be packing her bags...
"You're a healthy woman again, and you love to ride. You were so good at the rodeo - I still have all the metals you won! How can you let one little set-back ruin you like that?" she asked.
Melody stood, anger bubbling to the surface. "Well mother that 'set-back' you speak of took away my husband, and nearly took my mobility and my life. But you're right, just a little set back!"
Just as she stomped up the stairs and to her childhood bedroom, Melody heard her father's rough-edged voice. "Don't worry, Lydia, we'll hire some help... before you know it, Melody will be back in the saddle and taking that rodeo by storm."
Another day in the stables for Emmaunel, he had just finished feeding Snippy and the other horses when Daryl his boss came in.
"How confident are you in your abilities to ride?" Daryl asked. "I was practically born on a Saddle Daryl" Emmanuel stated proud of his riding abilities. Daryl thought for a moment spitting on the ground then smiled, "What about teaching? Can you do that?". "Hmm" Emmanuel pondered then as he patted a nearby horse replied "This ain't no riding school, this is a rodeo you know? Most horses here aren't fit for teaching".
Daryl seemed to be waiting for this response, "True, true but there must be at least one horse here tame enough to use" he hinted looking straight at Snippy. As Emmanuel got the picture he corrected, "Snippy may be tamer but I work for you, NOT my horse, the deal was I get free lodging for Snippy and my services would be enough."
However Daryl would not be defeated and pointed out, "You may not want to, but it would look good if you did, and you'd be relieved from your regular duties." Daryl let the silence wash over both of them then continued, "Look I know this isn't what you normaly do, like you said this isn't a riding school, but the truth is it's a favor for the chief okay? I don't got all the details but I know it's important to him so if you pay me any mind shut yer trap and do it."
Emmanuel saw reason in those words and gave in sighing, "Alright, alright I'll do it, but this better not become habit."
Melody stood with her fists balled in the front office of the ranch. It had clearly been someone's living room before, but walls had been erected to cut it off from the rest of the house. It was neatly decorated with dark wood furniture and all sorts of metals decorating the walls. Feeling suddenly a bit faint, Melody sat down in one of the chairs against the wall. She could nearly hear her father's voice echoing in her head: "this guy knows what he's doing, Mel. He's worked with rodeo horses for years now, so if anything bad happens, he'll know exactly what to do."
Rodeo horses? Melody had thought she was going to go on a nice, smooth stood with some old docile creature. Now he was putting her on the animal that shattered her life? The young woman could barely contain the shakes that wracked her small frame.
She was so wrapped in keeping her composure that she hadn't heard the door open until a pair of old boots were standing in front of her. Her eyes rapidly traveled up powerfully roped legs and a muscular core before she caught eyes with the man. He wore a dark brown Stetson, and his face was grave. Melody slowly rose to her feet, an attempt not to look so pathetic.
"Are you Melody?" he asked.
She nodded her head, managing to squeak out a faint, "yes." And I don't want to be here as much as you do, so let's just go home and tell everyone I rode the darn horse.
Headed to the office Emmanuel laughed at the fact he had only been in there once before, but in he entered. Stepping inside into the cool he saw her figure and as his eyes adjusted, grasped each detail slowly. Her sandy blond hair stretched past her shoulders, the sun favored her with lightly tanned skin, and her frame was delicate yet a certain kind of strength laid witin.
Knowing better than to linger on such thoughts he announced himself. "I'm Emmanuel" he said and upon hearing Melody's request to lie about the riding lessons was taken back. "Well I would much rather be working with horses, but I was told you wanted these lessons. That this was a special request isn't that right?" He asked a little confused.
Well wasn't that just dandy. Melody's father had promised that he would tell her prospective trainer that she had been in an accident; that was sort of need to know information, wasn't it? Clearly he had forgotten though, or someone hadn't passed the story onto this man. He looked wonderfully capable of teaching someone to ride - powerfully roped muscles padded most of his body, and his skin was burnished from the sun - but she was no ordinary trainee.
Melody crossed her arms across her chest and sighed deeply. She had told this story a million times before, but that had been to doctors and only her closest family and friends. Now she had to tell this stranger about the hardest part of her life?
"My father made the request," she told him honestly, averting her eyes, "not me. If it were up to me, I'd never ride a horse again. But they're insistent..."
"You've ridden before?" he asked, looking a little startled.
Melody laughed softly, "uh, yes. Since I was a little girl. I used to do the barrel race in the rodeo, won a few metals. But that was a long time ago... a lifetime, nearly..."
The man, Emmanuel if Melody could remember correctly, cocked one hip. The fabric of his jeans pulled over his muscular leg, and Melody averted her eyes once more. Why couldn't he be some fifty-something, filthy man with a greying beard?
Melody sighed and wrapped her arms around her waist, as though holding herself together. "I had an accident ages ago. I'm not supposed to be walking, much less riding again."
Emmanuel listened as she explained her circumstance, not really knowing what to say. After a moment he spoke, "Wow no wonder you're hesitant to do this, i'm sure just coming here was a challenge." Empathy filled Emmanuel and he admired her strength seeing her in different eyes, she had even competed before!
He knew that she probably wouldn't be in optimal shape to practice. It would be best if she came when SHE was ready, not doing it against her will. "So you're being pushed into this?" he asked. As he saw her put her arms around her waist for comfort he noticed her shapely hips. Knowing he shouldn't be so interested he shook it from his head. "Well then why did you come, If you weren't planning on riding?"
Melody sighed softly and shuffled her feet around a bit. She looked everywhere but at this man's face; he had been probably working with horses all his life and would think it foolish that she was afraid of them.
“My parents want me to ride again,” she murmured. Melody hated that her family still had so much hold on her and her life, but after the accident she hadn't had a choice but to go back to them. Richard had stripped her of everything and she had been forced to build from the ground up again. “If they found out that I didn't show up, they would probably have my head.”
For a moment Melody averted her eyes. Through the back window she could see the stable; a few majestic looking horses grazed outside, and a man that looked no taller than her was attempting to brush them out. Seeing them there made Melody realize how much she missed the horses; if not riding, than just their gentle personalities and sweet demeanors. When she had been with Richard, Melody had simply enjoyed sitting out and feeding the large creatures.
Emmanuel could see his questions troubled her as she avoided his gaze. To him horses were the greatest creatures. Riding a horse was so liberating and fun it was hard to imagine being scared to ride. However she had ridden before and even professionaly so she enjoyed it once.
"You have ridden before though in competition, so this isn't really about teaching you physically but mentally." He saw in Melody the rider she had been and could be, but it was up to her.
As she looked behind her outside, Melody's neck muscles stood out and as he stared he slowly worked his way down to her chest. Her figure was very defined, standing out in just the right areas. He found himself observing her again and wondered why he had no control over himself, he brought himself back to the situation at hand.
"Even though I don't wanna force this more than it already being done" he stated scratching his head because of the complication of the situation. "I did give my word to the Daryl that I would try and he's doing me a huge favor by letting me work here. So how about we ease you into this slowly? Maybe little by little we can awaken the Good memories of riding." Deciding to ease her more he admitted, "Riding actually takes away all my bad feelings and makes everything so much better."
He let her think for a while then asked, "so what do you think?"
Melody blinked, "you... you'd do that for me?" It was the first time someone hadn't told her that she had to get on the horse today. Perhaps this man - he still hadn't given her his name - wasn't so bad after all. She wouldn't have to lie to her parents about staying at the stable, and perhaps she could visit with the creatures she had once loved profusely.
As she walked behind the man, she couldn't help but take sort of his strong and purely masculine figure. His shoulders were padded with well-defined muscle, seen even underneath his black t-shirt. His neck was thick and his jaw was strong, and he walked like he did it for a living.
Melody blushed; it had been awhile since she had looked at a man in such a way. Despite the fact that he had left her more than a year ago, Melody still felt an odd connection to Richard... like if she were to set eyes on another man, he'd come up behind her and scold her.
She breathed in through her nose as they walked outside to the stables. The scent of horses and hay hit Melody like a ton of bricks, and suddenly a wave of memories came flooding back. She pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes momentarily.
They seemed to have finally reached the stable because the man turned around and asked, "you okay? You don't have to ride if you don't want to."
Melody looked up into a pair of trusting brown eyes and nodded her head, "I'm okay... s-sorry. I haven't been around horses since..."
As they walked to the stables Emmanuel wondered what would be the best way to go about this. Maybe by just spending time with the majestic creatures she'd build the courage to try to ride. He figured it would take multiple encounters before she was willing. It would take time, but he'd have patience as he was sure anyone else wouldn't take the time.
As they were about to enter Melody stopped suddenly, turning back they locked eyes. Almost overwhelmed by the reflection of Melody and her internal struggle Emmanuel couldn't look away. Inside her curvy figure was a battle where good memories fought the bad ones. Fear was present, yet other emotions were working their way out and she was trying so hard. Such strength and courage of going into the unknown moved him. Then there was the natural beauty of her eyes, a gateway to another world. They were warm, determined, even inviting dark brown eyes with a hint of shining amber.
As she referenced the incident that caused all this he saw her hesitate he wanted to spare her, "You don't have to tell me, maybe once we get to know each other better you can tell me." At that moment he decided that helping Melody was a personal goal of his. He would do his best to aid her, to reawaken the passion to mount. To him riding was the best way to relive stress and pain and if anyone needed that she did.
He then stood with his arms on his side and said, "When you're ready we can step in.... Take your time." There was a moment of silence then he saw her slowly ease forward, little by little. Trying to help he spoke in a comforting tone, "You can do it." Their eyes locked again, and Emmanuel gave a sheepish grin then admitted, "You said you aren't supposed to even be walking right? Well from what I have seen you do that just fine."
Melody nervously toyed with the seam of her shirt and she stared into the stable. There were a few horses grazing in the corral beside her, and Melody's mouth opened a little as they sniffed in her direction. Clearly they weren't used to smelling the lavender-cranberry scent of a woman's perfume.
She met the man's gaze and sighed softly, "yes, I suppose so." The man didn't know that she could only stand for ten minutes though, and that the weakness sometimes drove her crazy. Some days her nerves would be on fire and she could barely get out of bed; some days she couldn't feel her feet at all.
Don't think about it, her mind begged. She knew that if she began to go back to those horrible times she'd never come back. Sometimes her mind worked in circles, and now was not the time to break down.
"You never told me your name," she said, crossing her arms underneath her breasts.
"Emmanuel," he replied simply.
Melody nodded her head and took a few more steps forward. The closer she got the more potent the smell of leather and horses got. She could even hear their hooves shuffling on the plank floor, and a few of them snorted.
Melody removed one hand from her waist and placed it on her forehead. Her head was beginning to throb and more than anything she just wanted to sit down. The world was beginning to spin, memories of her horses and Richard and her future dancing in front of her eyes.
Melody shook her head, "oh G-God... I can't... I can't do it. I'm going to have a panic attack if I-I set floor in there."
An eternity seemed to pass as Emmanuel watched Melody's reactions. He was wondering what her thoughts must be, as he obserbed Melody looked disoriented. He quickly rushed over to her and helped her stay steady. Putting one hand on her back and with the other held one of her hands she was able to stay steady. "Ok... Ok.. relax we're not going in" he reassured her. Then once time passed he was sure she wouldn't lose her footing he led her back to the office to sit down.
Walking step by step Emmanuel felt her weakening and encouraged her, "We're almost there Melody just a little more." She must've been really terrified as her hands were a little clammy, and once they were able to get in he eased her to an old leather couch. "Are you gonna be alright?" he asked worried. "..Mm.Mmhh" was all she could muster.
"Okay I'll be back, I'm going to get you something for your nerves" he replied quickly stepping to return quickly.
Melody felt like the world was spinning around her. The smell of the horses had hit her like a wall of bricks, and the scent clung to her. She could nearly see the stable from her past; the beautiful white siding and the neatly swept floor. Richard had always hired the best of the best and his horses had been treated like gold. He had even bought Melody her own horse - a majestic white beauty named Snowflake - to love and ride. The mere thought caused anxiety to ball in Melody's chest.
Oh god... this was just too much...
She took a few deep breaths and waited for Emmanuel to return. At least he had left, giving her some time to compose herself. Melody felt awful for acting this way... he probably thought that she was crazy for acting like this. The man seemed unfamiliar with teaching and she felt bad for giving him such a hard time. Clearly, this hadn't been what any of them were bargaining for.
"I better hurry" Emmanuel thought as he went into the fridge looking for anything that might help. In the fridge he didn't see much but some bottled water, grabbing two he headed back his mind racing with thoughts. "Was it safe to leave Melody alone?" She had him worried, and as he didn't know much about medicine he wasn't sure how serious this was. "She must think i'm the crappiest rider ever she may already have decided to never try again" he thought while returning.
"She seemed to really have given it a shot, and she's so nice" he pondered wondering why sometime bad things happen to good people.
"Maybe she should get someone more suited for the job" he thought as self doubt entered his head.
"I think I can do it though just a step at a time" he assured himself, but wasn't sure if that was because his vow to teach her or his interest in her as a person.
"This isn't about you right now Emmanuel, figure out how melody is doing that's all that matters."
He ended his ego battle just as he entered the office...
Speaking with more confidence than he had he said, "I got you some water, wasn't much else. Sorry for the cliche question but how are you feeling?"
Melody folded her legs underneath her and graciously took the bottle of water from Emmanuel. Her head was still spinning a bit but now that she was in a "safe place" she could think properly again. She was thankful that Emmanuel's care and concern; she had figure the man would have forced her on just to make her parents happy. Her shoulders slumped in relief.
After taking a few long sips of the water, Melody replied, "I'm f-fine. It just... it's a little scary, all at once."
She ran a hand over her features, rubbing off what little traces of lip gloss and eyeliner she had on. She sighed, "it's been a very, very long time since I've ever seen a horse. It just... caught me off guard, I suppose."
For a long while they just sat in the office together, sipping their water and talking idly. Emmanuel was a kind man and didn't ask her about the accident or the panic attack. Instead, he told her about his horse, Snippy, and how he had ended up working here. Melody enjoyed the story and smiled as the devotion to this place seemed to shine in his eyes. It was wonderful to see someone that loved horses as much as she did; Richard only did it to make movie, not really because he loved the horses.
Eventually Melody mustered up the courage to go back outside. Emmanuel was close beside her, holding her arm in case she grew faint again. Melody's skin burned underneath the contact and she tried to ignore the butterflies that surfaced in her belly. Now that this man was so close, she imagined they were more from his presence than the stable in front of her.
"Are you sure?" he asked as they approached.
Melody tried not to look at the horses in the corral or just beyond the doors. She nodded quickly, "y-yeah."
Emmanuel was nervous wreck and that was the understatement of the day. Wondering if it was such a good idea that they were attempting this again he looked at the bright side that Melody was still willing to try. Holding Melody's hand he just hoped he didn't get clammy hands. He didn't even remember who suggested holding hands but it was happening and he kinda liked it. Standing this close to Melody his heart rate began to rise again, and he had just calmed down from the scare that Melody gave him earlier, and what was that wonderful fragrance? He thought but then a voice inside interrupted "focus Emmanuel! She needs someone to stay focused and not think about other details."
It was true, with her fear, he should be dedicating all his attention to make sure this went as smooth as possible. That was easier said than done he thought recalling how he had just opened up a few minutes ago. "What was that about" he wondered, usually he didn't open up to anyone especially not strangers. Maybe it was seeing her strength and vulnerability both in the same day that made him want to open up. No it was more than that, something about her made things to just easily come out.
Putting that off for later, he decided to focus on the now. "Okay, were gonna go in the stable slowly." He then got an interesting idea, "How about we enter the stable and just keep walking right through it but you keep your eyes closed? All the horses are locked up and won't even come close to you, you'll just be exposed to the noises and their smell. Just keep your eyes closed, I'll keep mine open just to make sure we don't crash or trip and holding my hand we'll walk to the other end.... What do you think?" He wondered if his idea was as good as he thought it was or if it was just terrible, but it was worth a try...
Melody nodded her head slightly, looking at the stable. She knew that her stomach would be in knots when she entered, smelling and hearing all of the creatures around her. Not to mention she'd be defensiveness with her eyes closed. However, Melody trusted Emmanuel a great deal more than would was probably normal. From that look in his eyes she knew that he would take care of her, guide her through to safety as he promised.
She nodded again and closed her eyes. Not long after did Emmanuel grip onto her hand, and heat shot up her arm. She jerked a little at the contact but after she got used to the heat he seemed to radiate, it was very comfortable. His hand was much larger than hers and created a sense of safety. It wasn't long before his other hand found the small of her back, and gradually they were moving forward.
A few of the horses nudged Melody in the shoulder and she yelped a bit. Still, her eyes never opened. They gradually made their way through the stable, the smell of the horses and hay wrapping around her. As frightening as the ordeal was, Melody felt oddly at home. She had felt a good portion of her life with horses and the smell of them brought back a wave of memories, good and bad. Hay and leather, wood and sweat. It was all so familiar, so wonderfully familiar.
Melody took a few deep breaths, "we are almost there?"