Galen responds with a grunt. “I have a bill for them, and I want the money before we take off for Florida. You tell them that.” He looks down at me. His voice curdles with threats. “Better yet, I’ll talk to them. Give them a call.”
“They’re in Europe.” Cory’s voice is steady, reasonable. “It’s the middle of the night there.”
Galen’s focus drills into her. “And you know that, why? Who are you again?” His eyes narrow.
I swear Cory stands up straighter and lifts her chin. “I’m a representative of Vee Stewart. I’m looking at some horses for her. Roheryn’s owners are friends of hers.”
I bite my lip to keep from smiling. She sounds like some of the snooty clients we used to work for.
Galen consults his sparkly watch and storms off. After only a few steps, he turns. “Look, somebody’s got to pay.”
The click of his boot heels fades away, but his words stick in my head. That expression. That’s what Wade always says.
“What a jerk.” Cory stifles a laugh.
“A very pissed off jerk.” Eddie materializes behind me. I spin to catch the look on her face—a combination of worry and anger. “He’s not someone you want to mess with, Regina. What’s the story on the horse?” She eyes Cory. “Are you part of this, too?”
Cory shakes her head.
“This is Cory,” I say. “She works for a jumper trainer you might have heard of. Vee Stewart?”
Recognition softens Eddie’s gaze. “Good trainer.”
“I thought they might be interested in seeing Tucker. Now that…” My throat closes. I don’t say, now that we know Trey is dead.
It’s like all the bones in Eddie’s body slump. Her shoulders droop, and she exhales a cloud of breath. “Sure. Good idea.” Her words are clipped but quiet. She must be more upset than anyone about the news since she knew Trey the longest. They worked together every day.
Three of us walk to Tucker’s stall in silence, haunted by thoughts of Trey. What happened to him in the woods that night? If I had said something… But then Wade would come looking for me.
Eddie slides open the stall door. “It’s too bad you can’t see him go. He’s quite a jumper.”
I check her face. She hitches a quick smile at me.
“Regina’s done a great job with him. Seems despite his dressage training, he’s telling us he really wants to jump.”
Cory runs her hand down Tucker’s long face and looks over his conformation. “Built for it. How long before he’s sound again you suppose?”
Eddie frowns at the bandaged leg. “Hard to say. Luckily nothing critical injured, but it won’t look pretty.” She drapes an arm over Tucker’s shoulder and rolls her face against the horse’s skin. “He’s such a sweetie. Just like his owner.”
Is she crying?
I swallow hard. Cory looks away.
Eddie straightens and gives Tucker one firm pat with the flat of her hand. She looks at me, but her eyes skitter past. “I’ll try to work out keeping him as long as I can, but…”
We all know what the but means. No board payment, no room at the inn. The wind catches the swags of fake Christmas greenery draped along the stall door.
We step out of the stall, and Eddie slides the door shut and sends the bolt home with extra force. “I’m here till the end of the year, then I’m leaving, too.”
Her back is to me. Eddie is always here. Eddie lives here. She’s the one who keeps everything going, keeps the horses happy…
“Because I can’t stay here any longer and ignore what’s going on.” She tosses a treat in Tucker’s feed tub. “You did the right thing, getting Roh out of here. Pissed his majesty off big time.”
I don’t know how much she knows about the deal I had with Galen. Not much goes on around here without her finding out about it.
She grabs my upper arm and leans closer. “You get out, too, okay? Before something happens.”
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