She leans against the edge of her desk. Noises, squeals, and the clatter of hooves leak into the quiet room. Voices call for her attention, but she stands still, examining the tail end of her braid. This is not normal. A hammering starts up in my chest.
“Cory, I wanted to talk to you in private…” She starts, then stops. Her eyes cut to the pictures along the back wall behind me.
Have I done something wrong? I need my working student job to be able to ride Octavia enough to get good because Mom and Dad agreed to only pay half of everything. And Dad said I needed “some skin in the game.” I think of my mom saying she hasn’t sold any houses lately. Maybe they didn’t pay...
“Are your parents coming today?”
Uh-oh. Parents. A jolt goes through me like I downed a double Red Bull. “My dad is.”
“Good.” She flings the braid behind her, turns, and roots around the surface of her desk for something.
“I know they have to sign a permission to ride—”
“Huh? Oh, yes, that.” She holds a paper out to me. I take it and read the top line.
Lease Agreement. I told Sarah my parents agreed to lease Octavia from her this summer so I could ride more and get the mare to a higher level jumping. Well, Dad promised he would—if I proved I was good enough to ride her now.
“What did your parents say about you leasing Octavia for the summer?”
Sarah’s voice derails my thoughts, but my eyes stay glued to the paper without reading. I give a noncommittal shrug she can take either way while I think of something. Yes, of course I’ve talked to them about leasing the mare. I’ve talked to them until I don’t have any breath left, and all I hear back is we’ll see or we’ll talk about it when we get through Jess’s auditions or maybe later. Well, now is later. But Dad promised. He promised if I proved I was serious about riding, if I stuck with it, and if I could jump. “None of that riding around in circles. You can do that on any horse,” he said.
Octavia isn’t any horse.
“They’re thinking about it still.” I can’t tell her yes for sure yet. “Dad’s coming today to watch me ride…” And I’m going to show him, convince him…
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