Harry winced every time Scarlett and Lana broke out into another catfight. He flinched whenever they screeched at each other like parrots, squawking angry words at each other and arguing about the smallest of things. If the situation got extreme, they would consult him. Staring at him with seething eyes. Asking him who he agreed with, so either one would have the pride of bragging to each other. But then it would start all over again in less than ten minutes, and he would be victimized. They could go on and on and on for an entire day.
He just wished that Lana would be less stubborn and listen to Scarlett. She wanted to learn how to ride horses, but yet she never gave her the chance to teach. She would merely take one concept; look at it, and then question it like the method might make her horse throw her off. She flung every technique around like it didn't matter to acknowledge during riding. And whatever she understood, she never took in to heart. He had to admit, Lana was that type of person and couldn't easily be convinced. Frankly, it annoyed him too but sometimes he considered dumping her, but there always was a reason why to turn his theory around. He just couldn't do it.
He stood behind the fence, leaning on the railing and watching his friend rub her temples in agitation, and while gritting her teeth, asked Lana to take it easy. "You need to relax," She told her. "In order to feel comfortable, you need to be comfortable with the horse. I'm not going to rush you, but if you want to make Eowyn stop fidgeting, you need to relax."
Of course, his girlfriend took it the entire opposite way, accusing her of saying that she was stupid.
“Oh my God Lana!” Scarlett was on the edge of tearing out her hair. “Please! Horses are sensitive.”
Lana rolled her eyes, and then caught Harry’s eye. He stared back at her unfalteringly, silently giving her the look that told her to listen to his friend. The brunette blinked, deflated that her boyfriend didn’t support her, and turned her focus back to the ginger.
“Fine.” She replied icily. “Please continue.”
Where did that come from? Scarlett thought. “So I’m going to walk you around the pen a couple of times so you’ll get used to riding. Remember to look straight ahead and keep your back straight. Plus, when you ride, your shoulder, hip and heel should all be aligned.” She said, taking the lunge line. “Ready?”
“Just go already.” was her torpid reply.
Holding back a retort, Scarlett led her around the pen, keeping good note of how Lana rode. She was a little stiff, a little bit on the tense side, from the angle she viewed Lana at. Was she still too nervous or was it because she was still annoyed at her? She couldn’t tell, but either way she figured that it would be hard to correct her.
“Hang on.” The ginger said, stopping. Eowyn, the palomino, also stopped submissively. “Your arms need to move with the motion of the horse. Keep your elbows light. You’re still a little tense.”
“I’m not tense.” She disputed. “I’m calm enough.”
“No you’re not. You really – ”
“You’re not me. I would know if I’m tense.” Lana had a way of looking down condescendingly at Scarlett, proudly glaring from her high perch on her horse. She was two feet taller than her, and already that much distance in height could make her unbelievably patronizing.
The ginger frowned once the palomino jerked her head. “Give her a little more rein. She’s not used to heavy hands.” She pulled an extra couple of reins out of her hands.
Lana didn’t thank her. As an alternative to escape Scarlett wanting her to ride under her lead, she insisted that she ride around the pen by herself, putting up an excuse of “I have to figure it out by myself. It’s the only way for me to get in touch with Eowyn.”
Of course, Scarlett protested. Veritably, she even put up a rather good fight. But in the end Lana had the last word of possibly buying her entire farm and all of her horses, and that’s what made the ginger shut up, even though it wasn’t very realistic. Yet with power, money and ambition combined in a stuck-up, dogged girl, even the wildest of horses could be broken in. Scarlett backed down and left the area, even though she should’ve just stayed and watched to be sure nothing bad happened.
“I swear, she acts more like a donkey than Mary!” She growled, irritably sweeping auburn hair that had fallen from her ponytail to her face. “Even she’s easier to handle and that’s saying a lot.”
“Who’s Mary?” Harry nearly lost his foothold on a slimmer tree branch and he clung onto a thick one above his head. He blushed a little at the fact that he was only four to five feet off the ground and still terrified of falling out of the sycamore tree. He inhaled and reached up for another branch, pulling up, mentally urging himself to reach the same high spot his friend already managed to reach in allegedly under a minute.
"Oh, she's our new donkey." She said casually, swinging her legs.
"What happened to Chip?"
"Oh...oh, um, okay." Harry beat down a squeak as he lost his foothold once more. Luckily, he was holding on to the tree branch he was aiming for, and he struggled profusely. "Er, help?"
"Think that extra serving of potatoes finally got to you, Curly." She chuckled, watching him dangle from the lofty branches. Then she reached down with a hand and hoisted her friend up steadily by the arm. He alighted down once he got a firm hold, positioning himself on the other side of the tree, back leaning against the trunk. He glanced down at his hands and brushes the splinters off, though they left behind little pricks in his skin. Maybe he was out of shape, but Scarlett would soon fix all of that.
“You do realize I’m going to college.” He told her, enjoying the scenery through the thick array of leafy branches and viridian leaves. “So I have to leave earlier in August to move all my stuff to the dorm.”
“Oh.” She said, feelings significantly dampened. “Really?”
“Yeah. But I’ll try to come back for next summer.”
‘Try’ didn’t always mean a 100% chance guarantee. It often meant things like ‘maybe’ or ‘probably’ or even ‘unlikely’.
‘I’ll try not to forget to come back’.
‘I’ll try not to get caught up in law, business and sociology that I don’t want to come back to visit’.
All of those thoughts struck a deep chord within her. Emptied of sunniness, she snuggled up closer to the tree for comfort.
When he noticed that she didn’t say anything after that, he decided to start up a new conversation, one that he meant to start for a while. “Hey, you know how you’re really good at making stuff from scratch?”
She turned her head a little, leaves swaying in the breeze and shielding her view with the twist of branches. “Yeah?” She asked. “What about it?”
“There’s some good majors for engineering at the college I’m going to.” He answered. “Have you applied? I think you would go far in that field.”
“Of course. You’re a genius in that brain. What’s your GPA?”
“See? You’d get in. What are your SAT scores?”
“Harry, I never took the SATs.” She confessed.
He looked around the tree, careful not to lean too far. “What’ s that supposed to mean?”
“I’m not going to college.” She said, bringing her knees up to her chin and putting her arms around her legs. “I’m staying with Mom and Dad to help out the farm, and then I’ll take over later.”
“Can’t you just sell the farm once your parents retire?”
“In this economy? Oh, no. Nobody wants to buy a farm. Everybody in America invests in the stock market and medicine and law. That’s why I need to keep this farm open. So I didn’t take the SATs.” She explained. “My siblings can go to college, though.”
“That’s good!” She protested. “I’d rather muck out stalls all day than sit in a classroom. Trust me – I cannot stay still in a seat. It’s a miracle that I got an above average GPA.”
Laughter, followed by the sound of the wind.
Truth be told, Scarlett did want to go to college. The sound of majoring in engineering, which she was particularly good at it, was tempting and desirable. If she went, she would gain so much from her professors and intelligent peers, get a degree and even a job outside of the farm. Maybe she would build something as famous as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Great Wall of China in Beijing. She would achieve so much – but what would she leave behind? The horses, the goats, rabbits, butterflies, cows, chickens, the apple orchards, the wide open plains, her home. In London she doubted that you were allowed to race trains or stargaze on rooftops or race horses whenever you liked. It was a foreign world to her and the thought of being there made her fairly scared.
“So you’re not going?” He asked.
“I don’t think so.”
The way she said it sounded too resolute and ending, like there was no other option to be made. But it escaped her mouth too quickly to be fixed and she ended up giving Harry a stanch response that neither favored. She wanted to take it back, but she couldn’t, and so she left it hanging in the air like the heat of July.