“I’d rather not talk about this right now. I’m trying to forget, for a little while.”
“Listen, you interested in horses? We could take a tour of the ranch.”
“I’m a little nervous around horses but I wouldn’t mind taking a look at them.”
“Let’s go join your son.”
They walked out through the media room into the garage and a connecting back door. “How’s it going, Andrew?” Paul asked.
“Your horses are beautiful,” he replied, stark appreciation written all over him.
“Do you ride, Andrew?”
“Not in a long time.”
“Here, let me saddle Britches for you, and you can ride around the enclosure and when you feel more comfortable, you can take him for a ride out in the paddock.”
Paul left her side, hopped the fence and entered the barn. He came out carrying a mahogany coloured saddle and flung it over the horses back. The horse nuzzled him and Paul lovingly patted his neck. “Hey boy, ready to go? You be nice to Andrew, you hear?” After making a couple of adjustments he pronounced them ready to go, then offered Andrew a leg up and backed away to stand beside Eilea leaning his elbows over the fence.
Together, they watched Andrew. Every now and again Paul would call out instructions. “Use your knees and the reigns to guide him. Pull the reigns toward the left side and push with your right knee. Guide him. He’s a good listener.”
Before long he said, “You ready to take him for a trot?”
“I’ve never galloped a horse before.”
“Same rules apply. Let him know you’re the boss. If he doesn’t listen, dig in your knees and pull hard on the reigns. He’ll get the picture real quick.”
Paul excused himself and crossed to the paddock to open the gate. She heard him ask Andrew to close it when he got back.
Walking toward her, he said, “Sure you won’t take a ride with me?”
“No, I’m really afraid of horses. They are quite beautiful creatures, but I prefer to enjoy them from a safe distance, thanks. Don’t let me stop you, though.”
“Not tonight. I’ll probably head out for a ride early tomorrow morning, though.”
Andrew was little more than a large sized spec but Eilea watched anyway. “Thank you. That was really nice of you.”
“The kids can meet me in the morning and take a ride too if they like.”
“Let’s walk,” he suggested.
“How much land do you have here?”
“Small as ranches go, only about 20 acres, give or take a foot. Enough to keep me happy.”
“I noticed your lovely garden out front when we arrived. It must have taken ages to put this together. It’s so beautiful and very welcoming.”
“Never thought I’d become a gardener, but it’s enjoyable and relaxing, not to mention a good way to let off a bit of steam or frustration.”
“I imagine there are times either could become overwhelming I imagine.”
“Yes, but there are rewards too.”