CHARMÃ¢ÂÂS HOOVES POUNDED AGAINST THE indoor arena floor and helped drown out my own unwanted thoughts. He gathered himself, surged into the air, and bounded over the vertical with red-and-white-striped poles. We flew by the windows in the arena. Not even a hint of light came throughÃ¢ÂÂit was barely five thirty in the morning. IÃ¢ÂÂd been at the stable since four forty-five.
Monday morning lessons for the advanced team wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt start for another hour or so. My chest tightened at the thought. Callie and Eric would be here soon.
I didnÃ¢ÂÂt want to think about Callie, the best friend IÃ¢ÂÂd lied to in order to protect her from the truth and had lost anyway. And I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt even begin to think about Eric, my amazing ex-boyfriend who had witnessed something so horrible it had ruined our relationship and any possible chance of us getting back together. IÃ¢ÂÂd barely slept for the past two nights and I was edgy and exhaustedÃ¢ÂÂever since my little white lies had all come crashing down around me at my birthday party on Friday night.
It kept me busy and away from my other BFF and roommate Paige, who didnÃ¢ÂÂt believe my story about my initiating the kiss with Jacob. Paige wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt stop asking me about it, so IÃ¢ÂÂd spent as little time in our room as possible all weekend. But on Canterwood Crest AcademyÃ¢ÂÂs campus, there were few places to escape.
Heather, the leader of the Trio, was my enemy most of the time, but sheÃ¢ÂÂd helped me out the night of the party.
HeatherÃ¢ÂÂs blond hair was pulled into a low ponytail and she had on black yoga pants and a casual T-shirt. She didnÃ¢ÂÂt have a lesson this morning, so why was she here.
Heather folded her arms and started at meÃ¢ÂÂher ice-blue eyes seemed to cut right through my thoughts.
Ã¢ÂÂWhat is that I get hard-core practising, but youÃ¢ÂÂre being insane. If Mr. Conner caught you jumping aloneÃ¢ÂÂyouÃ¢ÂÂd be in so much trouble.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂComing from you.Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂYou practise all of the time. YouÃ¢ÂÂre here more than anyone. And itÃ¢ÂÂs not like IÃ¢ÂÂm on the cross-country courseÃ¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm in the stable.Ã¢ÂÂ
Heather made an Are you kidding me. face. I silently agreedÃ¢ÂÂmy argument was weak.
Heather reached out and rubbed CharmÃ¢ÂÂs blaze. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂ YouÃ¢ÂÂre practising because youÃ¢ÂÂre trying to ignore what happened on Friday.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂ Who cares why IÃ¢ÂÂm doing it.Ã¢ÂÂ
She rolled her eyes. Ã¢ÂÂOh, puh-lease, Silver. Maybe youÃ¢ÂÂd have more options if you stopped spinning the I-kissed-my-best-friendÃ¢ÂÂs-boyfriend lie. Why arenÃ¢ÂÂt you telling Callie the truth.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂIt is the truth,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ Callie was crazy about Jacob and now she hates me. It is what it is.Ã¢ÂÂ
Heather stared at me for a long second. Like Paige, sheÃ¢ÂÂd known IÃ¢ÂÂd been lying that night.
Ã¢ÂÂDonÃ¢ÂÂt make the mistake that I care, because I donÃ¢ÂÂt, but you need to tell the truth. Paige and I know youÃ¢ÂÂre lying. Tell Callie what really happenedÃ¢ÂÂwhatever it isÃ¢ÂÂbecause itÃ¢ÂÂs going to come out eventually.Ã¢ÂÂ
But it couldnÃ¢ÂÂt. If Callie found out that Jacob had kissed me and had been trying to get me back since before summer vacation, sheÃ¢ÂÂd be devastated. IÃ¢ÂÂd rather Callie lost our on-again-off-again friendship than her very first boyfriend who, when all was said and done, was a really amazing guy. Just a little Ã¢ÂÂ¦ confused.
Ã¢ÂÂCallieÃ¢ÂÂs happy. She may hate me, but sheÃ¢ÂÂs got Jacob.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂThen at least tell the truth,Ã¢ÂÂ Heather said. Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm not moping. Look, I just Ã¢ÂÂ¦Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂFine. Be alone. Be miserable because you have no friends. But donÃ¢ÂÂt let it affect the team. IÃ¢ÂÂm serious, Silver.Ã¢ÂÂ She started to walk away, then turned back. Her gaze softened and her eyes werenÃ¢ÂÂt so piercing anymore. Ã¢ÂÂJust donÃ¢ÂÂ Riding canÃ¢ÂÂt be everything.Ã¢ÂÂ
She walked out of the arena. Charm was probably tired after three days of nonstop practising.
But instead, I turned him toward the arenaÃ¢ÂÂs centre and urged him into a trot. We had a few dressage moves to work on. There were plenty of other things to practise and I wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be going back to my room until the last possible minute.
Heather had been wrong about one thingÃ¢ÂÂriding was everything now. It had to be.
ÃÂ© 2010 JESSICA and BURKHART