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Blackened Butterflies

Emme Foster hasn't had the best time growing up. And since the age of nine, it has taken a turn for the better. With a new Foster family every so often, and a passion for horses, Emme learns to hide her past and secret passion from others as to be considered normal. What happens when there are some new kids in town, with some very interesting habits, and while off in Columbus, Ohio; yet another mysterious figure wanders their way in to her life. Now to protect the life she holds so dear, Emme must choose who to tell what, and how to keep her dark past, and bright passion away from her enemies, and even her closest friends.

Yet another fan fiction, not too many recognizable characters though... sorry about that.

3. Three Hours of Drills

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2471   Review this Chapter

Angie was on her phone most of the ride back to Martha's house. I sat there with my ipod in, it helped with distractions. I could easily lose myself in the lyrics on any regular day, and today was almost as easy.

Half way home, I turned to Angie, "How old do I have to be to take out a restraining order?"

She laughed lightly, "There's no real reason to, we've already gotten your name changed, he wouldn't know you if you walked up to him and started talking."

I sighed, "I'd still feel better though."

She nodded as she pulled into the driveway, "I know, but it would be awkward to hand him a sheet that said that someone he didn't even know took out a restraining order on him for no apparent reason."

I climbed out of her car and we walked up to the porch, "I guess it would. But can I if I really wanted to?"

She shrugged, "I guess I can see if it can be arranged."

I hugged her, "Thanks Angie. You're the best."

She laughed, "I know. Will you be alright if I leave you here until Martha gets home? She said she should be back in about half an hour."

I thought about it and nodded, "I should be fine. Just as long as I know you'll come back if I need you."

"I will. I'm always on call for you." She hugged me before she left.

I sighed, well, there wasn't much to do except to do my homework and then hang out until Martha makes it home. Then change and head on out to Ana's place so I could have some peace for all of five minutes and then come home and crash. Better get started.

I was in the middle of working through my calculus homework when I heard the garage door open and close. I heard a bag drop on the kitchen floor and feet on the stairs.

Martha appeared in the doorway of Lexi's and mine's room looking distraught. "Are you alright sweetie?"

I could still feel the salt lines from old tears on my cheeks as I tried to smile up at her. "I guess, considering what happened."

She walked over to my bed and hugged me, "Its going to be alright. You don't have to do anything or go anywhere if you don't want to."

I laughed, "Its okay Martha. I don't want to fall behind."

She looked at me like I was crazy. "But, you just found out that he was back in town and you're only worried that you'll fall behind? Emme, grades aren't everything. It's about learning, and I want you to learn this material without being worried about anything. If you're distracted, you won't learn, and that's all that really matters. If you want I can call the school and we can get you out for the rest of the week."

I shrugged, "Its fine. I'll live for the rest of the week, and anyways, I have plans on Saturday to go shopping with Lexi and the new kids."

Her face lit up. "So you did meet them!" And then the questions started, "Are they nice, do you like them, are they in any of your classes? How many of them are there?"

I laughed, "Yeah, I met them. Gina's really nice, and so is her sister Faye, her brothers are okay I guess. They didn't talk much. Uh, I've got history with one of the brothers, but I'm missing that now, so I don't know how that went. And there's like" I took a moment to count on my fingers, an old habit, "six of them, but there's two sets of twins, and the rest are adopted I think."

"Well that's good!" She chirped, happy that we had more friends now. She was always worried that we weren't being social enough because of what happened to us.

I went back to working on my homework until I heard Lexi get home.

She raced up to my room a few minutes later with a bag of apples and carrots for the horses in her hands. "Let's get going. You forgot to call Ana remember?"

Oh, that's right. I did forget to call Ana, crap. We ran around the room changing and grabbing the things we would need off of the dresser and floor for a good two or three minutes. I sighed as I pulled on my other paddock boot, "Sorry I forgot to call her, it's just, well, a lot happened today."

"I know, and it's okay. We'll just have to let her know why we were later than usual when we get there."

I nodded as I slid into the driver's seat of my car and we sped off down the road.

* * *

Ana's place was a god half an hour away from where Martha lived, but it was worth the long drive.

Crescent Groves was an equine phenomenon. Ana's mom had designed the place herself with the future uses in mind. There were three barns and two arenas, one indoor and one outdoor, both with drainage and sprinkler systems. Two barns had twenty stalls each; one was for boarders, the other for the lesson horses that Ana trained with. The third barn was the breeding and foaling barn where foals were born every spring.

We walked into the lesson barn and I almost ran into Erick as he was dragging a muck bucket down the aisle way to go and dump it.

He smiled up at me, "Hey there Fosters!"

I smiled back, "Erick."

He left, still dragging the bucket with a lead rope attached to it so he didn't have to bend over and practically break his back while dragging. Erick was like Lexi and me, a foster child, well, he was adopted now, but he knows about what we went through.

I made it to Sky's stall quickly after he had passed. Sky looked up when I entered, my English saddle in hand. He gave me a look that clearly said he though I was crazy, and went back to eating his hay.

I heard Ana walking down the aisle way then, she poked her head into my stall, "No saddle yet, showmanship for an hour, and then break, half an hour warm up with rail work, and then we jump. You've got Congress to get ready for remember?"

I laughed. Ana was constantly reminding us that Congress was only a month away. It was a large show, and we'd be driving all the way to Columbus, Ohio in a good twenty hours with horses kicking in the trailer the entire way there. It was a good thing that Martha and Josh could at least help with our entry fees, the rest Ana's mom paid for in turn for us working here to help with maintenance and other chores.

I put my saddle away, grabbed Sky's halter and the chain leather lead rope, and soon enough we were outside and running drills for the next hour.

"Alright," Ana said, she turned to us. There were two cones set up in the middle of the arena. We were drilling, so Lexi and I would be doing the same pattern for the next hour over and over again. "Start facing the wall, back to the cone, one-eighty pivot, trot to the other wall, stop, set, another one-eighty, trot back to the cone, do a ninety pivot, and then a ninety degree pull turn, walk to the wall, set, and repeat. Go."

"...Come on, set her up faster! You've only got three seconds in the ring." Ana was coaching Lexi on speed while I worked Sky.

He was an excellent showmanship horse. Ana said that's why her mom started training him in the first place. She could tell he was eager to learn from the very beginning, and that trait hasn't left him yet. He knew the pattern only after two or three runs, but I couldn't let him go onto autopilot without Ana yelling at the both of us.

An hour after some decent to perfect pattern work, Ana told us to take the horses back and let them get a drink before we would tack up. We were to be back out and riding by five thirty.

Erick was waiting for me at Sky's stall as I walked him in, his shoes clomping on the hard floor the entire way.

"What's up?" I asked casually.

"Nothing, but... you seem a little off today. It looked like you were really trying to concentrate. Usually this stuff isn't too hard for you to memorize like that." He snapped his fingers for emphasis.

I sighed, "He's come back." It was all I needed to say as I tied Sky to the wall and threw my saddle pad onto his back and started tacking.

Erick's face hardened. He's eighteen, and he's overprotective about this kind of stuff. He just didn't like to think about people ever doing that to the people he now knows, and who he considers as family. "That's not fair."

I nodded in agreement, "I know, but we got as much out of my case as we could. Angie tried to get the judge to do more than listen, she even pressed attempted murder charges, but it didn't work, and now he's back in town. I guess it's a good that I changed my name when I did. Now he can't find me. The ‘me' he knew doesn't exist anymore. For all we know he never had a daughter." I said as I tightened the girth and he handed me Sky's bridle and my helmet.

"He should have been sent to death, all of them should have. It's more than child abuse, its pure torture." His voice was hard, defensive almost.

He walked out with me as I led Sky back to the arena where Ana was using Lexi's book to set up a course of three and a half foot fences for us to jump today. "It is, but, well, we can't fix the past."

He switched the subject when we knew Ana was within earshot, "So, you ready for that long truck ride to Congress in three weeks?"

I laughed, "I've been ready for that ride since I started showing. Bring on the angry horses!"

I heaved myself into the saddle and started warming up. Lexi joined me a few minutes later in the center of the ring and we talked for a few minutes before Ana got down to business.

"...trot." We did.

"Canter." We did.

"Hand gallop." We did.

It continued like that for a good half an hour until we started jumping. Ana read the complicated fence pattern to us as we memorized. It shouldn't be too hard. Lexi jumped first and then waited until I went before she told Ana what she needed to improve. And the course running continued.

It was seven thirty when we got back to Martha's house, and I could smell the food on the table before we even walked in. Riding had taken a lot out of me. I was glad Martha got home around three thirty. It was nice to see her during the day before we had to be at Ana's for three hours of training, and Josh was always home by six.

We kicked off our boots in the garage; Martha didn't like us smelling like manure when we came in after training. And washed up before sitting down at the table for the healthy dinner Martha always made us.

Josh was sitting across the table from Martha; Tommy sat next to me, and Lexi across. The empty chair used to belong to Sam, but his Agent had to move him a couple months ago when another family was looking to adopt him, he was fifteen at the time.

"So," Josh said as he dug into his chicken, "Anything eventful happen at school Tommy?"

The boy grinned, "We got to finger-paint, and color a lot! I made a picture of our family!" He held up his hands, which were still covered in faded paint.

Our family... I liked the sound of that. Probably more than I should have though, I knew it was only a matter of time before both Lexi and I would have to move on to another family maybe, that is if Martha didn't want to adopt us, and keep us at her house for just another year before we would be legally allowed to leave.

"Well, that beats my day." Josh said as he leaned back in his chair. "Office work is never fun, although we did get a new employee on the marketing level."

Lexi and I looked up at the exact same time. It was odd how we were so in sync. "What's their name?"

Josh looked at us, half surprised, but smiled, "Anthony Hall."

Lexi smiled, "We met his kids today, most of them are adopted though, but they're all super nice."

Martha smiled as she served herself more mashed potatoes, "And I heard that Emme has one of the brothers in her history class?"

I nodded and smiled down at the table, "I do. His name's Stephen, but I didn't get a chance to talk to him because of... well..."

No one pushed the issue of my father's return to town, but I was still tense whenever I thought about it. Even if I did feel completely safe most of the time whenever I was with Martha and her family, I knew there was still the possibility that my father could recognize me.

"It's alright, and that's great that you two seem to have some new friends." Josh said as he patted my shoulder. I smiled thankfully at him.

"Hey," Lexi's head shot back up, her eyes sparkled, "We still have plans on Saturday!"

I laughed, "Nothing escapes you're extensive memory!" I teased.

She threw a chunk of her breadstick at me. Our teasing was a common habit between the two of us, I just happened to tease her a lot when there was food in front of her, I had to remember to stop that unless I wanted to end up with potatoes stuck in my hair.

"What are you doing Saturday?" Josh asked.

"We're going shopping with the Hall kids." I answered, "We're just going downtown for a while, and we'll have our cells and stuff if we need you."

Lexi nodded in agreement, her mouth full of chicken.

"Alright, but as long as the two of you are home to have time to get ready for training." Josh agreed.

"We will. We promise." Lexi said.

And so Saturday was definitely a go.