‘Rick! Help me please, I am falling!’
Rick turned back to see Anna, her hair flying in the wind with her lopsided hat perched on Thunder, the Rogue. Rick had warned her, but Anna never listened. It didn’t look like she was going to fall, but he better stay by her side, just in case. Couldn’t have her breaking a bone or anything, Rick thought.
Rick rode back quickly and fell in line with Anna. With a swift hand, he managed to grab control of Thunder’s reins as well as his own and Thunder’s gallop turned to a trot. Even Thunder realized that the reins were now in Rick’s hands and knew that it was time to behave. Rick had been born and brought up on the ranch and had known Thunder for the last eight years. Thunder was his dad’s favourite horse, although he was temperamental and hence called Rogue too at times.
Rick turned back to Anna who was grinning like a child who had just been up-to mischief and knew she would be reprimanded. And a child she was! At 13, she was the most beautiful creature he had ever set his eyes on, since her parents Paul and Michelle had moved into the ranch next door. She had just been seven then and he exactly the double, fourteen! And it had been love at first sight for him. She had looked adorable with her blond pigtails and her wide blue twinkling eyes. They had been best friends ever since.
Even now, she looked as pretty as a picture. It was so difficult for him to hold back his feelings, but she was still a child. She had some more growing up to do before he told her how he felt about her. His heart beat only for her and at twenty, he knew for sure!
‘Rick! Where are you lost? I have been talking to you and you are not paying any attention!’ Anna cried. Rick pulled himself out of his reverie and turned his attention back to her. ‘Anna, I am right here, your knight in shining armour!’ Anna giggled at that and said ‘Rick, you will always be there for me, you promise?’ ‘I do’ replied Rick while he thought, if only she knew. He would gladly say ‘I do’ all his life to her.
‘Let’s have a picnic in the garden overlooking the lake nearby. The horses are tired and could do with some rest. And we have our picnic basket too. Please don’t say no, Rick! I will make sure that Thunder doesn’t gallop and will stay by your side all the time.’
Rick nodded and smiled, taken in by her childlike enthusiasm. As they rode away, he just knew that he would pour his heart out to her someday. For now, he would just be there and take care of her every day, he promised himself.
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