by Tess Hollitt

"Rain" She traveled by horse through the rolling hills and flat meadows. The sky rumbled with thunder. Her black stallion galloping at her command, she pulled up on the reins and came to a sudden halt. Her breath was heavy and she labored to catch it. She patted her faithful friend and leaned down to kiss his forehead. Her green velvet cape had mud and earth on it, her boots were weathered and worn. Her hood fell to her neck and she whispered to herself. She felt the tender drops of rain start to fall. The fog was settling in the valley. They both caught their breath and peace was coming back to her being. She lifted her head to the stormy sky and inhaled the damp air. She squeezed her stallion's saddle and he kicked the soggy ground up from beneath him and bolted. There, through the mist, lay a glimpse of home. A small stone built mansion surrounded by more stone built walls that bordered the wood. She led her friend into the hay thatched barn and unsaddled him. She dried him, fed him and kissed him gently once more to say goodnight. She made her way back to the main house. The rain had gone from a drizzle to a downpour. She stood silent in the middle of it. Her tears were met with raindrops and both were washed away into the muddy ground beneath her. She replayed the days events in her mind. The dismay and disappointment of it all. The high society snobbiness that had surrouned her and suffocated her. The stares and crudeness of the whole event. She let it all melt away with the falling rain and felt cleansed and whole again. She opened the door and knelt by the fireplace. She placed the wood one by one and lit the logs that would warm her. The next morning she awoke, wiped her eyes and washed her face. She readied for her day. She tied her apron around her waist and laughed to herself about the whole chaotic yesterday. She stood looking out the small glass pane window tying her long auburn hair into a bun and sipped the fresh brewed coffee. The sun was kissing the earth with her warmth and the mountains seemed to rejoice in it. There in the distance a lone rider approached. She grabbed her rifle and sat down on the steps. She squinted to make out the figure riding towards her. As he came into view, she noticed he was ruggedly handsome but, weary looking. He did not scare her. She felt at ease in his presence. He asked for food and shelter in exchange for labor and she agreed. The grew closer as the weeks passed by. They worked side by side. walked together in the sun and rain, dreamth of each other while sleeping apart. One evening, as the sun was starting to hide behind the orange tinted mountains, he took her hand. He said he had a confession. He had seen her not too long ago at a dance. The room was filled with high society empty somethings until, she arrived. She had melted his heart but, dashed out the door before he could meet her. He had loved her from that moment. A raindrop fell from the sky and they kissed.

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