We got the horses tacked up and Misty handed me a halter to put onto heart that was purple with pink stripes. Heart lipped at it and bobbed her head. She seemed to like the color combination.
I gave Heart a little glare. I am not a pink person.
As we passed through Silverglade, Misty wanted to stop at the shop next to the hair salon. Some of the stuff was really nice. There were a couple shirts I liked and a hat, but I wasn’t willing to part with the Star Coins yet. I know Misty bought pants and gloves, but I was holding onto my coins for some reason. We exchanged pleasantries with Steve about the weather and how he hoped it would hold and then made a leisurely way up to Valedale.
Misty didn’t seem too interested in getting anything. Valedale Vestments had a lot of clothes that I liked. I swear, I might end up buying out 90% of the store! They even had a spaghetti tank top like Misty’s blue one but in black! That would be so much cooler than some of the other clothes they were giving us. And in case there was a chillier day, I picked up a white shirt with a black vest over it. There. I was almost set for tops but I didn’t see anything else that actually would work for summer clothes. The “night jacket” might be good to get when it was cooler out, but not now! That and I was trying to save my money for the mall. I had to exert a lot of self-control here.
When I showed Misty the tank top, she teased me about it. I pouted at her.
While I ran the race, Misty went and put her feet in the water at the lake. I’m not going to tell her but, ick, who knows what has been in that water? And what about fish and algae and just all sorts of icky things. She seemed to be a bit calmer when she got out and put her boots back on, but just, I’m trying not to think about the germs on her feet.
I pondered this whole wolf thing as we went over the pass to Firgrove. Maybe I was overreacting. Wolves were essentially just wild dogs right? Just bigger and… fluffier? I mean, I’d never actually seen a wolf. This could be a learning experience. How many people could say they saw a wolf that wasn’t behind walls at a zoo? (Wild animals did not belong in zoos.) As long as Heart could run really fast, maybe there wouldn’t be a problem. Reality might have set in again if I hadn’t had to pay attention to the switchback trail that they deigned to call a pass between Valedale Lake and Firgrove.
As we did chores, Felicity explained the wolf problem. Misty turned white and I tried my best to keep hold of my excitement. Plus, Felicity gave me matches. Yes! FIRE! Okay, all I was going to be able to do is light some torches, but still, burn baby burn. She also gave us some wire to fix the fences. We ended up giving her our cell numbers so she didn’t have to contact Judy all the time to get a hold of us.
As we trotted down the road to the sandpit, I figured that might have been a mistake. (Did I really think that Felicity would keep our numbers to herself?) But, it was too late now. We met Andy, a cute little boy who was in charge of watching the sheep by day. I went around and lit torches while Misty went inside the pen and did something to the sheep. I was glad she was doing it not me. I was getting used to this whole working with farm animals idea, but it was still kind of unnerving. Then together we worked at fixing the fences by threading the wire in the downed spots as best we could.
Felicity was pleased and gave us plenty of jorvik shillings. That was useful. I poked around Firgrove a bit, but didn’t see anything interesting. Lots of red, green and white clothes. I mean, there were a few nice things, but nothing that I had to have right that minute.
When I came back, Misty was fitting a black and green bridle onto Evening. I struggled with my amusement. “Looking good,” I told her and the horse.
Evening actually preened.
It occurred to me that I had just talked to the horse like it was another person and maybe Misty and I had better talk about this because neither of us were really treating our horses like pure animals anymore. Misty laughed and Evening kept showing off to Heart.
I was more than ready for a rest and lunch by the time we reached Fort Pinta. We did chores for James and I didn’t knock his hat off even, and he let us put the horses up in an empty stall. Evening settled in for a nap and I think Heart just wanted to snack a bit on the straw.
When we got to the café, Misty put her leg up again. I hoped it got better soon. And as we waited for our food, she pulled out her diary and a bunch of pictures and started telling me about her family. The same man was in both of them, one I assumed to be her father. He had auburn hair at least. One was a Christmas picture that looked fairly recent with a woman with brown hair. And the other was a wedding picture that looked older, but with a woman with red hair. I gave her an odd look, so she explained. Apparently her mother had died when she was a baby, the woman with the red hair, and her father had remarried to the woman with the brown hair. However, she’d actually been raised more by the butler and the housekeeper than her parents. I was going to assume that the housekeeper was this Mrs. Kettle person who’d given her the poker cards. She showed me a picture of Lawrence and I had to smile. The two looked happy together.
I looked at her pictures and bit my lip. I didn’t really have much to say about my family. I also hadn’t brought any pictures given that I hadn’t known about the whole trip until the day of. Mother had even packed the list for me. Things used to be better when I was younger, or at least I think they were. It’d only been recently things had been off.
I passed Misty the pictures back and tried to explain. So, I told her the best I could that Daddy and I looked a lot alike. We both had dark hair and green eyes, while mother had blonde hair and blue eyes. Mother was kind of like Loretta, very pretty. They’d met while they’d both been in college. Mother was a psychologist and daddy was an engineer. Mother had a hard time getting pregnant with me, so I was their little miracle baby. We’d been close when I was little and she hadn’t been working so much. But that’d changed as I’d gotten older. When I was little, Daddy and I did a lot of things together. He even took me to work a lot. He now owned a business that ran several factories and as I’d gotten older, he’d been working more and more. Mother ran her psychology office out of the house so when I wasn’t at daycare or in school and she had clients, I had to be elsewhere. Mother didn’t believe in nannies. She believed in professional cleaning services but not nannies.
When I hadn’t been with daddy, I’d been bounced between my grandparents on my dad’s side and mother’s sister. My grandparents didn’t believe in television or the top 40 music. They encouraged playing in the nearby park, reading and the Lawrence Welk show. Pops knew how to cook and he painted. Nana made the best cookies. They collected wine. My grandparents on my mom’s side lived in the country, so I barely saw them. Auntie was mothers polar opposite looks wise, dark hair and dark eyes. Auntie knew how much a pain mother could be so on our days, we went to museums, browsed shops and binged on chocolate. She also was the one to take me to my dance lessons (Ballet, which I hated), music lessons (my talent was piano banging) and riding lessons. I’d wanted to do fencing, but I guess that was one lesson too much.
I bit my lip and stopped talking. But things had changed lately. Daddy barely had time for me anymore. Mother didn’t want me to be around Nana, Pops or Auntie. I’d been pulled out of public school and from my few friends. Mother had refused to let me to apply to art high school and dropped me into a private school. I’d even heard her and daddy talking about buying a new house in a different, more upscale, neighborhood. All I knew was that daddy’s company had created something new and big that everyone wanted in that industry. So, suddenly, we had a lot of money coming in. And I swore he kept saying something about D.C., which I assumed meant Washington and given Daddy’s normal stance about taking government contracts (too much red tape), I was really confused about that. Then to top it off, I’d been kicked off to summer camp without any warning.
Misty looked angry about that. It made me feel a little better.
I applied myself to my food so I didn’t have to talk anymore. We ate in silence for a bit.
Have a question you want to ask Savvy about her experiences in Moorland or before? Ask at Ask Mountain Song on tumblr.