Thursday, November 14, 2013

Snippet of the Day

Snippet of the Day

Dale stepped down and moved away, gesturing to him. She watched Neil's long legs climb up into the loft. “Just toss down a bale.” Neil looked down at her before dropping the bale. It landed on the floor of the barn with an airy thud. Neil lowered himself down the ladder. “The grain is over here.” Dale led him over to a large trash can. She lifted the lid and scooped out a full measure of grain and then handed it to him. Dale nudged him with her arm. “Go ahead, might as well get acquainted.”
Dale explained to Neil that if he came into the barn at night, it was wise to speak to Midnight. “She’ll learn the sound of your voice. Horses spook easily,” she warned. Neil opened the latch and dumped the grain into her hanging bucket.
“Hi, girl.” His tone was hoarse. Puffs of smoke streamed from Midnight’s nose. Neil raised his hand slowly and stroked her nose. Dale leaned against the stall and watched him pet her beloved mare, his touch cautious yet gentle. “How much hay does she get?” Neil stepped out of the stall and lowered the latch.
“I give her a wedge twice a day. Sometimes she’ll want more. Not more than two at a time, though.”
“How do you know if she wants more?” Neil wiped his hands down the front of his jeans.
“Oh, you’ll now,” Dale assured him.
Neil turned away and strolled over to the open doors of the barn. He sat down on the bale of hay, his elbows leaning on his knees, admiring the peaceful night. Stars winked in an onyx sky. The woods were quiet. Any sounds of life were iced over. Dale sat down next to him, leaving a few hands’ worth of space between them.
“I’m thinking I should leave tomorrow, be on my way, you know.” His eyes didn’t seek hers. A sigh slipped from his lips.
Dale stole a look at his profile, his jawline strong, his lips full. His hair fell back over his brows, his face creased. She wanted to crawl inside his head and pick away at his thoughts. Dale didn't know what to do.  He could stay. She did need a hand around here. If he was going to harm her he would've by now. 

The words shot out of her mouth. Neil’s body flinched in response.
“Why don’t you stay?” Dale gulped at the icy air. Her throat was burning. She wanted to help him but was afraid of sending the wrong message. “Why don’t you stay on and work for me? As you can see”—she waved a hand—“I do need some help.” She laughed.
He shifted his weight on the bale of hay. Neil's dark-brown eyes latched onto her, a pending silence swelling between them.

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