“Flara are you sure you want to run? It rained last night and it looks like it could start again any minute.” Zoe leaned against the wall. Flara was tying her shoes.
“Mom I’ll be fine. I run in the rain all the time. I’m wearing my heavy jacket as well,” Flara stood up and zipped the jacket she wore.
“You are so stubborn. I’ll have a hot cup of tea for you when you get back,” Zoe sighed and turned away. Flara had too much of her father in her and behind her. She didn’t really listen to what her mother ever said. If dad said it was okay, she did it.
It did start raining and hard as Flara crossed the road where she always turned just passed Sweet Stream Stables. She ducked her head to keep the rain from pelting her face. As she reached the Stables drive way she ran smack into something.
“Oh, you!” She recognized the young man from a few days ago at the race who had been looking at her when her mother called. Though she could not see him that well through the rain.
“You’re Liberty Parks’ jockey,” the young man let go of her and smiled.
“Yeah,” Flara didn’t know what else to say.
“Well, come on up to the house. It’s awful out here.” He had to raise his voice above the rising wind.
“I better not. Mom is waiting for me. She knows just how long it takes me to go on my run,” Flara replied.
“At least let me drive you to your place. It’s not going to let up anytime soon,” He looked at her.
“I’ll be fine. I run in this kind of weather all the time,” Flara called over the noise of the storm.
“In that case, you better hurry home.” Flara could not see him too well but she could hear the smile in his voice as he stepped back to let her pass. She waved and was about to start running again.
“Wait! What’s your name?” The young man stepped forward.
“Flara Wilson,” she took his outstretched hand.
“Jason Harrison. Now hurry home and get dried off and warmed up.” He gave her hand a little squeeze and stepped back again.
Flara looked back over her shoulder after a few yards and could see him dimly still standing there.
“You’re soaked!” Ginny poked her head around the corner when she heard her sister come in the door.
“Just a little,” Flara grinned.
“Get her a towel she needs to get dried off,” Zoe appeared and began helping Flara off with her jacket.
In less than five minutes, Flara was dry and sitting at the kitchen counter drinking a hot cup of tea. A smile played across her face. But she did not tell anyone she had met the neighbors. One of them anyway.
The other girls were getting ready for school when Flara and Mick left for the barns half an hour later. The rain had let up a little but they still carried umbrellas.
“There’s a dinner at the club tonight. Do you want to come along? Your mother and I are going with Sammi,” Mick spoke of the little group that had formed from around the area and had a club building where they had dinners and fun stuff like that.
“I don’t see why I couldn’t go. I have nothing else to do and I like to get out,” Flara replied.
“Rumor has it the new owners of Sweet Stream will be there,” her father commented further.
“Oh really!” Mick did not know why that comment seemed to brighten her just a tad.
Morning workouts went well, then Mick and Flara with some of the others sat for an hour going over the schedule for the next 30 days.
“Alright, I think we have everything now,” Mick stood, as did Flara.
“Yep, I’ll see you tonight,” Fritz said. He was one of the trainers they had for Liberty Park.
“Do I look alright?” Sammi questioned Flara later in the day as they were getting ready to head to the dinner.
“You’re looking way too grown up,” Fritz remarked. He had come up to the house and was sitting in the living room waiting for the family to be ready.
“I was going to say the same thing. When did she grow up,” Mick said walking into the room.
“Dad,” Sammi laughed.
“Come on now, girls get your coats,” Mick waved for the girls to follow him as he headed for the garage.
No one talked much on the drive to the brightly lighted club house.
“There are a lot of people here.” Zoe looked around the room as they walked in.
“Sam! I was hoping you would be here tonight.” Flara turned at the voice. Tyson Eppert laid a hand on Sammi’s arm. Tyson was a few years older than Sammi but the two were best friends.
“I didn’t come for any other reason except to see you,” Sammi laughing, took Tyson’s arm.
“Flara, how are you,” Tyson turned a smiling face to Sammi’s sister.
“Doing good, Tyson. Are you two planning nonsense?”
“Not tonight,” Tyson joined the sisters in a good laugh.
“Well, I’ll see you around.” Flara watched the pair walk away into the crowd.
“I see you didn’t take cold from your run in the rain,” Flara whirled around at Jason’s voice.
“I never have,” she laughed. Taking a good look at him now she saw he had dark brown hair and brown eyes. He was dressed in slacks and a blue pinstriped, button down shirt.
“Come, meet my family,” Jason invited but as he spoke, he saw the happy look fade from Flara’s face as she saw someone watching her through the crowd.
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