I sat on the garden chair and just stared, my eyes were on that saddle swing that he made for me. It was such a perfect summer and it ended when he left.
It was 2 years ago but I remember it like it was only yesterday. He was here just to speak with my brother and have a day of relaxation until I showed up. I had been away at boarding school and came back for the summer.
I was just finishing up the last of my coursework that I was given during school and I was happy enough that I decided to myself that I would go for a ride on my horse. I flew down the stairs and to the barn as I mounted my horse Sandy before taking the reins and letting her trot outside.
I held the reins gently as I let Sandy take the lead towards the white gates but something else had caught my eye and it was this saddle swing that was hanging from the large oak tree in my garden.
It look beautiful as it hung against the hills and the sun. I let myself smile before letting Sandy trot to the gate as I swung my leg, kicking it open and galloping out and jumping over the small fences.
I let Sandy take her own way round, just holding into her reins as I kept wondering who had put it up. I shook my head knowing that it wasn't there when I got home so it had to be my brother or his mate as they were the only two staying in the house over the summer.
I kept riding with Sandy until the sun had gone down, but even than I still didn't go inside. I just rode outside until my brother and his mate came out.
"Come inside Al, it's getting cold and we can see you shivering from here" I gave my brother a death glare before riding back to the gate. He took the reins and his friend, Brad gently pulled me down from the saddle, wrapping his arms around me tightly.
I relaxed against his chest, it felt so warm and I never wanted to move from this position.
I felt him swing me up into his arms and carry me inside as he lay me down on the thick rug we had in front of the fireplace. We lived in a barn house with a farm but we had worked hard to build it into a field for me to ride my horse and take care of her along with having a large garden.
Brad wrapped a blanket around my shoulders and kissed the top of my head as my brother walked in, closing the door before lighting the fire.
"How long were you outside for Al?"
I glanced over at Brad as he came back into the room with a tray of cups. I grinned when I saw the whipped cream can and a bag of marshmallows. "Hot chocolate has been served"
He and my brother sat down either side of me and kept me close as I warmed up after a few minutes. I sipped at my drink, giggling as I used the can to spray Brad.
"Oh yeah, I was outside for 15 hours I think. I was up at 5am to get ready than I was outside by 6am with Sandy and its 9pm now so, yeah, 15 hours"
My brother shook his head.
"Me and Brad weren't up until bloody 11am, how can you ride for that long?"
Brad looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
"How can she even be up at 5am? Takes me an hour to even get out of bed for college and my classes don't start till 2pm"
They both laughed and shook their heads as they kept the blanket around me tightly. I lay back on the rug and stared up at the ceiling to the large mirror placed there. I never knew why we had it there but I was glad, I was able to stare at Brad without him knowing.
He was so gorgeous.
We all just lay there together laughing and chatting, just talking about old memories when I was younger.
I woke up and rubbed my eyes, blushing as my hand ran over a bare chest. I looked up and saw Brad, my head was on his chest and his arms were wrapped around me tightly. I slowly moved and looked at the time to see that it was 11am as I moved quickly taking a shower before pulling my horse riding gear on.
I pulled my boots on and tied my hair up with a piece if black ribbon hanging beside my helmet before I strapped my helmet on. I skipped down the stairs and into the stable, taking the reins of my horse Sandy as I mounted her, trotting out slowly.
I took charge today and started to gallop, kicking Sandy's sides gently to have her speeding up before lifting the reins as she jumped the fence, landing perfectly.
"I see you have Sandy in training again"
I let myself look round to see Brad stood there with my brother. They both sat on the garden bench swing underneath the porch way as I continued to ride around with Sandy. I slide off after 2 hours of riding and took the glass of water from Brad.
He nods and sits down as my brother brings out some lunch for us three, laughing as I chuck the rest of my water over Brad's head.
"You two are such kids, act your age for christ sake and eat your lunch"
I laugh and shake my head before sitting down around the glass table with the boys. We ate together and shared a few more memories as they told me about their days in college whilst I was away at boarding school.
I was about to grab my helmet to go for another ride and train Sandy again but Brad stole my helmet. He watched my brother walk inside.
"Go on your swing and I'll push you, I put that up especially for you. Your brother told me you have always wanted one."
I watched him before walking over to the swing as he walked behind me before lifting me and sitting me down on the saddle. He pushed it gently as I held onto the chains, relaxing as I felt more at ease.
"Why have you always wanted a saddle swing darling?"
I shrugged and let my eyes closed as Brad pushed me gently.
"I've been riding a horse since I was little so being a saddle makes me feel safer and more secure about being on a swing as I am able to hold on without losing my grip. It's something that makes me feel safe and happy as this has been my life"
I felt arms around me and instantly knew they were my brothers from his cologne.
"Come on hun, you're stronger than this" He wraps a blanket around me, already guessing that I'll sleep out here again.
I watched him go inside before I sit back, letting myself fall asleep just listening to the wind in the background.
I immediately opened my eyes at the crack of dawn and just stared. That was all I could do, there sat on my saddle swing was him. He was sat there on the first place we kissed.
I ran from my chair and he jumped off the swing, picking me up and lifting me.
"Miss me baby girl?"
The tears streamed down my face as I held onto him tightly.
"My training is finished and now I'm a solider. So whenever I leave, you'll be coming with me"
He gets onto one knee, opening a small red velvet box.
I stared at the diamond ring before nodding as it slipped it on with another ring.
"That's my class ring, to symbolise the promises I make as a solider but also now as your fiancé"
He held my chin gently and we kissed.
Right there in front of the saddle swing.
It was the first time we spoke, the first place we hugged, the place he asked me to be girlfriend, the place he returned to, the place he asked me to be his wife but also hopefully in the future it would be the place we would marry and have kids.
My children will grow up with the saddle swing and its happy memories, no sad memories to be carried with it.
It will be a memory that will forever be cherished, a memory that my soldier gave to me.