The Perfect Shot

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Meeting someone special to your heart in person for the first time is never easy, especially when their mom is around.

Submitted: February 16, 2017

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Submitted: February 16, 2017

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The Perfect Shot

 

  My heart was beating a thousand miles an hour as I made the final turn into Sharper Run Stables. I could hear and feel the gravel parking lot crunching under my tires as I brought my battered old pickup to a slow stop. As I parked, I could see a few horses wandering around inside the triangular fenced-in area that bordered the left side of the parking lot. The fence was made from some sort of tape or plastic banding that I had never seen before, but then again, I didn’t frequent horse barns very often either.

As usual, I was a few minutes late but I was close enough to my prearranged meeting time that I hoped no one would ask me if I had gotten lost. I hate when that happens. The drive had taken a couple hours though, so I was actually a little proud of just how punctual I actually was. There were only a few vehicles in the parking area, and I hoped one of them was yours, which would mean that you were already here. My piece of shit truck looked very out of place next to the newer, and obviously way more expensive vehicles in the lot, but I wouldn't trade it for one of those for anything. Meh, who was I kidding? I'd trade it in a heartbeat!

I grabbed my camera bag, took a deep breath to steady my nerves, and stepped out of the car.The sun was shining brightly and I once again thanked my lucky stars for the nice weather. You never really knew what you were going to get once September arrived, but it looked like I had really lucked out. A gentle breeze was blowing, carrying on it just a hint of the smells of autumn. The air was just perfect for a long sleeve T-shirt and that suited me just fine since it would cover up my partial sleeve of tattoos, first impressions being what they were and all. I knew I would be able to get some great shots today, even though that wasn't my only reason for being here.

You and I had been trying to get together for months, but we just hadn’t been able to find a time that worked out yet. It wasn't until I resurrected my oft-neglected oil painting hobby that a plan came together. After seeing some of your riding pics, I had decided that you would make the perfect subject for a painting, I mean, you and your horse of course. I usually work off of a photograph, but after scrolling through all the pics that you had shared with me, I hadn’t found any that captured you in the light and angle that I wanted to paint you with, so I decided to come and take some for myself. It took a few tries, but you had finally convinced your parents to let me visit to take some pictures for a painting. I think the only reason they agreed was that I had said I would share all the pics I took with them. Since I actually was planning to paint one, it wasn't really a lie, but my goal today was also to meet the girl who had captured my imagination and my heart so completely.

Normally, simply meeting a girl wouldn’t require so much planning and deception but the truth was there was just no way your parents would approve of me visiting you purely for social reasons, even if they actually knew about me. Not only was I several years older than you, but you were also still a few months shy of your 18th birthday, even if you did look and act older than that. As far as your parents were concerned, I was just some guy you met online. There was also the small matter of a few minor run-ins with the law that I had during a brief but really stupid period of my life a few years back. While I had seen the error of my ways, and had no intention of ever repeating those mistakes, I doubted your parents would see my reformed ways as legit if they ever found out about them. I was, without a doubt, from the wrong side of the tracks; definitely not the type of guy that a mother would like to see come strolling through her front door, not at first glance anyway. It didn't help that your mom was actually your grandmother, who, having raised you from an early age after your mom died, was totally overprotective of you. Really though, who could blame her? You truly were something special. I had never intended on feeling so much for someone so young, but life has a way of throwing a curve in the road every so often just to see if we are paying attention. What had started out as a few simple conversations had quickly turned into daily heart to heart sessions that by now, quite simply, I could not go without. 

I started walking towards the main door of the large, gray metal clad building, which I assumed was the indoor riding area, but I had only covered about a third of the way when I heard someone call my name from one of the other smaller doors leading into it. I turned towards the voice and saw an older woman with short gray hair and glasses, waving me over. I put on my best smile, waved back, and walked over with what I hoped was a relaxed stride. She greeted me with a firm handshake, which I returned warmly, and much to my delight, she actually seemed genuinely happy to see me.

"Hi, I'm Faith’s mom, Anna,” she said with a grin, “you must be the painter...Peter, was it? I was just beginning to think that you might have gotten lost!"

I laughed, inwardly cringing a little.

"No, sorry, actually my name's Patrick, " I reply, "and I just got off to a bit of a late start, that's all."

She nodded but I could tell that she wasn’t the type who approved of ‘late starts’. She beckoned me inside the building.

"Faith is just getting Teddy ready," she said, “c’mon, I’ll take you to her.” 

As I followed her into the large building, I could smell the mixed earthy scents of hay and horse, and could see motes of dust drifting lazily within the beams of sunlight that streamed through the windows. I knew my sneakers would be woefully out of place here, but they were what I felt most comfortable and confident in, so I wore them anyway. After a few moments I see a beautiful dark brown horse tied up to a railing just up ahead; Teddy, I presumed. There was a lithe figure bent over beside him, dressed in snug fitting riding gear, and adjusting something on the lower part of the saddle. My heart seemed to miss a beat as I realized that it must be you. I tried to remain calm and keep my pace steady as we neared, even though a part of me just wanted to break into a run, and just scoop you up into my arms. It had been so long of a wait. You and I had been baring our hearts to each other for over a year now, dreaming of this day, of this moment, and now you were mere steps away.

Sometimes, it's the most common and everyday images that made the best pictures so I lightly touched your mom on the shoulder and quietly gave her a hand up halt sign. Quickly readying my camera I took a few shots of you while you were still oblivious to our presence. I knew that I would forever treasure those images, taken the first time I ever saw you with my own eyes.

We had only just started walking forwards again when you finished adjusting the saddle and straightened up, only now realizing that someone was there. I hadn’t noticed how dim it was in the barn until that moment, for it was then that you smiled, and it was as if the sun had broken through the clouds. Your face lit up, and I couldn’t help but smile in return. Your dark eyes met mine and held them, and for a moment, my whole universe collapsed, narrowing until all I was aware of was those two pools of perfect brown. They were almost on the same level as my own eyes, and I hadn’t anticipated just how much I would enjoy that. I knew you were tall, almost as tall as I was, but knowing it and seeing it in person was a whole different thing. You were wearing a pair of dark framed glasses; your brown hair neatly tied back under your riding helmet, and it was quite obvious that you were strikingly beautiful. I already knew that of course, but seeing someone on a flat screen was nothing like seeing them in front of you, where all your senses could get involved. A pair of battered, perfectly worked in leather boots climbed up your shins to meet the light tan of your riding pants. You wore a white golf style shirt that only made your skin, which was as bronzed as only someone who spends all their free time outside could be, seem even darker. You almost glowed with energy, and everything about you spoke of the love you had for the outdoors, and of your way of life.

I'm not sure how long I stood there, completely smitten, no doubt grinning like a fool, but presently I became aware of the fact that you had spoken, and that your mom was now looking at me with a slight frown. I quickly regained my composure and blurted out a lame introduction, sticking my hand out and shaking yours with what I hoped was a businesslike manner. I could feel the strength in your fingers as you shook my hand, the toughened skin on your hand a testament to hours spent in the saddle and working in the barn. I couldn’t help but notice how perfectly your hand fit into mine, and how reluctant I was to let it go.

“So where would you like to start?” you asked, a smile still playing around your lips, “What kind of shots are you looking for?”

“Well,” I replied, furiously trying to remember what I had earlier planned to say, “first of all, I just wanted to thank you for letting me do all this. I've scoured the web looking for just the right image to paint, and I've had no luck at all. I think it'll just be way easier to take my own pictures. I'll tell you what, since I won't know exactly what I'm looking for until I actually see it, why don’t you just go through your normal routine, and I’ll just shoot away. When it happens, it happens, so just be yourself.” 

"Ok, sounds good to me," you reply, "you know I've been looking forward to this for a long time!" After glancing at your mom you quickly add, "I mean, uhh, since you emailed me the other week, of course."

I tried not to smile. "Great, just carry on like you normally would then!"

"Ok, I just have a few straps to double check here, and then we'll be good to go."

Your mom, sensing that things seemed well in hand, announced she had a few other things to take care of, and that she would leave us to our photography, but she also added that she wouldn't be far off if we needed her. Of that, I had no doubt. She moved off across the barn to where a few other horses were stabled, and picking a brush up off a hook, began to stroke one of the other horses. I noticed that she never seemed to take her eyes off me for long. 

"God, it is so good to finally meet you," you quietly say, adjusting a strap. Your voice has a wonderful tone to it. It's not smooth like honey, it has a slight hoarseness to it, making me only want to hear it more. You occasionally glance in my direction as your fingers fiddle with a buckle. "Do you know how many times I've dreamed of this moment?"

"Yeah," I say, "I think I have a pretty good idea, since it's probably about as many times as I have."

You look at me then, smiling, and I just want to take you in my arms right there on the spot. I can't stop looking at you. I never realized before just how much my starving eyes needed to see the real you in person, and now that they have, it's like they don't want to look away for fear you might disappear.

"Shouldn't you be taking some pictures or something?" you ask, a wry grin on your face.

"Sorry," I say, as I feel my cheeks reddening. I pick up my camera and take a few more pictures.

"It's ok," you laugh, your eyes aglow, "I don't mind. Here, let me introduce you to the star of the show. Patrick, I'd like you to meet Teddy. Teddy, meet Patrick!"

You stand in front of the horse with one hand holding his reins, and the other patting his gleaming neck.

"I was originally going to change his name to something cool or noble sounding, but Teddy just seemed to stick, so Teddy it is."

I reached up and held my hand under Teddy's nose, the way I was always taught to do when meeting a strange dog for the first time, and hoped the procedure to meet new horses was the same. After a sniff, he seemed to accept me as tolerable, so I patted him on the side of his dark muscular neck. It always amazed me just how large and strong horses actually were when you got up close to them. His coat was a shiny chestnut brown, and he had a distinctive white streak running down his forehead.

"He's beautiful," I blurted out before I could even consider if male horses were actually called beautiful or handsome.

"He certainly is," you say, but when I looked over at you, you seemed to be looking more at me than at the horse. Blushing slightly again, I asked if you were ready to go.

"All set here! Let's go!"

You begin leading Teddy over to a large open door leading to the outdoor riding arena.

As you turn the horse and begin walking him out, I couldn't help but admire the ease with which you handled the animal. I quickly took a few more pictures, then hurried to catch up with you as you entered the bright sunshine outside. As you slipped your foot into a stirrup, you nodded towards a small gate in the surrounding fence.

"You'd better stand outside the fence," you say, a grin on your face, "I have to focus on my riding, and I can't do that very well if I'm worried about trampling the paparazzi."

Then, with a laugh, you hoist yourself up and swing your long leg over the saddle, waiting patiently for me to get into position.

I find a spot with a good view of the entire course, and wait for you to begin. I take a quick look around. I'm overlooking a large, flat, fenced-in area, with several obstacles strategically placed around the grounds. There are low fences, striped cones, and other markers set out in a pattern that to my eye looks random, but that I'm sure really isn't. 

You started out slow, easily walking the tall horse around the outer edges of the yard, giving me plenty of opportunities to zoom in tight with my camera to let me see the look of concentration that you now wore. I could almost see the outside world fading away from your awareness with each step you took. All your worries and fears and day to day problems falling by the wayside as you rode, leaving just you behind, the real you.   After a few minutes you eased Teddy into a quicker pace, making me wish I had studied up a bit to know what all the various speeds were called. I was pretty sure it was a trot I was seeing now though. Shifting speeds again, you approached a low barrier of fence rails that had been set up as part of the course, and with an effortless leap, cleared it easily. I knew the horse was capable of way more than that, but that since this was just a demonstration for my benefit, you were going to keep it fairly simple. Even so, I was amazed at the power that you had under your control. I could feel the thumping vibrations from the horse’s hooves as you passed, only adding to the sensation of power. I continued to snap pictures as you rode, capturing several shots that I knew would be perfect for a painting, and several more that might just find themselves in a frame on my wall.

After a few more loops around the course, you slowed the horse down to a walk to cool him off, and that was when I got my shot. I thought I already had the perfect pic up until that moment, but I was so wrong. You were walking directly towards me and paused, leaned forward in the saddle to pat Teddy on the neck. The smile on your face was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. It was the smile of someone who was filled with joy, pride, and love. A smile that was as genuine as the sun in the sky above. As the camera clicked, I knew that I had captured it. I didn’t even have to check the display, I just knew.

My mind was still tingling from taking the perfect picture when you steered Teddy over to the fence behind which I was standing.

"That was amazing!" I cry, still excited from the demonstration. "You two make a great team."

"Aw, thanks," you say, your cheeks flushed ever so slightly.  "I hope you got the shot you were looking for?"

"Every shot of you is one I was looking for," I say with a smile, wondering if my grin looked as silly as it felt.

"Oh please," you laugh, rolling your pretty brown eyes.

I laugh, "Ok, maybe that was just a little corny."

"C'mon Patrick" you say as you climb down, "let's go get Teddy unsaddled before you start composing poetry or something."

I slip one arm through my camera strap so I can sling it under my arm as you lead the way back into the barn. I spot your mom quickly turning the corner inside. I bet she was watching us out there. I follow you to the far side of the building where you secure Teddy to a metal ring set into the wall, and begin unbuckling his saddle. It doesn't take too long for you to have it completely removed, setting it on a wooden rail nearby while you remove the saddle pad underneath. You set that down next to the saddle. Then, after leading Teddy over to a series of stalls, you steer him into one marked with his name plaque on the gate. You remove his bridle and after giving him a few last pats on his neck, and a small apple for a treat, you close the gate and I follow you back to where you left the saddle.

"Care to give me a hand?" you ask, nodding to the saddle pad as you hoist the saddle up off the rail, tucking it onto your hip. It's obviously a manoeuver that you've repeated a thousand times before. At first I feel a little sheepish at only carrying the light saddle pad, while letting you carry the much heavier saddle, but then I remind myself that that saddle was probably worth more than my truck.

"There's a tack room over by the corner," you say, striding in that direction. I look ahead and see a wooden door that I hadn't noticed before. It silently swings open on well-oiled hinges when you push on it, and we walk inside, leaving the door open. We are in a small room lit only by the sunshine streaming in through a small window set high up. The walls are covered with hooks and shelves of all sizes, many with straps and belts, and other riding equipment hanging from them. The smell of leather fills the air, and now that we are in an enclosed area, I can also them the faint floral scent coming from you. I breathe it in, savouring it.

Just as I spot a few other saddles sitting on special metal brackets bolted to the wall, you carry your saddle over to an empty one and set it down on it. I look around for where the saddle pad I'm carrying might belong, and finally see more of them half hidden behind the still open door. I push the door closed with my foot and slip the pad onto an empty arm that swivel's out from the wall for just that purpose.

"Ok, so that's all do-," I begin to say as I turn, but I suddenly cut off as the force of your slim body collides hard against my chest. Your arms are wrapped tight around me, and your lips, your perfect lips are finally, and at long last, on mine. My arms wrap around you and pull you in tight, pressing your every curve into me. Our bodies fit together like two perfect pieces of a puzzle that has never been assembled before. It's hard to describe that kiss. It was forceful, but so gentle, passionate, yet so tender. I can feel a soft tickling against the sides of my face and realize that you must have removed your helmet at some point and let your hair down. I entwine the fingers of one hand in it, feeling its silky softness, cupping the back of your head as I lose myself in that kiss. Time seems to stand still, as, just for a moment, all my thoughts are entirely centered on this small room. The faint floral scent is not so faint anymore and I can feel it burning its way into my memory, never to be forgotten. You just feel so...right in my arms, like the whole universe was holding its breath for a billion years just waiting for this moment to occur. Yeah, I know that I'm being corny again, but perfect moments will do that to you.

"Faith?" I hear your mom call from the other room, breaking the spell, "Are you just about finished? It's almost time for you to get ready for work!"

"Okay mom, we're all finished here anyway" you call out, "I'm just showing off my new saddle pad, I'll be right there."

"Tell Peter he can come back another time if he still needs more photos!"

You cover your mouth with your hand to muffle a giggle when she gets my name wrong but presently you manage to answer her.

"Okay!"

With my arms still around you, I smile, looking for a long moment into your eyes.  I can't tell if it's the light from the window behind me that makes them shine like polished chestnuts, or if that light is coming from within. A bit of both, I suspect.

"Well?" she says softly as she continues to hold me, "do you still need a good shot of me?"

"Every shot of you is a good shot," I say, half expecting you to hit me, but instead you just lean in and kiss me, long and deep, and full of promises of much more to come.

 

 


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