Table of Contents

December 20, 2011

Chapter 41 -- Forgotten

Edward learns the meaning of the phrase "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".

Meanwhile a couple of old folks play catch in the riding ring.

Gena quits once she realizes Lukas isn't going to play nice.

So naturally, he gallops around the ring pretending to be a horse.

Ignoring his father-in-law, Edward tries to use osmosis to teach Cricket how to shake. This, too, doesn't work.

Inside, Faolin is taken with the birthday sparkles mid yawn.

He ages up and loses the button down, but keeps the freckles. 

"Yes yes YES!" Estrella squeaks, "This means we can move out right?!"

"Sis..." he starts to answer, then briefly hesitating while he gathers his thoughts, "That's not going to happen. I mean, I love you and all, but I'll barely afford to live on my own as it is. I won't be able to earn enough money to sustain the both of us."

"Not to mention she needs an attitude adjustment if she thinks she can run off on her own so soon. Your mother and I can barely handle her... she'd walk all over you," their dad butts in.

Back to Plan A, she plots, If only I could convince Abbey to join me...

"Oh yeah, that too," he sarcastically replies.

"Come here son, you've been such a blessing. Good luck out there," Edward gruffly hugs Faolin to hide his watering eyes. Now all that's left is to get his cranky daughter to mature.

Speaking of maturing, the family's foal grows up with his BFF, Lukas, who only celebrates because no one else is there to see him bond any more with the horse.

As time passes, the household only gets more frustrated with the teen. Fights ensue and soon enough, no one is on speaking terms with Estrella. On her birthday, she quickly, but dramatically, scans the house for signs of her parents, noticing their absence, she runs out the door.

She ends up at one of the many ponds in the city's outskirts. She had been hoping to feel better about seeing all the nature, but it just makes her want to leave even more. She reluctantly heads home later to celebrate her young adult birthday with her family.

When she gets home, the only one there to see her age up is her grandpa, who is only there because he forgot it was her birthday. Feeling a twang of sadness that her parents and siblings wouldn't even bother being there for such a monumental moment in her life, she calls Abbey and plans to meet up with her at their favorite hang out.

Abbey shows up late and doesn't even bother to say hello as she passes by Estrella and walks up the stairs.

Starting the game in silence, the two share brief glances, each echoing the others thoughts.

"You're family forgot too, didn't they," Abbey whispers, breaking the silence. Estrella just nods in return.

"Look at us. Neither of us have a bad bone in our bodies, but yet both of our parents still hate us. I can't stand it! After we celebrate our birthday I'm leaving home and never looking back."

"Let's just leave Appaloosa Plains altogether," Estrella quietly replies, trying to sound sarcastic, but meaning ever word.

"You know how I feel about that Ella... I'd love to travel the globe, but there are more important things in life," she responds, not entirely convinced.

"We could see the pyramids! The great wall!" Estralla babbles on, trying to get her friend to skip town with her.

"Hold on, hold on," Estrella backtracks, sensing Abbey is about to interrupt.

"How about just for a few days, and then we can come back to whatever else is more important to you, come on please?" she begs, trying to sound reasonable.

"As long as we come back in time for graduation," Abbey concedes as Estrella's face lights up.

Without responding, Estrella rushes over to the birthday cakes that the bartender set up for them and makes her wish.

December 15, 2011

Chapter 40 -- Throwing About Blame

The next morning after her parents birthday, Estrella wakes up to a new horse in their barn. Rolling her eyes at both another pet and the fact that the horse looks like something Liza Frank created, minus some color, she continues on to the house to grab a bite to eat before school.

Outside, Edward takes a break from his martial arts training to watch his newly expert wife train her wild horse, Catch the Wind. The beast learns fast, and the couple hope to make a nice profit from her in order to retire early.

Who hasn't retired, and who probably never will is Lukas. Failing miserably in trying to take over the world, he spends some time reading up on new military tactics he'll need to know if he ever wishes to invade the base again.

Once home, he notices the foal, Blazing Hearts and looks around to make sure no one is watching him.

Once he's sure he's alone, he scratches the large animal on the head, cooing in affection.

Once the softness is expelled from his system, he throws on the new radio in the barn and shows off the latest dance moves.

Inside, Estrella has just finished eating breakfast, when her mom lets her know that they'll be visiting China for a few days. Forcing herself to keep a straight face, she heads back to her room to finish getting ready for school without saying a word.

On the bus, Faolin suggests they throw a party since it will be the perfect opportunity with the adults gone. She uneasily agrees.

When the guests arrive later that night, the first thing they do is make a mess of the kitchen.

"Don't any of these people have food of their own?" Abbey rolls her eyes, "You'd think they were homeless if you didn't know better."

"It's not my problem Abbs, I'm blaming this completely on Faolin. You know I'm not in to this meet and greet sort of thing. Come on, let's go dance."

Following Estrella and Abbey, the teens migrate to the makeshift dance floor in the barn. The party soon gets loud and although she hates to admit it, Estrella is having a good time.

That is, until Cassie starts crying and rambling about yetis. Faolin looks at his girlfriend awkwardly.

After her spell, the older Dolver feints and the teens start heading home. Abbey just rolls her eyes at her sister. Her parents may not realize it, but she knows Cassie's anything but perfect.

It's a good thing they all left too, as the adults get home shortly thereafter.

Abbey crawls into bed and pretends to be sleeping and Faolin scribbles in his notebook. The trick works as their parents don't even bother to investigate before going to bed.

"So, Cassie?" Estrella offers as a conversation starter while doing their homework the next afternoon, "Doesn't really seem like marriage material after all, huh?"

"I don't know, but before her episode last night, she was acting like trash," Faolin snorts, "Just because I invite you over to dance and have fun doesn't mean I want to sleep with you. Anyway, the answer to number 4 is C."

"That's what I got too... So no more parties?"

"No more parties," he answers.

It's late that evening when Quynh is done catching up with Wind. Having two days away impaired the wild spirit's training significantly, and it took most of the day to get back on track.

Once she finds the time, she approaches her daughter and asks her how the farm fared while they were gone.

She isn't ready for the sudden outburst from her usually quiet daughter.

"How was the farm? HOW WAS THE FARM? What do you think it was like? Just glorious, just fricken glorious, just like China I bet."

Quynh throws her hands up in defense, but before she can say anything Estrella continues.

"Oh, no one thought to bring little Estrella along, huh? No one thought she might enjoy to see the world?" she screams while Lukas looks amused in the background.

"You, young lady, are grounded. And as for not bringing you along? You might want to know who the blame belongs to before you start accusing others. Talk to your grandfather."

And that she does.

Storming over, she begins her rant anew.

"You! It was you and your evilness all along! You've always treated my brothers and I like scum, but we're NOT. We're your kin and we're sick and tired of you treating us like shit. Now why didn't you let me come along to China?"

"Isn't it obvious?" he shurgs, before continuing after receiving a glare even he would be proud of, "When I was your age, my parents left me and my siblings to go on vacation, so we threw one of the best parties I've ever witnessed. It was the ending of the party that I hoped would repeat while we were gone. You see, that night the worst curse of my life fell upon me in the name of Peaches."

"You're saying that you left me home, so that I would be cursed for life."


"Whatever Grandpa. Don't tell mom I'm going out."

At the local hangout, Estrella continues complaining to Abbey.

"It's like all they care about is their jobs. I for one am never going to let a career rule me," she rants.

"And they treat me like a little kid. I'm perfectly mature enough to go out on my own in the world."

"So what are you going to do, travel the world, traverse the seven seas?" Abbey mocks.

"That's exactly what I want to do. Let's go, right now. Who cares about graduation."

"I do for one," she calls back up the stairs as she leaves to make it home before curfew, "But if you wait a few days afterwards, let me know and I'll come with you. As long as you plan to come back, anyway."