Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (43) The Stable Girl and the River Warden (Part 04)
As the trees began to thin out he knew he was close to the bridle path and when he was a few yards away he became aware of movement through the thinning woodland and as he got to the edge of the wood he saw that the movement was Emma and her colt Paris thundering along the bridle path.
He tried calling after her, but she didn’t hear.
At the speed she was galloping he had no chance of catching her so he reduced his speed and walked slowly towards home.
After about half an hour he could see something ahead of him to the side of the path, so he picked up the pace again.
As he got closer he could see there was definitely someone at the side of the path and he could by the find strands of blond hair below her riding hat that it was Emma and Paris.
The colt was tied to a fence rail and she appeared to be grooming the beast.
He moved a little closer and was about to say hello when he realised she wasn’t grooming the horse at all.
She was actually sobbing against the horse’s neck which caused
Harry to hesitate.
He was not well versed in comforting crying women and were it not for the fact that he had feelings for Emma he would probably, to his shame, have tiptoed away unnoticed.
So skulking away was not an option so he considered his next move as he looked at Emma stood beside the tethered beast, still wearing her riding hat and he was standing on her blind side.
He walked slowly across the bridle path closing the distance between them and as he got closer he could hear the sobs accompanying her trembling shoulders.
Harry was a couple of paces from her when she suddenly became aware of his presence.
“Oh Harry” she said and threw herself into his waiting arms and buried her face in his chest.
Because of the height difference she only just reached his chest so he kissed the top of her head and said
“What’s the matter Emma?”
At first she just stood stock still against him but when she tried to tell him what was wrong in was completely incomprehensible.
“Ok don’t talk honey just cry it out” he said and ran his hands up and down her back.
After about ten minutes when her breathing slowed and her sobs had subsided he asked again
“What’s the matter?”
“You weren’t there” she said “You weren’t anywhere”
Then she started crying again so he held her close to him again and explained what had taken him away at such short notice and kept him away all morning.
“So it wasn’t me?” she asked quietly
“What do you mean?”
“It wasn’t because you didn’t want to see me” she explained
“Of course not, I want to see you all the time” Harry said
“All the time?” she asked in disbelief
“Yes all the time” he confirmed
Emma pushed herself away from his chest and looked up at him and a smile spread across her tearstained face and then she leapt up and wrapped her arms around his neck and said
She was hugging his neck tightly and didn’t ever want to let go but the next thing she knew he was sitting her on top of the fence.
“No don’t let me go” she begged
“But I have to” Harry said
“So that I can do this” he said and kissed her trembling lips which met with no further protestations.
Afterwards they walked along with Emma holding the reins in one hand and Harry’s great paw of a hand in the other, he with tears stains on his shirt and she with mud spattered up her jodhpurs and both of them smiling inanely and from that day onward she never knew disappointment again.