@Grace He's a charming all fart bless him Black lab is Molly, the setter is Rambo
@callixta The odd malted milk does get devoured, but never the custard creams. They're too good to share!
There had been nothing special about the day the invite arrived. It was mild, the skies were gray and Bean's had broken a fence scratching his bum. The usual hustle and bustle kept staff busy, with Rambo and Molly barking at anything that moved and getting under everyone's feet. An average day through and through. Several of the stables older horses and a handful of grooms had hacked out after morning feeds, setting off in fluorescent yellows down the quiet lane. Rachel led the group, riding the most senior of the senior citizens and being dubbed the most sensible, with Steph bringing up the rear on faithful old Midnight who snorted at fire breathing wheelie bins. The sound of metallic shoes against the pavement drowning out the idle chit-chat and games of I-Spy as the troupe wandered through the lanes.
They arrived back at the yard as the postman scrambled into his van, visibly terrified at the sight of five elderly horses plodding toward him. Being the regular postman did nothing for his fear of horses, though he still offered a smile and nodded a good morning to all who passed. He waited for all to pass and reach the other side of the gate before continuing on his mail duties.
"I'll check the post. We're expecting passports," said Steph, already dismounted.
"Alright, see you in a bit," Rachel called back. Bracken listening not to anyone, he was ready for a nap.
Steph nodded her reply, looped an arm through Midnight's reins and began rifling through the post. Most would be addressed Jack and the Striker family, occasionally a letter for the previous owners who had yet to inform their Aunt of the move. Usually a few bits of junk would bulk everything out and the odd letter for the stable, mostly catalogs. Today three items arrived for 'Striker Sport Horses'. The bulky one would certainly be the passports, while the other two letters would be a surprise. Anything not marked specifically for the stable was stuffed back inside the box. She tucked the three letters, and postcard addressed to 'The Boss' under her arm and led Midnight up the drive toward the stable. She passed Bethan and Lady on the way, waving to the pair and making the universal symbol for 'Cup of tea?'
The passports had arrived and lay on the table, a sticky note attached telling Rachel to file them away. Next to them a postcard from Australia. Your typical 'Wish you were here' photo of Sydney by night with only the receiving address on the back. But it was hardly a mystery who sent it, to anyone. It should have been scrapped really. The third letter had been opened, read and tossed into the bin under a tea bag and two muffin cases.
Steph was on the kettle run, standing with sugar at the ready and assorted mugs aplenty. She was joined by Bethan who sat admiring one of the passports. "Rhododendron sounds like a mares name." the young red-head mused. "Poor Rodney."
"We all named him," Steph replied with a brief chuckle. "It was Rhododendron, or Reordan."
"We liked the one none of us can spell." Bethan laughed, setting the passport back down. The kettle sang in the quiet before anyone spoke.
"Least it suits him, he is a bit camp as far as horses go," Steph added with a smirk. She busied herself making the first round of drinks, all the while muttering to herself who had what. Natasha could only have decaff tea bags. Gavin liked two sugars, while Bethan took one sweetener. Driana had builders tea, Don's was simply warm milk and Jasmine wanted to try the raspberry and echinacea. "Can you take these to your brother and Tash? They're in the barn. Yours is in the sprouts mug."
Bethan sprang up from the chair, "Sure," she responded, taking the two mugs and fumbling with the staff room door. It swung open, much to her surprise. She gave a squeak before composing her face into a smile, though her reddening cheeks didn't much save her the embarrassment. "Morning Jack," she stammered in a hurry, disappearing before he had chance to reply.
Jack raised an eyebrow, shook his head and continued into the room. Straight to the fridge and left over lunch from the day before. Half a sausage roll at 10:34am. "Morning," he spoke through a mouthful of pastry, at least having the manners to cover his mouth as he spoke.
"Morning," said Steph, hardly noticing the bits of pastry scattering themselves across the counter top. "Did you want a coffee? It's my turn." She questioned, this time noticing the pasty out the corner of her eye and rolling them in response. She offered the man some kitchen towel but said nothing.
"No coffee, but tea would be great. Thanks," he replied in a matter-of-fact way. "On-"
"One sugar, splash of milk? Steph interjected, a grin playing on her expression when she turned to face Jack who looked somewhat offended. "Still the easiest to remember." She noted. She had already refiled the kettle and fetched the mug with a quip about being your own prince.
Jack snorted, but said nothing. Instead he pulled himself onto the counter with an inelegant grunt, reminding him he was no longer twenty two, and watched the kettle as Steph did. "So, how's things this morning? What's the plan, do you need me? He inquired. Secretly he hoped to have the day off, Harry desperately needed a bath ahead of tomorrows pony club. The oversized sofa was, unfortunately a favorite.
"Well. Midnight seemed better this morning, I still think he needs to be ridden more than once a week. He's old, but doesn't show it. I was thinking Don could potter around on him, build his confidence back? She spoke quickly, keeping her eyes on the kettle. Don was a somewhat sore subject to bring up, given the history both men shared. When Jack didn't reply she continued on: "Otherwise Lady has been out this morning, Tess and Kinbie are supposed to be heading out to the Cross Country field this afternoon, and I was hoping to try loading Rodney again. His and Long-Legs' passports came today." She gestured to the passports on the table with a spoon, offering the man a smile when their eyes met momentarily.
"Did they spell his name right? Jack laughed. The kettle sang, and Steph returned to completing the second tea run of the day. Jack pushed off the counter, throwing the piece of kitchen roll now coated in sausage roll remains into the bin. It missed. Steph snorted, and Jack groaned. He picked it up and purposefully stood on top of the bin, about to discard the roll but something caught his eye. An open envelope. He took it from the bin and read it, after all it was now in a public space. "Did you read this?" Jack asked, raising the envelope to eye level.
Steph looked over her shoulder, regarded the letter for a moment and nodded. "It's not important," she replied with little emotion.
Jack read through it again and took a moment to consider his response. "It could be important. Aren't you visiting your brother that week? He queried. Steph didn't reply. Jack spoke again, this time louder. " It could be a great opportunity to meet the right people. Yu'no, grease the right palms."
"Do you really think we can afford to fly two people out there? It's no where near Charlie's, so we would need a hotel. And transfers, because I don't want to drive there, and you're bad enough here. " Steph shot back, tone growing more aggressive as she spoke. "This is obviously a mistake, it sounds like something for people with money. She made sure to emphasize the final two syllables. The tea she had been focused on was now being furiously stirred as milk was poured in. " I mean, we're still putting buckets under that leak in the hay store for petes sake." She added, trying to make light of the situation but finding no avail in the more sarcastic chuckle that escaped her lips.
Jack scoffed. He looked over the envelope again and muttered something that was surely a cuss about working with women. "The money side is business. I deal with the business, and you the stable." He challenged, quickly thinking of something to say next as Steph seemed to be preparing to argue back. "We got the invite for a reason. Someone clearly wants us there."
This time it was Steph's turn to scoff. "If we go around attending housewarmings for everyone that come knocking, there won't be a business to look after." The tea spilled over the mug and across the surface. She slammed the spoon against the counter. "We'd all be redundant, the horses would be sold off to some sausage or glue thing, and you would be homeless. We have more important things to spend money on that does not include schmoozing with equestrian snobs."
Outside the room foot steps hurried past, the door creaked and Bethan poked her head around the corner. The angered faces that greeted her caused her to retreat without a word.
Steph sighed and tossed the spoon into the sink, and sighed again. "Sometimes I swear you're the same desperate idiot that cried for help all those years ago. Do whatever you want. We clearly don't matter. It's all business" She took what little tea remained in the mug and left the room, leaving Jack clutching the envelope and alone. Somehow she knew they would end up flying out to Twinbrook all the same and face the embarrassment all over.
I couldn't help myself. They've never had a father/daughter photo in any of the 10/8 years they've existed. Back when harpg was fair, and everyone wanted an alcoholic single father character.
Updated, because I read it back and did a full body cringe. Now I only cringe a wee bit. Extra horse photo too, because I feel bad this doesn't really include ponios.
This was supposed to go up before I posted in the housewarming rp, but clearly that never happened Just a bit of background really. I ran out of photos and ideas mid way through, and figured since they ended up going anyway might as well leave it there. In summary, there's not enough money coming in to really justify this trip ~
P.s Imgur has taken to chewing on my uploads, and spitting out these pixel-ly things. I don't know why and it hurts my heart.