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    Valkyrie
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Our Christmas Songbook - 10. Ten Lords a-Leaping

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

“I’m not wearing that.” Josh crossed his arms and scowled.

I rolled my eyes. “This is the fifth costume you’ve rejected. You have to pick one!”

“No, I don’t.”

I groaned. Sometimes dealing with Josh was worse than trying to reason with a petulant child. “It’s a costume class, so yes, you kinda do have to pick one!”

“Whose bright idea was this, anyway?” he groused as I shoved the reindeer costume in his arms and pushed him into the dressing room.

“It’s for charity, asshole. Now Rudolph up, baby!”

If looks could kill, I’d be a skewered mass writhing on the wall of the costume shop. He entered the changing room and closed the door with a bit more force than necessary.

“Bah, humbug,” I muttered and stuck my tongue out at my cranky fiancé behind the door.

“Hey, Galen. Any luck yet, love?” Alannah peeked around the rack containing Santa costumes next to the changing room door.

“Hopefully. His royal highness is turning into Rudolph with great enthusiasm.”

Alannah snorted. “I can only imagine.”

I held up an elf costume with green and white striped leggings and a hunter green waistcoat. “I’m all set. It’s not exactly Legolas, but it’ll do. I picked it out like two hours ago. Now I know how people feel when they go clothes shopping with me!”

She laughed. “You hit that nail right on the head.”

“Did you find anything?”

“I’m going to be Mrs. Claus. It’s too bad Liam has to work, otherwise I’d get him the matching Santa costume.” She smirked. “Maybe I will anyway.”

I laughed. “I have a feeling he’ll be putting in a lot of overtime if he finds that out.” My cousin, Alannah’s boyfriend, was about as enthusiastic as Josh when it came to costumes.

“Let me know when you’re ready to go. I need to find some material for the horses’ costumes.” She headed to another section of the store.

“Good lord, Josh! How long does it take to put on a freaking reindeer costume?” I knocked on the door. “Come out!”

“No. I look ridiculous.”

“I’m opening the door whether you want me to or not.” I was starting to get pissed. This was supposed to be fun!

Josh huffed out his breath. “Fine. If you laugh, I’m breaking up with you.” He opened the door and slowly walked out.

I tried to hold back the laughter. Seriously, I did! I stared at him for all of two seconds before the laughter burst out of me like the thing in the Alien movies. Seeing my stodgy boyfriend decked out like a reindeer was too much for me to handle.

“That’s it!” He turned around to re-enter the dressing room, revealing a bobbing reindeer tail on his ass. I could barely breathe because I was laughing so hard. Somehow, I managed to grab his arm.

“I’m sorry,” I gasped. “If it helps, you’re a very sexy reindeer.” I waggled my eyebrows and snort-laughed. “Don’t forget your antlers.” I held out a headband with two felt antlers adorned with Christmas lights that actually lit up.

He snatched them away from me. “That’s it. I’m not doing this. I look like an idiot!”

Two hours of listening to him bitch about every costume he tried on, finally made me snap. “The only reason you look like an idiot is because you’re acting like one! Everyone is going to be dressed up and look silly. That’s the fun of it! It’s a contest to see who can look the most ridiculous! Take the fucking stick out of your ass and lighten up, for fuck’s sake!” I gathered up my elf costume and moved to leave.

“Wait.” Josh clenched his jaw and tightened his shoulders. Then he exhaled and visibly relaxed. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll wear the stupid reindeer costume.”

“Damn right, I’m right.”

“Let me get out of this ridiculous thing, and then we can pay for them and leave.” He turned to go back to the dressing room.

“Sweetheart?” I said.

“Yeah?”

“Don’t forget the red nose.”

He flipped me off before shutting the changing room door.

 

The next day we loaded up the horses and headed down to North Salem, New York, just a few hours south of The Hollow Hills, the farm where we lived in Vermont. We were going to participate in the “Lords and Ladies a-Leaping Charity Horse Show” to benefit Safe Sport and victims of sexual abuse or assault. It was a two-day show, with the charity classes being held on Saturday and a big grand prix the following day. They were also hosting a meet-and-greet Saturday night, with Josh and Alannah as part of the main attractions. Alannah was an Olympic and world champion rider, and Josh was also a famous rider and coach. We were also bringing Charlemagne—Charlie—Alannah’s Olympic horse. He was retired from competition, but fans could pay to have their picture taken with him.

We brought four horses in total. Charlie and Pendragon, the horse Josh had been helping recover from a history of abuse. Alannah brought Renegade Pirate, a large paint pony with a black marking over one eye, hence the name. Pirate was pretty new to the farm. Although he was considered a pony, he was just shy of horse-size at 14.1 hands high. Horses are measured in ‘hands’, which are four-inch increments. Despite his size, he was quite the spitfire, and well capable of out-jumping horses much bigger than him.

The fourth horse was my beloved Buck. They had some fun classes that grooms were allowed to enter, so I decided I’d give them a try after a lot of convincing from Alannah. Josh thought I was entering just the costume class. We didn’t tell him I was entering some of the other classes too. I’d been practicing with Alannah for about two months now; ever since we decided to enter the show. I knew I was way out of my league, but the point was to have fun and raise money for charity.

We started getting ready about an hour before the first class—the egg and spoon race. Alannah was sitting that one out, so it was just Josh and I. She helped Josh get Dragon ready. Alannah had made a special blanket that covered Dragon’s rear end. It was made of sparkly green fabric lined around the outer edge with red pom-poms. His legs were wrapped with red and green wraps with entwined fake holly leaves, which were also placed around his breastplate. He looked gaudy as hell, but fit right in with the rest of the costumed horses.

So did Buck. I dressed him up like the dog from the Grinch. He had a big red pom-pom on his noseband and a giant cardboard antler sticking up from the top of his head. I felt as ridiculous as Josh did when he tried on his reindeer costume when we entered the ring. It was filled with top, international riders and their grooms, all riding well-bred, fancy horses. Then there was Buck, looking like a fuzzy old work horse plodding along with a goofy elf on his back.

Every rider was given a spoon with an egg on it. The last person with an egg on their spoon was the winner. I had practiced this a lot at home. Buck had really smooth gaits, so I got pretty good at keeping the egg from falling. All my practice didn’t really count for much though, since the class was over pretty much immediately. Most of the horses bolted to the other side of the ring, causing their riders’ eggs to fall, when one of the Irish riders entered wearing one of those giant, inflatable dinosaur costumes with a Santa hat on its head. Buck looked at it and snorted, then completely ignored it. So, we kind of won by default.

We headed back to the stable area to get ready for the next class. I hung the blue ribbon on Buck’s stall, grinning like an idiot.

“Congratulations, sweetheart!” Josh hugged me from behind.

I turned around to face him. “I can’t believe I won!”

“We’ll have to make a special place for it.”

I laughed. “I think it’s more of an award for ‘least spooky horse’.”

“Buck has that one in the bag.”

“Well, I don’t blame anyone from running from a dinosaur.” I winked.

“I have to get Dragon ready for the sit-a-buck class,” Josh stated and turned to leave.

“I have to get Buck ready too.”

He raised an eyebrow. “I thought you were only doing the egg and spoon?”

I grinned. “I’ve been practicing. My goal is to not be last. Besides, how can I not enter Buck in sit-a-buck?”

“You never cease to amaze me. Good luck, sweetheart!”

“I think you’re the one who will need the luck.” I smirked.

“Oh, smack talk, huh? In that case, it’s on!” Josh laughed.

We removed the saddles from the horses and entered the ring after getting a leg up from one of the stewards. There were twenty-five competitors in the class, and we all lined up in the middle of the ring. The stewards then proceeded to place one-hundred-dollar bills under our upper legs. The goal of the class was to not lose your bill. The last person with a bill under their leg got to keep all of them. Not a bad payday!

I seriously didn’t stand a chance, but it was great fun to trot and canter around the ring with the bigwigs of the sport. Two people were eliminated when their horses tripped and they lost their balance. Three others were eliminated when their horses spooked. The announcer kept calling for rapid transitions from the canter to trot, which meant more eliminations. Finally, it was down to five people, including me and Josh.

“Damn, Galen! Who’d have thought you’d be one of the ones left?” Jackson, one of the American riders, laughed.

“I’ve been practicing,” I replied. “Just don’t put me in a jump-off.”

I should have kept my mouth shut, because the next step was for us to go over some jumps. About 2’3” was all both my riding skills and Buck’s arthritis could handle. That was nothing compared to the over four foot jumps the rest of the riders were used to tackling. Plus, I’d never jumped bareback before.

The ring steward set the jump to 2’3”, and I trotted Buck toward it, hanging on for dear life. He hopped over the small jump, and by some miracle, I kept my bill and didn’t fall off! They raised the jump for everyone else, and after Josh and Dragon sailed over the jump, Dragon spooked and crashed into Buck and me, causing us both to lose our money. Since Josh lost his first, he placed fifth, and I placed fourth.

We headed back to the barn so I could take care of Buck and Josh could get ready for the next class. After Buck was happily munching hay in his stall, I hung the white fourth place ribbon next to the blue one. A thought occurred to me, and I started giggling. I headed over to see Josh.

“I can’t believe I actually beat you.” I snickered.

“Me either, to be honest.” He smiled.

“I only lost because Galen got run over by a reindeer….” I sang. Jumping sit a buck for charity….”

Josh groaned and rolled his eyes. “You’re such an ass, you know that?”

“You’re the one who ran me over. Maybe I would have won the class.”

“I guess we’ll never know now, will we?”

“I challenge you to a rematch when we get home,” I replied. “The winner has to do all the morning barn chores for a week.”

“Deal.”

 

 

Fans of my story The Hollow Hills will recognize some familiar faces ;)  Here's another earworm for you :P  Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments so far.  We love hearing everyone's thoughts about our stories.  Only two more stories to go!  Tomorrow you'll get Cole's take on eleven pipers piping, and then I'll finish things off on Friday with my twelve drummers.  There may or may not be another familiar face making an appearance....

Copyright © 2021 Valkyrie, Cole Matthews, Aditus; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

6 hours ago, drsawzall said:

How can you go wrong with a line like this below...The gift of oneself in service to others in need, is the greatest gift!

“It’s for charity, asshole. Now Rudolph up, baby!”

Now if I saw 10 of these, I'd go.......

th?id=OIP.w9S335hQw5a2Xaztw8UQvQHaFj&pid=Api&P=0&w=242&h=181

 

Haha, yes that line is perfect!

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Hilarious cute story and as a bonus our man Josh and Galen from Hollow Hills.

But one question, why are Josh and Galen not yet married after three years? And so Alannah and Liam?

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On 12/22/2021 at 8:41 PM, CincyKris said:

Thanks for the laugh and for catching us up with old friends!  

Thanks for reading!  The thought of Josh dressing up in costume had me :rofl:  

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On 12/22/2021 at 8:48 PM, drsawzall said:

How can you go wrong with a line like this below...The gift of oneself in service to others in need, is the greatest gift!

“It’s for charity, asshole. Now Rudolph up, baby!”

Now if I saw 10 of these, I'd go.......

th?id=OIP.w9S335hQw5a2Xaztw8UQvQHaFj&pid=Api&P=0&w=242&h=181

 

:gikkle:  :rofl:  

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On 12/22/2021 at 10:20 PM, JeffreyL said:

Nice idea, taking the lords a leaping to a charity horse event! I have two cousins who are horse women and often ride in horse shows. That brought it a little closer to home for me! Thanks. 

Cool!  I used to ride and train horses myself, but it's been a while since those days.  

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On 12/22/2021 at 10:42 PM, Clancy59 said:

This was very funny.  Loved it!

Are we going to start listing our favorite, goofy Christmas songs now?  How about Dominic the Donkey and I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas!  And then there’s always The Hanukkah Song!

Haha I was just talking about Dominic the Donkey with one of my clients.  We covered the hippo song in Chapter 1 ;)  I love The Hannukkah Song.  There's lots of great, silly songs out there :gikkle: 

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On 12/23/2021 at 2:28 AM, raven1 said:

Thanks for the great Christmas joke.  I must admit that I didn't get the punchline until after when I caught a case of earworm. After that it took me several minutes to stop:rofl::rofl::rofl:

Haha you're welcome :P  :gikkle:  

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On 12/23/2021 at 2:55 AM, Aditus said:

Haha, yes that line is perfect!

😁 It's my favorite line of the story too :gikkle:  

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On 12/23/2021 at 6:33 AM, dughlas said:

Oh this was fun. I need to read The Hollow Hills, it's been on my tbr list.

Thanks!  I hope you like it :) 

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On 12/23/2021 at 6:48 AM, raven1 said:

Funny you should say that dughlas.  I though the same thing.  I read about 3 chapters before taking a nap.  I loved the start and plan on continuing reading the book.  This is the second book to date that I added to my list after reading Our Christmas Songbook.  I am starting to read a book by Mark Arbour also, The Gunroom. Catch you later hopefully.:yes:

I'm glad you decided to start reading THH.  I've really enjoyed reading your comments so far.  I'm glad our Songbook has led to reading other stories :)  

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On 12/23/2021 at 9:53 AM, Parker Owens said:

Thanks for a further snapshot of their lives. I enjoyed the rides! 

Awesome!  Thanks! 

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17 hours ago, Cole Matthews said:

Very cute story about some old friends!!!  Thanks for sharing Valkyrie!

Thanks!  Glad you liked it :) 

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6 hours ago, dutch woman said:

Hilarious cute story and as a bonus our man Josh and Galen from Hollow Hills.

But one question, why are Josh and Galen not yet married after three years? And so Alannah and Liam?

Thanks! I don't think I gave a chronology here in relation to the end of The Hollow Hills, but it wouldn't be three years - more like a year and half or so.  I do plan on writing a prequel and a sequel at some point, though. ;)  

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