Faye and Ines, guests at Irene's home for a very brief 48 hours, turn up at the stable for the beginning of the inevitable Sparkle Pony Party. Accidental romantic interference happens.
Location: RP Room 6
Related Scenes: 2237-11-09 - The Wind That Rustles The Jimmies
Scene Number: 1559
Time: midday. Location: Harris Estate, Fallbrook, Virgon. Mission: Sparkle Pony. Objectives; 1) Acquire transporation by any means necessary, 2) travel over land to target area, designation: Duggan's Farm, 3) collect supplies detailed in accompanying checklist from friendly agent, 4) exfiltrate area, evading hostile forces, and return to base (preferably before dinner).
Irene's already at the stable, sorting out the first objective by saddling three horses for the trip. Duchess, a fittingly regal looking white mare, Sir Reginald, a chestnut stallion with a black tail and mane and the grey-white Squirt, the smallest of the three who looks like he hasn't entirely grown into his legs yet and perhaps never will. Irene's brushing him down, fussing over some dried mud on his flank which she quietly takes him to task for. The last horse, Rose, is in her stall but keeps craning her head around to nibble and tug on Irene's coat. She wants the carrots. All of them.
Faye walks in soon after that moment, and looks toward the horses. She's all kitted up in her tactical gear, a pair of jeans, boots, a white spaghetti-strap top and a button-up plaid long-sleeve affair that's only buttoned three quarters of the way. She hooks her thumbs into her pants pockets (Pfft, like she thought she could get more in those impractical things!) and watches Rose go after Irene's coat. Neigh, she won't call attention to it, she trusts that Irene knows about it.
Rose gets an offhand push, but she's not at all discouraged, not when there's carrots in Irene's coat pockets. She keeps on until she pulls so hard that the blonde has to take a step back to keep from falling on her butt. That gets a swat, and some stern words which are summarily ignored, because she's a horse and Irene is just a tiny person. "Rose! Your behavior is completely unacceptable. Behave or I won't give you any more. Look at Squirt, he's being the best, most behaved-" And he's managed to stick his nose practically in her pocket while she was distracted and is munching happily on a pilfered carrot. Outrage! "SQUIRT."
Faye would probably be saying something more, but instead she simply watches this as if it's the mane event for the day. A snicker that grows into a snorting giggle at Irene's outrage and the Viper jock is grinning from ear-to-ear watching this display. "Ohhh c'mon, Iris, clearly they're just foaling around with you."
It takes Ines some time, but eventually she emerges again from the house, trotting across the damp lawn toward the barn with a backpack cinched tightly enough to her shoulders that there's minimal bouncing involved, even though it now contains her old polaroid camera. She's not dressed any differently than she was when she and Irene took a walk to the greenhouse to ogle various plants, but she did take the time to wind her hair up into a bun close to the top of her head. Bits of it are already coming loose. Her hair is not docile.
Her cheeks are pink when she arrives, but all that running on the ship must be accomplishing something, because she's not terribly out of breath. Not, anyway, until she gets inside and sees the sparkle ponies, at which point she gasps, and looks briefly as though she's going to cry. "Ohhhh. They're so handsome!"
"I think my mum has been spoiling them." Irene explains, just on the edge of exasperated as she turns to look to Faye. Noting the big grin, she rolls her eyes a touch and shrugs, probably knowing this isn't a battle she's going to win today. Spoiled horses are spoiled. She snaps a carrot in half and gives it to Rose, admitting defeat. With her crunching away, Irene puts the brush into the tack box and asks, brow arched, "So. Have you ever ridden before? I was going to put either you or Ines-" Speaking of, "Kes! Which one do you want to bribe?"
A snicker and Faye's eyebrows arch up and inward, "Nooo, never ridden. Well, besides that one time on set. But that scared the hell out of me, it was a good thing the shot was mostly from behind so they missed my look of sheer terror on camera. Crew couldn't stop laughing about it for a week though." She crosses her arms under her bust, turning a bit to the side, a hint of worry and then-- Ines! "Ines!" Faye grins to her next, "Looks like you really hoofed it on over from the house, and yes! Is that what you call them?" a look toward Irene, "Handsome? Pretty? I dunno."
"Sir Reginald!" Because obviously: Irene said the horse is stubborn and kind of a jerk. It's well-established that Ines has a tendency to want to prove she can handle that kind of thing. The number of people in the barn likely to be shocked by that choice? Zero. Also: "I love his name. I want to talk at great length when we get back about all the time I spent with handsome Sir Reginald. Maybe people will think I had a passionate fling with a Virgon lordling."
She's already swinging her backpack over one shoulder to unzip and reach for her camera inside, and she gestures at Faye, sweeping her abstractly in Irene's direction. "Bingo, you should let me get a picture of you and Irene and the ponies." She flips the front of the camera open, then pauses. "Actually I have no idea. Handsome or pretty. Both, maybe."
It might be noted that Irene has had time to change to proper riding gear, mostly; tight khaki pants, knee high black leather boots and gloves. Her coat is still the navy blue wool affair, since that seems to be her most favorite, so no black blazer to complete the look. She also has a tote bag over her shoulder, presumably for the stuff they're meant to pick up from the neighboring farm. There's a smile for the choice Ines makes, but she looks a bit uncertain at first. Sir Reginald looks so handsome with his plaited mane, but big and scary enough to give Nova nightmares, and he just has a total jerk aura. While the others are all curious (if just hungry for carrots), he's completely standoffish and just chilling in his stall. He might take some winning over.
"Okay. Duchess or Squirt, Faye? She may go her own way if you aren't firm, but he's a bit goofy some times. He might run you across a field for a laugh... but whoever you feel most comfortable with. Or Rose, she's the oldest." She reaches for Squirt's reigns as she's talking and leads him over to the pair. "I wish we could all be in the photo together."
"Kes," Faye says with a grin, "You do realize that every time you bring him up, I'll make sure to add that we watched you riding him all day long?" A slow, inching, rise of her eyebrows as the grin seems to spread ever wider. She does start off toward Irene as the topic of a picture was mentioned. She sticks her tongue out to Irene as she saunters in her direction. "Is there a timer or something on it? I bet we can squeeze together for a timer." She continues forward and then reaches Irene where she swings around behind her, tries to drape her arms over from behind, sticks out her tongue and gives a wave for the camera in a rather goofy expression.
"It's too old for an auto snapshot. We could...maybe we could hold it out. If someone has really long arms." At five-foot-seven, hers are sadly not especially long. "But we might not be able to fit the horses into it too. We can try after I take this one!" Which she does, expertly timed to go off the moment Faye hams it up for the camera, whether or not Irene is ready. It spits the little square photograph out, and she holds it out at arms' length for the other two as she closes in so that they can try for the world's least convenient group selfie. When she glances up, it's to smile a cheshire smile at Faye. "Given a choice between that and Davy talking about Tomak and I? I'll take riding Sir Reginald." She pivots around to the side of them, and holds the camera up. "Alright. Who has the longest arms?"
Squirt, being behind Irene and Faye, seems to decide that the latter has really delicious smelling hair, so soon she has hot horse nose breath in her ear and on the back of her neck as he checks it out. Sniff. Sniff. PUFFwubblehuff! Irene pays no mind, but poses gamely for the photo, hand to brow in a playful Virgan salute, one foot raised and tucked behind, arm around Faye for balance, cheek to the rudely intruding horse's. SMILE! As for longest arms, she doesn't look to be in contention. She's the shortest of the bunch. "I know, I know. I'll have mum take our photo, when we get back. And Squirt, a little space, please." She grins, reaching back to gently push his head back when Ines squeezes in.
The horse was closer than Faye had expected, even if it was to Irene, and she shrieks at the puffwubblehuff. A look to the side and she sticks her tongue out at the horse, she adds, "I'll trust you to pick which one I should ride, Irene." Right, because at a whole inch taller than Kestrel her arms must be heaps longer. She nods her head a few times, "I think that's the best option though, I bet your mom takes the best pictures. Like her cake - best ever." A definitive nod. She looks at the photo though and gives a giggle of entertainment at it.
With a plan for a photo in place, Ines opens the top of her backpack again and drops the camera in, more carefully finding a place to stow away the picture they've already taken. She zips the top zipper and ducks her head to get away from curious horse noses. "Alright. When we get back. Victorious." There's no need to cram together anymore, then, so she peels away from the other two, shrugging her backpack on again, and makes her way over to the stall containing the horse she's decided will be her new Best Horse Friend. "I'm ready when you are, Sir Reginald. Did you bribe him, Iris?"
It's the shriek, that and the confession regarding the almost complete lack of riding experience which prompts Irene to make an offer, or suggestion, "Maybe you should just ride with me, Faye? Duchess won't mind. Otherwise, Squirt seems to like you well enough. Or, he wants to eat your hair, which is about the same thing, I guess." Decisions, decisions. She leaves Faye to consider, following Ines to Sir Reginald's stall where she stops and thrusts her hip towards the viper pilot. That's because her coat pocket there is full of carrots, "It's up to you, Kes. Act like you're a Leonese princess or something so he respects you. He thinks he's the boss of everyone otherwise. Don't you, Reginald?"
Faye heaves a huff noise back at Squirt then, before turning to look at Irene. She opens her mouth and closes it a couple times as she ponders then, frowning. Then looks back to Squirt, back to Irene. She crosses her arms and raises her shoulders. "Squi-i-i-" she closes her mouth, "-irt can stay here?" She says as she looks out toward the outside and slowly starts to smile a little wider as she kinda sways back and forth and rotates on her heel. Nope... she's totally not imagining anything as her color starts to rise a little.
Ines sneaks a carrot out of Irene's pocket, though the advice she gets merits a sidelong glance. "That's a very strange thing for a horse to respect."
Still, Irene would know, right? So she squares her shoulders and lifts her chin, holding the carrot up where Sir Reginald can see it, but decidedly out of the horse's reach. "Sir Reginald. I'm sure you're accustomed to having your way as a consequence of your knighthood, but you and I are going to reach an accord. There's a campaign afoot for the good of home and colony, and also dinner, and if you can't find it within yourself to serve in the name of the former then assuredly you must be devoted to the latter, as all noble creatures are."
Apparently Leonese princesses are extremely formal, and verbose. She wags the carrot slightly, getting it just near enough to seem available, ready to snatch it away at the first sign of entitlement. "I'm going to take your silence as assent."
She glances over her shoulder just briefly. "Does this mean I'm carrying the goose?" She has no idea if it's actually a goose, actually.
"Oh, right." The goose and the cider, the reason Irene has the bag to begin with. The whole point of the entire journey. "Faye, you're going to have to ride Squirt. He's not nearly as demanding as Reginald. He'll stick close to his mother." Duchess, she indicates with a little upnod down the row. "We'll get you on and walk you around the yard a few times, get you both comfortable with each other and everything." Dashing all dreams like a boss, the blonde gestures for Faye to come over. "You learned the basics on set? Like how to mount properly?" She'll hold Squirt steady, already moving to put her hand to his neck.
As for Sir Reginald, he snorts haughtily and plays like he's not /that/ interested in the carrot. But he still eventually goes for it, because he's a horse. When he does committ he'll practically take fingers and the entire hand with them if there's any attempt at snatching the treat away on Kestrel's part. Let go or lose digits. Reginald don't play that.
"Eeehhhhnn...?" Faye says, looking toward Ines with a squint then toward Irene with a pout. Yep. Iris gets pouty-faced Faye. Big eyes too, little quivering lower lip. The dreams of riding off into the sunset on the beat, mellow music, wind, hugging Irene from behind and trying not to eat her hair with the smell of sea water. The orange hues playing off the nonexistent ocean they're riding next to. Then the roses Irene would have when they reach their dinner for two set up in the hinterland with a bottle of champagne perfectly chilled. Another little lip quiver.
Faye sighs finally and gives a shrug, she knows the pout won't work - she totally meant it - and her lips instead curve into a smile as she moves closer to Irene. "Not really. I mean, it was - walk up these steps, put foot here and swing over." She looks one way, and then the other, nope. She doesn't see any stairs here. Hm. "So, I'm guessing, same idea but no steps?" She lets her eyebrow knit up and in, she's not really sure after all. But she'll still try that method unless Iris tells her otherwise.
Ines is actually looking at the other two at the moment Sir Reginald decides to take the carrot, so there's no actual resistance. She must have some experience with horses already, though, because she keeps her thumb well out of the way, and there's no tragic loss of hand-carrots -- uh, fingers -- to go along with the theft of her bribe.
She does round her eyes and turn her attention back to the bay. "Ooh, you clever rascal." He's a little big to be a rascal, but whatever! But Faye pouts do work. They work on Ines, even if they don't work on Irene. "I don't mind carrying the goose," she adds, and actually means it. "Someone else will just have to wear my backpack. I'm not putting a goose in with my camera." If it even is a goose. Still assuming this is a goose for basically no reason.
Pouts or no, it seems decided. Faye must know how to ride a horse, or the other Virgans might not accept her. That means Irene turns on instructor mode, channeling whoever taught her, tone firm, directions simple and clear. "Right then. Hand here, hand there. Foot here. Then up and swing your leg and the rest of yourself over in one movement. Don't be timid or he'll step to the side and you won't make it." Irene directs, showing where exactly Faye should be placing her hands and feet, and what leg to lead with. When she's done, she smiles over at Ines, "It's alright Kes, she has to learn some time and we might need your backpack space for something else... if we maybe swing by Overly Cross on the way home."
Drat! So close to her imagination wonderland with Fabio-rene. Oh well! Faye's really grinning anyway, so it must clearly not be that much of an issue. "She's right, I should learn some time. Never know where I might be after the war, right?" She gives a brave grin toward Ines, wide, beaming even, then looks toward Irene. As she does, she looks far less confident and she mouths ''Oh my Gods, I'm frakked!'' But Irene has given her instructions and so she nods her head, "Okay.. Hand here? Foot there... Hand there." She looks toward Kes, giving her another brave smile, then toward Irene as her eyes grow wide and she mouths ''Halp!!'' She tries to swing her leg over Squirt with determination.
So she reaches for the reins beneath the bit like it's nothing at all, just another day in the stables, gentle but firm, and in the meantime she watches Faye grappling with the reality of getting onto a horse. She doesn't look judgey, at least. She even throws in a thumbs-up the second time she's glanced at.
That seems more than enough to win Sir Reginald over. Ines is treated as an equal, a peer as it were. He shall graciously comply now that he's convinced she's not some dirty, filthy pauper wanting to sully him. Snobby horse, but he's so damned handsome, who could blame him?
As for Squirt, he gets a little dancey, like he's going to be a naughty dude and make it tough for Faye to get aboard. Irene isn't having that, and she certainly isn't going to let poor Bingo fall off. She'll helpfully apply hands to behind and push her, because she's super helpful, "Up and over!" She encourages, her instructor tone faltering with a laugh she does her honest best to keep in. Hopefully, Faye makes it, and if she does, she'll be given the reins. Victory?!
"Looking good, Bingo! Just treat the pony like a Viper!" Pause. Rethink. "No. No, wait. Maybe that's not a good idea. I mean, don't be afraid of it. Treat it like something you're not afraid of." Excellent advice. She's practically ready to retire from military life and begin her new career as a dressage instructor.
For now, she refrains from taking Reginald out of the stall. It seems unwise, just in case there's any sudden bolting or shying or excitement; it's probably best she keep him where he is until they're mounted up and on the move.
"Exactly. Be calm." Irene agrees, instructor voice turning back on as she stands there petting Squirts face a bit so he'll calm down too. "Now, don't tighten right up. Stay loose. Relax. Keep a hold of the reins, you'll need those to stop but for now just get used to each other and I'll show you." For being more or less good, she feeds him a carrot and smiles up at Faye. See? No problem. It's just a giant terror beast. Nothing to be afraid of. "You're alright?"
"Meep." Comes the dark haired Viper pilot to Irene as she's offered the confident smile. Then a little nod of her head and she closes her eyes and tries to just breath. Take long, slow, deep breaths. Don't tighten up, just relax. Take it easy. Cool as a cucumber. A cucumber sandwich you're not going to be splitting with Irene on that mythical beach because someone had to bring up geese. Another slow breath and she opens her eyes, looks to Irene and nods. A confident-ish smile now. "Okay. Okay. I'll try, just tell me, and I'll figure this out. Sparkle pony for the win."
Irene holds Squirt's reins closer to the bit, steps out and checks out Faye's form with a measuring once over. When she's finished, she makes some small suggestions, and adjustments, being fairly gentle about them. "Okay, don't jam your feet into the stirrups. Balls of your feet." She reaches over to fix the one she can, then deals with hands, illustrating with her own, "Hold the reins with your thumbs up and pinkies out, like this. Don't lean forward so much, you want to sit properly with your center of balance down through your seat. Good. How's that feel?" Her eyebrows pop up and she looks hopeful, like just making sure she's composed properly is somehow going to give Faye total confidence.
Okay-okay...! And Irene fixes her up, she follows all the little instructions. Sits up straight, balls of the feat, not jamming them into the stirups, pinkies in with thumbs to the side. Wait, no. Thumbs to the side. No. Thumbs up pinkies out? She stares at her hands, probably cursing at someone in sign language as they fidget about and finally stop as Irene looks at her hopefully. She smiles back and... Oh look at that, her thumb is already up. Thumbs up! "I think it feels okay? I don't know." Strong face, Faye!
"You want a straight line through, elbow, hand to horses mouth." Irene explains, drawing the line with her finger. She seems satisfied with it, "To stop, pull back on the reins with both hands. You needn't do it hard. Just bring your elbows back and tighten your abs." That's probably an important thing to know. Stopping. "When you want to go, just give him a little nudge with your heels and squeeze with your knees to keep him going straight, or turn with more pressure on one side than the other. You barely have to use your reins." Squirt, for his part, seems alright. He's an easy going little guy and now that Faye is settled and sitting more properly, he's not shifting around uncertainly beneath her. Thumbs up. She glances over to see how Ines and Sir Reginald are getting on, and since the viper pilot still has all her fingers and toes, she smiles. "Almost ready."
Ines is cool. She's good. She's hanging around with her snobby horse friend and watching as Faye acclimates to the weather atop a horse's back, in no particular rush. The smell of hay, tack soap and oil, saddle leather and even horse manure are sort of nostalgic for someone with any experience with horses at all, however modest it may be, so she's blissfully enjoying Sparkle Pony Time.
Almost ready, Irene says, and gets a wide flash of a smile in return. Time to see if she and Sir Reginald are actually on the same page, or if this is going to end in a wild adventure at uncontrolled high speed into the great green and blue beyond!
Faye takes slow, deep, breaths. Just trying to stay calm on the beast. Neigh, this would be a fine adventure. She just hoped she could rein in her uncertainty of this. "Okay, Irene. I think I get it all." She nods her head a dew times, Uncertainty really, "At least the mane parts." A nod of her head, uncertainty there... then running again from her as she tries to give Irene another confident smile. "I got this! I /got this/. When do we go?"
"Let's get Kes on her horse then we'll go." Irene grins, obviously pleased as punch that Faye isn't like freaking out and/or already on the ground with the horse galloping to the far horizon. She gives Squirt another carrot too, which keeps him plenty happy chewing.
When she gets to Sir Reginald's royal stall, she looks between the two, laughs and after passing his reins to Ines, opens the door. "I think you guys will get along fine. He might even like you." He does walk out smartly, almost stepping on some feet, but maybe not on purpose. Probably not. He gets a disapproving cluck of the tongue for that, but that's the extent of the scolding. "Need a hand up?"
It pays to have fast feet around heavy things that can crush yours. Being shorter than the average CF marine means Ines has a solid amount of practice when it comes to evading that sort of thing, and she doesn't lose any toes to Sir Reginald today, either. Extremities 2, Sir Reginald 0!
She takes the reins Irene hands her and shakes her head once. "If he sees me getting help he'll murder us both," she says, with more cheer than that sort of sentiment ought to contain. It's also probably dead wrong: he'd probably only just murder Ines. Still, though.
She has to push up on the toes of her other foot to do it, but she makes up in flexibility what she lacks in raw strength or height, and is swiftly enough seated where she's supposed to be. Glowing, too. This. Is. The best. Day. Ever.
"Don't show any weakness! He's a stinker." Is the reply and for her part, Irene doesn't take long at all. Duchess is a grand lady worthy of the name, but not nearly as jerk-ish as Sir Reginald, just more vain and prim in a horse-like way. She's up in the saddle quickly, demonstrating proper form and technique like she's been riding her entire life, or most of it. A gentle nudge of the heels gets the white mare moving, bringing her back alongside Faye and Squirt. "We're all set. Just take it slow, stay balanced and loose in the middle, but straight." If that makes sense. She seems to think it does. There's a flash of a smile and she sets off, out of the stable.
TO BE CONTINUED...