Mrs Tilder hung one arm over Susan and the other on the steering wheel.
“Oh don’t say that! Jesus and God work in many different ways! Everything he does has a reason, dear!”
Susan’s sobs were quieting down but a sad frown haunted her face. The car drove into a big driveway.
“This is your place?” Susan questioned.
Susan eyed the ranch and the barn. Two paddocks lined the property and several horses stood and ate the fresh green grass. A barbecue sat next to a few trees and wooden chairs and tables were implanted in the ground, waiting for guests to use them.
“What a huge property, Mrs Tilder!” Susan informed.
The car stopped and Susan and Mrs Tilder stepped out.
“Do you have any dogs?” Susan wondered thinking about her beloved Rottweiler, Marcus.
“No. But we have cats and horses and fish and chickens!” Mrs Tilder replied.
“I hate cats and horses. I hate animals! All I want is Marcus!!” Susan yelled with disgust.
“Oh come inside will you? I see we need some time to fix this attitude problem!”
Susan glared at Mrs Tilder.
“Attitude?! It’s more like your lack of dogs!” Susan hissed.
“What is with you and dogs anyway?” Mrs Tilder asked.
“It’s a long story! Just get out of my face, will ya?!”
“Well that’s a long story I want to hear!” Mrs Tilder answered.
Mrs Tilder led Susan into the barn and made her sit down on a barrel.
“Now that long story you were talking about?”
Susan explained in a low gruff voice how her parents had disappeared and how she met Karri. She informed her about the junkyard and that one night Karri made them go stealing and about the alcohol and also about meeting Marcus that one morning. Then finally she told her about the night they took Marcus with them stealing and the police kicking Marcus away and ending up in court.
“Well then we better teach you about God!” Mrs Tilder said.
But Susan glared at her foster parent again.
“Look. I don’t want anything to do with this religious stuff, ok?! I’ve got my own life so back off!”
“Excuse me? Don’t talk to me like that!” Mrs Tilder scolded. “Go inside and I’ll show you your room. We can go shopping tomorrow and get you some blankets and lamps and anything you want for your room. Just NO stealing!”
Susan strolled over to the ranch and opened the big wooden door. She walked in and was greeted by the smell of fresh bread and cheese.
“Upstairs” Mrs Tilder said.
Susan rushed up the stairs and turned to the first room she saw. She slid open the door and saw a bare bed and a bedside table. Susan looked at it in disgust.
“This place sucks!” she complained.
“As I said Susan, you’ll get to upgrade it tomorrow. But come. Let’s have dinner.”
They went downstairs and Susan sat at the table. There she saw a muscular man with light brown hair and patched clothes.
“This is Mr Tilder” Mrs Tilder said as she poured pumpkin soup into Susan’s bowl.
“Hi” Susan grunted and sipped at the hot soup.
“Hold on Susan. We haven’t said grace!” Mr Tilder explained.
He tilted his head and licked his dry lips. He squeezed his eyes shut and leaned over the table.
“Dear heavenly Father, thankyou for bringing a beautiful young lady into our home tonight. Please bless her and shine your light through her. Also thankyou for this food and bless the hands that prepared it. In your Heavenly Name, Amen”
Susan looked at Mr Tilder who merrily sipped his soup.
‘Did he just ask his God to bless me?! He knows all the bad things I’ve done! Why ask his God to bless me?’ thought Susan as she slurped down her delicious pumpkin soup.
“Susan. Would you like to see the horses?” Mrs Tilder asked.
“Didn’t you hear me, Ma’am. I hate animals!” Susan cried.
“C’mon Suse! You’ll love ’em!” Mrs Tilder protested.
“Oh, all right!” Susan said as she jumped up and headed towards the paddock.
The sun had nearly gone down. Mrs Tilder stood at the edge of the fence. She clicked her tongue and a chestnut colt came prancing over to the gate.
“This is Captain” Ms Tilder explained. “In your stay he will be your horse”
“I don’t want a horse!” Susan argued. “I’ve got enough problems of my own”
“Suse. Hear me out! You’ll love him! Just give him a pat”
“No way!” Susan shouted. “I’m not going any closer to him than I am now”
“Susan! C’mon! Give it a try. Adventure is out there!” Mrs Tilder proclaimed.
Susan studied Captain’s chestnut fur and his large round eyes.
She slowly stretched out her skinny arm and squinted her eyes as narrowly as she could. Her long fingers stroked the horse’s soft fur. Suddenly Susan felt a wonderful warm feeling she had never felt before in her life. Love.