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Realistic or Modern Anchored by Love (Draft Four... lol)

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Hey y'all, the Texan here.

Just dropping in here to let y'all know we have started yet another draft. I know, I know, the amount of time we have rewritten this is CRAZY but let me tell y'all something. As my partner-in-crime with this massive literary baby said, Divergent had 17 drafts and this only means we're growing as writers.

Now, I would be lying if I said we both wanted to started another draft. Maybe we did, idk but I do know I'm the one that hardcore pushed for one. I just wasn't feeling the previous draft anymore and replying to it became something I didn't feel like doing anymore (Sorry for not tellin' ya Lexus), but I promise I'll be better with this one. (At least I hope I will).

As y'all know, this plot has sort of become something that made my best friend (@Lexus ) and I much closer, even more so when we actually met in person. This has become our baby, our plot and our story so I hope y'all don't hate us too much for starting yet another draft. I can't promise this will be the last because I don't know if it will be but here's to another attempt at a plot I absolutely adore and never really want to give up until I'm satisfied with what I put into it.

So here's to hoping y'all stick around and to making it past 25 pages!

With much love,
Izzzy (I should totes change my username to Isa now, oops.)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dallas, Texas
Isabel
Life in Dallas was, and always will be, hectic. There's never a day where I'm not running around, covering a story or just at home, putting one together. I recently just graduated with a Bachelors in Journalism-- Specifically Photojournalism. I didn't think making it to graduation as an undergrad was possible but here I am, living it up in the city that stole my heart, living in a studio layout apartment in the heart of it.

I was only twenty-three, going to be twenty-four in a few months. With every birthday that came after my twenty-first, I began to feel old. Crazy I know but that's just how I am. I was able to land a job at the one newsroom I absolutely dreamed of being apart of: The Dallas Morning News. I just knew the moment I toured it as a Freshman this would be my end goal, and I can say I did it. I made it to where I wanted to be right now in this moment of life.

I was a photographer for the paper, covering all sorts of local and surrounding city events. All of them made me feel a certain way and nothing made me happier than listening to the interviews I did, envisioning the person telling me everything all over. That was almost as breathtaking as actually capturing a perfect photo. Those were rare for me to produce in my eyes, but I do have to admit, some pictures really make me lost for words. Those photos are the ones I want to share with the world, make someone feel some type of emotion when they look at it.

Amelia and I are still as close as ever. Going through undergrad was rough, especially because the distance made me want to lose my mind every single day, but we made it work. Now that we were both out in the field, time for us to hang out was essential. There was never a time I didn't drop what I was doing so we could talk but those days became less and I couldn't be upset. The both of us are exceling so well in the field, my best friend especially, and I couldn't wait to see what the future had in store for us.

Today was like every other harsh winter day in November. It was the week before Thanksgiving and I was more than ready to spend Thanksgiving with my anchor. It was her favorite holiday and I couldn't not spend it with her.

I decided to go into the newsroom today, even if I could've done my work in the comfort of my apartment. There were just some days where I needed the hectic filled newsroom in order to concentrate on my work and today was one of them. I dressed according to the weather, ensuring I wore enough layers to where I wouldn't freeze to death. Being from South Texas meant I was never going to fully adjust to this weather but the cold was something I always preferred over the heat.

Before going into work, I stopped at the usual coffee shop for my cup of Earl Grey. Yes, I'm one of those people. Coffee never was my favorite out of the two and now I could only handle it once every blue moon. The workers here understood that though, and Chelsea always knew how long to steep my tea for. She made it just right.

Smiling at Chelsea when she said she would work on the usual, I went to the register, saying good morning to the most recent hire while I paid for it. Today's going to be a good day. After paying, I walked to the usual booth I waited at, taking out my phone from my purse so that I could text Amelia. Opening our text thread, I sent the usual good morning text.

"Good morning, Best Friend! I'm going into the newsroom today. Are you free later? I really want to go catch a movie and eat some wings."

I could only hope she was free. I missed her. You could always crash her apartment. Hm, very tempting.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
A side note: Y'all she acts like I don't know she was bored. I would like to think I am her best friend, but what do I know? Okay, back to the plot.

Dallas, Texas
Amelia
Everyone who knows me well enough knows fall is my favorite season. Growing up in Florida, fall was nonexistent, but I dreamed about one day getting to see the leaves change and wither of the trees before the snow coated the icy ground for winter, another season we didn't have. There was a few weeks of freeze, but other than that, Florida held steady in its humid summers that lasted most of the year.

Aside from the changing of the leaves, fall was my favorite season because everything smelled like cinnamon. festivals were at their peak, sweater weather, and of course Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I know to most people, it was strange for me to consider this my favorite when most went for Halloween or Christmas. Too most, there was nothing special about this holiday, but in my gigantic family, it was about more than just another day we were obligated to celebrate as Americans. I don't know what y'all know about Floridians, but my family full of native-born, well, we were raised in a traditionally southern manner, meaning, the word feast is music to our ears. We take the word seriously at every family mealm but Thanksgiving, there's not a side you won't find. Grandma goes all out and makes all the fixings, at most there at 27 different sides to choose from, a turkey and a ham, and a dessert table of at least a dozen desserts, the chocolate pie and banana pudding have always been my personal favorites.

For me though, it's always been more about just the feast. It's about the family. Thanksgiving is the one holiday where I get the chance to catch up with my entire extended family. With family all over the map, to get them all in one place for one day a year, back at our roots, I considered it one of my biggest blessings, and this year, Isabel was tagging along.

Isabel is my best friend. We met in high school eight years ago and up until two years ago, we never lived in the same place. We met online on what I thought was a whim, sharing our writing (INCEPTION) and it just seemed to click for the both of us, not to mention, she helped me through the lowest point in my life, but that's a story for a different time.

After finishing my BA in Journalism & Media Production, I was a multiskilled journalist looking for her first professional newsroom to call home. It was a no-brainer to move to Dallas. The media opportunities here are a great starting point, and after years of being apart, Isabel and I, had time to make up for.

For the last two years, I worked for the Associated Press, my official job title was Breaking News Reporter, I covered all the breaking news events in the Dallas and sometimes Fort Worth area, but lately, i had been doing more than just local breaking news stories. I was eager to build my journalistic palette and hoped to work my way up to the global breaking news coverage for The AP so I took whatever assignment the senior staff threw at me. They were taking my skills to their advantage, and I wasn't complaining. Today I was helping a senior reporter with a video about the drought in South Africa.

When Isabel texted me good morning, I was already halfway through my morning cup of coffee, snipping sound bites after listen to the same clip over and over again, but I needed the cut at just the right second. Snipping it, I played the track back for the seventh time and grinned when it came out just as I hoped. Taking off the headphones I picked up my phone I grinned at her text, quick to reply. Whenever she gave me the chance to pull her leg, I took it.

"Who is this? My best friend? You decided you have a moment to spare to give to me? To what do I owe this grand occasion? Lol."

"Yes, I can meet you later. Do you want to go out or order in, stranger? There's no wine at home, you drank it all last time and i didn't bother to replenish it because I was starting to think maybe you were just a ghost."
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
I will always be the first person to admit the reason Amelia and I become strangers is because of me. When work becomes hectic, I have a tendency to focus only on my assignment and nothing more, which tends to bite me in the ass a good percent of the time. Shaking my head, I quickly opened our thread once more, typing away at another reply.

"Oh shush, I'm sorry alright? (tongue sticking out emoji) I take offense to being called a stranger! I say we go out, eat some wings then maybeee go out and have some 'fun'? Please. I could use a bar scene right about now."

After sending the text, I noticed Chelsea had sent my Earl Grey next to me. Smiling contently, I stood up, putting my phone back in my purse before grabbing it and my tea. When I heard the door chime, I looked over to see who walked in out of habit, biting my lip when I saw him. God he's gorgeous. Smiling at myself, I giggled quietly before I walked out, saying bye to Chelsea before getting into my Fiat and driving to work.

When I got to the newsroom, I said good morning to Bill, our security guard, before taking my badge out of my purse, swiping myself in. I walked straight to my desk, setting everything down before anyone came to bother me. I knew coming into work wasn't the smartest choice when I had a story due in exactly three days but I wasn't too worried. I knew I would get it done.

I logged onto my Mac, quickly inserting the SD card I needed to transfer the photos from. You should've saved them in the hard drive. Once all the photos popped up, I put one earphone in, concentrating on what was in front of me. My concentration didn't last that long because when Amelia replied, her text popped up on my screen. I didn't mind though. I was really glad we were able to talk for once and made plans to hang out tonight.

Before I could even think of replying to Amelia, Melissa showed up at my desk with that same smile she always had when she needed something. Looking up at her, I smiled back, taking a well needed sip of my tea before asking her what exactly she needed.

"Well, I'm surprised to see you in right now, Anes. You never come into work when you have a story due."

"You're right but I woke up needing the chaos to focus. What're you hitting me with now?" I asked her with a small laugh, listening as she already gave me my next assignment despite me not being finished with the one I was currently doing. "Alright, doesn't sound too painful. I'll read up on some rules before then so I have at least a basic understanding of what's going on." When she left back to her office, I went back to doing my work, remembering shortly after that I needed to respond to Amelia.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Amelia
After texting Isabel for the morning, I put my phone down and got lost into my work day, not remembering to check my phone again until lunch time. Walking into the Panera, I lifted the press pass from around my neck after running out for a quick follow-up interview. While waiting in line is when I remembered I needed to text her back. Opps.

"Lol sorry it's a busy news day, anyway, you know the bar isn't my scene, but I'll go for you, (Shrugging shoulders emoji).

Sliding my phone into the front pocket of my over-sized purse, I took out my equally overly-sized wallet and ordered my usual southwest chicken salad and BBQ chicken flatbread and paid for it. I decided to take it to go to head back to the newsroom in hopes I would get done early enough today to go home to change before the last minute night out plans.

After picking up my lunch, I headed back to my coffee spot for my second cup of the day, as always when I ordered my coffee, i paid it forward to the next person in line. There was no one behind me but I knew whoever it would be, would appreciate it later. Thanking the barista, I rushed off back to my desk. I was in a hurry to finish this video because as much as I was trying to strive away from the breaking news desk, breaking news was breaking and I didn't want to miss anything important.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
When the time came for lunch, I decided I was going to leave the newsroom for the remainder of the day. Instead of being able to focus on my story, I was being interrupted by my editor, other photographers that dropped in, and the occasional intern. I can't wait until I make my own hours.

As I packed up my hard drive into my purse, I grabbed my phone and charger before walking out of the newsroom, telling everyone goodbye as I did. When I made it out the door, I walked to my car, trying to figure out what I wanted to grab for lunch. As much as I wanted wings right now, I knew I couldn't buy any since I would eat some tonight. Oooo, Canes sounds amazing.

Once in my car, I decided that I would pick up Canes before heading home to finish up as much work as I could before mine and Amelia's night out. Hearing my phone go off, I reached over into my purse, grabbing it so that I could see what Amelia had said. Reading the text, I bit my lip. I knew the bar was far from Amelia's scene and I never liked making her go somewhere she didn't want to.

"Okay, so the bar is a no go. I don't want to go if you don't want to. Let's just eat at Wingstop." I replied to Amelia before driving to Canes where I ordered my usual, The Box Combo, then headed to my apartment.

When I got to the apartment, I sat outside on my balcony since it was a pretty day outside. With my laptop on my lap and my food next to me, I began editing my work once again until an email popped up. Curious, I opened it, reading the contents inside. Me cover a major bull riding competition? I don't know jack shit about bull riding.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Amelia
"You're not making me do anything, I said we can goooo." I replied quickly before returning to my work, not looking up again, until Isabel called to ask me where I was. Laughing in embarrassment, I admitted the truth. "I lost track of time, I'll be right there. I'm leaving now. " Slamming the laptop shut, I rolled my eyes when she teased me about getting lost in work when I got on her all the time for the same thing. "Okay, okay, I get it. You just want to relish in being the one who was punctual for once," I said waving to everyone as I walked out of the newsroom to see the sun was in fact gone and looking at the phone it was almost eight. Yikes.

Agreeing to be at Wingstop in 15 minutes, I hung up the phone and headed straight there, not even going home to change because i didn't want to keep Isabel waiting longer than I already had. I was obviously overdressed for this occasion, but oh well.

Walking inside, I laughed at her shaking her head at me, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I love you." I sucked up in a giggle. "I can't promise it won't happen again." Taking off one of my layers I sat down, not surprised when she said she already ordered for me. "So my day was obviously crazy, how was yours?"
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
When the time came to head to Wingstop for dinner with Amelia, I put away my hard drive, along with my laptop, before heading out of my apartment. Before I left, I made sure to feed Apollo, smiling as my pup yipped happily with food now in his bowl. I hadn't received a text or call from Amelia yet, which only meant one thing. She's still at work.

I arrived at Wingstop about fifteen minutes late but I wasn't worried. I knew Amelia wouldn't be here anytime soon so I snagged a table and sat there, scrolling through social media on my phone before I decided to call Amelia and harass her for being late. I got a kick out of pulling her leg and ever though she thought I was on time, only I knew I wasn't.

After calling her is when I got up to order our food, going ahead and ordering Amelia's food as well. I sat back down and waited for my best friend to arrive and when she did, I laughed at her while shaking my head, smiling as I listened to her apologize. "Oh shush, you know as well as I do it happens. Although, you do have a tendency to do it more often than I do." I said teasingly, putting my elbows on the table with my head resting against my hands. "My day was pretty laid back. Going to the newsroom was a mistake but eh, I got my next assignment. They want me to cover a freaking bull riding competition. I don’t know jack shit about bull riding.” I told her before shaking my head. “It’s this weekend and I don’t want to go.”
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Amelia
At Isabel's teasing, my expression quickly turned to offense. "I do not! That's you!" I exclaimed, hanging my purse on the chair. When I turned back to her, I broke out into a fit of laughter when she told me what her next assignment was. "You? At a rodeo? Okay, I gotta see that. But in all seriousness, you have to go. It's part of the reason I chose to be a journalist, it gives ya a lot of experiences you wouldn't have had otherwise, but if you need a more convincing argument, money is money, best friend. It sounds like it would pay decently since rodeo is popular here in Texas. Kinda like the Grand Prix in Florida?" Shrugging my shoulders, I rolled up my sleeves to prepare for this messy meal that I was looking forward to all day. It had been more than a while since I devoured some hot wings. "Keep an open mind though, some of your best assignments have been ones you weren't originally fond of. I'm a sucker for the rodeo though, so, I might have to tag along, as a friend of course."

Even though Isabel and I were both journalists we agreed long before we became professionals, we would stay out of each other's professional bubble as much as possible. The one exception was running the Straight Scoop, the media company we wanted to own and run together when the time came. Even then though, she would have her own department to run and I would have mine. I didn't want to risk the company's reputation with a threat of conflict of interest.

"If I can finish this video by tomorrow I should be able to get away from the newsroom for the weekend, but Lord know what else they'll throw at me since we're short-staffed right now, but I'm not complaining, I'm trying to break away from the breaking news beat, at least the local one I think I've done enough small stuff to have the chance to do something bigger, maybe? We'll see."
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
Rolling my eyes at Amelia, I ignored her light banter about me covering this rodeo. I didn't want to cover it since I had no knowledge of what one was like but I had no choice, and she was right, the money for it was big. I needed to do this. She did not compare the Grand Prix to the Rodeo. What a Floridian. I knew she was right when she said I had to go in this assignment with an open mind. Sometimes that was hard but I knew I could. I always wanted to go to a rodeo anyways.

When Amelia mentioned she would have to tag along, I immediately became hopeful. I loved when Amelia went on assignments with me, even though we agreed not to get in each other's professional space. The Straight Scoop was the only exception and I was eagerly awaiting the day I was running my own company and making my own hours. Amelia and I had started a savings account the minute the both of us got into the field, but we were no where near being able to start the SS right now, especially because we just started out in our career of choice.

"Can you please finish this video by tomorrow and tell your editors you need to go with me. One, we haven't hung out and gone to something exciting like that in yearssssss, plus, having you there will help ease me while I cover it. Plus, you get to check out all the hot cowboys with me while we're there." I winked at Amelia teasingly, laughing and standing to get our tray of food when my name was called. Walking back, I set her wings and fries down in front of her, then set mine down before setting the tray aside on an empty table. "So, rodeo this weekend, you and I, specifically bull riding. Let's do this!"
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Amelia
"I think you're exaggerating by saying years, best friend, you are part of the reason I moved here, so that's unfair to me for you to say that." Glaring at her playfully, `Our friendship was based off our constant bickering or reassurance when things got serious, there was no in between. I loved it though. "I will do my best to finish by tomorrow, I did most of the editing today, but I still am responsible for any breaking news that occurs between now and then." Rolling my eyes at Isabel's playful comment about the cowboys. "Cowboys are too cocky for me, nice try though." Digging into dinner I enjoyed this time with my best friend, Even though we did live in the same city now, I still never took our time together. These were the moments I used to cry over in frustration because it just wasn't possible to have them.

After dinner, I went to the store and replenished her wine stash at my apartment, while I nursed the tequila that resided in my freezer for whenever I needed a little warming up. It was chilly out so I considered it appropriate while we sat on the couch and watched a movie while we continued to gossip about work and our family, After all, she was more like my sister than my best friend so it only made sense our families molded into one. Hence why she was coming home with me for Thanksgiving, given my grandma invited everyone to the house.


The following weekend...
The day of the rodeo I dug my cowboy boots out of the closet and attempted to make a cute outfit that was still capable of keeping me warm in the winter weather. Deciding on a simple brown sweater and dark blue jeans, I went to find something to snack on while Isabel was getting ready. I finished the video on time and invited her over so we could ride together to the rodeo. Plus, I missed having her over.

Scavaging into the cabinets and fridge I huffed in frustration. I forgot to go to the grocery store. I hate grocery shopping but I need to go. Sigh. Looks like we're going out for breakfast.

Giving up on food for now, I opened my laptop and read the news on the couch. So far, it was a slow news day but it was still early in the day. Things could change. "Isabel! Why are you taking so longgggg? Do you have a hot date?" I asked looking over the couch and into my room where she slept last night.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
The night out at Wingstop with Amelia was well needed. I enjoyed the night of laughs and teasing, and what I enjoyed even more was the fact that Amelia finished her video on time, which meant she was able to go to the rodeo with me. That's what I was most looking forward too, even if I knew nothing about it, I wanted to be able to show my editor I could cover every story she threw at me.

I spent the night at Amelia's apartment. We hadn't had a 'sleepover' in awhile and her bed was always more comfortable than mine. I never liked when she tried sleeping on the couch so we learned to share the bed, which is harder than it sounds. I woke up a little after Amelia, getting out of bed and going to jump in the shower before we left for the rodeo. We had a drive to Fort Worth, specifically the Stockyards, but by my grumbling stomach, I knew we would have to stop for breakfast.

I couldn't decide on the proper outfit to wear for this assignment. Usually, I went with business casual, but I knew damn well that if I dressed like that for this one, I would stick out like a sore thumb. When I heard Amelia ask me why I was taking so long is when I finally decided on something. Laughing, I rolled my eyes and shook my head. "Me have a hot date? Funny. Ain't no one ever going to want to date me." Dating and I never went well. I had dated a few guys before but none of them were serious enough. None of them really understood what it is I do and why I do it so I couldn't keep those relationships going. They all came to an end and I have come to terms with being single for my entire life.

"I'm almost done! Just let me throw on my clothes." I got dressed as quick as possibly, throwing on a black sweater, dark blue jeans, and my cowboy boots to match for the occasion. I also grabbed my red scarf and walked out of the room while I fixed it, running my hands through my hair to fluff it out. "Okay, now I'm ready. Can we go get some Whataburger? I'm starving." I grabbed my purse, along with my camera bag, before opening her door and walking out to my car. "Can you make sure I have my press badge please?" I asked her, tossing her my purse once she was inside.

I drove us to Whataburger, deciding to go through the drive-thru. I paid for our order, sipping my sweet tea as we pulled out of the Whataburger and headed for I-30. "I'm kind of excited for this and I'm also really glad you tagged along. We needed time to be with each other, even if I'm technically on assignment."
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Amelia
I was never one for Isabel's negative comments towards herself, even when she was kidding, considering who she was when I met her, I could never take her insecurities as a joke and she knew that, but even now, she still pressed my buttons whenever she got the chance. "Shut up!" Throwing the throw pillow in my room at her, I laughed when my aim was on point for once. "We're not going to be negative today, Nancy."

When Isabel strutted out of the room, I noticed we almost matched, but I didn't say anything, it became more of a common occurrence now that we spent more time together. "I'm not opposed to Whata, but you know I need coffee since you're making me your unofficial assistant today."

Even though it was her assignment, I also brought my own camera bag as a backup in case she forgot something and she needed it. She had a habit of forgetting her SD cards.

And of course, with every road trip, I was put in charge of the music so I played our usual road trip playlists of all our favorites, nodding at her excitement with the same giddy smile. "Kind of? You need to be more than kind of excited! I'm here!" I teased, hitting her shoulder with my free hand. "Assignment days are my favorite days though, we learn a lot from each other and you're the one person I don't mind being over my shoulder," I said taking my own camera out of the bag and taking a picture of her, I couldn't help but cackle at the fact that I caught her typical glare. "Ahhh that's great, I love it. I think you should reconsider it being your good side."
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
Let's just say, going on assignments with your best friend was more than fun. Amelia was the only person I didn't mind hovering over me while I worked so today I was more than excited to have her as my unofficial assistant. I knew she had everything with her as backup because I always had a tendency to misplace something. "I am more than excited! I just don't know how this is going to work out. I've never been to a rodeo, let alone cover one." I told her with a sigh, hearing the click of a shutter. She took her camera out.

Giving my usual glare towards her, I laughed when that's what she caught in her picture. "You know I hate taking pictures." I told her with a dramatic sigh, shaking my head before I looked back at the road. "My glare is my good side, didn't ya know? That's all everyone ever gets a picture of." Laughing, I began to hum softly to the song that was playing. The drive to Fort Worth from Dallas wasn't too bad. It was only around thirty minutes. The rest of the ride was a bunch of playful banter with Amelia. I missed this.

"Remind me again why I agreed to cover this." I said softly, looking at the mass crowd forming before us for the rodeo. Luckily, we didn't have to wait in line to get in but the more I looked at everyone gathered and everything that was set up, made me want to turn around and leave. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. Okay, since when do you ever get culture shock. Get a grip Isabel. "Let's see how the day turns out." I added, walking with Amelia at my side as we went to the spot we were directed to. "Have you ever been to a rodeo? Help a girl out with a mini course please."
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Amelia
"You don't hate taking pictures, you hate being in them. Otherwise, we wouldn't even be going to this rodeo, you're too city for that."

Me on the other hand, before I met my best friend at all, I spent a few summers in the Dallas Fort Worth area visiting family, so I considered Texas my second home. I always loved it here, there was something about the deep-rooted southern hospitality that gave me a sense of belonging. As I grew older though, I stopped visiting family and didn't return to the Lone Star state until I returned to meet Isabel in the flesh. The last time i attended a rodeo I was still a little girl, probably not older than ten, But I remembered the exciting atmosphere and once we arrived, the feeling came flooding back to me. Ahh yes, this is it.

I was comfortable here because I knew what to expect, but Isabel didn't. I didn't worry too much though, Isabel adapted well to new surroundings it was part of the job. But of course, I had to pull her leg at this opportunity seeing her out of her element.

"Because you take any assignments you can get right now, plus, we agreed it would be fun."

Following Isabel into the venue, I laughed at her nervous question about my rodeo experience.

"It turns out this isn't my first rodeo, but it's been awhile. You watched The Longest Ride enough times to know the basics. All these insane men are going to see who can stay atop the bull the longest and all these drunk Texans are going to cheer for them, they usually have a favorite, the champion in previous rodeo gigs, It's not rocket science. You're basically taking pictures of one of the dumbest sports ever." I whispered the last part only loud enough for her to hear, knowing if I said it too loud, I would get a few harsh threats from passionate drunk patrons. "You'll be alright best friend, you don't have to know much about anything, you're just here to do what you're good at, nothing else matters," I reassured her over the loud chatter of everyone else as people started to pack in for the show.


"Good luck getting ready, I'm going to get a drink. I would offer to get ya something but you're working," I teased with a wink before I left her to calm her own nerves and enter her bubble as I called it. Once she got in it, there was no getting her out of it until she brought herself back to reality.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
I laughed when I heard Amelia call bull riding the dumbest sport ever. That wasn't a lie. I would never fully understand the thrill of those eight seconds. Thinking of it gives me slight anxiety because eight seconds is enough time for something to go horribly wrong. "You would drink without me. I see how it is. Bring me a water please?" I asked her when she walked off, sighing as I tugged my camera bag closer against me, closing my eyes briefly to get a grip and focus on the assignement at hand.

After I was able to calm my nerves and put my game face on, I walked to my reserved seat, right in the front. I knew fully well I was not going to stay in this one spot the entire time, especially not when the bull riding started. I needed to get different angles and find the best one for the shots. I already knew where they put me wasn't good enough. I hate when they do that.

I took out my camera, assembling it in my lap as everyone made their way to their seats. As I was putting on the appropriate lens, I stood up, wrapping the strap around my wrist. I was never one who liked to put it around my neck. It bugged me.

Before Amelia could make her way over and find me, I was out of my assigned seat. I was taking everything in, the people, the hospitality, along with how organized this rodeo is. I wasn't expecting for it to be. What were you expecting out of this rodeo?

As I continued to walk around the area, capturing photos here and there is when he caught my eye. He's gorgeous. That, my friends, was a major understatement. I knew I would find some beautiful cowboys here but I wasn't expecting someone with such stunning hazel eyes. I cleared my throat, trying to get a grip over myself. He's probably dating someone already, Isabel. Chill out. I pushed my infatuation aside, walking area from the area he was at talking with some other folks. I needed to calm my nerves all over again. Never had anyone been able to shake me out of my bubble. This isn't good.

I walked back towards the center of the ring, around where my seat was once the riding started. It didn't start with bull riding first, so I took note of that in my notepad. The more I watched, the more the sport piqued my interest. I was curious and had an itch to interview a rider. I was going to have to regardless but now being here didn't feel like an assignment. I was slowly being immersed into this culture, this sport, and that's all I ever wanted to happen during assignments. Maybe I'll come to a rodeo more often.

"Best friend!" I said, walking over to her after snapping a couple of shots. "Can I have my water?" I asked, taking it from her and sipping on it, relishing how cold it was. "I have to admit, this event is growing on me."
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Amelia
As a journalist myself, I knew better than to expect Isabel to stay in one place for long. It wasn't a job description that let you stay put, especially when you were trying to get the kind of authentic action shots that captivated as wide of an audience as the DMN did.

Walking to the bar, I picked up a strawberry margarita for myself and the water Isabel requested, keeping an eye on her from the line, I watched her roam the arena, in her bubble. Not wanting to bother her, I sat down in the seat she left and sipped my wine. When I saw her bring the camera back down to her chest and faze off in another direction, I laughed. I know that look. Following her gaze, I saw the man that caught her attention, the smirk glued to my face when she returned to me.

Biting my lip, I handed her the water. "Why? Did some hottie catch your eye while you were standing over there? Cause that's what I saw."
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
Thanking Amelia for my water, I continued to sip my water but the minute I heard what she said, I glared at her before rolling my eyes and shaking my head. "Of course you saw it. If you need to know, yes, he did. Nothing had ever brought me out of my bubble before and I'm irked that he did." I told her sternly, trying to get the mystery man out of my mind. It was nearly impossible to do so but I was trying.

Setting my water bottle between Amelia and I, I stood back up, clearing my throat in an attempt to get myself back into my journalistic bubble. "I'll be around. Drink another margarita for me." I said softly before walking away again, smiling as I watched what was going on in the arena. I found myself engrossed in what was occurring once more, so much so that everything else began tuning out.

When the bull riding started is when I became excited. Those eight seconds were always so intense and every shot I tried capturing needed to show that. I hadn't even realized that in order to obtain those pictures, I was on the fence, refusing to actually get in the arena on my first rodeo assignment. I focused on getting every single emotion, every drop of sweat, every eight seconds. This is why I do what I do.

I set my camera back down against my chest, smiling and waving at Amelia while the next rider situated himself. I never imagined I would love being at the rodeo this much but I did. I wouldn't mind covering one again.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Amelia
"I think I'll have to go have a chat with mystery man then." Sipping my margarita I puckered my lips. That's tart. Oh well, it's still good. Watching the rodeo alone wasn't as fun as I thought it would be. While I loved watching isabel be a daredevil to get her shots, I would have much rather her be occupying the seat next to me.

As the first rider made his way into the arena, I kept my gaze on him as the crowd roared and his eight seconds started, I found myself hoping he would hold on and when he collapsed and ran out of the bull's lane of fury, I scanned back over to Isabel, waving in return until I noticed she climbed the fence.What are you doing? You're just as crazy as they are. Get off the fence, please. I knew she wouldn't because of the shot she was trying to achieve, but this feeling of impending doom is why I told her I could never work with her.

I knew if it was me, I would have already jumped in the arena, but watching someone else do what I might do, I hated it. Please don't. This wasn't fun anymore, it was an anxiety attack waiting to happen.


Dawson
I grew up on this stockyard. I was on a horse before I even learned to walk on my own. As country as it sounds, riding has always been a part of me. When I was growing up, I thought for damn sure that I was going to be a professional rider. Unlike my cousin, Brett, I did value my life, so I never got on a caged bull. I preferred the saddle of the many stallions my parents owned on the ranch that has been in the family line for nearly a century. To say it is a successful business venture is an understatement. The Covington name was a brand in these parts of Texas. We owned more than people realized, this "little" arena included.

I never saw the need to flaunt the wealth I was born into, but it wasn't exactly a secret either. With old money came many traditions that I never questioned because again, I never saw a need to, so riding, it one of the traditions, it was the livelihood of our history, so when I had to give it up professionally after a tragic accident, I was devasted. I only had one thing planned for my life and once it was ripped away from me, I was at a loss, until another family tradition planted a seed in my head and I went for the sky, quite literally.

Those in our family who didn't find the ranching life an adequate way of living, they left the great state of Texas to serve our beautiful country. The same year I gave up riding, I enlisted for the Navy to be a navy pilot. It was a giant leap of faith, but it paid off. I ended up excelling faster than I hoped for myself, being the first in my class and eventually one of the best I whatever crew they stuck me in. Flying just felt natural, so when I became a Blue Angel, that was another unexpected dream come true.

Looking back on it now, life wasn't grand in the same way I pictured it to be, but it still turned out to be as full and exhilarating as I hoped it would be. The saying it's not about the destination but instead about the journey, was a motto I learned to live by.

Serving our country was a demanding call, but when I came home to these yards, I was reminded just how rewarding it was. I hadn't been home much in the last year, but naturally now that I had a second to breathe, I wanted to be in the one place I used to think would be my world before I was introduced to a much bigger one.

As I always had, I took a front row to the day's festivities, as I sipped a brew from the tap and not the bottle, I cheered on the first rider of the day. It was a familiar chaos. "C'mon Sutton! Ride the damn bull don't let it ride ya!" Much like any sports fan, I got lost in the suspense of the moment even if it was only the first rider. Sutton came to his demise after halfway through the ride, get thrown over the horns, the crowd all yelped out in horror, spilling their beer, waiting to see if he would roll over in time before getting trampled by the angered beast. I always hated this part.

Sutton was young, only 16, so he was new to the rodeo scene. This wasn't his first ride, but he still had a lot to learn. I didn't want to see him suffer so early on. When he hit the ground and laid there for two seconds, I was convinced he was dead, but at the last second, the boy gained his footing and ran for the exit. Thank God.

As everyone else waited for the next rider to take the stage, out of habit, I watched the angered bull pitch his fit. I always had to make sure they were put away before I could pay attention to anything else. Sutton's bull was raising hell and there was no wrangling him just yet. C'mon ya'll can do it, trap him. Don't let him escape the circle.

"C'mon C'mon C'mon," I whispered in one quick breathe letting go of it when I watched the hellion escape his human barricade and buck straight for the fence. Following his track, I caught gaze of her, a woman riding the fence. "Shit!" Shooting up from my seat I ran across the bench and straight for her. It was one thing for a rider who knew the risks to be a victim of the recklessness of this sport, it was another for it to be a thrilled spectator. I could only pray I would make it to her before fate did.

Without thinking in one rapid moment, I jumped straight for her, pulling her off the fence and into me before we both fell and hit the ground, only a split second before bull horns hit the same spot she was probably contemplating jumping.

After the fact, I didn't let go of her right away, not until I heard someone shout the bull had been contained. Releasing my arm, I sat up, pulling her up with me. "Are you alright?" I asked, the adrenaline still pulsating through me. "You can't be climbing fences like that here, miss. I don't think those pictures you were trying to take are worth the leg you would have just lost. Be careful, okay?"
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isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
I could see it in Amelia's expression that me being up on this fence made her anxious. This is why we could never go on an assignment together. We would be too focused on each other's well being rather than the assignment itself. I understood she was like me. We both would have gone in the arena to the shots but we never wanted to see each other do it.

As I stood up on the fence, I noticed Sutton's bull refused to be wrangled back in. I knew this happened at times in the arena. The bulls were always furious and there were a few who loved to raise some hell. Naturally, I didn't think anything of it, up until he broke through the human barricade and ran straight for the fence. It took awhile to process what was happening, especially when I knew I was right in his track. Shit. Move Anes, move!

Now I felt like I was riding the bull, riding the eight seconds as every single one passed and the bull inched closer. If you don't fucking move, you'll get hurt, Isabel! I tried to snap myself out of whatever the hell I was in. I normally never got stuck like this. I normally never got scared. Right when I was able to process everything, I started leaning back, pulling myself away from the fence. I could've done it myself, up until I felt arms wrap around me while someone pulled me off the fence.

When we hit the ground, all I could think about was my camera. This wasn't the time for it to be in my hand and not wrapped on my neck. Fuck, my camera. I needed to see it. I needed to know that this man didn't break my two thousand dollar camera. Get the hell off me! I thought, anger boiling in me until my gaze met his as he finally let go after someone shouted about the bull being contained. It's him. Your jokes aren't funny, God.

As he pulled me up with him, I forgot about my camera, only focusing on the cowboy that played hero even when he didn't need to. My heart was beating fast against my chest and I felt the heat rising to my cheeks. I didn't know what to say, I just let the silence linger for a second. "I'm fine." Was all I managed to say. Clearing my throat, I got a grip over myself. "Gotta do what ya gotta do for the shot. I would've been alright but thanks for the extra help." I said with a genuine smile, containing what I actually wanted to say. I'm not a fucking damsel in distress. I didn't need your help. I would've been fine and you better pray to God you didn't mess up my camera in your attempt to save me from being impaled.

Looking over at my camera, I inspected it, not giving the male any more attention. His good looks weren't enough to stop the frustration when I noticed the cover to my lens was broken, my lens had scratches, my camera had dents, and the most important injury, the major crack that ran through my lens. Just fucking fantastic. I stood up, brushing myself off and when I looked up, I noticed all eyes were on the mystery man and I. They probably all thought he saved me. I could've saved myself and my camera. When the cowboy before me stood back up, I noticed his hat was still on the ground, so I bent down to pick it up, handing it back to him. "I would say thank you for saving me, but my cameras pretty beat up.” I said rather bitterly, biting my lip when I heard it. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound like a bitch. I’m Isabel, Isabel Anes.” I added rather softly, trying not to think about how messed up my Canon was right now. “What’s you’re name, Cowboy? I would like to thank ya properly. ”
 
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Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Dawson
Once we were meeting eye to eye, I couldn't help the grin that cascaded over my lips at her natural defense mechanism being a cocky attitude.

I could tell despite being saved from the bull's wrath, the woman was displeased with our intentional collusion. Letting her humor me, I crossed my arms as she continued to defend herself. I knew damn well she wouldn't have been able to pull herself to safety, there was no coming out of paralyzing fear to save yourself, I had firsthand experience. Taking the hat, I moved my lips to reveal the grin I had been hiding.

"Well it's nice to meet you, Isabel, we aren't really formal around here, but I'm Dawson Covington. I'm sorry about your camera, I'll replace whatever needs to be fixed. I don't really know much about them. I would have loved to watch you try to save yourself though, you wanna jump back in and give it another try?" I asked with cocked eyebrows, placing the hat back on my head. I hoped she caught on to the fact I was only pulling her leg now, but I could tell by her lack of reaction from my last name, she was new around here.

At her silence, I chuckled. "I didn't think so. If I knew you could have saved yourself I wouldn't have risked myself to save you." Looking around at everyone's stares, I smirked. "Anyone got a pen?" When someone quickly handed one off I thanked em with the tip of my dusty hat, before I took back Isabel's hand back and wrote my number on it. When she looked back up in me in same displeasure I shook my head. "Relax, it's for business, the camera of course. Enjoy the rest of the rodeo, Isabel. Stay off the fence." Letting go of her hand, I gave her a grin in farewell, tipping my hat to her this time before I walked back to the bar to get a new pint to replace the one I spilled before all hell broke loose.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
Cocky ass. I scoffed at what Dawson did, shaking my head as I stared at the number he just wrote on my hand. I was displeased and he knew it, that's why he kept giving me that stupid grin. That grin that made me angry but weak in the knees at the same time. I couldn't even find it in me to say anything when he walked away but by the looks on everyone's face, I gathered Dawson Covington was important around here.

I walked back over towards Amelia, letting out a frustrated sigh the moment I sat back down beside Amelia. "Rodeo's are overrated and I'm over it." I said furiously, trying to breathe so I can get back in my bubble. That didn't seem likely right now. "I'm glad you brought your camera. I gotta finish this assignment. Can I borrow it? Mine's more than fucked." I said, taking out the SD card to put it in Amelia's, handing her my camera so she can inspect it. "Can you freaking believe that cocky ass cowboy? He wrote his freaking number on my hand. My hand, Amelia and not only that, he flat out tried me by saying I wouldn't get back on that fence. How the hell does he think he is?" I asked, groaning from frustration again.

As I sat there, switching out cameras and ranting to Amelia about the cocky Cowboy, I heard the announcer say who was up next to try and ride a bull for eight seconds. Brett Covington. That last name. I looked up quickly, catching a glance of the man who slowly lowered himself onto the bull, watching him closely, noticing some features on him that Dawson had. Are they related? Now everything made sense. It had to be their last name that meant something here. "Are the Covington's a major family here?" I asked Amelia, standing up to get myself situated so I could capture Brett's ride as best as possible. I didn't have it in me to get on the fence again, not because I was scared, but because I know what just occurred gave my best friend major anxiety. That wasn't what today was about. I hugged Amelia tightly, sighing softly when I saw her still worried. "I'm okay, Melia." I told her softly, looking back at the arena to capture the bull rider in action. I was going to try my hardest and interview him after his ride. I needed to.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Amelia
I trusted my gut. It was never wrong. Watching Isabel perch herself higher on the fence, I felt my heart jump into my throat. I really didn't want to go to the ER today, but here we go. "Isabel no!" I called out in a panic. In my rational thinking, I knew she wouldn't be able to hear me, but I couldn't hold back my cry. Jumping up from the chair, I was going to run for her, but watching her become paralyzed in fear did the same to me. I shouldn't have come. Everything in me shut down, in the moments in between watching the bull steer in her direction and a savior swipe her from the fence just in time. When he did, I let go of the helpless gasp I failed to repress. Bringing my hand to my mouth, I slumped back in my chair to catch my breath. The possibility that I could have just lost my best friend was all too real and I felt an anxiety attack coming on.

With my head in my hands, I didn't lift it until I heard her call out to me. It took everything I had in me not to scream at her for being so careless. I knew she was only trying to do her job. When she asked to trade cameras I still shaking, but I handed it off, trying to distract myself from having a mental breakdown. I could have just watched you get trampled to death and you think I care how cocky the one who saved you was? If I'm going to defend anyone right now, you know damn well it's not going to be you.

My thoughts continued to race as she took me into an embrace and insufficiently reassured me she was alright.

"You don't get to do that. You don't get to brush off what just happened like it was nothing. It's not like you would have walked away with just a scrap, Isabel. I could have just watched your last moments, Jesus Christ. He could have been the biggest ass, I wouldn't give a damn right now."

I was still in shock from the whole thing and while I didn't mean to cause a rift between the two of us on our weekend outing, but emotions were high and I needed to work through them. Getting up, I shook off my nerves. I needed to walk away for a second.

When Isabel reached for my still shaking hands, I shook my head. "I'll be okay, just finish it."

Walking away from the crowd I wasn't sure where I was going to go, I didn't have any desire to be here anymore and whenever I got anxious in places like this, my first instinct was to run.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
Watching Amelia walk away full of anxiety made me realize how dangerous what just occurred was, and it wasn't something I could just push aside as if it didn't happen. I didn't realize what a big deal it was and now I felt horrible for getting on the fence in the first place. I didn't mean to make Amelia so anxious. That wasn't how today was supposed to go. I sighed, letting her walk away because I knew she needed to while I stayed where we were sitting, trying to achieve getting some good shots like I got while I was on the fence. That was harder to do.

It was refreshing to know there were riders who new what the hell they were doing, like Brett Covington. He and three others were the only ones to last the eight seconds on that bull and I still didn't grasp how big of an achievement that was for them. Grabbing my phone, I texted Amelia, letting her know I was going to the back to get some interviews in case she came back and I was no longer where we were. I know she was more than ready to get out of here and I didn't blame her. This is why you can't go on assignments together.

When I made it to the back where all the bull riders were, I immediately felt out of place. All the other press members were males, meaning there was too much testosterone in one area. Biting my lip, I noticed everyone look at me in surprise, but I cleared my throat and held my head up high, asserting my dominance, letting the riders and all the other reporters and photographers that I belonged here despite my gender.

I interview Sutton first, blown away with how young the rider was. At only 16 years old, he was new to the scene but here to make his mark, just as he said. He was sweet and not over confident, completely different than Dawson. Stop thinking about him. Sutton was ranked pretty high despite his age, and getting to hear his background, his story as to why he was doing what he did made this time here worth everything I encountered. I couldn't wait until I got home and listened to the recording of all the interviews from today.

After Sutton, I made my way over to Brett, noticing all the reporters that surrounded him. I guess all Covington's are the same. Shaking my head, I tried to push my way to the front but had no success. Ugh. I need this interview. I didn't get a full view of Brett until all the men in front of me split like the red sea, at Brett's request of course. Yep, all the same. Making my way towards the rider, I was grateful when all the male reporters walked away and tried to busy themselves with other interviews.

"Brett Covington, may I just say you're one hell of a rider. I'm Isabel Anes from the Dallas Morning News. Thanks for helping me get through to talk to you." I said with a genuine smile.

Jayden
"You actually wrote your number on her hand? Covington, I swear you're going to get slapped by a woman one day." I told my dear friend before sipping on my beer, shaking my head as I held back my laugh. I stuck out like a sore thumb at this rodeo. I'm not from around here. I'm actually very much a Yankee, born and raised in Chicago. After spending eighteen years there, I was ready to get out of there, especially because of some events that took place before I left. I moved to Dallas and joined the police academy, making it through and joining the force. I've been in Dallas for around seven years now. It became my home despite being so different from all the Southerners here but I've learned to adapt and love everyone I meet for who they are despite the differences.

"She sounds like she's feisty." I added, setting my pint down against the bar. "And she had no reaction whatsoever when you told her your name?" All of this was surprising to me. It meant she was new around her, a fresh reporter. Everyone in this rodeo knew who the Covington's were because they ran these stockyards. I was here because it was my day off and Dawson invited me. He and I met when I first got here to Dallas. I was security at the airshow where he was performing. He's a damn good pilot, I'll tell ya that, but I know he misses riding and it's a shame he doesn't do it often. His family is proud of him none the less and some of the sweetest people I've ever met.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Brett
Honestly, I hate handling the media. They remind me of famished vultures swarming their prey and pecking at it until there was nothing left. I dreaded their interviews. After exuding all my strength to ensure I didn't get killed my a bull, the last thing I wanted to do was answer the swarm's stupid questions, but I did it because it was the only thing that made them go away. They were a bunch of relentless suckers, let me tell ya. In the past, I even had a few follow me home.

As I ran through the same basic ten questions as usual, a new face caught my attention. Holy shit, it's the girl who climbed the fence. I didn't see it happen, but I heard about it after I left the arena. When a fellow rider told me my cousin was a quick save, I wasn't surprised. Of course Dawson would. He knows how quick someone can lose their life here, he nearly lost his own.

The woman caught my attention because as far as I knew, no one had climbed the fence for a shot before, no one was insane enough to risk their life for a photograph. When I witnessed her struggle to get to me, I cleared my throat for the ravenous men to hear. "Don't ya guys know the ladies first rule? Let the woman through and move on, please."

As the men scattered to their next victim, I held out a hand to the woman of the hour. All I could think to do was offer her a polite hello after what she’d been through tonight. I had never seen her around here, so I assumed she was new.

"Hello there, Isabel. I may be one hell of a rider, but I haven't met a photographer who is willing to jump to her death for a picture. Anyone else would call ya crazy, but lucky for you, I ride the bull for a living so you have my respect. What can I do for ya tonight?"


Dawson
"Awe Jayden, you're just jealous because you're too shy to go chase the pretty ladies." Taunting my best friend was one of my favorite past times. He may have lived here in Texas for seven years now, but his Yankee roots were always going to be apparent.

"She was a feisty one but I wasn't pulling for her, I swear. I was just trying to help. I wasn't just going to watch her get hurt after what I went through. She wasn't your type or I would have written your number instead of mine."
 
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isax

Ten Thousand Club
Isabel
When Brett held out his hand, I took it into mine for a firm shake, smiling gently at the rider before I pulled it away. When he mentioned he never met a photographer willing to jump to her death, I couldn't help but chuckle a bit, smiling confidently. "Why thank you. I think a lot of people think I'm crazy now but I can live with it. I wouldn't mind getting on that fence again if it meant I could get one hell of a picture." I explained, giggling softly, knowing what I said was true. If I ever covered the rodeo again, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be on that fence getting the best pictures anyone could. Maybe one day, if I learned the ropes around her, I would be in the arena.

Having someone's respect was something I would always cherish. Since Brett gave me respect, naturally I was going to return it. "I was actually wondering if I could trouble you for an interview. I've interviewed pretty much every rider here but you and you were the one I looked forward to getting to know. I promise I won't be anything like the other vultures I know that are out there in my field." I told him softly, my smile never becoming anything less than genuine. I wanted Brett to feel comfortable with me. I wanted him to know he could trust me to tell his story, I wanted all of them to know I could tell their stories correctly. I wanted them to be seen in a genuine way. I wanted them to be known as who they really are.

Jayden
I rolled my eyes at Dawson's teasing banter towards me. It was something we always did when we hung out, it was natural for us. "I'm not jealous of anything, Dawson. Your cocky personality is going to back fire on you eventually." I said with a shrug of my shoulders, sipping on my beer again. I knew I was right. One day, he was going to meet a woman who wouldn't put up with his overconfident self. Not all women would do whatever to please the cowboy.

"Sure you weren't. I saw the way you looked at her Covington, don't lie. You like a woman who puts up a challenge. Not the ones who do your biding." I elbowed him playfully, laughing before I pulled my arm away. "We've established I don't have a type, plus I'm not really looking right now but when I am, I'll let you know. Maybe you can spare one of the many women wishing to be your girlfriend." I was just pulling his leg at this point. I didn't actually want a relationship. I hadn't told him but the only thing on my mind was figuring out who paid for my coffee in advance. She did it every day since Thursday and Lindsey, our barista, wouldn't tell me who she was.
 

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