Freida had lost track of time. All she knew was that her face hurt from where it had lain against Anders’s boot and that her heart hurt worse.
Slowly, she rose to her feet and smiled weakly at Anders, rather embarrassed that she’d revealed so much of her feelings about Paign to him. But, then, this was Anders. She’d been friends with him since birth, just like Paign. In those thirteen years, though, she’d never shared something this personal with either boy.
“Oh, my!” he laughed. “You’ve got my bootlace imprinted on your cheek! Sorry about that, Freida.”
“Why would you be sorry?” she snapped, feeling even more awkward about her openness. “You didn’t do anything. Your boot did!” Freida straightened out her rumpled clothing. Noticing the lengthening shadows of the trees, she blurted out, “I need to be going home now. It’s time to feed the stock.”
“Uh, sure. Of course.” Anders replied, feeling like he’d done something wrong, while having no idea what it was. He shrugged.
“So? What’s next?” Frieda asked.
“Anders! What’s next? What are we going to do about Paign? We need to find him…wherever he is!” Now Freida’s hands were balled up, planted on her hips.
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