Ok, so it's been a while, but on a whim I decided to check my messages and I found one for this story from more than a YEAR AGO from PeetaisGoode. It was super sweet and I thought I at least owed this story another chapter, so here goes.

"Oh God, oh God, oh God..." Miri muttered to herself as her legs ventured faster than her feet could process toward the village.

She faltered for a split second upon the realization that she had nothing to run from, that it was only Peder and she could tell him anything. Still her legs continued before her mind had time to change.

Hide.

Hide.

You need to hide.

NOW.

It was a short journey to her family's hut, familiar and not difficult, but, at the moment, seemed all too impossible to walk.

So run.

Run.

Hide.

NOW.

He's coming, you know.

It won't be long now.

GO!

Miri felt her hand grasp the frozen doorknob and swing the door open, furtively moving inside and shutting it once again.

"What's going on?"

NOT NOW.

"Oh, I didn't see you there, Pa. Everything's fine. Nothing to worry about."

Yes there is.

Yes worry.

"I thought you were with Peder?" He raised an eyebrow.

"Not exactly. We were just walking. Walk is over. Walk done. I'm done walking." coherence had definitely become an issue at this point.

"Are you okay?" Oh, he knew.

"Um. Yes. Well. No. Not really, actually. Did you put him up to this?"

"Put him up to what? What on earth could you possibly be talking about?" He joked sarcastically.

I.

Am.

Not.

In.

The.

Mood.

"Right. So. You know. Because you did. Well, thanks. It's all very flattering, but NO."

"What? Why not? Everyone sees it."

"Because no."

"Did you tell him that?"

"No."

"So you told him yes?"

"No."

"So what did you tell him?"

"Nothing. I said nothing. I walked away."

"Oh, for the love of- Miri. Miri. You know that I will always love you. And you know that I want what is best. And, right now, this is best."

"I don't want to."

"Yes you do. You just don't know you do."

"How can I know that I don't know that I do? How can you know that I don't know that I do? How can ANYONE know that I don't know that I do? It's not your decision."

"I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but it is. Until you're eighteen, it is. You're very lucky, Miri. He loves you. Just try."

"Try what?"

"Try to love him too. It might surprise you. I think you already do."

"How can you think that you know if I do when I don't?"

"Wait... what? Never mind. Look, I'm not the one who needs to be convinced. I'm alright with waiting a while if it's for the best, but it's up to you to let him know. Be nice. I can promise you, he won't be thrilled- but he's not going to give up."

A well-timed knock on the door. "Miri?"

Oh GOD.