I hate running. I avoid it when possible. The faster I try to run, the more top heavy I seem to become and I’m constantly worried I’m about to lose control of my various body parts. Despite kicking off my flip-flops not tripping over my own feet takes all my concentration. The sensation of Adelaide’s blood trickling down my arm urges me to an even greater speed. I fly up the hill towards the farmhouse, moving so quickly my surroundings becomes a blur of color.
I didn’t even have time to register the human body that moved around the corner of the weather beaten shed I’m racing past. One second I’m running. The next I slam into something with so much force I bounce backwards. My backside hits the ground with a teeth loosening thump. Lightning bolts of pain jolt the length of my spine.
“Marry!” The Elizabethan curse bursts from my mouth as a dense cloud of dust blooms around me.
Adelaide opens her beak and utters a feeble, miserable quack which sounds suspiciously like a duck curse. “Honeyfuggle!” I groan.
I glare up at the boy.
“Maladroit!” I spit out the curse and touch my chin, massaging the spot where my skin scrapped against his metal belt buckle. “Thou should’st pay attention to where thou walks, unless it prithee thou to knock maidens onto their asses!” I hurl the words up at him, before turning my attention to Adelaide. I don’t see any additional injuries. I blow out a relieved breath. “I’m sorry,” I say. “I shouldn't have shrieked like a common wench. I should have agnized the fates would lay obstacles in my path. Thou art blameless. I pray your forgiveness.”
“What’d you say?”
Great, the world’s full of intellectuals yet I manage to collide with a simpleton. “I apologized for yelling at you.”
“Yeah, I got that part.” Sunlight glints off his tousled blond hair as he tilts his head to the side and studies me. “I want to know about the first thing you said,” he says. The calm cadence of his words, his low tone reminds me of the way Pedro, the falconer at the Renaissance Faire, speaks while working his birds, but Pedro’s voice never caused my stomach to flutter the way this guy’s voice does.
I don’t like the sensation.
“Clueless knave,” I mutter under my breath.
He crosses his arms over his chest and stares down at me, an amused smile hovering at the corners of his mouth.
I force my own mouth to curve into my sweetest smile and gaze up at him through down swept lashes. “I was childish.” I lace my voice with pseudo-sweetness. I just want him to leave me alone so I can take care of Adelaide. “I apologize.” Lying will get me out of the situation and on my way faster than honesty.