Escrita por: ~ThatArielPerson
Birta took a deep breath, and sighed in a cloud of mist. It was getting to be evening and, along with the crickets singing, she could hear Verndari's horse behind her; he was catching up quickly. As he paced his mount next to her, she kept her eyes forward. She could feel him staring at her.
"Ya won't talk to me anymore, huh?" he asked.
Birta scoffed. Her feelings were hurt, and stubborn pride warmed her blood.
"I'd rather not, at this moment," she snapped.
Verndari nudged his horse ahead of Birta, and slid off the saddle, putting his hands on Ravenfeather's nose and chest. She nickered, annoyed, but stood still as he pet her. Birta rolled her eyes.
"What are ya doin'?" she asked.
"I want ya to talk to me, Birta," he said. "Please."
Verndari watched her contemplate his request. She finally nodded slightly, and put her hand out, so that he might help her off her horse. He did so, his hand significantly darker than hers, which looked like it had been bathed in cream. Verndari had yet to find a maiden with fairer skin.
"What do ya want to talk about, Verndari?" she asked, tiredly. "Ya haven't paid me a bit of notice, since we were kids."
"That's not true, I notice ya all the time," he snorted, only realizing what he had said after it was too late. Birta raised an eyebrow and her green eyes twinkled, amused.
"All the time?"
"I didn't forget ya, Birta. I was goin' through a lot, with my brothers and my father. I had responsibilities, I couldn't just spend the days playin' outside, like children."
Birta glanced down to the ground in front of her feet and kicked aimlessly at a rock.
"Ya didn't have to ignore me, though. Ya never even spoke to me after that day, except to be cordial." she replied. "I lost my best friend."
Verndari swallowed the lump that had risen into his throat. He felt like a fool; embarrassed, and guilty, for leaving her without anyone all those years before.
"There was a lot goin' on, Birta. I was growin' up, and I didn't make the best choices. I should've talked to ya more, not less. But-" he stopped, and Birta watched color swarm his cheeks.
After a moment, Birta impatiently broke the silence.
Verndari cleared his throat.
"I uh... It was hard to be around ya, Birta. We were both growin' up. I was becomin' a young man, and you-" his eyes scanned over her, then looked away shyly. "-you were turnin' into a woman."
Birta understood, now. She hadn't ever thought of Verndari going through the changes of being a man, but she had been called to and mocked by men inside the castle before, before and so men and their lust was nothing new to her. She had even felt the hardness of one of the archers, as he tried to show her a better way to hold her bow. It had been an accident, she thought, but then he had tried to kiss her. The thought made her shudder.
"I'm sorry," Verndari said, taking a step towards her.
Birta sighed and her hands fell from where they had been resting, on her hips. Verndari didn't wait for a response, but wrapped her in a hug, squeezing gently.
Birta was glad for the gesture, and realized all at once that he had been right. Things had definitely changed since they were young. His shoulder was strong under her cheek, and she could feel hairs tickling her neck as it pressed to his chest. She pulled back, a bit caught off guard.
Verndari had noticed it too; the feeling of excitement, as her lean and soft body had pressed to his in that moment. She was definitely not a child anymore.
"Let me come with ya," he said, moving on. "I want to be there for ya, when you hear what the priest has to say. I remember the mad stories we came up with," he said, grinning.
Birta laughed softly.
"Yeah, like me bein' born to a goat?" she teased, narrowing her eyes.
Verndari laughed hard, something she hadn't heard since they were young, and Birta climbed back up on the horse, ready to continue the journey together.