Monica stormed out of the house, so mad she couldn't even cry. She nearly broadsided a young man in a tie riding a sturdy farm horse. In a less severe circumstance, she might have been tempted to laugh at his appearance.
In a lesser circumstance, she might have recognized him from the stand at the market. Right now, though, all she could think about was how mad she was, how bad she had it, and how much she wanted something terrible to happen to that man in the house behind her.
She stormed down three streets before she even began to think about where she was traveling. Her subconscious was navigating for her, though, because she was already half way to Mrs. Townsend's house, and that was exactly where she intended to go–and stay.
Monica could return for her belongings tomorrow, but right now she just needed to get as far away from Oliver Swarth as possible. She had little way of knowing what the future would hold, but regardless, she was fairly certain things were over between she and the man she once vowed to love forever. God help her.
Nina had enjoyed herself this day more than she had in weeks, maybe even months, but she knew nonetheless that it was time to go home and return to reality. The quilt would still be waiting for her next week, and Anna had already promised to work on some stitching each night to help quicken the project along. From the looks of things so far, it would be a real treasure for Anna's sister and her baby. Nina smiled as she considered it.
Her eyes drifted as she walked through the rising shadows of the city streets, able to catch just the tips of the cotton candy clouds glowing in the brilliant hues of the setting sun. A longing came over her then for a world much different from her own. This had been occurring more and more recently, and she couldn't quite place what was causing it to originate, or what it meant. She longed for freedom. She longed for security, the kind that she only was able to glimpse when wrapped tightly in her father's arms. She longed to feel loved–not to just know that she was loved somewhere deep inside, but to truly feel it throughout her entire being. She wanted peace in this world, and quite frankly, that troubled her. She truthfully didn't know how or where she would ever find it.
Jamin looked at the darkening sky and decided, with much downheartedness, that it was time to give up and go home. No one knew a girl by the name of Nina, and he couldn't believe that he'd never inquired about her last name or her parents' names. He'd been stupid to try to find her, he decided. What made him think she would want to see him, if she hadn't even told him her name?
Chiding himself for what was unlikely to be the last time, he gave Cowboy a nudge and started back for the farm. At least he would be done suffering the stares of these snooty city folk snickering at the country boy in suit and tie riding a farm horse around town. Folks could certainly be cruel.
A lone figure walked leisurely down the sidewalk to his right, and his heart skipped a beat. He recognized that cloak! Could it really be her right here in front of him?
He gingerly called out her name, and she paused, turned, and looked up at him with her sky blues eyes shining in the twilight.
She looked stunned to see him, but smiled shyly and breathed a soft, “Hello.”
“Hello, Nina.” Jamin replied almost just as softly. He was more than a little stunned that after coming all this way, he had no idea what to say to her. This was not how he'd expected to find her.
“What brings you to town?” Nina asked. She looked at him with a broad, genuine smile now, and he knew she was glad to see him. His heart seemed to jump a little.
“Actually,” he felt himself blushing, “I came to see you.” He sounded foolish when he came out and said it, but it was the truth.
Somehow, her smile grew even more. “Really?” she asked.
He laughed now, grateful for the slight break in tension. “Yeah, it sounds crazy doesn't it?”
“A little,” Nina replied, “but I'm glad you did. I was just thinking my day couldn't get much better, and then there you were!”
Now Jamin was smiling. “Where are you going?”
“Oh, I'm on my way home from my friend, Anna's, house. We are making a quilt for her sister's new baby, well it's not born yet, but…well, anyway…yeah. I'm just going home. Were you really looking for me? How did you plan to find me?”
“Well, I was just about to give up when I saw you.” Jamin explained. “It was a crazy thought riding around town asking people if they knew a girl named Nina, but I just really missed you. I had a free evening, so I thought I'd give it a try. Now that the harvest is over, I won't be at the market anymore, and I couldn't stand the thought of not seeing you again until next spring. You're a hard girl to find, though, you know! I was starting to think you didn't want me to find you–I mean, that maybe you didn't feel the same way about me, that I feel about you.”
His confidence was waning again, as his old insecurities came rushing back, but Nina's voice broke into his thoughts. “Would you think I was wierd if I told you that I think about you all the time? I didn't think I would see you again either, and I really didn't like the thought of that.”
Jamin was off Cowboy and holding Nina's hands in his before either of them realized it. “Well, I sure am glad I finally found you.”