We gallop through the snow, Koda squeezing onto me so tight, until our horses practically fall over. Jethen ties the horses and unpacks the saddle bags.
“Who got the horses ready? And what happened to the people in the stables?” I ask after laying a tarp over the snow. Jethen starts to set up a fire.
“The horses we’re from a friend and I knocked out the other people. Like a boss.” We wrap ourselves in blankets and get ready for the bitter night. I realize how much I missed the sky, the always returning moon and stars.
“Can I ask you a question Jethen?” He shrugs. “What was the last you heard of Chase?”
“I heard from him today. Well not from him, of him. He’s missing in action.” Jethen passes around a small thing of trail mix, we chew slowly, thinking.
“Is that nessicaily a bad thing?” Koda asks. I elbow, him. I’m not Chase’s number one fan but Jethen just lost a brother.
“I don’t know. He never really loved me or anything but man, did I look up to him.” He scoffs. “He was the only thing keeping me in the top classes, because. I wanted to be like him.”
“I’m sorry.” I know, it sounds lame. But I can’t think of anything else to say.
“Whatever. I’m gonna sleep for a bit.” He throws a blanket over his head mumbles, “If you make any noise I will throw things at you.”
“Well be quiet as church mice.” I smile at Koda and he grins back. I kiss him. It’s all kinda sudden and I think it surprises him. Then it leads to a few more kisses, just small little thing. Sweet little things. Then we start to laugh a little.
“I love you.” I murmur, forgetting my promise to Jethen to be quiet.
“I love you too.” He whispers.
“Oh my word!” Something hits my back and I find Jethen, head sticking out of the blankets, scowling. I look at the thing he threw at me, his shoe. “I’m trying to sleep.”
“Oh really?” I grab a handful of snow and chuck it at him, it lands on his face. His face fills with a how-dare-you look, then he smiles and also grabs snow. Soon it’s an all out snow ball fight. By the end, we’re all breathless and laughing. I’ve never felt so good in my life, I feel like a child. When Koda scoops me up and twirls me around I feel like a princess with her Prince Charming. I love him. And I am happy. We go back to the blankets as the temperature drops. I curl up in Koda’s arms he whispers one more time,
“I love you Poppy.”
“I love you too Koda.” Then we fall alseep in each others arms.