Page 21 of There I Find Light

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“Nope. Just saying you’re more likely to step on my toes, since they stick out. I wasn’t saying anything about you being clumsy. Although you are the one who got your finger stuck in the door.”

“You’re rubbing that in? You barely even know me, and you declined my invitation to dance earlier, so you probably should be nice and soothe my hurt feelings.”

She couldn’t believe she brought that up. She wanted to brush it under the rug. But there was a part of her that understood that they were going to be spending the night together and probably the day tomorrow. Unless some brave soul came out to rescue them. Regardless, she was going to be spending a lot of time with him, and she didn’t want that hanging over her head the whole time, where she was trying to duck away from it. She figured the best thing she could do was to face it head-on.

“What was wrong with you?” He laughed. “Sorry. That wasn’t a very well-formed question. Let me see if I can phrase that a little bit differently.”

“It’s okay. I was talking gibberish. And I don’t know exactly why. Have you ever just had your tongue and your brain not work in sync? Like usually it’s just a word that you mess up where you’re trying to say today and tomorrow and you end up saying taymorday or something like that, but you know what I mean?”

That didn’t exactly explain everything that was going on. It was a start.


“I was nervous. And that made it worse.” She was glad it was dark and he couldn’t see her face. Glad they were having this discussion where she could hide under the cloak of invisibility.

“I guess. I suppose I’ve never had trouble quite that bad though. And when you explain it like that, I understand what you’re saying, but to see you in front of me not making any sense, I wasn’t sure whether you were just being a goof-off, or if you had a serious problem.”

“I guess you could have thought I had a stroke.”

“Something like that. Although that didn’t occur to me.”

“I escaped from the insane asylum?”

“I thought I knew who you were, so I thought that and I hadn’t heard you’d been arrested or taken into custody for anything, or that probably would have been my first thought.”

“Nice. I’m super happy that I made a great impression on you.” She rolled her eyes. She couldn’t have been any more embarrassed.

“Well, I can’t really argue with that, because yeah. You were more scary than attractive, but your second impression was pretty darn good.”

“Where I opened the door and got you out of the room?”

“Kind of forgot about that. Unbelievably. I was thinking about you delivering the kitten.”

“That made a good impression?”

“You saved the kitten and probably the cat as well.”

“Hopefully. I don’t know if helping to deliver it will cause any problems or not. But I’m hoping not.”

As they talked, they’d been moving around the room. Without saying anything, she’d started moving in one direction and he’d started moving in the other.

“Hey. I just felt something.”

She heard rustling as he must have bent down to check.

“It’s a stove.”

“Yeah. I forgot it had a small woodstove.”

“I heard we had wood outside in the back, so... If we can just find some matches or something, we’ll have heat.”

She was hopeful. Even if they didn’t have matches, what else did they have to do all night other than rub two sticks of wood together, right? Was it actually possible to start a fire like that? She wasn’t sure. She’d never done it.

For now, she was going to hold onto the hope that they would find a care package and it would include matches.

Her foot touched something, and her heart stuttered.

She stopped carefully and bent down in the dark, slowly so she didn’t bump into anything.

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