Chapter 6 – February 6I

Rune raised his upper body suddenly, looked down at Annie. Her cheeks apple pink, lips strawberry red. He lowered his body to kiss her again, but her mittened hand against his chest stopped his descent.

“It’s cold.” Her wool cap had fallen off, there was snow in her brown hair, like puffs of dissolved marshmallows in hot chocolate. “We’re what, ten minutes from your house?”

Knees digging into the snow between Annie’s legs, raising his body. “Five, if we hurry.” Grasping her right arm, he raised himself to his feet, lifting her at the same time. She picked up her cap, then her backpack, he held out his arm and she snuggled into him, the two of them resuming their walk down the icy sidewalk.

“You think anyone saw us?” Her tone was playfully curious, as if she were daring anyone who had seen them to come forward.

Rune looked around. “This stretch’s pretty quiet. Lots of trees, what few houses are ranches, no high windows. Not much traffic, didn’t hear any cars passing.”

She squeezed his torso with both arms. “You like playing detective, don’t you?”

Rune laughed, squeezed her back. “I like to pay attention, is what I do.”

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