"This was much easier than I thought it would be!" Seriah exclaimed proudly as she rode the spirited horse around the small corral. Rasmus couldn't help smiling; her face and clothes were covered in dirt, and she had some bruises forming from falling many times. Her face glowed even through all the dirt, and Rasmus was glad his face was dirty so she wouldn't see him blush. He said with a sigh, "Yeah, he'd make a fine cavalry horse."
Seriah dismounted, and started working on taking off the saddle. Rasmus watched her as he leaned on the fence, trying to decide what to do. He wasn't sure how she felt about him, and he didn't want to ruin the friendship they had built over the past couple weeks. She needed happiness in her life, and he hoped he could help her find it. She was much happier than she had been when he first met her, and he was glad for that. She glanced over her shoulder at him, and smirked. He smiled too, and sighed happily.
Seriah was feeling slightly confused as she brought the tack back into the barn. Rasmus had been acting awfully friendly today, not distant like he usually was. She wasn't sure why he was behaving this way, but she hoped it would last. She liked this side of him; it reminded her of when she first met him. She hadn't felt this happy in a very long time, and had almost forgotten all the pain and hardships of her childhood. There was no death in this place she found herself in, no fear. The only evidence of the cruelty of the government was the fact that the couple who owned the ranch were gone, as well as most of their horses. They had been taken for use in the military, for high-ranking soldiers to ride. Seriah looked around the barn at all the empty stalls, and realized with sadness that the horses who once lived in them would probably never return. She clenched her fist, and anger filled her for a moment. But then Rasmus called her, and she instantly brightened and dashed outside to find him.
After Seriah had invited him inside, she got to work on making supper for them. She felt strange cooking for him; she felt almost like they were a married couple. She was surprised that the thought didn't bother her. Rasmus was one of the only people who had shown her any kindness after the death of her family, and he was definitely a caring person. He was very handsome, and as she gazed at him from the kitchen, she realized he wasn't just a friend to her. No, he was much more than that.
Seriah felt her heart start racing, and she had to sit on the nearest chair. She had never been in love with anyone, not even a crush. Her mind was reeling, and she covered her mouth with her hand. She knew he was four years older than her, so she could never marry him. But she couldn't deny her feelings for him. She would go riding just in hopes of catching a glimpse of him. She whispered, "Why have I never noticed before?" She glanced out of the kitchen again, and as she saw him reading the back of a book that had been sitting on the table, a feeling of warmth built up inside her.
As they ate, Seriah found it harder to keep a normal conversation with Rasmus. She could feel herself blushing, and she found it harder to make eye contact. She shoved her potatoes around her plate, trying to hide her anxiety. Rasmus was still talking to her, and she found a sort of comfort in his deep voice. She dropped her spoon, and asked suddenly, "Have you ever been in love?"
Rasmus looked at her with a blank expression, then replied with a hint of confusion, "Yes, I suppose I have. What brings that up?"
Seriah shrugged her shoulders, trying to remain neutral. "Just curious. I haven't had much experience with love."
Rasmus wasn't stupid, and could clearly see she was more than just a little curious. He stood up, and sat down in the chair next to her. Seriah didn't look at him, but asked nervously, "What did you do that for?" Rasmus didn't reply, but instead he touched her chin, and guided her head to face him. He looked into her dark eyes, and smiled. Seriah didn't say anything, but her face showed a pleading expression. He leaned in slowly, and kissed her softly.