Running his thick fingers through his light blond hair, Perry checked out his image in a mirror. Why freckles? Why? And was it so necessary for him to have peachy skin and extremely light hair? He always appreciated his nose, though. Just like his father's--sharp, to-the-point, prominent. Unfortunately, Father wasn't home now...he was attending to some other business now in a country far away.

"Perry!" a sharp voice scolded behind him. The boy spun around rapidly. It was his mother...blond like himself, but short and plump. Her son was tall and, in fact, rather muscular from regular farm work and jobs in the police force.

"Perry LeKerr! I've told you over and over to get ready and get right out there to tend to the horses!" his mother continued in a high-pitched voice. "Now that you've been slacking around, you've got to milk and feed the cows as well.

Suddenly, an angered look came across Perry's face. "Why me?"

His mother threw back the look of a flustered mother--and that, she was. "You've been standing around this whole time, goggling at yourself in the mirror! Chop, chop!"

Though he badly wanted to resist, Perry obeyed his mother's order. He shuffled out into the barn. Grabbing a pitchfork, the boy made his way over to the hay. Why me? was the question that repeated in his mind over and over again. He had a brother, and a younger, lazier one at that. In anger, Perry raised the pitchfork and stabbed it into the hay. He got a good-sized clump, and then walked it over to the stables, dropping a good-sized pile for each ravenous horse. When there wasn't any hay left on the pitchfork, Perry returned to the haystack for second rations. He dug the fork deep in the pile. It struck something solid. Perry assumed he'd just struck the floor or a wall, so he withdrew the tool. He stuck the pitchfork into the pile at a higher angle. This time, he definitely struck something solid...but it was neither the floor not the wall.

"Ow!" a girl's voice yelped, sounding irritated and surprised.

Perry's eyes widened and he backed from the pile, clutching the pitchfork tightly. "Who--who's there?" he stuttered, alarmed at being one of two in the room.

Rather than answering, the girl stood up, revealing herself on the other side of the haystack. She gave a small wave, a little astonished at being caught.


"Uh--I was gonna leave some money for you guys..." Samara offered the frightened-looking boy who was staring at her. "I was just gonna go out and get some food and come back..." her voice trailed off slowly. "I'm Samara," she said randomly, trying to refresh the conversation.

The boy's eyes widened at her name.

"I'm not a threat," she answered seriously. "If you're that mad, I can work for your family for a while to pay off the--"

She was cut off when the boy shook his head, causing his light blond hair to skate slowly over his head. "No," he responded slowly. "No...that's alright. I'm Perry." He looked down at her filthy feet without making a face, and offered her his own hand.

Not knowing what else to do, Samara took his hand and stepped toward him. When their hands parted slowly, the girl reached into her pocket, saying, "I'll repay you...I've got a little money...not much, but I slept in your--"

Once again, the boy silenced her with the slightest shake of his head. "No. No, you keep your money." He paused for a second and put one of his thick fingers to his lips in thought. Then he declared, "I'd like you to...well, would you perhaps like some breakfast...maybe meet my mother?"

Though Samara assumed that it would be rather awkward to share an unexpected, unwanted breakfast with a mother and her son, she had no chance to answer, for Perry disappeared inside the house, forcing Samara to follow out of curiosity.

And...this chapter probably isn't done yet. YET. However, I'll finish it eventually. Like, soon, since this is my story now, the one I'm working on. Besides that other one...which I'm keeping a secret until...well, you'll see. Later.