From a distance, no one would be able to tell that the towel tied over her skirt was not part of the dress. Kindey assumed that that also meant that a quick look as she wove her way through the morning crowd on Deaver Street would also keep it hidden, and she pushed through on a long stride. If she kept her head high, even she didn’t see the towel, and she pretended she didn’t feel the rough fabric through the long tear.
Besides that, but it was only twenty minutes more until home, and after six hours, that hardly seemed like a stretch.
When Kindey turned off Deaver, she left most of the crowd behind, and hurried a little faster now that there was more space to see her. When she turned onto her own street, she left everyone behind, and she let out a happy breath, before gathering the edges of the towel in either hand with her skirt balled up underneath. Bolting for her front door, Kindey slammed through. She knew there was no hope of sneaking inside.
Her sister was in the kitchen, stacking the already washed breakfast dishes back in the cupboard, boots-on and ready to head down to the workshop for the day.
“Where have you been?” she asked Kindey.
Kindey caught a heavy breath, glancing up the stairs. “Is Da awake?”
Her sister looked at her with raised eyebrows, quietly questioning her sanity. “Momma went down to open the storeroom an hour ago. Da was up to pack her lunch and kiss her good-bye just like always. Were you out all night?”
Kindey hesitated, then started to grin and knew she was never going to do anything but nod. “At Honeysickle Bay.”
Her sister’s eyebrows came down immediately. “That’s a half a day’s walk from here.”
Kindey grinned a little wider. “Not when you go with Jaskin Delloport, and take the shortcut over three fences and through a hole in the wall. But it is half a night’s walk back when he fails to tell you that you can only jump the fences one way.”
Her sister blinked, then snorted, then turned her head to hide the full smile that followed.
“Did he notice I was gone?” Kindey asked.
Her sister didn’t look at her, just nodded as she slid the cupboards shut.
“How much trouble am I in?”
“How much fun did you have?” her sister asked.
“I snuck out for a midnight picnic, ripped my skirt jumping the last fence, spilled everything the basket, and spent the rest of the night just trying to get back home,” Kindey told her.
Her sister raised her eyebrows again. Kindey realized she was still grinning.
“We talked the whole way home,” she said, a little quieter. “Laughed a lot.” She shrugged.
Her sister sighed. “Lose the smile and you’ll probably get by with double duties for a week.”
Kindey nodded. That seemed more than fair. “And what are the chances he’ll let me sleep for a few hours before I get started on that?”
“What are the chances that the sun is going to come down from the sky to kiss you today?”
Kindey nodded again, and dashed straight up the stairs.