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Pen Your Pride

Chapter 1 - Like Melted Chocolate

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  • Dedicated to flowcherry - for the great cover art!

This is the best part of her day. Her morning run. She concentrates on the air rushing in and out of her lungs. The rhythmic sound of her feet pounding against the gravel. The sun trickling through the canopy of leaves highlights her skin in flashes of light. Long black hair streams behind her. The music flooding through her headphones dictates her heartbeat.

She can't help but grin as her body leans into the next curve in the trail. The feeling of exhilaration drives her forward. Then, without warning, a dog is suddenly under her feet. A small yappy thing, barking as it wraps its leash around her ankles. She stumbles over the blue fabric, catching herself against a tree trunk. Rough bark scrapes against the exposed skin of her upper arm. It begins to sting immediately in the rush of air and salty sweat.

“Oh my god, I am so sorry.” A voice sounds from behind her. “He got away from me.”

“Jesus. If you don’t know how to run with a dog, don’t’ do it.” She snaps, gingerly touching her shoulder. Her fingers come away bloody.

“Shit. You’re hurt.”

Looking up, she sees a guy in his early twenties, only a few years older than her, staring down at her. Her gaze locks on his deep, dark brown eyes; the exact colour of melted chocolate.

“Nothing a little ointment won’t fix.” She shrugs, her initial anger waning. She pushes the dog to the side of the path with her foot, making way for the runners she hears coming. The little brown thing licks at the salty skin of her ankles. She pulls her foot away quickly, rubbing her ankle against her other leg.

“I’m Gilbert.” The stranger reaches out his hand.

“As in Blythe?” She chuckles.

“Yeah, actually. My mother was a fan.” He smiles back at her “Not many people make the connection.”

“Any good Canadian should. It was my favourite movie as a kid.” She scratches the dog’s curly head. Her initial annoyance completely gone.

“You know it was a book first right? Actually seven of them.” His eyes sparkle beneath long, black lashes.

“Really? I did not know that.” Distractedly, she stops the music still audible through the headphones in her hand. “I knew there were a couple more movies. They’re decent.”

“Didn’t you just imply you were a good Canadian?” He raises an eyebrow.

“Watch yourself.” She smirks. “I wanted to go to Green Gables so badly. I begged and begged my parents until they finally took us to PEI when I was eight. It’s still my favourite family holiday.” She smiles to herself, shaking her head. “And, I have no idea why I’m telling you this. You must have an honest face.”

His face glows a soft shade of pink as he chuckles. “Do you have a name?”

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