At school, Hellon couldn't concentrate at all. Milo was constantly on her mind. She was already looking forward to when they would meet after a long day of boring classes. Fortunately, it was almost lunch time and then she was free for the rest of the day. Now Pem knew, she didn't have to lie to him anymore about where she went after school. He could go home on his own, maybe imagine a lie to tell their parents. Now she had someone on her side. Someone beside Milo.
But it was odd though, that her little brother, who she thought was mentally so much more younger than twelve, had found out about her friendship with Milo. Well, maybe she should stop thinking about him as her friend. Milo meant so much more to her than just a friend. Every time she even just thought about him, her heart started beating faster and a smile appeared on her face. She had never felt this way about someone, but it was a feeling she would never forget either. She wondered how it would be, marrying Milo, having children with him, settling down. It sounded wonderful. Wonderful, but impossible. The idea made her happy and sad at the same time.
Finally, school was over. Hellon said goodbye to her friends, although she didn't really consider those girls as her friends. She didn't feel a connection with them; she didn't like hanging around with them. She'd rather hang out with Milo instead.
Speaking of the devil, there he was. Standing across the yard, enjoying the sun. Once he got sight of her, he waved at her. He waited for her! But this anxious feeling crept into her. What if anyone would see? No one could know about them. That's what she told Pem, right?
"Milo, what are you doing here?" she said, almost whispering. She was near him, but she planned on walking past, so that nobody would see them together. But he took her hand and stopped her.
"I came to get you from school and ask you out on a date," he simply said, like it was nothing. But she had to gasp for air.
"Yes, a date. Hellon Marple, would you like to spend the rest of the day with me?" Milo asked, obviously amused because of her reaction. He started leading her in the opposite direction that she expected. He didn't want to go to the woods. To the hanging tree. No, he went to the square, the centre of the district.
"Stop," she said. He looked at her, confused, but still smiling. "We can't go there."
"Why not?" he asked.
"Because no one can see us together. You know that, don't you? Imagine what will happen if someone would tell my father..."
"Oh, my dear dear Hellon, stop worrying so much. Yesterday, when you told me about Benon getting married, I started thinking about us," Milo said. "Well, I always think about you. But now I really, really realised how much I love you. And I don't want to hide anymore."
Hellon couldn't immediately understand what he was saying; her brains were working too hard. "I thougth we had discussed this?"
"Indeed, and I don't want you to get in trouble because you are hanging around with me. But I don't want you to stop hanging around with me either." Milo sounded very determined. "So there is only one solution to this problem; we have to stop hiding, so we can be together without lying to your family."
Hellon felt like she could burst into tears any moment. It sounded so perfect, Milo's plan. She didn't want to hide anymore, too. But she could already imagine her father's reaction. He would be so angry. Furious. He would probably lock her up in her room and beat Milo black and blue, telling him to stay away from his precious daughter. She didn't want that. She didn't want to lose him. Milo was worth lying for.
He saw the look on her face and his smile faded. "Hellon, what's wrong?"
She took him inside a little alley, so no one could see. "I can't do this, Milo. I love you too much to lose you. And if we show our love... My father would never allow that. He would tear us apart, I know for sure," she said, tears running down her cheeks. Milo wiped them away with his thumb.
"Hellon, stop crying. It's okay." He paused a little while to think and added: "If we can't show our love, can I at least be you friend in public?" He smiled at her.
And she smiled back. That was a good idea, wasn't it? Better than his first plan. "Yes, you can."
He sighed in relief and gave her a quick kiss. Then he pretended to look over his shoulder anxiously to make sure no one had seen that. Hellon laughed.
"You're so silly," she said.
"No, you are silly," Milo replied. "But I like that about you." And then they kissed again, intensely. The fire inside the miner's boy and the mayor's daughter lighted up once more.