With no warning, Kris held his hand up. Everyone stopped. Growling under his breath, he stormed back to me like some wild predator.
James stopped me with a glare and a slight head shake.
Kris circled me as if I were prey.
“Too slow. This’ll help.”
I wasn’t sure if Kris was talking to me or himself. With James still watching me I didn’t dare ask either.
To my shock and embarrassment, he cupped my face, leaned in and kissed me. Not just a quick peck but a serious, movie scene worthy kiss. He released me before I had a chance to object – not to the kiss itself but for how he did it. He turned and loped back to the front of the short line without another word.
I stood there, in the middle of the trail, stunned. James touched my elbow.
“It was a gift,” James told me in a soft voice.
“What was?” my face wrinkling, shaking my head.
“Kris gave you the ability to keep up with us. He wants to move faster. Trust it. Trust me. You’ll keep up.”
“Kris wants to run so he gave you a bit of his power. He doesn’t want you to slow us down. Stephan is too much of a risk. Now, love, no more speaking. Run.”
James flashed a quick grin at me before Kris signaled everyone to move again. This time they ran. James passed me. I watched them for a moment as they faded into the forest faster than anyone should be able to run.
“Trust them,” I muttered.
Taking a deep breath I ran after them. To my utter amazement, not only did I keep up with them, I caught up to Kris, passing everyone else in the process. He glanced at me, smiled and pressed harder. Sensing the challenge I lengthened my stride, finding myself able to match his pace.
The forest flashed by in streaked glimpses of browns and greens. In the running, I started to feel a peace I hadn’t felt in years. There was something about running with this man, this stranger, that lifted me. It freed me from something I didn’t even realize I carried. It didn’t take long before I ran with Kris for the sheer joy of being able to fly through the forest as free as the wildlife startling from the brush with our passage.
In case you've missed it, the rest of Emma's story can be found here.