Levi let out an admiring whistle. They walked closer and went inside. It was a bit dusty, but Levi didn’t seem to mind. “This’ll be perfect!” he exclaimed, his eyes shining with excitement. “Maybe I’ll never want to go back to the city!”
Andi gave him a doubtful look. “Aren’t you going back on Aunt Rebecca’s return trip?”
Levi shrugged. “She said to Mother that she was going to stay for two weeks.”
Andi didn’t bother to smother her groan. “A whole two weeks?” She gasped.
“Oh no! How am I going to survive?”
Levi shrugged. “You’ll have me to console you,” he replied with a grin.
Andi rolled her eyes. “I’m not sure you are going to help matters much.”
Andi sat down on one of the two chairs she and Cory and smuggled up to the shack to think. “Maybe we could somehow get her to change her mind about staying,” she said after a long silence.
Levi jumped on the idea. “Yes, let’s make her go home quicker. I’ll think of a few ideas while you go back to the ranch. Find some excuse to see me again tomorrow morning and bring some food. I’ve got enough bread and dried meat from aunt’s larder to last me for at least two meals, longer if need be. Also, if your friend Cory wants to help bring me food or something, we could have him join forces with us too.”
Andi grinned. “Yes, sir!” she replied with a salute. “I’ll get that done right away. Our family and the Blakes are having dinner together tonight anyways, so I’ll ask him then.”
“That’s perfect. Let me know how it goes tomorrow.”
“I will!” Andi waved as she left her nephew, and went back down to her home.
* * * * *
Andi flew down to her home, but stopped and made herself presentable quickly before going back into the house, amazed that her dress wasn’t ruined yet. Surely it was a record breaker; almost a whole day without tearing her dress!
She met Melinda on the way into the parlor. She was just as mannerly as always.
“Are they still talking?” Andi asked in a whisper.
Melinda smiled. “Yes.”
Andi gasped. “How do they find so much to talk about?” she asked.
Melinda giggled. “Oh, it just takes practice.”
Andi rolled her eyes. “Well then, I won’t practice.” She looked around her quickly. “Is the Blake family here?”
Melinda giggled again. “You mean Cory?” she asked.
“Yes, they are here. Cory is outside with Mitch in the barn. I’ll let Mother know that you haven’t ruined your dress yet.” Melinda glided from the room with another giggle. Andi sorely wanted to stick her tongue out at her back but didn’t. After all, she was fifteen, almost sixteen, and girls her age never stuck their tongues out at older siblings, annoying or not.
Andi went out to the barn and found Mitch and Cory together in front of Taffy.
“What are you doing in front of my horse’s stall?” she asked.
They started, somewhat guiltily, and turned around.
Cory grinned sheepishly. “Hi Andi, sorry, we thought you wouldn’t mind.”
Andi smiled. “That’s alright, I don’t mind, just curious.” She stood awkwardly in front of them, shifting her feet a little.
Mitch sighed. “I’d better go see what Chad is up to. He’ll probably need my help.” He glanced at Andi, and then at Cory. “Make sure she doesn’t get into trouble, Cory.”
Cory grinned. “Alright,” he said at Mitch’s back. He turned to Andi. “What do you want to talk to me about?”
Andi smiled, but got right to the point. “My nephew, Levi, you probably remember him, is escaping school. He needs help from us.”
Cory raised his eyebrows. “Levi?”
Briefly, Andi filled him in on the details.
“I must say that was brave of him to come all the way out here with the risk of her.” He nodded in the direction of the house. “I’ll do anything I can to help. You said your aunt is staying for two weeks?”
Cory clucked his tongue sympathetically.
Andi rolled her eyes. “And that means that I have to be a lady for two whole weeks. What could be worse?”
Cory laughed with a shrug of his shoulder. “I certainly don’t know, but one thing, if we’re late for dinner, that’ll be awfully close!”
Andi gasped, but it was unmistakable: the dinner bell was being rung, and if they didn’t make a run for it…
“Let’s go!!” and the two of them took off for the house.