at leaned dangerously close to the water.
“Hold still.” Bjorn said.
He grabbed her shoulder right as she felt herself about to pitch over into the colourful water.
His movement was enough to send them the rest of the way and they splashed under the surface.
“Oh my, look over.” People shouted from the river bank.
“There’s been an accident.” Other shouted.
Right as the climax of the fireworks display let the sky into a false daylight.
Showing drifting clouds of smoke and the heads of Bjorn and Erna bobbing in the river.
Erna panicked as her world became drowned in darkness and muffled noise.
She desperately heald her breath and thrashed about looking for the boat.
She wanted to call out for help, but water rushed in and silenced her.
I’ve got you.”
The voice was urgent, but soothing.
She felt strong arms take her round the waist and shoulders and lift her up out of the water.
Nearly out of the water, she could feel it lapping at her waist and thighs and she was cradled.
Her arms instinctively came up and around Bjorn’s neck and she held him tightly.
Even though the panic and fear was still there, she understood that she was alright, she was no longer in harms way.
Bjorn stood and the water came up a little past her waist.
His voice came in clear amongst the buzz that filled her ears.
She felt cold hard wood underneath as he laid her down on the jetty.
“Are you awake, Miss Hardy?”
Each time he called her name, the world came more into focus.
The sky was dark now, no more blooms of colours, no more sounds bangs, pops and fizzes.
Only the buzz.
Her eyes fluttered open and she looked up into the eyes of a handsome young Prince.
He smiled when she looked at him and her heart fluttered.
She answered with a difficult nod and the buzz around her grew.
She realised that a crowd had gathered around her.
“It’s okay, Miss Hardy.” Bjorn said.
Erna felt like she was going to throw up and she coughed, which burned her lungs.
She felt like they were on fire and as the coughing fit continued, she vomited up river water.
Her shame was complete and she blushed in embarrassment.
“Everything is okay now.” Bjorn soothed and rubbed her back.
He let out a long sigh of relief.
The water from their two wet bodies soaked the decking of the jetty and continued to pool out to the feet of the crowd around them.
It was an absurd accident, but she was lucky.
Bjorn sat down beside Erna and brushed his wet hair out of his face.
The other hand was still around Erna’s shoulders, holding her close.
She leaned into him.
The more she thought about it, the funnier it got.
It was the first accident at the festival in quite some time, not since a drunk couple stumbled into the river and turned the whole festival on its head.
All for just a simple little hat.
If she had just stayed calm when Bjorn tried to help, the boat wouldn’t have capsized.
He let out a sigh and joined in the laughter.
Bjorn couldn’t tell if this was typical country girl mischief, or she really was as naive as she showed, either way she was a troublesome woman.
Its a good thing now that everything is over.
Bjorn finally let Erna go and she pulled away as he stood up.
Those who had been watching them, seeing that they were okay, rushed in and started to make a fuss.
Bjorn simply removed his wet coat.
“Its okay, no need to worry, we’re fine.” Bjorn said, stopping the eager attendants.
That wasn’t the end of it.
He saw a boat moving close to the dock, packed with onlookers muttering to each other.
The group included Viscount Hardy and Princess Gladys and his parents.
Bjorn looked over at Erna who was heading away, she had given him a strong beginning and a great end.
She really was a lady of unconventional social disturbances.
Turning up, causing a scene and then flitting off back to where ever.
It was just a shame she was so embroiled in affairs and scandals.
Erna turned and saw Bjorn.
He tilted his head toward her and she gave a slight curtsey.
He wished she didn’t have to leave and hoped that she would lose the courage to run away.
Settle down in the city so he could explore her friendship more.
Either way, they had been here together and it was a good relationship.
Bjorn strode down to the now anchored boat.
All through his reminiscence of the evening, he did not look back once.
“Is everything okay? What of Miss Hardy?” Peter blurted.
He and Leonard had heard the commotion.
They ran for Bjorn’s carriage and caught him just in time.
They had been drinking heavily and stank of alcohol.
“Bring my money.” Bjorn said to Leonard.
Peter and Leonard stared at each other blankly as Bjorn pulled himself up into the carriage.
They almost simultaneously clucked their tongues and shook their heads.
Drenched as she was, Bjorn sat down and closed his eyes.
The evening had been quite eventful and he was thankful it was over.
It was time to put everything back into place.
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