"Good afternoon, Matt," Penny managed, falling back on familiar formalities in her nervous state. Her mind was already trying to figure out what to say, how to apologize when Matt unexpectedly complimented her... and then said he had missed her. Well. That wasn't quite what she had been expecting and it left her momentarily at a loss for words.
Penny blinked, composing herself once more. "I... thank you!" she stammered, her eyes wide with surprise. "I mean to say, I missed you, too." Was that proper? She imagined not and it was all she could do not to wince. "It has been a long while, hasn't it? I'm afraid my mother was none too pleased with my absence that evening and has been more carefully watching how I spend my day," she confessed. She decided to leave out the part where she knew her mother was more intent than ever on finding her an appropriate suitor and marrying her off, though why she didn't say it she couldn't quite place. She also knew that her mother had been right to be concerned for her; she had behaved badly but she wasn't sure she should bring that up at the moment.