It felt so good to wash the dirt from my skin after riding for so long. The water was suprisingly warm and relaxed the tense muscles in my body. I washed quickly so the others could bathe before it got too dark and we had to sleep.
I left my hair dripping down my back as I put on a fresh riding skirt and shirt. I had to find Jadir before I began my watch. I found him exactly where I had expected to find him, sitting alone by the fire. I silently sat next to him.
'Are you OK?' I asked casually, even though I knew he wasn't because of the creases in his forehead.
'I'm not sure I can say.'
'You can always talk to me, you know that don't you?' He nodded but remained silent for a while before answering.
'Isn't it always something to do with Naria? She seems to have everyone under her spell.' I meant it affectionately but Jadir looked at me like I had insulted her. 'What in particular about Naria?'
'She just doesn't seem to notice me at all, and this Ramin guy keeps messing her around, I love you, we should just stay friends then I love you again!' I noticed his voice getting louder as he grew more frustrated.
'Why don't you forget Naria? There are always other girls.' I could feel the butterflies in my stomach as I began to tiptoe across the invisible line between us.
'There is only Naria, there has only ever been Naria.' If I hadn't known him better I would have said he was about to cry.
'You deserve someone who will love you unconditionally and for who you are.'
'You are such a good friend, to me and Naria. I hope you know that Armes.' Jadir gave me a big hug, squeezing me tightly. Holding back tears I hugged him back.
'I know.' It was knowing that which hurt me. I would never be brave enough to cross the line. For all the battles I'd fought in and the number of men I've killed, I am still a coward when it comes to love.