~The Life After~ pg 3

“Aye,” she nodded, “and that is why your brother worried over him and not you.” 

Alex shook his head with a brief smile at her teasing, but his expression soon turned grim. “They have been good for each other, …ever since…“ He broke off mid-sentence knowing his meaning was not lost on the small framed woman. 

She slit her eyes and crossed her arms to challenge him. “If you think so, why do you look so stern?”

He waved her off and ran his hand over his face feeling much too weary for midday. “Ach, I am a fool to be concerned. It matters not. I just wish… I…” Alex stumbled over putting his worry to words for her. He stared at the house and pictured his brother as he had been ten years ago. So young, so… free of burden. “He would have been a good father,” he finally said letting that be explanation enough.

Nivia placed a hand on his arm and angled her intense gray eyes up at his own. “He may yet, Alex. He may yet. Just you wait. One of these days you will be an uncle and a father in your own right.” Alex hoped that she was right about Borris but scoffed at her assumption for himself. “I don’t think I am father material.”

Nivia huffed and put her hands on her hips. “Who is before they become one?” she objected.

Alex did not hesitate. “Borris. Borris has always been father material even when we were still kids.” Nivia clucked her tongue and shook her head; not to disagree with him, but to express her dislike of his mood. He found it an endearing habit.

His stomach rumbled and his horse snorted beside him. No doubt, it wanted to join Chink’s mare in grazing on the soft green grass beneath his heels. He stroked the stallion’s muzzle a few times before handing the reigns to Nivia. She would not be able to hold the horse back if it decided to run, but Alex trusted it enough to wait to be dismissed.  “Where is Demil?” he asked, noting the absence of his fiery energy. 

“Sent him to town for some fresh ingredients,” she answered, “Should be back before nightfall.” 

Alex huffed a laugh. One of Nivia’s ingredients was usually whiskey and Demil in a tavern would have a hard time leaving. “Unless he stops for a drink,” He quipped. “Then we won’t see him till tomorrow afternoon.”

Alex got a good hold on the girl before pulling her off the horse and into his arms. Nivia cocked an eyebrow at him as she released the horse to graze at her feet. “What else have you brought me today?”

The End

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