~ The Ride ~ pg 7

It had been a miserable ride. 

And the day was not half done yet! There had been nothing to distract Alex from his disturbed thoughts on the events of the past few days, each of which left him more unsettled. It had all been too much to take in; words, deeds, and every nuance in between…  But now that he had time, he mulled them over. Mostly his thoughts focused on Fiora. From the moment they first found her she’d brought trouble into their midst. And yet… he could not bring himself to regret it, though he could not put his finger on why. 

...Why? The word had been running through his head all day and the night before. Alex had not been able to sleep – too overwhelmed by the day – and relieved Nivia of the task of having her healing tea ready for Fiora when she woke in the night. Nivia had been more than happy to retire knowing the long day that lay ahead, but Alex could not get her out of his head. Why? 

Why had she risked her life for him? She had not hesitated, hadn’t doubted for a second that the risk was too much or the pain too high a price to pay. She had saved him… Why?! Every time the wound above his heart itched, he wondered why. Trina’s words haunted him. They seemed to suggest a valid answer. "SHE did not lie." 

Trina had said naming him may not have been the whole truth – obvious to Alex from the depth of her love for Civyl – but could some measure of her heart, however small, also love him? But this answer only demanded the question again. Why?! He couldn’t understand it. It didn’t seem possible. Hadn’t she also tried to kill him? 

Neither did he understand his own actions. He had followed Civyl this morning…  Why? Alex was not bound by his promise but still he kept it. He had made sure they were not alone together though he’d tried to be discrete. Watching Civyl watch Fiora was not something he enjoyed, and yet he endured it… Why?

Now on this wretched ride, Alex had made sure Fiora rode on a different horse. She’d sat behind him, quiet as the wind, clinging to his sides. Always, he could feel her touch on his sides, always driving his thoughts to her. Just her touch… that was enough. 

He’d chided himself once they stopped for mistaking her silence for comfort. As much as he hated to admit it, the wisdom forsaken healer had been right to chastise them. They had tarried much too long with him while eating midday meal, but Civyl seemed adamant that Fiora be well rested before they set out again. Never mind that they would never make it to Hailie by sunset now… 

The End

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