Civyl grabbed the forgotten bags as Demil hurried in front of them, unlocking and opening one door at the end of the hall. Alex shouldered past him to lay Fiora into the bed and Civyl set the bags down inside the door. “Come on, Alex. Our room is just next door.” Demil tugged on his sleeve.
Alex did not take his eyes off of the girl. “I will stay with Fiora,” he started then made an addition when the possible implication of the words had registered in his own ears. “In case she needs anything.”
Alex’s motives did not matter. Civyl’s patience finally broke at the thought of Alex alone in a bedroom with Fiora. “There will be no need, Alex. I will stay and make sure she has what she needs. I will sleep on the floor.”
Alex’s head snapped up at the suggestion. “Absolutely not!” he shouted too loudly and Nivia shushed him. He ignored her. “Only two steps from her bed? You’d be begging the sorcerer to come slay her tonight!” Civyl inhaled stiffly. He was right, of course. “I will sleep on the floor here,” Alex offered pointing past the foot of the bed. “And protect her from you.” His last statement seemed meant to insult.
It was Civyl’s turn to be indignant. “Absolutely not! You’ve been gaping at her all day. I do not trust you to keep your hands to yourself! Do not forget that she is my promised!” he growled.
“And do not forget my promise!” Alex shot back. “I will not let you be alone with her!”
Nivia jumped between them and started shoving both out the door. “Stubborn men! Take your arguing outside! Neither of you will be sleeping here. I will tend to Fiora while you three fight over the bed that is left!”
Demil jumped and ran for the second room. “I call the left side!” he whisper shouted as he disappeared inside. Just as quickly, Nivia slammed the door shut behind them. Neither Alex nor Civyl moved from the hallway. Alex leaned his back against Fiora’s door and slid down to a sitting position without another word. Civyl closed Demil’s door and did the same sitting across from Alex.
They stared at each other silently for a long time before Alex finally sighed. “Is it really that obvious?” he asked and Civyl could not hold back a laugh.
The tension between them melted and they were suddenly just two men with one thing in common. Love. “Embarrassingly so, I’m afraid. Everyone else refuses to look at me for it.”
Alex sighed again. “She is devoted to you, Civyl. I would never compromise her honor, I swear.”
“I know,” he answered. And he did know. His angry words had been just that; anger searching for a sword to fight with. He did have a question about it though. “Why the sudden change of heart? What did she say to you on that ride?”
Alex shook his head with a slight smile. “It was not what she said,” he admitted looking down at his hands, “It is the way she loves you.” It was not what Civyl had expected and Alex continued to voice his awe. “The way she fought for you, the way she mourned for your loss, the way she rejoiced at your return… You are a very lucky man, Civyl of Kavaccet, to be promised to such a passionate bloom.”