~ The Rain ~ pg 9

By midday meal, the sun had finally started to shine a bit through patchy clouds. Fiora had dried their belongings and Civyl announced that it was time to ride again. Alex looked forward to it. That is until he saw Fiora climbing up on Demil’s horse. 

She must have caught his questioning gaze because she smiled sheepishly and bowed her head. “I thank you for the ride yesterday, but Civyl suggested that I should let Clover rest from the extra load. Gentry can take a turn carrying my extra burden today.”

Civyl had suggested it? Alex sighed. Of course Civyl would not want him to be too close to Fiora. It was not enough that Alex said he understood his place… Civyl had to demonstrate it as well. “It is a wise suggestion,” Alex said with faked sincerity. “I’m sure Gentry will be happy to carry you.” He caught Civyl’s eye as he watched the exchange. The man gave a stiff nod and Alex returned it. The scar over his heart aching, Alex swung up on Clover alone. He could not decide if he was glad for the interference or not. He tried to comfort himself with the thought that riding alone would help prepare him for the separation to come.

It did not. 

The added distance only expanded his heart further. Every aching moment he was aware her and his very soul stretched out to reach for and hold her. He could still sense her heartbeat. It did not beat with his, or with Demil’s, but he could feel her blood as it flowed. Once, Alex allowed himself to attempt to connect with her despite the distance, just to sync their hearts, but at the resulting dissonance Clover had bucked and swung his head back and forth so violently that Alex almost lost his seat. He did not try again.

But if Civyl had meant for the separation to keep Alex from thinking he had a claim on Fiora, it backfired. Denied her presence, Alex craved it all the more. Denied her innocent banter Alex imagined conversations they might have. Some not so innocent. Denied her ever-constant trust in Civyl’s promise and her loyalty to it, Alex began to doubt and wonder if she might forsake it… for him. The logical part of him knew it was futile, that he was wrong, but the absence of her devotion to Civyl made his heart hope that maybe… she might choose him instead. The longer he was denied her, he more he believed it could be true.

The End

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