Civyl! Civyl was at her side! With his arms around her again! She had missed him so much… his touch… his scent… she inhaled deeply when his breath stirred the hairs around her face. She had been so lost without him, she hadn’t been able to think of anything beyond their separation… Except for that short time with Alex.
Alex… Alex was also at her side. With his arms around her again. She had missed him today… his laugh… his strength… she hadn't thought she would, but riding with Demil was nothing like riding with Alex. She had been uncomfortable without his direction. She hadn’t been able to become one rider with Demil or with Gentry… It was like she didn’t really belong.
But, she wondered, did that mean that she did belong at Alex’s side? It couldn’t mean that she didn’t belong with Civyl… could it? Her heart immediately rejected the thought. Of course not. She was Civyl’s promised and every inch of her being rejoiced at his nearness.
Even the part of her that joined so easily with Alex, though?
She could sense the thrum of his heartbeat pulsing along in time to hers and her shoulder throbbed along with it. The scar wasn’t terribly painful, but the ache was still there, reminding her of the events that had led to it. Why? Why had she stepped between him and the bolt she knew she couldn’t stop any other way. Why had she risked pain – risked her own life for his? She hadn’t even given it a second thought. It was an instinct to protect him. She just couldn’t bear the thought of him… dead. Not after almost ending his life herself and then finding purpose in fighting to heal him. There had been so much pain in his life, Fiora wanted to heal it all. Show him a better way. She wanted to show him it was okay to love again. …to love her.
It was the first time she had admitted it to herself. She wanted Alex to love her. …Why? She had Civyl – was promised to Civyl… She could not see her life without him. …but then, now that she considered it, she couldn’t see her life without Alex, either. Why?!
Fiora inhaled deeply, in unison with Alex. This link they shared… it was unique. She had never experienced this with Civyl and she didn’t understand how it worked. Yesterday, as they rode, she had imagined she could feel more than just his blood pulsing in time with hers. She imagined she could sense his inner being with all the barriers he had once put up around his heart crashing down. She had reveled in the fantasy of defeating years of anger and betrayal – in being the one to heal his heart. She had imagined, on their ride, what it might be like to have him say the words – I love you. – and how she might respond.