~ The Pass ~ pg 6

Fiora had to think on that for a while before she thought she understood it. Had Chink just told her that he loved her? And because the other’s loved her, too? It didn’t seem to make sense. “But you’re always frowning at me,” she complained. 

He laughed again, the movement jiggling them both. “I’m not frownin’ at you, miss,” he chuckled as Borris came up next to them again. “I’m frownin’ at the company you choose to keep.” He jerked his head in Borris’s direction. “’Aven’t you ‘eard that the Birchwoods are nuthin’ but a bunch of trouble makers?”

This time Fiora laughed too as Borris looked on puzzled. “What did I miss?” Demil, who was riding in front of them, turned back to look quizzically at their merriment. He seemed sad to be missing out, as well.

As their laughter died and they fell into a comfortable silence, Fiora realized how much she was going to miss them. All of them. Demil, Borris, and even Chink had all made their own mark on her heart. They were like… family. As she’d grown up at the sanctuary, the only men she had interacted with were Civyl, her father, and some aged instructors. But these men… how fond she had grown of them in such a short time. They had taught her so much about the world without even trying. The thought that this was her last day with them hit her hard. Once they reached the pass, they would be returning home while she… well, she didn’t know what she would be doing. Only that she would stay with Civyl, wherever he went. Would she ever see the Birchwood brothers again? 

And what of Alex? Her heart constricted even more. He rode behind them carrying Nivia today. Her last day with him and the only times she’d caught a glimpse of him was when there was a bend in the road. Tears threatened to spill but she quickly asked the wind to dry them before they fell. Borris looked over at her knowingly. Of course he had felt her request to the wind. Fiora managed a smile and sucked in a cleansing breath to clear her stupor. She did not want her last day with them to be marred by mourning. Instead she distracted herself with more curiosity. “What is it like to be a stone grower?” she asked Chink.

“A stone grower?” he scoffed. “Where did you ‘ear that from?”

The End

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