“You've kissed her too?” Daris gasped, feigning astonishment.
“Blast it, Daris! You know what I mean.”
“Hey, I’m just teasing,” he said, leaning back in his chair. “So what are you
going to do?”
“I don’t know. Avoiding her certainly hasn’t worked. And I don’t like
anyway. She’s fun to be around. I still do more things with her than any of my
other friends. I really do love her.” He rubbed his eyes wearily. “And that’s the
problem. I don’t want to hurt her. Besides, I couldn’t bear it if she stopped
loving me back.”
“Have you tried telling her the truth?” Daris asked.
“No. How can I tell her something I don’t even understand myself? What
do I say? ‘Hey, I’m sorry if you’re in love with me, but the feeling isn’t mutual.’
She’d probably stick a knife in me. At the very least she’d never want to see me
“I don’t think you are giving her enough credit. I think she would be very
“Great. How about you tell her for me?”
Not surprisingly, Daris changed the subject. “I passed a mail carrier on my
way to the Waypost yesterday,” he said. “Any word from the Elvan capital?”
“We got a letter from Alexa,” he answered, eager to talk about something
other than Tana. “She’s expecting a baby. I know mother is excited, but she
didn’t want to talk about it very much. She’s still angry about missing the
“I know. I was there when she got the letter, remember?”
Jase nodded. What a day that had been. They hadn’t received a letter from
Alexa for nearly four months when the wedding announcement arrived.
Considering that Andlexces and Kindel’s Grove were four hundred miles apart
and that Alexa was busy with her studies at Elldrenei College, the absence of
letter hadn’t seemed too unusual. The announcement arriving a good three
weeks after the ceremony was over was what had his mother in a fit. She had
been so mad when he’d read her the letter that she’d broken a shovel handle
over her knee.
And that was only the start of her anger. The announcement would have
reached them in time for them to travel to Andlexces if the mail carrier hadn’t
gotten drunk in a tavern in Trian, started a fight, and gotten himself killed.
Then, instead of delivering the mail themselves, Trian’s mail workers had sent
the whole bag back to Andlexces. When his mother found out what had happened,
she’d had the mail carriers thrown in prison for a couple of weeks so
they could think about what they had done. Knowing her, the man killed in the
tavern had gotten off easy.
“I wonder how your sister reacted when none of us showed up for her
wedding,” Daris mused.
“About as well as Mother, I suppose. Her poor husband probably thought
he’d married a wildcat. I wrote a letter explaining what happened, so I’m sure
she’ll be all right.”
“If it got there,” Daris said.
“Oh, it did. Mother doesn’t use regular mail carriers anymore. You military
guys are much more reliable.”