Unwelcomed repairs

Description:

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    110 Posts    657 marks
Unwelcomed repairs
« on: January 05, 2019, 08:20:56 PM »

Kirsi fled once they reached Reric. Boat hardly settled before she had grabbed the Winds back to Meols. Probes having assured the health of Peregrine and his infant daughter. The nurse, quiet as she was, had proved competent at least. She did a better job with the baby than Starling had done with Peregrine’s leg. Never mind! It didn’t matter. Kirsi cast one last baleful look at the lot of them and ran. She was not stepping foot on Reric soil.

Never again.

The landing web Peregrine had helped her make was the only reason she landed safely. Exhaustion making her mind drift. Dropping her from the Red down until she was holding tight to the Opal Wind when she finally let go. Hair wild, she felt adrift on solid ground, swaying slightly to keep the ground from rolling underneath her. She was filthy, exhausted, and hungry enough to eat a live isbyr.

And there was someone in her yard. Cursing to herself, Kirsi stormed around the corner of her house and stopped, raised finger becoming a balled fist at her side. It was the sjef. Ar-something. Wildling, she thought. The damn city sjef she had been hoping to never see again after he’d helped her find her house. And he was fixing her fence.

”Sjef.” Kirsi ran quick fingers through her hair. She was a mess. Why was he here when she was a mess? Frazzled and half out of her mind. Fresh off a damn smuggler’s ship! Mother Night, he was going to end up suspicious. Or more suspicious. Kirsi tried to smile. It was strained at the corners, her eyes tight. Bah! ”Ummm.” Why was he there? Other than her fence.

”What happened to my fence? Oh! Never mind that. Just leave it and go on home. We’re not fit for company here today.” She turned and could havr sworn she saw the neighbors curtains twitch. Spies! All of them were spies! She was practically the door when it happened. Idiot male. They were all idiots. Useless, bumbling idiots who broke their legs, woke dragons, rolled into wolf dens, beat themselves bloody with hammers.

Sighing, Kirsi gave up. Head falling back, shoulders rolling, eyes searching the sky for redemption. And then she turned around and went back. ”Let me see, sjef.” Hands held out, tone brooking no argument. She would have his hurts, and tend them too. Damn useless male.

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    63 Posts    0 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 09:21:14 PM »

Puffing a curl up out of his face Arkyn watched the widow-healer round the bend hell bent on fussing. The quick transformation as she realized just who was in her yard was amusing. Face frozen for a half second as her hand dropped. Eyes wide then narrow then easing into something in between. Wiping a smirk from his mouth with the back of his hand he stood up straight again.

Hammer in one hand, the other rested on a fence post. Not quite in deep enough to hold itself up. Two cross boards on the ground by his boots. ”Lady.” He greeted with a nod. She looked very rough around the edges. Flyaway hairs clinging her to fingers as she ran them through her locks. A short streak of dirt on her cheek. Somehow it suited that lean, almost feral edge to her features.

At her question he reached up to scratch the back of his neck. Blunt fingernails skimming under the tail his hair was pulled up into. Lips narrowing as he stared at a few busted boards in the trash heap at the corner. ”Well…” She had a change of heart before he could explain. Her fence was not the only causality of a drunken sailor with a brand new Offering Jewel burning a hole in his pocket.

Right through into several front gardens and a statue of the queen. His queen. Or as close as he’d ever come to bonding with one. The rascal would pay to fix what he’d damaged. But the work would be up to someone else. Not a useful bone in the pups body.

Speaking of bodies. Kiris rushed by with hers in a frazzle. Dismissing him as if he had asked for an invitation. ”Didn’t intend to be company. Just working. I’ll be done soon, you won’t even notice I was here.” He told her. Eyes tracking her swift escape to the door. Like she was running from the world. Maybe she was, covered in dirt and bruised around the elbows. There was a broad dusty handprint on the back of her trousers too. They fit nice, Arkyn accidentally noticed. Instead of noticing where he brought the hammer down.

Knees buckling he leaned towards his hand. Thumb throbbing as he stifled a groan. He stuck the sore spot in his mouth with a low curse. Of all the stupid ways to smash a finger… and he had to patch the neighbors window shutters next. At his title he turned his head to glance at her over his shoulder. She’d come back down. ”It’s fine. Hammer slipped is all.” Probably not broken. It didn’t usually hurt so much if it was broken.

Drying it on the hem of his shoulder he held it out for her to see anyway. Not looking himself, that would just make the throbbing worse.

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    110 Posts    657 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 10:24:54 PM »

Of course he argued. Altering his fence without her permission, trespassing in her yard. Kirsi shook her head as she went. A quick scowl at the trash pile he’d made before she sent a probe under her front door, suddenly afraid someone had tried to break in. But her house felt secure. Just her yard was a mess. And so was the man mending it.

He argued about that too. Kirsi rolled her eyes, one hand settling on her hip while she waved the fingers of the others at him. ”I’ll be the judge of that.” It was good business, Kirsi told herself. People would talk if she left someone wounded in her yard, especially if that someone was the sjef. ”You should probably hold it tighter then.” She commented, taking his hand by the wrist. Her thumb pressed into the center, fingers bracing his knuckles before she rubbed from one end to the other, forcing them all to flex.

”Or just put it down. I can fix my own fence.” Or try at least. Better than having him trying to hammer his thumb into her corner post. She frowned at his thumb, eyes narrowing in accusation. ”Hmm.” She hummed thoughtfully before spreading his fingers even wider with the hand she’d been holding her hip with. ”Not broken. I bet it hurts like hell.” Kirsi dipped into the reservoir of her Blood Opal, soothing bruised flesh and capillaries.

Exhausting. She made him flex the thumb before nodding her approval, arms sliding over her chest to held hold herself upright. ”Alright. What happened to my fence?” She eyed the new pieces of wood, hands chafing her arms to keep them warm. Fall was in the air. Nipping at her fingers and cheeks. She wasn’t ready for the seasons to change, there was still so much to do!

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    63 Posts    0 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2019, 11:11:56 AM »

Eyebrows rising at the hint of challenge in her voice Arkyn turned fully. Measuring her up with a glance. Sassy mite, she was, waggling those fingers at him like a school marm. ”I’m usually the judge around here.” He bantered back. Odd woman, this. Smile turning wry in one corner her chuckled. ”And miss out on all this attention. Not very castely of me.”

In truth Arkyn was not the sort of Warlord Prince that marched around sniffing women and begging affection. Other aspects of the caste defined his nature. Brooding, moodiness and the longing to protect what was his. Though in the latter he had none of that tunnel vision that narrowed on a select few. Perhaps growing up in the tribe had done it. Or it had always been part and parcel of his heart. All of Meols was his and he would serve it to the best of his ability.

Which included his skill at patching fences. ”I’m near done now, woman, why make a fuss?” He had no intentions of bothering her. He had thought she was inside the whole time. Neighbors said she was a very private person. So he had thought not to burden her with his being there. Just fix the fence and move along.

Now he watched as she glared at his poor bruised hand. Grunting as she spread his fingers wide. Two hands to his one. Without being a particularly small woman. Using his free hand Arkyn swept the same curl back up into his hairline. Pinning it with craft this time. Lips lifting in a short grin at her description of the pain. ”Had worse.” He assured her. All hunters did in this land where beasts were as clever as man. ”Never been to hell to know for sure. Maybe you can say, looks like you’ve been through.”

Probably not wise to badger a black widow. Or a healer doing her work. But he couldn’t resist. It would have to be enough that he didn’t pry. Just gazed down his nose at her through the thick set of his lashes. Hand twitching in her hold as the pain subsided. The next question was much easier to answer. ”An idiot happened. Some pup fresh from the Temple with a dark Jewel he needs a lot more practice with. Got busy drinking then rolled through and busted a hole in the neighbors wall, your fence, someone else’s window.”

They parted as soon as she was done. Arkyn proving the work was accurate by wiggling his thumb at her. Then turned right back around to finish what he had started. Much more attentive to where the hammer fell this time. Though not quite distracted enough not to notice her chill. Nodding at a thick woolen trench coat hanging from her fence a few posts down. ”Coat was too warm with my sweater. It’s there, if you’re determined to supervise. No use turning into an icicle.” 

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    110 Posts    657 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2019, 11:53:35 AM »

It made her barriers clench, the reminder she shouldn’t have needed. He was the judge. Upholder of Glacian laws. Kirsi wondered how many she had broken now. She supposed the others were small and meaningless compared to murder. She could not regret it, only the swiftness of the death. If she had known better, she wouldn’t have been without her son all these years. And her husband would have suffered all the more.

”No, I suppose not.” Smile weak but present. Amused because Kite seemed to share little interest in female attention. Hardly talking in her presence, and completely mute with Peregrine’s newly acquired maid. Close only with Starling, who rarely let anyone else talk with her incessant preening. Wildling didn’t seem very interest in it either. But he held still well enough, and she stank to high heaven, so she couldn’t blame him.

”Because its my fence. I can take care of it.” She had to be a useful part of the community. Kirsi had not forgotten the lessons her parents had taught her. There was no room in the larder for people who didn’t do their share or carry their own weight. If the supplies needed rationed, she would be out a share if she did not contribute. And there was pain too. Very real and very immediate pain.

Kirsi put the memories away. They were not conductive to healing. And if she spoiled the sjef’s thumb? Bah! Her eyes flicked as he moved, body flinching away from the raised hand before she grew still again, wrapping all her attention up in her craft so she was nothing but healer. No memories. No existence beyond this. He joked in a way that made her laugh bitterly, still too present to miss it. ”If not, it was close enough to be the same.” All that fire!

She would dream of that beast forever.

The healing quick, since his injury was small. Hairline fracture mended without her even naming it. He didn’t need to know. ”Must have been young, to drink a fresh dark Jewel under the table.” Kirsi sighed. Men. Idiots. Violent idiots. Thumb whole again, the sjef went right back to the fence, sending Kirsi’s eyes skyward again. So much for leaving her fence alone. She watched him, knowing she would only be more uncomfortable inside with him loose in her yard. Looking at him through the curtains like her nosy neighbors.

Worrying.

”Oh.” She looked at the jacket draped over her fence and shook her head. ”Thank you, no. You’ll never get the stink out, and I’ll owe you for a jacket and a fence post.” Too many bonds holding her to people. It had been different when it was just Peregrine she owed favors to. They were after the same thing. This was different. Neighbors bringing her gifts and asking after her. Sjef’s in her yard mending her fence. Bad enough he was a warlord prince, but that he was sjef? She would need to be careful.

Her webs were due for a refreshing too. Thank Glacia for its cold weather. She was not out of place wearing high collars or long sleeves to keep hidden her previous life should her illusions fail. Kirsi shifted uncomfortably. This was just as bad as being in the house. Out here she was on display. Strange woman staring at him.

”I’ll make tea.” She decided. It had been soothing when Peregrine had done it. And she owed him something. Maybe she could find some marks hidden in the kitchen too. She was stuffing them in pots and mugs and forgetting where she put them. Not in her cabinet where she should have. She strode off to do just that. Banging and clattering in her kitchen and watching him through the window as she did. Waiting for him to begin his snooping. Have imagining he would start digging her yard up for bones.

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    63 Posts    0 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2019, 02:44:20 PM »

”Aye, and I can take care of it too. We call it ‘being neighborly’ around here.” Arkyn told her firmly. Tone carefully measured not to come across as harsh. Raising his sister through her teenage years made him a fair hand at finding just the right balance to broker no argument without denting soft feminine egos. He was not angry, or even upset. Though it was strange she seemed so vehement against his fixing the fence. Or maybe his being there at all.

An innocent motion setting all her body tense. The cause and effect took a moment to put together. But once he had Arkyn couldn’t shake the anger that bubbled in his stomach. Not at the woman who flinched because someone had taught her the lift of a man’s hand equalled pain. At whoever had taught it to her. His own mother had been much the same. Arkyn said nothing and pretended not to notice. He barely know Kirsi, and far from well enough to know her past or to ask if she was safe now.

He would have to ask around. Hopefully it was just an old habit. While Arkyn’s Jewels might have seemed inconsequential, his position in Meols was far from. If there was abuse he would see it ended and the perpetrator punished. It bothered him to think on when he couldn’t have answers the easy way. Just asking if she had a man would be taken wrongly while he was here, uninvited, doing a thing she had asked him to stop doing.

So they spoke of other topics. Vague and strange. ”Sorry to hear that. At least you’ve made it back now- seemingly sound. And there are things can be done, if hell follows you home.” He told her, voice gentling and eyes carefully reading her expression. Looking for hints or signs that she might need help she couldn’t, or didn’t know how to, ask for.

”Young, stupid, a few other choice words I’ll not say in front of you, Lady.” Arkyn agreed with a nod of his head. Hands busying themselves on the fence post again. The same craft he used to make his hunting bow deadly turned to the hammer. Post driven down in a few hard strokes before he noticed her shivering and offered his coat. Which she, unsurprisingly, rejected. Was it the kindness, did she read some sort of implication into it? Or was she scared the scent of his person would linger on her skin after? He did not believe that she really worried the coat would be ruined. ”Sure? There are some mighty clever hearthwitches at home, they could get the smell out of anything.”

Stooping to fit the first cross board between the posts he looked up at her over his shoulder. ”As for owing me anything, you don’t. You’re not the only one who had damage. I’m fixing theirs, because they can’t. So you’ll just have to survive my kindness, Lady Kirsi. I’ll not skip your fence, or any work that needs to be done in my city.” The fine would have to be punishment enough for the boy. He had other places to be, far away from Meols, Arkyn hoped.

”Looks like you could use a cup. I’ll be right here. And on my way soon as the fence is mended.” He told her without looking. She ought to put a coat on if she were coming back outside. Or better yet have a shower and a nap. He tried to keep his own work as quiet as possible. Not to disturb her anxiety anymore than it seemed stirred.

The tea had not come out, if it were ever even being made, by the time Arkyn finished. Boards tapped into place and the whole fence given a hard shake to make sure it would stand up to climbing children and the occasional escaped pig. Satisfied he decided to knock and let her know he was done. Fist almost reaching the door when it opened so quickly their bodies collided.

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    110 Posts    657 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2019, 04:21:26 PM »

Kirsi snapped her mouth shut and nodded. Community. The pillar of Glacia life. People always taking care of each other. Watching. Talking. Ignoring what they didn't want to see. "Alright then." He could have the damn fence and call it whatever he liked. Probably best, anyway. She didn't have the energy to go toe to toe with him.

"Sound as usual anyway." If that beast followed them here, she was going back to the mountains and never leaving again. Peregrine would just have to bring Rias to her there. She could spin an illusion to turn the place into a proper house. He'd never know the difference, and they would be safe, they had to be safe somewhere. Looking up, Kirsi caught the sjef looking at her.

"Nothing for you to fret about, sjef." She should have kept her mouth shut. She was always opening it at the wrong time about the wrong things. Kirsi swallowed it down. She had to learn, she needed to learn to keep her silence. To keep herself put away where no one else had to suffer her. Then they would not look and would not see.

Promising to spare her ears, as if they were young, precious things in need of sparing. Kirsi shook her head, lips a wry twist. If that's the way he wanted it. She supposed she still looked young enough. She certainly didn't feel it. "Do you have many, then?" She still spared his jacket. No matter how many or how clever they were. Watching him fit her fence back together. She still didn't understand it. Whatever his defense was.

"I'm grateful, thank you." She looked at him around the corner of the house, hand on the rough blue siding. This was a terrible idea. He said he would not wander, but she didn't trust him. Didn't like, either, the way he fussed at her. She was none of his concern, no matter how neighborly he was bent on being to the whole damn city.

He didn't stay. Tea brewed and poured into cups. Kirsi had drank a calming brew while she waited. Looking out the window she found him gone. Fence fixed but sjef no where to be found. Knocking it all onto a tray, Kirsi headed for the door, sure she would find him digging through her trash heap or menacing her neighbors for information.

Instead she found him knocking. Colliding together in a crash of porcelain and seeping wounds of scalding tea. "Fuck!" She hissed, yanking her shirt from chest, and trying to catch a tea cup all at once. The mugs landed on the door lintel and shattered. The kettle bounced, however, being steel. Clattering down into the yard. "Shit. I'm sorry. Are you okay?" Craft rising as her hands sought his hurts, forgetting her own.

She was good at hiding scars. A few more wouldn't matter.

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    63 Posts    0 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2019, 09:49:10 PM »
”Good.” Arkyn wasn’t going to fret then. He would just passively worry. And ask a few questions when he saw her neighbors in the tavern. Or red moon house. For now he switched his focus to the way she addressed him. He wasn’t usually annoyed by his title but something in the way Kirsi wielded it struck a nerve. Accusation hinted in her tone, perhaps? That might make sense. Not everyone appreciated the duties of his position. Just as he kept the innocent safe, he also punished people that might not feel very guilty.

Kirsi had mentioned a child before. Not a man though. Had he, or some other sjef split her family apart? Arkyn couldn’t say he wasn’t glad, if that were the case. No woman should shy from a the raise of a man’s hand. It was a place to find security and comfort. Not fear.

Hammer tapping again Arkyn left the ghost of a smirk twitch the corner of his mouth. Not sure if she was being cheeky or curious. So he gave her an answer that was a little bit of both. ”Personally? I have not a single one. The court has several, and the court lives in the house I was elected to hold.” Truth be told he had never counted them. There were favorites, and there were a few he only tolerated. Some good at their work but insufferably chatty.

All quite good at removing stains and stinks. Which seemed to make no difference to this woman. Rather shiver than borrow a bit of warmth. It crossed his mind to wrap her in a warming spell but that was an aggressive move. Even if done kindly. Since he suspected she was roughly treated already he gentled his temper. Taking his annoyance out on the fence instead.

While she made tea. Which she wore instead of sharing. A few hot sloshes scalded down his sweater but Arkyn avoided the worst of the spill. Stepping back he cursed in a foreign tongue, pulling the wool away from his skin. Then forgot all about it as he looked at the steam rising off her shirt. ”I’m fine. Are you?” In his surprise Arkyn used Nukti, and had to try again. Asking the question in Common while shoved cooling craft between her clothes and skin. Caught a hip without thinking and probed down the front of her blouse. Accidentally invasive. More so than he intended to be.

”I’m sorry. That was… I was just coming to say I was done.” He pulled away again. Turning to summon up the shards of her mugs from the ground. A bit of delicate craftwork saw them put back together. Heating spells in the right place until the ceramic held. The teapot clanked as it bounced back over to jump into Arkyn’s hands. ”Here. Sorry. Again.”.

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    110 Posts    657 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 05:57:17 AM »

There were whispers about Meols’ sjef. Kirsi had barely heard them, and what she had she’d not paid much attention to. More worried about his job than the man who carried it out. Maybe she should have paid attention. She might have been better prepared. Understood the string of foreign curses faster, or put them together with his name: Wildling.

Instead worried he might he having some sort of fit. It would be her luck. Probes plucking at him, hands grasping the wet spots on his sweater and drying them. Arkyn for himself under control, no ills she could sense to turn his tongue crooked. And then he stuffed craft down her shirt. First a bit of cooling, and then a probe of his own. Kirsi still had hold of his sweater and did not let go, eyes widening with surprise.

”Yes.” Was that the right answer? Nipples hardening, Kirsi could feel her skin twitching where he touched it. Well, he wasn’t touching her at all, just craft. All the same. Biting her tongue, Kirsi grabbed her shirt, prying her fingers from Arkyn’s sweater. No, he was touching her too. Hand grabbing her hip like she might fall, or run. Kirsi thought he might be right as she twisted her blouse and pulled the tea from it.

”So was I.” Nails plucking at threads in his sweater as he turned away. Kirsi grabbed the door frame, body swaying. Ah. Yes. It hurt, where the tea had scalded her. Skin uncomfortably warm. She touched it through her shirt and winced. She had creams for that. Inside. And a sjef still on her doorstep, fixing her mugs, she realized. ”You don’t have to...” But he was. Kirsi leaned on the door frame and watched him do it. It was clever as hell.

”Not your fault. I’m certain I was wielding the weapon this time.” The words made her wince, but Kirsi stood and took the things back from him. Kettle empty now, but her mugs were still usable.  ”Thank you. Did your hearth witches teach you that?” Useful bit of craft, Kirsi thought, vanishing the now useless kettle and mugs. Her house was still very bare. No handy side tables at the doorway to drop things on.

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    63 Posts    0 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 01:49:16 PM »

That was not a promising look in her eyes. A raw sort of shock that prickled along Arkyn’s skin. Warning him of the disparity of their Jewels- and the deadliness of her higher caste. Beneath his own just barely. Not that it would matter an ounce if she sank that fang into his chest. Fingers twisted in his sweater. For a pounding heartbeat they stared at one another. As if they were both waiting for something to happen.

Arkyn was in the wrong, though, and he knew it. Darker skin masking the rudy flush that crept from behind his ears into the hollows of his cheeks and along the back of his neck. Probes finding not just sore skin but places teased by the cold craft he had tried to sooth with. That was easier to rein in than his hand was.

Settled firmly on her hip. Afraid he might lose her if removed it, then so much as blinked. The woman seemed likely to slam the door in his face before he knew if she was really unhurt. Or before he had fixed some of what was damaged. ”It’s fine.” He answered- pulled the pieces back together as if they had never been apart.

Then, once he had filled her hands with her scattered property he let go. Parting their bodies back to propriety, or decency, or whatever not shoving yourself at a fretting woman was called when you still had the gall to stare at the wet spots on her blouse with a narrowed eye. ”Sure you’re not hurt?” He wasn’t convinced. But she was the healer.

”No, no.” Chuckling he straightened the damp front of his sweater and shook his head. The stubborn curl bouncing loose again, pinning craft worn off. ”Believe it or not sjefs don’t just fall from the stars. We have mothers, usually. And sometimes they teach us a thing or two.” His own had taught more by not doing than she had with intent. She had protected him in the beginning, though, when the tribe would have set him in the cold to die or find a way to survive with such a light Birthright.

Now things were just awkward. Too serious a man for that he shifted in his boots while looking for a quick escape. Cleared his throat twice before deciding it might just be best to turn tail and run. ”Anyway. Fence is done. Sorry about the um-” He meant to motion at her front, to imply the probes he’d forced on her. Instead his finger wagged side to side, and he realized once he'd started it looked very much as if he were pointing at her breasts. Chuckling at himself he cast a glance up at the top of the door, ”that isn’t what I mean either. You know what I meant.” Right? She probably did. Sighing he tried one last time. "All the trouble. Sorry for that."

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    110 Posts    657 marks
Re: Unwelcomed repairs
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2019, 07:57:58 PM »

"I'm sure." What was he staring at? Kirsi didn't want to follow his gaze, afraid she knew. She didn't want to know, or for him to stare, stomach fluttering uncomfortably. The tips of her breasts aching. Kirsi was sure he could see them, even beneath the thicker layer of her vest. At least he'd let go of her hip. The pulse there strong and wild.

"And yours taught you to mend cups." Half a dozen remarks swallowed about just where Kirsi thought sjefs came from. It wasn't his fault. The laws in Glacia were fair. Fair enough anyway. They'd just never done her any good, and could do her plenty of harm. But she was the one who had broken them. "Well. Thank her for me." The craft was clever. Maybe she could puzzle out how he did it later.

Vanishing the now useless tea things, Kirsi found herself caught in the doorway with him. Advance or retreat? He chose for them. Finger wagging at her while he spoke. Kirsi stared, sucking her cheeks inward to keep from laughing at him. It didn't work. She laughed anyway, head tipping back as he did.

Arms rising to tuck elbows over her breasts, Kirsi wiped the laughter from her face and shook her head. "Never you mind. Thank you for mending my fence." Half tempted to invite him to kiss the scalding he'd given her, Kirsi stepped back and grabbed the door. She wasn't that damn lonely. That was a dangerous road, and she couldn't afford the risk.

"Maybe another time I can repay you, sjef. Now I suggest you run. She likes talking about her boils." Neighbor having come out of her house, the old widow spied them and raised a hand in greeting. Kirsi knew what came next and desperately wanted to avoid it. "Good day." Kirsi bid him, and then shut the door, back falling against it as she covered her face and shook her head.

She really was mad.

 

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