Chapter Fourteen

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Alex's P.O.V

Collecting the rest of the logs was an easy task and I took the majority from her so she wouldn't have to struggle. She'd already scratched her arms from the first trip although that didn't seem to deter her.

It was strange. Something had shifted between us after the talk and I'd apologised, she wasn't mad at me anymore and she appeared relaxed. I smiled as I watched her walk beside me uphill with logs in her arms; the breeze lifted her hair and she sighed softly as she breathed in the fresh air.

"You mentioned that you've been called names before." I started; it had been something I wanted to ask about since hearing it earlier. I was still pissed off with Ava for her comments. It was clear that Natalia had problems with her dad, I saw the flash of pain on her face every time he was mentioned so it wasn't a surprise that she'd gotten upset.

I'd wanted to go and see how she was but as usual Stellan beat me to it, besides he knew her better than I did so he was the better choice.

Natalia turned to look at me with her ever changing eyes, today they looked greener than they had the day before and I figured it was due to the amount of sun hitting her face, "You want to know what those names were? Well you've already heard that I've been called a zebra and exotic before."

"Isn't exotic a compliment?"

She stared at me with nothing but an earnest expression, "No Alex, it makes me feel like I'm a limited edition fruit no one has ever heard of before." I felt the urge to smile and she saw it, "It's not funny."

I cleared my throat in the hopes of keeping my expression serious. The guys had been right, she really was funny and I'd clearly been missing out by judging her before she had a chance, "You're right, it isn't."

"You're laughing!" she accused, frowning deeply at me.

"I'm not." I said, biting my lip but I couldn't help myself and my shoulders shook, "Ok I am laughing but only because you compared yourself to a fruit, I've never heard that before. Continue."

Natalia stopped walking to shift the logs so one wouldn't fall and I stepped forward to take another from her but she refused, saying that she could manage and we began walking once more, "Sometimes I'd go out with my dad alone he'd get asked if I was adopted because to some people it's impossible that he could ever love a black woman enough to have a kid with her and not run away."

"That's idiotic." I said instantly, feeling anger towards those ignorant people.

She shrugged it off as she seemed to do most things that bothered her, "That's Briar Woods."

"It happened where we live? I can't think of one person I know who would ever say something like that."

That was the truth. Briar Woods may not be the most diverse town but I couldn't imagine anyone having any problems with skin colour. Lawson had lived here all of his life and he'd never experienced any negativity in that respect.

"Sure they do, you've just never heard it because you're not one of maybe three biracial kids in the entire town."

It was obvious that there was so much I didn't even know about the town I'd grown up in.

"Has anyone said anything about it since you moved back? Give me names and I'll deal with it." I told her, knowing that I'd have to say something to Ava if she made anymore racist comments.

Natalia laughed softly, "Not until Ava so you can put those fists away. Now that I'm older I'm seen as an exotic female and my features define who I am rather than my personality. Good or bad."

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