29 - Sir Fye

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When Fye woke up, she didn't think about how heavy all her limbs felt or about the burning spots of pain across her body. She didn't think about the thin tendrils of fog that drifted through the window slots or the sunshine behind them, nor did she think about the sounds of activity outside.

She thought about the six-foot-seven masterpiece of a man occupying the space on the bed next to her. He slept with his mouth slightly open, and a little drool moistened his chin. She was tempted to swipe Lady Ayla's jar of stinky poultice from the bedside table and shove some into his mouth just to see how he would react.

No. She had the rest of her life to think of all sorts of creative ways to wake him up. He had saved her life, and for that he deserved to sleep.

Or maybe not. She had saved him a few times. That made them even, right?

No. She would let him sleep.

As if her gaze somehow made noise, though, he soon stirred. His smile made Fye wonder how anyone could be so cheerful so soon after waking up.

"I knew you were too stubborn to die," he said.

"I think I just have the right people around me. Before I passed out, I saw Sir Reuben coming to save me."

His smile disappeared. "Sir Reuben?"

She giggled—and immediately regretted it because laughing made her hurt from top to bottom.

"You know it was me," he accused.

"Was it? Oh, I suppose it might have been."

"You're impossible."

"No. I'm awe-inspiring."

"That, too." His fingers played in her tangled mess of hair.

"And you..." she said. "Did you really think I was crying over my mother?"

"Love, your acting isn't that great."

Love. He called her "love." "You really love me?" she asked.

His eyes swept her body, and she realized that she wore only a thin nightgown over her bandages. "Not as much as I would like to," he said.

Stop that, she told herself. Stop blushing. She looked at the ceiling. What a lovely ceiling it was, too. All... made of stone and such. Yes, quite fascinating.

Xander chuckled. "One day, Fye... one day."

"I don't think so." Then why did her body do so many funny things when he talked about it? She forced herself to look at him and his roguish grin again. She was Fye Millicent Underbush, and she not going to be bested by any man or boy. "I've been thinking about our marriage," she said. "Lady Ayla said it is my Christian duty to... you know. But is our marriage really official if we haven't consummated it? Maybe we could get an annulment and just pretend around my mother that we're married. Or I could disappear and make sure you never find me. There are lots of options."

His grin only widened. "I dare you to try. You love me too much for any of those things."

"Who says I love you?"

"You do."

Hmm. He did have a point there. But love was so inconvenient!

"I'm hungry," she announced. "Go get some food for me."

"Say you love me."

"Maybe I changed my mind about that."

"Say it, or I'm sending your mother in here."

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