Chapter 24: Awkward Conversations

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Eve and Káno left the next morning, the sunlight shining bright and clear through the windows of Findekáno's house. But Nelyo stayed behind, having breakfast with his best friend. Halfway through their meal of biscuits and jam, the door opened and in walked Turvo in his riding clothes, holding a bag of groceries.

"Nelyo," He said in half surprise. "Why are you here?"

Nelyo chuckled. "I am so glad you got here when you did! Now we can get down to business."

Findekáno's face went bright red and he choked on his food. He knew where this was going, and he didn't like it one bit. As he tried to stand to do something else, Nelyo jolted up grabbed him, forcing him to sit back down. Throughout the entire scene, Turvo just stared.

"Turvo, when is the last time Finno fancied a maiden?" Nelyo began, his gaze never leaving the elf in the question. "I remember two."

Turvo chuckled, understanding where Nelyo hoped to go. He sat down next to his brother and leaned back in his chair. "Thirty or forty years at least. Why, who has won my brother's heart?" He knew the answer of course, but wanted to hear it from Finno.

"Forty years!" Nelyo snickered. "Such a long time. Why is that?"

"I do not enjoy being picked on by the two tallest people I know," Findekáno objected, glaring at his brother in blood and brother in friendship. "It is not polite to bully."

"It is not bullying, we are helping you admit the truth!" Turvo glanced at Nelyo. "Is that not correct?"

"Quite correct," the redhead nodded.

Findekáno turned from Nelyo, who he knew he could not win over, and looked at his brother. "Turvo, have I not always supported you and Elenwë?" As Turukáno went to object, he held up a hand to stop him and continued. "I may make a joke here and there but it is always in jest!"

"That is what we are doing now," Nelyo piped up. "Making comments in jest!"

Finno's face told of just how much he didn't believe his cousin. But he sighed and knew they were not going to quit. So he gave them what they wanted. "And if I do like her in that manner?"

"Oh, I just wanted to hear you say that, after all this time teasing your cousin and brother for their courtships. The fact that you have fallen victim to it as well makes me laugh," Nelyo replied, taking a sip of his water.

Turvo rolled his eyes. "One does not fall victim to love, Nelyo."

The redhead shrugged, rolling his eyes, and stood from the table. He told them he had to be going and left the house quickly. Down the street he went, thoroughly enjoying the warmth of the sunshine on his face and skin. As he entered the lane where his father and mother had their house, two voices came floating down the road from behind him.

"Nelyo!" Telvo shouted with a wave from atop his pony. Pityo echoed him.

A warm smile crept onto Nelyo's face as the twins urged their ponies forward and circled him. It was Telvo, the younger, who jumped down first and tried to tackle his oldest brother at their gate. He hugged Telvo tightly, the boy already above his waist in height. Pityo also dismounted, slamming into Nelyo so hard the two others teetered and almost fell, stepping back a few feet.

"I saw you not but a week ago," Nelyo said with a chuckle. He looked up at Nerdanel and Curvo who now left their own horses' backs. "Did the journey treat you well?"

"Well enough," Nerdanel nodded, embracing her eldest son, her chin resting comfortably below his chin. When she withdrew, she pulled the Ambarussa with her. They ran into the yard to see if any of their other brothers had stayed the night. "Is your father at home?"

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