Chapter 17

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Sarai

"Lamech," I whispered into the darkness.

His reply came immediately. "Sarai, what is it?"

I hadn't told him about Tecumeni, that he had seen us and heard everything Lamech and I had said at the edge of camp. I had lain awake half the night in worry, but it seemed silly now.

"Nothing," I whispered after a moment.

The flap of my tent moved and Lamech crawled inside. "What is it?" he asked again.

"I said nothing. I'm sorry. Go back to sleep."

"You've never called for me in the night before. Something is wrong, Sarai. Tell me what it is so I may help you." When I didn't reply, he said, "I can help you, you know."

"I know that!" I insisted. "It's just...I don't think you can help me with this. I only called to you because...because...you are the one who is here."

He was silent for a moment. "If it's about Darius, just say it quickly and I will give you my honest opinion."

"It's not!" I exclaimed and then lowered my voice back to a whisper. "It's not! You thought I called to you because I have a problem with Darius?"

"So it's not about Darius," he said evenly. "Tell me what has kept you up all night or I'm leaving."

"It's Tecumeni," I blurted. "He...it's the way he looks at me."

He sighed. "Sarai, men look at pretty women. Of course he is going to look at you. Just ignore him—unless you don't want to."

"Don't be stupid," I said. "Nevermind. I told you, go back to sleep."

"You know I wasn't sleeping."

I sighed heavily and rolled over, turning away from him. "I don't want to fight with you Lamech. I really, really don't."

I felt his hand on my shoulder, but I didn't turn to him. I was so tired of fighting with him about things that didn't matter.

"It's the middle of the night and we are fighting, again, over nothing," I said into my blanket. "Keeping me at a distance is one thing, and if that's the way you want it, then I accept it. But you hurt my feelings every time you talk to me."

"I'm sorry, Sarai. That's how it has to be."

He offered no reason? Why could he not be pleasant like Daniel and Jared back home? The silence stretched out between us.

"Why?" I asked in a small voice.

"Why? Why would I want to be your second—" He cut himself off, paused, took a breath. "Are you crying?"

"No."

"Why did you call me in here?"

Slowly, I rolled back and looked up at him through the dim light that filtered through the tent.

"You are crying," he said.

I set my jaw, wishing I could tell him that I had liked when he kissed me, but we were camped with Lamanites—Lamanites!—and it seemed so unimportant.

He just looked down at me, waiting, I supposed, for me to finish telling him what had kept me awake.

"Tecumeni saw us tonight."

"That was the point."

I bit my lip and continued to stare up at him. He wanted me to think it was the only reason he had kissed me. He wanted me to snap at him so he could snap back. But I wouldn't. I did not like the feeling inside me when we fought.

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