|photo: Bridget Ruffing|
"You had it coming, Robin."
"I know it. But what has gotten into him?" He winced against the stinging of the cloth.
"The girl. A woman can turn your head like no other power on earth." Tuck pressed deeper into the cut with a smirk. He thought Robin was being melodramatic, again.
"Says the celibate friar." Robin received a shove for this bit of cheek. Looking up, they saw Alexis standing awkwardly at the edge of the clearing, and Will watching from a few feet behind her. Dropping her gaze when their eyes met, she turned to Will and gestured for him to stop hiding.
With a sigh, he advanced, taking her hand as he passed and leading her to sit on the log beside him, across the fire from Robin. "Alexis is staying here." He said flatly, trying not to think about how much he had hurt his cousin, trying not to look at the deep gash in his lip. Guilt was a terrible thing, weakening the strongest determinations in a matter of seconds.
"I thought we'd been over this." Robin raised a sarcastic eyebrow, noticing the boy's hand clutched tight around Alexis's. "Have you asked her what she thinks of all of this?" His gaze had shifted to where she sat, embarrassed and uncomfortable, battling the panic rising in her throat. A triumphant grin waiting at the corners of Robin's mouth.
"He has." Alexis answered quickly, feeling the heat rising to her face despite herself. "And I agreed. If I am welcome here, I would like to stay."
"Ah, well, that's another thing entirely, isn't it? But I guess it doesn't matter what I say in my own camp anymore, since Will obviously knows best." Robin ignored Tuck's condemning glare.
Alexis could feel Will tensing up beside her. "Don't." She whispered. But her face paled when, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Adam watching from behind a tree, the rabbits he'd been out hunting lying killed and forgotten at his feet. Frantically, she tried to loose her hand from Will's grip, but he was too busy arguing with Robin to notice.
"She is staying, and that's final."
"Will, let go." She whispered harshly.
"Ugh." She groaned in defeat. "Can you please fix my shoulder now?"
"Oh, right." He released her and found a needle. By now, Robin had rolled his eyes and moved on, announcing that he was going into town.
Looking back to Adam's hiding place, Alexis saw that he was no longer there, and the rabbits were gone with him. Closing her eyes, she tried to focus on her breathing, and not the fact that she might have just made the worst mistake of her life.
Start at the beginning: Chapter 1 Part 1