Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.
Carris waited for Alec to return that night. If she was going to leave she would need transportation. It would take over two days to walk there, and she wasn't sure that she had a week to spare.
I wonder if Gwyn and the others made it to Atheron yet.
Feeling stiff, not just from her ordeal, but also from mostly sitting and lying down, she decided to amble around the small hut. She now realized that with just one bed, Alec must have been spending nights somewhere else, although, with no friends to speak of other than Laura, she wondered where that might be.
The door swung open with a gust of wind, and wrapped in a scrappy robe, Alec strode in, firewood tucked beneath both arms. He dumped it beside the door. He shut the door and turned to Carris.
"Moving about are we?" There wasn't the same jovial tone as before.
"Well, if you're feeling able, how about building this fire back up? I'm going to get some dinner started."
Carris furrowed her brows. "It's rather late isn't it?"
"Tell that to me stomach."
Carris skirted around the left of the fire pit while Alec took the right side. She bent over to pick up some of the smaller logs and tried her best to hide the stiffness and exhaustion she felt in such a simple task. She tossed the logs on and watched the frenzy of sparks that swirled toward the roof. Alec kept his back turned to her as he produced some potatoes from a leather sack in the corner. He began chopping them.
"Fill that kettle with water and put it on the fire, would ya?"
Carris grabbed the bucket of fresh water and walked over to the kettle near the counter where Alec was working. She cleared her throat.
"I don't mean to be rude, but I need transportation to Atheron as soon as possible. Tomorrow morning even."
Alec lowered the knife in his hand and turned to face Carris.
"You have a lot of nerve."
"Nerve. Gumption. Audacity some might say."
"I'm sorry, I already told you that I need to get to Atheron. I'm just asking for a little help."
Alec huffed. "And what exactly is everything I've done called? Y'know, Laura stopped me on the way in. You got her in quite a tizzy."
"Yes, of course, this has been helpful. I just need to get to my friend. She could be in danger."
"And what of my friend? One of my only friends. Seems you've got a knack for using but not giving."
"Excuse me? I didn't ask you to do any of this for me."
"And perhaps I shouldn't have," Alec said.
Carris took a step back, feeling heat on her neck. "What does that mean?"
"From the moment you've arrived I've heard not one thanks, one appreciative word. You've demanded a horse, insulted my friend, and used my house. Why should I give you more help?"
"Exactly. You won't get far in this world with that attitude, Missy. You are right about one thing though. You will be leaving. But let's forego the morning. How about right now?"
Carris took a step back. She gritted her teeth and fought back the urge to storm out. "You are right."
Alec cocked his head to one side. "Not very specific."
"you're going to make me be specific?"
"An apology without specifics isn't an apology."
"Fine," Carris spoke in sharp, short words. "I am sorry that I haven't thanked you. I'm sorry that I insulted your friend."
Alec nodded once. "Great. You'll need to tell Laura herself tomorrow morning, but for now, that will do."
"No. I'm sorry, but as much you might find that necessary, I need to get to my friend. If you truly care about Laura, or your daughter, or wife, you'll understand how badly I need to make sure they're safe."
Alec pursed his lips and turned back to cutting potatoes. Everything In Carris called for a demand to action from Alec she she bit her tongue to stave it off. After a few seconds, he sighed.
"I'll help you. But I can't just give you a horse. I'll take you to Atheron myself. We'll use my buckboard. First thing in the morn."
"wait, you're coming to Atheron?"
"You've been quite sparse on the details of your journey. If ya won't at least tell me why you need to go there, I'll go myself and find out. Why shouldn't I? Is it dangerous?"
"No. No, it shouldn't be."
"Good. Now, how about heating that water? It'll be a long day of riding. You'll want to be well-fed and well-rested."