(From my WiP Sorceress Apprentice a fantasy romance. Bryony’s sister, Kerine, has gone to bring home the dying Emeri’s sister, Sabrina. Bryony agreed to stay and keep the sorcerer company and found herself studying magic as well as beginning to fall in love with Emeri, but she still misses her sister during the months apart.)
Bryony stared at the ceiling after a restless night. The sunlight had awoken her not long after she’d finally fallen asleep, and for a moment she’d thought about asking Kerine to go with her to the river before breakfast, a pleasant walk to start the day.
But Kerine was not here.
This was what Emeri had meant, when he said waking up could be the worst thing. The realisation of abandonment all over again, though he also had the spectre of death to contend with.
Bryony tried to comfort herself with the thought that Kerine would come back, had to come back. That didn’t mean she couldn’t be sad at the separation however. “Pain is not a competition,” Naomi sometimes said and it made more sense to Bryony now.
She could ask Emeri to walk with her; if he was awake, if he was up to it, for some days were better than others. That could be nice.
Yet it wasn’t the same, not when she wanted her sister. The bond they shared could not be replaced, no matter how much she’d come to care for Emeri and enjoy spending time with him.
Emeri was in his study, making notes, when Bryony finally dragged herself from bed and went looking for him.
He glanced at her dishevelled appearance. “You didn’t sleep well?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know how you’ve survived this long without Sabrina,” she said, hating the tremble in her voice.
He looked away, fingers still marking a passage in the book he was studying, pen poised over the page of his journal. “People can survive many things,” he said. “But surviving isn’t the same as living.”
Another time she might have rolled her eyes and accused him of wordplay. But today she nodded and moved to stand at his side, pressing herself against him. He slipped one arm around her waist and they stayed close and silent for a long moment.