I was going back through some of my rough drafts for last week's lesson and found this and tried to shape it up. This is kind of a combo of two different scenes from my Work-In-Progress Novel. This gives a glimpse into Neil & Giles relationship. It was pretty good for the past few years, but now, Neil has something else that Giles is jealous of...his new wife, the lady Anna-Maria...who doesn't know Neil's true identity. She thinks he's some poor minstrel like Giles who's now trying his hand at becoming a merchant so he can settle down with her. She has no idea of the rebellion the two men are brewing or of Neil's noble family.
This is 685 words.
Neil sighed and eased himself down on the bench, careful not to spill his ale.
“Tough kinda day?”
Neil met Giles’ curious eyes across the table. “Tougher than boot leather. I don’t know what I’m gonna do with that girl.”
“Anna? What’s she done now?”
“It’s what she hasn’t done. I start thinkin’ that we’re not that different, ye know. An then – ”
“If ye wanted a girl from here, ye had your pick for years. Now ye got the prettiest girl in three countries and ye complain!”
“It’s not the big nuggets, but the flakes that trip me up. Today, I come home for a bit of bread and cheese come noon-time and what do I hear floatin’ out my own window, but “The Blacksmith’s Breeches.”
Giles mouth went slack, then turned up in a sly grin. “That naughty puss! I never would have thought she’d be that kind. Not after…”
Neil gave him quick shove. “Shut your gab. She wasn’t singing the words. She heard the tune somewhere in the city and was hanging up my laundry while humming the tune. Gave me a turn, I can tell ye!”
“Ye need to tell her who ye really are, Neil. Tell her all the words ye’ve been corkin’ up inside. The longer ye go, the worse it’ll be when she finds out. Go on. Make your marriage real.”
“Nay, nay. I have to leave her be for now. Tisn’t fair to sidle up to her all cozy like just ‘afore we stir up trouble."
“Nay. That’s when it’s best. Girl’s not sure if she’ll ever see ye again. She’ll give ye something to remember, that’s for sure."
“Hey! Don’t speak that way about my Anna.”
“Doesn’t seem like she’s really yours, Nit. Ye bring her all the way ‘cross the mountains to where the only soul she knows is you. She only wants a bit of affection and ye can’t give her so much as a kiss and a tickle?”
“Watch your mouth, ye son of a gypsy.”
“What? Are ye afraid of a little truth? Ye afraid ye can’t make her love ye? ‘Cause I see the way she looks at ye. She gets all soft around the mouth and her eyes get all shy.”
“When did ye start lookin at Anna?”
“The day ye toddled down to Trionno, ye fool! Ye left her in a tiny room, alone, in a strange city. I came by to see if she was lonely, which she was.”
Neil felt his jaw tighten. “And tell me, my friend, how did ye care for her loneliness?”
Giles returned his stare. “With an afternoon of music. She sat by the window painting your blasted pottery for market day and I sat on the opposite side of the room strumming away like a fool.” He shook his finger in Neil’s face. “Ye have everything ye need to be happy, but ye push it away at arm’s length.”
“Ye know why I can’t…And anyway, she’s given me barely a kind word since we came here.”
“Because ye’re a fool. She’s only wantin’ to know ye’re glad she followed ye all the way here.”
“Like a pup-hound that doesn’t know how to stay home. She would have been safer there.”
“But she doesn’t want there. She wants a certain fellow who barely spends a span of bells in her company. And eager to please? She’s doin’ your laundry, ye mutton-head! The girl has never washed so much as her own chemise and she’s grubbin’ around with soap and stone to get your breeches clean. If that don’t say she loves ye, then I don’t know what does.”
Neil’s fists were clenched, but Giles didn’t seem to see. Or perhaps he was too far gone in his cups.
“If ye weren’t my friend, Niel Poxhands, I would have seduced the girl before ye coulda tucked your fiddle under your chin and run away with her to the sea coast.”
Aye, Giles was definitely too far in his cups, for he didn’t even try to duck when Neil’s fist swung at his chin.