S (Part 4, page 1 of 14)

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Part 4


Weeks passed as normal for Saorla and her father. The spring rains were as a stubborn child and showed no signs of letting up its tantrum, drenching every acre of their land and chilling them to the bone. The rivers of mud were troublesome, as the sheep and goats continued to get stuck in them. Saorla spent much of her time with her farmhand, dragging out the heavy animals, they themselves slipping and sliding about in the filth. Attempts to stay upright in the slicks often turned into a game of who could push the other down first. What started out as a chore almost always ended with the two of them rolling and laughing about in the mud.

Patrick became a regular for dinner, and much to her relief, he seemed to be making a noticeable effort to keep their relationship on friendly terms only. There was no more talk of marriage or moving and setting up a home with her in a foreign village. It was as if a taut thread that had been running between them had been abruptly cut, freeing them both from the strain and allowing each to simply enjoy one another’s company.

The weather made it hard to do much of the normal work. Though gardening was nearly impossible and checking on the bee hives in the old stone wall was pointless, hunting could not be avoided. She relied heavily on her traps but there were days when even those produced no more than a few clumps of hair of a quick footed animal. And because he had nothing better to do, Patrick insisted on coming with her on these forays into the forest. Why he would volunteer for such a task, she had no idea, for it became apparent rather quickly that he had no skill whatsoever in the sport. With embarrassment he had sheepishly handed back her bow after a few sad attempts, stating he did not feel well and that she had better do it.

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