The Warrior's Bride
"No Alexander I don't want this. We are living comfortably here. I don't want this. I forbid you to go. " Anna said to her son. He was the only good that had managed to come out from her life since she found herself in this country.
"Mother," Alexander began taking a deep breath. "I understand how you feel but I have already been training hard. I can't reject the king's order. I will have to accept mother. Do not worry yourself. " Alexander said to his mother. She was always worrying about their safety.
"No. Alexander. I do not want to fall sick over worrying for you. I have made up my mind. I do not want you doing anything with the royal family. " Anna said, leaving him standing there with the hot pot on the fire.
Alexander sighed before he made his way to the fire. His mother was frying some chicken. His favourite. She had been really preparing for his return. He had spent three days in the town camp training. He knew his mother didn't like that, but he was a grown man now. A grown man, like himself, could not stay indoors all day.
Alexander gathered the chicken into a plate before putting the fire out. He was going to see how his mother was faring. He knew it was hard for her. She had to work a lot to take care of him and herself after her parents died. He knew they were hiding away from some people, but his mother never told him why. He trusted her. He knew it was not easy for her.
Alexander knocked before he walked into his mother's room. He saw her in one corner of the room. From the sounds he could hear he knew she was crying. He didn't like it when his mother resorted to tears.
"Mother. I don't want you crying. I will be fine. I can take care of myself. " Alexander said, pulling his mother to his chest. This was not new for them as it had always been the two of them, from the start.
"Alexander you do not understand because you don't have a child of your own. People are not really as nice as they seem. I don't want anything happening to you because of my carelessness. " Anna said, looking at her son.
"Mother, if I win this challenge I will become the warrior head. We will be protected. " Alexander said wondering why she was not seeing this.
"You will only be closer to the family I am protecting you from. " Anna cried out.
"Mother what do you mean?" Alexander asked.
"The Queen. She is an evil woman. I do not want you near her. " Anna said, horrible memories of what the queen had done to her before she managed to escape.
"Mother you do not need to worry about them. You said the king has no idea and I don't have any wish to take his role, if he dies. I am fine. If the king should find out, I don't think he will want the Queen to know." Alexander said, he never wanted to rule that was not his wish.
"The King is a fool. He could never hide his feelings that was why he thought he got me killed all these years. I had to change everything about my identity. I moved far away. I know it was the gods that made you survive, but I don't want to put you in danger anymore. " Anna said, her voice filled with hate.
"Mother do not talk about the king like that. " Alexander said, he didn't want anyone hearing his mother speak about the King that way.
"Just be careful, Alexander. You are all that I have. " Anna said to her boy, even if he was a man he was still her little boy from all those years.
There was three consecutive knocks coming from the main door of their cabin and a smile reached his lips. He had missed her so much. He had not seen her in three days and this was his time to see her now.
"I am sure that is Fareeda. She comes here everyday this time to check if you are back. That one is a sweet girl, Alexander." His mother said the last part sternly.
Alexander smiled at his mother.
"Will you be fine mother? I don't want you crying anymore." Alexander said before he kissed his mother's cheek and left her standing there.
Fareeda knew she would get an earful from her father as she stood outside Alexander's home, but she wanted to make sure Anna was okay without her son home. It seemed like Alexander would not be back for a while, but she was fine with it. She also came to talk about the challenge that was coming up. She didn't want Alexander participating.
Fareeda adjusted her hijab and dress. She hoped she looked presentable enough. She didn't know why, but she wanted Anna to think she was a very pleasant girl.
Her breath caught in her throat when Alexander opened the door. He was here. He was here and he was bare chested, except for the coat covering his broad shoulders. She did her best to take her eyes from his chest, but that didn't make a difference. She could not take her eyes away from his face. He was shinning his pearly whites at her. He hardly ever smiled, but when he did he was a sight to behold.
"A-Alexander..." Her voice came out thick from her dry mouth. How did her mouth become dry so fast?
"Come in. " Alexander said to the young lady as politely as he could. His eyes shinning as he watched her squirm. He loved taking her by surprise.
"Fareeda dear, I am so glad you are here. " Anna said, hugging the girl.
Fareeda closed her eyes, happy that his woman saved her from being alone with this Alexander, she was about to throw herself in his arms. It was not proper of an unmarried woman to be alone with her man that was not her husband to be. Well, her being here, Anna's Home, was not proper if she wanted to talk about being proper at all.
"Goodday, ma'am." Fareeda greeted, making a ladylike courtesy. She wanted to ask why she didn't inform her Alexander would be home again, but she held her tongue which took a lot of strength.
"Alexander, leave us. We have something to discuss before she leaves. She will need to get home before her father." Anna said to her son. She knew he was standing there in the corner trying to make the poor girl nervous.
"Call me Anna dear." Anna said to the young one.
Fareeda smiled shyly. It seemed like Alexander was not listening to his mother. She held her tongue. She didn't want Anna to have other ideas. She was sure Anna would mark her as a girl not fit enough for her son if she spoke out of line. She didn't know if she was already in the woman's good-books, but she wanted to get along with her mother in law. Her future mother in law.
"That is highly inappropriate ma'am. I can make it less formal by calling you mother." Fareeda said her eyes darted to Alexander who was standing there, his eyes shinning in amusement. She wondered if her face was funny. He had not seen her in a while and all he could do was laugh.
"That is only if you like." Fareeda added not wanting to seem too forward.
Fareeda felt a wave of anger hit her as she watched him laugh, leaving the two of them alone. It was very rude of him to laugh like that and she knew he was not laughing at his mother, but he was laughing at her. It annoyed her, but she was not one to cry over things like this. Something must girls her age would do.
"I would be glad if you could call me mother. I have always wanted a daughter as pretty as you." Anna said, watching the blush that covered her cheeks. This girl would be perfect for her son. She knew it and she was sure Alexander knew it too.
"I heard about the challenge coming up. I know I should be heading back home and I know it is none of my business, but I just can't hold it in me. My father will kill me if he ever knows of this." Fareeda thought to herslef as she remembered when she had gone to her uncle's home to say what she thought about them marrying her cousin off to someone she didn't love.
"Your father will not hear of this, dear. He seems like a strict man. " Anna said as she lit the stove. She needed to heat the chicken.
"Have some. " She said to Fareeda who was going off about something Anna had no idea about. The girl could talk without getting tired. Especially when she ate. It was as if food gave her more reason to talk. She remembered she was a little like that when she was young.
Fareeda thanked her before she continued.
"I am just saying all this because you must not allow him join. People die. Alexander must not die. He saved me all those years ago and I don't want to see him die. " Fareeda said, her lips oily and mouth full with chicken. Fareeda was already comfortable with Anna because she had been visiting this home for a year now, but she still wanted to be seen as a prospective daughter in law and not just a good girl.
Anna nodded. "You are right, but my son is not so smart like us. All I have to do is pray he would win. "
"Yes, me too. Maybe if I will pray tonight. I just hope I don't sleep off. " Fareeda said, remembering what happened last night and the nights before.
"Mother I am going for a walk." Alexander said, making Fareeda almost fall off the bench. She had not even heard footsteps. Was he trying to scare her? He had not even acted like she existed. She hoped she didn't look like a mad person talking with her mouth full.
"Don't be long." Anna said to her son before she resumed their talk.
Rude, she thought. Wasn't he meant to give his mother an inclination that he liked her a bit, at least?, Fareeda thought. She wanted to leave now. Her father would already be raging mad and hungry.
Fareeda cursed to herself in arabic as she made her way home. She knew if anyone heard her she would get reported to her father. Why everyone thought to be so proper, she had no idea.
"I dont think you are allowed to say such." Alexander said, from where he was. She had not even realised he was following her. If he was an outsider, he would have kidnapped her without any struggle.
Fareeda gasped, she had no idea someone else was with her. A blush covered her cheeks as she remembered what she said. They weren't meant to come out from a woman's mouth.
"Why are you following me? You had a nice time ignoring me in your mother's presence." Fareeda asked him, frowning. She was not supposed to be alone with a man. If anyone caught them, it would end badly and she could swear on her life that her father would disown her just like he always threatened.
"I think we just happened to be in the same path. Trust me, my mother knows everything." Alexander said, smiling when a shocked look made its way to her face.
It had been so hard putting up a front in his mother's presence. All she wanted to do was be in his arms. She threw herself at him and he caught her just in time. He crushed his lips against hers in the heat of the moment. They hardly ever shared a kiss. Only once or twice and that was because he was always away.
"Alexander someone may see us." Fareeda cried against his lips.
"Fareeda do you know how hard it is being away from you? I miss you so much. All the nights I spent in that camp, I thought of you. " Alexander said, kissing her cheek.
"I miss you too, Alexander. When will you come for my hand? My father is making life unbearable." Fareeda said, her arms falling from his shoulders as she thought of the hurtful words her father would yell at her when she arrived.
Also with the fact that none of the plants were booming and the trap caught no animal. She was not meant to do all this work, but she guessed that was how much her father hated her.
"You know your father has placed a very high price on you. I will come once I have enough. If I win this challenge, I will payed a lot of money to come for your hand. That will buy us a cabin and a small field too for animals. " Alexander said, placing his hand under her chin so he could look into her eyes.
"Take this, buy some things on your way home. I know your father will be angry that you have been gone for this long. Remember that I love you and I am patiently waiting for the day you become my wife." Alexander said before he kissed her again.
" But you said you don't have enough.." Fareeda said, looking at the money he gave her.
"I have enough to take care of you. Go home now." He said, kissing her head before he left.
"Father, there was not enough harvest. In fact I think our land is infertile. " Fareeda said to her father as she cooked.
Fareeda was glad that when she arrived home. He was not around.
"And whose fault is that?'' Her father said, with so much hate.
"Father, how is that my fault now?" She said with so much hurt.
Her father didn't even notice.
"I have warned you girl. You do not talk when a man talks. It is your fault because you are the reason why everything in my life is bad."
Fareeda gasped, she didn't expect to hear that. She knew he blamed her for the death of her mother, but he never thought to wonder how she felt growing up without a mother. He was always said she was useless to him, the only good thing about her was she was pretty enough to give him a good brideprice.
"Father!" Fareeda said, after she found her voice.
"Do not father me! That is why you have no man coming for your hand. You are too stubborn to even take correction. If your mother was here today, she would have discarded you a long time ago. " Her father shouted at her.
"That is not true. My mother would love me and I know this." Fareeda said, that was something she would never believe.
"You have no use to me. If you were a boy, you could have done better, but just know you are nothing. Now finish whatever it is you are cooking. I am starving." Her father said before he left her standing there.
Fareeda cried as she served her father's food. This was so sad. Her father did everything possible to make her feel less of a person and he was doing a good job. He never worked. He didn't bother bringing money home. They relied on whatever she tried to plant on the infertile land and the traps Alexander would always help her set. If there was no food when he came home at night, he would throw her out. He would say she was lazy and foolish.
Fareeda served him his food before she sat staring into the night, eating hers. She prayed with all her heart that Alexander would win the challenege. She could not wait to leave her father's house.
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