After dinner, Breigh and Kiena left the party so they could find a quiet place to talk.
Breigh’s eyes watched her with purpose, as though memorizing all of her features. The intensity took Kiena by surprise, and she did her best to keep her eyes from meeting his.
A dark lock of hair fell into his face, which he attempted to tuck behind his ear as he looked away into the starlight. “I think the snow looks best when gently lit by the night sky.”
Kiena’s lips drew gently to the side as she took in the view, “Night is my favorite time of all. Who can sleep through this amazing view?” She laughed, “I will never understand those who go to sleep early to rise before the sun. They miss the best hours of the night. How do they ever see the stars? How can they truly enjoy the moonlight?”
“I suppose we will never know. Though I do agree with you.” Breigh slipped into a moment of contemplative silence.
A breeze gently stirred the air around them, like the forest let out a soft exhale into the stillness. It swirled her hair just enough to take it into her eyes. She brushed the hair to the side of her face, before feeling Breigh’s eyes on her again. Shyly Kiena turned to look at him, curious to watch his expression as he adored her.
“You’re beautiful,” he said softly. “The moonlight gives your dark hair a silver glow. I have thought this many times, though never said it.”
Kiena’s heart fluttered for a moment as she nervously curled her shoulders in. Her thoughts turned to the nervous fluttering in her stomach, hoping it would go away.
Breigh continued, “I also want you to know, the way you give of yourself to bring joy to everyone else is admirable.”
She smiled, turning to meet his eyes, “Thank you.”
“Don’t let it rob you though, Kiena.” His gaze became concerned, as he reached out to brush her cheek with the back of his hand. “You need someone to lean on, too. You give to everyone else, but rarely have I noticed you receiving.”
Tears threatened to flood her vision as she turned away, suddenly thinking of Rynn. “I had a friend,” her voice a mere whisper as she blinked several times. “I didn’t know I would ever need another.”
She felt his warm hand light on hers, his fingers soft and gentle as they curled around hers. Her eyes looked to it, a gentle sniff followed the first silent tear.
“Everyone needs a friend, my dear,” Breigh responded sympathetically.
There was truth in his statement, Kiena did not deny this. The truth could not keep her from looking back to remember, though. “There was one person who knew me best. We did everything together. He was my dearest and closest of friends.” She looked out at the forest beyond the dell, to a world she used to explore tiny patches at a time with Rynn. “We were inseparable, though I don’t deny we had our disagreements. And after he was married and moved on to a new place where I could not follow- well, in short I didn’t know how deeply a heart could shatter until then.” By now the tears were freely flowing down her cheeks. “After I had given so freely of my heart, and trusted so deeply with my soul, there wasn’t a reason to find someone else to share it with, no one else who would understand quite the same.”
“I think you give your colony very little credit,” his voice remained gentle, though Kiena detected a hint of a tease.
Biting back the ache in her chest, where once she had felt complete, Kiena nodded, but didn’t respond.
“It’s okay,” Breigh spoke again after another moment of silence. “You don’t have to tell me anything. And I’m sorry I made you cry.” He turned her chin to look at her. “You can tell me in your time. Until then, I hope to ease the ache in your heart and make those eyes of yours shine again. As they always should.”
Comforted by his words, Kiena tightened her fingers around his hand, and followed through with the compulsive thought to lean her head in his shoulder.
They sat together like this for a long while in the comfort of silence under the draw of brilliant darkness watching the stars shine.