I like how it turned out, and I hope you like it, too!
Bustling around a shop—two with Anais’s weaving shop and the tanners’ shop—was new, but Erron was getting used to it. She liked to help in any way she could. She had a new family, and she was thriving.
Marriage suited her. Jarek suited her, too. She loved everything about him. Being loved by him was something she would never cease to be amazed by.
The first sevenday she was his wife flew by, and then the second. She was halfway through the third and had seen and heard nothing of her father. For the most part, Erron had even stopped looking over her shoulder. Norden knew where she lived now, after all. If he was coming back, there was little she could do about it. The Blessed Spirit had given her a gift that redeemed what she’d been through.
Jarek growled any time her father’s name was brought up, so she didn’t very often. Besides, she had no desire to talk about him. Think about him.
Erron finally had a life.
Anais was teaching her to use her loom and Erron was enjoying learning to create. She’d never known she had the knack for making things. She’d already woven a colorful rug that now resided in she and Jarek’s sleeping room. Next she’d learn to make baskets. The idea was exciting.
Her mother-in-law was also enjoying her second marriage—as was Kirgan. The couple never stopped smiling. Erron grinned as she recalled Anais’s bright cheeks at the breakfast table when Jarek’s father had kissed her soundly. Kirgan was the father she should have had and her new mother was wonderful and beautiful. Would Erron still blush when she reached Anais’s age?
The bell to Anais’s shop jangled, indicating someone had stepped inside. Erron was minding it while the older woman was at market. She looked over her shoulder from the baskets she’d promised to stack, a smile on her face and a welcome on her tongue.
“Erron.” The gruff voice was thick and Erron’s heart stopped.
She turned slowly, a basket still in hand and swallowing against the sudden lump in her throat.
Her father stared back, now silent and standing just inside the shop door. Erron said nothing as her heart sped up.
Norden was a mess. His beard and hair were disheveled blonde fluff on his head and face. His clothing looked as if it hadn’t been laundered in a month. Which was probably close to the truth—Erron had always washed and cared for his garments.
She faced him completely, setting the basket down and inclining her head as if he was a customer. She was done with him, and she would show him. Tell him. Norden was out of Erron’s life. He wouldn’t ruin things for her now.
“Norden,” she said. Never again would she greet him with the word he’d never really been to her. Respect he’d never deserved.
His gasp made her pause, but Erron grasped her new normal with both hands. She wouldn’t let him dislodge her strength.
The back entrance to Anais’s former home slammed and the rush of booted feet made both Erron and her father’s heads snap in that direction. Jarek rushed into the store, his face red, mouth set in an angry line as he slid between her and Norden.
“Get out. You are not welcome here,” her husband barked, arms crossed over his broad chest.
“I’ve a right to see my daughter.” Norden’s voice broke, every word a struggle as his chest heaved.
“You’ve no right to my wife,” Jarek said, shaking his head and slicing the air with a hand.
Erron took a step forward before her father could answer and placed a hand on her husband’s forearm, tugging gently. “I want to speak with him.”
Jarek’s dark gaze flashed to her, his expression softening. “Why, love?” he whispered. He still blocked her from her father, body tight.
Smiling up at the man who’d stolen her heart and soul, Erron straightened, squaring her shoulders. “You have given me everything in such a short time,” she told him, keeping her voice low. “I won’t let him ruin it.” She leaned up and pressed a kiss to his cheek.
Jarek made a sound in his throat. Acquiescence or admonition, Erron didn’t care. Her husband would protect her whenever he saw fit, and it made her stomach somersault. He was really hers, and she was all his. Forever.
She slid forward to stand beside her husband, facing her father. Jarek grabbed her hand and Erron entwined their fingers, his touch giving her even more strength. She cleared her throat. Was she really going to do this?
“What you did to me, a young girl should never have to endure.” Something flickered across the pale eyes that matched hers, but her father said nothing. Erron took a breath. “I’ll never forget but I’m at peace now. You’ll never touch me again. So go from here and never come back here. I’ve put you in my past, and that’s where you’ll stay.”
She should scream, fuss, pound his chest with both fists, but with every word Erron felt lighter, the sharp pain of what Norden had taken from her fading to an ache. It wouldn’t dissipate right now, but with time, perhaps she would completely heal.
Jarek squeezed her hand and she forced another breath, her chest heaving.
“I’m done with you,” Erron said.
Norden’s shoulders slumped at the phrase he’d so often used to release her from his bed. She felt nothing as she observed his defeated figure. Not even pity or sorrow. It was as if she was gazing at a stranger.
He stared, his eyes glued to her face, but still said nothing. What was he thinking as he studied her? Had he expected her to leave with him? Why had the man even come?
Slipping his arm around her waist, Jarek pulled her flush to his side. “Well, go on. You heard what my wife said. She’s done with you.”
Her father’s eyes narrowed and he opened his mouth as if he would speak, but her husband growled.
“You. Are. Not. Welcome. Here,” Jarek bit out.
With that, the man who’d tormented her for ten turns slipped from the shop without another word. The sense of finality settled over her and Erron’s stomach fluttered.
He was gone. For good.
Jarek yanked her to him and covered her mouth with his before she could take a breath. She slipped her arms around his neck and melted into him—like she would for the rest of her life.
“Are you all right?” he breathed as he parted their mouths.
Erron smiled up at him. “More than all right. I’m perfect.”
“Yes you are, love. I’m so proud of you.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “I’m proud of me, too.”
“I love you,” Jarek whispered before pressing another kiss into her lips.
“I love you, too.” She snuggled into his chest and her husband rested his cheek against her hair. “Do you think he’s gone for good?” Erron asked after several moments of a companionable silence.
“I’m not sure, but we have the rest of our lives to find out. But I’ll keep you safe.”
She lifted her head and met his dark eyes. “I’ll hold you to that.”
Jarek grinned. “You’d better.” He leaned down and claimed her mouth.
Erron clung to him and kissed him back.
For MORE Erron and Jarek, check out the Alphabet Game on my Pieces of Me page Letters: Y IF FORYOURS and Z IS FOR ZETHAN. (Hey, read them all while you're there. *wink*)
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