Part Twenty One: Nigel...

Nigel, exhausted as he was, was glad for the brief interlude to catch his breath. From the look on Sydneyís face, he was likely to hear something rather unpleasant and braced himself for the worst. He had no idea what, mind you, but it probably had something to do with what sheíd been trying to say to him the night Aaron burst into their room. He actually entertained the idea that she might be expecting, but quickly banished that thought from his mind. That would be something Syd would definitely tell him. Heíd even forgotten about it until now, and whatever it was, he got the distinct feeling that Aaron Deleany already knew. He could have sworn there was empathy in the older manís striking blue eyes as he passed him in the line. No... she wouldnít dare do that to him!

"So, Syd...whatís one your mind?" He asked her, his voice soft and understanding, hiding the anxiety and doubt he felt.

She stopped in her tracks the moment Aaron signalled for everyone to break and set up camp, ignoring the question a little too long.

"Sydney, you called me back here, now what is it? Youíve been acting weird for days, and I think this has something to do with what you were trying to tell me the night Aaron burst into the room." He dropped his pack and took her by the arms, an unnatural fear ebbing through his body.

She couldnít do it.

His eyes searched hers for something...anything at this point. Thatís when he noticed her glancing to Aaron, then quickly back at him. He turned to find Aaron now walking in the other direction, busying himself with his tent. Snapping his suspicious hazel eyes back to Sydney they narrowed, and he felt a quickening that made him almost nauseated. "Sydney no... you arenít involved with him, are you?" She was going to tell him they couldnít see each other in a personal capacity that was it. "Come on, for the love of God, just tell me!" Nigel knew Aaron had some fairly loose morals, being the God fearing man he claimed he was, but to cheat on his lovely wife... with Syd? Impossible!

"NO!" She pulled away from him and stormed off towards a lightly treed area, seething. How dare he suggest she would bed Aaron of all people? What, did he think she was that callous? That hardened... that unfeeling? How about, that tasteless? She could hear the crunch of his footsteps close behind her in the snow and continued on, trying to get away from everything and everyone.

"Sydney stop!"

"Why, just so you can say something utterly stupid again?" She whipped around and met him face to face.

"Then stop making me have to guess! I think you just want to stop seeing me, thatís what I think... And I think it has to do with the fact that we work together, and all your relationships usually get in your way sooner or later! God knows Iíve seen that happen more times than I can count!"

He was beyond angry...Sydney had never seen him this bad. "Thatís not true!" She screamed at him so loud he winced, but held his ground before her.

"Then what the bloody hell is it? If you arenít seeing Aaron, donít want to stop seeing each other or youíre not pregnant, for God sake, what?" Her eyes got just a little darker as her pupils dilated at that last suggestion. It was then that he knew...everything he believed about their relationship was being severely challenged right then and there. Why couldnít she tell him? Never mind the fact he was now sure she knew about this before they left, she chose to remain quiet! All he wanted was to hear her say it, he sure as hell wasnít about to do it for her!

Sydney was frantic. Did Aaron tell him? What did he say exactly, and did he express his concern about abortion to Nigel as he had done with her? Oh dear God... She had noticed her buddy having a couple of conversations with Nigel since their disagreement, what if he planted the notion in Nigelís head that she was pregnant or thought she was considering abortion? His beautiful, lively brown-green eyes began to hint at tears, and so did hers. She lifted up one hand and brushed her fingers across his unshaven jaw and felt him tremble. Then, covering her mouth in shame and partly in shock, she sucked in a breath of biting mountain air... "Nigel..."

Go to Part Twenty Two.

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