Tonight was a seemingly better night.
The wind wasn't blowing to hard and the temperature was, for the most part, a nice middle ground—not to hot and not to cold. Ricken had made sure to thank whatever gods blessed him and his family with the weather, as it allowed them all to spend time outside in the wee hours of the night. Thanks to the sunny season, it wasn't two dark out which was good seeing what Ricken's wife and son were doing.
Olivia and a younger Inigo were practicing their dancing routines. Well, more specifically Inigo—Olivia had basically perfected it. They were off twirling their legs around, moving their bodies in flow with the rhythm. Inigo, despite his short stature, was surprisingly well off when it came to the routine, easily keeping up the pace alongside his mother. Sometimes Olivia would ask if Ricken desired to join them, but he quickly shook the idea claiming that his "old" body wouldn't be able to keep up; he usually received a light punch on the shoulder because of it.
As Ricken continued to watch them from his favorite outdoor reading chair, he heard the slow sounds of footsteps. Turning, he was greeted by another, extremely familiar face.
"Inigo," Ricken acknowledged, "Nice to see you're still holding up this late."
"Father, I'm not an old man, not like you at least," the older Inigo smirked.
Ricken chuckled, "I'd like to think I'm not too old."
"Well," Inigo responded as he pulled a chair beside his father, "I guess you aren't old, just not a kid anymore."
"I guess that's all I really need," Ricken sighed as he looked back at his wife and…other son.
"Nice to see little me is doing good," Inigo commented.
"Hmm? Oh yeah, he's been making some real progress."
Inigo looked to his father in concern, "Are you alright Father? You seem to be lost in your thoughts."
Ricken snapped back to reality, "Was I? Sorry, just thinking about your mother."
"What about her?" Inigo questioned, curious about what Ricken was thinking about.
"Something rather embarrassing," Ricken admitted with a faint tint of red on his face.
"Oh, come on," Inigo let out an exaggerated groan, "Now you have to tell me!"
Ricken laughed at his son's expense, "Very well. Inigo, did I ever tell you about how I reacted to loving your mother and not knowing if she loved me back?"
Inigo put a finger to his chin, "I don't recall you ever saying…"
"Well then," Ricken announced, "How about I jog up your memory?"
-Many Years Ago-
"That was awful," Ricken complained in a friendly manner, "I don't think I've ever seen something so…mushy."
"Yeah," Olivia smiled, "It was worse than I remembered."
Ricken laughed, "Why did you read that in the first place."
"I wanted to see how grossed out you would get," Olivia joined in on laughing.
"Well, mission accomplished."
The pair were walking through camp to go back to their separate tents. They were also taking the time to discuss the recent novel they read together which featured heavy amounts of romance, something they both agreed was pretty gross.
"Seriously, If I keep reading these I'll never get married," Olivia joked.
Ricken nearly froze in place, "W-wait, really?"
Olivia looked over at the now pale Ricken, "No, not really. It was just a joke, Ricken."
Hearing this, Ricken regained some of his composure, "Oh that's good."
Ricken nearly froze again, realizing now that he had basically trapped himself. He quickly looked around his mind for a sentence that could explain away the embarrassment, "W-well, I just think it would be a shame if you gave up on love because of a book."
Olivia, whose face was turning red, responded, "Y-you don't have to worry, Ricken. I'm just as open to marriage as I've as always been."
"That's…good," Ricken was a second away from smacking himself on the head.
As they slowly approached Olivia's tent, Ricken was wondering if he should say anything else. It wasn't everyday he almost revealed he his love to an extremely shy girl, and he wasn't sure it would be smart to continue talking.
Nevertheless, as they got there, Ricken turned to look at the dancer, "Well, I'll see you tomorrow."
Olivia smiled, "You too."
As the two departed, Ricken couldn't get the image of Olivia's warm smile out of his face. That being said, he was still plenty annoyed with himself for his slip up. He kept going over the situation in his head as he continued to walk, repeatedly coming up with solutions to how he could have avoided such a confrontation. Just as he let out another groan, a voice spoke up.
"Something wrong, Ricken?"
Ricken turned to see a certain olive-haired cavalier.
"Oh, hey Stahl."
Stahl strode on up to Ricken with a look of concern, "I kept hearing the moans, something bad happen?"
Ricken sighed as the two began to walk together, "I guess you could say that."
"Well," Stahl hesitated, "Mind telling me what?"
Ricken looked at him, "If I do you have to promise not to tell anyone, okay?"
"Cross my heart," Stahl grinned.
"Okay," Ricken responded, "I'm kinda having relationship issues."
"Wow, you're in a relationship?" Stahl marveled.
"Not exactly," Ricken let out another sigh as he closed his eyes, "I'm interested in someone."
"Let me guess, Olivia?"
Ricken eyes shot open, "H-how did you know?"
"Well," Stahl replied sheepishly, "You guys seem pretty close, always reading stories and such. Plus, she took a liking to you right away, it took me forever before she felt comfortable talking to me."
"Heh, I guess that's a nice way to put it."
"So," Stahl continued, "What are you planning on doing?"
Shaking his head, Ricken looked to the ground, "Honestly, I think I'll just admit it plain and simple, no reason for any theatrics."
"Well, in that case, you shouldn't be nervous," Stahl grinned, "You're a nice guy, Ricken, I'd bet my life's earnings that she would say yes."
Ricken mimicked Stahl's face, "I'm guessing that wouldn't be too much then, huh?"
That received a joking punch to the arm, "Hey, c'mon, lay off me."
"Sorry, sorry," Ricken apologized, "But I do feel better…so thanks, Stahl."
"It was my pleasure"
"So, what happened after that," Inigo questioned, completely wrapped up in the story.
"Inigo, use your head a little," Ricken ordered, "If you're here and your mother and I are together, what must have happened."
"Hmm…she rejected you a bunch of times and then accepted out of pity," Inigo jokingly guessed.
Instead of being annoyed, Ricken let out a chuckle, "Honestly, son, I'm surprised it didn't turn out that way."
"Yeah…hey, you ever going to tell me how the actual confession went? You keep glossing over it," Inigo asked, quite interested in his father's life.
"Huh, you're really that into it?"
Inigo's face lit up, "You bet I am, I want to hear all about how you won mother over with your dashing looks and pure charm."
"Heh, I don't know if I would say I had either at the time, but nevertheless, I'd be happy to tell you."
"Hey," Inigo interrupted, "Are we going to be able to get through it before the sun is too far gone?"
"Don't worry, this story won't take too long. Besides," Ricken commented, "the night is still young."