“Why you?”

“Don’t you think I’m qualified?”

“Of course! You can do anything!”

“I just- I don’t know. It’ll be a big change.”

“Well, it’s not for certain.”

Marcelina sat on the ground and plucked a handful of clover from the grass. It was hard to believe. Jory sat down as well, easing into it and stretching his leg out to rub his thigh.

“Is it bothering you again?”

“We walked pretty far today. I’m fine, Marcelina.”

They always walked too far. Or climbed too high. Jory refused to let his missing leg stop him. Even though Marcelina watched him climb mountains with her heart in her throat. He said it was payback for all the years he’d worried about her flying either by herself or with Dosia. She watched as he removed his prosthetic foot.

“You don’t have to prove anything,” she reminded him. Her hands dropped the clover and she reached for his leg to pull his ankle into her lap and rub it.

Jory grinned as he reached into the pack she’d carried. Flying was one thing, and she was happy to do so, but after one disastrous attempt to join him climbing she’d sworn it off. So, she carried up their lunch and worried incessantly until he reached the peak.

“If you don’t want me to, Marcelina, I won’t.”

He wouldn’t. He was wonderful. And she was selfish. She didn’t want him to do it.

“No, I won’t stop you. I think you would be a good governor. I just- I don’t want people to not vote for you because of me.”

Jory grabbed her hands and tugged her down atop him as he settled in the clover.

“Don’t be silly, Marcelina.”

“Don’t be stupid, Jory.”

He rolled her onto her back and pinned her to the ground. “Are you calling your future governor stupid, Mrs. Couch?”

“Yes,” she said with a smirk that couldn’t hide the way her pulse kicked up when he was atop her. “Stupid. Mr. Couch.”

“You’ll pay for that.”

And she did, but no more than she was willing to give.