What’s with the tension?

Excerpt of THE WITCH’S STORM:

“What’s with the tension between Nelas and your brother?” Aia asked before they reached Nelas’ earshot. She was trying desperately to sound cool and not really that interested. But in her chest her heart picked up the pace, and she found it hard to keep up making her gasp for breath.

“Some girl, I think.” Merian eyed her curiously, her mouth twitching. Why was it twitching? “Are you okay?” she said. “Did you swallow a bug?”

“Ladies,” Nelas called out. He left the hazardous place under the fall gate and walked towards them. “Out for a walk? You really think that is wise?” He sent Merian’s hips a scrutinising stare. “You’re not even armed. What’s wrong with you?”

“She’s suicidal,” Aia mumbled.

Merian shrugged and nodded in Aia’s direction. “What she said.”

“Oh, because of Kord? The guilt is riding you like a mare?” He winked at her when Merian’s jaw dropped a few inches. “You take on too much,” he then said and turned around and escorted them into the courtyard.

“And you seem a little too casual about it,” Merian pointed out, her tone harsh.

“It’s my way of dealing with the pain,” Nelas said. Aia wasn’t sure if he was taking the piss out of them or if he was actually being serious. Probably the first.

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