January 24, 2015

In Which Alya Addresses the Odd Not-Odd Thing

January 1, 1189

"You're leaving because of me, aren't you?"

Alya skidded to a halt a couple feet short of Roddie, fighting the urge to pant. She hadn't quite realized it before midnight--not consciously, at least. Roddie was her adoptive half-uncle. She'd always known that, but he'd never felt like her uncle. She'd assumed it was because they were close enough in age that he was more of a cousin, or an older brother. She'd assumed wrong.

"I..." He grimaced. Alya's heart seized. "I don't know. That... that kiss was odd."

"It wasn't odd."

"Yes." Roddie pushed back some his hair, swaying with a marked discomfort. "That's what was odd about it."

"I know." But so what if it wasn't odd? And if that made it odd? "Though, what if that's a good thing?"

"What if it is? Your parents would kill me."

"My parents love you, you idiot." And if they hadn't killed him already for all the trouble he'd caused them as a youngster, surely he had nothing to worry about! "Sure, it might be a bit shocking for them at first, but they'd get over it."

"Maybe." But she hadn't quite convinced that frown into a grin. "Is it legal, though? I mean, I know I'm not your uncle by blood, but--"

"Lady Meraleene's twin sister married their uncle. King Oswald decreed that they were close enough in age that they were more like cousins anyway, plus Renata hadn't really been raised with Jadin as her uncle since her mother died before he was born."

"Meraleene of Felonis? Sir Abrich's wife?"

Alya nodded. "She was visiting Xeta one day when I was calling on Lyssa and CeeCee."

"I didn't know that." But the newfound knowledge helped somewhat, if his eased brows and flattened mouth said anything. Not fully, but somewhat. Enough. "I suppose it would be worth at least thinking about, then. I don't want to force you into anything scandalous."

"Nor I you. Plus I suppose I should at least bounce the idea off of my mother."

"Only if she promises not to kill me."

"She won't kill you." She'd be saying that quite often before they figured this out and her mother proved otherwise, she was sure of it. "We'll figure this out. And if it doesn't work, we could always still be friends."

"I should hope so." Roddie smiled--finally. "There's no friend I'd hate to lose more than you."

That was true. Whatever their relationship, they were always also friends. That was one thing that could never change. "Likewise. Perhaps we ought to leave together and talk on the way home?"

"No. You were enjoying yourself. Plus the distance will give us both time to think." He took her hand in his and kissed it. His lips were soft enough atop her knuckles, but she preferred them on her mouth. "But we'll talk more tomorrow, all right?"

Alya nodded. One sleep would not be long. "All right."

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