November 4, 2009

In Which Alina Is Given a Comforting Thought

May 14, 1163

"Father!" exclaimed Alina as they embraced. "It's been far too long!"

"My angel!" the count addressed her delightedly. "My God, you're even more beautiful than I remember! I can't believe it's taken me so long to come and visit... remind me again why, exactly?"

Behind him, Severin coughed; he appeared to have been reminded. "Oh. Right."

Seated on the couch, Lonriad sighed. "Searle..."

"Yes, yes, all in the past, I know," Alina's father muttered hastily. "Anyway... how've you been, my baby? And how are my little grandchildren--all seven of them, by thunder! Seven! And you're still quite young, so who knows? Maybe be the time I come back, there'll be another one!"

Severin stiffened, the color draining from his face. Trying desperately to ignore her husband's obvious discomfort with an idea she herself had been toying with for some time, Alina grimaced as she locked eyes with her father.

"Well... I suppose you never know," she choked, settling on the answer that stood the highest chance of satisfying all parties present.

"You never know," Lonriad repeated, chuckling to himself. "Trying to tell us something, Alina?"

She managed to force herself to laugh, but she couldn't help but notice that Severin's grip on the fire poker had tightened. For his benefit, she quickly added, "Oh, no--not this time, Lonriad. Sorry."

Her husband seemed to relax somewhat; Alina closed her eyes in relief. But God, she just didn't get it! Why was he so fervently opposed to the idea of another child?

"Severin?" she asked him cautiously; perhaps the least she could do for him was give him an excuse to separate himself from Lonriad. "Why don't you show my father around the castle? And after that, you could perhaps introduce him to the children?"

Nodding, Severin turned around, making rather awkward eye contact with Searle. "My lord."

"Severin," Searle acknowledged him curtly.

"Would you like a tour?"

Searle grinned coldly. "Judging from the exterior, I've already seen all of it... unless of course, this is one of those fancy newfangled castles that are larger on the inside than they are on the out?"

"Father, be nice," Alina scolded gently. "Please--for me."

He chuckled. "How can I say 'no' to those eyes?"

"You don't," she insisted.

"Fair enough. Come along, boy--let's get this tour over with so I can finally meet all these grandchildren I supposedly have."

He led the charge out of the room, a half-hearted Severin trudging at his heels. She did hope her father would hold to his word and go easy on the poor man; Lord knew they had enough on their plate at the moment. In some ways, her father could not have possibly had worse timing.

As Severin shut the door behind him, Alina made her way to the couch and propped herself next to the Lonriad, who sighed. "I can't decide who my son was less comfortable with just now," he mused aloud. "Searle or myself."

Alina shook her head. "I think it was me, actually."

Her father-in-law stared at her in disbelief. "You? Are you mad? The boy adores you! His whole life, he was always most comfortable when you were around; what makes you think anything would be different now?"

She panicked inwardly; perhaps she had said too much. It seemed now that she was almost obliged to tell him something--anything. Anything short of the full truth, that was; if she couldn't tell Severin, there was no way she could tell Lonriad.

Unless... unless maybe she only told him part of the problem?

"Well... I want another baby," she began rather slowly, "but Severin doesn't--really doesn't. And it's just become... sort of the elephant in the room, you know?"

Lonriad nodded. "I was in your place once, you know--well, not quite, but similar. Viridis never wanted any more after Rudolphus was born, and especially after Laveria had Severin... but that was because she was didn't want to sleep with me, more than anything else. Are you two still--"

"Yes," Alina hastily replied, not entirely sure how she felt about her father-in-law inquiring about her sex life. "Just... you know..."

"Ah. Yes, I know."

The next few moments passed in tense silence, until Lonriad gently placed his arm around her shoulders and smiled.

"Alina, has it occurred to you that perhaps it's just the amount of space between children that he's not particularly keen on?" he ventured thoughtfully.

Alina sent a slight grin his way. "You mean... he might want another one in a few years?"

"It's certainly possible. Besides, with Rudolphus stubbornly avoiding his wife's advances, I'd like to think there might be another pretty little grandchild in my future."

"You have other children besides Rudolphus and Severin, you realize," she giggled.

"Yes, but I'm an old man, and they're very young--they'll be presenting their babies to my grave," he stated matter-of-factually. "Trust me, Alina--just talk to Severin in a few years, when more of your little ones are old enough to be decently self-sufficient, and I'm sure he won't hesitate."

She hoped he was right... but, oh, to have to wait so long to feel whole again! Oh well; better late than never, she supposed. "Thank you, Lonriad; you've given me a rather comforting thought."

"Not a problem, my dear," he assured her with a wicked grin. "Now, in exchange, I should very much hope to see my grandchildren--and after that, I should very much hope to see your cook's new assistant, if you know what I mean."

Alina snorted. "Very well, but truth be told, she's not much to look at."

"That doesn't matter--a man my age knows better than to leave home without a trusty sack."

NEXT CHAPTER:

9 comments:

Dinuriel said...

I'm considering giving Alina a new hairstyle, since that mesh is really starting to bug me with its clippiness. Details can be found here. If you have any opinions, feel free to give them :)

Gayl said...

Good for Lonriad giving Alina something to ease her mind regarding Severin's lack of desire for another child! At least it got her thinking on the right track, especially the part about talking to Severin. I still think he just might understand how she feels and can help her.

The clipping wasn't too bad but you know sometimes change is good.

Dinuriel said...

Lonriad does have his moments :)

Yeah, I have seen worse from this particular mesh, but... I don't know. It does tend to clip, and there are times where it looks rather two-dimensional.

Thanks :)

Phoenix said...

Lonriad!! Awww!! So sweet for a change! But you still have your horn dog ways! Haha!!

I can't believe Alina is still stressing about this. They seriously don't need anymore kids!

I don't think the hair looked bad at all but I can't wait to see what you settled on! :)

Dinuriel said...

Heheheh, that he does :P

Oh yeah, another kid is the last thing she needs... but she's still got all those postpartum problems that she thinks will only be solved with another pregnancy, unfortunately. Poor girl needs to open up about that :(

Thanks :)

cheripye said...

Lonriad has shown a redeeming quality! his sage advice very kind and sweet, *Snicker* and wanting to meet the not much to look at new cooks assistant. LOL!

hmmm... Tense yeah that's it, in a triangular sort of way between Severin, Alina and Searle, LOL! I almost saw Sev as a pouting little boy having to escort his FIL about the castle. and LOL! one of the new fangled castles. 80)

Dinuriel said...

That's Lonriad, all right :P

Between Searle and Laralita, Severin definitely has some issues with the in-laws :P

Penelope said...

Ack! I totally read this days ago and thought that I commented. Poor Severin though. A man can't even win in his own castle. In laws and depressive wives and lascivious fathers coming at him from all directions. He needs a mantra. SERENITY NOW!

It's probably time to change Alina's look a little anyway. She's all grown up now.

Dinuriel said...

Add that to the seven kids, and it's a miracle he's still reasonably sane :P

That is true. A lot of my founding characters--especially the nobles--have had some sort of change to their appearance since the early days, whether it be outfit or hairstyle or whatnot. Dalston and Celina and Octavius all look pretty much the same as they always did, but they were all a little older at the start of the story. Alina was nineteen in her first appearance, and she's now twenty-seven, so... yeah, she's gone a while without doing anything to her hair or her outfit or whatnot :P