June 17, 2013

In Which Mona Questions the Convenient

December 31, 1181

"Where's Telvar? There he is!"

The little prince erupted into giggles as Mona pulled back her hands and waved them about, showcasing what was no doubt a sillier expression than she would have dared wear in front of anyone else. She didn't care, though--by definition, Telvar was not anyone else. "There he is!"

"Gah! Gah!"

From what she could gather, that was her little buddy's way of saying 'Again! Again!' A little more indulgent than she'd ever been with her younger siblings--or her real nieces and nephews, a twinge of guilt reminded her--Mona flung her hands back in front of her face and let out a mock gasp. "Where's Telvar? Where's Telvar?"

"Well, I find they all look rather alike at that age, but I believe that's him on the rug with you."

"Zareth!" Mortified, Mona scrambled to her feet. If someone had had to barge in, couldn't it have at least been Anna? Someone who had already seen her at her most embarrassing? "Shit!"

Confused, Telvar glanced over at his great-uncle, then back at Mona. "Shit?"

And now 'mortified' wasn't the worst of what she was feeling. "Is that his first word?"

With any luck, he'd been muttering in his sleep for a good month now--as unlikely as that was. "Don't tell his parents."

Vexingly indifferent, Zareth sniffed. "Better to let them think they were there for it, anyway. How are you?"

Mona blinked. Zareth didn't usually make a habit of that sort of small-talk. She hoped it wasn't due to the awkwardness of Christmas Eve, when a handful of smirking servants had cornered them beneath the mistletoe. God, she could have died that night. Not even in her worst nightmares had her lips been so sloppy. He no doubt knew painfully well that that had been her first kiss. "Uh... what...?"

"Za!"

In the awkwardness, Telvar had seized his chance to bum-drag himself off the rug, toward Zareth. He held up his tiny little arms and bounced. "Uh!"

"Up," Mona translated. "He wants to be picked up."

"Are you sure?" Zareth took a knee and gave the kid a pat on the head, but Telvar made no sign of finding the compromise agreeable. "I don't know. I haven't held him since he was little."

"He's still little. And less delicate." At least, that's what she'd told herself when she'd dropped him earlier... "If I can hold him, he shouldn't be a problem for you."

Zareth relented, taking little Telvar under the arms and hoisting him up, but that unconvinced frown remained. "I don't know. I'm not good with kids."

"At least you don't teach them swearwords, right?" She tried a self-deprecating smile, but it was wasted on him, too busy cradling Telvar like he was made of glass. "Or drop them, apparently."

"You dropped him? Why do Anna and Adrius let you babysit?"

"Hey, he's alive, isn't he? What they don't know won't hurt them." It hurt her a little, though. For all she knew, little Telvar was the closest thing to her own child she'd ever have. At least he liked his Auntie Mona, even if she wasn't always careful. "I still don't know why you're here. Supper isn't for hours yet; it's not like you to be early."

"No," he agreed, fighting to mask his annoyance as Telvar swatted at his hair. But maybe it wasn't Telvar he found tiresome. "This just happened to be convenient. I was in the area, and it would have been out of my way to kill time."

"And that's the only reason you're here?"

It couldn't have been longer than a couple seconds before he answered, but as time often did when Zareth was around, the moment dragged on like months. "Yes. Nothing more."

NEXT CHAPTER:

6 comments:

Van said...

This "all shoots on weekends" thing is weeeeird. It won't be 1182 until (projected) Monday, but I already have 1182 pictures! o_O

Ann said...

Oh dear, what is Mona doing to my baby? XD I hope it's not indicative that his first intelligible word was "shit". *snickers* And Mona, on the whole I find that most children prefer not being handled with kid gloves. As long as you didn't drop him on his head all's well. ^^ Though I hope Anna won't find out about it or you might be in a lot of trouble. XD

But Zareth, geez... loosen up a little, seriously!



morgaine2005 said...

Note to self: Keep swearers, droppers, and other potential mischief-makers away from Anja's babies ... er, once she gets in a position to have some.

But aww, Mona and Telvar are the cutest! Though the last thing Mona should be beating herself up over is being a good auntie to Telvar, even if she wasn't that close to her biological nieces and nephews. Sometimes it's the family that you make that's dearest to your heart. And hey, if she and Zareth do get hitched someday, then Mona really will be Telvar's great-aunt in more ways than one. ;)

Although I just thought of something ... what are the odds that whatever bad thing might happen with Elarys's planning will happen quickly enough that the news can get to Carvallon on New Year's Eve? How long does it take news to go from Naroni to Carvallon? Zareth might not be nearby when Mona gets the news of whatever's going down.

However, looking at Jeda and Rick in the next picture, I just had another idea for a dastardly plot of Elarys's:

1) Get someone to seduce Jeda, get caught, have Jeda divorced for adultery.
2) Have poor Casimiro killed.
3) Quickie Ellona + Ietrin marriage followed by Kaldar being legitimated.
4) Profit.

*bites nails and waits for the other shoe to drop this Naroni New Year's Eve*

Van said...

Ann: Don't worry! Mona or not, I have no plans for Telvar or any of his future siblings to end up any less than at least reasonably well-adjusted. And for simplicity's sake, let's say it wasn't his head. ;)

Mona will still be in trouble if Anna finds out, though. XD

Morgaine: I am really looking forward to Anja's babies, and not just for the genetic comparison.

Mona is, swearing and clumsiness aside, a very good surrogate auntie to Telvar. She never really got a chance to be much of an aunt to her biological nieces and nephews, really; she was younger, (more) immature, and she's never been a natural maternal figure. At best, she would have been more like a big cousin who can be fun but is also easily annoyed.

But you're right--family doesn't have to be defined by blood. She would be a great great-aunt. XD

The news will absolutely not reach Mona for at least a week, but at least Zareth is on alert. Whenever she hears, he'll be (somewhat) better prepared to comfort her.

That, and she does deserve to have a good New Year's. ;)

That does sound like the kind of plan Elarys would dream up. It would be very possible for her as well (though, I imagine seducing Jeda would be fairly difficult; the poor woman has been given a pretty bleak view of sex by this point). The one problem there is that as long as Roderick is alive, he gets veto power over Ietrin's potential marriages, and he is not exactly an Ellona fan.

Two more posts of the night...

Winter said...

Mona's being too hard on herself. You have to be of a certain age to be much of an aunt, and she's not that far beyond it. Besides that, her own family wasn't exactly full of loving demonstrations - she's growing up better now that she's away from them.

Telvar is freaking adorable. I am now shipping Yvanette/Telvar only because their babies would be super-humanly cute.

My thoughts on the preview pic went exactly the way Morganna's did. But, after Van's comments and thinking about it, it occurred to me that news of Jeda having an affair probably wouldn't be the type to make Mona need comforting. If Rick has really befriended Jeda, maybe he's issuing a cryptic warning? I guess we'll find out...!

Van said...

That is true--Mona's barely old enough to be interested in aunt-type things. It's not her fault that she has so many older siblings. And yep, life with the royals doesn't inspire much desire for "family time".

Heh. I wonder if Telvar and Yvanette will ever meet. XD They would have cute babies, though.

Yeah, I don't know if Mona would care that much if Jeda had an affair. Ietrin is probably her most distant sibling; actually, she may even be closer to Jeda than to Ietrin (though I wouldn't say they're close either).

We'll find out what Rick is doing there soon enough...