July 14, 2013

In Which Octavius Finds the Flaw in the Agreement

March 7, 1182

"I was just as surprised as you were."

Renata was a clever woman, more than clever enough to know that an unexpected late-night visit from her long-distance husband was unlikely to have occurred on a mere whim. She knew exactly why Octavius was here, as he'd known she would, and those first words to him--out of her mouth when he'd hardly had a chance to take in the size of her stomach--did not suggest otherwise. "You're not angry, are you? I mean, neither of us planned this, and it's not as if you weren't there..."

"I'm not angry." Nor was he disappointed, or nervous, or any other unpleasant feeling that might have accompanied an unplanned pregnancy. He would be pleased, at least after he knew one thing. "I'm just... surprised. Why didn't you tell me? Wouldn't you have missed a course already when I saw you in July?"

"At my age? Octavius, when I missed that course, I assumed it meant that I was finally done with the damn things for good." Once again, he had to do a double-take at the reminder of her age. There might have been a couple wrinkles near her mouth, but nothing more. She looked younger at fifty-one than most did at thirty. "It was only when I started getting sick that I considered it might have been... well, what it is." Her hand smoothed her nightgown over the round mass of baby within her.

"All right. But after you knew, you could have mentioned something in one of your letters."

"Well, now I know that I should have. But there are always more risks as you get older, and I didn't want to worry you unnecessarily. You have enough to worry about as it is." And now he had even more. That didn't mean it wouldn't have been helpful to know about it; still, he supposed he saw enough of her point not to make it an issue, not when she was probably uncomfortable enough. "I can't believe you came all the way out here."

"Did you not want to see me?"

"No, it's not that at all. I just expected that you'd write to me if one of my children let it slip. The way we left things..." She stopped, lips inward like she was fighting back a sigh. "Well, I thought we'd agreed that I had my life here, and you had yours in Naroni. Our agreement didn't account for this."

"No, it did not." And what would they do about it? He and Renata were adults, and they had lives and responsibilities. If they only saw each other once or twice a year... well, that would work for them, or at least he'd thought it would. A baby changed things. Sure, he could ride out to Dovia every few months or so, spend some time with Renata and their son or daughter before heading back home again, but he didn't know if that would be enough.

Perhaps she would come back to Naroni with him if he asked, once she and the baby could travel. Then again, perhaps she wouldn't. She had her friends and her family and her pursuits here. If she wouldn't leave those, then he wouldn't force her.

But if she said she would...


Renata hitched up the hem of her nightgown and stepped back, letting it drop again as her youthful face folded to a cringe. Octavius's eyes dropped to the floor. Sure enough, that liquid had not been there before. "I suppose I'll send for the midwife?"

She raised one hand and took to massaging her neck. An ache there would be the least of her worries now, but if she could be rid of it... well, it was still one less worry. "You'd best."



Van said...

Crazy hectic stuff is happening on Wednesday, so to account for that, this week's schedule will be Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday, plus hopefully a post on Saturday to prevent three non-posting days in a row.

Ann said...

Well, that was just barely in time then! XD Instant baby! Wheeeeee! *bunny dance* Congratulations to the parents!
I love these two together! Their calm made me laugh! Oh, the wisdom of age. ^^
I really want Renata to come to Naroni! This family needs her!

Van said...

Yep, good timing there on Octavius's part. XD

Oh, the family could absolutely use another level-headed adult around. I guess we'll just have to see if Renata's up to moving to another country?

Anonymous said...

This was a pleasant birthday surprise! I'm just glad that it seems to be a pleasant-ish surprise for Octavius, too. This could have gone a lot worse than it did.

High hopes for the new baby -- and I can't wait to see how Octavius & Renata figure this one out!

Van said...

It could have gone worse, for sure! But I don't know if a big ol' Family Sim like Octavius could ever be upset about another kid, or stay upset for long. XD

I'm planning on getting the next post up tonight, so I guess we'll see? :)