November 9, 2013

In Which Aldhein Doesn't Unmake

October 14, 1183

"Do you want something?"

It was the first thing Alsina had said to Aldhein since she'd set him down and told him she had some news. She'd ended up running off crying and--given everything else--he'd let Nora follow instead of going after him herself. It turned out to have been the right decision. Nora had returned shortly, and, with Alsina's blessing, told him what the problem was.

Bad timing indeed.

At least Nora was still in the sitting room, if anything else went wrong. Even at the best of times, Aldhein often found it difficult to navigate around his wife--not as difficult as it was around most people, to the point where he sometimes preferred not to bother with tact, but difficult enough. "I just wanted to see if you were all right."

"Well, I'm not. I'm old before my time and my husband fathers babies on younger women behind my back."

"You're not old." Why would she think she was old? She was only three years older than Aydelle, and he thought Alsina the younger-looking. Even when next to the duchess or the baroness or any of Eilyssa's friends, an unknowing soul would never guess Alsina to be the eldest. Every body had parts that were bound to age more quickly than others. Alsina still had her good looks--and luckily, given what else he'd heard could cause courses to cease, her vital organs as well.

As for the other thing... "And I'm an idiot. I swear to you, I'll never sleep with anyone but you again."

"A little late now."

That it was. But what was he to do about it now? Some mistakes couldn't be unmade. "The money aside, I haven't promised Aydelle anything. She said she'd understand if I wanted to keep my distance; I won't acknowledge the baby if you'd prefer I didn't."

"No. It's the last baby you'll ever have. If you want to acknowledge it, I don't want to be the one who stops you."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." There wasn't a note of happiness in that voice, but nonetheless it did not waver. Her mind was made up, and her heart was honest. "Love the baby. I still have more mothering in me; I want to learn to love it too."



Van said...

Eh. I don't really have much to say today.

Ekho said...

She's right, it is too late for promises. But still I'm glad Alsina has chosen not to hate - hopefully in time she will be able to find peace with the circumstances and be happy.

Van said...

It's too late for a lot of things. But while Alsina's bound to be mad at Aldhein for a while yet, plus sad about her own circumstances, there will be healing eventually.

Anonymous said...

Good job, Aldhein. You passed that test. He might not have been the most supportive husband ever, but he was the most supportive husband he could be without a radical change in personality. Given how upsetting radical changes in personality can be, I think this was the best course of action for all concerned.

And best of all? Best of all? Aldhein genuinely seems not to care. I mean, it's not affecting how he sees Alsina at all. The only reason he seems even mildly upset about it is because Alsina is upset. If she was in, say, Nora's shoes, Aldhein would probably be doing high-fives with her.

So hopefully Alsina can begin to heal, and Aldhein and Aydelle's baby will only be the latest baby to be brought up in a typical unconventional Naroni family. And like you said, hopefully healing will happen, and sooner rather than later.

Van said...

Yeah, given who Aldhein is and how he generally responds to things and what would or wouldn't be in character for him at this point in his life... yeah, this was probably the best he could do.

And yep! Alsina's feelings aside, I couldn't really see the menopause being a huge concern for Aldhein. She's still the same Alsina, and while Aldhein is prone to screw-ups, he does have his priorities in order there.

As for the baby, it probably won't have the least conventional upbringing in Naroni history. Once Alsina's had a chance to heal, she could very well end up being to the baby what Viridis Sr. is to Severin.