November 17, 2013

In Which Alsina Takes the Tougher Route

November 16, 1183

"I can't say I was expecting you." Aydelle slipped herself onto the bench at the end of the table, the current state of her bump just enough to show but not enough to impede. Alsina pulled back her leg beneath her skirt to avoid a collision with the other woman's; she may have come of her own accord, but there was a point to which she still needed to keep her distance. "Not that I'm not pleased to see you, of course, but--"

"Yes, I know." Alsina tried to force a smile, but her mouth wouldn't cooperate. "I just... well, I have to go to Veldorashire later, and your house was on the way, so..." No. Or yes? It seemed the least familiar thing she could say, at least without lying to the mother of the closest thing to another child she could of ever hope of having. Somehow, My nephew dropped by this morning to tell me that my oldest brother has a new daughter, so I decided to tackle two unpleasant visits at once rather than spread them out over several days of misery was a little personal. "...here I am."

"I see. Well, it was nice of you to call." But her eyes begged Why?.

Alsina figured there was little point in not answering. "I thought we could discuss some sort of arrangement."

"Oh." Aydelle's lashes narrowed as she swept Alsina over. It was a feeling not unlike the first few times Aldhein had walked in on her in the path--nerve-wracking and exposed. "You mean... you and me and Aldhein?"

Eh? "What?"

"What?"

What? Whatever. Squirming, Alsina nudged one leg of her seat with the side of her foot. "Well, the baby will have to stay with you while you're nursing, but after you've weaned, how often do you think we should house it?"

"You want to house it?"

Had that come out wrong? Alsina swallowed. She thought she'd implied a shared guardianship... "Oh, not all the time; it's your baby, after all. But with parents in separate households, I thought that some sort of established schedule would be in order, at least until it's old enough to decide for itself."

"Oh. Yes, of course. Forgive me, I just hadn't thought..." Aydelle twisted her lips into a grimace, but her eyes were a bit more hopeful. "I'm sorry. I sort of assumed that you wouldn't be interested. I wouldn't blame you if you weren't."

Not for the first time, Alsina wondered if that would have been easier. But it was her last chance, and there was still mothering in her yet. She couldn't not take it.

NEXT CHAPTER:

6 comments:

Van said...

I don't know how I got this up tonight. I'm cranky and sad and pissed off all at once.

But I guess this means I'm switching from M/W/F to every second day? For now, at least.

morgaine2005 said...

Sometimes a bit of writing can help you feel less cranky and sad and pissed off? Sometimes?

I hope things start to get better for you soon, Van.

And ... oh my, this was unexpected. Also, I think it speaks well of Alsina that she's willing to embrace the baby with open arms. I mean, I think she would have been entirely justified if she decided she didn't want anything to do with the baby, that the baby was salt on any number of wounds. Instead she's opening her heart and her home to Aldhein's ... indiscretion, let's say.

Has she told Aldhein about this yet? Just out of curiosity? I can't imagine he'd seriously object (look how well he treated Eilyssa! And he was willing to raise Alsina's first baby, the one she ended up losing), but I think he might be a little surprised.

And part of me can't help but wonder, with Aydelle now a semi-permanent part of their lives, what other kinds of arrangements the three of them might get up to ...

Ekho said...

Naw this is cute, I'm glad Alsina is looking to the future, not all is lost. Maybe loving this baby (after all, it is her husband's) will give her a kind of closure and or positivity about everything. And hopefully Aydelle will be more than understanding... Is Alsina going to confess her condition to Aydelle? Maybe she'll become a sort of surrogate or just supportive of Alsina.

Van said...

Morgaine: Yes, it does speak well of Alsina. While most people would on a logical level realize that a baby holds no responsibility for its own conception, nobody would have blamed Alsina if she'd wanted nothing to do with it, Aldhein and Aydelle included. Hell, I don't think anyone but the most stubbornly misogynistic of Naronians would have blamed Alsina if she wanted Aldhein to have nothing to do with the baby. And that's even without the menopause issue.

But I guess Alsina has decided that the best way for her personally to cope is to try to love this baby, even if she's still pissed at its parents. She still has time to change her mind if it proves too tough, but I think her resolve is fairly solid at this point.

I'm guessing that she did mention this to Aldhein, and he certainly wouldn't object--his baby and all. But yes, he probably is surprised, and might feel a little more guilty for it.

I'm thinking Aydelle will keep her place, for the sake of all three adults' comfort, plus Aydelle still has her two daughters to house (though the elder will be heading off to university in... summer, I think? Some time in 1184). But the houses are quite close.

Ekho: I think Alsina is hoping for some sort of closure, or is clinging to the idea that at least something she can love came of the whole thing. I think both Aydelle and Aldhein will appreciate it too.

It'll probably be a while before Alsina feels comfortable sharing her secrets with Aydelle, if ever. But her condition will probably be on a need to know basis anyway. The only people who know are Arydath, Aldhein, Nora, and Alsina herself... and I'm thinking Alsina will want to keep it that way until she's old enough that people will just assume she's gone through menopause.

Penelope said...

Yay! I'm glad that Alsina can come to Aydelle in the spirit of acceptance and forgiveness. Aldhein has never really deserved her, though I recognize what huge thing it was for him to marry her in the first place. It just seems to me that he flounders a lot in his attempts to be a better person. :S

Van said...

Aldhein is the sort of character who wants to be good, but just... can't. There are worse people in the story, but in some ways, they might be less frustrating because they don't care and therefore it's easier for the people in their lives to think badly of them without feeling guilty.

That said, I'm hoping Alsina doesn't feel any guilt in thinking badly of him over this, even if she does forgive him eventually.

But this was a really great moment for Alsina. She would have been a hundred percent justified in not wanting anything to do with Aydelle and the baby ever, but that Wythleit goodness really shines through here.