April 25, 2014

In Which Isidro Does Not Begrudge

May 17, 1185

"Nervous about tomorrow?" Isidro mainly asked to reassure himself of its normalcy. He wasn't unprepared--at least, he was prepared as he was ever going to be--but it was possible to be nervous while still being prepared, wasn't it? Maybe it was even more natural than otherwise. If he made an ass of himself while unprepared, at least he could blame it on that.

"A little." And yet, Riona shrugged. Sweet of her to throw him a bone, but she could probably count the times in her life she'd been nervous on one hand. "You'll be fine. You know your lines. Sister Paulina says you've taken care of all her major notes for you, and no one who's watched your scenes had any complaints."

"Maybe. But it'll be different with a large, paying audience." Especially since Sister Paulina had announced that she'd underestimated the number of tickets sold! Figured--probably half of that audience was eager to see someone fumble a line or two anyway.

"Just pretend they're all wearing funny hats or something."

"What if I laugh at the funny hats?"

"You won't. You're not that imaginative." She landed a light-hearted smack to his arm, her hand then sliding upward for a pat on the shoulder. "Besides--at the end of the day, there are only going to be four people in that audience whose opinions matter to you, and even if you do make some mistakes, those four will always think that their daddy is the greatest."

The kids. Huh. If she put it that way, maybe he could relax a little. Maybe. "Do you really think that?"

"I know it. You know what Nato told me today? He said he wishes he was in the masque with us."

"Did he?" His son, the future performer. No matter what that boy's looks said, Nato was all Riona. Really, the only child of theirs who wasn't was Shahira--and even she had enough of her mother in her that Isidro could be sure she'd grow up fine, just as Lord Severin must have seen in Riona for all she was the cause of most of his grey hairs. His own father had never looked at him and seen anything of worth.

Maybe that was why he couldn't help but doubt his ability to get through the masque. All these years in Naroni, and Domingo still haunted him.

But maybe one day, that ghost would be gone. Priests and mediums could do little where spirits were concerned; perhaps the true exorcist was the wide-eyed young child. "I... didn't know he had that much faith in me."

"Of course he does. They all do--and all they'll be able to talk about is how fantastic you were in the play." Her hands trailed down the line of her silk nightgown, the left rubbing her belly with a loving brush. "And... when he gets here, we'll tell the new little one too."

Isidro blinked. He'd later wonder if she'd saved that tidbit for that moment on purpose--to give him something to think about other than his own anxiety. But at the time, the question didn't nag him. News like that brought all other thoughts to a halt. "When...?"

"Between Christmas and New Year's, according to Arydath. I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier." But if she had, then the days or weeks or however long would have turned his shock to a second worry, in tandem with the renewed focus on the masque. He would not begrudge her the timing. "I know you didn't really want another one, and this didn't happen on purpose, but--"

He stopped her with a finger to the lips. His other arm swept around her shoulders and led them both to the middle of the mattress.

"It's all right." His right hand left her mouth and took her own. Her wedding band glinted in the light of the bedside candle and not for the first time, he wondered why she'd let him of all people slip it onto her finger. She'd seen something in him that no one before her had bothered to seek. Maybe one day, she'd tell him exactly what. "I could live with a hundred babies, so long as all of them were yours."



Van said...

Sorry about the fluff.

(And believe me--even if it were possible, there's no way I'd let any couple in Naroni have a hundred babies. Most of them have too many as it is.)

Penelope said...

Awww! This was a sweet chapter. Whatchu talk'n 'bout, fluff?

And Severin will have at least 96 before he croaks.

Van said...

XD Well, in terms of direct children, I'm not sure about that. For all Severin has the sex drive of a man half his age, and for all he tends to get around when he's single, he seems to be pretty good about limiting himself to one person while he's married--and Nora 100% does not want any more children. So unless she predeceases him by quiiiiite a bit, he should be okay there.

Grandchildren, however...