October 14, 2014

In Which Winter Makes and Is Made

July 18, 1187

"Winter, Winter!" Aspen skidded to a halt as her mother followed her into the room. The little girl had a tendency to trip over her own feet, so Lady Rona never cared to see her running. "Had's here!"

"Is he?" Landing one last tickle to little Dally's chin, Winter turned and greeted both her charge and her employer with a grin. Had did not make a habit of calling on her at work, which was probably why neither Lady Rona nor Sir Ashe seemed to mind on the off-chance he did. "Well, tell him to come in, silly."

"I did! But he says he doesn't want to keep you from your work long, so he'll just wait in the courtyard until you have a minute, then go run some errands after you talk."

"He wants to talk, then?" About nothing too serious, she hoped! Had wasn't her first suitor, but she'd always been busy back in Dovia, caring for her mother and caring for her father and making ends meet, so none of those courtships had lasted long enough for much 'talk'. But things had been going well, at least she thought, so it wouldn't be anything too horrible--surely? "How did he seem? Happy? A little somber?"

"He seems very happy," Lady Rona answered on her daughter's behalf. "Despite Aspen and Darry ambushing him as he walked in the gates. This one and Had got out unscathed, but the silly boy ripped his tunic."

"Do you need me to mend it?"

"Thank you, but I have Electra working on it right now." Lady Rona winked. Odd; in Winter's experience, noblewomen didn't typically make a habit of winking at their servants. "It's just a little tear. She can mend it while you talk to Had."

"You're sure you don't mind?"

"Of course I don't mind." She held out her arms and gestured for her youngest; somewhat unsure, Winter handed Dally over. "Now, go and talk to him before my middle two can pester him again."

"All right. I'll try to make it quick."

She hurried out of the nursery and made her way to the castle's front steps, nearly clearing two at once in her haste. Sure enough, she found Had at the bottom, on the path the cut through the courtyard.

"Allergies letting up?"

"A little." But God, she couldn't wait for December! She had her ups and downs, but anything below her brain and above her gut was not her own from April on to November. No, it was rented domain of phlegm, and phlegm refused to be evicted. But Had had seen her on some of her worse days in the past year, and if that hadn't chased him away, who knew what would. "I'll be in the clear once the Christmas wreaths go up."

"Good thing I have six months. That will be a tough Christmas present to beat."

"You don't have to get me a Christmas present."

"Oh, so you want to show up on Christmas morning with something wonderful for me, then watch me scramble?" Chuckling, he pulled her in for an embrace, his hand warm and gentle against her exposed upper back. "Not a chance."

"Damn. I was looking forward to seeing you flustered." She kissed him on the cheek, then stepped back, looking him over. He wasn't lacking in comical features--the beak-like nose, for instance--but they blended in such a way that somehow made for a handsome man.

It was the flaws, after all, that made one human. "Now, what did you want to speak to me about?"

"Ah, yes. Forgive me if I'm a little nervous." Nervous? Why on earth would he be nervous? She hadn't thought she intimidated him--and given past suitors, she'd appreciated that. "Thing is... I've been happy this past year. Very happy. And this after a time I hadn't thought I could be happy again."



"It's true, Winter. And the reason I've been so happy is you. Every story about your old employers, the way you can't focus on anything else when there's an open book in front of you, even the sniffles from your allergies. You've been on my mind on a loop for months now, and even though my life is good and I know that now, nothing brings that to light quite like seeing you."

Was this? It couldn't have been...

"Winter Verona." He dropped to one knee, hand to his heart, eyes to her face. Not quite blue, not quite green, some wonderful in-between. "I love you. And, if you'll have me, I'd like to spend the rest of my life trying to make you just as happy as you've made me."

"Oh, Had." She couldn't help it. She leaped, practically sprung--landing squarely in his startled, yet reliable arms.

"You already have."

An exhale--relief. His grip tightened and relaxed all at once. "So... you'll marry me?"

"Of course I'll marry you." As she slipped down from his arms, she wondered if she ought to have been more subtle. But who cared? He certainly didn't. Nor did she. "I love you too."



Van said...

Probably kind of rushed. But I wanted this up tonight and have to be up early tomorrow.


Winter said...

Allergies?! *dies laughing*

Really, that was adorable. Winter being the last one to catch on to a good-news situation was, shall we say, authentic. I really liked their interaction, too. Their personalities suit nicely, and I think they'll make a happy couple. :D

Van said...

Glad you approve!

Heh. I'm like that with good news too. So used to expecting the worst. XD

They are well-suited to each other personality-wise. Different enough to keep things interesting and each other balanced, but not about to clash over much. I'm sure it will be a happy union.