November 13, 2014

In Which Camaline Does the Right Thing

January 1, 1188

"Still awake?"

Startled, Camaline jerked her head up from her book to see Xeta standing in the doorway. Neither the Tamrions nor the Kemorins had felt up to the usual New Year's festivities, so the two families had instead opted for a quiet evening at Veldora Keep. No music, no dancing--just dinner and the occasional conversation and more drink than most in the two households were accustomed to.

They'd all retired before midnight. It would have been the New Year by now, surely, but Camaline had expected the first person she saw in 1188 to be her maid in the morning. "Clearly."

"I couldn't sleep either." Xeta shut the door behind her, and not without locking it. "Do you suppose we might keep each other company?"

"All right." Camaline put aside her book and nodded to the other side of the bench of her friend waddled forth, seven months' worth of baby ahead of her. She was due in the middle of March. While she usually took to wondering about the sexes of her friends' future babies, Camaline cared nothing about whether it was a boy or a girl and only hoped that Jadin lived long enough to meet his new child. "Sit down."

"Might we recline on the bed instead? The baby doesn't like it when I sit."

A little familiar for her tastes--particularly as familiar, when it came to Xeta, was just her taste. But given the circumstances, Camaline shrugged. "I don't see why not."

Xeta stepped back and let her take her choice of sides. She took the right; Aydelle had favored the right, so Camaline was used to making her moves from the left. There would be less temptation on the foreign side.

"The potatoes were good tonight." A weak conversation, but the ground was littered with eggshells and Camaline didn't want to step on one.

"They were. The garlic was a nice touch."

"I thought I tasted garlic."

"Well, you did." Xeta settled on an angle for her pillow and stretched out, stomach aside. "I saw it in the kitchens myself."

The area between the eggshells wasn't much of an improvement.

"There's got to be something more interesting we can talk about."

"Mmm. Maybe let's not talk."

That... was not usually an innocent invitation.

But maybe that was what Xeta needed tonight, truly--silence. Just someone to sit with for a while.

"All right. We'll just relax."

"We don't have to relax." Xeta giggled--sort of. A little reserved, but it was the closest Camaline had heard to laughter from her in a while. "There are other things we can do while not talking."

"True. There are books in here."

Xeta smirked. "I wasn't talking about books."

"Xeta--"

She'd been about to say something, but it was a good half a minute before she regained use of her mouth.

Was this really happening? She'd thought about it--thought about it rather a lot. But it was never like this, on the backdrop of Xeta's husband's approaching demise, not even a year after Sparron's death. She had no illusions of how nice of a person she was, but surely her desires didn't have so dark an unconscious reach? What sort of sick person wanted this, swooping in on a grieving soon-to-be widow about to lose the love of her life?

Even if it happened, how could she enjoy it, knowing that? "Xeta--"

"No, no." Her friend's--friend!--hand ran down her side, kisses trailing from her mouth to her neck and leaving words in between. "Let's not talk. Let's just make love."

Make love? "Xeta, it wouldn't be... love-making." Not for you, at least.

"How wouldn't it be? I mean--I know you're different from Jadin down there." Another giggle, a little quivery this time. It was a flimsy joke. "But surely we can still--"

"It wouldn't be making love. It would be one person in a vulnerable place and another one taking advantage. It wouldn't be right."

"Oh." Red in the face, Xeta pulled away, settling back on her side of the bed. Settling, and fidgeting. "You're right."

"Xeta--"

"I'm sorry, Camaline." She slumped over, her soft hair in its loose braid drooping over her shoulder. Camaline longed to touch it, but she couldn't. She never would. "We're still friends, right?"

"Of course."

She hoped, at least. "But maybe you should go back to your room."

"Maybe you're right."

NEXT CHAPTER:

5 comments:

Van said...

Oh, man. December can't come fast enough...

Ekho said...

This is a bit naughty xD
I'm really glad Camaline didn't take advantage of the situation. Yes, things will be awkward later for these two, but not as awkward and potentially friendship-ruining as things would have been if they'd gone any further.
I'm curious what's going through Xeta's mind, I could imagine her trying to deal with what's going on in her life right now like this, but maybe it's more than that? Maybe she has real feelings that she never paid any attention to, and is just exploring them now.

Van said...

Indeed--things will be awkward, but not nearly as awkward as they might have been.

Next post is from Xeta's POV, so we'll get a sense of what was going through her head just then. It's not impossible that she does have feelings for Camaline, but given everything else that's going on, they probably would have been a footnote in this encounter. :S

mimusofbellingar said...

Huh.
Can't say that I'm too surprised. It just seems like a likely Pairing for me - in the future, a couple of years later probably...

Van said...

It's certainly not impossible, though it will be a while before Xeta is ready to start looking for love again. With all these people married to the first interested party, it's quite possible that some second generation Naronians are bi or pan and never realized it; Xeta is not the least likely candidate for that.