February 1, 2015

In Which Vera Is Dismissed

March 18, 1189

"Really?" Rona leaned forward in her seat, grimace sinking. "Huh. I won't pretend to know Morgan very well, but she's always struck me as... content, I suppose."

A little queasy, Vera nodded. There was a lot to be said about the ability to keep one's cool, but Morgan had taken everything in stride for too long. Hell--even Vera wouldn't have guessed anything was wrong if Morgan hadn't told her. And she'd lived with her for years now! "She's grown restless with contentment. She spends most of her life helping other people, and she's so independent that it's difficult for anyone else to know how to help her. Not that it's a bad thing to be independent, but..."

"But she needs a bit of a break."

"Exactly."

Should she have been talking about this, though? Rona had said it herself, after all: she didn't know Morgan well. If Vera had to discuss Morgan with someone, shouldn't it have been Lucien or Cherry or Lettie? Rona was only here because both sets of children had been in need of a play date, because Vera still had an extra crib from the twins that little Celina could nap in, because Lonriad had wanted to go look at hunting dogs with Ashe, and Vera's house was close enough to the kennel to make a good meeting place. Delicate conversations were not the purpose of the visit.

But Vera, apparently, had grown worried enough that she'd ask just about anyone.

"She needs to have some fun. And maybe she's grown to used to spending time with people who are a lot like her. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but maybe she needs someone complimentary. They could balance each other out."

Why had Rona looked over at her husband when she'd said it? "Rona, I don't know if Morgan's looking for romance."

"Perhaps not. But if she should happen to stumble upon it, surely that would ease her burdens somewhat? Little Viridis would have a father, and they'd have two incomes, and she'd have more time to work on her writing and pursue some other things that make her happy."

"Well, maybe. But I don't think she's looking for just--"

A loose stair creaked. Ashe managed to jump the opportunity. "Hello, Morgan."

"Hello." Morgan cleared the last few steps and greeted the couple with a forced smile. She hadn't heard much, had she? It wasn't as if anything nasty had been said, but still--it wasn't any of their business. "Celina and Renata were stirring a little, so I lent them a few of Viridis's stuffed animals."

"Sweet of you, but you're not a nanny." Rona gestured to the seat beside Vera. "Please, join us."

"All right." Morgan strode over and took the chair. Vera wondered if Rona had anticipated what she said next. "What are we talking about?"

"Oh, just idle chatter before my brother gets here," Vera half-lied. Across the table, Rona's eyes lit. "He and Ashe are going to look at some hunting dogs."

"Oh!" Rona sprung from her slouch in mock-alarm--much to Ashe's surprise, Morgan's puzzlement, and Vera's horror. "Oh, no! I'm sorry, darling, but you can't accompany Lonriad today. I just remembered!"

Ashe, of course, did not. "Remembered what?"

"Dinner with my mother and stepfather, remember?" Surely, even Lady Celina and Sir Ovrean hadn't 'remembered'. "We'll have to round up the children and leave fairly soon if we don't want to be late."

"Are you sure it's tonight? Because I think I would have considered that when Lonriad--"

"Of course it's tonight! How could I have forgotten? My mother even sent a messenger over yesterday!"

"I don't recall a messenger--"

"You were busy." Rona stared at him, brows arched, willing it to be true. Or true enough.

"I don't--"

"What's going on here?"

In through the front door stepped Lonriad. Vera swallowed. Her brother, she'd been told--she never would have thought so on her own--was a handsome man, tall and silky-haired and olive-skinned. As he brushed his shoulder, his wedding band flashed. Its twin was six feet beneath the ground, but it had been long enough that a second marriage would not be untoward. And he was young enough that it would not be unnecessary.

Damn it, Rona! "Just waiting for you, brother. Nothing else."

"Oh, if only!" Rona practically danced out of her chair, slippers skipping against the floorboards as she moved to greet Lonriad with a hug.

"I must apologize, Lonriad, but I'm afraid there's been an oversight."

"What sort of oversight? Did poor Lemons hit her head and gain a personality fit for a hunting dog?"

"If only!" Rona laughed. "You see, it completely slipped my mind that Ashe and I are supposed to dine with my parents tonight, so I'm afraid he won't have time to browse the kennels with you."

"Really?"

"I could go with you," Vera offered as a saving grace. Surely Rona's meddling was the last thing either Morgan or Lonriad needed.

"Sweet of you to offer, Vera, but you'll be up all night with your lesson plan if you go." Rona winked at her--oblivious, apparently, to the intent behind that statement. Oblivious, or dismissive.

"You know," Ashe mused, rising from his own seat, "it's not that late in the day.

"Maybe if we go now and don't stay long--ow!"

He grabbed his arm and massaged, annoyed. Rona shook her head. "My mother wanted us there early, remember?"

Ashe opened his mouth to say something, but Lonriad beat him to it. "Ah, it's just as well. Come to think of it, I'd better keep my money away from the kettle master until his son apologizes to Adonis anyway."

"Of course you should." Did Rona think Vera didn't noticed the giddy sway in her stance? Did she think Morgan didn't notice? "But the afternoon needn't be a total waste. Perhaps Morgan would care for a walk around the village? She probably hasn't had any fresh air today."

Lonriad shrugged. "I suppose that's not the worst idea in the world. Care to get away from these lunatics for a while, Morgan?"

If not to the idea, Morgan was at least amiable to the phrasing. "Please."

NEXT CHAPTER:

3 comments:

Van said...

Zaaaaaa

mimusofbellingar said...

Huh, so I had guessed right that this pairing would be possible. O.o'

Van said...

Lonriad does have a thing for green eyes in-story and a turn-on for brown hair in-game. ;)