July 26, 2015

In Which Meraleene Is Held

June 12, 1193

There was a distinct, almost supernatural connection between twins--Meraleene knew this for a fact. Not all twins felt it, likely because not all twins believed in it, but Meraleene did and did, both because of the other and yet independently all at once.

She knew when Renata was happy, when Renata was angry. When she was jealous, relieved, crushed. Based on her sister's good timing over the years, Meraleene got the sense that the unspoken intimacy was mutual--but she'd never asked, because she'd never had to.

She ought to have this time, though. She should have written Renata months ago, asked if she wanted her to come to Dovia, just to be by her side. But, she hadn't wanted to upset her.

It was too late now. Meraleene knew, but the soul-sucking emptiness she sensed in her twin a kingdom away, that her sickly niece had finally succumbed. A letter would arrive any day now, but Meraleene didn't need it.

"I'm sorry." Her husband, at the foot of the bed. She'd scarcely noticed him. She doubted he was the type to believe in her and Renata's bond, but he hadn't said anything in the four days since the passing had occurred. Now that his beloved Riona was a grandmother, he seemed to have finally resolved to get over her. That, to Abrich, had meant an attempt at ideal husbandhood, or what he saw as that.

Meraleene didn't not appreciate it, she supposed.

"Can I sit with you?"

She shrugged. He took the invitation tentatively, but joined her nonetheless.

"I... I don't know what it is to lose a niece or nephew, but I do know loss." He did. His stepfather and his sister, mere months apart. "If there's anything I can do, just let me know."

"Thank you." Meraleene closed her eyes, trying to picture how her niece might have looked in her final months. She'd last seen Cladelia when she was four; the girl was nine now, or would have been. She'd taken more after Jadin than Renata, which was a blessing and a curse all at once.

"Would you like me to hold you?"

It was the first time he'd asked her that. Obviously, in thirteen years and three children later, they'd had some physical contact, but it had been of the dutiful, obligatory variety, more of a chore than any pleasurable pursuit on either of their parts. Neither of them had 'liked' any of it.

But, right now, an arm around her would have been nice. "If you wouldn't mind."

"Of course I don't." He may have been trying to convince himself just as much as her. But, today, she supposed she appreciated the effort. "You're my wife. You're the mother of my children. I don't mind at all."



Van said...

Filler. Yay.

Winter said...

But good filler :)

Poor Meraleene (and Renata.) So, Abrich's not-so-secret was apparent to Meraleene all along? Riona really does have an Abrch-sized blind spot.

I have to give credit to Meraleene for not dismissing Abrich's attempts straight off. He did spend all their marriage so far thinking about someone else, even if he wasn't the worst husband Naroni's ever seen. Hopefully they can at least be honest, good friends if nothing further develops. But it wouldn't be the worst thing if something did, when Meraleene isn't grieving.

Van said...

Yep. Everyone knew that Abrich liked Riona except for Riona. :S

After all this time, it's nice for Meraleene to see Abrich trying, even if his reasons for doing so aren't ideal. It's true that he's not the worst husband in Naroni history; he was never intentionally cruel, nor does he have a temper that's prone to getting the better of him. And he is good with the children.

It wouldn't be the strangest thing in the world if something did develop, once Abrich has let go of Riona. Meraleene is enough herself and enough the anti-Riona that she might just be perfect for Abrich if he lets himself see it.

(And half the reason this post is here is that they're slated to conceive a baby on this date, so...)

Anonymous said...

Well, thirteen years is enough time to get over someone. ô.ò
Maybe I'm just unromantic and cold-hearted, but I think thirteen years a bit obsessive, particularly if there was never a relationship to be had. I can sort of understand not getting over the death of a spouse for several years, though.

As long as they're getting along now...

Van said...

Yeah, thirteen years is a long time to be hung up on someone! I'm not a romantic either, but I suspect most people would agree with you there, romance or no. :S

If Riona had died tragically, it might have been a different story, but that's not the case. Abrich waited too long to make his move, and he's had a more than generous amount of time to come to terms with that.

Abrich and Meraleene do get along where romance and sex aren't concerned, even if it's not the warmest relationship. But, if Abrich is finally serious about getting over Riona, maybe that will change.