August 5, 2015

In Which Alina Gets an Early Wedding Present

October 1, 1193

"Oh, good. I was starting to think I'd missed you entirely."

Alina gave her grandfather a polite smile, but she couldn't help but dwell on the wasted day. Her wedding was in two weeks and she still didn't have a dress. She'd spent the afternoon shopping with Riala and Maddie--not her favorite pastime, but a necessity, and a welcome distraction for her recently-widowed sister--and if anything, she was even further from finding a gown! Every seamstress she'd seen had bombarded her with fabrics and cuts and colors she'd never even heard of. So many options almost made few, especially with only two weeks left for preparation.

"It's good to see you, Grandfather--though I wish I could say so after having accomplished my goal for the afternoon."

"Ah, yes. The wedding dress. Your mother was saying as much." Her grandfather nodded, almost half-winking to her mother as he stood.

"I know my opinion as an old man is worth nothing in the realm of wedding attire, but I hope you aren't too worried about it. You'll look stunning in whatever you wear."

Alina sighed. "I wasn't worried about it until the wedding was a month away, and that's precisely the problem."

"Ah. Well, if it helps take your mind off things, I brought you an early wedding present."

Alina doubted any wedding present could supply much distraction from the persistent lack of dress. But, to in spite of it, her mother rose from her seat and tilted her eyes toward the staircase.

"It's in your room. You really should take a look at it."

"My room." Alina sniffed. Her old room was now Sev's, since it was the largest and he'd be the only one who ever had to live here after his marriage. While she and Kaldar kept apart for appearances' sake, she was stuck in Sev's old room, now Viridia's room, while a grouchy Viridia bunked with Lonria. Granted, the room probably had the best view in the house, but it was hardly of a sufficient size for a woman grown. "Right."

But she headed up anyway, brushing some hair out of her face as she shut the door behind her. She turned around and caught site of something blue upon the bed. Something of a rather finer material than the blanket.


"My God!" Alina's mother grinned as she stepped back into the sitting room. "You look beautiful, darling."

"Thank you." She indulged herself in a quick twirl about. It was unlike her to be so giddy over a new piece of clothing, but she'd never owned something so fine. "Grandfather, where did you find this?"

He smiled--a bittersweet smile. "It was your grandmother's."

Alina's arm dropped from her hip. Her grandmother had died several years before her birth, and all she'd ever known of her had been the stories of a graceful red-haired beauty who'd gone too soon. The dress was a concrete proof of the fabled woman's presence that she hadn't quite expected. Her presence, and the preciousness of the thing. "Oh. Oh, Grandfather... I don't know if I can take this. Shouldn't it be Mother's first?"

"It's a little fancy for me," her mother insisted with a wink. "Besides--I'm not the one who needs a wedding dress."

Her wedding dress? She flushed. She felt instantly stupid for not having considered that. "You think I should wear this?"

"Absolutely." Her grandfather stepped up to her, taking her by the shoulders and kissing her brow. "You are your grandmother's first grandchild, and the first granddaughter to bear her name. I believe she would have wanted you to have it."

"Does Shahira mind?" Perhaps it was a straw-grasping question, but her cousin had been the first of the grandchildren to be married.

"I talked to her. She said that the dress deserves more ceremony than she'd had at her wedding anyway. That, and your build is closer to your grandmother's." He put his hands to his hips and looked her over, glad and sad and wistful all at once. "Please, Alina; it would mean so much to me and your mother and your aunts and uncles if you wore it. It's about time that dress belonged to the living again."

Belong to the living.

How did a person argue with that?

"Thank you, Grandfather."



Van said...

A post with more than four pictures? What insanity is this?

Ann said...

Oh man, it's eery to see how a character can be dead for ages and yet still be a presence in the story to this degree...
I do think Alina would have appoved! "It's about time that dress belonged to the living again." That! Oh, yes!

Van said...

It certainly can be! Alina never really did go.

It's nice to see that dress on a living body again. I think Severin made the right choice, burying her in something else. She would have wanted that dress to stay in the family.