October 11, 2015

In Which Lettie Is Sure

December 30, 1194

"Why are you here?"

Maybe not the best way to greet an unexpected visitor in the dead of the night, but... well, he was unexpected, and it was the dead of the night. Lettie had heard that Tarien had been in Naroni--who knew what for--but she hadn't thought she'd see him, nor had she cared to. A letter every now and then was fine, but after Searle, she didn't need to be looking after another emotional wreck of a man at the expense of her own sanity.

Though, if he was here now, maybe those letters had been a bad idea.

"I wanted to see you."

At this hour? She must have cashed in her sanity already. "And the morning was out of the question?"

"I couldn't not see you."

Lettie raised an eyebrow. A couple of letters of support following his father's death, and that apparently merited waking the housekeeper with a midnight knock at the door and a refusal to leave without seeing her. Whatever he'd come to the country for, she hoped it hadn't been just a pretense. "Tarien, it's late. And tomorrow's New Year's Eve, so I don't really want two late nights in a row."

"I just... I wanted to thank you."

Really? That couldn't have been said in a letter? "For what? All I did was write to you."

"But I needed that." He raised a hand and stroked the side of her face. She'd chalk up that startling gesture to sleep deprivation. "I need you."

"No, you don't."

"Marry me."

Eh? "No."

He dropped his hand and blinked--genuinely surprised. Then again, the last three times he'd asked that, he'd gotten a different response. "Lettie--"

"I'm not interested in marrying again." She'd spare his feelings by not mentioning that he wouldn't have been her first choice if she was.

"But I thought you cared for me."

"I care for you as a person, and a friend, and a correspondent." Certainly not as a second husband--and not with herself as a potential fourth wife for him! "Tarien, you've been married three times. Do you just propose to any woman who's kind to you?"

Tarien's eyes fell to the toes of his boots. Lettie tried to keep her own from rolling. "I'm not good at being alone."

"Everyone's alone sometimes." Personally, I was at my most alone when I was married. "It's just... something we all have to learn."

"Maybe." There was a muted tone to his voice and she doubted he believed her.

"And you have your children, and grandchildren. And your brother and sister." She shuffled forward and gave him a hug, and tried to ignore his heavy breath at her ear. "You'll be fine."

"You're sure?"

"I'm sure."

"All right. I suppose I'll... head back to Dovia in the morning. And you'll stay here."

She nodded.

But he kissed her.

And, after all that... she let him.

She felt sorry for him.



Van said...

Aaaand 1194 is in the books.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lettie, Lettie, Lettie... *shakes head*
*looks at character profiles* *shakes head again* (xD)

Van said...

More on this later...

Winter said...

Lettie! Damn it, she knows she has a weakness for the weak! Argh!!

Van said...

Lettie does have a bit of a pattern...