December 26, 2015

In Which Dora Can't Recall a Stranger Thing

March 17, 1197

"Honestly? I'll be glad to be back at the bank come April. I love my babies, but I still need something that's just mine." Rina reclined with a fond smile, though not without a slight spark of impatience in her eye. Given her own field of work, Dora had to appreciate the attitude. It was difficult to maintain commitment to oneself as an individual when roles such as motherhood came around, especially in the case of someone like Rina who had struggled to conceive. Whenever Dora started her own family--and assuming things continued going well with Adonis, that may well have been sooner than she thought!--she hoped she could manage a similar balance. "My mother-in-law has been a godsend. She's been over more days than not, even spending a couple nights a week. She's upstairs putting the quads down for a nap right now."

"That's a relief. I'd imagine four babies require all the help you can get."

"And then some! At least none of them seem to be particularly demanding. No colic or anything of the like."

Dora nodded. Back in Dovia, a neighboring couple had had a colicky young son. He'd grown into a sweet boy, but back in his early days, his cries had carried well down the lane. "Thank goodness."

Rina laughed. "Good thing Alina isn't here. Her second daughter spent most of her first six months screaming her little lungs out."

"Mmm." No, Alina wasn't here, because she was at the bank. But, now that it had been said... why was no one else here? Dora hadn't thought she and Rina were quite at the point in their friendship yet where a one-on-one visit would be a valid plan. Of course, it couldn't have been polite to say so if Rina felt differently. "She's a well-behaved little girl now, though."

"She is," Rina agreed, though her eyes darted to the corner staircase at the sound of a woman's footsteps upon it. "Oh! Dora, this is my mother-in-law, Thetis. Thetis, do sit down and join us."

"Oh, I don't need to intrude," Mistress Tumekrin insisted. Dora's ear twitched. She didn't think she'd ever encountered this woman before--but there was an uncanny familiarity about her voice.

"Nonsense! Sit down. Meet my friend." Rina clapped her hand against the seat cushion beside her. That was enough for Mistress Tumekrin to relent, shuffling to the couch and sitting down next to her daughter-in-law. "Thetis, this is Dora Floren."

"Ah, the famous Dora." Huh? "Hmm. You know, you're right. She does look rather like Alyssin."

Alyssin. Right--Severin and Alina's sister. Of course Rina would want to introduce Dora to Alyssin's mother. "I still need to meet the famous Alyssin."

Mistress Tumekrin's lips curled to a warm grin. She did have a motherly, embracing countenance about her, even if she did look far too youthful to be a grandmother so many times over--and even if she was probably what scowly, sullen Severin might have looked like had he been a woman. This Alyssin must have looked more like Alina--and the twins' father. "I'm sure that can be arranged, though I'll warn you she can be something of an acquired taste--rather like her father. Then again, she's also rather like Severin, and he seems to think highly of you."

"I quite like Severin. I find him... I don't know." They'd been acquaintances for a while now, and she still couldn't quite put a word to it. "Comforting, I suppose. Sort of... fraternal."

"Well, with the number of siblings his father and I made for him, I guess it would be inevitable that he'd end up fraternal in spite of himself." Mistress Tumekrin gave a fond shake of her head, then squinted, studying Dora further. Dora wasn't quite sure what to make of it. It was a prickly, claustrophobic feeling, being examined like a moth pinned to a board, but there was a kindness in those eyes that made it somehow bearable. "My... forgive me for staring, dear, but you even have Florian's eyes. You must be related to his side of the family somehow."

"Maybe?" If they went back far enough? Though, it must have been fairly far... "I'd never heard of any Tumekrins before I met Severin and Rina, though."

"And we'd never heard of any Florens, though it does sound similar to my husband's given name. Perhaps Florian was derived from Floren at some point?"

"Stranger things must have happened?"

But as far as Dora could recall, nothing quite this strange had ever happened to her.


1 comment:

Van said...

Keep an eye out for an announcement on my Tumblr some time later today or tomorrow.

(Nothing serious, just an FYI.)