December 28, 2015

In Which Shahira Suggests the Summertime

March 31, 1197

"So... you live here now?" Izzy asked as Shahira finished pulling his nightshirt over his head, wide blue eyes like his Aunt Alina's every time she'd wanted to tag along after Shahira tagging along after Alya. "Every day?"

"Yes, sweetheart." She hoisted her son to her shoulder and kissed him on the head while he tugged at the neckline of her graduation robes. "I live here every day now."


Izzy leaned in and nuzzled his nose against hers. Inside of her, a wave of relief washed from heart to head. In all honesty, she'd wanted to attend university more than she'd wanted to be a mother. She hadn't been ready to be a mother. But, she loved her son, always had, and had worried what effect only seeing her two or three days out of every week for the first few years of his life might have had on him, or on their relationship.

But, whatever Aldhein or the grandparents had told him about his mama's inconsistent presence, it had clearly worked. He missed her when she was gone, he was always excited to see her, but he seemed to understand that she had to spend some time away, for his sake as well as hers, just like his papa had to hand him over to Shahira's mother when he went to the castle so he could perform his job.

"Very good. And I'll be working from the house, so you can stay here with me some days, or you can go to the castle with your papa some days--whatever you feel like."


"I'm looking forward to it too." She lowered him into his bed and stroked back his hair--raven black, like Aldhein's. It wouldn't be long before they'd have to get him a bigger bed! He was already grown to the point where holding him required a time limit. And when they got him a bigger bed, then it would be time to move him into a bigger room than the nursery joined to the master bedroom. Really, most children his age probably had those bigger rooms already. Most children his age had little siblings in need of a nursery.

"Good night, Izzy."

"'Night, Mama."

She kissed his head again, then watched as he settled himself down, eyelids drooping. She pulled his blanket over his sleeping form, then turned away from the crib, smiling to herself as she made for the door and returned to her own bedroom.

Her own bedroom--where the house's other male inhabitant was swift to greet her.

"Izzy went down just fine, I take it?"

Shahira nodded. "You know better than I do how good a sleeper he is."

"Heh. I don't know, he seems to protest more with me. Maybe when we move him to a new bedroom, he'll be a little more cooperative." Aldhein smirked. "Might realize that it's easier to sneak out of bed and play with his toys for a while when Mama and Papa aren't right next-door."

"Well, he won't have to worry so much about his mama tonight. Four years of university earns you at least one good sleep, and damn it, I'm taking it tonight." And after the endless toasts of the ceremony that morning, and the constant parade of relatives who had been in and out since she'd returned home in the afternoon, she had no intention of breaking that promise to herself. But, for Aldhein--and for herself too--Shahira winked. "After, of course, some playtime of our own."

"Well! I'm not about to say no to that." Aldhein's fingers spidered down her side until they found her hip. But, curiously, they took a detour and leaped for her hand. "Actually, I've been thinking."

"Oh?" Shahira grimaced. With mention of moving Izzy to another bedroom, she thought she could guess what this was about.

"Yes, well... now that you've graduated, I was wondering if maybe it was time for another baby--a planned one this time!" He chuckled at his own joke; jaw locked, Shahira choked out a breath that he might have taken for a laugh. "Izzy seems to do well with younger children. He's fond of his cousins, and of your little sisters. I think he'd like a sibling."

"I'm sure he would." Izzy liked everyone. Izzy wasn't the problem.

Aldhein frowned. He, at least, got that. "What's wrong?"

"Well... to be honest, I was hoping for at least a little time between my graduation and the next baby. Not a whole lot, just... enough to sort of be myself for a while. And to focus on Izzy, since I've missed so much of his life so far."

"Mmm." Her husband nodded, even if he couldn't quite hide the disappointment in his eyes. At least there was understanding mingled in there as well. "Yes, I suppose that's fair."

"But I do want another one eventually. Maybe we can discuss this again in a few months, even? Summer, perhaps?"

"Summer." Aldhein grinned, if only for a minute. "I like the sound of summer, but that's not really so far off. Will that be enough time for you?"

"It will be some time, at least. I can't make up all of the lost time to Izzy, but that should be at least enough time to doll out some serious doting. Maybe it won't be--but if not, I'll let you know how I'm feeling about it."

"Perfect." He smiled again--not so fleetingly this time. "Whenever you're ready."

"And in the mean time..." She drew herself further into him and nipped him on the earlobe. "...I've still been quite diligent with my herbs."


1 comment:

Van said...

Yeesh, Izzy is four already. :S I should probably introduce toddler beds to my game for cases like this, but I've been too lazy to go on any Build/Buy download sprees. I guess we'll just say Izzy tends to toss and turn, and Aldhein got worried about him rolling out of bed.