January 9, 2016

In Which Prior Is Exposed to the Inconceivable Thought

July 12, 1197

"My lady." Prior took Neva's hand and endowed it with a kiss. He hadn't seen much of his betrothed in the past while, as they'd had conflicting schedules in the last couple terms and they'd both been home for the break for June and so far July. But, given the planned double date with Alina and Adonis for Prior and Alina's birthday, it had made more sense for the four of them to return to campus for for the night.

"Prior," Neva addressed him rather less stiffly--as was her right, what with her being a duke's daughter and him only being a baron's heir grandson. "Happy birthday."

"Thank you. Have you and Alina talked over the plans for tonight?"

"Yes. We agreed that it makes the most sense to just eat at the inn--just as you and her discussed a couple days ago, apparently." His betrothed laughed--or perhaps forced herself to laugh. "I assume Adonis will have no objections."

Prior frowned. No, Adonis rarely objected to much of anything--but Adonis wasn't his concern at the moment. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, I suppose." Though her shrug and sniff said otherwise. "Our fathers made the match, after all; given that, I should be relieved that you're at least a good person in spite of your being in love with another woman."

...EH?! "What are you talking about?"

"Alina. You two are always making plans to see each other, always talking about each other. I don't think I've ever had a conversation with her that didn't somehow end up being about you."

Oh God. An uncomfortable nausea brewed in Prior's gut. He'd had no idea Neva had felt that way--and perhaps he'd ought to have made more of an effort to know how she'd felt, about this and everything else. But Alina, of all people... "Neva, I'm sorry that I gave you that impression but Alina's just about the last person I could ever be in love with."

"Really?" Neva raised an eyebrow, daring a tentative smile but not convinced. "But you're so close with her."

"I am. She's one of my closest friends, and has been since childhood." Probably not the best way to start, but it was honest--and another touch of the hand might have done something for Neva's reassurance. "But really... Alina's the closest thing I have to a sister." Well, before Geneva had come along, anyway, or this second child that his mother and Aunt Xeta were currently considering. But it was exclusive knowledge that Geneva was his mother's, and for good reason--though, he supposed Neva would have to know once they'd married.

Because surely if she knew he trusted her with that...

"I know it's probably tough to imagine if you've felt like this for a while, but the thought of me being attracted to Alina is just as inconceivable to me as the thought of an attraction to Ricky or Dalston must be to you."

"That... that would be pretty inconceivable," Neva agreed, mouth curling briefly in a squirm of revulsion. "You really mean that? You're not just saying that to make me feel better?"

"I mean it. And now that it's been addressed... well, maybe you and I could make some efforts to become closer. It'll only be a few years before we're married now, and I think we could know each other a lot better by then."

Neva nodded. Prior doubted she was quite through with the idea of his--ugh--being in love with Alina, but at least she was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt? "I'd like that."

"I'd like that too." He leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek, the soft flesh of her face warmed by her blush. "Perhaps call at Tetran Keep for dinner next Sunday?" He'd make a point to find out her favorite meal before then.



Van said...

This is Post #1197. Barring some ridiculous time jumps, this will be the only Naroni post ever to have a number that matches the year in which it takes place.

Winter said...

Neat fact!

These two have a certain formality between them that is strangely appealing. Neva is fully aware she's half princess and half duke, and nurture over nature has instilled Camaline's more regal qualities into Prior. It gives their until-now situation a sense of dignity. There's a lot of respect there. But now that Prior's taken Alina off Neva's mind, they can work on the more friendly/romantic side.

Another baby? Is Camaline planning to go back to Deian for another temporary modification?

Van said...

It was a political match from the get-go, and both Prior and Neva were raised with an awareness of their standing. Camaline's grown out of the worst of her snobbiness, but any kids of hers, biological or not, are bound to get some of the royal airs about them; in Prior's case, he got the good ones. Both Lorn and Leara are of course very aware of their roles, and their children are likewise (apart for maybe Ricky at this point, what with his "see what happens" approach to marriage).

But yes! Now that they've talked about the Alina situation, maybe they can talk about other things. Like them. ;)

That would be required--hence why this kid is still in the "consideration" phase. Neither Camaline nor Xeta is super keen on bringing Deian in again unless they're sure about it.