April 8, 2016

In Which Rennie Keeps the Secret Between Sisters

July 24, 1199

"I mean... I guess it doesn't change anything, really," Rennie's sister--or, technically, half-sister, though it would be difficult to keep on thinking that and she thought she'd prefer not to anyway--muttered as she twiddled her thumbs in absent-minded gloom. "It just sort of... came out of nowhere. I don't think Mother ever intended to tell me."

In the corner of her eye, Rennie stole a glimpse of her two-year-old son playing on the floor, old enough to follow bits of the conversation but young enough not to bother. The lie tied a sharp knot in her gut, but she supposed she understood why her mother would have wanted to keep this to herself. Alina, maybe, would too, if and when she became a mother. "Maybe she thought it would be for the best if you didn't know."

"Maybe." Alina fidgeted, as if she too thought it would have been. As if she wished, somehow, that the truth could be untold. "But you know how Mother is. After Prior talked to her, she probably felt compelled to tell me."

Rennie frowned. That was possibly true, but not for the reasons Alina might have thought. "That had to have been a tough conversation for her. Maybe she needed to tell you, just... for closure's sake. I don't know if there's such thing as mid-catharsis."

"There must be, since she left me stranded there. Turns out, I barely even knew my real father. And now that I know who he is, he's dead."

"He was always kind to you, though," Rennie offered in half-assed reassurance. Now that she thought about it, she did recall Sparron paying Alina a more paternal sort of attention than he had her and Arkon and Severin.

"I suppose. But what about Father? I mean, he always had his issues, but he never treated me any differently. Will things change if he knows that I know?"

"I don't know." A sad state of affairs it was, knowing how often that was her response to any question about her own father. What could be said about a man who had so much love in his heart, yet so little ability to make good on it? What did say about her if she almost envied Alina her newfound paternity? Sparron had loved Prior like the earth loved the sun. "Did Mother say she was going to tell him?"

"She said she wouldn't, but that I could if I wanted to. Same for you and Arkon and Severin." Alina sighed. "But I don't know if I want to talk about this with any of them. Can we keep this between us for now? Just us sisters?"

Rennie nodded. It wasn't her secret to tell, wasn't it? Arkon and Severin didn't need to know. And until Alina had a sense of how he'd react, their father definitely didn't need to know.

Hell--Rennie herself hadn't needed to know. But she did now, and maybe that put a few extra burdens on her shoulders. And maybe she was fine with that.

Her sister didn't need to go through this alone.

"Let me know if you ever want me to talk to Mother on your behalf, though. I know some things might be easier said through a third party."



Van said...

I've been in my pajamas all day, and I needed that.

Winter said...

Glad you got to do it, then :)

It's good that Alina has someone of her own to talk to about this. She does have the shorter end of the stick with Sparron being dead and her non-biological parent needing special handling. And even though Lettie is awesome, she has her own emotions to deal with in this.

Have Alina and Prior spoken to each other about this yet? I imagine that has to happen sooner rather than later.

Van said...

Alina and Prior are bound to talk about this eventually, and not just because they've always been good friends. But, given the two of them, I imagine it'll play out in phases:

1) Awkward avoidance.
2) Attempts at resuming their friendship as it was, each fighting not to think about the elephant in the room.
3) The realization that yes, they have to talk about it.
4) Return to friendship, plus siblinghood.

Yeah, Lettie... has to worry about Lettie right now before she can properly worry about Alina. And unlike Alina, she doesn't have a convenient confidante at present, unless she decides to tell her mother (which she might; I haven't decided yet).