June 29, 2016

In Which Renata Tells Who Ought to Know

March 8, 1201

"Mama! You're home!" Sparron bounded over to the top of the stairs as Lettie finished scaling them and greeted her with an enthusiastic hug. Renata's grandson was such an affectionate boy. His mother and siblings did dote on him, possibly to make up for any comments he might have gotten on his unclear parentage--but, if he got any to his face, he was doing far too good a job of internalizing it. Renata hoped it was simply that children were kinder than they used to be, and not that Sparron was suffering in silence; she wasn't so naive as to not have her suspicions, though.

"Mama, Grandmother's here!"

"I can see that, sweetie." Lettie kissed him on the cheek, then ruffled his hair as he released her. "This is unexpected, Mother."

Renata picked at an uneven fingernail. Her visit would hardly be the greatest shock of Lettie's day. "Yes, and I hope this isn't a bad time. Octavius and I received some news today."

With her grandson's back to her, she took the opportunity to flit her eyes toward him, just obviously enough for her daughter to pick up on it. "Sparron, why don't you go down to the kitchens and ask Mara to whip us up some treats? I'm sure she'll let you eat the batter if you help her."

"Can I choose what kind of treat?"

"Of course you can--just as long as we have the ingredients."

"All right!" Sparron flashed Renata a giddy grin--probably thinking about his favorite oat-and-hazelnut biscuits--then rushed down the stairs with sufficient speed that Lettie had to watch over the railing to be sure he didn't trip.

Satisfied with her son's sure footing, Lettie took a seat on the other bench, her face fading from fond to frown in cue of Renata's melancholy. "What's wrong, Mother?"

"It's your friend, Tarien Andronei." Renata sighed as Lettie's brow twitched. Tarien, from what she understood, had once aspired to be more than Lettie's friend, if she even thought of him as that much. But, if she recalled the events surrounding Sparron's likely time of conception, he had managed to somewhat endear himself for at least one night. "He had some sort of accident. He didn't make it."

"Oh." Lettie clenched her lip between her teeth in a few seconds of silence. It perhaps a somewhat easier thing, learning about a death when there were clear feelings one way or another. At least, in those cases, there was an automatic reaction--no need to fret about whether tears or gasps or an obligatory sobriety were most fitting. "I... I'm sorry to hear that."

"Well, I thought you ought to know--am I right?" Renata jerked her head toward the stairs, where Sparron had been only minutes before; biting at her lip again, Lettie nodded. "Does Sparron know who his father is?"

Her daughter shook her head. "I'll tell him if he ever asks."

"You mean he hasn't?" Another shake of the head. Odd. Five years old was plenty old enough to wonder why everyone else had a father, and plenty young enough not to know that it might be a sensitive question.

"He hasn't asked me, at any rate--and I haven't heard about him asking anyone else. I'm sure he wonders, but I suppose it doesn't bother him that much."

That might have been the result of his siblings' tales of growing up with Searle for a father. For his own sake, at least that man seemed to be doing a better job of it with his second wife's children. "Then I suppose he doesn't feel that anything is missing. He's a remarkably well-adjusted child; perhaps it's for the better if you do leave it up to him when he decides when he wants to know."

"That's the plan for now, at least." Pensive, Lettie took to curling a lock of hair around her finger. "Pity there's not a way to know if it's the best one before it's too late to change course."



Van said...

Seems that Photobucket has fixed whatever issue they were having yesterday.

S.B. said...

Sparron's an adorable child. Isn't that always the question, whether or not the right choice was made at the right time? No way to ever know. At this point it looks like Lettie is making the right one. Renata is admirable here.

Van said...

Yeah... unfortunately, there's no way of knowing if Lettie's screwed up there until she already has. But I think her gut instincts (and Renata's) are fairly accurate when it comes to the kids.