Author Topic: Past Passed, Present Present  (Read 9850 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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Past Passed, Present Present
« on: July 04, 2009, 02:37:58 AM »
The first few weeks after Kysis left passed by in a blur, for Lam.  She spent equal amounts of time lamenting his absence and sobbing with missing him as she did attending to her new baby\'s needs.  Being a mother was something she\'d thought she\'d been prepared to deal with... until it actually happened.  Pandora was a fussy newborn, one that seemed to like the attention of being held and who seemed determined to stretch her little lungs to unbelievable proportions if her demands were not met immediately.

Lam had never lacked sleep so badly in all her life.

Eventually, her aunt came to her rescue and moved into the manor for just a week to help her niece - and Alex, her dogged companion - get on top of things.  A new cook was hired to prepare all of the household\'s meals on demand - a business-like girl of twenty years who was not daunted by the modern accessories in the kitchen - so that Lam had the ability to present a well-nourished breast to her daughter when she required it (every three hours or so - she seemed to have inherited her mother\'s appetite, unfortunately).

Mairin taught Lam and Alex how to bathe and clothe Pandora properly, gave them hints about extracting wind from a bloated belly and also introduced her niece to a whole new world of clothing, which she tailored especially to her.  Mairin was determined that Lam would never again return to her moulded armour, even if her pregnancy belly had drawn back to near-flat by the end of the moon (and Lam hadn\'t even exercised), and so she presented her with four beautiful new dresses that were high-waisted and completely flattering.  They also had the added bonus of buttoned or drawn bodices that could be opened to breastfeed and closed again without any undressing being necessary - they were a godsend!  A final gift of some very thick wadding that could be inserted to soak up the extra milk that leaked out of her whenever Pandora cried (much to Lam\'s eternal chagrin) completed Mairin\'s visit and she left the single mother to go it alone once more.

It had never been easy, but Lam had certainly gained confidence in her abilities - watching her aunt swing the baby around by the feet and assure her that they were very hard to break and were, in fact, very resilient beings to counteract their vulnerabilities had helped unbelievably - and so her household had settled a great deal in the wake of Mairin\'s stabilising stay.  Even Pandora seemed more relaxed (though Lam wasn\'t experienced enough to understand that this was a direct result of her feelings being communicated silently to her child, and her no longer sensing nervousness or fear coming from her mother).

The second moon had augured a shift from despondent and scared to relaxed and resentful for Lam.  She was happy with her homelife but resented that she had to go through it all alone; her damned husband ought to have been there to help her, as well as witness how his daughter was growing.  Something about her changed every time Lam looked at her, and it was a fascinating process.  She spent hours on end with Pandora naked on a blanket with her in the garden or curled in her arms or sprawled upon her bed, just... looking at her and feeling so much love that it felt like her heart would burst and release a fiery sun into her chest.  She still cried regularly, but they were generally happy tears when she was with her daughter and they dried up quickly when thoughts of her husband interceded.

As time passed and the third moon of being alone loomed, Lam\'s emotions shifted again.  She felt lonely and downright angry that Kysis had been so stupid to leave them, paying attention to everything Pandora did, just so that she could throw it right back in his face when he came home and didn\'t recognise the tall, chubby baby he hadn\'t contributed anything of quality to.  Pandora began sleeping for longer periods at a time - five hours most nights - and was seeing better, so she was happily occupied by the shifting sun shining through stained glass windows during the day, desiring less and less cuddling as the world around her cleared up.

It seemed mean to move a perfectly happy baby from her makeshift cradle simply because she was bored, so all that was left for Lam to do was pace.  Being stuck in the house was getting to her, the garden was as far as she\'d ventured in weeks and she\'d only had contact with the same people, over and over again.  Although she was loathe to move her contented daughter, Lam knew that if she didn\'t, she would go crazy... she just needed someplace to go!

She wanted desperately to take Dora to the palace and introduce her to the new king but the official mourning period was still in place and no visitors would be allowed there for at least two weeks to come.  Besides, her post-birth dresses were not black and she would need to be out of the public\'s eye as quickly as possible, especially if she timed things badly and the baby needed to feed - she could hardly do that on the street!  Her family (well, her brother in law, aunt, uncle and cousins and their children - not her father, sister or nephews or niece) all came to her to visit with she and Pandora, so they were not a good excuse to travel and she was fairly certain that a smelly barracks or a muscle-filled guardhouse was not the place to show up with a two month old.  Freddy had visited her a couple of times but he was relatively awkward about the baby being so small and refused to hold her in case he dropped her.

It took her a week, but she eventually settled on a plan - a brilliant plan at that!  She would go and visit Dagger.  He didn\'t live too far away so not too many eyes would see her cavorting in bright colours on the street and such a visit was bound to provide the spark of life she was desperatey lacking.  It wasn\'t like she and her ex-lover had parted on the best of terms but she liked to think that their ability to click on an intellectual level hadn\'t faded, no matter what had changed in their lives.

She\'d heard rumours of him marrying his serving girl, Mia, and her producing a child and Lam was dying to know if that was true or not.  She\'d made her peace with the marriage thing - she\'d had her chance, in the end, after all, and was no longer angry oabout him marrying another woman - but she was insanely curious to see what Dagger as a father with a newborn baby (rather than a bitch who would use him and then run away) was like.  Did he have a son or a daughter?  How would he react to her daughter?  She simply had to know!

After a further few days of planning and debate, Lam arranged her visit carefully to coincide with the Dagger family\'s return from his favourite service on Worship Day - she liked to think she still knew him well enough to know that he would attend the morning service, arriving at his home again just in time for mid-day meal (a time when people rarely visited, for all those in the same circles were doing the same thing - it had been their most frequent time of lovemaking, back in the days when they were terrified of being discovered together; having everyone cossetted away in their homes for hours of eating left she and Dagger plenty of time for sport of a different kind, in daylight, no less).

She ate her own food at likely the time Dagger and Mia were eating theirs, fed Pandora and dressed her dozy angel in a beautiful lemon-coloured visiting dress, with a knitted bonnet and bootees to match.  The cap tied upon her head had a little beak on it that sat, upright, perched atop her forehead.  It looked so darling with the frothy array of strawberry-coloured curls sneaking out beneath it that Lam felt Dagger couldn\'t help but fall in love with her daughter on sight - especially with her chubby cheeks flushed a rosy red from her feeding, her curled, pretty lips sucking occasionally out of habit as she slept.  Her eyes - which seemed to be determined to stay the brilliant blue of the Liari line even beyond the time it took them to settle down from the hazy blue of all newborns - would likely open again in an hour or so, just as her mother was getting settled at the manor and he could behold all her beauty... if all went to plan.

If it didn\'t and she was stopped at the door, oh well, at least she had an outing.  Her hair hadn\'t been cut since the king died and it was down to the base of her shoulder blades now, so she pulled the top half back and clipped it tidily at the back of her head before brushing it and her fringe until they shone.  Checking herself in the mirror - she\'d chosen to wear the deep red dress with the white fringing because it was the closest she had to either black or purple - Lam was happy with what she saw.  Her body had changed (her breasts had doubled in size, it seemed) since having the baby and there was a softness in her green eyes and expression that had never been there before but she was mostly the woman Dagger had once loved.  Resembled her strongly, anyway.

Wrapping Pandora in a thick woollen blanket - the weather was warm, but she\'d learned not to take anything for granted with babies - and gathering her bag with extra napkins and clothes in case Dora dirtied herself while out visiting, Lam set off.

The mid-day sun on her face felt hot and the bundle she carried soon became heavy and made her sweat as she walked.  She found herself wishing she\'d put a hat on before she left the manor and trie to walk in the shade of trees or houses as she walked a well-remembered path to her ex-love\'s door.  By the time she got there, she was huffing from the exertion of lugging her child plus a bunch of supplies, even though it had been a relatively short walk.  Oh, if only her guards could see her now!  They\'d have laughed their asses off at the lady of leisure losing her breath from a little bit of exercise!

Pausing to arrange Pandora into the crook of her left arm, Lam ascended the stoop of Lord Dagger\'s and used her right hand to rap loudly upon his door.  For better or worse, the deed was now done and so she waited to see who would greet her on this warm, sunny afternoon.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2009, 09:20:24 AM »
As Lam had expected, Mia, Dagger and Jeremy had been to the morning service and had then returned to the manor for their midday meal. It had only been a light meal of cold food, something easy to put together as it was such a hot day and they usually ate a larger meal in the evening after Jem had been put down for the night. It was getting more difficult to keep to that routine though as although Jeremy had begun to sleep through the night, he was now being disturbed by pain rather than not being able to sleep long enough. The seven month old was teething and would rather chew on anything other than the various toys he had been provided with made of wood, leather or cloth. And at the speed he was crawling now Mia was having to keep a very close eye on him to make sure that teeth marks did not appear on any of the polished furniture. At the moment he only had two teeth, but they were sharp little things. He constantly had a bib tied around his neck or tucked into his clothes because the sheer volume of saliva he was producing was a thing to marvel at.

Mia had quickly settled into motherhood, she was a natural after bringing up her younger brother alone and she was much better than being a mother than a wife. Dagger and Mia had been married for nine months now and although they had become close friends she doubted she would ever be able to be much more than that for him. So she threw herself into being a good mother for his son, a role she had been worried about taking, but which she now loved. She was delighted at what a good father Dagger was as well, in the back of her mind she hadn’t quite been able to believe that Dagger would be able to treat Jeremy as his true son, but now she knew she needn’t have worried for an instant as he was a natural as well. Even if they did not make the perfect couple, no one could fault their parenting instincts.

That morning to go to the service Mia had worn a simple black dress which had a high collar, which had been uncomfortable in the heat, but had fastenings which made it easy to open when Jeremy needed to feed and was one of the few black dresses she owned. Thankfully she hadn’t had to leave half way through the service - Jeremy’s disturbed night had meant that he had slept soundly throughout the service, although she had been panicking for a short while before that he wouldn’t drop off. But that, in turn, meant that he was awake now when he should be napping. Before their meal Mia had changed into a cooler dress, a pale brown in colour with flowers embroidered on it, which wouldn’t be suitable outside in this time of mourning, but she had no plans to leave the house or have guests, so did it matter? It had a lower neckline than most of her dresses, which she was grateful for in the warmth of the day and showed off her new curves which motherhood and a good lifestyle had brought to her. Her long red hair was plaited and hung in a thick rope down her back.

After their meal Mia had moved into the entrance hall of the house, where the floors were wooden so Jeremy’s drool wouldn’t leave unsightly marks, and there was less furniture for him to dig his teeth into, but Jeremy could grab hold of the banisters of the stairs and try to heave himself up, with varying degrees of success, or there were a few toys scattered around for him to play with. Mia could tell he was gradually getting tired, and slightly more grouchy as time grew on, but she knew that if she put him down just yet he would be having none of it and would scream the house down.

So when the knock on the door came Mia was sat on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, her legs curled up underneath her skirts as Jeremy raced back and forth along the corridor on his hands and knees, occasionally sliding along on his stomach on the slippery floor, making noises of mingled happiness and grumbling as he played and complained about the throbbing pain in his little mouth. The redhead looked up in surprise at the sound, as did the miniature redhead crawling beside her. As Mia clamoured to her feet Jeremy set off towards the door as some pace and Mia tutted quietly to herself as she straightened her dress and then moved to scoop Jeremy up into her arms, settling him on her hip, causing him to squeal in frustration, but she didn’t want him making a break for it when she opened the door. Mia kicked a few of the toys out of the way, out of sight of the doorway and then grabbed a black shawl which hung by the door to wrap around her shoulders, not wanting to appear to be dressed inappropriately. Jeremy immediately grabbed the edge of the shawl and shoved it into his mouth, chewing intently, his wide dark eyes staring up at his mother as Mia moved to pull open the door.

“Okay Jem, try not to spit too much,” she murmured quietly to him, earning herself a squeal as she finally opened the door and found herself facing a taller redhead, also holding a baby. Her dark eyes gazed warily up at her, half recognising the woman, but Mia wasn’t sure where from, or what her name was. It had been almost a year since she’d seen Lam, and then she had only seen her for a few moments.

“Good afternoon,” Mia said after a moment, blinking suddenly as she remembered her manners, bringing herself out of her thoughts of trying to remember where she knew this figure from and giving her a shy smile. “How can I help you?” she added, her gaze flickering down to the young baby in her arms. Mia didn’t have many friends, and didn’t know any other mothers with babies that Jem could socialise with, so Jeremy’s eyes settled on the other baby as well and he dropped the shawl, reaching out towards Pandora.

“Bababababababababaa,” he babbled, waving a hand towards the sleeping baby and trying to wriggle free of Mia’s firm grip.

“Hush, Jem,” Mia said, glancing down at him with a smile and covering his hand with hers and when she looked up at Lam again there was a more honest smile on her lips.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2009, 10:20:11 AM »
Lam\'s attention was immediately captured by the lively baby, her green eyes widening and her mouth opening slightly as she uttered an adoring, "Ohhh!"  The redheaded child - it seemed to be a boy but she wasn\'t very good at judging such things, since he seemed quite pretty - was a good many moons older than Pandora, his chubby cheeks aflame and his nose running from the onslaught of teeth, something she wouldn\'t have to face for a while yet.  He seemed... not really to have Dagger\'s features but that didn\'t mean much since he looked like a carbon copy of his mother.

Belatedly, Lady Liari\'s gaze swept back to said woman and she blushed a little, feeling embarrassed for looking in entirely the wrong direction to begin with (she didn\'t miss the rings on Mia\'s finger that proclaimed she had, indeed, married Dagger, either, as she looked up from the baby).  "Sorry - he\'s adorable!  Jem, did you say his name was?" she enquired with interest, hoping to Adora that she\'d guessed the sex of the baby correctly, otherwise she\'d have started out on the wrong foot with Mia entirely.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2009, 09:30:03 PM »
Mia’s smile widened a little at Lam’s compliment of her child, (what mother could resist that?) but there was still a slightly wary look in her eyes as she watched the other woman expectantly, a little surprised that she hadn’t been given a name yet. Perhaps she was someone Dagger knew, so expected Mia to know who she was? She searched her mind quickly, but was still coming up with a blank, just a vague feeling that she should know who this was.

“Yes, Jem… Jeremy,” Mia replied with a small nod, glancing down at her child and using the bib around his neck to mop up a string of drool which made a bridge between his shining full lips and the shawl she wore, which he had now abandoned in his effort to get to Pandora. Mia’s dark eyes followed his attention, looking to the other baby with curiosity, wondering if perhaps another baby around would be good for Jem - someone to play with. Obviously the bundle in Lam’s arms was younger than Jem, only a couple of months old, but perhaps in time… Of course, she still had no idea who her mother was.

She bit lightly on her lower lip, wanting to ask about the child and return the compliment as the other baby - maybe a girl? - was beautiful as well, but instead she lifted her gaze back up to Lam’s bright green eyes. She looked hot and a little tired, probably from carrying the baby around, who knew how far she had come, but Mia felt she should know who she was before inviting the stranger in and offering her refreshment. Perhaps she should have taken Jem into another room and let Lewis get the door, but when she’d been right there it had seemed pointless. But Lewis had lived here longer so perhaps he would know who this beautiful, and rather imposing, figure was.

“I’m sorry, but who are you?” she asked, hoping she wasn’t about to offend one of Dagger’s friends. She knew her husband hadn’t been out as much as he used to be, perhaps this woman was someone he had known before, who he hadn’t seen in sometime.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2009, 10:20:50 PM »
Lam managed to hide her shock at not being recognised, telling herself that she obviously was not memorable enough to have stuck in the redhead\'s mind and that her ego was obviously a burden, because her role before that hadn\'t been known to everyone.  Still, it sort of stung that Mia had had such impact on her, but the favour had not been returned.

"Oh!  Sorry, Mia, I\'m Lam.  We met once before when I came to visit Dagger but... things were a bit different then," she laughed, being sure to use Mrs Dagger\'s first name to make her point, even as she chuckled and gestured congenially at Jeremy.  Yes, a lot had certainly changed since their last meeting, but Lam hadn\'t come to discuss such things with this woman - especially now she hadn\'t been recognised.

"I just thought I\'d come by and say hello to him, if he\'s in?" she queried, peering past the woman blocking the doorway, before looking back into her dark eyes.  "And introduce you both to Pandora, of course," she grinned, lifting the sleeping babe slightly for emphasis.  "Truth be told, I\'m going a bit crazy being cooped up in the house with just her for company, you see, and I thought it was a good excuse to go out looking for some adult conversation.  I\'d heard about yours and Balthus\' good news, but haven\'t had time to come around to congratulate you both.  Now here I am!"

Her smile was genuine and she wasn\'t sure if Mia would notice her looking at the marriage rings on her left hand, but she did it anyway.  Even if she was put out by not being remembered - or recognised - she was happy about Dagger finally being happy, and getting the family he wanted and deserved.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2009, 11:29:43 PM »
“Oh,” Mia said softly, giving a small nod, her eyes widening and her cheeks flushing with embarrassment. Lam… Liari, of course. “I’m sorry, Lam. I thought I recognised you, but I just… wasn’t sure,” she added, stepping backwards and holding open the door a little wider to allow Lam access. She thought she could remember her coming now… and if she was right it had ended in an argument, the shouting could be heard all over the house. But Lam didn’t seem to be in the mood for shouting now, so perhaps that argument would be forgotten.  Mia had heard a little about Lady Liari from talk in social circles, but Mia didn’t spend much time in those, so there were only snippets she did know. Dagger had mentioned her in passing, but nothing detailed and Mia hadn’t asked. She didn’t really want to ask about women that Dagger had had in his past, not when things between them were as they were. Mia knew Dagger didn’t expect her to perform the sexual duties a wife was expected to, he knew enough about her past to know how difficult that would be for her, but she couldn’t help feeling guilty about it.

“Please, come in and thank you,” Mia said, smiling at the congratulations, “And congratulations to you as well, she’s beautiful,” she added sincerely as she allowed Lam inside and then carefully shut the door behind her before letting Jem down. The young boy seemed to have forgotten about Padnora already and he instantly set off crawling away down the corridor to grab a stuffed dog made of cloth and shove it in his mouth, chewing ferociously on a floppy ear.

“I’m sorry about that, there’s just been so much going on,” Mia said, giving Lam an apologetic smile as she gestured towards the door again. She was worried enough about filling this role as Dagger’s wife, she’d spent her life as a servant, not the lady of the house, and she was never quite sure of how to behave, or whether she should know certain people. There had been so many new names and faces to remember in such a short time. Usually Dagger was there when she went out, to help her, but she’d messed up within the first few seconds of properly meeting Lam and Dagger wans\'t here to help.

“Balthus is out in the garden’s right now, taking a short stroll, but he should be back soon. He may have seen you coming to the entrance,” Mia explained, then she gave a smile and nodded towards the sitting room to the right. “I’m sure you’ll be wanting to have a little rest, she looks heavy, Balthus can find us in here,” she said, picking up Jem once more in one arm and gathering up a few toys to entertain him in the other before leading Lam through.

“There’s a basket upstairs which Jem is too big for now, I could fetch it if you want to put Pandora down to sleep?” Mia asked as she carefully put Jeremy down with his toys, hoping that he wouldn’t make a break for the door again as he was sometimes prone to doing - since she’d already insulted their guest Mia didn’t want to have to be constantly leaving her to fetch her son back into view. She would have shut the door, but leaving it open would let Dagger know more easily where they were. Fortunately Jem seemed content where he was for now.

“Jeremy will probably be headed that way soon,” Mia added, gesturing to the boy as he continued to chew the dog, rubbing his face with his other hand before grabbing at another toy, rolling a ball in front of him. He looked like he would be needing a nap soon - maybe when Dagger came in Mia could go put him down and give Lam and Balthus a little time alone, depending on how Dagger reacted to seeing Lam here.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2009, 12:06:58 AM »
"Actually, a basket sounds a wonderful idea, if you don\'t mind?" she agreed graciously, following her hostess into the sitting room and finding a position on one of the settees.  The last time she\'d been in this house, she\'d sat in more or less the same spot but that visit had ended rather badly all \'round.  She rather hoped that this one would go a lot better.

"She\'s surprisingly heavy; comes from taking after me rather than her father - tall, heavy boned and having my appetite," she laughed shuffling her daughter around on her lap, removing the blanket from around her to bare her long limbs (the dress went past her feet - but only just - but her arms were obviously longer than most average two month olds\').  Lam frowned at her, wiping some sweat off her upper lip.  "I would\'ve thought she\'d have woken up by now; it must have been a better meal than I thought!"

Looking up at Mia for a reaction, she laughed companionably, unafraid of throwing off at herself or her innocent child, for that matter.  She couldn\'t help but wonder if Dagger had seen her arrive from the garden (what was he doing out there?  Playing with the dogs instead of his family?) and, if he had, whether he actually would come inside.  He\'d more or less cursed her for not breaking off her engagement with Kysis when last she saw him and now that she was here in his house, those memories were sharper than she cared to admit.  Would he sneak in when Mia went upstairs or would he stay away altogether, not bothered about talking with her again?

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2009, 12:44:22 AM »
“Not at all,” Mia said, but she was distracted for the moment as Lam unwrapped her bundle and she moved closer, skirting around Jem and crouching down beside Lam.

“I don’t believe I’ve met your husband,” Mia said as she looked down at Pandora, resisting the urge to touch the sleeping angel. She gave a small chuckle as Lam laughed, enjoying hearing the sound of someone else enjoying themselves as much as her words. It felt nice to be reminded that she wasn’t the only person going through these things. “Jem’s constantly surprising me, I think I’ve got him into a routine and then something crops up to change everything,” Mia said, looking around to her son with a smile as he looked up at the sound of his name and then set off towards her. When he got close Mia pulled him into her arms, turning him around so that he could see the baby in Lam’s arms.

“Jem, this is Pandora, she’s sleeping, so we must be quiet and gentle,” she said, gently smoothing down the red tufts of hair which suck up from the top of his head. She was grateful for that red hair, and the brown eyes - whilst Jem’s features were childlike she could see little trace of his true father in them, but she worried that as he grew those features would become more defined. The shape of his eyes and mouth perhaps, the way he held himself. But no one would know, no one would have any reason to suspect. People saw what they wanted to see and she hoped that Balthus would be enough of an influence that Jem wouldn’t grow up to be like his biological father, but like the one he would know to be his parent.

Jem reached out and leant forwards, leaning on Lam’s arm as Mia kept an arm around his waist and a hand on his arm, just in case he made a lunge for the baby, she’d be ready to stop him before he could touch her. His dark eyes studied her for a moment and then he wriggled, informing his mother that he would like to be on the floor again, so she released him to go and play once more. “He’s teething right now, he hasn’t slept through the night for a couple of weeks,” she said with a small sigh as she stood up, but there was still a smile on her lips as she ran a hand over her hair, smoothing it down. She didn’t begrudge her son one moment of her time - she hadn’t enjoyed spending this much time with anyone in her life, apart from her younger brother.

“How old is she now?” she asked with interest, delaying fetching the basket for a short time. She guessed Dagger would be in any moment and so didn\'t want to miss this time alone with Lam.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2009, 01:20:03 AM »
Watching Mia with her son caused unexpected pangs of loneliness in Lam.  He was a bright, curious baby that seemed like he wouldn\'t stop until he fell asleep and she couldn\'t help but wonder what Pandora would be like when she got to that age - and how she\'d cope, alone.  Kysis should be back by then, of course, but what if he wasn\'t?  What if Pandora went back to sleepless nights and constant crying because she was teething and there was no-one there to help her soothe her daughter back into a painless sleep?

For the first time in a long time, her old friend, jealousy, loomed bright and sharp inside Lam\'s belly - and, as usual, it was over Dagger.  Mia had Dagger to help her out if their son cried all night and couldn\'t be settled; Dagger to take him from weary arms and send her back to bed if the only solution was to keep walking the baby around the house until exhaustion overtook him.  What did she have?  A beautiful engagement ring with a lovely story and no-one to hold her and tell her everything would be alright, no-one to take their turn with their daughter, no-one to make her smile by telling her they loved her and they thought she was doing a wonderful job of being a mother - even if it was a lie.

Resentment burned in her and suddenly it was a whole lot harder to smile and laugh with Mia when it seemed she had everything, including what Lam wanted most; her husband by her side.

"Ugh," she groaned at the thought of sleepless nights thanks to teething.  "I rather like getting sleep at night again - I\'m not looking forward to teeth coming in!  Pandora\'s just past two moons now, so hopefully I have a little leeway before that happens.  Long enough for her father to come back and help out, anyway, Adora willing," she murmured, her voice turning serious and sad as she addressed this last part to her daughter.  She blinked, feeling tears gather but willing them away - she would not cry in front of a virtual stranger and prove how pathetic she was!  She fiddled with the baby\'s bonnet instead, untying it and retying it for no apparent reason, hoping to eternity and back that Mia wouldn\'t notice her sudden vulnerability and comment on it.

Please go and get the basket now, please, she thought urgently, willing her host out of the room so that she might regain her composure fully.  She didn\'t look up, moving from toying with the bonnet to checking whether Pandora\'s napkin needed changing and fiddling with the blanket beneath her when it didn\'t, clearing her throat subtly so as to move the lump in it away.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2009, 04:00:41 AM »
Mia noticed a slight change in Lam, but wasn’t sure what had caused it, was it her? Or something else? Something she’d said? Or maybe it was nothing and she was imagining it. She watched Lam carefully as the older woman spoke about her husband and felt a pang of sympathy. She had been so terrified of raising Jem alone before Dagger had proposed and although she knew their marriage wasn’t quite everything it could have been, the relationship between them wasn’t a passionate love, it was a comfortable companionship, a friendship unlike any Mia had ever had and that was what she was content with for now. Her, Balthus and Jem. He had saved her and in return she had given him a son.

She lowered her eyes and stood up straight as Lam fussed over her little girl, then turned away to pick up Jem, holding him securely in her arms. He wriggled for a moment and then gave a whimper as he rubbed his eyes.

“Okay sweetheart, I think it’s you’re naptime,” she said, then she gave Lam a small smile. “Please excuse me, I’ll be back as soon as he’s down. Balthus should be here soon. I’ll bring you down that basket too,” she said. “If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask,” Mia added before turning to leave Lam alone with her baby. She wasn’t good with comforting people, she hadn’t had much experience of it and Lam didn’t look as though she would appreciate her sympathy and comfort. All she probably needed was a few minutes to gather herself.

Mia quickly headed upstairs, pausing in the hallway to scoop up Jem’s bear before she ascended and then vanished into Jem’s bedroom to settle him down for his nap.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2009, 10:32:18 AM »
"Thank you, you\'re very kind," Lam answered, forcing a smile as she watched Mia gather her son and leave the room.  As soon as she was gone, though, the mostly-composed Lady Liari breathed a sigh of relief, trying to get her addled mind in order.  It was all Kysis\' fault, curse him; he was the one who had to go and leave her.

She gathered Pandora up and placed her sleeping form carefully at the back of the settee cushion beside her, arranging the baby so that she wasn\'t going to wriggle off the seat.  With her sitting beside her, that was very unlikely, but Dora had inherited her father\'s bad sleeping habits and was very active during slumber - she was frequently found at completely the opposite end and facing the wrong direction in her cradle, with all the covers kicked off and her head tucked into them in a manner that scared Lam into hoping she didn\'t suffocate herself one of these nights.

Once the baby was settled, Lam leaned her elbows on her knees and pressed her face into her hands tiredly, wondering whether this had been such a good idea after all.  She was already getting spiteful and emotional and she hadn\'t even seen Dagger yet!  Things would likely only get worse when faced with her oldest companion and once-love, for he was likely to throw her- a noise at the sitting room door had her whipping her hands away from her face and she couldn\'t hide the surprise on her face as the man in her thoughts was suddenly standing before her.

She was on her feet a second later, her hands poised, together, before her stomach as she took one large stride towards him and then stopped, uncertain whether she should embrace him or not.  Her expression showed her uncertainty and her tongue suddenly felt tied and thick in her head; she didn\'t know what to say to him and all that escaped from her lips was his name, in much the form of a sigh: "Balthus."

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2009, 11:26:17 AM »
To hear his name on her lips again after so long had him closing his eyes for a fraction of a moment, to savour it.

His life had changed dramatically after she\'d left him, to turn her attentions on a man - a foreigner - that had promised her more than he ever had, or would.  Watching their budding romance from the sidelines wrenched his heart every time he heard rumours about them, and then she\'d been whisked away, perhaps never to return.

He\'d focussed on his maid then, usually watching her when her back was turned or when she was intent on her task at hand, not knowing that he would look at her and admire her cascading red hair - so similar the colour to the woman his heart belonged to - until she began to notice.  She would become bashful but then he would speak with her, converse about all manner of things, to find his poor, young and pregnant maid had a wonderful heart and soul, and deserved much more out of life than it had offered her.

He\'d never asked about the father of her baby, even after she\'d come to him in a sobbing mess, kicked out by the coward who\'d not wished himself a family.  He\'d eventually been informed that the growing swell in her stomach was now touted as his by the rest of his social circle.  Of course they would think such things, he had a reputation for bedding many women - even when loving the woman whose career he\'d nurtured until she\'d left it (and him) for another man - and when an attractive young woman entered his home, it was only logical for them to believe he would be fathering another bastard child.

To set things straight, to even out the horror of her life, for it was a tragedy that she would have to endure the hardship of motherhood alone, he\'d not only allowed her to live with him, but he\'d proposed marriage to her.  He had yet not laid his lips upon her, in a friendly manner or otherwise, but upon a week\'s worth of wearing down her concerns, he had the answer he\'d wanted to hear.  Yes, she\'d told him, and he knew she was marrying him more so because he\'d been a good employer to her, and a good man, rather than being a man she was in love with.  She was likely taking the opportunity of marriage in order to fend for her unborn child, but whatever her reasons (for he\'d supplied her many to choose from, appealing both to her intellect and emotions), he had what he wanted; a solution for his loneliness, an immediate family.

Both of his servants had known the truth that the child was not his own, and in his desire to protect his new wife (for they\'d married after a very short engagement, and privately), he\'d sent them to live in another town, where his finances had set them up for retirement in a cottage, establishing them well enough for the rest of their years.  They\'d dedicated themselves to him for many years, it was only just he took care of them in their retirement of duties.  He didn\'t trust them, unfortunately, to keep the secret of his family as he trusted Mia.  He\'d made her promise to tout the baby as his, and she\'d been overjoyed with his request.  There would be no problems there.  She was a great deal more dependant than Lam had ever been.

And now, standing before her with her looking at him uncertainly, he moved decidedly to her and encircled her in his arms, aching to hold her, aching while he held her, and burying his face in her scent.  Oh, but his heart cried to be with her and see her here, after all of this, after their lives had changed so much.  He\'d promised her everything, too late, and now he wanted to turn back the clock and promise it all again - at a time when she would\'ve said yes.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2009, 12:18:23 PM »
Everything within her seemed to melt at his touch; she relaxed and held him in turn, feeling calmer, more secure and more confident than she had in months.  He hadn\'t said a word but his very touch ignited an old and well-buried happiness that she\'d denied herself for years, in an effort to move on with things.  Some feelings never died, though, it seemed, and tears welled in the wake of them.

"Oh Balthus," she whispered her voice thick as she pressed her lips close to his ear, her words for him alone.  "I\'ve missed you so.  I\'m sorry to call on you unannounced, it\'s just... everything feels like it\'s unravelling and I just... I didn\'t know what else to do and... I needed you and I\'m so grateful you didn\'t throw me out," she gushed, her words halting as she swallowed back the tears as best she could, not wanting to be pathetic but unable to fight the tide of emotions in her.

It wasn\'t anything to do with the baby, or her marriage or Morgan dying or being hustled out of the career she should have had, she now realised; it was being cut off from him that had truly worn her spirit down.  Now, there was a new lease on life, just from being in his arms, and her soul sang.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2009, 01:13:42 AM »
It was so very wrong to hold Lam in this way, in a house he shared with another woman and a child he claimed as theirs (and not knowing where Mia had gone to added another risky element to their embrace), but it felt so familiar, so right.  With his fingers entwined in Lam\'s hair, and his nose pressed against the long strands as he worked his hand through it.

"You can always come to me," he whispered, though such a thing had been untrue earlier on, when he\'d been angry at her for leaving him, so full of rage that he\'d broken a few select pieces in his house and taken it out on the people around him, like a storm, until he\'d started to blame himself.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2009, 01:31:18 AM »
She gave him an extra tight squeeze in gratitude, unable to fully express it any other way, and held him for a little while longer (revelling in his touch, truth be known) before she pulled back, laughing self consciously and wiping at her leaky eyes and nose with her right hand.  Her left had followed his arm to his hand and was now squeezing it instead.

"I\'m glad to know that," she admitted, voice still a little wobbly and tears threatening to spill, despite the fact that she was beaming at him.  "Because my husband decided to leave us to fight a war a long way away and I\'ve had no-one to help keep me sane for the two moons he\'s been gone - you know how I get," she laughed deprecatingly, clenching his hand for emphasis.

It was odd, to share a joke about their intimate knowledge of one another, but if anyone knew how she got, it was he.  "Would you like to meet my daughter?" she asked huskily, feeling suddenly shy about introducing him to Pandora - she couldn\'t help but worry that, although he\'d said she could always come to him, that offer wouldn\'t extend to the child she\'d made with another man.