Thursday, August 1, 2013

Consul Intel, Orb's Year 929-932


Orb's Year 929

"Aren't you finished with those lists?" Gwen asked, frustration lacing her voice.  "You said that you would take care of Faelyn tonight!"

Dresden glanced up at his wife absently, "What? Faelyn? Yes, of course.  Let me just get through this page."

Gwen scowled and threw her hands up in frustration.  That's what he always said! 

Hours later after she'd put Faelyn to bed, she stopped behind him again and snapped, "I'm going to bed."

Dresden again glanced up distractedly, "Sounds good. I'll be in to join you soon."
Gwen was already fast asleep when Dresden came to bed.  Scooting closer to her, he whispered, "Gwen, are you asleep?"
Gwen fought the urge to roll her eyes.  "I was..." she snapped.

Dresden was quiet a moment, then whispered back, "Perhaps you would care to make love tonight?"
In the morning Dresden cheerfully kissed her good morning.  He must be so proud of himself, she thought witheringly.

***

Gwen on the other hand had not woken up full of good cheer. 

"Ba ba! Ba ba!!" Faelyn cried at Gwen's feet.
"What is it? What do you want now? What does ba ba even MEAN?" Gwen asked, frustrated.  Sighing with exasperation, she picked up the child and rocked her back and forth to attempt to soothe her tears.
"Aw, there, there, what seems to be the matter?" Dresden said as he came up to his two special ladies.  "Is Faelyn having a moment?"

"A moment? Ha! More like a lifetime. Take her! You said you would take care of her last night and you forgot. Again!"
Dresden cuddled his daughter in his arms.  "I'm sorry about that Gwen.  I was trying to sort through those lists that Cirdon had given me."

Bouncing Faelyn on his hip, he smiled and asked her "And what would you like, mi'lady?"

"Ba ba!" Faelyn told him seriously.
Dresden chuckled as he put Faelyn down and patted her head.  "One bottle coming right up," he promised her.
In the kitchen, he gave Gwen a kiss.  "Faelyn wants a bottle.  See that she gets it.  I'm heading to work.  There's much I must discuss with Cirdon!"
Gwen watched him go and silently fumed.  Of course she would have to get the bottle for Faelyn, she thought as her stomach roiled. 

This was the seventh day she'd woken up in the morning with a morning nausea.  Worriedly, she counted back the days to her last monthly. 

Rubbing a hand over her belly, she knew that she was pregnant again. 

Orb's Year 930
Gwen had assumed she would tell Prince Geoffrey L'Adventurer of her good fortune when he came by for one of his monthly visits.  But he had not returned for quite some time. 

Had he grown tired of her? she wondered, with a sick feeling in her stomach.

Finally, after months had gone by, she dispatched a message to his home regarding an imperative business matter that could not wait.

When the knock sounded at the door, Gwen hurried to greet him...
...Only Princess Celeste, his wife, stood at the door.

"Princess Celeste!" Gwen gasped, her mouth dropping open.
Gathering her wits, Gwen offered, "Would you like to come in?"
Celeste nodded regally and stepped inside. "I received a message intended for Geoffrey regarding an imperative business matter.  As he is out of the kingdom at this moment, I thought I would come by to see if I could assist." Pointedly, Celeste's gaze dipped down to Gwen's pregnant belly.  "Would you care to discuss the matter with me?"

Gwen stuttered as she attempted to lie her way out of trouble.  "Oh, Dresden had wanted me to check with Geoffrey.. I mean.. Prince Geoffrey," she corrected herself when Princess Celeste's eyebrows raised at her casual use of his name, "about umm... some land... in his kingdom."  Gwen finished lamely, praying for a hole to appear beneath her feet and swallow her whole.
Celeste nodded impassively and said, "Well, since there's nothing imperative, I will simply relay your news to Geoffrey when he returns."  Glancing back at Gwen's belly, and then meeting her eyes, she added flatly, "And I'll be sure to tell him congratulations are in order."
After the princess swept from the front door, Gwen clasped her hands together.  Did Princess Celeste suspect? Gwen worried. 

***

As long as Dresden didn't suspect, she thought, then everything will be okay...
But, Gwen still held out hold that Geoffrey would learn of her pregnancy and come rushing to be by her side. 
The months went by with no word from him.
And soon she was in labor, alone and unhappy.
She gave birth to two little girls with dark brown eyes.  She only prayed Dresden never thought to question why...

Orb's Year 931
A melancholy seemed to settle over Gwen.  She hated having anything to do with the babies, Gwendolyn and Gwenivieve, allowing Dresden to fawn over the girls that he believed to be his own.
"Mother," Faelyn asked, "Will you read me a story before bed?"

Gwen had been on the verge of heading upstairs with Faelyn when there was a slight knock at the door. 

Shooting her daughter a questioning glance, she hurried to see who was visiting at this hour.
With a gasp, she saw Geoffrey before her, with anger in his eyes and a scowl on his face.
"Is Dresden at home?" he asked.

Gwen's hands shook.  "No! No, he's not!"

Glancing around her, he cocked his eyebrow at the child.  "Send her away."
Gwen felt so flustered.  Of course! It would never do for Faelyn to remain downstairs.  Hurriedly, she turned to her daughter and shooed her upstairs.  "Go upstairs immediately," she said sternly.

Geoffrey didn't even wait for Faelyn to hurry up the stairs.  He quickly wrapped Gwen in his arms and kissed her boldly. 
Faelyn scurried up the stairs quickly, used to being shooed away by her mother.  But,  Faelyn had seen his scar and thought he must be a very bad man.  She was scared for her mother!

Especially when she saw the bad man grab his mother and begin to kiss her.

But, his mother had kissed him back and giggled. 

Lying in bed, Faelyn tried to understand what was happening.  Why would her mother be kissing someone other than father? 
Oblivious to her daughter's plight, Gwen delighted in Geoffrey's rough kissing.  Pulling back slightly, Gwen gazed at her lover and gasped.  "Your cheek!" she exclaimed.  "What happened?"

Geoffrey pulled back and shook his head.  "I do not wish to spend my time here prattling about nonsense."  Patting her on the rear, he steered her towards the bedroom.
Gwen felt his impatience and his need.  She imagined his hurry was because he had missed her so much.  She knew she had missed his touch!

But... the moment it was over, he got up from  the bed and began putting his clothes back on.

"Geoffrey?" she asked, cautiously.  He seemed to be in a sour mood and she did not wish to anger him.  "Is something the matter?"
"Of course not," he said over his shoulder as he put his vest on.  "I am feeling much better now.  But it is time for me to take my leave."

"But... your daughters..." she said weakly, trying to think of something to make him stay a moment longer.

Gwen watched him stride from the room without a backward glance.

She had been so sure when she was younger that she could carry out an affair without involving her heart.

From the way her heart broke into a million pieces, she felt quite certain that she had not succeeded.

Orb's Year 932
"Gwen, what is the matter with you?" Dresden said from behind the locked door.  He heard her muffled crying and was growing quite desperate to find the cause to her ailment. 
Opening the door, she poked his shoulder.  "I am pregnant again, you oaf! I am your wife, not a brood mare!" she yelled before marching back into the room and slamming the door.  She was fairly certain the father was Dresden due to the timing of the pregnancy.
Dresden sighed and ground his heels into his eyes. He had thought being married would be easier than this!  His parent's marriage had not been so volatile.  Perhaps it was because they were in love...
Checking in on Faelyn and the twins, Dresden swore to himself that he would do whatever he could to make sure their lives were less chaotic from their mother's rampages.

***

Dresden explained the difficulties that Gwen was having with her latest pregnancy, choosing to believe that as soon as she delivered a healthy baby that her melancholy would pass. 

He missed the carefree and vivacious woman that she had been when they had first married...

He could tell that Cirdon had something he wished to say, but Dresden had hurriedly changed the subject.  His family would see that all would be well!
Because Gwen often felt unwell and tired, Dresden spent most of his time at home with the children.  He had even hired a caretaker for the children for when he had to work.   He hoped that easing Gwen's load would help lift her foul mood.
Dresden also spent time teaching Faelyn her letters.
And she loved nothing more than falling into a companionable silence with her father as they read together.

Faelyn loved spending time with her father.  He was so funny and clever!  He was quick with a smile and just as quick to help her figure out a problem.

Glancing up at him, she worried her bottom lip.  She had never told him what she had seen that night or about the scarred man.

She was worried it would make him sad.

But as she grew older, she always wondered if she should've said something...

***

The labor pains had Gwen gritting her teeth with frustration.  She hated this part!  She hated being married.  And she hated men!  They only took what they wanted and left a woman with all the pain and misery!
Gwen barely noticed the child she held in her arms.
"There! You have your heir!" Gwen said angrily as she shoved the child into Dresden's waiting arms.
"Do not bother to ever touch me again!" Gwen said caustically as she stormed into her room and slammed the door.
Dresden's heart dropped at the venom in his wife's tone.  Rocking Holden close to his chest, he squeezed his eyes shut tight to stem the tears that threatened to fall.

***
 
Gwen had locked the door again and gone to sleep right away, crying into her pillow over the mess she'd made of her life.
For the first night in quite a long-time Dresden didn't even attempt to enter his wife's bedchamber.  He simply went to sleep on the bench.

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