June 4, 784, Valnessa, Meliora
Adela straightened out her gown and placed a tentative hand over the bump that was just barely showing. She had tried to put off wearing this – mostly for Adalmar’s sake – but when her other clothing started to feel constricting and suffocating, she knew she couldn’t put it off any longer.
And Adalmar was a grown man, wasn’t he? He should be able to deal with this, right? He knew of this pregnancy before she had started showing, after all. …Except that the wounds left behind by Laraina’s death weren’t completely closed yet and this pregnancy would probably bring them to the forefront once more.
She heard the door creak open and when she turned her head she saw Adalmar step inside.
“Are you feeling better?”
Adela shrugged before turning towards him. “This isn’t as restricting as my usual style of dress. A bit colorless, maybe”, she added in jest.
“It’s the family color. You’ll have to raise my ancestors from the grave and complain to them about choosing this.”
She wrinkled her nose. “No, thank you. I’m not interested in seeing the state they must be in by now.”
“Fair enough.” Adalmar looked like he was attempting a smile, though it didn’t seem as if he could quite manage it.
It must seem so strange to people outside of the family to see his reluctance towards the pregnancy of his wife when this would be their first child together. But most of these people wouldn’t know of Laraina and her early death, either.
Adela heaved a sigh. “You know, you don’t need to follow me around like a duckling. And you don’t need to stay around me if this pregnancy is making you uncomfortable.”
“That would be rather unfair towards you, though. And I got you into this state, didn’t I?”
There was so much self-loathing in his voice that she couldn’t help but feel guilty, too. Even though she knew that, it was absolutely ridiculous.
“I would say that both of us got me into this state. It takes two to make a baby, after all.”
She rolled her eyes. “Stop fretting so much. Laraina wouldn’t want you to fret, either.”
He grimaced. “Is it really so wrong of me to worry?”
“Of course not. But you’re taking it to a whole new level, Adalmar. I’m sure I’ll be fine. Tragedy rarely strikes twice, doesn’t it?”
He just kept on staring at her.
“…Well, do you want to say hello to your youngest child?”
His eyes darted down towards the gentle slope of her belly, uncertainty clearly written over his face. He didn’t want to commit himself to the idea of this baby yet, she realized. As if it was somehow less real as long as he could ignore it.
But then he surprised her by nodding. “…Alright.”
Adela couldn’t help but chuckle when he leaned forward and patted her belly so carefully as if she would fall apart if he so much as put too much pressure on it. But hopefully it was a step in the right direction.