Our Life Thereafter
Disclaimer: I own very little. :D
Chapter Forty-Four: Our Life Thereafter
Feeling a burst of childishness flooding through me, I nearly sprinted to meet him at the door. As I embraced him, I hoped that this journey would be the last time we would share such a reunion. For that moment, I nearly forgot all that had happened over the period of the last year and remembered back over all of the memories, scares, and triumphs we had experienced together. I could have stayed in that moment forever, saying nothing, but the words came to my lips.
"Did you find what it was you sought?" I asked him, looking up at him with his arms tight around me.
He smiled down at me," Yes," he paused for a moment as I felt his eyes nearly burn a hole through me," I did."
My answer was a simple smile as I slowly broke away from him.
"I owe you an apology, Rosalie," he said as we weaved our way through the crowd, he blindly gave a handshake and wave as we came through the crowd.
"Caspian-" I argued, but he was persistent. I had put this behind me. I was not bitter about his decision.
"No, my duty is here. And it will be until the day I die. For me to be so distracted and set on leaving, was wrong to you and the country….I'm deeply sorry and I promise that from here on out, I will be here with you," He told me very seriously as we stood in the middle of the large crowd.
I wanted to protest more, but from the look in his eyes, I knew that he must have been serious. I nodded my head silently and respectfully said," Thank you. I appreciate that, Caspian."
This statement actually left me with a mental sigh of relief. All this time, I wondered what would have happened had Caspian never returned or he returned with another adventure set on his mind. How would he have responded when I told him that we were parents? How would I be able to raise a child without him? I would no longer have to worry about either of those possibilities.
We said our greetings and began small conversations with several of the men still in the great hall. After quite a while of small talk, I figured that it would have been an appropriate time to introduce Caspian to his son. The men had started to disperse back into the city or other parts of the castle and were to return later after the cooks had prepared the meal for the evening.
Seeing as though we had plenty of time before the dinner, we made our way back to our quarters, talking over trivial matters as we did so. He told me little of what had happened on the journey. It seemed as though they met quite the characters. Lucy and Edmund being two of them, but one of them being the old royalty's cousin by the name of Eustace. Caspian described him as being somewhat of a pest, but having a good heart deep down.
I kept speaking with Caspian as if everything was normal, but the truth was that my heart was beating out of my chest. I was anxious then more than ever before.
Caspian also informed me that Reepicheep had chosen an offer given to him by Aslan, himself. He offered his country to Reepicheep. Aslan's Country was a place where every Narnian longed to go, or should have longed to. He explained that Reepicheep would not be returning to us and this made me slightly sad, for I had grown rather fond of the mouse, but I had to understand that this was only a part of life. He really was in a better place.
Just after he broke the news, we were already on the second floor. Conversation carried on and so it was that we were in front of our room.
Instantly, I placed myself between Caspian and the door.
He looked at me and raised a brow," Yes?"
I swallowed, trying to calm myself," Allow me to go in first…I've a surprise for you," I stuttered, saying the first thing that came to my head.
He looked at me warily, I felt as if he could see right through me. He nodded at me and I took this as an invitation to go on in. Quickly, I scurried into the bed chambers and retrieved the child, who was cackling with the servant girl, and thanked the girl for her assistance. I also told her to allow Caspian to come inside. She nodded and quickly left.
I looked down at the dark haired, tiny baby who was looking at me with wide, curious eyes. Typically, he always enjoyed the company of the girls and was in a rather good mood after I got him back. I watched as he fluttered his little eyes at me and adjusted himself in my arms. He had just started to be able to lift his head on his own and after a couple minutes, I saw him lift his head from my arms and look around, as if anticipating something. Was it possible that he knew what was about to happen?
My heart seemed to be beating out of my chest as I heard Caspian's footsteps coming toward the door. I swallowed hard and could hardly wait as I saw the door creep open. As soon as he stepped into the room, I saw his eyes widened and jaw drop.
He was speechless for many moments before spluttering," W-who-Rosalie? What is this? Are you-"
I smiled, chuckling at his confusion. The child in my arms released a squeal, as if he already knew who his father was," Caspian, when you asked me what I had been up to over the last year…the truthful answer would be him."
"Who's child is this?" Caspian asked, obviously not catching the drift at first, for he was very much in shock. I shook my head at him, bouncing the child slightly. Caspian was in awe of the child and still had no idea what to do, but spluttered once more," He's o-ours?" He raised a brow at me, still trying to figure out the situation.
"Yes, Caspian," I said softly, coming closer to him while releasing a soft chuckle.
I looked down at the child, who was laughing and said to him," I think its time for you to meet, daddy."
He looked at me as if I had four eyes for several more moments before releasing a sigh and placing a smile on his face. He started laughing and shaking his head, as if in hysterics, but I could tell that it was merely out of joy. Again, he shook his head and looked at the child, who was also smiling, in my arms," He's really our son?"
"Caspian, the answer is still the same. Yes," I said, smiling at his disbelief before teasing, "Now, you've been off at sea for the last few months, I think its time you stay up at night trying to get him to sleep."
I quickly shifted the little guy in my arms, who seemed to moving more than ever before. The baby had not been able to do much with his hands, other than clap once, at best, but at that moment I watched as his tiny arm stretched out toward Caspian.
A smile came to my lips as I looked at Caspian, who was happier than I think I had ever seen him before. I helped him adjust his arms so that he could hold the child, and ever-so-softly placed the baby into his arms. Caspian seemed to be watching me as I assisted him and as soon as I placed the weight of the child in his arms, he looked directly at me, as if nervous.
"This is surreal," He whispered to me while at the same time shifting his gaze to his son.
I nodded my head in agreement as the moment sunk in.
"I found out I was pregnant three weeks after you left, Caspian," I told him softly. "You could say I was in denial for quite the time. I still don't know if any of this is real or not."
He didn't answer for several moments for he was already playing with our son, causing him to smile and coo at his father. I had to smirk at the sight of the scene of pure innocence.
"I regret not being able to see the birth," He said to me somberly, after several minutes.
I smiled, remembering how badly I had wished he would have been there as well. I knew that for some reason, it wasn't meant to be, but none of that really mattered at that point. All that mattered was that he was home.
"Don't worry too much over it," I told him quietly as I tip toed up to kiss him on the cheek. "You wouldn't have wanted to be there anyways."
"I'll be there next time," He told me, seriously looking right at me.
I teasingly widened my eyes and looked at him as though he was insane," You're already talking about another child? We haven't even gotten much of a taste of this one yet!"
He looked down at the angelic face in his arms then back to me, chuckling," I'm sure we will both be up for another sweet child."
I joked again," You're not the one who's been staying up all night with that little 'angel'. Nor did you have to give birth to him!"
He released a laugh before rolling his eyes. He couldn't say anything else for there was a knock at our door. It sounded rather urgent and as soon as I opened the door, it seemed as though Penelope threw herself through the door, already going off on a new tangent. Perhaps, I hadn't missed her as much as I had originally thought.
"Rosalie I cannot believe you!" She exclaimed, running at me, pointing a finger.
I swallowed and looked at her with wide eyes," What?"
"You had a child and didn't tell me?" She exclaimed again, even louder this time than the time before.
"Penelope, how was I-" I tried, but then another voice could be heard coming down the corridor.
"PENELOPE, LEAVE THEM ALONE FOR NOW-" Emily was yelling and she too appeared in the doorway, looking out of breath as she leaned against the frame.
Caspian was standing to the side with an amused look on his face. He was slightly rocking the child, who seemed to be wondering why these people had interrupted, as well.
"Penelope," Emily breathed hard," Please, I told you to give them some time, first."
"Emily, I did not sprint all the way up here just to be told I can't see my baby nephew," She argued back, hardly caring at how out-of-breath Emily was or Caspian's first reunion with his son.
"Penelope, I really don't know if now's the best-" I tried arguing and shot Caspian a questioning look.
He shook his head as if there was not a problem and said," He's right here if you want to see him, Penelope."
She moved over and delicately slid her arms under the child's body, moving him into her arms. He looked up at her curiously and stared for several long moments. I wondered if he was going to smile or show any emotion for quite some time, but after many minutes he cracked a smile and even cackled at her. She seemed oblivious to the rest of us for a very long while before placing the child back into Caspian's arms and nodding cordially to me.
"Next time you have a child, make sure you tell me before the child is two months old! Rosalie…" She said with a shake of her head.
I laughed, hardly taking her seriously," Penelope, you've been out on an adventure at sea for the last year. Just how was I suppose to send you a message?"
She thought for a moment before cracking a smile," I'm only joking, Rosalie. But really."
She turned to exit along with Emily, who was growing more irritated with Penelope by the minute, but before she could leave; she looked back directly at me," What are you naming the child?"
Caspian looked at me and I looked at him before I said," I was wondering the same thing…"
Caspian rocked the child slightly before turning back to me," We'll think of something, I'm sure."
I looked back to my sister, knowing she would be dissatisfied with the answer," You'll be the first to know."
And with that, they were gone. Caspian, the baby, and I spent the rest of the day together and while the child slept for the afternoon nap, Caspian and I discussed many things from his adventure at sea to possible names for the baby. Sitting on the balcony and talking with Caspian was nice, and from that moment on began our life as a family.
Several Years Later
"….There were four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. They weren't so unlike you two. They came to Narnia whenever the White Witch was ruling. Do you remember what I told you about her?" I said, trying my hardest to calm down the both of my children for bed. They were very restless that evening.
Rilian, our little boy who had just turned six, jumped up and down on the bed before plopping himself in front of me with his wide brown eyes linked on mine," She was a mean witch!"
At my side, under my arm, sat Annalisa, our daughter who was barely three years old. She was very much the less hyperactive of the two and looked up at me, just as interested as Rilian, but with much less energy said," She made it cold, mommy."
"You're both right," I said, before I turned the page and continued to tell them all about the stories of the Pevensie children, just as my mother had done with me as a child.
Although, I found that my view on the Pevensies was entirely different with my children than my mother would have had with us. I had a personal connection with the Pevensies, though my children did not know that, at the time. I didn't intend on telling them much of our involvement with the Pevensies until they were well old enough to fully understand. For their childhood years, the Pevensies would be the same to them as they were to my siblings and me; storybook characters.
"Mommy, mommy-" Rilian kept on trying to interrupt, he never could seem to go very long without cutting in.
"Rilian, what did I tell you about interrupting?" I asked him, pausing the story to give him a stern look.
He looked down, as if ashamed of himself," Not to do it."
"Thank you, son," I told him before continuing on with the story.
It wasn't until the very end of the story whenever Aslan came and saved the day that I basically allowed for the both of them to do nearly whatever they pleased. Rilian seemed much more interested in becoming the characters than Annalisa, who normally played along some, but not nearly as much.
I remember finishing the story that evening and just as the book shut, Rillian jumped up and declared," I am High King Peter!"
He danced around the room, declaring his royalty and I smiled at his joyfulness before looking down at the yawning girl tucked under my arm," Mommy, I'm tired," Annalisa, my green-eyed daughter looked up at me and said in her most pathetic voice.
"We can go to bed soon, sweetheart," I said softly to her just as Rilian came running over to her side.
"Stay away from mother, White Witch!" He exclaimed, waving his imaginary sword at his sister.
I thought that Annalisa was going to throw a fit, but instead she looked up at me, as if asking permission to chase him, and as soon as I nodded my head and whispered," Go get him," she seemed to be sprung to life and chased her older brother around the room.
I watched with a seemingly permanent smile on my face as my childhood years returned to me. As they played, I crept out of bed and placed the book back on the shelf in Caspian's study before returning to our bedchambers to find Annalisa pinning her brother to the wall, a rather surprising turn of events. I supposed that Rilian must have let her win for once.
"Looks as though your sister has won for tonight, your majesty," I said playfully, coming over to break up the scuffle.
"You will never win White Witch!" Rilian fought back, immediately shoving his sister off, not as gruffly as he could of. I was glad that he was at least showing her some mercy.
"I am not the White Witch!" She pouted, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Yes you are!" Rilian cried in response, pulling himself from the ground as I picked up his sulking sister and placed her on my hip. She looked at me, her green eyes wide as she asked," I am not, right mommy?"
Before I could answer, I saw a figure leaning against the doorframe of our bedroom. Instantly, I looked up to see Caspian grinning from ear to ear as he watched the scene. After the kids saw me look at him, they both shot their eyes over to the door to see their father.
It was as if all of the calmness (though not very much) that I had tried to get into them, especially Rilian, was gone as Annalisa squealed and Rilian ran and launched himself at his father," Daddy!"
The young boy was already attached to his father before I could say another word. Annalisa, who was not one to jump around like her brother, looked at me and beamed. I carried her over to her father; she absolutely loved her father. After Caspian wrestled Rilian off, he looked over to Annalisa, perched in my arms.
"Hi daddy," she said sweetly, being quite the little ham.
"Hi sweetheart," he answered, placing a hand on Rilian's head to keep him from charging again. " Did you have fun today, Annalisa?"
She nodded her head and though I saw that she wanted to be just as excited as Rilian was, her eyelids had been drooping for quite some time. At that moment, she released a huge yawn before saying," I had lots of fun!"
"Lots of fun, huh?" He asked enthusiastically, raising his brow as he continued to keep Rilian at bay as he spoke to his daughter.
"Lots and lots!" She answered, fighting another yawn.
He chuckled before leaning in and kissing her softly on the cheek," Looks like you had a little too much fun for one day."
I adjusted her on my hip before saying quietly," Tell him goodnight, Annalisa."
"Goodnight, daddy," She said quietly, forcing her eyes to stay alert.
"Goodnight, sweetheart," He said before averting his attention back to his rambunctious son who demanded his attention.
"Rosalie, are you going to tuck her in?" Caspian asked me as he picked up the young boy and tossed him playfully over his shoulder.
I released a sigh, seeing that all my work at calming Rilian down was gone for good, but still smiling at the sight of how excited he was to see his father," Yes, as long as you tuck him in."
"Alright!" Caspian answered, very distracted at this point.
I turned away from the hectic scene and focused on getting my sleepy daughter to bed. As soon as I placed her in her bed, just down the hall from Caspian and I's room, she seemed to immediately pull the covers up to her nose, hardly even giving me a chance to tuck her in before she started closing her eyes.
The little girl about to fall asleep in that bed was a split combination of both Caspian and myself. It was no lie that she was attached to Caspian, nearly at the hip, but every time a person looked into her eyes, they knew she was my child, as well. Her tan skin and long dark hair seemed to prove even more so of her Telmarine blood. She may not have been as adventuresome as Rilian was going to be, but she most definitely was willing to stand up for herself when necessary, that was already obvious.
"I love you, mommy," She whispered, innocently, suppressing another yawn with her eyes half-open.
I smiled, hardly able to realize how much she had grown. I remembered the day that Annalisa was born and what the blessing she was! Rilian was a gift of pure joy while Annalisa was the gift of pure innocence. I loved them equally, of course, but she was my baby. Every day that passed, I still could not believe how much she had grown.
"I love you too, darling," I answered, leaning in and kissing her on the forehead before turning to blow out the candle.
I stood up and made my way through the dark room until I reached the corridor and saw that Caspian had already managed to wrestle Rilian into bed. Quietly, I crossed the corridor and peeked into the room, where Caspian sat at the side of the young boy's bed, talking to him quietly.
"Daddy, I want to go on an adventure!" He exclaimed, as Caspian pulled the covers over our son's body. That sentence had once come out of both Caspian and my own mouth. I could see that he already was planning to follow in our footsteps.
Caspian chuckled as he fixed the pillows behind Rilian's head," Perhaps, one day you will son. But as for now, you need your sleep!"
Rilian, on the other hand, had been quite the rascal as a baby, unlike his sister. He gave Caspian and I quite the handful from a very young age all the way up until his current age. He always seemed to have so much curiosity and ambition packed into his little body. There was nothing about that child that didn't absolutely spell out Caspian. Everything from his hair, to his skin, to his eyes, to his voice…he was nearly a clone.
Raising Rilian could have been quite enough, but we decided that one more child would make for a companion for him. Annalisa and Rilian may have been opposites, but they complemented each other quite well. The pair of children made for some interesting events and though Caspian and I were still young, with two children, we were forced to grow up quite a bit. Other than their playful bickering, they got along quite well. Parenting was not something that I claimed to master, in fact, there was a lot that I didn't know that I wish I would have known, but the children still grew up to be fine.
At first, I thought that being pregnant was some sort of awful, scary stage and that having a child was going to be entirely life changing. That it was, but there were many rewarding moments in being a mother. There were lessons that my children taught me every day that I could have never learned in any of those meetings with the royal leaders or out exploring the country. One of the most essential lessons was probably patience, as Rilian knew how to press, so well.
"But daddy-" He whined as Caspian leaned down to kiss him on the forehead.
"Rilian, it's time for bed. Okay, son?" He told him sternly as he leaned over to blow out the candle
Just as the room darkened, the young boy's voice said, in defeat," Okay, daddy."
"Goodnight, Rilian," Caspian said finally and with that started to leave from the room. Within moments, Caspian was face-to-face with me.
"Good work, dad," I said to him, playfully, with a smile on my face.
We turned back toward our bedchambers," I think you got the easy job tonight," He answered as we entered into our quarters again.
"What?" I asked as I moved over to my side of the bed, I had dressed for bed long ago with the children.
Caspian made his way over to the drawers where his night tunic was and changed into something more comfortable rather than the formal dress robes required for work. I still listened as he moved into the powder room adjoined to our room.
"You know what."
"He loves his dad!" I added as I waited for Caspian to re-enter the room.
Moments later, Caspian came back into our quarters and slid under the covers beside me. He looked at me incredulously, not falling for my innocence one bit," Sometimes, I wonder where Annalisa gets her deceiving little stories from and then I remember that she is her mother's child."
"Caspian!" I exclaimed, instinctively grabbing the journal that lay on my bedside table and hitting him in retaliation.
As soon as the journal hit him, he grabbed it and looked at me with the raise of his brow," What might this be?"
To be honest, there was nothing that lay inside the journal. I had received it as a gift from my mother a long time before and never used it for anything. I mostly thought that it just fit to be sitting upon my bedside table as if I actually used it for something. It didn't take him long to figure this out for he had starting flipping through the pages.
"It's just an old journal," I told him as he closed it once more and retied the leather strap that came around the journal.
"Perhaps, you should make something of that journal one day," Caspian offered, placing it back in my hands. "Make it useful for something."
I looked at him to try to determine whether he was being serious or not," Maybe I will."
"In all honesty, I think you should. It's not as though you would have nothing to write about," He told me moving the pillows behind him to where he found them most comfortable.
I furrowed my brow," Such as?"
He shook his head and raised his hands," Don't ask me. It's your journal, but I'm simply saying is that it's not as though you've got nothing to write on."
Seeing as though the conversation was not going anywhere, I tossed the journal back onto the bedside table and blew out the candle. Caspian did the same and just as I was pulling the covers over and turning on my side I said," Sometimes, I wonder where Rilian gets his orneriness from and then I remember he's his father's son."
Caspian laughed and I turned to face him once more in the moonlight as he sighed," I guess I can't deny that one."
We both laughed for several more moments before I turned over on my side and tried to calm my brain down from the events. It seemed as though every evening I found myself in awe of being where I was and the process it took in order for us to get there. Never was there a day that I wasn't thankful for all of the opportunities we had been blessed with and therefore allowed to finally settle down and have a family, even if it wasn't exactly when we had planned it.
And for some reason, I had a rush of knowledge flood over me as I laid in bed, recollecting over all that had happened. It was rather normal for me to remember the details of our story, but at that moment I thought about the idea that Caspian had just told me about putting that journal to use.
"Caspian," I said, hoping he hadn't already fallen asleep.
"Yes?" He answered, rather drowsily from behind me.
"You don't suppose I should write about…Narnia and all that's happened here…do you?" I asked, knowing that this may have not been the best time to discuss the topic.
I felt him move closer to me and heard him whisper in my ear," I think that sounds like a wonderful idea."
I was silent.
Had I written down the stories, perhaps one day our kids could do the same with their children. Perhaps, they would read the stories of their grandparents. It was worth a try. I was much too tired to actually get up and start working away; therefore I told myself that eventually, someway, somehow I was going to accurately record all of our journeys. I was not just going to tell the story; however, but I was going to make them real. I wanted to make them come to life so that they never died.
"Goodnight, Caspian," I whispered, hardly able to muster much of a voice. "I love you."
"And I you, Rosalie," He answered, just as quietly as I had spoken.
Just as the sun sets below the horizon, our story was coming to a close. Looking back on the events, I realized that there were plenty of things I would have rather done differently and choices that I would have rather thought through more intensely, but it was from those mistakes that I would later become a more educated, wise adult and role model for my child. Our adventures, or "sun", if you will, may have been setting, but there was still plenty more to be done in the land of Narnia.
Author's Note: Tomorrow, I'm going to post an epilogue, kind of explaining what happened to everyone else :) Drop a review! And yes, I do know that in "real life" Caspian never had a daughter.
Anyways, thanks for everything guys! This is the "end" of the actual story.