Lingering Hunger

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Chapter 5

When I awoke I was in my own bed, bathed in sunlight, free of the searing pains that had wracked my body in just what seemed moments before. I looked around the room, wondering if the last memories I had were a dream or real. When I tried to move I realized that it had all been real as the discomfort and weariness came back. I looked around and saw Richard sleeping in a chair in the corner. Or at least he seemed to be sleeping.

“Richard,” I said weakly, my voice sounding as tired as I felt.

His eyes flew open as he quickly got up out of the chair and came to my side, taking my hand. Kissing my fingertips he swept a stray hair from my forehead. “Darling, how do you feel?” His voice echoed the worried look he had on his face.

Not quite sure of how I was, I answered, “I think I am alright. Where is our baby?”

Richard eyes sparked with a bit of happiness as he pondered his answer. “Well, our children are doing fine. They are well in the care of the servants for now.”

My eyes widened as I realized what he had said, “They?”

Richard chuckled as he rubbed his hand over mine. “Yes love, they. Our son, and our daughter.”

I continued to look at him with a puzzled look before my muddled brain actually worked through what he just said. My eyes welled up with tears, “A daughter?”

Laughing lightly he nodded, blue eyes sparkling like pools of water in the moonlight. Richard had told me that there had never been a female descendant in his family. Merely one male child was blessed to each generation, and raised to take over from his father. So a daughter was a blessed surprise to us both.

The happiness draining from Richard’s eyes he looked deeply into mine, still trailing his fingers over my hairline. “I thought I was going to lose you. The doctors didn’t give much hope since you had lost so much blood. It was only last night that it seemed you started to get better.” I gazed into his eyes trying to glean information without asking. “You have been unconscious for a week love.”

A week! My children had needed to survive the world without me for a week? I tried to raise myself up and Richard stopped me. “No Mary, the children are fine. You need to rest and save up your strength.” I began to protest and he pressed a finger to my lips. Leaning up to me he whispered in my ear, “I will bring them in so you can meet them.”

Kissing me on the forehead he started to stand when I grasped his arm. “And you are alright? That fight outside the walls...”

Richard’s look seemed a little grim, “Yes, we are all fine. I am so glad that you didn’t get hurt.”

I wanted to ask more, to understand why we had people trying to invade our lands, but Richard smiled and eased my mind for the moment. “Don’t think on it. I will be right back.” Caressing my cheek with his fingers, he stood and walked quietly out of the room.

I relaxed back on the pillow and closed my eyes. I was so dizzy and weak. We had two children, not only the boy that I had dreamed of but a girl too. But I had lost a week with them. I hadn’t been there to hold and comfort them. Tears welled in my eyes as I turned my face to the window, raising my hand to swipe them away.

It seemed like an hour had passed before I heard a light rap on the door. Turning to look in the direction of the door, I saw it ease open, the creaking of it slow and slight as I saw the frame of a man’s shoulder backing through it. My heart was jumping in my chest, yearning to see them. Sliding up to prop myself on my elbows, I raised my head enough to where I was somewhat sitting, ignoring any weakness or discomfort I may have had.

Richard turned into the room, cradling a small bundle in his arms. He was closely followed by Brittany and another of the servants. My eyes wouldn’t move from the blankets in his arms. I couldn’t even speak as he walked over to me. Raising my arms up to take the baby, Richard leaned down, “I’ve been waiting for you to name them. This is your son.”

My eyes glistened as I held him for the first time. The little raven haired babe looked up at me with wide eyes like mine. Flashes of green intermixed with earthen tones, spiraling with a misty haze of light blue. I placed my finger in his tight little grip, instantly a slave to his every whim. Whispering “Xander” under my breath, I looked up at Richard to meet his smiling gaze.

Brittany came to my other side and knelt next to me on the bed, bringing my baby girl close to me, so that I could see her. She looked just like me, with all the same facial features, a brilliant rosebud complexion and pink tone to her lips. The dark brown hair just like mine was thick and dark for a little one, similar to her brothers, yet just a bit lighter. Her eyes were closed, full eyelashes grazing her cheeks. I leant over to kiss her forehead. It was then that her eyes fluttered open and I gasped. Her eyes were strikingly like Richard’s deep, whirling pools that strove to pull you into their depths. But there was more than that, I thought that I must be mad to think these things, but as the soft tones of “Hello Mother” pierced my mind, I couldn’t help but understand her connection to me. Smiling I slid a finger down her cheek, “Hello Brianne”. It was then that she laughed, the melodic tones filling our minds and hearts, captivating us all.

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