Chapter 26 - The Complications with Being Fae
“Alice.” Cait said spotting her and beckoning her over. Alice gratefully took a seat and they watched as Prince Hal continued to chase and terrorise the servants alongside Fain.
“How are you feeling?” Cait asked.
“Much better thanks.”
“They said it was a Spectral.”
“How did it happen? How did it get in like that?”
“It’s complicated.” Alice replied not really sure she could explain it even if she tried.
“Well it’s over now and you’re safe. That’s all that matters.”
“Yes.” Alice replied smiling and they fell silent watching the Crown Prince play.
“Did you hear Indrya has gone missing?” Cait said quietly.
“Yes.” Alice said sideways glancing to see how Cait was taking it.
“It’s awful. They’re saying she was attacked on the road. And no one’s found any trace of her.”
Alice frowned slightly.
“What? Did you think I’d be happy?” She asked with a slight smirk.
“No, not exactly…”
“I liked having her around.” Cait replied and Alice frowned even more. “It’s true. It sounds weird but it’s true. When she was around it stemmed the gossip. But now…”
“What gossip? Everyone already knows you’re the High King’s mistress.” Alice stated more bluntly than she meant.
“It’s not that. I don’t care if people know. It’s just now people are whispering. Asking if Uther will marry me.”
“Do you think he will?”
“I hope not.”
Alice’s jaw dropped with surprise and Cait laughed. “I’m sorry. This must seems strange to you. It’s just I like what we have. What I have with him. It’s not complicated. I don’t have to put a mask on or pretend. We can just be us and then he steps out, the High King, and I can simply fade away in the background. I don’t have to play the Queen. I don’t have to play host. It’s simple and it’s easy.”
“That doesn’t sound strange.” Alice smiled thinking that it actually made a lot of sense.
“And I don’t need to worry about children either. Prince Hal is his heir. There’s no complication but if I married him…”
“You don’t want children of your own?”
“No. I don’t think I ever have. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy playing mother to Hal a lot but I’m not his mother. And if I did have children with Uther…” She shook her head. “I know what Fain went through, growing up, I wouldn’t want to inflict that on my child. No this way, I can be happy and I can make Uther happy without any regrets, without any pressure.”
Alice looked back at Fain now throwing Hal over his shoulder while he giggled uncontrollably.
“And you?” Cait asked glancing to where Alice’s gaze was.
“Me what?” She asked confused.
“Do you want children?”
Alice balked. “I’ve not really thought about it.” She admitted. “But it’s complicated. Being Fae makes it complicated.”
“Being Fae makes a lot of things complicated I imagine.”
Alice nodded in reply but continued watching Fain. Did he want children? She wondered. He was clearly great with his nephew. She frowned thinking, remembering what Jelric had told her, that any children she’d have would be Fae too. Did she really want to inflict that on them? How could she even protect them if she did have children? Would Uther see them as his possession’s too? Would she really want to put them through everything she’d endured? She glanced at Cait, perhaps she was right with what she said, it was better to keep it simple. Better to just be happy with what she had.
Cait looked back up at the castle.
“Is he up there?” She asked.
“Yes. I left him watching from the window.”
She sighed and got up. “Then I should go see him before he broods too long.” She said smiling and walking back to the castle.
Alice sat in the secret garden off of her room playing the stringlet and singing quietly trying to silence the growing unease in her head. She snuck off not long after Cait had, deciding that what she needed was some time to think. Not just about the Spectral and the Witches but what Cait and her had just talked about. It wasn’t that she’d never thought about wanting children, it’s just that she’d never really stopped to consider all the implications of them. And the implications of her being Fae.
She plucked the strings, her eyes closed, knowing the notes and how to play them without needing to look.
Fain saw her from inside and watched for a bit, anxious to give her space because he could sense that she needed it but then she suddenly opened her eyes and smiled at him through the glass.
“How long have you been there?” She asked when he sat down next to her in the grass.
She smiled, continuing to play the stringlet only more lightly.
“You okay?” He asked and she nodded.
“I have some good news.” She said.
“Your brother has decided that he’s not going to collar me after all.”
“That is good news.” He replied and then they fell silent for a few moments with Alice continuing to pluck at the strings. Fain watched her, seeing her frown slightly.
“What’s on your mind?” He asked and she looked at him and blushed.
“It’s nothing.” She said.
She sighed. Looking at him and seeing how impossibly gorgeous he looked right then. She put the stringlet down and turned to face him, feeling her stomach knot with what she was about to say, what she was about to try and explain.
“I don’t know how to say it without it sounding weird. Without it being weird.”
“Then just say it.” He said calmly.
She swallowed. Here goes nothing, she thought. “I don’t think I should have children.”
“What?” He said looking confused.
“I don’t think I should. If I did they would be Fae and I just can’t inflict that on them. If they had to go through what I have, I couldn’t bear it.”
“Why are you saying this now? What’s brought this on?”
“I was speaking with Cait.”
He narrowed his eyes. “What did she say?”
“She was saying about how it was with her and your brother. How easy it was and that she didn’t want to make it more complicated.”
“You think having children would make it more complicated?”
“I think being Fae makes it more complicated.”
“Alice.” He sighed taking her hand. “I love you but I don’t want children right now. We’re still getting to know each other. Neither of us are ready for that kind of commitment.”
“I know that. But what in the future? What if you wanted children then?”
He raised an eyebrow. “Then it would be something to consider.”
“I just don’t think I can do it. And I don’t want to take that from you either.”
She shrugged looking away.
“Are you trying to end this?” He asked and she looked quickly back at him.
“No. No I’m not. I just don’t want to make you choose something you might later regret.”
“I will never regret choosing you.” He stated and he pulled her in and kissed her.