Vexing (Chapter 40)
“I do hope you two are getting along well. I am expecting to hear good news soon” Linda then reaches over and pats my lap. She then goes back to stroking the rows of chains around her neck, drawing attention to shinning gold as it rests upon her chest.
A light dusting of gray clouds blocks the sun. I hope it rains. I hope it rains fast.
Because only then I can escape this lunch, or lecture I should call it. We are sitting at an outdoor café facing the main market square. Its market day again and the noise of the hustle and bustle is the soft elevator music of this tired dialogue.
We sit with large pale blue umbrellas shading us from the hazy sky. Delicate iron metal makes up the table and chair, most of the beauty covered with white cloth and deep cushions. Bright flowers spill over the top of a vase reminding me of the florist during my first visit to the market and plates with dainty dishes of something- I can’t quite figure out what.
Not that much will be eaten. The café is clearly a place to see and be seen. A place more of conversation than of sustenance. Numerous acquaintances seem to pop out of nowhere to talk to Linda about such and such an event as I enjoy my brief reprieve from the monotonous conversation.
Linda has been going on again about the virtues of her dearest only son. She needn’t bother. I’ve met him. I live with him. And he is….ah… okay.
Giddean has been spending more time with me this week. It’s been weird, very weird.
Every night we have an awkward dinner together. We don’t really talk. He mostly spends dinner time reading reports at the table. It almost makes me wish for the days where I ate dinner by myself in my room, at least then I wasn’t waiting for Giddean to eat the unnecessary third course of a way too extravagant meal.
His freak out about my period has gone completely unexplained. I tried to ask James about it, but he wouldn’t say anything. I haven’t seen the Captain all week.
I suppose I should think it was sweet that he cares enough to freak out. But then, I mean, he didn’t care enough to listen when I tried to tell him I was fine.
“Oh Linda it is so great to see you!” Another friend has walked up and began chatting with Linda.
“And this is my new daughter-in-law Mrs. Senator Ivy Hertilz”
I give the woman a big smile
“Oh I’m so glad to hear that the Senator has settled down, we were all beginning to worry…”
The women chatter on about the comings and goings of Haringshude society and I begin to tune them out.
Sinking back into the ridiculously thick cushions of my chair, I look over to where Sean is standing next to one of the temples, the one with the naked man on top. Sean’s arms are crossed as he watches over the market. I can just make out the frown on his face from here I sit.
Linda’s scowl when he arrived with me was enough to let me know she didn’t appreciate the presence of her husband’s son by another woman. He swiftly dropped me off before taking his spot over by the temple. I wonder how long Sean has been employed in his father’s household…
A middle-aged man looking the worse for wear takes up prophesizing on the stairs of the temple. I can’t make out what he is saying over the noise of the market but a few people begin to gather around him before a man storms out of the temple in a floating black robe and shoos him off the steps before returning inside.
Nearby another man is painting over graffiti on a side wall of the building. Only a few words of the graffiti remain something about a festival. The darker color of the wet paint making the patch stand out from the light brown of the building around it.
As I go to turn back to the conversation next to me, something catches my eye next to the temple. A man. A man is standing there with a cloak and hood watching in our direction. I squint trying to make out his features. He jerks as he notices I am watching him and tilts back his head enough that the light hits some of his features. A young man with broad features and lime green eyes reminding me of the man I met in the narrow streets when I was lost. I haven’t thought about him in a while. What did the Captain call them? Forest-fuckers? That can’t be their real name…
“Hi Ivy!” I look up to see Elena decked out in her finery, her son in tow.
I’m glad to see that my questioning last time we met hasn’t marred our budding friendship, if you could call it that. She is completely and utterly brainwashed, but she’s nice. She’s also the only friend I have on the godforsaken planet. I can’t really claim the Captain as my own friend, despite our warming relationship.
Also if I talk to her maybe I can escape, if only briefly, from Linda’s constant nagging for grandchildren.
“Elena! How are you?” I smile at her and gesture offering the empty seat next to me. Linda is still chatting with her friend.
Elena sits gracefully and pulls her son next to her. He sits on the ground next to her in his expensive-looking pale yellow outfit and begins to play with a toy, a carriage by the looks of it.
“Actually I have news- I haven’t told anyone yet.” She says softly while smiling “I’m pregnant”
She places her hand on her belly, “I go to find out the sex tomorrow”
“I thought Pinn’s could only have boys? Isn’t that-“
Elena takes a deep breath, “Yes, female fetuses don’t survive.”
“Oh” was all I could think of saying.
She shrugs her shoulders, pretending it doesn’t bother her. She reaches down next to her and beings stroking her little boy’s hair as he plays.
I don’t know to comfort someone in such a situation.
“I’m sure it will be okay” I murmur.
“It will be whatever it will be” She says dismissively, she turns her head to look out over the market.