Chapter 10 Part 9 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2
Twenna fretted at the window overlooking Middlemont's grounds and the long, empty drive curving through the park. The royal family had returned from High Haven at Farr's Day, but here she was, still alone. Harsin hadn't come to see her once. Though notes and small presents arrived constantly, they all bore Mr Winmer's hand.
She was supposed to be planning out the week's menus and activities, but she was finding it hard to attend Mistress Hallik's gentle voice. Could Harsin have stopped wanting her? She was hardly a pumpkin--three spokes gone, three more to come before she gave birth to what Harsin insisted would be a daughter, though how he could be so confident about it she didn't know. What would they name the baby? She leaned toward her late mother's name, Deannis; naming a daughter after Mama comforted her. If Harsin had a preference he hadn't said.
When she first moved to Middlemont it had all been so exciting. Sir Elbig was at Menantola, his new holding in Kellen, and for the first time in her life she had her own way. She decorated the house as she pleased, she wore what she pleased, she ate what she pleased--it was a banquet of independence. The kind Halliks helped her in her new role as mistress of an estate, teaching her how to manage the household and how to settle matters to please not just herself but Harsin. Mistress Hallik, the housekeeper, had even hinted that Harsin intended to give her the house once the baby was born. The round of balls, routs, card parties and dinners she'd grown accustomed to in the City--oh, how difficult it was to stay out here by herself! If this was the price for Harsin's love, she would pay it, but it made his neglect harder to bear.
The baby kicked, and Twenna patted her belly. She'd heard the Queen was with child as well and wondered if Her Majesty's baby kicked her, too. Did the royal pregnancy explain Harsin's absence? She couldn't imagine it did, not after he'd turned back to her so fervently after his infidelity with the Queen at the Neya's Day Spectacle. Twenna had persuaded herself the incident was more for appearances than anything. Perhaps she had misjudged.
She looked down at her middle in dismay. He'd said once her growing bump made him want her even more--and he'd proved it. Pregnancy suited her. Her complexion had never been better, and her hair grew in a rush like a spring freshet, thick and flowing. Harsin had always liked her hair. He said it was the color of mink. "'Little mink of mine,'" she murmured.
"Pardon, miss?" said the housekeeper.
Twenna turned from the window. "Nothing, Mistress Hallik. Let's plan this week's menus."
"Are we…are we expecting company, miss?"
Twenna cringed inside. "We should plan for at least one dinner just in case, don't you think?"
"Yes, miss," said Mistress Hallik, daring a motherly little pat on the hand. "Just in case."