Chapter 8 Part 3 | Son in Sorrow | IHGK Book 2
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A letter from Mr Winmer came, inquiring after Miss Shelstone's health. She answered she felt rather poorly but was recovering. A note in the King's own hand followed later the same day; might she improve enough to attend a private luncheon tomorrow at Foothill Lodge? Elbig dictated her reply: she would.
In fact, she had improved. The Sister's advice and the flat-sided bottle of Early Mother's tincture had combined to conquer her nausea, and she'd gone to the Lodge strong in both spirits and appetite. Now she sprawled comfortably naked atop the coverlet on Harsin's bed; a soft breeze from the open windows dried the sweat from her body, and she stroked her lover's dark head as he lay pillowed on her shoulder.
He smoothed the glossy brown hair between her legs. "Little mink of mine," he said, dipping his fingers just inside her.
She wiggled obligingly. "We just finished, darling!"
"When you are in my bed, Twenna my love, we are never finished." His thumb inscribed circles on the hard little nub at the top of her vulva; lazy waves spread over her, until she remembered.
He was pleased with her, in quite a good mood, he'd just called her his love. Now might be the time. "Harsin, I need to tell you something, and I hope you will be happy."
His thumb and fingers stopped. "Oh? And what might that be, my dear?"
"I…well, Father--we'd taken precautions, you know, and I'm quite surprised, but…I appear to be…I've missed my moon, and…"
Harsin removed his hand. "Pagg's balls." He flopped back onto the bed, one arm over his eyes. "You're sure?"
"The Sister was quite sure. I suppose my moon might still come."
"That's why you were sick," he said in a flat voice.
Twenna winced. "You're angry with me. My father was quite angry with me."
"Your father can go to the Hill." Harsin rose from the bed.
"Where are you going?" Twenna quavered. She sat up as he shrugged on a robe, stalked from the bedchamber into the drawing room and closed the door; he and a servant carried on a low, muffled conversation on the other side which Twenna imagined in distraught detail. He was turning her out. He was calling for her carriage and the nearest maid to help her dress. "I'm sorry," she whimpered to the empty room.
The door opened. The King entered, closing the door behind him again; his eyes beneath their heavy lids were hard. "Stop crying, Twenna. I care for crying women even less than expecting women."
Twenna swallowed back her rising nausea and wished she'd brought the amber bottle. "Will you send me to a Mother's House?"
"A Mother's House?" Harsin repeated. He laughed. "Don't worry, my dear. I have a property about an hour's ride from the City, called Middlemont. You will live there from now on." He sat down on the bed beside her and picked up a lock of her hair; he ran it through his fingers in contemplation. "I am done with unclaimed bastards," he resumed. "I will recognize the child and care for the both of you for the rest of your lives. You must live a quiet life, away from the City and my Queen. I will recognize my daughter, but I will not flaunt you both in front of Ansella."
Twenna captured his hand. "You won't leave me, will you? You won't stop loving me? Because I love you, Harsin, with all my heart."
"I will come to see you at Middlemont often."
She kissed him, and as their lips parted she realized what he'd said. "Why do you think it will be a daughter?"
"An educated guess," he smiled. He pushed her down on the bed and rolled atop her.
Her stomach complained, but she didn't care. His cock pressed hard against her, and as he moved to fill her she whispered, "Only you, there's only you and will only ever be you."
Son in Sorrow will end its serialization July 15, 2013.
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