Something was on Kai's mind - several somethings, knowing her, but enough this time that she was obviously distracted, barely cooing at Mabina's twins and retreating to their bedroom as soon as dinner was over.
He followed close behind her, barely excusing himself from the table, to see what she was up to.
She started brushing his hair the minute the door was closed, almost petting him, almost like she was trying to soothe herself more than him.
"Kai?" he asked quietly. "Is everything all right?"
She didn't answer for a moment, although her hands slowed and stilled on his shoulders.
He tensed slightly, in spite of her relaxing touch. Was it his fault? Had he offended her in some way?
She sighed quietly. "Shahin and Emrys are getting married."
Married? His thoughts tumbled out between his lips as quickly as they manifested. "Like, really married? Church and dress and everything?"
"It seems that way. Ring, at least." She sounded a bit upset.
"Ring?" he echoed. If that wasn't a hint, he didn't know what was. "But we're so young, I mean, they're so young."
"I know," she snapped. "It's a little bit ridiculous."
Whew! Now, was that disaster averted, or sour grapes? "Shahin seemed happy, though?"
"Glowing. Beaming. Smiling. She never smiles." She started brushing his hair again. "Thrilled."
"I suppose that's good for them, then? Different strokes for different folks, and all that?"
"Yeah." Her hands stilled. "If I'm wrong about that word… it's good for them, I suppose."
"Ohh yeah. Well. I guess... I mean, wedding or no, she's already pregnant."
"Yeah." One hand dropped off his shoulder to settle on her stomach. "Her and everyone else."
"Yes, but most of them aren't, well, if you're right..." He floundered for a diplomatic way to say it.
"I know," she answered, sitting down next to him. "We're certainly not. Though I admit to curiosity."
"Curiosity... about our family trees, you mean?"
"Yes," she nods. "I have a decent idea about mine, but yours…"
"I really don't know," he shrugged. It hadn't bothered him much, until now, but clearly it was a concern to Kailani. Should it concern him too?
"Mmm," she leaned her head against his shoulder. "Would you mind if I looked into it? I'd like to know what to expect for our kids. My kids."
"I wouldn't mind at all." Actually, it would be kind of nice to know, anyway. She was right - it bore some investigation. He just hadn't thought about it that way, until she mentioned it.
"Thank you." She kissed his cheek lightly. "I want to do the best I can for them."
Wait... my kids, she'd said. The best I can. "Where do I fit into that?" he asked quietly.
"You've been pretty clear that you didn't want to plan that far out," she responded just as quietly, "and it wouldn't be fair to ask you to, anyway, not now."
"Yes but... if you're making those plans, anyway..."
"I'm always planning for the future." She sounded surprised, and looked up at him, a little startled. "It would be irresponsible not to."
"I could do that, too. Planning... at least a bit ahead." That was what she wanted, wasn't it?
"Can you?" Her expression became almost piercing, studying him. "With any level of clarity?"
"With as much clarity as anyone can predict the future, I suppose?"
"But the Bond is going to be coloring everything, and you won't always Belong to me."
That gave him pause, for just a moment. Was that right? Would the Bond prevent him from making rational judgments? "No, I think I can do it."
"Well, then," she said, sounding a bit doubtful, "what do you want to do about these two?"
"Raise them, as best we can." Duh?
"And…" She got the strangest expressions when she was trying to be tactful. "That one of them isn't, biologically, yours…?"
"You don't mind helping to raise both of them?"
"Of course not. They're still going to be brothers."
"That," she said softly, very very seriously, "is wonderful, Conrad."
He just smiled, basking in the warmth of her words, her touch, how good it all felt.
"So," she continued softly, "you want to raise… our kids with me, together. Together?" she repeated, as if checking to be certain.
Together sounded awfully nice. "Together," he echoed, nodding.
"Formally?" she asked, her eyes seeming to bore into him.
Formally? What did she mean, form... oh. "You mean...?"
"Not yet, of course. But would you want to?"
"I... yes." He turned, seeking her eyes with his, knowing now, knowing, that that was
Copyright © 2009-2011 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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