One last ruffle of Koto’s ears and Cain made to stand, thin hand still trailing after on the dog’s soft head for as long as it could. Calm and content as the day left him until then, he still tensed to the smallest thing. The frame drew an immediate stare and immediate rush of thought. What to do, how to respond—it was a great compliment to have a work framed, so he had to choose his words right, despite how much he thought it unfitting. His work was nice but, not nearly so deserving.
"Yeah," the word slipped out too harsh for what he wanted, but it sufficed as an answer. "Thank you for—well, I’m glad you found it nice enough, to hang up." There, that sounded good. And with that taken care of Cain slipped back into a steady pace behind Aneira, eyes and head flitting about to admire the home. The few glances he’d caught of the interior while waiting on the doorstep gave little to all that sat within.
Dust settled on high furniture and shelves, a smell in the air he couldn’t place, hints here and there of another’s presence—Aneira’s was a foreign home well lived-in. And he an intruder. Cain’s frame tightened the deeper they went. So much as a light brush and he felt any touch of a clumsy limb would leave even the most stable of furniture broken beyond repair.
Cain stood back as Aneira opened the door, the artist waiting a moment to enter. Blue eyes caught the boxes she mentioned (though he still questioned if he was staring at the right ones) and Cain turned back, pivoting on the spot to answer. “No, no. I’m fine,” he insisted, hand waving away the offer. “Thank you though.”
He paused, just long enough to glance at the boxes again. “So, these are okay for me to look through, right? You sure you didn’t leave anything, you might want to keep?”
"Of course it’s nice enough to hang up," she replied pleasantly while watching him. "My apartment needed a bit of warmth. Anyway." She stooped down to pull a few boxes closer. The books were neatly aligned with their spines up making it very easy for her to see her inventory. Most of the other books, those she wanted to keep but did not have space for were positioned the same way along the wall. "I want you to look through these and take as much as you like. I’d rather my friends get some use out of them before I have to give them to strangers. Take all the time you need."
She rose and stood back for a moment, contemplating on whether to say anything else or let him have his silence. It seemed Cain did well in the quiet, however, it unsettled Aneira that he was always in such a state. Perhaps he just wanted to keep to his thoughts, but, like Donovan, sometimes being pulled out of the maze of processes might be a good idea.
"Are you sure you don’t want anything? Donovan has some cake in there if… you’d like a slice." Her voice was hopeful and sincere. Anytime she could feed Cain, Aneira would take every opportunity to do so. At least a slice of chocolate cake might boost his spirits. "It’s chocolate, if that’s what you like."
Koto trotted in from the other room and in the doorway, the farthest he would dare to go, and observed Cain from a short distance. Aneira leaned down to pat the dog on the head while waiting for Cain’s answer. “It would be no trouble.”
“She said she never regretted marrying dad. Never.” He spoke in a little voice that betrayed how unsure he felt, his gaze vacillating between holding Aneira’s eyes or staring at nothing specific, past her shoulders, past reality. In his head, he replayed Evelyn’s confessions and questioned the truth behind her words. Had she said all she said just to make him feel better? “But…”
He curled his fingers around hers, drawing strength from her presence. Like his parents when he was younger, Aneira became a trusty support—a pillar that gave him the security needed to keep trying, in spite of what he believed his flaws. Right now, swimming in doubts, he needed her more than anything. “She hoped their children wouldn’t be… of obvious mixed heritage. Thought that if push came to shove between both nations, it would be better if their children belonged somewhere, at least visually, and weren’t so obviously caught in between.”
A fleeting smile, bittersweet and real, transformed his face. Then, in that instant, Donovan exuded a rawness he rarely showed, a tangible vulnerability: He was, for a second, the writer that hoped endlessly, with all his heart, but thought himself miserable, at best. However, when he spoke again, there was a gentleness to his voice, unlike before. A happiness. “But she said she was happy when she saw me, too… That she couldn’t help it, the euphoria at seeing something of her in me… I was all my father, otherwise, so she loved my eyes.”
Aneira watched him with a certain gentleness that only ever came out in his presence, yet in her eyes she could not hide a subtle sadness. This conversation was inevitable and one that she thought would happen between her and Evelyn alone, not brought upon her by Donovan, who would most likely be drowning in his own doubts again.
She shifted her weight so that she leaned forward and placed a soft kiss upon his cheek, lingering for a few moments as her steady breath flowed through her slightly parted lips. “I have no doubts that your mother told you exactly what she felt was true,” she said in a low, soft whisper. “She married him for a reason, because she thought she and him could do it. I think they succeeded wonderfully, especially in having two amazing children. I’m glad you exist… I would not have met the one person I ever considered marriage with. If you understood how much it all means to me, you’d be just as moved as I am, probably more.”
The trials they must have had to go through… Did it make them stronger? How was their marriage before Victor Redwood suddenly passed away? Aneira wondered this, after all of the confidence that always flew through her body. Parents usually had a way to make it out to be alright in their children’s eyes, even though her parents failed miserably at that, so how did Donovan’s parents really fair through all of the obvious trials a couple of their mixed heritages would have to face?
Regardless, Aneira felt so strongly for this man, stronger for him than she ever thought possible, that she took everything as a challenge that she would overcome. She straightened to look at him, into his wonderful eyes that he shared with his mother and the face that was such a mixture of them both. “Even so, I’m very serious about you. I will be with you, even if people don’t like it. It’s none of their business. And if we ever have children, they will love both of us and be strong people because of who we are, who your parents are. Unfortunately, a bit of my father is still around in me, but I suppose that will help make them strong too. You have me and I have you… I think we could do anything we want to, don’t you think? At the end of all of this, I just want you to be happy, with me.”
I need to get back to this because I miss it.
I lack inspiration, depression gets in the way, or I just literally space out. We need to do the buddy system and kick my butt into gear. Also, I like hugs. Lots of hugs.
Not dead! <3
“I don’t believe I have? I know Bear and I walk you home after walking with you and Koto in the park. So we have seen the outside.” Kit chuckled, “Oh sure! Also he will be coming with us to go to my place after and then we can go swimming.”
Kit followed after Aneira with a hum inside the building, glancing at the elevator they walked into. “Going to assume it is new as Koto isn’t sure about it, my building has one actually and I try not to use it too much. Plus I am on the top floor in a three level building.” She chuckled, “So I tend to only use it, as you said for groceries and or if I got heavy stuff to bring up.”
“Hey, Koto!” Kit grinned, crouching down to ruffle his fur after heading inside. “Guess what, Koto? I am taking you and Aneira swimming! She just needs to find a swimsuit” She leaned in to whisper into his ear, “Which I am doubting she has, shhh” She snickered, scratching his chest.
Aneira rooted through the drawers she rarely opened in search for the only bathing suit she owned. It still fit her from a few years ago when her figure finally filled out to what it would be at her current weight and her brother pestered her for a swim before leaving home for the academy one summer. She finally found it while moving around some skirts she forgot she had and stood with it, examining it closely. “It looks alright, I think…”
She stripped herself down and worked her way into the suit to make sure it really did fit. The mirror at the end of the room was pointed in her direction and Aneira went to see how ridiculous she looked, but realized it fit her quite nicely. “Perhaps Donovan would like to see this,” she said under her breath and found herself smirking before putting on some clothes over the suit. Deciding to see what one of those skirts looked like, she slid that on and put a thin button up shirt on, tucking it snugly into the waist band. Finding herself looking quite alright, she nodded and went in search of a piece of paper and pen to write a quick note to Donovan.
Scrawling over the surface in her usual neat cursive, she wrote:
I seem to have been whisked away for the early afternoon by my friend Kit. I believe you know her from brief meetings. Anyway, she decided we should go for a swim with the dogs and I’m sorry you didn’t get to go this time. We should get together some day so I can show you that little water hole I’ve been talking about… Unless you’re too embarrassed for that.
Please find something to busy yourself with. Perhaps visit Ralph and catch up on things? I’d rather have lunch with you, but Kit was very insistent. I’ll see you very soon, I promise.
Thinking that sufficed, she took it in with her and set it on his desk where she was sure he’d see it. Then, turning toward Kit, she gave the other woman a fake tired look. “Well, I put it on under what I’m wearing. Now then, we could take some sandwiches from here if you like. We just bought more ingredients the other day.”
“It wasn’t thatimportant,” he said, and knew it a lie the moment the words slipped past his lips, accompanied by an easy smile that never reached his eyes. What he discussed with his mother amounted to one of his biggest fear, the memory of her lovely voice—full of guilt and pride—still eating at his heart. “Actually, it was, but…”
He wasn’t sure he wanted to talk about it with her, the woman he loved. More often than not, Donovan lacked conviction, his insecurities adding invisible scars to his body. The hesitation came naturally, then, followed by a prolonged pause, one finger daring to toy with his tie. At his worst, old habits came back with a vengeance.
“I…” He wasn’t sure: not yet, not now. He wasn’t sure, but he knew Aneira deserved his honesty. “I asked her if she ever questioned her judgement in marrying my father, because their children wouldn’t be Amestrian.”
"I see…" Aneira was quiet for a moment while she pondered this as well. For a while now she was meaning to speak to his mother about certain topics and this was one of them. Not knowing anything about this sort of thing, Aneira learned as time went on that not everything was bright and happy within mixed families, even if they were strong together. She thought she could shoulder everything when it came to the both of them, due to her stubborn nature, however endless concerns kept coming with every little doubt Donovan had. None of this would deter her of course. Any knowledge she could gain from his mother’s experiences would be invaluable to her.
"To be honest, I’ve been meaning to talk to her for some time. Not necessarily about this, but it might have come up in the conversation one way or another. There’s so much I want to learn about your parents relationship if I’m to be with you." She shifted a little, moving a bit closer to him and took his other hand so he could not go into his nervous habits.
"So, what did she say…?"
“Didn’t look as if it was a popular spot, I did happen to go check it out when it was raining for practically a week. Wanted to make sure nothing weird was in the water and to double check a few things. Seemed fine to me when I teased it with some earth, er… well, a long stick?” Kit rubbed the back of her neck as she smiled sheepishly. She still never told her about using earth snakes when she used her earth alchemy. “Plus you can warm up in the sun after getting out if you are still cold.” She flashed a grin over at Aneira. “Looks like my feet brought us to your place, want me to follow after or wait here?”
"Oh." Aneira blinked and wondered why she hadn’t noticed where they were going. "You haven’t been in here yet, have you? Why don’t you just come in and say hello to Koto while I look for things."
She smiled and led them up the stairs and into the newly installed elevator. “Koto still isn’t sure about this thing. I think I agree— the stairs provide good exercise, though it’s helpful with the groceries.”
It took only a few moments to reach the top of the small apartment building and she led Kit toward the door and let her in. Koto, who heard the key rattling, was already at the door to welcome Aneira and looked quite interested in Kit being there as well. Aneira still had no idea where to look for something that could pass as a swim suit. “Now where would I have put it,” she said as she wandered off into the bedroom.