Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chapter 14, Surprise Visit

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

Robin and I began putting plans in place the next day. Aurora and Silvan were delighted at our dinner invitation and said they would bring Tara along, We were looking forward to meeting her, Lisa, and another girl called Bliss, who was being adopted by Landon and Crystal. As ecstatic as we were about our extended family growing, Robin and I were looking forward to beginning our immediate family.

While in the middle of dinner preparations, Robin and I got a surprise visit from my mother and Liam. Drying my hands, I ran to enthusiastically hug them. "What a wonderful surprise! We had no idea you were coming today," I said.

"That's why they be calling it a surprise, lass," Liam beamed at me. "Now, what's this we hear about ye looking to adopt a wee one?"

I blinked in surprise. "But how did you know? Robin and I haven't told anyone."

"We know everything, darling," Mother said, a self-satisfied smile on her face. "Gunther told me when I consulted him about another matter this morning."

Robin snorted. "We should have guessed your magic mirror would spill the beans." Gunther was my mother's magic mirror, for inside was a piece of my father's essence. This essence gave Mother's mirror its...or his...personality and made it possible for them to communicate as they do. "Anyway, Alina and I've been talking and have decided to discontinue the fertility treatments. If we can't have kids the old fashioned way, we'll give a family to some kids who need one."

Mother studied Robin, then me, her dark eyes piercing me as though she could look into my very soul. I've always believed that Mother had the answers to all the questions ever asked. I mean, there has never been anyone like my mother. "Alina, could we chat in the living room for a minute? Just us ladies."

"Yes, of course," I said, a little unnerved.

"Want a beer, Liam?" I heard Robin ask as mother and I made our exit.

Mother and I sat on the sofa and she wasted no time. "Alina, dear, is everything all right?"

"It's much better than it was, Mother. Robin and I...we've had a hard time for a while but we're all right again," I said. I knew better than to be evasive with Mother, for she would never fall for such foolery.

"I'm glad, but something is still bothering you. Do you want to tell me?" she asked.

I shrugged. " is difficult to explain without sounding...ungrateful," I sighed. Mother was silent, but at the encouraging look she gave me, I continued. "The thing is, Robin and I are at peace with our decision to adopt a child. But, Mother...och, this will sound so selfish! You see, I've come to love the idea of adopting a child and we will if we are allowed to. But...well, I still wish to have a baby the conventional way. I want to feel what it's like to carry my Robin's child. Does that sound awful?"

Mother squeezed my hand. "No, child, it doesn't sound awful. It's a normal reaction." She heaved a sigh, then looked at me in that penetrating way of hers once again.

"Do you know something you're not telling me, Mother?" I asked.

"Yes, child, I do. Being who and what I am, I cannot interfere directly; my hands are tied. But, I can give you some things to set you and Robin on the right path," Mother said.

"I suppose it's not all that easy being a Goddess at times, is it, Mother?" I asked sadly.

During all those centuries Mother and I had spent apart, she'd experienced and lived through so much. It was a few hundred years ago that she'd received what she referred to as a promotion. Not only was she an extraordinarily powerful witch but she was a Goddess, second only to Ariadne, the Goddess of Witches. She could help, but in most instances, she was not allowed to directly interfere with the course of destiny.

"No, darling, it's not, but don't worry. Everything will work out the way it's mean to as long as you and Robin stay true to each other and to who you are. Now, you must listen very carefully." She took my hand and squeezed it tightly. "You will gain a wealth of information when you speak to Silvan tonight. He is the key to what you seek."

"I see...I think," I replied.

"Not entirely yet, but you will. There is something else, Alina, and this, too is important," Mother said grimly.

"What?" I asked softly.

"Do you remember that promise I coaxed from you those months after Philip died?" she asked.

I felt the color drain from my face. "H-how could I ever forget?"

"I am releasing you from that promise, Alina. When I made you promise never to cast that spell again, it was for a very, very good reason. However, if you truly desire to grow as a witch, you will need to conquer your greatest fear and learn that spell efficiently. Do you understand?" Mother stared directly into my eyes, her gaze never wavering.

"I...I am frightened," I whispered.

"I know, but you must be brave. You are my beautiful, courageous daughter. You will need to call on that courage you have within you," she said.

The visit transitioned into a much lighter mood as Mother and Liam brought us up to date on their lives. "Pen pals, you say?" Robin grinned. "Gosh, I haven't had a pen pal since we were assigned one in English class back in Junior High."

"It's a rewarding experience," Liam said. "Both Lenora and I are writing to a young lady named Emily, who was so excited about us being Supernaturals. She didn't bargain on the real deal when she said she was thinking she'd find someone who merely shared her interest."

"She sounds delightful," I smiled.

"Aye, she is. And I'm also writing to a retired literature professor. Jasper and I be hitting it off nicely."

"You said Lenora was involved. I'm sure she has a flock of them," Robin laughed.

"Just two as far as I ken; Emily and a lady named Meadow. She's recently adopted a wee girl and is looking for new Mom advice," Liam replied.

"Lenora can certain give her that," I laughed.

"That she can." Liam looked over at Mother and grinned. "And what of your new pen pal, darling Mathilda?"

"Ah!" Mother's eyes sparkled with good humor. "Well, she's about nine and asked me to call her Terseus. It's a combination of her screen name and Perseus. I commend her for being cautious about internet safety and not revealing her real name. She's full of fun and imagination, and her dream is to be a hero."

"Sounds like she'll be a lot of fun to write to," Robin said.

Mother nodded. "And, she's very intrigued that I'm a Goddess. She asked if I was a real Goddess or simply something like a Goddess of the kitchen like her Mom even though she says her Mom's cooking stinks."

We all chuckled.

"She asked me to test her so she could prove herself worthy to serve me forever," Mother continued, her eyes dancing.

"Oh my! She's going to be in Heaven. How did you test her?" I asked.

Mother tapped her chin thoughtfully. "I just got her letter yesterday and haven't replied yet. I'm not sure, really. She loves the story of Perseus and is all about action and adventure. I think maybe a good scavenger hunt is in order."

Time flew by as we talked more of pen pals, magic, and more. Before we knew it, Aurora and Silvan were due to arrive. "Well, we'll be getting out of your hair now," Liam said as he and Mother rose from their chairs.

"Oh, please don't go. I prepared plenty of food. We want you to stay," I insisted.

"The more, the merrier," Robin replied.

Robin went to answer the door while Mother helped me arrange the food in large bowls and on serving platters. My heart raced in anticipation of what Silvan would say to us. I had a hunch that some large door was about to open and reveal something that would change our lives. I only hoped I had the courage to face it.

Author's Note: I couldn't resist incorporating a little project I'm involved in into this chapter. Perhaps from time to time, elements of the project will be mentioned in future chapters. It's called The Pen Pal Project and it's a collaboration started by CathyTea over on the Sims Forums. Basically, we bring out some of our Sims and they become pen pals of someone else's Sims. We're having a lot of fun with it. :) If you'd like to know more about it, you can click here to visit the thread on the Forums.

Chapter 13, Finding Our Way Back

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

The next morning, I felt awful. Thunderstorms crashed inside my head and my stomach felt as though it were bouncing along the high seas. I regretted it the moment I opened my eyes and barely made it to the bathroom before the contents of my stomach came up and out, accompanied by terrible shaking and guttural uttering expletives that a proper lady of my time should never even think of voicing. When the torrent was over, I slumped to the floor, my forehead against the cold tiles. "I'm dying! I beseech thee, Ariadne, to make it swift," I moaned.

The next thing I knew, Robin was beside me, mopping my face with a cool cloth. "You're not dying, Alina, my love, but you're wishing to." He scooped me into his arms, carried me to our bedroom, and placed me on the bed. "You really hung one on last night. No wonder you feel so rotten."

"Hung one on?" I asked, frowning. Och, even the muscles in my face hurt!

"It means you got falling-down-crawling-the-floor drunk," he said. I felt the bed sink slightly with his weight when he sat down beside me.

"Och, I am so stupid," I grunted.

Robin shrugged and smiled that crooked smile I loved so much, the smile I'd missed seeing for so long. "I won't disagree, but it happens to most of us at least once. Even hardcore drinkers get hung over." The smile left him then and he took my hand gently in his. "I've got to say though, Alina, that this is very unlike you. I've never known you to touch hard liquor."

I shook my head and groaned when bolts of pain shot through it. I closed my eyes, winced, and opened them slowly. "How did you know what I was drinking?"

Robin chuckled and very, very gently, tapped his forefinger against my nose. "I'm a constable, my love, which makes me a very observant kind of fellow. That Jameson bottle was full yesterday morning and isn't. Plus, I saw the glass on the bar when I came in. And if that wasn't enough, I could smell it on your breath and you were snoring like a freight train by the time I came to bed."

I started to giggle; I just couldn't help it. "Guess there's no pulling one under on you, is there?"

Robin roared with laughter. Oh, how wonderful it was to hear him laugh again, even if it was at my stupidity. "It's over, Alina, not under." He chortled some more and grinned at me again. "And no, there's no pulling one over on me. I know how you've been feeling lately. I see it in your face every time you look at me."

Tears filled my eyes and I started to turn my face to the wall. Robin's hands went to my cheeks, staying my movements so I had no choice but to look at him. "You cannot bear to even be around me, Robin. You are always at work and I hardly see you anymore except in passing." A tear rolled down my cheek. "I began reflecting that mayhap you will take a mistress, someone who can give you the son that I cannot. It...would hurt me but I would understand." A tear rolled down my other cheek and I couldn't keep a sob from escaping.

Robin's lips parted as though ready to form words but nothing came for a long moment. He gently released my hand and studied me intently. With the gentlest of touches, my Robin wiped the tears from my cheeks and began stroking my hair in long, methodical movements. "Alina...I had no idea...but I should have realized..." His voice cracked with emotion and he breathed out a long, shuddering exhalation. "Alina, things aren't done that way anymore. Sure, people still cheat on each other and I doubt that'll ever change. For me, however, I take my marriage vows very seriously. I made a promise to you, Alina, and that won't ever be changing. I love you...only you and could never want anyone else. You're my wife, Alina, and that's all I care about."

"But...but a son!"

Robin stroked a lock of hair away from my face. "I said this before and I'll say it again. I'll be happy if we have children, but I'll be just as happy if it's just you and me. What doesn't make me happy is when you look at me with such disappointment and sadness and knowing that I'm the cause of it. I realize how important it is to you to have children, especially a son, and it kills me that it's the one thing I can't give you."

It was my turn for my lips to form soundlessly. I blinked at him, then saw the raw misery in his eyes. Never had I dreamt that my Robin would consider himself a disappointment to me; it was always myself I viewed as the inadequate one. Very slowly, I reached up to trace my fingers over his beloved face. "Oh, Robin! How could you ever think such a thing? You've given me everything! You are my love and my life, Robin. It is me who is the disappointment, not you."

"Never, Alina! Do you hear me? You are never a disappointment." He placed his finger over my lips to keep me from protesting. He heaved a sigh. "I think what we have here is a string of miscommunication and I am truly sorry for my role in it. I should have had all this out with you instead of hiding behind my work. This marriage stuff isn't always easy, is it?" The corners of his mouth turned up in a grin.

"No, it issn't." I shook my head and groaned again. "It's just as much my fault as it is yours. You must think me a weepy, melodramatic, emotional mess."

My heart rejoiced at seeing the twinkle return to his loving eyes. "I'd say you're entitled. You've been shot so full of hormones and other crap, so it's no wonder. Listen, Alina, we need to talk. How about I go grab one of those hangover cure potions for you and I'll fix breakfast. I want us both to take today off so we can get all of this out into the open where it belongs, all right?"

"All right."

Robin and I talked long into the morning and afternoon. It felt so amazing to be back on the same page as him. I never again wanted us to find ourselves in that dark, distant place where we couldn't find each other.

We made the difficult decision to end the fertility treatments, for we believed it was causing more harm than good. After phoning Dr. Hughes, she said she agreed with us. There was no explanation as to why medical and magical means couldn't produce a baby for us but she said it sometimes happens that way. She brought up the idea of a surrogate mother and after explaining what that was to me, I immediately declined. I was becoming more and more accustomed to this modern time but there were still some things I just couldn't cope with. Surrogacy is one of those things. Dr. Hughes wished us luck and told us to call her any time if we needed her services again.

"We could adopt," Robin said. "There are lots of kids who need good homes."

"You would be all right with that?" I asked.

"Sure," Robin said unhesitatingly. "We could get in touch with Andrea and Aurora and have them put us in touch with the powers that be over at that orphanage they volunteer at. Aurora and Silvan are adopting someone named Tara, and Andrea and Elton are adopting a girl, Lisa. Why not join this family affair and do the same thing?"

"Oh, could we, Robin? I mean, the child won't come from my womb but I'm sure we will grow to love whoever it may be." A tingle of excitement ran through me at the prospect.

"Of course! How about if we invite Aurora and Silvan over for dinner this week and we'll ask them about that orphanage."

"Fine," I said. "It will be nice to have them over again. I am looking forward to meeting Tara as well."

"Me, too. Also, there's another reason I want to invite them over. Do you remember the first time they came for dinner and Silvan mentioned seeing something in your aura?"

I nodded. "Mayhap he still sees it. At other times, I've seen him studying me, but he has never mentioned it again."

"Well, being the incredible, observant person I am, it's been nagging at me. If there is something amiss, we need to know about it and take care of it. Do you agree?" Robin asked.

"I agree and am curious, too. All right, let's ask him about it," I said. "And Mr. McIntyre?"

"Yes, Mrs. McIntyre?" He grinned at me.

"You are incredible." I gave him the sultry look I'd mastered over time and leaned in to kiss him.

When we finally moved slightly apart, Robin looked at me with fire and passion. "Well then, how about if this incredible man takes his incredible wife upstairs for some incredible Bedroom Time? I've missed you, Alina."

"Yes, my Robin. Let us, for I have missed thee as well."