Pulling Tightly

“Don’t pull her gown so tightly” Sophie chirped as Persia struggled with the fastenings of Ailana’s dress.

Ailana gasped sharply as her young maid pulled on the ties yet again, she hated this morning ritual, she missed the maids back home, maids who didn’t seem to enjoy torturing her the way Persia did.  

Perisa made no effort to hide the distain she felt for her and although the young woman was far too well trained to say the words, she let her know in every way left open to her. From pulling her corset unbearably tight, to attacking her hair as though a grizzly lived in it that needed to be beaten into submission. Not to mention that almost all of Ailana’s meals arrived cold while her bath was always too hot.

“Don’t pull it so tightly” Sophie insisted again, “You’ll squash the baby flat”

Ailana glowered at her sister, she didn’t know how Sophie knew, Sophie always seemed to know everything and for that she sometimes hated her.  She hadn’t told anyone yet not even Abel, truth be told she wasn’t even sure herself yet, it had only been 6 weeks since her brothers party far too soon to be jumping to such conclusions even if her monthly was a tiny bit late.

“Is it true?” Persia half demanded catching Ailana by surprise.

“What?” she replied the question leaping from her mouth in a gasp as Persia jerked the ties once again.

“Are you with Thomas’s child?” Persia demanded.

She was just about to protest her innocence’s and explain that it was far too early to tell, when she remembered that when all was said and done Persia was the servant and she was the noblewoman and she didn’t need to explain anything to her. Composing herself “That is none of your concern” she simply replied.  

Looking in the mirror she could see Persia’s disgusted expression, an expression she was far too familiar with around the castle by now. The servant’s hated her they hated the fact that she was the cause of the loss of Holly and while Thomas himself seemed to be the only person not to blame her he could not bare to be near her either.

“Danson won’t want you if you’re with Thomas’s child” Persia replied matter of factly, the not so subtle dig biting.  Ailana sighed, if she were alone right she’d cry, but she wouldn’t cry because Hamdun woman didn’t cry in public and most of all not in front of servants.

Rumours were of course already flying about Thomas’s request that Danson marry Ailana, infact it was just that thing that Thomas was talking with Abel about at that very moment.  Gossip’s where talking would they, wouldn’t they .. would Danson agree, would Abel and Peter agree?. Yet thus far not one person had thought to even tell her about it directly never mind ask her if she agreed, she’d only learnt of it from Sophie.  Not that there was anything to agree, if her brothers and Danson agreed her opinion mattered little anyway.

She’d only met Danson in a fleetingly manner on a couple of occasions. On those occasions he’d seemed polite enough, though at the time she’d not considered him as a possible spouse and couldn’t even remember if he was handsome.  Now though she desperately hoped he’d want her and she hoped her late cycle was just due to stress and upset.  Because for her cruelty Persia was right, if she was with Thomas’s child Danson wouldn’t want her.

If she were pregnant her only hope would be that Thomas would marry her out of some twisted loyalty. At least Quillen was evidence that he valued even his bastard children and wouldn’t see her cast out into the cold, but she didn’t hold out much hope that it would ever be a happy union.

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