The women had retired to bed and an uncomfortable silence had fallen over the Baeumonts lounge. Orrick knew he was a risk to Valdermar and that clearly made the young noblemen nervous, but it was more than that, honestly he’d never had much time for the younger man.
Valdermar had always seemed like a spoiled brat to him, a man who had a tantrum every time something didn’t go his way. However despite his own personal misgivings he’d given his word to Holly that once she was gone he would help him cope.
“It won’t be long now?” he asked.
“Holly, the baby.. she’s grown quite large so I guess it must be due soon?”
“Oh yes…. “ Valdermar agreed, the sadness in his voice apparent “A matter of weeks, if im honest I think she’ll go sooner. She’s been getting quite uncomfortable”
“I didn’t think she could feel it?”
“She can’t directly, but it puts a strain on her all the same. The midwife wants her taken to her bed, but of course she refuses says she won’t spend her final weeks looking at the ceiling”
“And how is Eadric? How is he coping?”
“Little man’s oblivious” Valdermar reasoned, “We’ve tried to explain that Holly will need to go away when the babies born but he doesn’t understand and honestly I don’t want to push it”
“Yes I can understand that, no point upsetting him un-duly. You have a wet nurse agreed?”
“Oh yes the midwife doing the delivery, recently had a baby of her own she’s agreed too feed the newborn”
“And a nanny?”
“Oh yes Hannah, she’s been Eadie’s nanny for some time. She’s great with him and I have no reason to feel she’ll been any different with the baby”
“If Eadric agrees to share” he smiled.
“Oh he isn’t’ very good at that” Valdermar admitted, “But then again he’s never needed to before”
“I shouldn’t worry, few children are good at it in the beginning, he’ll learn”
“Hows Emily? Holly said you where having difficulties?”
“Still difficult, she can’t walk past me at the moment without spewing something that should never be heard outside of a brothel… I dare she’ll be even angrier with me by the end of the week, she isn’t happy about Ailana that’s for sure”
“Yes I suppose, to be honest I can’t fathom why on earth you’d take the girl on? What exactly are you hoping to achieve besides making Gabriel even angrier?”
“Can he get angrier?” Orrick chuckled, “Last time I saw him I tried to kill him, surely me marrying his sister is no worse than that”
Valdermar borked, practically spitting the wine he’d been sipping across the room. “Marrying her!! Surely not”
“What did you think I was doing with her?” Orrick chuckled amused by his horror more than offended.
“I don’t know I guess I assumed she was to be some sort of maid, or lady for Raeanne… perhaps even a nanny. Orrick really? Marriage? the girl is young enough to be your daughter!”
“Granddaughter if you want to be specific” Orrick corrected, “I don’t see why it’s so funny, she’s young healthy and frankly I still have some years left in me yet”
“Yes I know… but Thomas… really? Is that the sort of girl you want on your arm?”
“Nonsense… I remember a time when the courtesan to a king was considered a respectable position. It was only made dirty in this case because Gabriel wanted to see his sister ruined”
“I wouldn’t let Holly hear you say that” Valdermar grumbled his disapproval evident.
“I don’t expect you to understand, nor do I need your approval” Orrick warned, “The truth is Ailana is the product of her brothers meddling. She’s a pleasant enough girl and I’ll make her a respectable woman”
“But she couldn’t keep hold of Thomas’s child, perhaps she’s too frail for childbirth…. That is assuming you have a mind for more children”
“I have a mind for it” he agreed, “Woman lose babies, it just happens sometimes, Nicole lost two there is no shame in it. She got unlucky with her first, perhaps there will be more luck with her second”
“Assuming it is her second” Valdermar snorted.
“Valdermar please let us not fall out, frankly I have enough enemy’s”
A sudden knock at the lounge door put stop to any further conversation. Turning both men watched as one of Valdermars maids entered the room. “Lord Vaux, Lady Ailana is asking for you” she offered timidly.
“Your not even married yet” Valdermar chuckled, “Perhaps I can see why she interests you”
Orrick shook his head, he supposed this was the first of many battles he’d need to have defending his decision to marry the girl. Still luckily for him this was not one he needed to win. Standing “I’ll bid you good evening Valdermar, give Holly my best wishes I have no doubt we will be out of your way before you wake in the morning”
Heading out of the room, he climbed the fight of stairs to the first floor to the room, Ailana and Raeanne had been given, knocking lightly on the door Ailana answered it. She stood in her nightgown her face was full of worry tear streaked she appeared so frail. “What is the matter?”
“I don’t know if I should tell you” she murmured, “It’s … I just… I-I.. I don’t want her to get into trouble, but there something I simply must tell you”