Ella's Compass Ch. 04bythelastempress©
It had been nearly nine months since Kellen left and although there were times she thought she would die of missing him she didn't.
She tried to honor herself by making the most of the life he had lead her back to. She took a few classes at the community college, learned to enjoy her coworkers more and even learned to play the piano.
She tried to honor her memories of him by actually enjoying the things she did and for the most part, she was successful. Ella still missed him fiercely and she still looked for him out of the big picture window in her little cabin but she no longer expected to see him at any moment.
Often at night while she lay awake in bed unable to sleep she would think of him, of his promise to return to her someday, of the way he would smile at her jokes (even the ones he didn't understand) and most of all she remembered the nights they spent together and the things he would whisper to her as the pleasure rocked her body. These memories were her favorite and the ones she returned to on the nights her back ached and her heart hurt.
But he didn't occupy all her thoughts, even though she saw the echo of him all around her, he was not the only place her mind wandered, she had bigger concerns now and questions that no one could answer.
Ella often found herself wondering what might have happened if the snows had lasted a few weeks longer last April but always she decided that it didn't matter. What had happened could not be changed and she was, despite her worries she was more than willing to live with it. Little did she realize that things were changing again.
Ella bent down laboriously to tie her shoe, not that she could see her shoe any longer but the soft scrape of the lace against the floor alerted her of the need. She rose slowly and ambled to the couch.
Her eyes wandered, as they often did, to the big picture window behind the couch. She glared at the dull, grey winter sky. It would snow tonight and the predictions were for several inches. At least she was off of work tomorrow and wouldn't have to get up early to drive. She'd been working a lot lately. Much more then she wanted to, she had little choice she was trying to save money. She wasn't sure of what to expect or when to expect it and in many ways that was the worst of it.
Almost in punctuation of her thoughts her belly shifted and she let her hand rest against it fondly. She couldn't help but love it, whatever it was going to be, it was a part of him. Ella reflected for the hundredth time that she would like to know exactly what she was cooking but she was hesitant to return to the Doctors office. After the first trimester she was hesitant to go back. She wasn't sure if they would be able to detect anything abnormal on the ultrasounds, so she took her vitamins and read as much as she could
She chuckled to herself and it sounded loud in the empty room, how on Earth would she explain her baby? 'Oh don't worry if she's something you've never seen before doctor. Her father is from another world.'
She was too tired to start worrying about it again. She'd made her bed and would figure out how to lay in it, and thinking of bed she rose and ambled to her bedroom.
She woke early and knew it was early by the pale winter light that filtered through the drapes she spent the first few minutes swearing darkly at the accumulation of snow in her yard. She sighed at her driveway in disgust, the snowplows hadn't even made it out to the roads yet!
Ella ate while she procrastinated, she didn't want to get dressed and she certainly didn't want to deal with snow. She always seemed to be eating these days and she was expanding at a rate that reflected it. Yet despite the rather alarming changes in the body that she had previously known quite well, they didn't seem to reflect the passage of time the way any other pregnant woman's did. Her belly, though pronounced and undeniable did not have the same bulk or the same sweet curve of other women nearly nine months along and she worried uselessly about what it could mean.
The air was very cold and flurries of snow still made it hard to look about without getting snowflakes in her eyes. The snow was clean and new and the air carried the heavy scent of the Douglas pines that surrounded her little house, the little winter birds chattered eagerly as she tromped through the snow to fill their feeder before beginning what she knew would be a long and irritating task.
She had the snow blower and although it took nearly forever to finish her driveway it didn't take as long as it could have if she'd had to shovel it. She walked back to the mailbox to bring in yesterday's neglected mail, it was so quiet she could nearly hear the snow falling. Ella rubbed at her belly absently while she paused to enjoy the strange serenity of the forest in the winter. She squinted her eyes to the distance and received such a shock that for a desperate moment she quite forgot how to breathe.
It was figure walking through the deep woods, just an outline really, lithe and graceful the figure was wearing a deep green cloak (an honest to gods cloak!) and was still to distant to make out anything else in detail.
But she didn't have to see him closer, she knew him instantly, besides who else would be wandering around in the woods on a day like this. It had to be Kellen.
She stared stupidly for a moment longer before a wild exaltation ran through her, she ran forward three steps before she slid to a stop. Her hands tightened instinctively across her belly and fear washed over her in waves. What would he think of her? What would he say? What would she say to him?
Of course it was Kellen wandering around in a snow storm. Of course he would come upon her hugely pregnant and dressed in ugly, heavy clothes.
In a moment of truly girlish terror she turned and ran towards the safety of her house. The irony was not lost upon her that she was waddling away from the creature she most wanted to run towards. That was the last conscious thought she had before she slid on the icy front porch step and fell gracelessly into the snow.
Ella woke suddenly in the dimming light and found she was warm in her bed. Her hands flew instinctively to her belly and she laughed softly to herself when she realized that she must have dreamed about seeing Kellen in the snow. It would not have been the first time she woke up with the echo of his face in her mind.
She almost convinced herself that it actually had been a dream and then she moved.
She ached everywhere! She hurt in places she had never even thought of and now every one of them called out in protest and she bit down on her lip to keep from calling out. Somewhere very near her a chair creaked although no other sound accompanied it Ella did not dare turn her throbbing neck to see what made the sound. She became aware of someone standing very near her, so near that she could feel the heat radiating from their body.
"Are you harmed Ilyaina?" His voice was hard, just the way she remembered it from his first few nights with her, so many months ago. He was angry, probably, at what he discovered, but regardless of his emotion it was still Kellen. She wished he'd say something else so she could drown in his voice.
Ella shook her head to his question not trusting her voice to speak and because she still didn't know what to say.
He moved to stand beside her, his face was hidden in the evening shadows and shaded by his dark hair, which was longer then she remembered. The strange clothes he wore blended into the darkness and made him appear insubstantial. Kellen laid his hand carefully atop her own where it still rested on her abdomen.
He did not speak for several minutes, until she began to shift anxiously.
"I did not know it was possible in this world. I would not have left you." His voice shook with restrained violence. "I would not have had you bear such a thing alone."
He knelt smoothly beside her and although his face was as beautiful as she remembered, his amber eyes were anguished. He paused momentarily as his eyes rested upon her form... more specifically her midsection.
"I ask your forgiveness." He said at last bowing towards her, his cinnamon hair spilled across her arm as he pressed his forehead to her palm.
Ella was unsure how she had expected him to react to this situation, but this certainly wasn't what she had anticipated and she struggled to sit up in bed.
"Kellen...don't... it's not something.." She frowned at her lack of eloquence and had to look away to clear her head. Her memory had done him no justice at all, she tried to find a comfortable way to sit as she patted his arm awkwardly in her attempt to console him.
"There was no way you could have known, I certainly didn't. I didn't even consider it until it was just too obvious to miss. I'd never thought that this could happen but I'm not sorry at all. I..' Her thoughts scattered and her voice trailed off as she got lost in his face again.
Chagrin colored his elegant face and he spoke to himself in a whisper. "I have heard of such things in my world, from unions such as ours. I have spent the time while you rested considering what this time has been like for you and what might have happened had I been delayed. I find no pleasure in these thoughts."
He rose smoothly, so easily that it made her heartache. Kellen slid into the bed beside her and pulled her close to him. Ella had forgotten the quiet strength of his body and sweet smell of the woods that radiated from him. She was where she had been longing to be, safe and warm beside him. He was silent so long that she began to doze against his shoulder and she started when he spoke.
"A babe." Wonder was beginning to war with anxiety in his voice. And then;
"Children are very rare among my kind, they are sacred."
"Even this one?" Her arms wrapped around her belly protectively but she froze half afraid of his answer.
His arms tightened around her and he chuckled at her anxiety and the sound of it soothed something she had not known was raw. "More so I think, I was destined to come back here. I have lived what you would consider a long time and shall live longer still, I have traveled many places Ilyaina but I find now that my thoughts remain with you. This was something I never thought to want but I can not help but welcome the product of our union."
"I missed you."
The wind blew hard and almost covered his chuckle. He planted a kiss on the smooth plane of her neck "As I said when I took leave of you Ilyaina. My heart has remained ever with you."
For what was left of the night, she slept in his embrace.
The next morning he woke her with kisses. Ella awoke breathless and had to play catch up trying to return each one he gave her, her hands fluttered frantically around him until he restrained them gently against the mattress.
"Ilyaina how do you feel?"
She groaned at him and rolled her eyes. "Enormous."
"I cannot believe that you have ever been more beautiful then you are before me now."
"Perhaps, but it is my opinion so I am free to believe what I wish. I must tell you that I have dreamed of you each time that I slept and that my ears echoed with your voice. I want you Ilyaina, my need for you is great." His eyes darkened and then smoldered as he touched her.
She craned her neck to kiss him.
"You must tell me if I hurt you."
Kellen spoke her name as he slid her nightshirt over her head. It was the first time he had seen her intimately in almost a year and she felt her cheeks flush as his eyes and then his hands roamed across her body. Her shape was rounder now and her breasts heavy but this Kellen found it moved him, excited him and he told her so in his quiet lilt
His cinnamon hair brushed her face as he kissed her, and he seemed intent on kissing her everywhere. First her face and then her chest and then all over her, he chuckled at the way she arched to him. The sun filtered in through the same crooked blinds but now Ella was dazed by it, dazzled by the way the sun fell across his body and lit the depths of his amber eye.
He said something as he entered her but it was lost to her as she called out and clung to him. Ella did her best to keep pace with him but his ministrations were dizzying, the feelings more intense then the most vivid of her dreams. Kellen set the pace and she followed willingly he was eager for her and seemed intent on pleasing every part of her, every nerve in her body, and every one of them was alive and crackling in his wake.
It did not take long for them that first time after reuniting, they reached their destination together as the wind blew the tree branches outside her window. Ella tried to call his name, but it was lost in his kiss.
They lay together for a long time as Ella panted and Kellen hummed a low sweet song in her ear. Ella realized as she felt their baby move inside her, that she had at last come full circle. She knew exactly what she wanted and she had exactly what she wanted. They lay together for a long time.
And so, they were together again like pieces of a puzzle they fit together, each filling the holes, the empty places of the other. They were linked together not only by their mutual love for one another but also by the blinding excitement for the child who thrived inside Ella.
There were some adjustments to be made. Kellen had always been a protective and conscientious lover but now, his desire to be near her, to protect her and the baby made him anxious and Ella often thought that if he'd tied himself to her he could not have been closer.
But still she did not complain, for although he did not speak it, Ella knew that Kellen was worried for her and their baby. He was unsure of how to keep them all safe in this world.
Their joining was wonderful but like all things in her life right now it started to get strange. Ella was uncomfortable in the beginning because her body did not look they way she had always known it and she was very conscious of it and because Ella wanted very much to please him.
She should have known better, should have been able to see through the haze of her fear. Kellen had always been able to move something in her soul and he assured her in both words and actions that he found the changes in her form more then appealing. He often told her so, as he looked up from between her thighs with the shine of her arousal on his beautiful face.
The sex between them was intense, consuming and was often the only time when Ella did not feel large and awkward. She suspected this was largely due to Kellen's patience and creativity. Often as he held her and moved inside her, as the pleasure made her dizzy she would feel different and beautiful almost like a goddess in some ways, a lifebringer. She grew, at last, to respect her body
Just as before, the time she spent with him past quickly and Ella expanded to the point that she had to ask for his assistance to tie her shoes and Kellen could no longer be rough when he loved her.
They had talked extensively about the baby's arrival for Ella had planned since she found out about the pregnancy that she would have the baby in her home. She had no idea what a half elven babe would look like and she had half-remembered nightmares about people snatching her baby out of her arms. But she had also been raised in a society that went to hospitals to have babies and she worried about the lack of medical attention.
Kellen remained as neutral about it as she thought he could bear to be. He was ever mindful of the months she had spent without him and seemed intent on supporting whatever decision she made.
In the end it did not matter, for as January gave way to February Ella did not want to go anywhere. She was content to stay warm inside reading or dozing on the couch.
On the first Thursday in February Ella did not sleep at all.
Birth is a messy affair and although it is uncomfortable, it happens with surprisingly little intervention. Kellen stayed beside her. He massaged her back and held her hand through the worst of the pain, he spoke to her in his soft beautiful voice and didn't even wince when she shrieked. She tried to focus on the picture of Waterhouse's Boreas that hung on the wall, she let her mind wander through the colors of the flowers as a strange ache radiated through her body and she shivered helplessly.
On the edge of her thoughts she wondered how Kellen knew what he was doing, but she was distracted and found she did not care how he knew, as always she placed her trust in him and as always he proved more than worthy of it.
When at last the babe she'd carried for so long emerged pale and angry into the world Kellen laid him on her chest.
They named the boy Sora which Kellen said was the name of the night sky in his world. Sora was a beautiful baby whose movements even in infancy, had a strange fluidity which seemed too graceful to be human. He had a patch of dark hair and ears that did not quite achieve the graceful taper of his father's yet were far to sloped to be normal.
Sora was a small, serious baby with large curious eyes the same shade of brown as Ella's. He was healthy but grew slowly, although according to Kellen, he grew much faster the Elven babies. From the moment she first saw him in Kellen's arms she felt her life spin around her turning like the point on a compass. She could see very clearly that everything that had ever happened to her, the good and the bad and even the best part; Kellen, had all been leading to this, to him.
Ella counted herself very fortunate for Kellen was more than attentive to her and their child. It gave her the opportunity to rest and recover. It gave her time to assure herself that everything was as it should be.
Kellen was so proud of the baby she often wondered if he would burst from it. He would hold Sora and look to her with his amber eyes so bright and pleased that it shamed her that she had ever wondered if he would welcome this. Yet despite her happiness she would often look at her baby and worry, she could not suppress the lingering fear she felt when she thought of the future.
She put off saying anything as long as she could almost as if she would break the spell, upon her. The little family took long walks in the winter evenings under the dull sky and Ella spun in the snow with Sora, who was bundled up like a caterpillar, held tightly in her arms. On some nights Kellen told her stories of his travels in her world and of his memories of his own. On other nights she and Kellen found other things to do with their time.
One night as Sora lay sleeping in the cradle by their bed , when there was nothing between them but the night Ella finally gathered her nerve. "You told me once that you were very old."
His voice was amused, curious. It had been a very long time since she had heard the the biting sarcasm that had once dominated it."To you Ilayaina, yes."
"And you will live a very long time still?"
"Yes if I am fortunate, long and long."
"Sora is growing much slower than other babies, he will live a long time as well?"
" He is not immortal Ilyaina but he will live far beyond a mortal life span."
"I will not."
He was quiet for a heartbeat, when he replied it was sharply. "I do not wish to think of this."
"But you need to, for me. I worry. You will take care of Sora? I will be an old woman and he will still be young and beautiful, like you." She had to rush the words out because she could feel his body tensing to protest.
"You know I'm right." She said gently in the silence of his outrage.
Kellen's arms tightened around her, so much that it hurt her, so much that she ached but she did not push away from him. He mumbled something to himself about old magic and his world but she could not follow it, she was waiting for him to respond to her statement.