tagRomanceThe Marriage Ch. 07

The Marriage Ch. 07

byDreamCloud©

Author's note: Thank you for editing Tim413413. Two more chapters after this one.

*****

The tub was a wonderfully tight fit for two. I was lying back, holding Alia between my legs, her back against my chest. My now-tired phallus was warmly squished between. I was slowly rewashing her breasts for the fourth time. Her eyes closed as she enjoyed my attentions.

"I have missed you," I whispered, her ear just a finger away from my lips.

"Mmmm," Alia replied. It was as if I had not left. We were back in each other's arms, comfortable and loving. I had made love to her quickly as was our need, then slowly. I intended again once my strength returned. I cupped my hand and brought some lukewarm water to her neck and let it run down her chest. She pulled my legs around her, and we lay like that with the water slowly cooling.

"I do not wish to leave you ever again," I added to my words. I felt her lips smile.

"Did not your wife keep you happy, my love?" Alia asked. I could not lie to her.

"It is not that," I tried to explain, "it is being near you that I need. It is you who excites my heart."

"I thought I excited more than your heart," Alia joked.

"I missed that too," I admitted. I pulled more water over her chest as her hands caressed my legs. "I do not like thinking of you alone without me."

"It was long, you being away, but I knew you would return," Alia said, "Mylle and I kept company while we waited for you both to return. It was grand when the lead riders arrived. Just knowing you were close sped my heart." I kissed her ear, the only skin I could reach in that position.

"Hamund is walking well and knows a few words," I informed Alia. She turned as best she could in the confines of the tub.

"What does he say?" Alia asked, her interest painted in her smile.

"A few things he picked up, " I smiled, "Uri was his first word, and Uri taught him his first steps." I needed to tell someone who understood. Alia lost her smile, and caressed my face with pruney fingers.

"It does not matter how, it matters that it happened," Alia said. She knew it bothered me and shared my grief in it. No one knew me like she did. "Hamund is your son and will be walking tall and speaking strong. He will be your commander when you are King. It was his time to walk, so he did it. It could have been anyone there." She had the right of it. I was pleased she knew how I felt about it. The cloud over the issue began to fade now that it was shared.

"You know I love you, my Lady," I said, acknowledging my need of her. I loved her smile, it was such a bright and airy thing.

"Come," Alia said, rising, the water running down her skin in a most pleasing way. "I desire you in ways that would drown us here." Her words were like magic. I rose anew, my manhood awaking for the third time.

*****

I met Angelica to break our fast as the sun was just rising. She had a radiance about her that could only have been a gift from Mylle. Her night went as well as mine. I kissed her cheek, and we entered the hall hand in hand. To my surprise, Balen and his wife were present with my parents.

"Master Balen," I called with gladness, "it is good to see you." I had been planning a ride in the next few days just to see how he was getting on.

"It is Sir Herdsman now," the king said smiling, "it is counsel day." Balen rose and gave me a short bow. His lady rose next to him.

"Good morn, my Prince, my Princess," Balen said properly. His lady curtsied with a shy smile.

"Counsel day? What have I missed?" I asked as we approached.

"I began it while you were gone," the king said proudly, "your and your wife's forays into the villages have borne good fruit. I thought one day a month, we could allow the people a chance to express their interests here." It was a liberal idea from my father. So unlike him, but welcome none the same.

"Sir Herdsman is the people's consul," the king continued, "he jostles the schedule, presents the most pertinent and weeds out the trivial. We have done it twice and find it beneficial to all. I gave him title due the duty."

"No one deserves it more, " I smiled as clasped I Balen's hand, "my good thoughts with you, Sir."

"You look well, Lady Herdsman," Angelica smiled as she kissed Balen's wife cheek.

"It is good to have you two home again, my Lady," Kady said with a blush. She was not yet used to the court. It was good to see someone who did not take it lightly.

"You will preside over the counsel," my father instructed, "it will be good for the people to get to know the next king." I was caught unaware by my father's trust. He was looking straight at me with no humor, just pride, in his eyes.

"I will strive to honor the post, my Lord," I said formally. My father smiled and nodded. There would be no more discussion on it. We sat and had a pleasant meal, mostly fruit and bread.

The counsel went well, I thought. Balen was efficient, though it took a large part of the day to get through the many grievances and requests. All the people seemed to respect the proceedings and my position in them. It was not taken harshly when I chose not to accede to a request, which I tried to do sparingly. Some requests were trivial enough that agreeing with them took no thought, and had no ramifications either way. I suspected some just wanted to know they had the crown's ear. I gave them that.

I found out later that Balen had let some come with trivial requests simply because of their positions. The community held them in high esteem, and Balen did not want the crown to be seen ignoring them. He had a political mind, and saw the best interest of all. My father had made a good choice - Balen was truly born below his station.

The winter brought with it grand news. I was to be a father for the second time. My mother was beside herself with happiness. She adored Hamund, and wished dearly for another grandchild to spoil. Angelica had little sickness this time, which pleased us all. I had hopes the delivery would be equally less taxing. Angelica seemed to have forgotten her first labors, although I could still hear her cries in my mind.

As Angelica's belly grew, our strange family grew closer. It was not uncommon to find us together outside our suite of rooms. We were conscious that Angelica and I would always sit together, but we became more blatant about our closeness to Mylle and Alia. The court seemed to take it in stride, the two ladies being in favor with the princess. Hamund enjoyed his adoptive aunts. They were like two more doting parents to him. Alia thought him special beyond words and Mylle would play whatever he desired, which usually meant chasing him around and pretending she could not catch him.

Mylle still held her ground in Tavia. I had won a few more matches, but not nearly as many as she. It had become my goal to beat her two matches in a row. I was sure her luck outshined my skill, but it felt petty to say it out loud. I was deep in a match with her, losing as usual, when I noticed her lack of conversation. Something was center in her mind, and it was not the game. It made the loss a bit more disheartening since she was beating me with little thought.

"Do you think on a problem?" I asked as it was her turn, and she had yet to realize it. Mylle smiled, picked up the dice and rolled a pair of matching pips.

"'Tis nothing," Mylle replied as she further solidified her impending victory. I sighed as I looked at the board. I rolled, and did not receive a matching set, so I moved as best I could. I thought about conceding, and then shoved it away. I would let her have her victory cleanly.

"It does not seem like nothing," I added.

"Just thoughts in my head," Mylle stated, "I do not wish to bother you with them. They are silly." She smiled and rolled. She moved two more of her pieces safely off the board. She only had six more to go, and I had yet to remove one. It was a race I could not win.

"If they bother you, they bother me, my love," I said, looking sadly at the board. Two match wins in a row seemed like a high mountain to climb. Mylle absently rolled the dice and ran two more pieces off the board.

"I do not wish to tell you," Mylle said. The words came out hesitantly. I feared I was pushing too hard so I stepped back.

"'Tis your mind, my love," I said as I rolled a set of matching pips, sixes. The roll brought a smile to my face. At least I had a chance to move one of my pieces off the board. It was a meaningless need since it did not affect the outcome, but it felt good. Mylle silently rolled, and mindlessly moved off two more of her pieces.

Her victory did not generate the smile I had expected. We parted with small words, and her shy promise to play again. Something was off, and it seemed to press on her. I found Angelica playing with Hamund. Hamund was interested in feeling the baby kick again. It had happened one night, Hamund was in Angelica's arms when the he felt it. It had become an obsession with him, to feel the baby again. It would bring him to laughter whenever it happened. Angelica thought it endearing, and encouraged his curiosity.

"Mylle seemed thoughtful," I said as I kissed my wife. Hamund crawled into my arms as I sat.

"How so?" Angelica asked, rubbing her belly. I think she liked being with child. Even with the backaches, this time she knew what to expect and enjoyed it. Hamund leaned far back, knowing I would hold him as he hung nearly upside down. He was not one for sitting still. I tickled his belly as his shirt rolled open, and he laughed as he tried to knock my hands away.

"Something on her mind," I responded, "she was melancholy during our match. She did not wish to talk to me about it, though I felt it was me she did not want to talk with."

"Ah," Angelica said, "it is nothing and will pass." I could see Angelica knew. I did not like secrets between us, any of us. Especially secrets I did not know. I also knew there were things I told other men that I would never wish repeated to Alia, Angelica or Mylle. I surmised that it was for women's ears and I left it alone. It did stay in my mind though.

*****

Drill the next day was grueling work of my own making. My father had decided I should not continue to defer to Commander Kancraft. Boris agreed I should be more than a ceremonial commander. It was time and I was of age. I was also no fool. I met with Boris in private and asked him to help me set training. I overdid the schedule the first day, and we all paid in sore muscles and bruises. It was good to know the men would follow me in case the need arose, but I swore I would add more short rests in between training in the future. No need to kill everyone before a battle.

I was headed to the bath, desiring a long soak. I was sure I would pay the price if I did not let my muscles loosen. I saw Mylle along the hall, and her eyes dropped away from me. It was almost like when we first met so long ago.

"Good morn, my Lady," I said in pleasant voice. It was midday, if I had thought about it.

"Good day, my Lord," Mylle said and scampered off. Something was not right, and it did not feel good to me. I spent my bath trying to figure out what was wrong. There was nothing I had said or done that should have affected her in such a way. Surely, Alia or Angelica would tell me if I had upset her. Mayhap it was not me she was upset with. It continued to vex me as I let my body absorb the heat of the water.

I spent the rest of the day trying to come across Mylle without seeming overbearing. I was being avoided, and that was frightening. My family could not hold together under subterfuge. It was a fragile thing if one of us had decided to dislike another. It bothered me more that I was the one disliked. I broached the subject with Alia that night as we readied for bed.

"Have I offended Mylle, my love?" I asked as I undid the stays on her dress. Alia seemed hesitant to answer.

"No, not directly," Alia skirted the issue. Now she was not looking at me. I had done something, and I did not know what.

"My love, I must know what disturbs Mylle, and now you," I insisted, "I feel it is festering and I do not wish it to continue." Alia sighed before she spoke.

"She is strangely jealous," Alia replied, "it was something Angelica and I talked about and should not of, not in front of her. That is all." Alia was still looking away, and had stopped undressing. She moved to the hearth and made a show of stirring the embers. I sat on the bed.

"Jealous of what, my love?" I asked slowly. It seems I would have to pull it out, piece by piece. It was talk between women, but it was now affecting two hearts.

"It is silly," Alia said, "I will talk with Mylle, and we will leave it at that." Alia stood from the fire and moved to her side of the bed. I could not remember the last time we started on opposite sides of the bed. Something was not silly.

"It is not silly if it affects you, too," I stated, not turning to look at Alia. I felt her crawl into bed. Alone. I should have not seemed so insistent. I finished disrobing and entered the bed. I scooted close to Alia who strangely did not respond as usual.

"I am sorry I pushed, my love," I whispered, "I will try to forget, but do not leave me alone over it." Alia turned quickly to me, her eyes in apology.

"No, my love, " Alia said, as her hand lightly ran along my side, "I would never do that." She kissed me with reassurance. I had not offended her, mayhap caught her off guard. I tried to ignore the problem, but it festered deeply anyway. I planned not to bring it up again. It was Alia who continued.

"She is...she feels left out," Alia tried hard to explain, "we did not think it would be so, but when Angelica and I talked about...well it was about your parts, and how they worked with ours." I was trying not to react. I had known they talked about it, I just was not sure how in-depth. Alia continued when I said nothing. "Mylle did not know the topic, and Angelica said something she should not have, and Mylle felt she should know," Alia was not breathing as she spoke rapidly, her hand moving back and forth, "and I said you would not, and Angelica laughed, and Mylle cried, and then Angelica cried, and now Mylle cannot look at you without wonder." Alia expelled a deep breath when she finished. I understood only half of what came out because she had spoken so fast. I must have looked as confused as I was.

"She thinks she should know how it all works for herself," Alia clarified.

"Oh," was all I could come up with. It was not what I had envisioned when I foolishly desired an explanation.

"Angelica and I will talk with her again, my love," Alia said softly, "it will run its course and die away." Mylle was embarrassed to be around me. It was only slightly better than me offending her, though I could fix offense easier.

"Now I will feel foolish around her," I revealed. It was in my mind now and it would take time to remove it.

"I wished not to tell you," Alia stated, "it was just talk that went awry. Angelica thought we would be done with it by now. Now it grows in you."

"I did not think she was interested in such things," I thought out loud.

"You are the father of her love's child," Alia chuckled, "you title her 'my love,' and dote on that game of hers. She is not interested in men, but she is interested in you. It is in her to be jealous of Angelica and the babes you have given her." Alia shook her head from side to side, "It was how we talked that annoyed her, and set her mind that way."

"I desire an end to it," I said, not wishing many days of avoiding Mylle. "We will talk to her, you and I. It will be exposed to the light and end more quickly."

"Angelica will not like it," Alia warned, "it is best we leave it to her."

"Then we shall ask her first," I said, confident in my thoughts, "we are either four or not. I do not wish our family to splinter over such things." I rose from the bed, and started to the door.

"A robe, my love," Alia said as she rose for hers. I smiled at my slight. I returned for my robe and then, wisdom returning fully, I kissed Alia well.

"Thank you, my love," I said, "it was hard to tell me, I could see it." I took her, smiling at my kiss, by the hand toward the door.

We found Angelica sitting naked on the bed like a bloated tea kettle. Behind her was Mylle who was acting as a loving cushion, her arms wrapped around Angelica's large belly. Angelica looked up at us, but made no move to cover herself. Mylle pulled a blanket over Angelica's lap.

"It is late for a visit, my husband," Angelica indicated unperturbed.

"I wish to talk if I may, my wife," I replied. I saw Angelica's eyes move to Alia; I did not follow them, knowing they would exchange things in a look I would not understand.

"Tonight?" Angelica sighed. I could see she was comfortable, and I was going to disturb that.

"It would be best, if you would agree." I offered her a way out. Equals I had said. I could see the color rising in Mylle's cheeks as she saw how the wind was blowing. Angelica leaned her head back and kissed Mylle's cheek.

"Sorry, my love," Angelica said sweetly, "my husband has words to say." Angelica shifted her bulk off the bed and pointed to her robe. I helped her into it. Mylle pulled the covers over herself, and stayed in bed. Angelica took Alia's hand. "We will check to see if Hamund sleeps well." I did not desire to do this alone, and looked at Alia for help. I received an apologetic smile - equals was what I said, and this was Angelica's compromise. I suppose the incident had already taken a toll on Angelica, and, if I wished it solved quickly, it would be my doing. I waited for the door to close before I sat on the end of the bed.

"Alia told me things she did not wish to say," I started, "I was worried about you, and pressed her. I thought I had offended you in some way, my love." I used the honorific on purpose. This cannot change things between us.

"It was a shameful thing, my Lord," Mylle said, "I will forget it." I looked at her, a life of being chastised for loving Angelica now shamed by the desire to know what it is like with a man. Something did not sit right with the conversation.

"I wish you to not forget," I said honestly, "I have no shame wondering about you in my mind." Mylle smiled at me, the first time in two days.

"You have thought about it?" Mylle asked brightly.

"Men do that," I chuckled, "it comes with our parts." Mylle sat up, the covers dropped to her lap exposing her small breasts. I tried not to be surprised on the outside. I had, of course, seen all of her before, but never alone.

"Is it the same way you think of Angelica?" Mylle asked with interest. I was in deeper water than I realized. I had no desire to be an arbitrator of some kind of contest in her head. I fell back to the story of Angelica's arrival.

"The first time I saw your love, we were being presented to each other," I lay back on my elbow as I continued, "I had thought she would have the face of a frog and a witch's disposition." Mylle smiled openly. "I saw at once that she was beautiful, but when I looked in her eyes, I saw her dislike of me. It could have been anyone standing before her, it was you she had in her mind, but all I saw was distaste. No, I did not think of her that way when we first met." I chuckled again, "I feared for my happiness then." Mylle joined in my laugh. At least we were talking again.

"When did it change?" Mylle asked.

"Well, we went riding about the countryside and learned about each other," I replied, "we became friends. Then the manly thoughts crept up on me. It was not all of a sudden."

"Do you enjoy copulating with Angelica as much as Alia?" Mylle asked with no reservations. Her frankness was making my mind jump around, and I fumbled for a response.

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