Tatiana asks Phoenix a question…
Suzu grew larger and larger as the months passed and she found it increasingly difficult to move around.
Her thoughts were often about money. They still didn’t have enough to pay for an addition for her child’s room. They were even less prepared if her child turned out to be a boy. She knew they would have a few years where he could stay in the women’s quarters but after that he would need his own space.
To put her mind at ease she chose to meditate often, hoping it would bring her some insight regarding her troubles.
Tatiana had her own troubles. She had decided to wait a while and see if she could gauge Phoenix’s feelings about her but he still sent her mixed signals. He was so friendly with her but carefully brushed off her flirtatious comments.
One evening she finally decided to ask him.
“Phoenix, I have something I’d like to talk to you about…”
Phoenix looked up at her from his salad with a troubled expression. It was like he knew what she was going to say. She frowned; she almost dreaded asking him now. Better to get this over with…
“Lady Suzu and I met with the council many moons ago and… they decided that you would be a good choice to father my child.”
Phoenix closed his eyes for a moment. Tatiana held her breath. When he opened them he had a determined look on his face.
“No, I do not consent.” He almost looked angry.
Tatiana was actually shocked. She hadn’t realized that he would say no. She wasn’t used to being denied something she desired. Phoenix covered his face with his hand.
“I’m sorry, Tatiana, I just cannot imagine myself as the father of your child.”
Tatiana felt like laughing and crying at the same time.
“W-why?” She asked, her breath catching.
“I am very happy in this clan and I don’t want to leave for a new one at this point in my life. That and we get along so well.” He sounded a little like he was making an excuse. “I don’t want us to be like Lady Suzu and Orion…”
Tatiana was speechless. The fire so many months ago must have been a sign for her after all! What else could it have meant if not this? She got up quickly without saying a word and went straight to bed, leaving Phoenix to sit with his head in his hands.
She stayed in bed later than usual the next morning so she would miss Phoenix at breakfast. She knew things would be awkward for a while now and she didn’t want to face him quite yet. As she harvested the newest crops she kept replaying their conversation in her head. Remembering each thing he said caused her to shake her head in embarrassment.
Time passed and soon it came time for Suzu to give birth. She had a fitful night of sleep and woke to extreme hunger in the middle of the night.
She went down to get something to eat from the kitchen and soon realized that she was feeling labor pains.
She went to wake Tatiana and the two of them kept each other company for the hours it took for the child to be born.
Across the compound, Orion was passed out in his quarters. He had worked hard the night before in the garden and was too exhausted to reach his bed. He happily dreamed of waking to the gong that would announce the birth of his daughter, their new heiress.
He would, instead, wake to the news that his son had been born into the clan…