The State of Us
Thayde rose early, before Enamra, mostly because he had trouble sleeping as he recounted the events of the previous day. Fingoran's grinning face kept looming up at him in the darkness. His wife was young and innocent, the last thing he needed was one of the other men taking advantage of that. Maybe he should start telling her more about the nature of others.... He shook his head, he didn't want her to be afraid to make friends.
Taking out the klah pitcher, he began making a fresh pot while putting on some thinly sliced cuts of porcine to sizzle in the skillet.
The door to their bedroom slowly creaked open and Enamra's face peeked out, wincing at the bright light. The moment she saw Thayde, she flushed and almost darted back in the room; she remembered everything. It was hazy at parts, but she remembered. She remembered how she had drank, talked about personal matters with complete strangers, embarrassed herself and then when her husband had brought her home...
She looked down as her face heated with the memory. How was she supposed to face him? She had flung herself at him and they'd... done things. Things that had felt so good and had shattered and thrilled her body and mind in a way she'd never imagined. What must he think of her? Was that what sharing a bed would be like? And he'd told her that he loved her. She peeked at him from the door way, staring at his back. Her head pounded and the light from the windows hurt her eyes, but she didn't take her eyes from him. What was she supposed to say? What could she say?
"There you are," Thayde said when he turned and noticed Enamra watching him from their bedroom door. He had figured she would be bashful today, but he did not know of a way to ease her embarrassment. Embarrassment was a rite of passage that came with your first hangover. "I'm making breakfast if you are hungry," he said before turning to check on the eggs that he had cracked into the skillet.
She immediately flushed even brighter and stepped back, flexing bare toes against the floor. The thought of food turned her stomach, but now that he knew she was awake, she couldn't hide. Nibbling her lower lip, she slowly stepped into the kitchen, eyes squinted against the bright light. Hugging herself tightly, she shuffled towards the table and sat. There was a cup of tea there and she recognized the scent of willowsalic in the heated liquid.
Grateful, she quickly took a sip of the steaming drink, then laid her head on her arms in the table. "I'm sorry, Thayde." Her words were muffled. "I shouldn't have drank anything. I embarrassed both of us. I'm so so sorry. "
Even though Thayde had been angry and embarrassed over the things Enamra had said to the group in the parlor, none of that was apparent when he went over to the table and placed his hand on her back. "It happens, Enamra, don't beat yourself up over it. You are not the first person to have a little too much wine." What he wanted to say was that her behavior was normal for a fifteen-Turn-old, but that it just seemed so egregious because she was married. All of the rules were different for them.
"I'm never ever drinking wine again." She groaned against the table. The sweet wine was not worth the after effects at all. All of those people in the parlor were probably laughing at both of them and it was her fault. "You must be so mad at me." She didn't lift her head. He'd every right to be mad at her, but he hadn't been mad after he'd brought her home. Instead they had... it was confusing. "Are you mad at me?"
"No, I am not mad," Thayde said, returning to the kitchen to pull the skillet of eggs from the stove. He brought the fried meat and eggs to the table and set them down. "The grease helps with the hangover," he said as he took a chair beside of her. "I got so drunk when I was about your age, with a bunch of other apprentices. We ended up naked diving off the pier in the middle of winter," he winked at her, amusement in his eyes, "it was not the best idea."
She lifted her head to look at the food and groaned at the word "grease". She grabbed the cup of tea and drank the rest of it instead. She should have cooked breakfast this morning, but was grateful that he had. She didn't know if she could have been able to. Hey lips twitched at the story, an almost smile as the pounding in her head eased. "I'm still sorry. " She finally looked up at him. "I really embarrassed you in front of people you know. I didn't mean to do that. I shouldn't have talked about our private things. "
She looked at her cup and then at the plate in front of her. She knew she should eat before it got cold. Picking up her eating knife, she poked at the eggs, cutting them. Then she spoke in a far more quiet voice. "And I'm sorry about later." Her face reddened.
The hint of a smile lifted the corners of his mouth as he looked at her. "Why are you sorry?" He knew that she was probably embarrassed about what they had done, but the apology he could not fathom.
She squirmed, putting her knife down. "I was so... forward." She flicked a glance at him, shifting at the memory of what she'd done and how she'd literally flung herself at him. "And really uhm, improper. I...I should have stopped myself. I just..." Her blush intensified as she ducked her head. "It felt good." The last words were almost a whisper.
Thayde's hand twitched. He wanted to sweep breakfast in the floor and have his wife right there. Instead, he reached out for her cheek. "There was nothing improper or forward about what you did, Enamra. That, last night, that's what husbands and wives do together. I hope you will do it again, sometime."
She felt the touch on her cheek and looked up at Thayde, eyes widening. He wasn't ashamed of her? Relief and a bit of shy pride showed in a hint of a smile. "So I did okay? Is that what sharing a bed is like? How it felt? It didn't hurt at all." And then she met his eyes. "Did you mean what you said last night?"
"That's kind of what like sharing a bed is like, although there's a bit more to it," he answered with a chuckle. His eyes sobered at her next question. "I wasn't sure if you would remember that," he admitted. "I meant it."
She knew it wasn't completely like what would happen if they shared a bed. She was well aware that he would have to be within her and that it had hurt the time before. But her previous experience hadn't had that pleasure she'd experienced the night before. Curiosity nagged at her. Would it feel really good and then hurt? The other woman he'd been with hadn't seemed like she was in pain, but just the opposite. It made her wonder.
Enamra's curiosity ebbed as Thayde's expression changed. "I remember." She swallowed and her eyes found his with solemn intensity. She searched his face, studying his expression and felt her eyes water when she realized that he was very serious. "But I'm nothing compared to you. You're educated and smart and are a Master. I'm just a drudge who can barely read and doesn't have anything. I don't know anything. I'm stupid and all I can do is clean. "
"That's not true, Enamra. You are a much better person than I am. I broke our vows, I withheld myself from you thinking it would be the right thing to do, I made you feel as though you were somehow inferior to Jalodwyn when it's just the opposite. You are pure, and good, and honest. I am the one who doesn't deserve you."
"I'm not pure." She pointed out softly. She didn't know how to take the rest. Some, she knew was true, but the rest? How could she be better than that Jalodwyn, when she had so much more in common with Thayde? When he said that he didn't deserve her, she shook her head. "That's not true. I just don't see how you can love me. I honestly don't know what it means besides stories I've heard and Harper tales. Or how it's supposed to feel or be like." She looked down at her hands. "I just know that I want to stay your wife and that I like taking care of you and I want to be a good wife for you. I want you to be happy with me and I don't want you to regret having to marry me. And sometimes I'm afraid that you'll get so frustrated with me that you'll send me away. And I don't want to leave you." She chewed on her lower lip, pushing her hair back from her face to tuck behind her ear. "I want you to be glad you married me. "
A couple of months ago, Thayde would not have thought it possible, but as the words began to tumble out he knew they were true. "Maybe you can't imagine it, but my life was so boring before I met you. I worked, came home to an empty room, did some reading, and then went to bed. That was my routine every day. You have given me more than you think. If I had to go back, and I could choose anyone to marry, Enamra, I would still choose you." Perhaps some would have thought he would choose Irabel, and a couple of months ago, he probably would have thought that too, but Enamra had brought more companionship and happiness to his life than Irabel ever had.
Her head lifted and her eyes showed both her surprise and joy at his words. "You would?" The words sounded uncertain and disbelieving. She swallowed and the next words burst out of her, surprising even herself. "I hate this...Jalodwyn. I hate her and I don't even know her."
Thoughts that had been bubbling under the surface finally spilled out. Maybe it was the honesty they were both sharing, but she couldn't contain them further. Her hands trembled as she continued. "I keep seeing the moonlight on your back and how you moved and touched her and hearing her moan your name." Enamra swallowed hard and blinked back tears. "And I get so mad. And I get jealous. All I can think is that it should have been me, not her. That if I'd been a good wife that you wouldn't have wanted her or needed her. And... and when I came home, I cut up all that lingerie because I thought that you didn't want me at all and I'd been trying so hard even when I was scared because I wanted to be a good wife. And now I still want to, but then I remember the moon on your back and I just get so upset. Because it wasn't me. "
Thayde hated himself for the hurt in her voice and the tears in her eyes. He had also never felt more ashamed of himself. He never made rash decisions, until that night with Jalodwyn. Thayde's mind searched for excuses, but there were none. He might have permanently damaged something that could have been wonderful between him and Enamra.
"You're right, it should have been you." Thayde said, his voice husky, regret laced in his tone. "And, as bad as it sounds, in many ways, it was you. I didn't go down there because I wanted to sleep with Jalodwyn, I went down there because I wanted to sleep with you, but I didn't know if that was something you were ready for. Even though it sounds horrible, she was just a convenient body while I thought about you and the way you looked in that lingerie." He looked away for a long moment before glancing back at her. "See? I told you, it's me who doesn't belong in this relationship. You deserve someone who isn't so stupid."
Enamra wiped tears from her eyes. "I don't want anyone else, Thayde. I don't want to be like that with anyone else." On impulse, she grabbed his hands and held them tightly. "So don't say that. Please. I want us to be happy and I want our marriage to be good." She squeezed his hands. "I've loved you since you saved me. The moment I gave you my vows. I made that promise, Thayde. I want to keep it. "
Thayde should his head, barely able to meet her eyes. He did not deserve her love, not when she had every right to hate him for what he had done. "I was terrified, that night on the beach, right after. Terrified that you would find out, that when you did you might decide to leave for the Weyr after all." He looked up at her. "As long as you want me," he vowed, "I'm yours."
She moved to wrap her arms around his neck, pressing her cheek against his shoulder. Closing her eyes, she gave a trembling sigh. "I'm your wife. "
Pulling Enamra into his lap, Thayde wrapped his arms around her slender frame and pressed a kiss into her hair. "And I'm your husband."
Enamra nestled close, resting her head on Thayde's shoulder and took a deep steadying breath. Now that the words had erupted from her, thoughts and feelings that had been festering, she felt cleansed. His arms made her feel safe, secure, and comforted.
Last updated on the September 11th 2019