Monday, January 26, 2015

Chapter 20.5

Eight months flew by as if they were petals in the wind. Isolde knew she'd be having this baby soon and if it weren't for her dearest and oldest friend being attacked, beaten and their only daughter raped.. well, this would have been one of the happiest times in her life. Not that Isolde wasn't happy, she was. She just felt guilty for being so incredibly happy right now.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Elias whispered as he came up behind Isolde, wrapping his arms around her middle, cradling her rounded belly. "Mmm.. how are my girls?"

Isolde laughed, "How do you know it's a girl?" Turning around she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed her husband on the lips.

"I don't, but I'd love a little girl. How about, if we have a son.. we keep trying until we have a daughter?" Elias buried his face in his wife's hair.

"Whatever you wish, husband." sighing, Isolde pulled out of Elias's embrace and went to sit on their bed. "You just missed Marta."

"How is she?" Elias asked, joining Isolde on their bed. "How's Molly?"

"Marta..." Isolde sighed. "Molly is with child and Marta is worried about... everything."

Shaking his head, Elias pulled his wife back into his arms. Molly had only just begun coming out of her shell after Marta and Samuel had John. She had been talking again, laughing. She even had some color in her cheeks. Now all of this happens. She's raped, repeatedly, by six different men. Beaten. Now she's with child! Hadn't she endured enough?

"I've spoke to Samuel. Molly still won't stay in his company. She doesn't hold John anymore or play with him. It's as if she's sworn off any contact with the entire male species even those of blood relation." Elias stated quietly.

Isolde only nodded. She knew what her husband was thinking, for she was thinking it as well.

"What does Marta think?" Elias asked.

"Marta is worried that Molly might kill herself." Isolde said up and arched her back. "She's become so distant with everyone, not just her Father or little brother. She only does what Marta tells or asks her to do, but she's gone back to not speaking to anyone, doesn't come out of her room unless absolutely necessary. Marta only just noticed Molly's growing belly just the other night when she was bringing her fresh linens. Molly is frightened, which I don't blame her one bit. Every little noise causes her to jump these days." sighing Isolde stood up and started pacing about their bed chambers.

"Wife, you need to rest. There's nothing you can do for them right now. Marta will call on us if she needs us, right now you need to lay down and take of you and our unborn child." Standing, Elias pulled back the covers on their bed. He turned and scooped up his pregnant wife, causing her to let out a giggle, and laid her down in their bed. Leaning down, he kissed her on the forehead and covered her with the blanket.

"Don't worry about lunch. I can make it. You need to rest. After you eat, I'll bring Oweynn in to see you before we visit Old Lady Matilda." Elias laughed.

They'd grown rather fond of Matilda. She lived across the pond a few miles off the farms property. As children, they'd heard stories about the little house across the pond being haunted. None of them daring to go into or near it. That is, until Elias became of age and decided he was going to check it out. That's when he met Matilda. He'd never told his siblings about the woman who lived there, but recently she's been leaving her homestead to visit Elias and Isolde. Bringing with her preserves and medicines. Matilda told Elias that Isolde was going to have their baby sometime this week. He trusted her word over the Doctor's any day.

Isolde smiled up at her husband, "Oweynn seems to have taken with her."

"He has, hasn't he?" Elias asked, smiling down at his wife. Leaning down and kissing her ever so lightly on her lips, he turned and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.

Oweynn was playing with Louis outside the front door, which stood open letting in the warm breeze. This weather was so finicky lately. One minute it was freezing then it's warm. Elias could feel winter coming in his bones and it was going to come with a vengeance. He feared for his small children. Winter was always harsh, but it was worse for babies, small children and elderly. Elderly, like Matilda. Perhaps he should ask the old lady if she'd like to stay with them over the winter. Elias laughed out loud at his thoughts for he knew she'd probably chastise him for even suggesting such a thing. She was a tough ole bird.

"Oweynn, it's time for supper." Elias called to the toddler who ran inside, Louis right on his heels.

Louis was depressed, but still always had time to play with Oweynn. Belle was still missing. Elias had gone to look for her, but he had no luck in finding her. He hoped the old dog was ok. Elias and Oweynn ate their lunch together at the table, Isolde was sleeping soundly and he didn't have the heart to wake her so he stored her food for later.

Elias was cleaning up in the kitchen when there was a soft knock on the door. Knowing who it was, Elias smiled as he walked over to the back door and opened it.

"Tillie! What a pleasant surprise. Oweynn and I were coming to visit you today." Elias greeted Matilda with a huge grin and open arms. Hugging Elias, Matilda playfully swatted at him.

"Ooh.. I know, but it was more important that I came here, Dear." Matilda said smiling as she walked into the kitchen. "Where is Oweynn?"

"In the sitting room with Louis." Elias said, closing the door and latching it. "So, what do we owe the honor, Tillie? Is everything alright?"

Matilda winked at him, "Isolde is having the baby today. I can feel it in my bones... in fact, you should probably check on her." With that, Matilda left the kitchen and headed towards the sitting room to watch Oweynn. For she knew Elias would be very busy.

"I just checked on her Matilda.." Elias started after her and paused. Turning on his heel, Elias walked into his and Isoldes chambers.

Isolde stood, leaning over the bed, clutching the blankets in her tiny fists as another contraction ripped through her belly. She knew this was coming, she'd been feeling it off and on since the night before, but didn't say anything to Elias because she didn't want to panic him. Her breathing was ragged as the contraction passed. Looking up, she saw Elias standing there, staring at her. Eyes wide, mouth gaped open. He was in shock. Letting out a shakey breath, Isolde stood up and pointed to the door.

"Where's Oweynn?" Isolde asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

Not taking his eyes off his wife, Elias quietly closed the door behind him and was at his wife's side before she could blink an eye. "Matilda has him in the sitting room... she just showed up here and told me you were going to have the baby." Putting his hand on the small of her back and his other hand on her belly, Elias kissed his wife's forehead.

"I'm alright, Elias. This isn't my first time, you know." resting her forehead against his neck, Isolde leaned into him. She felt another contraction coming and braced herself for it. Elias held her while she was ripped in two, holding her together so that she wouldn't fall apart. After a couple minutes, it had passed. "I'm alright... they're getting closer together. It shouldn't be too long now."

"I'll get the blankets." Elias guided his wife to their bed and helped her sit down. He then hurriedly grabbed blankets and clothes out of their chest and ran into the kitchen to put water on the hearth, but when reached for the  bucket, Matilda had already done that for him. Smiling, he grabbed it off the hearth and went back into their chambers, shutting the door with his foot. The door was barely closed before Isolde was standing screaming as another contraction hit her.

"What do I do?!" Elias called out to her over his wife's screams.

'Why am I panicking? Pull yourself together, Bishop.' Elias thought to himself. 'This isn't helping Isolde.. '

He ran around to the other side of the bed, wrapping his arms around his wife to support most of her weight, he all but lifted her off her feet and moved her back over to the side of the bed. Lifted her legs up and over the side, then pushed her shoulders back upon the pillows. Taking a deep breath, Elias began moving about their room making sure everything was in order.

Isolde let out another scream, followed by Matilda calmly entering the room. Elias took this as his que to leave. Kissing his wife on the lips and on her round, hardened belly, Elias all but ran from the room as if he was on fire! Oweynn stood by the chair, sucking on two of his fingers. A sign that he was scared, or stressed. Elias tried his best to calm himself before speaking to his son. Then he heard Isolde crying and screaming followed my Matilda's calm voice trying to soothe his wife.

Elias walked over to Oweynn, picked him  up and took him outside. It was still warm so Elias decided they would go down by the pond to watch the ducks. Usually they'd have flown off by now, but because of the odd weather, they were still here. Which suited him fine, especially right now, when he needed to distract Oweynn and himself from Isolde's screams.

A few hours later, Matilda appeared outside the front door. She stood with her shoulders back and with a small smile on her face. Catching Elias's attention, she nodded to him to let him know that he could return. Elias knelt down next to Oweynn, tapping on the toddlers shoulder to call his attention away from the ducklings.

"Papa needs to go see Mama. Would you like to visit with Matilda?" Elias asked Oweynn.

Looking to be deep in thought, Oweynn pursed his little lips and tapped his chubby little finger against his chin. "Tillie!" Oweynn exclaimed, laughing as he threw his hands up in to the air! "Owe-Owe see Tillie!" And with that, Oweynn took off towards the house laughing. Shaking his head, Elias took off after his son.

When Elias entered the house, the door to his and Isolde's chambers were wide open, but Isolde wasn't in there. Hearing the ceiling creak above, he knew she was upstairs in the nursery. Running up the stairs, almost tripping as he did so, Elias threw open the door and found his wife cradling the sweetest baby he'd ever laid eyes on. Except for Oweynn, of course.

"It's a boy!" Isolde beamed at Elias.

Elias was at her side in a heartbeat, his arms wrapped around both his wife and newborn son. Pressing his forehead against Isolde's, their son between both their chests, he looked down and stared in to his child's face.

"Thomas." Elias said, his voice husky fighting back tears of joy. He didn't want anything getting in the way of him memorizing his son's face.

"Thomas." Isolde agreed, smiling down on her sweet little baby. "I suppose we'll have to try again for a daughter." Isolde teased her husband, pressing her lips together trying to suppress her laughter.

"Oh yes. Try we must. Again and again and again." Elias kissed Isolde gently, not wanting to crush Thomas between them.

They stood like this until Oweynn's excited giggles could be heard floating up the stairs from the sitting room. Laughing, Isolde looked up at Elias and kissed her husband. "Shall Thomas go meet his big brother, Oweynn?" Isolde playfully asked her husband.

"Yes." Elias smiled, not taking his hand off the small of Isolde's back as they walked side by side down the stairs to introduce the boys.

Matilda stayed for the first couple nights to help Elias and Isolde adjust to having two small children in their house. Though both took being parents to a 3 year old and a newborn with such finesse that Matilda felt more like she was overstaying her welcome rather than helping. So, because she felt she wasn't needed, Matilda insisted that she head home. Elias, not taking no for an answer, escorted Matilda back to her home. Oweynn and Louis went with them leaving Isolde to bond with Thomas in the quiet of their home.

Not wanting to fall asleep while rocking the baby, Isolde put Thomas to bed in the cradle that used to be Oweynn's in the small bedroom off the kitchen. Waiting until he stopped fussing before she left him to sleep, Isolde began gathering the fixing to start dinner. Because it was oddly warm outside, she decided that something light would be nice. Give everyone a break from Stew.

Elias arrived home hours later with a sleeping Oweynn in his arms. Smiling at his wife, he carried Oweynn upstairs and put him to bed, leaving his door open just a crack so that they would be able to hear him call out when he woke up. Kissing his wife on the back of head as he passed her, Elias headed straight to the room in which Thomas lay in the cradle.

Elias stood over the cradle watching Thomas sleep. When the infant stirred and opened his eyes, Elias couldn't help himself. He picked up the infant and held him up and in front of him to get a better look at him. Wide awake, Elias could tell that he had Isolde's eyes, which made him smile. They weren't the Bishop Blue, but that was ok with him. Thomas had his hair coloring though and his complexion.

"Husband, let Thomas rest." Isolde chastised Elias. "Otherwise he'll be awake all night and we'll never get any sleep... or practice on making our daughter."

Taking Thomas from Elias's arms, Isolde kissed her infants nose and placed him back in his cradle.

"Are you hungry?" Isolde asked as she turned away from the cradle, only to be face to face with her very aroused husband.

"Famished, but not for food." Picking his wife up, Elias carried Isolde into their bed chambers. They had all the time in the world to have another baby, but he wanted her. And she needed him. With both boys fast asleep, Elias made love to his wife over and over again until both fell asleep wrapped in each other's arms.

Louis ate what Isolde had made for dinner.

All was happy on the Bishop Farm.

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