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Friday, June 29, 2007

another wee bit of the 'bodice ripper'.

*here is a different portion of our book, alltogether. After this bit, we are wary of putting more onto the internet, but would be happy to share in other ways that don't involve so many different 'prying eyes'. Be gentle, and keep in mind, this is still a work in progress!*
If you missed celtic rose's sneak peek, its right here

Finola had spent the morning with her mother, helping to sort tapestry yarn, a chore she detested. But, since her behavior in the hall a week past, Nola had been making an effort to treat everyone with kindness. Her heart was still sore from knowing she had caused pain to Quinn, and she was searching for a way to assuage that soreness until Quinn returned, and she could apologize.
Minna looked at her daughter and shook her head. The lass was making a strong effort, but she feared that she would not truly understand the way of things until she met with Quinn, face to face. Meanwhile, Minna was taking advantage of all the good deeds’s Nola was contributing to those of the keep.
“Nola, lass. Since ye are free for the remainder of the day, yer sisters would beg a boon of ye. Aileen, especially. She and Michael would dearly love an outing to the croft, aye? Having the two wee ones dinna make it easy for privacy. Being pregnant again does nae help, either. As well, Una and Eadon have it in mind for an afternoon er, picnic. Una will nae leave her bairn long, young Alastair is still breastfeeding, but ye will have Angus and Eden for the night. To make it less troublesome for the children, ye will watch them in Aileen and Michael’s rooms, aye? Children need their own surroundings. Mistress Beatie will send ye food for the bairns, and yerself. You need but serve it to Angus, and help wee Eden eat. I kent ye would agree, so be off wi’ ye.”
Nola looked at her mathair with a wee bit of panic in her eyes. “I dinna ken. . .”
“Now, Finola Sinclair” said Minna, tolerating no argument from the girl.
“Yes Mathair, I am going.”
Nola stopped in her rooms to collect Maisie, as two sets of eyes were better than one, and while she was at it, she changed her gown into an older, more comfortable cut. If she was going to spend the remainder of the day, and a night, with her niece and nephews, she intended to be comfortable. She made it quick, knowing if she dallied, Aileen would tell Minna. Approaching the doors that led into Aileen and Michael’s rooms, Nola crossed her fingers, and knocked.
“Tis aboot bloody time!” said Una, thrusting young Alastair into her arms. “My laddie just ate, and is content for the moment. Er, except his stink some nappy. The supplies for that are o’er in the corner, aye?” Giving her lad a kiss, she said “be good for Auntie Nola”, and was off like a shot. Aileen, on the other hand, was not in such a hurry, since she had all night to spare her husband. Grabbing Nola by the hand, she led her painstakingly through each room, explaining what, and when Nola was supposed to do certain things.
. . .”Wee Angus must have his meat cut just so, or he may choke on it. He is to have a bath this eve, and the supplies for that are in the corner, with the nappies. Now, Eden is almost trained to the garderobe, but she has her accidents. After dark, she is placed in her night rail, and nappy for the evening. She shouldnae eat too much fruits and greens, as they make her bowel’s move verra frequently. Once a day, and she has had them today. Yon pears are a wee treat for Angus. Take the nappy off her the minute she wakes, or she will shite in it, and between that and the fluid waste, it will all run down the leg, aye?” and on and on Aileen went, discussing bowel habits, food preferences, good clothing, and play clothing (all the play cloths are in the chest in my room) and what to do if there was an emergency. Nola was letting the information run in one ear, and out the other. She thought to herself “surely I can care for the two children? Well, three for a bit, but Angus is near to five, and should be able to help, right?” Becoming tired of it all, she finally managed to shove Aileen out of the door, and sighed with relief.
Looking about, she thought “This will be easy”. Two of the three children were asleep. Did Aileen say that Eden had nae had her lunch, and needed fruit? Looking around, Nola spied some fresh pears that were mashed, perfect for the child. “Wonderful, I will give her a wee snack when she awakens” she thought. Happily, she tossed young Alastair up into the air. He laughed happily, so she did it again, and again. On the third toss, she felt a splash of thick fluid hit her mid chest, and sink right into her cleavage. Looking at the baby, she was aghast to see a dribble of white coming from his mouth. “Bloody hell” she said, then clapped a hand over her mouth. She really must remember she was around children. At that moment, Alastair realized his nappy was still dirty, and began to wail.
“Och, no laddie, no no its ok” she crooned, holding him out and running to the corner for the supplies. Taking a soft cloth, she wiped her chest as best as she could quickly, then, giving up, laid the now screaming baby down and peeled back his nappy. Recoiling from the stench, she looked at the babe and asked
“What does my sister feed you?” Sighing, she caught his hand just as he was about to stick it into his pants.
“No ye dinna, lad, I will nae have that!” lifting his legs high in the air, she began to cleanse him with a soft cloth. In retaliation, a stream of urine arced high into the air, but Nola was able to dodge it.
“Ah, young Alastair, ‘tis a fine warrior ye will be. That was a good try, but your aim was off!” The babe, his good temper restored by having a clean bottom, chortled happily at her. Finishing up her task, she dumped the soiled clout into the bucket she assumed was for such things. Eden, who had been awakened by the babe’s screaming, shuffled over to see. Nola laughed, wondering how old a child had to be before they could walk a straight line. The young girl ambled like she would fall at any moment, then managed to correct her balance and stay afoot. Finally gaining her objective, Eden pointed into the direction of the mashed pears, not bothering to remove her thumb from her mouth. Picking young Alastair up, Nola said
“Sure, sweetheart, ye can have the pears. Your mathair left them for ye, aye? Rocking Alastair, she walked over to the table and put Eden in the seat made just for her. The small lass could reach the table well, so Nola gave her a spoon, and slid the whole dish to the girl, figuring, “as dainty as she is, she will nae eat much, and I will gi’ the rest to her at the evening meal.” Turning, Nola began to look for a chair to rock Alastair to sleep in. She did not see Eden carefully put the spoon down, and reach into the bowl of pears with both hands. . .
Waking up was never a happy moment for Angus. Sleepily, he rubbed his eyes as he wandered out of his small bedchamber. Rubbing his eyes harder, he looked again at the scene in front of him. His sister was painting the table with his special pears that Mathair had promised him, and his Auntie Nola was sitting in the corner, singing to smelly Alastair. The tune sounded like a cat was stuck in the mote, to his ears. Scanning the room, he did not see Aileen, his mathair. This was just too much. Chin quivering, his cry started out as a small hiccup, but escalated into a full, four year old roar of anguish. Nola looked up at the sound, young Alastair startled, and joined his cousin’s noise, and Nola caught site of Eden, happily playing in the pears. She started to cry along with the boys. Eden, ever wanting peace in her family, walked over, and patted her face with the hand that had most recently been painting with fruit. At the sticky touch, Finola cried harder. Eden, starting to look concerned, began to pat Nola’s head and back, trying her best to comfort her Auntie. Nola, could do naught but laugh. Standing, she patted Eden on the head
“Thank ye lass” she said, and went over to Angus, who, by now, was laying on the floor, pounding it with his fist. Glancing at Alastair, to get his opinion of how badly things were mucked up, she noted he was no longer wailing, but bearing down, red in the face, with significant effort. In a moment, the unpleasant smell he’d had before she’d changed his nappy returned. “I canna win” she sighed, and bent down to reason with Angus, and bribe him, if necessary.
Wee Angus was having none of it. Sobbing, he could only eek out certain words. “Mathair. . . sleep. . . my pears. . .Smelly Alastair. . .” and finally, “ye put his dirty cloutie in my froggie’s bucket!” Closing her eyes, Nola groaned. How was she to know that the bucket was for Angus’ pet froggie? “Where was the frog?”she thought, following that thought with “mayhap I should ha’ listened to Aileen.” then “nay I can still do this”. Looking around, she noted Eden was carefully out of the way, sitting on a carpet, playing with Maisie, who was now also covered in pear. “She is fine, for the moment” thought Nola. Mentally apologizing to ‘Smelly Alastair’, as she would now forever think of him, Nola laid the baby down on his stomach nearby. Pulling wee Angus into her lap, she eventually comforted the boy, by promising him chicken in the shape of stars, and more pears for the evening meal. She prayed Mistress Beatie knew how to make the chicken look like a star. . .
After some time, Nola felt like she once again had a hand on things. Not foolish enough to become complacent twice, she kept a tight eye on the children. Smelly Alastair was in his third fresh nappy, and since the froggie bucket was ruined anyhow, wee Angus had only charged her a small fortune to keep it. Eden had been cleaned up, and put into a fresh dress. The only one Nola could find was a wee bit fancy, with its bits of lace and ribbon, she thought, but Aileen always took pride in how her daughter looked, and did nae seem to have any simple clothing for the lass. The frog had been located in the water ewer in Aileen and Michael’s room, and Nola was content to leave the webbed foot creature there. She hated frogs. Looking out the window, she hoped that Una would return before Alastair needed yet another nappy change. At the moment, he was sound asleep, and looked peaceful as an angel. Angus and Eden were playing a boisterous game of tag, and Maisie was under the table, trying to get the pear out of her fur. Finola sat down with a sigh, and wondered if it would be ill advised to partake of ale whilst she was caring for the children. “Nae, I ha’ better not” she wisely concluded, more afraid that Minna would hear of her transgression.
A light knock on the door sounded, and Una entered. Taking one look at Nola, her pretty mouth began smiling, then outright laughing. Knowing she looked a sight, but not caring, Nola said
“I will give ye all I own if ye take wee Angus, and Eden back to yer chambers, with ye. I will even give ye Maisie, at this point”. Hearing this, Maisie gave her a reproachful ‘woof’, and sauntered out of the door, looking for someone who would appreciate her more.
“Nay, sister, no’ for all the money in the kingdom would I agree to that. Tis aboot time ye learned the care of wee bairns, and Angus and Eden are a good a start as any. Were I no’ still feeding my laddie, I would leave him here to enjoy your company, too.” With that, she picked up the still peaceful Alastair, and walked out after Maisie, laughing her head off. Finola ground her teeth, and wondered when she could send the children to bed.
Another knock on the door sounded, and in her delirium, Nola considered that it could be Una, having changed her mind. Or Maisie, for that matter. Throwing the door open she saw Hannu. Throwing her arms around him she said
“Och, annsa, my savior come to rescue me! Come in, and watch the bairns whilst I go take a long bath, aye?” Hannu, examining the pear, and what ever else his lass was covered in, took a step back and answered
“Sweet Fury, as much as I would love to stay and assist ye, I fear your Mathair has begged a boon of me, as well. Your Athair needs to ride out to check the outlying area’s for reavers, and Minna would have me go as well, to ensure his safety. I but came to wish you a good night, love.
Not quite giving up her hope for help, she looked at him and said
“And Tuula?”
“She has been charged with Fynn, and Ioan this night, and they are keeping your Mathair company. I am sorry, sweetheart, but it appears ye are on yer own, here. I will be back sometime late tomorrow morning, though, and perhaps we can steal some time to ourselves?”
Bowing to the inevitable, Nola nodded her head, and gave Hannu a tired kiss. He went away, making sure not to chuckle within her hearing. Smelling his sherte where she had hugged him, he detected an odor of roses, pears, and, dirty nappies. Stripping it off, he went to quickly change.
Finola returned to the room where she had left wee Angus, and Eden. Looking around, she could not find them anywhere. How had they gotten away, when she was standing at the door? Sick with horror, she realized there was another door, leading out from Aileen’s bedchambers. Running in, sure enough, the door was unbolted, and open to the corridor. Going out, she heard high pitched giggles coming from the garderobe. Hoping against hope that it was just Eden doing what came naturally, she approached the door. It was not latched. Quietly she pushed it open, only to find Eden holding froggie over the cesspit.
“Nay!” she gasped, and instinctively reached for the frog. Startled, Eden dropped the poor creature. The frog took exception to his surroundings, and swiftly leaped out, right onto Eden’s fancy dress, then out the door. Eden looked down at the frog prints tracking across her skirt, and spoke the first words of that day (indeed, the first full sentence of her life)
“Och, Bloody Hell, my dreth is ruined”.
“It seems Eden has a lisp” was Nola’s first thought, then her eyes snapped open, and she said
“What did ye just say, lass?”
“I sthaid, my dreth is ruined. Maithair isth going to sthpank me.”
Wee Angus goggled at his sisters first words, and Finola, shaking her head, lead them out of the garderobe, thinking “No, your Mathair is going to ‘sthpank’ me for this, and never let me babysit you again”.
Once back in the chamber, she stripped the now ruined dress off of Eden, who’s thumb had once again retreated to her mouth. Looking at her, Nola decided she could just stay in her chemise. She was not going to chance ruining another dress. Wee Angus was whining a bit about his frog, so Nola promised him that on the morrow, he could go frog hunting with Fynn and Ioan. (She would pay the two handsomely for occupying her nephew). Fortuitously, a knock at the door revealed one of the kitchen helpers with their evening meal. As Nola was hoping, Mistress Beatie had somehow created star shaped pieces of chicken, and all talk of the frog was forgotten. There was also another dish of pears, and a dish of peaches. Looking around, she was dismayed to see that there was no ‘adult’ dish for her, so she was also expected to eat star shaped chicken, and fruit for dinner. Worse, the beverage of choice was milk. “Is this what having children was like?” Finola wondered, now having much more admiration for both of her sisters, who seemed to manage their offspring fitly. After dinner, she cleaned the children up, and then they snuggled together in Michael and Aileen’s big bed. Nola joined them, and told stories until all three of them fell asleep. Right before dozing off, she thought “this part of the night is very pleasant”. Sometime later, she woke up in the dark, with a small hand patting her cheek. “I feel sthick” said Eden, and started to cry. Lifting the child, Finola noticed her last mistake of the day. Eden was not in a nappy, and had eaten way too much fruit. Sighing, she prepared herself for a very long night. .

2 comments:

Bubblewench said...

LOL! Why are you writer whores torturing me so!! Just send me the whole damn book already will you??

mielikki said...

when its ready, BW, maybe you'd like to be one of our proofreaders? I hope that sometime within the next 6 months book one will be. But shhh I haven't shared that hope with Celtic Rose yet. . .