"I will give you a thousand poems, I will write them for you. I will sing my melodies with the music of your soul. Only for you, I would walk in infinity. I would face Eternity with you. Only for you…" ~"Solo Por Ti"

fine (the end)


I watch the ocean from my window. It's gray and stormy, but compared to the hot, hazy dryness of Appia, it is thrilling. I smile and fold my arms around myself, pulling my blanket tightly around my shoulders. It's not cold, but lately I have not been able to find a comfortable temperature. I am always too hot or too cold. That morning it is the latter, hence the blanket. Lee is at rehearsal; otherwise I would snuggle up to him on the window seat and watch the ocean with him. He will return in the afternoon, though, and he has promised that we will watch the ocean all we want.

We have officially moved into our house in Laeta. I've only just finished unpacking the last box. I cannot wait to tell Lee. He will be as happy as I am to finally be settled. Just in time too, I think to myself. I have other things to tell him, and I'm not certain how he will react.

The house is small, but it suits us well enough. It has a drawing room, which also serves as a music room, and the kitchen has a charming little breakfast nook with windows that face the sea. I love it. Upstairs Lee and I occupy the master bedroom, and he has recently cleared out what used to be his study, explaining hopefully, "It will serve a better purpose."

I sigh and nervously rub a hand over my stomach. It growls at me; I really need to eat. I don't have much of an appetite, but I make myself rise and go to the kitchen. John has taken his day off; I am alone, so I make cold cereal.

How will Lee take my news? I wonder as I stare around the bare little kitchen. I can only hope he won't cry, because I know if he cries then I will cry, and we'll dissolve into a blubbering, weeping heap. I cringe at the very thought.

It isn't exactly a convenient time. Lee really has cut himself off from his parents. We received the notice by way of a tersely worded letter as soon as we arrived here in Laeta. Financially we are comfortable, not exceedingly rich, but stable due to Lee's foresight and his salary as an evil opera villain. I work part-time teaching music theory in a quaint little studio on the cliffs, because I would die of boredom if I were to be left alone in the house all day while Lee is at rehearsal. In fact, I was supposed to work this morning but I called in sick at the last minute, feeling unwell. The feeling is slowly going away, helped by the fact that I am eating.

I take a nap when I finish my cereal. I spent the entire night tossing and turning, unable to sleep. Poor Lee didn't mention anything in the morning when he got up to leave, but I'm sure I had kept him up too. I feel bad that he is at rehearsal while I am lazing around the house, sleeping.

I don't realize how exhausted I really am until I wake and find Lee lying beside me. He is smiling.

"Aislyn," he murmurs, "shouldn't you be at work?"

"I didn't go."

"Were you not feeling well?" he asks with concern.

"A little off," I reply quietly, closing my eyes. I already feel much better when he puts his arms around me.

"Shall I make you dinner tonight?" he offers.

"Mmm…" I sigh. "It's been a while since I've had pasta."

He laughs. "We had it last night, my dear, and the night before that."

"I know. I was teasing you," I say with a smile.

"I have a new recipe," he continues.

"Lee, I don't think your new recipe will improve your case. I'm not feeling up to that kind of adventure."

Chuckling, he squeezes me gently and replies, "Very well. What do you want to eat tonight?"

"Toast." I grin. "And if it is good, I will help you with the dishes."

Lee sits up, pulling me with him. "How could I refuse that offer?" he laughs. "At least let me make you a sandwich."

I smile and kiss him, but my mind has already drifted far away. If I don't tell him soon, he will figure it out for himself, and I will never be forgiven for that. I have debated for days how to tell him, and still I don't know. I am surprised he has not yet noticed; perhaps he has and is politely refraining from mentioning anything for fear of offending me. Soon, though, it will be obvious, and he is going to have to say something if I don't.

He holds my hand during dinner. I can't help but smile at the gesture. There are candles on the table as well. He kisses me numerous times, and I am unable to decline. I do decline the red wine, though, with the excuse that it is too rich for me and will make me sick. He gives me water instead, and another of his concerned looks.

"Aislyn, you are being awfully quiet. Are you all right?" He runs his thumb over my hand, clasping my fingers in his.

"Fine." I smile at him. I take a few more bites of dinner and finish my water. "Lee, can we talk?"

"Of course, my love. Talk about what?"

I stand. "Let's clean up first."

He joins me at the sink, balancing all the dishes in his hands. I am amazed he doesn't break one.

"You dry," he says, nudging me aside. "You always miss spots when you wash."

I swat him with the dishtowel, trying to look offended despite my grin. He flicks water at me.

"I finished unpacking finally," I say when he leads me from the clean kitchen and into the drawing room.

"Oh?"

"Yes, see?" I wave at the bookcase; it is filled with music books.

"Hmm…" he murmurs, scanning the books. "All in alphabetical order?"

"Chronologically, and then alphabetically—by composer, of course," I reply, pointing my system out. "Palestrina, Bach, Byrd, Purcell…Scarlatti, Vivaldi…" my hands run lovingly over each book spine as I read them off.

"You know I'll never remember that," Lee laughs, sliding his arms around me as he physically drags me away. He knows I can stand there for hours, merely looking at the music I so love. "What is it you wished to talk to me about?" he inquires, sitting down upon the sofa and holding me.

I rest my head against his shoulder and sigh. I have to tell him.

"Lee, promise me you won't cry."

He draws back, looking at me with a querulously raised brow. "I do not cry, my dear. I am a hardhearted villain. Besides, what could possibly bring me to tears?" He gasps. "The piano isn't out of tune, is it?"

I laugh and embrace him. "No, Lee, it's nothing like that." I hesitate and then whisper, "I'm pregnant."

He does not respond except to inhale sharply. After several moments, I nervously pull away and look at him. He is crying. Granted, it's only a few tears that slide silently down his face, but it's enough to get me started. I'm embarrassed to admit that my tears are much more volatile. Lee has to hold me tightly against himself and kiss me several times before my emotional display subsides.

"Aislyn," he murmurs over and over again, stroking my hair with a hand. He waits for my sniffling to taper off before he inquires, "When did you know?"

"Two weeks ago for sure," I reply.

"Two weeks?" he exclaims, suddenly holding me away at arm's length. "And you did not tell me immediately?" He tries to be angry with me, I can see it on his face, but before I can even respond he has forgiven me. "May I see?" His eyes light up with innocent curiosity.

I shrug. "There isn't much to see yet," I warn him as I carefully lift my shirt.

He doesn't care. His fingers touch my abdomen gingerly at first, pressing and prodding tentatively before he caresses it with both hands. "It is no wonder I missed it; it's so small," he mutters in an awed voice.

"Lee, your hands are cold," I inform him.

He glances up at me, grabs my face between his cold hands, and kisses me. He pauses to smile at me and kisses me again, making a small, satisfied noise somewhere deep in his throat.

Before I know it, he has put his hands upon my waist and pressed me back down into the sofa. His lips brush my abdomen, and he murmurs in wonder, "A baby." He sits up abruptly, his hair askew, and declares, "Aislyn, I hardly know what to do with myself. I—I… May I kiss you again?"

I kiss him. After that, he holds me against him for a very long time, musing to himself and humming pleasantly. I am amused and touched by his delight. He seems to be more interested in it than I am, and I am the one physically attached to it.

"What do we do?" he asks finally.

"Nothing for now," I reply with a sigh.

"Nothing? You're sure? I could—I could make you tea," he suggests hopefully.

"Lee," I laugh, "be quiet."

He smiles down at me and squeezes gently. "Only for you, bella. Only for you."