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Titled? ~ 58

May 15, 2017 07:56PM

Chapter Fifty-Eight




The time before the new year passed quickly. There were dinners and lunches, and they went to the family’s country residence for a day. Frederick’s foreign relatives had been there and Anna Margaret had met them. On the whole they had been nice, but given that Philip’s relatives were also there, she could never remember whom to address in which language. Nobody seemed to think that at all strange.

And there were some people she could not place in either family at all, which must mean they were family friends. But what with all the other events that took place that week, she had not had the energy or the time to talk to all of them at length.

There was one concert she had to attend on New Year’s Eve, but she left during the break. It was not even real physical discomfort or fatigue – she could have lasted for something really important – but she felt she would be better off going to bed. What this meant for the weeks to come, she did not know. Perhaps she was already saving energy by dropping unnecessary things. If she stayed until the end, she would have to stay until the countdown and that was too much.

During the first week of the new year she worked less. Not because she was pregnant, but because a lot of people worked less during the recess. They wanted to interview her – again – and she had put them off until this week.

She had to go to Berlin for two days, but although she could have got a form from her midwife that allowed her to fly, she chose to take the train. It allowed for longer uninterrupted working time and more space to move around. It took a bit long, however, and she decided it was her maximum. Unless she was asked to come to Lisbon or something next week when she would still be able to fly, she would have to ask Louis to go. Or she could ask to host any next meetings she had to attend.

Frederick had planned a few ergometer competitions and he was gone too, but on different days. That could not be helped, unfortunately, and Anna Margaret had dinner at her parents’ house once because she felt she had to show her face again. Before she had had Frederick she had visited them slightly more often. Now that she lived so near she really had to go once in a while. She did not care what the neighbours might think, but her parents would.

After the expected questions about her job from her father, her mother found a moment to ask a question as well. “Have you thought about names yet?”

“Yes.”

“Oh?” Her parents both looked at her.

“But I’m not telling.”

“Why not? We’re not going to tell anyone about it.”

“I’m not telling because it might still change.” And, of course, because it was nobody’s business. She had never had so many secrets. It was intriguing that she had always been quite open and now she was not.

“You know they have been using the same names for the first-born sons for a few generations in different orders.”

Evidently her mother had done some research. Anna Margaret sighed. “Yes, but he doesn’t have to do something his father and grandfather did, does he? They’re not going to know. They’re dead. Their fathers and grandfathers weren’t dead when they had their sons. It was different. There was pressure.”

“How many names –“

“One,” she said politely but firmly. She was also not going to name him after anyone in her own family. “One is fine.” Well, at this moment it was anyway.

“Which hospital will you give birth in? Will you have to stay?”

“Nowadays you don’t have to stay.” She wondered if Irene Louise had not yet discussed this topic yet, but maybe her sister was counting on getting a complication of some sort which would keep her there. “And I suppose I’ll just go to the hospital nearest to where I am at that point. Or maybe I’ll stay where I am.”

“Where you are? Where will you be?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“But I don’t know what you mean, Anna. Doesn’t the hospital have to prepare for you arrival?”

“I suppose we’ll call them when we leave. I think that’s what everyone else does.”

“But the media…”

She could not say she had not thought about the media at all, but her mother was probably having quite different thoughts about this subject. “There won’t be a showing of the baby, if that’s what you mean. Well, I hope not, at least. I don’t think he’ll be of interest.”

“Of course he’ll be. There will be people watching to see who’s visiting and all that, once they’ve caught on you’re there.”

“Yes, but nowadays you don’t have to stay. You have to leave. So I don’t suppose there will be people visiting.” And she really hoped no one would catch on she was there. She could only imagine that it was horrible to be trying to push a baby out with a crowd of people right outside.

“Where will we visit then?”

There would not be a grand arrival by car, Anna Margaret supposed. They would be able to walk the distance. “Here? I mean, there?” She pointed in the direction of her house.

“But then no one might know.” Her mother frowned.

“I hope not.” She wondered what her mother meant. But then no one might know they saw the baby? Or no one might know there was a baby in the first place?

“But you will have to present the child to the people.”

“We have social media nowadays.” There were too many channels through which they could announce things. They did not have to do it from the hospital’s doorstep.

“But…”

“You could really see the baby much better there anyway. Otherwise you’d just see a bundle of white cloths. Not that I’d put him in that, but a blanket maybe.”

“But will you call us?”

“Yes, I suppose. If you want. When I’ve recovered.” She was cautious about making any promises.

“You won’t need assistance?”

“With?” She did not understand.

“The birth.”

“No, I don’t think so.” Anna Margaret frowned uncomfortably. She really hoped her mother was not offering to be present during the birth. “There’s Frederick, there’s the midwife…”

“What use could he be?”

“There’s the midwife,” she repeated. “None of them have said I need to have other people there, so I don’t suppose there’s any need.”

“Irene said she’d like me there.”

“Good for her. How is she doing?” She had probably been remiss in making inquiries.

“She is gaining so much weight. Is the queen going to be there?”

Anna Margaret thought she must mean Anna, because it would be even odder for Isabelle to be there. “No queens. None of them.”

“Will she be with her daughter?”

“I can’t say. I haven’t asked.”

“Who is going to help you after the birth?”

Anna Margaret could see her father was tuning out. She felt the same way. “A nurse will come to check. Really, it will be like everyone else.” She had no idea how it was for everyone else, but the idea was to make it the same. Which would not completely succeed; she was aware of that.

“So where is Frederick?” asked her father.

She was surprised he said Frederick, but it was exactly what he was supposed to say, of course. “Rowing.”

“In a boat?”

“No, on a machine. There are European championships soon, so he needed to test himself.”

“European championships?”

“Yes.” Anna Margaret hoped they were impressed. She had no idea how many people competed or how hard it was to get there, but it sounded impressive at least. He had not boasted of it himself, but simply stated it as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

“What is he going to do there?”

“Rowing.” She hoped they would not again ask if it was in a boat.

“Himself?”

“Yes.”

“Is he that good?”

“He is the best in the country.” She wondered if she ought to say he was also the only one, but she expected they did not invite people to competitions simply because they were the only ones in their country.

“Since when?”

“Since…I don’t know. Oh well, he’s the only one.” She might as well say it. It would come out anyway if they asked further questions.

“I didn’t know he was into rowing,” said her father. “Why isn’t that known?”

“Because his father and grandfather didn’t approve.”

“They’re dead, as you said. They’re not going to know.”

“It’s up to him.”

“Why didn’t they approve? It’s not ballet or anything.”

“Because we had no federation and he had to row for Germany.”

“Oh.” Her father appeared to understand their disapproval. “That would be a no-go. I wonder why he thought that was acceptable.”

“I wonder why someone would think it wasn’t, given the circumstances,” Anna Margaret said sharply. “There was no federation. And his mother is German.”

Was. Was German,” her father corrected.

She did not know how Frederick’s mother felt about it, so she was not going to discuss that point. “He had the passport.”

“True. We never did anything about that in my time. Most people seemed to think nothing would happen anyway. They could easily keep their double passports as a polite concession.”

“So it should not come as a surprise that they make use of them.”

“For travel. Not for…”

She shrugged. “We have a federation now, apparently, so it’s a moot point.”

“He doesn’t seem to be taking his duties very seriously. Aren’t you afraid you’ll be raising that child alone?”

That was an astonishing way of thinking. “Er, no? Why should I? These things aren’t even connected.”
SubjectAuthorPosted

Titled? ~ 58

LiseMay 15, 2017 07:56PM

Re: Titled? ~ 58

Sarah WaldockMay 17, 2017 10:24PM

Re: Titled? ~ 58

AlidaMay 16, 2017 01:57AM



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