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Titled? ~59

May 26, 2017 06:48AM

Chapter Fifty-Nine

“But you didn’t take him to the party’s dinner last week,” said her father.

“Well, he’s not a handbag,” Anna Margaret answered. She had seen her parents there, briefly, but apart from saying hello she had not spoken to them. There had been so many other people. Still, if they had wanted to know why Frederick was not there they could have taken a moment to ask her.


“He didn’t feel like going.” And she did not feel she owed her father a detailed explanation. She had had no problems with Frederick’s absence and no one had really asked her about it, but perhaps people had talked behind her back. Her mother might have wanted appear chummy with a prince and Frederick might have known. He had not given that as a reason, however.

“You were with that other man.”

“Who has a pregnant wife and was also leaving early. Perfect.”

“People talk.”

“Last year I was also alone. I mean, carpooling. I’m sure people always talk.” She shrugged. It was only a minor source of irritation. “I don’t go to all of his things either. Why should I?”

In the old days it had almost been a fulltime job to attend everything with your husband and to pick the right napkins for parties. Anna Margaret could not see either herself or Frederick do very much of that. They had yet to host an event and she would not care very much about matching napkins if they did. But her father and mother might have to get used to that.

Her father insisted on walking her home. It might be dangerous, he said, because there might be people watching. She suspected he only wanted to talk in private, but it took a while before he spoke. “Your mother is quite peeved that you’re not sharing anything about your pregnancy,” he said.

She wondered why he had to play the messenger. Her mother was more than capable of saying this herself, she would think. “There’s very little to share. I’m not paying that much attention to it.”

“Not?” He looked concerned.

“Well, I’m living healthily, of course, but I’m simply not interested in examining every symptom with a magnifying glass and then sharing it with everyone.” Sometimes people asked questions and she answered them briefly. In her mind she had already said everything a thousand times.

“People have asked us when you’re due.”

“I’m not really surprised,” she decided after a moment. Other people would assume her parents knew and she had indeed given them a vague timeframe. “Did you tell anyone?”

“We don’t really know a date, only a month.”

“Which is as much as I know, because they never come on time. It could be any time.”

“But you will let us know?”

“Or you have to learn about it from the media, you mean?” Anna Margaret did not see how it could always be helped. “Yes, I’ll let you know. Probably. I don’t know how it will go, where I shall be, or how I shall feel. It might not be practical to call family if that might attract attention. If you were to leave the house with a huge teddy bear or balloons, for example, they would follow you, ask you questions, try to find out where I was, and so forth.”

“Yes, but the hospital –“

“The hospital,” she interrupted him. “The policy is that you leave as soon as you’re done. I mean, you get to shower and freshen up, but you can’t stay for hours. They need the room for the next birth. Only if something is wrong, you can stay. And I don’t know if something is going to be wrong. So I can’t tell you right now. If I give birth in the middle of the night, I’ll be home long before you wake up.”


“You wouldn’t want me to phone at three o’clock at night, would you?”

He did not answer.

“And I don’t know if I’m going to want to see fourteen people at once. Also, it’s likely that not all of those fourteen people will be able to visit immediately anyway, so that –“ She struggled with how to phrase it. “So that there might be people who see the baby later than others. And I’m not going to tell people to come later because others can’t come right away. Irene and Claire live further away. Frederick’s family live closer. They will likely come sooner. I know this could be a problem, so I’m telling you this in advance so you can explain it to them if necessary. Would you or Mum be disappointed if Frederick’s mother saw the baby first?”

Her father did not immediately answer. “I don’t know,” he then said.

“It will be the last thing on my mind,” Anna Margaret warned. “I should not like any people getting jealous of each other for no reason.”

“It will be our grandchild,” he reminded her.

“You will see it. I just don’t know when. If I give birth at work everyone will know before our relatives do.”

Fortunately Frederick’s mother was nearly indifferent about it. That was Anna Margaret’s initial impression, although she adjusted that a bit after some conversation.

“When you’re ready,” said Anna. “I’ll have a look. But to be honest, I’m more curious about seeing Frederick with him.”

“Do you think he won’t be able to do it?”

“Of course he will. Maybe when the baby is just there, neither of you will immediately know and that is all right. You can ask, or you can wait.”


“Wait until you know what works. You try a few things and then something works. But,” Frederick’s mother said, leaning forward. “It’s never what your mother-in-law said.”

Anna Margaret laughed. “Never?”


“But then – we should not listen to you?”

“I can make suggestions. But they are based on what I vaguely, vaguely, vaguely remember from a completely different baby, so…” Frederick’s mother shrugged. “But you will find advice everywhere. I have already read it.”

“What, advice for me?” She was not surprised about that, only about Frederick’s mother reading it.

“Yes. Almost literally that. It advised you how to combine a baby with a demanding job.”

“Really?” If they did not know exactly what her job entailed, how could they advise her? But then, she would not have to explain that to her mother-in-law, who seemed to know.

“Such quatsch. I did not cut the article out for you. It advised you what time you should get up, too. To have more time with the baby. Of course your professional nanny would get the baby out of bed and dressed and then you would have ten minutes to cuddle before you went to work. The same after work.”

Anna Margaret shook her head in confusion. “Why…”

“To fill the magazine, of course. And because all special baby classes are during the day, the nanny will go to them. A few suggestions were made. They will be overbooked in no time and no princes will attend anyway.”

“Special baby classes?”

“Classical music, baby yoga, baby massage.”

“And you don’t think I will attend?” That would probably be a correct assessment.

Frederick’s mother shook her head. “Of course not. Well, maybe to meet other babies, but not for the…what it is about.”

“I don’t think I’ll have time.”

“No need. It’s probably not as useful as they claim anyway.”

“I thought I’d read it all,” Anna Margaret said with a sigh. “But there are actually people planning my day? Have they picked out a school for him yet?”

“Not a school, but names, yes. Well, if you mention enough names some will be used by either Isabelle or you, so it’s a fairly safe thing to do.”

“We had planned to stick to one only. Or would someone be against that?” Anna Margaret did not know if she cared in that case.

“The people who placed bets?”

“Not the family?”

“I doubt it.”

January was now underway and it felt as if March was not far off. Sarah their new state secretary had begun her new tasks and she had taken over a few that had previously been Anna Margaret’s. They still had to confer regularly and sometimes it was at work, but when Anna Margaret was asked a question when she was already at home, she did not mind asking Sarah to come over.

She had already eaten dinner, but she did not know if Sarah was hungry, coming straight from her office. It turned out, however, that Sarah making use of some time between dropping a daughter off at tennis practice and picking her up again. “Still, that doesn’t mean you’ve eaten,” said Anna Margaret.

“No, not yet. But –“

“I can get you something,” she offered. In a similar situation she would be polite and say no too, but nevertheless be hungry. “I’ll get something. Just sit down.”

She returned with a plate. Sarah could decide whether she wanted to eat. They sat in the dining room because it had the largest table – and because there was no need for a study while there was a dining room they hardly ever used.

“Thanks,” said Sarah. “Is your husband home?”

“Yes, he was before I let you in. He’s probably doing something.”

“Doesn’t he mind?”

“Probably not. He can still do whatever he always does. We’re not in his way in the dining room.”

But when Sarah took a break to use the toilet, Anna Margaret heard voices in the hall. She stood up and took a look. She had guessed Frederick had stayed out of the way so he would not have to say anything, but either he had been taken by surprise or he did not mind as much as she had thought.

He was demonstrating a handstand.

“Seriously?” she cried.

He got back to his feet. “Yes?”

“Never mind.” She returned to the dining room. She had never known there was room for making handstands in the hall, but who would even think of doing them anywhere?

“Interesting,” said Sarah when she resumed her position. “He looks like a nice boy to me.”

“Upside down?”

“Any way. He was a little flustered.”

“Yes, but who stands upside down? I’ve never seen that before either.” She shook her head as if to get rid of the thoughts. They only had a limited time for their work.

Titled? ~59

LiseMay 26, 2017 06:48AM

Re: Titled? ~59

Anonymous UserMay 30, 2017 08:43AM

Re: Greetings and welcome!

Sarah WaldockMay 30, 2017 10:00PM

Re: Titled? ~59

Sarah WaldockMay 26, 2017 06:02PM


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