Chapter 12

It wasn’t until nearly two moons later when John was finally caught up with the state of the Kingdom and decided to have the doors of the castle opened for the villagers and other subjects to come into the main hall and ask him questions, or if they simply wished to entertain him.

“Will you sit with me today?” John asked Aracely once they were both awake.

It was in the last two days that she had begun to feel ill. Aracely had not said anything but smiled as she dressed with the help of Amelia. “I would be delighted to,” she said after she was sure that speaking words so early in the day would not give her the desire to empty the contents of her stomach.

“My Father used to sit in the main hall for a few days a week, if not all days. When I was a little boy I often joined him until I fell asleep half way through and Teyla had to take me to my chambers. It’s a really good way to find out who your subjects are.”

She nodded as the corset was tightened. Letting out a breath she motioned for the woman to loosen it. “Please not so tight,” she said painfully. “And yes, I will join you. I cannot remain your secret forever,” she added as John and her had yet to make their joining more public other than the formal announcements that he had indeed wedded.

“Aww… can’t you?” John teased as he took a bite out of an apple. “You look gorgeous today.” he smiled widely.

Even the sound of the an apple being eaten was getting to her and she forced her eyes closed. “Thank you my love but would you please not be so loud when you eat?”

“I just…” he looked at the apple and then at his wife. “Are you alright?”

“I am fine. I wish everyone would stop asking me that,” she growled irritably. “I just – food has not agreed well with me the last couple days is all. It will pass.”

He put the apple back down on the tray and softly kissed his wife. “I’m sorry my love.”

She smiled up at him and sighed. “I did not mean for you to end your breakfast. The sounds…my mind cannot tolerate it today it seems. I can go take a short walk in the gardens while you enjoy the meal that the staff so kindly prepared.”

“You should eat something… but I’d rather have you seen by Carson.”

“There is no need to call on him. Please, I will eat. Gabriella will be in the hall with us, she can hold some bread on the side should I desire something,” she said. “But please do not call on him.”

John sighed. “Fine, but if you feel like this tomorrow, you will have no choice but to see Carson.” He pointed out. “I’ll be forced not to treat you as my equal because I worry.”

“If I was truly worried then I would go to speak to him,” Aracely smiled as she took his face in her hands. “It will pass. Have you not had times where you were ill as a child? This feels no different. Will it appease you if I have some toast now?”

“Please have some, even if it’s just a bite.” John nodded before picking up a banana, at least that wouldn’t give any sound when he’d eat it.

She rolled her eyes as she took a slice of toast and broke off small pieces to slowly eat. Her stomach did not turn immediately so she was able to finish it off with little effort. “Happy?”

“Thank you, my love.”

“Go tend to what you need to. I will meet you in the hall shortly,” she smiled up at him. “I just have to select something else to wear. This is not as comfortable as it once had been.”

He took the discarded apple from the platter and walked out of the room, taking another bite out of it before handing the banana over to Katie, who was following him.

Aracely cringed at the sound and fought to keep the single slice of toast down. “He shall pay for that,” she muttered. “Amelia! Please, something that is not so tight around my chest?” she asked making her way over to the closet.

“You will have to wear one of your old dresses, my Queen.” Amelia replied as she quickly walked towards the closet, the two had become quite familiar with each other ever since Hathora started to come by. “And forgive my boldness, but maybe stop indulging yourself so much. Cadman is already working on five of the dresses you discarded last week so you can fit them again.”

“How can they not fit when I have been unable to hold anything down?” she asked as she browsed the options of garments. She had to do something because for entertaining in the hall, her own were not entirely appropriate for a Queen to wear for such a public event. “And my indulgences? All I have truly eaten other than the breads, is that odd fruit that comes from the village market. It is quite sweet and very delicious. Have you not tried it?”

“No, my Queen, I have not.” Amelia replied. “Maybe I could fetch Teyla for you? I know she passed most of her duties as head of house to Gabriella, but Teyla is older and wiser.”

While they have tentatively resolved their issues, Aracely still was not fully trusting of the woman. Still, she nodded. “Very well. You may explain everything to her on your way to me. I will figure out something to wear in the meanwhile.”

“Yes, my Queen, I shall return shortly.” Amelia nodded and walked off to find Teyla.

“Are you nauseous?” Teyla’s voice sounded as she entered the chambers. “How often are you nauseous? And do you long for other foods than your regular foods?”

Aracely turned at the sudden inquisition of questions as she held a dress she believed might be tolerable enough. “Um, hello, good morning,” she said first. “The last few days have been heavier than others. All I really wish for is the sweet fruits I’ve previously eaten, and Miss Janet’s eggs most certainly do not settle well as they had when I first arrived. Do you know of what I am ill with?”

Teyla took the dress from Aracely’s hands and started to caress her stomach, and then even her breasts while the woman looked deep in thought. “You are not ill.” Teyla said absentmindedly.

She winced at how tender her breasts felt at her touch. She had dismissed the sensation as her over sensitized body when in bed with John. “Then what is wrong with me?” she asked as she pulled Teyla’s hands away from her bosom, trying to remain calm through the discomfort.

Teyla smiled brightly as she handed Aracely her dress. “You are carrying the heir to the throne, my Queen.”

“No – I can’t be…Are you sure?” she asked as she looked down to her stomach where her hands immediately went to, dropping the garment. “But it is so soon…”

“That it is, my Queen,” Teyla couldn’t stop smiling. “Congratulations.”

“Are you positive?” she asked, still trying to get over her own surprise. Looking up, she could not help but to smile weakly at the anxious expression on the faces of the two women. “I am with child?”

“Yes, Aracely, you are with child.”

Amelia couldn’t contain her excitement any longer and started to bounce around. “This is joyful news, my Queen!”

Aracely nodded but was unable to find any more words for it. All she could think of was how she would tell John. “Um, I think this dress would be enough for today,” she said as she picked up the forgotten thing. “Please, do not speak of this to anyone. Especially to the King. I will tell him myself,” she ordered as she struggled to begin removing her clothing for the second time that morning.

Amelia quickly jumped up and started to help Aracely with getting dressed. “I will not say anything, my Queen.”

“As will I,” Teyla replied. “But please do share this joyous news with John fast.”

“Leave that off. It will not fit with it on and I wish to breathe.” she said to the girl as she caught her reaching for the corset. “I will tell him as soon as I can think of how. For now, I simply wish to get through the day without having to run off to empty my stomach.”

“Very well.” Teyla nodded. “Do you wish me to do anything for you?”

She was not sure as she was still lost in her thoughts. “What do I do?” she found herself saying in a small voice.

“When I was pregnant with Torren, and later with Elizabeth, I found the experience quite remarkable.” Teyla smiled. “To be aware that someone was growing inside me was quite mind boggling, but the warm baths and some foods made it all worth while. Also, Kanaan could not stop pampering me.”

Thinking of John trying to wait on her as such was not all that pleasant of a thought. “I don’t believe that I could tolerate John’s attentions. He is already over attentive and frustrating. Learning of his child would make him worse,” she pointed out.

Teyla chuckled. “You should tell him off if he frustrates you.”

“Trust that I will tell him where he can go if he does,” Aracely mumbled as she finished dressing. “Finally. This is acceptable for the grand hall, yes?” she asked turning to face the two.

Amelia bit her lip. “I will tell Cadman to hurry up with the revisions to the dresses we’ve already given her.”

“For now, it will do, Aracely.”

“I have the feeling that I won’t be in the seamstress favor the coming weeks,” she frowned. “I will only continue to grow larger.”

“Which will be fine, being with child lets you get away with almost anything.” Teyla smiled widely.

To that, Aracely felt herself smile. “We should make our way to the gathering now. Before John sends his men to come find me. Lord knows what he would do after he learns of this.”

By the time that she had made her way to the hall, Aracely could see that it had begun to fill. There were some merchants presenting something to John as she entered from the side corridor. Taking a deep breath, she walked the rest of the way in, coming up to the throne from behind her love.

John had been somewhat bored but hid it as much as he could. While his mind had been lost on his wife’s clear illness, he considered about having Carson come to check on her while she slept. When his ears picked up on the murmuring of the people, he looked up from where he stared at the floor in front of the latest gift bringer to find that Aracely was stepping up to her own throne seat beside his.

Smiling as if it were the first sun after many days of rain, he reached out for her hand. “You have some colour back in your face my love,” he whispered.

“I feel better now,” she nodded.

John rose to his feet and smiled. “I would like to introduce to you my wife, your Queen, Aracely.” He said as he spoke towards the people into the room.

She looked out and smiled at the people as the congregation bowed or knelt to a knee. “Please, continue with your offerings,” she said simply before moving to sit beside her husband. Looking out among the crowd, she found herself searching for familiar faces, but was relieved she had seen none that stood out to her.

John was glad that he didn’t have to be bored all by himself anymore, feeling more comfortable with Aracely at his side. There were a lot of people who sought advice from him, issues ranging from trying to boost their crops to husbands freaking out because their wives were with child.

Larrin, the songstress with her band of travelers, sang them a song nearing dinner time, and John decided that she was going to be the last. He was tired and he could see on Aracely’s face that she was weary as well.

“Thank you, Larrin.” John said and got up from his seat, rolling his eyes at everyone who fell to their knees. He held out his hand for Aracely and helped her out of her chair once she accepted it. “That will be all for today; I want to thank you for coming and we will accept everyone again in two days.”

“Thank you,” Aracely whispered gratefully. Her hand ran over the fabric of the dress that was snug over her belly and it made her uncomfortable. “What business do you believe I should tend to in the coming days?”

“Getting better,” John said as they walked into the corridor, leaving the hall behind them. As soon as they were out of sight of the townspeople, he lifted her in his arms and smiled at her. “Because you’re not feeling well.”

“It will pass,” she insisted. “Trust me in that. Many has experienced – the same as I do before, and many will in the future.”

“Still, I want you to rest up and get better.” He said as he turned a corridor to take her to their room. “All I could think of today was you, have you eaten anything?”

“Yes,” she sighed. “However, we do need to speak. It was insistent by Teyla that I inform you of her suspicions as to why I have been ill.”

John huffed as he kicked open the door of their quarters. “I’d rather you allow me to call Carson.”

“She believes I am with child,” Aracely said bluntly with her eyes closed. It was easier for her to just let it out than to dance around the subject as it was not something that could ever be spoken easily.

He nearly dropped her in surprise. “What?” He managed to set her down on the bed and looked at her in shock. “What?”

“None of the clothing that had fit when I came to the castle does anymore, or just barely. The desire for the fruits from the market, the irritating smell of eggs – it makes sense,” she frowned as she looked at him. “You are not happy to have a child?”

John was pacing around the room as she spoke. “Of course I am,” he ran a hand through his messy hair and almost seemed to tear out his hair at times. “Of course I am, are you? You’re probably not, because I remember you saying something along the lines of ‘hopefully not soon’ and there isn’t anything to do about it now but…”

Aracely smiled at him and his nervous behaviour. “No, there isn’t anything that either of us can do and while it is certainly a shock, I am happy. It will just be another thing that I must adjust to and hopefully Miss Cadman can work on some other clothing soon.”

He looked at her for a moment and started to pace again. “What if I’m a rotten father? I’m already trying to be a good husband and Lord knows, I might screw up as a King and I’m just… I don’t want to… I don’t believe I can juggle all three roles…”

“What do you mean by trying John? As far as I could see you have been nothing but a good husband and good King for the short time that you have been,” she said. “I believe that you would be even more as a father if you don’t let yourself fall into your fears. Could you please stop your pacing? You are making me nervous now!”

He sat down on the bed with her, looking at her with puppy dog eyes. “I… I think it’s great news, my love… please let Carson confirm Teyla and your suspicions?”

“If it will make you happy, then yes,” she smiled as she turned to lay her head on his shoulder. “I really should change from this hideous thing. It’s rather – snug and very uncomfortable. I feel as if my bosom is ready to break the fabric.”

John kissed her tenderly. “Get changed into something comfortable.”

Aracely found that her smile grew on her face as she turned her face up to him. “Something more comfortable you say,” she teased. “I can think of something that consists of a great deal less fabric that would be more pleasing.”

“My Queen, such the minx you’ve become!” John chuckled as he caressed her hair.

“I learned from you,” she smirked and leaned up to drop a kiss on his lips before pushing herself off the bed to make her way into the washroom to fight her way out of the dress and into a night robe. “We should send someone to inform Miss Cadman to work with some larger dresses before bothering with the usual. It would simply be easier I think.”

“Whatever pleases you.” John said, kicking off his shoes and laying across the bed on his stomach faced towards the washroom, only looking towards the chamber’s door when Amelia snuck in. “What would you like to have for dinner?”

That was something much harder to think of at that moment for Aracely. “Uh -” she let out as she worked on getting the dress off. “I will be happy with fruits and greens. I don’t think I can handle any meats right now.”

He nodded at Amelia who was out of the door within a second, closing the door without any sound. “Done,” John said and waited for Aracely to get out of the washroom. “Want me to help?”

She grunted a few times as she struggled then sighed. “Please,” she called out, feeling weak.

John scrambled off the bed and chuckled at the sight of Aracely in the washroom. “You look defeated, has the dress won?” he teased.

“If you do not help me now, I will be sure it loses for good. Give me a blade and I will cut it off if I have to!” she growled.

“Don’t worry,” he replied as he took hold of the zipper line at the back of her dress and just tore it wide open without much effort. “I win too, and I think the servants will love to use this dress as a cleaning rag.”

“Good,” Aracely nodded with relief as she found herself able to breatheagain. Pushing the clothing off, her hands found their way to her belly that clearly had rounded slightly. “I think I may just choose to live in my nightgown or nothing at all. At least I won’t be in torture.”

Thinking about that for a second, he had to chuckle. “As long as you won’t leave this room I wouldn’t mind, not at all!” John then put his arms around his wife and kissed her tenderly. “Stop thinking that you should think on how you need to spend money, you don’t have to do that anymore, remember that. Cadman may be a little bit grumpy but she’s grateful for the work you give her.” He kissed Aracely again. “I know you can draw, why don’t you design your own clothing and let her make them?”

She turned and glared at him suspiciously. “How do you know that?” she asked as she pulled away from his lips.

“I saw the drawings on the wall of your home in San Franciskus. If you want to stay anonymous, you shouldn’t sign them.”

“Those are landscape sketches. I can’t do clothing,” she frowned. “Best I can design on parchment is a basket of fruit.”

“You don’t give yourself enough worth, then again, if you don’t want to design your own clothes, tell Cadman what you’d like to have and she’ll make them.” He smiled at her and caressed Aracely’s hair. “If you want anything, get it.”

She let out a sigh and shrugged her shoulder. “I will consider it, nothing more,” she insisted. “Now, pass me my robe so that I don’t stand here all night to bare the cold.”

Reaching for her robe, he thought of something else. “And the same goes for inside the castle! If you see something you don’t like, get rid of it… uhh… after asking me first.”

Aracely grinned. “I have no complaints other than being waited on the way the staff does. It is something I know I should accept in some way but it will take time, such as everything else. Now where is our supper?”

“I think that if I’d let the servants go; they and their families will starve, the castle will turn into a ruin apart from the corridor we use the most and we’ll have a riot in town because the King has lost his mind.” He gently placed the robe on her shoulders.

“I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing,” she smiled as she reached up to rest her arms over his shoulders after pulling the robe on all the way. “There will be plenty of work for the people. We will make sure of that.”

“Or maybe, just a crazy thought…” John lifted her up and carried her to the bed. “Demolish the castle and build something smaller!” He laughed as he fell onto the bed next to her.

She squealed as he carried her before dropping her to the soft covers. “I don’t think the people would be quite so accepting of such a change. No, we will make do with what we have here now. Maybe fill the walls with more children in time?”

“As many as you want,” He grinned. “I will need to do some more paperwork tonight after dinner, if that is okay with you. I wouldn’t mind doing it tomorrow, but I thought about taking you out of the castle tomorrow.”

“Whatever you wish to do is fine with me,” she smiled as she moved over on the bed to lay more comfortably beside him as they waited for their food. “So as long as I have a bucket with me should I be unable to keep my food down that is.”

“You should write a letter to your friends to share your news, tell them about the big smelly castle.” He softly caressed her stomach. “I can tell a rider to stop at nothing, not even sleep, and it will be there in a day or three.”

Aracely nodded quietly. She looked up to the ceiling as she thought about her friends, wishing again that she could either go to see them or have them come to her. In either regard, despite the distractions, there was always great worry for them in her heart.

“And once Ronon has returned with good news, you can go and visit them.” He softly kissed her. “I promise.”

She smiled at him. “Thank you.”


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