Creating A Home (Jess and River) | 116 4A +

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Re: Creating A Home (Jess and River) | 116 4A +

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:13 am

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 29 054 (119 Fourth Age)
Status: Early Winter

Jess and River had been in Caras Galadhon now for a full month. Harna and Calima had found a small house for sale by a young couple whose growing family increased their need for space. Jeremiah and Jacinthe had been less successful, and had decided to build their new home above the tannery that they were planning to open, just as they’d done in Chansond’eau. Jess and River had built a house, a bit smaller than Aennan and Aranxia’s, only a few hundred meters away from theirs. It was very nearly finished by this point. There were only a few things left to finish, but it was complete enough that it was ready to be moved into.

“You’ll be sure to come get me if she needs anything?” River asked Aranxia anxiously as she pulled on a winter cloak. “Anything at all?”

She was going to help Jess with moving in their things, but it was a task she knew would be much easier without Kaera. She was leaving her daughter in Aranxia’s care for a few hours, but it was the first time she had left Kaera anywhere, and it was not easy for her.

Aranxia smiled at her cousin. She was holding Kaera in her arms. The infant was awake and looking at her mother expressionlessly.

“Yes, I will let you know if she needs anything,” she said calmly. “She’ll be fine, River. You’ll only be a minute away, and you can check on her any time you like.”

In her head, River knew Aranxia was right. Kaera would be just fine. She was probably going to fall asleep soon anyways, and sleep through the whole thing. She might not even really realize that River was gone. Still …

She leaned over and kissed her daughter on the forehead. “I’ll be back as soon as I can,” she promised.

Kaera might not have understood the words, but she smiled at the interaction anyways and reached up to touch her mother’s face. River’s brow furrowed again with anxiety. “Maybe I shouldn’t go,” she murmured.

Aranxia laughed. “We’ve been through this, River. Three times. If you want me to watch her at your house, I can do that, too. I’ll just take Aereandir’s blocks for him to play with while we’re there.”

“No, no,” River said hastily. “I know. It would be easier to get things finished without being worried about tripping over anyone or keeping Kaera from her nap. I know. I’m going.” She turned to go, but turned around again after just two steps. “It’s just …”

“Separation anxiety,” Aranxia smiled. “Go. Check back every once in a while if you’d like. But she’s going to be fine, I promise.” Then she reminded River, “The sooner you go, the sooner you’re finished. Besides, Jess is expecting you.”

River nodded and steeled herself. “Right. All right, I’ll be back in a bit. And if she cries-”

“I’ll know she’s a normal baby,” Aranxia interrupted her. She smiled patiently. “Go.”

River nodded again and turned to leave once more. This time she made it as far as the door before she turned back to add, “And if it gets cold in here, her extra blanket is-”

“-in her bag, along with extra clothes.” Aranxia tilted her head and looked at her cousin, her eyes sparkling with amusement. “Would you like to keep living here until she’s old enough to live on her own?”

“No,” River said hastily, “of course n-” She cut herself off when Aranxia started laughing, and realized that she was being teased. She blushed and picked up her runed bag from where it had been left beside the door. “I get the point. I’m going.”

Aranxia giggled. “Good. Now go. I’ll have dinner ready for all of you when you’re finished.” She shooed River out the door and made sure it was tightly closed behind her.

River pulled her hood over her head and made her way along the now-familiar path that connected her new house with her cousin’s. It was cold outside, and the snow was falling in thick, heavy flakes, muffling the sound of the ocean that was just beyond the edge of the trees. The others would already be there, she knew – Jess, Jacinthe, Jeremiah, Calima and Harna. Jasta was looking after Jamie for the day. She had wanted to help out, but she knew she wasn’t physically able so it hadn’t taken much convincing to get her to look after her brother instead.

River was going to the house later than the others because she had needed to take care of Kaera before she could go. At nine weeks of age, Kaera was drinking more than she had at birth, and though her feedings were no more frequent, they did take longer. She could have stayed at Aranxia’s house with Kaera, too, but today was the day that their new furniture was expected to arrive, and Jess had insisted that she help with choosing the placement of it all. It was her house as much as his, after all, and she was likely to be spending more time there, so it made sense that the furniture should go where it would work the best for her.

She headed inside as soon as she arrived and was immediately greeted by Jacinthe.

“Good morning!” her mother-in-law greeted her cheerfully. “If you want to hang up your cloak, River, most of the cleaning is already finished. There’s just a bit of wiping down walls to finish before the furniture comes in. The woodsmith promised to have it here about noon.”

River nodded and took off her cloak. It was cool in the house, but she guessed that she would warm up quickly enough once she got to work. She sought out a bucket and a rag and set to work washing down the walls of the dust that had collected during the construction of the house. Sure enough, within a few minutes, she was more than warm.

As promised, about noon, the wood smith showed up with three wagon loads of furniture for them, and a few minutes later Aennan showed up with a basket full of food from Aranxia. They worried about the furniture first, eager to get it inside and out of the snow and cold, and Aennan helped them to get it all into place. Only after the wood smith had left did they eat their lunch, and then Aennan was gone again, taking the basket with him.

Working room by room, they soon got the furniture in place, and then Jess and River began to unpack their personal belongings while the others left for the day. They had just finished setting up the first room – their bedroom – when there was a knock at the door and a voice downstairs called out, “River?”

“Sounds like Aennan,” River murmured, setting down the shirt she had just picked up to fold. “Kaera must need me.”

As she turned to go, Jess reached out and took her hand.

“Go back and stay there,” he told her with a warm smile. “We’ve accomplished a lot today. I’ll just finish putting away what clothes are here, and then I’ll be over, too. We can have a nice relaxing evening and finish tomorrow.”

River smiled back at him and kissed him warmly before she left their room and headed towards the living room.

Aennan was waiting for her by the door, and a look of relief crossed his face when she entered the room. “There you are. Kaera woke from her nap about half an hour ago and she was fine at first, but I think she’s hungry now.”

River glanced out a window and laughed softly. “I hadn’t realized so much time had passed,” she murmured. “You’re probably right. I’ll come back with you.”

She slipped into her boots and pulled her winter cloak back on, and Aennan got the door for her as they left.
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Re: Creating A Home (Jess and River) | 116 4A +

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:13 am

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 29 054 (119 Fourth Age)
Status: Early Winter

Three days after the arrival of their furniture, Jess and River finally moved into their house. They gave themselves a few days to get used to having their own home – something completely new to them, despite having been married now close to three years – before they hosted a dinner for their friends and family to celebrate the completion of their home. River worked hard all day preparing the meal, and when people began to arrive at the end of the work day, she was ready for them. She had even managed to find the time for a quick bath for herself and Kaera.

Aennan and Aranxia were the first to arrive, beating even Jess, who had spent the day helping with the final preparations for the new tannery and his parents’ house. They had Aereandir with them of course, and Aennan also had a wrapped package under one arm.

“What’s this?” River asked curiously when he held it out to her.

Aennan grinned. “A housewarming gift,” he replied. “From both of us. But wait until Jess is here to open it.”

River smiled and set the gift on a nearby table. “Very well,” she agreed. “But come in. Hang up your cloaks, make yourselves comfortable. Can I offer you something to drink? Some wine, perhaps?”

Aennan accepted the wine, but Aranxia pursed her lips and requested, “A hot drink, perhaps? Cider?” With a grin at her husband, she added, “Not all of us are immune to the cold after all.”

“Cidah!” Aereandir spoke up, patting Aranxia on the cheek. “Cidah, Mama!”

River giggled. “A wine and two ciders. I’ll be right back, then.” She headed off to the kitchen to fetch the desired drinks, and when she returned to the sitting room with them, Aranxia was sitting on a chair, her feet curled up under her, watching while Aennan helped Aereandir build a tower with his blocks on the floor.

River had just given them all their drinks when the front door opened again, and this time it was Jess who entered. She greeted him with a kiss, and then he headed off to wash, and by the time he returned, Dwr and Ta’neer had also arrived. Aysu was not far behind, nor was she alone: Jasta had arrived with her, and she had also come with the promise that the rest of her family would not be long. Each of them had also arrived with wrapped packages, and River set them with the first one from Aennan and Aranxia so that she and Jess could open them all together when the others had also arrived.

Finally, the rest of the family arrived: Jeremiah, Jacinthe, Jamie, Calima and Harna. Luk, Lily and Vaartan had been invited as well, but they had sent word earlier that afternoon to say they would not make it, as Lily was not feeling well. River had returned her condolences and the message that the invitation still stood for whenever Lily was feeling better again.

“Well, dinner is ready when all of you are,” River announced once greetings had been exchanged between everyone. “Come, the table is already set.”

She motioned for everyone to come to the dining room, and suddenly she heard Kaera start to cry from her bed upstairs.

“I’ll get her,” Jacinthe said quickly, her eyes growing bright. She hurried off to get her granddaughter and River laughed as she showed the others their places at the table. There were a lot of people, but she and Jess had made sure to prepare for that: the table they’d bought could be extended, and tonight it had been expanded to its full size.

Once everyone was sitting, Jess helped River to bring in the food. Jacinthe joined them shortly, cradling Kaera in her arms. The infant was still fussing, and didn’t settle down until after she was with her own mother. The meal was a busy one, but the food was delicious and though there was plenty of food left at the end, no one was still hungry afterwards.

“River, if you want to go with everyone to the living room, I’ll take care of the table,” Jasta offered.

River hesitated, though after the work she’d put in for the day, she was eager to rest, and Kaera was beginning to fuss again, and by this point probably wouldn’t be satiated by anything other than being fed. “You’re sure?” she asked anyways.

Jasta smiled. “I couldn’t help with moving you in, so this is the least I could do. Go on. You’ve got a daughter to feed and gifts to open.”

“All right,” River smiled. “Thanks. But we’ll wait for you before we open anything.”

In the end, Calima and Jacinthe both helped Jasta with the table, so it didn’t take long to clear it, wash the dishes, and put the leftover food into containers and into the cold cellar to preserve it. Then the three of them joined the others in the living room. Everyone else was sitting around and chatting amiably, while River fed Kaera under the privacy of a blanket.

“Time for presents!” Jamie exclaimed when his sister, mother and grandmother came into the room. He ran to the table near the door and brought back the present that was sitting on top. “Here!”

River laughed. “Give it to your brother, he’ll have to do the opening,” she grinned. She turned to her husband. “Jess?”

Jess took the parcel and settled next to River. “Here goes.” He opened it carefully, since of course he had no idea what he would find inside. It was a bed quilt, stuffed with down, more than big enough for their bed, and it was a gift from Jess’s grandparents. Almost immediately, Jamie was back with the next gift: an embroidered tablecloth and matching napkins for their dining room table for special occasions from Jess’s parents. Then, from Aysu, a set of gardening tools in anticipation of the Spring; from Dwr and Ta’neer, a set of wooden bookends shaped like horses’ heads; and from Aennan and Aranxia, a large framed painting of River, Jess and Kaera together.

By the time Jess had opened everything, Kaera had finished her meal, and River put her to her shoulder and began to rub her back gently.

“Thank you all,” Jess smiled warmly at everyone. “To be honest, neither River nor I expected to be receiving anything tonight, but then, what do we know about people moving into their first house?”

There were soft laughs all around, and then Jess went on. “Seriously though, thanks, everyone.” He smiled widely. “I’m sure we’ll be able to make good use of everything you’ve given us.”

“Even if we have to wait to use some of it,” River quipped with a grin at Aysu, who laughed in return.

“It was the only thing I could think of that I knew you hadn’t thought of,” the girl grinned. She shook her head in mock incredulity. “River, River. Always living in the now, never looking ahead.”

River laughed and pretended to swat her friend, though she couldn’t have reached from her seat even if she’d wanted to.

“At any rate, we should probably be getting home,” Aranxia announced softly, picking up her sleeping son. “It’s getting late.”

Aennan helped her to her feet. “Thank you for dinner,” he smiled warmly at their hosts. “It was a very pleasant evening.”

One by one, their guests left, until at last Jess and River were left alone with their daughter.

“Well, that was fun,” River grinned, rising from the couch and joining Jess at the door, were he had just said goodnight to their last guests to leave. “I think we could do that again, yeah?”

Jess chuckled softly and leaned over to give River a kiss. “Definitely,” he agreed. He put his arms around her and held her close. “Although I must say,” he murmured, “I don’t mind being left alone with you, either.”

River’s eyes sparkled brightly. “What say we put Kaera to bed, and then we’ll really be alone?” she teased him.

He grinned back at her. “I’ll put out the fire in the fireplace while you put her to bed, and then I’ll meet you upstairs.”

River winked at him and started toward the stairs. “Don’t be too long.”
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