"How can she know such things?" he asked, though it seemed a ghost would be capable of watching people unseen, hence possibly deducing their thoughts. "I was not sure of myself when I started at the theater, but she never spoke to me," he reasoned.
"I don't know. Maybe she thought you didn't need her, because you had me?" Carina smiled at him, kissing his cheek fondly. "Your uncertainties when we started at the theater didn't really have to do with acting."
"Perhaps not," he conceded with a small shrug, unwilling to dwell on the past, especially now that he'd found his happy ending with Carina. He had changed since those early days in Rhy'Din, gaining confidence and putting trust in his abilities. He smiled at the memory of those early days when the two of them had just met. "You were my first love," he told her, turning to brush his fingertips against her cheek.
"Only were?" she asked with a teasing lilt to her voice, easing close enough to brush the tip of her nose to his. "I haven't regretted being clumsy since the day it threw me into your lap."
"My only love," he was quick to correct himself, smiling softly back at her as her nose brushed his. "It's a good thing I caught you, or I may never have gathered the courage to say hello," he admitted.
"I'll always be glad you did," she promised, lips tenderly touching his in a soft kiss. "My parents and grandparents adore you, you know. You have so much more than just me and Alu to call family now, a'mael."
"And my people adore you, melamin," he told her, though she should already know that by now. It had taken some time for his people to get accustomed to Rhy'Din, but now that they were settled, he had more free time to spend with his own family and friends. "Your family is my family, and my people are your people," he added, touching his forehead to hers.
"Always," she agreed in a whisper, looping her arms about his waist as they lingered together, enjoying the easy embrace. "You know," she added in a thoughtful murmur, "the midwife says that I should be able to conceive again anytime now."
Aran arched a brow at that bit of information. "Are you saying you want another child?" he asked, the faintest hint of a smile on his face, as if he was trying to hide it.
She tilted her head, smiling impishly up at him. "I wouldn't say no," she admitted softly. "I'd like Alu to have what we didn't have - a brother or sister to grow up with."
"I would like that, too, melamin," he told her softly, fingers gently grazing her cheek and wandering into her hair. It might not happen right away, but it would happen. He brushed his lips against hers in a tender kiss, lingering a moment to enjoy the warmth of her lips against his.
She smiled into that kiss, breathing him in as they leaned into each other, always more than content in Aran's arms. If it hadn't been for the whistle of the kettle behind her, she could quite happily have stayed there, too.
"Tea time," she murmured, drawing back.
He drew a soft breath as she pulled away, an almost amused smile on his face. With Alu napping and due to wake any moment, there wasn't much time to indulge in lovemaking, but he'd make it up to her later.
"You might have to take some time off from the theater," he reminded her, though they'd been through this once before.
"But this time I know I can go back, when the time is right," she pointed out warmly, easing from his arms to lift the kettle off the heat and pour the water into the pot to steep. "I would like more children, as many as we may be allowed to have. More than one is a blessing in itself."
He frowned thoughtfully, not because he was worried, but because he simple wasn't sure how many children they'd be physically able to have. His people had been barren before coming to Rhy'Din, and he had only been born because his father had been human.
"How-how many do you think we could have?" he asked curiously. He supposed that depended on their longevity.
"I don't know," Carina admitted, curious herself. "The midwife seems certain that we have only slightly lower odds than a human couple might, and certainly higher than elves. I shouldn't think we would be able to have more than three, though, and even that seems ambitious."
"Each child is a blessing," Aran said, believing that without a doubt. He was half-elf, after all, and for elves, children were a rare blessing. "I will be happy no matter how many we have, even if we only have one," he assured her.
"I know," she promised, "and so will I. But there's no harm in letting nature make that decision for us, right?" She waggled her brows at him with suggestive mischief, laughing as she turned to pour out the tea.
"No, I suppose not," he replied, chuckling in amusement at her teasing. As far as he was concerned, she really was adorable, just like their daughter. Even if she didn't get pregnant, it would be fun trying.
Setting the pot aside, she handed him a cup of tea before lifting her own into her cupped hands. "Whatever you decide to do, we'll make it work," she told him fondly.
"Whatever I decide?" Aran echoed, taking the cup of tea between his hands, but not yet sipping. Whether she was referring to the theater or to the possibility of another child, the decision wasn't just his to make.
"About the theater," she clarified with a smile. "Ultimately, it is your decision whether you choose to take the guest spot or not. But we are more than capable of making that work for us."
"Well, it is only a guest spot," Aran agreed, which meant it was unlikely to be too much of a commitment, and he was sure they'd find a way to work it out, even if they did have another child. He took a sip of his tea, a warm smile on his face at the thought of something else. "She said your voice is getting stronger," he told her, regarding Mataya's remark about Carina's singing.
She bit her lip, blushing at the secondhand compliment. "Well, my top notes aren't as reedy as they used to be," she admitted shyly. "I suppose the more you use your voice, the better supported it is?"