Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Jovinda and Noni Part 4

 Jovinda had resolved to tell her parents of her pregnancy the following morning

The following morning, Jovinda got up with a feeling of dread in her stomach. How was she going to tell her parents of her pregnancy and how would they react.

She put it off until after the mid-day meal. When they retired to the sitting room, she screwed up her courage.

'Mother, Father, I have something to tell you,' she said. She paused and took a deep breath.

'What is it, Jo?' Kendo asked.

The girl's eyes filled with tears. 'There's no easy way to say this,' she said as the tears fell. 'I'm pregnant.'

Her mother gave a gasp, then surged to her feet and slapped her daughter across the face.
'You little slut,' she said. 'Who's the father? If you even know!'

It was Jovinda's turn to gasp. The tears that had started to fall at her mother's reaction turned into anger at the implication held in those words.

'Are you saying I've slept with lots of men?' she said. 'I would never sleep with anyone if I was not in love with him. There's only one man and that's Noni. He's the father of my child.'

'That's immaterial,' her mother retorted. 'One man or ten, you've brought disgrace to our family. Your father was likely to get re-elected to the leadership of all the guilds in the city in the next few months. A scandal like this could lose that for him. And what about our friends and neighbours? What will they think?'

Kendo gently took hold of Ellire's hand as she raised it to slap her daughter again.
'Let's talk about this calmly,' he said, leading his wife back to the chair she had occupied.

He looked at his wife. 'First, Ell, my dear, our daughter's mistake is unlikely to have any impact on my election to the guild leadership. Secondly, there are things that can be done about this.'

Jovinda looked at her father. She was still angry at her mother's reaction and she did not like what her father was implying.
'Are you suggesting going to a witch and getting rid of the child? This is a new life growing in me. I refuse to kill it.'

Ellire had calmed down a little at her husband's words.
'Jovinda,' she said. 'That is the perfect solution. No one need know. Have you told anyone yet?'

'I've told Noni and Salor. And it isn't the perfect solution. This child has two parents. Me and Noni. He has the right to have a say in what happens to it, just as he would if it had been born. He says that elves revere life and will not take it unnecessarily. Abortion would be unnecessary in this case. Anyway, he wants to marry me.'

At this, Ellire began to cry. Kendo took her arm and led her to the door with the instructions to go and lie down, then he came back to talk to Jovinda.

'Darling, please don't take any notice of what your mother says. This had been a big shock to her, as it has to me, too. I didn't think it of you. Still, it's happened and we must decide, calmly, I might add, what the next step should be.'

Jovinda looked up into her father's eyes.

'The next step is that Noni and I will get married. I would truly not have had it happen like this, but it has. I don't regret what Noni and I did. I don't think I really regret being pregnant except for what you and mother think. Noni and I will get married whatever you say. I don't need your permission as I'm over sixteen. I would like your blessing, but with or without it I will marry him.'

Kendo sighed. 'I see we have no choice. There will be a scandal for a while, but people will forget. There will be something else to take its place. I wish this hadn't happened, but it has. I will go and talk to your mother now and see what I can do. You'd better keep out of her way for a bit.'

Noni's father was no more pleased than Jovinda's parents, but all three came to accept that the marriage would, no must, as Ellire said, take place as soon as possible. The baby would be due in the spring.

Jovinda wanted to wait until Bramadar 1st, the first day of winter and the feast of Bramara, the goddess of the familt. It was thought to bring good luck to couples who married of that day, but all the parents thought it would be too long to wait. After all, it would not be possible to pass off the birth as premature if they waited so long.

It was not the wedding that Ellire had foreseen for her daughter. She had thought of a large wedding with lots of guests, her daughter looking radiant and beautiful and her husband a shadowy figure in the background. She would have been the perfect hostess dressed in beautiful clothes bought specially for the occasion.

Now, instead, was this shady marriage. Oh, it was in the temple of Bramara, but there were few guests. Salor attended Jovinda and a young elf she had not seen before attended Noni. Salor's parents were present as well as Noni's father and another couple of elves. The only thing that was as she had foreseen was Jovinda's radiant expression. Her daughter did look beautiful, she had to admit, with her hair flowing down her back, brushed to a gleaming copper. Her eyes shone, as did Noni's deep blue ones. There was no doubt they loved each other deeply.

After the ceremony they all went back to the house she shared with her husband and ate a meal before Kendo stood up and tapped his spoon on a glass.

'I would like to just say a word, please,' he said. 'We all here know of Jo's pregnancy, and I must say that we were none too pleased when she told us, but we have come to terms with that now.' He looked hard at Ellire as if challenging her to argue. 'We are now looking forward to welcoming our grandchild in the spring. So, to show that we are now happy with our new son-in-law, we have bought a house for them.'

Jovinda stared at her father open-mouthed and Noni's eyes opened wide.

Kendo was continuing though. 'The house is not large but it is big enough for three and has a garden. What's more, it's not too far from here so when our grandson or daughter arrives, we can see lots of him or her. Here are the keys, Jo and Noni. I hope you like it.'

Before he could sit down, Jovinda jumped up and threw her arms round him, nearly smothering him.
'Oh, Thank you, thank you, father,' she cried. 'I know you didn't mind us staying here, but to have our own place...' She broke down crying with happiness as Noni hugged her and said his thanks to his father-in-law.

I hope you enjoyed this part of the tale of Jovinda and Noni. The next episode will be on the third Tuesday in May.

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