At first I had a suspicion, but now with the middle of the night appearance by that trash goddess inside our bedroom, I was certain of it. One of our many romps at night had led to something after all. We’d probably need a doctor of some kind to ascertain it, but I was damn sure there was no reason for Fairyluna to appear unless Tally was pregnant.
While Tally seemed to be blissfully unaware, it was the goddess turning her head to stare in the direction of Jaxan’s bed that made me believe at least one other person in the room also caught sight of Fairyluna.
I’ve always had the ability to see through the smallest slit in my eyes, it was a weird skill I’ve had since I was young, not something I ever felt I needed to write home about, but I was glad it was enough to fool her.
When she disappeared, I sat up quickly and beckoned Jaxan over to our bed. No doubt she probably has plenty of faith in the goddess she believes in, but being in the presence of her cannot be anything but unnerving to a fifteen year old.
Letting her nestle between me and my wife, I protectively draped my long arm around the both of them. I’d play it off in the morning if Tally got inquisitive, but for now I needed to take care of the immediate concern with Jaxan, who to me at least seemed frightened.
Hell, I was frightened a bit, too!
“Was this your doing?” Eyes which did not accuse stared at me, though the words almost had. My wife was awake and aware of the sudden addition to the bed, partitioning us.
“There was an ominous feeling in the air last night, so I let her join our bed. I did not lay a hand on her.”
My wife smirked.
“I know. As your wife, do you not think I would be sensitive to another woman crawling into the very bed I share with my own husband? I know where your hand was all night, Gardavan.”
Why is it that a woman can accuse a man with such strong indirection? Also, was she only aware of Jaxan climbing into our bed, and not of Fairyluna standing over her bedside?
The smart and proper move here would be to tell her what happened exactly last night, however I felt uneasy doing so, if only because there was no trace of wrongdoing with which to accuse that fake goddess of doing, only being creepy and intrusive. And the fact is, any woman appearing as a supernatural beauty who controlled gravity and could appear and disappear with a snap of her fingers…
How exactly do I handle that in a fight?
That is a mystery to be solved later by future me. Present me has a bakery to prepare to open. For now, it is time to rise and shine, and that involved carefully prying off a slumbering Jaxan, who had at some point in the night slipped an arm around my side.
“I remember when I was like that with you, Gar.”
“Yes, me too. When you came downstairs and fell asleep in my bedding.”
She looked at me curiously before agreeing.
“Don’t wake her just yet.” My wife said, and she pressed her own body against Jaxan, whispering for me to reach over and hold her again.
I did so, and it felt kind of strange.
Maybe if it was Nefe in the middle who had come in after peeing her bed and crying a little it would be one of those cute parent-child moments, but Jaxan was not a cute little child. She was a child to me, but not like that.
Was it that my wife enjoyed tempting me?
Doesn’t she understand that a man only needs one woman to love? I have no intention of ever looking at Jaxan with the same eyes I look at Thalica with.
Eventually a shake from my wife woke Jaxan. When she opened her eyes and found a wall of hunky Gardavan chest before her, she let out a little squeak.
“G-good morning, Mas–Gardavan, Mistress. M-may I ask why um…”
“Seems my husband let a little cat into our bed last night.” My wife spoke softly, her hand gently sliding up Jaxan’s arm and to her cheek. “But since the bed is so very warm this morning, I suppose I don’t have any reason to be upset.”
She then reached for Jaxan’s hand and placed it on my chest and began to move it around slowly with her own on top. “In fact I’m a little jealous you got to have this all to yourself last night.”
My wife giggled.
“Would you like to feel my chest, dear husband? My bosom is pressed against Jaxan’s back, so if you do this,” she then removed the hand pressed against my chest and put it against that of the girl between us, “then I will certainly feel it.”
My wife then hugged our roommate tightly.
“Maybe tonight I will keep her on my side of the bed, Gardavan.”
I sighed and shook my head.
“Better yet,” With Jaxan captured in her arms, Tally easily spun her over her body to the other side, “how about you embrace me like this, Gar? I think it would be quite fun.”
“Are you serious?”
“Mmhmm. Just like this, and I would advise you not to turn me down when I’m in such a good mood.”
I slid my body up against my wife. She was quick to reach down and find the part of me she wished for.
“I get that you feel our bedroom activities are educational for her, but what lesson exactly is she supposed to learn from this?”
“She’ll be learning what it feels like. Each time you join with me, that sensation will pass into her body. It’s good for her to know that even if you use a strong force, it won’t hurt.”
“And what of Jaxan? You may be the only one interested in attending this lesson, Tally.”
“You think so? How about you ask her, husband.”
“Jax, if this is uncomfortable for you, feel free to say so. I’m sure Tally will not be upset if you wish to refuse.”
“It’s as my husband says, you may refuse this lesson if you wish…”
Jaxan lay quietly on her side, behind held by my wife before she spoke.
“Will you hate me if I also wish to know, Gardavan?”
Her admission left me softly sighing in defeat.
“Tally,” I brushed a bit of her dull copper locks of hair aside her face, tucking them behind her ear, so I could whisper to her what she desperately needed to know, “you’re truly incorrigible.”
I planted a kiss on her cheek, and then rolled out of bed. This little stunt of hers was like having only the tiniest bit of the heel still standing on the line of morality while the rest of the foot was way over it.
“Gar!” She cried out. “Where are you going?”
“Where else? Downstairs to start preparing for business.”
I got dressed and heard her groan in frustration. While changing shirts I became the direct recipient of a pillow to the head.
“Are you even a man, Gardavan?”
A challenge to my masculinity? Sorry, I’m quite secure in knowing I've been manly enough to win a round or two with her these days. When the exhibitionist nature of hers comes around, a little bit of hair pulling from behind makes things far too easy for me while engaged in our lovemaking.
“I’ll see you downstairs once you’re dressed, my naughty angel.”
Quickly escaping from the room, I decided to check in on the children before going downstairs. Though I don’t think that Fairyluna would have done anything to the children, mostly since they were both from Tally and her former husband, and not the one she seemed to be more interested in growing inside of my wife, I still wanted to be sure they were okay.
Both Trevorkane who slept in his bed closest to the door, and Nefetina who slept against the wall furthest from it were both soundly asleep. Neither of them snored, but Trev was a bit of a roller in his sleep, laying horizontal in the middle of his bed where he should instead be vertical. Nefe had half her covers off, and was sprawled out with both her hands laying raised up past her head. She looked like a puppy showing it’s belly. Super cute.
Maybe if Tally doesn’t do anything sketchy tonight, I might give her a nice belly rub.
Pulling up the covers a bit more to her chest, I gave my stepdaughter a kiss on the forehead and then exited their room. Downstairs, I began the morning process of loading a few pieces of wood into the oven, and then started carrying ingredients to the table, ready to make today’s offerings.
“Hi, I’m Barley!”
“And I’m Rade!”
Two children whom I recognized from the orphanage had come right as the store opened for business. It was something I had Jaxan do, as in all honesty, the amount of business our bakery had been doing was significant to warrant it. Trev was young and fast, and very diligent, but there was a limit to what he can do, and no five year old should have to work as hard as an adult. I'm a firm believer in labor laws, and it was one of the sore points I had with Tally’s contract with Jaxan.
“Right, and how old are you both?”
“I’m Twelve.” Came the reply from the older girl called Barley, who had long brown hair, wearing a plain crocodile-green one-piece dress which went straight from collar to ankle with no deviation.
“I’m Ten!” Answered Rade, wearing a burgundy or deep red wine colored tunic, sinched at the waist with a belt, and black trousers which came from beneath it into a pair of worn boots.
By comparison, I wondered if the clothes Nefe and Trev wore weren’t a little bit more fashionable? I’m not trying to weigh what our two have versus what these two have, being orphans and all, but I guess it’s nice to know the children have remained above the real poverty line?
Tally must have truly worked hard before I met her and she took me in.
I’m not and ingrate or a fool, I know she wishes for me to lay my hands on Jaxan, I just won’t do it because I see no reason to put my hands into two cookie jars, especially when my wife’s cookie jar has my favorite type of cookie.
The cream filled kind. The one that twists off so the cream inside can be licked, or that could be dunked entirely in a cold glass of milk until a bit soggy. Yeah, that famous type. My all-time favorite!
“Alright, you two are going to spend today running about with my son, Trevorkane. You’ll be fed and paid for your work, so do your best to learn from him how it’s done, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.”
“We’re being paid?” The younger boy, Rade, had asked, staring at his companion who seemed just as surprised.
“Yes. You’ll each be paid two copper coins, and you’ll be having a free meal here as well.”
Both of them began to hop around excitedly for a moment.
“This is going to be great, Barley!”
“I know! We get to work with Gardavan! We might even get to eat more fries!”
“Oh, you two want your first meal to be fries?”
“Can it be?” Rade asked, his mouth practically watering already. The children at the orphanage always seem to want fries whenever I stop by. As the two explained it, Karah, the young nun lady who helps take care of the children at the orphanage never quite makes them just right, always coming out either a little too crispy or slightly undercooked.
“Sure. I’ll take care of it around midday.” I informed them.
While the day moved on and the children I had requested from the orphanage as new paid help followed Trev around on his rounds to learn, one of Zedron’s employees came by with a large package a short while after the store opened.
“These are the promotional cards I was told to bring you, Sir Gardavan.”
I took the package, but cringed inside a little. Ever since the whole tea party thing involving the princess and subsequent introduction of Zedron to Lady Persha’s noble household, done for the sole purpose of obtaining Rella cheese, he’d found it humorous to have his employees prefix my name with Sir, even though I wasn’t nobility at all.
Wasting no time in opening the package, I found many copies of each of the eight special cards which for now could only be obtained here. There was no special requirement, even a simple two loaves for a single copper bread would qualify for a card.
The prefab decks cost two silver outright. Yes, it’s an investment, but after much consulting with Zedron it wasn’t a ridiculous amount, it was about the same cost they would have been in my world for a standard starter deck. The booster packs are five copper each and even over a month if a child was clever enough, they could afford to buy enough boosters over time to build their own deck out of one. Even if the deck was a bit out of regulation, those kinks would work themselves out once the concept of trading came into play.
Maybe call it trickle-around economics?
There were two monsters with an evolutionary form each, both type-weak against each other but also thematically relevant to the store. Ashford the Bread-knight, and his mortal enemy the Snackmaw the Sweet-tooth. There was a field card called Kitchen Coliseum that when in play increased the amount any healing item or skill used by ten, an item card called Cookie Jar which let a player draw two cards, a special universal mana card for powering up any monster card, and a trap card called Sugar Fairy Reflection, which when used wouldn’t negate damage, but reflect it back as a counter-attack first before counting the attack damage to the original target. A real sneaky card if I may toot my own horn.
I played a lot of card games in my childhood.
The plan was for these cards to be given out to customers who Tally for the most part new that had children or were close enough to children to give them as a simple gift. The popularity of the game was known to quite a many child already, almost always these days were a small group of children occupying one of the three booths in the bakery playing a game or two with the in-house decks. Jaxan was something of a legendary player, though to play her, one had to defeat the mini-boss, Trevorkane, first.
Two people were quick to help with the promotion, that being a man by the name of Jhorin, and Mrs. Windie herself, both of who had children that came to play the game here from time to time and had purchased a deck from Zedron at the launch.
Along with the Fire, Water, and Plant decks, there was a fourth deck option that was Wind based that had no type-weaknesses to any of the three, and specialized in one juggernaut unit and many zerg-like low-damage quick-deployment units. It was a chaotic maelstrom type deck and build specifically for Jaxan’s clever way of playing.
The promotional cards were gone in a week, as the game began to quickly take hold with the children of Avondale. This caused a problem quickly, as many people and new customers only learned of the promotional cards after they ran out, so I had to consult with Zedron for a limited second batch just to appease them.
But it wasn’t just the local children who played the game, it had already sunk its fangs into the children of the nobility. Zedron couldn’t keep up demand fast enough and when he traveled to the Magic Tower and showed the profit margin, that problem was solved in three days.
Money was now no longer an issue.
Well, it was, but that’s only to say the financial struggles of which Tally had endured for years after her husband left, were finally no more. At this point in time, two months after the launch of the promotional cards, I was still working hard in the bakery, often baking after the store closed to prepare stock for the following day early on.
Jaxan was my eternal helper, but also that of my wife.
It was now impossible to say otherwise that Tally Ashford was pregnant with our child. She wasn’t showing, but her moon was three months late. She still from time to time tried to pull Jaxan into our bed, and her appetite there increased as well.
Our roommate had given up any sense of shame, if she ever had any to begin with, and watching us from afar, she did as any normal girl of that age witnessing those acts would do. I would neither fault nor blame her.
We still had to deal with tea parties and even general orders from many of the noble families in the First Princess Trustine’s favor. It was busy and hectic, and still I did my best to make time for the children and my wife. There had been no reappearance of Fairyluna in our home since then, and everything seemed to be going well.