Nina - Written 21 Nov. 2019
Greshamsbury, Barsetshire, ENG – 1845
“This one shall be Nina.” Arabella’s weak voice drew her husband’s wandering mind back to the present moment. His wife lay white and still in the bed. He sat next to it. Arabella’s labor had started the afternoon before but thankfully it hadn’t yet grown too painful for stillness.
“What if it is a boy, my dear?”
The room was curtained and dim even though it was midday, so he didn’t see her roll her eyes, but her tone indicated she might’ve. “It won’t be.”
Her husband didn’t argue with her. He took her hand and she allowed it.
Helena and Eleanor had both died two weeks before. Arabella had been too weak from her current pregnancy to be with them, but Frank Sr. had been. Dear Eleanor had been asleep when she’d drifted off. But Helena, sweet, sweet Helena had been awake.
Her father had held her hand as it had seemed that she simply fell asleep. She hadn’t struggled against her passing, simply taken it and embraced it as a long-awaited nightfall.
And now it seemed as if Selina and Matilda would soon be joining their sisters in Heaven.
Even as she was preparing to give birth to a child, Arabella was grieving for four others.
“I need to apologize to him.”
Frank Sr. squeezed her hand, knowing full well who it was his wife spoke of. “Thorne will not accept your apology, for he won’t feel one is needed.”
Arabella nodded, a tear trailing down her face as an ache began full force in her abdomen, growing in strength with each second.
“I still need to speak with him.” Her husband nodded. “I shall send for him once this is over.”
His wife replied with a moan as her pain seemingly doubled in an instant. Frank Sr., overcome with grief and worry, rose from his seat and hoarsely called out the bedroom door for the waiting Fillgrave.
The tenth Gresham child was welcomed into a heartbroken household.