3. 18. Rethe 1368
18. Rethe 1368
"Primula! Darling, are you here?"
Menegilda Brandybuck closed the entrance door behind her. Nothing was to be seen in the small hobbithole just outside Bucklebury except for the dim light of the hearth in the parlour. Hanging her cloak on the peg Menegilda walked searchingly along the hall. "Primie?" she called again but no-one answered. It was almost mid-day and Menegilda began to wonder. Usually Primula was always home at this time of the day - and she always had a pot of tea on the fire. "Never want to be unprepared," she used to say.
Menegilda had always been close to her sister-in-law and, being a midwife, she had grown even more attached to her while supporting her during the difficult time of her miscarriages. The poor thing wanted to have a babe so much, but her body seemed unwilling to allow a new life to grow.
"Gilda," Primula suddenly called, appearing in the kitchen door. "What are you doing here?" She dried her hands at her pinafore and hurried to give her sister-in-law a warm hug. "I thought you would be at the Hall all Rethe, preparing everything for Sara's birthday. How is the lad?"
"Oh, he's well with his head full of mischief, as always," Gilda answered laughing, looking her over from top to toe. "You look good."
Primula blushed and, waving aside, she led her friend into the kitchen. "What brings you here?" she wanted to know, taking her teapot from the fire and handing her sister-in-law a cup of peppermint tea. She did not offer her a seat but took an apple from a basket on the table and headed straight to the back-door. Once outside, Primula sat down on a bench, threw one of Drogo's shirts into the laundry-basin and started to scrub.
"Well," Gilda began clearing her throat as she sat down her eyes closely observing Primula, "the reason why I'm here is because rumours have reached my ears."
Primula froze. Without looking at her friend she asked doubtfully "What kind of rumour?" When Gilda did not answer at once, Primula lifted her head slowly to look into her friend's eyes. "Who spoke to you about me?" Not only was her voice doubtful, but there was also a whiff of fear within it and her eyes searched desperately for the truth in her friend's gaze.
Gilda grinned from one ear to the other, but did not answer. Instead she took a sip of her tea and leaned back, stretching her legs. "Gilda," Primula urged her voice almost angry with a hidden plea within.
Sitting up Menegilda laid an arm around Primula's shoulders and kissed her cheek. "No need to worry, dear," she soothed looking at her lovingly. "In fact, it was only your very concerned husband speaking to me and asking me to look after you." She felt Primula clench under her touch and took her by the shoulder. "You should not conceal something like this," she said in a low voice, her eyes full of love and understanding.
Primula felt a lump in her throat and tried to swallow it - without success. Her eyes suddenly filled with tears. She couldn't stand Menegilda's gaze any longer and had to look down. The apple she wanted to eat lay beside her, all but forgotten. Her hands grabbed her pinafore and clenched. Her body trembled and a single tear slid from the corner of her eye. "I could not tell," she whispered in a tearstained voice, almost inaudible. "I could not tell anybody - you least of all."
Gilda's brow creased as she pulled her friend close and rubbed her back, as she had done with her sons when they were younger. "Why not, dear? You know you can always talk to me, don't you?" She felt Primula nod, though she did not answer. "What hindered you?"
Primula swallowed hard as she pulled away from the embrace that did not comfort her half as much as it should and cast her gaze down, her fists still clenching and unclenching as she messed about with her pinafore. "I feared what you might have told me," she answered in a miserable whisper. "I could not bear if you had told me I might lose another child. I don't have the strength to hear you saying that - not again."
Biting her lip Gilda pulled Primula close again and tried to soothe her. She should have known. She didn't like to deliver that kind of news either and for Primula, having had three miscarriages already, those words would be like poison to a newly opened wound. Hot tears dripped on the collar of her blouse as she gently rocked her friend. She knew what harm the fear of miscarriage would bring - she had seen it too often. It was, in fact, the reason for her visit. Primula had to get rid of these fears at once. They would not only harm her, but the child growing within her as well. .As soon as Drogo had told her about his wife's pregnancy, all Menegilda could think about was the well-being of mother and child.
Primula was still weeping, her hands now clutching Gilda's dress, but her sobs became less and soon she had regained control of herself. Letting go, she wiped her eyes with her pinafore whispering "I'm sorry, but I was just so…"
"Hush," Gilda soothed, placing a finger on Primula's lips. "Why worry already, dear? I have not looked at you yet and you shouldn't fear an answer that you might as well never get. Come, let us go inside."
Slowly Primula nodded and allowed Menegilda to lead her back inside the smial and into the bedroom. While Primula undressed, Menegilda went back into the kitchen to wash her hands.
Primula sat down on the bed glancing thoughtfully at her belly. It looked the same as ever. She sighed heavily. If only her wish would come true. Startled she looked up when Menegilda re-entered the room, wearing a broad grin. Primula creased her brow but made herself comfortable on the bed, her hands impulsively folded across her belly.
Gilda grinned at the instinctive action and gently took Primula's hands in her own. They were cold and trembled. "Don't worry, dear," she said calmingly. "I'm sure everything will be all right."
Primula forced herself to smile, though she felt her whole body clench. If only she could forget about her fears. Feeling new tears welling up inside her, she closed her eyes and waited. Soon she felt one of Menegilda's warm hands resting on her belly, but her friend did not do anything, but kept talking to her, telling her to relax and actually succeeding in distracting her from her worries. Yet Primula's eyes did never leave Gilda's face, closely watching every expression of hers. But her friend's face remained unreadable - a gift Gilda had gained in her early years as a midwife - and Primula could do nothing but trust her as Gilda's gentle hands stroke and pressed the soft flesh of her belly.
Her thoughts drifted to the child and how big it must be by now. If she would soon be able to feel it? She did not know for, though she had felt her body changing before, she was never allowed to actually feel her child moving within her.
"What about you? Are you feeling well or is there anything that troubles you? Primie?" Gilda asked, wakening her from her daydreams and looking at her expectantly. Primula blinked, raising an eyebrow.
A smile crossed Gilda's face, as she repeated her question. At least she had helped Primula to relax and the disturbances her friend mentioned - nausea, dizziness - were not unnatural. All in all Gilda was content. Primula put on her dress again, looking pleadingly at her friend and yet Gilda could see some lingering fear glisten in her eyes. "Don't worry, dear," she assured with a smile. "Everything is fine, as far as I can tell. There is no need to be concerned."
Primula's eyes grew wide. "Really?" she asked voicelessly, realising that her mouth was all dry. A nod of Gilda was all she needed to break in tears anew - tears of joy, of course. Perhaps she did worry needlessly?
"Hush, dear," Gilda calmed, placing an arm around her shoulder and sitting her down on the edge of the bed. "It is not the time for tears. Your worries will also trouble the child you bear and you don't want the little one to be all stressed out even before he or she is born, do you."
Primula laughed amidst her tears, looking at Gilda through shining eyes. "Of course not," she answered and took a deep breath to calm herself. Her hands were trembling even more than before. "You really mean that I could make it this time?" She could hardly believe what Gilda had just told her.
To her disappointment Gilda shrugged. "I cannot say for sure but your chances are rather good."
More tears streamed down Primula's rosy cheeks, but these were ones of bliss, for all fear had left her. At that moment, she felt so happy she feared she might burst with joy. She was pregnant and her child was well.
With a heavy sigh she laid her head on Gilda's shoulder and closed her eyes, while Gilda stroked her hair as she would stroke a child's. Both of Primula's hands rested on her belly. Her child was well and she would do everything she could to see that it remained so.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.