“Another book already?”
Kate looked up from her reading and watched as the Gloresti elder, Gabriel, walked into the family room. She smiled, an action she knew perplexed the unemotional Estilorian. “Of course. I seem to be going through them rather quickly these days.”
“That is an…interesting reading method,” he said, eying the book where she had it perched on her round and swollen belly.
That made her laugh, provoking yet another confused expression to flash in his dark blue eyes. “I figured this was easier than trying to hold my book over or around myself. I’m getting too big to do much besides sit here and read.”
“If you want to go for a walk, I would be happy to assist you,” he offered.
She smiled again. He was always so kind to her. Even if that kindness was motivated at least in part by unwarranted guilt on his part, she still appreciated it. And lord, he was gorgeous. She might be pregnant with her beloved Saraqael’s daughters, but she had eyes in her head and a woman’s perspective on such things. The combination made him very endearing despite his continued bewilderment over her all too human emotions.
During her past months on the Estilorian plane, she had come to enjoy the company of all of the class elders. She was even now in the home of the Elphresti elder, Jabari. He had been unfailingly gracious and patient with her since she had transitioned. The Lekwuesti elder, Sebastian, made sure her every need was met, from her human need for food throughout the day to clothes that could accommodate her impressive girth. Whenever she needed comfort, Malukali was able to use her powerful mental energy to offer at least a semblance of it. Zayna, the Scultresti elder, kept her updated on the progress of the forms being created for the babies. The Wymzesti elder, Knorbis, told her many amazing stories about the creation of the Estilorian plane and the remarkable future he predicted for her daughters. Uriel, the Waresti elder, and Ini-herit, the Corgloresti elder, assured her that they were planning as thoroughly as possible to ensure her safe transition back to the human plane.
Those conversations usually saddened her, as she knew she wouldn’t survive that transition. She had dreamed of it.
Still, she had never been one to dwell on the negative. She would soon be with her beloved. That was certainly something. And she had come to believe that the Estilorians, however unemotional they were, would take care of her daughters.
“Thank you for the offer, Gabriel,” she said at last. “A walk might be in order later. I’m getting to the good part of this story, though.”
He shook his head. “Well, at least you enjoy reading, since it is one of the few things you can do safely at this late stage of your pregnancy.”
“Oh, yes,” she agreed. “And it has actually proven practical, as well. I’ve come across some names in the books I’ve read that I intend to give the girls.”
“Really?” His eyebrows rose, giving his handsome face more expression than usual.
“Yes.” Eager to share her choices with someone, she shifted in her chair to get more comfortable. One of the babies was pressing heavily on her bladder. He reached over to assist her.
“Thank you,” she said, blushing over the attention.
She felt his eyes on her face, absorbing her reaction. He was always studying her, trying to understand her expressions and emotions since he couldn’t experience them himself. She often wondered how Saraqael, the passionate male she had fallen so deeply in love with, had been from this race of inherinetly unemotional beings.
Clearing her throat to cover her discomfiture, she said, “I have decided to name the firstborn Amber. Her Estilorian name will be Ambryl.”
She nodded. “I think it would be nice to have a name for their human halves as well as their Estilorian halves.”
“I see,” he said, appearing to give this some thought. “Well, those are nice names.”
“Thanks,” she said, smiling brightly. “I love them. The books I have read indicate that amber—the substance—is very ancient and has properties of light and healing. And the name makes me think of a solidly-grounded individual. That seems right for an oldest child.”
He didn’t seem to know what to say to that. As Estilorians couldn’t reproduce and there had never been a newborn baby on the Estilorian plane before, she knew he really was clueless.
Continuing on as though she didn’t notice his creased forehead, she said, “My name choices for our second-born are Olivia and Olaya. I imagine as the middle child she will often serve as a source of balance for her sisters. And since the olive branch is a symbol of peace, it also felt right.”
“Also very nice,” he said politely.
“I’m glad you think so,” she said, and meant it.
Now, her smile turned soft and maternal. She rubbed her belly as the babies inside writhed and kicked. They would be here soon…within the next week or two, she guessed. She could only hope that this basic foundation she was creating for them would prove enough to set them all on their feet.
“I believe our youngest will have a more liberated spirit than her sisters,” she said, catching Gabriel’s thoughtful gaze. “I hope she’ll learn to fly free where her sisters are more grounded. And with this wish in mind, I’ve come up with the name I will give her. She will be Skye. Skylar.
“And I believe she will help everyone around her soar.”