((OOC: Follows directly after the 'Mothers and Daughters and...Fathers?...Oh My!' standalone.))
After fleeing her mother and their Lake-side breakfast, Andreya had rushed back to the Candidate Barracks, hoping not just that her ‘roommates’ would be out of their room, but also that she could get back into the Barracks without running into T’rif before she was fully prepared for the encounter with her father. As luck would have it, she accomplished both things and returned to a blessedly empty room.
As she walked through the doorway to her room and saw it empty, she let out a huge relieved sigh and pulled the curtain shut for a measure of privacy. Sitting down heavily on her bed, suddenly feeling completely drained, Andreya bent over and put her head in her hands as she tried to just...just *be* without thinking about everything she’d heard since she woke up. But her brain wouldn’t stop and just shut up, and the Harper girl let out a frustrated groan as she rubbed at her temples, feeling a bit of a headache developing.
When rubbing at her temples didn’t help, Andreya shot off the bed and began to pace back and forth in the small area in the center of their room. As her long legs took her quickly back and forth, she jerked off her belt with less care than she normally took, and then untied and unwrapped the scarf from around her neck, needing to breathe and suddenly feeling like the scarf was choking her. On a pass by her chest at the foot of her cot, she threw both accessories down on top of the chest and then kept up her movements as her mind raced. She ran her hands through her hair, pulling on some strands just a touch hoping that the little bit of pain might get her mind to stop it’s headlong gallop but no luck there.
After several minutes of fast pacing, Andreya stopped and stood there a moment, looking at her cot and breathing just a little heavy. As she stared at her cot she decided that even if she could get her mind to stop racing that her initial plans for the day of studying for several hours both before and after lunch were pretty well shot. No way could she study *today*! And she’s got so little sleep...maybe she could get away with laying down for a few hours, if her mind would let her rest that is.
Nodding her head firmly, determined to rest and see if she’d feel less emotionally drained when she woke up, Andreya stripped out of her corset top and skirt, down to her undergarments and nothing else, put the corset and skirt on top of her clothes chest, and then curled up under the furs in bed. She laid there, knees bent and curled in, furs pulled high up to her chin, closed her eyes with tears welling slightly in the corners, and with her mind still racing she began to take long deep breaths to try and get herself to fall asleep…
And amazingly, before she’d taken more than a handful of long deep breaths Andreya was asleep and dead to the world...
It wasn’t until several hours later that Andreya woke up from her nap, and of her own accord too instead of (for example) because a loud roommate walked into the room. Stretching out her long legs in a pleased groan, feeling the soft fur slide against skin that normally had some kind of sleeping shirt covering it, Andreya woke up slowly as she unfolded (much like a feline does) inch by slow inch. Arching her back with a groan as she flipped over on the cot, as she woke up fully everything from the morning rushed back to her.
However, the nap had done wonders for emotional turmoil, allowing her brain to sort itself out while Andreya slept, and instead of being overwhelmed with everything new she’d learned she was...much more her normal calm and rational self. Sitting up on her cot, the furs collected around her waist, Andreya rubbed her hands over her face to wake up before running her hands through her hair to smooth down the slightly ‘bed-head’ looking red mass into waves again.
Feeling much more herself after the refreshing nap, Andreya replayed the conversation she’d had with her mother and was highly embarrassed by her behavior...there was absolutely no excuse for the way she’d talked to her mother this morning. As she turned to get up out of bed, Andreya promised herself that she’d send her mother an apology, sure that the tailor had already returned to the Hold at this point.
Standing up, Andreya quickly dressed in the outfit she’d been wearing before her nap, including the scarf around her neck as a choker and the belt slung low around her hips. As she looked down at her outfit, considering it, she pulled on the blouse’s neckline to not be so low into the corset. In the end, instead of leaving her shoulders bare (as she’d worn the blouse/corset combo this morning) the blouse covered her shoulders and the blouse was...just a bit more modest than it previously had been for going to talk to her dad. Giving her outfit a critical examination, she nodded her head in satisfaction even as she considered needing to go through her entire ‘off-duty’ wardrobe to make sure she wore only clothing appropriate for the ‘new’ cousin of the Weyrwoman to be seen wearing.
Sitting on her bed, she pulled her heeled slippers out from under the cot and slipped them on, tying the slipper’s ribbons up and around her ankle securly. Finally, she brushed out her wavy hair and arranged it in a smooth sideways laying french braid so that it laid across her shoulder and her collarbone, with a blue ribbon matching her corset braided into the braid itself giving a startling contrast to her coppery-red locks . As she finished and tied the braid securely, finishing donning her ‘armor’ for the afternoon, Andreya sat there a moment and considered her next course of action.
With how long she napped, it was now fairly close to lunch time, Andreya considered seeing if T’rifoshe would be able to take an ‘off-duty’ lunch. She very clearly remembered her mother’s warning to keep things separate and not mix ‘ACM’ with ‘father’ T’rifoshe, so she wanted to make it clear when she approached him, especially if she approached him in his office, that she wasn’t coming to see him as a candidate needing his help. But then as she considered trying to eat while at the same time trying to have this first talk with him, Andreya realized she might have some trouble eating because of being nervous. And besides, he might not be able to take some time away from being ‘ACM’ to talk with her right when he approached her, in which case they’d have to get together whenever he was free. So really, she couldn’t make any definitive plans on talking with T’rif because it depended on his availability and if he had enough free time as the one thing she didn’t want to do was pull him away from any work he might need to do.
As she reasoned all this out, she realized her next step very clearly would be seeing if he was in his office. With the earlier emotional upheavals having been soothed by her restful nap, and having had some time to adjust to the news she’d been given, she’d found a measure of...acceptance as she embraced the idea that she now knew who her father was and that he actually wanted to be a part of her life and so Andreya didn’t see any point in delaying this meeting.
Her mind set, Andreya stood up gracefully from her cot and headed across the barracks to ACM T’rifoshe’s office. Her walk to the office was graceful and full of confidence, despite the more than slight amount of apprehension she felt about this meeting. As she got close, she paused a moment to check herself over one more time and adjust where the braid was laying across her collerbone, before she walked up to the office door. Taking a breath to steady herself, her posture already perfect, even as Andreya raised her hand to knock on the closed door she wondered if he’d be in his office right now or if he might have taken off to eat lunch a little early.
The Candidates might have the day after the Hatching off, but T’rif didn’t. Too many Candidates had angst over not Impressing for him not to be around so he made himself available for anyone to talk to just in case. When the knock on the door came, he assumed that just another Candidate looking to talk about their missed chance to Impress had come.
“Come in,” he called from behind his desk, pushing a stack of files away.
As she stood outside the door, waiting with her heart pounding a little harder than she wished it would, when Andreya heard him call out for her to come in she took another quick breath before she turned the doorknob and pushed open the door. Taking a single step inside, she looked over at ACM T’rifoshe, at her...her father, sitting behind his desk and there was the briefest pause as she looked at him, really looked at him, seeing him not as ACM but as her dad.
Then, having already planned out what she was going to say while she was still sitting on her cot and with her head high to show she wasn’t nervous or upset, she asked in a voice that didn’t sound at all hesitant “Hello, ACM T’rifoshe. If you’re not too busy with candidate related work, do you have some time to talk?” Her question, she hoped, would make it clear to him that she wasn’t coming to see him as a candidate needing counseling but instead as his daughter. Her hands were by her side, loose and relaxed, as she stood there just inside his office not wanting to interrupt if he didn’t have time to see her right this moment.
T’rif looked up and his eyes widened as they settled on a familiar red-headed woman. Reyara had said that Andreya was his daughter and now he was being confronted with her for the first time since that knowledge. He pushed his work aside and gestured for her to come sit.
“Not at all,” he said. “Please, come sit. I always have time to talk. In whatever capacity you need me.”
Andreya was watching him and saw T’rif’s eyes widen as he looked at her, and she could understand that it must be...quite an experience to have a previously unknown nearly-grown daughter walk into your office and ask to talk. It was certainly an unusual feeling on her side of the coin. Unsure if he’d drop everything to talk with her, when his first reaction was to push aside his work and focus on her Andreya felt her heart get a little warm fuzzy feeling as she realized her mother hadn’t over exaggerated. He did seem to want her in her life.
At his gesture to sit and his reassuring, welcoming words, Andreya was pleased and gave him a small smile and replied with “Thank you, Sir.” Shutting the door behind her (assuming he’d want the door shut for privacy for this conversation) she then walked gracefully over to the chair. Smoothing her skirt down, she sat down with the same ladylike poise she’d shown during the candidate interview.
Taking a moment to settle her skirt, Andreya then laid her hands in her lap and looked across the desk at T’rif. Sitting down and looking at him, meeting his eyes with her own that mirrored his in color, Andreya took a moment to adjust before saying (as she watched his face for reactions) “I...I know this is a bit odd, coming to see you like this….as...as your daughter, not just another candidate.” There, she’d said it outloud to him...and she watched her father.
“It is...” T’rif said then cleared his throat. “I mean. Yes, it is. But that’s okay. I’m excited to know. How...how are you feeling about all of this?” He watched her closely, wanting to see how she felt about the whole situation which was weird, but not entirely unheard of considering a world where flight babies were a common situation.
His agreement at the oddness of the situation earned him a small nod from the Harper. There was no way around it, this would be odd for anyone. As he said that it was ok, Andreya’s lips turned up slightly in a smile, and she settled a little more into the chair at the reassurance that coming to talk was really ok.
As he said he was actually excited to know, to find out about her, Andreya studied his face a moment but there was nothing to hint that he wasn’t being honest. And that, combined with his first question being how *she* was feeling earned him a little bit of a wider smile even as that warm fuzzy feeling inside got a little warmer.
Andreya had intended to hold herself back a bit, had taken the time to build up that ever present wall around her heart so that she didn’t get hurt again. Yes, T’rif wouldn’t hurt her in the same way that other rotten bastard had, but as her father...he could still break her heart. But, the way he had already (in just their very first talk as father and daughter) shown that he was concerned about her, that he’d make time for her...well, that thick wall around her heart was beginning to crack slightly regardless of Andreya’s intentions.
She took a moment to carefully consider her response before she said “It’s..well, it’s a shock, of course. After this long I never expected that Mom would remember, that she’d find out. I’d stopped hoping, Turns ago, that I'd ever know. I always thought her vague memories of my father ‘maybe being a rider’ were just her hopes to remember leading her to mis-remember.”
Taking a breath, not wanting to go into the turns she’d pestered her mother to remember *something* about her dad, Andreya continued instead with “And now...now we know. After all these turns, we know about each other.” Pausing, with the memory of those Turns wishing on Birthdays for her father still fresh in her mind, her internal wall cracked just a little more and voice went a little bit shy as she added “And I’m excited too...to know you.”
T’rif stood and came around the desk. “May I...may I give you a hug?” For all those turns not to know she existed and now to have another daughter to be standing before him and old enough to Stand. Grown before he’d ever laid eyes on her, let alone given her her first hug. It seemed wrong.
As T’rif stood up and walked around toward her, Andreya’s gaze followed him and watched the tall man’s movements, not realizing she was still looking for herself and whatever mannerisms of hers he might have. With his question, there was a very very brief pause, not quite a hesitation though, before Andreya nodded and replied with “Yes, that would be ok.”. She then smoothly stood up and moved out from in front of the chair with delicate, elegant movements and her flowy skirt making slight ‘swooshing’ movements with her steps.
Standing there keeping herself as relaxed as possible, with these heeled slippers, her height was closer to 6 feet than her normal 5’10” and her blue/grey eyes still needed to be raised to look into T’rif’s as she gave him a small nod.
T’rif pulled her in for a hug and held her long enough that it might have been awkward, but it was the first one and he wanted to remember it. This time the day before he hadn’t even known she existed. Children were important to him and through some cruel twist of fate all of the ones he’d known he’d had were taken from him and here was another that he’d never known of come back into his life.
“It’s nice to meet you,” he said as he released you. “I was hoping you’d stop by. I actually...I got you something in case you did.”
When T’rif stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her, Andreya had a moment of needing to figure out where exactly to put her own arms. When she hugged her mother, she normally put her arms around her mom’s shoulders, but this wouldn’t work here. So, after a moment of his arms around hers, Andreya raised her arms and wrapped them under his, around his chest so that her palms were against his back, and turned her head to lay her cheek against his shoulder as she relaxed into T’rif’s hug.
Standing there, his arms warm and strong around her back holding her tightly to him, Andreya closed her eyes as she kept her cheek turned against his shoulder (facing his neck) and let herself...just feel for a long moment this first hug from her father. Hearing his strong heartbeat echo in her ear, the faint smell of oil he’d used on his dragon, his warmth (why were guys always little portable cookstoves?) and the muscles in his arms holding her close. She was focused on the hug itself that she didn’t notice any potential awkwardness from the length of the hug, nor did she tense up or give a hint of wanting to pull away from the hug, unusual from her typical behavior with guys to want to be so warm with them. But T’rif wasn’t just a ‘guy’, he was her father...and that was different even if her mind was still trying to keep up it’s walls around her heart.
When she felt him shift, only then did Andreya let her hands fall away from his back as he released her. Giving a small step back to give him space, her head ducked a little as she felt the faint tingling of tears in her eyes and she determinedly told herself she *was not* going to cry from a *hug!*. As she ducked her head, she reached up to unconsciously smooth her hair before she remembered a little too late that her hair was in a braid, so her movement changed to just adjusting where the braid fell against her collarbone.
His words, however, earned him a glance up and a small smile followed by an ‘oh’ of surprise at him saying he had something for her. Remembering her mother’s words not to take advantage, Andreya raised her hands just slightly as she responded with surprise, albeit pleased surprise, in her voice “Oh! You didn’t need to get me anything. Really. And it’s nice to meet you too...T’rifoshe.” There was a slight pause as she mentally debated with herself on what...what it felt right to call him, as it certainly wouldn’t be Triffy like she’d heard Shalia call him..
“I wanted to get it for you,” T’rif told her. He ducked around his desk and brought out the egg pot holder to present it to her. “The egg was available, so I took it. It was no big deal. It’s a Callamere though, so it should be a real nice flit, whatever the color.”
As T’rif said he’d wanted to do it, Andreya opened her mouth again to say it wasn’t needed, that she hadn’t expected anything, when suddenly he pulled out an egg pot from behind his desk. Well, she certainly hadn’t expected *that*, maybe a beautiful hair comb, or...or some kind of modestly gorgeous dress (maybe with her mother’s assistance in picking out the gift), but not...this. Staring with wide, surprised eyes from the egg pot holder and back up to him, when he mentioned it was a *Callamere* egg, her surprise turned into pure astonishment.
Staring at the egg pot holder, shaking her head a little, she asked curiously, her brain focusing on this question while Andreya worked through her shock of the gift “And...and what would you have done with the egg if I’d waited a few days to visit? It could have hatched on you.”
“Nah, if you hadn’t come today, I would have given it back to Shalia to sell it,” T’rifoshe told her. He didn’t mention that he detested the flying pests himself, but he understood that he was in the minority. “So if you want it, the egg is yours. If not, I’ll return it so that Shalia can sell it.”
Andreya was still looking at the egg pot holder, the shock fading into a clear look of longing directed at the pot even as she held herself back from reaching for it. Not too long ago she’d expressed a desire for a flit, and now here she was being gifted with an egg. Listening and nodding softly when he said he’d just have given it back, when he mentioned Shalia’s name Andreya’s head came up in surprise. With a small, amused smile Andreya responded with “Shalia and I were talking about flits, when I first arrived. She was determined to help me get one. I...I do want it, really I do. This is a truly wonderful gift, more than I ever expected, Thank you so much.” Even as she thanked him, Andreya had a moment of thinking he was trying to win her over with gifts and wanting to refuse it, but...but she didn’t *want* to decline the gift. Surely...surely accepting it would be ok without making him think she was just looking for whatever fancy gifts he’d give her to make up for all these turns? After all, he didn’t have anything to make up for, it hadn’t been his fault that they’d never known each other.
After a moment though, with that warning from earlier still at the forefront of her mind, Andreya asked with a note of hesitation in her voice despite the hope she didn’t manage to conceal “Are...are you sure it’s ok that I get one? That you give me one? And not just with Foreth’s recent ‘Flight and the upcoming eggs either…”
“You should have time enough for the flit to be attached to you before the eggs Hatch,” T’rif assured her. “And I get that it’s a big gift, but it was available to me. If you’re not interested, that’s fine. I won’t be upset. I don’t want to offend you.”
As he said there’d be enough time for the flit to be fine should she impress, Andreya gave a relieved nod of her head as she glanced back down at the egg pot. As he continued, saying it was fine if she wasn’t interested, reassuring her it would be ok and he wasn’t offended, Andreya’s eyes flew back up to his and she rushed forward with her own reassurances saying “Oh no! I’m not offended, not at all. Please don’t think that, Sir...err...T’rifoshe.” She flushed a bit as she stumbled, saying ‘Sir’ out of reflex before remembering he was her dad and then feeling awkward about her bumbled words.
Taking a breath, she tried again saying “Thank you for reassuring me about there being enough time for the flit’s attachment. And it is a big gift, but I’m not offended....I’m...I just want to make sure that...well, like my mom warned me, that I’m not seen to be gaining an unfair advantage now...with being your daughter. I don’t want that at all. It is a wonderfully thoughtful gift, and I do want to accept it, I’m very much interested.” As she finished, she was looking at him with honesty showing clear across her features.
“Please, if we’re going informal, just call me T’rif,” he told her. “And it’s really no big deal. The Weyr’s full of flits. One more isn’t a big thing in the scheme of things. It’s just a nice thing for you. But again, if you’re not interested, I can just give it back. I don’t want you to feel weird or anything.”
At his suggestion to call him T’rif, Andreya nodded her head giving him a small embarrassed smile even as she continued listening to him. She thought back to all the flits she’d seen, all over the place, and hadn’t realized so many candidates had them that it would be ok for her to as well. As he tried to say he could take the egg back, a brief look of sadness passed over her face at the idea and she gave a shake of her head.
Hearing his concern about her feeling weird about accepting, with the reassurance that flits were normal and she’d be ok having one...that she wouldn’t get looked at sideways for having one suddenly when people figured out (gossip always spread like fire) that she was T’rif’s previously unknown daughter, she made up her mind. Smile widening, trying to reassure him that she was happy, beyond happy really...more like elated, she said quite sincerely “Thank you...thank you T’rif! I love the gift, a Callamere egg, I can’t believe it! I appreciate it, your gift. I don’t feel weird at all.”
Then, quite unlike herself, Andreya let the delighted feelings envelope her a bit more and in a spur-of-the-moment of unconstrained feeling actually stepped closer to (and maybe a little behind) the desk to hug him saying again “Thank you!” She could feel that tingle of tears again in her eyes, and closed her eyes as she hugged her father tightly.
“You’re welcome,” he said as he hugged her back. “I think I was told it should Hatch pretty quick so don’t go far away from it until then.”
Swallowing hard, fighting back the tears as she hugged T’rif even as she couldn’t help the pang of regret at so much lost time, after a moment she dropped her arms and stepped back from the hug. Nodding at his words, feeling a bit stunned again as she thought about all the ‘new arrivals’ in her life today...a father...cousins and more cousins...maybe siblings (although she didn’t quite want to ask that yet)...and now a *Callamere Flit*.
Putting a hand on top of the pot very gently, she asked “Pretty quickly, do you mean...in a few hours? Or in a sevenday?” Yes, today was a free day, but what about tomorrow? What if she was in lessons and it hatched tomorrow? She didn’t think she’d be allowed to bring the egg to class with her, to make sure she was around when it hatched…
“Within the day or so,” T’rif said. “So happy Hatching Day. Just not the one you were expecting.” He smiled at her, excited that he could give her such a gift. It felt like a small way to make up for turns of missed presents for birthdays and Gathers and all.
As he gave the expected timeframe, Andreya nodded thoughtfully and then couldn’t help the smile at his ‘Hatching Day’ congratulations. Glancing up at him, she said seriously “Thank you. And...and maybe it’s good I didn’t impress. I couldn’t imagine being stuck in however many months of weyrling seclusion...right after finding out about you. This way...this way we have time to get to know each other. We’ve missed a lot…” At that last bit, there was a tinge of regret, before she continued in a happier tone with “but thankfully, not anymore.”
“This way you get time to get to know the Weyr as well,” T’rif said. “You can get friends and meet all your kin. I always feel bad for the people who Impress straight off. You really do need those connections.” And now hopefully one of those connections would involve him. “How are you finding things around here so far?”
Nodding to T’rif’s comments, the movement hesitated just slightly at the ‘all your kin’ words...and the reminder of just how far-reaching her family suddenly was. At his question, Andreya replied with “Well, I’ve been mostly trying to cram studying in for yesterday’s Hatching, just to be prepared...But I’ve made friends with Shalia, actually. Spent some time with her, not just the day she showed me around either. Other than her...well, like I said I’ve had my nose to the books. But hopefully, now with a bit of time until the next Hatching, you’re right that I can make more connections.”
She said this, but she thought back to her time at the Harper Haven and how...how apart she’d always been from everyone else (mostly because of her own actions setting her apart) and wondered really how different it would be as a candidate.
“Well, now you can study at a more leisurely pace,” T’rif said. “And I’m glad you’re getting to know Shalia. She’s a good girl. Just keep yourself out of trouble. You should get to know Rassia and Kashara as well.”
Nodding about being able to study slower, Andreya knew that she had a lot to catch up on, however, and would need to keep studying hard to get there. She didn’t want to fall behind just because she’d come late to the Gather. Smiling at T’rif’s words about Shalia, she again nodded about staying out of trouble, and this time the nodding was in actual agreement. “Oh of course, I don’t want to cause any trouble.” Nor did she want to make him regret being excited to have her as a daughter, or otherwise disappoint him. She continued, adding “Yes, Shalia mentioned her sisters, my...my second cousins...I’ll have to meet them. So many new family members to meet now...Are there...do I have any siblings here I should be aware of?” Andreya worried, very suddenly, that one of the boys she’d kissed might be an unknown brother, but she didn’t think any had mentioned T’rif being their father. Still, it didn’t hurt to ask...
A sudden thought resulted in Andreya giving him an apprehensive look as she asked “There isn’t some kind of...I don’t know...big family dinner on rest days that I need to know about...is there?” The young Harper most certainly didn’t want to end up heading to the Dining Hall one day only to get swept up into a family dinner with...with everyone without at least the chance to prepare and make sure she was appropriately dressed for the occasion...much less emotionally prepared for that kind of meeting.
A pained look came over his face. “I have two kids with my previous mate, Monifa, but she took them North and I haven’t seen them in turns,” he said. “And another daughter by a woman who ran off and didn’t tell me where she took our daughter, and I haven’t heard from her since. I had a son that was actually Kassia’s weyrmate for turns, but he died in an accident. So it’s just the extended family. And no, we don’t do a big family dinner.”
Seeing the pain on her father’s face, Andreya immediately regretted asking about siblings and instinctively reached out to touch his arm in comfort. As soon as she realized her hand was moving she froze a moment before following through with the movement and laying her palm on his arm while silently listening, sorrow for his pain clear on her face. When he got to mentioning his son, saying he’d been Kassia’s weyrmate, her Harper brain made the connection easily but she managed not to react to the strange knowledge that Kassia had been weyrmated to her own cousin briefly.
As he finished, in a soft heartfelt voice she said “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories for you. And...and I’m even more sorry for the loss of your son, and not being able to know your other children.” Hearing that it seemed T’rif had not raised any of his children made Andreya both terribly sad for her father, while there was a little tiny bit of her that said ‘Well, at least you’re not the only one he didn’t get to raise.’. Andreya, of course, squashed that horrible though immediately.
As he answered her last question, about big family dinners, Andreya gave him a slightly relieved smile as she said trying to move away from sad memories “That’s good to know...I’d rather have a chance to prepare before a family meeting like that. I couldn’t even imagine…”
As she shook her head at the though, Andreya moved to lift her palm off of T’rif’s arm. Then she considered and asked “Do you...I don’t know how much you and Mom got to talk about last night. But do you have any questions for me?”
He laid a hand across her hand, acknowledging the comfort.
“I guess, I didn’t mention that I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the Weyrwoman’s...Kassia’s life, and her children’s,” he said. “A big part. And like I said, I’d like you to meet them, but you won’t have to meet them all at once. I’m surprised you haven’t met Rassia yet. Kashara is still in the Infirmary and will probably be set up in a nearby small weyr while she continues to recover, so we’d have to make a trip to meet her.”
“I hope you’ve had a good life so far,” he said. “Your mother seems like a very wonderful woman, as she did that night I met her. Know that you’re welcome here and that whatever your life before, you can start a new one here though. I’m here if you ever need me. That goes whether you need a dad...if you eventually want one. Or you need an ACM. Okay?”
Andreya gave him a small smile as she felt the warmth of his hand covering hers, and at his mention of being a big part of his niece’s (and her children’s) life Andreya wondered how this niece (Weyrwoman Kassia) would react to finding out about her. Would she actually welcome Andreya as a part of this big family? Or would Andreya, not having grown up in the family, be looked at like an unknown interloper?
When he said he’d like her to meet them, Andreya of course nodded her head then smiled gratefully at him as he mentioned it not being all at once. At the reminder that Shalia’s sister, her cousin, was in the infirmary Andreya asked “That’s right. How is Kashara doing, any better? Any good news on her leg’s healing yet? And yes, I do want to meet them both whenever they, or you, are free.” After a pause Andreya added “All this new family...it’s always been just me and Mom for so long, she didn’t have any siblings...So, suddenly having people related to me, people that I might see even as I turn a corner, that’s really surprising. I’m excited to meet everyone, so that I can be a big part of their lives too.”
As T’rif talked about what he hoped about her life, about her mom being a wonderful woman, Andreya smiled reassuringly at her dad. When he went on to say she was welcome here, could start a new life no matter what came before, and that he’d be there if she needed him, Andreya wondered briefly what kind of notes might have been in her file that the Harpers probably gave to the Candidatemaster when she’d joined Candidacy...Had the Harpers been more aware of the attitudes of the apprentice/journeymen Harpers toward her than they’d let on? But that didn’t matter, not right at this moment.
Instead, pulling her thoughts away from the Harper Haven Andreya said “Yes, I did. Mom was wonderful. Yes, she was a bit busy with tailoring and I was raised in the Hold’s creche, like rider’s kids are here, but she saw me as much as she could. And, as you can probably tell, I loved seeing all the beautiful things she could make. She even managed to get me extra, private Harpering lessons when I began to show some promise, and that was amazing of her. That she supported me so well, with what I was interested in and wanted to pursue.” Andreya knew that wasn’t always the case, and wanted to make sure T’rif didn’t think she’d been lacking in any way in her life with her mom, aside from of course lacking a father figure.”
Either way, as T’rif finished speaking, including that hesitant comment of ‘if she eventually wanted a dad’ Andreya nodded her head quickly in understanding saying “Yes, I understand. You’re here, as ACM or..” And here she paused before trying out the word for the first time out loud with a small smile “...or as Dad. I do appreciate that. And I do want to have a relationship with you, as your daughter and not just a candidate. Maybe we can...grab a meal or something, along with meeting the family? Of course only when you aren’t swamped by Post-hatching Candidatemaster work, I understand that.”
“She’s improving,” T’rif said. “It’ll be a while, but hopefully she’ll be back to being able to Stand. The others should be a lot easier to meet. I’ll even see if Kassia has time to meet you soon. She’s busy, but she can usually find some time to spare. Rassia should be floating around somewhere. And don’t worry about me, I can make time. Just give me a day or two. I think I have the day after next off, if I can’t fit something in tomorrow. We’ll fit something in then.”
He wanted to make this work. He really did. Now that he knew she existed, he wasn’t about to let this opportunity go by. He loved Kassia but she’d wasted her chances with her sons, and even somewhat with some of her daughters. But he wasn’t that person. He wanted to be in his daughter’s life as much as he could given that she was no longer a child.
Smiling wide when T’rif said that Kashara was doing better, Andreya felt her heart-rate spike as he mentioned meeting Kassia soon but she kept herself from tensing up with nerves. When he mentioned specific days he’d be available, either tomorrow or the next day, Andreya nodded excitedly at him. She was glad it wasn’t going to be a vague ‘oh, sometime next week I should be free’ kind of thing, he was actually setting up specific days he’d be able to, hopefully, see her.
With a grin she added her own faintly amused but enthusiastic sounding reply of “Of course, tomorrow or the next day. Well, you know what my schedule is and when I’m in lessons and whatnot. Other than that, I’ll make sure I’m available.” It was certainly an odd experience planning time to spend with her dad, knowing that *he* knew exactly what her schedule would be on those days.
“I need to get back to work,” T’rif said, “but we’ll definitely get together. Okay? And if you need me, I’m here.” He gave her another hug. “Are you okay?”
Even Andreya had gotten the feeling that this talk with T’rif was beginning to wind down, and so she wasn’t surprised when he said he needed to get back to work. Instead she nodded her head understandably and when he pulled her in for a hug she hugged him back tightly. At his question, she nodded first before adding reassuringly “Of course, I understand. And yes. Yes I’m really ok.” She didn’t need to tell him about the mini-meltdown she’d had with her mother earlier, since the nap seemed to have soothed most of the emotional tornado she’d been feeling, and instead continued with a sincere smile “I’m looking forward to the next get together, and getting to introduce you to my new flit, if it’s hatched by then.”
Then, with an amused grin she added “And, I very much appreciate you worrying about me, you already caring enough about me *to* worry. But you don’t need to make up for all 17 turns of worry all at once, don’t need to give yourself a heart attack just after we’ve met. In fact, you have nothing to make up *for*, Dad. It’s not your fault you didn’t know, after all.”
“I’ll try to worry about you just the right amount,” T’rif said with a smile. “Take care of that egg and I hope it hatches into a nice little flit for you. It was so good to meet you and we’ll get together soon.”
Andreya gave a small amused shake of her head at T’rif’s reply before she said “Yes, it really was. Wonderful, can hardly wait.” Reaching out to place a hand on the egg pot again she finished with “And I will, thank you again so very much for the flit.”
Andreya then oh-so-very carefully picked up the egg pot holder, cradling it in her arms so as not to jostle it, and before she turned to the door she said with a grin “See you soon.” After one last look at him, still surprised at all the new people suddenly in her life, Andreya turned and walked out of the office, opening the door so carefully with her flit egg in one arm and then shutting the door behind her like it had been when she’d first knocked.