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Waiting, watching Trifali as her sister considered her explanation, Andreya was nervous that something she'd said, that her explanation itself, might upset Trifali more than she already was. Andreya didn't want her actions to cause a rift between her and her sister. It was bad enough that she'd *disappointed* Kassia with her refusal, a person she'd been starting to admire from watching how she handled her Weyrwoman duties close up, beyond just being Kassia's cousin. But if this decision she'd made messed things up between her and Trifali, she knew that she'd regret that even more, even if she couldn't regret the decision she'd made itself.
When Trifali finally spoke, and said she was jealous but in a tone that wasn't...angry, Andreya held herself back from any response so that her sister could say everything she wanted. As Trifali fell silent and looked down at her hands, Andreya stayed silent feel that her sister wasn't quite done even before Trifali raised a finger to stop any of Andreya's words.
At the whispered words, Andreya's brow furrowed ever so slightly before Trifali continued. With her sister saying that T'rif said she was still worthy, Andreya immediately and firmly nodded her head in agreement, but Trifali didn't stop there and Andreya froze again.
As Trifali finally finished, Andreya considered a moment before responding with "Please, don't be jealous. It's possible I completely overthought...well, everything, and got Foreth mad at me and Kassia *disappointed* at me for no good reason. And...if I'd been able to put aside my concerns...if I'd thought I'd feel worthy regardless of possible influencing Impression or not, I'd have joined you. But...but it's *my* failing, my...my own self-doubt that I *am* worthy that stuck in my brain. That's why I try so hard, work so hard, to be good...because I feel like I need to *because* I'm not good enough. To not have that failing...to think, already, that I am good enough to just walk right in at the offer like you did. I'm jealous of you, for that, for you not being stuck in a possible, endless 'overthinking your own failing' loop."
If Trifali's hands had been on the table, instead of in her lap, Andreya would have reached out to put her hand over her sisters. Instead, in a firm confident tone Andreya said "We both did the right thing, what was right for us. T'rif was right, about you being worthy. And it does make sense...except, and I do appreciate you thinking this of me...but...I wasn't selfless, not really I don't think. What I did, choosing not to, was for multiple reasons. So that I wouldn't burn bridges with any of the gold-hopefuls who have just as much a chance to impress gold as I do? That's political. So that I feel worthy of impressing gold based on *me*, and not based on who my family is or any advantages I might get offered? Well, some might call that conceited to hope that just that little decision might make me look...*more* worthy than some of the other girls, other girls that have been gold-hopefuls for more turns than I've even been a Harper. Conceited to think that a *newbie* Harper-candidate who just decided after so long to be a candidate, would be worthy of a gold if she just worked hard enough at it. Declining so that I feel worthy *myself* in an effort to hopefully have no Impression Anxiety issues if I did Impress Gold, like Kassia mentioned is possible if you don't feel worthy? That...that was merely planning ahead for if by chance it did happen. But...I don't think it was really selfless."
With all that said, Andreya thought back to a different question she'd had and said "Green or gold? So, just in case it does happen, are you prepared if a blue finds you out on the Sands? And, I'd love to hear about the eggs, especially the one you fell in love with." That last bit was said with an almost shy, hesitant smile as Andreya hoped things were good between them.
Fali took in every word. She thought she understood exactly what Andrey meant. Her heart beat painfully in her chest as she grappled with this new flow of information and tried not to sound like someone who felt outdone by her sibling. But wasn't that exactly how she felt?
"I'm jealous of you," she admitted quietly, no rancor in her words. "I didn't think twice before going in and seeing the eggs. I looked at everyone, including both golds, and told myself that my lifemate might be out there, be she green or gold."
She looked down at her hands, so much a part of how she talked, resting quietly in her lap. She raced a finger to forestall any words from her sister.
"You did the right thing, Andreya," she whispered, hardly daring to voice her concerns. "T'rif says I'm just as worthy in my own right, but part of me wishes, feels, I should have been as selfless as you. Does any of this make sense?"
She took a breath, then added, "I looked at the other eggs, as I've said. but there is one I fell in love with."
When Trifali said she wanted to hear, Andreya gave a small nod of her head which then froze when her sister mentioned hearing things through the rumor grapevine that made her uncertain. The idea that Trifali's opinion of her could be twisted up and uncertain just from some horrid rumors made Andreya frown slightly, but she kept listening. As Trifali asked her to go first, Andreya nodded again as she also straightened up just a bit more (although she was already sitting straight and properly poised) in her seat.
Taking a breath, Andreya looked at her sister saying first, a bit hesitatingly "I'm...I'm sorry that whatever rumors are going around made you feel unsure. I don't know what's been said about me...I learned turns ago, from...a very bad experience, just how *cruel* rumors can be about people and stopped listening to the rumor mill because of it. I hope that hearing the truth from me helps and clears things up a bit for you."
With that, Andreya took a breath and settled herself into explaining while at the same time hoping that her explanation didn't make things worse between her and Trifali.
"Well, to start with I should explain that before finding out that T'rif was my dad, I've always worked hard for what I want, something I've always seen my mom do actually. I fell in love with singing, so I worked hard with the extra lessons as a kid before joining the Harper Haven, and at the Haven I kept on with that hard work. I didn't want to get where I was because I was 'cute', or because of some talent others thought I had, I wanted to prove to myself that it was *me* getting myself there and excelling...if that makes sense."
"And then, at finding out that T'rif was my dad and through him that I was related to Kassia...It's been hard because I've always prided myself on doing things myself, and now because of who I'm suddenly related to it seems like my own personal effort would get overlooked. Shells, when T'rif gave me Colzar's egg it was hard enough for him to convince me to accept the egg as a gift, I didn't want to be seen as taking advantage of suddenly having an ACM as a father. And then not more than a sevenday after that getting offered to be Kassia's runner-assistant, a position that I'm sure so many other gold-hopefuls would have pushed me down the stairs to get. I love helping Kassia, don't get me wrong, but I felt a little bad getting the offer when I'd not even been a candidate for a year, and knowing the offer was prompted by our family connection."
"When Kassia first approached me and let me know that Foreth was going to allow me, you, and Kassia's daughters to see the eggs before any of the other gold-hopefuls I was ecstatic at the opportunity. When talking with Kassia then, I had no thoughts about declining the invitation. But...I will admit that even then, with that offer, I felt a twinge of guilt at the offer itself. At the idea that purely based on the fact that I was related to Kassia that I was going to get to see the eggs before any of the other, not related, gold-hopefuls who'd been candidates so much longer than me."
"Now, maybe I should just accept that because of our family connection that we get...unique and special opportunities that aren't offered to others. That I should just count myself lucky to get these special opportunities and accept them despite feeling like I wasn't worthy of those opportunities because I hadn't actually earned them myself. That what I told myself when getting offered to assist Kassia, that I should accept that I'm lucky and accept the position, and I'm glad I did as being able to assist Kassia has been amazing and I've learned so much...But there were other things going through my head that prevented me from doing the same thing regarding the eggs."
"In those days between talking to Kassia and when she called us to see the eggs very early, I had a lot of time to think...and I probably over thought things quite a bit, but once the thoughts were there I just couldn't get rid of them. It was...bad either way. If I declined, I'd not only risk greatly offending Kassia and Forenth, but also not be able to assist her again until being able to see the eggs with everyone else. If I accepted, then there'd be not just the unfairness toward the rest of the gold-hopefuls for the opportunity given because of being related, but also their anger and burning any bridges and connections I'd made, which could be disastrous if one of those girls I'd angered happened to impress one of the golds."
"But beyond those thoughts, was the idea that seeing the eggs early can influence the Impression. Kassia mentioned it in the gold hopeful lecture, when someone asked her about saying we shouldn't Stand if we didn't want gold. She said that if you don't want to Stand that your chances of seeing the eggs are limited, and they don't even touch the eggs, because there's a link between egg seeing and touching to finding lifemates. She even mentioned it that day, as we met to see the eggs, that any contact with the egg can increase our chances of Impressing."
"Over those few days, I realized that if I accepted and saw the eggs before the other gold-hopefuls, and if I *actually* Impressed to either of the golds like I very much hope to, that I'd always wonder if I Impressed because *I* was worthy or if it was because of having had the opportunity to see the eggs early due to family connection causing me to influence or sway the Impression in my favor. From Kassia's gold lecture and her warning of all the difficulties there can be from impressing gold, especially if you don't feel like you're worthy of gold, I realized that with that possibility out there of influencing the impression by seeing the eggs early that *I* would then feel unworthy of gold if I impressed after accepting her offer."
"So, at risk of greatly offending Kassia and Foreth, I declined...I declined so that I could be absolutely certain without a *hint* of self-doubt that should I impress gold that it's because *I* was worthy on my own and not because of family connection or any influence that had somehow 'stolen' the gold from who she might have been supposed to impress to. I declined so that if I do impress, that I feel worthy and hopefully don't struggle with that Impression or have any issues bonding with my possible lifemate. I declined...because I want to be the best lifemate possible I can be."
"I know it probably seems like I overthought things, and I very well might have, but I hope...I hope that explains everything for you and that my decision makes sense..."
As Andreya finished, she took a breath and watched Trifali's face hoping to get a sign before the other girl even spoke on how her sister was feeling about her explanation, hoping she didn't piss her sister off with her any more than she might be already.
"I want to hear," came the simple response, "but I also want youto know that from the news trickling down the grapevine, I'm a little unsure how I feel about you...well...not seeing the eggs."
This wasn't coming out right, Trifali felt. Collecting herself, she straightened in her seat.
"I'd like you to go first. Then maybe my explanation on why I'm here and feeling the way I feel will make more sense."
Andreya was looking down at the table moving her study materials, she really needed to do better about not spreading out and taking up so much space, so she didn't see the nervous look cross Trifali's face, a look that was similar to the nerves knotting up Andreya's own stomach a bit.
When Trifali sat down, Andreya stilled her hands and finally looked up at her sister, a look of worry and apprehension on her own face for the upcoming conversation. When Trifali finished, Andreya was quick to nod her head saying reassuringly "Of course I want to listen! And please, you don't need to apologize. I was concerned that I upset you, when I didn't join you in the Stands to see the eggs, but I...well, I suppose I wasn't sure if you needed time to think about things to approach me, or if I should approach you first. The downside of...well, not growing up together to know how each of us *wants* to be approached when we are upset."
As Andreya's words caught up with her thoughts, her eyes widened and she quickly reassured Trifali with "Oh! I didn't mean that as if *I* was upset. I'm not at all! Oh Shells, I'm not saying this right at all." As she finished there Andreya looked distinctly embarrassed and more than a little tongue-tied, which was an unusual experience for the Harper-candidate...But this *was* also the first time she'd talked with her sister when she knew Trifali was upset and didn't want to mess this up.
Taking a breath to recollect herself, Andreya finished with "Yes. Yes, I want to hear your thoughts...And, I know you'd already walked into the Stands before I explained to Kassia, but if you'd like and want to hear I don't mind explaining why I declined."
Trifali licked her lips, suddenly and inexplicably nervous. She had a right to feel this way, didn't she?
"I'm sorry I haven't seen you since we saw the eggs," she began as she took a seat. "I wasn't sure what... *How*... to say what I felt...feel. Faranth's egg, I'm still not sure, but I know that it's a disservice to you that I don't explain. If...if you want to listen."
Andreya was, as usual, in her place in one of the study rooms, her head bent over some hides studying with Ellysetta laying across her legs and Colzar perched on the back of her chair. At the quiet question spoken in a familiar voice, Andreya's head came up to meet her sister's eyes, taking in her grave face. Straightening slowly even as she nodded, Andreya replied without sounding hesitant "Of course, Trifali."
With that, she looked down at her table and began to shift things so that there was space for Trifali to sit down. But as she moved, her mind was racing at the possible reason why Trifali would look so grave assuming it would have something to do with when Kassia had invited them to see the eggs and she'd declined...as Trifali had not spoken to her since that day.
The day after her talk with T'rif, Trifali sought out Andreya. She was not one to hide her emotions, not if she'd previously shared them. It was because of this that she knew her face looked grave when she caught up to her sister and said quietly, "Can we talk?"