"I hate you."
"You're not even going to say you're sorry?"
"I'm sorry you hate me. I'm not apologising for that." Alistair pointed.
"So you've pointed out before. Repeatedly."
Elyssa flopped onto the massive four poster bed that took up the middle of the large room. Alistair reached over and slid the shoes off of her swollen feet. Despite the fire being lit, the room was comfortably cool. She sighed deeply, just as Jocelyne came bustling in from the sitting room.
"Your Highness! You're going to wrinkle that dress. Do you know how long it takes to get wrinkles out of this fabric?" Jocelyne chivvied her into standing up, undoing the buttons at the back that ran from neck to waist. Elyssa shrugged out of the warm dress and collapsed back onto the bed in just her shift, muttering under her breath about formal clothes and impudent help. The young maid, looking completely unabashed, took the dress and rushed off.
"Roll over, 'Lys. You know you're not supposed to lie on your back. Do I have to tell Wynne?"
"You're such a tattle-tale! You want me to roll over, you're going to have to help me."
Alistair, shucking his own formal coat, climbed onto the bed beside Elyssa, picking her up effortlessly and rolling her onto her side so they were facing each other.
"I feel like such a cow." Contrary to her harsh words, Elyssa caressed her swollen belly with both hands tenderly.
"Stop it. You've never been more beautiful."
"You have to say that. You did this to me!"
"I'm fairly certain it was a combined effort."
"Don't cloud the issue with the facts. I have to live with this, you don't. It's your fault."
They lapsed into silence, Alistair shifting Elyssa so she lay with her head on his shoulder. He softly stroked her hair.
"You know, there's one thing I like about being the King."
"Well, one I can think of at the moment. It means you get to leave your hair down."
"I'll never understand why all noble women have to wear their hair shorter than the Queen, or at least pinned up. I hear they had a celebration when I became Queen instead of Anora - with my hair so long, they all got to let theirs down a bit. It drove them all crazy that Anora kept her hair so short. It is rather impractical, though, for a Warden Commander and the leader of Ferelden's combined armies."
"You're on leave for now. Just let me enjoy it!"
"I'm glad you can enjoy something. Oof!"
"Where?" Elyssa pointed to a spot on her left flank, and Alistair gently started massaging the area. After a few moments, the pressure released.
"They're getting stronger."
"Every day. Wynne says I'm almost past the danger zone now. I could go into labour any time, but at least they will probably be fine if it happens soon."
"Seven months feels way too soon!"
"Considering that lots of women with twins lose them long before that, I don't feel so bad."
"Still I hope they stay for a while longer."
"Easy for you to say." She poked him in the side and he twitched, chuckling.
"Is it really that bad?
"Well, let's see. My back hurts, my hips hurt, my stomach hurts, I can't sleep for all the poking and prodding, and I have to pee every five minutes. I suppose it could be worse - I've heard twins are supposed to cause more morning sickness. But it's not exactly fun, overall."
"I might be able to make you feel a little better. I have a present for you."
"Will you come see?"
"Do I have to get dressed?"
"Nope. You don't even have to walk if you don't want - I'll carry you."
"Yeah, that's not going to happen. Just give me a push, though, will you?" Elyssa managed to slide to the edge of the bed and sit up. Her unaccustomed bulk messed with her centre of gravity, and she swayed slightly before getting her balance, throwing Alistair a dirty look as she did. She curiously followed him down the hall to an unused room which would likely eventually be a children's playroom. For now, all the furniture had been pushed to the side except for a large wooden structure. It was like a high table, but the top was padded. She could see the top was made up of many individual pieces. And it appeared to have multiple separate cranks underneath.
"If that's my present, it's the ugliest table I've ever seen."
"I think you might change your mind about that once you see what this thing can do! I got the idea from Leliana. She was telling me about someone she knew in Orlais who had a lot of back pain during pregnancy."
"You've been talking to other people about my whining?"
"No, no. She brought it up ages ago, once she found out it was twins. Anyway, she said that in Orlais, they have special people who help pregnant women and deliver babies. Not mages, just knowledgeable people."
"They're called midwives. They have that here, too, silly. If I was anyone other than the Queen, I wouldn't rate my own personal mage standing by for delivery."
"Oh ... really? Huh. At any rate, she told me that the midwife of the lady with the back pain used to give her massages on a special table made for pregnancy. I got her to give me some details, did a bit of research of my own, and talked a couple of the dwarven engineers into making this."
"Just let me show you, okay? So first of all, I take out this piece here." A large oval lifted up, and Alistair set it aside.
"Then this piece. And now, crank this up a little bit ... alright, ready."
"Ready for what?"
"You to lie down! I even brought a stool."
Elyssa shot him an incredulous look. "You've got to be joking."
"Would you just trust me? I even cleared it with Wynne. She says it's a great idea. Just step up here, would you? Naked, please."
"Don't you want a massage?"
"I ... fine. Fine, fine. If we get arrested for indecency, I blame you." Elyssa tossed her shift to the floor, noting with some satisfaction that even as enormous as she felt, Alistair apparently still found her attractive. She stepped up to him, raising her face to be kissed, and ran her fingers over the obvious bulge in his pants.
"We are going to have to do something about this later."
"We can't! Wynne said not to until after the babies. Besides, I'm fine. Really. I did this to you, remember? You're supposed to be mad at me."
"Would you rather I was?" She continued to gently caress him, and he groaned. "Besides, there's other ways to take care of this that don't involve that part of me."
"And what kind of selfish bastard do you think I am? Allowing my very pregnant wife to do that? I don't think so."
"No reason for both of us to be ... frustrated."
"Are you? Oh, love, I'm sorry."
"Apparently pregnancy makes me ... want to, more."
"More? Wow, you are determined to send me to an early grave."
"You've figured out my evil plan! Wahahaha! I shall kill you with sex and then rule the world."
"Um, you're the Queen. Everyone knows you already rule the world."
"You say the nicest things to me!"
"Just lie down here. On your stomach."
"Oh! That's what the hole is for." Alistair assisted her up, and Elyssa, cautiously maneuvering her bulk into the right position, lowered herself onto the table.
"That's good. That's really good. I've been wishing I could lie on my stomach. And it actually feels kind of good just hanging there. What's this other hole for?"
"So you don't have to turn your head. Just relax your neck. Is the height right? Each piece can be adjusted and tilted."
"I'm never getting up."
"You like it?" Elyssa lifted her head to direct a beaming smile at Alistair.
"I love it!"
"And you haven't seen the best part yet."
Alistair brought out a jar filled with flower scented oil, scooping some out and warming it with his hands before starting to massage her. Elyssa settled in, eyes closed as she enjoyed the pressure of his fingers on the tense muscles in her shoulders and back. Despite being almost constantly aroused, and his fingers grazing her ass and the sides of her breasts as she lay there, the fatigue of being pregnant with twins caught up to her and she fell asleep. Alistair finished his massage, then, draping a sheet over her sleeping form, he easily picked her up and carried her to the large bed they shared. Carefully placing her on her side, he undressed, spooned behind her, and fell asleep himself.
When Elyssa woke, she found herself in bed, Alistair snoring softly behind her. For the first time in a while her back wasn't bothering her too much, and she smiled softly as she considered his thoughtful gift. It must have taken months to design and build; she blushed as she briefly considered what the dwarves who built it must have thought.
The sun was just starting to come up; she could see dim light under the shutters. Knowing she had probably an hour before she absolutely had to get up, she laboriously rolled over and tried to settle back to sleep. Alistair had rolled onto his back during the night, and she snuggled up to his side. His handsome face looked so peaceful that she ended up propping herself up on one elbow to watch him sleep.
.... There is more of this story ...