Like many pregnant gals the world over, Edelweiss Wolff was looking through a book for baby name ideas. But her particular choice of book was, perhaps, a wee bit unorthodox.
“I would get ‘F'” Ede grumped aloud. “Fuschia? That sounds like a drag queen, even for a girl.”
“Got something against drag queens?” Malcolm smirked as he sat down next to her.
“Oh right, I forgot about your fascination with my girly clothes,” Ede teased.
“I don’t have anything against drag queens, no,” she said seriously. “I just feel like we need to give our child a name they can mold into something for themselves, you know? Something flexible that doesn’t already sound like it’s gonna be something else.”
Malcolm nodded thoughtfully.
“Maybe this tradition of naming after flowering plants can be revised,” Ede continued. “I mean, I wouldn’t exactly call my name fitting. Everyone just calls me Ede anyway.” Ede paused. “Everyone except you. Why is that, anyway?”
“Why do I call you Edelweiss?” Malcolm thought for a moment. “Out of respect, I guess,” he shrugged.
Ede didn’t catch his meaning, so he continued.
“I like your name very much. It’s contrary to how you seem at first, but I think it does capture you quite well.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she scowled.
Malcolm chuckled again. “That! The glaring and the punchiness! How you guard yourself. Takes a while to reach the delicate flower in there.”
Ede’s scowl turned into a sigh. Great, now he’s making fun of me.
Malcolm continued. “Edelweiss grows high in alpine cliffs – one of the harshest geographical regions, where you would least expect to find a delicate, unassuming flower. Yet, there it is. Because of its isolation, most people will never get to see one. People have died trying.”
Ede chuckled a bit at that. She’d never actually killed anyone.
“You’re making me a bit tingly, now.” Ede smiled softly.
Malcolm smiled back. “I suppose,” he continued gently, “when I say your name, I feel like I’m honoring you. The cliffs, the snow, and the crazy little flower that somehow exists in all that. I’m letting you know that I see it.”
Ede didn’t say anything. She got up from the table, as did Malcolm.
Ede decided to attempt to stick with the tradition after all, and went to the lab to peruse the information database for other flower names. But late-term pregnancy messes with your attention span something awful, and it wasn’t long before she got distracted.
“Oh my god!” Ede proclaimed when she landed in her email after a riveting round of Blikblock.
“What is it?” asked Malcolm, who had been downstairs exercising.
“My brother – like, soon! We need to RSVP in the next couple days.”
“Oh, that little punk,” Malcolm chuckled. “Good for him! That was fast.”
“Yeah!” Ede said, but thought a moment and corrected herself. “Actually — you know, it really isn’t.” She laughed. “He’s been gearing up for this his whole life.”
“Are we going to try to go?” Malcolm asked. He hoped he’d done an adequate job of masking his wish that she would want to stay home and not stress herself at this point in her pregnancy – they were expecting the baby to come any day now. If Edelweiss wanted to go, though, he’d make that happen for her regardless of his worrying.
Edelweiss didn’t answer right away. When she thought of traveling in her current state, she did not feel very safe. Plus, weddings. Ugh. Her own wedding was the only one she’d been to in her entire life (and Legacy brats go to a lot of weddings) that didn’t make her extremely grumpy, and who wants grumpy guests? Was she gonna be that jerk who stinkeyes the bride the whole ceremony? The person who stands right by the arch, stomping and glaring?
“I don’t know,” she finally said with a sigh.
But, she did know of something special that she could do that wouldn’t require her physical presence.
“Can you help me find something?” Ede asked Malcolm.
“Of course,” he said.
As part of the house remodel, Ede’d had her father’s old bedroom re-envisioned into a study, and most of his literary works were nestled in the shelves. There was a certain book that Dia had written a long time ago, when Elder first gained the Soulmates aspiration. Ede remembered Malcolm commenting on it back when he was helping her sort out the estate, but she couldn’t remember the title. She wanted to make sure that book got to him now.
It didn’t take Malcolm long to find it.
“Here it is,” said Malcolm, handing Ede the tome. “‘Two Into One.’ It’s a collection of romantic poetry.”
Ede sat down and read the dedication on the first page aloud:
It was a bittersweet thing, coming across this now, but it was clear from Ede’s face that she’d rested on the sweet part this time.
“You’re here to pass this gift along at just the right moment,” Malcolm smiled, pulling her into a hug.
He held her gently, adjusting his body so that it cradled her full belly. His embraces now included both her and the baby intentionally; it was comforting and sweet. Ede really just wanted to stay home with Malcolm and make a warm safe space for their baby. She was happy for her brother, and loved him more than almost anything, but she was a Loner, and she was pregnant, for plumsakes — and that last part was serious stuff.
“Do you think he’ll forgive me if I just send the book along with mom and Easter? And stay home with you to meet our baby instead?”
“Of course he will,” said Malcolm, quite relieved.