As daybreak greeted the Northern hemisphere, Mairenn’s eyes slowly pried themselves open. Her body felt heavy and immobile for the first few minutes of consciousness. Slowly rising into a sitting up position in bed, she jumped as a loud thump erupted from the shared wall between her and her neighbors. Her heart raced inside her chest and she placed her gentle yet steady hand over the space between her breasts to help calm herself down. She could hear every word of the couple’s spat and she couldn’t refrain from worrying. Moving from her bed, she entered her bathroom to brush her teeth first. The white nightgown hung down her frame loosely and her feet were bare. Leaving her hotel room, she approached her new neighbors’ door and gently knocked four times. The yelling decreased to whispering, which she could still hear clearly, and then silence. Thirty dreadfully long seconds passed until the clicking of the door locks could be heard. A tall and rather hefty built, tan skinned man with a long black and gray colored beard opened the door. His dark, seemingly obsidian eyes glared coldly at the young Valkyr. “Oh my,” the words escaped Mairenn’s full lips without her consciously doing so. He had to be much taller than Mr. Orsino. “Uhm- hi, good morning to you- I couldn’t help but overhear a disturbance coming from your dormitory. It gave me quite a start and I just wanted to ensure hat everything- and everyone is okay?”

The man’s presence was eerily dark and contrasted drastically to the beautiful sunrise that blessed them this morning. In her peripheral view, she noticed his right hand slowly condensing into a fist and that caused Mairenn to shift uncomfortably.

“Best you mind your business,” his voice was low and almost could’ve been mistaken for a growl. Her hears caught the hushed wishes of a woman inside. She seemed to be wishing for someone to help in anyway possible.

“You see, I wish that I could, but I will not be at ease for the rest of the day if something were to remain disturbed in the atmosphere. I wish to speak to the woman inside, and if she says everything is fine, then I shall bid you both a farewell and my sincerest apologies for interrupting your morning.”

The stubborn man stood still for another minute before moving to the side. Behind him stood a shorter woman, however she was still taller than Mairenn, with blonde hair and deep ocean eyes.  “Oh, she’s a trinket,” Mairenn admired her beauty before pulling herself from the trance. “Ma’am, is everything alright?” The woman blinked and then gave a brilliantly white smile.

“Yes, of course! Just the old married couple dispute. We’re sorry for being loud. We’ll be sure to keep it down,” the woman locked her right arm around the man’s left as though they were about to walk down an aisle. Mairenn would have dismissed the situation had she not caught sight of the woman’ left hand hanging down her side. She was using sign language word “no” repeatedly. “Of course, I’ll be sure to play my part in all of this and get out of your hair.” Mairenn reached forward and took the woman’s left hand into her own with a reassuring squeeze, “It was a pleasure meeting you. What is your name?”

“Angel,” the blonde responded. Mairenn found that to be quite befitting the woman’s aura and beauty. Perhaps her parents had incredible foresight, “And this is my husband Norven.” Mairenn bowed and backed away from the couple. “It was a pleasure meeting you both.”

Mairenn retreated to her room and exhaled heavily. “He’s like a giant or a troll,” she muttered as she called out to the emergency department. She gave the hotel name, address, the couple’s room number, their names, and a briefing of the situation. If she spent any more time on this, she’d surely be late for work. Considering that she is now running behind, she made haste with preparing for her day. 

She left the hotel in a long black skirt, a black mid corset, a long-sleeved white shirt with a low v - neck, and black pumps. Her dark hair formed large curls almost naturally and so there was little work to be done with them. Her black leather bag was pressed against her chest as she sped walk down the streets; squeezing between people and trying not to trip over her own feet. She was disheartened to pass by her favorite tea shop on her way to the library, but today she didn’t have the spare time. Once gauging that she was close enough to work to walk normally, she removed her shoes as her feet were hurting from the running, and she made her way to the front doors.

Winded and disoriented, she pulled the keys from her bag and unlocked the library.  The cool air conditioning greeted her overheated body as she set her things down behind the desk and turned on the lights. Finally taking place on the soft leather chair behind her desk, her familiar jumped onto her lap. A small black cat that the valkyr named Jinx. She was a rescue that was drawn to Mairenn since the very first day of her working at the library. Finally relaxed from a frazzling morning, the Valkyr started reading her own book titled Jane Eyre.

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Katrina was the type of person when she had plans she would work on every way possible to make sure everything was completed. It seemed as time went on she became more endorsed with the fact of lists, in all senses of the words. Every plan she had written down at this stage. Between her relationship and always improving her work, she wanted to make things better. She woke up this morning and peeked at the words written on her to-do list for today's date. 

-Go to the library
-Get Groceries
-Collect dry-cleaning of uniforms
-Make an updated resource list
-Check-in with clients. (See List Clients A-Z)

Smiling she knew what she had planned today. She got out of bed and worked hard on preparing her outfit, slipping into one of her 1950's styled dresses she prepared herself as she went down and got some breakfast. She was hungry after the late-night she pulled at the office filling out the paperwork she wanted to be prepared for the day. 

She quickly pulled out her client list noticing it was nine am and she wanted to start off with the most important. Calling them she checked in with everyone and keeping a list of symptoms and where everyone was at with their final days of pregnancy. She was an independent midwife and it was a lot of work to make sure she was able to help everyone. 

Finishing it she checked it off and went about doing her daily chores. She went to the grocery store and picked up her dry cleaning before bringing it back to the celestial castle. She liked helping where she could and restocked the fridge for those who needed food. Living in a community was quite welcoming for Katrina after living in a village when she first fell she needed that type of friendship and relationships again.

She then headed to the library and came inside noticing how busy the day had gone by. It was already noon and her stomach was growling but she planned on looking through the library to see all that they had. Coming in wearing her pale blue, pleated dress she headed towards the counter.

"Hello, my name is Katrina O'Sullivan, I am working towards updating my resource list and wondered your collection on books in the following category." Looking down at the other list she made, she smiled. "Breastfeeding, Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum and anymore in that area." Looking up at the girl she seen how still she was. 

Mairenn’s attention was absorbed by her novel. The faint scent of another presence first caught 

her attention, followed by the woman’s voice. Her subconscious mind processed the information and forwarded it to her conscious mind. Reacting instinctively, her right arm rose, and her hand flicked backwards with her pointer finger extended. “Yes, it’s,” she paused and raised her eyes from the pages of her book to her desk as a realization dawned on her. She looked up to the woman and lowered her hand. “Breastfeeding, Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum...” she muttered quietly. She bookmarks her novel and set it down. “I do apologize, where are my manners?” She gently placed Jinx onto the floor. “My name is Mairenn Ní Haodhai. I can show you, if you’ll follow me right this way. I do believe we received new inventory just recently.”

While Mairenn knew about where the books were located, she couldn’t say for certain as she instinctively strays from the area whenever possible. She guided the woman towards the back of the library and approached where she normally stocks the books. Mairenn wasn’t great with technology still, so she was working on memorizing the library instead so that she could work efficiently.

She wasn’t sure which books were better for the inquirer’s research. So, she went on her intuition. She selected a balance of recent arrivals between modern and traditional medicine. The covers were an assortment of pregnant bellies, ultrasounds, smiling women with children, and medical equipment. One book that she did enjoy in the past was Suffering in Silence: A Qualitative Meta-Data-Analysis of Postpartum Depression by Knudson-Martin, Carmen; Silverstein, Rachelle. She read it before knowing what postpartum was and she found it incredibly insightful. “I think these may be of some use for you.” She turned to the woman with a smile and gently passed over the six texts (2 on postpartum depression, 1 on natural birth and pain relief, 1 general pregnancy text, 1 breastfeeding and maternal bonding, and 1 on female anatomy).

She wasn’t sure why the woman wanted these, and truthfully it was none of the valkyr’s business, but it must be important. “So-what uhm- what are these for exactly?” Maybe it was bold of Mairenn to ask, but of all the things she has studied, most things revolving motherhood were never on the table for her radar.

Katrina smiled as the woman began to lift a finger. She was reading and Katrina maybe shouldn't have rushed to talk, but her stomach was wishing she ate before she did the work. Smiling at the woman she nodded. "Nice to meet you Mairenn, I am Katrina O'Sullivan. I apologize for my lack of manners as well. Obviously you were enveloped in a good novel. Jane Eyre. I read that book a long time ago, I must re-read. I do forget many details." 

Katrina smiled at her as she lead her to the books where the woman began to hold them up. Grabbing a notepad she began to write down the titles the library had. "I am glad to see they have something on postpartum depression. Its such a serious thing yet many people don't know that it is there." She said as she continued to write titles down in her notepad. 

She was busy writing when the library asked a question. Turning her head up and looking at her she nodded. "My apologies, I am a midwife. I am updating my resource list. A lot of people when having a kid don't want to buy the book so I loan what I can out but a library is a great place to explain them go there." She said as she finished writing the titles down. "Is this all of them?" She asked with a smile at the young woman. 

“Jane Eyre is a lovely book. I can lend you one of my copies whenever you choose to read it again.” Mairenn’s eyes widened a slight and she smiled, “Oh- babies. Yes, they’re very cute and,” she moved her hands close together in the air as if she were holding a small melon, “Very small.”

She looked back to the shelves and ran her fingers across the spines of some of the novels. She picked out one more, it was a book on the first three months of infant care. “I’d forgotten this one, but these are all of the newest ones we received this month. The rest are dated and I’m sure you may be familiar with most considering your occupation.” Mairenn’s ears caught the slightest churn in the woman’s belly and she glanced towards the time. “It’s about lunch time isn’t it?” She always offered people the opportunity to escape conversing. Now that her mind shifted from babies to food, she wondered what she should eat during her break today. “I can take down your contact information and update you as new selections come in. Come up front?”

Mairenn, with the texts in tow, took stroll to her desk. Sitting down, she organized and extended check out of the newer maternity texts for 3 months. And then submitted a request to the owner to order not only a wider selection of maternity information, but a duplicate of the ones she was checking out. “I read for fun and information purposes. However, for anyone that is new to being a mother- I would guess they’d want to read these more of necessity. So, you can offer these to the women that need them so long as they are returned within 90 days either by mail or drop off.”

She stacked the books from largest on the bottom to the smallest on top and tied them traditionally in ribbon. Ensuring that it would not unravel, and that Lady O’Sullivan could tote them out by looping her fingers beneath the bow, Mairenn set them on the counter as if they were a gift. “Is there anything else that I can help you with? Do you want me to carry these to your car, they’re a bit heavy?”

"I am good thank you! The place I am staying at has so many booked I will be reading for years on end."
She said with a small chuckle as she spoke about babies another smile came to her face. "Yes that's for sure they sure are cute." Katrina took a note of the ones that she showed her and the ones she had forgot for a little while. 

"Yes," She said with a laugh before giving her stomach a simple pat. "It seems I forgot to eat, I have been very busy with my to-do list. Did you have a lunch break we could go together if you like?" 

She smiled as the female took a set of the books and brought them to the front and tied them together. Smiling as she offered to carry them she gave a simple wave of her hand. "No, I have been very fortunate, I have carried much heavier things then a couple of books. But thank you for your kind offer."

Smiling she took out her business card and handed it to the librarian. "Here is my contact information, you can keep that on record for when you get more." 

Mairenn laughed softly, and took the contact information. She slid it into her daily folder and made a notation to remind her what the information was for. "I do have a lunch break actually," she beamed brightly. 

She hadn't shared a meal with another person in a very long time. She considered the woman's kind words and then nodded her head. "Thank you, I'd love to join you for lunch. It'll give me a change of scenery and eatery. I only ever go to the tea shop down the road. My treat?" She grabbed her black bag and the "On Lunch" sign for the library. The library has a scheduled lunch time for 1-2 hours, and another hour after Mairenn leaves before the night shift librarian arrives. But because Mairenn rarely leaves during her shift, she rarely closes the library. She places the sign on the front door and waits for Lady O'Sullivan to lead the way  before locking the door behind them. 

Katrina smiled at the woman and nodded.
"Oh wonderful! I am so glad this is something that will be fun." She said with a nod of her head once more. When she grabbed her bag she walked out of the library holding the books before putting them in her car. "No way, I will help pay. I was the one that offered." 

Katrina opened her car door and looked at her. "I can drive wherever you like, as long as they have food." She said with a laugh.  Katrina should have been smarter and ate before she left for the library but going out with Mairenn was going to be a lot of fun. 

Katrina smiled when she saw the woman place the sign on the front door. "I hope its not too much of an inconvenience!" 

"It's no inconvenience at all. The owner practically begs me to close for lunch anyway." She approached the passenger door and opened it. "Wherever you wish to go is fine by me, so long as they have some form of tea." Mairenn wore her smile proudly as she took her seat in the car. She closed the door gently and strapped herself in with the seat belt. She doesn't spend too much time in vehicles given she walks just about anywhere she needs to go, but she's not unfamiliar with them. Sadly, she doesn't know how to drive and she always found it fascinating. Not every car operates the same and so she couldn't always figure it out just from watching. Thinking to herself as she admired the interior, maybe she should read a few books on travel machinery and how they operate. Maybe she could teach herself a thing or two. Putting together literature knowledge, and the visuals she remembers from car rides should make it simpler. "What does your tongue have a taste for?" She looked over to Katrina and she noticed how the sun cast the most beautiful highlights in her dark colored hair. 

Katrina looked at her gently before clapping her hands together in joy. "Oh, I am so glad to hear that! I don't want to do anything that could get anyone in trouble." Katrina smiled as she went into the passenger seat, placing the books in the back of the car she went into the driver's seat.

"I think that is possible."  

As she started the ignition she smiled at her and thought about it for a moment. "I haven't fully decided yet, what would you like. My stomach's grumblings just want substance so I don't think it matters. Since I asked you, you should pick."

Considering the map of the district that she has memorized, Mairenn snapped her fingers. "There is a really lovely little brunch place about 10 minutes down the road on the right hand side. They have outside and inside seating, but they have plenty of options from last I browsed their menu in passing. I have been meaning to try their Mediterranean panini." She looked over to Katrina with a generous smile and her right hand raised as a matter of factually. She had made herself incredibly hungry now and her mouth started to water. Her right pointer finger nail slid between her teeth as she stared blankly ahead. In her mind she was thinking of the delicious items that create such an amazing planned cold sandwich: red peppers, spinach, feta cheese, tomato- She blinked from her daze and nodded. "Yeah I think that is what I'd love to have for lunch." She'd never been so certain about food before. Grasping her hair between her forefingers, she twirled her dark locks while entrusting Katrina to navigate safely. She'd never been so entrusting of someone so quickly. Maybe the day to day life of being alone was finally wearing off? She shook her head ever so slightly. No that wasn't it- she'll uncover the desire soon enough she guessed. But for now, she would enjoy lunch and some light heart chatter with a seemingly well educated woman. 

"Well then, that sounds like a wonderful plan. We will go there."
Katrina smiled and took the car and began to drive looking for the restaurant that was mentioned. When she spoke about the panini that she wanted, she smiled with delight. "It does sound good, I am beyond hungry, so I will have to see what can be made the quickest."

Slowly she pulled into the restaurant and parked the car. "We are m'lady." With a smile, she got up and opened the car door for her. "I am excited to eat thats for sure. You haven't been here before?" She asked trying to make conversation with the young woman.

When she went into the restaurant she looked at the waitress and smiled. "Table for two please."

Mairenn sat quietly while Katrina drove them to the small restaurant. She got out of the car and closed the door gently. She caught up to the woman and smiled at the host at the door. "I have not. I picked up a to go menu anticipating to visit, but I rarely get out of the library and when I'm done with work, they're closed." She trailed behind the host and observed her surroundings. There were a multitude of delightful smells in the cafe and she closed her eyes for a second just to imagine the different foods she was smelling. She sat down at the booth near a window and smiled across the table. A young server with bright green eyes and dirty blonde hair stopped by and set down two glasses of whatever an a small dish of assorted fruits. Similarly to bread on the table for certain diners. Especially Italian ones she noticed. She plucked a grape from the bowl and chewed on the sweet fruit. "What made you get into the field of childbirth assistance? Surely it can be a- interesting thing to experience. All of the emotions and- pain." She made some gestures with her hands as she spoke. She actually admired the woman for her profession, but it also sparked so many questions for Mairenn. 

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