The first time Leandra realized there was something between her son and his pretty elf companion was when they both came down from his room in the morning, joining her for the morning meal.

"Good morning, Mother," he greeted, bending to kiss her cheek. The elf girl flushed a light pink and mumbled a greeted in a soft voice.

"Good morning," Leandra returned, watching them curiously.

Halfway through the silent, notably awkward meal, her son set down his fork and steepled his hands. "Is there something you would like to say, Mother?"

Leandra glanced at the elf, noting the discomfiture on her face. "I would simply like to know if this will be a recurring situation."

"I imagine so," he replied calmly. "I've asked Merrill to move in, and she's agreed.

Leandra stiffened slightly in her chair. Move in? An elf? It was one thing to have… dalliances with elves, but to ask one to move in for such purposes? "Darling, are you sure that's wise?" she asked, before looking at Merrill again and adding, "I mean no offense, of course. I'm sure you're a lovely girl."

"For an elf," the girl finished in a high, lyrical voice.

Her son raised his eyebrows and Leandra sputtered for a moment. "Well, I just… That's simply not done," she tried to explain. "This is Hightown."

"And I suppose elves should just stay in the Alienage, unseen and unheard?" The girl — Merrill, Leandra reminded herself — crossed her arms over her chest.

Leandra backpedaled a little, insisting, "I don't mean it like that. I imagine the Alienage would be more comfortable for you. Being around your own people."

"I have no people."

"Other elves, I mean." Oh dear, this was going badly.

"I know what you meant." The elf stood from the table, turning her large eyes to the silent man across from her. "I think I'll go home now, ma vhenan."

Leandra watched her son stand as well, circling the table to take the elf into his arms, seemingly uncaring that his mother was right there, watching them.

"Don't go," he said, his voice taking a tone that Leandra had never heard before. "Stay with me."

The girl brushed her fingers across his jaw and smiled softly, saying, "I would never leave you, ma vhenan," and Leandra wondered what the elvish words meant.

Turning back to face her, Leandra's son straightened and met her gaze firmly. "Mother. I love Merrill. She's agreed to move in because she loves me, too. I hope that you can accept that, but if you cannot, I will gladly buy you your own estate for you to live at."

Leandra's mouth fell open as she stared at her son. She didn't even notice at first that the elf had a similar expression on her face. "You…"

"I love her," he repeated. "There is nothing else to say on the matter." Then he left, guiding the elf girl with him and leaving his mother with much to think about.


Notes:

Okay, so, a bit of an explanation, in case Leandra came across as a bitch LOL She honestly doesn't mean it in a mean way, it's simply that there's a certain way of life — nobles in Hightown, elves in the Alienage — and she hasn't spent enough time around elves to truly understand that yes, they are people, too. She really only knows about them in a peripheral sort of way, which is why she was so confused and distressed over the development of her son (who should be marrying a noble!) having his elf lover move in.