And he would not be surprised to discover that the only reason she made a deal with him was because she fancied herself in love with him!
Orb's Year 910
She named her son Darius and put him from her mind.
She finally put her mind at ease when he kissed her there in the shop.
Maybe he was just sour because he had not yet met anyone that interested him. He saw many teen girls come in and out of the shops and he was not struck by any thunderbolts like Barika had described.
He supposed it was for the best. If he never fell in love, he'd never have his heart broken like his mother.
He'd seen her flirting with Brand Taveryn when she thought no one was looking. Baji had shaken his head sadly. No good would come from attaching herself to a married man, he thought. No good at all!
Curious, Barika thought. "Mother? What was Mr. Taveryn doing here. Shouldn't he be doing business with Baji?"
Alana had shooed Barika away, ordering her to help Baji restock the shop before opening. "Worry about yourself," she told Barika.
Even curiouser, Barika thought as she sought out Baji.
Baji picked one he thought Caira was sure to love, "Orb's Treasure" and began to read the story until she had fallen asleep.
Barika sighed. "What are we to do with her, Baji?" she asked sadly.
Orb's Year 911
She had been so careful to keep her secret rendezvous from her children, and now they would see her for what she was - a charlatan!
Now she just needed to see what could be done about her new baby.
"I'll tell your wife!" Alana blurted. "She'll be so upset, she'll leave you!"
Brand shrugged. "Then you'll get nothing. And if you think she'll leave me over a small bit of infidelity, you're incredibly naive!"
"But, I have no husband..." she managed weakly. "Everyone will know..."
Brand awkwardly patted her arm. "I'm truly sorry. I had thought you to be past the fertile stage otherwise I would have taken.. other precautions."
Alana straightened indignantly. Past the fertile stage! she thought savagely. Just how old did he think she was! She turned her back on him in a fit of anger and was not surprised to hear his footfalls heading to the door.
If she was brutally honest, she supposed she saw his point. She had two grown children and was nearing 30-years old. It was the truth that most women lost their fertility at 33 when they began to go gray, but... she didn't see herself like that. In her mind, she still had her youth and beauty!
And soon another child...
"Nothing! You can do nothing for me!" Alana moaned pitifully. Everyone had forsaken her! Amar! Trent! And now Brand! They had all forsaken her!
Baji accepted the squealing baby in his arms. "What would you like to call her?" he asked.
"I don't care."
Baji cuddled his sister in his arms and whispered, "We will call you Eryka." Eryka looked up at him and smiled.
All she'd ever longed for was a life of pleasure and fun. How in the world had she ended up here?!