Fiona hedged. A day of cleaning or instructional school. Neither was a very fun choice... Sighing, she responded, "Of course, Abbess Mallory. I'll start right away."
"Oh splendid!" Mallory exclaimed.
It just wasn't fair, Fiona fumed.
"Hey, what's this? Why are you crying?" Cade asked, leaning back a little to look at her face. "Is everything okay?"
Fiona wiped her eyes. "I just miss everyone so much! It's so different here."
Cade frowned. "Are they treating you kindly?"
"Of course. Of course! It's just so terribly lonely here. I hate it! I wish I'd gone to the Consuls instead of Farrah. Why'd you have to get it wrong, Cade?" she accused.
Cade ruffled his sister's hair. "Just to make your life interesting, I guess. But, it's probably just as well with the scandal Deanna has created at the Knightley's. You're just as boy-crazy as she is. Mother is talking about bringing Farrah back home since Blaze is now a teenager and Finn is close to one, as well."
"Oh, I wish I could go home," she sighed wistfully.
Life was so unfair!
Orb's Year 926
"In a moment," Mark replied distractedly. "Let me finish this section."
Mark lost his train of thought as he watched Gemma walk away. She looked so sad..
Gemma scowled, "Who cares?"
"I care, of course! Everyone does!"
Gemma folded her arms and turned from her father. "I just feel so lonely here! Like I don't belong here..."
Gemma frowned. "I don't remember living there," she said sadly. She didn't have many memories of the place where she'd been born. She was only 5 or 6 when the lady had taken her from her sisters. She remember the smell of pies.
"Well, you came to me filthy and in rags. Your sister's tried, but they just weren't able to care for you."
Mark stared at his daughter and began to understand where she was coming from. "I see. Well, it was never my intention that you follow in my footsteps at the Abbey. When you're old enough, you may make the choice for yourself. If you choose to go out in the world, I will give you what protection I can."
Orb's Year 927
Abbess Abigail smiled at her friends. "I have called everyone together to have a council regarding the future of the Abbey."
Belinda blushed, proud to receive such praise from Abbess Abigail. "Thank you, Abbess."
"I would like to call a vote for the next head Abbess of the Abbey. When I am gone, we will need someone to continue the tradition. I would like that person to be Abbess Belinda!"
Everyone nodded with agreement.
Abbess Abigail nodded her head, "Of course, Abbot Mark. She will be taken care of if she chooses another path." Glancing around the room, she asked if there were any other pressing issues that they would like to discuss.
"What is it?" she asked crossly after he stared for much longer than was polite.
"Oh nothing, it's just something that Gemma said. She said that she didn't want to be like you, never being kissed. But surely you've been kissed before!"
His intent must have showed through as he leaned forward to gather her in his arms.
His face met with a hand as Abigail pushed him off. "I do not require a lesson in the fine art of kissing," she snapped. "Kindly keep your hands to yourself!"
Orb's Year 928
Fiona tapped her foot and thought. "The same thing Deanna did! Catch a noble!"
But there was something bothering her.. something she wanted to talk to Abigail about...
Abigail smiled and patted Belinda's hand. "Of course, child. What questions do you have?"
Belinda tried to think of a polite way to phrase the question, and then finally blurted out. "Do you ever regret never having children?"
"Oh forgive me, Abbess. I meant no disrespect! It just seems so terribly final to me! To become the next Abbess, I'll never be kissed, never fall in love, and never have children. And although right now I don't care about those things, I wonder if it will ever weigh heavy on my heart."
Belinda cocked her head to one side, "But, couldn't one argue that having a love and raising a family together would be just as full and rewarding?"
Abigail sighed, "Perhaps the path to a rewarding life lies more with the soul of the person. Knowledge has always filled my heart with joy. But, take for instance Gemma, she longs for friendship and companionship more than knowledge. She would never be happy here as an Abbess."
Belinda nodded. "I think I see what you're saying. Thank you, Abbess! You've answered my question for me!" Belinda bounded up and rushed upstairs to put her thoughts into writing.
Abigail felt butterflies fluttering in her stomach. "No. I want a lesson."
Mark's mouth dropped open in surprise. Never in a million years had he expected Abigail to drop the guard she'd carefully erected. "Well, then, I suppose you should go ahead and kiss me," he said.
Abigail frowned. "I thought you were supposed to kiss me," she said.
"Ah! But then you will blame me for corrupting you. I'm afraid it's you who must reach out and take what it is that you want."
Frowning sternly, Abigail attempted to wait Mark out, hoping that he would make the first move. When that didn't seem to work, she grew impatient.
"What?" she said in surprise as she found herself against Mark's chest. "You said I had to kiss you and I did!"
"Ah, but I said that you had to take what it is you want. But, I am, after all, your teacher. It's my job to show you how to improve.."