But now here he was! With a family that he loved more than anything and constantly trying to figure out ways to get leave to come visit them! He hated that his little girls were growing up without him there... but only four more years, he thought to himself. Four more years and he could be with them always!
Fanny smiled. "He's just missed having someone else serving the platters! Tell him that I see through him!"
Keith laughed. "Well, he does have some trouble mixing up the orders! He's much happier greeting guests and slinging ale!"
"What a baby!" Fanny laughed.
Keith choked on his food. "Baby? Now?"
Fanny reached across the table and caressed his hand. "No! I was saying that Connor is a big... oof... baby!"
Keith sighed. "Oh thank goodness. I thought you were going to have our baby!"
Keith grinned down at his baby boy. "We'll call him Hansel Cook!"
Orb's Year 934
Mommy had sent her outside because the babies were napping.
Fanny hurried outside and glanced around, calling out, "Gretel! Gretel!"
Gretel popped up and ran over. "Here I am, Mommy!"
Fanny hugged Gretel to her chest and sighed deeply. "Oh blessed Orb," she murmured as she wrapped her arms around Gretal tightly.
Gretel peeked up, "What's the matter, Mommy?" she asked.
"Nothing, nothing at all, sweetheart!" Fanny said, loosening her hold. "Would you like to play a game?"
Keith patted Fanny's knee. "It's okay. Nothing bad happened."
Fanny looked at her husband incredulously. "But I forgot her!" she said stubbornly. "I was just so thankful the house was quiet!"
Keith laid his book aside and pulled Fanny into his arms, stroking her back. "It's okay. She's safe. And you're a wonderful mother!"
Fanny laid her head against Keith's chest and allowed him to console her, although she wasn't very sure she deserved absolution.
Orb's Year 935
Sebastian kissed her hand in greeting. "Are you kidding? I wouldn't miss my girls birthday! Now where are they, let me give them a kiss hello!"
"Here we are, Daddy!" Gene giggled and pulled on his tunic. "We're right next to you!"
"Oh! So you are! I didn't see you down there!" he said as he pulled both girls into his arms for a big bear hug.
Fancy stood and gathered her daughter's closer for a goodnight hug. "Give your Daddy a hug and a kiss goodnight. We'll see him in the morning."
As Sebastian stood, he grimaced. "Actually, I'm going to have to leave tonight, but I'm supposed to get more time off later this season."
"Aw," the girls moaned in unison, tugging on Sebastian's heart strings.
"Come on, buck up," he said, adding, "Only 2 more years." He looked down at the girls with surprise when they chirped his saying with him.
"I like the sound of that!" Sebastian said, pulling Fancy into his arms.
Orb's Year 936
"How did you girls sleep?" she asked
"Awful, mama!" Gene said, rubbing her eyes.
Gena chimed in, "Yes, absolutely awful! Hansel cried all night long!"
Fancy frowned and patted her daughter's heads. "Well," she said, "I suppose Hansel can't stay a toddler forever!"
Gretel sighed heavily at the table, "I hope he grows up fast," she said wearily.
Fancy gasped with pleasure and was too emotional to say anything.
Fancy smiled down at her daughter and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Of course, Sebastian. I love you so much!"
Keith cleared his throat, "Well, we'll just take the kids upstairs," he said to no one in particular, herding the children upstairs so that the newly married couple could have their privacy.
Sebastian and Fancy didn't hear a thing...