Sunday, September 29, 2013

Diebin, Orb's Year 933-936

Orb's Year 933
"I will be gone tonight.  You will watch the children again?" Rebecca Wood asked.

Henna Diebin nodded her head.  "Of course I will.  Are you going out with Crystal Crimson again?"

Rebecca nodded. 

"Where are you going?" Henna asked, desperate to be included somehow.

"You know I can't tell you."

"But I can help you!" Henna argued.

"I need you here," Rebecca said as she got up from the table.  "Until your father returns, the most important thing you can do is protect your siblings."

Henna frowned as Rebecca walked off to prepare for her night-time escapade.
But, wanting to please, Henna cared for her brother and sister the best she could. 
Sometimes it wasn't easy! 

***

"Happy birthday!" Henna said, smiling at her siblings.
Ash...
Birch...
Despite their unconventional upbringing, the twins were close as could be!

Orb's Year 934
"Stay close to the house!" Henna lectured as the children flew outdoors.  Henna shook her shook.  The children didn't know that they had to be careful.  Rebecca & Crystal Crimson had ensured that the man who'd attacked them would not be back, but they still remained vigilant. 
"Ash! You're going too far! Henna said to stay close to the house!" Birch called, slowing to a walk.
Ash stopped, annoyed by her brother's warnings.  "What harm is there? We're in the forest alone! If we see someone, we can dart behind a tree!" she fumed.

Birch shook his head.  "You know the rules!"

Ash stuck her tongue out at her scaredy-cat brother and raced back to his side.  "You're such a baby, Birch!"
Henna laid out dinner, a scorched pasta... again.. and smiled at her siblings.  "I'm sure it will be tasty this time!" she tried to reassure them. 

Ash and Birch exchanged a look and smiled back at Henna. 
She'd been wrong.  The pasta had been horrid.  But, their bellies had been empty, so they ate the meal anyways. 

Finally, Henna tucked the children in and told them stories about their father.  It wasn't fair that he'd been imprisoned that awful night!  Henna missed him so much!  It had been four long years since she had seen him.  He hadn't been there the day his children were born or to watch them grow.   It just wasn't fair, she thought as she closed the book in her lap. 
Henna took the quiet time to straighten up around the house and then finally settled into sleep on the couch. 

Orb's Year 935
Henna's eyelid creaked open and she saw Birch running around the room pretending to be a bird.  Not just any bird, but an extremely loud one.   Squeezing her eyes shut against the light, she complained, "Birch, quiet! I am trying to sleep! Go play in the room!"

"But Mama sent us out here!" Birch said, swinging around with his arms outstretched.  "Look! I'm pretending this is a bird!"
Henna wearily got up and tried to fight her rising aggravation.  "Why couldn't you play outside?" she demanded.

Ash looked up from the book she was reading quietly, "You know we're not allowed out by ourselves!"

Henna sighed.  They drove her crazy sometimes.  "Then I will go outside to finish sleeping!  You stay in here and be quiet!"  she snapped as she stormed outside.
Laying down on a large rock nearby, Henna closed her  eyes and drifted back to sleep.

***

Stuart didn't know why, but he found himself near the Haunted Woods again, hoping he might run into the beautiful girl again.  None of his friends believed that he had seen anyone in the woods, but he knew that he had!  A beautiful girl! 

Sighing, Stuart's shoulders slumped.  Might as well go home, he thought dejectedly.  "Maybe it was a figment of my imagination.  Fairy, indeed!" he scoffed to himself.
But then, he saw her!

He hurried to her, surprised to find her sleeping soundly on a rock. 
The snapping of twigs alerted Henna that something was wrong.  Her eyes popped open and she saw the boy too close.  Quickly, she jumped up and looked around, but there was nowhere to go!

"Don't go! Please!" Stuart begged as he neared.

Henna looked at him, frightened that she'd been caught.  "What do you want?" she asked.
"I just wanted to see you again," Stuart side, stepping slightly closer.

Henna breathed deeply, trying to think of a reply.  She'd never spoken to a boy before!  "Well, now you've seen me.  You may go!" she said, dismissing him.

Stuart laughed.  "No one believed me when I told them I'd seen a fairy in the woods.  But, you're not a fairy.  You're just a girl!"

Henna gasped.  "You told people about me!"

"Of course! You're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen!"

Henna grabbed his hands.  "You cannot tell anyone about me?"

Stuart's brows knit together, "Why not?" he asked, suspicious.

Henna searched for any excuse other than the truth.  "I... I don't want my father to find me," she said, hoping that would be the end of the questions.  "If you tell people about me, he might try to find me."

Stuart placed his hand over his heart. "I won't breathe a word about you," he said stoically. 

Henna breathed a sigh of relief.  "Thank you.  And now you must go, too!"

"Wait!" Stuart said, worried that she would disappear again.  "Will I see you again?"

Henna hesitated.  "Maybe," she said, trying to decide what to do.  "But you must go now!"
Stuart stepped close.  "Then a small kiss to send me on my way," he said.  "To prove that you're real."

Henna glanced at the slowly fading sun and knew that she needed to return home... and soon.  "Fine!" she said, leaning to place a chaste kiss against his lips.

Leaning back, Stuart smiled widely and sketched a bow to her.  "Until next time, my fairy!"
As Stuart turned to leave, Henna slipped behind the trees and placed her fingers to her lips.  So that's what a kiss was like, she thought.  Amazing!

***

Henna slipped inside, trying to pretend all was normal.  Rebecca glanced up, "Where were you? It grew quite late."

Henna kept her gaze on the food in front of her. "I was just outside."

Rebecca thought something felt off.  "I looked around outside and did not see you," she said suspiciously. 

Henna slammed the plate on the table and looked up at Rebecca.  "You are not my mother! I said I was outside!"

She felt bad immediately for her outburst.  Ash glanced up at her with her bottom lip quivering and Rebecca looked even more suspicious. 

Rebecca could tell that Henna was keeping a secret, but didn't want to push.  The girl had been through much already.  "I know I am not your mother, which is a good thing."  Rebecca didn't need to say out loud what she thought of Henna's self-serving mother.  "But, your father placed your care in my charge when he was arrested."

Orb's Year 936
The door opening surprised Henna. She whirled around and the bowl she had been cleaning crashed to the ground.

"Daddy?" she whispered.  "Daddy!"
Running forward she found herself wrapped in his arms.  "You're back!" she exclaimed, overjoyed.  "I missed you so much!"
"Alibaba!" Rebecca gasped from the bedroom door.  Henna stepped back to allow her father to greet his lover.

Rebecca launched herself into his arms, running her hands over his face.  "I worried I would never see you again!  Crystal and I tried, but we were never able to breech the castle's defenses!"
Alibaba dropped to one knee.  "For the last five years, I've waited for this moment.  I don't want to wait another moment," he said gruffly.  "Will you marry me?"
Rebecca nodded and Alibaba slipped the ring on her finger, binding them together.  Henna slipped into the bedroom with the sleeping children to give them the privacy they had been denied.
As they fell down onto the bench, Rebecca wrapped her arms around her husband. 

"I have fond memories of this couch," Alibaba said, pulling his wife close to him. 

"As do I," Rebecca grinned.

***

In the morning, Alibaba was introduced to his children, Ash and Birch.  "He looks just like me, doesn't he!" he asked with wonder.  He'd missed so much time with his family, but he was back now and ready to make up for all that lost time.

***

"You came!" Henna said, pleased. 

"As if I could stay away!" Stuart grinned. 
Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her into his embrace.  Every since that evening she'd given him a sweet kiss, they had started meeting near the edge of the woods every Sunday. 

She just had to make sure no one ever found out...

***

"Where were you?" Alibaba demanded angrily when Henna snuck into the home several hours later.   Ash and Birch glanced up, surprised by their father's tone. 

"She's been keeping something secret, but hasn't confided in me," Rebecca added.  "She sneaks out for several hours and comes home when the sun has faded.  Every Sunday."

"Rebecca!" Henna shouted, hurt that Rebecca would tattle on her. 

Rebecca herded Ash and Birch into the room to give father and daughter privacy.
"Is this true?" Alibaba asked, crossing his arms. 

Henna narrowed her eyes, "So what if it is true! I can take care of myself!"

Alibaba shook his head.  "We are a family! We do not leave others to fend for themselves. We do not go off on our own!"

Henna stamped her foot.  "Like you did not go off on your own when you turned yourself into King Barron!"  She wiped angrily at the tears dripping for her eyes.  "You left me!"
Alibaba reached for Henna to pull her into his arms.  "I had to protect the family. You'll understand that when you're older."

"No!" Henna said, pulling away from him. "I understand it fine! I'm not a child anymore! I'm almost a grown woman and I can make my own decisions!  I don't need you to tell me what to do."

Alibaba frowned.  "You are not a grown woman yet and you will obey the rules of the house.  Whatever mischief you have gotten into will stop, immediately."

Not waiting to see if she agreed, Alibaba stormed into his room and shut the door, leaving Henna alone.
Slowly, Henna sank down to the couch and hung her head.  Now what, she thought sadly.  She didn't want to give up Stuart, but couldn't go against her father.  But, she loved them both...

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