Orb's Year 933
Smiling up at her sister-in-law, she held her hand up. "Help me up!" she said. "I'm getting too pregnant to stay on the floor for very long!"
Devon smiled kindly at her brother-in-law. "I'm perfectly fine. I just needed help getting up after reading all afternoon!" Poor Baji, she thought. He'd lost his wife and unborn child years ago and he'd been on pins and needles, worrying about her. She thought he just might be more anxious than either herself or Darius!
The labor pains had caught Devon off-guard. Thank goodness her brother-in-law, Baji, was at work, she thought absently. He'd probably be beside himself with worry if he were!
Cooing softly to the little boy she held in her arms, Devon smiled. "Fabian Marchant! A fine, strong name for my fine, strong little man!"
Orb's Year 934
Baji had been quite pleased to see the Royale prince in his humble establishment!
Baji smiled as the Prince and his lady checked out. Perhaps this young lady here would be the next queen of Celestia one day! The children certainly looked to be in love, he mused to himself.
Business sky-rocketed after the Prince had been sighted at the Marchant's store. Everyone seemed to want to know what Prince Earl had purchased.
"Do you need any help?" Gemma asked.
Farha looked up and saw her friend in the doorway. Hurrying over to her, she hugged her. "No! For you, I can take a break! What brings you here?"
Gemma laughed lightly, "Oh please. I saw you just the other, you goose!"
Farha shrugged, "Well, then I haven't seen you nearly enough." She wasn't quite sure how to tell Gemma how much she'd missed her. It surely felt stronger than she felt with any other friend.
Gemma smiled sadly, "I know. I've missed you, too. Perhaps if your father will let you, you can come move in with me! I could use your help, you know! And I love spending time with you!"
Farha hesitated. She couldn't leave her, could she? This was her heritage...
But, at the same time... she longed to be with Gemma...
Orb's Year 935
Baji smiled indulgently. "Of course. I'll father everyone," he said.
"What is it, Farha? Why the family meeting?" Baji asked with concern. "Is everything okay?"
Farha smiled. "I've made a decision, Daddy. I know you spoke with Darius about me inheriting the store..."
"But I don't mind," Darius broke in, "You were raised in that store! Of course you should inherit it!"
"I know, but..." Farha hesitated. When she glanced around the table at all the expectant faces, she felt a twinge of guilt. Perhaps this wouldn't be as easy as she thought it would be.
"Go on, what is it?" Devon encouraged her, reaching across to squeeze her hand.
Farha took another deep breath. "I'm going to move in with Gemma," she blurted. "I love her!" Keeping her gaze on the table, she asked her father, "Are you very disappointed?" she asked sadly.
Farha grinned at her father and threw her arms around him.
"Your mother would be so proud of you," he said wistfully.
Orb's Year 936
Suddenly Baji felt like an intruder in his family home...
Darius shook his head. "I've never heard of him before."
"Curious," Blaze Noble mumbled under his breath. With another questioning gaze at Darius, he turned away.
Baji glanced sharply at his younger brother. "We need to open the shop, though," he said sternly. Could his brother already be boring of the hard work necessary for providing for a family?
"Trust me," Darius said, quietly adding, "Please..."