Benji looked up distractedly. "That's fine. Tell your mother."
Benji grinned and he called out louder, "I'm going to Garth's, Mom!"
"Hey! Don't leave us behind," Casey shouted.
"We're going with Benji!" Carey added.
"Benji, where are your brothers?" she asked, noticing Benji quietly reading a book nearby.
Benji shrugged. "I don't know."
Rocking the baby in her arms, she sighed. "Blessed Orb, those boys get in so much mischief! Go find them and make sure they're not wrecking havoc for me!"
Benji sighed as he laid his book aside to go find his brothers.
Just then, a rock crashed through the window.
"Found them," Benji said, pointing to the broken window.
Casey grabbed up another rock. "If I hit the wood pile, I win. Your shot went out of bounds!"
Carey put his hands on his hips and scowled. "It did not! There's no out of bounds!"
Just then, their Mom came hurrying outside yelling at them.
"Whoops!" Casey said, dropping the rock. "Head for the hills!"
Laughing, the boys raced away, knowing that their Mom wouldn't chase them. Normally by dinnertime she wouldn't still be mad at them.
Collapsing behind the house, Carey squinted at the house. "She was pretty mad. We probably should wait until bedtime to go home."
Casey nodded, in firm agreement.
She was still worried. It was far too dark for the boys to be outside on their own. After dinner, Adam had gone out to find them, but he wasn't back yet.
Thirty minutes later, Adam carried both sleeping boys over his shoulder. "They were tuckered out behind the house. I'll go put them to bed."
Caitlyn sighed. Those two boys were worse than little puppies, always getting into something!
Orb's Year 934
Benji grinned. "Sounds like a plan!"
"Milk!" Benji groused.
Both boys glanced up at Connor, who was grinning with his arms crossed in front of him. "That's all you'll be getting until you're a wee bit older, boys."
Still, they'd finished their mugs, pretending to be more important and world-wise, but still breaking down into giggles, belying their age.
Finally, Connor had sent them home.
Garth grinned and shook hands. "Well, I had to bring Gia with me."
"Gia?" Benji asked, then glanced behind his friend. Aw man, they'd be babysitting all night!
"Have fun, the twins are around here somewhere," Benji offered. "Come on, Garth, I have something to tell you!" He hurried off with Garth before Gia could say anything else.
Dirk shrugged. "I just wish I didn't have to leave. But, you know how Brand is."
Caitlyn nodded sadly. "Yes, I certainly do. He can't seem to help it! But, if it makes you feel better, I don't think that he would hurt you on purpose! You're brothers!"
"Half-brothers and a child of a servant," Dirk corrected.
Caitlyn frowned. "You know they don't consider us servants! They're our family."
Dirk glanced around the room. "Oh yeah, then were are they? Neither Connor nor Devon ever come over, do they? They might talk about us being equal because we were Aidan's children, but they don't mean it."
Caitlyn reached for her brother, "When did you get so cynical?" she asked him.
Dirk just shrugged again. "Doesn't matter. We started a new life."
From across the room, Adam motioned to Caitlyn to hurry over to cut the cake. Caitlyn glanced back at Dirk. "We can talk about this more later," she promised.
Adam looked around. "No? What is it?"
Caitlyn grinned as she wrapped her arms around her husband's neck. "Blessed quiet!" she sighed. "Benji is over at Garth's, the twins are out in the forest, and Daisy went over to the Baker's."
Adam kissed his wife's cheek. "So now what?"
As she got up to clear the table, it dawned on her! Mentally, she counted back the weeks from the afternoon she'd spent in bed with Adam.
She was pregnant again!
She was pregnant again!
Gia had begun coming over with Garth more and more lately, too. And Benji would have to be blind not to notice how pretty she was. But, she was funny, too!
Garth stood up and brushed the grass off his tunic. "I'm heading over to the Grocer's Market. Anyone else want to come?"
Lydia jumped up quickly and announced, "I will! I told my mother I would get some eggs!"
Benji shrugged nonchalantly. "I think I'll hang out here."
Garth held his hand out to Gia, "Come on, I'll help you up."
Gia glanced up and shrugged as well. "I need to wait until Daisy comes home from the Bakers. I promised her that I would show her how to make a daisy necklace.
Garth shrugged and headed off with Lydia down the lane.
Gia blushed. "I lied," she said. "Don't tell Garth."
Benji raised his eyebrows, "Why? You didn't want to go to the Market?"
Gia shook her head, "No, I wanted to stay with you..."
Benji froze. His first kiss had been with his best friend's little sister... and he'd liked it!
Orb's Year 936
Carey wasn't interested in girls yet, he always wanted to play or build tree forts out in the forest.
But Casey was very into girls, especially since girls like Gia and Lydia started coming over!