Orb's Year 937
She lived in fear that Geoffrey would come back and wreck more havoc on her family! She lived in fear that she wouldn't be able to support her girls. She just plain lived in fear and it grew most wearisome!
She was prone to cry at the oddest times.
"Mama, don't cry," Elyssa said as she came over to hug her mother. "It'll be alright!"
"What can I do to help?" Elyssa asked hopefully. Her mother never asked for help, as though she thought Elyssa was too young to burden. Elyssa might only be 10, but she'd been forced to grow up quickly in the L'Adventurer house.
Celeste turned to sit down and waved Elyssa away. "Just check on Faith for me. Play quietly."
"Look Elyssa! It's raining!" Faith said as she skipped in the puddle growing on the floor.
Sighing, Elyssa shooed Faith from the room and began to try to fix the tub. She didn't want to worry Mama about the trouble, so she would just take care of it herself.
Deidre smiled. "We are more than protected!" she assured Celeste. "And I would worry too much with you here alone with the girls."
Deidre hugged Celeste tightly. "You do whatever you need to get through the day, dear. And remember to smile!"
Smiling, she threw herself into painting.
Soundlessly, the Castle Guard motioned towards the chair, as if it wanted to sit.
"You want to sit here?" she asked it, dumbly, feeling ridiculous for talking to the autonoman.
Again, it gestured towards the chair.
Standing up, she stepped to the side and watched the Castle Guard awkwardly lower itself into the plush chair.
"You want me to leave?" she asked, incredulous. "You'll watch over my babies?"
Again, it made the shooing motion.
Celeste hovered, torn between watching over her daughters and torn between the lure of a good night's rest.
Hesitantly, she left her daughter's lives in the care of the gentle autonoman giant.
Orb's Year 938
As time wore on, Celeste allowed herself to believe that Geoffrey was never coming back. Her brother, King Barron, had told her they had found some evidence that Geoffrey and Gwen had wound up in the isolated kingdom of Sim Bin.
She finally felt free of him and his twisted games. She'd long ago gotten rid of the things around the house that reminded her most of him, starting with the garish, over-sized bed that held no fond memories for her!
Berjes had the good grace to appear chagrined and hurried away.
Celeste kept herself from scoffing at her eldest daughter's romantic notions. "I've no use for petty flirtations or love, Elyssa," she said, unable to fully keep the sting from her voice. Again, she found herself attempting to soften the blow by adding, "What would I need a man for when I already have two beautiful daughters?!"
"Oh, mama," Elyssa sighed.
Orb's Year 939
"Elyssa, Faith, the carriage awaits you. It's time for school," she said, more sharply than intended.
The young man smiled and ambled after them. "Wait up! I'll catch a ride with you!" he said grinning.
He'd begged and teased for an invitation back to her home, certain he had met the love of his life.
They had barely crossed the threshold of her home before he'd leaned in close and complimented the unique color of her eyes, the golden glow of her skin...
He could've waxed on for much longer on her beauty, but he was stopped short...
Elyssa scowled with embarrassment. "CG! I'm fine! He wasn't hurting me!" she said, shooting Phillipe a look of apology.
Smiling, Phillipe bowed low and replied, "After you, mi'lady!"
Faith glanced up from her book and looked around questioningly. Celeste sighed. Poor Faith's nose seemed to be buried in one book or another and she rarely came up for air.
Just then, Celeste heard a giggle from upstairs.
Glancing up, she knew.
Elyssa looked up with horror at her mother. "Nothing!" she said quickly. "I was showing Phillipe my painting!"
Celeste held her tongue. Neither teen had their eyes focused on the painting.
"It's a lovely painting," Phillipe said, "Your daughter is very talented!"
Celeste smiled tightly at the youth and nodded towards the door. "I thank you for your visit, Phillipe, but I find the hour has grown very late for company."
Celeste's eyes widened. "I embarrassed you! You know better than to invite a young man upstairs alone into your bedroom!"
"I was showing him my painting!" Elyssa fumed.
"And yet neither of you had eyes for the blasted painting!" Celeste snapped.
"I knew you wouldn't understand! Just because you don't believe in love doesn't mean you should keep me from falling in love!" Elyssa cried as she ran to her bed.
Orb's Year 940
Romance had made the foolish girl's senses take a leave of absence! And to think, she had always thought Elyssa was her sensible one!
Celeste's hand itched to slap her daughter, surprising her. She'd never been one to believe in physical violence!
"But I love him!" she cried as she burst into tears and ran from the room.
Faith glanced up and blinked owlishly. "What?" she asked.
Elyssa repeated herself, "Do you promise not to tell Mother on me?"
Elyssa glanced around the empty room. "I'm having a few people over."
Faith guessed where this was going, "And Phillipe?"
Elyssa waved a hand, "If he happens to come with some of the people I invited over, then it would be most ungracious to turn him away!"
What was she going to do?
"Oh wonderful!" Elyssa said brightly before Faith could say a word "We just puttered around all morning, didn't we Faith?"
Faith frowned, but her mother did not look her way or wait for her confirmation.
"Wonderful! I'm so glad that you're back to your usual, happy self!" Celeste said with some relief. "Didn't I tell you that with time and distance from Phillipe, you would feel better?"
Elyssa smiled at her mother and nodded, "Oh yes, I see you were right," she said.
Faith frowned and opened her mouth.
"Faith! I must show you a book I ran across last week! Come on!" she said as she quickly pulled her sister from the room.
Celeste smiled as Elyssa led her sister away. It was good to see them getting along so well, again.