Orb's Year 937
"Gladys, you just received a message!" her twin, Floyd called out from the front room.
"Oh goody!" she giggled as she hurried to see who sent the message. "Aw, it's from Jerome!" she said grinning. "He's such a sweetheart! He says he'll be here to pick me up at 8! Please tell mother I'm in my room sleeping!"
Floyd frowned. "You know I hate lying, Gladys," he hedged.
"Oh please! I just can't wait to see Jerome! Please tell me that you'll cover for me!" she begged, knowing Floyd couldn't deny her anything.
Exasperated with his sister, Floyd gave in. "Fine! But if she goes in to check on you, I'm telling her where you are!"
"She won't!" Gladys grinned. "You're going to keep her busy for me!"
"Anything for you, Jerome!" she grinned as she allowed him to pull her into his arms.
Floyd cursed under his breath. "I think she's sleeping, mother. Maybe you can show her tomorrow morning."
Caira glanced towards the bedroom door. "She's sleeping this early?! Is she feeling well?" Caira took a step towards the door.
Panicked, Floyd blurted out, "She's fine!" Caira turned around and gazed at him as though he were unwell. Clearing his throat, he strove for a calm he did not feel. "It's probably best to leave her be. Perhaps you'd like to play a game of chess?"
Caira playfully scowled. "Only if you promise to let me win!"
"Oh Chandler, it's wonderful to see you again!" Caira said as she closed up her flower shop. "You have perfect timing!"
Chandler Gerghis grinned, "I knew that you would be closing soon." Reaching out, he grabbed her hands. "I've missed you, Caira."
Caira blushed and stepped into Chandler's strong arms. "I've missed you, too."
Floyd made a face. "Gladys! There's nothing going on between them!" he argued.
Gladys rolled her eyes. Anyone could see her mother was in L-O-V-E! Apparently anyone except Floyd!
"You couldn't spot love if it was 3 feet in front of your face," she gently teased, then added more forcefully, "Now promise me!"
Floyd rolled his eyes and set his paper aside. "Fine! I promise! Go away!"
"Yay!" Gladys cheered as she gave her brother a quick hug, then hurried to meet Jerome in the front of the cottage.
Orb's Year 938
"Nonsense," Gladys argued. "She's gone to Taveryn's Kitchen with Chandler. They'll be gone for hours." Probably making use of the room upstairs, she thought wryly. Mother was determined that they not know she was being courted by Chandler!
"Fine," Floyd sighed, giving in once more.
Floyd looked at her with confusion. "What? Who?"
Gladys sighed, "You are hopeless Floyd! I told you that you couldn't see love 3 feet in front of your face!"
"What are you talking about?" Floyd asked, offended.
"Brittany! She likes you!"
Floyd reared back. "She does not!"
Gladys smiled, "Have it your way. I'm just saying she wouldn't protest if you were to steal a kiss from her!"
Floyd blushed bright red and blustered for a moment as Gladys laughed and walked away.
"She does not like me!" Floyd yelled back at her. Does she? he wondered, feeling a fluttering of hope in his chest.
Gladys looked nervously at Floyd, wondering if he'd tattled on her for teasing him about Brittany liking him.
"What is it?" Floyd asked, annoyed to see Chandler standing so close to his mother. He didn't know what she saw in the aging athlete!
Chandler cleared his throat. "There was something I was wanting to ask your mother that affects the two of you, as well," he said nervously.
Floyd just stared on in shock. Gladys had been right. He couldn't see love 3 feet in front of his face. He wasn't sure why - but it gave him hope that he'd been missing the signs with Brittany...
Orb's Year 939
She hurried over there to put some space between them!
"Oh no, mother. He just wasn't able to hear well! I was telling him our specials!" Gladys answered brightly. "He's no trouble at all."
"If you're sure," Caira said slowly, now suspicious of her daughter's ulterior motives. "Perhaps it would be best for you to go inside for awhile. We need more stock. I think Floyd can handle the sales from here..."
Gladys' face fell as she headed inside, shooting the young nobleman a sad look. It was just as she feared. Her daughter had been flirting with a nobleman, Caira thought.
Too soon, he was called away to finish tending to the money box. If only he could've thought of something witty to say instead of stuttering like an idiot!
Orb's Year 940
Caira turned in Chandler's arms and kissed him sweetly. "I would love to!"
Gladys glanced at the handsome man standing at their doorstep, awed by his nobility and his good looks. She was surprised to find herself tongue-tied.
"Hello, is Chandler at home?" the man asked pleasantly.
Mutely, Gladys nodded and pointed him towards her mother and step-father.
Although he'd been momentarily non-plussed to see Angus Laird standing in his humble cottage, Chandler happily greeted his old friend. "Angus, how are you? I believe I had mentioned my wedding the last we were out," he said.
Angus shrugged, unconcerned.
Angus smiled at the young girl, now more intrigued. It was always nice to have his ego stroked. And although the girl was too young at this moment, in a short few years she would certainly be old enough!
Chandler didn't like the way Angus was looking at his young step-daughter. He well knew how Angus treated his fans. And he would not see that fate befall Caira's sweet girl!
Chandler frowned. Angus had never offered to share his bounty before. It was curious that he did so now when he knew that Chandler was newly married. Shaking his head, Chandler tried to decline graciously, without offending Angus.
It didn't work. "What? Are you hampered by your wife's apron strings?" Angus teased. "Afraid of a little woman?"
Chandler actually felt somewhat sorry for the man who couldn't see the love that he'd wasted not once, but twice.
Angus watched him walk out the door and called out, "I'll be seeing you!" Chandler couldn't just up and leave him. He was his only friend he had left...
He was surprised when Brittany showed up.
"Brittany!" he exclaimed, "What are you doing here? Did you want more flowers?"
Brittany nervously picked at her sleeves. "Actually, I umm... I came by to say that I really liked the flowers."
Brittany waited a moment, staring at Floyd expectantly. Finally, she sighed. "Well, I guess.. thank you again..." she said sadly.
"Wait!" Floyd shouted impulsively, taken aback by how loud he'd been.
Brittany had also been stunned and stood in the same spot, glancing at him... waiting for something...