When she saw him, Kitty jumped up. "George! You're home! Can I get you dinner?"
George kissed her cheek. "No, no. I'm exhausted. I'm going to lay down for awhile."
"You work too hard, George!" Kitty said, pulling him close for a hug. "You should rest more!"
George grinned and teased, "And leave my family to eat what? No, it takes hard work to support a family this size!" He kissed her cheek and headed for their room.
Orb's Year 938
"She'll be fine, you know. Your mother, Debbie, bore five healthy babies and your step-mother, Nicole, bore me two healthy sons. Kitty's a strong girl. She'll be fine." Sheldon counseled his son as he tossed the ball back. He could see the worry in his son's eyes.
"I know that in my mind, but I still feel uneasy. It's not unheard of for the birthing to claim lives. Especially when the mother-to-be has been so ill and exhausted."
Sheldon nodded, understanding George's worry. Kitty had been sick to her stomach and unable to eat much of her pregnancy. "Nicole is here to take care of her through the day and then you are here to help her during the night. She'll be fine," Sheldon said assuredly.
"You're right. I should go check on her," George said, dropping the ball.
Nicole frowned. "She still hasn't eaten well. I got some soup down her throat, but I worry for her."
Sheldon nodded sadly. "We all do."
Mindful of the precious bundle in his arms, Sheldon tossed her in the air and tickled her belly. A child's laughter was such a gift - especially in times like this.
Understanding dawned when she felt the contraction hit again.
Weakly, she pulled herself from the bed and woke up George. "It's time, George," she whispered.
George immediately passed little Kurt off to Nicole as he helped his wife back into bed. "When you feel strong enough, I'll bring you more soup with plenty of fish and Farmer veggies. That will fill you right up! Would you like that?"
Kitty nodded. "Just let me rest a bit..." she said weakly before falling back into slumber.
Fatima laughed as he squeezed her. "Not so tight, Henry!" she squealed. "You'll squeeze me to death!"
"Never!" Henry said, holding her hands. "I love you too much!"
Nearby, Irving watched jealously.
Orb's Year 939
George still hovered over her a bit, but any fear of her passing on had vanished.
Pretending not to be listening, he played with Mongrel & kept his ears open. Gads, Henry was asking Fatima to pledge herself to him, he thought sourly. Why did Henry get everything he wanted? Irving felt ready to throw a tantrum and rail at the blasted Orb.
"No?" Henry said, taking a step back. "But why?"
"Don't you love me?" Henry pleaded, stepping up behind her.
"Yes, but I... I just can't Henry!" she said more forcefully.
His throat working, Henry spun around and ran inside, slamming the door.
Fatima moaned and covered her face with her hands, willing the tears away. How could she explain that she was scared to love so deeply? She'd seen her mother suffer so much from being cast away by the men in her life... It would only be a matter of time before Henry grew tired of her...
Fatima wiped at her eyes and gave Irving a small smile. "I feel silly," she said, "I care about him so much, but I'm so worried about being hurt."
"What is it?" Fatima asked anxiously, worried that her mother's curse was about to come to fruition.
"Well," Irving said, acting reluctant, "He's always been so possessive. I've always worried for you."
"Why? What do you mean?"
Irving stepped closer, "If you were my girl, I would never treat you like a possession..."
And then he'd seen her standing close to Irving... she must be exactly like her mother - quick to jump from one brother to another!
Orb's Year 940
Kitty glanced over at her brother-in-law, sitting in the corner by himself, "Henry, pull up a chair and join us!"
Henry shook his head and hurriedly ate his food. "Can't. Wanted to get out on the lake since it's thawed."
Irving glanced at his brother with a small smirk. "You can have my seat. I'm heading over to the Abbey to see Fatima."
Nicole glanced at her youngest son sharply. She didn't know what had happened, neither of her boys would talk about it. But it was clear that Fatima had broken Henry's heart and claimed Irving's. "I'm not sure I approve of the time you spend with her. She's already broken Henry's heart..."
"Enough, Mama!" Henry said from the edge of the room, "Fatima is allowed to fall in love with whoever she chooses! It does not make her a bad person!"
Henry's dishes clattered in the sink as he strode from the room, grabbing his fishing pole.
George had been so frantic during her pregnancy with Kurt and afterwards had told her they would have no more children. It had taken her months before she was able to persuade him to join her in their bed!
She knew he would not handle this pregnancy well at all...
Kitty stood up with alarm. "George! Jessica said there were wolves outside! We need to make sure the dogs are okay!"
George hurried outside, grabbing an axe for protection. Glancing around, he only saw Mutt and Mongrel... Hound was nowhere to be seen...