Orb's Year 941
"Whatever you want," Evelyn said patting his arm. "Just let me know if you need or want anything and I'll see if we can get it for you! I want you to be happy here!"
Brock felt awkward when faced with her fierce attention. "I'm quite alright, thank you... Mother," he tacked on.
Juan chuckled when Evelyn looped her arms around his neck. "That his is, wife. But, try not to smother him!"
"Smother him?" Evelyn said with surprise, bolting upright. "Why would you say that?"
Juan shrugged. "He's almost a man and you are the mother..."
"I certainly am his mother!" Evelyn protested angrily.
Juan pulled his indignant wife back into his arms. "I wasn't going to say that. We both know you're his mother. But you're not THE mother who raised him. Let him work it out in his head before you drown him with your attentions!"
Evelyn pursed her lips, angry at her husband's insight. Could he be right?
"I thought about what you said and you're right," Evelyn admitted with some difficulty.
"About?" Juan prodded. Sometimes the oddest things popped out of his wife's mouth. He could only imagine what she was referring to this time!
She sent him a disgruntled look. "About giving Brock time to get used to the family."
Juan reached across the table and patted her hand. "I know it's hard. You were fighting for him for years, but all during that time, Crystal was raising him as her own child."
A tear gathered in Evelyn's eye. "I know that," she said testily. "That doesn't mean I have to like it." She paused a moment. "So, what am I supposed to do?"
"Make him feel at home here as best we can," Juan replied.
It made for long, hot, sweaty days and sometimes Andre resented it. He was young! He should be wooing females or enjoying himself!
"Your mother and I don't want you to feel as though you have to earn your place. This is your home for as long as you want," Juan informed his step-son.
Gratitude flashed in Brock's eyes before he lowered his head quickly.
Andre frowned. "Well then, why do I..." he started to complain when a swift kick and a warning glance from his father had him shutting his mouth.
Orb's Year 942
But this shop - it wasn't Brock's heritage. It was his heritage. So maybe he should make the best of it!
Camilla grinned and hurried to the shop. She loved any excuse to go in there with her father! The smell! The horses! She loved it!
But, where was Andre?
"Did you tell Andre that dinner was ready?" she asked Camilla.
Juan answered for his daughter, "He said he wanted to practice his iron-smithing. He'll be in later."
Evelyn glanced at her husband. "Are you sure that's wise? He puts in a full day at classes, then helps you during the afternoon. Surely the evenings should be his to spend freely!"
Although it seemed a relationship between Brock and Andre was slow to form, the girls adored having another older brother. If he was honest, Brock could admit that he was quite pleased to have two younger sisters.
"Oh is it now?" Brock asked the impatient young girl.
"He has not, you fibber!" Bianca said, stomping her foot. "It's only been five minutes!"
"Now, now, girls. No need to fight. We can take turns." He tossed the ball to Camilla and grinned as she fumbled to catch it.
Juan glanced over at his son and shook his head. The boy was far too taken with that young girl. "Andre! Go run over and grab a few more horseshoes for Sheldon!"
Gena giggled as he hurried away to do as his father said.
"And when you're done with that, help the young lady check out!" his father called out to his back.
Andre glanced over and saw the beautiful blonde waiting at the coin box. He wondered absently how long she'd been standing there. Enough to look pissed, he thought with some guilt.
A few more hours spent scurrying around and finally Andre was done. He locked the coin box and glanced up.
Gena shrugged her shoulder delicately. "I wanted to finish our conversation."
Andre grinned. "I believe we were talking about how beautiful your eyes were," he said, stepping closer. "And how silky your skin was."
Gena grinned and pretended to fan herself. "I'm already glad I hung around to speak to you! Such pretty compliments!"
"I think it's time we had a chat about girls and the way of life," his Da said, pulling him into his room.
Brock glanced up at his half-sister. "I've almost finished. Did you want to toss the ball a few rounds?"
Brock smiled down at his youngest sister. "I would be happy to throw the ball with you, dearest Camilla. Go dress warmly!"
Camilla scampered off giddily.
"Can I help you find something?" Andre asked the girl absently as he went about his day. He had a few moments before he needed to bring out more horseshoes for the table.
"Andre? It's me..." the girl said softly.
His head whipped around. "Gabriella?" he asked with surprise.
She smiled shyly in response.
For Gabriella, it was a dream come true! She'd dreamed of this moment for years!
It was the most wonderful afternoon of her life as he taught her feelings she'd never felt before! When evening fell, she reluctantly pulled herself away from his caresses and hurried home, secure in their budding relationship.
Fanny winked, "I'll get you two love-birds the best spot."
But she saw him right away and gasped with displeasure.
Andre hopped off the stool and hurried to her. "Gabriella, it's not what it looks like!" he said quickly, attempting to calm her.
Gena followed more slowly, amused to see how upset Andre had gotten when the girl had noticed them holding hands.
"Now, now, Andre," Gena said, walking up and looped her arm with his. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?"
Gabriella paled. Then, with tears in her eyes, she whirled around and ran from the pub.
Andre shot Gena a disgruntled look and shook his arm from Gena's clutch.
Gabriella didn't even slow down.
Andre pulled his arm away angrily. "What was that about, Gena? You know good and well we're not exclusive!"
Gena rolled her eyes and put her hand on hip hip. "I might know that, but apparently your sweetheart didn't!"
Gena shrugged, "Whatever. You know how to reach me if you ever want to foll around again."
"Like that'll ever happen," Andrew muttered under his breath.
Orb's Year 944
He sighed as he crumpled the letter and threw it across the room.
"You really messed that up," Bianca noted shrewdly.
"Oh what do you know of it?" Andre snapped.
Bianca shrugged delicately and casually inspected her cuticles. "Just that everyone knows Gabriella caught you on a date at the pub with your hands all over Gena Baker!"
"My hands weren't all over her!" Andre protested. "And it wasn't a date! We had an understanding."
Bianca wrinkled her nose. "Guess you should've made sure Gabriella understood, too."
Andre slammed from the house angrily.
He noticed Juan's hand quickly was braced against his Mother's back, offering comfort before stepping away to give her room to speak in privacy.
"No!" Brock answered truthfully. "I've loved living here. I'm so glad I got the chance to know my other family! But, I have a calling..."
"I will still come to visit," Brock promised. "But, I want to follow the Path to Enlightenment."
Evelyn wiped the tears from her eyes quickly, smiling a watery-smile. "You're so much like your Grandfather Aragon Consul!" she announced. "So serious and studious!"
Brock nodded solemnly, kissed her cheek and said the rest of his goodbyes. Then he was gone.
Evelyn stood, staring at the door for quite some time after Brock had left. She had fought so many years to see her son and now he was gone again. The thought brought fresh tears bubbling to the surface.
Evelyn rested her cheek against her daughter's head. "Oh, I know sweetheart. And I'll cry just as hard when you marry and move away from me!"
Evelyn nodded her head as she moved into her husband's waiting arms.
Juan ran his hands up and down Evelyn's back, attempting to comfort her. "He'll make a fine Abbott," he said proudly.
Evelyn glanced up at her husband and smiled. "Yes, yes he will."