Saturday, April 5, 2014

Gypsy Grotto, Orb's Year 941-944

Orb's Year 941
Dirk Baker was talking to his nephew, Edrick Taveryn when a young boy sobbing nearby caught his attention.  "Edrick, I'll be right back," he said distractedly as he walked over to the boy. 
"Is everything okay?" he asked as he approached slowly.

The boy straightened quickly, wiping furiously at his eyes.  "I've run away and I don't have anywhere to go!  My family hates me!"

Dirk frowned.  How easily family could turn on each other, he thought sadly.  "Well, you've come to the right place!  The Grotto is a place to live freely - without restrictions and family expectations!  Here - a royal is the same as a peasant!"

Irving Fischer's mouth dropped open.

"Come on, let me show you around," Dirk said.
Irving grinned as he took another bubble breath.  "This is fantastic!" he said.  "I'm so glad I found this place!"
Velma Gypsy, Edrick's lover, cleared her throat behind the men.  "Just because I am a woman does not mean that I will cook, clean and take care of the baby!" she said, irritated at the squirming child in her arms.
She thrust the baby into Edrick's arms.  "She's your family! You take her!"

Edrick glanced down at Eliza, his baby cousin, and rocked her in his arms.  "Oh, and I suppose you don't want any practice for children of our own?" he teased Velma.

"Hold your tongue!" Velma snapped.  "I have no desire to have a child of my own!"

***

Dirk finished cleaning the showers, a thankless job.  He turned to leave and ran into Suzie.  "What are you doing here?" he gritted.  It annoyed him to no end that his heart beat faster the minute he saw her.

Weak!
Suzie came close and he stepped away.  Frowning, she crossed her arms.  "What would you say if I told you that I missed you?" she said testily.

"I would say that it's a little too late for that!" he snapped.

"Well then, maybe I just came back to see the children!" she snapped back.

Dirk folded his own arms imposingly, as though he would physically restrain her from stepping near the children.  Widening his stance, he growled, "The children do not need to see you."

"That's it then?" she asked.  "You would keep me from my children? Even though Eliza is not your child?"

"I didn't see you fight very hard for them,  And it's your word against mine," Dirk said with a shrug.  "If you want to paint yourself a whore, that's your own business."
Tears welled in Suzie's eyes.  "You rotten curr! You can't keep them from me forever!"

Dirk was unmoved by her tears.  "I can and I will," he said.
Though Eliza might not be his child by blood, she was his daughter in his heart.  And he would protect his children with his dying breath. 

***

Velma narrowed her eyes as she ran her fingers over her burgeoning belly.  Cursed Orb, she was pregnant!  That stupid, fertile Taveryn!

Orb's Year 942
Dirk couldn't believe how big his little girl was getting!  When he looked at her, he felt a pang of sadness though.  Staring at Eliza was like staring in the eyes of her mother...

And hopefully he had put Suzie far from their lives...

***

Eddie loved playing with his little sister.   She giggled and laughed like crazy when he made faces at her.  He glanced up when he heard the swish of skirts close-by...
"Mama!" he called out excitedly.
Throwing himself into her arms.  "You came back!" he said breathlessly.  "Wait until I tell papa!"

Suzie hugged her son to her chest and swallowed a lump in her throat.  "I'm working on finding a good place to stay and then I can have you and your sister come stay with me. How would you like that?"

Eddie pulled back.  "What about papa?" he asked warily.  Why did mama want him to leave his home?
"Suzie!" he heard his papa bark as he crossed the field in short order.  "I told you not to return!"

Eddie looked between his mama and papa in confusion.  He thought papa would be happy she came back.  He'd been so sad when she'd left...

"...can't keep them from me!" he heard his mama shout.

"I already told you that I can and I will!" his papa shouted back at her. "What kind of life could you provide them?"
"I'm trying to save up some gold to get a nice place!" she screeched at him.  "A home! Better than living in a tent in the middle of a blasted forest!"

Eddie didn't want to hear anymore.  He blindly ran away from their raised voices.
And then the voices stopped and his papa was pulling him into his arms to console him.
"No!" Eddie shouted.  "It's not fair! Why can't she stay, papa?!" Eddie's voice quavered with despair.

Dirk didn't answer, he just hung his head.  "You'll understand better when you're older, son," he said softly.

"I won't! I'll never understand!" 
Eddie ran past the tent he shared with his papa and threw himself into the hammock at the edge of the clearing.  Wiping tears from his eyes, he stared up at the stars, trying to tell himself big boys didn't cry.
Frustrated, he hopped up from the hammock.  "You'll understand better when you're older," his papa had said.   Eddie scoffed.   His papa owed him some answers! Now!
Eddie found his papa and confronted him, crossing his arms in front of him.  "Why can't mama stay with us?" he asked with a cracking voice.  Angrily, he blew his bangs out of his face. "She wants to stay with us! She told me!"

Dirk blew out a breath.  "I loved your mother very much..."

"Then you can love her again!" Eddie cried out. "You just have to give her a chance!"
"Eddie, you don't know what you're talking about! There are things between a man and woman that..."

"You just don't want to try!" Eddie interrupted his father again.  "This is your fault!"  Eddie turned to run away from his father again.

"She was not faithful," Dirk found himself saying quietly.  "She broke my heart..."

Eddie slowly turned around, a million thoughts running through his mind.  But, he could tell by the set of his papa's jaw that he wasn't going to get any answers.  "If she comes back, may I see her?" he asked carefully. 

Dirk's chin dropped to his chest.  Amazing how his growing son could make him feel ashamed of himself.  "Yes," he said.
Eddie nodded and walked away, joining his friends.

***

The calm night air was disrupted when Velma lurched from her resting place and bent over double.  She called Edrick every foul name she could think of for making her go through this misery.
But then, she held in her arms little Felipe Gypsy - her son...

Orb's Year 943
Irving Fischer loved living in the Grotto! No rules No expectations! No parents telling him what to do! No brothers mucking up his life!
Gena Baker sidled up to him and rubbed his back as Cathy Sartar watched jealously.
With a smile, Cathy crooked her finger at him and offered him her own massage.
Not to be outdone, Tiffani McArthur stepped into the mix and flirted with him.

Now this was the life! he thought happily.  A harem of pretty girls waiting to see to his every need!  Irving could feel the tension building as the girls fought for his attention.
Cathy wound up being the boldest and stepping up to pull him into her arms, attempting to show once and for all that she had chosen Irving.
It wasn't fair!  Gena thought angrily.  Why did none of the boys ever choose her?!  Andre Farrier fawned over that stupid Gabriella Marchant, Casey Potter lusted after anything with a skirt.  And now even her childhood friend, Irving, had picked someone over her.  It wasn't to be born!  Seething, she slapped him again.  "How could you?" she said with tears in her eyes.
"Aw come on, Gena.  You know we just fooled around when we were kids! Don't be like that!" Irving whined.
Gena watched him turn on his heel and trot over to the stupid Cathy Sartar. 

Well two could play this game, she thought wickedly as she leaned down to whisper something in Gaius' ear.
Irving was shocked when he saw Gena dancing so closely to Gaius.  Didn't she know how that looked?
"What are you doing?" he demanded, coming up behind his friend. 

Gaius looked a little nervous. "Just having fun, chum. You claimed Cathy, I figured Gena was fair game!"

Gena arched her brow at Irving.  "I am free game.  After all, we'd only fooled around a little bit when we were children!" she snapped as she flounced away.
Gaius trailed after her with Irving on his heels.  "She's not fair game," he whispered fiercely behind Gaius' back.  "Send her home!"

Gaius looked over his shoulder and smirked.  "I'll send her home," he smiled.
Irving's mouth dropped open when Gaius pulled Gena into his arms and kissed her goodbye.
"You do not want to cross me!" Irving shouted angrily after Gena was gone.

Gaius crossed his arms. "You don't own her, Irving! She's free to show her affection where she wishes!"  He grinned widely, "And she chose to show me great affection!"

Irving pulled his hand back to punch his cocky friend when Eddie elbowed his way between them.
"Come on guys! Let's not let a few girls come between us! Women leave all too easily," he said, thinking of his mother.  "But we'll be brothers forever!"
The crisis was averted and the boys spent the remainder of the afternoon being boys.

Orb's  Year 944
"Uh! Uh!" Felipe grunted as his papa Edrick looked down at him. 

"What do you think he wants?" Velma asked Edrick.   Having so many younger siblings had made Edrick a wonderful papa.  He seemed to know what the baby had needed before Felipe even cried.
Edrick scooped up his son and grinned.  "It's probably about time to eat! Am I right?" he asked as he bounced Felipe on his hip.
Felipe laughing happily, almost screeching as Edrick pranced over to the ice box to give his son a bottle.

"Good morning," Dirk said, stepping out of his tent.

Edrick glanced back at his uncle.  "I'm sorry, did Felipe wake up?"
"Ah, we've grown well-used to the sound of happy baby's around her!"  Dirk replied, grinning at Felipe.  "And you know the boys sleep like the dead!"

Edrick laughed. "To be young again!"
"Papa, I'm hungry," Eliza said, hurrying after her father. 

Dirk glanced back and smiled at his daughter-of-the-heart.  "How about I get breakfast started.  Edrick, have you and Velma eaten yet?"
As the adults tended to practical matters, Eliza squatted down and played with little Felipe. 

***

"Swing me again!" Eliza laughed happily as Irving swung her around as fast as he could.  As Irving set her down, she saw Eddie coming over with a scowl on his face.  "Hello Eddie!" she called out. 

She knew that Eddie was her only brother, but she secretly thought of Irving and Gaius as her big brothers, too.  She'd asked her papa one day if Irving and Gaius could be her brothers, too.  He had looked at her with a sad smile and said that family is not always by blood - but sometimes by heart.

***

Casey Potter knew he'd made the right decision when he met the other boys that were staying at the Grotto.  He didn't want to work as some man's servant - he wanted to have fun and enjoy life!

And this looked like just the spot to do it!
Especially with all the lovely ladies running around, he thought with some satisfaction once the sun had gone down.
The women here weren't worried about class lines, he thought as he backed up the beautiful woman against the wall of the crumbling wall.  "This is as private as it gets, love," Casey told her before hitching up her skirt.

***

Dirk wished he'd never promised Eddie that he could have a relationship with his mother if she returned.  But, he'd waited expectantly for her to return.  For years.  But, she'd never returned.  And how he prayed that she never would...
"I already told you that you can't take them!" Dirk shouted, livid that Suzie had returned to stir up trouble again.

Suzie glared.  "Not them.  Just Eliza."

Dirk scoffed, "As if I would let you take her!"

"You're not her father, Dirk!" Suzie shouted over his tirade.
Eliza gasped.
Promise be damned.  "Why couldn't you leave well enough alone?" Dirk whispered harshly.  "They're happy here.  The only reason you want them is to hurt me! Admit it!"

Suzie felt the blood drain from her face as she watched her daughter dart past sobbing.  Oh, but he was right! She had wanted to hurt him as much as he had hurt her!  She didn't even have a place for Eliza to stay! If Suzie managed to convince the Lairds to let Eliza stay - she would be required too cook and clean, as well.  At least here she was free...

"I'll go," she said shakily.  She had never meant to hurt her children...
Eliza ran from the woman who claimed he wasn't her papa.  She had to be wrong.  Strong arms encircled her, stopping her from running any further.

"What's wrong?" Eddie asked, crouching down next to her.  "What happened?"

Eliza just sobbed louder.  "She said he wasn't my papa!"

"Who said that? Velma?" Eddie asked, confused and trying to understand. "Why would she say that?"
"Because it's true," Dirk said, coming up behind them. 
"It's a long story..."

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