Thursday, September 25, 2014

Marchant, Orb's Year 945-948



 Orb's Year 945
Devon lifted Hayley from her crib and smoothed her hair back from her face.  "Do you need to use the potty?" she asked, hopefully looking forward to the day she would no longer need to change soiled diapers!
Due to the age gap between her Fabian and Gabriella and the twins, Hadley and Haley, she felt like she'd spent her entire adult life caring for their children.
Not that she regretted a moment of it.  She loved the satisfaction that she got from taking care of her family...

...no matter how old they got...

***

"Mama?" Gabriella asked nonchalantly.  "Remember how Grandma Alana didn't want papa to marry you?"

"Gabriella! What in Orb's truth made you think of that?!" Devon sputtered, taken aback.  Unpleasant memories from the past loomed before her...

"I just wanted to know how you knew that you loved papa and were willing to fight for him," she Gabriella persisted. 
Devon suddenly suspected that this conversation was more about Gabriella and less about her.  She thought carefully before saying, "I suppose I knew that we were meant to be when he stood up for me."  (Marchant, Orb's Year 932) 

Gabriella listened intently and pursed her lips.  "Okay," she said with a slow release of breath.
Devon watched her growing daughter walk away and sighed as she began to prepare dinner.  She wondered who had caught her daughter's eye...

***

"Delicious dinner, as usual," Darius said as he got up.  "I'm off to bed.  Have to wake up bright and early in the morning, isn't that right Fabian?" he said, clapping his son on the shoulder.

Fabian grimaced.
"Yeah! Pea-licious!" Hadley said as he flung a spoonful of peas at his twin sister, Hayley."
Hayley screeched loudly with laughter.  "PEA-licious!"

"Children..." Devon said with a weary sigh.  "There is no throwing food at the table."

***

After dinner Gabriella found the mirror and stared at her reflection.  What was wrong with her that Andre Farrier didn't want her? she wondered, turning to the side and appraising her body severely.  And more importantly, was he worth fighting for?

Orb's Year 946
"Hey! No fair! Why doesn't Fabian have to go to school!" Hadley complained as he prepared to be picked up for the day.
"Because I'm a man now and have to help with Marchants' Wares," Fabian said with a roll of his eyes.  
Hadley looked at his brother suspiciously.  "Will I be able to work at the shop when I'm a man, too?"

"Better you than me," Fabian mumbled under his breath, then glanced at his father guiltily, wondering if he'd heard.

From the look on Darius' face, it was clear his papa had heard...
 
 ***

Darius kept his eye on Fabian as he worked around the shop, restocking items and speaking with the customers.
It was clear Fabian didn't have a deep love for Marchant Wares.  But, he didn't blame him for that.  He hadn't grown serious about his heritage until he was adult, preferring to play and leave the work to his oldest brother, Baji.
But, the boy was a natural, he thought as he tracked his son across the room as he began helping a young lady pick out a vase. 
The peasant girl hesitated.  "I don't know," she said with a frown.  "I hadn't intended to buy something that expensive." She ran a hand over her pocket, well aware that she only had a few gold pieces to spend. 

But the vase was so beautiful...
Fabian grinned wickedly at the girl and leaned closer, "I'll tell you what," he whispered conspiratorially.  "I'll let you have it for half off.  Just come check out when I'm counting the money."

"Why would you do that?" she gasped, fluttering her eyelashes at him prettily.

Fabian reached out to toy with her hair.  "Perhaps I have a soft spot for green eyes," he said huskily.

She giggled, "But I don't have green eyes!" she teased.

Fabian leaned close to whisper in her ear, "Then it must just be because I like you..." He grinned when he saw her sway. 

There were definitely advantages to working in the shop, he thought wickedly.
Darius' narrowed his eye as he watched his son blatantly flirting with the peasant girl.
Hurrying across the room, he loudly cleared his throat, interrupting his son.  "There's more restocking to be done," he said in a disapproving tone.

Fabian's eyes flicked to the money box.  "I thought perhaps I might start learning to handle the purchases," he said without any subtlety.

Darius scoffed. "I think not, my boy.  That will have to be another day when I'm sure you won't give away our wares to any pretty thing."

Fabian huffed and glanced behind him towards the girl, shrugging helplessly.

When she saw Darius looking at her, she blushed and turned back quickly to look at a vase.

Darius scoffed as he urged his son away from the scheming girl.
Finally the girl approached with an inexpensive trinket that she'd found on the shelves.  "Did you find something you could afford here?" he asked snobbishly, intending to intimidate her from returning. He didn't like the way she seemed to be influencing his son to give her a discount. 
The girl notched her chin up proudly and handed him his money and then hurried from the store with the inexpensive trinket she'd found.

 ***

Hayley played chess with her cousin's daughter, Laci.  "No fair! You're cheating!" she accused when Laci won again.

Laci glared across the table.  "I'm not cheating just because I won again.  It's just because I'm older!"

"Well, then, you should let me win once in awhile!" Hayley pouted.

"Where's the fun in that?" Laci asked peevishly.  "If you don't want to lose, then you shouldn't play!"
Hayley was saved from responding when Laci's brother, Mayhew. 
"But I'm not ready to come home!" Laci argued, now with her adopted brother. 

Mayhew sighed.  "It doesn't matter if you're ready or not.  I was sent to tell you that it's time for dinner," he stated firmly.

"Hmph! FINE!" Laci pouted.  "I was done playing anyway."
Hayley watched Mayhew and Laci walk home, tongue-tied in the presence of such a cute boy!

Orb's Year 947
Before the sun had fully risen the next morning, Fabian had sent out messages to a few merchant families. 
Before everyone came in for breakfast, he pulled Gabriella aside.  "Listen," he whispered in her ear.  "Pretend you're going to school today, but meet me down the street!"

"What do you have planned?!" she asked excitedly.

"You'll see!" he promised.

***

Meeting his sister down the street, they hurried to their destination...

...the Haunted Woods!

"Oh, Fabian! This is fabulous! The perfect place to have some fun!" she cheered.
Then she saw Andre approaching quickly, walking straight towards her.
Abruptly, she turned around and faced her brother, giving Andre a direct cut.  She wasn't ready to talk to him. 

Fabian glanced over her shoulder towards Andre and gave a slight shrug, as if to say "Women! Who knows?!"

Andre turned away as his sister, Bianca hurried to his side.  Gabriella heard Bianca sharing a heated argument with Andre, but couldn't make out what they were saying.
While Gabriella waffled over whether to approach Andre now that her heart had stopped racing so quickly, she was distracted.  Grant Pettas slipped in front of her.  "Don't look now, but he's looking over here," he told her.

Gabriella gasped, starting to turn to look. 
Grant reached out and grabbed her hand.  "Don't do it.  He'll never fall for you if you throw yourself at him!"

Gabriella glanced back at Grant.  "Why does it matter to you?"

Grant grinned. "Maybe because I have sisters?"

Gabriella raised an eyebrow and waited.

"Alright, maybe because I'd like to make someone jealous by giving you attention," he admitted reluctantly with a smile.
Pleasure spread across Gabriella's face.  Reaching for his hands, she smiled.  "Why, Grant, that is the most brilliant thing I've heard all day!" she announced, batting her eyelashes at him.
Raising her voice a bit louder than she'd needed to, she asked, "Grant, would you walk me home?"

"I would be honored," Grant said, offering her his arm and pecking her on the cheek.

Gabriella heard a gasp of surprise and a low growl from behind her and smiled wickedly. 

Success.

 ***

"Devon, have you seen Fabian today?" Darius asked, hurrying home for a quick lunch break.  "He never showed up today to help at the shop."
Devon frowned as she tidied the house. "No, it's been quiet here today! I'll send him to the shop if I see him.  Perhaps he went with Gabriella to school..."

Darius frowned. "He knows he has a responsibility to the shop now..." he fussed.

Devon patted his arm encouragingly. "I'm sure he does. Maybe he forgot, dear."

Darius sighed heavily before leaving, his food largely untouched.  "If you see him, send him my way.  I'm swamped today!"

 ***
Devon was putting away Darius' leftovers when she heard Fabian and Gabriella barrel through the door, laughing and shoving each other.

"And what have the two of you been up to this morning?" she scolded them. 

"Umm... I have to get to school!" Gabriella said quickly, hurrying from the house.  Fabian made a move to follow her, but was stopped short by his mother.
"Fabian Marchant! Your father has been looking for you! He's been at the Wares all day today on his own! How could you be so irresponsible?"

Fabian hung his head, keeping his mouth shut.  He knew better than to tell his mother that he'd been out at the Haunted Woods with the other teens.

She sighed heavily.  "I expected more from you, young man.  No march over to the Wares this instant and help your father!"

"Of course, mama," he promised, reaching up on his tip toes to kiss her cheek.  "Right away!"

***

"This has been the slowest service!" Shanna Farmer vented as she waited for Darius to give her proper change. 

Darius held in his weary sigh as he watched the long line of customers fidget.  He hadn't felt this inept since he was just a young lad working his way around the money box.

Where was Fabian?

 ***

"I was hoping to run into you again," Cathy Sewell said, stepping out from the shadows as he started to head towards the Wares.

Fabian stopped in place.  "Well, hello," he said with a cocky grin.
Without hesitation, she leaned forward and kissed him.  "Better now!" she said, grabbing his hand.  "Come on!"  
She tugged him towards her horse.  "Let's have some fun tonight!"

All thoughts of the Wares slipped from Fabian's mind as he rested his hand on Cathy's thigh.

 ***

"The shop is looking pretty empty," Stuart Forester said as he handed Darius a gold piece for the pottery.  "It looks like your wares have been picked over!"

Darius sighed, "Yes, it's definitely time to close up for the night."

Stuart left the store, bidding him good night.
Darius began restocking, he feet and back aching from the long day spent on his own.  I'm getting to old for this, he thought wearily.  Fabian was in BIG trouble...

***

"Where is he?" Darius demanded as soon as he walked through the door. 
"He never showed up today?" Devon asked worriedly.  "I sent him to the shop shortly after you left!"

Darius scowled and rubbed his aching neck.  "No, he never showed up! He'll have a thing or two to answer to when he gets home!" he said angrily.
"Oh dear," Devon said, rubbing Darius' shoulders thoughtfully.  "You've had a long day.  I'll stay up and wait for him," she offered.

Darius nodded, kissed his wife on the cheek and headed to their room and drifted to sleep the moment he touched the mattress.

***

Hours later, Devon was still waiting for Fabian to return home, fingers clenched in her skirts.  Part of her was starting to think that she should find a Nightwatchman.  Perhaps something had happened to Fabian. Her stomach knotted with fear.
Her alarm only grew when the Nightwatch actually appeared at her door.  She hurried to let him in.  "Is it Fabian? Is he okay?" she asked, near tears.

"Yes, madam, he is fine.  We found him near Nobles Ridge, hurling rocks towards the Knightley's castle."

Devon gasped.  "Alone?!"

The nightwatchman shook his head.  "He was with a girl.  She's been returned to her parents.  I would suggest you make sure his father has a long talk with him.  Lord Knightley released him with a stern warning that if he were to make mischief of that sort again that he would be locked in the stocks to help him learn his lesson."

"No, of course! You can be sure his father will have harsh words for him.  Thank you for bringing him home!"

The nightwatchman nodded and left Fabian in front of his mother.
"What do you have to say for yourself?!" she asked angrily, putting her hands on her hips.  "You have let this family down and brought dishonor to us!"
Fabian held up his hands weakly and grimaced.  "Ummm... I was drinking?" he offered hesitantly.

Orb's  Year 948
"Get out of bed this minute!" Darius boomed when he walked in his son's room and found him still abed.

Darius groggily leaped out of bed.  "What time is it?" he asked, moving to shield his eyes from the light.

"Time for you to be helping at the Wares Haus!  Meet me there in 10 minutes or Orb's truth, I'll send you out of this house!"

Fabian gulped at the full extent of his father's displeasure.  He had a feeling he'd messed up... big time...

***
 
Darius frowned when Fabian hurried in the Wares Haus 10 minutes after he'd left him.  He crossed his arms.  "Things are going to change around here!" he informed his son.
"Papa, it's not that big of a deal. I promise not to do it again," Fabian offered hesitantly.
"Not that big of a deal?" Darius sputtered in outrage.  "I wish your mother had woken me..." he trailed off as the first customer came in.  Clamping his mouth shut, he pursed his lips.  "We'll discuss this later," he promised, ordering his son to see to the restocking.
Glancing up, he saw Vivian, the Reeves official with her notepad in hand.
Cursed Orb, he thought, I do not need this today! Pasting on a smile, he hurried forward to greet her.

***

Gabriella laid in bed thinking about the plan that she'd come up with Grant to make Andre jealous.  She wondered who Grant was interested in...
She heard a tapping at her window and glanced over to see the object of her infatuation right there.  Gasping, she glanced towards Fabian's bed to make sure he still slept.  Quietly, she crept from the room.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded when she stood in front of him.
"I thought at the very least we were friends, Gabriella!" Andre said peevishly.  "But you act as though I don't exist anymore since you've started seeing Grant."  He said Grant's name with a sneer.

Gabriella attempted to appear unfazed and nonchalant.  "I wasn't aware it mattered to you," she said loftily.  "If that's all..." she turned to leave.
But that wasn't all.  Andre grabbed her hand and pulled her back into his arms. 
"It matters," he said firmly before lowering his lips to her own and kissing her passionately. 
Lifting his head, he stroked her cheek tenderly.  "Believe me, it matters."
But before she gathered her wits to respond, he'd hurried away, leaving her thoroughly kissed and alone.

***

Quietly, she returned to her room, wondering if she'd be able to get to sleep this night.  When she opened the door, she was shocked to see Fabian awake and waiting for her.

"We have a lot to talk about, sister," he said with a wink.

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