Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fischer, Orb's Year 945-948



Henry turned around and found his boyhood love standing only a few feet away.  "Fatima?" he said, stupefied.  What was she doing here?

Suddenly, she buried her face in her hands, sobbing.  "I'm so sorry!" she cried. 
Despite their years apart, Henry still felt the pull to her side.  He attempted to comfort her, pulling her into his arms and stroking her back. "What is it? What's the matter?"

"He lied to me, Henry.  And even worse, I believed it!" she managed to say between deep shuddering breaths.

"Who?" Henry asked, although he had an idea where this was going.  His absentee brother had broken her heart and she'd come to him for comfort.  He grit his teeth against the pain.  

Then, he felt her hand lightly on his sleeve and she looked up into his eyes.  "I was never... not with Irving..." she tried to explain.  "He lied to us.  I've only ever loved you..."
Hearing this, Henry pulled her into his arms and claimed her mouth.  All the years wasted with petty jealousy and anger had been for naught.
And he wasn't going to waste any more time...

Orb's Year 945
Fatima Fischer slipped from her marital bed and glanced across the bed at her still sleeping husband.  My husband, she thought happily.  Sometimes it still didn't feel real
With a smile on her face, she pulled out the ingredients to serve the morning meal. 
"Good morning," Kitty said as she grabbed a plate and sat down beside her sister-in-law.  
"You work too hard!" Nicole fussed. 
"I don't mind, really!" Fatima said.  "I'm just happy to finally belong somewhere!"

Nicole patted her hand, "Well, you'll always belong here, whether you make our beds or cook our meals!  You are part of the family!"
Fatima smiled, but still felt unsure.  She'd gone from home to home as she grew up, never knowing if she was truly servant or truly family.  Her childhood had been built upon shaky half-truths, and she had since lost count of all her half-brothers and sisters! She'd learned painfully that everything could be stripped away for no reason...

 ***

"Kitty?" Fatima asked.  "How do you know if you're pregnant?" 

Kitty left the dishes in the sink and whirled around. "Are you pregnant?" she asked excitedly.

Fatima frowned, "I don't know. I've been queasy at all times and I feel.. tender... and bloated..."
"You're pregnant!" Kitty exclaimed, running over to hug her.  "Oh, congratulations! You're going to be such a wonderful mother!" she told her.  "And I'm going to be an auntie!"
Fatima smiled, but inside she was worried that she might not be as good of a mother as Kitty thought she would be.  I didn't have the best example, she thought to herself, thinking of her mother Deanna.

***

George and Henry returned from their fishing trip, smelly and tired from their long day of work.  "Come here, Libby," George said, scooping his toddling daughter up into his arms.  "Have you been a good girl for Mama?"

Libby smiled and eagerly nodded.  "Uh huh! I was a good girl!" she promised, resting her head against his shoulder, not caring how smelly it was.
Setting down Libby, he pulled Kitty into his arms.  "You're a sight for sore eyes," he told her, pulling her into his arms.  It was hard to go so long without his woman while he was out fishing!

Kitty smacked at his arm.  "Behave yourself!" she admonished him teasingly.  "Your daughter will see!"

"Then maybe we should go upstairs where she can't see," he told as he steered her towards the stairs.

 ***

Meanwhile, Fatima had pulled Henry into their room to tell him the news.

His jaw dropped and he gently stroked his hand on her growing belly.  "A baby?" he echoed, still in shock that they'd been so blessed.
"I love you, Fatima," he said as he kissed her softly.  

 ***

 "Papa? Next time..." Libby blurted out as she opened her parents' door to their bedroom.  She stopped in her tracks when she saw her parents rubbing against each other naked.
"What are you doing?!" she asked with surprise. "You're only supposed to get naked when you're bathing?!"

Seeing her, her mother immediately turned to the side, grabbing at the sheets to cover her nudity, while her father jostled, trying to grab the sheets from her mother to cover himself. 

Libby watched them fighting over the sheet and wondered what in the world they were doing. 

George finally gave up and stalked to the door and slammed it shut in her face.


Orb's Year 946
 "How is Fatima handling her pregnancy?" Nicole asked her daughter-in-law anxiously. 

Kitty thought back to when she'd last seen Fatima.

"Eh, not very well," Kitty admitted. "She's so hungry and exhausted all the time.  She's hoping the baby will be born very soon."

Nicole nodded thoughtfully, "A mother often knows.  I think we should prepare for the birth!"
 
 ***

Nicole called out for her mother-in-law and sister-in-law when her water broke sometime in the middle of the night.  
Twins, she thought with surprise.  She should've known she would have twins! Two happy, healthy boys, Joshua and Joseph Fischer.

 ***

 "Did you hear?" George asked excitedly. "Fatima's had her babies! Twins! Two boys! Our house is bursting with children!  It's a good thing we've already had all our children!"
 Nicole broke down into tears, sobbing.

George stopped and took his wife into his arms. "What is it? What's the matter?" he asked.

"I'm pregnant!"
 ***

 "Jessica!" Nicole called out, "It's time to come inside!"
Jessica waited until her grandmother had gone back inside and pulled Wren into her arms as they kissed each other passionately.  "I'll see you tomorrow," she promised.  "I love you!"

Wren stroked her cheek. "I love you, too."
She'd hardly been inside for a few moments before she was rushing through a love letter to Wren.  She was going to marry him one day!

Nicole had watched Jessica bloom throughout her young man's courtship.  Jessica expected him to make an offer any day.  Nicole shook her head sadly.  Young love.

 ***

 "Want to go fish at the pond with me?" Kurt asked his trusty sidekick, Trout. 
Trout immediately laid down and rolled over, begging for a belly rub.  Kurt sighed and knelt down beside his silly dog, rubbing his belly. "Come on, boy. Let's go fishing!"  Kurt stood up and Trout hurried to catch up with his master.
"How many fish do you think we'll catch today, Trout?" he asked as he swung the fishing pole into the pong.  He couldn't wait until his father and his uncle took him with them on their fishing expeditions, but the small pond in the back of the house would do for now.
He was going to show them what a great fisher-man he was!
 
 ***

 "Jessica," George called to his daughter. "Come talk with your mother and I."

Jessica's heart fluttered at his serious expression.  Wren had made his offer! She was going to be betrothed! She hurried over and sat down excitedly.  "Yes" she asked breathlessly.
George's voice shook. "I'm afraid we have some bad news," he told her. "We've arranged to send you to your cousin's house."

Jessica's jaw dropped and she stared. "The Bakers?" She knew they had extended family in Celestia through George's mother - the bakers, the farmers, a spattering of servants and peasants. Why would he be sending her to live with them?

George shook his head.  "Not here in Celestia," he corrected her.  "With your mother's family across the coast."
 She thought of losing Wren, "But why?" she asked

George watched his daughter struggle with her emotions and felt like a villain.  "I'm sorry, Jessica. Our family is growing too fast.  And it's customary to send the firstborn daughter to work..."

"I'm to be a servant?!" she asked with surprise.  She'd always envisioned herself getting married and raising a family

"Only until you're an adult," Kitty said through her tears, attempting to comfort her daughter.  "Wren will wait for you! You'll see!"

Orb's Year 947
 "I miss Jessica! Why did she have to leave?" Libby asked petulantly. 
Nicole sent a warning look towards her granddaughter across the table.  "We all have to say goodbye sometime," she advised her youngest granddaughter.  "You'll learn that in time."

***

 Some sooner than others...

Rest in Peace Nicole Fischer, Orbs Years' 902-947

"What are we going to tell the men when they return?" Kitty worried, wiping the tears from her eyes.

Fatima buried her face in her hands. 

***

George glanced across the fishing lake towards his heir, Kurt.  "That was a nice cast, son," he said proudly. 

Kurt's chest puffed out with pride.
"I caught one!" he said excitedly, reeling in a trout after his father and uncle.  "I caught one!"

Henry grinned at his nephew. "We'll make a fisherman out of you yet!" he teased.

***
 
The moment they walked through the door, George knew that something was wrong.  Kitty and Fatima had been weeping.  "Is it the baby?" he asked anxiously, worried that Nicole was too old to be carrying another child.
Kitty shook her head. "No, your child is fine," she said, stroking her hand over her belly in a protective gesture.  "It's your mother, George..."

Fatima buried her face in her hands and began weeping again.  She didn't know why she was being so emotional, but she felt as though her heart had broken when she'd lost her mother-in-law.
 
 ***

Her contractions began late that night after the men had returned. After hours of laboring, she held her newborn son Matthew to see his family.
 "He's red and wrinkly," Libby noted dryly. "Can't you try again?"

Kurt nudged his sister. "They're supposed to look like that," he informed her. "What do you think you looked like?!"

Libby gasped with outrage. "I did NOT! Take it back!"

George nudged his bickering children from the room and went back to see his newest son.  He'd thought their family large enough and was content with his two beautiful girls and his strong heir.  But, how the Orb had blessed him!

*** 

Downstairs, the adults held the three squirming babies and eyed each other.  "Now what are we going to do?" Henry asked what they were all thinking.  Where in the world were they going to put the cribs?!
 ***

Thankfully, they'd saved up some money for a rainy day and were able to put in an addition upstairs off the landing.
It wasn't much, but it was a room enough for the three cribs!

***

Fatima woke up when Henry slipped into bed. 
Henry rolled over and pulled her into his arms to cuddle. "Go back to sleep," he told her. "It's early yet."

Fatima burrowed deeper into her husband's arms.  "It's so hard to sleep when you're gone," she told him sleepily.

Henry grinned as he began rubbing her lower back.  "Probably because I'm not here to pamper you and our unborn child."

Fatima hummed happily.  "Probably," she agreed.

***
 
Joseph grabbed the bottle that had been sitting on the floor and lifted it to his mouth, trying to see if there was any liquid left. 
Fatima glanced down and cringed, "No, Joseph! Yucky!" she cried out, hurrying to his side to pull the dirty bottle from his mouth.  "Just wait a moment and I'll get you a clean bottle," she promised.

Joseph just crawled towards another bottle that had been discarded earlier.
 "Yucky!" Joshua echoed happily.  "Yucky! Bleck!"

Orb's Year 948
Libby stared unhappily at the pond behind their house.  It was frozen over.  That meant that winter was coming.

Henry rubbed his hands to keep them warm as he packed the crates with the fish they had managed to catch.  It was a lean year.

 "Daddy, why can't I ever go fishing with you?" Libby asked.  "Is it because I'm a girl?" she demanded.

Henry scratched his head. "It's just the way it's always been. The women have stayed home to take care of the house and us men have always gone out to catch the fish."

"I bet I could catch more fish than Kurt!" she grumbled.

Kurt rolled his eyes, "I'd like to see you try!" he taunted her as he lifted up his cousin, Joshua and tossed him in the air.

Libby laughed uproariously when Joshua proceeded to spit up all over Kurt's tunic.  Sweet justice, she thought wickedly.

***

Kurt glanced behind him at his sister. "I don't know why you had to come," he hissed disagreeably.

Libby sent him a triumphant smirk. "Uncle Henry said I could!" she pointed out.

"Children, remember what we discussed.  You are to behave while we're here.  We want to make a good impression!"

"Yes, Uncle Henry!" they agreed quickly.

Henry left the children in the front of the shop while he went to find Gemma Grocer.  "I've packed all the crates of fish we have available," he told her.  "We only have 5 crates, though," he told her.

Gemma glanced down at the crates.  "I'm afraid I can only pay you for what you've delivered," she told him.  "This should be 2000 gold pieces."

Henry nodded. "I understand. Next year we'll have a better stock with my nephew joining us."

Gemma nodded, "Let me go get your payment," she told him.
As she walked away, Henry felt worry wash over him.  Would it be enough to support their growing family through the wintertime?

***

 "You wanted to talk to me, papa?" Kurt asked as he took a seat beside his father.
"We're planning a fishing trip further down the coast where the waters are warmer," he explained. "We'd like you to join us. This will mean missing your schooling, but there will be time to make up all that when we return.  Are you willing?"
"Of course!" Kurt said eagerly.  "I've been waiting for this my entire life!"

***
 
 "Wait! I want to come, too!" Libby called, running after the men.  "Don't leave me!"
 "Take care of your mother while I'm gone," George called back to her. "I depend on you!"

 ***

Not too long after the men had left, Fatima went into labor.  She wished Henry was here!  "Libby, quick! Go get Kitty for me!" she pleaded mid-contraction.  Libby ran off quickly to find her mother.
Soon, Fatima held a little girl in her arms.  
"She's beautiful," Kitty said, coming up to coo at her newest niece.  "What will you call her?"

Fatima smiled tiredly, "Her name is Kendra."