"Of course!" Gia gently admonished her young sister-in-law.
Ella groaned, "That's gonna take forever!"
Gia glanced over her shoulder towards the unhappy teen. Her heart broke for the pain she knew Daisy had to be feeling. "I'm not sure. I just knew," she answered honestly. "And the longer we were together, the more right it felt."
Gia turned around with the serving platter. "Oh, Daisy. You're young yet! You'll meet someone else!"
Daisy's cheeks pinkened.
"Now, go collect the family for dinner while I set the table," Gia added.
Daisy worried her bottom lip. "No, I couldn't find them," she admitted. "Do we have to wait for them?"
Daisy shrugged. The girls were probably up to no good, once again.
Caitlyn nodded and dinner commenced.
Disappointed, they finally decided to head home.
Ella rolled her eyes. "Nobody's up! You don't have to be that quiet!"
Elle glanced at the house. "Do you think they knew we're gone."
"Probably not! How would they know?" Ella said confidently.
Elle tried to talk her way out of trouble, but it was no use.
"Morning," Ella mumbled. She couldn't believe she hadn't been able to get them out of trouble. Papa always said she could talk her way out of anything!
"I suppose you're extremely hungry this morning!" Gia continued, emphasizing the fact that their mother had sent them off to bed with no dinner last night.
Ella's stomach grumbled loudly.
Daisy's head swiveled around and her jaw dropped open. "Oh my!"
"Look how tiny she is!" Ella added.
"Can I hold her?" Caitlyn asked, reaching for her first granddaughter with tears in her eyes.
Orb's Year 946
Adam sighed wearily. It had been hard enough on Caitlyn to watch her grown sons leave the nest, he knew it would be hard on her to watch her young daughters leave.
"They're not babies anymore, Caitlyn," he said as he reached across and patted her hand. "Daisy will be an adult soon enough. She hasn't expressed an interest in marriage. I think it would do her good to work in one of the noble households until she decides what she wants to do."
"And Elle and Ella?" Caitlyn pressed. "When the time comes will we send them away, too?"
Adam squeezed his wife's hand. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Let's just focus on Daisy right now..."
Papa squeezed her mama's hand and turned to face her. "You have always been a bright spot in our lives, Daisy," he said, his voice suspiciously tight. He cleared his throat. "But there are few options for a Papa to make sure his daughter is cared for."
Caitlyn cut in, "Is there a boy you fancy that you would like to marry?" she asked. "Perhaps that Wren boy?"
Daisy paled and shook her head miserably. They were going to send her away, just like they'd sent Carey and Casey away.
Caitlyn's face fell, distraught that her daughter might not ever realize the love that she had known.
"Becoming a servant is not a life sentence," Adam began. "Why, even the King granted Gia permission to leave his service to marry our Benji!" he added proudly. "Perhaps in time, you might meet that special someone. But in the meantime, you'll be well cared for!"
"I..." A million protests went through Daisy's mind. That she had fallen in love with someone, but that he would never return her love. That she didn't want to be a servant. That she wanted to stay with her family! A tear slipped down her cheek. "If you think it best, Papa," she said out loud unhappily. "May I be excused?"
Rest in Peace Caitlyn (Taveryn) Potter, Orbs' Years (907-946)
"How are you doing?" she asked.
Benji stopped and stretched his sore muscles. "There are so many orders to fill and not enough time to do it," he said tiredly. "And I still haven't mastered the amphorae. Only Papa can do it quite right."
Gia touched her husband's arm. "We'll get through it," she promised softly. "Have you tried to talk to your father today?"
Benji shook his head. "He won't come out. I even told him that tonight was the wake."
"Are you okay?" Garth asked, feeling guilty for sending a quick prayer of thanksgiving to the Blessed Orb for his own parents' health. He couldn't imagine the pain that Benji was feeling right now.
Benji nodded, embarrassed that Garth had seen him tear up. "I still miss her," he said gruffly.
Garth nodded and headed inside as Benji turned to greet his brothers.
With tears in her eyes, she shook her head frantically and hurried away from him.
His cousin, Gia, came up behind him, laying her hand on his sleeve. "She misses her mother. She'll be okay."
Garth glanced across the room where Daisy had run and wondered when his old friend had begun to act so strangely...
"It's not fair!" She picked up her mother's urn and yelled at it, "Cursed Orb! It's not fair! You're not supposed to be gone! You're not!"
Benji nodded. "She won't come home. She says that Gypsy Grotto is her home now."
Gia sighed heavily. "She's never going to be happy there!" she said.
"At least Casey is there to keep his eye on her," Benji added.
Gia scoffed with disbelief.
Now it was Benji's turn to scoff. "He'll never do it."
Benji knocked softly on his father's door.
"How do you think I'm feeling?" Adam retorted.
"You need to talk to..." Benji tried again to bring up the subject of Daisy with his father.
But, as usual, Adam shook his head and refused to cooperate. "I don't need to talk to anyone!" he croaked. "And tell Flower to stop all that noise out there! A man should be able to die in peace!"
He still yearned to be with his departed wife, reminding everyone that he couldn't wait to join her.
Rest in Peace Adam Potter, Orbs' Years (905-947)
"Baby!" Flower said, stabbing a finger towards the babies eye.
Gia gentled protected Ginger, showing Flower how to stroke her little sister's soft skin. "Gently," Gia told her. "Gently."
"Is it agreed?" Ella asked her sister determinedly.
"Agreed," Elle said.
"Good!" Ella said as the two girls hopped off their beds. "Let's go tell Benji!"
Ella nodded, "That's right. Just because we haven't found a mate doesn't mean that you should ship us off! We could help you with the pottery!" she said eagerly.
Elle shrugged, "Papa sent Carey and Casey off, and then he sent Daisy away, too."
Ella frowned, "Well, Daisy was different because she broke Mama's urn."
Elle shook her head, "But, he was going to send her away to be a servant somewhere before that!"
Ella dropped her head, "Sorry, Gia," she said bashfully.
Elle grinned towards Gia's back with an entirely different reaction, "Promise?" she asked eagerly.
Perhaps Elle and Ella could be of more help...
Darius waved his hand in a sign of dismissal, "I'm sorry for your loss. I suppose I'll have to make due. But next time, I want thirty of each or I'll be forced to look for another potter!"
Benji nodded in agreement, signing the contract with Darius.
Orb's Year 948
"I don't know, I'll check," Benji said, setting his pottery aside and heading to the door.
"Are you really going to leave?" Elle asked eagerly. "It sounds like heaven there!"
Daisy laughed. "Well, everyone's got to grow up sometime, right?"
"What?" Garth protested, "I'm not staring!"
"You are!" she hissed. "It's embarrassing!"
Daisy's eyes lit up. "Oh! There he is now!" she said happily, leaping from her chair and hurrying across the room.
"Yes, we all noticed how you flirted with all the men in the grotto! Just keep away from my husband!" Lydia hissed angrily before storming from the room.
"So why are you leaving?" Elle pressed. She just didn't understand.
"But! Gaius is your true love! And you're going to leave him to become a servant?!"
Daisy laughed again. "Oh sweetie, Gaius isn't my true love! He doesn't belong to me and I do not belong to him!" She paused and then dropped a bombshell, "Besides, there's no such thing as true love!" she said dismissively. Love hurts too much.