Dear Diary, do you remember these two? It’s been a long while since you’ve seen them and apparently, they’re an item now. It’s amazing what can happen when you’re not looking.
The girl is Wilda Delattre. Do you recall when I first arrived in Winchester and there was all that fuss about Old Treves Delattre having some sort of accident? Everyone in Winchester pitched in at his farm to help his family out. Then later, I met Old Treves’ wife Sylvie and held her youngest Wilda. Well, this is Wilda Delattre all grown up.
Of course, you probably have guessed by now that the guy in the photo is my brother Leo Jr. He looks so much like Dad, doesn’t he? I realize now that I neglected to mention that he recently took up residence on the island and lives very close to me. He’s working hard to get a small farm up and running in order to fulfill his dream of raising horses.
He and Wilda have known each other since they were children. Every time he came to the island, the two of them would go on endless adventures all over the place. It was so wonderful to see their friendship blossom into love… well, I missed most of that part because I’m currently living in crazy town with these children with another still on the way. You could say I’ve been kind of busy.
To my delight, Dad, Mom and Ruby decided to visit. Ruby graduated from University a month or two ago and is ready to embark on a teaching career. After several interviews, she decided to settle in a place called Grey Meadow. From what she’s told me, it’s a beautiful city with lots of suburbs and interesting architecture. I’m really excited for her and I’m sure she’s going to be a great teacher!
The first thing my dad did when he saw me was to give me a tight hug.
“How are you feeling?”
“Like I’ve gained about a thousand pounds and can barely move.”
“Well, you look great, honey.”
All of the children were greeted by my parents and sister, each one responding to the typical questions grandparents ask. After Dad began to turn away from them, Marty rushed back into his arms, exclaiming, “Papa!”
Dad could never resist throwing small children up in the air which always gave me a fright. But Marty giggled hysterically, yelliing, “Again! Again!”
“You and your rainboots are gonna wear me out, Marty!”
She just continued laughing and demanding more.
It wasn’t long before Dad had Charles and Laurent fishing with him. The boys were as different as night and day, but they both loved to fish. It was even more fun now that they had the opportunity to do this with Grandpa, or Papa, as they called him.
Marty gave me fits going down for her nap, but today, I wasn’t taking no for an answer because I was
exhausted bone-tired. Finally, Marty stopped fighting it so I came back downstairs, easing myself into the nearest empty chair and frowning at my swollen ankles.
“Wilda took Lissie upstairs since she was asleep and Carrie is almost out,” Leo Jr. informed me.
“Thank you so much for your help. You guys have done so much,” I said. And they really had. Having two sets of extra adult hands had been more of a help than I’d ever realized it could be.
“We love the kids and enjoy helping with them. But there’s something I need to tell you guys.”
We were obviously all ears as we waited with baited breath.
“I asked Wilda to marry me and she said yes!”
Leela let the news sink in for a moment, then brushed a few tears away from her eyes. “That’s wonderful, son. We really like Wilda a lot.”
“When’s the big day?” Ruby asked at the same time that I said, “Does dad know?”
Ruby and I looked at each other and giggled.
“Yes, I told Dad on the phone right after I asked Old Treves’ for permission. I didn’t know that was even a thing, to tell you the truth, but I was talking to Matthieu and he said not to ask Wilda until I’d talked to her old man first.”
Hiding a smirk behind my hand, I said, “Knowing my husband as I do, I think you’ve just given us the Leo Jr. paraphrase of that conversation.”
Ruby laughed again, not bothering to hide behind a hand. “Oh yeah, there’s no way Matthieu called her father her old man. So when’s the wedding?”
“That’s the thing. Both Wilda and I agreed that we wanted to make sure you all could be here, so we just want something quiet, right here. Nothing big.”
“And nothing today!” I said with a groan. My labor had started and as this was my sixth child, I figured I might not have much time until my little one was welcomed into the world. “Get Matt – he’s working in the east field – and Alice! I need Alice!”
All at once, everyone scrambled to do as they were bid and Leela helped me upstairs to my room…
…The last few days have been wonderful. Matthieu and I welcomed our fourth daughter as enthusiastically as we had the first five children. This is Susan and she is perfect. Matt wanted to follow the French thing we had going on and name her Susanne, but I stood my ground until he relented. Luckily, he was smiling when he lost that one.
I like the name Susan much better but most of all, I’m thankful this wasn’t another set of twins because I think I might have lost my mind!
My family stayed longer than I had anticipated but it was a joyous time as they were a great deal of help to us. I’ve been so happy, I could cry. You can’t imagine what it means to me, having my whole family around.
To add to the usual pandemonium, we celebrated some birthdays!
On the left, there, is Lissie who wants more than anything to be a princess. Not because she’s keen to wear frills (although she is never without the crown Alice sewed for her), but because she thinks it gives her the right to be bossy. She finds it enormously funny when her brothers and sisters comply with her silly demands.
Carrie is on the right and she doesn’t prefer crowns, she just likes a good hat. At the moment, she’s quite attached to that bonnet. Instead of a security blanket or a bear, she sleeps with that thing. It’s getting so worn out already, I have a feeling I’m going to be making a new one soon. She’s a funny, but darling little thing.
Marty also had a birthday and if I thought she was an opinionated and tomboyish toddler, I had another thing coming! To Matt’s slight dismay, she insists on wearing her brothers’ old clothes, her hair is always a mess no matter how many times we brush it and put it back up, and she can scrap with the best of them.
Now, her gardening boots are yellow and loved even more. Although at times she seems difficult to manage, she’s not a naughty child at all. Sometimes, it’s hard to discipline her because, while I want any unbecoming behaviors to end, I don’t want to crush her spirit in the process. And this girl has a lot of spirit.
We also had the small, private wedding in our living room that Wilda and Leo Jr. wanted. It wasn’t the big affair I had, but it was beautiful in its own way.
I still laugh at this picture! You should have seen Marty’s expression when the bride and groom kissed. If I remember correctly, she even made a “yuck” sound like she was about to vomit.
“She’ll be the first one married,” Matt jokingly whispered in my ear.
The next day, it was time for Ruby to leave for Grey Meadow. Walking with her outside, it was hard to keep the tears in check.
“I’m going to miss you so much.”
“I’m going to miss you, too,” she said with a smile. “I’m pretty nervous, but I’m excited, too.”
“And I’m excited for you,” I said. Before I could stop them, tears spilled out of my eyes, rolling down my cheeks and dripping off my chin.
Suddenly, she pulled me into a strong embrace. It wasn’t until then I realized she was crying, too, because I could feel her shoulders shaking.
We stood like that for a long time, then slowly, we let go and said our real goodbyes.
As I watched her walk through the gate to begin her new adventure, I picked Bootsie up, hugging him close to me, stroking his smooth fur. Seeing Ruby leave reminded me the rest of my family would be leaving soon, too.
I must have been daydreaming because I didn’t realize I was being stared at by the deep soulful eyes that could only belong to Dax St. Cyr. Slowly, my jaw dropped slightly.
“Hi, Blue,” he said, changing his weight from one foot to the other. He put his hands in his pockets, then took them out again, as the awkward pause continued. “Did you know I was back?”
Gradually, I regained my wits and said, “Y-yes. I’d heard you were back. I’m sorry I haven’t visited the St. Cyr farm in a while – I’ve been busy.”
“So I hear,” he said with that soft voice that always drew me in.
Shaking myself loose from what seemed like a spell, I said, “Do you want to come in and say hi? My parents are here.”
He hesitated and I wondered what was going on in his mind. “No, but thank you. Agathe told me about you and Matthieu and I wanted to see what you did to this place. But I’ve got to get going.”
I wanted to ask him what could ever cause a hurry in Winchester, but refrained because I didn’t want it to sound snarky, since I wasn’t feeling particularly snide. Instead, I said, “Well, I don’t want to hold you up, but since you’re here, could you tell me how Audrey-Ann and the girls are?”
“Uh, yeah, they’re fine. Lacie and Louise are doing well. They’re not out much because Agathe is teaching them the routine since one of them will take over someday.”
Nodding, I understood completely what he was saying. The oldest living St. Cyr woman was always the leader of the community, in charge of a small council. Lacie was the next in line after Agathe, but if that didn’t work out for some reason, Elliott and Audrey-Ann’s second daughter Louise would be the one to take over. While I still saw Alice quite frequently, the rest of the family wasn’t seen as much due to the govering of the island and the training up of the next generation.
“And Agathe? And her husband?”
“All well,” Dax confirmed. “I’ll, uh, see you later.”
As Dax walked down the road, away from the house, Matt quietly came outside.
“I wondered if he would want to see you.”
Shrugging a little, I put Bootsie down, giving him a little pat on the head. “He said he wanted to see what we did with this old place.”
Kissing my hand, Matthieu smiled as he looked into my eyes. “We made a life is what we did.”
“Yes,” I answered with a smile to match his.
The children adored swimming so Alice and I took all of them except Susan on an outing to the beach for a picnic.
As soon as we got there, Marty lightly pushed Charles in the shoulder and yelled, “I’m getting in the water before you do! And I can swim further than you can!”
“We’ll see about that!”
The two ran down to the water, wading in and then swimming and splashing each other. Charles dunked Marty which gave me some concern, but when she surfaced she was laughing and tried to dunk him back. She was smaller and not as strong as he, though, so instead, she resorted to splashing him in the face.
Down a little ways, Laurent, my calm son, slowly waded into the water. It appeared he was bending down in the water to pick rocks up from the lake bed. He studied each one closely before letting it go to sink down again to the bottom.
“That one’s got an eye for things,” Alice said as we watched them play. “He could be a healer, I just know it.”
“Well, if anyone would recognize that, I imagine it would be you,” I agreed.
Lissie and Carrie began to play in the sand as Alice and I tried to determine the best spot for laying out our picnic.
Alice pointed down toward the woods and said, “Look who’s coming.”
I withheld a groan when I saw Dax. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see him, it was that earlier had been so awkward and uncomfortable.
He nodded in greeting. “Could we talk?”
“I have the children here.”
“Go ahead, I can look after them.”
I gave Alice the, ‘you‘re not helping’ look then forced a smile to remain polite. “Okay, let’s walk that way.”
We walked down a path a little ways until we reached the end. It wasn’t that far from the beach area, so if Alice needed me, I could get there in a hurry. Looking around closer, I realized this was the spot where I’d first seen Elliott and Audrey-Ann kissing.
“How’s it going?”
He began shifting his weight again from one side to the other. “It’s going fine, I guess. Right before we came here, I had a good showing at an important museum.”
That made me smile. “I always knew your art would take you far.”
“I’m not exactly what you’d call renowned.”
“I think you will be someday. I really admire the fact that you struck out and followed your dream.”
“You do? You were pretty upset when I told you I was leaving.”
All of a sudden, the emotions of that day struck me anew; not in the same intensity, but enough that it hung in the back of my mind, making me feel uncomfortable again. “That was ages ago.”
“Yeah, I guess. Sometimes, it feels like yesterday,” he said quietly. “I don’t think I ever thanked you for being my friend and bringing me out of the dark place I was in.”
Shaking my head, I dismissed the apology. “That’s not neccessary. It’s the sort of thing friends do for each other.”
There was another heavy silence where neither of us knew what to say.
“Um… so, Cosette – my girlfriend – has me listening to Accidental Therapy.”
This had me rolling. “Seriously?”
He laughed, too, and said, “Yeah. She really likes classic rock. I was shocked when I saw her CD covers and your dad on them. Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
“I guess I figured you wouldn’t know what I was talking about or the gravity of what it meant for me to be raised by a rock star.”
“That had to be weird.”
“An understatement, if I’ve ever heard one.”
“Blue… do you ever think what might’ve happened if I’d stayed?”
“You know. Like what would have happened if I hadn’t gone to Paris? Would you be married to me right now? Would those kids be mine?”
Before I could reign it in, my temper overtook me. “You know, I’ve never once even thought of that! I’ve been kind of busy! Furthermore, I can’t even imagine being married to anyone but Matthieu! He is my children’s’ father and he’s a good one, too!”
“Why are you so mad?”
“Because you’re bringing this up years later as if you’ve made some kind of mistake or something! Well, guess what? I didn’t make a mistake! I’m not just married to Matt, I love him! And – and I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to be alone together!”
“Why is that? Because your husband doesn’t trust you? Or don’t you trust yourself?”
“No! Because you’ve crossed a line and I’m putting it back where it belongs!”
Suddenly, he was angrier than I’d ever seen him; even more mad than when he’d seen Elliott and me hugging that day years ago. I’d realized then he had a temper and it had made me uneasy. Today was even worse as he yelled and put his finger centimeters from my nose.
“You really think too highly of yourself, Blue! Nevermind, I’m outta here!”
As I watched him running off, my chest heaving with fury, I wondered what’d happened to Dax to make him act this way. Was he having problems with Cosette? Was it something deeper?
As I slowly walked back to Alice, I began to wonder what my place in all of this was. I’d once cared for him in such a way, I believe I would have married him. Still, it was years later and this was Dax’s problem. I had more than enough to manage with a husband, six children and a farm.