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Amelthia - Flowers and Herbs

by Ramield on May 13, 2017 at 06:14 PM}
“Flower, could you bring me one of those onions please?”
“M’kay!” came the reply, followed by the pitter patter of tiny bare feet. Amelthia looked down at the beaming face rimmed with short, red hair and hands extended upward to present the onion. The woman took it with an exaggerated expression of awe to see the proud look on her daughter’s face. “Woah, that’s a big one.”
“’S why I picked it,” the little girl replied cheerily.
“Well thank you, Inayat.” The little redhead ran back to play with the figurines her aunt had fashioned for her a while back as Mel resumed chopping vegetables.
“Mommy?”
“Yes flower?”
“Why do you call me flower? My name’s Inayat.”
Mel chuckled at her daughter’s ever inquisitive nature, her knife continuing its methodical motion. “I call you precious and sweet and flower and other things; I just lo-“
“Is it because you grew me in the garden?”
Mel couldn’t help but laugh. “Where on earth did you get that idea?”
“Brenian says you must’ve grown me in the garden and that’s why I have red hair but Mommy has blond and Daddy has black.”
Mel blinked. Had it started already? However long she wanted to protect her from the perception that would always follow her, could she do it? Blast Brenian’s father! And bless his mild tempered mother. Perhaps she had a while yet before…
But her daughter was waiting, and she could not disappoint. She hadn’t even realized that in her dour thoughts, her knife had stopped its work. She turned, placing her hands on her hips, her expression behooved but colored by a smile. “Well, if that isn’t the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” She pushed her pale gold locks back over her shoulder, not wanting them or the difference between the two girls to be the focus as she walked over to kneel in front of Inayat. She cupped her cherished one’s face in her hand with a loving smile. “After all, you’re my daughter. I call you flower because you’re bright like a flower,” she said, running her hand through the little one’s red hair, “and happy like a flower,” she concluded with a tap to her freckled nose.

Inayat giggled and then gasped as the door’s ever creaky hinges squeaked open and her daughter rushed eagerly toward her husband, eager to explain her discovery. “I know why Mommy and Daddy call me flower.” She put her hands on top of her head. “I’m bright like a flower aaaaaaand happy like a flower!” With that, she leapt at Carthen with arms outstretched. He caught her and swung her around him in circles. Amelthia smiled affectionately at the pair, laughter emanating from them both, and rose to resume her task.
The unpleasant thoughts from earlier faded away, replaced with the next step in the recipe and the scene that was occurring behind her that she monitored with loving amusement. Carthen was never much for eloquent words, but humor came easier, especially around their daughter.
“Hey, flower, why don’t you go out to the garden where the real plants live to give your mommy and daddy some thyme?”
The little girl scampered to the door with an “Ok.”

Mel pushed the vegetables into the pot with the potatoes and felt Carthen’s hand slip around her. She turned to receive his kiss, returning it lovingly. When they parted, she quirked an eyebrow at him with an amused smile. “Thyme? Really? Your puns are terrible.” Her husband grinned and shrugged, squeezing her waist, eliciting a soft chuckle from her. Though as she looked out the window at their daughter rummaging through the garden, her expression became less cheerful, a touch of sorrow entering it. “Brenian told her she must’ve been grown in the garden, no doubt because his mother didn’t want to explain what his father thought about her…or rather me.” Carthen sighed, rubbing her arm soothingly as Amelthia continued. “I’m alright with whatever they might think or say about me. I know how it looks: a woman, going away and coming back a year later with a baby in her arms and a strange man at her side, both of whom look nothing alike. I get it, and I can take the rumors from those who will think what they think despite what I might say. But I will not have them saying anything of her.” She turned to Carthen with a stern expression. “I will not have them telling her that she’s dirty, that she’s the spawn of some Wildman…that she doesn’t belong.”
Carthen held her hands, looking into her eyes, his voice deep. “Folks’ll say what they’ll say. You can’t stop that. But she knows the truth as well as you, that we’re family; we’ve never hidden anything from her.”
“I know, but we’ve never told her the whole story either.”
Carthen shrugged. “Why not now?”
“What might she think? What might she think of herself, of us? Will she not want to listen to us? Will she-
“Mel. Stop. Do you honestly think our little girl thinks that way?” He looked out the window toward the garden and his wife’s gaze followed. “She’s a bright kid. If she hadn’t figured it out already, you think it’d take her long? ‘Sides,” he said, grinning down at her, “you’ll have to explain how these things happen someday…”
Mel shoved him lightly. “Darn you, that’s a ways away, and you know it.”
“Oh is it?” he said, leaning down. “Explain this away…” he murmured against her neck.

A few sweet moments later, Inayat burst back through the door, spoils in hand. She rushed back over to them, calling, “I’ll save you, Mommy! I won’t let him eat you!” Mel pushed lightly at Carthen to get him to move back as she plucked the sprigs of thyme from Inayat’s fist and added them to the pot. She could feel herself blushing, smiling to herself.

The evening passed in general pleasantness. Inayat brought her figurines to the table, telling them a story she made for them. Amelthia smiled softly at her daughter, asking her questions about it to encourage her and suggesting outcomes while Carthen watched them contently. Throughout the night, Mel and Carthen exchanged silent looks. His asked if she would tell Inayat where she came from, but her soft smile in return told him to let it be. There would be another night for that, but tonight was too perfect.

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