Athena na’Kyria finished bandaging the wound and looked over at her best friend. “You have to give him something to chew on, or he’s just going to keep biting his sister. If you can get your hands on some apples, that should keep him busy until he outgrows this.”
Taryn du’Marcos sighed and tucked a stray dark curl back into her floral patterned kerchief. “His sister was nothing like this, you know.”
Athena smiled. “But now we’re both so busy, I think the only time we see each other is for toddler bites!” She accepted the cup of tea and piece of pie that Taryn placed in front of her. The pie tasted so fresh that she guessed Taryn just picked the pumpkin yesterday or this morning.
Taryn put pie in front of her two kids so she could chat with her friend. They talked about Athena’s mother (she seemed to be spending an awful lot of time making candles, which meant spending that much more time with the shopkeeper), Grace na’Lizeth (lots of knitting – must be planning to marry soon!), Carlo du’Valeria (can you believe what he claims he saw the other day?), and of course, eventually, Two by Twenty-Two.
“Seriously, Athena, you’re not that busy. The only way you’re going to have two kids before you turn twenty-two is if you elope and then have twins.”
Athena tried to figure out which speech to haul out. That she wanted to be certain? That there were too many men to pick from? That being a wife and mother would make it impossible to be a healer? Anything but the truth – that she just didn’t want a man as a life partner. Men were nice enough, and handy to have around, and great company. But that was it. And as much as she liked kids, she wasn’t interested in acquiring any in the usual way. So she changed the subject again, in a way that hinted it might not be a subject change.
“I’ll see if I can get David na’Yamileth to part with some of his apples for your son.” Maybe if she mentioned being with an eligible bachelor, her friend would favorably misinterpret it. Since she and David were both fairly tall, people had been trying to match them up since they were children.
Taryn smiled, and since the kids were done eating and full of energy (and bandaged), the visit was over.
Athena walked down the dirt road and up the path to David’s mother’s house. She and David were picking apples and placing them in baskets of various sizes. Yamileth was nearly as tall as her son, and they were both what folks called big-boned.
Yamileth nodded at Athena. “We get smarter every year! If we just put the apples straight into the baskets according to the amounts people usually buy, it saves us a whole lot of work! Better for the apples, too!”
“You’re right! Hey, can I get a small basket of apples sent to Taryn du’Marcos? Her son is still biting his sister. He needs something new to chew on.”
Yamileth laughed and nodded her head at her grown son. “We had to do the same thing with David.” Athena dropped the required coins into the woman’s apron pocket. When the business portion was ended, David called her over.
“Did you hear about what Carlo du’Valeria claims he saw the other day?”