A New Dad Edit
“Hey there Sadie!” I waved to Jenny as she called out to me from the kitchen window, ducking under the branches that hung over the road I walked down. I had just returned from a year long trip to castle Araluen, where I was supposed to spend time with the crown princess as a calming influence on her wild life. I was glad to be back. Crown Princess Cassandra was a little whirlwind of mischief and trouble, and while my still-weak Courier skills helped deal with her and stay calm at the same time, I was relieved to be back home where everything made sense, and I could see my mother every day instead of once a month.
“Sadie! Your mother is looking for you!” A messenger ran up, stopping as he drew near, and I grinned.
“Hey Jonathan. It’s good to be back.” My longtime friend laughed.
“We’ve all missed you while you were gone.” Then his smile faded a little. “But seriously, your mom does NOT seem lie she wants to be waiting. I would hurry if I were you.” Picking up my skirts a little, I ran all the way up to my family’s rooms way up in the castle.
Along the way I was stopped thrice, once by a girl Ranger, -which surprised me, I thought that only boys were allowed to join,- once by Baron Arald and Lady Sandra, welcoming me back to their castle, and finally once more by the same Ranger that had been guarding Lady Pauline when she came to adopt me. He stopped in his tracks as he saw me, and then stood to the side so I could get through, watching me as I walked past. I dropped a curtsy as I went by, wondering what he was doing there, but that thought soon disappeared as I saw my mother.
“Mom! What happened?!?!?” She was sitting slump backed in her favorite chair by the window, her head in her hands, but when she looked up, she had a surprised but happy smile on her face.
“Come on in Sadie. I… I have something to talk to you about.” My first thought was ‘Uh oh’ and I wondered what on earth could make her so shocked that she would forget to act formal and instead seem… disheveled was a good word for it. She patted a chair beside her, and I sat down.
“So, what’s up?” I totally disregarded my diplomatic form of speaking, and she gave me a look before looking down at her hands again. I was starting to get worried at that point, I mean, she was ALWAYS a stickler for rules and protocol and such, so if she wasn’t then something MUST be wrong.
“No, nothing’s wrong, dear.” I was shocked.
“Did you read my mind?” My mom let out a small laugh.
“No, I just know you well. It’s been almost five years, hasn’t it? I think I know you well enough to guess what you’re thinking.” I shrugged.
“Well, you knew me almost that well when I first came to live here. Really, Mom, what’s wrong?” She smiled again. One of the many things I admired about her was that she was always smiling, no matter what. She had a very kind smile that she offered to everyone, but I know that she has a special smile she reserves for only a few people. I am one of them, and so is Alyss, who’s like a sister to me and another daughter to Mom, but another person is the Ranger Halt that is stationed at Redmont. I had my suspicions about why that was, and they were all confirmed when my mom told me that she was getting married.
“How do you feel about that?” I hesitated, then grinned.
“I feel great! I would love that! Halt’s great! I mean, a little scary sometimes, but still - great!” She breathed a sigh of relief, then I bit my lip. “I saw him as I was coming in… I should probably go say something. I’ll be back in a bit.”
Outside, I scanned the area for the Ranger, but couldn’t see him. Sighing, I ran to the messenger office and looked for Jonathan.
“Joshua! Hey, can I borrow Jonathan for a bit? He’s the one who delivers messages to the Ranger, right? Yeah, I need to find him. No, not Jonathan -he’s standing right here- the Ranger you dummy. Thanks!”
Jonathan led me down the road out of the castle to the gates, but as we left the walls I spotted several ranger-patterned cloaked figures sitting in a loose circle on the grass just outside, horses grazing beside them.
“Thanks Jonathan, I see them now. Bye!” My friend nodded and ran back up into the castle, probably so hurried and red in the face because we had been running so that he wouldn’t be late for his next message alert.
“Um, excuse me?” The Rangers turned their heads towards me, and one pushed his cowl back. It was Will, the best friend of Alyss and Horace and -almost- former apprentice of Halt. He was almost graduated.
“Sadie! Come on over!” I sat down beside Will, tucking my dress underneath me as I did so. Across from me, Halt looked down at his hands, or at the sky, or at his former apprentices, but not at me. I smiled inwardly. I NEVER saw the famous Ranger so awkward looking.
“So, Sadie, has anything new happened with you lately?” Will’s voice was casual, but when I looked at him he was looking at Halt.
“Sort of, Will. My mom’s getting married soon, I guess that’s new.” He opened his eyes wide in mock disbelief.
“What, no, really? I would never have thought that!” I slapped his arm and gave him a look. I must have successfully channeled my mom’s look, because he lowered the sarcasm a few notches, but kept poking fun at Halt.
“Halt, would you know anything about this? Anything?” Halt squirmed a little.
“Maybe. Sadie, has you mom said anything about-“
“I HEARD SOMETHING ABOUT A WEDDING WHO’S GETTING MARRIED WILL IS IT YOU NO OH THAT’S OKAY GILAN IS IT YOU NO OH WELL I GUESS IT SEEMED LIKE IT WOULDN’T BE YOU AND IT’S OBVIOUSLY NOT YOU BECAUSE I DON’T EVEN THINK I KNOW YOU OH HI HALT.” Nerida paused for breath, and we all stared at her in shock.
“What? Did I interrupt something? Sorry guys. And I really meant it. Who are you again?” I rolled my eyes and ignored her. I was still looking at Halt.
“Halt, stop looking at me like that.” He raised an eyebrow.
“I’m not looking at anyone in any particular way.”
“Yes, you are. I’m really happy about this whole thing, really, I am. You honestly think I didn’t notice when you came to guard her on her way to adopt me, or how every time we came back from somewhere you were in the castle or the area around it, waiting to see us? Come on, I’m 15, not dumb.”
The eyebrow returned to normal, and I could have sworn I saw Halt smile.
“And besides, I think -last I checked- my mom was able to convince you to get a haircut, which apparently no one else can do.” Gilan and Will gasped.
“Halt, wait, Sadie, are you saying that Halt got a haircut?!?!?!?!?” I laughed.
“From someone else?!?!?!?!??” I laughed more at the two boys’ facial expressions, and then slowed down as Halt scowled at all of us. It was incredibly effective.
“Quiet down already. Yes, I got a haircut. That doesn’t mean I’ll never cut it myself again, however. I prefer to do things myself. Nerida, stop staring at me like that. Will, yes, I did know Pauline was getting married.” Will acted dumb.
“How? I mean, you’ve been out here with us for a few… minutes? How could you have known?” Gilan covered his face as Halt began to get irritated.
“I know because I’M THE ONE WHO ASKED HER TO MARRY ME!” Halt settled back with a sigh, and Will stared at him, dropping the act.
“Halt that’s great! I mean- okay then, I won’t pry.” I laughed again because Will was only stopping because he didn’t want to have Halt suddenly unsheathe the very large, very SHARP saxe knife he kept at his side.
As I sat there, something struck me, and I tried to figure out what it was. Then it came to me. We were all like a family. Sure it was a big, silly, messy family, but what family isn’t? We had the mom, the dad, the annoying brothers, the sisters, all the parts clicked together to make one big happy family. I smiled. I was glad that in a few days -oh wow it was only days!- my mom was getting married, and I would have a dad, AND an entrance into the family world of the Rangers. I smiled. I was happy, and nothing could change that.
Written by: Sadie O'Carrick