"How do you like our house, dear?" Mrs. Mathews asked the little girl with the dark, golden locks and such magnificent eyes, "Is it nice?"
The girl merely bobbed her head yes. After a few moments of silence, she spoke. She spoke with that soft, silky voice of hers, smooth yet sure, "It's very big."
"Would you like to come live with us? In our big house?"
"Can Lorcan stay, too?"
The couple exchanged a quick, tense glance. The woman bent down so that she was eye-level with the little child, and looked at her with sympathetic eyes, "I'm really, sorry, sweetheart. Your brother has left with your parents."
Tears welled in the girl's eyes, and she pressed two fingers to her lips, then lowered them to her heart, "May the Elder guide their souls across the universe." It was a small whisper, almost inaudible, but it meant much more than anyone would ever care to know.
"What did you say, darling?" The woman was in her late twenties, her brown eyes were terse.
"Can't I stay with Cayden?"
This time, the man interfered, "Who's Cayden, love?"
"My uncle. Is he with the Elder now, too?"
The woman shook her head, "Who's the Elder, honey?"
Mr. Mathews had been informed that this girl had no living relatives. "Your father didn't have a brother."
"No. Cayden is my Dad's blood brother."
The girl shook her head, "You wouldn't understand."
The couple led the child to the kitchen table, where a pink cupcake and orange juice waited. They sat down opposite to her, their hands clasped under the table, "The thing about adopt-coming to live with us, cupcake, is that you get to have new stuff. Isn't that nice?"
The girl with the small nose tilted her circular head, "Don't call me cupcake."
"Okay, then. What would you like us to call you? How about a new name?"
Maybe a new name meant a new beginning. Maybe she could start a new life. Maybe, in another life, another realm, her name wouldn't be signed to Death himself. Maybe.
"I want to be called Em."
"Em, like Emma?" The woman liked that name. She had always wanted a daughter with a pretty name.
But the girl shook her head vigorously, "No, no! Em, like Emlyn." Her late grandmother had been called Emlyn.
The couple let the word play on their tongues a few times before the male, black-haired and with dimples, nodded, smiling, "Emlyn. It's a beautiful name, Em."
"Don't you like cupcakes, dear?" She had only sipped her orange juice elegantly.
"I don't have a fork," she frowned, "How will I eat?"
The man frowned, "You don't have to eat the cupcake with a fork! Like what on earth?!"
"Easy, dear. She's just a child." She looks at the eight-year-old, "You can eat it without a fork, sweetie, you don't have to use your manners with us. But if it makes you comfortable… well, here's a fork."
Watching his daughter-it was adoption, but still, he liked to have someone to call a daughter- eat that cupcake with a fork made Mr. Mathews, Dylan, want to cry.