"Garland!" Clara snapped, "Be nice t' yer cousin!"
They immediately stopped arguing. "Yes, Aunt Clara." "Yes, Ma." They replied in unison.
"Misst' Addy! Misst' Addy!" a man cried, running up the lane.
"What is it?" she asked, as the man stopped in front of her.
"It's... It's..." he bent over, panting. Clara handed him a cup of water and he drained it in one gulp. "It's the cow. Her calf won't come!"
"How long has it been?"
"Don't know. I ran as soon as I heard ya was at the Farley's."
"All right." She put a hand on the man's back and he straightened. "Show me. We'll take the shortcut ovar the hill." She turned back to Rose. "Will ya bring the wagon?"
"Travis'll show you the way." Clara said.
"I will." Rose said.
Adelaide handed Rose her bag, then turned back to the man. "Ya ready?" she asked.
"Let's go." They climbed over the fence and hurried across the field and over the hill.
Rose climbed in the wagon, setting the bags under the seat and picked up the reins. The boy, Travis, climbed up next to her and sat down.
"Be back quick." Clara said, walking up to the cart.
"I will." he replied.
"But don't take that shortcut ovar the creek. It's dangerous."
"Love ya, boy."
He mumbled something in return.
Reaching up, she pulled him to her and kissed him on the forehead. He struggled and blushed.
Clara stepped back and waved to both of them as Rose drove the wagon to the road.
"Which way?" Rose asked.
"Thataway." Travis pointed. "Ovar the hill."
"Do you think the baby will be a boy or a girl?" Rose asked after a moment.
"Dunno." he said with a shrug.
"What would you like?"
He shrugged again. "Is Ma goin' t' get better?" he asked.
"She will." Rose tried to remember if Adelaide had said how far along she was. "As soon as she has the baby." she said confidently.
"Aunt Clara said she's goin' t' get her a rock charm soon as Magician Hugo comes down. What's that? Why can't Misst' Addy get her one?"
"It's not her kind of magic." Rose said, sidestepping the other question.
"Oh." He paused, thinking. "I wanna do magic."
"What kind?" Rose asked, amused. "Magician, healer, mage or were?"
He made a face. "Not a were. They's cursed." he waved two fingers in front of his eyes.
Rose frowned. Even here! she thought, but stayed silent.
They came to a crossroad, "Turn here." Travis said, pointing to the left. Rose turned down the narrow road, it lead to a gate where a boy waved to them.
"Come t' the barn!" he cried, and ran ahead.
Before she could stop the cart, Travis hopped down and ran off without a word. Rose stopped in front of the barn, picked up both bags, and went inside. It was dark inside after the bright sunlight, but she heard voices at the far end and started walking towards them.
Adelaide's tunic was hanging over a stall door. Another woman, her skirt tucked up, stood nearby watching nervously. As Rose approached, Adelaide came out of the stall wiping her arms with a stained towel. The front of her shirt was stained with afterbirth.
"How is she?" the woman asked, stepping forward anxiously to look in the stall and unwittingly knocking the tunic to the floor.
Adelaide draped the towel over her shoulder. "Mother and son are fine." she said. Then she spotted Rose, "Oh good, yer here. Hand me my bag."
Rose held it out for her, and Adelaide took it. Reaching inside, she pulled out a fresh, but wrinkled, shirt and gave the bag back to Rose. Turning her back to them, she started taking off her soiled shirt.
"How did it go?" Rose asked.
"Good, 'cept for this." She turned around again tucking the shirt into her breeches.
"I'll wash that, Misst' Addy." the woman said, taking the soiled shirt. She picked up Adelaide's tunic from the ground, brushed it off and held it out for her.
"Don't worry about it, Connie. I'll..." she stopped suddenly and took the woman's hand. "Where's yer ring?" she asked, examining the narrow band of pale skin. "Did it fall off? I'll find it." She dropped her hand and turned around, looking at the floor.
"Oh, Misst' Addy, don't go t' any trouble. It's all right." the woman protested.
Adelaide looked up at her, "Are ya sure?" she asked, she looked back at the floor and waved a hand. The straw started to gather itself into little piles. "I know yer mother gave it t' ya."
"Please, don't worry. It'll turn up. It prob'ly fell off in th' house."
Adelaide looked at her face and put up her hands. The straw stopped moving. "All right, if ya insist. But if ya don't find it, let me know and I'll come back and help ya look."
"I will." she said.
"Well, I've got t' go. Good bye, Connie."
"Good-bye Misst' Addy." she called as they walked out. "'Bye, Lady Rose!"