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26 / F / In my own little...
Posted 8/24/09 , edited 9/20/09

Contents ://

PaRT uN :// JuST a CHiLD

. . . . ::: An IntrOdUctIOn ::: . . . .

Five minutes later, the two males started talking all technical words that the girl didn’t understand, so she went down the hall to her playroom. The stuffed rabbit that she hugged, Sir Hopsalot, flopped around as she bounced along.

“Miss Amy, would you like something to drink?” Her nanny was holding a cup of orange juice out to her with a smile.

“No thanks, Emily!” Amy rushed into her playroom and closed the door behind her, making her way to the house set in the back. She sat Sir Hopsalot in one of the chairs around the tea table, and “made him some dinner.”

“Here you are, Sir Hopsalot!” She handed him a plastic plate with plastic corn and plastic steak on it.

She’d been playing contentedly for nearly fifteen minutes, when the doors to her playroom opened and her father came in with his new apprentice.


She looked up when her father called her name, and rushed into his outstretched arms.

“Amy, this is Joshua Belham. He’s going to be living with us from now on, and he’s going to help daddy with his work.”

The five year old looked up at the twelve-year-old boy and grinned. “Hello, Joshua! You better do exactly what Papa tells you, or I won’t like you!”

Joshua tilted his head slightly at her. “Why would I not do what I’m told?”

Amy blinked. “Because little boys never do what they’re told!” She was baffled. Every little boy she’d ever met had been rambunctious and annoying. She doubted this one would be any different.

Joshua shook his head. “No, I always do what I’m told. I was taught to respect my elders. And I’m not a little boy!”

Amy shrugged, and dug her face in her father’s shirt. “Daddy, Joshua’s boring!”

Joshua bristled slightly from where he stood erect, but didn’t say anything. Dr. Zimmers laughed and said, “Oh, now, don’t say that, sweetheart. You’ll like him once you get to know him.”

Amy shrugged again, and rushed back to her rabbit to continue in her play.

. . . . ::: A bIrd ::: . . . .

It was some time next week that Amy realized Joshua wasn’t as boring as she’d thought. She was sitting on a bench outside, kicking her legs underneath her and hugging Sir Hopsalot, when a bird fluttered in front of her. It was a bright, tropical bird from South America. It hopped up onto the bench she sat on, and she beckoned to it. But it flew away.

“Catch that bird!” The call rang through the air, and Amy looked up to see Joshua running toward her.

“How?” She asked, tilting her head skeptically.

Joshua got to where she now stood, and panted for a few moments. “Dr. Zimmers said… to mimic the sound… it makes.” He stood up all the way, and cupped his hands over his mouth. A sound that Amy could only say was like a dying duck came out of his throat.

Amy laughed.

Joshua looked at her and frowned. “What? I’ve just started to learn the sound!”

His country accent made Amy giggle. “You talk funny.”

Joshua crossed his arms and huffed. “If you aren’t going to help me, I’m leaving.”

Amy frowned and tugged on his shirtsleeve. “Noooo! I’ll help you!”

Together they hunted down the bird. At one point, the tropical bird made its way up a tree, and Amy jumped on a rock to climb the tree. She got to the second branch, and couldn’t go any higher.

“Miss Amy, come down from there, please! You’ll get hurt!” Joshua called, standing underneath her in case she slipped. He couldn’t help noticing that under the white dress she wore, she had on pink underwear. “And you’re wearing a dress!”

Amy looked down at him, and frowned. “Don’t look up my dress, Joshua! I’ll tell Papa on you!”

Joshua frantically waved his hands. “I’m not meaning to! Just, please come down!”

Amy was used to getting things how she wanted them though, and stayed in the tree, still trying to reach the next branch.

The bird was getting closer to her. It was on the branch she was trying to reach, and she reached on her tippy-toes to coax it down. It made a lovely sound and cocked its head to one side, and then hopped onto Amy’s head. “Got you!” She let go of the tree’s trunk, which she’d been holding to stabilize herself, and plucked the colorful bird off her head.

Before she knew it, she was falling, and she tucked the colorful bird into herself.

But she didn’t hit the ground. Joshua had caught her! Or, at least, tried to catch her. He’d ended up breaking her fall, but he hadn’t caught her. He lay on his stomach as she stood up from sitting on him with a smile, the bird in her hands.

“That was fun! Let’s do it again Joshua!”

He just groaned, and stood up. The bird flew from Amy’s hands into his, and he made his way, bruised and sore, back to the birdhouse.

. . . . ::: A mIssIOn ::: . . . .

The next week, Amy was playing in her playroom, and decided she wanted to give her father a visit. He’d be leaving for a few weeks pretty soon…

She scrambled over the toys on the floor, to the door and out into the hallway, where she could already hear her father and Joshua talking. Or arguing?

“Why not?” That was Joshua’s voice.

“Because you are too young. I could not put you in that kind of danger.” Her father’s voice was calm.

“But I can take care of myself! I won’t get in the way, I promise!”

“The answer is still no, Joshua. I’m sorry.”

Amy opened the door a crack and peeked inside. Joshua stood up and nodded slowly, then left the room, walking right past her.

Since the door was already opened fully, Amy walked in and hugged her father’s legs tight. “What’s wrong with Joshua?”

Dr. Zimmers sighed, and said, “I won’t let him come with me to Africa, and he’s upset. He thinks I don’t trust him, or think he can do it.”

Amy frowned, and clambered up his legs to sit on his lap. “But it’s only because you don’t want him to get hurt, right?” She’d had this argument with her father before too. She had wanted to go to South America with him last year, but he had refused.

Her father nodded, and smiled. “Amy, maybe you could make his stay here more pleasurable. Why don’t you become his friend, that way he won’t be as upset about staying here.”

Amy nodded solemnly. “I’ll do it!” She didn’t want her father to be upset because Joshua was upset, and she oddly didn’t want Joshua to be upset either.

. . . . ::: A gOOdbYE ::: . . . .

The next day, Dr. Zimmers was getting in the car for his trip to Africa. Amy stood despondently next to the car, her head down. As much as she’d told herself she wouldn’t be sad when her father left, she couldn’t help being that way.

Dr. Zimmers kneeled down in front of Amy and held her chin up. “Hey, sweetie, what’s with that look?”

Amy lunged forward and hugged her father tight. “Do you have to go away for so long, Papa?” He would be gone for three weeks, studying the animals in Africa and working to cure a disease that was spreading amongst the birds there.

Dr. Zimmers nodded slowly. “I’ll come home as soon as I can, though. As long as I’m on your mind I’ll still be here, don’t worry.” He hugged his only child tight, and stood up.

“Goodbye, Amy, Joshua. I’ll see you when I get back!”

Amy waved frantically at the retreating car, and Joshua just stood and watched it drive away.

As the car turned the bend, the tears Amy had been holding back fell. She’d wanted to put on a brave face so Papa wouldn’t worry about her, but now that he couldn’t see her, she couldn’t hold it.

She hugged Sir Hopsalot close to her, and sniffed. But hugging a stuffed animal wasn’t enough, and she reached out for the closest human being to her.

Joshua looked at Amy, stunned, and sighed. She was holding her arms out to him and crying, and he couldn’t not return the gesture. He looked away and opened his arms, and she rushed into them and hugged him around the waist. He patted her on the back, still looking away, a bit awkward. He only had brothers at home and didn’t have much experience with little girls.

“Er, it’ll be alright.”

Amy nodded slowly but kept on crying.

. . . . ::: A lEttEr hOmE ::: . . . .

The next day, Amy was wandering the house with Sir Hopsalot. They were on an adventure, just like Papa. The house was large; her father was very rich. He’d inherited a lot of money from his father, and he was a famous biologist.

There was nothing Amy enjoyed more than pretending to go on adventures like Papa. The large house provided plenty of places to explore, and her imagination provided the new stories.

She had on a large hat; one of her father’s. It was much too big for her, and fell over her nose whenever she didn’t hold it up on her head.

She held out her hand to a door, and opened it slowly, peeking through.

Joshua looked up from where he sat at a desk in the Library. There was a sheet of paper in front of him, and a pen in his hands.

Amy walked in, still holding up the large hat. “What are you doing?”

Joshua put down the pen, and mumbled, “Writing a letter.”

Amy scrambled onto a chair across the little table from where Joshua sat, and stood up on it to see over the edge. Even for a five-year-old, she was small. “Are you writing to your Papa?” Her hat fell over her nose, and she reached up to hold it aloft.

Joshua nodded slowly. “To my Father and my Mother, and my brothers. I promised them I would.”

Amy tilted her head. “What’s it like having a Mama?”

Joshua blinked, surprised. He’d wondered about that… He’d never seen a Mrs. Zimmers in the house, and yet Dr. Zimmers had a daughter.

“I don’t… know how to describe it to you. I’m sorry, Miss Amy.” He looked down.

“What’s your Mama like?” She scrambled onto the table now, and sat in front of Joshua’s letter, trying to make out the words. A few she recognized but most of them were too large for her to sound out.

Joshua smiled faintly. “Well, she’s very beautiful. And very kind. She loves everything in life, and she knows just how to make everyone smile. She’s so warm…” He imagined his mother with her arms around him, comforting him at night when the thunder storms got too loud.

He shook his head; he was a big kid now! He didn’t need his mother’s warmth any more.

Amy smiled. “Are all Mamas like that?”

Joshua shrugged. He knew for a fact that not all mothers were that way, but didn’t want to say that to this little girl. “Yes. I think so, Miss Amy.”

Amy smiled brightly, but it faded slowly and she hugged Sir Hopsalot tight. “I wish Mama was still here…”

Joshua didn’t know what to say to comfort the girl.

“Papa said she’s still with me, and loved me more than the sun. He said she used to sing me songs!” She smiled a little. “But I can’t remember what she sounds like…” She dug in her pocket for a moment, and took out a picture as her hat fell over her nose again without a hand to hold it up.

Her mother and her father sat on a picnic blanket on a grassy hill. Joshua looked at the picture, and was shocked. Amy’s mother… she was beautiful! That smile! It was the brightest thing Joshua had ever seen!

Amy smiled, and said, “Mama was beautiful too! Papa said she used to sing to the birds.”

Joshua nodded slowly. After a pause, he mumbled, “Er… what happened to her? Was she sick?”

Amy shook her head, still smiling. “No, Papa says she wanted to go on an adventure in Heaven. He said she wanted to be like him and go away for a while.”

Joshua’s brows came together and he frowned. She wanted to go away…?

Amy was in a much better mood after talking to Joshua, and took up Sir Hopsalot in her arms again. She scrambled down from the table and said, “Joshua, do you want to come on an adventure too?”

He blinked, still feeling shocked by what the girl had said with a smile on her face. “Um, When I’m finished with my letter…”

Amy nodded eagerly, and contented herself with defeating the evil Book Monsters that hid around the corners in the Library until he finished and they could go on an adventure.

. . . . ::: An AdvEntUrE ::: . . . .

About an hour later. Amy and Joshua were kneeling behind a cupboard in the Pantry, and the only light came from the hallway through the door.

“The treasure is just over that way!” She pointed to the counter, where a cookie jar sat looming, light from the hallway shining on its rounded edges.

Joshua saluted. "Yes, Captain! How shall we get to it though? There have got to be booby traps!” He’d gotten pulled into the game very early into it, and was just as enthusiastic about it as Amy was now.

Amy nodded solemnly. “Right.” She pointed at the blue and white and pale yellow tiles on the ground. “All those blue tiles will fall away if we step on them! And the yellow ones will make darts come out at us!” She pointed at the wine rack that was on the other side of the pantry. The tips of the bottles were pointed out at them, like darts.

Joshua nodded determinedly. “Let’s go! We can do it!”

They stood up, and made their ways, being sure to only step on the white tiles, to the counter.

“Duck!” Amy shouted, and startled Joshua. “Stepped on a yellow tile!” She fell to the ground, covering her head.

Joshua got on the ground as well, and shouted, “Are you alright, Captain?”

After a few seconds, Amy nodded. “Yep!” She stood back up on a white tile, and they continued their journey to the Cookie Treasure.

And soon they were standing in front of the counter. Amy couldn’t see up to the jar, but Joshua could.

“Are there any booby traps here, Joshua?” She got on her tippy-toes, trying to see.

Joshua looked around. “I don’t think so!” He grinned and reached out his hand to grasp the jar in his arms.

But Amy reached out and grasped his sleeve.

“Wait! The alarm will go off if we don’t disarm it!”

Joshua’s eyes widened, appalled at the mistake he almost made.

Amy pulled out the bottom drawer in the wall all the way and climbed up. She opened all the drawers to form a set of stairs, and was soon on her hands and knees on the counter. “There! Alarm gone!” She took the top off the cookie jar, and reached in to take out two cookies. She handed one over to Joshua with a grin.

They were about to take the first bites when the lights suddenly went up. Amy winced and turned to the door, where the head Maid stood with arms crossed, and face just as cross.


“Miss Amy, how many times have I told you that you can’t have cookies before supper!?”

Amy held out her arms to Joshua and he lifted her down from the counter to the ground with a guilty expression. She ran to the head maid, Mrs. Coles, and hugged her around the knees.

“I’m sorry! I promise I won’t do it again!”

Mrs. Cole rolled her eyes. “You know just as well as I do that’s not a promise you’ll keep. You say that every time.” Nevertheless, she rubbed the top of Amy’s head with a smile. There was something magic in the way Amy could make anyone smile. She got away with anything in this house.

Mrs. Coles turned to Joshua sternly. “You didn’t know, but I expected better from you, at least. You should be old enough to know when you can eat cookies.”

Joshua dipped his head, ashamed. “Yes, Ma’am.” He didn’t like being treated like a child, and he felt like he was now.

Mrs. Coles sighed, and left the children outside the door to the pantry.

Amy grinned at Joshua, and took a second bite of her cookie. “Aren’t you going to eat yours?”

Joshua shook his head slowly, but it looked so inviting.

Amy tilted her head and looked up at him. “You don’t want to eat it? They’re delicious! Emily makes the BEST cookies ever!”

Joshua rolled his eyes, sighed, and took a bite. “Wow, that’s good!” He finished it in a few quick bites and grinned down at Amy.

. . . . ::: A chIld ::: . . . .

The next week, Amy was watching Joshua write another letter home. The two had barely separated since Dr. Zimmers had left. Joshua was certain he’d gotten in trouble in this past week more times than he’d ever done in his life.

“Joshua, do you miss your Mama and Papa?” Amy had been sitting silently for the most part, but she wanted to talk now. She lay on her stomach on the table, looking at the letter upside down.

Joshua looked up. “Sometimes, yes.” He didn’t want to admit how much he really missed them. “But it’s okay, I like it here. I’ll be okay without them.” And that was the truth; he did like it here. He would be fine without them.

Amy smiled and shifted so that her arms were crossed in front of her and her chin rested on them. Her smile faded momentarily. “I miss Papa…”

Joshua put down the pen and looked at Amy sympathetically.

“Papa’s always going on adventures without me…” She hid her face by resting her forehead on her arms.

“He’s going to be back soon, don’t worry.” Joshua patted her on the head and smiled.

He could hear the tears in her voice when she spoke next. “But he’ll leave again soon. I don’t want him to leave.”

Joshua stood up and lifted the five-year-old girl up off of the table and sat back down, with her sitting in his lap. “It’s okay, when he’s not here we can still play together, right?”

She smiled a little and nodded slowly. Joshua would be busy again once Papa came back, and they wouldn’t get to play as much. When Papa was gone, she could play with him all the time! Maybe it wasn’t so bad.

She smiled more, and looked up so she could see his face. “Yeah!”

She sat there and watched as Joshua looked over the top of her head at his letter, and reached past her to keep writing. She spotted the word ‘Mother’ in the letter, and tilted her head. She still found it fascinating that Joshua had a Mama.

“Joshua, did your Mama sing to you when you were a baby?” She asked suddenly, resting her chin on her crossed arms again.

Joshua nodded slowly. “Yes, she sang to me a lot. She sang to all my brothers too. I watched her sing to my younger brother when I was your age.” Out of his four brothers, only one was younger than him, by four years.

Amy smiled. “If Mama was still here she’d sing to me I bet.”

Joshua was silent for a while and then, not all too sure if he should ask, said, “You said your mother decided to go on an adventure, Miss Amy?”

Amy nodded. “Yup, Papa said that when I was two, Mama wanted to go on an adventure in Heaven, and wouldn’t be back for a long, long time.”

Joshua’s gaze darkened a little, and he stopped writing again, putting the pen down.

She looked up again and rested the back of her head on his chest. “What’s wrong?” She asked with a frown.

He put on a smile and said, “Oh, it’s nothing, Miss Amy. I’m just thinking about things.”

“I said to stop calling me that Joshua! I’m just Amy, not Miss Amy!” It was fine when the maids and her Nanny called her Miss Amy, but Joshua was her friend, he wasn’t allowed!

Joshua sighed and went back to his letter.

She really is just a child….

PaRT DeuX :// CHaNGiNG TiMeS

. . . . ::: thE trUth ::: . . . .

It was two weeks later, and Dr. Zimmers had just gotten back.

Amy rushed into her father’s arms as he got out of the car, and the embrace was warmly returned.

“Hey there sweetheart. How have the past weeks been around here?” He picked her up and carried her on his shoulders.

“It was fun! Joshua’s not boring at all! I went on lots of adventures with Joshua!” She hugged her Papa’s head and rested her chin on top of it.

Dr. Zimmers glanced at Joshua with a grateful smile, and they all went inside for supper, since the sun was going down and they were all hungry.

After supper, Amy was playing in her playroom with Sir Hopsalot, and Joshua and Dr. Zimmers sat in his study, going over the notes he’d taken in Africa. Joshua wanted so badly to ask about Amy’s mother, but knew he shouldn’t.

Dr. Zimmers pointed to some notes on a drawing of one of the birds he’d done an autopsy on. But Joshua was spacing out, and the Dr. noticed.

“Joshua, are you alright?” He took off his reading glasses and set them down on the table.

Joshua shook his head and smiled. “Yes, I’m alright, I was just thinking about something Amy said to me.” His smile was troubled though; he wasn’t good at hiding things from adults.

Dr. Zimmers raised his eyebrows. “What was it she said?”

Joshua paused for a long time. “She said… something about her mother…” He looked up guiltily at Dr. Zimmers, feeling as if he’d pried in a private part of his life he wasn’t supposed to pry in.

Dr. Zimmers sighed, and looked down. “Yes, Isabella…” He was silent for a few seconds. “Amy doesn’t fully understand what happened… but I assume that you do, Joshua?”

The boy looked down. “Well, I made a guess…”

Dr. Zimmers nodded slowly. “My wife committed suicide… It was my fault.” He rested his hands in his head momentarily, seeming to collect himself. “If I hadn’t always been away for work, she wouldn’t have been so upset…”

Joshua frowned. Surely he didn’t blame himself?

“I came home from a trip to Australia and found everyone in tears, and a note from Isabella.” He remembered the day too well for his liking. The only one who’d seemed to be alright that day was Amy, barely two years old and unable to comprehend it. Dr. Zimmers constantly berated himself for not seeing the signs; every time Isabella sighed when he mentioned going away, how she cried when he left, the look she gave him when he returned that said a bit of her had died, but it would be alright if he was back.

“She couldn’t stand being alone any longer, and took her own life the day before I got back that time.” He looked down. “Every time I leave since then, I’m terrified about Amy.”

Joshua felt like an intruder on this side of his mentor that was shown to him. But he felt inclined to say something to try to comfort the man.

“I don’t think you need to worry about Amy while you’re gone… She might be upset about it but she was smiling most of the time.” He smiled. “I think she’ll be alright.”

Dr. Zimmers put his glasses back on slowly and patted Joshua on the back. “Yes, yes, of course. Thank you, Joshua.” He went back to pouring over the notes, and Joshua wondered what exactly had just happened. Had he bonded with his mentor?

. . . . ::: thE thAnk-YOU ::: . . . .

That night Joshua was just about to turn off the light on his bedside table, when there was a knock on his door and it opened. Little feet padded to the edge of the bed and little hands pulled a little body up onto Joshua’s legs.

“Joshua, I didn’t see you at all after dinner!” Amy pouted and poked him in the nose.

“I’m sorry, Miss Amy. I had to help Dr. Zimmers with some things.” He patted her on the head with a smile.

“Well I can’t sleep now! I’m staying here.” She crawled over his legs and sat against the pillow next to him, and stuck her feet under the cover with a stubborn huff.

“Miss Amy, you need to sleep in your own bed. And it’s way past your bed time!”

“Stop calling me that! It’s just Amy!” She huffed and turned her head away. “And I’m not leaving.”

Joshua sighed and rolled his eyes slightly. If she were older I would object… but she’s only five; I guess it’s alright. It was normal for young children to get lonely at night.

“Fine, you can stay here, but you have to sleep, alright?”

Amy smiled brightly and turned back to Joshua, hugging him around the waist. “Okay!” She dug her face in his shirt.

Joshua sighed and patted her on the head again. He reached over again and turned out the light, then scooted forward in the bed. Amy was still hugging him so he couldn’t turn onto his side as he usually did, for fear of disturbing her if she was already asleep.

“Hey Joshua….” Her little voice was muffled in his shirt.

“Yes, Miss Amy?”

“Thanks for playing with me while Papa was gone…”

Joshua smiled and turned on his side to face her, and put his finger on her nose. “No problem.” She smiled and curled up, and Joshua hugged her under the covers, and then both were fast asleep.

. . . . ::: thE nEws ::: . . . .

After that, the two were nearly inseparable when Joshua had free time. Dr. Zimmers would leave every once in a while on work trips, and Joshua would play with Amy; they would fall asleep in each other’s arms at night.

Things continued like this until Amy turned eight. Her birthday had been a few weeks ago, and her father had just left on another trip, this time to China.

She and Joshua had spent the day playing together outside, and it was late now. The fifteen-year-old Joshua was looking over some notes he’d taken the previous day when he heard the knock and he knew who it was.

Amy opened the door and hugged Sir Hopsalot close to her as she walked to the bed.

“Is something wrong, Miss Amy?” As many times as she told him not to, he still called her that. She’d given up telling him not to and just pouted when he did.

Joshua put down his notebook.

Amy rubbed her eyes. “I had a scary dream…”

Joshua frowned and took the little girl’s hand in his own and pulled her up onto the bed and to the spot that was always open for her if she needed it.

Joshua had long since taken to protecting Amy as if she were his own little sister. He’d adopted her to the position of little sister, in a way. But he frowned slightly. Soon. Soon things would have to change. He was getting older, and she stayed a child it seemed. And Dr. Zimmers had told him…

“This will be the last trip I go on that you will not be able to come on, Joshua. Next time I leave, I expect you to accompany me, and learn about what this job is really like.”

He’d had a smile on when he’d said it, but had he considered how that would affect Amy? Joshua was the only person she would talk to much while her father was out. How would she cope when Joshua started leaving too?

“Hey Joshua, is something wrong?” She’d been looking over his shoulder at his notes. She’d learned a lot of words by reading Joshua’s notes.

Joshua sighed and ruffled the hair on Amy’s head. “No, no. Nothing’s wrong. But Miss Amy, Dr. Zimmers told me that next time he leaves, I can go with him. He says I’m old enough now.”

Amy was silent for a while, and then she said, voice muffled by Joshua’s shirt, “I’m happy for you! You’ve always wanted to go with Papa on his adventures.”

Joshua sighed, and wrapped his arm around Amy’s shoulder. “I promise to bring you things back…” She just nodded slowly.

After a few moments of silence, Amy’s breath was steady and calm as she fell asleep, still hugging Joshua.

. . . . ::: thE thrEAt ::: . . . .

It was four months later. Amy was standing next to the car, her head hung lower than it had ever been. Dr. Zimmers frowned slightly, and hugged his daughter tight. “We’re only leaving for two weeks this time, Sugar Plum. We’ll be back before you know it!”

Amy nodded slowly and didn’t want to let go of her Papa. But he stood up and she was forced to unclasp her arms from around him. She turned to Joshua.

The same as she’d done that first time Papa left him at home with her, she held out her arms for comfort. Joshua smiled sadly and got on his knees as Amy rushed into his arms with a huge hug.

“Remember to bring me back something shiny!” She said, not wanting to let go of Joshua any more than she’d wanted to let go of her Papa.

He nodded and ruffled the hair atop Amy’s head as he always did. “I will, Miss Amy.”

She nodded and stood back, letting the important men in her life get in the car to go off to Africa.

The same bird disease was plaguing the same area as before, so they’d asked Dr. Zimmers to come back.

She waved at her Papa and Joshua as the car left, and smiled when she saw Joshua making a funny face at her through the back window.

Joshua sat back down in the seat, satisfied with having the last glance of Amy for the next two weeks be one of her smiling. He turned to Dr. Zimmers with a smile.

“I have to say, Amy has taken such a liking to you, Joshua. I’m grateful that you’re with us, but I must say I feel threatened by you.” He chuckled lightly.

Joshua blinked, surprised. “Threatened, sir?”

The Dr. nodded. “I fear she will come to love you more than she loves her father.”

Joshua’s eyebrows came together, and he waved his hand. “Oh, that’s not possible, sir. It’s hard to get her to talk about anything other than Papa when he’s away.”

Dr. Zimmers just chuckled, and shook his head slowly. “We’ll see.”

. . . . ::: thE lOnElInEss ::: . . . .

Amy was studying her books; there was nothing better to do. Sir Hopsalot sat in her lap, and she moved her finger down the page as she read from the book.

She sighed, and looked around, bored out of her mind.

What was weird was that she felt no inclination to play with her toys. They didn’t interest her.

All she wanted to do was have her Papa and Joshua back home.

It had been a week; half way to the time she would see them again!

She wiped the frown off her face by thinking of what kinds of new games she could play with Joshua. She contented herself with imagining what kinds of adventures he was having at this very moment over in Africa.

“Maybe he’s speaking with a tribe in the deserts!” She told her rabbit. “Or he’s on a boat in the Congo, deep in the jungle!”

She held out her hands, her right representing Joshua and her left representing Papa, and acted out what they were doing.

After a few minutes, she stopped and sighed. It just wasn’t the same by herself.

. . . . ::: thE rEtUrn ::: . . . .

“Papa! Joshua!” Amy ran to her father, who was getting out of the car.

“Amy, how have you held up?” Dr. Zimmers wrapped his arms around his daughter, embracing her tight.

“It was so boring! Make Joshua stay behind next time, please!” She ran to Joshua and would have sent him flying with the force of her hug, had she been larger or stronger.

The Dr. glanced at Joshua as if to say “I told you so,” but Joshua was hugging Amy so tight that he didn’t notice.

“What did you bring me, Joshua?” Amy spotted the bag he had around his shoulder. He hadn’t had that one when he left!

“It’s a surprise!” Joshua shifted the bag on his shoulder so it was behind him and Amy couldn’t see.

She pouted a bit, but she was so happy to have Joshua and Papa back that she didn’t care.

She grabbed onto Joshua’s hand then reached out for her Papa’s hand with her other one, and they all walked back into the house while the maids and servants gathered the men’s things.

That night after dinner, Amy was sitting up late with Joshua. She’d followed him around since they got back, and had barely even let him go to the rest room without her.

He held out the bag he’d been shouldering all day, and Amy looked on eagerly.

Joshua had saved up his weekly allowances for the last two months just so he could bye something for Amy.

He held up the bracelet and smiled as Amy’s eyes went wide and shiny.

“These are bracelets made by one of the jungle tribes! There’s a special kind of bracelet for everything! This one means ‘little sister.’”

Amy looked away from the bracelet and at Joshua, and beamed from ear to ear.

“Big Brother Joshua!” She hugged him for the umpteenth time that day and looked in the bag. There was more!

Next Joshua pulled out three wooden carvings; of a giraffe, an elephant and a zebra. “These were made by a tribe on the edge of the Sahara.”

She took each carving gingerly in her small hands, and examined the intricacy of each one.

“This last one,” Joshua was saying, and Amy looked up at him, still beaming. “This one, I made myself… It won’t be nearly as nice as the others, but I hope you like it.”

He took out of the bag a colorful feather. It had blues and reds on it, and purples in between. It was attached to a string at the base of the feather, and the string wrapped around a little hair clip. Amy stared at it in wonder, and put it in her hair right there and then, with a wide smile.

“It’s a feather from one of the birds Dr. Zimmers and I were treating.”

Amy didn’t say anything, but hugged him tighter than she had in quite a long time. She yawned though, and rubbed her eyes.

Joshua smiled and gently took the presents from Amy’s hands. Placing them on the nightstand. He coaxed the hairpin out her hair and set it with the other gifts and turned out the light.

Amy yawned again and curled up in Joshua’s arms for the night, and it was just like old times; both asleep in moments.

PaRT TRoiS :// No LoNGeR a CHiLD

. . . . ::: hEr wOrrIEs ::: . . . .

Things continued like this. Amy always rushed into her Papa’s arms and then into Joshua’s, and got gifts and fell asleep in Joshua’s arms.

Things continued like this. Until the day Amy rushed into Joshua’s arms and then her Papa’s.

She would be eleven that year, and Joshua had just turned eighteen.

Joshua’d been very surprised when Amy had rushed to him first. It was always Dr. Zimmers first.

Neither he nor the Dr. had said anything at the time, but they seemed to exchange a glance for a split second.

It’s not possible. I could never be more important to her than her Papa. Joshua decided she had just gotten confused or something.

That night as Amy sat in front of Joshua in her pajamas, Joshua was thinking about many things. Amy was beaming at the bright orange silk sari he’d brought back for her from India.

“Joshua, you always bring me the most amazing things!” She hugged him around the neck, holding on tight. There was a pause. “Hey Joshua…?”

Joshua stroked Amy’s red hair and said, “Yes, Miss Amy?”

She was silent for a little longer, and then said quietly, “Why does Papa never bring me things…?”

Joshua frowned and put his hand on top of her head. “He always helps me pick the thinks I bring you, you know.”

Amy nodded slowly. “But he always leaves… what if Papa doesn’t love me anymore?” Tears were welling in Amy’s eyes, and she lifted her hands to them to wipe them away.

Joshua shook his head slowly and brought the girl close, into a gentle hug. “Your father loves you more than anything, Miss Amy. Be sure of that.”

She nodded slowly but didn’t say anything.

“Besides, I leave too, don’t I? Do you doubt that I love you?”

Amy shook her head. “Joshua will always love me!” She said it with such force that Joshua had to smile and rub the top of her head again.

“That’s right!” He poked her on the nose gently and grinned. “Now get to sleep, it’s too late for little girls to be awake still.”

Amy pouted. “But I’m not a little girl! I’m a big girl now!”

Joshua half rolled his eyes. “That doesn’t matter, Miss Amy. Bed time.” With that he turned out the light. Amy forgot her troubles and curled up next to Joshua, falling asleep in moments.

. . . . ::: hEr dUtY ::: . . . .

The next afternoon, Joshua’s mind was troubled. Amy herself had said it; she was a big girl now. Big girls didn’t sleep in other people’s beds.

She would have to get out of that habit.

Joshua sighed and went back to his work, studying diagrams of the inner workings of a bird that lived in Canada.

When Amy came into the study to watch her father and Joshua work, there were no signs that she’d ever doubted anything her Papa said. Joshua smiled inwardly.

Things seemed to be back to normal.

After dinner that night, Amy was sitting with Sir Hopsalot, reading a book at a couch in the parlor. Joshua sat by the fire, still looking over notes from the previous lesson. Dr. Zimmers was in his study.

Joshua looked up and hesitated to bring up the subject on his mind.

“Miss Amy?”

Amy looked up with a cheerful smile. “Yes?”

Joshua sighed and went on; “You’re a big girl now, right?”

She nodded eagerly and put her book down.

“Then you won’t mind sleeping in your own bed from now on, right?”

Amy’s face fell. “Why?”

Joshua got up and sat down in front of where Amy sat in the chair. “Big girls need to sleep in their own beds, Miss Amy. Even when they have bad dreams, or get lonely. You’re too big to be coming to me or your father at night.”

Amy’s crestfallen look made Joshua want to take it back, but he knew that wouldn’t be right. It had probably already gone on too long.

“It’s alright, Miss Amy. I’m just down the hall as it is, so I won’t be far.”

She nodded slowly but kept her head hung.

“Hey now, Miss Amy…” He lifted her chin up and smiled. “Turn that frown upside down, this instant.”

It took her a few moments but she couldn’t keep a sour face against Joshua’s silly grin.

“Okay. But only because I’m a big girl and that’s what I need to do.” Joshua could tell she was putting on a tough face, but deep down she was upset.

He ruffled the hair on top of her head with a smile.

That night Joshua lay awake in bed. The lights were off but he couldn’t sleep. Right about now, Amy would be coming in after having a bad dream, or not being able to sleep.

But she was a big girl now; she didn’t come in.

It was then that Joshua realized that this was just as hard for him as it was for Amy. He’d gotten so used to having her next to him that it seemed natural. Now that it was different, he felt out of place, felt like a little boy without his nightlight.

He sighed and turned over in bed until he finally fell asleep.

. . . . ::: hEr bIrthdAY ::: . . . .

By the time two years had passed, the younger members of the household had gotten used to their arrangements, but hadn’t drifted apart one bit.

Whenever Amy had time off from her lessons, she would watch Joshua and her father work. She would still stay up late with Joshua, though she slept in her own bed every night –unless she ended up falling asleep before she made it there- now. Joshua still brought her gifts when he and the Dr. went traveling, and she still hugged Sir Hopsalot when she felt alone.

It would be her thirteenth birthday soon, and she’d made Papa promise not to leave with Joshua for another month at least. He’d readily agreed, and all had been joyful.

Amy was turning into quite a rambunctious young lady. She’d lost the childish pride and arrogance she’d long harbored as the princess of the palace, but in its place was the belief that she was old enough for anything now.

“Oh, can I come with you on your next trip?” She pleaded with her father, holding her clasped hands up to him. “Please, Papa?”

Dr. Zimmers shook his head with a sorry smile. “Amy, deer, you’re too young. You remember I didn’t let Joshua come with me until he was sixteen! And he’s my assistant!”

Since turning nineteen, Joshua had shed the title of apprentice and become a full-fledged biologist; even if he was just an assistant. He was an important assistant.

Amy pouted for a few moments and turned to Joshua instead. “Joshua, you tell Papa to let me come along.”

Joshua chuckled and shook his head. “Miss Amy, you know I wouldn’t put you in danger like that.”

Amy crossed her arms and turned away from them, but neither of the men were much bothered by it. Amy had been getting more persistent about going with them when they left. She’d even gone as far as to pack for the trip last time, and stood with the luggage by the car as if she were right where she belonged.

“I can’t bring you gifts from far away lands if you come with us, Miss Amy.”

Amy turned to Joshua and stuck her tongue out at him but didn’t look so cross from then on.

Her birthday was spent with smiles all around the house, and Amy was glad to find that both her father and Joshua had special presents waiting for her.

From her father she got a lovely gown; it was a light yellow and would be perfect for when the family went to parties and balls. And she would look like a real young lady with this gown!

Joshua gave her a necklace. It had her birthstone around the nick, and a drop-down diamond in the middle. She stared at if for so long that you might have thought she was a statue. The diamond was small, but it was of high quality, and Amy grinned from ear to ear, excited to have her first diamond. It made her feel more adult, having a diamond.
She went to bed extra happy that night, and dreamed happy things.

. . . . ::: hEr lOvE ::: . . . .

It was a little more than a year later.

“Please! Why can’t I come with you?” Amy was gripping her father’s sleeve tight.

“Amy, I’ve gone over this with you many times. It’s too dangerous. Especially this time.” They were going to Africa again, to the Sahara. There was a new species of lizard discovered, and Dr. Zimmers and Joshua would be going to study it for a few weeks.

And of course, Amy was adamant about going with them.

She switched to Joshua now. She tugged on his shirtsleeve and looked at him with round, sad eyes.

“Miss Amy…” He said, unable to actually say no to the face, but not saying yes.

Amy sighed and gave up, plopping into a chair with crossed arms.

Dr. Zimmers chuckled lightly, and smiled. “You take so much after your father, Amy.”

Amy looked over at him and her gaze was so much softened. “That’s because I love you, Papa.”

The Dr. smiled again and added, “But more and more I see your mother in you.”

Amy sighed and smiled warmly as well. She’d long since understood just what had happened to her mother. The fog of childhood understanding didn’t hold her back from the full truth any longer, and she accepted it with gentle pain.

After a long silence, Amy said, “Well, just make sure you come back soon then!” With that she got up and went to get a book. She really wasn’t much of a reader, but she was required to read a certain number of books for her studies.

When she was out of the room, Dr. Zimmers sighed and reclined in his chair.

“That girl gets harder to handle with each passing day.”

Joshua chuckled and shrugged. “Unless you know how to handle her.”

Dr. Zimmers nodded slowly.

“She does anything you say, you know that as well as I do.” But it took three or four times for her to listen to her father.

Joshua shrugged. “It’s probably because we were always playing together so much.”

The Dr. nodded slowly again. “I have not given up the idea that she’s come to love you more than she loves her father.”

Joshua frowned, still not liking it when Dr. Zimmers spoke that way. He didn’t argue though; he’d given up trying to dissuade his colleague from that idea.

“Well, I’m going to make sure I have everything ready to leave tomorrow.” Joshua got up, making his escape.

. . . . ::: hEr sEcrEt ::: . . . .

The next day Amy lay on her stomach on her bed. Her arms were spread in front of her and in her hands was Sir Hopsalot. Though she didn’t carry him around with her anymore, she still treasured her stuffed rabbit.

She was trying to combat the heartache that was growing in her gut. This heartache had taken seed in her the moment she realized Joshua wasn’t going to be at her side forever as she’d thought. Since she was eight, and he started leaving her at home, alone and with nothing to do but to think about when he would come back.

She sighed, and kicked her legs.

It had been her deepest, best-kept secret these past 2 years….

She knew it was absurd, too! But the harder she tried to deny it, the stronger she felt it.

Every time she was with him things were bright. The sky was bluer, and flowers were brighter and the light was lighter, the dark darker. Everything was richer when he was with her. All the things he’d gotten her over the years were her most cherished possessions. Her times playing with him were her happiest memories.

She’d kept this secret deep within her these past two years.

And even before then! She’d known it but only through that fog of childhood. It blurred things, distorted what they meant to her. Even at seven years old she’d expected she would marry him. But she hadn’t known what that meant, and never understood why every time she mentioned marrying him, he would say it was impossible for them to marry.

But she was, biologically, a woman now. Her maid had told her! She knew the differences between child and adult, between man and woman.

For these past two years, she’d kept it a secret. She was in love with Joshua. She’d always been in love with him.

. . . . ::: hEr fAthEr ::: . . . .

Joshua sat with his head in his hands. He was on an early flight home.

The past few days seemed a blur. Too many impossible things had happened.

He and the Dr. had only been in the Sahara for a few days when it had all started.

They were there for the rainy season, and it had just stopped pouring when they got to the village near the border.

Things had been going fine.

And then one morning the Dr. hadn’t been able to get up from bed; every time he tried he would become dizzy and fall.

“I’ve been… bitten…” The mosquitoes had been bad for the past few months in this area. The village they were staying in wasn’t all that rich, so they couldn’t afford to get vaccines against Malaria and many had died already. Even the vaccines that were available weren’t very effective.

When Dr. Zimmers rolled up his left pant leg, they found the bite. It was overly swollen and looked to already be infected.

Joshua had tried to nurse Dr. Zimmers hack to health.

He knew how Malaria worked. There was nothing he could do besides wait it out and hope for the best. He wished the scientists working on treatments for the virus would hurry up.

On the third day, Dr. Zimmers had been very weak already.

“Joshua…” He reached out his hand, and his assistant was there in seconds.

“Joshua… take care of Amy. You’re the only one that can do that now.”

Joshua shook his head, trying to smile. “No, Dr. Zimmers, don’t be silly! You’ll be better before you know it!” He knew how futile his words sounded.

Dr. Alan Zimmers shook his head slowly, sadly. “No, my boy. I’ll soon see my Dear Isabella.” There was a slight smile on his face, as if he’d accepted the fact that he was going to die.

They were silent for a while, until Dr. Zimmers broke the silence again.

“Joshua, you must already know it, but I want to tell you out loud.” He took a few raspy breaths before continuing. “You’ve been like a son to me –no, better than that. I want you to know how much I love you.”

Joshua nodded slowly, fighting the tears that threatened. Men didn’t cry…

The five-day battle with Malaria hadn’t ended for the better. On the morning of the fifth day, Dr. Zimmers hadn’t been breathing. The last thing he’d said was, “Tell Amy… I love her… so… much,” the night before.

Joshua couldn’t believe what was happening. It seemed too unreal to be happening.

Before he knew it, he’d been getting on the plain early, with all of his things and the Dr.’s things.

How will I tell Miss Amy…? She’s only a child! But he knew that wasn’t true. She wasn’t a child any more.

PaRT QuaTRe :// eMPTiNeSS

. . . . ::: hIs hEArt ::: . . . .

When Amy heard the car pull up in the driveway, she leaped out of the chair she’d been sitting in. Her tutor put his arms on his hips and grumbled about the impudent girl who had not a shred of respect for history.

Amy saw Joshua getting out of the car and rushed at him with a hug.

“You’re back early!” She exclaimed excitedly. But Joshua’s embrace was stiff, almost unfeeling. She pulled away. “Is something wrong?” She looked around, wondering where her father was.

Joshua was silent. Amy peeked in the car, and saw no Papa there. She turned back to Joshua.

“Joshua, why did you come home alone? Did Papa get angry with you and send you home early?” She teased with a smile.

But Joshua didn’t laugh. There wasn’t even a trace of a smile on his face.

Thirty minutes later, Amy was gripping the box that held her father’s ashes tight to her chest, curled up on the couch. The fact that Joshua was with her made her able to keep her wits, but her grief was deep.

He hugged her close while she cried for her father, and made sure she ate when mealtime came.

It was late at night and Amy had fallen asleep, curled up in his arms. Joshua’s mind was troubled, more troubled than it had ever been.

He knew he shouldn’t feel the way he did… This wasn’t the way a brother should feel for his sister! For so long he’d been the big brother, and she’d been his little sister. But as she grew older and older he’d had to tell himself that more and more.

A few times already he’d told himself he shouldn’t feel this way.

But it was so hard. He loved Amy more than anything in the world, and that love refused to be the kind a brother felt for his sister. It was no use pretending to be her brother any more.

He sighed and stroked Amy’s hair behind her ear as she slept in his arms like she always used to. He could tell her sleep was riddled with nightmares; she was frowning. Every once in a while she shivered as if she were cold, and Joshua sighed, unable to do anything.

. . . . ::: hIs thOUghts ::: . . . .

Amy woke up with a slight start, and opened her eyes. She must have overslept, because the sun’s rays were at an angle coming into the living room.

That’s right, I must have fallen asleep here…

She could feel Joshua’s arms still around her, and that made her smile a little bit. She rested the side of her head on his chest and curled up tighter.

She realized that if Joshua was still asleep, he must have stayed up quite late. How long had he just sat with her?

Amy sighed and closed her eyes, happy to just be with Joshua. Joshua would always be there for her. If she needed a shoulder to cry on it would be his. If she wanted to talk about something, she could talk to him. He knew her better than anyone did, and she knew him best.

Joshua stirred in his sleep, and Amy raised her eyes to see if he was awake yet.

She wished she were older. As it was, she was so much smaller than Joshua. She felt like a child next to him, but didn’t want to! And she didn’t want him to think she was a child either.

Joshua finally opened his eyes and looked around.

“Good morning, Joshua,” Amy said softly.

Joshua looked down at her and nodded slowly. It had been so long since they’d fallen asleep in each other’s arms. It felt… weird, but good.

“Thank you for being here for me…” Joshua couldn’t see Amy’s face, but he could hear the strain in her voice as she tried not to cry with the fresh memory of what had happened.

“I’ve always been here for you, Miss Amy…”

She nodded. “I know. Thanks for that, as well.” She slipped her arms around him and hugged him tight.

After a long pause, Amy said, “And you’ll always be there, right Joshua?”

He nodded slowly, patting her on the head like old times.

Why does she have to grow up? Can’t she be a child forever? It was almost frightening, how fast Amy was growing. At this rate she would be of marrying age in a few years, and… But he stopped himself from thinking that way. It wouldn’t be proper; she was his old mentor’s daughter…

But, he did tell me to take care of her. Wouldn’t the best way to do that be as her husband?

But that’s not what Dr. Zimmers meant!

Then again how do I know? He was always saying she would love me more than him…

Joshua was pulled out of his mind by the gentle voice at his chest.

“Joshua? Are you okay?”

He blinked and shook his head slightly. “Yes, yes I’m fine… just… thinking.”

Amy nodded. She assumed he had a lot to think about; her father had left him his work. Anything that pertained to work was Joshua’s now.

Everything else was under his care as well, but once Amy was old enough would go to her.

Amy sighed, and stood up slowly, rubbing her arms.

He stood up after her, and wasn’t surprised to find her following him wherever he went, just like old times.

He sighed, knowing she would hate him for what he was going to do… But he had to, or he didn’t know what would happen to her.

. . . . ::: hIs sEcrEt ::: . . . .

The next morning when Amy woke up, a maid was folding some of her clothes.

She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes. “Why are you doing that?”

The maid looked over at Amy and smiled. “I’m packing your things for you, Miss.”

“Why?” She got up and winced slightly as her bare feet hit the cool floor.

“Because you are leaving today, Miss.”

She tilted her head and her eyebrows came together in confusion. “Am I going someplace?”

The maid nodded and smiled. “With Mister Joshua, Miss.”

Amy’s eyes lit up and she eagerly got dressed.

An hour later, when she met Joshua at the car, her eyes were full of questions.

He was silent as he led her to the car though, and opened the door for her. She was puzzled by his odd silence, but she was finally going on a real adventure with him! What was she to care if he was silent or not?

The doors closed and the car started moving. Amy turned to Joshua with bright eyes.

“Where are we going? China? Australia? The Congo?”

Joshua shook his head. “It’s… a secret, Miss Amy.”

She pouted for a bit but relented. She was too excited to stay upset.

But Joshua knew how upset she would be when the car stopped… so he put on a smile so that her happiness could be full.

. . . . ::: hIs trOUblE ::: . . . .

It was two hours before the car stopped.

Two hours until Amy realized what was happening.

The car stopped at a home in the country. It was a lot like her own home, but much smaller. She didn’t know it, but it was actually a fairly wealthy home; but it was so much smaller than her father’s house that she assumed it to be a poor person living there.

It was an aunt of hers.

Her mother’s eldest sister.

Amy’s mother’s family hadn’t had much contact with her… they blamed Dr. Zimmers for the death of Amy’s mother, and had cut off contact with him after her death.

Joshua had sent a message out and arranged for the care of Amy a few days ago.

He knew Amy would hate him for it.

But he had things he needed to do… and he couldn’t take care of her at the same time.

“Joshua…?” Amy looked over at him reproachfully. It was the first time she’d looked at him like that in her life.

“This is the home of your Aunt, Miss Amy…”

And she knew what was coming. She could read it in his face.

“I won’t stay with a complete stranger, Joshua!”

Joshua sighed. “Miss Amy… I know you don’t want to, but can you please do this? If not for yourself, then for me?” His eyes pleaded with her defiant ones.

And she had to give in. Joshua was the one person she couldn’t defy.

If she knew that I…. she wouldn’t be agreeing to this.

He sighed, and walked her up to the front door of the house. He carried her bag, while his were in the car still. He would bring them in later.

A few moments after he knocked on the door, a woman opened it and peered through spectacles at him and Amy.

Joshua could see some subtle likeness to Dr. Zimmers’ wife, but Amy looked much more like her mother than her aunt did.

“You must be Amy, then,” said the woman on the other side of the door.

Upon seeing Amy, she had inhaled sharply. She’d almost thought she was looking at her little sister, rather than a niece.

“You look… so much like your mother,” she said softly.

Amy’s stubborn frown softened slowly. “Yes, that’s what Papa told me…” She looked down, and didn’t notice the darkness that crossed her Aunt’s face.

The initial introductions were swift and somewhat cold. Marian Jones had only agreed to care for Amy because she was the daughter of her sister. She had no sympathy for Dr. Zimmers, and knowing how close to the man Joshua had been made her a bit biased to him.

Joshua and Amy followed Marian into the home and to their rooms. The whole time Joshua was troubled, and not wanting tomorrow to come.

. . . . ::: hIs rEdEmptIOn ::: . . . .

There was one point during the afternoon at which Marian felt she might change her mind about Joshua.

He was reading peacefully by the window and Amy was looking around the house, examining furnishings and decorations. Marian was reading as well.

“Auntie, why have I never seen you before this?” Amy had sat down next to Joshua and gazed at her Aunt. Joshua put his book down gently and looked at Marian as if to apologize.

Marian didn’t want to say what was so obviously true. As much as she detested the man, Amy’s father was the only parent the girl had ever known. And he’d just died. She couldn’t hurt the child like that.

But Joshua knew what Amy was trying to do. She knew the truth already.

“Miss Amy, your Aunt wasn’t on very good terms with your father. You know that. You must not ask questions that will make your Aunt uncomfortable.” Joshua gazed steadily at her.

Amy looked guilty, and nodded. “She may not have liked your father much, but she wants to get to know you. You must be good to her.”

Then Joshua, feeling as if he’d taken too many liberties by speaking that way, looked apologetically at Marian and guiltily continued to read his book.

Marian was actually impressed with the young man. Everything he’d said had been completely true, and after that, Amy had been much more open to speaking with her.

She had to admit that this boy was a lot like the man who’d driven her sister to suicide, but he had a few qualities that same sister had had. He was honest, for one, and Marian could tell by looking at him that he had a vast capacity for compassion.

Marian sighed, and wondered if this young man had told Amy yet.

But she didn’t have to wonder for long.

. . . . ::: hIs cOnfEssIOn ::: . . . .

The next morning as Amy woke up, she sighed and stretched her arms out. She heard the gate in the fence around the house open and close, and saw Joshua walking back up to the house. He must have been up for a while.

Amy stretched and dressed, and went downstairs for breakfast. The meal was silent, but soon afterwards Amy had started talking with Marian, and they were getting along quite well.

Joshua got up at a pause in the ladies’ talk, and asked Amy if she would walk outside with him for a bit.

Marian and Amy both looked up, and Marian could tell what Joshua was going to tell her about.

As the two walked through the gardens around the house, Amy smiled and wondered if Joshua wanted to talk about something. He was acting strange.

“Miss Amy?”

Amy glanced up at him with a smile. “Yes, Joshua?” She caught herself missing the way he used to speak. He’d had that farm accent when he’d first come to them… it had faded by now almost completely. She missed it.

“Miss Amy, I need to tell you something.” He took her hands in his.

Amy’s eyes widened and the way Joshua was looking at her made her hope.

For a while, Joshua stared at her, and then looked away. But he looked right back at her and said softly, “I love you, Miss Amy. I’ve always loved you and I always will. You are more dear to me than anything.” He looked down. “But you already knew that. You’ve known that since we were both young.”

“O-of course…” Amy looked down as well. “You are my dear big brother, after all…”

Joshua shook his head and put his pointer finger to her nose. “No, you know it’s more than that…”

Amy hadn’t thought she would be hearing this from Joshua; or at least, not this soon. She wasn’t prepared for it.

Before she could say anything, he leaned down and kissed her lightly and quickly on the lips. He smiled down at her and hugged her close for a few moments.

“But that’s why I have to do this, Miss Amy. I’m sorry. I promise to write to you every week.” He took her shoulders in his hands.

The rush of blood to her cheeks vanished at his words. “Write to me? Where are you going?”

He was silent, and let go of her shoulders.

“You’re leaving me?” She took a step closer to him, but he was backing up. He turned around and walked into the house to say goodbye to Marian and get some papers he’d left in there.

Amy stood in the path staring at him, but he walked right past and got into the car without another word.

And just like that, he was gone.

Continue the Story HERE
Posted 8/24/09 , edited 8/24/09
omg and i think its too soon to be coming up wit a name owo
well thats MY opinion..
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20 / F / On thee couch wit...
Posted 8/24/09 , edited 8/24/09
CUTEE. i actually read it and didnt use my 'laterrr' excuse. XDD ME WANT MOREEEEEEE
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26 / F / In my own little...
Posted 8/24/09 , edited 8/24/09
@ Koko-chan :: lol yeah that's what I thought too XD
But I know how the story's going to go .__. I SHOULD BE ABLE TO CME UP WITH A NAME T___T
I feel like a FAILURE XD
lol not really :3

@ Zozo-chan :: OwO THANKS :DD
I'll add more later :3
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22 / F / o-o places =3
Posted 8/24/09 , edited 8/25/09
and hte nscrolled down to comment and saw "AMY!"
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26 / F / In my own little...
Posted 8/25/09 , edited 8/25/09
wow Kinnie, NICE XD
Posted 8/25/09 , edited 8/25/09
o-o..........-SIGH- Nothin to say about Kinnie there
@ stori: WOW XD
Omg would yu kill me if i made a story?
i know im still TRYING to finish I'll Wait. . =w=
BUT i really wanna put this story up before it go poof in meh head,
& ..if i do i might...omg....DARE I SAY IT!?'ll Wa-
impossible RIGHT?! D:
-pats shoulder-
yes....impossible -loses breath- D:
this always happens a new stori comes to mind wen im in tha MIDDLE of another awesome one T_T... or should i just wait until i finished IW THEN put up teh new stori? 0_0
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26 / F / In my own little...
Posted 8/25/09 , edited 8/25/09
Yeah yeah WAIT!!!!
Write it down on paper like you did with Karlie ^^ that way it won't go poof and you can start typing it later once you finish I'll Wait >w<
And thanksies :3 I added another real short section XD
I'm just trying to get everything up so I can put up the REALLY UBER KAWAII PART up >w<
Posted 8/25/09 , edited 8/25/09
@ story BTW: SHWEETT <33 oWo
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28 / M / with Dampé by the...
Posted 8/27/09 , edited 8/28/09
Nice new story get it huh get it. You called it the No Name Story and then I said Nice New Story ahaha I'm so punny >:D but yeah I have a title that might work with this story. But that's only if you want one that is XD
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26 / F / In my own little...
Posted 8/27/09 , edited 8/28/09
lol XD
and suggestions for titles are ALWAYS welcomed :3
OOOOOOHH I should put up the first section thingy of Part Deux >w<
Posted 8/28/09 , edited 8/29/09
Okayy so i havent been catching up, i dont even wanna see how many chaps you've written and where i stopped readin last XD
but i randomly got like an idea for teh story name?

'A Child's Love?' or, 'A Child's Only Love'
Since she IS a lil kid and she falls in love wiff Joshua right??

What happens when a Young Girl's Heart is broken by the only Man she could ever Love?

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26 / F / In my own little...
Posted 8/28/09 , edited 8/29/09
Well DUH she falls in love with Joshua XD
It's so obvious that's what's going to happen right? XD

And awww D:
You should read them They're not that long at ALL O____O

But heheh ^^' Sorry but that title doesn't really fit ^^'
Since, you see, she GROWS XD
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26 / F / In my own little...
Posted 8/28/09 , edited 8/29/09
lol I took out that whole WHAT HAPPENS WHEN blah blah thing XD
It gives off too much of a foreboding air D:
The story won't be THAT bad ^^'
Might still end sad though D: Or bittersweet at least .__.
Posted 8/30/09 , edited 8/30/09
I actually read everything
& awww so sad she committed suicide T____T
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