The bevy of interactions between the players made Delaney smile warmly, almost as though it was a winter holiday in Maple Glade. So many of them assembled, as though they were still in fact children who had been gathered together for a portrait or an outing. There wasn't much for Delaney to add to any of the questions that Aloise was asking, but she listened intently as the child moved away to address Beatrice.

Grant seemed amused by the whole scenario, and did his best to give the Peregrine girl and odd look for questioning his story. "Is it so hard to believe that I once had baby teeth? Or perhaps you think I look old compared to Lady Beatrice?" Grant put his hands on his hips as though questioning if the girl was trying to insult him. But he smiled, and waived his hand at her dismissively. "I can still eat your weight in cake, little girl. I ain't growing up as fast as you think."

His mother simply rolled his eyes and rubbed Aloise's back. It was something else the child had said that was causing her to look at Grant skeptically, and then turn to the girl. "You mean Rubianne Remington," she asked casually, and could tell by the look on Leigh's face that he believed the conversation was just starting to get good. The Remingtons had been distant neighbors in the Reach, though Patrick had very few dealings with them. "As in, the relation of Dexter Remington? I wasn't aware we knew her," Delaney said, wondering why a member of the Remington clan would be entrusted with Aloise in the absence of the boys.

Grant was about to respond, but Seamus cut him off. "Lady Beatrice," he said over the group, though it was unclear if he was bored of the previous discussion or simply trying to save Grant from a public discourse on his rather unorthodox relationship, "Will no doubt be looking forward to joining you, Little Sprite. As nice as things are back home, not much compares with the shops here in Hebron." He was looking at her again, and he could sense that at least Aloise had noticed. But he didn't immediately brake off his gaze. "It's too bad you couldn't have come for the coronation," he said.

The interest didn't go unnoticed by Delaney, and she tilted her head sideways in a manner that displayed the fact that she was considering something that might not have occurred to her previously. But rather than comment, she let it pass. "No need to worry about that, Seamus. The three of us are going to paint the town so often that Queen Vivienne will be jealous of us," she said with a chuckle. "Just as soon as we settle in here."

Brushing down her skirts, Delaney smiled at Aloise. "I have a little unpacking left to do, child. Why don't you come give me a hand and we will chat some more." None of the boys seemed to object, and Grant gave her a nod of permission. "The bulk of Beatrice's things are still out on top of the carriage. Be a good boy Seamus, and spare Thomas' back by bringing them in for her, would you?"


@Aloise Peregrine @Beatrice Ripley