/N: A holiday gift for my readers. Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement.
Over the years I have been writing RS fanfiction, there have been many 'little moments' - poignant, serious, lighthearted or simply funny - that have traipsed through my mind. While these little scenes fit within the canon series, there has been no way to legitimately weave them into the current tale.
The Vignettes of Steele Series follow the Steele children as they grow. Thus, as we know now (November 2017), there are three different 'books' in this series:
Vignettes of Steele: Olivia
Vignettes of Steele: Sophia
Vignettes of Steele: Holt
Each chapter of these stories is 1500 words or less: Brief and hopefully enjoyable.
From 11/20 until 12/31/17 I will be adding a Vignette story every day or two. After that, as they strike me.
I hope you enjoy!
And far more importantly - I hope this holiday season finds you each happy and well, and will provide you many happy memories for the years ahead.
January 1991 – Three-years-old
Olivia looked up from where she was playing by herself, to see Laura carrying a child out onto the terrace. Tilting her head in curiosity, she watched as Melina took the other little girl into her arms and sat down with her on a chaise. Curiosity piqued by the presence of another child so close to her age, she skipped across the patio to reach out and tug the little girl's foot.
"Do you wanna play?" Her brow creased when her invite was met with a shake of a head and the other child turning away from her and to Melina. "Why not?"
"Give her a moment, paidi mou," Lina advised, giving a lock of Olivia's hair a fond tug. "Our new friend seems a bit out of sorts."
"Is she sad?" Olivia asked with a tilt of her head. Lina did a mental assessment of the child: the tears wetting her neck and the way she tremored.
"Nai, I believe she is," she confirmed. "And perhaps a bit scared." The thought troubled Olivia, and she scrambled up on chaise to sit on Melina's other side.
"When I'm ascared my Mommy sings to me. Want me to—"
"I… want… my… Mommy," the other little girl keened between sudden, gulping sobs. Melina's arms tightened further around the child, and she clucked against her ear as she rocked her, never noticing when her niece's lower lip began to quiver and her eyes welled.
Across the terrace, all eyes were drawn to the scene playing out on the chaise. Seeing her niece's shoulders and back beginning to heave, Frances stood and rushed across the pavered ground, reaching the chaise as Olivia's first wail broke free. Picking her up, Frances sat down at the end of the chaise, and embraced her closely, while giving Lina a questioning look.
"Livvie, what's wrong, baby?" Frances crooned.
"I maded her cry," Olivia sobbed, while pointing to the other child.
"I do not believe this to be true, Olivia," Lina disagreed, softly.
"Of course, it's not!" Frances agreed emphatically. "Livvie would never do anything that would make someone cry!" Soothing her hands over her little niece's hair, she made an executive decision. Wrapping an arm snug around Olivia's waist, she stood with the raven haired little girl. "Why don't you and I go check on Laurie Beth?" she suggested aloud, thinking a little separation might allow both children to calm.
As a well-seasoned parent, Frances was correct. Distracted by Laurie Beth and her cousin's Barbies, Olivia's tears soon dried up, while on the chaise the unknown little girl eventually plopped a thumb into her mouth and drifted off to sleep. Carefully extracting herself from underneath the child, Lina covered her with a blanket then joined Frances at the nearby dining table where they speculated about who the child might be.
Sometime later, as the party wound down in wake of the guest of honor's absence, Monroe, Jocelyn and their children were preparing to leave and the two adults were saying their good evenings when Olivia slipped past the notice of the adults to go lean against the arm chair of the chaise and look down at the other little girl. The little blonde's green eyes fluttered open, as though aware she was being watched, and she began to suck vigorously on her thumb.
"What's your name?" Olivia asked. The other child blinked but said nary a word. Taking a deep breath and letting it out in a huff of frustration, Livvie's brow furrowed, much as her mother's would. "My name's Olivia," she tried again. "I'm free." She held up three fingers. A pair of green eyes looked around the terrace, spied Lina, before they returned to Olivia.
"I'm Sophie," the other little girl whispered. Olivia climbed up on the chaise and lay down facing Sophie.
"Don't be ascared, Sophie," Livvie told her, just as quietly, reaching out to pat the other girl's arm. "I'll be your friend."
Sophie let out a shuddering breath around her thumb. On the worst of nights, when she'd never been more afraid in her short young life, she'd found a friend and felt a little bit safe.