"Anya! Hold on tightly to Chelsea's hand!"
The five year old laughed in reply to her mother's call, her small hand holding tightly to her "cousin's" hand.
"Ok, Mama!" She cried as she started to run across the field of flowers. Her black curls framed a round face, her large, dark brown eyes searching for telltale signs of the butterflies that usually fluttered in this field so high up on Mother's Hill.
The four year old girl that held onto her hand ran to keep up with her, her light brown hair bouncing with each step. Her large, deep blue eyes were searching the field as well before looking to the older girl, looking to her for guidance. Anya was careful as she held Chelsea's hand close to her, the shore of the lake was drawing nearer and it was so beautiful…
Anya stopped in the middle of the field of and kneeled down amongst the white and yellow flowers, her smile bright and innocent. Chelsea kneeled down beside her and reached out to pluck a yellow flower, her chubby little fingers holding the blossom with all the care in the world. The dark haired girl watched her cousin, still holding firmly onto her hand as the four year old giggled softly at the feel of the flower's petals against her cheek. Anya leaned forward and tickled Chelsea; the younger girl laughed and pushed her cousin's hand away, her deep blue eyes sparkling with happiness.
Anya smiled at Chelsea before glancing back to where her mother and her Aunt Claire stood on the edge of the field, watching them. Her mother was holding her two year old brother, Trevor, whose head of dark hair was nestled within their mother's neck. Mama was talking with Aunt Claire, who was laughing at whatever her mother had said, her light blue eyes squinting slightly from the large smile that touched her lips. Her long blond hair was set in a braid, her arms folded across the jean overalls that she always wore.
Today was their day to visit Mother's Hill, the sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Anya loved the spring, it was never too cold or too hot, the sight of the flowers and trees just beginning to bloom was just wonderful. Aunt Claire's farm would begin to grow the spring crops, turnips and potatoes filling the large field. It was even more fun on the farm since Mason, Mama's dog, had become father to puppies recently. The mother had been a sweet little yellow lab that belonged to fisherman who had been passing through Mineral Town for the winter. The fisherman had been very sweet and allowed her to keep one of the puppies, a little girl puppy she had named Fawn. It had been the best spring ever…
Anya sighed sweetly as she watched Chelsea get up to gather some more flowers, a bouquet of yellow and white blossoms that would be matching the others she had given her father. Uncle Gray loved his baby girl more than anything and Anya knew he never tired of the gifts that Chelsea gave her father.
She stood up to follow her cousin, her dark brown eyes watching her every move. She glanced back every so often to make sure that they did stray too far from their mothers before she continued on to follow Chelsea. They moved along the field, the sight of the lake drawing ever closer, before a strange figure in the distance caught their eye.
It was an older boy, who looked to be ten years of age, standing on the shore of the lake. His silver hair was blowing in the rising breeze and he looked somewhat sad. Chelsea had stopped in surprise, her small hands filled with flowers. Her deep blue eyes looked at the boy before glancing up at her cousin. "Anya… who that?"
Anya reached out to wrap a small arm around Chelsea's tiny shoulders, her dark brown eyes studying the older boy. "Dunno…" She said, a gentle frown touching her face. She glanced down at her cousin and smiled before she gently went to grab her hand.
Chelsea moved her flowers to one hand, taking Anya's hand with all the trust a four year old could feel for an older "sibling." They walked over to the silver haired boy, their small steps quiet and unsure. It wasn't until they were directly behind the boy that Chelsea let loose a very energetic hello, startling the older boy from his quiet trance.
He jumped in surprise and looked behind him, catching sight of the two young girls who stared at him, their small mouths forming gentle smiles. A gentle frown touched his face as he studied them, a single violet eye visible beneath the large, black cowboy hat that he wore. It seemed just too big for his head but he either didn't notice or didn't care.
They stood in silence for sometime before Chelsea pulled out a white blossom from her bouquet and held it out to the boy. "Here!"
The boy blinked in reply, staring at the four year old in surprise before the frown on his face softened just a bit. He moved to the younger girl and took the flower, "Thanks…"
"What's your name?" Anya asked, her smile growing as she studied the older boy. She liked his hair, it reminded her of Uncle Skye's.
The older boy glanced at the five year old, her dark brown eyes catching him slightly off guard. She was watching him, her large eyes displaying nothing more than curiosity. "… Vaughn…" He said after a moment, his violet eyes studying the young girl. She resembled both of her parents, the black curls and dark brown eyes creating a mix that was very sweet. He looked to the younger of the two girls, the light brown hair and deep blue eyes a dead giveaway as to whose child she was. He looked across the field and spotted their mothers standing on the edge, deep in conversation. He wanted to talk to them, to ask them about his father… His memories of his father were vague but he knew that his father, Vance, had loved this little town for all it was. Why that was, Vaughn did not know…
He closed his eyes, his hand holding the tiny flower gently as he took in a breath. "What are your names?"
Anya giggled softly, a gentle sound that was similar to her mother's. "I'm Anya and this is Chelsea." She pulled the younger girl closer to her, the obvious love between the two of them revealing that they had grown along side one another all of their young lives.
Vaughn smiled at them and gave a nod, his silver hair hiding his eyes from view. "Chelsea and Anya…" He sighed and tucked the flower away in his pocket, a simple keepsake of the town his father loved. "You should get back to your moms; you don't want them to worry…"
The smile on Anya's face faded somewhat, her dark brown eyes studying him with what seemed to be concern. "You're sad…" She said, her hold on Chelsea loosening just a bit as she moved closer to the older boy. "Why are you so sad?"
Vaughn blinked in surprise, his violet gaze taking in the sight of the five year old. She looked concerned, a sweet innocence that touched him in a way that he did not like. He looked away and glanced at the lake, reaching up to pull the brim of his large, black cowboy hat down over his face. "It's nothing… You should go…"
"Where's your mom?" Anya asked, ignoring the boy's request to be left alone. "Or your dad?"
The sudden frown that touched the older boy's face told the young girl that something was wrong, something that had to do with his parents. Where were they? Vaughn turned away from the young girls and walked away, his footsteps pulling him back to the main road that led back to Mineral Town.
He did not look back at the girls, did not look at their mothers, who recognized him and watched him with sad looks on their faces. He did not want to think about the fact that his father was gone now… He did not want to think of what he was going to do now that he had no one. People had offered to help him, the young girl's mothers included. They were more than happy to take in Vance's son but he wanted nothing to do with this small town… too many memories…
His father had a good friend that lived in a small town across the ocean, a lady named Mirabelle. She had offered him a place to call home and it was far enough away from this town and the neighboring valley… His boat was going to be leaving soon; he had to hurry to the dock before he would be stuck in this little town for another day…
Anya stared at the older boy as he walked off, his form disappearing in the bend of the road. Her heart ached for him, he had been so sad… She felt a hand tug hers and she looked at Chelsea, her frown easing as the younger girl held up her flowers. "Anya, Daddy will like these?"
Anya laughed a little and gave a nod, taking the girl's hand. "Yeah, Uncle Gray will love them…"
The two young girls began to walk back across the field to where their mothers waited, the spring sun shining pleasantly down upon the small field. In the distance, Vaughn had paused and glanced back at the field, catching sight of the heads of dark curls and straight, light brown hair that belonged to the girls. He watched as their mothers greeted them, the toddler in the arms of Anya's mom stirring lightly from the sudden shift of position.
The family looked so happy… it was something that he could never be a part of… He turned his back on the sight and continued to walk, making his way down the mountain path and disappearing from view…