42. Chapter 41 - April 1428
She heard the clip-clop of a pony coming up the rode. She frowned when she saw it was Uncle Pippin. He waved to them. She turned away. She’d tried her best to do what her dad said. She spoke nicely to Uncle Pippin when she had to, at parties and meals. But she was still mad at him. Not that it mattered. Her family seemed to see him less and less anyway. He didn’t seem to want to be her dad’s friend anymore either, but for some reason, her dad was still always happy to see him.
Pippin put his pony in the stable then came over to them. “Berilac came and told me the baby was coming,” he said. “How’s she doing?”
“All right, I suppose,” said Merry. “Estella’s mum said she thought this one would be quick.”
Pippin rubbed Theoden’s curls. “Hello, Theo!” he said. “Are you excited about the new baby?”
“I’m going to get a brother!” said Theo happily.
Or sister... I hope, Ivy thought.
“How about you, Ivy?” he asked her.
She shrugged. “I suppose.”
“Ivy’s been a big help to Estella,” her father said. “She’s been taking care of Theo and she’s even learning to cook.”
“That’s great, Ivy,” said Pippin.
She shrugged again. Why wouldn’t he leave her alone?
She heard a baby cry and looked towards the house. Uncle Pippin pulled her dad to his feet and clapped him on the shoulder.
Soon her gran was at the door, waving to them.
“Granny!” Theo shouted. Ivy grabbed Theo’s hand as they all hurried to the house to meet the new addition.
They had to wait in the hall for a while so her father could go in first. Theo was racing up and down the hallway, giggling, letting out his pent up excitement. She leaned against the wall on the opposite side of the door from Uncle Pippin, keeping her eyes on her feet. He cleared his throat a few times, like he wanted to say something. She finally risked a look up at him.
“Ivy...” he started, but then the door opened.
Estella was tucked into bed, looking tired and sweaty, but she was smiling. Ivy’s father was standing next to her, holding the baby, a big grin on his face. He came over to them and knelt down.
“Here’s your new brother!” he said.
“A brother! A brother!” Theo sang, skipping around their father, too excited to actually look at the baby.
Ivy just leaned forward to look at the little face and sighed. Another brother. He was kind of cute, though.
“So what’s his name?” asked Uncle Pippin.
“Eomer,” her father said, smiling at the baby quite proudly.
Uncle Pippin laughed. “You’re going to have your own eored, I see.”
“I owe a lot to them,” said her father. “Rohan will always be a part of me.”
Ivy smiled. Rohan was a part of her, too. She looked over at Estella and caught her wiping tears away. She wondered why Estella was sad.
Ivy kept her eyes on the dishes in the basin. “Hello,” she said. She thought Uncle Pippin was out in the stables with her father. She’d never heard them come back in.
“So, your dad says you can ride up to Freddy’s farm by yourself now.”
“Yes,” she replied.
“That’s great.” He paused for a moment. “Have you told him you know how to jump yet?”
Ivy sighed. “He found out about that a long time ago.” Uncle Pippin would have known that if he had still been her friend.
“Oh,” he said.
They stood in silence for a while longer, the only sound the sloshing of water as Ivy washed the dishes. Then Pippin sighed and came to stand next to her. “I wish you’d talk to me, Ivy.”
“I am talking to you,” she said. She wiped a dish and set it on the towel to dry. “But I am busy right now. I have to help Estella.” She looked up at him. “I guess I have to start being a grown up, too,” she said coldly. She turned back to the dishes.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I know you’re disappointed that I can’t spend time with you, but you have to understand--”
“I understand,” Ivy said. She’d treat Uncle Pippin no different than any other grown up relative she rarely saw. She wouldn’t ask him about swords or horses or anything ever again. “I need to get these done. The Gamgees will be here soon to see the baby.”
“All right, Ivy,” he said.
She listened as his footsteps left the kitchen, then she wiped her suddenly sniffly nose on her sleeve. If anyone came in, she’d blame her sniffles on the steamy wash water.
They wouldn’t be able to go to Rohan this summer, because of Eomer’s birth, but Ivy really didn’t want to leave anyway. She actually liked having a baby around again. Even if he wasn’t a sister. Eomer was a very quiet baby, nothing like Theo. Theo had yelled over everything. But Eomer only fussed a little if he was hungry or wet. She was big enough that she could even change his diaper all by herself now! Though, the fun of that wore off fairly quickly.
To make up for not going to Rohan, Ivy was allowed to write the letter to her mother with the news of her new brother. She was very proud of that.
I am well. I have a new brother. His name is Eomer. We both have a brother named Eomer now! Can you tell everyone?
I’m sorry we couldn’t come to Rohan this year, but Dad said we needed to stay and help Estella. Two little brothers are a lot of work!
Elanor is going to come stay with me for a while this summer. Dad’s going to teach us how to swim! I can’t wait for her to come. I miss her. They came to see Eomer after he was born, but it’s hard for our families to visit now when we have to bring babies with us. Elanor has a little sister and two little brothers. They named her new brother after Dad!
I hope I can see you next summer!
Dad and Estella say hello. So does Uncle Sam and Aunt Rosie. I don’t know if Uncle Pippin does. I don’t see him much.
I love you,
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