*sobs* No reviews! does that mean nobody likes?!?! LOL!
Sorry this one is so short, I found it hard to write because it was a bit of a 'filler' with nothing much happening. Next chapter more will come to play I promise! Bare with me . For all you avid LMM fans also, the timelines may not exactly match up because I don't have much idea about the Jane/Valancy timelines, and I couldn't bare the thought of 'killing off' some of our favourite characters... so please, stay with me over the coming chapters and I promise that it will all come together in the end . R&R!
Valancy and Barney were enjoying the evening sitting in front of the firelight of their home. 'Little John' was sitting on his fathers lap while Barney was telling him tales. "Oh Barney, isn't he the most darling little thing!" Valancy gushed, admiring her son. Looking around her, Valancy smiled at the picture. Cats in front of the hearth, their dog lying at her feet and their son sitting in Barney's lap, with the baby sleeping close by.
For three years had passed since we last met them and the Blue Castle had changed in many ways. 'Little John' as he was affectionately known was now two years of age. There had been much discussion over his name although Valancy had eventually won out. "I can't win against you Moonlight. You just have to look at me in that little way of yours and I have to agree. So call the lad what you wish, but you can answer all the questions as to how he landed his name." And so 'Little John Foster Redfern' was christened. "I don't see how we can call him anything else, Valancy had argued. For John Foster added a little light to my otherwise dreary days at Elm St. It just suits him so Barney. What a scandal it will cause for not naming him after a prestigious Redfern!"
And a scandal it did cause! How the town talked about the Redfern's baby's name for months! "Must have been Valancy's idea" some would say. "She always did have her nose stuck in those nature books. At least the name is decent, that's what, and not one of those frivolous names going about these days."
The Stirling clan were the most horrified. They could have survived the child not being named after someone on their side of the clan, after all, how could they possibly compete with the Redferns, but to have neither side of the family acknowledged was unheard of. Mrs Frederick thought she would die of shame when she heard what Valancy had named the boy. Uncle Benjamin chuckled to himself and often told the family "Well Doss_ Valancy did name the child after a Redfern really… in a roundabout sort of way." And so, the Stirling clan consoled themselves with this fact, although none of them could really share the truth with outsiders. The Stirlings were many things, but they were not one to break promises!
"Gem" was another little surprise that entered the household soon after Valancy and Barney had returned. Returning late one night from a dance at the Port, Valancy found the tan coloured puppy hiding in their dory. "Barney, we can't just leave him here, all alone out in the cold. Why he'll catch his death!" Without a second thought, Valancy had picked up the pup and was nursing him to her chest. A stronger man than Barney would not have been able to disagree. "Best bring him in then, though Banjo will have something to say about it I'm sure." Barney had said. Good Luck had warmed to the frisky puppy quickly and the two could be regularly seen snuggled up together by the fireplace. Banjo however, would spit and rage at the intruder into his home. One thing was certain; the pup quickly learnt that Banjo's couch was strictly off limits. Valancy and Barney loved watching Banjo's theatrical performances whenever the dog came near. For they also knew in the dead of night that Banjo would come to the sleeping pup and clean his happy face.
And so, the Blue Castle felt complete. "How homely this place feels now. To think I used to return here in the dead of night and find the house a cold and lonesome place. Nobody home to greet me. Now this place is full of warmth, laughter and joy" Barney had said one evening. Little John grew up to his name and spent many days out in the woods with his parents on day adventures and it was evident from an early age that his parents' love for the outdoors had been inherited. He and Gem were growing up to be the best of friends and John could often be seen holding onto the dogs' fur for support as he learnt to take his first steps.
Roaring Abel was now a frequent visitor to the Redfern household, for nowhere could he find a better meal or better company. "The house is awful lonely now that Cissy has gone" he often commented, for he was always a welcome guest at their house. "Always said you could cook a good, hearty meal Valancy!" Roaring Abel complimented. Valancy loved having him around, even in all of his drunken states. Although for the baby's sake, she would no longer allow Roaring Abel near him in his roaring stage. "I'll never close my door to you, but I won't let our boy pick up your colourful language" Valancy had laughed. And henceforth, Roaring Abel had tried to subdue his words "only when the little tacker's around, as I can't be good all the time, and a good blasphemy is good for the soul!"
Old Doc Redfern had accepted his son's invitation for Christmas all those years ago, and each visit he made to the Blue Castle became longer and longer. The spell of the quiet country island was fast winning him over, as well as the warmth he felt while staying with his son and daughter in law. Now, since the arrival of the newest member to the Redfern clan, the Old Doc had simply kept extending his stay. This of course was much to the pleasure of Valancy's family, who held an immeasurable number of dinner parties in his honour.
Cecilia Jane Redfern was the much awaited latest addition to the clan. Her name, this time was one that Barney and Valancy could agree on. "Cissy was such a sweet girl Barney, and after all, if not for her, then I don't know if I ever would have had the courage to leave the clutches of my mother and Cousin Stickles." Barney merely laughed and assented claiming "Always liked Cissy, despite her unfortunate events. She was always good company."
The Stirling clan were of course pleased with the new additions to Valancy's family, although Mrs Frederick was worried for their upbringing. "Why Valancy just swoons over her children like they were the finest creatures on earth. It's indecent that's what! Why the other day, I saw her dancing around her baby's crib!" she exclaimed. When approached by her mother, Valancy merely laughed it off commenting "Why Mother, I'm going to show these children as much love as I possibly can. Decent or not! I want them growing up to be wholesome little people." Mrs Frederick was shocked at her daughters outburst and decided then and there that it was up to her to ensure that her grandchildren had a good, solid, practical upbringing, since it was clear their own mother wasn't going to do it. How Barney allowed his wife to act in such a manner was unfathomable!