She was doing it again, Liam thought as he ducked into the kitchen.
His mother was humming atonaly as she stirred the ever simmering soup pot. It’s embarrassing. “Good morning, Mother,” he said politely as he stepped up to the wash basin, “how are you today?”
Isabella stopped humming and smiled at him. “I’m fine. It’s a lovely morning; the roses are beginning to bloom.”
Liam nodded as he splashed water on his face. “I put the milk in the cooling room,” he said as he slicked back his blond hair and binding it with a leather cord, “and Adain will be bringing the eggs soon enough.”
Isabella nodded, “Thank you. You and your brother have been doing a fine job since.” She hesitated.
Liam had no problems filling in the words, since Father left, since the war started, since Kian was drafted. Still, he did feel a touch of pride, because who in their village would have believed that two boys such as him and Adain could keep the farm going with as little help as they’d gotten.
It was no secret, after all, that Farmer Janos from next door wanted Winterlight for his own. Should they prove unable to keep the rent paid there was little doubt what their fate would be. Isabella patted his shoulder, drawing him from his thoughts, “Yes,” she said firmly, “a fine job. I’ve put your bread and butter in the lunch pail, so as soon as Adain brings the eggs you can get on to school.”
“Yes mother,” Aidain replied, wishing again that his plea to be allowed to stay home from school had been granted. There was so much to do on the farm that fitting in school was difficult. They were barely getting past the rent, especially now that there was so little fresh food to be had.