As the Valleysons commenced down Memory Lane, they watched as Ms. Lucas made room on the pew for Dr. Hopper.
“You’re a genius” Abel snickered.
“Who, me?” Marie grinned. “As far as I know, it’s all part of God’s plan” Abel winked. “...and maybe a little matchmaking...?”
Marie squinted her nose and both giggled.
“Well it’s a blessing to know that our son is being used to bring two souls together again.”
He wiggled his eyebrows at her- to which she swatted his arm- painfully.
As the two fussed, Connor moved his head from the bottle and whimpered.
“Here you go” Ruby smiled, putting the bottle down and shifting the baby to her shoulder.
“Here, Sugar- you’re going to need this” Teresa smiled.
“If I know anything about my grandson he knows how to clear his stomach and his lungs”
Her wide eyes and pursed lips caused both Archie and Ruby to chuckle.
“He is a handsome little fellow” Archie smiled.
Both Archie and Ruby looked up as the pastor came into the sanctuary. They both wondered for a moment how all three seemed to come and go as if out of thin air.
Abel nodded at Ruby and shook hands with Archie as he stood up.
“I’m sorry about that” the pastor said.
“That’s alright... I wanted to thank you for your help… if you’ll excuse me… I have to go now…”
As Archie thanked the pastor and left, Ruby, upon Archie’s leaving handed the sleeping baby to Marie and left without a word.
She didn't mean to feel hurt, but it stung that Archie didn't think to say goodbye.
Teresa shook her head, frowning in sympathy.
They all had a long day ahead...
Around in eleven in the morning, Juniper Cricket was sitting in a booth at Granny's Diner waiting for Henry Mills.
Juniper frowned. Henry was late...very late. they had planned to meet up at Granny’s to talk about formulating a plan...
Just how could they make Archie and Ruby fall in love with each other. that might be enough to break the curse that was over the town?
Juniper did not realize that things were much more complicated than that.
Her Uncle James and Aunt Snow were in the middle of a mess, and things were just beginning...
Juniper thought long and hard about what to do, and looked around.
Grandpa Rumpelstiltskin was nowhere in sight. He had returned to the farm to continue helping with his chores. He would return for Juniper later that day.
Around the diner, Great Grandma Lois was busy wiping down tables and taking orders from various customers.
Ms. Ruby, as Juniper suspected that the scantily clad young woman was indeed her mother, was taking orders from customers, chatting, laughing, and what Henry had referred to as flirting with the male customers.
The child observed that every time a male customer left, he would leave green paper and pence behind.
Ms. Ruby would grin, and count the money, putting it on her person, while some other money she would take to Great Grandma who would take it somewhere else.
Watching the young lady was fun for a time, but watching her flirt with other men caused Juniper’s stomach to flip uncomfortably.
Things here are not the same as they are back home. she thought to herself. Mama and Papa don’t know each other, or at least they are not united...
Confused, Juniper shook her head, trying to rid her burning eyes of the tears concerning her parents’ fates; she just didn’t understand...
From the cash register, Lois looked over at the table where the little girl Juniper was sitting.
She was an odd one, Lois thought, always so prim and proper, even for a seven-year-old. it was as if she had wisdom beyond her years.
Lois shrugged, nothing was wrong with her, it was just odd that she wasn’t running around with other kids her age. it was as if she were waiting for something to happen...
Well, as far as her grandfather was concerned, Roger Bracings wasn’t due back from Hoggit’s farm until sundown.
Lois had put the man’s mind at ease, insisting that he leave Juniper in hers and Ruby’s care.
Lois snorted at the expense of her granddaughter. At this rate, Juniper would be better off taking care of Ruby, rather than vice versa, then maybe Ruby would learn some sense.
She continued to keep an eye on Juniper until Ruby walked over.
“Come along now, Lana when your father gets here, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble young lady...playing with a little black girl, locked up in an asylum. Why I never... if your father knew what was good for you he’d lock you up too...are you even listening to me?!”
The little girl known as Lana looked long and deep into Juniper’s eyes, who smiled right back at her, nodding regally.
The corner of Lana’s mouth turned up as she turned her gaze back to her aunt.
“Yes, Aunt Matilda...anything you say...”
Juniper grinned her head off. To rid her Highness of that no good witch would be the least anyone could do...
Lois smirked and shook her head as she watched Matilda Wench walk away dragging her niece Lana with her.
As she and Ruby looked over at Juniper, Lois Lucas smiled one of her rare smiles.
“She looks bored” she commented about Juniper. Ruby shrugged, not really in the mood for conversation, especially since a certain Psychologist blew her off.
“So, what do you want me to do? I can’t babysit and work at the same time!” Granny bit back her reply about Ruby hardly working at all.
“Well, why don’t you try and have her work with you… have her reset the tables or something.”
Ruby pursed her lips and gave the idea some thought. That wouldn’t be such a bad idea…
She walked over to the table and sat across from the little girl.
“Hey… looking for something to do?” she asked.
Blushing slightly, the child nodded her head. Then suddenly her whole face lit up at the next customer who entered the diner.
Ruby turned around wondering whom it was who had inspired the attitude… and frowned.
Archie Hopper, of course. She should have known he’d be back…
“Hey… let’s get going.”
Juniper, finding it hard to tear her eyes away from Archie, nodded slowly and turned to follow Ruby.
Perhaps she could fetch her papa some blackberry cobbler…?
Her face lit up with a grin at the thought and hurried faster to find Ruby.
Lois had noticed the whole exchange while taking the doctor’s lunch order to go… hmm… so Archie Hopper had an admirer…
She chuckled a bit and returned to work.
“Here… put this on” Ruby said, handing the little girl an apron.
Juniper tried to put it on, but it was too big.
“Hmm…” Ruby hummed, trying not to laugh. The apron went down to the girl’s ankles.
Then Ruby had an idea.
Back in the storeroom was an old doll that she’d had as a kid.
The doll was one of those life-sized ones dressed in an old fashioned dress and white apron- almost like Gretel from Hansel and Gretel.
“Try this one on… it might fit better”
The girl put on the apron, which fit like a glove. It had frills and lace on the sides and ends, just her size and style.
“Thank you” Juniper said shyly. She hugged Ruby carefully trying not to break her glasses.
Ruby was a little startled.
“Oh, um you’re welcome… come on… we gotta get back”
Juniper skipped and twirled in her apron, her black curls bouncing along with her and the sight tugged at Ruby’s heartstrings, wanting to make her cry for some reason.
I wish I had a little girl like her she thought.…