One month later....
"C'mon, Sheba girl, you can do it!"
Sheba gasped and held Ezra's hand and James' hand as Martha helped her stay in position. The baby was on the way, and Ezra had insisted on being there with her.
"Just a little longer, child," said Martha, "You are a little early."
A sharp pain stabbed Sheba, and she cried out.
"Something is wrong!" cried Martha, "You shouldn't be bleeding like this!" She was alarmed. "James! Ezra! Get water! Heat half of it up...." As Martha handed out orders, Sheba prayed as hard as she could. God, please let this child live, and if you will, spare my life as well.
Beads of sweat formed on her forehead and she smiled. She couldn't wait to meet this new child.
"Sheba," said Martha quietly, "We aren't done yet. Push!" She gripped the side of a table and five minutes later she was holding her baby girl, Arabelle Grace.
"She's gorgeous!" cried Martha, taking a closer look, "James! Ezra! Come see this little beauty!" Ezra peered at the squirming child and held Sheba's hand.
"She looks like our Mama," he whispered.
"Why do you think they share the same name?"
James held Arabelle and just couldn't speak. He seemed so full of pride. "She is..... so beautiful...." He breathed. Sheba took his hand.
"Of coarse she is!" She told him, "She's your daughter!"
Martha bathed the child and fretted over Sheba until Sheba laughed when she offered to stay for a few days.
"Mrs Washington," She said, "You are so kind as to worry over me, but I think I can handle it. I have Ezra to help."
"That boy can't even wash a pot properly!" Exclaimed Martha.
Ezra laughed. "She may have a point there!"
Martha handed her Arabelle, and the child smiled so beautifully that she could've been mistaken for an angel. "What a beauty!" whispered Sheba. She could tell that this one would be an example for any sisters that she may have. Sheba held the child close until she drifted off to sleep.
When she awoke, everyone was gone. She looked over and saw Arabelle sleeping peacefully in her bed. Her lips were as red as a rose, and her hair as black as night. Sheba smiled. The child resembled Snow White!
Sheba felt strong enough to stand, so she rose and went into the kitchen, where friendly faces greeted her. The boys rushed over to her and hugged her legs. "Mama!" They all all sang out. Sheba sat down at the table and James fetched Arabelle.
"We are expected to have a visitor later today," he said as he returned, "And I said that he may stay with us."
"For how long?"
"I don't know. However long he needs to."
"I do hope it isn't William Yanks from the Rebel Army."
"No, of coarse not!"
"You'll just have to wait and see."
At that very moment there was a knock on the door. "Well, they must be a bit early," said James, seeing to the guest. Sheba didn't stay to see who it was, for even though she was burning with curiosity she was still very weak. She went back to her room and propped herself up with pillows. "She's in here," she heard James say.
Suddenly she was being hugged by a bouncy 14 year old. "Sheba! Sheba! Oh, how I've missed you!"
Sheba laughed. "Ollie! I missed you too!"
The little red headed boy she remembered was now a bit taller with a deeper voice. He had grown in their absence.
"How is Larksong?" Asked Sheba. Ollie's face fell.
"That is why I am here."
"Why didn't you come just cause you missed us?" asked Sheba playfully. Strangely, Ollie did not share in her joy.
"We lost Larksong to Yellow Fever a few days ago. She had adopted me, and when she died there was no one who would take me, so I came here. I just need to stay for a little while until I find work."
"Don't be silly, Oliver," said Sheba, putting on a brave face but dying inside, "You can stay with us for as long as you want to."
She hugged him. "Of coarse."
When he had finished talking and held Arabelle for a while, he went out and played with the triplets. When she was alone, Sheba finally mourned for her lost friend. She was such a sweet girl, always full of joy and brimming with love. She always took on the world no matter how much it pressed upon her shoulders.
"Oh, Larksong!" she moaned, "There is no deeper pain than losing someone you love!"
Ezra came in and lowered his scarred body onto the bed beside her. "Is this how you felt when you thought you lost me?" he asked.
"Yes, it is. You never know pain until you lose a friend."
"That Indian was close to you?"
"How do you know who she is?"
"I talked to James, and he showed me a sketch he did of her."
Sheba wiped away a tear. "I left her a few months after my wedding. I thought I would see her again...."
Her face reddened as she thought of all the pain her friend must have gone through. Sickness was evil. It was horrid!
"Why does life deal such things?" Sheba asked herself. She thought of Lafayette. He was married, but young. He also had two daughters. Even though he had many other responsibilities, he had taken time to comfort Sheba through her pain. He was so kind to her, she wished she could have paid him back.
"Lafayette is out fighting, Larksong is gone, the men I knew in the army are spread out, Mama and Father are gone, and I am left alone!" She cried mournfully, "I just feel so lonely!"
Ezra put his arm around her. "Don't worry, sister," he said kindly, "Maybe some friends will show up."
"Thank God Ollie came here. I would have felt even worse.
"Sometimes, I wish I could start over and go back to the battle field. There were so many things I could have changed, so many lives to save..."
She became lost in thought until Ezra shook her out of it. "I worry about you, Sheba," He said, "Maybe you should go visit someone."
"Who?!" Sheba exclaimed, "Who do I visit with? There is no one!"
"Maybe you should pray." His answer hit her like a rock. "You're right, Ezra," she said, "He is the friend of all friends. I'll do just that."
"I knew you'd come around, Sheba girl," said Ezra smiling, "I'll just leave you two alone."
Sheba waved him away and bowed her head. "God," she prayed, "Sometimes I don't know what to do. It feels as if everyone I know is gone! Please send someone, for you are the comforter, and you send comfort. So please, give me a friend. And tell Larksong that she was right. It is hard, but a good friend will be with me all the way."
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