“What, Baby?” Gunnilda asked, turning away from the fire with the dreamy expression she often wore lately still on her face.

“Me and Wynn are just going down to my house to get my cat.”

“Oh, no, you are not!” Gunnilda cried. “It’s getting dark, and tonight’s the new moon. You two are staying right here.”

'You two are staying right here.'

“But you said I could have my cat!”

“Then you should have got that cat before supper when Alwy told you, and not waited till it was dark!”

“But we were busy!”

“Busy with play! You’re not going out of this house tonight, and that’s that.”

“What’s what, Gunnie?” Alwy asked as he came into the kitchen to see what the ruckus was about.

'What's what, Gunnie?'

“This girl didn’t get her cat before supper like you told her, and now I just told her that it’s too late.”

“I’ll go get her cat.”

“Oh, no, you will not neither! It’s the new moon, Alwy, and I won’t have you going out there for just a cat! And what else! If she don’t do things when we tell her then I guess she will just learn that sometimes things don’t work out to suit her, that’s what!”

“But you said I could have my cat!” Iylaine wailed.

“But Alwy said you should go before supper! You only hear half of what we say, or what?”

'You only hear half of what we say, or what?'

“Enough hollering,” Alwy said gently. “You’re going to get yourself all upset, Gunnie, and that’s not good for your baby. Baby, you and Wynn just go play with Wynn’s cat and leave Gunnie be.”

“I guess you’re not my Da! I guess if my Da were here, he would get my cat!”

“I guess he would not neither!” Gunnilda laughed. “He don’t like cats!”

“I guess you’re not my Ma neither!” she shrieked, turning back to Gunnilda. “I guess you just think you can be mean and unfair as you want ’cause of your baby, and if I get mad then Alwy comes and says ‘You go away and leave Gunnie be!’”

'I guess you're not my Ma neither!'

“Enough!” Alwy roared, and Iylaine froze. She had never heard Alwy yell like that before. “You go to your room and get dressed for bed. If you’re real quiet maybe you can come out again later.” He moved past her to embrace his wife. “You’re not upset, are you Gunnie?”

“No but I guess I did wake this baby up with all my hollering,” she laughed softly.

“You did? Let me see,” Alwy murmured, running his hand over her belly.

'Let me see.'

Iylaine stomped into the corner, trembling with rage – but no one noticed. They had already forgotten all about her.

Nobody in this house cared about anything besides this baby any more. Bertie still liked her, but he was away. Wynn was not so bad, but she only ever wanted to pretend their dolls were babies. And young Egelric and Bedwig were practically babies themselves. Babies, babies, babies. Iylaine hated babies more than anything.

“I hate you, damn stupid baby,” she hissed through clenched teeth, glaring at Gunnilda’s belly with her smoldering eyes.

She hissed through clenched teeth, glaring at Gunnilda's belly with her smoldering eyes.