Another class finished, another farewell given to the students present. Daniela kept a close eye on the children as they scattered, making sure each one was accounted for while they were waiting for or greeted by their parents or guardians. While she had always been careful to monitor her students’ safety, the recent deaths and disappearances had made her especially cautious. No way was she going to let anything bad happen to these children - not under her watch.
As the students and their guardians trickled out of the room - the class had reduced in size the last couple weeks, no doubt because of the current events happening on the island - Dani walked over to Laura. She hadn’t spoken with the woman nearly as much as she wanted to. Life had a habit of getting in the way of things. “Hey Laura,” She greeted with a smile. “How’ve you been?”
Laura hadn’t been out and about much. When she wasn’t sick and bedridden, she was working part time at the bakery in the Marketplace, or busy at home baking things to take around the island to the neighbors and to meet new people. It was out of her comfort zone, but she was adjusting. Because she was determined. But she didn’t want Caitlyn to feel left out, especially now with the changes in their family. So today she reserved all of her time for her daughter. They’d had a special morning together and now Laura watched her little girl dance, smiling softly the entire time.
When Dani approached at the end of class, Laura met her with a smile, handing over a small box. “Hi. I’ve been okay. I brought you some cookies, I hope you like chocolate chip.”
She took the box offered, taking a moment to peek inside. They looked and smelled delicious. “Mmm chocolate chip. My favorite,” Dani commented, her smile widening. “I’m going to have to control myself else this whole box will be gone before the evening is out,” she added with a chuckle. “Is everything going well for you and your family?”
Laura just smiled, her eyes drifting over to Caitlyn who was practicing a few moves from class in the mirror while the adults talked. Looking back to Dani, Laura considered how much to reveal. The last several weeks had been a bit rocky. “Some ups and downs, but we’re managing.” After a moment of hesitation, she made quiet confession. “I would have liked to come visit more often, but I’ve been battling morning sickness.”
Her brows rose in surprise. “Morning sickness? Laura, are you pregnant?” She asked, being sure to keep her voice low so as not to carry. Just because she was willing to tell her about the pregnancy - if that was what it was - didn’t mean she wanted everybody else to know.
She nodded with a small smile. “It’s not exactly the ideal time or place, but I’m grateful still. I’ve wanted another baby for a while now, and I know Cas is excited for the addition.” Her smile faded though, replaced with worry that she tried not to let show. “How have you been?”
Dani smiled brightly. “Congratulations!” She was excited for her friend though she couldn’t help feeling a little concerned. Like Laura said, it wasn’t the ideal time or place considering everything that was happening on the island. Deaths, disappearances, detainments… they were living in uncertain times.
“I’ve been okay,” she answered. The statement was mostly true. She worried about the state of the island and the well-being of its residents, but she was doing her best not to let the fear and worry hinder her. She still came to the Marigold almost daily - it was a haven both for herself and others. Many residents craved stability and the bit of normalcy; she wanted to make sure to offer it.
“Oh, how is April by the way?” It was a bit off topic but it was a question she had been wanting to ask since talking with her. “She hasn’t been by the Marigold lately.”
Laura’s worried expression tightened into a frown. “I was going to ask you the same. A few days ago she said she wanted to try staying in her own place for a night or two. We haven’t seen or heard from her since… I was hoping she was still coming here, she was so happy and excited to dance.”
Curiosity immediately changed to worry. Perhaps it was a bit premature to fear the worst but that is exactly what she did. Daniela had chalked up April’s absence at the Marigold to just being busy so hadn’t been terribly concerned but to hear she hadn’t spoken with the Finns in several days? That was out of character for her. She was close to the family, especially Caitlyn, which made the radio silence all the more worrying. “You don’t think…?” Dani began then paused, not wanting to vocalize what she was thinking. It would make it too real. She offered a different possibility though it wasn’t one she had much belief in. “Maybe, maybe she’s just busy and forgot to come by.”
Laura sighed, glancing to make sure Caitlyn wasn’t eavesdropping before she spoke again. “I hope that is all it is. She seemed like she might be forgetful at times. I’ll ask Cas or Dorian to try to check in on her at her place. I’m sure she’s fine. No one would want to do anything to someone so sweet.”
“You’re right. I’m sure she’s fine,” Dani replied with a hint of an embarrassed chuckle. She was just being paranoid and jumping to conclusions. She didn’t used to be this way. The recent going-ons had done a number on her mental state, it seemed. “If you see her before I do would you let me know?”
“Of course, and you’ll do the same? And… well I’d rather not have Caitlyn know anything is off, I don’t want her to worry.” Laura bit her lip lightly. In the brief time she’d known April, she’d come to think of her as a little girl who needed to be taken care of. Even if she was a grown woman, Laura still felt as protective of her as she was her own family.
Pushing aside the concern for now, she sighed. “How have you been otherwise? I’m glad to see the studio recovered well from last month’s storm.”
Daniela nodded. “Of course. I’ll contact you as soon as I see her.” Her gaze wandered over to Caitlyn for a moment before returning to the girl’s mother. “I understand. It’ll be just between the two of us.” There was no reason to worry the child especially when they weren’t even certain something was amiss.
She smiled. “Yeah, this place managed the storm pretty well. Didn’t have to do a lot of clean-up to get it back in working order. As for me, well.” She shrugged some. “It’s been okay all things considered. Just trying to keep on keeping on as they say. Focusing a lot on this place. We’re coming up on a bunch of holidays so was thinking about hosting some events maybe. I think we could use a bit of levity these days...”
Laura listened carefully as Dani spoke, concern crossing her face when it seemed like she hadn’t been doing well personally. “Are you alright? How are things going with Roman?” She wasn’t a fan of the man, but it seemed that Dani liked him a lot. She hoped he was still making her happy.
"Oh I'm fine," she reassured with a wave of her hand. She hadn't meant to worry her though looking back what she did say could've been concerning. "Nothing to worry about." The question concerning Roman brought a bright smile to her face. "Things are going great. He's been busy lately but we manage to find time to get together."
Glad to see her smile, Laura was happy to hear that things were going well for her. Nodding in understanding, she glanced over to Caitlyn to make sure she was still nearby. “Hopefully you two will have more time together soon. Things move so quickly sometimes, it’s nice to have time to appreciate things with those you love.”
“Yeah, it is.” Her gaze moved past Laura’s shoulder, seemingly focused on nothing as she thumbed the edge of the box idly. She wished she had found more time to be with the ones she loved over the years. She thought about her family every day but she was missing them more these days especially her brother. Dani shook her head slightly, clearing away her thoughts, gaze returning to Laura. “So what do you and Caitlyn have planned after this?”
Laura studied Dani curiously, but didn’t press the issue. Something seemed off, but if the woman didn’t open up to her she would just leave it be. She offered a little shrug accompanied by a smile. “I’m not sure. I’ll let her decide. She did mention something about ice cream sundaes at the diner.”
Dani brightened up a bit. “Mmm Ice cream sundaes. That sounds like a great idea.” She looked over at Caitlyn with a fond smile. “But then I would expect nothing but good ideas from her. I’m sure you’ll have fun whatever she decides.” Dani made sure not to have favorites when it came to her students, but she couldn’t help having a bit more fondness for the Finn daughter.
Laura considered for a moment before bringing up an idea. “Would you like to join us? If you don’t have other plans, that is. I’m sure Caitlyn would love it.” She didn’t mind sharing the time, and it might be nice to focus on something positive for a change.
“Me?” Dani was a bit surprised by the invitation. She considered for a moment. “I don’t have anything planned--” This was her last class of the day and there were others that could manage the Marigold for a while. Her smile grew. “--So, sure, I’d love to come along.”
Laura nodded, waving Caitlyn over to join them. Once she did, she asked her daughter if it was alright, and as expected, she was excited by the prospect of having her dance teacher join them. Smiling, Laura directed Caitlyn to grab her things so they could go, then looked back to Dani. “It’s settled then. We can wait for you outside, if you like.”
She couldn’t help chuckling softly at how excited Caitlyn was. It was a nice feeling. “Okay, I shouldn’t be too long.” There were still a few stragglers but she doubted they would be there long. “Why don’t you go enjoy the good weather?” She suggested. “I’ll be along shortly.”
Laura nodded and moved to the door, taking Caitlyn’s hand when she joined her. “Alright. We’ll see you in a bit.” Caitlyn smiled brightly to Dani and then headed out with her mother.