She was only nine years old, but already she was a fierce and stubborn thing.
There wasn’t an order she wouldn’t question, or a point she wouldn’t argue. She had an opinion on everything from religion to oranges, and was as much in love with her books as her horse.
There were times he felt a pang of guilt eating a hole in his chest, when he remembered his first thoughts the morning she’d been born. The pregnancy had been a difficult one, and the doctors had warned Maria to make this her first and last. The labor had been no different.
While Maria sweated and screamed, he had fretted and chewed his nails. And when she held their baby up to him with tears of suffered pain and happiness in her eyes, he had wondered:
Why couldn’t it be a girl?
His name would end with this child, and…
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