Darcy as he had last seen her filled his mind. Her long, dark hair was held back in two ponytails. She wore her favorite green sweatshirt with the roaring lion on it, and scurried through the swinging door into the kitchen, carrying a tub of dirty dishes almost too heavy for her. Roger had hurried forward to help, and they laughed as they stumbled over to the huge sink to put the tub down.
"Thanks. Rescued me again," Darcy had said with a breathless laugh. Then her smile had faded. "I wish you'd stay, Roger."
"So do I, baby doll."
"I'm not a baby," she had said with a sigh -- and a flicker of humor in her eyes. "I'm nearly twenty. I can vote. I can drive. I can drink, if I didn't think Dad would paddle my rear end red for it. I can go three rounds with you before losing my sword."
"I'm the best swordsman in England," he had interrupted, deliberately thickening the Cornwall accent he had worked three decades to lose.
"I am not a little girl."
"Sweetheart, compared to me, you're still in diapers." He had given in to his longing then and brushed a loose strand of hair back behind her ear. Roger looked away, knowing if he continued looking into Darcy's wide brown eyes, he would drown in them and say or do something they would all regret. "When you finish growing up, you'll understand why I had to leave. Promise."
"You'll come back?"
"The others promised, and now they don't even write anymore," she had said with a sniff, her pretty mouth twisting into a momentary pout.