When Didi and Pat reconnected that sleepless night, and realized the love they felt for each other, they had no idea schemes were afoot. Apparently, in her despair, Didi told Ali that she was in love with a particular longneck who happened to reside in the Great Valley. Then she had to ask the kids about Pat; those little ones confirmed it all. Didi came to the Valley with great apprehension; she thought once her true identity was revealed, her love for Pat would be exposed as well. She feared instant rejection; however, last night, that was not the case. What a relief to learn that the elderly dinosaur had also fallen for the vivacious lady longneck, and he recognized her at once. Didi's real name was Dvora, sister to Littlefoot's mother Thora.
How amazing for Dvora to learn that Pat loved her all along. He, like her, never got up the courage to tell her because of the same reasons – fear of rejection. Last night, under the brilliant gaze of the Dreaming Star, Dvora learned that Pat went his own way after the earthshake. He wasn't one to remain in the same place for long, so he decided not to go the Great Valley as the other dinosaurs. A lifelong bachelor, Pat treasured his freedom, not answering to anyone. That is until he stumbled upon four youngsters on the road to the crater during the Great Longneck Migration. From a distance he watched out for the children, ultimately rescuing Cera who attempted to jump a raging river.
As Dvora listened to tales of stepping into fiery lava, a vicious Sharpteeth attack that nearly ended Pat's and others' lives, she unsuccessfully fought a crying jag.
She couldn't help it, for the tears came fast and hard. Tears of relief and joy, for her deepest fears had been all for naught. Pat actually loved her all these years, and this he confessed last night. Seems he, despite the great age difference, had fallen for the pretty longneck, but he could not bring himself to profess that love. Perhaps that earthshake, he reasoned was a blessing – with Dvora feared dead, he would have to resign himself to live with a forever lost love. This is why he remained on the road all this time; he couldn't deal with losing Dvora. Yet, now, she miraculously reappears, but she has yet to make herself known to the family.
"You know, Dvora," Pat said as the pair watched the Great Circle rise in the eastern sky, "I think Littlefoot's folks already know who you are. But there's something else you should know." Then he told her of a conversation he had with Mr. Thicknose. Word was out that Grandpa and Grandma Longneck had been asking several young males about Didi. Some expressed interest; two actually accepted the elderly couple's invitation to lunch.
Now Dvora knew what was up. "So they've discovered I'm in love with one of the Valley longnecks, and they've taken it upon themselves to play detective. Well, Pat, I have another scoop..."
Seems just before returning to their respective nests for the night, the kids asked Didi if she wouldn't mind Pat joining them for story time. "We can meet in the flowery meadow," suggested Cera innocently. The others said the meadow is very pretty this time of year, and Shorty almost gave it away by adding, "And it's great for–"
Luckily Ali and Ducky shot him a silencing look, but Didi knew the children were up to something.
"I think," she told Pat that night, "they plan not to show up, leaving you and me there alone."
To this Pat laughed, saying, "I wouldn't put it past those young'uns to play matchmaker. You know, they're pretty sharp kids."
"Yes, they don't miss much. But, just to please them, why not go along with their little scheme. We just don't let on that we know."
Hmm...Grandma and Grandpa try to deduce the identity of Didi's secret admirer by inviting a few young gentlemen longnecks to lunch...The kids, under the impression they know who Didi's boyfriend is, decide to bring the pair together via a little deception. However, unbeknownst to all involved, the pair finally found, and declared their love to, each other...This should be interesting...
Add to that Pat's suggestion that he and Dvora keep their relationship under wraps, that is until after Dvora tells Littlefoot the truth. So what if the kinfolk get riled that she kept herself secret all this time. For what it was worth, the knowledge that she and Pat at last found each other was more than they ever dreamed. Both would have to send up prayers of thanks to the Dreaming Star...
Under the shelter of towering trees the merry group gathered, feasting on succulent green tree stars and sweet tender blossoms. The latter served as an occasional treat, reserved for special times. Well, to the elderly couple who hosted this luncheon party, this was a special occasion.
In this group were Grandpa and Grandma Longneck, Bron, The Old One, Didi, Pat, and Ali's mom. Rounding out the guest list were two young longneck males, Uriah and Earl. Of all the eligible longneck bachelors in the Great Valley, these two might be the likely targets of Didi's affections. Grandpa and Grandma had to extra careful not to tip off Didi, so they made sure the conversation did not stray to the obvious. Instead, Grandma casually mentioned that Didi was a storyteller, in which Uriah, a handsome gray-mottled, green-eyed apatosaurus took avid interest.
"A storyteller, eh?," he said in a less than manly voice – the voice was an almost annoying tinny tenor, as if it hadn't quite broken from childhood. "I remember my mother telling stories. That is a rare talent, that is making it sound real."
"And," added Earl, a greenish plain-looking longneck with light blue eyes, "to keep the listeners' attention."
Didi just smiled at the gentlemen longnecks, preferring to focus her attention on the one male sitting at her side. She tried not to let the starry-eyed look seem so obvious, and she wondered if her hosts could detect such. She glanced up at Pat whose eyes registered the same glow. Remembering her manners, and to keep the conversation going, she said, "Oh, Earl, I just learned those stories from my mother. She told them to us–"
"Us?," asked an intrigued Uriah. Now Didi knew she made an unforgivable faux pas – she nearly gave away her true identity. She didn't want to go this way, so she had to come up a believable explanation.
"I meant that our mother told those stories to my siblings and myself. Alas, my siblings are no longer living; I am, in a sense, all that is left of my family." A glimmer of sadness invaded those big brown eyes, and it alarmed her that Bron and Grandpa noticed. So she deftly shifted the subject. Looking at Pat, she said, "You know, our Pat is a wonderful storyteller. Better than me, if truth be known."
Pat just grinned then looked at Didi. His expression was that obvious, and such wasn't lost on Grandma. So, she thought, Didi isn't in love with one of the younger male longnecks; she's in love with Pat. Inviting Earl and Uriah was all for naught. Grandma didn't say anything, and decided not to tell Grandpa, at least not yet.
It then dawned on Grandma that Littlefoot's auntie, just before she made the journey with Thora and Bron, was reluctant to leave her home. This was what Bron told her shortly after he and Thora arrived, right after the earthshake separated the two sisters.
Oh, so that was why Dvora didn't want to leave...She didn't want to leave Pat because she was so desperately in love with him.
Under her breath, Grandma muttered, "And he never knew...until now."
"Did you say something, dear?," asked Grandpa. Grandma just replied, "Oh no, dear. Just thinking out loud."
"Now what we do? They together with your grandparents, Littlefoot. What if they already know each other?"
Petrie, back from a spy mission, flew back to his companions and reported his findings. Looks like Didi and Pat had already met, and they seemed to get along, so said the little flyer after he spied on Grandma and Grandpa Longneck's luncheon party.
"They invite young men longnecks to meet Didi," reported Petrie, "Me think they think Didi in love with one of them."
"But that's not true!," said Ali. "Didi made like she was in love with Pat." She asked Petrie, "Did you listen to what the grownups said?" "Oh sure. They talk about telling stories then Grandma looked at Didi then looked at Pat..."
"And," surmised Littlefoot, "Grandma now knows Didi and Pat love each other. Now what do we do? We can still set them up to meet each other, can we?"
Ducky nodded, "Yep, yep, yep. We can still ask Pat to join us when Didi tells her stories. We can tell them to meet us the flowery meadow, then we do not show up."
Cera agreed, but she was now not sure. "Ducky is right. We can still go ahead with our plan, but what if it backfires?"
"Maybe," said Shorty, "Pat and Didi might have heard about what we're up to."
Littlefoot thought it over. Maybe Shorty was right, that Pat and Didi already know each other. Maybe they met and found that they really like each other. But what about Grandma and Grandpa? They asked Littlefoot what he thought of Didi, and if she mentioned a certain gentleman longneck.
Hmm...Maybe they think she's in love with a younger longneck, but it's really Pat she loves. Oh wow, this is going to be tough.
And there was something else bothering Littlefoot. Whenever he was with Didi, he couldn't help noticing how much she looked like Mom. The same lithe build and big brown eyes, the same kindness and compassion. Even the way she walked and talked was so much like Mom's. She seemed to have known Mr. Thicknose a long time; they always spent much time together and talked of days gone by. Even Cera's dad seemed to have known Didi, but he never said so. Cera only hinted that her dad might have known Didi; when she told him about the lady longneck's stories, Daddy Threehorn got this strange look in his eyes.
Littlefoot then thought of Grandma's stories about Mom's sister, Dvora. All Littlefoot knew was that his mother and Aunt Dvora were very close. When his mom and dad decided to go live with Grandpa and Grandma, they wanted Aunt Dvora to come, too. She almost didn't come, something about not wanting to leave a cherished friend behind. Then that earthshake and the landslide that trapped Dvora on the other side of the mountains. Mom and Dad feared Dvora had died, or maybe was too badly hurt to continue the journey. They, reluctantly, continued without her, thinking she would eventually find her way to them. But she never made it. Grandma said both Bron and Thora grieved so much over Dvora, and they so much wanted her to be there when Littlefoot was born. But things happened...Like Bron going off to find a safer place to live, and the Sharptooth attack, and the big earthshake...
A very confused Littlefoot decided to excuse himself from his company and find his father to get some answers about Didi. Could she really be Aunt Dvora? Maybe she's lost her memory. Maybe she doesn't know who she is. After all, it's been so long since she'd been separated from her family, and she might had been hurt very badly. Yet something still didn't add up: She certainly remembered those stories her mother told – tales heard by Didi and her sister. Tales Littlefoot's own mother told him...
I think Didi is my Aunt Dvora, and she never told me...I gotta find Dad. Maybe he knows what's going on.
Then Littlefoot had another thought. If Didi and Pat finally get together, and they marry, that would make Pat his uncle. What a cool thing to happen. That is, if Didi is really Dvora...
[To Be Continued...Go to Chapter 6]
Copyright © 2005, 2006 by PRP.