an original fiction
This drabble was inspired by this photo I found on Pinterest. In the short story, Brandon spends a rainy Saturday with his daughter, Bailey, while they wait for Mom to return from yoga class.
Warning: Fluff, divorced/blended families, parenting
Word Count: 1361
“It’s raining again,” she complains, resting her head on her chin and slowly lifting her spoon to her pouty little mouth. The milk dribbles over the side and dots the formica counter.
“I know; another rainy Saturday,” her father replies, pushing away from the counter to get the bread from the toaster. “What should we do today?” He asks, wiping the toast crumbs on his gym shorts. Scratching his chest through his t-shirt his mood quickly drops to match hers. Sighing deeply, he tries to turn it around for the both of them. “Let’s do something fun; whatdya say?”
Languidly, she drops her spoon into her bowl. “It’s no fun when Steven goes to his other family. I can’t do what I want if he’s not here.”
Being the baby of a hers/mine and ours family must be difficult he thinks to himself. He misses his girls all the time, only seeing them on vacations and in summer. He can’t blame their mother for taking the promotion when it was offered, even though it killed him to know the girls were eight hours away. Steven goes to stay with his biological father every other weekend, and poor little Bailey always stays home. Always stuck with Mom and Dad.
Resting his elbows on the counter, he lowers to her eye level and steals a colorful loop from her cereal bowl, munching on it. “What did you have planned with Steven?”
“It doesn’t matter,” she huffs pushing her bowl to her father. “Can I be done?” He nods and she eyes his toast. “You gonna put jelly on that, Daddy?”
He chuckles, “Would you like me to put jelly on it?” Her smile brightens and she nods. Crossing to the fridge he shows her the strawberry and grape, and she points to the strawberry. She watches with awe as he smears the toast with the thick sticky mess and he hands it to her. “You’re a sneak.” She giggles when he taps the end of her nose. Opening the bag, he makes more toast, prodding her again. “I’m just as fun as Steven. I’ll play whatever you want.”
Her little legs swing back and forth and tap the base of the island. “That’s not it,” she says sadly. “He won’t let me use ‘em when he’s not here. He says I’ll break ‘em.”
Ah. Not a game but a thing. Preparing his toast, he cuts it into squares just like his mother did when he was Bailey’s age. Maybe they should call her and see if she wants to join them for dinner tonight?
Tossing the knife in the sink he says, “If I play with you, Steven can’t get mad, and if whatever it is breaks, we can find a way to fix it. Is it something he hides?” The little eight year old is always worried his “baby sister” will take his things. She nods. “Do you know where?” He chuckles at her wide smile and bright eyes as she nods vigorously, her tangled hair bouncing around her head. “Bailey, I give you permission to go in his room and get whatever it is from the hiding spot and carefully bring it to me. But only ‘cause I said so.”
Hopping down from her chair she quickly bounds across the room and he hears her rushing up the stairs. Cleaning the morning mess and making sure there’s coffee ready when his wife gets back from her morning yoga class he curiously waits for the return of his littlest girl.
The living room looks like a disaster. Pillows and blankets are everywhere. A photo frame on the wall hangs precariously in its spot like it could fall at any moment. Celtic melodies play from the speakers and a dragon perches on top of the couch.
“Hurry to help the villagers,” she shouts, running from the dining room, sword high in her hand. He follows behind her swishing the foam. He wonders if it’s considered ‘swashbuckling’ if he’s a knight and not a pirate. In her commanding voice, she yells, “Kill the beast Sir Knight!”
“Where is it?” He asks, “I’m blinded by the smoke; I can’t see anything.” He shakes his head at her active imagination and holds in his laughter. He’s tried to kill the damn beast five times and each time she says ‘not there!’ Fortunately the ‘forest’ was up in smoke because the dragons breathed fire to call the monster out of hiding. The monster has been running free for over twenty minutes now and he’s exhausted. Not to mention his knees are killing him from crawling through the blanket fort.
Climbing to the top of the table, she spins and twirls and he stands close enough to catch her if she falls. Her crown tumbles to the ground and she waves her sword wildly, jabbing downwards repeatedly. “I KILLED THE BEAST!” she yells at the top of her lungs and he covers his ears as it echoes through the open room. “THE BEAST IS DEAD!”
“Oh, sweet Princess Bailey,” he bows to her. “You saved all the people and didn’t even need my help. You’re truly amazing!”
She rests the sword on his shoulder and bestows him the honor of Best Knight Helper.
“A good royal always needs help,” she proclaims. “Raise your sword to mine as we rejoice the end of the Beast and the beginning of our eternal spring!”
They cross the foam swords in revelry. Where does she get these ideas; this vocabulary? She brushes her hair from her face, her skin flushed and her eyes dancing and she’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. How the hell did he get so lucky to create such an amazing creature? His eyes mist slightly and she narrows hers at him.
“Sir Knight, are you crying for the Beast?” Her tone is incredulous. “He was mean to the villagers and ate them. Why would you cry for him?”
Laughing, he wipes his nose, pinching it and pulling away. “Sweet Princess, I’m not crying for the beast, I’m crying because I am amazed at the lengths you go to in order to care for the townspeople. How do you know such things, oh wise one?”
Resting the tip of her sword by her feet she leans on the hilt. “Everyone knows the Princess learns everything from the Queen.”
Throwing his head back in laughter, he nods and agrees. “Yes, my sweet, you are just like your Mother, the Queen, a fair and just ruler.”
The front door opens and the dog runs into the room, totally ignoring them and running straight to his bowl. Bailey freezes in her spot and waits to see what mood Mother might be in after class. Some days it’s unknown. They both grimace as she grumbles about the mess she can see from the entry.
“Brandon?” she shouts. “Is she on the table again?!”
Reaching his arms out, Bailey jumps into them and he sets her down to the floor gently. “No, of course not, dear. That would be ridiculous and unhygienic.”
Handing her his sword, he pats her bum and Bailey runs off to the back set of stairs to return them to their hiding place.
Still pink-cheeked from her workout his beautiful wife rounds the corner with her hands on her hips. Giggling she replies, “You are the worst liar, you know that, right?”
Pushing the chair back to the table, he steps to her, digging his fingers in the base of her ponytail, inhaling her sweet scent of sweat and baby powder. “I’m shocked and offended. I’m the Best Knight Helper. I don’t tell lies, my Queen.” He nuzzles along her neck and kisses tenderly in the crook above her collarbone.
“Will she need a nap soon?” she whispers.
Biting back a groan, he breathes warmly against her neck, “God, I hope so.”
“Brandon,” she sighs as he nibbles along her outstretched space and his hands start to roam down her arms and across her back.
“Mmm?” he asks lost in sensual thoughts of his desirous wife.
“There are little bitty footprints on the table top.”
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