Family Matters

ch 7 family matters

Family Matters

Chapter 7

By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

In the sequel to Educating Thalia, the lovely Thalia Bareo is trying to grow up, making her own way in the world after losing both men she loved, Professors Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston. The sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago holds down a job as she tries to deal with the real world. She continues her studies and freelances as a consultant for museums around the world. Being Thalia updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Warning: As a whole, this work contains adult content. If you proceed you have agreed that you are willing to see such content. Each chapter will not be coded with individual warnings. The overall story contains no hidden triggers.

If you are new to the series and characters, click here to the beginning of Educating Thalia.

If you are looking for other stories in the sequel, click here for the beginning of Being Thalia

Summary: Chris spends a rainy afternoon with his two favorite women.

Previous Chapter, Warpath

Word Count 1539

2019, Fall Semester

The storm beats against the window but it’s not the tapping rain driving him crazy. Stretched out on the couch and wiggling his feet, Chris tosses his book down on the table, addressing the cause of his annoyance. “Avery, bring me that. You’re done. You’re gonna run down the battery, and then be mad later.” When his daughter chooses to ignore him, he turns to Thalia, leaning against the kitchen counter and silently appeals to her. She smirks at him, and he childishly answers by sticking out his tongue.

His curvy companion claps her hands together, getting the child’s attention. The little blonde head sways in her direction, barely taking her eyes from the gadget that’s held her enraptured for the last hour. “Hey, kiddo! Bring me the phone. I wanna show you something.” Thalia points to the array of goodies laid out on the counter. “You gotta have both hands free to help.”

Chris grimaces, watching the young girl comply and giving no grief when Thalia places the phone on top of the fridge. With the power out for nearly four hours, they’re all becoming a little squirrely. He pretends not to hear Thalia scold the young girl for ignoring him, and he tilts his head thoughtfully when Avery’s sweet voice offers a quiet apology. “It’s okay, ‘Ry, but you need to follow our house rules. No phones all day.”

He and his ex have debated the issue back and forth. Maura insisted the child needed a phone to stay in contact when they’re apart. All the woman does is send Snaps, interrupting his family time. In the habit of ignoring her stepfather, Avery has developed a bad practice of discounting him as well, and responds better to Thalia’s guidance. He sits back at the table, observing his pretty little girl climbing up on the stool next to his lovely girlfriend. The two put their heads together, eyeing the snack foods and whispering together.

Girlfriend? Is she though?

rainy day

He can’t shake the thought. They’ve never made official proclamations about one another, simply falling back into their old ways. After a week or two of sneaking around last spring to keep their frantic lovemaking secret from his impressionable daughter, it just became an unspoken thing. Once Avery was in bed during her visits, they’d climb the stairs together, curl up under the covers, and spend hours reading, talking, watching late night TV… Or making love. Desperately. Madly. Wildly. Like he hadn’t done in ages. Something about her body, her spirit, fixing everything broken inside him… And over a course of a few weeks, her clothes made their way into his closet, her personal items into the bathroom. Just like that, they were a couple again.

Thalia had gained a small amount of notoriety on campus after Joanna Kent was asked to step down from her position. It was revealed that she had been hiding inappropriate relations with students for years, indiscriminate in her choices. Several prominent community leaders were having their old transcripts reviewed, including a well-known Congresswoman. The University was looking into the possibility that grades were traded for sexual favors and keeping quiet. In the wake of the investigation, several couples working on campus came forward, admitting they had begun dating under unsavory conditions. Although they never admitted their prior involvement, Chris and Thalia began dating openly, and no one questioned it.

rainy day 2

Watching the scene in front of him, Chris sighs, not wanting to forget a single moment of their time together, but knowing it won’t last. Thalia’s too much of a free will. Chris has seen it, noticed her moods, the way she shuts down her email when he walks by or how she closely watches travel documentaries, hanging on every word.

It’s not another man calling her, but another place. Another stop on her adventure in life.

He tries not to take it personally that he and Avery can’t be her permanent home, but he knows they can love her and mend her as long as she gives them that chance.

“Come here, Chris, you’re in on this too. If the power isn’t back on by dinner, we may have to call around and see if any restaurants are open, if they have power. But for now, we can have snacks for lunch today.” She points at the old metal pot in front of her. “I need your lighter.”

Standing from the couch, he faces away from her, hiding his ‘oh, shit’ face. He’d been doing his best to keep his clandestine smoking away from the house, usually when he and some of the professors would go for a drink after work. He should have known she’d figured it out. She always figures things out. Regaining his composure, he spins on his heels, and just shrugs. Thalia tilts her head with a lift of her eyebrow, not buying it, and he reaches into his pocket, pulling forth the lighter in question.

“Uh-huh,” she fusses, bumping his shoulder, her dark eyes reminding him she sees everything. “Avery, you pick two things you wanna taste dipped in chocolate while your dad fires up this burner. We’re gonna fondue!”

Chris’s quizzical eyebrow speaks for him. He answers her unspoken words, rolling his eyes. “Yes, I know what fondue is.” He feigns insult, much to the giggles of little Avery. Popping off the top of the sterno can, he looks over the spread. “Potato chips. Where are the potato chips?”

“Oooh,” Thalia stretches out the word, tapping Avery on the back. “Good call! Go get the chips from the drawer for Poppa.”

She follows orders, her pink glitter shoes tapping across the floor as she asks questions about how to fondue. “You mean we’re gonna stab the pineapple and stick it in?”

Thalia continues chopping the fruit Avery requested while Chris drops in the chocolate to melt. Avery returns to her perch atop the stool and reaches for the graham crackers and starts breaking them apart and laying them neatly on a platter. “Well, we don’t have to stab all of it. The cherries have a stem, so you can just dip them in, but careful, Avery, ‘cuz they have a pit.” She dangles a piece of the fruit in question over the little girl’s mouth and she stretches up from the seat to grasp it in her teeth. Cherry juice dribbles down her chin and she hops down to the floor again to run over to the sink to wash up.

Flame lit, Chris wraps one arm around Thalia’s hip, pulling her close and whispering in her ear, “Bet you can tie that stem with your tongue in no time flat.”

“I’ll show you later,” she says, turning to kiss his cheek and hiding her blush from Avery.

“Lia, how come you know this stuff?” the little girl asks, rooted on the stool once more as she lays out more potato chips on the tray.

Chris stirs the chocolate as Thalia tells about visits to her mom’s when she was younger. He’s heard them before, the sad stories of her visits to her mother’s dingy little apartment, with limited heat and scarce resources. She makes the experience sound more fun when she retells it to Avery, but he can read the pain behind her eyes. Giving her shoulder a squeeze, he nuzzles his nose in her hair. Wired from the humidity of the storm, it tickles his cheek as he kisses her shoulder. “I love you, Niña,” he whispers, holding her close. She tilts her head to his, collecting his compassion before Avery distracts her again. “Cheesecake. Do we still have the frozen cheesecake bites in the freezer from the block party?”

“You always know just how to make everything better, don’t you?”

“What was bad? How did Poppa fix anything?” Avery asks Thalia as Chris slides in his socks across the finished floor to the fridge.

His two favorite women continue to chatter on as he uses the flashlight on his phone, digging around in the freezer. “He knows sometimes that talking about my birth mom makes me sad, but you’re a lucky girl! Because your father believes cheesecake fixes everything.”

Avery giggles, the sound reaching across the room.

“It does,” Chris bellows, still searching through labeled packages of frozen items. “Everyone knows that.”

“This fun-do stuff? Will Miss Stacey know how to fix it if the ‘lectricity goes out when she comes to stay with me for a week?”

“When we’re gone for the conference to Toronto next month, I’ll make sure she knows how to fix all your favorite foods,” says Thalia. “And what to do if the power goes out.”

“Will you bring me postcards and a t-shirt too?”

“Canada? We’ll bring back some maple syrup,” Chris calls out, finding the bag he’s been searching for, waving it over his head in victory, just as the overhead lights flicker back on.

“He fixed the power!” Avery cheers. “Oh!” She whines, her bottom lip already starting to quiver. “Does that mean we can’t have our chocolate lunch?”

Chris laughs, humored by their shared love of sweets. Reaching over, he flicks off the lights, returning the room to candlelight and the afternoon gloom of a rainstorm with the people he loves most in the world.

Images from Pinterest

Click for next chapter, Getaway

Copyright © 2019 avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Chasing Winter


The real life couple who inspired my published novel, Chasing Winter, are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary soon! Help them celebrate by downloading their story FREE!
******

Dear Santa,
I think Daddy needs a girlfriend. He needs someone to take care of him. She has to cook and like outdoor stuff. She has to like kids, ‘cause I have a little brother. And she has to be pretty, like the Christmas Princess. I love that movie! I want Daddy’s girlfriend to be nice like the princess and be good to everyone. She can’t be mean, like the Ice Queen!
Oh, and there’s another thing I want. I’ll tell you when I see you at the Christmas Pageant!
Love, Jennifer
Grading the students’ papers, Noel Winter lays the child’s Christmas letter down on her desk and wonders exactly what surprises might be in store this Christmas… Jennifer’s father, Rex Presley, made quite an impression at Parent Conferences. And it had nothing to do with his plaid coat or ruggedly, handsome good looks. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, and his hands full, raising two kids on his own. So why can’t she stop thinking about him?

 

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The novel includes my writer ‘trademarks,’ a strong, sassy female character, a handsome male hero who needs rescuing, humor, fluffy smut, and yes, even a shower scene!

Please download your FREE COPY today!

 

All my readers have been so wonderfully supportive! I’d love to see this novel push to the top of the charts in the next few days! Share the love, spread the news! My gift to you for encouraging me to keep up with my dreams- Chasing Winter for FREE!

Thank you!

Love,

Cass

Lunch Date

1494606262823

Original Fiction

Photo Drabble

by avenger-nerd-mom

Word Count: 897

Tapping on the door gently it falls open unexpectedly.  With the laundry basket balanced on her hip, she hesitantly steps into the room, afraid of what she might find.  As the scent of cologne and stale gym shoes sting her nose, the dog lazily lifts his head.  With a wide yawn, he plops back down on his large graying paws.

Her eyes quickly scan over his body, the scar on his calf from a treehouse fall when he was eight and the birthmark on the side of his thigh.  She smiles at the elastic waistband of his favorite “star wars” boxers, shaking her head.  Still like a little kid…  The muscles across his back are broad and strong, already showing signs of a light summer tan from mowing the lawn.

He may look like a man, but he will always be her little boy.

Placing the clothes from the basket on top of the desk, she rolls her eyes and picks up a few dirty plates and empty soda cans.  Placing them with a muffled clink into the plastic bin, she checks the time on her watch.

“Wake up, sleepyhead!”  She loudly shouts.  He doesn’t even flinch.  “Rise and shine!”  Yanking on the cord for the mini-blinds, light fills the room, highlighting the collection of dust on the shelves.

“Go away,” comes the mumbled sound from under the pillow.

“Can’t, dude,” she says, resting on the end of the bed, patting the dog and scratching his favorite spot on his hindquarters.  “Graduation practice today.  Can’t be late.  I thought you and the guys from the team were meeting for breakfast out on Highway 17?”

Head still hidden under the pillow, he hits his hand around on the mattress top, searching for his phone.  Peeking from under the pillow, his long lashes rest against his cheeks.  One bright blue eye pops open and he looks just like his father did at that age.  After looking at the screen, he drops the phone and thumps his head back down on the bed.  “Shit, I set it wrong.  I’m gonna be late.”

“So why aren’t you moving?”  She asks, scratching the dog under his chin, kicking her feet against the side of the bed.

“We might play ball after breakfast before we have to be at school.  I can shower in the locker room. Five more minutes,” he promises, pulling the blanket over his head to block out the sunlight.

The dog wiggles around, pushing his body against her hand.  Her eyes skate over the trophies, ribbons, books and game cases on the shelves her husband helped him build.  Some of the graphic novels of his youth are mixed in with the classics from his honors English classes.  

His foot hits her thigh.  “Mom, what are you doin’?”

“Nothin’, just sitting here with you; why?

He chuckles.  “I’m in my underwear.  I’m not getting out of bed till you leave.”  Looking at her, he answers her silent stare.  “It’s just weird.”

“Who do you think bought you that underwear?”  She laughs softly, holding back the lump in her throat.  There won’t be many more mornings like this- quiet, just the two of them.  Graduation is Saturday and the whole family is coming to town to see him.  The entire day is all about him, but she’s made one request of her handsome son- when it comes time for photos, there will be no complaints.  She hasn’t said anything to him, in case she can’t follow through, but she’s secretly promised herself for one day she can bury the hatchet and sit with her ex-husband and his new wife.  With their son leaving for Boot Camp in less than ten days, she feels this is a sacrifice she can make.  She wants him to remember that even with anger and distrust, in any situation you can still choose to work things out and get along, even if it’s a stilted truce for a greater good.

Her son and his happiness is her greater good.

Sitting up, he pulls a tshirt from a dirty pile of clothes beside the bed, scooting down and pulling the comforter tighter over his lap.  His strong arms snake around her, holding her close, resting his chin on her shoulder, his patchy scruff against her cheek.

“It’s gonna be okay, Mom.  It’s only ten weeks.”  His words are choked and she tenderly pats his arm.  “I know I don’t know what happens after that, but we can survive anything for seventy days, and you and Dad can come see me for that graduation ceremony too.”  His sighs deeply, his breath tickling her neck.  “You okay?  I can leave you here with Brutus?”

The dog whimpers softly at hearing his name.  With her eyes closed, she holds in her tears, simply nodding her head.  

Tugging the blanket off the bed, he wraps it around his waist, walking to the door.  “Hey, Mom?” he asks, paused at the entry.  “We get done around two, after the reading of the senior wills. Wanna meet for lunch?  Just you and me?”

As he stands truly at the threshold between being a boy and a man, she knows she raised him right, and the world is a better place for having him in it.  Not even bothering to hide her tears, she sniffles and giggles. “Yes.  Yes, I’d like that very much.”

Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom.  All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Changes

ET ch 18 may 3 2017.jpg

Educating Thalia

Chapter 18

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

A collaboration involving Professor Hiddleston and Professor Evans- The two are rivals at a posh New England university and have no idea they both have taken interest in the lovely Thalia Bareo. She’s a grad student with interests in language and history; a sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago.  Story updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Word count: 2173

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, fluffy, angst, parenting, aftermath of divorce

Summary: Chris deals with the demons from his past and puts his foot down. It’s time to make some changes and move forward.

Click here to the introduction of Educating Thalia

Sitting in the driveway, he waits to see if she’ll answer the text.  He meant it when he typed if she didn’t answer by three pm, he’d knock on the front door.  She still has about twelve minutes to respond.

Leaning his head back, he admires the small craftsman cottage in the peaceful neighborhood. The dream house.  Thinking over bittersweet memories, he remembers painstakingly putting in the rose bushes and placing the pavers just so to create the winding walkway.  Looking at his lightly calloused hands he realizes he’s forgotten how much he enjoyed ‘doing things’ with his hands.  Creating something to last.

The door opens and she walks out in a tight jeans and a sweater shawl wrap.  Rolling the window down, he simply says.  “You look good.”

She freezes, obviously stunned by his compliment, before approaching the car tentatively.  Chris reaches over and turns down the radio, noticing the monitor in her hands.  “Wanna sit in here with me where it’s warm?” he offers.

“Chris, you can’t just come by unannounced,” she responds pulling the shawl tighter and looking around to see if anyone is watching.

“Maura, you didn’t answer my phone calls and texts.  She’s my daughter.  I get to see her.”  He grips the steering wheel keeping his temper under control.

“You smell like a bar,” she replies.  “Stale cigarette smoke,” she sniffs.

“Yea. Because I was pissed as hell you didn’t let me get Avery last night.  I’ll admit, I got a little drunk. Stayed with a friend.  Totally sober now… What was the excuse this time?” he asks bitterly.

His ex-wife kicks at the tire of the car.  “Avery had a birthday party at Susie’s house; they were swimming and it would have been bed time after so-”

“So?  I could have taken her there and brought her back to my house.  We’ve been to Mark and Patty’s house a million times.  And a birthday party, Maura?  You’d have had that on the calendar for weeks. You couldn’t give me a heads up, and we could have changed dates?”  He turns off the ignition and gets out of the car.

“What are you doing?” she asks, stepping back.

“Don’t act that way, like I’d hurt you, in case the neighbors are watching.  I’m not playing games.  I’m going inside to see my daughter.”  Chris pushes past her and follows the winding path up the snow covered steps.  He waits for her at the door.  “May I enter my house?”

She runs her hand through her short blonde hair and sighs.  “Of course.”  She tilts her head.  “Do you want to take her tonight?  Can you get her to preschool before eleven tomorrow?”

His heart beats wildly.  Not expecting a sudden show of kindness, he simply nods his head and blinks back his tears.

“Don’t try to trick me with your beautiful lashes there, Professor,” she says as she steps into his space and pushes up his glasses to wipe away a tear clinging to the long black hairs.  He holds her wrist and gently pushes it away.

“You don’t get to console me anymore, Maura.  I’ll find someone else for that…”  The image of just the right person for that flits across his mind, tanned skin and curves, challenging brain and sweetest laugh…  Crossing over the threshold the smell of fresh paint assaults his nose and he cringes.  “You never liked the beige color, did you?” he scoffs.

Shaking her head, she laughs quietly.  “No, I didn’t; the dining room is now the buttercup yellow I always wanted.” Hanging her sweater up, Maura points to the stairs.  “She’s in her room, probably just waking up from her nap.  Just throw some clothes in her back pack; whatever you’ll need for your place.”

She tries to push her body to him again but he ignores her advance and takes the stairs two at a time to reach his little Avery faster.  Quietly entering her room, he watches her sitting in her big girl bed whispering to her dolls and their dog, Tramp.  Her jumbled words don’t make sense to him and again the tears fill his eyes and he sniffs.  Turning around at the sound, she bounces gleefully and claps her hands.  “Oh, Poppa!  Is ‘at really you, or am I dreamin’?”

Chris rushes to her bedside and drops to his knees, wrapping his big strong arms around his favorite little package.  “No, Bug, it’s real.  Poppa’s here.  Momma says you can come stay with me tonight.  Would you like that?”

“Oh yes! Yes, please!” she covers his face with tiny kisses and his face stings from the salty tears of happiness.  “Don’t cry, Poppa, you’ll get my fav’rite shirt wet.”

Maura’s voice sounds from the door.  “She wears it all the time.  Refuses to take it off, Poppa.  You’re gonna have to buy more just so she has one to wear when I have to wash the other.”

Chris looks over his shoulder and smiles to his ex, while she starts gathering a few things to put in an overnight bag.  Pulling back from his little one, he looks at her shirt and laughs as he reads, ‘Daddy’s Favorite Girl” on the front with a kitten wearing a crown.  “I can do that, no problem, Bug.”  She jumps off the bed and lands in his outstretched arms and the dog hops down too, barking and wagging his tail.  “Poppa, Tramp misses you too. Can he come?”

The battle over keeping Tramp had been almost as tiring as deciding the best residency for Avery.  And neither are still fully worked out.  Tramp was their first child, the stray they adopted shortly after they bought the house, long before they even thought of having children.  Chris looks to the pretty blonde hopefully, but the words choke in his throat.

“Fine, you can take the dog too.  He actually goes to the groomer tomorrow.  Can you get him there by noon?”  she smiles.

“I’ll just be your taxi service tomorrow, getting everyone where they need to be,” Chris replies, standing up with Avery still in his arms.  Balancing her on his hip, he reaches down for her favorite doll and blanket, making sure those are along for the evening as well.  Eyeing a sparkly dress in her closet he tells Maura to pack that also.  “I’m taking my girl out for dinner.  We’re gonna dress up fancy.  What do you say to that, Bug?”

“Oh, Poppa!  You’ll be so handsome; I wike it!”  The little girl giggles and blows a raspberry against her father’s cheek, giggling louder when his beard tickles her lips.

Maura leads the way out to the hall, the overnight bag in one hand, and another bag in the other.  “Here’s some more clothes and things I’d already packed for you to keep at your place.  She needs to feel comfortable there too, Chris.”

Chris rolls his eyes.  “She does Maura; she’d even feel more that way if you’d let her stay over on a regular basis, like the court papers say.”

She purses her lips together.  “We go back to the mediator early next month.  Maybe we can get it all figured out by then.  It’s just I worry that-”

Setting her down to the ground, Chris leans down to tell Avery, “Hey, run on downstairs and get some cans of food for Tramp, his leash and put your boots on.  I need to talk to Momma for a few minutes.”

The little girl looks expectantly at her mother, who shakes her head in agreement and the little girl and dog slowly take off down the stairs, grasping the rail tightly in her tiny hands.  As soon as she’s out of earshot, Chris hisses to his ex, “You worry what? I’ll have a string of women in my condo?  Maura, you know that’s not true.  I know why you didn’t want me going to the party for Susie’s birthday yesterday.  You didn’t want me to fuckin’ kill Mark or spill your little secret to Patty- “ The angered man ignores the shock on her face.  “Yeah, I know about that affair too, not just the trainer at the gym… And you forget I work with your friend Brianna, and I know you’ve had three other ‘boyfriends’ since the divorce was final.  You fucked up our marriage.  And instead of respecting me enough to ask out, you decided to screw it into the ground.  One date, Maura.  I’ve had one date in nearly eighteen months as I watched my marriage fall apart and I try to rebuild my life.”

“Chris, I-”

Moving down the stairs, he looks over her shoulder at her stricken face.  “No.  I’m not playing games anymore.  I pay the child support, I pay what you need, but I’m not gonna sit back and let you keep me from Avery.  Or the dog, for that matter.”

“I still love you.”  Her pink lips form a pout he once found beguiling but now it just turns his stomach.

“Well you had a fucked up way of showing it, then didn’t you?” he spits out.  His face red with anger, his hands ball into fists at his sides as she descends the stairs and reaches out to him.  He steps back.  “Stay away, Maura.  Your cute little body can’t fix this.  Share it with someone else.”

The little blonde curls bounce around the corner with three cans of food for Tramp in her hands and he hides away his anger as quickly as it grew.  Opening the coat closet, he pulls down Avery’s puffy purple and blue coat and her warm fuzzy hat while she plops on the floor at his feet to pull on her boots.  Spying an empty store bag, he takes shoes for school the next day and her silver sequined shoes to go with her dress for dinner.  “Avery!  Did you steal these from Cinderella?”

She giggles. “No, silly Poppa!  They went with my dress for Christmas.  Momma got them for me.  It’s not nice to take things that aren’t yours.”

“Hear that Maura.  Even the five year old gets it…”  He zips up the toddler’s coat, seeing the blush of embarrassment rush over his adulterous ex-wife’s face.

Standing back up, he tugs his coat back into place.  “Are my boxes still out in the garage?” he asks.  She nods.  “I’ll get a moving truck later this week.  Be back to get them.  Sorry it’s taken so long.  But I think this little show, and something a friend recently said to me, makes me realize it’s time to move on, but keep doing the right thing.  Can I go out there? There’s one or two things I want now.”

“Sure.  You know the code.  I haven’t changed it.  Just come get the stuff whenever.”  She sighs, wrapping the sweater shawl around her shoulders again.  “Maybe when you come get Avery Wednesday night, like every week?  I’ll move her to a different dance class.”

“Yes, you do that.  Wednesdays are mine until we meet with the mediator,” he nods.  He knows he’ll get more time then, and things will be better balanced.

“I’ll get her in her car seat while you’re in the garage.”  She takes the little girl by the hand and the faithful dog follows them out into the cold.

Chris quickly finds the boxes he wants and takes them to the car.  Making sure Avery and Tramp are settled in, he walks back around to Maura.  “I want us to be friends.  For her sake.  And because I’ve loved you longer than I’ve hated you.  That hate doesn’t do me any good.  It just makes me old and bitter before my time.  You destroyed me once.  If you ever really loved me, stop all this.  Focus on her first.  But I’m a good dad, and you know it.”

He hugs her lightly and gets in the warm car, backing out of the drive and away from his old life, finally ready to make some changes.

#

A few hours later, as the sun begins to set, he’s on his way to dinner with Avery.  He’s promised to take her to their favorite Italian restaurant, dressed to the nines, but he can’t help himself.  Driving several miles out of the way, he drives down Thalia’s street, absently smiling to himself.   Avery is singing along to the CD he plays and he watches Tina shuffle down the street, a bag in her hand.  He slows when the door to her building opens and by pure coincidence, the latina beauty steps out in her signature skirt and cowboy boots, her hair a wild mess of curls, a pink scarf wrapped around her neck.  She walks to a little junker car and bounces on her heels as she unlocks the door.  Turning his head so she can’t see him, it kinda tugs at him that he’s elated to see she’s not all dressed up for what he’s pretty sure is a date with the other man.

Click to Chapter 19 Night at the Movies

Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom.  All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando

Best Knight

Best Knight.jpg

Best Knight

an original fiction

by avenger-nerd-mom

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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