Helping Aiden up, he walked into his room with him, leaving Deirdre and Corin behind.
“Guy stuff,” Corin said, heading to his room.
“You’re a guy,” his mother said, a little surprised at his acceptance.
Corin shook his head. “Big guy stuff.”
He’d accepted that his older brothers were closer to one another than to him. He didn’t like it much, but there was no separating them. There might be two years apart in age, but they were only a year apart in school. As a result, they had shared a lot more with one another, than they had with him.
Deirdre stood in the hallway, completely flummoxed by her sons. They were all getting so grown up. Soon, they wouldn’t need her anymore. Her phone was ringing when she got back to her office. It was Fred.
“Hey, beautiful. How’s my girl?”
The emotions she’d kept bottled up all day, burst free. Sniffling, she tried to answer.
“What’s wrong? Are the boys okay?”
She explained what had happened at the school, Aiden’s long afternoon away, and the strange emotions she felt.
“My love, I wish I could be there. I hate being away, but I can’t leave. I’m in charge of the whole bloody business. The other person, who was supposed to be in charge, had a fall and is in a cast to her hip.”
“Quite a fall!”
“Parasailing or something stupid. Dumb pastime.”
Deirdre had to agree. Then again, she and Fred had never been ones for outdoor activities, except golf and camping. She wasn’t as good as he and the boys, but she held her own. Camping was her love. They went out at least every other weekend in the summer, spring and fall. Winter, the boys would go with their father, but she stayed home. She might enjoy camping, but liked her warm hearth and hot showers.
“How long will you be?”
“At least a week. This is a monster. Someone f**ked up the damn floor plan. This is one of those bizarre layouts, like the Port Orange store, with the pharmacy in the middle. That requires a lot of different shelf and aisle placement. It’s a mess. Someone else wired the freezer section wrong, so that has to be completely redone.”
“Are you in charge of that, too?”
“I have to kick ass seventeen times a day. It’s like working with a crew of monkeys. I take that back, the monkeys would be smarter. I never worked with such a dumb crew. The only ones who know their asses from their elbows are Holly and Maynard.”
They were from his store and he’d worked with them a lot.
“Because you trained them.”
They talked a while longer, but both were tired. Deirdre did remember to tell him she had given Aiden permission to use his car the following day.
“It’s fine. He knows what he’s doing. We’ll have to see about a car for him. He’ll be nineteen—wow in a month? And then off to college next year. I’ll talk to Byron about something second hand.”
“Okay. You get some rest, love. I know you start early and finish late.”
“You, too. I’m sorry you’re having to go through this without me.”
“Can’t be helped. I love you.”
“I love you.” He hung up.
Deirdre allowed herself a few minutes of tears, then got ready for bed. Her dreams were frantic, filled with people chasing her, and pretty, dead girls, with long, blonde hair.
Vanessa woke before her alarm. Turning it off, she woke Dario. He, of course, wanted to start his day with some happy time. Afterward, they had a rushed breakfast. As she was dressing, she realized that several of her favorite skirts no longer fit. Not sure how she felt about that, she pulled out a pretty A line dress, reminiscent of the Sixties. It was swirls of different shades of blue, which looked good with her caramel complexion. Dario couldn’t stop admiring her.
“I think you’re getting a little bump.” He rubbed her belly. “Yep!” Bending over, he kissed her belly. “Hey, Pepita. It’s Papi! I can’t wait to meet you!”
They kissed goodbye before heading up the road to work. Dario stopped at the house on the corner to pick up one of his co-workers. They both worked for a building contractor. Dario was the carpenter, and Debra was the electrician. They were heading out to do an estimate for a remodel, so decided to go together. Vanessa waved as she stopped at the sign at the end of their road. Dario waved back, blowing a kiss. He kept waving until she was around the corner and out of sight.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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