Kai brings lunch to Paisely and they talk about why she’s so upset.
Eventually, she opened the paper on the sub and took a bite. Chewing slowly, she swallowed with difficulty, blinking away her tears. She finally finished her sandwich, quite a while after Kai finished his. He also polished off half a bag of chips and most of the lemonade.
“Take the med, babe,” he said softly. “I know it hurts.”
Kai gathered the dirty dishes and towels. Cleaning up gave him a chance to focus a little. He still wasn’t entirely sure what he’d done that upset her so much, but it was something they both needed to work on. He wasn’t perfect—what man was? But she had to quit comparing his actions and motives to Ralph. He wasn’t sure how to get that point across, and it worried him. He didn’t want their relationship to dissolve, because of a bunch of stupid misunderstandings.
When he got back to the living room, Paisley was trying to stand. Rushing to her side, he caught her as she lost her balance.
“Where are you trying to go?”
“I need to pee,” she said, blushing.
He picked her up and carried her to the half bath under the stairs. He playfully offered to help her undress, but she slapped his hands away. Paisley smiled, almost laughing, as she shut the door. When she was done, he carried her back to the couch.
“My turn. I drank way too much lemonade.”
“How did class go?” she asked when he came out.
He gave her a brief rundown. She was stunned when he told her about the gossip group, and the confrontation with the man.
“No kidding? What a jerk! What’d he even mean about the turtleneck? That’s like a kid’s response. He’s what, sixty something?”
“Yeah, well most men don’t mature past twelve—so I’m told by the women in my life.”
Paisley giggled. “Oh, I think some of you do. I’m glad she said something. They’ve been driving me crazy. I’ve spoken to them too, you know what their response was? We pay for our membership. We can do what we want. Pricks.”
“I was thinking twatwaffles.”
“That too. Do you think they’ll complain to your mom?”
“I’m sure they’ll try. With twenty other people in the class, as well as Cody, Tempy and the other lifeguards to back me up, I don’t see it as a problem.”
“Your mom is so wonderful that way. She totally backs you up, and believes you. It must be a good feeling.”
“She’ll do the same for you, Paisley. Can’t you tell how much we all care about you already? You’re family.” He was just about to kiss her when his phone rang. “Yeah? Oh, hi, Mom. Yes, she’s doing fine. Swelling’s gone down and….” He laughed. “Oh, didn’t want a medical report. Yes, I think so. That sounds good. Okay, see you soon.”
“I didn’t realize it was so late.”
“It’s not. They closed down early. A squall came through and knocked out the power. The pool closed, because of lightening and the club because of the power outage. A tree took down a transformer. They don’t expect to get power back until tomorrow.”
“Oh, that’s a shame. So, they’re on the way home?”
“Yeah. Too bad. I was just about to kiss you.”
“You could anyway,” Paisley replied with a toss of her head.
Instead of answering, Kai kissed her. She felt wonderful in his arms. Her body fit against his perfectly. Of course, it could have been argued that since bodies are malleable, any woman would have fit just as well, but he didn’t even think of that. To him, Paisley was the perfect woman, therefore the perfect fit.
His phone ringing interrupted them. This time, it was Thad Purcell.
“Sorry to bug you on your day off, kid, but we’ve got a situation. A squall came through a little while ago, and knocked out some power.”
“Yeah, I heard….”
“Did you hear about the tornadoes?”
“No!” Kai sat up straight, listening closely.
“Two of them. One hit by the high school. With school starting next week, there was a teacher’s meeting. The neighborhood’s torn to shit, and one building’s partially collapsed. I need you to come in.”
“Let me change and I’ll be there. Twenty minutes, tops.”
“Meet us there. We’re heading out.”
Kai heard the siren start up. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“Thanks, kid!” Thad yelled over the noise. He hung up.
“I have to go.” Kai explained as he went up the stairs, calling down to her as he tugged off his shirt. “Tell Mom, okay?”
He trotted downstairs with his shirt untucked and his pants only half zipped. He stood and talked to her a couple minutes while he pulled himself together. With his first responder gear in the back of his Jeep, he headed to the high school.
Kai could see the devastation before he even got to the school. Uprooted trees, damaged houses, overturned cars bore testimony to what had happened. One end of Building 10 was virtually rubble. Most of the other buildings were untouched, but the majority of the cars in the parking lot, were totaled.
Kai spotted his team. They’d set up a triage area where the fire fighters were bringing people for treatment. Thad spotted him, signaling him over.
“Thanks for coming, kid. Laceration,” he pointed to a woman in her forties with a cut on her forehead. “Possible concussion. Do a full eval, and patch her up.”
© 2019 Dellani Oakes