Continued From Friday, June 8, 2012
“Daddy, I’m hungry.”
Brad glanced down at Riley, whose whiney tone had stopped being cute when he’d turned six.
“How can you be hungry? I’ve done nothing but feed you since you got home from school.” Brad snapped up the Pop Tart that had been sitting on the kitchen counter all day. He’d managed one bite before Carol from the PTA had called and talked his ear off about some fundraiser Kyra was involved in.
Grabbing the pastry with a look of delighted surprise, Riley darted off. A pair of pleading eyes caught Brad’s attention, and he turned to see the cat staring up from his neglected feeding station.
Brad shook his head. “Et tu, Brute?”
After filling the bowl with crunchy bits, Brad stood in the center of the kitchen, still clad in the sweatpants he’d thrown on to take the kids to school that morning. His intention had been to actually get dressed at some point, but the opportunity had never availed itself.
He shifted the half-emptied lunchboxes across the counter, wondering what had become of that recipe he’d printed off the internet. With a sigh, he glanced at the clock on the stove. Great. His only hope of having dinner on the table when Kyra walked in the door was to somehow turn into a macho version of Samantha Stevens.
The front door clicked. All hope faded.
He scooped Connor off the floor, just in time to prevent his tiny fist from dipping into the cat’s bowl, then bolted toward the foyer and skidded to a stop. The other two kids had managed to beat him to the door in a chorus of “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!”.
He held back. She was no doubt bubbling with enthusiasm over her first day as a temp. She’d probably spent the last hour in heavy traffic, rehearsing her acceptance speech as the winner of this ill-conceived battle of the sexes. Why had he thought her job at home was so easy?
After sufficient hugs, the kids scattered and Kyra’s attention fell on him. He opened his free arm, realizing by the slight look of horror on her face that he hadn’t shaved yet. Oh man, had he even found time to brush his teeth?
He passed Connor into Kyra’s arms and ran a hand through his hair. “So, how was the candy factory, Lucy?”
“Interesting.” She took a step toward him, then backed up at the sight of the peanut butter smeared on the front of his sweater. Her voice was hesitant. “How was day one of your week of ease?”
“Great.” His intended confident chuckle came out as more of a nervous titter. He wrapped his arms around her and the baby. “Just great.”
She pulled back, looking into his eyes and smoothing his uncombed hair. “Really? Did you make it through the list?”
His face instantly cooled. He’d forgotten all about the list after that first load of laundry had thrown him off-schedule. “Uh…not quite.”
She nodded, her face drooping with fatigue. “I need to sit. Is dinner ready?” Sniffing the air, she made a move toward the kitchen.
He stepped to the left, forming a human barricade. “It’ll be ready soon. Or…we could go out.”
She snapped him a look. “You didn’t make dinner?”
His chest deflated like a birthday balloon. “I tried. I really did. It’s just that I kept getting interrupted. I didn’t realize I’d have to do two things at once all day.”
“Uh huh.” She regarded him with a look that screamed I told you so.
To Be Continued
Friday, June 22, 2012