Continued From Friday, June 15, 2012
“Really, Kyra. I’ve been putting out fires all day long.”
“I know.” Her body seemed to wilt. “That’s the way my day went too.”
“Yes, but did you literally have to put out a fire?”
Her eyes grew wide, the fatigue subsiding. “What?” She started for the kitchen again, but Brad put his hands on her shoulders.
“Not in there. But did you know that Riley has a new hobby? It’s called wilderness survival.”
“We were playing outside, and well…let’s just say your azalea bush has seen happier days.”
Her head sank. She backed weakly toward the living room and set the baby on the floor, then perched on the couch. Brad sat down next to her, wondering if she was about to laugh or cry.
“Well…” Her voice sounded choked, and he still couldn’t tell which way she was swinging. “I spent my day trying to catch up on the work the regular girl apparently let pile up for the last two weeks. After sorting out all the new coding that I never learned because my training took place in the Dark Ages, and intercepting cryptic messages from my co-workers, all I want is a hot meal and a warm bath.”
She leaned on him, and he put a consoling arm around her, taking care not to allow her head to rest on the peanut butter. “It’s ok, Honey. I know how you feel. And I’m sorry I ever thought you had it easy staying at home. I actually have no idea how you keep up with it all. I mean, the kitchen floor alone is worth half a day’s effort. How do you keep it clean?”
She raised her head. “Are you kidding me? I don’t. The best I can hope for is that nobody will track in or spill anything for thirty seconds at a shot.” She paused. “I’m sorry I belittled your need to sprawl out on the sofa every night when you get home. After the traffic and my day at the office, I can’t imagine trying to be productive right now.”
“Me either. But I’ve been expecting you to keep going while I relax. That wasn’t very fair of me. I mean, just because you’ve been home doesn’t mean you haven’t put in a full day’s work.”
She looked up into his eyes. “Want to call off the deal?”
His stomach jolted slightly. “No. I mean, I was kind of looking forward to helping out in Chynna’s class tomorrow. Plus I promised Connor I’d set up the wading pool for his play group on Friday. I’d hate to miss that.” He combed his fingers through her hair. “Why…do you want to call it off?”
She shook her head. “Not really. The guy in the cubicle next to mine came to my rescue, so now I feel like I know what I’m doing.”
“Wait a minute…there’s a guy?”
She tipped him a smile. “No worries. He scared me a little at first, but he turned out to be super nice and he showed me some great short cuts. By the time I left today, I was really in the flow. I’m actually looking forward to going back.”
“It seemed kind of funny at first, why the normal girl was out for the week. Turns out she’s some sort of social activist and she got arrested for standing in the way of the bulldozers that were going to plow up a homeless camp.”
“So she’s out doing time?”
“She’s free now, but I guess she’s taking a little break to help the people find places to live. She sounds neat.”
“Yes.” Kyra shifted a little, taking his hand. “Actually, my boss asked if I might be interested in a part time position as the regular girl’s assistant. Just a couple of mornings a week.”
“Really? What about Connor?”
“Well, I was thinking….” She turned to face him. “If you could shift your schedule around just those two days…. You know, go in later and work into the evening—”
“And then sleep late?”
She batted him with the back of her hand.
“Kidding. I think that’s a great idea. Maybe I could even learn to cook.”
A smile wafted over her face. “Oh, and speaking of that…” She glanced toward the kitchen.
His throat tightened. “I’ll tell the kids to put their shoes on.”
Her tired brow creased.
“Now that you’re going to bring in some extra income, we can afford to go out.”
She looked up at him with a wry smile.
“Trust me,” he said. “It’s better this way.”