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Today we have chapter ten for Wind in White Birch and our word prompt is "Arm". Don`t forget to visit the other talented Tuesday Tales authors. Thanks for stopping by!
Wind in White Birch
How the hell was I supposed to respond to that? I knew he wanted to get into a deep conversation about this. It was obvious by the steady way he held my gaze. I just wasn`t prepared to deal with it now. It was too sudden and too intimate. Why was he laying this out to me as if I were his wife or something? We had gone on one mess of a date. Two if you counted this weekend.
We weren`t involved in a long-term relationship or had any kind of commitment to each other. He could stay up here at this lodge for the rest of his life without my input. I had no claims on him or his time. So why did the thought of not seeing him again feel like someone had taken a melon baller to my heart?
Rhett gave me the out I needed. He had broken his icicle and appeared at our sides. I swallowed over the lump in my throat then tore my sight from Jonah to look down at my boy when he tugged on my arm.
“Can we explore?” Rhett asked his cheeks rosy red and his eyes bright. Again, I was at a loss.
“I don`t know, maybe we can walk the property line?” I offered glancing at Jonah. He nodded his mouth a slash.
“We can walk down to the river. The property line runs for over fifteen hundred acres,” Jonah said, shoving from the side of the lodge to descend the steps.
Rhett seemed happy with that plan and scurried after Jonah. I followed the two intrepid explorers, my mittens shoved into my coat pockets, my scarf covering my face from the bridge of my nose down, and my thoughts scattered like the birds that took to wing when we walked underneath their perches.
The river was a glorious sight. It was a rough and tumbling swath of clear water. Ice formed at the edges. The sun reflected off the ice and rumbling water as it ran past us on the bank.
“Down there about a mile is a small pool that feeds into a lake. There`s native trout in there as long as your arm,” Jonah was telling Rhett. I shivered deep inside my coat as the man pointed downstream.
“We should get going,” I called over the pounding of water over boulders. Rhett complained about not seeing the trout lake, but ran ahead using the path that he and Jonah had made coming down. Keeping my eyes on my son I didn`t see Jonah sliding up beside me. I felt his presence and peeked over my scarf.
“I`d really like to get into this with you, Dana.”
I shook my head. “Not now, okay? Let`s get back to Andy`s and get some lunch. I need time to figure things out, Jonah.”
He studied me for a long moment. Sunbeams slid through the white birch woods, dappling his black hair and gorgeous high cheekbones with golden shapes of light.
“Yeah, okay, that`s fine,” he replied stiffly.
I wanted to say more, to try to make him understand how confused and scared I was, but six year old boys aren`t known for their sixth sense when it comes to intimate moments. The snowball hit me right in the face. I shrieked in shock and fright. Blinking rapidly to clear the crystals from my eyelashes, I saw my child rolling in the snow, laughing hysterically. I sputtered into my wet scarf and chanced a peek left. Jonah was the very picture of utter composure. Until he dared to look at me again, then he too lost it.
“Think that`s funny, huh?” I asked. The battle then began. It was a terribly lopsided fight but I managed to get a few good shots in before we all were soaked through. Once I heard Rhett`s teeth clattering I called a halt. The heater in the truck felt wonderful. Backing away from the lodge and stands of white birch I felt a sniggle of something unpleasant inside. It felt like jealousy. But how foolish would it be to be jealous of a building?
“Mom, can we go snowmobiling when we get to Andy`s?” Rhett asked as we left Jonah`s dream behind.
“That`s up to Jonah,” I said, peeling my sodden mittens and scarf off.
“How about we hit that up tomorrow, buddy?” Jonah said, finding my son in the rearview mirror. “I`ll need to time to tinker with my sled. It hasn`t been out of the garage since last year.”
“Okay!” my boy smiled then ran the back of his coat sleeve under his running cherry of a nose. The ride back to Andy`s was pleasant if not slightly stilted conversation wise. I suspected that Jonah would want to find some time to talk as soon as possible. Pulling off the main road into Andy`s graveled driveway and seeing at least six strange vehicles, I got a feeling one-on-one time wasn`t happening this afternoon.
“Shit,” Jonah sighed, staring at the cars, trucks, and single Jeep blocking the small drive. He dropped his truck into park and laid his arms over the steering wheel.
“Looks like company,” I smiled timidly. He gave me a quick sideways glance.
“No, it`s not company, it`s my sister and brothers,” he grumbled. Just then, the front door flew open and six boys were released from the confines of the doublewide like greyhounds freed from the starting gate. “And nieces and nephews,” Jonah tacked on when the rowdy group in thick coats, snow pants, gloves and hats raced over to greet their uncle. “I`m really sorry about this,” Jonah grimaced then jumped when a snowball smacked into the window beside his head. “I was hoping we`d be able to put them off until a later time, like next year or something. I wanted to talk to you about things.”
“It`s okay, we`ll talk later,” I said, rather relieved to have some plausible excuse for postponing this discussion.
It would give me time to get my mental ducks lined up, or at the very least flipped upright, so that their heads and not their asses were visible above the water. The driver’s side door was opened and a blast of cold air and young male laughter filled the cab. Jonah was unceremoniously pulled from the vehicle and bombarded. Rhett, laughing like a hyena, climbed over the front seat and dove out into the fracas. Somehow, Jonah managed to stay on his feet even with several young boys pummeling him with snow and trying to knock him into the deep powder.
Giggling at the shenanigans, I slid down to the driveway. As soon as my feet hit the gravel, I felt someone accessing me. I found a woman standing in the door left open by the rambunctious boys. She was perhaps in her late thirties, rather pudgy, black-haired with onyx eyes the same shape and intensity as Jonah`s. She also had her brother`s wide nose. I shook off the last drops of melted snow from the battle royal at the lodge and walked towards her, hoping the tingle of fear her unwavering dark eyes instilled in me didn`t show.
Copyright 2013 ©by V.L. Locey
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