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Today we have the next chapter for Wind in White Birch and our word prompt is "Catch". Don`t forget to visit the other talented Tuesday Tales authors. Thanks for stopping by!
Wind in White Birch
Sunday dawned bright and cold. By eleven AM I was huddled beside a barrel stove in Andy`s garage, my toes frozen inside my boots, watching Jonah and Rhett tinkering with a snowmobile. I could not believe how cold it was, even with the stove throwing out heat. The sides were close to cherry red but step a foot away from the barrel and the temperature dropped like a rock. In all honesty, even if the guys did get the sled running, I doubted I could manage to take a ride. Sitting on the back of that snowmobile going however fast they go? No thanks, I`ll pass. Of course, the alternative would be to be locked up with Julia who would be coming to gather her sons after church. Good thing my grandmother didn`t know Rhett and I had skipped services or her eyebrows would be permanently knotted.
“This isn`t looking good,” Jonah said, lifting a wad of what looked like cotton batting from somewhere inside the engine. Rhett sat on the sled, a toolbox beside him. He was the official tool-hander. My son studied the mass of stuffing and seeds intently. “Mice have packed every nook and cranny full of bedding. I hate mice,” Jonah sneered then threw the nest at the stove. I watched it float to the cement floor gracefully. Suddenly there arose a clatter from the sled. I glanced up in time to see my son, the toolbox, and Jonah all leap into the air. I screamed and headed for the nearest exit when the mouse raced over Rhett`s lap, fell from the Ski-Doo, and made a beeline for its old nest on the floor.
Out into the snow I went and I didn`t stop to admire the snow-frosted pines or the cardinals flittering from Andy`s feeders to the trees. Nope. I ran straight to the double-wide and slammed the sliding doors soundly. Whipping around to plaster my shoulder blades to the door I smiled at Andy who had been pouring himself a cup of coffee.
“Sasquatch?” he asked.
“Mouse,” I panted.
“Ah,” he smiled then poked around inside the box of doughnuts Jonah had picked up for another dunker. “Nearly as bad,” he teased then shoved a powdered doughnut into his mug. A gentle rap on the glass door behind me startled me terribly. I peeked over my shoulder. Rhett and Jonah were on the other side, trying to look composed. I sniffed then moved aside so they could enter.
“Mom, I never saw you move that fast!” Rhett exclaimed with pride. Jonah patted my back comfortingly but wore a sly smile.
“I can run. I just choose not to unless something`s chasing me. Like a mouse.”
“So I guess sledding is out. How about we find some skates and play some hockey. What do you think, little man?” Jonah asked while chewing on a chocolate-coated. I was in awe really. The man ate like a horse yet was in perfect shape. I look at a doughnut and my ass swells.
“AWESOME!” my child shouted.
“Indoor voices please,” I chided gently, moving from the door to the doughnut box. “We don`t have skates and he`s never played hockey.”
“You live in Pittsburgh and don`t play hockey?” Jonah was quite incredulous.
“I don`t play football either,” I countered quickly.
“You know what I meant. Isn`t it like some sort of law that if you live in Pittsburgh you have to have your kid enrolled in a hockey program by the time they`re six months old?” Jonah teased.
“He`s never expressed any interest so….”
“Rhett, go round up the others and tell them to grab the skates out of the garage,” Jonah said. Rhett ran off. The thunder of young boys on a mission enveloped us. Within ten minutes we were inside Jonah`s truck with sticks, skates, a puck, and some very exuberant young men. The boys were chattering like magpie`s in the crew seat. Even Rhett, who had never held a hockey stick in his life, was keyed up.
We pulled into the spot where the carnival had been. Nothing remained of the festivities but the snow sculptures. The guys piled out and ran to the pond. I slid to the ground and wrapped a scarf around my neck and head, pulled some thick mittens on, and was trying to locate some tissues in the glove box. Rhett would need them as cold as it was. A hand on my rump brought me up and around in a hurry. Jonah grinned down at me like a loon then tipped his head to the side. That long fall of ebony hair slid over his shoulder. I love it when his hair is unbound.
“Are you in there?” he asked, gently plucking the scarf away from my lips to catch a quick kiss. “You`re playing, right?” he asked then pulled a pink pair of skates off his wide shoulder. I stared at the things as if they were spitting cobras.
“Have you been drinking?” I asked incredulously. Had he lost his mind? Did I look like a hockey playing kind of girl?
“Don`t you even want to try?” He shoved the skates at me. I drew back.”If you make one pass around the lake I`ll take you out for a fancy dinner next time I`m down.”
I leaned back and stroked my scarf-covered chin. He huffed and rolled his eyes.
“I`ll wear a suit and tie.”
“Deal.” I took the skates and proudly strolled to the pond. I won`t say how long it took just to get the skates on, tied, and me upright. Jonah gently pulled me along, skating in reverse, the damned showoff. The boys were impressed. Rhett took a few tumbles but picked it up with speed and what looked to me like natural grace. Of course, anyone not lying on the ice with a towering Seneca man over them trying to make them get on their feet looked graceful to me. The last time I went down, I went down hard. My legs flew out and my ass hit the ice jarringly. My teeth clacked together. I whimpered as the kids raced around me with sticks slapping at the puck.
“Okay, I think we now know your skill set and it is not ice skating” Jonah said while heaving me, once again, to my skates.
“I tried to tell you,” I moaned, rubbing my rump as we tripped and slid to the edge of the pond. I fell to my knees when I stepped off the ice.
“Man, you`re just as bad on soil as you are ice,” Jonah chuckled, slid his arm around my waist and hoisted me upward. He got me to the truck, unlaced my skates, fished in the back for the thermos of hot cocoa, kissed me long and hard, and then left me for a rousing game of hockey. I sipped hot chocolate, listened to the radio, and thanked God for nicely padded seats. If I had brought a book, I would have been perfectly content.
The guys played for a good hour or so. When they came back, their faces were wind-chapped. I passed the cocoa around. The truck was warm from me running it periodically. Rhett was blabbering about some awesome shot he made. Jonah`s nephew`s were also telling me about the game and each play they were involved in. I smiled and nodded. I was genuinely happy that Rhett was fitting in with the boys so well, and that he had someone like Jonah to take him out to do sporty stuff. Lord knows Rhick was too busy humping his new wife and snapping photos to spend time with his son. Gracious, someone was bitter.
“Bad swig of chocolate?” Jonah asked.
“No, just thinking of the ex,” I said tartly.
“That`ll do it.”
“Indeed. So thank you. For this,” I waved at the boys crammed into the back, “And for the weekend. For everything I guess.”
“It was my pleasure,” he said, glancing from the road to me. I sorely wanted to kiss him. Instead, I gave his knee a sharp squeeze. I was scared seventeen shades of shitless and my words were weak.
“I`m willing to try sharing you with your dream,” I whispered. Jonah`s smile warmed me better than any cocoa ever could. The whole way back to Andy`s house I prayed my heart wouldn`t get broken again.
Copyright 2013 ©by V.L. Locey
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