Weeks later, Kim listened to her sister-in-law and empathized with her. To be honest, she was not surprised to hear Kira complain of not being permitted to do many simple tasks around the house that she'd once done with hardly a thought prior to her attack back on Halloween. She'd spoken with her often when she drove her to her therapy sessions at the hospital. Kim had also spoken with the physical therapist and gotten her opinion on what she felt Kira was ready for. After a moment as she drove out of the hospital's parking lot, Kim looked over toward where Kira was sitting on the other side of the car. She still got terrible car sickness thanks to her visual disturbances so would always ride with her eyes closed as a way to try to hold off the sickness.
"I agree. I think that we can start working on you doing a few more things at the house."
Kira was surprised to hear Kim's reply. "You do?"
"I know you've worked hard in therapy. And I know what you've been able to do there. How about this, I'll sit in the kitchen tomorrow afternoon while you prepare a meal for the kids, Jebb, Bo and I? I won't help or do anything unless you need it. This way you can see if you are ready to do it at home."
Kira scrunched her brow a bit. So she still wouldn't be alone. But it was something. Kim was trying to help her reach the next step to independence; even if it wasn't the step that she'd wanted. "I'll need... to make a list... for what... I'll need... from the store. But first I... need to check what... we have at the... house." Kira paused before adding, "Thanks, Kim."
Jebb headed home after heading to town to check the mail. Another box came in and he hoped to get it together with the others that he'd received over the last month. He's been working on his surprise for Kira's birthday present and with it being in a couple of days he was confident that his idea will be well-received. The two older twins were going to have a small party with the family and Cooter. Presents weren't really asked for but everyone would have something for each of the birthday twins. Jebb had the other boxes that he'd gotten from his friends over the last month hidden up in the hayloft since he figured that would be a place where Kira wouldn't find his surprise. He was fairly certain that she had gone upstairs alone already but he couldn't prove it.
When Jebb got home he stowed his box away then headed into the house and felt a panic when he saw Kira at the oven with the door open. She had a dish in her hands and it was clear that she was about to try to put it in the oven.
"Kira! What are you doin'?"
Kira turned to face him and rolled her eyes her trademarked fashion. "I'm making... dinner. What... does it... look like?"
"It's alright, Jebb." Kim spoke up from her place at the table. She'd been holding a book but she hadn't been reading it. She knew that if she just sat at the table where it was obvious that she was watching Kira like a hawk then it would make her more nervous about her first meal that she was preparing in almost six months. When Jebb looked back to his sister-in-law he gave her a look of confusion. After all, wasn't it dangerous for her to use the oven? "Kira offered to fix dinner for Bo and I tonight. So I'm just sitting here since I have nothing else to take care of this evening."
Jebb saw the look that Kim gave him to try to convince him that she had everything under control. Jebb nodded his understanding and turned to watch Kira put what appeared to be lasagna into the oven. He noticed a tape alongside the oven that had markings much like a ruler that he assumed Kim put there so that Kira could try to keep track of where her hands and the casserole dish in her hands was in relation to the open door. Jebb wasn't sure if he was comfortable with Kira using the oven yet but if Kim thought she was ready, not to mention supervising, he supposed that he should be happy about this step that his wife was able to take regarding her recovery.
After a moment of hesitation Jebb sent a smile to both women as he said that since they were in the kitchen that he'd go see what the children were up to. Once he was gone Kim pretended to return to her book. She noticed that Kira had to correct her angle of her dish so that she wouldn't burn herself but she had done it at the last second. The two of them had prepared the lasagna earlier in the day so that Kira had plenty of time to get everything ready for dinner and now she only had to warm it back up.
With the main course back in the oven she checked the stove where the pudding looked ready to come off and be put into the fridge. Kira reached forward to the knob to turn it off and glanced to see if Kim noticed that she grabbed the wrong one first. She then knelt down and opened the cabinet next to the oven where some of her larger dishes for meals were kept and took her time with making sure she grabbed the bowl that she wanted to pour the pudding into. At least under the cover of the cabinet she didn't feel as conscientious when she had to feel her way toward the right bowl. She then stood back with her bowl. She carefully moved the pudding into the bowl and left it on the counter while she made her way along the counter toward the sink to wash out the pot. She knew that if she let the dirtied pot to sit to clean later on it could be difficult to get the chocolate pudding out once it set.
Kira glanced behind her and while she knew that Kim was watching ever move she made, she did appreciate the fact that she was trying to not look like she was. Kira put the pudding in the fridge to let it start to set and cool. It would be topped with store bought whipped cream for dessert. After counting the steps back to the island, Kira set about fixing the rest of the dinner as she fought the butterflies in her stomach. She somehow felt as if she was back in college and was taking an exam that could make or break her year.
A couple of days later Jebb watched as his wife and brother-in-law enjoy their birthday. The family had thrown a small party with just a few friends. There was the usual fair for the family, cake, Uncle Jesse's crawdad bisque, and of course some of the finest moonshine in all of Georgia. The family spent the entire evening after the children gotten out of school celebrating, having fun, and eating the special food that Jesse and Jo had fixed for the party.
Once the family and friends had left and the children were put to bed Jebb decided to finally pull out his present that he'd worked on for his wife. He'd taken the contents from all of the boxes that his and his wife's friends had sent and combined them in one large box. Kira eyed the box that was on the coffee table after she came back downstairs after making sure that the children were asleep. She'd been curious when Jebb had for once not insisted that he help her on the stairs despite showing that she was capable of navigating them on her own. When she saw the box she realized that he'd had his own reason tonight.
Jebb grinned and shrugged mischievously. "Looks to me that you forgot to open one last birthday present."
Kira eyed Jebb before she walked over to the coffee table and tested the weight of the box. Knowing that it was too heavy for her to lift since she still had weakness on her left side (and likely always would) she sat on the couch behind the coffee table and carefully unwrapped the box and then opened it to find a large selection of video tapes.
"I reached out to some of our friends and let them know that all of our copies of various events and such were lost in the fire. I thought that we could watch them. This way we could take a walk down memory lane from our earlier days of being together. I mean, I know we've watched a lot of videos that Uncle Jesse and the others have made over the last ten years or more but we were already married for those."
Kira smiled at the idea of Jebb trying to trigger some of his still lost memories as his gift to her. They had grown close since she woke up after her attack but he still had gaps in his memory. They each knew that both of them would have gaps in their memories from their own respective injuries the previous year. For Kira's part, if she and Jebb had gone through such a rough patch that she'd been told about, she wasn't in any rush to even attempt to regain her own memories. But for Jebb, having lost so much of is life with her, it was beyond sweet.
Kira noticed that the tapes were each dated and many had a title that would say what each tape held. "Sounds like... a fun... idea."
Jebb reached in to the tape that appeared to be the oldest based on the date on the video. He joked as he popped it into the VCR. "Maybe I should have popped some popcorn."
"Next... time," Kira snickered. She knew that the reason he hadn't likely was because she couldn't have any but that didn't taint the small joke.
Jebb joined Kira on the couch and watched as he saw the recorded events of his and Kira's earliest days. What was clear by the end of the tape was that he hadn't exactly swept her off of her feet the moment that they had met. In fact, it looked as if his now wife couldn't stand the sight of him in the early days of their relationship. A marked opposite of the other young women that he came across. Maybe that is what caused him to pursue her? Or was it her skill on the track? She appeared to be as focused on the track as he had been. It looked as if she gave him a run for his money a few times.
When the next tape started to play Jebb's interest was piqued as he seemed to be calling out Kira on some sort of wager.
"Alright. I won. Now you have to pay up."
"You are such a perv, Duke." Kira gave Jebb a dirty look on the screen.
"You should have thought about that before you agreed to the bet. All of us have lost this bet at least once. You'll learn." On screen Jebb chuckled. Turning toward to the camera, Jebb spoke to his invisible friend behind the camera, "I think it's time to move this party so Kira's initiation into our little troop can be completed. What do ya say? Where should we head, now?"
"Let's see..." said the woman behind the camera, "I think my initiation was over at-"
"Forget it. If I'm going to do this, I'll choose where we're going." Kira said as she walked out of the frame.
"Alright, everyone. It's Kyle's turn to be in the spotlight. Let's pack it up and head on out."
"Wait a minute," Jebb said as he racked his brain. "Wasn't Debbie's initiation-" After looking over at Kira and seeing her hide her face behind her hands he realized what he was about to watch.
The crowd all shouted out again as Jebb motioned for the woman behind the camera to turn it off. When the camera was turned back on, it was clear that the group was in a bar. He walked up to where Kira was sitting sullenly at the bar with a drink in her hand.
"It's time to pay up, Kyle. No more killing time. Last call is only twenty minutes away. It's now or never."
"You seem to be in an awful big hurry for me to do this. Guess you know that you'll never see me do it again, huh, Duke."
"That's why I plan to put it on tape. That way I can watch it anytime I want." Jebb could be heard chuckling in the background.
"Can I at least finish my drink first?" Kira asked as she made a face at Jebb.
"Nope. No more stalling."
"Alright, well, I hate to waste anything so..." On the screen, Kira stepped closer to the camera and Pauline could see that Kira was dumping her drink on Jebb.
"Hey!" Jebb hollered out as he realized that Kira had poured her whiskey all over him. Beside him, Kira cringed at the sight of herself on screen stepping up onto the barstool on her way up to start her performance on the bar. "Oh my God, you actually did it!"
"Can't we... fast forward... through this... part?" Kira reached for the remote but her husband kept it out of her reach. For Jebb's part, he found the sight on the screen to be really hot.
When Kira saw that Jebb wasn't going to fast forward through the rest of her performance Kira got up and ejected the tape instead.
"Oh, come on!" Jebb figured he'd have to watch the rest of it later without his wife.
"Next... tape." Kira said emphatically as she grabbed a new tape at random and pushed it into the player.
When the taped played, it now showed the inside of a tattoo parlor and her son looked like he was a bit pale as he sat up on a table in his underwear.
"I can't believe I let you talk me into this," Jebb said on the screen.
Kira grinned when she realized which tape this was.
"What's this?" Jebb asked out of curiosity. What was he doing?
"Just watch... Sweetness," Kira chuckled.
"I didn't talk you into it. It was part of a challenge. A challenge that you lost. Next time you bow out of a dare, you can look forward to another tattoo. Besides, I did let you choose which one you wanted," Kira could be heard as she held the camera.
"My folks will kill me if they find out I have a tattoo when I go home."
"I got a tattoo?" Jebb couldn't remember seeing a tattoo on himself since he'd first woke from his car accident.
"That's your problem. Of course, one way to avoid them finding out is to keep your pants on. And don't sit for a few days in front of them." Kira giggled as Jebb rolled his eyes. Picking up the copy of how Jebb wanted the tattoo to look, she showed it to the camera. "You know, not many people use a tattoo as a form of I.D. After all, anyone who gets to see that should know who you are, Jebb Stewart Duke," Kira said with an emphasis on Stewart.
On the camera, a man with a lot of tattoos came into view and began to prepare Jebb for his new bit of artwork. The camera was turned off when the man had Jebb to lay face down on the table as he began to pull his underwear down. When the camera came back on, a close up shot of the tattoo was filling the screen; not giving any indication of just where the tattoo was even though Jebb knew very well where that tattoo had to have been put. Jebb read the tattoo and saw that his middle name had been replaced with Sweetness.
Jebb stood and pulled his pants aside enough to find his tattoo when he twisted his torso enough.
"How is it... that you... didn't realize... that you had... a tattoo... Jebb?" Kira asked as she started to laugh. Though she had to stop when she started to get choked up a bit.
"Because I ain't in the habit of lookin' at my own ass!" Jebb said with a soured tone as he was still trying to twist enough to get more than a hint of the ink that he had on his backside. When he heard Kira start to choke on her own laughs he stopped and made sure she was alright. "Kira?"
When Jebb moved forward and made her lift her arms like they would do when any of the kids started to choke she pushed him away lightly. "Fine..." Kira took a deep breath. "I'm... fine."
"You sure?" Jebb watched as Kira got her breathing back under control. When she nodded he figured that they'd probably not want to push their luck with watching other videos tonight. Instead he held out a hand to his wife. Come on. It's late. We should head on to bed."
Kira felt bad that her choking episode had put an end to their night of walking down memory lane. But at least with the copies of the videos of their own now, they could watch them any time that they wanted. She'd have to send a note of gratitude to all of their friends who helped create this gift for her birthday.