The sun is setting beneath the surface of the ocean off to my left, the dim yet colorful rays shining on the surface of the counter through the open back door through the trees. Wind rustles through the house gently, giving my brow and the back of my neck a much needed refresher. Elbow deep in a large mixing bowl of homemade cake mix, the counter completely covered in baking utensils and ingredients, I hear one happy giggle before a slightly deeper growl. Wiping the back of my hand across my forehead, I roll my eyes.
Every. Damn. Day.
"Cole! Paulie! Get your little butts in here!" I yelled in what Paul has deemed my 'Mom' voice.
Bare little feet, covered in mud and leaves come barreling into the kitchen from the back door. Cole is grinning, all wide, white smiles while Paulie scowls at his little brother. Both of their heads are a disarray of black hair, sticking up at odd angles from their playing outdoors and their clothes are filthy. I can even spy the smudges of dirt on their light russet skin. Bathtime is going to be fun...
Lifting my wooden spoon from the cake mix, I shake it at them and look as mean as I can in the face of such adorability. "Have I not told you enough times yet that you cannot put bugs on your brother, Cole?"
My youngest drops his cocoa colored eyes down to his tiny toes, which are wiggling against the cool floor, and nods his head. I know I confused him.
"I haven't told you enough? Well, let me tell you again, then!" I say, raising my voice just slightly, still shaking the wooden spoon in his direction.
"No, Mama!" His tiny voice says quickly as his eyes collide with mine again. "You have tolded me enough. I just forgetted!" He assured me with a serious face.
I'm trying very hard not to crack a smile so I bite the inside of my cheek until I notice Paulie grinning smugly down on his four year old brother. Turning my 'wrath' onto him, I ignore Paul who has emerged from the shower and is standing silently behind the boys from the living room. I have to ignore him or I'll forget my scolding tirade and concentrate on how amazingly yummy he looks. The kids won't be reprimanded, the cake won't get baked, and I'll fall into bed annoyed later after an amazing yet intense round of love making with my completely handsome husband.
"And you!" I say, pointing my spoon in my nine year old's direction. "How many times do I have to tell you not to shove your brother?"
Paulie's grey eyes widen comically at my accusation. "How did you know!?"
Honestly, I hadn't. I'd only pulled that one out of my ass, assuming he had done something to earn getting a bug thrown at him. My eldest boy is deathly afraid of bugs of any size and ever since Cole figured that out, he's exploited that to his advantage thanks to Uncle Quil's superb advice.
Instead of admitting that, though, I say, "You think I don't know what provokes your brother yet? What do you take me for?" I demand. "You two better start behaving yourselves," I pause as I watch them stare contritely at their little feet before I finish my sentence. "or I'm sending you to Aunt Leah's." Leah and I had made amends years ago and have become very best friends. She's formidable on the kid front. She doesn't let them run her over and she's not afraid to growl them in their place. As much as all the kids love her, they're all deathly afraid of her.
At that, they both gasp and their heads whip up to look at me. They both start loudly apologizing at once, promising to be on their best behavior and I look over their heads to see Paul. He's standing in the living room still, arms crossed over his chest, smirking at me. I know what he's thinking because the moment he crossed his arms halfway through my spoon-shaking speech, I realized it too.
Our daydream 11 years ago.
Giving him an award winning smile, I wink at him.
And there we are, folks! I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave a review. Thank you again for all the support!