Julia froze when she heard the all too familiar phrase. It didn't come from Donny, rather their grandkids' innocent movie. A common enough phrase to nitpick its existence, but the delivery was cause for concern. Having been in the kitchen preparing dinner, she rushed into the living room, ready with an excuse to pull Donny away.
He caught her eye before she had a chance to say anything. The kids were too concerned with whether or not Belle and the Beast would escape from the wolves unscathed to notice her presence. To Julia's relief, Donny gave her a knowing smile. He nodded as if to say, "I'm all right."
She smiled back. He looked tenser than he had when she saw him at the start of the movie, however, okay.
"Do you need anything?" she asked anyway.
Reaching around the youngest who was now hiding her face in his side, much too worried about the fate of the princess to bear another moment, Donny handed Julia a bowl full of kernels. "More popcorn?"
Julia rolled her eyes. "Absolutely not. You'll all spoil your dinner."
"Ah, just this once? What's the harm?"
"From the looks of it, Josie's appetite is already spoiled."
"She's all right," he said, patting the little girl's back. "See kiddo? They're safe. Belle's helping the Beast feel better." Then with a glance up at Julia, he added quietly, "Just like Grandma always helps me."
"Do you get a lot of booboos, Grampy?"
"I used to."
"Well… so long is everyone is okay. I'll keep dinner warm until the movie is finished."
Turning and walking back into the kitchen, Julia brushed a couple of tears away. Glancing from the doorway, she looked at the three focused on the movie once again. Going back to the cooking, she sent up a prayer of thanks. After years of fighting, Donny was finally able to push away his ghosts and enjoy an afternoon with his grandkids. It wasn't all the time, but it was certainly more than could be said fifty years ago.
Thank you. Thank you.