Room For More(5)

By: Beth Ehemann


“It’ll be tough, but we’ll still see each other,” he said, lifting my chin up to face him. “We’ll just have to make an effort to really, uh, make good use of the time we do have together.”

I set the eggs on the island and shoved my hands up the back of his T-shirt, pulling him hard against me. “I like the way that sounds, Murphy.”

“I love when you call me Murphy.” He groaned as he trailed kisses down the side of my neck, stopping at my collarbone.

“Really? I’ll have to remember that,” I cooed.

My glance panned over to the clock. “Holy crap! I gotta hurry.” I rushed over and tossed a pan on the stove.

“Go. I got this.” Brody came over and grabbed the handle of the pan.

I tried to snatch it back from him, but he held it high above his head so I couldn’t reach it.

“Stop.” He laughed. “I admit that I’m better with a hockey stick than I am with a spatula, but I can handle scrambled eggs. Go get ready. You can pay me back later.” He wiggled his eyebrows up and down again.

“Deal.” I smiled and started out of the kitchen, but he caught my wrist and pulled me toward him as he bent down to kiss my lips.

I quickly turned my head to the side and covered my mouth, mumbling through my hands, “I haven’t brushed yet.”

“I’ll take my chances,” he said, gently pulling my hands away from my mouth. “Pay the toll, stinky.”





“Lucy, are you dipping your popsicle in syrup?”

She grinned at me and nodded, clearly proud of herself.

“Great.” I laughed. “At this rate, you’ll be diabetic by noon. Your mom’s already going to kill me if she finds out I let you have popsicles with your eggs and pancakes.”

“We won’t tell!” Piper grinned, red juice dripping off her chin.

“You guys rock!” I leaned over and high-fived her. “Okay, my little Twinkies, next on the agenda: what do you want to do today?”

“Play Barbies.”

“Watch Sleeping Beauty.”

“Build things with Play-Doh.”

“Play Mario Kart.”

“Can we paint your nails again?”

I got dizzy looking back and forth between the two of them as they spit out more things than were possible to accomplish in one day. “Whoa, whoa.” I held my hands up. “I might need to write this down. Are we taking naps at all? Please?”

“No!” they squealed in unison.

“I have an idea. Mom was running late today and didn’t pack a lunch. What if we go to the hospital and surprise her?”

Smiles lit up both of their faces as they nodded furiously.

I looked down at their plates of brown, gooey syrup mixed with red popsicle juice and bits of scrambled egg and sighed. “I’m gonna clean up breakfast while you guys play for a few minutes, okay?”

With that, they hopped down from the island and ran toward their bedrooms.





I had just about finished scrubbing the egg pan when Sophia and Fred came in the kitchen.

“Good morning!” Sophia said cheerfully.

“Hey! You guys just missed eggs and bacon.”

“No problem. We’ll make something in a little bit. Kacie leave already?”

“Yep, a little while ago. She was in a hurry and didn’t make her lunch, so I thought the girls and I would drive up there and surprise her, if that’s okay with you?”

“Of course it is.” Sophia walked up and lightly cupped my face. “You’re a good man, Brody.”

“It’s my mom’s fault.” I winked at her.





An hour or so later I was showered, dressed, and ready to walk out the door of my guest room when my cell phone chirped. It was Viper.



V: HEY SHIT-FOR-BRAINS. WHERE ARE YOU?



WHAT’S UP, NUMBNUTS? I’M AT KACIE’S.



V: I FIGURED. WENT BY YOUR HOUSE AND YOU WEREN’T THERE. YOU EVER COMING HOME OR WHAT? GONNA WORK AT THE INN FULL TIME AS THE NEW COOK? SHOULD I BUY YOU A PINK APRON?



SHUT IT, ASSHOLE. I’LL BE HOME SOON, AND I’LL BE READY TO GO ON OPENING DAY.



V: YOU BETTER BE. YOUR CONTRACT IS UP THIS YEAR. IF YOU PLAY LIKE YOU LEFT YOUR BRAIN, AND YOUR DICK, UP THERE YOUR ASS IS GONNA GET TRADED AND SHIPPED OUT OF STATE.



AWWW, VIPER. DO YOU CARE ABOUT ME?



V: FUCK OFF. GET IN SHAPE. WIN US GAMES.



LOVE YOU TOO, PUMPKIN.



There was truth to what Viper was saying. It was an important year for me. I had pushed it from my brain for as long as I could, but I couldn’t ignore it any longer. My current contract was up and if I wanted to stay in Minnesota, I needed to be on the ball this year.

No mistakes.

No fuck-ups.