His Light in the Dark(5)

By: L. A. Fiore


“I made you lunch. It’s my favorite sandwich ever.”

Daddy placed Cole’s plate in front of him and his eyes went wide too. I did really good. “Is that fluff?”

“Yeah and peanut butter and bananas.” I leaned closer to him and added, “I put chocolate sauce on yours too.”

His eyes turned to me and for just a second I saw a light in them as his lips curved up on the one side, “Thanks, Mia.”


I sat down next to Cole, across from Daddy, and watched as they ate their sandwiches. They did it really slowly, like they were savoring them. My heart felt too big, I really did do good because for just a second, Cole didn’t look lost.

Sitting out back, I watched as Cole helped Daddy pack up the tools. He’d been helping Daddy fix the deck. Daddy disappeared inside, but Cole stood a while longer looking at the work they had done. Though I wondered if he wasn’t just afraid to go home; if I lived with his daddy, I wouldn’t want to go home either.

Joining him, I put my hands on my hips like he was doing. “It looks pretty.”

He turned at the sound of my voice, looking like I felt when I had to talk in front of my classroom, nervous. His reply was so soft I almost didn’t hear it. “It does.”

“You must be hungry. I know when Daddy works that hard, he’s always hungry.”

A little grin turned up his lips and he seemed a little less nervous. “Yeah, I should get home.”

“Have dinner here.”

“I couldn’t.”


He appeared at the back door, looking as if he had run from wherever he’d been. Oops. Realizing I wasn’t in danger, his eyes narrowed. “Mia, you know how I feel about you screaming like that.”

“Sorry. Can Cole stay for dinner?”

Daddy turned his focus on Cole. “Sure.”

“I couldn’t.”

“With your help, that took half the time. The least I can do is feed you.”

“Just say yes.” I grabbed Cole’s hand and pulled him toward the door. “I have to set the table.”

When we reached the kitchen, Daddy was taking a pan from the cabinet. “Wash up, Cole. Mia, get the crushed tomatoes. Cole, the garlic and meat from the refrigerator.”

“Daddy’s making gravy.” I said to Cole.

“You ever make gravy, Cole?” Daddy asked.


“Do you want to learn?”


“This is a quick gravy, usually it simmers all day.”

I sat on the counter as Daddy showed Cole how to cook up the meat, brown the garlic, add the wine and crushed tomatoes, the red pepper and salt, a touch of sugar. I knew how to make it, Daddy had already showed me, and so my attention was on Cole’s expression because it was like Daddy had just given him the secret to how to find the end of a rainbow. Daddy did that kind of thing with me all the time, even when he was fixing something with the car, he taught me as he went. Did Cole’s daddy not do that? Daddy gave each of us a spoonful to taste and Cole’s eyes went wide.

“That’s delicious.”

“Now you know how to make it.”

“Thanks, Mr. Donati.”

“Call me Mace.”

I didn’t know what Cole was thinking, but the look on his face put a smile on mine. Daddy boiled up the macaroni and between him and Cole, they ate the entire pound minus the little bit I had. After dinner, Cole helped us clean up the kitchen before we settled in the living room.

“My movie pick.” I called and hurried to the television to my selection of VHS tapes and DVDs. “I think Snow White.”

“Princesses again?”


My daddy groaned, but it was my choice so he had to watch it. I watched his movies when it was his pick.

“When it’s Mia’s pick, it’s always princesses. Cole gets to pick the next one, break up the princesses a bit.”

“Okay, but I think Cole’s going to like my princesses.”

“Doubtful.” Cole said, but he was smiling.

I watched the whole movie; Daddy and Cole both fell asleep halfway through. Their loss.

Daddy owned a garage and it was my second favorite place to be, outside of home, because Dylan worked there and he was like family. Cole came to the garage with us that day and fiddled with a car part that Daddy had handed him when we arrived. I liked that he came out with us. And even though it had only been a couple of weeks since that first night, his eyes sparkled a lot more now.

Playing with Daddy’s tools, some of them were so pretty and shiny and if I put my nose right up against them, I looked funny. Daddy had lots of them. Did he like seeing himself in the shiny silver too? They rolled, far. I lost a few. One fell down the hole in the floor and even though I was seven, I wasn’t allowed to go near that hole. Daddy would never miss it; he had tons.