Room for More(6)By: Beth Ehemann
“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.
I also needed to work on finding a new agent. That thought sat in my stomach like a lead weight. Sighing, I shoved my phone in my back pocket and headed out the door.
Lucy and Piper were fidgeting excitedly on the bench by the front door when I got to the bottom of the stairs.
“You girls listen to Brody and don’t act up. Got it?”
They listened closely and nodded as Sophia lectured them on behaving. I couldn’t help myself. I walked up behind Sophia, making silly faces and hand gestures as she continued. Lucy and Piper covered their mouths and tried hard not to giggle, but they weren’t successful. Sophia spun around and caught me with my tongue hanging out of my mouth.
She shook her head and smiled at me. “Maybe I should be giving you the lecture.”
“Oh, trust me, I’ve heard it hundreds of times. It’s never helped before.” I grinned at her as I walked over and opened the front door for the girls. I grabbed the booster seats that were waiting for me there, the girls hugged Sophia good-bye, and we were off.
We pulled up to the hospital and I turned and peeked at the girls in the backseat. They stared at the big white building in complete awe. People hustled in and out of the main entrance. A man wheeled a woman out the front door as she held their new baby in her arms. An ambulance quickly pulled up to sliding doors in the side driveway, which I assumed led to the ER.
“Have you guys ever been to this hospital before?”
Lucy shook her head.
“I’ve only been to that one when that man hit me in the lake,” Piper said.
Her innocent comment made my chest tight. When I thought back to that day, to her laying on the ground and all that blood around her, to Kacie’s face as she knelt over her, to her tiny body lying motionless in that big hospital bed… I still wanted to punch things. Preferably that asshole’s face. Hard.
“This one is much bigger. Pretty cool that your mom works here, huh? You guys gonna be nurses like her when you grow up?”
Lucy nodded while Piper twisted her little face, thinking.