The kids busied themselves, climbing all over her furniture, taking things and moving them to other places, while we sat on her couch and she tucked into her lunch.
“Mmm, these are divine,” she said, mouth full of BLT sandwich. She brought it up to my face and I took a bite, though I’d already eaten. “Those YouTube cooking channels are really working.”
I opened my mouth, taking mock offense. “Are you trying to say my cooking prior to watching them was bad?”
It was, and we both knew it! She’d cooked most of the meals at the start of our relationship — the second time around — but since becoming a full-time mom, I’d spent the past two years practicing, trying out new recipes, nearly burning down our kitchen in the process! It had been an arduous process, but my cooking was finally at a place I was proud of. I had signature dishes, and still experimented whenever I could.
“No…” She hid a smile behind her sandwich.
I chuckled. “Actually, I’m trying a new dish this evening. I think you’ll like it.”
She unscrewed the glass bottle that contained her smoothie, let out an appreciative “mmm” as she downed it, then said, “It’s so crazy here right now, love, I won’t be—”
“You won’t be late for dinner tonight,” I finished for her, folding my arms. “That’s what you were going to say, right?”
When I used that tone, the WIFE tone, she knew there was only one way this would go.
With the faintest smile playing on her lips, a smile of defeat, she said, “Yes, honey, that’s exactly what I was going to say. I would never be late for dinner.”
Dakota Pierre — 1; Naomi Pierre — 0.
The credits rolled, signaling the end of a Trotro marathon I’d been roped into watching by my children. It was a French cartoon their mother had introduced them to, and I didn’t understand a word of it. They did, though, thanks to Naomi’s insistence on speaking to them in French half the time.
It didn’t matter that they’d watched the show more times than I, or they, could count, or that I was in the middle of making their mother’s dinner; they’d taken me hostage, snuggled up to me on the couch, one on either side, and that was that.
They were at their most angelic in the evening; especially now, in sleep. I looked down at them wrapped in my arms, and realized how quiet they’d become. Only sleep could make them this quiet.
The next part required a level of skill I’d mastered over the months. I untangled myself from them as gently as I could, then with great precision, one by one I picked them up and carried them to their room, successfully avoiding waking them.
Their room, once a sort of morbid shrine and reminder of Naomi’s loss, was now full of life. Toys, books and clothes strewn everywhere, crayon markings on the walls. I knew it had been difficult for her to redecorate, once I fell pregnant, but she’d done it without complaint. And now two beds, one blue, one pink (we really weren’t very creative) occupied the room.