Never Again

This little scene was inspired by a prompt from Tomi Adeyemi’s site.  I had too much fun figuring out what to write for it.

**

She gripped the rim of the porcelain sink and tried to steady her hands.  “One last time,” she whispered to herself.  One. Last. Time.  She took a deep breath and then headed back out into the corridor.  There, she paused to frown at the little boy that was becoming the bane of her existence.

“Johannes,” she said, giving him a forced smile.  “It’s bedtime now.  Your sisters are in bed and your brother is in bed.  You really need to go to bed now.”

The little boy frowned at her for a long moment.  She steeled herself, ready for the next argument or onslaught of hysterical crying.  Instead, the little boy heaved a sigh and picked himself up off the floor.  “Okay, Joy,” he said, as he grabbed his oversized bear by one paw.  “You win.”

She blinked and then a genuine smile touched her lips.  “Great,” she said, her voice faint.  She was absolutely never going to babysit for the Engels again, at least… not alone.  Maybe she could convince her sister to help her next time.

As she finally got Johannes tucked into bed and was moving to the door, he said, “Would you read me a story?  Please?”

Joy frowned slightly.  “All right,” she said.  She frowned even more as he handed her a book from beside his bed.  It was not the sort of book most first grade boys would be reading.  In fact, she hadn’t read it until she was in fifth grade.  Turning to the bookmarked page, she began to read.  Johannes was sleeping before she’d even finished the page.

Feeling just a bit nervous, she set the book back on the bedside table.  Then, she padded to the door and slipped into the corridor.  As she eased the door closed, she heaved a sigh of relief.  At long last, all four of the kids were sleeping.  Shaking her head, she went down the steps to the family room.  Mr. Shepherd was due back in an hour.  With a little luck, she might be able to watch one episode of her program.

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