That’s Gratitude

Just a cute little scene with Keenan and his youngest child, Jewelia, inspired by a phrase prompt over at the WriYe DreamWidth (expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos).

**

Keenan couldn’t help but chuckle as he saw his youngest child blow a kiss to… what?  “Who was that for, Jewelia?” he asked, shaking his head.

“Everything,” she said, holding out her arms.  She gave Keenan a sunny smile.  “It’s just such a beautiful day, Daddy.  I had to thank everything for it.”

Shaking his head, Keenan ruffled her hair.  “Out of the mouths of babes,” he murmured.  He burst out laughing when Jewelia protested that she was not a baby.

Oh, my gourd…

This fun little seasonal piece was inspired by a picture prompt over at the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

45-c15925f120Amy couldn’t help but smile at the way that Brook reacted to the scene.  It couldn’t have been better than if she’d just taken her younger siblings to pick pumpkins.  They would have wanted them to carve, but Brook had other things in mind.

He zoomed around the scattered pumpkins and gourds, his wings buzzing loudly.  Finally, he lighted on the largest pumpkin in the group.  “This one,” he said, looking at her.  His eyes were wide and hopeful.  “Please, Mistress, may we get this one?  It smells so delicious!”

“Well, all right,” Amy said, stifling a laugh.  She turned to the farmer and pointed out the pumpkin that Brook had picked out.  “That one,” she said, “could you help me get it to the car?”

“Sure, miss,” he said, smiling.  “That’s going to make one fine jack o’lantern.”

Amy chuckled and shook her head.  “I doubt it’ll last that long,” she said.  When the farmer gave her a quizzical look, she shrugged.  It was kind of hard to explain to the man that the little winged being he couldn’t even see would probably devour the pumpkin on the way home.  Sprites simply couldn’t resist gourds and squash of any kind.

Teach us to sit still.

Keenan gave his two youngest children a sidelong glance. Jewelia was swinging her feet idly and Ian was sliding back and forth in the pew. Occasionally, he would slide into his sister, earning a glare. Both of them were attracting the attention of other worshippers. That was the downside of being in the public eye. People were always watching.

Sighing softly, Keenan lifted Jewelia off the pew and settled her on his other side. Then, he drew Ian against his side. “Sit still and quiet,” he breathed to the pair.

“But I’m bored,” Jewelia replied in a child-like whisper.

Grinning to hide his embarrassment, Keenan fished in his bag for coloring books and crayons. He gave each of them a coloring book and one crayon. Once they were occupied, they became quiet and still. He couldn’t help but wonder: how had his mother and father taught him to be quiet and respectful in church?

go barefoot

“I can’t find my sandals,” Perry called. He peered down the steps and looked for an adult. “Uncle Bertram, I need my sandals, so I can go to the beach.”

Bertram’s brows furrowed. “The beach is about a hundred yards from the backdoor,” he said. “Why do you need sandals?”

“Because,” Perry said, his tone one of impatience, “Saphie is out there!” He sighed, rolled his eyes and shook his head. Then, he left to search for his sandals.

Bertram frowned at Keenan and arched an eyebrow. Keenan shrugged. “The pretty girl can’t see him looking unprepared,” he said.

“Be a tough guy,” Bertram called, “forgo the sandals.”

You gave love a band-aid

“Da,” Corey said, clambering into Keenan’s lap with her doll. “Lovey has an ouch.”

Keenan frown at the doll. It was just a small chip in the hard vinyl of the leg. To Corey’s eyes, it would look just like a scratch. “Well,” he said, a faint smile touching his lips. “Let’s see what I can do for that.”

He reached into one pocket and then the other. A moment later, he fished out a tiny bandaid, like you might use on a finger. He pulled the wrapper off and placed the bandaid over the doll’s wound. “There,” he said.

Corey giggled and clambered down from his lap again. “Thank you, Da,” she called, as she scampered back to her playing.

“You’re welcome,” he replied.

“What are you gonna do when the bandaid doesn’t make her better?” Perry asked, his brows furrowing. When Keenan gave him a questioning look, he said, “Love’s just a doll, Da. Dolls don’t get better from bandaids.”

“How do you know?” Keenan replied. Perry was just young enough that the question gave him pause.

Thought my mom sat on you

Jewelia made a loud noise of protest as Sera started to sit. Sera stood up quickly and looked at her, Jewelia was glaring.

“You don’t want me to sit there, sweetheart?” Sera said, frowning slightly.

“No,” Jewelia said, her tone firm. “You oughta ‘pologize, Mama! You almos’ sat on him!”

“Well,” Sera said, blinking. She looked at the empty cushion and nodded. “My apologies.”

Keenan had looked up from his book and was frowning at Jewelia. He looked at Sera, tilting his head to one side. Sera shook her head slightly. She had no idea who she’d almost sat upon.

“Who’s that, honey?” Keenan asked, looking at Jewelia.

His daughter pulled a pouty frown. “Nasin,” she said, patting the cushion beside her. She smiled. “Nasin ‘s my frien’.”

Keenan chuckled softly and looked back at his book. As Sera settled beside him, he said, “Sounds like Jewelie has an imaginary friend.”

“So it seems,” she said. She shook her head slightly and added, “It’ll be interesting, avoiding sitting on Nathan, until she decides she doesn’t need him anymore.”

Nodding, Keenan looked back at Jewelia. Ian was sitting on the other end of the couch now. Presumably, Nathan was between them. Both children were chattering softly. He wondered, then, just how imaginary Jewelia’s little friend was.

My angel is a xenophobe

Keenan came into the room, smiling. “Here he is,” he said, showing his youngest child to the gathered group of team leaders. The moment Ian saw them, he began crying.

Bertram stifled a laugh. “Is he shy?” he said.

Sighing, Keenan nodded. “Looks like.” He turned Ian around. “Hey, Angel,” he said. “Did seeing all those strange people scare you?”

Ian hiccupped and nodded. The others couldn’t help but laugh. Keenan only shook his head and hugged his son.

Love and fear in a house

“Why did we leave Mom?” Perry asked. He looked up at his father and frowned. Dad was scowling, his brows pinched together over his eyes. He was chewing his lip, like he did when he was trying to think about how to say something hard. “Did you… not love her?”

Dad shook his head. “I loved her,” he said, his voice soft. He sat down and looked into Perry’s eyes. “But I was also afraid of her – of what she might do to you or your sister.”

Perry scowled, unconsciously mirroring his father’s expression. Then he nodded. “No one should have to live that way,” he said at last.

The book of tales you knew by heart

“Da?” Perry said, picking a book up off the shelf. His brows furrowed. It was old and battered, but most of Da’s books were like that. What caught his attention was the faded illustration on the cover. He looked over at Da and held the book up for him to see. “What’s this?”

“My mother used to read that to me when I was your age,” Da said, smiling. He laughed and added, “Got so I knew every word. Would you like to hear one of the stories?”

Perry nodded and stepped up to Da, who was just sitting down in an overstuffed chair. Da pulled him up onto his knee and opened the book. Even though the pages were battered and the ink badly faded, Da had not trouble reading the old storybook.

A fearful hope was all the world contained

Perry frowned at the test page before him. He’d heard that the Agency exam was difficult, but he had no idea what that meant until he’d seen the questions.

His brows furrowed. The only rules, they’d been told at the outset, was that they couldn’t “let Master Bertram catch them cheating” and that Trenton and Rory would “answer whatever questions they could”.

His eyes widened. That had to be the answer! Moments before, Bertram had told them to pay special attention to the wording of “everything”. Perry bit his lip and looked over at Bertram.

He was talking to Trenton. Perry looked away, towards Rory. He checked Bertram again and waved the third proctor over to his desk.

“Yes?” Rory asked, leaning down so that Perry could talk softly enough not to disturb anyone.

Perry knew though, that Bertram had amazing hearing. He couldn’t simply ask for the answer. Then, he’d be caught cheating. A faint smile touched his lips and he pointed at the question.

Rory bit his lip and glanced up at Bertram. Then he took Perry’s pencil and hastily wrote the answer in the blank. “I hope that clarifies things,” he said, handing the pencil back.

“Oh, yes,” Perry said, a sly smile touching his lips. He could do this. It was hard, but not impossible.

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