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Archive for December, 2010

“Kurtis, did you ever think we’d have three such different children?” Zoysia sighed softly and snuggled closer to her husband.

“Never! But as long as each of them has something of you in them, I’m happy.” Kurtis curled his fingers around the curve of Zoysia’s shoulder and gently massaged the muscle underneath. He knew she’d been hunched over the chess table most of the afternoon.

“Mmmm, I’ll give you a year to stop that,” Zoysia teased as she could feel the tension easing away. Kurtis’ fingers were the strong and dextrous fingers of a lead guitarist, and they worked magic on her just as much as they did on the guitar. But even as her eyelids fluttered closed, she focused her thoughts and reminded herself that they had very little time together to talk about the kids and how they were doing. “You should have seen Kale going at that toy xylophone today! If his interest in it stays strong, he may follow in your footsteps one day.”

“I’d like that, yeah, but I don’t know… he gets pretty caught up in those picture books too sometimes. Maybe he’ll want to be a writer, or maybe he’s just feeding that big brain of his. Word is his mother’s one smart cookie.” Kurtis grinned into Zoysia’s lavender eyes.

“Well if his brain is hungry, Nandina’s is, too. She asked me to show her some different opening strategies this afternoon. I didn’t even realize she knew that term! And she asked me to help her with her homework, too. Poor thing, she seems to be struggling with social studies.”

“She always gets good grades in gym class, though!” Kurtis always made sure to point out the positives where his middle daughter was concerned.

“Yes, she does, which is why I couldn’t understand how she has been putting on weight! I keep having to let the seams out a little so she can keep wearing her clothes. I think I’ve finally solved the mystery, though. Actually, a double mystery.” When Kurtis’ eyebrow raised to show his curiosity, Zoysia continued. “You know how quick she’s been to volunteer to clean up the dishes after supper lately? Well, last night I peeked into the kitchen and noticed she was doing some of the cleanup by putting the leftovers into her mouth instead of into the refrigerator!”

Kurtis chuckled, and Zoysia’s heart did that little backflip it always did at her husband’s resonant laugh. Smiling, she traced her fingers along his jawline, enjoying the tickle of his short trimmed beard. Zoysia shifted to lay her head on his chest, where she could hear his heartbeat beating rhythmically beneath her. Her man not only made music; he was made of music. She felt like she could lie there forever and be content, but then she felt his chest rise as Kurtis drew in a deep breath and held it for a moment. That was a quirk of his when he was about to bring up something serious.

“Honey, do you remember the other day when you were playing in the tournament and I was here when Ivy came home from school?” When Zoysia murmured a yes, Kurtis continued. “Well, I asked her how her day was, and she made a horrible face. I told her that if she got her homework done quickly, she could go down to the theatre with me later, so she sat right down and started to work on it…”

“…but before long, she gave it up and walked off with a strange little smile on her face. Nan got home about that time, and I heard her asking Ivy if she wanted to have a snack with her. Would you believe that Ivy blocked Nan’s way into the kitchen?

I know we normally like to let the kids work out their own problems, and Violet was there in case things got out of hand, so I didn’t intervene. I was so proud of Nandina when she shrugged it off and changed the subject, asking Ivy if she wanted to go swimming. But Ivy just laughed and left the house, saying she was going to meet some friends. Well, I was about to get in the car to go to work, and I caught sight of Nan hopping on her bike to follow Ivy.”

Intrigued, Zoysia raised her head to watch Kurtis’ expression as he continued the story.

“I drove round the circle the other way, so I could watch Nan without passing her, but it didn’t take long for Ivy to lose her. I wish I could have followed both of them, but I didn’t have much time before rehearsal, so I decided to follow our younger girl.

“She wandered around a little bit, looking for Ivy, I guess, then she went of all places out behind the school. There were some kids playing guitar out on the playground, and at first I thought she was going to go over and join them. But she didn’t. She just hung out by the corner of the building, put her hand up to her ear, and acted like she was directing a band!”

“By then it was almost time for me to be at the theatre, so I swung by the manager’s house and offered him a ride, since it was on my way. Good thing, too – turns out his car’s in the shop. He said he’d put in a good word for me when a better spot opens up.”

“That’s great news, babe!” Zoysia gave Kurtis a happy squeeze.

“Yeah, I was really pumped for the jam session after that. I still wish I could’ve found out where Ivy went, though.”

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