Lila Speaks Her Piece
The front door opened and closed; the hallway floorboards creaked under his weight as he made his way along the hallway to the kitchen. “Sandy,” Lila called, “you sure took your time about it. I tried to keep your breakfast warm, but I’ll make no apologies for the result. As for your tea, you'll just have to wait."
Shoulder into the frame, legs and arms crossed he watched her unnoticed, from the kitchen entrance, scurry about. The plate of wrinkled bangers, eggs and toast she had retrieved from the oven and placed on the table did not garner his interest. The moment the kettle was placed on the stove, he stole across the floor and wrapped his arms around her waist and twirled her about
“Put me down you silly old thing,” she chortled, slapping either side of his head with the oven mitts she wore on each hand.
He lowered her to the floor and snuggled into her neck, showering it with kisses. “Oh, how l love you!”
“You had jolly well better,” she giggled, cupping the back of his head and pulling him closer. “Now enough of this. You've already made me dizzy.”
“Dizzy with love, I hope.”
“That too.” She placed the oven mitts in the drawer. Turning, she rose on the balls of her feet and kissed him full and deep.
"Wow!" He glanced over at the table while still holding her in his arms. “Breakfast can wait. Don’t you think?” He undid the sash around her waist and let it drop to the floor.
She stepped back and playfully swatted him with the tea-towel. “Oh it can, can it? Not much of a leap to know where your mind’s going.”
"Nor yours with that kiss." He took off his jacket and draped it across the back of his chair. Stepping closer, he reached out to undo the buttons on her top when the high-pitched whistle from the kettle on the stove conspired with the telephone ringing in the hall to shatter the moment. With a dispirited shrug, he shook his head in exasperation and reluctantly headed out of the kitchen to answer it.
He placed the receiver on its cradle and let out a long sigh. A missing child. Never a good beginning to a day. Whatever energy he had had been zapped by the news. He returned to the kitchen but stopped short of entering. "That was Sergeant Snowden. He told me he had called several times. Why didn't you tell me?" Patiently, he waited until she put the tea-cozy on the teapot. Deep inside he knew it had less to do with the phone calls and more about this day.
She stared at him over her shoulder. “Today of all days you should know why.” Teapot in-hand, she placed it on the table. “You should be marching in today’s ceremonies. You promised me.”
He stepped into the kitchen and put on his jacket. “Lila, it’s my duty. No one knows that better than you!”
“Duty is it?! You also have a duty to yourself, Sandy. Was it your duty that kept you so late this morning?! Tell me, Sandy, where did you go after dropping off our niece? And what’s that you’ve got in your pocket—is it a book?”
He chewed on the inside of his cheek. “I was going to tell you over ...