Posts tagged “uncle

Guiding Light, Chapter 12

Posted on 01/12/2015

Mashing sweet potatoes was all Phoebe’s mother allowed her to work on, she was much too distracted for anything else. Sentenced to the breakfast nook with a bowl, a pound of boiled sweet potatoes and her Aunt Belinda’s potato masher, Phoebe got to work. In the kitchen, her mother and aunt bickered over the main menu while out in the backyard, Uncle Harry and her father attempted to put the deep-fryer to work.

She had a perfect view of the two men, standing around the funny-looking equipment. If she wasn’t sulking over her menial task, Phoebe would’ve laughed at their puzzled expressions or at least offered to help.

Then she thought of the brothers in the Teka home, wondering what they were doing for Thanksgiving. Phoebe frowned at the thought of either Darah or Geraldine cooking. Her fingers stilled on the masher.

“Now now,” Aunt Belinda spoke up. “That is certainly not the way Mama used to do it.”

Phoebe turned to see the sisters standing over the stove, arguing over a silly pot of greens. She rolled her eyes and turned away.

“I’m not trying to do it like Mama. Give me the spoon, Bel.”

“Marsha, I’ll be darned if I let you taint Mama’s greens.”

“For goodness’ sake! It’s my kitchen, my stove! I can do whatever I want with my greens.”

Phoebe sighed heavily. So much for some peace and quiet. She mashed the last potato and set it aside before standing. “I’m gonna help Dad and Uncle.”

The women paid her no attention, now criticizing each other’s cooking. Shaking her head, Phoebe put the bowl on the counter and moved to the back door.

“You sure we should use Crisco?” Uncle Harry muttered, assessing the bottle of oil. “Bel’s on a strict diet.”

“Then she’ll eat greens,” her father answered.

Phoebe held back a smile, closing the door. “Need some help, fellas?”

Both men looked up and her father gave her a distracted smile before looking away.

Uncle Harry studied her carefully. “And how will you help?”

Phoebe arched a brow, coming to stand beside them. “Looks like you need all the help you can get, Uncle. It’s been almost an hour and you’ve still not put it together.”

Uncle Harry tugged on her puffy ponytail and flashed her a grin. “That’s all on your dad.”

“Like you’re doing anything but staring at me.”

“I said we should print out the instructions.”

Phoebe smirked. “Daddy seems to think frying a bird requires no instructions.”

“It doesn’t,” Clint replied, setting down the container on its stand. “Our forefathers deep-fried turkeys and chickens long ago. Don’t think anyone sat down to write some dumb instructions. Harry, hand me that screwdriver.”

Harry shook his head but reached down to collect the tool. “Hope you guys have an extra bird in the oven, just in case.”

Phoebe winked conspiratorially. “It’s covered.”

“O ye of little faith.” Clint squatted. “Just watch. When I’m through pulverizing this bird, you’re not having any of it.”

“Pulverized doesn’t sound tasty.” Harry regarded his niece. “You okay?”

Phoebe nodded with a smile. “Mashed potatoes ready for your favorite pie.”

His lips twitched, though his expression remained serious. “I meant about your guy.”

Cheeks on fire, Phoebe glanced once at her father before looking back at her uncle. “Err…”

“She’s got no guy until he meets my approval,” Clint groused.

Harry chortled. “The girl’s twenty-eight, Clint. Too old for show and tell.”

“Thank you!” Phoebe scooted close to her ally and wrapped an arm around him. She rested her chin on his shoulder and smiled.

He winked at her. “Besides, I got a good look at him. He’s a decent fellow.”

Phoebe gave him a weak smile. Though relieved that he liked Abe’s character, it didn’t change the fact that Abe didn’t want anything to do with her.

“I’d be the judge of that,” Clint grumbled from his squatting position. “Where’s the gas?”

Harry sighed and dislodged himself from Phoebe to retrieve the gas cylinder. “You sure about this, Clint?”

“Yup. Got it covered.” Clint accepted the cylinder.

Harry took Phoebe’s hand in his. “When he lights it, you and I run for the door.”

“Ha-ha, very funny.”

Phoebe stifled a giggle and rested her cheek against Uncle Harry’s shoulder. They turned to watch her father hook the gas cylinder and she held her breath. But only for a moment. There was a distinct hissing sound and then flames under the open container that would hold the thawing bird sitting on the open grill. No explosions, not spontaneous combustion. She relaxed against her uncle.

“Well I’ll be,” Harry breathed in awe. “I think you’ve got something here, Clint.”

Clint flashed a smug grin. “Told you.” He stood and walked around them to the grill.

The door opened behind them and a frowning Aunt Belinda stepped out. Her frown eased at the sight of blue flames under the open cylinder. “It worked?”

“Of course it did,” Clint answered, stepping around the container retrieve the turkey. “Now we just wait for the Crisco to warm up and–”

Crisco oil?” Belinda’s frown returned. “Clinton, I can’t eat with that!”

Clint snorted and Harry shook his head. “I told you so.”

Phoebe held back a smile and started to step aside, intending on returning inside to assist her mother. Uncle Harry squeezed her hand, pulling her attention back to him.

“Let’s talk.”

Her heart skipped a beat. Those words, even at the age of twenty-eight, didn’t bode well for her.

So when they came to stand on the side of the house, Phoebe acted quickly. “I’m sorry, Uncle Harry!” she burst out. “I should’ve stayed away, should’ve told him and you–”

Harry shook his head. “Enough of that. It was an honest mistake, and sheer coincidence that I would be there.”

She blinked. “You’re not upset?”

He sighed. “I was upset because you jeopardized their chance…”

Phoebe hung her head. “I know.”

“But they’ve got someone scheduled for their place tomorrow, so it’s fine.”

She looked up, smiling. “That’s great!”

He regarded her with a puzzled smile on his face. “I can see why you’d find it hard to stay away. They’re a good family.”

Phoebe looked down again, sighing. “Yeah… they are.”

“And they seem to like you as much as you like them.”

She closed her eyes, trying to ignore the aching feeling in her gut.

“Why don’t you go to them? It’s the holidays.” He reached for her hand, willing her to look up. His expression was kind, understanding.

Her eyes watered. “I wish I could, Uncle Harry. You have no idea just how much.” The tears fell free when Uncle Harry pulled her close.

<<Chapter 11 || Chapter 13>>

Chasing Truth: Chapter 22

Posted on 21/11/2014

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Yet again to Mari’s surprise, Tyler didn’t take off after she agreed to give them another shot. Instead, he turned on soft music and warmed up her dinner just as he would’ve before all of the craziness started. When the food was ready he sat down at the table with her, declining anything of his own. She just dug into her plate when he rested his arms on the table and spoke.

“I’m guessing you and your family have talked about Blake.”

“Yeah, a couple of times. We talked about it again tonight. We’re going to be meeting soon I guess.”

He shot back upright. “He’ll actually come here?”

Her fork hovered just in front of her mouth and her brow furrowed. “That’s what I’m understanding. Raoul didn’t say anything about me going to him.”

He looked at her, but when she said nothing else he shook his head. “I guessed he would’ve had you brought to him. I didn’t think he would come to you.”

His words reminded her he knew far more about her father than she did.

“Why?”

“It would’ve been safer for him that way. Less risky. He has enemies and him being outside of his usual areas is a vulnerability. When is he coming?”

“I don’t know yet. Raoul is handling all of that. He’ll let me know when everything is sorted. I should have at least a day’s warning.”

“You’ll let me know when you find out?”

She hesitated and set her fork down to give him her complete focus. “On one condition.”

Tension lined his shoulders as he met her eyes. “Are we going to have conditions on everything now?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“I was asking a question.”

“No,” she gritted out. “But if we’re going to do this, we’re doing it together and that means there’s going to be times when you need to take into consideration what I need and want.”

“What’s the condition?”

The lack of agreement planted a seed of unease within her and she didn’t tear her eyes from him as she made her condition known.

“I want to meet him alone the first time. You’ll have plenty of time to do whatever. I want that first meeting for me. Just me and him.”

“I can give you that.”

Relief stole through her. “Good.”

“But you’ll still let me know when he’s coming.”

“I can give you that,” she returned.

They both went quiet and Mari focused on her dinner until Tyler stood to his feet. She looked up and found him staring down at her.

“We lost something when you found out the truth. We’re going to get it back. Not tonight, but we’ll get it back.”

She wasn’t so sure, but rather than voice that she just swallowed her food and nodded. He leaned down to kiss her forehead.

“I’m going to clear out. What time’s your last tour tomorrow?”

“4:30.”

“I’ll see you after work then.”

“Okay.” She paused, searching for the right thing to say. Tyler was right. They’d lost the easiness of their relationship. “Goodnight.”

“Don’t forget to lock up,” he added before he walked out the door.

She sighed as she finished up her dinner. She thought she finally had a plan, but tonight with Tyler showed her it wasn’t going to be as easy or smooth as she once predicted. Knocking interrupted her thoughts a few minutes later. Assuming it was Tyler forgetting something, she tossed her plate and answered the door to find Gage there. Her uncle. The truth still rattled her every time she saw him. All these years the connection to her father was right in front of her teaching her how to fish, introducing her to the world through stories of his many adventures, and helping her navigate the tricky waters of teenage years.

“I saw Tyler head out,” he explained with a small smile. “Do you mind if I come in for a few minutes?”

Shaking her head, she pulled the door open wider and turned to let him follow her into the house.

“You two fixed whatever the problem was?” he asked sinking down onto the couch.

“There wasn’t a problem to fix. I’ve just been busy so it’s been harder for us to get together like we used to.”

The lie didn’t sit well. She’d never had a reason to lie. Not to Gage. Sure as a child she’d told Raoul a few to stay out of trouble or sometimes, to go get into trouble, but not since high school had that been an issue. She wondered just how much playing Tyler’s game was going to cost her.

The knowing look in Gage’s eyes was all too clear. “To hear everybody tell it, busy didn’t stop you two from getting together before. So again, you two fixed whatever the problem was?”

She settled into the armchair across from him and laughed. “Sometimes I forget how well you know me. We talked and got some things sorted out. The only thing we can do now is see how it goes from here. We’re good for now.”

“You really like him.”

She drew in a deep fortifying breath. Blake hadn’t arrived yet, but they were already on stage. Still, Gage knew her and that meant the closer she stuck to the truth the better things would go.

“He’s…different from anyone I’ve ever dealt with. Sometimes I can’t imagine anyone better than him. Other times I tell myself to slow down and not get carried away. Time tells you a lot about a person, the things they can’t hide. We need more time under our belt. I know you and Raoul worry.” With good reason, she added to herself. “Still I want to see where it goes. I don’t want to look back later and have regrets.”

He was silent for a minute before he leaned in. “That’s your decision, Ellie. I wouldn’t take that from you. I want you happy and if he’s part of that happiness then okay. If not, you know I’m obligated to break his neck.”

She smiled at the threat Gage gave ever since she was old enough to be interested in boys. “I haven’t forgotten.”

“Good. Make sure he knows it too.” He shifted on the couch. “Raoul talked to your father.”

Her breath caught and she released it slowly. “And?”

“He’d be here tonight if you let him, but we agreed to Friday.”

Friday. In less than two days she would meet the man Miranda loved until death, the man who fathered her. She would finally meet Blake Mason.

 

<< Chapter 21 || Chapter 23 >>

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