Dinner with the family - Kelly talks to Gee and Monica
Both Bob and Kara were sitting silently side by side. Kara lifted a slice of misshapen garlic bread from the plate and rolled her eyes.
“Me’s done the bwed.” Elle said when she saw Kara take the slice.
“I can see that.” Kara answered.
Bob tired to smooth over her comment. “It’s very good, Elle.”
Elle gave him a dazzling smile. “Tanks Pookie.”
Poor Bob, who had been taking a sip of water started choking. All around the table the mood lightened.
“Pookie, would you like some more spaghetti?” Gerard asked batting his eyes at Bob.
“Uh, no thanks.” Bob shot daggers at him.
Elle continued to inhale her dinner. “Me’s luvs skitti.” She declared happily with sauce covering her face. “Me’s luvs yous guys too.”
Around the table her comment was met with smiles. Even Kara couldn’t help but smile. Damn kid was kinda cute.
After dinner Monica assigned Bob and Kara rug rat duty while she and Gerard has a talk with Kelly.
As Kara cleaned up the kitchen she suggested that they watch a movie, but Elle wasn’t interested. She wanted to play ball with Frank again.
“But Honey, it’s dark. You wouldn’t be able to see Frank.”
“No.” Her tone was definitely whiney.
“Come on Elle. Let’s watch Cinderella. It’s your favorite.” Kara tried to coax her. She turned to finish loading the dishwasher. As she bent to place the last plate in the machine she heard a crash in the hallway. A quick glance at the table confirmed what she had feared. Elle was gone.
Kara ran from the kitchen in time to see Elle and Frank nearly at the end of the hallway.
“Elle, come back here.”
Elle instead yelled, “Mock, get set….go.” Before flinging the ball she had found back down the hallway. It rolled past Kara with Elle and Frank in hot pursuit. As Elle reached her Kara calmly, and with one arm, snatched Elle in mid-flight. Her little legs were still pumping wildly as she protested. Kara shifting Elle to carry her like a sack of potatoes marched back into the kitchen. She stepped over Frank who was sitting atop the ball hoping for another toss.
As she sat Elle back in her chair, she gave Bob a hard look.
“Why weren’t you watching her?”
Bob hurriedly swallowed his last bite of cake. “I thought you were.” Kara just stared at him. She shook her head and turned back to Elle.
“Elle we can’t play ball in the house.” She bent down beside her. “Now, don’t you want to watch Cinderella?”
“What do you want to do?”
“Pway Fwank.” Elle started to cry.
Kara moved to instinctively comfort her but Elle wanted none of it, so Kara instead used a napkin to wipe her tears.
“Who drewed dat?”
“Who drew what?”
“Dat” Elle touched Kara’s cast.
“Well Kelly drew this,” She pointed to Kelly’s name in psychedelic colors. “And Bob drew this.” She pointed to a Superman shield that sported the letter ‘K’ instead of the usual ‘S’. “Would you like to draw me a pretty picture?”
Elle sniffled, “Otay.”
“All right. Bob could you find the markers for us? I think Kelly left them in the family room.”
Kara continued to talk softly to Elle as they waited for Bob to return.
“They’re not in there.” Said Bob as he plopped back into his chair.
“Here Elle.” Kara handed her paper and pencil. “You decide what you want to draw while I look for the markers.”
“No, I drawed on you.”
“Yes, yes you are but I have to find the right markers first.” Kara looked to Bob for some help as Elle looked skeptical.
“Stay there. I’ll be right back.”
She left returning shortly carrying the markers. “You were right Bob. They weren’t in there.” Kara threw the package to the table in mild disgust.
“Bob, I wasn’t gone but two minutes. Why is Elle knee-deep in chocolate cake?”
“She asked for it.”
Shit, she was watching two kids. Elle was making a merry mess, eating cake with her hands. She protested as Kara took the remains of the cake away and attempted to wipe off her hands and mouth.
“Come on. Don’t you want to draw a pretty picture? You have to get cleaned up first.”
“No, don’t wanna.”
“Okay, but you still have to get clean. Why don’t we go put your pajamas on?”
“No, don’t wanna go bed. Don’t wanna go bed. Me no tyrod.” Elle was in tears again, proving her words were a lie.
“Of course you’re not going to bed. It’s way too early but I wanna put on my P.J.’s. Don’t you? Then we’ll find something fun to do. Kara picked up Elle “Come on, Little One.” She whispered something to Bob on the way out.
They made their way upstairs. Kara grabbed a tee shirt and her pajamas and took Elle into the bathroom. She undressed Elle.
“Elle, wanna see the new bubble bath I got?”
Kara quickly started to fill the tub adding a little of the sweet smelling bubble bath.
“Don’t you love bubbles?”
“Wanna play in them?”
Again Elle nodded.
“Well the best place to play is in the tub.” Elle held up her arms and allowed Kara to put her in the tub. She turned off the water and played with Elle a few minutes making sure the bubbles removed all traces of her earlier chocolate feast. Not an easy task with one hand.
“Should we get dressed and find Pookie?”
“Otay.” Sleep was definitely catching up with her.
Kara toweled her off and they both changed into sleepwear. Kara picked her up and carried her down to the family room where Bob had Cinderella playing.
“Look Bob’s watching Cinderella. Should we watch it with him?”
Kara sat on the couch beside Bob, Elle on her lap. Elle was soon straining to keep her eyes open, jerking awake at times. The last time she awoke she stared at Bob awhile before crawling over into his lap. She soon nestled into the crook of his arm and fell
Kelly was nervous as she sat in the living room waiting for Gerard and Monica. All of her earlier enthusiasm as what she had accomplished today was diminishing. Second thoughts were starting to crowd her mind.
Monica and Gerard walked in together. Kelly looked at her Mom anxiously. She seemed really upset. Gerard on the other seemed to be basking in the glow of dinner. Kelly was surprised when he suddenly turned serious. As he sat, he said, “Kelly, your Mom and I are really concerned about what happened today. Suppose you tell us just what did happen.” He gave a quick glance over to Monica.
“First off, I’m really sorry about not getting ahold of you. That was an accident. We just got caught up in everything.”
Monica interrupted, “Kelly you said that before. Suppose we get to the real issue here. Just what happened today?”
Kelly took a deep breath steeling herself. “Anyway like I told you, they let Mike back into school early. Nobody told me. He cornered me after first period and first he was all sicky sweet telling me how much he missed me. Then he started talking about Kara and how much he hated her and he just got madder and madder. Then he was mad at me too. He was bragging about how he was back early because of who he was. He said nobody could touch him. The he went back to Mr. Nice Guy. Talking about seeing me after school, making sure I got home okay. After he left I realized how much he scared me and I just couldn’t go thru the day running into him. The thought of it did make me sick. So I went to the nurse and told her I was sick and needed to go home. When I called home I got Kara instead and it just made sense to let her come and get me since you were out with Elle. I just wanted to come home and hide under the covers.
When Kara picked me up, she figured out pretty quick that something was wrong so she and Bob took me out to lunch and talked to me. Kara talked to me a long-time about how I really felt about what was going on. I don’t know if she liked my answers or not but the next thing I know she and Bob had me talking to an abuse counselor. He name is Mrs. Diaz. She’s so cool. She talked to me for hours about everything. About Mike and Dad and about how I felt about it all and what I wanted to do, if anything. It was nice talking to her because she’s been where I’ve been and she didn’t judge me. She even took me over to an abused women’s shelter and let me talk to some of the women there. And she gave me paperwork I can fill out with you and we can file of an emergency restraining order against Mike. She says I have a good shot of getting one after the hearing. And that if I can get one we might be able to force the school to bar him from attending.”
“Wait, wait.” Monica interjected, “Are you saying that you went to the police department today?”
“Yeah. I swore out a complaint against Mike and Kara filled out a witness statement about everything she knows and what she saw him do at school Monday. They took pictures of my bruises.”
Kelly suddenly sounded confident, something she hadn’t been in quite a while. It was funny, Monica thought, how she hadn’t noticed that before.
“Anyway” Kelly continued, “She gave me her cell phone number so I can call her anytime. She’s offered to go to court with me, too.” Kelly stopped looking hopefully at Monica and Gerard. “I think I can do this Mom. I want to do this.”
“Wow” Gerard said suddenly leaning back in his chair. He looked dazed.
No one said anything for a while. Just as the silence became truly uncomfortable, Monica rose, beckoning Kelly toward her. She hugged her then took Kelly’s face in both her hands, looking her deep in the eyes.
“I’m so proud of you.” She hugged her again. Gerard stood and hugged them both. The group broke apart.
“Please don’t be mad at Kara about today. If it wasn’t for her none of this would have happened.”