The next day. Grace rested on the sizzling wet cement. The towel she had put on the ground was bunched up into a pillow under her neck. The sprinkler on the lawn kept the ground under her body wet and cool. Her short wet brown hair stuck to her cheek as she inhaled deeply, drinking in the smell of the mixture of warm cement and the grass her grandpa had cut earlier that morning; before the sun had time to start smothering the crispness the night before had left behind. Grace had to keep her eyes clenched shut in order to keep the sun from blinding her. She was downwind just enough that she could feel the light spray from the sprinkler.
Soon enough, she was pulled out of the mire of her thoughts by the slam of the screen door and the Cody screeching happily as he ran out to stand over Grace. Feeling his little shadow blocking the sun from her eyes, she left them closed, “Yes Cody?” At just that moment she felt his little finger poke her cheek, “Gwacie come eat,” he giggled and poked her two more times. Grace’s eyes flew open.
“Ah c’mon Cody, that hurts,” she muttered as she swatted lightly at his tiny hand. She took his little hand in hers and pretended to bite him. “Mmmmmm you tasty,” she said in a growly monster voice, “nom nom nom.” Cody squealed in delight and ran away towards the house, giggling and screaming something nonsensical. She heard Grandma open the screen door and holler, “C’mon Grace,” as she pulled herself up off of the ground and dried herself off a little better.
When she was mostly dried she walked quickly to the front door. She could smell that Grandma had fried up some bacon and immediately surmised that BLT’s were most likely on the menu; Grace’s favorite! As she entered the house, she took the steps two at a time and raced into the kitchen. Grandma was slathering mayo onto the toasted bread and Grace’s stomach growled. Grandma must have heard it too, because she immediately said, “Now Grace, you know you are not going to sit on my chairs in a damp swimming suit. Go change and it’ll be ready to eat when you get back.” She didn’t have to ask Grace twice, not when there was bacon involved. The little imp darted into the bathroom and hurried into her dry clothes. Just as she was tugging her shirt over her ears she heard the telephone ring. Grace glanced in the mirror and tried to smooth her wet drying hair out of her face, encouraging it with all her might to just lay flat. After about 5 seconds she lost interest and saw her unsuspecting Grandma pick up the phone while she scooped Cody up who was trying to sneak out of the kitchen and down the stairs again. She hadn’t strapped him into his high chair yet and he was sneaky.
“Hello?” Grandma Lily said. Her face fell and her old, soft, brown eyes flashed in anger. She put the receiver on her chest and handed Cody to Grace, “Buckle him in would ya?” Turning the corner from the kitchen into the hallway to try and hide her phone conversation from the kids. Grace’s heart started pounding a little. There were only a few things that made grandma’s eyes flash, and Lily’s daughter was one of them.
Cody wiggled the whole time she strapped him in. She was a master at it despite his wriggling, Grace strained to listen while she grabbed herself a paper plate and plopped one of the sandwiches that were ready onto it. Cody started singing a garbled version of a Lion King song, “Oh dussss cannnnnnn wayyyyyt ooooo be kiiiiing.”
“Pssst Codester, shhhhhh,” Grace pleaded and he busted into a fit of giggles. Grace set her plate down and tiptoed as close as she dared to the corner that her grandma was turned by. All the while thinking how Cody was the luckiest kid in the world. She wished she could be 3 and oblivious to everything else going on in her life.She heard Grandma Lily’s voice raise a tad, “No. Absolutely not. You let me keep them here. I’m not going to let you take them back and forth on a whim all summer. You dropped them here and you can deal with it-” There was a pause while Irene must have been responding. Probably saying something like, “momma, they are my kids and I can do as I see fit.” Grace figured she guessed right by the response her grandma retorted with, “Irene, if you step foot in my house within the next week I will not be responsible for how your daddy will handle it. Now, you let them stay here. You dry out! And if when you come and fetch them, if it even looks like you are not sober, I will not hand them over. In fact I think you should consider just leaving them here until sch…Irene?hello?” Lily sighed heavily and Grace tried to sneak back to the table as fast as she could. As she was about to pull the chair out to sit, Grandma came around the corner and set the phone down rather firmly and fixed a smile on her face, “Gracie, what did I say about listenin’ in on my telephone conversations?”
“How does she always know?” Gracie thought to herself. As she shrugged and fixed her own smile while batting her long eyelashes at her grandma, “How am I supposed to know when to run away if I don’t hear if it’s your daughter coming to pick us up again