Dear J, now that Blue and Ruby are teens, they’re both working for Leela at her bakery, For Goodness Cakes. I must say, I don’t mind this arrangement since it means seeing Leela on a regular basis and getting fat on the pastries.
Is it okay to say Leela’s cooking is even better than Mom’s? Maybe I shouldn’t go there. I’ll just say that it’s really, really good.
The girls are still thick as thieves and always whispering or nudging each other. I’m not even going to pretend I have a clue as to what that’s about. Leela says she has an idea, but she decided not to enlighten me, for whatever reason. I guess it’s “girl stuff.” Or something.
When the girls get carried away, Leela gives them a look that I wish I could do justice by describing. It’s kind of an “oh no you didn’t” look… but on steroids. Whenever she does this, Blue and Ruby straighten right up. I wish I had that skill mastered, let me tell you. When I attempt this, Blue just cracks up and rolls her eyes. She says I make it weird.
On a side note: I used to be so cool, so rock and roll and now my daughter says I make it weird! When did that happen? And how do I get back to cool? This drives me nuts!
Today, when I got to the bakery, Leela was baking, as usual (OMG, my stomach started rumbling as soon as I got there – the wonderful aroma had me intoxicated as soon as I walked in the door). The girls were washing dishes… or well, I guess Ruby was washing dishes. Blue was watching her and she didn’t look happy.
Her face immediately lit up, though, when the sink suddenly broke.
“I guess we can’t do anymore dishes!” she announced brightly.
“Oh no!” Leela exclaimed. “Leo, do something!”
I guess she said that because I’m a guy and guys are supposed to be handy. But I’m a composer and that’s pretty much all I know how to do.
Regardless, I jumped into action. I guess that’s because I’m a guy, too. I would do anything to save the day, even if I had no clue as to what I was doing.
“Okay, okay!” I shouted as I attacked the sink, or it attacked me. “I’ve got this!”
I couldn’t see Blue’s face, but I could hear her laughing as the water shot up, splashing me in the face. I stupidly put my hand up like a stop sign as if that would hold the liquid back.
“Are you laughing?” I growled at Blue, blinking water out of my eyes.
“Well, I didn’t break it,” she said.
That’s when Ruby joined in.
“Here,” Leela said as she handed me a wrench. This was good. It was going to be okay. I knew this was a wrench! That was a start, anyway.
“I think you need to turn that thingy with the wrench,” Ruby said, pointing with her index finger.
I wasn’t going to ask any questions. Maybe the kid knew what she was doing.
Still convulsing with laughter, Blue started to mop the floor. At least she was being helpful without being told.
Leela turned back to the oven to check on her cobbler.
The water had leaked into the dining area, so Ruby and Blue mopped that, too.
By the time Ruby came back to check on me, the leak was fixed. I think. At least it wasn’t spraying water everywhere.
“Great job, Leo!” Ruby enthused, patting me on the back like a little kid that needed encouragement. After that ordeal, she probably wasn’t wrong.
In the end, it was all worth it to see Leela smiling at my accomplishment.
“Thank you so much. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t been here.”
Feeling the heat rising to my face, I smiled a little. “I think Ruby could have fixed it.”
“Ruby is very handy,” Leela agreed. “But I’m still grateful you were here.”
Blushing again, I said, “I’m glad I could help.”
“I am, too.”
“You, uh, still might want to have a plumber look at that.”
“That I will do,” she pleasantly said.
It was a minute before I realized I was just staring at her with a goofy smile on my face. As soon as I realized, I sobered up. “So, uh, how did Blue do today?”
“She did fine, but I think she was a little bummed to be spending her Saturday here. I can’t say that I blame her, though.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“I know,” she said with a glimmer in her eye. “How about piece of chocolate pie?”
She knew me so well. “I will never turn that down.”
It was so nice sitting together, eating dessert. It felt like a real family. Don’t get me wrong, I know Leela and I aren’t together as a couple and the four of us aren’t a real family, but it just felt so comfortable to imagine it for a little while.
Blue and Ruby were so excited to be off work, so they decided they were going to see Samuel Serendipity’s latest flick, Terminal Retaliation.
“I wrote the music for that.”
“Gosh, Daddy, we know,” Blue groaned, but when I looked at her, she had a look of pride in her eyes.
“It must be so exciting to be in the movie business,” Ruby said. “Blue’s great-uncle is the star and her dad and uncle did the music.”
“What are you working on now, Leo?” Leela asked.
“Oh, um, it’s a drama called Waiting for MacCorkindale. There’s another project after that called Room of Beards. I really had to fight for that one, it’s going to be really exciting!”
“Really? Who’s in it?” Ruby asked.
“Only the latest celebrity power couple,” I announced.
“Edgar Sinclair and Alexia Bloom?” Blue shrieked.
I nodded as both girls were lost in screeching spasms. They were talking to each other at once, with intermittent squeals until Leela told them to get going to the movies.
“Wow,” I said with a relieved sigh when they’d gone.
Leela laughed a little and I helped her clean up.
Later that evening, Josh and I were practicing a part of my latest composition. I was having a problem with one of the measures, unable to figure out where the piece should go from there.
“A key change?” I asked as I played a few chords.
“Yeah… yeah, that’s it,” Josh agreed, quickly picking it up on his guitar.
We stopped playing as Blue came in. “Daddy, can I talk to you?”
“Honey, we’re working right now.”
“It’s okay,” Josh said, putting his guitar down. “I have to get home anyway. I promised Thea and Rachel I’d be home for dinner.”
Josh was barely out the door when Blue dove right in.
“I don’t think I should have to work at the bakery.”
“But… why? I thought you were excited to work with Ruby.”
“It’s killing me,” she moaned. “Yeah, I wanted to work there when I thought I’d have a car and be able to drive to work! This is so lame that you haven’t taught me how to drive yet!”
Sighing, I said, “We’ve been over this and I’m not changing my mind no matter what kind of fit you throw.”
“Dad, come on! You’re killing me! Why don’t you trust me?”
Although I heard her words and knew there was no possibility that she would feel any other way about it, all I saw at that moment were swerving lights and the last thing you said to me, Jillybean, before the impact. I had never told Blue the story of you. I couldn’t bring myself to speak about you at all. Every time I tried, I choked on the words and couldn’t get them out.
It happened so long ago, yet it was still yesterday to me.
“Tell me why,” she insisted, her words forceful.
She deserved an explanation. There just wasn’t one I could provide that would satisfy her.
“You’re just going to have to trust me that I know what’s best for you.”
“I love you so much.” Without meaning to, my eyes filled with tears. The thought of ever losing her hurt so much, it had become an almost constant fear since her birthday.
Her features softened as she regarded me with her green eyes. “I love you, too. I just wish you’d be straight with me. It’s not fair that Ruby is learning to drive and you just refuse.”
Now she looked as if she would cry. I wiped a tear from her cheek, my heart aching to tell her about the accident, my mouth not saying the words.
“Be patient with me, Blue. Someday, I’ll tell you everything.”
It wasn’t the heart to heart I had imagined us having. And her response to being forbidden from driving was not unexpected. I sincerely did hope that “someday” would come soon.
Ruby came over, saving me from further conversation so I went out to get the mail. I was still muddling over my failure to give Blue an explanation that would satisfy her when I glanced down at the envelopes in my hand. Most of them were the usual bills.
But one was not.
My heart sank and my mouth grew dry as I read the return address:
Not wanting to take the chance of Blue seeing me and asking questions, I dashed inside and went straight to the study. Sitting behind the desk, I opened the file folder of past letters, pictures and bills. It was a full five minutes before my trembling fingers opened the envelope that came today.
My hands were shaking and my face drained of all color as I reread the letter again and again. I couldn’t believe the words before me. Perhaps if I read it yet again, they would change and say something else.
I can’t explain how I felt at that moment, other than stunned. How could she love me? Hadn’t she just told me a few months ago that we didn’t even really know each other?
Confusion clouded my troubled mind as I carefully added this letter to the folder.
Author’s Note: For Goodness Cakes, Leela’s bakery was made especially for Noble Doubt by Lil of Lil’s Creative Corner. Thank you, Lil!