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idioms...sayings understood by native speakers part twenty nine
The ride ended in silence with Charlie rocking in the back seat. Carl gripped the steering wheel. Jenny, arms crossed, stared daggers at the road ahead of them. As they pulled to a stop in front of Rick's house, Charlie sprung out of the car like a rabbit and ran into the house.
"Li Li?" He yelled.
Rick came out of the kitchen.
"Hey Charlie. Bud, quiet down, Lynn is asleep on the couch."
"Oh, Wick." The boy came in the kitchen looking around.
Charlie found a corner and sat in it with his back against it, rocking.
Rick came over and tried to make contact. But Charlie was looking through him.
Carl and Jenny entered. Seeing Charlie, Jenny walked up to Rick.
"You gotta basketball hoop on the garage, right?"
"Where is the ball?"
"My room. Why?"
"Go get it. Now!"
"Um, okay. But what about Charlie?"
"Just too much negative emotion tonight. Give him some time and then make contact. I need to take care of the bearer."
"She means me." Carl stated, evenly.
Rick could feel the anger flowing off the man. On the Carl scale it was ten to the tenth power.
"You think you can handle him like this?"
Jenny cocked her head. "If I can't, I will let you have him. But right now, this is my battle."
"Okay." He left and got the ball. "Here. Um, try not to hurt the garage door. I just got it replaced."
Jenny grabbed the ball.
"Come on, College boy. Let's just see what you remember."
Carl glared at her as she started out towards the back door.
Rick looked at him. "What are you? Chicken?"
"I don't need this.." pausing and taking a deep breath, "from you."
"Oh? Fine, if you don't go out back, then we can fix this problem of yours in the front yard."
Carl walked deliberately out the back door slamming it.
Lynn jumped up calling out, "Charlie?"
Rick walked into the living room. "It is okay. Charlie is home. The wind caught the door and slammed it, that's all. Try to rest some more, okay?" Thinking that she must never really rest if she jumps at every sound thinking that Charlie is in trouble.
Rick returned to the kitchen and sat down beside Charlie, like Lynn always did, he ruffled his hair. "Charlie, I don't know if you can hear me or not, but Carl is just angry right now. He is not mad at you. He just doesn't know how to handle it."
Jenny hit the flood lights after finding the switch by the garage door. She stretched her muscles quickly then stopped when she heard Carl's footsteps coming closer. She bounced the ball and did the perfect back layup landing on her unaffected foot. Limping would not be an option right now.
Carl came up clapping. "impressive."
She threw a hard two handed pass at him.
"What should we play? HORSE, or one on one?"
Carl bounced the ball two times on his way to the hoop, doing the perfect back layup.
"I would say we both have an H."
"Fine." As she grabbed the ball where it landed and did a jumper. "Looks like I have an O."
Carl picked the ball up and came to where she was standing. As he aimed, she said, "Your mother is a wimp."
"Don't talk about my mother."
"What? The subject is taboo? I saw that shiner." She took the ball as it landed and threw another jumper from the other side of the hoop. "Looks like I have an R." She threw him the ball.
As he tried again, she said, "Your father is an abusive SOB."
He missed again.
"Humm. Looks like I hit a sore spot." As she threw a three pointer, she smiled. "Ha, and she scores!!!!! I have an S. Care to make your O?"
Carl's face was getting redder by the minute. He caught the ball she threw and aimed and still missed. "Damn it."
Lynn took the ball and threw from the free throw line. "E. and game."
She walked over to him.
"What? Is Mr. Nice Guy angry?"
"Stop it, Jenny."
"No. That won't do one bit."
She started to dribble the ball. "Come on, College boy, take it away." she taunted.
"Jenny, stop it. I really could lose control."
"Then lose it." She got closer to him. "Take the ball away from me, Carl. Just try."
Carl made his move only to come up with air and Jenny threw another basket.
"Two points for me." She paused. "You are gonna let a girl beat you?"
He stepped behind the line and she passed him the ball. He got three dribbles in only to find the ball gone and Jenny doing a lay up.
"Four points to the blond. And to Mr. Nice Guy who is gonna lose it, nothing." She tossed him the ball and stepped behind the line to let him pass it.
"So you are just so nice, you can't even take this ball from me." She teased.
Carl blocked her and got the ball, as he went to toward the basket dribbling, she took it away and did a lay up. "Six to nothing."
Winded he sat down. "Jenny, just call it."
"Ah, so you are just a scared little boy who can't do anything."
"What the hell?" he yelled at her. "What gives you the right to say that to me?"
She leaned over to him and whispered, "Don't you feel like hitting me right now?"
"Because I am not my father."
She sat down on the grass beside him. "Carl, are you still angry?"
"Then, let's play again, only this time I will keep my mouth shut and you won't have to say anything... okay?"
After thirty minutes more of solid play, the score was tied and Jenny started to limp again.
"Okay, we are even. And I am starved."
Carl looked at her limping. "You have been in pain this whole time."
She laughed. "This is nothing. You are the one in pain, my boy. The worse kind... You are thirty years old, a bright future, good looking, a boy scout, yet you are still single. It makes a girl ponder as to the why of that. Rumor in the business crowd is that you are a player."
"So why are you still single?"
"You are not your father. You won't be a wife beater. I pushed you so hard tonight, I would have hit myself. Yet you did not hit me."
"It is said that children of alcoholics will become alcoholics. Children from abuse will become abusers."
Jenny laughed. "You are right. That is what the statistics say." She reached up and ruffled his hair. "But I don't believe in statistics. I believe in choices." She paused, hearing her stomach growl. "Let's hurry. I am starving."
As they entered laughing into the house, the smell of fish radiated from the kitchen. Charlie had an apron on and was setting the table. Rick pulled him over and told him to go wake up Lynn as he saw the two come by the kitchen, sweating profusely.
"Supper is on. Go wash up."
Carl said, "Ladies, first."
"Sure thing. Man, Rick, that smells good." As she headed towards the bathroom, Carl leaned on the sink and grabbed a carrot to munch on.
"So how are you doing?" Rick asked quielty.
"Actually, a little better. I am so worn out, I don't have any energy to be angry anymore."
"Okay. So did you take it out on Jenny?"
"No, not really, I think she took it out on me."
Then Jenny entered with Lynn and Charlie.
"I will only be a minute, " said Carl and headed off towards the bathroom.
Dinner finished. Everyone sat back in their chairs. Stomachs full, and satisfied, Charlie started to fall asleep in his seat.
Lynn spoke up. "Um, this has been a great time, but I need to get back home with Charlie. We have Church tomorrow and all."
Rick smiled. "No problem." He grabbed the two boxes. "Here."
Lynn had a strange look on her face as she ripped off the brown paper to reveal a box with the fancy store's name on the outside. "Rick, you shouldn't have."
"Don't worry, it was on sale."
She pulled out a pretty floral print short sleeved spring dress, white with blue roses. Then, stopped as she noted under things were also in the box complete with white sandals and hose.
"The other box has a set of clothes for Charlie." He paused. "it was my idea you stay here the weekend and so it only seemed fitting that I get you a change of clothes. Anyway, I think Carl and I should go to church with you tomorrow. We can drop you off to your house afterwards."
Lynn's face turned a little red. How did he know my size? She spoke again, "This is all well and good, but I have some things I have to get done for work on Monday."
Carl spoke up. "What things?"
"Um, the work schedule, the time line, the goals...we only have a week to present mock ups back to the blind and deaf schools."
"Ah, well that is why work starts at seven for us. The team will be in at eight. That should be plenty of time."
"No buts, Miss Johnson." Carl stated, getting up to clear the table. "Besides, you had better get Charlie in the bath and ready for bed before he falls out of his chair."
Lynn nodded and went to the boy directing him to the bathroom.
"So, Mr. Fox, how did you know what sizes to get?" Jenny inquired with her hand leaning on her elbow.
"Oh, just the man of the world, I guess."
Carl raised; an eyebrow. "Come again?"
"Fine. I bribed the lady at the store when I bought Lynn that dress the night we went to meet my father. I told her I would buy from her exclusively so she would get the commission if she would get Lynn's sizes." He paused. "Anything else?"
"No." Jenny stated with a twinkle in her eye. "Is there anything else from you, Carl?"
"No, nothing else."
Rick glared at them both. "I don't have any ulterior motives."
They both chimed in. "OF COURSE NOT."
Jenny got up out of her chair, favoring her foot a little.
"You go out and relax. Carl and I can get this cleaned up and put away. Besides, there really isn't any leftovers."
Rick just shrugged. He grabbed a beer out of the fridge and headed out to the front porch to enjoy what was left of the sunset. His mind wandered through the last couple of days. Being alone for all these years seemed not so heavy a price as the peace of mind that entered him when he thought about Lynn and her brother. For the first time in his life, he felt like he was accepted... for who he was... not for what service he could provide.
He heard the door open and Lynn came out with a throw. She placed it over his head, laughing. "Charlie thought you might be cold."
Rick smiled and reached up, grabbing her hand to pull her down to sit beside him.
"Look straight ahead. You are going to see magic."
Lynn's eyes reflected the sun as her face relaxed at the magnificent sunset.
"So did you order this, too?"
"Yeah, you would not believe the connections I have."
Lynn giggled. "Rick, I bet you were an over achiever."
"You are trying too hard. It is going to be okay, whether things work out between us or not, right?"
"How do you mean?"
"I mean stop buying me things."
"I thought you liked the dress."
"I do...but I am starting to feel like a kept woman."
Kept woman? thought Rick, that phrase went out with his grandmother's generation. He started to laugh.
"Stop it. I am being serious."
He laughed harder.
She elbowed him in the ribs gently. "Quit laughing at me."
He cleared his throat. "Okay. I guess I am not used to all this. I just see a need and take care of it. There is no "Keeping" involved." he teased.
"For allowing me to rest. For allowing Charlie and me into your home. For feeding us... oh, just about everything."
Rick did not know what to say, he wanted to thank her... but he settled for, "You are most welcome," he paused, adding, " my "kept" woman." Taking another sip of his beer, he sniggered.
"Ah, come on." Lynn groaned.
to be continued.