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A Kiss In the Dark [ - ]
by OakHillsDrive
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There was something about the little boy.  Something about him that seemed so familiar to her.  Maybe it was the cute "barely there" accent.  Maybe it was the way his hair always seemed to part like his did.  In some ways, he almost seemed like a clone of the taller, older Italian man that had also come to live with her just seven short years before.  And as with that man, this little one was full of surprises.  He was outspoken and knew how to get his way by just giving that little cubby cheeked grin. 

She'd found goo on her stapler and had more than once referred to he and his friends as the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."  Just the same though, she felt he was just what she, or more importantly, they had needed.  This little toothy guy was just the right spark that had helped their little brood get back to more important matters.  His high jinks had forced her and him, on more than one occasion, to work together once again as parents and as a couple.  The "couple" part was something they had not had time to do or had wanted to face doing in a while.  Things, people, situations had come up that had forced them to think and feel . . . a little more independently lately.

It was nice to have the excuse, though.  It was nice having the feeling of "wanting" to be near him again and not think of her and all that drama.  It was nice to feel like they were headed back to that warm and fuzzy place, where everything was happy and everything was just as it should be.

But was it really...

Of course, the sweet little boy was making them remember the magic that they'd had when they were the "parents" of two young-ish children.  When snakes and shopping for the first bra were the big events that episodes of prime time television seemed to be made of.

How had they gotten so off course?  How had they let their fear of the unknown take them away from everything that they had known?  Everything that they held dear?  Everything that made living in that white house at 3344 Oak Hills Drive the envy of every so-called "happy" family in the neighborhood?  So far off course, that it took them taking in a practically orphaned young boy to make them feel whole again or at least on the road to something like it.

In the silence that surrounded her, she prayed with her whole heart that this sweet little boy would feel loved and cared for in her home.  Within a few minutes, she found herself climbing into bed and dreaming the dreams that always found her on nights like this . . . of home, of family, of love off in the distance.      

"Mommy!!!  Daddy!!!"  The little one screamed from the room down the hall. 

The maternal juices began coursing through her body once more and it wasn't more than a minute before she was at the wee one's bedroom door.

"Mommy!!!  Daddy!!!"  He yelled as she opened it slowly, trying not to scare him anymore than he probably already was.

"It's okay, Sweetheart.  Angela's here."  She took the Spider-man pajama-ed boy in her arms and hugged him as tightly as she could.

"It was so scary," he said with a little sniffle and a wipe of his nose.

"What was?  Something in your dream?"  She asked, pulling him up in her arms and sitting on the bed with him in her lap.

"I was in the kitchen and there was only one piece of pie left and Mona was trying to fight me for it."

"Ahh..." she said with a nervous giggle.  "Yes, my mother can be a scary person when food is involved."

"Is everything okay in here?"  He asked as he poked his head in the door.

"I think everything's fine now."  She said glancing up at the Italian man in his white tank top and gray sweatpants.  He'd probably worn that outfit, or something like it, to bed every night since he moved in to become her housekeeper, but there was something about him tonight.  He stood there with the light from the hallway silhouetting him.  He looked almost like a superhero, there to save the day.  She had to remember to breathe for a minute and then proceeded to tell him about the little man's dream.

He took a seat next to her and rubbed the little boy's feet as he spoke.  "Believe me, Champ.  You never want to come between Mona and her pie." 

"Words to live by," the little boy squeaked out before he let out a big yawn.

"Would you like us to sit with you. . . until you fall asleep?"  She asked as she placed him back on the bed.

"Sure." 

The couple tucked in the little one and each kissed him goodnight.  It wasn't more than a minute before the little guy was fast asleep again.  As they tip toed out the door and closed it quietly behind them, they found themselves face to face in an awkward silence.

"I guess the dream wasn't as scary as his need for sleep," she said finally letting go of the door knob.

"Guess so."

"Well, I've got to get up early in the morning to finish packing . . . so I guess. . ."

"Yeah," he said looking down, not able to speak the words that were running through his mind.

"Good night then."  She made her way to her door and turned off the hallway light when she heard him clear his throat behind her.  "Yes, Tony?"  She hoped it didn't come out sounding as helpless as she thought it did.

"I just . . . wanted to thank you for coming to . . . Billy's rescue," he said with some hesitance in his voice.

"That's my job."

"But Angela, Billy's my responsibility.

"But..." She took a step closer to him.

"And you've taken on so much of this yourself.  You've sacrificed sleep and office supplies..."

"But..." She took another step closer to him.

"No, Angela... let me finish."

"Tony," she said finally close enough to put her finger over his lips.  "No.  This time I won't let you finish."

"But Angela..."

"Tony, life has not always handed me the life I dreamed of.  So many times when I thought my life was going to go one way, I've felt like I've been struck over the head and been dragged in a different direction."

In the darken hallway, Tony dropped his head and felt the pierce of the words he'd heard escape her lips.

"Don't get me wrong, Tony."  In the dark, she found his chin and raised it.  She could see the moonlight from the hallway window mirrored in his moist eyes.  "Life is an adventure and I'm glad I don't always see what's coming my way.  Honestly, Billy is right up there.  He has become one of the biggest surprises of that adventure.  I know that you think that he is your responsibility, but Tony... he's ours."

In that moment the word "ours" took on more than the connection to the word "responsibility."  It seemed to take on their partnership as parents and once again, their unspoken union as a couple.   Tony reached out and found his hands caressing her elbows.  Her hands made their way across to his waist.  The moment felt awkward, but new and exciting all at the same time.  They felt themselves move closer together in the dark.

 

"Are you guys going to kiss already, cause I want to go to sleep?"  The little guy whined as he rubbed his eyes.

 "What are you doing up?  I thought you were asleep."  Tony asked ushering the boy back to bed.

 She giggled a little, wondering if she should follow the two back into the wee one's bedroom.

 "Good night Billy," she whispered into the door way.

 "Good night, Angela.  I love you."

 "I love you too, Sweetheart."  Her heart almost seemed to leap out of her chest.

 "Now can you two turn off the light so I can get some sleep?"  Billy asked, matter of factly.

 "Yes.  Now go to sleep Billy."  Tony turned off the light and closed the door.

 The couple, once again alone in the hallway, felt the awkward silence fall upon them.

 "See you in the morning?"  She said, as more of a question than a statement.

"Yes, big day tomorrow.  The train to Washington is going to be packed, so we'll want to make sure we get to the station early."

"You bet.  Good night, Tony."

He reached out and took her hand.  Raising it up to his lips, he gently kissed it.  "Good night, Mom."