Gill looked out the sliding patio doors leading off the sun porch out on to the patio. The fire pit glowed as the last of the coals from the night’s fire cooled. More snow and window whistled down and off the roof swirling snow dust storms in between the few pieces of patio furniture remaining outside.
Back inside close to the fireplace, an old-fashioned popcorn popper rattled and shook as more corn popped. Large bowls of chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers lined the edge of the brick ledge close to the kitchen. Remnants of smores and hot cider lined the table close to the kitchen entry. Upstairs parents washed their children bathing two and three of them at a time. Clean folded laundry sat in baskets and boxes in the two rooms the children occupied. Story time was over for the children. Soon clean adults would venture back to the living room and their hour of relaxation would start. Last night card games and movies topped their family night festivities. Tonight was a parents night with adult talk and entertainment. Gill roused from his thought as someone called his name.
“Mr. Mayor last call for a bath or wash up before the water gets cold.” Gill smiled. Vernon wasn’t going to let him go without washing up. Gill knew his earlier sponge bath after shoveling snow with Louie and two of the middle-aged men present wasn’t enough. Stepping into someone else’s used bathwater wasn’t exactly his idea of bathing either.
Gill made his way to the stairs ready yell out thanks but no thanks when Chloe appeared at the top of the stairs wrapped in a large bath towel. She crocked her finger at him in a come-hither motion, blowing him kisses at the same time. Not a man or squirrel to turn his woman down, Gill bounded up the stairs to see what she wanted. Chloe turned and trotted toward the bathroom where Vernon and Miss Ellie stood outside the door wearing matching bathrobes.
“A warm bath together makes a great way to relax even if it’s only for a few moments, son.” Vernon winked as he offered Ellie his arm. “We’ve got ours waiting down the hall.” The couple strode off with Vernon whistling a jaunty tune.
Chloe looped her arm through Gill’s tugging him toward their room. “Come on! Vernon managed with Miss Ellie’s help to save us some mildly hot warm. If we don’t hurry it’s gonna get cold.”
Gill knew how much he hated cold baths. Chloe hated them even more. Gill picked up the pace moving him and Chloe inside their room faster than he expected. With the door closed, he stripped down and bolted for the bathroom. Chloe snapped a towel at him as he passed her. The small tub was half-full.
Gill stepped in sat and held out his hand to Chloe. Soon she sat between his legs and leaned back against him. The water level rose enough to wet both of them. Chloe turned her head pressing her lips against his. Hands found anatomy that begged for touches to warm the wet flesh they connected with. As their internal heat rose, the heat of the water rapidly cooled. Grabbing the soap and wash cloth, Chloe quickly washed and stepped from the tub. Gill washed and rinsed helping Chloe back into the tub to rinse. Both quickly toweled down. Getting their hair shampooed and rinsed took some effort with kneeling precautions on avoiding water spillage. Wrapped in their robes and pjs, they made their way back down stairs.
As they entered the living room, Vernon’s voice called out. “It’s story time. One that you use to hear around the campfire. Who’s got one?”
Gill made his way to the sofa, holding Chloe’s hand as he did. Several hands were in the air as Vernon waved his hand in the air. “I’ll choose our tale teller as soon as Gill and Chloe are seated.”
Miss Ellie called out from the kitchen. “Popcorn and hot chocolate coming up.”
Plates of cookies, mugs full of steaming chocolate, and bowls of popcorn covered tables and open spaces on the floor with in moments of the treats entering the room.
Vernon snapped his fingers. “Now since our good mayor is hosting us. Let’s have him tell our first tale.”
Gill tried shaking his head no. Even holding his hands up and pointing to others. No one would take his offer. Vernon laughed and spoke. “Gill you gotta have some stories you can entertain us with.”
Even Chloe joined in the banter egging him to tell a tale. Gill licked his lips and spoke.
“Okay I didn’t say it was a good one. Here goes.”
Silence filled the room. Gill raised his gaze to Vernon who winked as he put his arm around Miss Ellie who cuddled close to him on the love seat close to the fireplace.
“This is the tale of the Bear and Sara, Mable, and Teresa.” Heads nodded as he went on.
“Back in the day, naming your kids after story book characters even if they were their direct kin wasn’t a good idea. No kid wanted to have to put up with teasing. Getting a name all your own was worth waiting for your naming day.”
A voice called out from the back, “Naming day?”
“Oh yes naming day. See parents wanted their children to have a special day that they celebrated with friends and family. Birthdays were individual things. Not the group fun that so many enjoyed. Except for one kid named Troy. His family claimed shape-shifting heritage that went back several generations. Kinda a blue blood thing to them.”
“How about we let someone take it from there?” Vernon offered. He pointed to Mort who sat close by on the floor.
Happy weekend Gang!
Hope you and yours are staying warm! We here at the Spice Homestead are enjoying sharing bodily heat and a good book or two. If you know what I mean. Wink Wink!
Seems we've got a bit of improvisation happening with our story telling. Who knows what will come up next. There's no wrong or right. How clean will the next teller keep it or not?
Turn in next week to find out.
Until next week, make up your own heart warming stories to share with your spice and loves. I know I am!