Life went on in their new home, Heath excelled in his studies, Brook liked to have Brian read to her, Willow was a very contented, happy and easy-going baby and Meadow reflected that her last child seemed to have a personality like her father, if not his looks. Life was calm and quiet (almost dull) as they settled into a family pattern, but some surprises were soon to be in store for them.
Since Heath knew his parents welcomed his friends to the house and often to dinner, he had no qualms one day about asking his new friend to come over. She was actually a grade ahead of him, but they’d been playing on the swings at recess and she started talking to him. When he mentioned that he like to play the piano, she was excited and told him that she did that too, the same as her father. Their musical conversation was not yet finished when the bell rang so they promised to meet at the bus and she would come home with him.
Loni Faye looked up briefly, “Hi.”
Meadow had been cleaning the upstairs bathrooms when she heard their voices in the playroom and came in to say hello. What a pretty little girl was her first thought, then, she has big brown eyes just like Heath, in fact…
“Heath won’t you introduce me to your little friend?”
“Yeah, this is Loni Faye,” Heath supplied, “Oops, Loni Faye this is my Mom.”
“Loni Faye Hammond,” the little girl told Meadow with a sweet smile. Meadow was struck dumb; she slowly backed up to the panda chair and plopped down. She couldn’t help looking in fascination at both children, recognizing their so similar facial features.
Hearing Brian coming up the stairs heading for the music room, Meadow called to him,
“Brian! Come meet Heath’s new friend.”
He stopped once inside the door and was preparing to say something when Meadow added,
“Loni Faye, this is Heath’s daddy; Brian this is Loni Faye Hammond.”
Loni Faye looked up briefly, “Hi.”
“Nice to meet you, Loni Faye,” Brian bounced back from his shock. He’d always had great equilibrium.
“Would you like to stay for supper, honey?” Meadow asked.
“I think you should call your mother first, though, and get her permission.”
“All right, I’ll be right back.”
She didn’t have a cell phone yet (her mother said she was not quite old enough), so Loni Faye went to the phone in the hall downstairs. Her mother said “fine” and she would pick her up at 8:30. Once permission was secured, Meadow changed what she had planned to make from blackened catfish to kid-friendly spaghetti. Heath loved fish but other children frequently did not. She had no cake or pie ready for dessert so she planned to serve fresh blueberries with sugar and cool whip.
During the meal, Brian and Meadow learned from the talkative, but courteous little girl that her father was a chef on TV, however he soon was going to quit and open his own restaurant. Frequently Meadow met Brian’s eyes significantly during the meal.
Afterward the kids played games and told secrets in the living room while Meadow cleared the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher.
Brian stayed in the kitchen leaning his back against the counter with his arms crossed and watched her.
“Then why did you put the sugar bowl in the refrigerator?”
“Oh!” she retrieved it and her hands were shaking.
“She may want to ask him over to her house, you know,” Brian said very quietly.
“Relax, we’ll talk about it later,” Brian said in a soothing voice, “If you want, I’ll walk her to the car when her mother comes so you don’t have to meet her.”
But when the car pulled up suddenly Loni Faye said, “Oh that's my mom! I didn’t realize the time—bye!” and ran out of the house before her mother could even get out of the car. Brian waved from the front door and Mrs. Hammond waved back before driving off.
In the morning as Meadow made Heath’s bed, he was doing jumping jacks to the radio.
“Goodness, when did you decide to exercise so hard, Heath?”
He stopped huffing and puffing long enough to say,
“Loni Faye told me she’s on a fitness program, she says she’ll be strong and really run fast in field sports. So I want to be strong and fast too.”
“I see. You like Loni Faye, I take it?”
“She’s fun. She knows card tricks and she likes to play the piano too. I told her when we get a little older Daddy would give her free guitar lessons,” he paused,
“Do you think he would?”
“We’ll have to see,” Meadow murmured.
The night before, while Heath slept soundly in his bead, she and Brian had discussed the situation in the privacy of their bedroom.
“You know Loni Faye might know that good manners dictate she should reciprocate as soon as possible and invite him to her house,” Meadow was in a panic.
“I doubt very much that she’s reading a book on etiquette yet,” Brian said mildly.
“Well maybe not, but her mother might think of it. Brian I’m scared—one look at Heath and he will know or even his wife might figure it out.”
He thought about it a moment, and said quietly.
“Maybe it’s finally time to tell Heath--and to tell Lonnie.”
“Heath's not old enough; when he’s a little older I will tell him—or WE will tell him. Brian, if I told him now it would break his little heart. You know how he adores you. And I think it would confuse him.”
“Okay, you may be right, I’ll give you that. But if you don’t tell him now you’ll have to live with the anxiety. You can always tell him never to another child home on the bus without checking with us. Or should Loni Faye or her mother invite him we can just say no.”
“And explain to him why he can’t go to her house? What reason could we give?”
“I don’t know what to tell you, but if you stay this upset, you’ll drive yourself—and me--crazy.”
“I know. I guess I’m just shook up because it just happened. I’ll try to figure out a way to relax,” she smiled and snuggled up to him, “Got any ideas on good ways to relieve tension?"
“One or two, sweetheart, one or two.”
Next update: Brian Ottomas Ch. 5 Neighborhood Block Party Pt. 1