Notes: This is a possible one-shot... As with everything else, who knows what may continue on with this! Mind, there is more written, it's just that I'm unsure of whether I'll be un-lazy and get to editing it as I should... haha

Warnings: Nothing! None whatsoever! And they're legal, so there! : D



"the usually mute swan was said to sing a dirge as death approached, the sweetest of all the bird-songs."



The day was warm and sunny, a perfect late spring day for the town of Manetoa. The days were just lengthening, with clear, warm weather. Cumulus clouds were beginning to puff up on the edge of the horizon, but there was little chance of rain. Storms tended to blow up around this time, but rarely brought rain, instead kicking up the dirt with stiff prairie winds and bolts of lightning and the occasional hail or twister.

Manetoa was a small community, just this side of being labeled a city. It was too rural to be relegated a shopping mall, instead making due with eight seperate strip malls that had sprouted up in the city's heyday, when it had enough people to be considered a city. Less than half of these still had an 'yes, we're open!' sign hanging in their doors and windows, with half of those were still in business.

It was on one of these half-alive strips that lined the intersection of Skew and Elk that sat the family-run gun and pawn shop and its neighbor the Kickapoo County Health Department. It was sometimes joked that it was hard to tell which business profited from which. It was here that the story begins.

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"Coming through!" Cried a girl loudly as she pushed her way through the glass doors of the Kickapoo County Health Department and into the near-empty waiting room. Cane brandished like a weapon in her hand as she used it to bat at the ankles of everyone in her path, the girl beat her way to the front desk, bumping into it by accident.

After a few long minutes of low talking between the girl and the wizened woman stationed behind the window, the younger pushed back from the desk, tripped on her heel and began to beat another path forward. Once again, she cried aloud, "Move it or lose it!" as she felt her way, though there was no one in her way. Securing a path to the wall lined with chairs, she stared ahead , eyes withheld from view by a pair of wrap-around sunglasses, managing to make it to the chairs and sitting down in one.

This particular chair was already occupied, judging by the knobby knees and childishly thin frame.

"Oh, hello there." She said, turning to grin at where she assumed the face of the person was, not making any moves to get up. "And how are you?"

There was a long bit of silence as the boy in the seat waved and gestured with his hands frantically, and only halfway through his second sentence did he realize that it was to no avail.

She frowned when she received no response beyond a hit to the shoulder. "Well, excuse me, for trying to be nice!" With a hop and a step, she managed to relocated herself to the next seat, huffily tossing back her short mousy-brown braid over her shoulder. "And don't bother trying to make small talk now, you've lost your chance." She tapped her sandal-clad foot sulkily.

The boy chewed on his bottom lip and looked down at his pencil and pad of paper as if it would be of any use, but after a bit of thought his head jerked up, a smile lighting up across his lips. He reached out a tentative hand to gently touch the girl's. When she retracted her hand out of surprise, he bit his lip again and did his best to write the letter 'h' before she could get out of his reach, followed by the letter 'i'.

There was a still moment of silence before the girl tipped her head around to stare ahead and grinned at no one in particular, her hand gripping the edge of the chair. "Oh! So you're dumb! I got ya!" Grinning, a bit more maniacally, she continued, "Hello, hello, hello! I am Gordania Miller, Gordy to my friends, and I'm turning 18 this fall. I go to Manetoa High School down on Highway 9. You can call me Gordy. I'm here to get measured for a new plastic eye. What are you in for?

He shifted some to face her completely, though the plastic chairs made the position rather uncomfortable. His hand trembled some as he tried to write out the words 'check up' on her hand. He paused, then added, very carefully, 'name is ricky' and pulled his hands away to signify he was done.

There was a pause before she nodded resolutely. "Awesome. Well, I'm just glad to get this over with, especially since it gets me out of school for the next few days." She snickered, adjusting the cane so it rested against her hip. "So, how old are you, bub? You swing by here often?"

Ricky fidgeted some. He wished she didn't ask so many questions, as it was hard for him to draw the letters, but he was, on the other hand, happy at having someone even just pretend to be interested in talking to him. '14', he wrote, though his 4 was a little shaky. Acknowledging this, he wrote out 'fourteen' for good measure, the continued with a 'yes; 1 a 2 weeks'.

"Oh, you mean once every two weeks? Gotcha, gotcha." She grinned lecherously. "So you're fourteen... I bet your super-cute, and since you're a mute... That means your total fetish fuel. We'll have to go on a date after all this so I can see you."

Ricky looked around helplessly at the other patients waiting, but none of them seemed to be showing any visible interest in their conversation. He looked back at her and thought for a moment, his hands instinctively signing away his thoughts, since no one was watching, nor, he assumed, knew how to read sign language. 'Super-cute? My mom says I am, and my grandparents, but they're family. I've never been on a date before, but you're just joking, right? People joke a lot like that.'He sighed lightly and wrote a simple 'huh?' as his response.

There was another snicker from Gordy as she snatched his wrist, ignoring his sudden stiffening. "Oh, come on. You have to know what a date is. You know, a guy and a girl going out together." She paused thoughtfully. "Or two guys or something. I say go for it if they're hot. Anyway, you hold hands..." She loosened her hold, moving so her fingers looped with Ricky's. "And you eat together, see a movie... and then, at the end, you lean in together..." As Gordy spoke, she acted out her words, pausing as she leant forward, her free hand reaching out to guide her to his face, long fingers feeling his cheek gingerly. "And you kiss..."

"Miss Miller! Stop molesting my patient!"

Gordy jumped backwards with a grin at the shout. "Sorry, doc!" she cried sheepishly, though she didn't look very sorry.

Ricky looked up with new hope at the doctor, unaware that his face was bright red, his hands flying away in a flurry of signs. "Doctor, who is this girl? I can't tell if she's making fun of me." He stood and glanced between the two. "Is she nice? Do you know her? Do you think she would be my friend?"

Gordy smiled absently, not knowing what was going on around her.

The doctor frowned and sighed lightly, ushering the boy in. "Miss Miller, you'll be called by the nurse in a second." At the girl's affirmation, he shut the door behind him and guided Ricky into the examination room.

As they went, he began to talk. "That is one of Doctor Lagro's patients, so I don't have much to tell of her. Besides it would be against doctor-patient code to tell another patient of her condition, though I'm sure that she'd tell you if you gave her half the chance." He gestured to the bed and pulled out his stethescope as Ricky climbed up on it, holding the end between his hands to warm it. "Now then. Lift up your shirt. I assume the medicine for the sore throat has worked well? No side effects?"

Ricky smiled and nodded, careful to resist the urge to swing his feet. It was hard, since whenever one's feet didn't touch the ground it felt wrong to not swing them, but he managed. He raised his hands and asked, "Is dating difficult?"

"I think getting a person to go on a date with is the more difficult part of it." The doctor pushed up his glasses. "Now then, inhale and exhale slowly."

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Ricky poked his head into the waiting room after the check-up was over and frowned at not seeing Gordy there, though he hadn't really expected to. He walked up to the secretary behind the desk and was about to sign before he bit his lip and instead wrote on a sheet of paper, "Has the woman named Gordania Miller left yet?" He frowned at his handwriting, which looked more like chicken scratch, but slid the paper across the counter despite.

The old woman blinked owlishly at him, reaching up to adjust her glasses and peered down carefully at the paper slip. "Oh..." She said slowly with an equally slow nod, running a hand over her short, curled hair. "The little blind girl. She should be out anytime. I think she was here for the requisites for her eye." With a slow, unhasty creak, she shifted in her seat and nodded. "She should be out sooner or later."

Ricky mouthed a cheerful 'thank you' which was accepted with a "You're welcome, dear" and took one of the unoccupied seats in the far corner, careful to not disturb the three other people waiting in the room. He picked up a nearby magazine and started to read it while he waited, his head jerking up every time the door opened.

After the third or so time, Gordy walked through, much to his delight. He got up and started to move toward her but stopped short, freezing up, unsure of how to approach her. The last thing he wanted to do was startle her... and what if she thought he was weird for waiting for her? His expression became helpless and pitiable as he stood there, wringing his hands nervously. He couldn't exactly call out her name, and she couldn't see him... oh, what should he do?

"Oh, Ricky My sweet little Ricky!" She grinned in his direction, hitching the cane over her shoulder. The sunglasses were gone, replaced with a plain black eye patch over the left eye. The other brown eye pinned itself on the boy as Gordy waltzed on over to him, razing him with her eyes. "You're just as cute as I knew you'd be! Now we have to go on a date!"

Ricky stared at her with his mouth slightly agape. He started to raise his hands but, unsure of whether or not she could read sign language, he instead simplified it by pointing at her eyes, then pointing at himself, his expression one of inquisitive confusion throughout this.

With a gleeful cackle, the girl dropped ungracefully to her knees and enveloped the boy into a bear hug. "Oh, you're just so super cute! You're mine from now on!" She pulled back and thumped her chest. "From now on, I'll be your big sis, so count on me, okay?"

Ricky wobbled some, feeling quite overwhelmed by all this unaccustomed attention, but he smiled happily. His hands lifted, asking, "Do you read sign language?"

Gordy tilted her head to the side and tried to mimic his fluid hand motions, failing miserably. "What?"

Ricky's smile didn't lose any of his shine, as it had just been wishful thinking on his part. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his ever-handy pad and pencil and scratched down, "Is it okay to go on a date with my big sis?"He turned the pad for her to see his innocently-meant question.

Gordy seemed to wiggle in place, her gaze still level. "Oooh, I don't know. I'm just an innocent young woman, easily wooed with soft, charming words. Oh, why the hell not? It's still legal." She grinned at him and flashed a thumbs up. "Sure. Let's go! I don't have to get home until five anyway. That's four whole hours. What about you? You have a curfew? Need to tell your mom?"

Ricky shook his head and started to write on the paper. "No curfew. I never leave the house except for school and doctor. But Mom said that friends are most important." He paused, his hand shaking as he hovered the pencil tip above the paper before adding, "You are my friend now, right?"

"'Course! Best buddies!" She cracked a smirk. "Don't worry, I'll have you home before it's late." With a long audible hum, she tapped her chin. "I think I want ice cream right now. You want some?" She paused. "Is there any within walking distance? I mean, I could walk there, but... and I can't drive for a bit... huh... What a conundrum..."

Ricky's smile lit up and he flipped to a clean sheet, where he began to draw and scribble rapidly. Once he finished what looked like a map, he wrote at the top, "Bus." He looked up at her, happily pointing to a small square in the far corner, labeled 'ice-cream'.

"Yes!" She cried. "You're a great catch, if I do say so myself!" With a confident nod and smile, the girl pointed forward, to the door. "Then come, let us be off!"

For a town as small as Manetoa, it was terribly strange to have a busing system. It was composed of the last surviving bus from the twister of '76 that had touched down half-a-mile from the next city over and ran right through the county bus lot, destroying it, as well as a fair amount of the downtown. The bus had been one of six that had survived with little but body damage. It had since been repainted in gaudy tones of mustard yellow and fungus green and double billed itself as the book bus during the spring

Run by old man Totanang, a tall silent grizzled man of Miami Indian heritage who had been around for as long as anyone could remember, it stopped at one stop in the middle of town every hour and drove a body anywhere within a twelve mile radius. As he did this as a volunteer service, Totanang was never in short of meal invites.

As they walked to and waited at the lone bus stop on the intersection of Perch and Main, just beside the Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant, and later sat on the bus, silence was not to be had, as Gordy kept on a constant stream of chatter on this and that, the conversation light and airy and sticking to no particular subjects.

"-And that is what happened the last time Micheal tried to beat me up." She chuckled lowly. "He never tried it again. Oh! Isn't this our stop?" Without waiting for a response, she raised a hand. "Hey, To-to! We're getting off for ice cream!" Grabbing Ricky's hand, she pulled him behind her off the bus, or rather she tried to. As the girl stepped off, she missed the final step, falling face over heel to the sidewalk.

Ignoring boy's somewhat frantic and man's more deliberate attempts to help her up, Gordy stood, the eye patch jerked off to one side from the fall, her hand covering the left eye, a few muddied tears slipping down her cheek. In her other hand, she gripped a bit of clear plastic that had fallen from the empty socket.

Ricky waved his hands, not to say anything, but in panic. Finally, he reached up brushed off her cheek with his thumb, wiping away the dark droplets, before he smiled. His other hand lifted in front of his face, fingers outstretched, before closing in a fluid motion. He was fully aware that she wouldn't catch what he was saying, but he hoped the gesture might distract her.

"Are you alright, Missy Gordy?" The bus driver hovered in the bus' door.

She smiled as best she could, though it came out as more of a grimace. "Oh, I'm fine. Just stings a little. Damn spacer-thing popped out. Just need to go wash this thing off and shove it back in." A one-sided grin spread. "Just need to make sure I don't scare my new little friend so I'll just hold it here, mind getting the door open?" She gestured with her elbow. "Mind picking me back up in an hour at the bus stop, To-to?"

The man stared solemnly before nodding slowly and watched on as Ricky hurriedly got the door open for her, writing as quickly as he could, "It wouldn't scare me. Your eye." and showing the paper to her as she walked through the doorway.

Gordy laughed despite the fluid, now a darkly amber in color, that continued to drip stickily down. "Really? The first time I saw it, I totally freaked. Wouldn't go by a mirror for two whole days. I'm over it now, though. You go on and sit down. I'll be right back." She shuffled past and hurried into bathroom.

Ricky sighed and sat in one of the blue-vinyl booths, his chin resting in one hand while the other doodled lightly on his map, adding in trees, little flowers, and other scenic details.

He was interrupted by Gordy sticking out her head of the bathroom only a moment later, her left eye closed, but looked decidedly sunken in. "Psst!" She waved a hand. "Hey, I need your help. I... I can't get it in by myself just yet." When Ricky hesitated, as the door clearly marked the bathroom as a woman's, she scowled. "Oh, come on, boy! Be a man! I won't tell if you won't!"

Ricky chewed his lip and hurried into the bathroom, hoping no one else saw him. He looked up at Gordy and, after realizing he had left his paper and pencil back at the booth, did his best to make a question mark with his fingers.

She grinned toothily. "I just need you to help me a sec." Holding up her right hand, she held out the small translucent piece of plastic that had some droplets of clear liquid clinging to it. "This popped out, and I can't get it in by myself just yet. First day and all that. I need someone to hold my eye open, and someone else to put it back in."

Moving back to sit on the toilet, she leant her head as far back as she could. "Mind pulling down the bottom lid? I got the top."

Ricky nodded and reached up to help as he was directed to. As they slid the plastic into position, Gordy absently noted that his touch was gentle and precise, much like a surgeon's. It must have something to do with him constantly using and working with his hands. It was rather nice, really.

There was a squelching sound as everything popped into place and there was some frantic blinking as Gordy got reacquainted with the spacer. After a few long seconds, she laughed despite the watery eye and clapped Ricky on the back. "Thanks little guy! We're all done here." She continued to talk as she stood and opened the door, dabbing her socket gently with some tissue from her pocket. "What ice cream d'you want, huh?"

Ricky's expression lit up at the question, all else forgotten. He practically bounced over to the counter and pressed his finger to the glass, pointing at the Rainbow Swirl Sherbet tub, and looking up at Gordy with a cheerfully childish expression.

The girl strutted over to the counter and shoved out two fingers into the apathetic face of the teen waiting with a scooper in hand. "Two cones. One scoop for me, two for the kid. Snap, snap!"

Ricky stood beside her, his hands clasped together as if in prayer or thanks. When they returned to their booth, he used one hand to happily lick his ice cream while the other wrote on a blank sheet of paper, "I've never gone out for ice cream with someone before." He paused, thinking of all the things he wanted to say while chewing on his bottom lip, before deciding on simply adding, "Thank you."

Gordy flashed a thumbs up and ruffled the boy's hair. "Oh, it was nothin'. I've had practice, so I'm an old hand at this! Though..." She twisted her face into a frown. "That depleted today's dating funds, since I wasn't prepared for a date... And who knew ice cream was so expensive these days? These are troubled times, it seems. Oh well, as long as you like it, it's all good."

Ricky blinked curiously and reached into his pocket to pull out a small wallet, which he placed on the table and opened it to pull out a small wad of cash. He set it down for Gordy to see while he wrote, "Will this help any?"

Gordy stared at it for a moment before enveloping herself around the boy like an octopus does a crab. "Oh, you're just so adorable. I'm so glad I've made you mine, mine, mine!" Languidly wrapped around him, she continued, "And it's a well-known rule that the askee has the pay for everything. Everyone knows that, didn't you know?"

Ricky shook his head and, hesitantly, leaned into the embrace, closing his eyes halfway. He wouldn't have mind staying forever like that, but just as he thought it, she pulled away to respond to his head-shake. He gave a mental sigh, but kept smiling anyway.

She laughed and patted his head again. "Oh, it's alright. That's why I'm here, to protect you from the dangers of life!" Afire, Gordy cocked her hip to the side and stared out the door. "So, I'm out of money. Should I walk you home, or what?"

Ricky picked up his paper pad and flipped to a new page where he drew a quick sketch of major landmarks of the surrounding area and the roads, along with the ice-cream shop they were at, and wrote in the corner, "Where do you live?"

"Mmm..." She absently bit into her cone and she ran her finger along a lined street to off the page. "I live out in the farmland. It's the McLandrey's old place. Moved here just three months ago. Dad drove me over, but he's such a busybody that he forgets the time."

Ricky stared at the map thoughtfully before he nodded and drew a small star, writing beside it, "Bus then." Under the question he had written, he added, "We can take that. The nearest stop isn't too far, and it's better than walking the whole way." He smiled cheerfully as he looked up at her.

"Hm?" Gordy looked at him curiously. "But you can't walk me home! I'm the askee, so it's my duty to walk you home. It's another rule, you know."

Ricky's smile faded some before he shook his head. "It would take too long... your house is closer, so it makes sense."

"Oh, you live in Holston?"

Ricky shook his head.

"What?! You're not a towny?! Someone as cute and adorable as you lives on a big ol' farm?! It goes against the rules!"

Ricky blushed and started to shake his head, but instead ducked it and scribbled furiously, "It's not that weird, is it? I take showers before I leave the farm, so I'm not dirty or anything..."

There was a long moment of silence before Gordy launched on another monologue. "No, no, no! You're just so... You've got a city-boy aura of cleanness. Totally unlike someone like me. You're just such a cutie... Not farm material at all..." She slowly trailed off before she smiled a bit lecherously. "Though... That brings up a bit of fetish, don't it? A farm cutie... That would be rather adorable." Nodding resolutely, Gordy clamped her hand on his shoulder and grinned. "Alright, you living on a farm has just been approved. You're allowed to live there."

Ricky smiled with a little uncertainty. "I like living on a farm. But it's really out of the way, so we should go to your house first..."

She sighed heavily. "Alright then, fine. Even if it breaks the rules, I'll allow it just this once. Come on, we'll miss the bus if we keep dawdlin'."

The walk to the bus stop and ride home was suitably filled with accounts and external monologues from Gordy, keeping silence to a bare minimum the entire twenty minute drive to the nearest bus-stop situated at the base of Gordy's road, a simple termite-eaten bench sitting under a tattered awning. Gordy asked Totanang to wait for a bit so Ricky wouldn't have to walk. From there was a few yards walk down Lucian Sorrell Road to the yard in front of the sturdy, if undecored, farm-home of the Old McLandrey's Farm; a barn and additional stable visible just beyond the tarred roofline.

"Yo, Daddy-O!" Gordy cried, raising a hand up in greeting to the large, rugged man who was stripped to the waist, rummaging around in front of the barn, bits of metal and parts of some contraption or other strewn about him in a mini-blast zone.

He looked up and smiled a bit wearily. "Well, if it isn't that girl-child of mine." The smile faltered as he noticed the tag-along. "Who is that?"

"Mm?" Gordy wiggled her hips as she thrust Ricky in front of her. "This is my catch of the day, little Ricky!"

Ricky's lips parted for a small, startled expression. He looked up at Gordy with a nervous frown, then at the man and gave a shy wave before ducking his head, feeling very awkward and unsure of himself.

The man offered a confused wave, looking just as uncertain.

"So then," Gordy turned to the boy and smiled widely. "How're you getting home, hm?"

Ricky smiled and pulled out his pad from his pocket, as he hadn't used it on the walk down. "I have a bike. I'll take the bus to where it is and bike home." He paused, then added, his uncertain, shy look back on his face. "Can you tell your dad hello for me? I don't want him to think I'm rude."

The girl laughed merrily. "No one would ever think that you're rude! You're too adorably cute! Ah well. I'll see you off then! Get safe! I wrote my number on your pad on the way over. Call when you get home so I know you got there safe!"

Ricky nodded and started to walk away, but paused and looked up at her uncertainly, his brow furrowed in deep thought. They were on a date, right? It hadn't gone exactly like how she said, but it was still a date... He put his pad of paper into a pocket and signed, "I'm sorry if I'm not supposed to do this." He smiled at her confused look and, one hand reaching up to cup her cheek as she had done to his in the waiting room, pushed himself up onto his tiptoes to plant a chaste, brief kiss on her lips.

His face lit on fire and all he could manage was a quick wave good-bye before turning and running down the road to catch the waiting bus, one hand gently touching his burning cheek in idle curiosity.

There was a stunned moment as Gordy's skin turned a bright tomato color. Finally she moved, clasping her cheeks and waggled in place. "Oh He's so bold and adorable! Adorably bold and cute! I really need to find more words that mean cute!" She paused at the thought and turned and puffed her cheeks at her father. "Hey! You! You're supposed to rush over and protect my honor!"

There was a bit of nervous laughter from the man in the yard as he turned to carry a selection of metal bits and bobs into the house. "I, er, I don't think that you'd need my help with that... Go get the crescent wrench will you?"

"Bah! Such a stingy father!"

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When Ricky got home, he quickly lugged his bike into the work shed and walked in through the front door. Pushing the slightly crooked screen door aside, the boy rung a bell that was sitting on the table in the midst of clutters of old magazines and newspapers to announce that it was him. He walked into the living room and smiled at his mother, signing when she turned to look up from her sewing, "I'm sorry for being out later than I was supposed to. I met someone today, her name is Gordy, and we went out on a date."

"What?!" She jumped to her feet, previous thoughts of needlework thrown all but out the window. "A date? What happened?"

Ricky paused thoughtfully at her reaction. "We had ice cream. I had rainbow sherbet, then I walked her home, then came home. She wrote her number for me to call and tell her I got home safely, but..." He trailed off, the two sharing one of those knowing, amused smiles. He handed her the paper pad and she went over to the phone to dial the number.

After one ring, Gordy's vibrant voice spilled over the line. "If this is my little cutie, then clap once, if not then hang up now because I don't wanna talk to you!"

Ricky's mother lips curled into an amused grin. "This is Ricky's mother. Is this Gordy?"

"Yes!" The girl chirped on the other end. "This is me, future mother-in-law!"

"My name is Sonya, but I like the sound of 'future mother-in-law' better." Her grin widened and she leaned against the wall, running a hand through her short dark red hair. "Now I see how you managed to get him to go on a date with you."

Ricky wobbled some from his spot by the kitchen table, his eyes wide and lips parted as he practically died of curiosity, not liking being talked about and only knowing half of the conversation.

Sonya tilted her head back some. "Tomorrow, he'll be cooking supper... but if you already have plans, it's your loss." She nodded to herself, enjoying the distressed look on Ricky's face as he started to pace. After all, it wasn't often that she was in this position.

"You mean my sweet baboo cooks too?! Man, I'm some silver-tongued snake charmer to get such an all-in-one deal!"

"Of course he cooks! None of my boys got away with that petty gender-excuse." She huffed with pride. "I brought them into this world. The least they can do is take over the cooking and dishes."

Ricky finally collapsed on the sofa in the other room, his legs having been already tired from biking, let alone the added pacing.

"I'll be over at four, Mama-Hey, whats the last name? I never did ask..."

"Audley." She straightened up and started toward the television to grab the remote, which she handed to Ricky and signed 'entertain yourself' one-handed before she continued, smiling, "I can drive over and pick you up, or get Ricky to give you directions."

"Oh, heheh. I'm a tough girl! I can manage a small walk just fine! Just hand me over the directions, please!"

"I don't doubt that." She smiled and looked over at Ricky before relaying the relatively simple directions. "I'll be looking forward to meeting you, Gordy, and to all the things we have to... talk about." Her smile turned into a mischievous grin.

"Horrah! I thin-" There was a crash, thud and a muffled cry in the background. "Ack! Sorry, Dad! My bad! I didn't break anything, did- Oh? I'll get the... Oh, hold on. Anyway. I'll be there, Mama Audley! Bye! Dad! I'll get the duct tape! Hold on!" The line was dropped.

"Can't wait! Bye-bye!" She clicked the phone off and looked over at Ricky with a loving smile. "By the way, you're cooking supper tomorrow."

Ricky sat up and frowned at her, dropping the remote into his lap to sign, "But it's supposed to be your turn! I'm already cooking tonight!"

Sonya nodded sagely. "Think of today as practice. You have your girlfriend to impress, after all!"

Ricky's face flushed with red and he turned his head to the side some. "Girlfriend?"

Sonya turned, clasping her hands together and looking at a family portrait on the fireplace mantle dreamily. "Oh, I always wanted a red-haired grandchild! I just know that none of your brothers are going to give me redheads, even the ones who are girl-interested! You're my only hope!"

Ricky sighed, not bothering to try and explain genetics to her again, and stood up, heading for the door to do some simple chores while she was lost in her daydreaming.

end(?) - perhaps more(?)