Good morning everyone! It’s time to wake up and enjoy another excerpt from Away to Me.
This one is from Chapter Four. Kelsey hosted her daughter’s 14th birthday party sleepover, and things are a touch silly.
* * * *
Two weeks later, Rikki’s birthday weekend arrived, and Kelsey was satisfied with everything. Rikki, Taffy and the four other girls invited would be there after school and they were looking forward to a long weekend of movies, gossip and fun.
However, the instant the girls walked into the house with Punky, bedlam ensued. After the girls said hello to her and introduced themselves, they made the mistake of not locking the dog in Rikki’s bedroom.
Excited to have so many admirers at once, Punky took off like a bullet the instant he was off his leash and made a lunge for the cats. Sammy and Casey hissed and zoomed off in different directions. The corgi’s playful nature took over and the promise of a treat could not calm him.
The girls laughed and tried to catch him.
Kelsey slid down the wall to land on her rump and watched the scene unfold with a grimace.
Insanity seemed to follow that corgi wherever he went.
I think he creates chaos out of boredom, or because he likes it!
Finally, the girls rounded up the eager canine and managed to sweet-talk him into Rikki’s room with treats and the promise of belly rubs.
Kelsey thought the worst of the craziness was over once Punky was distracted with food.
Unfortunately, she had forgotten how noisy teenage girls could be when they were not absorbed in a movie or TV show. The blare echoing out of the house was deafening, punctured by squeals and giggles, and she wondered how any parent could survive a few hours of it without going deaf or losing their mind.
She was right by the speaker for the doorbell when it rang. She ran for it with a sigh and a prayer it was someone quiet, preferably an adult with chocolate who would rescue her from the madness.
Kelsey opened the door and sagged against the wall with relief when she saw Neil. “For a minute, I thought it was the cops,” she explained as she moved back to let him inside.
He glanced toward the hallway with a wry grin and cringed at the noise level coming from Rikki’s room. “Better you than me.”
She stuck her tongue out at him and swiped at his arm. “If you didn’t want to get run over by a bunch of screaming girls, you should have stayed away. What’s up?”
“I’m dropping off a few DVDs for the girls,” he replied and held them up.
Kelsey noted the titles and grinned. “Do you want to give them to her yourself? You’re welcome to come in and say hello.”
Please save me.
Neil groaned and held up his hands defensively. “Uh, no, that’s fine. How are you holding up? Are you ready to rip out your hair yet?”
She gave him a blank look.
“It was your idea to have the party at your place,” he said.
She wanted to wipe that smug smile off his face, preferably with one of his dirty socks. Better yet, Punky’s favourite blanket. That thing is disgusting.
She grabbed a DVD case out of his hand and lightly whapped him over the head with it. “You could have warned me about the noise and insanity!”
He snickered. “Some things are best learned when you’re in the middle of it.”
An evil grin spread across her face as a way of revenge came to her. “Would you like a coffee?”
Neil glanced at the hallway again and raised an eyebrow at her. “Rule one of having a sleepover is that if you’re a single parent, no other adults are allowed, especially if you volunteered.”
Kelsey mockingly glared at him. “The next time she has a sleepover, it’s at your place, and you’re on your own.”
His left eyelid twitched. “I was joking.”
She giggled. “I knew you were yanking my chain.”
“You can’t blame a guy for trying.”
Her smile softened. “Seriously, do you want a coffee? I’ll make sure the girls don’t go nuts on you if you come in.”
“I can’t. I have the support group this evening.”
She nodded as she recalled it. It was Friday night and the group for runaway teens. Neil had switched weeks with another leader so the other man could take a family trip. “Some other time?”
Neil’s grin made her toes curl in her sneakers. “Definitely.”
Their gazes locked and their smiles faded as he hesitantly reached out to cup her cheek in his palm. His thumb brushed her lower lip.
Kelsey trembled when she saw the tenderness on his face. She leaned into the soft caress and shivered as she felt his breath, soft and warm, graze her lips. She nuzzled her face against his, closed her eyes and brushed her lower lip along his.
A loud bang ripped through the house. They pulled away from each other with a jump.
Giggles and squeals echoed out of the hallway.
Neil awkwardly shoved his hands into his pockets.
Kelsey took a step backwards and wrapped her arms around her stomach.
Punky tore past them with a bra dangling from his mouth, followed by Rikki, Taffy and the other four girls spending the night.
“What in the dickens is he doing now?” Kelsey called after them with a sigh.
“Punky stole Carrie’s bra and we’re trying to get him before he buries it in the snow!” Taffy yelled over her shoulder.
Kelsey blinked several times. With an apologetic smile at Neil, she muttered, “I’d better help them before he eats it.”
Neil was trying to hold back a snicker. “Better you than me.”
She gave him a filthy look, which softened when he touched her cheek.
“I’ll let you get to it.” He leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. “Night, Kelsey.”
“Night,” she whispered as he left, and with a shrug, jumped back into the fray.