Welcome back to day 28 of Just Jot It January. Today’s prompt is Serendipity, brought to us by Jan. I was thinking about this word, and is meaning and got a little thread of an idea. This will likely be backstory for the next novella I have planned for my Gilbert, CO series. I wrote some other back story earlier this month and more last May (which was the first I had any idea this character might even get a story). Anyway, carrying on:
“Uncle Ry! Uncle Ry!”
Rylan turned from the shelf he was studying. He’d been staring at it for the last ten minutes. How did he know what he should get his brother and Kellie for their wedding? He wanted to hit the canvas, but wouldn’t they expect something more practical for a wedding gift.
But, now he had something else to focus on. He smiled at the little girl. “Hey, Cora. Well, isn’t this a serendipitous meeting?”
Her face scrunched up. “What does seren…what does that mean?”
He kept smiling at her even though his gaze wanted to jump up to her mother’s face. That wouldn’t be a smart move, though. It had taken him weeks to stop thinking about her after the last time he’d seen her. At another wedding.
“It means I’m lucky you’re here. I could use some help picking out a gift. I’m sure you’re the best at that.”
Cora grinned up at him. “Mommy says I’m pretty good at finding the right gift. Who is it for?”
“Cora,” Kirsten said from behind the girl. “We need to get going. I told you we didn’t have time to say hi.”
“Just one minute, Mommy, please.”
“I have to get you to the babysitter so I can get to class. We’ve been over this.”
It didn’t matter how many times he told himself not to look, he couldn’t help it. She looked so tired. How much had she taken on herself? Raising Cora on her own, going back to school, working every other minute of her day from what Jason had told him.
“I could watch her for you,” he said before he’d thought it through.
Her eyes finally met his, and it felt like it sucked all the air from his lungs. Why did she always have this effect on him. She’d made it clear she didn’t feel the same. So, why did he have to torture himself this way?
“That’s nice of you, but she already has a babysitter. We need to get going, so I can make it to class in time, though.”
“If you let me watch her, you can cut out an extra stop. I really don’t mind, Kirsten.”
She sucked in a breath, but her lips pressed into a thin line. Before she could respond, Cora said, “Please, Mommy. I can help Uncle Ry find a gift. Then, maybe he can teach me to paint. He said he would.”
He had made her that promise a couple months ago at Jason and Connie’s wedding. But, he hadn’t been able to get in touch with Kirsten to keep that promise. “I’d like to do that,” he said, looking straight at Kirsten. There was a lot more he’d like to do, but if lending a hand with this was all she’d accept for now, he’d take it.
“Fine,” she said. “I’ll be able to pick her up by dinner time.”
Which would work out perfectly, if he could convince her to let him take them both out for dinner when she got there. He wouldn’t push her, but he wasn’t going to give up either.