Same_Difference (The Depth of Emotion, #4) - D.D. Lorenzo Page 0,1

days on record so far that year. The air reeked and was so oppressive that even air conditioning seemed inadequate. The poor window cooling systems had been working overtime but everything was still sticky to the touch. She hoped the weather forecast was correct and that a cool, soaking rain would be arriving to ward off the scorching temperatures.

Rick and Paige had given her a temporary, peaceful reprieve it seemed. Her decision to turn on the television paid off and when she glanced in the other room both of them were sucked into a show. Up until then the entire day had been an exercise in tolerance. Any weather that forced the kids to stay inside made her forfeit her sanity, but she reminded herself that they were just kids and didn’t want to be inside any more than she did.

As a damp tendril of hair fell across her check she pushed it out of her face and tucked it back into her ponytail. Any effort she made to fix her hair and makeup was in vain. The weather wasn’t conducive to looking pretty. If the coming rain was a shower and not a downpour, she could take the kids outside to jump in puddles. A good, rumbling shower could be a kid’s best friend. Kyla loved a good thunderstorm. As a child, she and her mom would take an umbrella outside and walk barefoot during a downpour. Now that she was an adult she was always glad when the opportunity presented itself to repeat the memory.

She silently tiptoed to the doorway, looking from the kitchen into the family room. Rick was sitting in his father’s overstuffed chair, engrossed as he watched Captain Chesapeake. Paige had wiggled beside him and was leaning her head on his shoulder. It was almost time to put her down for a nap but she knew it would be difficult. Her little girl was terribly afraid of storms, but a good children’s book could work miracles if Paige fell asleep while Kyla read it to her. Ricky would be happy watching something on television and she would have a little quiet time before her husband came home.

Her mind swirled. Kids. Storms. Dinner. She needed to get moving. Once she had the pan sizzling she washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. It was the calm before the storm, both literally and figuratively. Looking out the kitchen window she saw large black clouds moving in the direction of the house. Thunder had started to boom when she wiped down the counter and static was filling the air. As if right on cue, a loud smack sounded against the window. She shook her head. After the loud noise it would be a battle to get Paige to lie down.

“I’ll bet you can’t catch me!” It appeared Paige lost interest in the TV show and was goading her brother into playing Tag.

“You wanna bet?”

The children were once again running through the house. Paige’s voice percolated between laughter and squeals. Much to their mother’s dismay they darted behind, around, and in front of furniture, evading each other’s grip. It was only a matter of time before something was broken or someone was hurt. They ran relentlessly from room to room, bumping into walls with loud threats and screaming laughter. The excitement escalated. Paige seized the opportunity to hide under the dining room table.

“Where are you?”

Ricky shuffled through the house investigating her normal hiding places. Paige refused to answer him. She’d found the perfect hiding place under the table. Crouching low like a kitten she smiled while she tried to hold in her giggles. The tablecloth draped far enough over the sides so as to give her a sense of security. Watching his feet, she slapped her hand over her mouth. She tried not to make any noise as Ricky crept silently around the room. He came closer to the table, his footsteps hesitant. She barely breathed when he leaned against the table. It was too much excitement for a three-year-old.

“Tickle, tickle, tickle.”

She got his foot and Ricky fell to the floor, banging his knee in the ruckus.

“Tag! You’re it!”

Even the most patient mother had a limit and Kyla had now hit hers. While the kids were running around, the storm had started. The wind was howling, the rain coming down in sheets and her nerves were shot. Exasperated, she threw the book angrily on the table.

“That’s it!” she yelled.

The proverbial straw had broken the camel’s back. She stomped