"Not go!" Brianna screamed from her car seat as Kelly walked around the car. It was hot that day and Brianna had missed her nap as they'd done their errands. She'd left Trey at home with Joey and Colton had gone with Chris and his little sister to see a movie. Everything seemed to be falling into place perfectly leaving her to be able to collect up her school books from the school bookstore without much trouble, but Brianna had other ideas, starting to scream when they pulled up to the parking lot and continuing to scream as she parked and came around to pull her out of her car seat.
"Baby don't scream," she said pulling her out and hugging her. "We just have to go get mommy some books then we'll go home."
"No!" She turned her head away and started yelling. Her little body shoot with all it's might and she tried to wiggle away. Kelly sometimes wondered how little kids had the energy to put up a fight like this. She should have probably left her home to take a nap, but really wanted to just spend some time with her and make sure that she got in some good bonding time before she really started school. "I want Diddy!"
"Jelly Bean--" She moved the little girl to her hip and made sure her purse was on her shoulder then closed up the car and started to walk across the parking lot. She wondered if people would stare at her. It wasn't every day that a screaming toddler came to school, luckily it seemed to be lunchtime, which meant she wasn't going to interrupt classes or office hours, but everyone on campus seemed to know that Brianna had stepped foot on the University of Central Florida campus that day. "Baby we have to get mommy's books then we'll go home and you and daddy can play."
"No!" she screamed again.
"Brianna, honey you need to calm down or you're gonna get the hiccups and Daddy won't be there to make you stop them." She moved to wipe her tears again, but Brianna only countered her move by leaning backwards. "Honey you're gonna fall if you lean like that."
Brianna nodded and immediately started to hiccup.
"See," Kelly said, "I told you."
"I Wa-ant Di-dd-dd-eee," she said with hiccups corrupting her speech pattern.
"I know honey," she said and pushed her hair out of her face. The humidity in the air probably had the both of them looking a bit out of sorts. Briannas hair was now half matted, half curly and a deep deep brown color from the sweat that was coming off of her scalp. Kelly had purposely put her hair up in a ponytail that morning, matching her own pony tail, but Brianna had been stubborn earlier and had taken her hair down to play with the rubber band before she ended up losing it between the back seat coushins in the car. "We'll go right in and get the books I need then we'll go straight home and you and daddy can play. Maybe he can take you swimming and you can show him all the stuff you've been learning in swim lessons."
Brianna shook her head and stuck her bottom lip out. "No."
As they walked into the bookstore Brianna seemed to calm down a bit. She rested her head on Kelly's shoulder, stuck her thumb in her mouth and Kelly thought for a moment that she'd fallen asleep because she was being so quiet. Maybe it was that there were so many things to look at, or maybe it was the air conditioning inside, but either way she was reduced to sniffling a little as Kelly grabbed a basket and started to load it with the books she needed. It wasn't a long list of books. Only three classes worth, but carrying them with one hand really wasn't an option with Brianna with her.
When they passed the section of the bookstore that had t-shirts and other UCF memorabilia, Brianna reached out and grabbed onto a small beanie baby sized UCF teddy bear.
Kelly set her basket of books down and leaned her head to look at her daughter. Her cheeks were still red and puffy from her bout of crying earlier, but she had calmed down enough. "You want that honey?"
"Bear," Brianna said and hugged the bear to her.
Kelly didn't have the heart to tell her no. IT had been a long day and she knew that if she gave Brianna an answer she didn't want to hear that they'd be having issues the rest of the day. "Ok." She looked around. "Maybe we should get something for Colton and Trey too." Brianna nodded and wiggled to get down, as if the idea of shopping really had energized her.
When Brianna was on her feet Kelly took her basket in one hand and Brianna's hand in the other and they walked around trying to find things for the boys. They picked out a keychain for Colton, and got a t-shirt for Trey, then found another t-shirt for Joey and one for herself.
At the checkout Brianna helped put stuff onto the counter, but didn't let go of the bear. "Put the bear up here Jelly Bean so that they can ring it up and then we'll take him home."
"No." Brianna had been fairly good passing through the terrible twos so far without much of a fight, but it all seemed to be coming back today.
"Honey, come on," she said and started to pull the bear away from her.
"No." It was as if everything had sped up into double time and instantly Brianna was in tears flopped down on the floor crying as if she'd been slapped or something. Kelly remembered seeing other parents with kids when she was in high school and wondering why the parent would let their kid scream that way, but now, in the moment she knew that she was wrong for thinking badly of the parents in the situation. She hadn't a clue what had gotten Brianna so wriled up about this and stopping her tantrum really was a bigger mystery.
Kelly reached and picked her up and somehow managed to take the tag off the bear before handing it to the cashier. "Sorry about that." When she looked up she saw more than a few people looking at her. She had never really been uncomfortable with people staring at her, because it came along with being with Joey, but it was a bit embarrassing that this time it wasn't because Joey was with her that people were paying attention, but because Brianna was now throwing a fit that caused people to stare.
"It's ok," the younger girl said, "I have a little brother who does that all the time."
Kelly wanted to ask the girl how to get Brianna to stop crying, but asking baby advice when she was Mrs. Fatone really would ahve the tabloids spinning. She'd been very careful about raising the kids so far and was overly consious about what people thought of her children, not that she thought it was going to reflect badly on her, but more that it would reflect badly on the kids and give them a reputation that they didn't deserve.
Brianna was still crying as she handed over her credit card for the cashier to use, and started to almost hyperventilate when she was signing the receipt. "Baby, you're gonna get the hiccups again."
Brianna finally stuck her thumb in her mouth and was quiet all the way back out to the car. Kelly put her books in the front seat then moved to put Brianna in her chair and found that her daughter was now dead asleep. She didn't know what had brought on all the crying, but at least it had worn her out enough for her to nap. She hoped that she'd stay asleep until they got home and maybe for an hour or so in the afternoon so she could relax for a little bit before she had to start getting dinner ready.
The drive home was quiet and when she got to the house she found Joey and Colton in the kitchen coloring in coloring books. Joey saw her come in and seemed to anticipate that she needed help. He immediately got up and took Brianna from her arms. "I'll go put her upstairs."
Kelly nodded and waved to Colton quickly before going to get her books. She knew that being in a fowl mood was going to cause tension coming back into the house and didn't want either Joey or Colton to think that she was upset with them. She wasn't really upset with anyone, but she definitely needed some alone time...maybe a shower or a swim in the pool and a nap and a snack. She smiled at the thought of the list she could put together of how to relax her.
When she returned from getting her books out of the car Colton got up from his seat and came around and hugged her. "Hey there kiddo. Did you have fun today hanging out with Daddy?"
Colton nodded and leaned against her for a bit. He wasn't normally a huggy kind of kid with Kelly so she took advantage and pulled him up and hugged him the way she would hug Brianna to her. "Daddy and I went to the park and played basketball with the big kids and then went and gots McDonald's and gotted Trey."
"Sounds like a busy day." Kelly set him on his feet and he hovered near her.
"Trey's sleeping," he said with a yawn.
Laughing at his yawn she went and found a glass and got herself some juice. "Maybe you should take a nap?"
He blinked a few times and gave her a stern look that said that he was too big for naps. "Do I have to?"
"No," she said and hugged him, "But if you go and watch TV I bet you'll fall asleep."
"After I finish my picture," he said and moved back around and went back to his coloring.
Kelly took a free moment to take a breath. It had been a long morning and after Brianna's horrible mood taking over at the bookstore she was ready to collapse herself.
"Hmm?" she turned and found Joey standing in the doorway watching her. She didn't know how long she'd been standing there thinking, but he seemed to be looking at her with a worried __expression.
"Tired," she said and took a deep breath. "Today was fun, but Brianna threw a fit on the way into the bookstore and it was hot and I just..." She looked over at Colton who was still coloring. "I think I might put my books away and watch some tv or maybe take a swim or something."
"Ok." He stared at her for a few more seconds. "You sure?"
"Yeah Joe," she said, "I'm sure."
He shuffled over to her and pulled her into a hug, kissed her softly on the lips then turned to Colton. "Hey big guy, want to go and watch a movie in the theater and we'll let Mommy put her books away and stuff?"
"Can we watch Spy Kids?" Colton asked.
"Sure," Joey said and looked at Kelly. "Turn the ringer off on the phone in the bedroom and take a nap. I'll check on the kids."
She was flabbergasted at the way he was trying to help out all of a sudden. Of course he took responsibility for the kids, but it seemed as if today he was especially aware of her tiredness and her desire for a nap. "Thanks Joe."
"It's all good," he said and moved away from her to help Colton pick up his crayons.
When they were gone Kelly sat at the breakfast bar and drank the rest of her juice then moved out of the kitchen and went up to the second floor.
It only took her a few moments to change into a suit and she checked on the kids then found a towel and went down to the pool. It was still hotter than hell outside, but once her feet were in the pool she found herself more relaxed. She swam back and forth for a few laps, then got out of the pool and sat in one of the lounge chairs closing her eyes so that she could get the full effect.
"Hmm?" she asked.
"Can I talk to you about something?"
She opened her eyes and found him sitting across from her in the other chair with a stack of papers in his hand. "Sure."
"I got something I want you to look at." He handed her the stack and she read the title on the front.
"RENT?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said.
"And?" she asked looking at it. She didn't get it. Yeah they were going to see the play in New York, but she didn't understand why she was sitting with what seemed to be--she leafed through the papers and found that it was the script--the whole story in front of her.
"I have an audition--possible audtion," he said and turned his head down.
"For RENT?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said slowly. "Someone on the staff found out that I'd done theater in school and sent Johnny the script for me and I--I took a look at it and I have kind of an audition at the end of the month."
"The weekend that we're going to be in New York?" she asked sitting up.
"Yeah," he said.
"So that trip was just a lie to get you to New York."
"No," Joey said, "I got invited to go to the show. Yes I think it's because they want me to audition, but in the begining it was a chance for you and me to get away for the weekend and be a couple for a few days. I want to take you to New York and have a great weekend."
"And try out for a play that is going to rip you out of Orlando yet again and take you away from me and the kids." She sighed. "Is it that bad? Are we that horrible that you always want to get away?"
"Honey stop it," he said, "Don't even start down that road. I could totally say the same thing about you. Going off to school and--"
"I can't do this," she said, "I'm too tired and pissed off at you right now to talk about this." She pulled her towel up, wrapped herself in it and basically ran into the house."
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(c) 1999-2003 Pit Pat
These pages aren't connected directly to NSYNC Johnny Wright, Jive Records or WEG.
Thanks again to AmyK.