The day was slowly moving to a close. Chrisine could hear the sounds of the kids about to be let out for the day. Then it would be quiet for the rest of her time at the office. She realized that she actually enjoyed the noise, exuberant noise of the elementary school kids being let out. There was so much life and joy in it, that it was a pleasure for her.
It was also the time of day, when her own secretarial staff would be going home, leaving her with the quiet that she loved periodically.
Chris Wilkins had wondered at first if she would like having the office of the superintendent of schools in the elementary school building but realized soon enough that it was a good arrangement, one that worked out just fine.
She was in the middle of these reveries, when her cell phone exploded with the opening of 'Carmina Burana', her ringtone. She noticed right away that it was from Charlie Rhodes, her next door neighbor. It caused a bit of concern for her immediately. She answered:
"Chris," he said. "I hate to ever ask such a favor but we just got some people in here and I have to make sure they're processed into our system."
"You can use the jargon with me, sergeant," she said with a grin. "You need to 'book' some people."
"Caught me, Super!" he quipped, "We need to book these people."
"And you want me to collect the hurricane and keep him in my office, until the police arrive?" she said with a laugh.
"Chris, would you please?" he asked. "I apologize for the need to ask this of you."
"Charlie," she said softly, "You know that I've told you that you can count on me for help with Wally anytime, and I meant it."
"Thanks, Chris, you're an angel," Charlie said, "I'm sorry but I have to go. I'll be there to fetch Wally soon."
"Take your time, sergeant, he and I are buddies!" she said then.
"You're the best, Chris!" he said as he rung off.
"If you only meant that," she said to herself.
Truth to tell, Chrisine Wilkins was in love with Charlie Rhodes, had been for a while. She certainly had been since the death of Charlie's wife Susie, leaving him to care for their two year old son Wally. It was a realization that grew over those few years, and, for Chris, had certainly blossomed.
For her the relationship with Charlie Rhodes was a 'whatever you need' one, and she truly and sincerely loved the little tow headed 'Wally', aka the 'Hurricane'.
That woke her from her reverie immediately and she got up to go to kindergarten to fetch him.
He sang out, as soon as he saw her in the doorway: "Chris!" Then with an embarrassed look on his face, remembering what his father had told him about addressing Chris Wilkins, when they were at school, he said quickly:
She gave him a conspiratorial smile and wink.
"Wally," she said, kneeling down in front of the little boy, "The cops are busy right now and I'm supposed to hold you captive in my office until you get rescued by the police."
"Oh, goodie!" Wally said, probably as much in love with Chris Wilkins as she was with him.
"Mollie, his Dad's held up at the station with some business," Chris explained. "I'll take Wally to my office to wait for him."
"Yes, ma'am," the young teacher said, smiling, "Sergeant Rhodes just called to confirm that Wally'd be going with you, until he would be able to come for him."
They walked down the hallway companionably holding hands with Wally chattering a mile a minute about school, his friends, what he did and on and on. It all brought a huge grin to Chris' face, as they walked along.
"Got some new computer games for you to try out, pal," she said.
"Oh, cool!" Wally replied, and she was newly amazed at where he picked up such language, thinking automatically of his Dad.
Chris Wilkins had been set in her ways already by the time that the Rhodes family moved into the newly built home next door. She had early on made a decision to buy up the extra land in their small out of the way street to keep it as private as possible. The Rhodes' home had already been built but Charlie agreed with her and bought the other lot on his side of the cul-de-sac, to keep it fairly private. She was pleased by their arrangement. For one thing, it allowed her to sunbathe, which she loved to do for relaxation. And, since the Rhodes family was a really busy one, she normally had all the privacy that she needed for doing it.
At 36 Chris Wilkins was a blossoming beauty. She was simply the kind of woman to whom the 30'as were a grand, grand time, bringing out beauty and charm. She was a bit on the tall side at 5'9" but her height only emphasized the loveliness of her total body: largish breasts, and a fully rounded butt.
She had looked on with horror, as Susie developed her final illness, and it was during this time period that she'd become such a good friend to Charlie and simply grown to love Wally. She helped provide some of the care for Susie, since she was right there and Charlie's schedule was a crazy one. They'd gone through that terribly difficult time together as friends, with her providing whatever support that she could.
It had taken Charlie Rhodes a while to get over the shock of Susie's death and Chris' help was an important thing in that process.
It was only that she never, ever had any idea in her mind of falling in love with him, which came only later, as life settled down for the two of them and Wally, in their cul-de-sac.
"Here we are, sport!" Chris said to her grinning companion.
"Thanks, super!" he said with a brazen smile.
She grinned back at him and said: "We won't tell your Dad that you called me 'super', will we?"
He grinned and said: "No, ma'am, sorry!"
"No 'sorries' between us pals!" she said, poking the little boy in the ribs.
She took him into her office then and sat him down at her laptop that she had there and set it up for some games for him to play. She also fetched a drink for him and kissed him on the head, when she brought it. She was rewarded then with his 24 carat grin.
"Thank you, Ms. Wilkins!" he said.
"Oh," she cried, putting her hand over her heart as though faint, "The boy's polite!"
This got her an all out grin from him, as he drank and then lowered his head to concentrate on the game.
It didn't take her long to finish up the few tasks that she had left for that day, while he was busy at the computer. Soon enough, she joined him and they toiled away at the game, one that had them throwing exploding bananas at each other's images. They were engrossed in the game and both of them laughing like yesterday's fools.
Their mirth was interrupted by a knock at the open doorway.
Chris looked up to see Charlie standing there and said to Wally:
"Wally, cheese it; it's the cops!"
They both went into giggles, after she said that and left Charlie Rhodes only shaking his head and saying: "I don't know which of the two of you is worse!"
Chris and Wally gave each other a grin and a 'high five' and Wally bounded off of the chair, from his position in front of the computer, to hug his dad:
"Poppa!" he said with both great glee and great affection.
They hugged for many minutes and finally Charlie said:
"Chris, this is so nice of you to do this!"
"You mean corral Mr Bigshot banana thrower?" she said laughing, and getting a companionable laugh from Wally.
Then she sobered a bit and said: "Charlie, it's no problem. Don't give it a second thought."
"Well," Charlie went on, "I appreciate it, Chris, and I want you to know that. Why don't the three of us go out for a pizza? We'd like to say a proper 'thank you.'?"
Chris was torn at that point. She didn't usually accept such invitations. She tried to keep her 'passion', as she called it, under strict control, and for her it was difficult enough to spend time with Wally but with the two of them, it was terrible difficult. She just didn't think that it would help her to keep a lid on the way that she loved Charlie, as well as Wally, for her to dine with them. She was determined to refuse but it was Wally that went to her then and hugged her and said:
"Please come with us; it'll be like the three mouseketeers!"
That made all three of them laugh and Chris gave in. "With one condition," she said, and pointing at Wally said: "If you get drunk again, this time I'll call the cops and send you to the slammer!"
Wally stuck his hands up in the air and promised not to drink too much beer. It was on that note that they piled out of the school building and headed for Chris' car, since Charlie had gotten a ride there in a squad car and was hoping, he said, that Chris would see them properly home.
Charlie Rhodes' own feelings at that point were decidedly complicated. After the death of his Susie, he shut down that part of himself, the part that was, would be, could be, might be attracted to another woman, even as lovely a woman as Chris was. Yet, at the same time, Chris' obvious love for Wally and the way that they were so good together, gave him more than one thought lately about what he might do about it. He just couldn't seem to get over the part of him, his passion, that had died with Susie.
It was as though he could never break through to who Chris Wilkins really was, or how she really was. She was older than he by about five or so years but it wasn't that, which held Charlie back. No, it was an unrecognized something that kept them 'friends'.
Chris certainly knew about the 'friends' part, and didn't try to push anything beyond that point. It somehow didn't seem proper to try to do that.
.... There is more of this story ...