Chapter 17: Sweet Kisses and Skinned Knees

With my mother’s car gone for the day, and Taylor’s check finally deposited, I brought Lily outside to play. Contentedly, Lily circled the driveway on her new tricycle, happily playing with the multi-colored tassels dangling from the ends of the handle bars.

It made perfect sense to me that when I cashed Taylor’s check at last, the first purchase should be something for Lily. She seemed so happy and was equally happy that I could finally give her the things every little girl should have.

She shrieked with giggles and I smiled warmly.

I kept an eagle eye watch on her, never letting her get more than two feet from my reach. I moved my ceramic coffee cup into my left hand. The sound of the new engagement ring hitting the cup brought a smile to my lips. I carefully moved Lily away from the road. I wasn’t letting her too close to the road, even though I knew it wasn’t busy. I noticed a familiar black SUV coming around the corner toward the house, and the smile on my face immediately grew exponentially.

I placed my coffee cup down on the front stoop and carefully watched Lily to be sure she stayed away from the approaching SUV. Not that I didn’t trust the driver or Lily, but for my own neurosis I wanted to be sure no accidents happened.

Isaac parked his car on the road and climbed out a second later.

He grinned broadly seeing us.

“Silly Lily!” He crossed to her in several short strides and knelt next to her, stopping her from crashing the tricycle into his legs. “Did you get a new bike?” He asked with a smile.

She nodded happily and pointed to the streamers.

“Those are pretty.” He chuckled and glanced up at me.

As Lily pedaled away, he stood and wrapped his arms around me. “Hey you,” He smiled.

I laughed and turned away from him playfully. “I think you love my daughter more than me.” I teased.

His hand reached out and gently turned my chin to face him. “Not a chance.” He said softly, and bent to kiss me.

The second his lips touched mine I forgot everything. I practically froze and went limp in his arms, entirely forgetting my surroundings. I even forgot to breathe until his lips carefully left mine.

There was a massive part of me that wanted to reach for him again and secure his lips to mine for a second time, but the greater part of me that was still stunned won out.

He smiled and carefully smoothed down my hair. “Not a chance.” He breathed and leaned toward me for a second kiss.

My eyes fluttered closed and my lips parted slightly in anticipation.

At that precise moment we were interrupted by a harsh sounding crash, and Lily’s immediate screams.

I sprang into action. “Lily!” I cried, scooping her up from the pavement. The first thing I noticed was the blood on her knee.

Lily was wailing hysterically with large tears streaming down her cheeks.

I immediately carted her into the house, loosing track of Isaac with my focus on Lily. “Honey, it’s okay… it’s okay…” I soothed, feeling close to tears myself. I bounced her carefully in my arms, walking back and forth in the kitchen trying to calm her. “It’s okay, it’s okay…” I murmured, kissing her hair.

“Here, put her down.” Isaac instructed from my side.

Before I could even react, he took her from my arms and placed her on the counter. She was still crying hysterically as he carefully swabbed her knee with anti-bacterial ointment, and removed the wrapper on a band aid.

I tented my fingers under my nose, feeling the tears well up in my own eyes.

He carefully smoothed the band aid over her scraped knee, which wasn’t as bad once it was cleaned. She was already noticeably calmer, with the blood not showing.

“See? All better.” Isaac smiled reassuringly. He bent and softly kissed her knee, making her giggle in response.

He grabbed the paper towel next to her and gently dried her eyes. “All better.” He smiled.

“All better!” Lily mimicked, which caused him to laugh and scoop her up onto his hip.

He turned to face me at last, and my worried and frantic expression made him smile. “It’s alright, she’s fine.” He assured, putting an arm around my shoulders, pulling me closer.

“I should have been watching her!” I cried.

“It’s okay… kids scrape their knees all the time.” He smiled. “She’s fine.”

“It’s okay!” Lily mimicked, and reached for me, she wrapped her arms around my neck, and I pulled her tightly into my arms.

I bounced her lightly in my arms, closing my eyes tightly.

Isaac was still grinning at me. “Andy, she’s okay.” He chuckled softly.

I shoved him hard, but didn’t seem to affect him at all, other to cause him to laugh harder. “It’s not funny!” I proclaimed.

“It’s fine. Just a small scrape.” He smiled, and hugged us both tightly. “You’re really a good mom, you know that?”

I drew in a deep breath, which was shakier than I expected. “I should have been watching her. This is my fault!”

“No its not.” He chuckled. “Honestly, kids hurt themselves all the time. It’s part of growing up.”

“I know…” I sighed. “I know… I just hate seeing her cry.”

He smiled. “That’s okay… but she’s fine.”

I sighed again. “I know that.”

He laughed. “You’re way too overprotective.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Shut up!”

This made him laugh further. “Come on, why don’t we go outside and play?” He asked, more for Lily’s benefit than mine. “She won’t get hurt on the grass.” He added.

“That’s not funny!” I replied, but followed him out the back door and down from the patio to the play center.

Lily was already squirming to be let free, and I reluctantly set her down.

Isaac chuckled and kissed my forehead. “Come on; let’s go play in the sandbox.” He took my hand and led me toward the sandbox, where Lily was already playing with her new sandcastle set, filling a bucket full of sand.

I stood outside the play center with my hands on my hips, laughing as Isaac had to bend and twist his tall frame to sit on the edge of the sandpit.

He smirked at me. “Come on!”

I climbed clumsily under the play center, and sat next to him.

Isaac smiled and took my hand in his. The cold metal of the engagement ring pressed into his hand and a smile spread across his face. “You’re still wearing my ring?”

“Of course I am.” I smiled at him. “I’ll never take it off.”

He drew my hand into his lap and played with the ring, turning it so the stone faced the way it should.

“You’re stuck with me now,” I teased, resting my head on his shoulder. “You’re stuck with us both.”

His lips found my forehead and left a tender kiss there. “Good, I love you like crazy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”