Scott got dressed for the evening. He was just putting on his shoes in the living room when he heard the pitter-patter of little feet on the basement stairs.
He had always wondered how the word “pitter-patter” developed, because it sounded so dainty and cute. From what he had experienced of children on the move, they actually sounded like a herd of wildebeest migrating across the compacted soil of the savannah mid-drought.
Clarice always managed to sound like a whole herd all by herself.
“Hey, Daddy!” she announced, as she galloped down the stairs. Then she stopped on the last one, her eyes wide and staring as she looked around.
Scott smiled and walked over to her. “Do you like it?”
“Yeah,” she said slowly, still taking everything in. “It looks like a real house and stuff.”
“Do you want to see your room?”
Her face brightened. “Yeah!”
Scott took her by the hand and lead her to her room. With a flourish, he threw open the door and let her see in.
Her eyes seemed to go wide as saucers. She was absolutely still for a long moment, then she squealed and jumped up and down a few times. Then she ran over to the bed and dove onto it.
“Is it really mine?” she asked in amazement.
“It’s really yours,” Scott said quietly. He blinked away a tear as he watched Clarice roll around on the bed in delight. It reminded him of Christmas morning… something he had not been able to enjoy for two years.
Josie, who had been in the bathroom, came to stand behind him a moment later. “I think she likes it,” she said with a smile.
“Yes, she does. Thank you.”
“I love, love,” this,” Clarice said, touching the tulle canopy.
“Josie made that for you. In fact, she decorated all of it for you.”
“Thank you, Josie,” Clarice said, beaming.
“You’re welcome sweetie.”
“Daddy, can I keep Po in here with me?”
“Where is Po?” she said, suddenly looking around for him.
“He’s at my house,” Josie said. “We didn’t want him to get in the way when the men brought the furniture. And I didn’t want him ‘helping’ me decorate.”
Josie looked at Scott. “Do you want me to bring him back?”
“Yeah, he’s probably had enough of being outside by himself.”
“Can I borrow your car and save my legs an extra trip?”
Scott had to check himself from making a comment about Josie’s legs in front of Clarice. “Sure. My keys are… um… you might have to look through my pants pockets. I don’t know when I had them last, and everything’s gotten rearranged down here.”
“I’ll have to make a mental note to get you a key rack,” she said with a smile.
“Something. I hate not being able to find my keys.”
While Josie went to hunt for the keys, Clarice got off the bed and made an inspection of the rest of the furniture.
“Can I do my homework on my desk?” she asked.
“Yes, that’s what it’s there for.”
She touched the lamp on the desk lightly. It was a Tiffany-style lamp with a heavy bronze base and purple flowers in its stained-glass shade. Scott really didn’t know how Josie had managed to get so much stuff with $100.
“I like this,” Clarice said. “And I really like the lights up there,” she said, pointing to the Christmas tree lights that circled the ceiling.
“Josie thought you might like to leave those on at night.”
“I think it would be fun to sleep with those lights on.” She looked at Scott. “Can I stay here tonight?”
“I don’t think so, baby. I haven’t talked to your Mama about it. The bus doesn’t even know to pick you up here, and I don’t have a way to get you to school.”
She frowned, looking severely disappointed.
“Your mother said she would let you stay with me every other weekend once I had a room for you, so I’ll talk to her and see if you can stay this weekend.”
“But I’ll have to ask first,” he warned. “She may already have plans for the weekend.”
“I’ll ask, too,” Clarice promised. “Because I really, really, want to stay in my new room.”
Scott smiled. “You will. You’ll stay in it a lot.”
Read the entire series–The Bloodsuckers: Vampire Lawyers of Middle Tennessee