“I didn’t do it!” he swore, with a panicked look on his face.
“Yeah, right,” she deadpanned. “This nice man’s name is Carter, remember? Stop trying to call everything dog poop.”
I turned to find her leaning against the doorframe leading into the kitchen given Carter the evil eye.
“Don’t take offense,” she said, turning her gaze to me. “Last week, every time you asked him a question he replied “stupid fat cows are stupid” no matter what the question was.”
I laughed, grateful that the whole dog poop thing wasn’t just because he already decided he hated me. Claire made her way across the room to where I was and glanced down at the picture still in my hand.
"Oh my God, please don't look at that picture. I look like I have a giant tumor growing out of me. A tumor that kicked the shit out of my vagina and made me pee myself when I sneezed," she said with a groan. "I just told you I peed my pants didn't I?" she asked.
"Yeah, you kind of did. It's okay, I’ll only send a text to four of my contacts about it instead of my whole phone book."
I suddenly realized we were toe-to-toe and I was close enough to kiss her. I leaned forward to do just that, completely forgetting that we weren’t alone in the room.
"Mo-om, can I open my pwesent now?"
We stopped inches from each other's mouths and looked down next to us.
Claire sighed and leaned back away from me.
"Yes, you can open your present now," she replied.
He plopped down on the floor right where he was and started tearing into the paper, pieces of it flying in every direction.
"You didn't have to get him anything," she said softly to me.
I shrugged. "It's no big deal, just something little."
"Mommy, look! It's crayons and markers and paint and wow I can color stuffs and make pictures!" Gavin said excitedly, holding everything up for Claire to see.
"That's awesome, baby. Can you go put them in Mommy's room on my bed and we'll play with them later?"
"But I wanna paint now," Gavin complained, dropping the box of crayons on his foot. "Shit!"
"Gavin Allen!" Claire yelled.
I knew I shouldn't laugh, so I looked away and thought of dead puppies and that scene from "Field of Dreams" where Kevin Costner's character got to play catch with his dad. God dammed scene got me every time.
"The next bad word that comes out of your mouth is going to get you a spanking, do you understand me? Tell Carter thank you for the present and go in your room until it's time for dinner."
"Thanks, Carter," Gavin mumbled as he trudged down the hall.
When he was out of earshot I started laughing, and Claire smacked me in the arm.
"Sorry, but he is funny as hell."
She rolled her eyes at me and walked back to the kitchen with me following behind her.
"Yes, he's a riot. Come back to me after you've been out in public with him. Like, say in church. And when it gets to a really quiet part and all you can hear is the fountain in the back of the church and then Gavin's voice say really loudly "Mom! I hear Jesus taking a piss!" It's not so funny then."
I glanced at the counter behind her and my jaw dropped. Covered over every available surface were chocolate, cookies and candy – every kind imaginable.
"Am I in Willy Wonka's workshop?"
She laughed and opened up the lid of a huge pot on the stove and stirred the contents.
"Well, I decided to make you guys my guinea pigs tonight. And Jenny is going to take a few pictures of some of the items for my advertisements since I don’t have anything better than my cell phone camera."
I stared dreamily at everything. I may have a slight weakness to sweets.
"Holy hell, what are those things?” I asked pointing to a row of white chocolate clumps the size of my fist with caramel on top.
"Oh, those are something new I’m experimenting with. I melted a bowl of white chocolate, added crushed up pretzels and potato chips to it and then once the dropped spoonfuls solidified, I drizzled caramel on top. I may have gone a little overboard on the size of them. Right now they’re called Globs."
Sweet Mary in heaven. I wanted to ask this woman to have my babies.
A knock sounded on the front door and Claire asked me to answer it for her while she set the table and finished up.
Jenny and Drew were the next to arrive. I held the door open for them and shook my head at Drew while Jenny walked in and made her way into the kitchen to talk to Claire.
"Really, Drew?" I asked, looking at his shirt.
There was a picture of a little kid on it shooting a gun above his head. The shirt read "Don't hit kids. No, seriously. They have guns now."
"What? Kids nowadays are the devil. This shirt is a PSA for you, dude. You'll thank me one day. So, where is the little guy? Does he need his diaper changed or anything? Maybe I can show him my car or give him some candy," he said as he looked around me and rubbed his hands together.
"He's four Drew. He doesn't wear diapers. And you might want to dial down the creepy kidnapper vibe just a notch."
"Whatever. Take me to your demon seed," Drew said.
We walked past the kitchen and I stuck my head in and asked Claire if it was okay to head back to Gavin's room. She told me where it was and we went down the hall and found him sitting on the floor in the middle of his room, squirting a tube of toothpaste right onto the carpet.