Flash: Jules at Home

Arriving back at the homestead, Jules slid off O’Faithful and led the tired horse to its stall and its well-earned brush-down and food. “Who’s a good girl?” she ruffled the brown mane once more, as Faithful concentrated on the oat treats mixed into the normal feed, before heading to the house. The milk cows were already in their stalls, so the livestock chores had been completed for the day

Shouting out as she entered the house, Jules said, “Hey Roamer, got the lands below the cherry groves plowed for Mia and her young’ins.”

Speaking of young ones, Jules paused as her brother’s four-year-old ran at her like an escaped bull, barely managing to hold steady despite her greater height and weight when the speeding child hit, once again proving shortness has advantages. The monkey climbed up her leg, unresisting arm, and scaled up to her broad shoulders for his preferred perch. The soaring ceiling in this half of the house, used to keep thing cool in the summer, let her not worry about head bangs when combining his short height with her six-foot three-inch towering frame.

Her brother came out of the kitchen carrying Gianna in his arms, the two-year-old had been crying again and Romeo looked exhausted. The back molars were coming in and nothing helped. Anna sobbed most of the night and Roamer took the brunt of it while Beatrice was away. Confident in Lorenzo’s ability to stay glued, Jules crossed the room and took Anna into her arms. “Finish dinner, I got the kids.”

Romeo rubbed his dark eyes. “Dinner’s ready, it is the last of the packing that needs doing.”

“Gotcha Roamer, I’ll get the spites fed and bed, you finish prepping for World’s End.”

“Have I told you how much I love you, sis?” A weary smile crossed Romeo’s face as he reached up a hand to stroke her cheek, rested a moment on Lorenzo’s leg, and a final brush of tears on Anna’s face.

“Go on, get.” Jules smiled back, bouncing Anna gently on her hip, Lorenzo’s balance shifting in response. “Sooner done, sooner bed, and sooner back to seeing Trish.”

“May the Waters carry your words.”

Walking toward the kitchen, Jules said, “Duck,” just before passing under the casing. The family grew big; Jules might be the tallest present living example but Uncle Enzo pushed seven foot before his injury. The doors on the airy side of the house had been built seven foot six inches. The winter side doors were only six foot with low ceilings Enzo scraped when wearing his war boots and helmet. But heating was much easier.

(words 438; first published 11/13/2022; )