Marianne Arkins

No matter the decade, always Happily Ever After





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By Marianne Arkins

      "Mom, can I get you something to drink?"  Camilla forced herself to be hospitable, even though her mother hadn't thought it important to phone before she stopped by.

     "Iced tea would be lovely, thanks."  Lucia sat primly on the porch swing, swaying ever so slightly while she stared at the yard in front of her.  "New birdfeeders, I see."

     "Yes."  Camilla was surprised her mother had noticed, since the lawn was dotted with a couple dozen feeders.  But then, Lucia always did have an eye for details - especially when she could poke at Camilla with them.

     "You had nothing more important to spend your money on?"

     Camilla rolled her eyes.  "Ill get your tea, Mom."  She scooted into the house, grateful for any time away from her mother's nagging.  If you listened to Lucia long enough, you'd be certain that Camilla couldn't do anything right.  Shoving away the desire to run out the back door and not come back until she saw Lucia's car pulling away, she grabbed a tray, a pitcher of tea and two glasses.

     She stuck her toe in the small opening shed left in the front door, pulling it enough to slip her leg into and then bumping it all the way open with her hip.  Lucia was still sitting in the swing, but now it was motionless while she peered through the pair of binoculars that Camilla kept outside for watching her birds.

     "Mom?  What are you doing?"

     Lucia's entire body jerked at the question and she tossed the binoculars onto the cushion beside her. "Nothing." She patted her hair. "Bird watching."
     Camilla conceded the possibility, though her mother had never shown any interest in the birds before.  Still, she could tell her mom was hiding something.  She held the tray out. "Tea?"

     "Thanks." Lucia poured herself a glass and took a sip, pursing her lips. "Too sweet."

     Camilla rolled her eyes. Last week it was too strong. Odd how, in nearly thirty years, she hadn't made one decent pitcher of tea.

     She sat next to her mom on the porch swing, picking up the binoculars and cradling them in her lap. After she sipped her tea - not too sweet at all - she set it down on the wooden table beside her.

     Pushing the swing back and forth gently with one foot, she gazed in the general direction of her mom's interest. She saw two feeders complete with birds fluttering about them, but also, a little further away, was the pond.  There was some movement there had her neighbor, Jed taken his dogs for a swim?

     She slid a sideways glance at her mom before lifting the binoculars to her eyes, ignoring the gasp of protest. Sure enough, a muscular torso filled her view, strong arms slicing through the water.  Her chest tightened when he reached the edge of the pond and, laughing at the antics of one of the dogs, stood. Water slipped down his nearly naked body and Camilla followed its path from his broad shoulders to his waist, hips and -

     The glasses were torn from her grasp. "Camilla Jean, what do you think you're doing?" Her mother stood before her, one hand on her hip, the other waving the binoculars.

     The corner of Camilla's mouth lifted in a half smile. "Same thing as you, mom. Bird watching."


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