Just borrowing unharmed.
I changed the last chapter perspective to Stephanie's. Some reviews questioned how Ranger, Stephanie, and Sophia came to be, so to tie into a rambling I started from seeing old battered children's wooden blocks in an antique store, this is a lead in to the beginning of "Crossroads and Building Blocks".
The Good Witches
Strong muscled arms were cradling our little sleeping bundle of curls to her room wore out from the Halloween haunted house tonight. I had her Batgirl nightgown out to change our daughter into before tucking Sophie in her bed. She dragged her father through the corn maze and shrieked the entire way through spooky house. Lester got stuck in the room of mirrors with flashing lights and Tank went back in after him. The Merrymen and Sophie were in their candy treat bags before getting into the Rangeman SUV's to leave. My husband just gave them that "Oh, so sexy" Cuban eyebrow
"Good night, Sophie," I kissed my daughter and tucked her favorite giraffe beside her.
Ranger leaned in and whispered his usual endearment, "Dulces sueños, mi niña", his lips touching her dark curls. (Sweet dreams, my little girl).
Stirring and looking at her muscely Daddy with sleepy eyes, "Don't forget, Daddy, its tea party day tomorrow," reminding him again. Each Saturday we set aside time for an afternoon tea with her after our always busy work week. No matter what Ranger was doing, he always stopped and had tea with us.
"I remember, Sophie."
We just stood for a moment in each other's arms watching our little girl sleep before going across the hall to our bedroom.
Chuckling as he closed the door, "Should I lock it, Babe?" Referring to Sophie's dancing undies comment from earlier in the evening. Tank, Bobby, and Lester would have field day teasing Ranger about the elephant thong I bought him as a funny present. I love the jungle man! What can I say!
I glanced back at my gorgeous husband, "Why? You taught her after her fourth birthday to pick a lock."
Sophie came running towards the kitchen. I could tell she had on her little black Mary Jane's by the sound echoing on the wooden floor coming from the hallway dressed for her tea party. Smiling to myself as she came to check on the preparations for the afternoon get-together. She had me tie her dark curls on top of her head with a pink ribbon to match her pink sweater and socks to go with the flowered skirt. While Ranger was almost always in black, Sophia went to the almost opposite end of the color spectrum in pink.
"Mommy, can I set out the pretty plates?" Sophie asked from the doorway.
It was a cool autumn day so no tea on the stone patio. Today, we would have it in our glass breakfast nook in the big kitchen. I turned on the electric fireplace to take off the chill and warm the brick floor in the old Colonial kitchen. Antique dessert plates and teacups with flowers were set on the table for my little girl to put out at the three place settings, some Saturdays it was four if Daddy or Tank stopped by to enjoy our Saturday afternoon ritual. I watched as she carefully folded the lacey paper napkins by each plate and set a silver fork on it. I walked over in my bare feet feeling the warmth of the stone radiating from the old stone fireplace with a plate of quartered peanut butter and jelly and turkey sandwiches. Sliced apples and strawberries on another and homemade sugar cookies my daughter and Mom had made already on the round wooden table with its old vintage table cloth with it's pattern of pink and red roses and ripe strawberries I found in vintage store.
When I grabbed the teapot off the breakfast bar, my little girl went running back down the hallway in the direction of Ranger's office calling "Daddy, time for tea!"
It amazed me at first when Sophia and I began having our tea parties on the patio after we moved into our old stone Colonial house, Ranger put down his reports and joined us as our little girl just barely two tugged at his large hand to come. "Tea", telling him and we have made this a Saturday afternoon family get-together ever since.
Holding hands as they made there way to the table, my sexy Cuban husband in his faded jeans and blue sweatshirt held out Sophie's chair then mine, and taking his seat.
"Bless this tea party," Sophie smiled at us. Gingerly, taking two of her favorite sandwiches and placing them on her plate and handing it to Ranger. "Sandwich, Daddy?"
The damn Cuban eyebrow was up as he took a small quarter of turkey sandwich and one of peanut butter and jelly. Smirking with his small smile, "Thank you, Miss Sophie," and passed the flowered dish to me, "Babe?"
Eating our little lunch, my husband held my hand. He knew the thoughts going though my head as I looked at the old stone fireplace. Beside it, resting against the wall, was an old three pronged wooden what looked to be a pitch fork and the worn child's blocks stacked in a pyramid on the mantle. The top block has an 'S' for Stephanie. The next row, two 'S's For myself and Sophia. The third read 'R', 'S', and 'S' for Ricardo or Ranger, Stephanie, and Sophia. All sat on blocks spelling out 'M-A-N-O-S-O'. The pitch fork reminded me of the path I chose a number of years ago and the blocks the pieces we built together to get to here. Just as sitting on the antique desk in Ranger's office, two wooden blocks. His first recollection from the hospital when he was injured that his daughter existed in his world along with our pictures.
My crossroads and our building blocks. But, that's another story that led us to our someday. Right now, I'm enjoying afternoon tea with the husband and daughter I love more than anything in this wonderful life we have.