Gasping for breath, I stopped and leaned against the wall. Closing my eyes I started to sink back, imagining how nice it would be just to stop and sleep right here and now against this hard, cosy wall.
The piercing wail of the baby threw me back down to earth with a thud. I mentally ticked off what I needed to do to get the rascals I was babysitting into order so I could stop running for just 5 minutes. Change the baby’s nappy. Change the 2 year olds nappy. Give the 2 and 4 year old food laced with sedatives – no, I corrected myself, no sedatives, no sugar. Just wholesome warm milk and sleep inspiring foods. Put the baby to bed, chase the 2 year old around the house in some twisted ‘game’ she came up with before putting her to bed. Put the 4 year old to bed way too late after the 2 year olds shenanigans. Fall down and die.
Sighing, I reluctantly pushed myself off the wall and headed back into the nursery. No time to waste, time is money and sanity people! Smiling ruefully, I walked back through the open doorway and headed over to pick up little Jamie from his cot. Screaming his lungs out, I managed to get him onto the change table where he proceeded to twist and squirm and almost roll off the table were it not for my firm hand across his abdomen. Sighing, I attempted to get the nappy off with no success. He was moving too much for it to even be possible. I didn’t know what to do, the smell coming from him was horrendous, and I couldn’t put him to bed in a wet nappy for his parents to come home to. I’d never work again!
The delighted shrieks of the other two children floated through the air to my ears. I stiffened. Delighted shrieks are never good with those two rugrats, I thought worriedly. Still holding Jamie, I almost passed out in relief as the imposing, dark figure of my best friend Luke darkened the doorway.
“Oh thank god” I breathed. “You don’t know how much I need your help right now!” I cried.
Laughing, he made his way over to me and took Jamie in his arms who, miraculously, stopped crying. “I’ll take care of this one if you want to get the other two ready for bed?” He asked, chuckling at the horrified expression that crossed my features. “I’ll be there in a moment, to help” he added.
* * *
Two hours, three nappies, four toilet trips and five glasses of water later Luke and I finally collapsed onto the couch in exhaustion. Looking over at him, I saw a smear of mashed potato from dinnertime still adorning his brow, the lines of fatigue firmly etched across his face. Laughing, I reached across to wipe the potato away, wondering ruefully what sight of beauty I portrayed at the moment.
Gently I ran my thumb across his forehand and into his hairline. I’d never noticed before how soft his skin was. He turned his head to look at me, his face all of a sudden so close to mine. I felt my stomach flutter and the breath whoosh out of my body and I looked into his eyes and felt his nearness to me. This was a strange feeling, it was Luke. Just Luke. I’d never felt this way about him before. I slowly lowered my hand from his forehead, but before I could place it back in my lap he grabbed it in his rough, large hand, softly holding on and stroking the inside of my palm. My breathing stilled as his head moved slowly towards mine, his eyes darkening with lust. As his lips met mine, my stomach gave birth to a herd of stampeding cattle. I felt the softness of his lips against mine as he pressed small kisses to my mouth at first, slowly intensifying the pressure as my body responded. As the kisses became more intense and hungry I marveled at how amazing this felt. All along it had been right here in front of me.