Trenton was about as angry as a father could get. He accepted an invitation from Jett to go out to the local bar. True enough, it was Guy’s Night Out, but that didn’t prevent women from showing up. So, he did the sensible thing and invited Tiana to go with him. She was more than happy to go. The two needed the time out. The triplets were nearly grown and it had been a rough ride. In less than a week, they would graduate high school. That’s the only thought that kept him going. He loved his children, all three of them, but perhaps, it would have been easier had they come to him, one at a time, instead of all at once.
So after dancing for a bit, and having a drink or two at the bar, the parents could feel themselves unwinding. This is what they both needed. Trenton could even feel himself smiling again. Able to focus on the good memories with their children and how he really was going to miss them once they’d moved on, as kids often do.
“This is so much fun,” Tiana told Trenton. She leaned back a little to speak to Jett who sat on Trenton’s left. “Jett, thank you for inviting us out.”
“Any time,” he smiled back. “Sometimes parents don’t treat themselves enough.” He winked.
The evening wound down and the couple decided to get back home. Looking around, they wondered where their three teens had gone off to? Then they heard a bit of panic coming from the back patio. “Hannah. Hannah,” Seth said, “What are you doing? Leave that to Betsy or me, please!”
“Oh, my Gawd, Hannah! Somebody, help. Please HELP!” Came Betsy’s plea.
Trenton raced out of the back door in time to see his daughter, once again up in flames. This time, his feet seemed stuck to the concrete. “Hannah!” he said. Luckily, Gramps was more cool-headed in his reaction. The ghost floated by Trenton, into the house, and in a flash was back again, armed with the fire-extinguisher. Quickly, having failed Jade, Gramps put the flames out. Hannah somehow survived. But she looked remarkably like blackened fish. Or even a burnt marshmallow.
“Gramps,” Trenton said, finally able to move again. “Thank you for saving my little girl.”
“No problem, this time, but I would suggest you school her in fire-safety. She’s a walking menace.”
Trenton, reverted to his almost constant state of tension, which had called him to go out in the first place. Was there no end? Seemed he wasn’t allowed to relax. Most likely not until the three were fully grown and on their own. This was insane. The girl just needed to leave the cooking to others. He did his best to quell his rising anger. So much for his evening out.
“Hannah,” he said, quivering in his ire.
“Daddy, I know, you don’t have to say it. But, I was hungry …”
“You’re always hungry. Why don’t you ask, or better still, eat leftovers. Nevermind, that often requires the microwave. We don’t need you to electrocute yourself. Sweetheart, please. If you persist in this cooking phase of yours, then I insist you study it, first. Read, read, read and watch the Cooking Channel. I think that’s the only way you’re going to survive this nonsensical penchant you have. What is it with you and fires?”
“I don’t know how it happens — it just does. It’s like I’m cursed or something.” Hannah’s shoulders slumped. “Are you going to ground me again?”
“Naw,” he said, hugging her tight. “Not so long as you study cooking — away from any form of heat source, that is.”
Tiana came up beside her daughter, smoothing her dark tresses, “At least you didn’t catch your hair on fire, this time. Come on, inside. You really need a shower.”
The family went inside. Seth walked into the office, and stood before the bookshelf. Scanning the titles, he finally found the cookbook he knew was there. Volume One. He’d read it himself, it was very informative and just what his sister needed. She was still in the adjacent dining room on her way to the stairs when he emerged. “Hannah, think fast!” he said, gently tossing the book at her. Nothing wrong with her reflexes she caught it like a pro.
Flipping the book over, she read the title. “Ha-ha,” she said. “Very funny, little brother.” He was the last one born.
Seth smirked at her, and shrugged his broad shoulders slightly. “Just trying to help.”