“There’s someone behind you.”
“What? Who?” I pretended to act nervous just to amuse Brooklyn.
I jumped to the side in total surprise. I couldn’t tell if I was more flustered by his sudden appearance… or his appearance. He was still dressed in his morning jogging pants, shirtless, of course, and didn’t look like he was sweating a drop. Me? I was sweaty and sticky from the morning run and playing with the kiddos all day, and my hair was shiny.
“Hey there… Joseph Joe…” I said in my typical nervous tone. “Hi… um… hey… uh…what are you doing here?”
Smack me please!
“Hey Lizzie. I was going for an evening jog and I saw you still here. What are you up to?” he asked.
“Waiting for you,” Brooklyn interjected cheekily.
“Brooklyn!” I said sternly, feeling the heat rise in my face.
“I’m uh…” I began.
“Really? You were…” he started simultaneously.
We both laughed.
“You first,” he said.
“Babysitting,” I managed.
“Ah… I was kinda hoping your little friend was right here and you were hanging around the park to see if you could catch me,” Joseph said smoothly.
“No, but she wishes,” Brooklyn interrupted.
I could’ve pinched the little girl.
“Do you mind if I hang out?” Joseph asked. “Or would that be too weird?”
“We’re about to get dinner. I should go round up the remaining kiddos,” I replied, and walked away before I died of embarrassment.
“Help a guy out here?”
“The name’s Brooklyn.”
“Okay, Brooklyn… do you think you kids would mind if I tagged along to dinner?”
“No,” Brooklyn replied, peering over her sunglasses as she stared past Joseph at me. “But she might…” she pointed.
“Really?” Joseph looked worried. “Why?”
“Because she thinks you’re hot.”
Joseph straightened his frame and placed a hand on his hip with pride. “She said that?”
“No…” Brooklyn covered her mouth and giggled. “But she’s thinking it.”
Joseph did show up to Pizza Planet. Thankfully, he had grabbed a shower and put on a shirt and jeans first. It was still impossible to avoid noticing his athletic frame. The kiddos and I had already ordered grilled pizza sandwiches.
“Lucky for you, I love grilled pizza sandwiches,” he said.
“You do?” Teresa said. “Oh good… you can sit next to me and Lizzie. We got extra cheese in these sandwiches.”
“I happen to love extra cheese. Gouda love cheese, right?” he winked at me.
I rolled my eyes and smirked.
We laughed and joked around while finishing dinner. Teresa was unable to eat all her sandwich because suddenly she wasn’t feeling well. I reached for my purse to give her a children’s bubble-gum flavored antacid and realized I left my bag in the car.
“I don’t feel so good,” Teresa groaned.
“Llamas!” I said, turning to Joseph, who was teaching Brooklyn some puns at the far end of the counter. “Hey Joseph?”
I tossed him my keys and he ran out to my car in the back parking lot, saying he didn’t mind at all. Teresa sat and sniffed her sandwich sadly.
“It smells so good,” she whined.
“You shouldn’t eat anymore if you aren’t feeling good,” I said.
“You know what’s great for tummy aches?”
I turned around, surprised to see Cathy.
“What?” Teresa asked, sullenly.
“A cup of soothing tea,” Cathy smiled. “Hey there, barkeep. Can you get me a cup of the white ginseng tea?”
She slid into the barstool next to me.
“Don’t mention it.”
Teresa drank most of the tea and said she felt a little better. Her mom came to pick her up. Before she left, Joseph gave her a purple butterfly sticker and told her he hoped she felt better. Her face lit up with a bright and beautiful smile and she threw her arms around his neck in gratitude.
“You’re great with kids,” I remarked as he returned to his seat next to Brooklyn, who was devouring her second grilled pizza sandwich.
“I feel like I was a great dad in another life,” he replied with a shrug.
“Can Joseph and I go play?” Brooklyn asked eagerly.
“I don’t see why not,” I smiled, mouthing a ‘thank you’ to Joseph.
He simply smiled as Brooklyn took his hand and led him into the playroom.
Cathy and I chatted for a little bit about our novel progress and our favorite authors. I decided to go check on Brooklyn and Joseph.
“Is he sleeping?” I whispered.
Brooklyn giggled. “Yeah. I think he got tired of playing the bodyguard to my princess, and then horse for my cowgirl, and then spaceship captain for my spaceship. I was hoping he’d be a lobster friend in the sea for my mermaid...” she trailed off, and pointed. “But then that happened.”
I sat down, cross-legged, highly amused. They had been busy for the past twenty-five minutes. Poor Joseph! Worn out by a little girl.
Brooklyn and I played quietly for another half-hour before she wanted to go see the comedian on the patio. Unfortunately, the guy cracking jokes was Kenny… the guy who broke my sister’s heart. Well, not exactly, but sort of. Brooklyn thought he was weird. I didn’t think his jokes were that great, even though I was probably jaded. Joseph joined us on the patio, feeling slightly awkward about his spontaneous nap. He wasn’t impressed by Kenny either. Brooklyn’s parents came, and she said goodbye, but not before Joseph produced another sticker from his pocket… this one, a unicorn.
“Are you…like… the sticker fairy?” I joked. “Where do you keep getting them?”
“Naw…” he grinned. “They’re in that little basket in the playroom for the kids to take home.”
“Oh… well…” I gave his arm a friendly punch. “You could’ve fooled me. You are definitely great with the kids.”
“You’re great with them too,” Joseph replied. “And you know what?”
“You’re pretty great also.”
With that he slid his arm around me in one smooth movement as I flushed and hoped he thought it was from the hot night.
“Come on… I’ll walk you home… that is, if you’ll let me.”
“Why wouldn’t I let you?” my heart was racing a mile a minute.
“Oh no reason… just making sure we’re on the same page.”
“I think we’re in the same sentence,” I flirted.
“Oh like bookends?” he arched a brow.
I made a face as the notion sounded strange.
“Oh but very cute bookends… you, of course, being the better looking one.”
I laughed. “I don’t know about that. Right now I feel like I probably smell like llama puke.”
Joseph squeezed my shoulder. “I hadn’t even noticed.”
I sighed, and leaned my head onto his shoulder. “You’re very kind, Joseph.”
“What can I say?” he shrugged. “I look kind-a great in a sentence… aaannd….as a bookend.”
“Well,” I wrapped my arm around him and pointed to the sidewalk as we began walking in that direction. “You can be my bookend anytime.”
Author Notes: Thanks for reading. No, gift giving, sadly, does not exist in TS4, but I have a mod from Little Ms. Sam – http://littlemssam.de/give-a-gift/. Joseph kept trying to brighten the girls’ day. I couldn’t resist and threw in that joke about being a good dad in another life. If you haven’t, you should read Joseph Simself in LegacySims’ #BuildNewcrest Challenge Simself edition. Brooklyn also continued to joke around with Joseph after my Simself left earlier in the chapter, which I found amusing. And it seemed only right that Cathy Tea suggest “tea” as a solution to a problem. 🙂
I also got a bit carried away with the page… sentence… bookend thing… haha! Humor of a reader/writer. However, they were super flirty with one another in game while discussing books and book-related things. It was the best I could come up with to accurately capture the sentiment here.