Friday, November 30, 2018

A New Kind of Gingerbread Chapter 2


Chapter 2
December 1887

When Andi made up her mind about her something, she worked fast. Within ten minutes of finding her new pet, she was hauling him out to the barn—an empty stall worked well—and bringing him a bowl of warm milk.
“There you go,” she crooned, watching the raccoon slurp it up with his small pink tongue. “You’re a handsome little fella, you know that?”
The raccoon looked up at her.
“I’m gonna teach you a lot,” Andi told him. “Cory always said coons are smart as a whip. But you need a name, don’t you? Hmm…” She bit her lip in thought.
“Andi? Is that you?”
“Riley?” Andi stood and leaned out of the stall’s half-door. “I didn’t hear you come in.”
Riley smiled and led Dakota toward his stall. “What’re you doing out here?”
Andi opened the door and stepped into the aisle. “Chad and Mitch brought us a tree,” she said. “But it wasn’t until we had the tree set up in the sitting room that I realized I had a visitor—a furry visitor.”

Riley looked up, puzzled. “Huh?”
“Come and see.”
Riley, still leading Dakota, walked over. He peered into the stall, and his eyes widened. “A raccoon?”
“Yep. Isn’t he the cutest little thing?” Andi grinned. “He’s just a baby. I figured I could care for him—for a little while,” she added quickly, seeing a look of hesitance come over Riley’s face. “Just ’til he’s old enough to live on his own. Please, Riley?”
“I dunno, Andi.” Riley scratched his chin. “You’ve got enough work as it is. We have Jared now, plus the housework. You sure you can handle it?”
“Sure, I’m sure.” The little creature had already wormed its way into Andi’s heart. I have to care for it! I just have to!
Riley slipped an arm around her. “If you’re sure you can take it on, then I have no objection. But only until this thing is ready to be released.” He squeezed her gently. “Don’t want you to get too tuckered out.”
            “Thanks.” Andi leaned her head on Riley’s shoulder. The barn was warm, and suddenly her drowsiness was overwhelming. She yawned.
“Well, c’mon, Mother,” Riley teased gently. “Let’s head on up to the house. You look done in.”
Andi shook her head and attempted to respond, but another yawn overtook her.
Riley laughed. “Go on inside. I’ll be up as soon as I’ve settled Dakota in his stall.”
Andi pressed a quick kiss to his cheek and left. Halfway to the house, she could feel herself sag with grogginess.
Boy, I sure am tired. She swept a hand across her eyes. Can’t wait to climb into bed.
Woof! Woof!
“Tucker!” Andi called. The dog bounded towards her, barking. Yet, when he reached her, he didn’t stop. He kept running.
   Why is he headed for the barn? Andi thought. Suddenly, she gasped. What if he smells my raccoon? I didn’t shut the stall door—
“Tucker, no!” Andi picked up her skirts and bolted. “Tucker!”
   She entered the barn, panting, in time to see Riley firmly shut the raccoon’s stall. Then he reached down and grabbed Tucker. “Whoa, there.”
   Whew. And leaned against the barn’s double doors and fought to catch her breath. From inside her pet’s stall, she could hear wild scampering. Tucker’s barking must’ve scared him.
She breathed in another gulp of air. Her lungs burned. The evening’s damp air and frantic running had doubled her achy, groggy feeling.
“Andi, you all right?” Riley asked.
“Fine…fine.”
“Why’d you run to the barn like that?” He wrapped a steady arm around her and led her from the barn. “Slow down; catch your breath.”
“I was scared that pup would get to my raccoon,” Andi panted.
“For sure, he’s not too keen on your pet,” Riley agreed, looking down at Tucker. The dog was trotting alongside them, growling deep in his throat. “But if I keep watch over him, and you keep the kit’s stall door closed, there shouldn’t be much problem.”
   Andi nodded. She drew another deep breath and swallowed hard.
“You all right?” Riley asked again.
 “I’m fine. But promise me something.”
“What?”
“If we walk into the house and Jared is wailing, promise me you’ll take care of him. I’m going to bed.”
A smile tugged at Riley’s lips. “Promise.”
***
“Here’s your breakfast, Gingerbread.”
Andi held up an egg and smiled. “Beg. C’mon. Beg.”
Gingerbread, named after a favorite Christmas treat, rose up to his hind legs. His two front paws reached up.
“Good boy.” Andi handed the egg over. She watched with a pleased grin as Gingerbread lowered the egg to his lips and started chewing.
“Andi! You comin’? We have to leave!”
“Yeah, Riley!” Andi patted Gingerbread’s head. “I’ll be back soon. Behave yourself.”
She left the stall and, in her haste, without paying much attention to what she was doing, shut the bottom half-door.
When Andi reached the house, Riley had the buggy hitched up.
“I’ll be right back,” Andi told her husband. She flew up the porch steps and into the house. A quick wash at the pump and a glance in the mirror, then back outside she went.
“You finally ready?” Riley asked, grinning.
“Yep.” Andi settled into the buggy and took Jared from her husband. “Let’s go.”
Riley swung up next to her and clucked to Ranger. “How’s Gingerbread this morning?”
   “Right as rain. He’s getting really good at his ‘begging’ trick, too.”
   Riley chuckled and jiggled Ranger’s reins.
“I’ll have to remember to refresh that creature’s water dish when we get back from church,” Andi went on. “He drinks like crazy.”
“Speaking of gingerbread…” Riley sent her a sly grin. “You making any this season?”
“You bet. In fact, I made a pan of it just last night. I meant to tell you to have some for breakfast, but I forgot. You can have a chunk with lunch.”
“Fine with me. Now, we’d best get a move-on, or we’ll be late for church.”

7 comments:

  1. Good story! Gingerbread sounds SOOO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    -Hannah

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  2. Oh no! Is Gingerbread going to get out, or is Tucker going to get him? I can't wait to find out!
    Didi

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  3. Thanks Mrs. Marlow! I wonder What was wrong with Andi....

    -PatiencešŸŽ

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  4. I have this really odd feeling that things don't turn out the way Andi expects...
    Emily

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  5. Didn't she learn with the lamb?!

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  6. Teaching him to "beg" for eggs isn't a good idea. One of these days, Gingerbread is going to escape and help himself, with or without pausing to ask permission, if ya know what I mean.

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  7. Why can't Andi be smart! Coons can go anywhere!

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Let Andi know what you think!