Realms of Eden: Home Fires B2A1-12bysddconst©
Chapter 9 -- Playing Games
Kelsey awoke as she had gone to sleep. Surrounded by three beautiful girls holding onto their stuffed toys as they had snuggled down beside her as she read them a story from a book of fairy tales. The man, Daddy, had cuddled into his oldest daughter stroking her dark hair as the brown eyes closed finally into sleep. Kelsey had wept as she lay there under his soft gaze, his hands had touched her temples gently and she had fallen asleep almost immediately.
Her dreams were filled with running laughing children, playing under a bright clear sky in a field of green grass and barking dogs that playfully chased the children and balls thrown by the adults. The man beside her was dark haired, no grey touched his long locks but his dark-blue eyes sparkled as he watched young boys and girls running up to him to show him their latest bump or cut that he softly kissed and rubbed telling them that they would be fine. She had looked down at her own body soft with pregnancy again. The bump under her red dress clearly visible as she ran her hands down the material. He held her hands as they rested over her belly and laughed as she smiled at him.
She looked over to the space where he should have been and was a little confused as first she didn't see him and then because there was no bump in her belly. Giggling she realised that he had made her dream so real that she was having a little difficulty coming back to the present. Bright sunshine flooded the room and she realised that he would be off to the cricket match, or at least preparing for it. A glance at the clock showed that he would probably be still in the shower and she gently extracted herself from the pile of limbs on the bed.
"You bugger," she said to him as she wrapped her arms around him as he stood under the shower. "I woke up expecting to see a lump in the bed from my pregnant belly!"
He chuckled and turned in her arms. "Not yet love, we have a lot to do before I will be secure in bringing the sperm in my body to meet your eggs." He looked up as Jo stood at the bathroom door smiling wickedly. "That means all of you," he added.
"Syddy," Jo's voice was soft, very girlish, "why did I wake up cuddling a teddy bear?" She peeled of her nightie. "And why are my tits tanned like I have been running bare breasted in the sun all day?"
Kelsey giggled as the woman hopped into the shower with them and allowed Sydney to kiss her proffered breasts. "That's because my little one," he answered softly as he kissed her nipples, "you did run around all day on the beach with no top on."
"Oh," the nurse smiled, "I thought I dreamt I was 11 again playing on the beach with my Daddy."
Sighing softly she let the water soak her hair and moaned as Sydney softly massage the shampoo into her scalp. Kelsey shuddered as he carried out the same action with her shortly afterwards, sighing as Jo's fingers joined his.
"I think I will get my hair coloured tomorrow," she sighed, "in some colour you don't like."
"Why's that?" asked Sydney confused as he rinsed her hair gently under the warm water.
"So you will wash it out for her Daddy," said Jo. "Mummy loves you washing her hair!"
Sydney looked sharply at Kelsey then at Jo, the big breasted nurse did not notice either of the looks as she soaped her breasts and stomach with the big washer that Sydney had in his shower. Kelsey shook her head and touched her temple. Sydney scanned her. "I will keep an eye on her today love, you go and play cricket," he read from her thoughts. He nodded thoughtfully and left the shower leaving the two women softly talking.
Ian Creighton was delighted when he saw the nondescript white wagon of Sydney's land in the parking area behind the small grandstand at the school. He had carefully arranged this match through some contacts of his in the cricketing community and he was a little concerned that he had not heard from Kelsey yesterday to confirm the boy was coming. Now he was there, dressed in his whites and lugging his bag of equipment over to the front of the grandstands where the other players were waiting.
"Hello my boy!" he called out cheerfully as he took one end of the big bag of equipment. "Ready for a little bit of fun?"
"Yes Sir," Sydney said. "I just hope I don't make an idiot of myself here. It feels like ten years since I have played, not just over twelve months."
"You'll be fine, Syd, just relax and play your normal game. You are not captain today, you are just to concentrate on batting and fielding," the man said as he introduced Sydney to the rest of the players.
Most of them Sydney knew from school and club matches that he had played over the past few years and he shyly acknowledged a few of the older players whom he had never had much chance to talk to before. The opposition team seemed familiar in some respects but he found he didn't know any of the names that Ian Creighton gave him.
He found he was a little nervous as he surveyed the small ground with its white picket fence surrounds. There appeared to be a good number of spectators in the grandstand for a practice match as well. However, his nerves left him shortly as they went through some warm ups together and Sydney found himself at first slip when his captain won the toss and decided to field.
In thirty over cricket the main bowlers could only bowl six overs each and the fielding side had to keep everyone except four players inside the marked 30 metre circle at all times. It was a fast and furious game, one Sydney enjoyed as it was more a case of having some fun rather than serious competition. He took a catch at first slip quite easily and when he found himself standing at covers inside the 30 metre circle surprised himself in being able to field quite well and even managed to effect a run-out in the final overs of the first innings.
Confidently he strode out to open the batting for his side and his array of shots impressed his partners at the other end of the wicket, despite the fact that he seemed to have a different one every time he turned around. Finishing the game with a strongly pulled six over the mid-wicket boundary he was surprised when someone told him that they had passed the opposition score after 18 overs. "Did I miss that much of the game?" he asked Ian Creighton as they sat having a few beers in the shade of some gum trees after the game as a bar-b-q sizzled a few metres away.
"No Sydney you concentrated on what I told you to do, field and bat. It wasn't about winning or losing it was just about having a warm up," his coach told him. "Next fortnight you will have to be more switched on, you are captain and it is a two day game starting at 9:00 am on Saturday week."
"No worries coach," he told the man. Sydney refused another beer instead producing a couple of bottles of his wine cooler from the esky he had retrieved from his hover after he packed away his gear. Ian accepted the unexpectedly offered drink and looked questioningly at his young charge.
"I get drunk on beer," the young man told him with a smile.
After a few burgers Ian gave Sydney a few more details of the next match telling him that he would see him early on the Saturday to go over tactics. Sydney gave him a thumb's up and thanking the other players for the game he waved as he headed over to his hover and left for home.
"He had no idea!" exclaimed Ted Russell as he watched the man leave the grounds with another wave.
"No Ted, that is why the next game will be more important than today. He will be switched on as captain but I still don't think he will have any idea of who he will be playing with or against. The poor man never had much chance to watch you guys play, only listening on his little radio," the grey haired coach turned to the disbelieving faces around him of the current Australian one day side and their chief selector Ted Russell.
Kelsey Gilroy was delighted when Ian Creighton rang her shortly after Sydney had left. "He didn't know any of them?" she asked, her voice a happy squeal as Ian grinned at her from the other end of the line.
"Didn't have a clue and belted the whole lot of the fastest attack we've got all over the place. I don't think he even realised he had scored a century, there were no scoreboards here," the excited coach told her.
"Ok then I will keep him fit and ready for week after next! Oh Ian I hope he performs well again when he is a bit more aware," she told him softly. It had been Kelsey's fondest wish to get her boy noticed by the Australian selectors. He should have been in the team a year ago except for his parents not letting him go to a crucial tournament in New South Wales. She shrugged, the lovely man who had been with him since his early days was on the verge of making both of their dreams and Sydney's come true.
"He will be fine Kelsey, just don't let him dwell on it. As far as he is concerned it is just another game to play," the man finished then blew the woman a kiss as he hung up.
When Sydney arrived home his house was empty and he sighed. Another day to sit around doing nothing, he thought to himself then walked into the kitchen to put on the kettle. He hunted around the pantry for something to make for his dinner and as he dawdled over his selection he sang softly to himself. It was an old ballad that he had learnt many years ago about life in the country. It was a song about love and cattle and he grinned as the words came back to him as he sang. Eventually he remembered all the words and sang at the top of his voice as he went through the recipe finder next to his oven for something to make for dinner.
Another song struck him as he scanned the list of recipes Kelsey and Ronnie had placed on his menu. He practised the new song until he was sure of the words and belted it out as he bounced from the recipe's ingredient list to his retrieval menu on the pantry. The song finished as he retrieved the last of the ingredients and began chopping vegetables for the curry he decided was about his level of expertise.
"Sydney," a soft female voice startled him as he selected the microwave setting to thaw the slow cook cut of beef he had taken from his well stocked freezer. "Do you know I could hear your voice all the way up from the duck pond as I walked up here."
"That bad, huh," he smiled as Marlena Kasprowisc stood at his back door with Bonnie. Both women smiled back.
"Actually no, Sydney!" the art teacher exclaimed. "It is very good, better even than Kevin Bailey's and he has a superb voice!"
She walked into the house with Bonnie. Sydney had the feeling that the woman was not here just to finish her painting as the black haired woman with her began to giggle as her brown eyes widened at his current lack of dress in the kitchen.
"Bugger I've done it again!" he cried as he realised that he was naked in front of the two grinning women and moved towards the bedroom to find some clothing.
"Don't bother young man!" said Marlena sharply. "You will only need to take them off again for me to finish this." She held up the covered canvas that she had placed against the table as she had watched the man preparing dinner.
"Ok but give me a few minutes to make sure I have this right," he indicated the dish spinning in the microwave and the larger dish already filled with vegetables and stock.
"I will do that Sydney, you have them the wrong way around anyway," said Bonnie as she moved behind the island bench where Sydney was preparing his meal and promptly upended the contents of his oven dish into another pot. He wanted to watch Bonnie rescue his meal but the art teacher beckoned for him to take up the pose she had started her painting with across the large mat depicting the gum tree and animals across his floor.
Sydney heard the sizzle of meat cooking and attempted to look over towards Bonnie. "No Sydney stay still! Bonnie tell him what you are doing. No better still sing to him what you are doing! Sydney if you want to ask her a question or tell her anything back I want you to sing it to her as well!"
"I am browning the meat, with a little bit of salt," came Bonnie's soft lilt as she obeyed the artist's instructions.
A little self-consciously Sydney sang back. "Why do you do that? What did I do wrong?" The tune was an old school song that he could easily remember singing when he was in junior school.
"If you put the meat, into the pot raw, it will come out as tough as nails," Bonnie sang back using a different song. Sydney thought that he recognised it from the singing Bonnie did around the house as she practised for the play.
There was a male part, he was sure he had heard Kelsey try to sing the parts as Bonnie asked her to practice with her. He sang back the part as a query as to why she tipped out the vegetables and what should he have done first.
The conversation became a friendly game and he sang wholeheartedly back and forth with Bonnie who in the end told him that she had put the meal in the oven. As the last soft lines of the song came to him he crooned the request to tell him how long until it was ready to eat.
"About two hours, maybe a little more," sang a new voice from the doorway. Sydney almost died of fright as Kevin Bailey stood at the doorway with Kelsey and Pauline Kendrick.
Bonnie pointed to the monitor on the wall showing the smiling faces of the three newcomers as she repeated the final refrain. "I let them listen, though you did not know, I think that Sydney, you will be part of the show."
Sydney collapsed with laughter at the wickedly grinning people who moved into the dining room proper. "So much for my worry about pants," he chortled as he rolled onto his back then hurriedly turned back to the art teacher.
"It's ok Sydney, I finished half an hour ago," she smiled as the other teachers, Kelsey and Bonnie crowded around the teacher's work.
"My, my, my," breathed Pauline Kendrick. "Marlena I will give you a thousand dollars for it right now!"
"What!" the teacher squealed in delight.
"It will hold pride of place on the wall opposite my desk at home. It will be something that I will treasure for the rest of my life," the woman breathed as she flipped open her work pad to access her bank account to transfer the money.
"No, Pauline," said Sydney from the floor watching his old principal. "You can have it for free, as a gift from me to you for everything you have taught me at your school. You had faith in me from the start and even though you did not know how to help me when I was trapped in this house before, you gave me every chance to prove to you that I was not a coward or a shirker. I see the love you have for Bonnie, for all of the pupils in your care, this is one small thing I can give back to you for that and more."
"Well said young man," said Kevin Bailey and he held out his hand to help Sydney up then hurriedly changed hands as he realised the his broken arm would not be much use. Sydney gripped the hand gently as he flicked himself up to his feet.
"I don't know what to say Sydney," gasped Pauline. "It is an honour to teach and care for the kids. I sometimes think that I would do it for free if I didn't have bills to pay. But this gift is too much I have to give Marlena something for it."
"I have already been well paid for my efforts," the art teacher smiled at the older woman. "Though Sydney I did have another reason to come and see you today. Would you like to pose for the girls in my class? Someone seems to think that a male body would be much nicer to draw than a vase of roses," the last she said as Sydney grinned at the blushing Bonnie.
"I would be delighted Ms Kasprowisc, though perhaps in a brief costume rather than au natural," he added as he pointed down to his naked body.
"For the juniors perhaps," the woman replied mischievously, "but as far as I know all of the senior girls are all Angels."
Bonnie nodded vigorously in the background and Sydney turned to her in surprise. "All of them!" he exclaimed.
Kelsey snorted. "You went from not going to be with any of Paul's harem to bedding the whole lot of them, the teachers and a few outside that. On top of that you have managed to make two Daddy's girls extremely happy, one very happy Mummy and I think there are a few more that you have kept close to your chest.
"And he keeps telling us he is bored, Pauline!"
Kevin Bailey began to chuckle, his laughter broke out shortly afterwards as the young man in front of him began to change colours and expressions as the women around him talked about his conquests and his achievements as if it were something quite extraordinary. The man himself thought nothing of his exploits, he played, he nurtured and took nothing for himself from any of them except a satisfaction that the people he interacted with were all happy.
"Sydney, rehearsals tomorrow at midday in the auditorium. Pauline do you want a lift home or are you going to go with Marlena?" he asked as he walked towards the back door.
"I think I will go with Marlena if you are going to be OK Kevin," she replied.
"I will be fine, see you tomorrow," he waved as he left still chuckling.
"Sydney, do you know why Kevin was laughing? Was he laughing at us or you?" Pauline asked with a little concerned voice.
"He was laughing because he believes Sydney is such a big sook," said Bonnie. "He thinks that Sydney should be more boastful about what he has done and can't understand that he doesn't. The only reason he knows about you and him," she pointed to her principal and Sydney, "was because he heard you in the admin building the first time. Since then he has watched you all glow when he mentions Sydney's name.
"Don't get me wrong, Kevin is a nice man. He just thinks it's funny that Sydney is the secret bit on the side for the whole school!"
"Do you think that he is jealous or likely to blab to everyone about him?" asked Kelsey concerned about her niece's revelation.
"Kevin wouldn't breathe a word!" said Pauline Kendrick vehemently. "Sydney is not the only one on staff that has shared my bed!"
Marlena Kasprowisc giggled. A sound so incongruous that it startled everyone, they looked at her happy face and realised that they were being concerned about nothing. Even Kevin Bailey was laughing as he left. If he wanted to be nasty nothing would have stopped him from voicing his opinion while the man of the moment stood naked in his living room.
Sydney chuckled as he finally stepped over to see the work the talented teacher had completed. He did a double take on the work. It was a portrait, his face only, the dark-blue eyes hauntingly looking back at him from the canvas shook him as he saw his whole life in their honest gaze.
"Is that how you see me?" he asked softly as the woman leant against him.
Kelsey and Bonnie touched his shoulders. "That is how we see you too," whispered Kelsey her eyes staring directly into the painted eyes in the picture.
"I can see my whole life in your eyes Sydney," murmured Pauline as she sighed when his lips brushed her forehead.
Marlena told them that Pauline would not be able to take the painting for a few hours until it dried properly and the principal nodded before brightly suggesting that she would not keep it at home. In fact she had decided that she was going to put it in the entrance to the administration building. "Everyone who comes in will see it and I will be able to point to it and say, 'That is the man that changed the world!'"
Sydney chuckled at her words and he was surprised by her next statement. "Sydney Douglas you have already changed the worlds of 600 students, over 50 staff and thousands of others with your machines. I do not think that it will stop there, so please do not think that I am making an idle boast when I tell you that I will do this!"
"Thank you for your faith in me, Mrs K," he told her humbly.