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Soleil Whitaker

March. March. March.

“Anniversary,” Soleil mutters, sliding a pancake onto Wilson’s plate, “Knew this was a big month.” The toddler lifts his sippy cup, silently asking for more apple juice, and Soleil obliges. She presses a firm kiss to Wilson’s hair before moving around the kitchen island to sort through the mail.

“Did you know that your Mama and I have been married for 1 whole year, baby?” she muses out loud, not at all expecting a response from her son. He seems too preoccupied by the stickiness of syrup between his fingers to comprehend what Soleil is saying. She chuckles at his expression of utter confusion.

“I’m the luckiest woman in the world.”

Soleil grins at the sound of the angel’s voice. Rhiannon strides in, wearing Soleil’s favorite blue-striped buttondown. The younger Whitaker bites her lip. Damn, this woman is fine.

“Not true at all, Rhiannon. You know…

Further protest is silenced with a kiss, which elicits a satisfied hum from the younger woman. Just the kind of response Rhiannon is looking for.

“Big day at the office?”

“I’m wearing my lucky shirt.”

“That’s my shirt.”

“And?”

Rhiannon flashes a grin before stealing a bite of Wilson’s pancake. He protests, growing louder as the angel ruffles his hair. “See you tonight?”

“Of course.”

“I love you.”

The rev of the Mustang’s engine fades into the distance, and Soleil is left with the sound of Wilson’s chewing and intermittent babbling. After breakfast, she tends to Logan, leaving the toddler in front of the television with his sippy cup and a box of Legos.  He’s become surprisingly self-sufficient in a short span of time, which has relieved Soleil of a few maternal duties. Some days are, no doubt, more difficult than others, depending on how the boys are feeling. But, the younger Whitaker has found ways to appease them, fully embracing her role as a mother and a caretaker.

And as a wife.

Delaney
Would you mind watching the boys for a few hours?
Know this is short notice. Sorry.

The sitter arrives promptly, and is surprisingly grateful for the opportunity.

“My roommate is being a you know, female dog,” she explains, cupping her hands over Wilson’s ears. Soleil arches a brow, and wonders how Delaney could ever prefer 2 (sometimes fussy) children over another likeminded 23-year old graduate student.

“Upcoming exam. She almost ripped my head off last night because I cooked linguine instead of spaghetti.”

“Well, glad I could provide some peace and quiet, if you can call it that,” Soleil replies, snorting at Delaney’s last remark, “I’ll be back in a bit.”

The errands don’t take too long; Soleil had set out with a list, and a game plan in mind. Flowers, a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream, 2 slices of cheesecake from Eileen’s in Lower Manhattan, and a call to Becco for a special carryout order.

Rhiannon would come home to her favorite dish, plated and set as if it had been served on W. 46th Street. The hypnotic rhythm of Russ’ Cherry Hill fills the air above them. A vase of daffodils, which had proved to be almost impossible to find, displayed prominently in the middle of the table. She knows the pieces don’t quite fit together – the music, the flowers, the fancy Italian food. It almost seems fake, insincere, or worst of all, disorganized and desperate.

“I know it seems like a mess. But, I wanted to put together all of your favorite things,” she rambles quickly, leading Rhiannon to the dinner table, “Like, the flowers, and the food. There’s mint chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer, and cheesecake in the fridge. And Cherry Hill is the song we listened to the first morning we spent together. I just wanted to, you know, make you happy.”

A smile takes command of Rhiannon’s lips as she throws her arms around Soleil’s shoulders. “You make me so happy,” she responds, peppering the younger woman with soft kisses, “Even without these things.”

“I know, but I…”

Soleil.

Despite Rhiannon’s constant reassurance, Soleil has always been slightly insecure about her place in the marriage; the small, nagging voice in the back of her skull could be cruel, at times. She had never mastered the art of grand gestures, or been known to be particularly romantic. But, Soleil Whitaker would, without a doubt, crawl to the ends of the Earth only to prove her love. She hopes that good food would suffice, however. If only for tonight.

“Happy anniversary month, baby,” she whispers with a sheepish grin.

“Happy anniversary, Mrs. Whitaker.”

March 11, 2018 08:57 pm

Rhiannon Whitaker

It was mid-morning when Rhiannon returned from church, a very smartly dressed Wilson squirming out of her grasp as soon as the front door was opened. But other than the pitter-patter of his little feet as he fled for the TV, the house was quiet. It had been impossible to drag Soleil out of bed that morning, as it normally was if the primary activity involved anything related to Jesus. It didn’t bother the angel at all, knowing that all her wife really wanted to do was sleep in.

So instead Sunday mornings had become a special time for Wilson and Rhiannon, where the prime operative was to eat far too many pancakes at breakfast, buy a toy Wilson didn’t need, and run around Central Park for a few hours. Of course, all of this was a tightly kept secret – if Soleil knew what they were really up to, she’d try to tag along.

Rhiannon crept quietly up the stairs, knowing even if Soleil was awake, Logan certainly wasn’t. She could hear the TV going downstairs, knowing Wilson was more than occupied by SpongeBob Squarepants. When she finally reached their bedroom, beneath a huddled mass of blankets and pillows was Soleil, almost exactly as she’d left her earlier that morning. The angel kicked off her shoes, and as stealth as an assassin, stepped over and leaped on top of her.

“God damn it.” Soleil muttered, face scrunching up in frustration.

“Hey, baby.” Rhiannon breathed, a wide grin plucking at her lips. “It’s nearly one o’clock in the afternoon.”

“Yeah? And?” Soleil’s arms fish their way out beneath the refuge of blankets, wrapping themselves around Rhiannon’s waist. “Logan kept waking me up. Wish I could take the batteries out of him, sometimes.”

Rhiannon snorted. “He’s not a toy, you ass.” Still, the angel nestled closer, pressing a kiss to Soleil’s lips. “You’d stay in bed all day, if I’d let you.”

“Mm, maybe. But only if you’re with me.” Soleil’s grip tightened, a grin returned in Rhiannon’s direction.

… “But I’m hungry.” Rhiannon protested, wriggling to no avail.

“Insomnia Cookie?” Soleil offered, loosening her grip only to see Rhiannon jump up like an energized toddler.

“Why are you still in bed? You said cookies!”

“Breakfast in bed first?”

The look Rhiannon delivered in return was apparently enough to get the younger Whitaker out of bed.

Hey.” Soleil’s hand grabbed Rhiannon’s, pulling her back against her. “Did you two go to the park again?”

“I have no idea what idea you’re talking about.” Rhiannon mutters, leaning against her wife nonetheless.

“Are you lying to me, Mrs. Whitaker?”

“… Maybe.”

“Wilson sold you out two weeks ago, you know. You can’t use my own guy against me.”

“That son of a b*tch.”

Rhiannon!”

“You’re such a snoop!”

“You’re not exactly a smooth criminal, Rhiannon. He keeps coming home with mysterious new presents every Sunday. At first I figured you were seducing him into behaving during services, but then he told me you weren’t going to church at all, you little snitch.” Soleil held back a laugh, nevertheless amused by Rhiannon’s antics. “He loves you just as much as he loves me. You know that, don’t you?”

The angel was reluctant to spit out a reply, eventually admitting the truth. “Yes.”

“And you know how much I love you, mm?”

No.”

Soleil snorted. “Not until the Insomnia Cookies?”

Maybe.”

Rhiannon.”

“Yeah, yeah. Okay.”

“I love you, Mrs. Whitaker.”

“Always.”

March 25, 2018 08:56 pm

Soleil Whitaker

“There is no chance I’m wearing pastel.”

“Soleil, please.”

“No.”

“It’s Easter.”

“And I’m pale.”

“I’ll wrestle you for it.”

Soleil squints at her wife, arms lifting to cross over her chest as a statement of stubborn resolve. It’s 8 am on Easter morning, and Wilson has not only torn through his basket, but has also scoured the brownstone for the 3 dozen plastic eggs Rhiannon hid the night prior. A 3-foot tall, already earless chocolate rabbit stands in the middle of the living room; jellybeans and colorfully wrapped chocolate eggs litter the floor.

Please. Just for mass,” Rhiannon pleads. She knows that as soon as she pouts, Soleil will concede. The younger Whitaker’s resolve is no match for Rhiannon’s doe-eyes, and trembling lower lip.

“Don’t look at me like that.”

“Like what?”

Soleil squints again before letting out a loud, exasperated sigh. She disappears for a few minutes, but returns wearing a baby blue sweater and a pair of white jeans.

Rhiannon 1 – Soleil 0.

“It looks like I have no pants on,” Soleil whines.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Rhiannon chides in response, eyeing her wife, “You look like a total MILF.”

WILF.

“What?”

“Wife I’d like to…”

“Soleil!”

The younger woman shrugs, a sly grin tugging at her lips. “We have a few minutes before we have to leave for mass, you know.”

Soleil sidles up to her wife, arms immediately finding their way around the angel’s slim waist. She whispers something that makes Rhiannon gasp audibly.

“That’s sacrilegious, Soleil.”

“So, that’s a yes?”

“Maybe.”

“I’m wearing a freaking pastel sweater.”

“Well, think about how good it’s going to feel when I take it off later.”

The two women smirk at one another before Rhiannon slips from Soleil’s grasp. She scoops the toddler from his place at the kitchen counter, disappearing upstairs thereafter. Soon, the pair return – Wilson in a matching blue sweater, Rhiannon in a floral-patterned dress. Logan fusses in his highchair, already dressed in his Easter onesie.

“We’re a good-ass looking family,” the younger Whitaker states, taking Wilson from her wife, “Put us on the cover of a J. Crew magazine.”

“Or Playboy.”

Not child appropriate.”

The angel’s face lights up as she laughs, knocking every last ounce of air out of Soleil’s lungs. Never in her life has she seen anything so beautiful; in this holy season, Rhiannon’s ethereal glow had somehow grown brighter. And that, in and of itself, is enough reason for Soleil to attend mass and give thanks.

April 04, 2018 10:43 pm
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