Skyy stood quietly picking at a loose piece of wallpaper.
“Leave it alone, Skyy. You’re suppose to be thinking.” Dennis’ voice floated over from the vicinity of the counter where he was seasoning chicken breasts for supper.
“I am thinking……sort of.”
“That this room desperately needs some redecorating.”
“That is not the subject you were to concentrate on, young man.” Dennis sounded a tad frustrated.
Skyy heard footsteps and a second later he was pushed down onto the chair that had been place behind him. Obviously, his incorrect response had earned him a longer time in the corner that his partner had first thought necessary. He signed audibly and leaned his head against the wall. His mind began to wander; once again totally off topic.
Dennis released a sigh of his own. ‘Someone is still not getting the hang of a time-out exercise. Hmm, maybe it’s both of us,’ he decided. ‘With a bit of luck and a lot of determination, a miracle may yet happen.’
Skyy’s reverie was abruptly intruded upon twenty minutes later, when Dennis gently put his hand on the younger man’s shoulder.
“Come with me, Sport, and we’ll discuss this further while supper is cooking.”
Once seated on the sofa in the living room with Skyy nestled against his side, Dennis asked, “So what were you thinking about this time?”
“Welllll,” Skyy drew out the word as he hastily worked out the best way to explain his thoughts. “I remember reading something that left me wondering if all of us ever really grow up or do we only learn acceptable behaviour in public….or in this case, to the public.”
Dennis chuckled under his breath. “I can see why you feel you’ve shown no desire to do so. You like to pick and choose what responsibilities you’ll take on.”
“Yeah, that and it’s more fun staying a little immature. So, it’s a good thing that I have you to help me hone my people skills, huh?”
“I’ll admit it does seem to work for us. But just how have you applied that concept to this situation?”
“’Cause of the options you always give me.” Skyy turned to seriously size up the older man. “I was busy, Den. That guy called the wrong number four times. He even kept calling after I repeatedly informed him of his mistake. He was really pissing me off!”
“And so, you figured yelling, calling him names and banging down the receiver was the way to handle it?”
“Hmmm, probably not, huh? He hasn’t called back though.” Skyy wasn’t overly repentant.
Dennis closed his eyes and shook his head. “That isn’t the point, Skyylar. You’ve been told before you don’t have to answer every call. We have an answering machine.”
“I know that. But not everyone leaves messages. And what if it’s you or Dusty. I wouldn’t want to miss talking to you.”
“If it’s important enough, a message will be left.” Dennis hugged his partner to take the sting out of his next words. “Trouble is, you’re too inquisitive for your own good. You can’t let it rest.”
“So my only options are to answer politely or wait to recognise the voice of the caller, right?”
“Right! And if you don’t have time or don’t feel like talking to that person, you go about your business and just let it be.” Dennis had barely finished speaking when the telephone rang.
Skyy glanced up to see Dennis glaring at him. “Don’t look at me, Den. I’m not getting it.”
“Oh, yes you are. It will give you the opportunity to practice proper phone etiquette.” He gave his Brat a gentle shove of encouragement. “And, Skyy, you can save yourself any further retribution by selecting acceptable behaviour.”
Skyy stomped into the hall, feigning annoyance. “Hello,” he answered pleasantly. “How are you? How kind of you to call again.”
Dennis got up to check on supper, somewhat self-satisfied that another lesson had been well taught.
The back door opened as he was setting the table and Dusty strolled in. Leaving his lunch box on the counter, the younger man stepped into his partner’s welcoming arms.
Dennis inhaled the accustomed scent of diesel fuel and motor oil before soundly kissing the man he was embracing. “Go wash up, Grease-monkey. Supper is almost ready.”
“Talking on the phone.” Dennis looked at his watch. “And he’s been on for some time.”
Moments later, Skyy came sauntering into the kitchen.
“Who was that, Sport?”
Skyy shrugged. “I have no idea.”
“You just spent twenty minutes chatting with a stranger?”
“Yeah. It was the guy who called four times earlier. The one who kept getting the wrong number. I figured he might be lonely and getting kind of frustrated.” He laughed at the expression of disbelief on the other man’s face. “Hey, options, Den. My options!” he merrily exclaimed.
Dennis shook his head, reluctantly resigning himself to the fact that he’d never fully get ahead of his youngest Brat.
Dusty came out of the bathroom and after tossing a paper towel in the trash, swung Skyy around in a fierce hug. He set the shorter man down, then glanced back and forth between his two partners. His eyes slanted slightly. Something untoward had just happened. Then he smirked. Although he had no idea what he’d missed, he instinctively knew they’d be in for some interesting conversation at the supper table.