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Ramen is not a Breakfast Food

Chapter 4

Chapter 4:  Ramen is not a breakfast food

 

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     Kagome knew she looked stupid, but she couldn't stop staring. Inuyasha had yelled at her and called her a child, and now he was asking her to baby-sit?

 

     "When?" she stuttered.

 

Inuyasha rolled his eyes. "Your brain must be slow. Tomorrow. As in the day after today."

 

     Kagome recovered enough to glare at him. "I meant what time?"

 

     He didn't even have the grace to look embarrassed. "I need you there by seven o' clock in the morning. Shouldn't be more than a few hours. I have something to take care of at the office."

 

     "Inuyasha, working on a Saturday?" Miroku clutched one hand to his chest. "I may faint. Is the world coming to an end and somebody forgot to tell me?"

 

     Inuyasha smacked Miroku on the back of the head. "Idiot. The morons I work with screwed up a major contract and I have to go in and fix it."

 

     "So, will you do it?" he asked Kagome. He paused for a moment and then muttered, "Shiro really wants you to."

 

     Shiro turned his big violet eyes on Kagome. Who could say no to that face? She nodded, too charmed by Shiro's cute smile to speak.

 

     "Fine. Come on, Shiro." He took the boy by the hand and walked away. "And don't be late!" he called over his shoulder.

 

     "Bye, 'Gome!" Shiro trotted after his father, turning to wave at Kagome.

 

     "Wow, Kagome," Sango said. "No wonder you were so worked up over him. He's hot."

 

     "But Sango, you promised that I was the only man for you." Miroku pouted, looking hurt.

 

     "Think of it as payback for all the flirting you do." The arrival of the waitress with Miroku's order and Kagome's soda interrupted their bantering. Kagome decided to forget about the irritating Inuyasha Takashi and enjoy the rest of her day.

 

^**^

 

     Sango dropped Kohaku off just in time for dinner. Kagome talked Sango into staying to eat. Kagome's mom had outdone herself. She kept disappearing into the kitchen and returning with more food. Grandpa was currently into a lengthy monologue about the history of the chicken dumplings, which everyone ignored. Souta and Kohaku sat with their heads together, giggling and whispering. Kagome eyed them and made a mental note to lock her door after she went to bed. She didn't like the looks they kept giving her. Sango nodded over her food, already half-asleep.

 

     Kagome hurried Sango out the door before grandpa could trap her into a discussion about the probable existence of demons and demon slayers in the feudal era.

 

     "Thanks for having Kohaku over, Kagome." Sango gave her a warm hug. "Though I doubt if you will enjoy it, the way those two were scheming over dinner."

 

     "Don't worry about it. Now, go home and get some rest." Sango gave her another quick hug and left with a shout to Kohaku to behave himself.

 

     Kagome found her mom in the kitchen washing the dishes. Shouts from upstairs told her that the boys were occupied with one of Souta's games. Grandpa dozed in a chair in front of the television. She grabbed a towel and started to help by drying the dishes.

 

     "Mom," she said after several minutes of companionable silence. "I haven't told you yet, but I have another babysitting job in the morning. So, I'll be going to bed early."

 

     "Oh." Mom handed another dish to her daughter. "Is it that cute boy you were telling me about?"

 

     Kagome blushed. "He's not-," she started to say before seeing her mom's amused glance. "Oh. You mean Shiro. Yeah, I'll be watching him for a few hours." She hid behind a plate, waiting for the heat to fade from her cheeks. Kagome's mom just smiled and continued washing dishes.

 

     The stairs were quiet; not a peep could be heard from the boys' room. 'They're probably torturing Buyo,' Kagome thought. She took a quick glance around before entering her room. Everything looked just the way she had left it. They had been too cooperative when mom asked Souta to keep the noise down because his sister was going to bed. It made her suspicious.

 

     Kagome relaxed when nothing happened. Maybe she was being paranoid. She shut the door with her foot as she unbuttoned her blouse. After shedding her skirt, she pulled on a pair of fuzzy, pink, kitty print pajamas. She wondered what Inuyasha wore to bed. Mental slap. 'I have got to quit thinking about him.'

 

     Turning to the bed, she pulled back the covers. She was already thinking ahead to a morning with Shiro. A funny noise made her look down.

 

     Kagome's blood-curdling scream roused the entire household.

 

     Grandpa and mom came rushing up the stairs to find Kagome chasing Souta down the hall. Kohaku was laughing so hard he could barely stand up.

 

     "Souta, you little freak! When I catch you I'm going to rip you apart! Why are there FROGS in my bed?"

 

^**^

 

     Kagome rang the doorbell at exactly 7 o' clock. Inuyasha made such a big fuss over being on time. Well, she was on time today, being neither early nor late. The deep gonging of the bell echoed through the house. Wrapping her arms around herself, she shivered. The weatherman promised weather in the high 70’s for the day, but it was still early in the morning and the air was a little nippy. She jabbed at the bell harder than before, mentally cursing Inuyasha for being a slowpoke. The door opened just as she was about to ring the bell for a third time. She opened her mouth to yell at Inuyasha for making her stand in the cold, but abruptly shut it. Shiro hung from the doorknob, clutching his white dog in his other hand.

 

     "Hi 'Gome," he chirped, entirely too cheerful for so early in the morning. "Daddy's not ready yet. He's yelling at the washing machine. It ate one of his socks again."

 

     Kagome nodded, not sure what to say to that. She followed Shiro into the house. Surprisingly, the place was still clean. A half-finished puzzle decorated the coffee table, but there were no clothing or toys strewn about.

 

     Shiro climbed back onto his chair at the kitchen table, dropping his dog on the floor. Breakfast was a bowl of Lucky Charms. The little boy had laid out a line of the brightly-colored marshmallow shapes that came in each box. He ate them one by one, making humming noises as he pushed them around the table.

 

     There was a crash and Inuyasha barreled into the kitchen, fastening the last buttons on his shirt.

 

     "I'm late! Where's my briefcase!" He yelped as he tripped over Shiro's fluffy, white dog. Kagome spotted the briefcase sitting against the wall. She picked it up.

 

     "Be a good boy, Shiro. I'll see you at lunch." Inuyasha gave him a quick kiss and a hug.

 

     "Help yourself to anything in the cupboards," he yelled to Kagome, hopping on one foot and pulling his shoe on. He grabbed his briefcase from her, pecked her on the cheek, and dashed out the door.

 

     Kagome stood frozen. She raised one hand to her cheek. 'Did he just kiss me?'

 

     Shiro tugging on her shirt brought her out of her trance. "I'm finished, 'Gome. Let's play."

 

     "I need to eat first, Shiro." Kagome had overslept and skipped breakfast so she wouldn't be late. She opened the first cupboard. A variety of ramen packages met her eyes. She tried the second cupboard, and the third. All ramen, and one half-empty box of Lucky Charms.

 

     "Does this guy live on ramen?" she muttered, loud enough that Shiro heard.

 

     "Daddy says ramen is one of the four basic food groups."

 

     "Ramen is not a breakfast food." She turned to Shiro. "Why don't we go shopping? We can buy something yummy to make for lunch." Shiro cheered.

 

     A half hour later, Shiro was dressed snugly in a red shirt and jeans. Kagome found his jacket and scribbled a quick note to Inuyasha. With Shiro’s help, she located the extra toddler car seat that Inuyasha kept stashed in the hall closet, and buckled it correctly into her car. She locked the front door and prepared to set out with the little boy in search of some real food.

 

^**^

 

     Shiro kicked his legs from where he sat on the shopping cart's child seat. He clutched a box of pocky that he had begged Kagome to let him have.

 

     The cashier cooed over the little boy. "Your son is so adorable. How old is he?" Kagome wondered why that comment gave her a warm feeling in the pit of her stomach.

 

     "Oh, he's not my son. I'm just the babysitter. And he's four."

 

     "Daddy gave 'Gome a kiss when he left for work," Shiro piped up. Kagome blushed and hurried him out of the market, leaving the cashier staring after them.

 

^**^

 

     The explosion happened just after they walked in the door laden with groceries.

 

     "Where have you been?" Inuyasha yelled. Kagome dropped the bag, wincing as the eggs tumbled out to splat on the floor. "Do you know how worried I've been?"

 

     "What are you talking about?" Kagome asked, surprised at the verbal assault.

 

     Inuyasha marched up so that he was an inch away from her face. "I come home and my son is gone! He could have been kidnapped!"

 

     Kagome stiffened, angry at the accusation. "You feed the child on nothing but ramen and Lucky Charms! I had to buy him some decent food!"

 

     "You call this decent!" Inuyasha pointed at the box of chocolate-covered pocky Shiro held.

 

     "It's better than that bowl of sugar disguised as cereal that you were feeding him!" Kagome shot back. Shiro watched the loud discussion with wide eyes. His daddy and his babysitter seemed to like yelling at each other. At least they did it an awful lot.

 

     "You are not to take Shiro from this house without permission!" Inuyasha crossed his arms and tried to look like the conversation was over.

 

     "You are such a jerk!" Kagome shouted.

 

     "And you are a… female dog!" Inuyasha spat out, remembering that Shiro was listening.

 

     "Female dog?" Kagome echoed, losing part of her anger.

 

     "Feh! If you're so smart, you figure it out." He made one last stab at winning the argument. "I come home after a hard morning, no Shiro, no babysitter, and no note. What am I supposed to think?"

 

     Kagome fumed, the fire returning to her eyes. "I did leave a note!" She pointed to where a scrawled message was pinned to the refrigerator by a magnet shaped like a cow. "If you weren't so quick to accuse, then you would have seen it."

 

     Inuyasha stared at the note, which stated clearly where Kagome and Shiro had gone. "Oh."

 

     "Is that all you have to say?" Kagome demanded.

 

     "I don't have anything else to say." Inuyasha huffed and turned away from her. She bent to retrieve the groceries from the floor. He watched her out of the corner of his eye. He remembered how soft her cheek felt beneath his lips, no matter how brief and unintentional the kiss had been.

 

     "Would you like to stay for lunch?" The question was so quiet that Kagome almost didn't hear it. She looked up; Inuyasha's back was still toward her. Shiro had managed to rip the pocky box open and had crammed three sticks in his mouth at once. She smiled when she heard Inuyasha add, "I'm sure Shiro would like it if you would. After all, you bought the groceries."

 

     "I'll stay, but only because it will make Shiro happy," she said and carried the bag into the kitchen. Shiro came too, still munching his pocky. After a moment, Inuyasha followed.

 

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Food for thought:

 

How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you're standing on.

 

copyright: The Literary Dragon 2004