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Mommy Dearest

Chapter 5

Chapter 5:  Mommy Dearest

 

^**^

 

     Inuyasha sat at the kitchen table watching Kagome cook. She said that since she had worried him, the least she could do was cook lunch. Shiro played in the living room, making chugging noises as he pushed a toy train around the carpet.

 

     He grumbled to himself as he watched her slicing carrots. What was the big deal with feeding his son ramen all the time? It was a perfectly acceptable source of food. Kagome pursed her lips in concentration, giving Inuyasha a sudden desire to kiss more than her cheek.

 

     "What do you want in your stir-fry?" Kagome's voice roused him from his thoughts. He stared at her blankly. Since he hadn't been listening, he had no idea what she said. This called for his standard response.

 

     "Whatever," he snapped.

 

     Kagome turned to glare at him, her fingers tightening on the handle of the knife. "Fine then." She went back to her chopping, the knife cutting through the peppers with short jerky motions.

 

     "Hey, Miss Higurashi, how much longer? I'm starved."

 

     "It will be ready when it's ready." She turned and pointed the blade at him. "And don't call me Miss Higurashi. My name is Kagome."

 

     "Feh." Inuyasha crossed his arms over his chest, looking to where Shiro was playing in the other room. He found it easier to remember that she was just the babysitter if he ignored her.

 

     Kagome had no intention of letting him get away with his stubborn attitude. Putting the knife down on the cutting board, she marched to the table and grabbed his hair. She yanked his head around so that he was forced to look into her eyes. 'They're brown,' was Inuyasha's irrelevant thought.

 

     "Say it with me. Ka--go--me." She exaggerated her name like she would for a two-year-old. Inuyasha tried to twist out of her grasp, but she had his hair wound tight around her fist.

 

     "I get it," Inuyasha ground out, willing to do anything to get her to loosen her grip. "Your name is Kagome. Will you let go of me?"

 

     Kagome blushed. She released him and hurried back to the counter, wondering what had possessed her to grab the guy’s hair.  He was practically a stranger.

 

     "If we're going to be on a first name basis," Inuyasha growled, "you might as well call me Inuyasha. But don't think that means you can get more money for babysitting."

 

     "Whatever you say," she paused for a moment before adding, "Inuyasha."

 

     Kagome continued chopping. Inuyasha continued watching. And Shiro played happily with his train, oblivious to the tension in the kitchen.

 

     Suddenly, Kagome cried out. Inuyasha was at her side in an instant. She dropped the knife and clutched her finger to her chest.

 

     "Let me see," Inuyasha commanded. He took her hand in his, turning it over. A small cut marred the smooth surface of her finger. He examined the cut. A thin line of blood appeared, but it didn't look too bad.

 

     Kagome tried to pull her hand away. "It's just a nick, Inuyasha."

 

     "Your nick is bleeding. Wait here while I go get the first-aid kit." He left the kitchen, passing Shiro who had heard the cry and rushed into the kitchen to find out what was wrong.

 

     Inuyasha returned to hear Kagome telling Shiro that there was nothing to worry about. It was just a scratch. He set the kit on the table, opened it, and removed a box of Band Aids.

 

     He held out his hand. Kagome stared at it blankly. He snapped his fingers in irritation. "Your hand, girl. Give me your hand. I'm going to put a Band Aid on your finger so you don't bleed all over my food."

 

     He took the hand she held out and sprayed it with disinfectant. Kagome gasped at the sting and tried to pull away. She smacked him on the shoulder with her free hand. "That hurt, you insensitive clod!"

 

     Inuyasha ignored her and pulled a couple of Band Aids out of the box. He held them up for her to see. "Now, you have two choices. Do you want Barney, or do you want Raggedy Andy?"

 

     As soon as the cut was bandaged with a brightly colored Raggedy Andy Band Aid, Inuyasha dropped her hand. Shiro, an endearing expression of concern on his face, took her hand in his two small ones and examined her finger seriously.

 

     "'Gome has a boo-boo." He kissed the wounded area. "I kiss it and make it better." He looked up at his father. "Now you, Daddy."

 

     Kagome pulled her hand out of Shiro's grasp. "That's okay, Shiro," she reassured the boy, making sure not to look at Inuyasha. "It's all better now."

 

     "But Daddy has to kiss it too," Shiro insisted. "He always kisses my boo-boos."

 

     Inuyasha captured her hand. He couldn't stand to see Shiro upset. Bringing her finger to his mouth, he lightly touched it with his lips. His warm violet eyes shimmered for a moment before he released her.

 

     "All better, Kagome?" he asked.

 

     Kagome nodded violently. She retreated to the stove to finish preparing lunch. Shiro stayed to watch while Inuyasha returned the first-aid kit to the bathroom.

 

     Lunch was finally served. Shiro enjoyed his chicken stir-fry and rice. He had rice all around his bowl, on the floor, and even in his hair. Inuyasha ate only slightly neater.

 

     After lunch, Inuyasha cleaned Shiro while Kagome tidied the kitchen.

 

     "Is 'Gome coming back tomorrow, Daddy?" Shiro asked, trying to avoid the washcloth his father wanted to use on his face.

 

     "Tomorrow is Visiting Day, Shiro." Inuyasha looked Shiro over. He was cleaner, but still in desperate need of a bath.

 

     "What's Visiting Day?" Kagome finished wiping off the table and dropped the sponge in the sink.

 

     Inuyasha stood up to toss the washcloth in the sink on top of the sponge. He didn't answer.

 

     "I see Mommy tomorrow," Shiro informed her. He tugged on his father's pant leg. "Do I have to? Can't we go to the park instead?"

 

     Inuyasha knelt down and placed his hands on Shiro's shoulders. "I'll tell you what. If you're a good boy, we'll go get ice cream afterward."

 

     Shiro's eyes lit up. "Can 'Gome come too?"

 

     Inuyasha didn't look at her. "If she wants."

 

     Shiro clasped his hands together like he had seen others do when they wanted something. "Please, 'Gome?"

 

     Kagome smiled at him. "I would love to have ice cream with you." She glanced at the clock. "I didn't realize it was so late. I have to go." She hugged Shiro and kissed the tip of his nose.

 

"Bye, Shiro. Bye, Inuyasha." She grabbed her shoes and jacket and dashed out the door.

 

     "Meet us at the downtown ice cream shop at 3:00," Inuyasha shouted after her. Kagome waved at him to indicate she heard as she started the car and drove away.

 

     Inuyasha picked up Shiro and held him upside down over his shoulder. "You need a bath, little man." He marched toward the bathroom to the tune of Shiro's giggles.

 

^**^

 

     Inuyasha waited in the small conference room in the building where he worked. It was the only place where Kikyo would agree to meet him. Shiro crawled around the room, pretending to be a tiger.

 

     Inuyasha glanced at the clock. 2:15. Kikyo was late. Sometimes he wondered why he agreed to these visitations. At the time the divorce was finalized, and even knowing how Kikyo felt about her own child, he felt that Shiro should not grow up without knowing his mother. Maybe life would be easier if he let his ex-wife walk out of their lives forever and just concentrated on raising a healthy, well-adjusted boy.

 

     Shiro growled and pounced on his father's leg just as the door opened and Kikyo walked in. Her gaze was cool as she noticed the little boy clinging to Inuyasha. He bent down to detach Shiro and stood up with the boy in his arms.

 

     "How are you, Kikyo?" Inuyasha asked. Shiro squirmed in his father's tightening hold.

 

     "I've been better," Kikyo replied in a bored voice. "This weather does dreadful things to my hair. And I just got it styled."

 

     Inuyasha narrowed his eyes. "Say hello to your mother, Shiro," he instructed.

 

     "Hi, Mommy." Shiro hid his face in Inuyasha's hair.

 

     "Hello, um, child." Kikyo cast a brief look at Shiro, an expression on her face of someone who smelled something unpleasant.

 

     Kikyo seated herself, smoothing the fabric of her dress carefully. Inuyasha sat as well, finally releasing Shiro. The little boy stared at the woman he had been told was his mother. He saw her for about an hour once a month. She never looked happy to see him. Shiro thought mommies were supposed to like their kids.

 

     Shiro's natural curiosity and friendliness won out in the end. "Where do you live? I live with Daddy. Do you like this building? This is where Daddy works. Daddy says you're a witch. Do you have a black kitty and a pointy hat? Why are your nails long and red? Do you really know the boogieman? Daddy says that you're scarier than him, but I don't think so." Shiro shot out one question after another. He barely paused for breath or an answer. He stroked Kikyo's dress and examined her long red fingernails.

 

     Kikyo made a face of distaste and pushed Shiro's hands away. "Can you get this child to stop touching me?" she said to Inuyasha. "His hands are all sticky."

 

     "Shiro's a little boy, Kikyo," he replied, but he did lift Shiro into his lap. "They get sticky even while they're sleeping."

 

     "I had a bath last night, Mommy," Shiro announced. "Daddy says I'm squeaky clean."

 

     "Does the child have to call me Mommy," she complained. "It sounds so… so… "

 

     "Maternal?" Inuyasha supplied flatly.

 

     "I don't tell people about the child. It would make me sound old." She brushed out a nonexistent wrinkle in her skirt.

 

     "And stop calling Shiro ‘the child.’" Inuyasha was tired of Kikyo's callous attitude. "His name is Shiro."

 

     "Whatever." Kikyo checked the elegant watch on her slender wrist. "Can we cut this short? I'm meeting someone."

 

     The door opened. "Are you done yet, Kikyo?" a man's voice asked.

 

     Kikyo stood and walked to the newcomer. "We were just finishing, darling." She turned back to Inuyasha. "You remember Naraku, don't you Inuyasha?"

 

     Inuyasha also stood. He shifted Shiro into a more comfortable position "Yes. You're the collector."

 

     A brief smile curved Naraku's lips. "Have you reconsidered my offer for that rusty old sword of yours?" he asked. His smile did not reach his eyes.

 

     Inuyasha's eyes narrowed. "The Tetsusaiga belonged to my father. It is not for sale."

 

     "A pity." Naraku's eyes fell on Shiro, wiggling in Inuyasha's hold. "You might want to keep an eye on this child of yours."

 

     "Is that a threat?" Inuyasha demanded.

 

     "Of course not, Inuyasha." Naraku smiled again. "It's just that children are so elusive these days. They can be so easily… misplaced."

 

     Naraku locked eyes with Inuyasha for a long moment before exiting the room. Kikyo swept out the door after him with a careless wave of her manicured hand.

 

     "Daddy?" Shiro asked in a small voice.

 

     Inuyasha forced himself to relax. He didn't want to scare Shiro. He set Shiro on the ground and took his hand. "Let's go get some ice cream. I'll buy you any flavor you want. Kagome's probably waiting for us."

 

     "I want chocolate!" Shiro chattered all the way to the ice cream shop. He was happy. He was going to get ice cream and see his 'Gome again.

 

^**^

 

Food for thought:

 

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.

 

copyright: The Literary Dragon 2004