“Uh, does she have to yell that after every roll?' Miranda asked.
“She's having fun,” Amberly said quietly, leaning close to her daughter. “You used to have fun, too, remember?”
“Not playing this, I didn't.”
Amberly patted her hand, scooped the dice up into a cup and shook it gently, rattling the dice inside. Lily yelled “Yahtzee” again as the dice scattered across the table.
Chef chuckled, smiling at his daughter. He reached out and slid the dice toward himself, careful not to roll the dice. He kissed the top of Lily's forehead. “Alright, Lil, count up how many points Mommy got.” His phone vibrated in his pocket, but he ignored it. Lizzy knew not to bother him before ten. “Let's count the sixes, okay? How many sixes are there?”
“Uuuuuuuuummmmmmm… Seven.” She reached across the table, seeking the dice just outside of her reach. “No. Ummm. Three.”
“That's right. How many points does that give mommy?” Lily stood, adjusted her tutu, and leaned over the table. Since the barbecue, she hadn't wanted to take it off, often insisting on wearing it to bed.
Lily sat, curling her legs beneath her. She raised her hand, tapping her lip in thought, imitating her mother. More than once she leaned forward, tapping each pip on the white dice. “Eighteen points.”
Amberly and Chef threw their hands up and cheered.
Lily smiled gap-toothed, “Yahtzee!”
Even Miranda laughed as she grabbed for the dice and cup.
The phone in Chef’s pocket vibrated again, this time seemingly demanding that Chef pull his attention away from his family in favor of the task ahead of him. He reached into his pocket and thumbed the volume down key on the side of his phone to quiet the buzz.
As the dice rolled across the table, Lily leapt up on her chair to begin counting pips. “There’s two sixes, daddy!” She exclaimed, bouncing on her toes. “Mandymandy gets twelve points.”
“Ooh,” Amberly said, sliding the rest of the dice closer to Lily. “This one’s tricky, are you ready?” Lily continued bouncing and nodded emphatically. “Alright, Mandy rolled three fours. How many points does she get?”
“That is a tricky one.” Lily sat back on her heels, again tapping her lip with one forefinger. Before she could answer, the doorbell rang and Miranda’s chair scraped across the oak floor. She pulled her hoodie on over her head, flipping her hair out of it once it was in place.
“Now where the hell do you think you’re going? It’s game night.” Chef turned in his chair to look at his daughter.
“Ugh. Dad, I told you I was going out tonight.”
“You may have told me you were going out, but in my house, you ask if you go out with your friends on game night. Sit down.”
Chef turned his back on her, giving his wife a smile and a wink. Her face became grim, trying to hide her own smile. She had never had much of a poker face, and Chef loved her for it. Amberly had never been able to hide anything from him, though he pretended she could, he loved watching her try to confound him when she got in the mood to. “Besides,” Chef said, “Lily hasn’t told you how many points to put on your scorecard yet.”
Lily, leaning against the back of her chair whispered, “Twelve. It’s twelve points. They tried to trick me, but I didn’t let ‘em.”
“Thanks, Lil. Dad, can I please go hang out with my friends?”
“Did you mark your scorecard?”
Amberly snorted, failing to stifle a laugh.
“Yes, you may go, so long as you’re home no later than twelve. After we get your mom and Lily to bed, I’m going out to check on your uncle Liam, see how he’s doing.”
As if taking a cue, his phone vibrated in his pocket.
“If I am home before you are, there will be,” Chef hesitated, glancing at Lily, “big trouble.”
“Thanks, dad.” Miranda whipped around, her hair trailing a grand arc around her, and walked away. She slammed the door on her way out.
Amberly checked her watch. “Oh my, it’s time to get you to bed, Lily! It’s getting so late, I’m about to fall asleep. Let’s go upstairs so you can read me a bedtime story, okay?”
“Okay, Mommy,” Lily said. She turned and stepped into Chef’s lap, throwing her arms around his neck. “I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you too, Lil. Dream sweet, okay?” Chef lifted Lily off of his lap, grateful to have her weight off of his groin.
“You too, Daddy,” She said, and stifled a yawn.
Chef stood and moseyed over to his wife. His hands slid around her, pausing briefly at her hips, tracing the waistline of her slacks around her back. She pressed herself to him, and looked up into his eyes.
“How are they doing?”
“You know Liam,” Chef said.
“Poor girl. Someone should make him realize what he’s putting her through. Maybe you could get him drunk tonight and rough him up in the parking lot, yeah?”
Chef laughed. “Someone should kick his ass. I guess it falls to me, doesn’t it?”
“You big, strong man. Go get him.” Amberly pecked Chef’s lips. He leaned forward, hoping for, and expecting more. “Come home soon, okay?”
“I will.” Chef’s phone vibrated in his pocket. He reached in and answered it. “Hey, buddy. Yeah, I’m on my way.”