The front door caused a cool breeze to travel quickly into the living area. The coolness enticed the toned skin beneath Dylan’s shirt to ripple into goosebumps. Retreating into herself a little so as to fight off the temporary cold, the tanned Californian dropped her head against the back of the couch. The screen of the television flittered and shone with adverts, the bright colours causing a contrast so stark to the dim, low-key lighting of the film that they provoked her eyes into stinging at the mere sight.
Left alone, now, Dylan allowed her minds to overanalyse her situation with Helena. Her heart thrummed and sang every time the Brit glanced her way, but Dylan could tell Helena wasn’t yet ready for a relationship even if hadn‘t have told her herself. Having never been divorced before, she couldn’t fully understand what kind of mind frame Helena plummeted into when it came to relationships, but empathy supplied her the sufficient tools to discover that the Englishwoman was still learning to walk with only two feet again.
A creak from above disturbed Dylan from her untangling of impossible questions and she glanced towards the ceiling as if she might see through to the floor above. Waiting silently, now, Dylan reached for the remote and reduced the volume on the television before glancing back above to the ceiling. Padded footfalls could be distinguished over the sound of the advertisements, followed by another creak, this time of a door. Figuring that one of the children had awoken, Dylan waited a moment, unsure as to what to do exactly, before she rose from her seat and headed for the foot of the stairs.
She caught Leah on the stairs, almost half way down, and the little girl faltered in her steps, coming to an instant stop. The panic over her face gave way to recognition as she took in the sight of Dylan and over the thick silence in the hallway asked, “Where’s mummy?”
Dylan’s stomach shuddered slightly at the little girl’s high-pitched tone and she worried Leah might suddenly burst out crying if she didn’t handle the situation correctly. “She’s just nipped out for a little while, she’ll be back in a minute,” The tall brunette told her, though Leah merely stared, opaquely, down at her. When Dylan noticed the slight trembling of her lower lip and the beginnings of a squint at her eyes, she hurried forward, two steps at a time, hushing, “Hey, don’t cry, it’s okay…she’ll be right back.” Once she was crouched to eye-level with the little girl, Dylan asked, “What’s wrong?”
Sniffing, Leah mumbled out around her premature sobbing, “I had a bad dream…I want mummy.”
Unsure as to what to tell the little girl as to console her, Dylan merely stared on helplessly, until Leah finally extended her arms, silently asking to be held. Quickly complying, Dylan lifted the small child into her arms. She thought for a second whether or not she should take her back up to bed but rationalised that Nicky would likely be woken by their noise. “Why don’t you come sit downstairs with me, yeah? We’ll wait for your mommy together.” Leah nodded, cheek pressed against her shoulder while her eyes glistened with unshed tears.
Unmoving, Leah remained cradled in Dylan’s arms, her head lolling against the older woman’s shoulders as the adverts reeled into film. Knowing that the film was not appropriate for Leah, Dylan decided to leave the volume down and was thankful that the images on the screen weren’t particularly violent or sexual.
Ringing her hands together, Helena rubbed away the slight chill of the night and placed the wine bottle, still in the plastic bag, down safely on the seat beside her. The drive back to Andrew and Peter’s house was quick and the Brit was back, warm inside within good time. “Sorry I took so long,” She called through to the living room, kicking off her shoes before walking through the door, “the queue was-”
“Shh…” Dylan offered her a small, unsure smile and motioned down to a sleeping Leah in her arms. “She woke up just after you left…I hope you don’t mind that I brought her down?”
“No, not at all,” Helena reassured her, moving to hover over Leah and Dylan as she stroked her little girl’s warm back. The two women, together, shifted Leah without waking her and the little girl’s arms tightened around Helena’s neck once the transfer had been completed. “Are you okay, darling?” Nodding sleepily, Leah slurred a quiet reply while Helena gestured to Dylan that she was just taking her back up to bed.
“Shh, lie down, baby,” Helena whispered, tucking the cover in around her little girl as she curled onto her side. Leah forced her eyelids open for an entire minute while Helena sat with her, stroking her fingertips up and down her wrist. Once she saw her daughter was fully submerged in her own subconscious, Helena raised from the bed and, after seeing Nicky was still asleep, left the guest bedroom.
When Helena returned back downstairs she found the living room empty, film still playing quietly, and headed instead into the kitchen. Dylan had just finished pouring two glasses of the wine she had just bought and offered her a smile once she noticed Helena had entered the room. “She asleep?” She asked, lifting both glasses into her hands and handing one to Helena who nodded a reply.
“Sound asleep,” She smiled, taking a sip.
Dylan grinned in return, stating, “I wasn’t sure if you’d mind me bringing her down or not, but I worried she’d start crying.”
Smirking, Helena shook her head a little and stated, “No, it’s fine,” and then, as if the thought had just come to her, “She’s perhaps a little too attached, I think, but she’s my baby…” Dylan noticed the change in Helena’s expression though decided not to question her on it.
“The film’s still playing,” She chose instead to tell her, and the two made their way back into the living room, sitting comfortably through the mind-boggling movie.