“Were you scared, Daddy? Did you think that someone was still hiding in the house?” Rosemaria held her mac and cheese on her fork an inch from her mouth, waiting for his response. The dinner table was where she liked to drill her father about his day as a robbery-homicide detective, even though her mother would rather skip hearing about any of it.
Her father stopped chewing long enough to answer. “Well, we knew this was the house where the three robbers stored a lot of the stolen property, and we had a tip that one of them lived there. So, we were careful and cleared every room as we went through the house.”
“Cleared! That means make sure nobody is there!”
Steven smiled at his daughter, a pint-sized mirror image of her mother, and took another bite of mac and cheese. He chewed and spoke with his mouth full. “Exactly. You’re learning.”
Olivia watched them both and shook her head. “Are you sure all of this cops-and-robbers stuff isn’t going to give you bad dreams, honey?”
Rosemaria looked surprised. “I never have bad dreams. I like knowing what Daddy’s doing and where he is. Then I don’t have to worry about him.”
Olivia shook her head, resigned. “Okay, if you say so.”
Rosemaria took a big gulp of her grape juice. “And it sounds like fun, too.”
Her father’s expression turned serious. “I guess it can seem that way if you think that what I’m doing is like on TV, where bad guys are actors and don’t really die when they get shot. But in real life, people don’t always get up when they get hurt, and that means us cops as well as the bad guys.”
“Honey, now you’re scaring her.” She looked at her daughter. “Who wants some ice cream?”
“I do! I’ll help!” Rosemaria jumped up from the table just as the phone on the wall near the kitchen counter rang. She reached up to answer it and lifted the receiver to her ear. “Baker residence,” she said in a very businesslike manner. “Yes, she’s here.” She handed the receiver to her mom, who grabbed it and waited anxiously a split second before speaking.
“Hello.” Olivia listened intently. Then her face lit up in a wide grin. “I did? When? Okay… Okay… Thank you… Thank you so much!” She hung up the phone and faced her husband and daughter, who were looking at her expectantly.
“You know that play I auditioned for last week, the one at the Mallory Playhouse? I got the part!”
Rosemaria grabbed her mother around her waist and squeezed. “I’m so happy for you, Mommy!”
Steven stood up and enveloped his wife in a bear hug. “I’m so proud of you! Congratulations!”
“It’s Equity, honey! I’ll get paid. It’s not just 99-seat waiver. It’s Union!” Olivia went to the freezer, opened it up, and grabbed a big container of ice cream. She held it high. “Let’s eat till we burst!”
Rosemaria was already grabbing spoons out of the drawer.
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