Munificent

Nov. 7th, 2013 03:29 pm
asphaltcowgrrl: (Ali animu)
[personal profile] asphaltcowgrrl
The prompt was:

Munificent (adjective)
mu·nif·i·cent [myoo-nif-uh-suhnt]


adjective
1. extremely liberal in giving; very generous.
2. characterized by great generosity: a munificent bequest.


--
Blake was many things, she knew – arrogant, childish, often drunken – but there was one thing he was not and that was selfish.  Not with his money, not with his time, and definitely not with his heart.  He had an awful lot of faults but at the center of it all, he was a damn good man.  Ali had more than enough proof of that.

 “What are you doing, Blake?”  Ali had wandered out of the kitchen, cereal bowl still in hand, to find her husband making a disaster of her finally clean living room.

Blake looked up from a pile of parts and plastic pieces, a set of assembly instructions in one hand.  “Building something,” he said.



“That much is obvious.”  Ali put the cereal bowl on the table, flipping the dish towel over her shoulder as she walked towards him.  “But what exactly are you building?”

“A playhouse,” he informed her, as if it should have been obvious.  Blake turned his attention back to the pile of stuff surrounding him and squinted at the directions.

“Okay, a playhouse.  But why?  The kids already have one.  Well, two actually, if you count the one outside.”  She moved as far into the living room as she could, without falling into his pile of building materials.

“What?”  He looked up from the directions again, giving her a questioning face.  “No, not our kids.  Torin.”

“Why are you building a playhouse for Torin?  I know the answer should be obvious, but I’m clearly missing it today.”

He lifted a grey plastic wall and held it steady, looking for something in the mess.  “Do you see that goddamn window thing anywhere?”

“Window thing?  You mean the shutter?”  Ali tilted her head curiously, watching her husband move things while continuing to hold up the playhouse wall.

“If that’s the thing that covers a window in those old movies they show late at night then yeah, the shutter.”  He leaned the plastic wall against the real one, waiting.

“Do you know what color it is,” she asked, shaking her head at his ridiculousness.

“The picture on the box says it’s blue.”

Ali moved cautiously, thanking the powers that be that her brother had kidnapped both kids for the day.  Heaven only knew what kind of disaster the addition of Rory and Rayna to this mess might have spawned.  Not to mention their combined horror when they realized that the playhouse wasn’t going to stay in their living room.

“Ah-hah,” she shouted triumphantly, pulling what looked like a bright blue shutter out of the pile of broken house.  “This it?”

Blake looked from her hand to the picture on the box, propped up against the far wall.  His gaze moved back to her hand for a moment before he nodded.  “Yeah, looks like it.  Could ya bring it to me, Cookie?”

She ran her tongue along her bottom lip, silently counting to ten… thousand… before calmly stepping over debris and handing him the shutter.

“Thank you for not whacking me in the head with it,” he told her offhandedly.

“Why on earth would you think I would hit you with it?” Not that she couldn’t come up with at least forty-five of her own reasons in the next seven seconds. 

“Aside from you always hit me with everything,” he asked.

“You usually deserve it,” she countered.

“Sometimes,” he conceded.  “But that look on your face said it all.  One wrong look and – WHAM!”  He mimed getting smacked upside the head and falling over.  “Aw crap,” he muttered.

“Blake?  You okay?”  He was the biggest dork on the planet and she wasn’t exactly happy with him at the moment, but she didn’t really want to have to clean up his blood this afternoon either.

“Yeah,” he said, pushing at the floor with an arm.  “But uh, could you help me?”

She rubbed a hand across her face, trying not to lash out and beat him with the nearest object.  “Cowboy, just how much have you had to drink this afternoon?”  She was afraid of the answer, honestly.  He did his best to stay as sober as possible (and some days his idea of sober was more of a loose interpretation) during the days when the kids were around, wanting to be as present as he could in their lives, but on those rare occasions they were somewhere else, he kind of let it all hang out.

“Obviously not enough because this makes no fucking sense!”  He waved the instructions at her and frowned at the pieces of house all over the living room.

Ali suddenly understood that the only way it was going to get completed was if she got him the hell out of the living room and did it herself.  He meant well, he really did, but he was not very mechanically inclined for the most part.  “Blake honey, do me a favor?

“Sure, Cookie, whatcha need?”  He looked at her expectantly.

“Take that bowl,” she pointed at the kitchen table, “and put it away. While you’re in the kitchen, get yourself another beer.”

He blinked a couple times, then opened his mouth.  “You’re trying to get rid of me, aren’t you?”

“No,” she said, clarifying.  “I’m just trying to get you to vacate so I can put this together and get my living room back.  I got the new Castle book in the mail today and I would like to be able to use the couch sometime before the kids come back home.”

He looked at the disaster he’d created around himself she saw the realization that she was right dawn on his alcohol soaked brain.  “Okay, okay, you’re right.  Hell, you’re always right, so why am I so surprised?  And again, I’m gonna need your help.”

He held out a hand and she looked at him like he was nuts.  She was a tall woman – a touch over six foot – but he still had close to five inches in height on her.  “Blake, there’s no goddamn way I’m going to be able to haul your drunk ass off the floor.”

“Aw, c’mon Cookie.  Try for me?”  He turned those amazing blue eyes on her and she felt her resistance leave.  “I’m going to regret this,” she muttered.

Taking his proffered hand in hers, she gave a solid yank only to be immediately yanked back.  Windmilling her free arm, Ali desperately vied for balance, losing the battle in a most epic manner and landing in her husband’s lap with a shriek.  Two arms wrapped around her, securing her in his lap.  The rumble of his laughter vibrated against her shoulder.

“If you do not let go of me immediately, Blake Andrew Matson, I’m going to have your balls for breakfast!”

He laughed harder, squeezing her more tightly as he did so.  “Aw, but Ali, I thought you said you wanted at least one more kid.”

“That was with my next husband, she growled, pushing at his arms encircling her.  “Once I get out of jail, that is.”

Mirth overcoming him, he loosened his grip enough that she could escape his lap.  “You don’t really mea that,” he stated more than asked.

“Only the getting out of jail part,” she reassured him.  “Okay, Cowboy, out.  Go eat, drink and be mariachi.”

“I’m not sure I know how to be mariachi,” he told her.

“Drink enough tequila and it comes naturally.”

“Is that from personal experience?  ‘Cause I can see you and Red getting very mariachi after a bottle of Patron.”

He knew from quite a bit of experience just how mariachi she got after a bit of tequila so she let that one go. “Give me twenty minutes and I should have this together.”
“Okay.  I’ll be in the dining room, drinking and supervising.”  He stood and left the area, leaving her in the midst of his disaster.

“Yeah, you do that,” she muttered, reaching for the directions.

Eighteen minutes later, she had the playhouse assembled.  Blake came up behind her as she was admiring her handiwork.  “Nice job.”

“No thanks to you,” she laughed.  “But thank you.  You do realize though that now I’m going to have to take it apart, put all the pieces in the trunk, and take it over to Shana and Billy’s.”

He looked at the house for a few long moments before turning his gaze onto her.  “You know, getting it out of the house never actually crossed my mind.”

“Color me surprised,” she teased, disassembling the house just enough to get it through the front door.

Once the truth of the matter occurred to her, she decided it’d be easier to take the half-assembled house out the front door and load it directly into the back of Blake’s truck instead of trying to maneuver it through the garage.  If her Jeep got banged up a bit, it wasn’t any great loss.  It had more than seen its better days already.  Blake’s truck, on the other hand, hadn’t been through a warzone and still looked mostly new.  Thus, leaving by the front door.

“I’ll start taking it outside.  You call Billy and make sure they’re home, okay?”

He nodded. “Okie dokie.”

“Hey, Blake?”  She caught his attention before he could wander off again.

“Yeah, Cookie?”

“You never did answer me earlier.  Why’d you buy – and build – a playhouse for Torin?”

He shrugged.  “Because he asked me if he could have one.  I couldn’t tell him no, could I?  Doesn’t every kid need a playhouse?”

“No, they definitely can’t,” she agreed.  “Every kid needs a place to call their own and you are very kind to give your godson his first.”

Blake waved her off as if it was what any other man would do for his friend’s only child, but she knew better.  He loved that little rug rat as much as he loved his own two.  She also knew that Billy appreciated every last thing Blake did for Torin, no matter how small.  And in the end, that was probably the reason he did it all.

Ali also believed that, even if Billy – and by extension, Shana - didn’t give the smallest of damns about what he did for their kid, he’d still continue to do whatever he could.  That was just the kind of guy he was.  She knew this because that big heart of his was the thing she’d fallen in love with first.  Because he’d cared for her and had been concerned for her welfare even though she was there to ensure his safety.  Protecting the protector, her brother had called it.

“Ali,” Blake called from the kitchen, “you got the truck loaded yet?  Billy says Shana wants us to stop by that Mexican place you two have such a fondness for and get some food.”

She pulled herself out of her ruminations and smiled at her best friend’s predictability.  “Let me guess – she wants nachos.”

“How do you do that,” he asked, genuinely surprised.     

“That, my love, is an easy one.  She always wants nachos.  Grab a wall and let’s get a move on.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he drawled, throwing a mock salute before heading out the front door, loaded down with house parts.

“Some days I really want to throttle you, you big jerk!”  Laughing, she gathered the rest of the pieces and shut the door behind her.

She never would though, no matter how insane he made her.  In the end, he belonged nowhere else but by her side.  Even when he fed the kids nothing but sugar all day and then left to have a beer with Billy and her brother, she still loved him.  Because as much hell as he gave her, he was always giving or doing or making something amazing happen for someone he loved.  And sometimes, he even gave to people he’d never met just because it was the right thing to do.  Blake was one of a kind in more than the obvious ways and she wouldn’t have him any other way.

“Cooooooooooookie,” he hollered from the passenger seat of the truck.  “Are ya freaking done yet?”

Okay, so maybe she’d love to have him just a tiny bit more sober than he was right now… but she wasn’t going to split hairs.  

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, Cowboy, keep yer boots on.”  Laughing, she closed the tailgate and climbed into the driver’s seat.  “Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.”
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