Samantha Lee’s Picture Choice: One
Title: Take Me Out To The Ball Game
"Explain it to me again."
Dumitru sighed and stole another handful of popcorn from my bag. "There is a diamond, do you see? With the little padded squares at the corners and the white lines?"
Nodding, Fi frowned and hugged her popcorn tighter.
"Bine, the pitcher - the one with the ball, da? - he stands in middle and throws ball to one with the stick, the bat."
"And he...the batter...he tries to hit the ball with his stick."
"Da, tocmai, lumina mea, tocmai. If he hits the ball, he then must run to as many of the corner squares as possible before the players of the other team throw back the ball and tag him with it."
"And so long as the batter is standing on one of those corner squares, he's safe right? He can't be tagged with the ball."
"Da, the goal is to get back to the first corner once more, preferably in a single try but the batter may break it down and run corner-by-corner each time the ball is hit by a batter on his team."
Fi was quiet, munching on her popcorn and watching as one team finished out their inning. As the teams began to trade places, she stood and made her way to the end of the bleachers, Dumitru hurrying in her wake to keep up. I straightened from where I leaned against the fence and followed, keeping my distance to allow them the illusion of privacy.
"Where are we going, lumina mea?" Dumitru asked when he'd caught up to Fi.
"To the car. Then we'll drive to an empty...what do you call that field?"
"A baseball diamond."
"Yes, we'll drive until we find an empty baseball diamond and then you'll teach me to play."
One of Dumitru's brow rose and he gave Fi a look that was a mix of skepticism, disbelief, and mild concern. Incidentally, she got that look a lot. "You...you wish to play?" he asked, his tone perfectly matching his expression.
Fi grinned and spun around, snatching up one of Dumitru's hand and playfully tugging him along. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" she cried, laughing as she suddenly took to skipping backwards, facing Dumitru rather than her path. "It's so boring to watch, don't you think? Those batters - they miss the ball more often than not and it's just...it's so boring! I want to see if it's more fun first hand."
Dumitru stopped walking and tugged on Fi's hand. She tumbled forward into his waiting arms and he looped his arms around her back, pulling her close. It was always so odd seeing them stand like that. Dumitru was a tall man, over six and half feet, and while his build was lithe, he was muscular in a way that made his physical strength evident. Fi, meanwhile, was small, her Fae heritage showing up with a height that was below five feet and if she was ninety pounds soaking wet I'd want her pockets checked for lead weights. The only thing more absurd was when Fi stood with Khardeen, one of her Wraiths. A djinn in life, Khardeen was eight feet, three hundred pounds of pure muscle. It was ridiculous. Utterly, ridiculous.
But I digress.
Fi stood on tiptoe to loop her arms around Dumitru's neck. Grinning, she lifted herself up to wrap her legs around his waist and briefly nuzzled her nose against his. "Yes?"
"Do you remember cricket?"
"Yes, it was ridiculous. I still don't understand what the heck a wicket is."
"Do you remember football?"
"It made no sense, Tru! You CARRY and THROW the ball - if not for the very random kick-off now and then there'd be almost no foot-ball interaction at all!"
"They willingly enslave themselves to a ball!"
"It's soccer with skates and sticks!"
Fi winced. "...I see your point."
Dumitru's grin took on a certain edge, one I recognized from past experience. Fi recognized it too and laughed.
"I suppose," she said slowly. "There are better games we could play than baseball."
"Da, I was thinking the same thing, lumina mea," Dumitru agreed with a chuckle. "The best games, after all, are the ones we make up ourselves."
"I couldn't agree more."
It was going to be a long night.
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