Fiction Outtake: The Time Before Dinner (The Early Days)


Patterson had called to say he was due home sooner than originally expected, so Sonya was absorbed in getting dinner together when it all began. She felt rushed; she’d spent the day helping a friend try to make sense of a temporary bookkeeper’s disaster, and Sonya and her friend had quit for the day still wondering if they were seeing the numbers correctly. She had brought some of the paperwork home for Patterson to look over; while he wasn’t a figures sort of man, he was sure to know some at the office who were.

With all of that on her mind, it wasn’t surprising that she barely paid attention when Mitchell and Trevor slunk through the kitchen, an unfamiliar girl between them. And she was too focused on defrosting the ground beef to dwell on the fact that Trevor was alone when he returned to the kitchen and asked, with his fake innocent air, if he could help.

Sonya handed Trevor a knife and the onion she’d been trying to chop while she rummaged in the vegetable bin for the broccoli. The boy went to work without complaining, but again, she was too wrapped up in the idea of dinner to think much about that anomaly, either. It was just a relief to have the extra set of willing hands.

When Amy screeched, she jumped three feet, taking the skillet with her. Mostly defrosted ground beef and unevenly chopped onion splattered her arms; Sonya banged the pan back on its burner. “Amy Christina, this had better be life-or-death!”

“Mom! You have got to see what Mitchell’s doing now!” Amy rushed into the kitchen, her face as pale as her hair. She chewed worriedly on her lower lip and gestured over her shoulder with an unusual urgency.

Trevor’s snicker stuck in Sonya’s brain and she turned to him, considering.

“Let me go see,” she said calmly, reaching for a kitchen towel to wipe her hands and arms off with. “You tend the meat,” she told Amy and crossed the family room and up the three stairs to the sleeping wing of the house, her daughter’s protests about cooking falling on uncaring ears.

Carefully, quietly, she opened the door to the boys’ room, and peeked inside. Mitchell and the girl were wrapped around each other, mostly covered by the bedsheets, his hair hiding both their faces.

She cleared her throat.

Mitchell’s head jerked around, his eyes wide and scared, his mouth open in surprise. The girl bit back a guilty and panicked sound as Mitchell said, “Ma!” He started to scrabble at the sheets, pulling them up closer around himself and his girl, trying to soothe her at the same time.

Sonya couldn’t stop the smile at the sight of her son’s swollen lips — and devotion to someone he’d probably never met before, knowing Trevor. “If your friend would like to stay for dinner, just let me know and I’ll set an extra place,” she said and closed the door again.

She didn’t need to press her ear to the door to hear their sighs of relief. But she did need a minute to lean against the wall and laugh. That little scene was something she knew Trevor had been working on for a few weeks now and while she supposed that as a mother, she ought to be yelling at her youngest for having sex under her roof, she and Patterson were liberal enough to know their home was the best choice. Lord only knew the sort of places Trevor would drag Mitchell to next time if she made a fuss now.

Trevor, on the other hand… Amy, too.

Sonya pushed herself away from the wall beside Mitchell’s door, gritting her teeth. Trevor had set Amy up for that intrusion; of that, she had no doubt. It was probably the only reason why Trevor had brought Mitchell and his friend back to the house.

Regardless of whether or not she’d been set up, Amy knew better than to go into the boys’ room without knocking first. A closed door meant something in the Voss household, regardless of what lies Trevor had told her. Just as other families had inviolable rules about who did what chore on what day, the Voss family had rules about what a closed door meant.

Amy and Trevor were arguing in the kitchen, probably about what had just transpired. And something was starting to smell overcooked.

That needed to be dealt with before Patterson got home. Time was running short and now Sonya wasn’t exactly certain how many she’d be cooking for. While she doubted the girl would stay, Mitchell could very well want some time to himself. A boy didn’t lose his virginity every day, and a boy as sensitive as Mitchell was bound to need the time to make sense of what he’d just done.

Amy and Trevor, on the other hand… Yes, Sonya told herself as she straightened the hem of her shirt. Something was starting to smell overcooked in that kitchen of hers, all right.



  1. Janelle Martin

    April 24, 2006 10:04 pm

    Interesting to meet Mitchell’s Mom for the first time! I enjoyed her unique response to the situation although the phrase “sleeping wing” threw me a bit. Just how well off are the Voss’s? LOLBR/BR/I look forward to hearing about how Sonya deals with her overcooked situation.

  2. cheesygiraffe

    April 24, 2006 10:08 pm

    How cool of a mom does Mitchell have? I can’t imagine my mom acting like that if she caught me in the act at that age. 🙂

  3. shaunesay

    April 25, 2006 12:50 am

    *snickering* Heehee! Bad Trevor, BAD! *BEG*

  4. Susan Helene Gottfried

    April 25, 2006 5:29 pm

    Sounds like I need to write the next chapter of this, huh?

  5. Penina

    April 30, 2006 8:27 am

    That mom is too cool….does anyone really have a mom like that???

  6. paisley

    October 29, 2007 5:39 am

    i just love these little tales.. it is like i am right there .. they make me miss my youth….

  7. Bethanie

    September 7, 2008 11:57 am

    Sonya is SO my kind of mom!

  8. Alice Audrey

    September 12, 2008 11:30 pm

    There’s no way I’d be that calm. Hopefully I won’t have to be just yet, though it’s coming soon, I know it.

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