Free to a Good Home, Book 2 of the Heartbeat Series

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37. Recalibrated

37. Recalibrated

Tired of being in bed all day, Maia was determined to get up and do something. What day was it? Saturday? Her Saturdays at home were always with Jonny. They graded papers together since he always had papers due on Fridays, that way the ‘kids’ could party all weekend. She had a whole house to explore, a Steinway to play, and Ruby was still here. Paul was at the kitchen nook table drinking coffee and reading the newspaper, and Elly was frying bacon in the kitchen.

“Good morning, Elly,” said Maia, approaching her.

“Good morning, my dear. Are you hungry?”

“Yes. May I please have some coffee?”

“I have some in the French press. I will pour it for you.”

“Hey Elly, it’s really bold. I will make it for her,” said Paul, getting up and bringing his coffee cup over to the counter. “Joey doesn’t want her to have so much caffeine.”

Maia watched him turn on the clear hot pot filled with water, and how the blue light reflected off it. They always had a kettle on the stove that whistled when it was done. Maia sat at the bar and watched Elly with great interest.

“Elly, how did you learn to love French?” asked Maia out of the blue.

“My mother was from Quebec, and they speak French there.”

“It’s a very strange dialect, you know?” asked Maia.

“You are right about that, it’s not like European French. My teachers had to break me of it. My grammar was impeccable, but my oration was off. My mother would be so upset if I got graded lower because of it. She actually went to the school to argue with the teachers in French. She would get upset if I spoke European French at home, so I had to learn how to switch between the two.”

“Where did you go to college?”

“Penn State. That’s where I met Albert, my husband.”

“How many years have you been married?”

“We were married forty-nine years before he died three years ago, God rest his soul. He was a wonderful man. Loved your brother and Joey like his own boys.”

“I’m so sorry to hear of your loss of him.” Paul put the cup of coffee in front of her and smiled at her.

“Thank you, my dear.”

“Did he speak French?”

“Only around my mother. He would make basic conversation. We always had a little crash course on the way there.”

Maia sipped her coffee enjoying the flavor. “Where’s Joey?”

“He got called into work today. He’s certain that Elly and I can manage you,” said Paul, bringing his coffee over to the bar and sitting next to her. “How are you feeling today?”

“I’m feeling good. Just junky in my chest. I need to do my nebulizer and refill the vaporizer in my room, but I rather hang out with you and play the piano than be in bed or read a book.”

“You, not want to read a book?” he asked with a laugh. “She’s worse than Joey, Elly.”

“House of bookworms here between Joey, Mack and me. Maybe we will get Paulie reading yet.”

“Bleh,” he replied, making her laugh. Elly set the bacon on a plate with a paper towel.

“Who’s ready for some eggs?” she asked.

“Yum,” said Maia. “This is like Sunday breakfast every day.”

“What did you usually eat?”

“Strawberry pop tarts.”

“I will add those to the list,” said Elly, writing it on her grocery list on the fridge.

Paul brought over the newspaper and Maia reached for the Arts and Entertainment section.

“What newspaper is this?” she asked.

“This is the Morning Call, it’s out of Allentown. We get the New York Times on Sunday.”

“Oooh, the Sunday Crossword.”

“Looks like Joey and I have a new helper to solve it.”

“That was part of Jonny and I’s Sunday morning tradition. We would get a New York Times, and go to the diner for coffee, bacon and bagels.”

“Wait, I thought he was a vegetarian.”

“Vegan with a special Sunday morning dispensation for bacon and cream cheese.”

“Vegans crack me up. I got three of them in my band. They are so against eating meat until it’s something that they declare as a must have.”

“It would bother his gut that afternoon and Jimmy would give him a hard time about it.”

Elly set Maia’s breakfast in front of her and a pineapple juice from the fridge with a glass of ice and a straw.

“Speaking of must have’s,” started Elly. “What else would you like to eat here?”

“Chocolate milk. The old-fashioned kind.”

“Oooh,” said Paul, “best hot chocolate ever.”

“With whipped cream,” she said.

“Yep, the extra creamy kind,” he said with a laugh.

Elly set Paul’s breakfast in front of him next as Maia picked up a slice of bacon and nibbled on it.

“Wow,” she said. “It’s so thick.”

“We have a local Amish man that we get it from. Best pork chops you ever ate.”

“How’s his sausage?”

“He doesn’t make the sausage, Mack does. He and Elly have a sausage making party here. It’s quite interesting to watch.”

“Where does your beef come from?”

“Elly’s cousin is a butcher. We get a side of beef from him.”

Maia nodded and dipped her toast into her egg yolk. Unlike yesterday, she ate everything on her plate until it was bare of all but crumbs and bits of egg yolk. She was finishing her juice when Elly cleared her plate.

“What are you going to do today?” he asked, when she got up to get her meds out of the box and turn off the alarm.

“I’m going up to do another nebulizer treatment after a shower. I got up and did one at like four, I was just too junky in my chest. Maybe I will play the piano for a while? Unless you are going to play it.”

“I usually play the one in my studio. I only play the Steinway if Joey is in there reading, and I get the urge to provide background music, which isn’t often.”

“Don’t you like the Steinway?”

“Oh yes, I just like all the bells and whistles of the one in the studio. I’ll show you sometime how I record from it with the computer.”

“Where’s Ruby?”

“She’s been up for hours. She’s doing phone sessions with her clients in her room. That’s why we have press coffee this morning. She prefers it to espresso or Americano.”

Maia nodded. “Thank you for breakfast, Elly. May I help you do the dishes?”

“No dear, I am fine. Go ahead and take care of your treatment and all. Just beep me on the intercom if you need me.”

Later that afternoon, Maia sat at the piano playing through a book of easy chorales, working on being present with her chi. She remembered to step back, turn off the self-critic, and realize that the steroids were only adding to her jittery fingers. As she played through this book, she skipped Cat’s favorites on purpose, just turning the page and trying not to think about her. If she dwelled on Cat, Maia would mess up throughout the next piece and get frustrated with herself. She was just finishing a piece when Paul brought a box into the living room and set it near the bench.

“Whatcha got there?” she asked with a smile as he sat on the floor next to it. Maia closed the fallboard and moved onto the floor next to him.

“My old scores and rudiments books.” She peered into the box and quickly jumped back.

“Eww dead spiders!” she said.

“You need your tomboy card pulled for that,” he said, shaking the spider into the bottom of the box.

He moved the box out of the way and put the stack on the floor.

“Beethoven,” he said handing it to her. “I liked that book a lot. I had a couple recital pieces in that one.”

She paged through it. It was a bit intermediate, but she liked the pieces. “These, with all the writing? Look at the key changes. Popping into a minor with a sixteenth triplet. Wicked.”

He laughed. “Yeah, those.”

“Hey, what’s this?” she asked, pulling out a piece of paper that was once white, but now ivory with a pencil handwriting that was faded to gray. “Patti and a phone number?”

He reached for it and looked at it with a smile. “Yeah a girl...”

“When did you know you were gay?”

“I was like twelve, but I denied it to myself for a long time. I tried to prove that I wasn’t, you know?”

Maia nodded. “But you flirted with girls?”

Paul laughed. “I wish that was all I did. I dated them, screwed them, messed with their heads,” he said pulling out another book of rudiments.

“That book—I used that one years ago and hated it. What a waste of a summer,” she said as he paged through it.

Paulie opened the cover. “Second printing. I’m sure yours was much later than that. How old were you when you did that one?”

“I dunno, nine maybe? Summer Rudiment Camp. I hated it, and Jonny had to bribe me with gold stars. I wanted to be riding my skateboard instead.”

“What is the whole gold star thing?”

“Gold stars are money from Jonny.”

“Do tell, I need to know all about how to bribe you.”

“Jonny’s not that poor, you know. He’s a tenured professor at a major university.”

“Why didn’t he have a better place.”

“To be near us. If they moved away, he would miss out on me, he said. Happiness mattered. To Jonny, happiness isn’t material things. It’s people and experiences.”

“What kind of experiences?”

“Symphony, museums, travel, and his charity work.”

“What kind of charity work?”

“Mostly literacy and education opportunities for at-risk kids and immigrant families. He also does what he can for elderly neighbors. He would leave bags of groceries or take out their trash, always helped them up and down the steps. He would salt them because Marty, the building manager, never got up early enough to do it. Jonny would run really early in the morning so he would shovel the stairs and sidewalks in the winter instead. He said it was good cardio and he would run at school. They have an indoor track he loved. He’d run with the kids on the track and cross-country teams.”

“Do they have savings?”

“I don’t know, but between France and medical bills, who knows what’s left?” She reached for the next book he offered. Its white cover was now golden from age as were the edges of the pages.

“I haven’t done that one yet,” she said, paging through it. “Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schubert! I love Schubert! This one is a keeper,” she said, putting it on the piano bench.

Paul shook his head. “Enjoy it, I hated that book. I was near the end of my classical training.”

“How old were you?”

“Fifteen, my mother and I fought every day throughout my last competition. I was ready to move on and she was not ready to give up on her dreams of me as a classical pianist.”

“What piece did you play? How did you do?”

“I don’t even remember. I placed fifth, All State, Pennsylvania. I told her even if I placed first, I was done. Dad made a deal with me that if I placed in the top ten, he’d pay me.”

Maia laughed. “Hold up, you got paid? I don’t get Gold Stars for Medals. Only because those come with scholarships.”

“That year I did. Total bribery. My dad agreed to pay me $500 if I placed fourth or fifth, a grand for second or third, and $1500 for first place.”


“He told me that if I got in the top five, that he would have it out with Mama and tell her to stop hassling me, that it was fine that I was done. It was time for me to do other things in high school, like get a girlfriend.”

“So, what did you do in high school? Did you get the girlfriend?”

“I had quite a few, unfortunately for them. I was in jazz band and played for the choir.”

Maia laughed at him. “Pianos are such chick magnets. I used to hear stories from the high school guys at UC.”

“There was always someone pretty on my bench.”

Maia picked up one of the books, as he set the very elementary books back inside the box.

“I liked this one,” she said holding up DeBussy book before it joined the others in the box.

“It was too easy.”

“Yeah, but okay enough,” she said, handing it to him. “I liked the melodies. They would get stuck in my head.”

“What’s this one?” she asked picking up a thicker book with a glossy cover.

“Ah, mama hated that book,” he said with a laugh.

“It’s popular music from the 70’s.”

“She wanted me to be a classical pianist. If the composer didn’t have white hair and those listening didn’t have blue hair, she didn’t want me playing it, nor did she want to hear me playing it. She almost fired that teacher. That was like my gateway into pop music. I’d go buy popular sheet music and keep it in my locker or at Alex’s so mama wouldn’t rip it up. Girls liked it when I played the Beatles or Elton John.”

“How long have you and Alex known each other?”

“We went to parochial school together. We were altar boys.”

Maia giggled. “No way.”

“I’ll show you pictures sometime. We were on the wedding crew because we were so damn handsome. It sucked giving up Saturdays for church, but the father of the bride always handed us money for it. Father Kelley was always great about reminding them to do so. He’s the one who baptized you. He transferred diocese from Philly to New York about ten years ago. So he has baptized my sisters, me and now you. Maia rolled her eyes at him, then she resumed flipping through the book.

“You really liked Elton John,” she said, noting the pages with pencil that were earmarked on the bottom right hand page for turning.

“Still do.”

“Me too. Good-bye Yellow Brick Road is like my favorite album.”

Paul smirked. “Mine too.”

“No way!”

“He signed my vinyl.”

“What? No way!”

“It’s framed in my studio.” Paul didn’t even page through the next few and just put them in the box. “Those ones are way below your ability. You were probably three when you did those.”

“Probably,” she replied with a laugh.

“That’s it of them,” he said, while she was still paging through the pop seventies book. “Do you want that one?”

“It’s got Honky Cat in it and Imagine. Is that okay to keep out?”

“Absolutely, you got what, two out of the stack?”

“Three,” she said, showing him the Beethoven and the recital pieces. “Why did you keep these?”

“For my kid,” he said with a smile. “I have a feeling you are it for a while until Joey gets his way.”

She shared the smile. “You guys would make great parents, you know?”

She opened the Beethoven one and Paul smiled as she saw his name and phone number written in his handwriting on the inside cover. She showed it to him.

“Look at the back cover.”

She opened it and saw the tally of lessons and payments.

“Wow, $6 a lesson? Jonny paid $30 per hour.”

“And summers?”

“$200 a week for two and half hours, four days a week. He paid for my braces, hospital bills, and meds. He always said that I was his kid according to his wallet.”

“I don’t understand still why they didn’t take you with them to France.”

“Cat wouldn’t sign the passport form. She had been really challenging since she beat cancer, and they were to be back before Labor Day, in time for school to start. Jonny still had sabbatical until December so he was going to finish the thesis so he could defend his dissertation before the end of Spring semester.”

“Doesn’t he already have a doctorate?”

“He wanted to head the department, so he wanted this doctorate in classics. Dr. Angela’s, who has two was favored over him even though he was as more published than she was. I can’t stand the devil. She’s very fake and really has issue with Jonny. They disagreed on everything and we would hear all about it at dinner.” Maia blinked back tears.

“Hey,” he said, reaching for her. “It’s not over Maia. Jonny will bounce back. And you will too.”

“Paulie, please don’t ever tell me I can’t do something.”

“Wait, what?” he asked, shocked.

“Ruby told me I can’t go to Juilliard.”

“If you get into Juilliard, then we will discuss it then. You haven’t even graduated from high school yet. We have a slew of things to do before applying to a conservatory programs, you know?”

“It’s not a no?”

Paul put his hand on her shoulder, making her look up at him. “Of course not. Maia, I believe in you and will always be supportive of your dreams. I promise you that I will always be in your corner and do whatever you need me to do to get there, all right?”

“Thanks, Paulie.”

“When you are well, I will take you to Winston for lessons. They have an incredible piano school there for aspiring pianists.”

“Where is Winston?”

“About fifteen minutes away.”

“Angie got accepted to Winston’s art school.”

“She took NYU’s offer though.”

“Yeah, I know. When is Joey coming home?”

“Sevenish, probably. He probably covered a twelve-hour shift. He will come home and steam, eat and sleep. He’s out of practice.” Maia’s medication alarm rang from the sideboard in the kitchen nook.

“It’s med time,” said Paul hearing the alarm. “Where should these stay?”

“In the piano bench is fine with the rest of them, except the recital book, I want to work on the Schubert piece in that one.”

“Which one is in there?”

“A piano version of Ave Maria.”

“I wrote all over that one. I played it for a cousin’s wedding. You will have absolutely no opposition to that one in this house, for sure.”

“I love Schubert’s constructions.”

Paul carried her jetpack into the kitchen, and she took the meds while he poured her expectorants.

Maia poured them back into her throat like a shot, while Paul sighed.


“Don’t grow up so fast.”

‎Maia smirked. “Okay Paulie.”

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know. I’m tired of sleeping.”

“I think you need to rest in your bed with your vaporizer. I know you are tired of being in bed, but you need rest to get well so we can do fun stuff together.”

“Like what?”

“I want to teach you how to ski.”

Maia smirked. “I would like that. How about tubing?”

“Totally. I love it. Got to wear helmets though.”

“Do you got any music stores up here?”

“A couple. Not like New York though. I can’t wait to take you to Carnegie Hall.”

“And Times Square.”

Paul laughed and nodded. “All the fun stuff, for sure. We will drag Joey to Times Square, he hates it. He used to live in New York.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Probably finish the miniseries I started that’s on the DVR.”

“‎What is it?”

“It’s Sci-Fi.”

“Cool. Let’s go watch it.”

“I’m not starting over or explaining a word of it.”

“Okay, okay.”

‎Paul carried Maia’s jetpack into the den, where he flipped on the gas fireplace and blower. Maia reached for the chenille blanket and sat on the couch with him. As Paul used the remote, he sat on the couch with Maia and reached for a soft pillow and set it by his leg.

“Don’t fight a nap. Your eyes say you need one.”

Maia laid down, and Paul covered her up.

When Ruby found them an hour later, Paul paused the show.

“How is she?” whispered Ruby.

“Tired. I convinced her to sleep.”

Maia coughed, and it hurt so she sat up.

“Are you okay?” Asked Paul.

“It hurts to lay on this side,” she replied, holding her chest. He nodded and opened his arm to her to lean on him. She moved the pillow and did so.

“What hurts?” asked Ruby.

“Breathing in general, after I cough like that.”

“Breathe easy. I’m calling Joey.” She closed her heavy eyes and Ruby sat on the other side of her, covering Maia with the blanket again.

“He just took off his skis and was headed to the truck. He will be home in a few minutes.”

Maia leaned on Paul and cleared her throat. “How’s your show?”

“Not as good as the hype,” he replied. “Like most albums nowadays.”

Maia laughed and put her arm about his waist. “Except yours. It’s always the other way around. Then when the reviews rave about how good it is, you can’t find a copy. Especially when the second single drops.”

“My superstition always pays off,” he replied, kissing the top of her head.

Paul heard Joey’s truck and watched it cross in front of the patio door to the garage.

“There he is now,” said Paul, watching Joey park his Suburban in the garage.

Ruby left them for the back hallway where Joey dropped his boots on the mat and hung up his coat.

“Hey Ruby, how’s our girl?”

“She was doing okay until a little bit ago.”

“I think she probably needs a steam,” he replied. “I already talked to Jimmy on my way home.” Joey pushed his feet into his slippers and took his med bag with him as Ruby led him to the den.

Maia hugged him before Paul could get a kiss.

“Where does it hurt?”

“Right side. It hurts to breathe when I lay on that side.”


“Not since lunch, just the steroid, not the emergency. I haven’t used it since yesterday.”

“Did you take all of your meds?”

“Yes, and on time,” said Paul.

“Gold star for Paulie,” she said, making him laugh.

Joey reached for her wrist. It was a little fast.

“Where is your pain level on a scale of one to ten?”

“When I cough a seven.”

Ruby, would you please ask Elly for a glass of water and Tylenol for Maia?” he asked, after taking her temperature and seeing the 99.5 on the display.

“Sure, I’ll be right back.”

“Okay let me listen,” he said, taking out his stethoscope and putting the stethoscope in his ears and dipped it under her shirt.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, pulling back.


“It’s really cold!”

Joey apologized and did it again. She flinched. He got up and moved to her backside. “Deep breath,” he said as she flinched.

She did and groaned.

“No side effects, deep breath.” He wrote down her vitals and dialed his cell phone.

“Hi, it’s Joey Cravens. Right, Maia Lenci, D.O.B 04/18/1989. She’s complaining of pain upon breathing when on right side and coughing. Yes, she took all meds and expectorants. Yes inhalers. Do you want the peak flows?” he asked, leaving them for the sideboard. He rattled them off to the medical assistant. Joey returned to them a few minutes later, and Maia had resumed her place leaning on Paul.

‎ “Well?” asked Paul.

“He’s glad we are seeing him Monday. C’mon, kiddo, you are getting steamed,” said Joey, grabbing his bag and her jet pack.

“E‎lly, how close to supper?”

“About a half hour?”

“That’s perfect, thanks.” Joey stopped in her room, and took a pair of shorts and a camisole from her drawer and handed them to her. “Change and meet me at my room,” he said. “It’s the one at the end of the hall.”

Maia did as he said and knocked on the bedroom door a few minutes later. Joey told her to enter and she found him in a pair of running shorts.

“I started the steam,” he said, “let’s leave your oxygen out here, I don’t want the steam messing it up.” He put the pulse ox on her finger and opened the door to see how steamy it was. He shut it and saw her staring at the chandelier hanging above their bed from the highest point in the ceiling.

“It’s beautiful,” she said.

‎Joey smirked. “Your brother hates that.”

“Your room is round like a yurt.”

“Yeah, I guess it is, I never thought of it that way. I have always referred to it as a gable, like a castle,” he said. “Have you ever stayed in a yurt?”

“No, I think it would be fun.”

“They are pretty cool. We do that sometimes when we go glamping. Paul loves them.”

‎Maia saw the framed picture in the silver Tiffany frame that set on the dresser. They were in Paris. She wondered if Jimmy and Jonny had a picture like that before Jonny’s stroke.

“You guys look so young—"

“We were. That was about twelve years now? That was our honeymoon. We had a commitment ceremony.”

“Wow,” she said, as he led her to the fold down bench that had a vinyl cushion on the wall. She sat with him and pulled her knees up to her chest.

“What is this room?

“It’s a shower and a sauna. The toilet and sinks are through that door.”

“Oh, wow,” she said, coughing. Joey grabbed the Kleenex box he had brought in.

“Bring it up, no holding back.”

‎Maia rested easy after the coughing fit subsided.

“Joey, will you fix my hair?”

“Sure, I was waiting for things to settle down. I thought about doing it tonight after our session.”

“Do you still cut Paulie’s hair?”

“Not so much anymore. He has a hairstylist he likes here in town and one in New York who does his coloring before tour.”

“You met him while doing hair? On tour? Had you done that before? Work on a music tour?”

“I was living in New York at the time and had done some work for ACR in the past, so I was on a list. Paul’s stylist had a medical emergency and couldn’t travel, and I was the only person who could pick up and leave in two days. It was love at first sight. Your brother never showed his interest in a guy. He had really closeted himself for his career. It was worse back then.”

“Wait, you were his first boyfriend?”

“‎And only—"

“Does that ever worry you?”

“Does it show?”

“Well, no. It’s just, I think gay guys who aren’t happy, need to worry. They are always looking. They are guys, and that’s what guys do, but Paulie is all over you.”

‎Joey smiled. “He’s my world. Did Jimmy and Jonny ever deal with that?”

“I dunno, but Jonny would get wicked jealous over Jimmy’s tours. He’s got this magnetic personality and charm, and everyone wants to be with him. Jonny always worried if he would lose Jimmy to someone else because he’s kind of boring. Cat used to tell him to put down the books and pick up Jimmy.”

“This is crazy,” said Joey, pressing his head against the tile wall, “talking about relationships with you. You realize you look like a child and sometimes sound more mature than most kids twice your age, right? Where did you learn all this, huh?”

‎Maia smirked and cleared her throat. “I’ve seen it my whole life. Guys crying over a glass of wine or fretting over a mug of coffee.”

‎Maia coughed more and brought up more phlegm. “Ooww...owww...”

“It’s okay, you are okay.”

“I hope I won’t need the jet pack for much longer.”

“What were they like when you got home from being hospitalized?”

“Cat and Jimmy would argue over everything. Jonny would just hold me. He was like, go argue at Cat’s, while we sat in his chair together. I never wanted to let him go. Jonny sometimes had to leave me in the chair to referee them. Cat and Jonny had a love-hate relationship, and if he got involved, Jimmy would win. She and Jimmy were really close, though. I know he’s really hurt about Cat. He told me he’s mad at her.”

“Who wouldn’t be?”

“I know, right?”

“How do you want your hair cut?”

“I don’t even care, as long as it isn’t my hack job.”

“How did you used to wear it?” he asked, playing with her hair. “Look at the Lenci curls.”

“It’s annoyingly wavy. I wore it at my shoulders, sometimes in bangs, but lately it was just layers.”

“I think Angie’s got a good idea with the swoop, but it might go afro when these curls get loose. I will have to teach you how to use a straightener. How about a stacked bob? We have enough here for a side bang,” he said, manipulating the hair into sections. “Do you wear make-up yet?”

“Not at all.”

“No interest?”

Maia shook her head and pointed her finger at herself. “Tomboy.”

“Tomboys in evening gowns need to wear make-up.”

“I got an idea. How about a tux with flowy pants that look like a skirt?”

“Nice try. No.”

Maia started coughing up more phlegm and started to wheeze at the end of it. Joey handed her more Kleenex and she felt like it would never stop coming up out of her. He grabbed the trashcan by the vanity and set it by her to drop the snotty wads into. She took as deep of breath as she could and was wheezing. Joey got up and shut off the shower heads and turned on the overhead fans. He left her for the bedroom and brought in her oxygenator. She reached for the tubing and quickly put it on her face.

“Just sit here, no rush,” he said, looking at the pulse-ox. She was still in the low nineties. She smiled at him.

“Won’t be long now, you know? I can’t wait to be off oxygen.”

As the steam dissipated, Maia saw the blue mosaic tile on the floor of the shower and was determined to investigate. She stepped down into the shower and bent down to touch the tiles.

“That is so pretty. I can’t imagine how long it took to make it.”

“The artist did it right here. It was cool to watch her do it. She’s from Spain and her helper was the only one who spoke any English, and it wasn’t much.”

“What was she like?”

“Eccentric. She did the floor in a day, then returned two days later to do the sides, they took the longest.”

“This is the coolest room in the house.”

“I like it too. You still haven’t seen the rest of the house yet,” said Joey.

“I know, I just want to get better soon. I want to do everything yesterday. I want to watch Paulie play in his studio.”

“When he’s recording, there are a ton of people here. He has his own crew that Elly is always feeding and cleaning up after,” said Joey, drying off with a towel as she did likewise. He reached for his robe and held Paulie’s robe for her. It hung to the floor.

“We need to get one your size and hang it here on this other hook. I got to wrap you up so you don’t get shocky on me.”

When they left the bathroom, Maia dragged Paulie’s robe behind her like a royal train. With her jet pack on her shoulder she walked to her bedroom to get dressed as Paulie walked up the staircase seeing her.

“Wait, wait,” he laughed. Maia raised an eyebrow. “My robe is like three sizes too big for you,” he said.

“Paulie, don’t tease her,” said Joey.

“Dinner will be ready in five minutes. Elly sent me up to get you guys and Ruby. I told her to add some fertilizer to your supper, so you grow, he said to her. “Your body needs to catch up with the rest of you.”

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