Eliza fetched the mail after another long, rough day of patrolling the loud streets of San Myshuno. She was tired, frustrated, and not sure what to do about her work drama. Everything she did was met with opposition, and she felt like she would be stuck doing rookie tasks forever.
She attempted a smile. “Hello, Asia.” She didn’t exactly want company at the moment, but it was nice to hear from her friend.
“Is everything all right?”
She was still in work mode and answered quickly on auto-pilot, “I’m fine. How can I help?”
Asia hesitated to answer. “Well…it’s the first Friday…. Are we having a meeting tonight?”
Eliza’s eyes blinked a few times as she processed what she said. “Oh dear. It completely slipped my mind…. I’m not feeling up to it, honestly.”
“Are you sure you’re all right? Is there anything I can do to help?”
Eliza wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of help and knew she wouldn’t be able to pretend like everything was fine with Asia. She sighed, lowered her head, swallowed her pride, and accepted her friend’s help.
“Could you watch the twins for me while I take a bath?”
“Of course! You go straight upstairs, and take as long as you need.”
Although she was a bit embarrassed at her weary appearance and pungent, sweaty aroma, she was relieved that it was Asia who came to inquire. She was the only one Eliza allowed into the intimate corners of her life.
“Thank you, Asia.”
Eliza would never allow just anyone to babysit. But, if she were to take someone up on their offer, she probably would have opted for a quick shower so not to burden him or her. But, Eliza trusted Asia. She did take that bath, and she did take as long as she needed to, and it was wonderful. When she got out of the tub, she was properly wrinkled and felt amazing. She didn’t even bother to find Asia and tell her she was out and went downstairs to get dinner instead.
Asia eventually found her and joined Eliza at the table. “Good heavens, you look like a different person!”
Eliza sighed. “Thank you for doing this.”
“Oh, honey, of course. You know I’ll babysit anytime. I kinda miss being around the little ones!”
Eliza almost choked on her sandwich. “Dear Watcher, please tell me you and Jared aren’t planning to have another child.”
Asia belted out a hearty laugh. “Good heavens! Don’t you think our brood is big enough? I don’t miss them that much.”
Asia’s smile softened a bit. “So…what’s got you all worked up? And…have you been outside all day?”
Eliza sighed again. “They’ve had me on patrol all week.” All the stress and anxiety she just washed away began to slowly rise up again.
“Patrol? What on earth is a Captain doing patrolling the streets?”
She shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine. I think Farris and the Chief are sabotaging me. I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it.”
“Sure there is! You keep doing great work, and eventually, you’ll be the Chief!”
“That’s good logic, Asia, but it doesn’t work that way. We get promoted based on the number of cases we solve. If I can’t solve cases, I don’t get promoted! It’s a great strategy if I may say so.”
Asia sighed. “Well…you’re smart. I’m sure you’ll figure out a way around this soon.”
Breanne came from the kitchen with Lexi in her arms. Asia wasn’t aware of her change of heart and was about to make a big deal out of it before Eliza put a stop to it. She shook her head and mouthed “no” at Asia. They ceased their conversation until Breanne had disappeared.
“What in the world is this?” Asia asked. “How did you do it?”
“I don’t think I did, but I never pushed the girls on her. I ask her for help, and if she says no, I let it be. I figured if we didn’t make a big deal out of it, she’d eventually come around.”
“My! Well, good job! I was seriously concerned that she didn’t like them or something.”
“She’s been curious. She watches me with them, and I see her in their rooms sometimes.”
“I knew it would take some time, but I expected she would eventually come around.”
“Good for you! I’m glad you’ll have some extra help now.”
The two friends talked the night away about their kids and the goings on in their lives. They never had a conversation so long and so fluid before. Previously, they had nothing in common until children entered the Pancakes residence. It was nice to connect with her on a deeper level. It didn’t occur to her until then that she really needed that kind of connection.
After Asia said good night, Breanne helped her get the girls in bed. When she retreated to her bedroom for the night, Eliza saw that Breanne’s babysitting skills needed work.