“C’mon, Nells,” Patrick insisted. “We have to go home before it gets dark.”
“I don’t wanna,” Nellie sang out as she started up the ladder to the slide for the twentieth time.
Patrick sighed and started walking in the direction of the play structure toward the incorrigible four year old. “Nellie, I’m counting! One…two…thr — ”
“WAIT!” Nellie yelled from the top of the slide, waving her arms and shaking her blonde curls furiously. “What are you counting to?”
Patrick rolled his eyes. “Five. I’m counting to five. Three…four…”
Nellie shrieked and hopped onto the slide, flying down the metal chute and only just getting her feet beneath her in time to spring to her brother’s side.
“Five!” Patrick barked, trying his best to smother a grin. “You made it. Barely.” She grabbed his hand and looked up at him, a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye. Her blue eyes stared into his brown ones, wide and trusting, and she retorted, “Course I did. I’m an angel, aren’t I?”
“Yeah, and angels can — ” Patrick began — “FLY!” they both cried in unison as Patrick scooped up his little sister around the middle, balanced her on his shoulder, and began to run. Nellie giggled in delight and spread her arms wide, her limbs bouncing up and down wildly with each step.
They arrived back home giddy and breathless just as the sun set behind the forested hills.