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TWELVE
Joe walked to room 314’s lace draped window where he stripped off his clothes and added them to the pile begun by his wife. He unzipped the small suitcase and grabbed the toiletries bag along with Brian’s Mr. Velveteen Rabbit from within. He placed the stuffed toy between the pillows of the king-sized bed, allowing Mr. Velveteen to sit upright and attentive as his head nestled comfortably between the bed’s two center-most oversize pillows. Smiling, he sauntered to the bathroom where his wife and child stood naked as Beth dried Brian’s hair with a small towel. He tousled Brian’s hair and kissed his wife before stepping into the shower where he quickly and efficiently bathed and shampooed. Shower ended, he opened the curtain and found Beth, minimally garbed with a large towel wrapped from just beneath her underarms to just below her firm, round buttocks, brushing Brian’s teeth.

“Aren’t we going to go eat breakfast?” he asked, referencing the tooth brushing.

“Yeah,” Beth replied, screwing up  the left side of her face. “Don’t you want to get that yuck out of your mouth?”

“I  thought the bad taste in your mouth was from the New Yorkers?”

“Oh, you are funny,” she exclaimed, handing him a large bath towel while giving him a look that clearly indicated she felt otherwise. “And she’s the only one from New York. He’s gotta be Midwestern.”

“Ah! Chicago?”

“Could be. There are other parts to the Midwest you know?”

“Certainly,” Joe said, nodding slowly. “Minneapolis. Saint Louis. I’m sure there’s more,” he said with a grin before adding earnestly, “You are very pretty.”

“Thank you! Back at cha. I like your birthday suit,” she added with a wink.

“And I yours as well. Are you two almost done there? I will accede to your wishes and brush as well.”

“Just rinse, sweetie, don’t drink,” she said to Brian, pulling the toothbrush from his mouth, filling a glass with tap water and handing it to him. “We’ll get water to drink at breakfast.”

“I done!” Brian declared after spitting into the sink and rinsing his mouth with the water Beth handed him.

“I done too!” Beth said, a smile engulfing her whole being. “Good job! We’ll get out of your way,” she added, speaking to Joseph. “Come on, Brian, we’ll get dressed and then go get some breakfast with Pabbi.”

“You don’t want him to drink the tap water? The brochure said it was safe.”

“I know, but still, better safe than sorry, right?”

“You are such an American. I’ll be right out. After I get this bad taste out of my mouth.”

“You are such a jerk. And hurry. Mama’s hungry!”

“And tired?”

“Very. Eat, nap, play. In that order.”

“I no nap,” Brian reiterated, shaking his head.

Beth sighed deeply.