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Adelia was currently on her hands and knees by the front door. She was scrubbing away, with a wet cloth, at a muddy patch imprinted into the carpet. Adelia dwelled on all the possible ways to help Noah. So much that she had lost track of the amount of time that had passed since she began scrubbing the stain out from the carpet.
Adelia was so caught up in her own head that it took a fourth and finally poke of her shoulder by Henry, himself, in order to get her attention. She had to take a second to jump back into reality before responding to Henry.
"Hi, Henry." Adelia beamed towards Henry, genuinely happy to see him.
"Hi, Ad," Henry beamed brightly back to Adelia. His use of a nickname for Adelia took her by surprise., he was the first to ever refer to Adelia as Ad, "Can I have my shoes?"
Adelia glanced from Henry to the shoe rack which was blocked by her torso. Shoes were messily piled on top of one another and even some scattered beneath it.
"What's the magic word?" Adelia teased, causing Henry's lips to form a cheeky smile.
"No problem, Sir. Which pair, the blue ones?" Adelia asked in a sweet and welcoming tone.
Henry confirmed by nodding and pointing his small index finger towards the blue pair.
"Why do you need them? Where are you off to?" Adelia asked out of curiosity.
"To the park with Noah," Henry responded while sitting on the ground, next to Adelia. He then slid his trainers onto his feet with great force.
"Again?" Adelia asked since she watched the two of them leave the front door to head to the park only an hour and a half ago.
"Yeah, he's teaching me to skateboard this time," Henry replied.
That was when Adelia noticed Noah hovering over Henry. She was completely oblivious to his presence beforehand.
Henry began to stretch his legs out and sit back with his arms behind him supporting the top half of his body. Noah then proceeded to crouch down before Henry and beside Adelia. He reached out his hands towards Henry's trainers and started to tie the little boy's laces.
"Wait, hang on," Adelia could not help but interrupt, "Henry, I think it's time you learn how to do this yourself."
With his fingers holding onto the 10-year-olds laces, Noah looked fixedly towards Adelia. She was unable to read Noah's face, it was not his familiar sorrowful expression. However, nor was it pleasurable.
"It's okay, keep going but do it slowly so he can see." Adelia leant in towards Noah, making sure to respect his space but close enough so he can hear her muttering.
Noah nodded, submitting to Adelia. She gestured for Henry to sit forward and watch the demonstration in front of him.
"Okay, Henry. First things first, tie the knot tight enough so your foot fits nice and comfy," Adelia instructed and Noah slowly demonstrated how to tie the knot, "Did you get that?"
Henry nodded, Adelia could see that Henry wanted to learn this. She would catch him attempting to tie his own laces and get upset when he would fail. This resulted in Noah running to his side and tying them for him.
Noah was patient as Adelia verbally taught Henry, word by word. He would wait at each step until she was done explaining. It was almost as if he had wanted to teach Henry, but was unable to. Noah finally had the chance to teach Henry and he was cooperating.
The site sitting in front of Henry was rare. Adelia and Noah working together as a pair, with Noah willingly cooperating.
From loop to loop and knot to knot, Noah had successfully tied the laces of Henry's left shoe. Adelia had also successfully instructed Henry through the process. Noah's hands began to divert to Henry's right foot but Adelia decided to disrupt him.
"Hang on," Adelia stopped Noah, "Let's see if you can do the next one, Henry."
Henry agreed and took the shoelace from Noah's fingertips into his. He fiddled with the lace, without needing any guidance. While Henry was tying his laces, Noah glanced over to Adelia sitting next to him. He looked at her with eyes full of appreciation. Of course, Adelia did not notice. She was too busy staring at Henry's fingers working on his laces.
With one final tug on the thick stringlike material, Henry had managed to successfully tie his shoe. For the first time without assistance and tears.
Adelia pretended to not notice the smile spreading on Noah's face. She stood to her feet, offering Henry a hand to get him back on his own feet.
"I did it!" Henry cheered over and over while repeatedly raising his feet in the air.
To Adelia's shock, the smile on Noah's face had not vanished. She decided not to obsess over it since any smile of Noah's did not last long.
"You did well done!" Adelia chirped with a delightful tone, "Okay, I'll let you two be. Have fun at the park."
Adelia picked up the rag sitting on the muddy stain, unwilling to budge. She then began to walk away after giving Henry a gentle pat of praise on the shoulder.
"Do you want to come with us?" Henry asked, causing Adelia to stop in her tracks and turn to Henry.
Noah seemed surprised by Henry's question. He targeted his furrowed eyebrows towards the small boy but changed his expression as soon as he caught eyes with Adelia. Noah glued his lips together and smiled, reassuring Adelia that she was welcome.
"Oh-okay. Yeah, sure." Adelia was shocked that not only was she invited to the park with them, but Noah did not respond by rolling his eyes or curling his lip up in annoyance. From the look in his eyes, he was more than happy for her to join them.