"Do it again"! Natasha yells with her tiny New England tinged voice.
Rick dives back under the water as Natasha kicks furiously to meet him half way. Suddenly he disappears from her view. She stops kicking and rests on E.T looking puzzled at the empty pool around her. Suddenly Rick jumps up from below her, lifting her and E.T high up into the air above his head as she screams with delight and fear, her miniature legs still paddling in the air.
"What's all this then"? Natasha's bearded father stands at the edge of the pool holding a glass filled with ice. Rick gently places her and E.T back into the pool and strokes back her curls from her eyes. "Oh hi Michael, sorry were we too loud"?
"Nothing we're not used to. Drink"? Natasha's father holds up the glass as Fleetwood Mac sings "If you don't love me now, you'll never love me again, still you must never break the chain" and the electric guitar riff builds and fills the balmy evening air.
"Cheers Michael". Rick pulls himself easily out of the pool and takes the thick, square glass "Is it on the decking"?
"Yeah, just help yourself" Michael gestures to the raised porch behind him as he bends down, his knees cracking, to the pool's edge. He pulls E.T with Natasha securely inside toward him and lifts them both with ease out of warm water.
"Now then little one, isn't it past your bedtime?" Michael kisses her nose. "You'll get more wrinkly than E.T if you stay in there much longer"
Natasha giggles and waddles with E.T to her beach towel that envelops her as she wriggles out of E.T's inflatable ring. Shivering, she wraps the cotton further around her and pads towards her father's legs and grabs hold of them, stepping her bare feet onto his, he begins to walk with her, giant like, up the steps towards the decking where her brother is intensely occupied with embarking his Star Wars figures into the Millenium Falcon
"Watch out, Chewbacker coming through"! Michael warns as Natasha inevitably knocks over the Millenium Falcon with her towel train.
"Noooooo!" Elliot screams "Dad, she always messes it up"!
"Now, now, kids, it's time you two were in the bath and bed".
Natasha jumps off her father's feet and hides under her towel and stays as still as a rock in Monument Valley. Rick comes over and pretends to sit on her sipping and chatting away as Natasha begins to giggle.
"Wait a minute, this rock is moving....what's this?! Michael, I didn't know you had magic rocks in the garden"!?
Natasha cracks and jumps up so that Rick almost spills his drink over her mother, who is helping Elliot pick up the Star Wars figures she knocked over.
"Don't encourage her" Nathasa's mother smiles, her voice low, but tinged with warning.
"You're right, she's a terror." Rick picks up Natasha and tips her upside down so that her light curls hang down from her like freshly twirled pasta.
"Is this a solitary snooze or can anyone join" Natasha jumps, startled from her day dream as Dmitry smiles and nuzzles his head into her neck, brushing her blonde curls back onto the sofa.
"I was miles away"
"Clearly" Dimitry agrees his voice muffled.
"Everything was so much simpler then"
"I don't know." Natasha hesitates "Maybe it wasn't" Dmitry strokes her hair back, kissing her forehead. "Come on, let's go, we can't stay in the office the whole night, that won't solve anything".
Natasha nods and shakes her head, trying to cast those hauntingly happy memories out of her mind as if they were tormenting her present.