“Careful on the stairs, Nana,” Noah says. He knows that Finn would say he’s fussing, and they’re probably right, but Nana’s pretty old and the stairs did have ice before they salted them earlier.
“I know, Noah,” Nana says, shaking her head at him and following him into the house. “Where’s my granddaughter?” she calls.
“Kitchen, Nana!” Hannah yells back.
“Forget her, where are my nieces?” Noah asks, grinning when he hears two year old feet running.
“Nana! Nana!” they start screaming, followed by a chorus of “Nana!” behind them.
“Nana! Come sit with me!” Charlie yells, taking Nana by the other arm. “You can sit with me and Harvey.”
“Hi, Charlie,” Nana says. “And Harvey, my favorite great-grandson.”
“You’d better watch it with that, Nana,” Finn teases. “We might have Kurt father the next one just to get a second boy.”
“No!” Kurt calls from the living room. “No more babies!”
Finn shifts Fiver to his other hip and stage-whispers, “Shhh. Don’t listen to Daddy. He talks crazy talk.” Fiver grins and babbles “da da da” back at him.
“You can always have grandbabies soon,” Beth teases, and Noah groans. “Hi, Nana.”
“No grandbabies yet,” Shelby says firmly, and Noah nods.
“Listen to your mother.” Noah picks up Saffy and tickles her stomach. “Right? Tell your Aunt Beth to listen to your Uncle Noah.”
Jonquil laughs and dances around in a circle while Noah holds her sister, shouting, “Me! Me! Me!”
“Yeah ‘Quil, you’re next,” Noah promises, spinning Saffy around and then handing her to Nana. “We can’t have more babies, Finn, the house isn’t big enough and we’ll start forgetting names.”
“We can tack on another floor,” Finn says.
“We can just buy the place next to us,” Charlie says. “Then I can have my own bathroom, and I won’t have to share with anybody but Harvey.”
“Nope,” Noah says. “We are not building a Peas-suite.”
“You are so unfair, Papa!” Charlie says, stomping her foot and pouting.
“Don’t worry, Charlie,” Harvey says calmly. “Only nine more years and we can have our own apartment.”
Charlie smiles at Harvey, wrinkling her nose. “And we’ll get our own apartment. And a pet monkey!”
Harvey looks dubious about the pet monkey, but he doesn’t contradict her, and Noah sets Jonquil down on the floor again.
“Excuse me, Aunt Hannah,” Nova’s soft voice pipes up. “The cookies are on fire.”
“Oh, shit!” Hannah says, then points at Jonquil and Saffy. “Don’t repeat that, girls!”
“Shit!” Jonquil says.
Fiver wriggles in Finn’s arms and loudly declares, “Sit!”
Noah laughs. “Aww, darling, Hannah takes after you.”
“That’s my girl!” Finn says.
“And this is why I don’t bring my knitting,” Nana says. “It’s always so busy here.”
“Go ahead and sit down,” Noah suggests. “We’ll eat soon. Better to get food in these kids before there’s more presents.”
Nana nods and sits down, which results in a cluster of great-grandchildren around her immediately, with Beth and Eliza hanging back slightly.
“Get in there, sweet potato,” Noah says, nudging Eliza, who smiles at him.
“Just the one, darling,” Noah hears Kurt saying, and he turns to see Finn pouring a rather stiff scotch.
“I think Hannah needs help with those burnt cookies,” Finn says, not really acknowledging Kurt’s request. “Come on, Fiver-doodle. Let’s help Aunt Hannah with those stinky cookies!”