Lily sighed and looked at the clock on the wall. It was almost three o'clock and her ride would soon be along to pick her up at school. It wouldn't be her Marshmallow picking her up today, however. Her husband and Ted had gone on their periodic pilgrimage to Chicago for pizza at Gazola's. They'd loaded up on bottles of Tantrum the night before and were on their way well before she had stirred that morning, before the sun had even come up.
The guys had only come up with the plan late the night before, while coming across an old case of Tantrum in a small convenience store in the city. Marshall had popped in to buy a pack of gum and had emerged with a dusty old case of discontinued energy drinks under his arm and a mad gleam in his eyes. Lily knew right away that there was no use in fighting it and, sure enough, he had already called Ted from inside the store on his cell phone while Lily was in another aisle and the plan was set in stone.
Since it was Friday, she still had to work and therefore still had to find a way home. Her school wasn't that close to a subway station and a cab ride would've been expensive, so instead she called Robin to see if she could get a ride home. Robin would be awake from her early morning news broadcast by that time so she'd readily agreed and would be there to pick Lily up at any minute.
Most of the children had left school for the day, though some of the older elementary school students were still milling about at various after school activities. Sports like soccer and basketball kept some of the kids occupied after classes were over, as did other activities like school choir and band practices. It wasn’t unusual for her to hear a racket out in the hallway or a commotion of some sort as the various events let out, so at first she didn’t think twice when she heard some shouting in the hallway.
When she heard a familiar voice shouting back, however, she took notice and sat up straight. Lily frowned and listened closely, trying to distinguish who it was, and when she heard the voice a second time she had no doubt to whom it belonged.
Popping his head around the open door frame, Barney Stinson’s head came into view. His eyes went wide as he recognized his red haired friend and the rest of his body--clad in a suit as always--slid into view.
“Lily! There you are.” He turned to face the way he’d just came, yelling again. “Hey Robin, I found her! Over here!”
“Barney, what-” Lily started to ask, getting to her feet.
Straightening his tie, he turned and faced Lily again. “Lily! Despite choosing Marshall as your husband you have excellent...” Barney looked at her from head to toe then back up to her head again. “...good taste. What do you think of this suit?”
Rolling her eyes at his words, Lily took a good look at him. Barney was wearing impeccably shined black leather shoes which nicely complimented his charcoal gray suit, the simple white shirt underneath, and the matching gray tie, tied in a perfect looking double Windsor knot. It looked as stylish as he always dressed.
“You look good, Barney.”
“That KID-” He pointed back out the hallway in the same direction. “-said I was a doofus. A doofus, Lily. I ask you, does this look like something a doofus would wear?” Barney spun around at that, revealing a note pinned to the back of his suit with a child’s handwriting on it.
The note read, in large block letters, ‘DOOFUS.’
Covering her mouth, Lily giggled silently while he was back on to her and tried her best to not laugh when he finished his rotating and continued to look incredulously at her.
“I know, speechless, right? Right? Kids these days. No respect.” Barney fretted and readjusted his silver cufflinks as Robin finally caught up to him and entered the classroom.
“Hi Robin,” Lily greeted her, not wanting to burst out into laughter at Barney just yet.
Robin came to a halt, looking at Barney’s back, and scowled at him as she tore the note off of his back. “I was trying to tell you, THIS-” She held the sign up to him, since Barney had turned to face her as she spoke. “-was why they were laughing. You didn’t have to yell at them.”
“I only told them that they were wrong, Robin, and they were. I didn’t-”
“One of them ran away crying, Barney.”
“How was I supposed to know he was going to do that?”
“He’s like five years old! You don’t yell at a five your old that your mother dresses you funny!”
“Well he was dressed funny!” Barney exclaimed, turning back to Lily. “Seriously, you guys need a dress code in here or uniforms here or something. He was wearing the ugliest green sweater with red pants-”
“...that was little Brian Saunders. His parents divorced a few months ago and he lives with his father now.” Lily replied.
After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, Barney raised his right hand. “Awkward high five?”
Neither of the girls moved to give him a high five, so he ended up slapping his own hand with his other one. “Yup, that was awkward alright.”
“So, Lily.” Robin looked right past Barney, not addressing his presence. “Are you ready to go?”
“I am, I just need to go get my coat and I’ll be right with you.” She opened her desk drawer, taking her keys out of it and leading them all outside of the classroom. Turning off the lights, she locked the door behind her as she spoke to Robin. “So why are both of you here, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Well-” Robin began before she got cut off.
“I can answer that one, Robin. She couldn’t say no to me, Lily. I needed a ride home and when I asked her she couldn’t turn me away.” He smirked.
“Plus he gave me twenty bucks.” Robin added.
“There was also that, yes, but you couldn’t say no anyway.”
“And he’s buying us supper.” It was Robin’s turn to smirk.
Barney lifted a finger in protest. “Hey now I-”
“You offered to get me supper, and I have supper plans with Lily, so now you’re getting us both supper.”
“It’s true, we did have supper plans, Barney. You kinda crashed them, so I think Robin’s right.” Lily joined in the grinning and ganging up on Barney.
Another female teacher passed them in the hallway as Barney replied. “Alright, alright, yes. You can both have me, ladies. There’s no need to fight.” He winked at the teacher as she went by, adding. “I’ll be home and doing nothing around nine o’clock though, just so you know. Yeah, I’m talking to you.”
Lily and Robin synchronized their smacks, hitting him on either arm and causing him to bang back against the lockers.
“I’ll be right back, just wait here.” Lily smiled and headed the same way as the other teacher, towards the faculty lounge where she stored her belongings.
“So, Robin.” Barney bounced back off of the lockers as if nothing had happened. “I bet this place just makes you feel all motherly inside.” He straightened his tie and smoothed out his jacket before looking over at her. “Or makes that clock sound a whole lot louder, I bet. Tick, tock, tick, tock.”
“Nice try, Barney, but I don’t want to have kids.” Robin paused, looking down for a second as she thought about her and Ted for a few moments. “Not really my thing.”
“Really? Huh.” He tugged one of his shirt sleeves out under his jacket just so to evenly match the other side. “I had you pegged as a breeder. Guess I was wrong.”
Smirking at him, Robin shook her head. “Nope, no kids or family for me. No spouse, either. With me, you just get the raw, unbridled passion. Sex is all I care about. Relationships? Tie you down, who wants that, right? No, it’s just all about the steamy, tawdry, impossibly hot sex with me.” She continued to smirk, taking a step towards him.
Jumping back so he hit the lockers again, Barney collected himself. “Yeah, right. You’re not serious.”
“I’m as serious as a heart attack.” Robin leaned in, placing a hand above his left shoulder against the locker and pressing in closely against him. She was still smirking, not letting on whether she was being serious.
Before Barney could react, Lily came back around the corner, coat in hand and ready to go. She stopped at the sight before her, opening her mouth but not saying anything.
Robin looked over at Lily and then finally broke into a chuckle, moving back away from Barney and letting him move away from the lockers. “Damn it, Lily, I was this close to seducing Barney there. Nice timing.”
Lily smiled and laughed too, patting Barney on the shoulder as she joined Robin and headed down the hall.
Barney turned to follow them, stopping when he saw the kid he’d teased earlier coming out from the boys’ washroom. “Hey kid, I, uh. I’m sorry for what I said earlier.” He reached into his pocket, taking out his wallet and then taking a dollar bill out of it. Kneeling down, he offered the money to the little boy. “Here, get yourself a soda or something.”
The kid leered at him, staring at the dollar bill, Barney’s wallet, then back to Barney. “Give me a twenty and we’ll call it even, doofus.”
Lily and Robin had turned to look back at Barney and the boy. He didn’t want to look like he was messing things up so he spoke to the kid in hushed tones between clenched teeth. “...ten bucks, you little hooligan, and I won’t tell your teacher what a little extortionist she has for a pupil. And you have to hug me and make it look real.”
Either the kid knew that Barney wanted to impress the girls or he was just stubborn. No matter which, Barney muttered and took a twenty out, handing it to the kid who just grinned and snatched it out of his hands before giving him an obviously forced, quick hug before turning to walk the other way.
Barney got to his feet, nodding upward at Lily and Robin. “Kid adores me. He wanted to say he was sorry for calling me a doofus.”
“Uh-huh. I’m sure that’s it.” Lily smiled just the same, then opened the door and headed outside.
Robin gave him a raised eyebrow and then gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. “Maybe I’m the one who pegged you wrong, Stinson.” She smiled and then followed Lily outside.
Barney just stood there, a small grin growing on his face. Fixing his tie once more, he headed outside to join the ladies.
He didn’t notice the reapplied ‘doofus’ sign on his back until he’d gotten back home.