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The Brady Bunch

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The Wells family is like the Brady Bunch.

At least, that's what Andrew tells himself. He tells himself that music plays when he runs down the stairs - not trips, never trips, because in the Brady Bunch no one is ever maliciously shoved down the second last step because they accidentally ate the last can of spaghettios.

His parents are in love. The fights he hears downstairs aren't them, oh no, the TV is just a little too loud and everyone can hear it. He wonders why they watch such violent TV shows when they're such a nice family, and wonders why when he hits head head he can see spots instead of stars because no one gets concussions on the Brady Bunch unless it's a plot point, and if it's a plot point then it gets better and they learn something by the end. His parents are going to stay together forever, it's the TV yelling about how some character's bags were packed and they were leaving tonight, Tom, TONIGHT!

His brother is nice. Tucker doesn't mean to hurt him or shove him. He never said nasty things, only nice things, because the Brady Bunch is all about sibling love and getting along. It's never about broken arms or bloodied lips, and it's certainly never about laying down on the sidewalk because your head hurts and you can't remember where you're trying to go anymore.

The neighborhood is good. The Wells live in a nice house, in a nice part of town, and there are no vampires around unless it's Halloween and it's a humorous plot point. The neighbors weren't killed, they just moved suddenly and without warning because sometimes people do that on TV.

It's not Andrew that the teachers call up to the office. It's not really Tucker he's sitting beside when they tell him that mom really did leave a few weeks ago and that dad is in jail. It's not him. Because he's at home, eating supper with Mom and Dad and talking cheerfully about who Tucker is going to ask to Prom and the rumors of Flying Monkeys at the school play. At home, he's noticed, not ignored, and never abandoned.

It's not Andrew that Tucker throws against the lockers when they get out. It's not Andrew he screams at, it's not Andrew who he places the blame on, because it's Not Tucker. It's as simple as that, this is all an awful misunderstanding. Tucker doesn't hit him again and storm off, Tucker really stays and tells him that they just went on vacation and they'll bring back expensive gifts.

The door isn't locked when he goes home that night because he's already there. Tucker doesn't tell him to 'fuck off' because those words aren't ever spoken in the Brady Bunch. He doesn't sit on the porch for two hours before he starts to wander off because it's not getting cold and he's not scared of the wild dogs that might not be dogs and the rumors about vampires might be true.

His feet don't carry him to Jonathan's, and Jonathan isn't home because he doesn't need to be there. Jonathan doesn't panic when he sees him or call his mom down, because Andrew is at home with his family enjoying a nice home cooked meal, because the Wells family never relies on nuked hot dogs and the occasional TV dinner if they're lucky.

He doesn't cry. He doesn't cry when Mrs. Levinson patches him up and he doesn't bawl when Mr. Levinson asks what happened. He's not that weak, because he's not here, he's home and he has a happy family and it's going to be okay.

He doesn't sleep in Jon's bed with him because that would be gay sometimes Tucker says that that's wrong and dad agrees with his booming voice, but no glass ever shatters because people don't drink in the Brady Bunch. He doesn't curl up close because that would be queer and creepy, and he doesn't cry into the pillow because it's all okay.

Because the Wells family is like the Brady Bunch. And everything will be okay before the ending credits.