“Daddy, you gotta sit up!”
“Hmm...?” Alain’s eyes flickered up and he found himself looking into the gazes of two girls, narrowed amber and green eyes watching him. The older of the girls, who was no more than seven, had her hands on her hips.
“It’s proper for princesses to sit up, Dad!” Faith said sternly. “You gotta sit up!”
Alain let out a sigh, but straightened his back. “Can’t I be the king or something?”
Faith rolled her eyes, looking towards her younger sister with a look that said ‘Can you believe him?’
“We’re playing princess tea party, Daddy!” Faith said, giggling slightly. “You can’t be a king at a princess tea party! Besides, even if you were a king you’d have to sit up too, it’s only proper,” Faith tapped her toy fairy wand against the small play table, right next to where her Fennekin doll was placed. “Now pass the sugar, Princess Daddy!”
Alain reluctantly reached for the small pink, plastic dish in front of him, picking up the plastic spoon resting there. He looked towards his youngest daughter, his voice monotone. “One scoop or two?”
Varya’s eyes were glued to her father’s mouth as he spoke, and it was only after he finished the question that she raised her gaze to his eyes. Alain watched as she raised her hands, making several swift gestures.
Alain gave a small smile, and pretended to place two scoops of sugar into her small cup. The four year old happily picked up the small toy cup, stirring the imaginary drink around. He then placed two more scoops into Faith’s cup, who started stirring the fake tea in a vigorous manner. A real smile spread across Alain’s face, though it faded slightly as he was reminded by his daughter that he had to place sugar into his tea as well.
He sighed, but humored his two daughters, then raised his little pink cup up for a ‘cheers’ with them. Varya mouthed the word, though only a small hum came from her. Alain’s back slowly started to slouch again as the tea party continued– sitting cross-legged on the ground did not encourage good posture.
But it was the only way he could be at the play table with his daughters– who had decided that they were not going to play tea party without their father. Alain remembered the look of desperation he had thrown at Mairin as his two daughters had began to drag him towards the playroom upstairs. Mairin had betrayed him, merely laughing as he was lead away to his doom, with her just reminding the girls that they had until dinner to play with their daddy. And so with no hope left in sight Alain had found himself brought to the dress-up box, were the girls had wasted no time getting the newest ‘princess’ ready for their tea party.
He was slightly insulted that they had deemed his scarf princess-y enough for the tea party.
Of course it wasn’t the same scarf from his original journey– that old one had lost its fluffiness years ago– but Alain had never failed to get himself another one. His current scarf was a darker blue, and was wrapped snugly around his neck– the only accessory he felt he needed. But today he had many more.
A plastic silver tiara had been placed in his hair, and the glares from his daughters everytime he even lifted his hand to touch it was enough to leave it in place. A sparkly pink cape had been draped over his shoulders, and they had tied at least a dozen ribbons around his dark hair. If that wasn’t bad enough, they had also dragged out their makeup kit.
Alain wasn’t too knowledgeable about makeup, but he was quite sure that lipstick wasn’t supposed to go on his cheeks and forehead.
A flash of movement caught his attention, and Alain’s gaze shifted to Varya. His redheaded daughter was signing to him, and his eyes quickly focused on her moving hands. It was a simple gesture– she was hungry. Alain gave her a smile smile, and signed back that they would be having dinner soon.
Varya considered this, nodded, and took a sip of the imaginary tea from her cup.
Faith was currently making an announcement that the fairy princesses were going to visit and grant them each a wish. She was twirling one strand of her black hair with her toy wand as she spoke, pausing to consider what they should do next. Her amber eyes lit up, and she quickly signed a few gestures to Varya. Both girls then grinned ear from ear, and Alain wished he had been paying attention to what they had just said.
“Come on Daddy!” Faith chirped excitedly, leaping up from her chair and grabbing his arm.
Alain visibly paled as Varya ran to his other side, her hands wrapping around his as they urged him to his feet. Alain nervously stood, he loved his daughters, but that didn’t mean that their games didn’t set him on edge. And even though Mairin had left him to this fate, it was her voice that became his saving grace.
“Girls!” Mairin called up the stairs. “Time to come help with dinner!”
Faith paused, and Alain found himself relaxing in relief. Varya glanced between her father and sister in confusion, until Faith signed what Mairin had said. Varya’s face fell, clearly still wanting to play, and she looked up at Alain, placing her hand on her chest. She moved it in a circular motion a few times, eyes wide and begging.
Alain sighed, holding his hand up, his thumb and first two fingers open. He pressed them together, shaking his head. ‘No.’
Varya crossed her arms, pouting. She turned away from Alain a dramatic fashion, huffing as she went after her sister, who was putting her dress-ups away. Varya followed her sister’s example, still looking less than pleased at the fact that play time was now over. Alain smiled weakly, and reached up to take the tiara off of his head. Relieved to be free of the princess crown, he took off the sparkly cape that had been placed on his shoulders, dropping his ‘Princess Daddy’ outfit into the dress-up bin.
The girls had bolted down the stairs in moments, but Alain took his time as he trailed after them. His fingers were combing through his hair, snagging any ribbon that had been placed there and pulling them out. He just hoped that the makeup would come off easily, but given the fact that most girls owned “makeup remover” he realized that it might not be the case.
Mairin smiled as she watched her two daughters race down the stairs, Faith already chittering away at the wonderful game they had just been playing. Mairin caught word of how the fairy princesses were going to come right before she had called them down, and how Faith had been planning on revealing the fact that she was actually the queen of the fairy princesses. Mairin gave Faith a small nod, before shifting her gaze to Varya, who had her lower lip stuck out unhappily.
“But then I realized that if I was the queen of the fairy princesses then I shouldn’t be at the princess tea party,” Faith said with a long sigh. She held up her Fennekin doll. “So instead I decided that it’s going to be Kindle that’s the queen, and I’ll be the princess-princess of the fairy princesses!”
“It sounds like your game was a lot of fun,” Mairin said, but then she turned to Varya, kneeling down so she was on the same level as the four year old. ‘Is everything alright?’
Varya watched her mother’s signs, before replying. ‘I want to play.’
‘After dinner,’ Mairin signed back, and Varya turned away unhappily. Mairin simply smiled at this, before pushing herself to her feet. She grabbed a large plastic bowl from off of the table, and tapped Varya’s shoulder so she’d turn to face her. “Girls, I want you to go out into the garden and pick some Oran berries for dinner, okay? Bébé is already out there, and she can help you.”
Varya was watching her mother’s mouth intently, while Faith leaned forward and plucked the bowl from Mairin’s hand.
“Okey-dokey, Mom!” Faith chirped, and then with Kindle tucked under one arm she grabbed Varya’s wrist. “Come on, Varya! Whoever picks the most berries first wins!”
And with that the two girls ran out the sliding back doors, where a yellow-flowered Florges was waiting in the garden. Mairin leaned up against the sink, peering out the window as she watched them head for the Oran bushes. Bébé drifted behind the girls with a watchful eye as they began to pluck the berries, and occasionally a berry was slipped away into their mouths instead of a bowl.
Varya stood up on her tippy toes as she tried to reach a berry that was out of reach. Her fingers brushed the bottom of the blue berry, but she couldn’t get a grasp on it. She paused, eyes narrowed in frustration. Bébé hurried forward to help her, but Varya wasn’t waiting for help. She squeezed her eyes shut, holding up one hand. Mairin watched with distant eyes as a green glow surrounded her daughter’s hand, and then the same glow then surrounded the berry. Varya yanked her hand down, and berry was suddenly jerked off of the bush.
The glow faded, and Varya opened her bright green eyes just as the berry came flying down. She held out her hands, catching it, before skipping over to Faith and placing it into the bowl.
“She’s getting better,” A voice commented from behind her, and Mairin jumped in surprise. She spun around, and found herself face to face with Alain’s shirt– she hadn’t even realized that he was standing right next to her. He gave a small chuckle. “You okay?”
Mairin turned back to the window. “Besides the fact that you nearly gave me a heart attack? Then yes, I’m just fine.”
Alain chuckled again. “You need to pay more attention to your surroundings then, if you can’t even notice a handsome man right behind you.”
She playfully elbowed him, before reaching for a pot she had set next to the sink. She turned on the water, starting to fill it up. “‘Handsome’ man? More like ‘tall man’,” He snorted and she grinned. “Now tall man, go use your height and get me the bowtie noodles at the top of the pantry.”
And with that she turned off the water, carrying the pot over to the stove. There had once been a time where Alain hadn’t even let her into the kitchen, but over time dinner had slowly evolved into a family effort. She could hear Alain rummaging around the pantry, and she smiled to herself. She wasn’t too bad of a cook now days– and not counting the peanut butter sandwiches she had managed to burn a few weeks ago, the fire alarm hadn’t gone off in nearly a month.
“Here you go,” Alain said, making her stiffen as she realized that he was right behind her once more– and again he hadn’t made a sound until he had spoken. She turned around to take the noodles, only to then realize that his hand was being held above his head, meaning her pasta was out of her reach. She scowled, holding out her hand out impatiently, and she glared up at him.
And then she burst out laughing.
“Oh my Arceus!” Mairin laughed. “Looks like someone got a makeover!”
Alain’s eyes narrowed, and his arm come down as he scowled. However this only made his expression look even funnier– since it was hard to look intimidating with pink lipstick all over one’s face. Not only had the girls messily managed to cover his lips and surrounding skin with the hot pink lipstick– then had also gone all over his face. A shape that resembled a heart had been scrawled onto one cheek, and a messy circle of the pinkness on the other. What was truly the best feature though was his forehead, where two lines had been drawn above his eyes, making look like he had thick pink eyebrows.
“It’s not funny...” Alain muttered, burying his head into a hand in what clearly was embarrassment. Mairin simply laughed again, using the moment to snatch the box of bowtie noodles before he could hold them out of reach again. She grin as she noticed several ribbons were tied into his hair, and she swiftly turned away as she opened the noodles.
“Sorry Alain,” Mairin chuckled, pouring the pasta into the pot. “It’s hilarious.”
She could imagine him scowling at her words, and with the image of his lipstick-covered face she found herself snickering again. Alain let out a sound that resembled a growl, snatching the empty box she handed to him over her shoulder.
“Look, as far as I’m concerned, ‘Princess Daddy’ never happened, okay?” Alain said, his tone slightly irritated.
“Oh lighten up, Alain,” She said, smiling at him. “It’s cute that you played with the girls– it shows just how good of a father you are.”
“Once Eli wakes up from his nap I dibs on being with him,” Alain declared.
A grin appeared over Mairin’s face. “A two year old, very manly.”
He rolled his eyes, muttering how at least Eli didn’t make fun of him. Alain then headed over to the fridge, and Mairin grinned, knowing that this was too good of a moment to just let fade away. Her hand slipped into her pocket, pulling her phone out. She tapped on the touch screen a few times, then looked in Alain’s direction, biting back a laugh.
“Alain, do I have enough water for the pasta?” Mairin asked in a tone that was just a little too innocent, but Alain raised his head. She struggled against a grin as he came over to look at the pot of water, and when he was a few steps away she swiftly raised the phone.
She had the flash on, so as the sound of a picture being taken played a bright flare of light temporarily blinded Alain as she snapped a photo of his makeup-covered face. He blinked several times as he tried to process what had just happened, and Mairin laughed as she looked down at her new favorite photo.
Alain’s face shifted from stunned to irritated. “Mairin...” He said in a low voice. “Delete that right now.”
Mairin flashed him a grin. “Never.”
Alain took a step towards her. “Mairin, give me the phone or delete it yourself– you are not keeping that!”
“Oh yes I am!” Mairin chortled, and he took another step towards her.
Knowing that the photo was now on the line she let out a small yelp, darting around the island of the kitchen– bolting for the stairs. She could hear Alain running after her, and another laugh bubbled up from her throat as her feet flew up the stairs. She knew that she couldn’t outrun him– so her only hope was to stay ahead of him long enough to lock him out before he reached her.
She crested the top of the stairs and made a Beedrill-line for the master bedroom. She could hear Alain right on her tail as she scurried around the corner of the hall, hand reached out for the door. It was then, of course, that her feet decided to entangle one another. Another yelp flew from her mouth, and the floor rushed up to meet her.
Perhaps it was a good thing that he was right behind her, because Alain’s strong arms reached out and wrapped around her, pulling her up from the fall. She was swiftly pressed against his chest, both of their hearts racing. Several giggles came from Mairin between her panting, and Alain shifted his grip slightly so he could hold out one hand.
“The phone, if you will,” He said in a calm voice.
“Never!” Mairin tittered, her face flushed red from her sudden run.
“Oh, do you still think this is funny?” Alain asked, though by his tone it was clear he was just as humored from the short chase. “Did you really think you could outrun me?”
“No,” Mairin replied honestly, still keeping a firm grip on her phone. She pressed her head against him, looking up into his gleaming blue eyes. He raised an eyebrow, either waiting for the phone or an explanation. “I was going to lock myself in our room and post it.”
His head leaned in close to hers, and her smile widened as she stared up at his makeup-covered face.
“Post it, huh? Well, it’s a good thing I caught up to you,” She felt his arm tighten around her, and his other hand brushed hers, wrapping around the top of the phone. Mairin immediately clamped down with all her might on the phone as he gave a short tug. She gave him an evil grin, refusing to loosen her grasp as he tried to tug the phone out of her hands. “Come on Mairin, game’s up, give me the phone.”
“I’m not giving in that easily,” Mairin said, pulling the phone away from him and clutching it to her chest. Alain’s eyes narrowed for a moment, before a gleam entered his eyes that put her slightly on edge.
Before she could even question him she was being scooped up in his arms, and carried into their room with ease. She fumed slightly at the fact that Alain still far taller than her in their adult years, and could pick her up with no trouble. She was deposited on the bed, Alain’s arm still locked tightly around her waist as he laid down with her. Her heart pounded uncertainly, and once more his free hand was by the phone.
“Sure you don’t want to give it to me?” He asked, his voice a whisper in her ear. She vigorously shook her head, and she felt his hand travel down towards her waist. “Okay then, you leave he no choice...”
His fingers brushed against her side, and she stiffened up in realization.
But it was too late, his fingers were already swiftly tickling her. A squeal escaped her, and she immediately began to struggle against him, but Alain was much stronger than her. His arm kept her pressed snugly up against him, the fingers of that arm tickling one side while his free arm moved about her stomach, laughs pouring from her.
“A-a-a-alain!” She cried, giggles bubbling up from her throat as she attempted to speak.
“Yes?” He asked, and she knew by his tone that he was grinning. She twisted in an attempt to escape him, but his slender fingers knew her weakest points. Both she and Alain were ticklish, but every time a tickle fight started Alain was always the one to come out on top.
She couldn’t risk loosening her grip on her phone, knowing that was his intention, and so her hands remained around the device, unable to help her escape from her husband or to attempt to retaliate. Her giggles echoed through the room, occasionally a laugh or two from Alain joining in with her. Her efforts to escape were fruitless, despite her constant twisting.
At last his fingers slowly came to a stop, and she went still in his arms, breathing heavily as she tried to catch her breath. Her face hurt from smiling, lips still pulled part way up in a grin.
“Ready to give me the phone now?” Alain asked, and she once more shook her head.
“N-never...” She said breathlessly, giggling slightly.
He rolled over so he was above her, and a fresh burst of laughter escaped her as she once more saw his glorious lipstick-covered face. Pinned below him, Alain gave her a craggy grin, his fingers once more returning to her sides. She closed her eyes, bracing herself, already laughing even though he hadn’t even begun tickling her once more.
It was almost startling how playful, yet merciless Alain could be at the same time. He was fully aware that she didn’t dare move her hands from their protective grip from the phone, and took full advantage that she couldn’t retaliate in anyway. His fingers raced up her side and to her much more ticklish underarms. Her loudest laughs yet filled the room, sides aching as the tickling continued.
“F-fine!” She cried, giggling. “You can have it, you c-can have it! Ah-hahaha!”
The laughing continued, even as he came to a stop once more. He laid down next to her, pulling her into a hug as they both laid on the bed to catch their breath. She still held the phone close to her, and she felt Alain place his chin on top of her head. Once more she felt an arm slid around her waist, though this time he made no effort to continue the tickling.
“Can I have it now?” Alain asked, and she pressed against him contently. She at last let the phone drop to the bed. His hand grabbed the device, holding it at an angle so they could both see. She watched as he unlocked her phone, quickly pulling up her photos. Every now and then a giggle would escape from her lips, a energetic bliss surrounding her.
Her precious photo of Alain wearing makeup was pulled up, and then deleted with a few taps later.
“Aww...” Mairin whimpered softly, and Alain kissed the top of her head.
“That was more effort than needed,” He whispered, though his tone made it quite clear that he was smiling, perhaps still whisked away on the same laughter high Mairin was engulfed in.
“Nah,” She muttered, snuggling against him. “You’re just merciless.”
“Merciless, eh?” Alain asked in a playful voice, and she stiffened as she felt his fingers pressing against his side. “You know what’d be merciless? Tickling you some more even when I don’t have a reason to...”
“No!” She squealed, twisted about, and he laughed, his fingers pulling away.
Then they simply laid there together, enjoying the moment, Mairin’s phone laying forgotten next to them. She let out a sigh, closing her eyes as she rested closer to her husband. She knew that Faith and Varya should be back inside by now, but she was sure that they had taken to the swingset outside since their parents had made no effort to call them in.
Mairin was fine with that, dinner could wait a bit longer.
But just as she was getting fully settled into Alain’s arms a new sound filled the house– the loud cries of a waking baby. Mairin’s eyes flickered open, and she could feel Alain sitting up behind her. She smiled weakly, of course Eli would decide that the time to wake up from his nap would be when she wanted to take one herself.
“I’ll get him,” Mairin said, grabbing her phone and rolling out of bed. “It’d probably be better if you were to go check on the noodles– I’m pretty sure that I forgot to turn on the heat.”
Alain stretched slightly. “I’ll do that after I wash this off,” He pointed towards his face as he rose to his feet. “We don’t want anymore photo incidents.”
“Oh, so this is an incident now, is it?” Mairin asked, smirking as Alain headed towards the bathroom. He merely rolled his eyes as he shut the door, leaving Mairin alone in their bedroom. She headed towards the hall as she slipped her phone into her pocket, straightening her shirt as she made her way to the nursery.
Eli’s cries got louder as she opened the door. She peered into the room, looking towards the crib, where a small shape could be seen sitting up. Mairin let out a small coo, and the whimperings of her son went quiet as he heard his mother.
“Hey there, Eli, honey,” Mairin said softly, holding out her hands to the young toddler. He held out his hands in return towards his mom, as she scooped him up. She placed Eli on her hip, and he leaned against her as she held him close, not making more than a few whimpering sounds. “Did you get a good nap?”
He let out a garbled noise as he pressed closer to her, and she wiped away his lingering tears. She looked over her only son, a smile on her face– he was a spitting image of his father. He had bright blue eyes that took in everything around him, and midnight black hair. Small fingers dug into her shirt, and Mairin gave him a small tap on the nose. She hummed a small song as she waited for Eli to wake up some more, knowing how grumpy he could be if she just went straight downstairs. Her thoughts shifted about, her mind thinking over the events that just took place– and suddenly she paused. A sly smile slid onto her face, and she glanced at son.
“You know, Eli,” Mairin said softly, pulling her phone out of her pocket. “Your father is a smart man, but I think he maybe have overlooked something a bit important...”
She unlocked her phone, and swiftly made her way to the deleted folder of her pictures. Eli stared up at her, unaware of what his mother was doing as a cruel grin spread over her face. She pulled up a certain photo happily, restoring it back to her phone with a single tap.
“Yep, it seems your daddy forgot to clear out the deleted folder,” She said with a smirk. “That means I have my picture back, and I know just what I’m going to do with it.”
Her fingers flew across the screen, and a minute later the photo had been uploaded with the caption of ‘Princess Daddy’. She knew that Alain rarely even looked at any of his social media accounts, so she should have a good while until her treachery would be discovered. She had a wicked grin on her face as she slipped her phone away, her deed now done. She turned her full attention to her son, planting a small kiss on his forehead as she headed out of the nursery.
Even if he was a just few minutes late for work, Alain always seemed to miss out on something if he walked into the lab late.
He sighed as he heard a few snickers as he entered, not even bothering to ask what had taken place. Things were funny in the moment, and it would simply be a waste of time to ask if Cosette had cracked a joke, or if Professor Sycamore had managed to spill his coffee all over Sophie. Instead he just hung up his black leather jacket, grabbing his lab coat on the wall as he made his way through Sycamore’s lab.
“Sorry I’m late, sir!” Alain called out, joining them in the greenhouse of the lab. Professor Sycamore, Max, and Garchomp all looked up as he entered– and Max snickered. “Faith forget her backpack when I was taking her to school so I had to go back to get it for her.”
“It’s fine,” Professor Sycamore said with a wave of his hand, a smile on his face. “Family always comes first.”
Alain didn’t need to ask what they were doing– the Dedenne, Pikachu, Minun, Emolga, and Togedemaru in front of him was more than enough. They were continuing their research from last week on electric rodents, and why so many rodent-based Pokemon had taken to the electric typing worldwide. Alain adjusted his lab coat, and joined his fellow scientists.
However, he couldn’t help but notice that Sophie and Cosette were grinning ear to ear whenever they came in to report to the professor, their eyes flickering towards him. He did his best to ignore this, unhooking a multimeter from the Dedenne after he wrote down its electric reading. The Pokemon twitch its whiskers, before racing off to play with the other Pokemon. Alain sighed as he saw the Emolga giving him a sharp look– not about to come willingly.
“Garchomp, grab that Emolga, will you?” Alain asked, not about to chase around a Pokemon that could fly. The little Pokemon’s eyes widened– before gliding off into the air. Garchomp stomped off after it, knowing that Emolga couldn’t stay airborne forever.
“You have to bring your girls by the lab sometime,” Sophie called to Alain. “It’s been too long since we’ve seen them.”
Alain didn’t turn around, knowing that they should be focusing on their work and not small talk. Garchomp had managed to snag the Emolga with her two claws, and was bringing the Pokemon back towards Alain.
“Just mention the Fennekins here at the lab– then Faith will be begging to come,” Alain replied, knowing that Sophie spoke to Mairin and the kids often over video phone. “Good job Garchomp, hold him still while I get his reading.”
“Ee-mol!” The Emolga said with a dramatic huff, crossing his arms as Alain hooked him to the multimeter.
“I’ll tell both of them that they’re always welcome here for a tea party here,” Sophie said, and Alain couldn’t help but tense up slightly. He swiftly shook his head– he did not need to overreact at the words ‘tea party’.
“I’m sure they’d love that,” Alain muttered, his trauma from yesterday still fresh in his mind. “Now, am I going to do all of the work in this lab so you guys can chat, or are you guys going to help me?”
“Oh lighten up, Alain,” Max said with a smile. “We don’t have any major projects at the moment, we can afford a few minutes to chat.”
Alain simply sighed, unhooking the Emolga from the multimeter, and writing down its electric reading. He had no problem with spending quality time with those that mattered– but when it was time to work, it was time to work. If they treated everything lightly nothing would ever get done, meaning that even the less serious projects would pile up, which in turn would mean they wouldn’t have time to relax at all.
“Or maybe we can get the work done that we’re being paid to do, and chat later,” Alain replied, signaling Garchomp to go catch the Pikachu.
Alain could hear the smirk in Cosette’s voice as she spoke. “You’d think that ‘Princess Daddy’ wouldn’t such be a stick in a mud.”
Several chuckles echoed in the greenhouse at this reaction, and at last Alain knew what everyone had been laughing about. He quickly stood up, turning to face his friends and colleagues, icy blues eying them suspiciously.
“Mairin told you, didn’t she?” Alain asked in a low voice. Of course Mairin couldn’t leave yesterday in the past, and now the whole lab knew about his forced invitation to the tea party. He could feel his masculinity melting away as they all laughed again. It wasn’t the worst thing on earth for them knowing that he had been dressed up by his daughters... but it also wasn’t something he wanted out there for everything to talk about!
“Told us?” Sophie asked. “She kind of posted a picture, Alain.”
Alain’s eyes widened, his hands swiftly pulling his phone out of his pocket. There was no way she would have been able to post it, he had deleted the photo before she’d gotten the chance... He unlocked his phone, searching for the apps Mairin had forced him to download and get an account for– claiming that it would be good for him to be on social media. He kept the apps muted so he wouldn’t be spammed with notifications (the app currently showed he had nearly a hundred as he opened it), and so he could see that he failed to receive a notification of Mairin’s most recent post.
One of a certain photo he knew he had deleted.
He quickly looked away from the image of him wearing makeup, his face starting to turn red as he realized that those here didn’t just know about this– but everybody could now see the horrid picture.
“I- I deleted that!” Alain cried, looking up from his phone. “I deleted that photo myself! There was no chance for her to post it!”
Professor Sycamore tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Alain, my boy, did you happen to clear out the deleted folder after deleting said photo.”
Alain managed to pale, but yet go redder at the same time as this realization hit him. Of course he had forgotten– and Mairin had gotten her hands on the photo. He stuffed his phone into his pocket, his other hand covering his face. It wasn’t just those in the lab that had seen it– everyone that Mairin was friends with had as well. The image was now out there for the world to see, and he knew that his makeup-covered face was something that wasn’t about to be forgotten.
“When I get home...” Alain growled in a low tone– but everyone just rolled their eyes.
“Lighten up Alain,” Sophie said with a small smile. “It’s adorable how you played with your daughters– Mairin’s just showing off what a wonderful husband she has.”
Alain didn’t reply, simply turning back to his work. The others laughed at this, but a glare from Alain made it quite clear that they shouldn’t press the topic. It was surprising how quickly they returned to their work, because everyone at the lab knew that they shouldn’t cross Alain when he was fuming.
Mairin was quite proud of herself.
She looked over the dinner she was preparing– by herself no less– and smiled. It was no five star meal by any means, but it wasn’t bad at all. She beamed as she tossed the salad, very happy for once that nothing had gone wrong with the meal. No containers of flour falling onto the floor, no dishes breaking, no knives nearly cutting her instead of the food– and most importantly– nothing had burned.
Her smile only grew as she heard the garage door opening, and she waltzed out of the kitchen and into the dining room in time to see Alain entering the house. He glanced in her direction, then proceeded to take off his leather jacket and hang it on one of the hooks near the door.
“Hello Alain!” Mairin said happily. “How was work today? Things went pretty well here– the girls are off playing with the neighbor kids, and Eli is taking a nap,” She sat up a bit. “And I have dinner almost ready– and it went smoothly if I do say so myself.”
She smirked at Alain, waiting for him to either congratulate her or ask her why she had taken the risk of burning their house down, but Alain didn’t say a word. He simply took off his shoes and walked right passed her. Mairin stared at her husband, he may have not been a chatty person, but he wasn’t one to just ignore her.
“Alain?” She asked uncertainly, following him into the family room. Once more he didn't say a word to her, simply sitting down in an armchair. She hurried to his side. “Alain, is everything okay? Did something happen at work?”
He at last looked at her– giving her a pointed glare. Not an angry one, but a glare that showed that she should know what was going on, and that he wasn’t happy about it. A moment of silence passed, and then Mairin’s mouth opened to an ‘o’ shape.
She smirked. “Heh, I knew it wouldn’t be too long until you saw it,” She leaned over the armchair. “Someone forget to clear out my deleted folder.”
But still, Alain didn’t say anything to her. He simply reached for the newspaper on the lamp table, one that was a few days old, and began to ‘read’ it. Mairin scowled at this action– because he wasn’t even reading anything at all, the page he was looking at was just a bunch of ads. She reach forward to pull the newspaper out of his hands, but his arm shot up and his fingers wrapped around her wrist, holding her outstretched hand at bay.
She yanked her hand out of his grasp. “Oh, grow up Alain, it was just a picture!”
Mairin leaned against the back of the chair, waiting for him to say something. However Alain simply turned a page of the newspaper– which was still just more ads. She rolled her eyes, knowing that he was waiting for her to break. She wouldn’t give him that pleasure though, and she crossed her arms.
“Fine, be that way,” Mairin said with a dramatic huff. “I’m going to go check on dinner, and you can sit in here acting like a toddler!”
He turned another page.
“Really?” She called as she headed back towards the kitchen. “I know you aren’t reading a word on the page!”
He turned yet another page.
She returned to the kitchen, vigorously tossing the salad that didn’t even need to be tossed at this point. However she kept at it, knowing that Alain couldn’t keep up the silent treatment forever. So what if she posted the photo? It was just of him being a good father! That didn’t give him a right to act like he was two and ignore her. He couldn’t keep quiet forever.
However, Alain was the more patient one of the two of them.
Several minutes of silence passed, and Mairin couldn’t help but look up from their dinner, glancing towards the entrance of the kitchen. Still no sound of any sort from Alain, and she forced herself to focus on making the dinner. She hadn’t done anything wrong, and she wasn’t going to concern herself over his bruised pride!
However it was only a few more minutes before Mairin couldn’t take the silence anymore, and she hesitantly called out to him. “Alain?”
She shifted, setting down a bowl and shuffling out into the dining room in search of her husband. It only took a swift glance into the family room for her to discover that he hadn’t moved from his chair. However the newspaper had been set aside, and a book was now in his hands– and a pair of reading glasses slipped over his eyes proved that this time he was truly reading. She marched into the room, coming around to stand in front of the chair, arms crossed.
“Honestly Alain, I have three kids and not four! Act your age!” She demanded.
His eyes simply skimmed the page, not even looking up at her. He laid his head against a propped up arm, his book being held in his other hand. He flipped the page with his fingers, and if Mairin wasn’t annoyed at him she’d be impressed that he had done that with only one hand. She glowered at him, waiting for him to look at her.
Apparently his book was a good one.
Her shoulders sagged. “...Look, if it really bothers you that much I can delete the post.”
His finger twitched.
She sighed. “And the photo– even from the deleted folder.”
Alain still didn’t say a single word to her, simply continuing on in his book. Mairin just watched him, waiting for some sign of acknowledgement from him. Yet her husband continued acting as if she weren’t there, and her gaze hardened. She turned her nose up, heading out of the room once more, making sure to add a slight stomp to her walk. However she paused before she exited, glancing at the back of the armchair.
“...Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have posted it,” Mairin said slowly, realizing just how unhappy this was making him. “You didn’t want me to, but yet I still did... I was just teasing Alain, and I didn’t mean to upset you.”
His head shifted ever so slightly, but still no words. Mairin looked down at her feet, but headed back towards the chair so she was standing next to it. She stared down at her husband, who still wasn’t making eye contact, but the lowered book showed that he was listening. Her hands twisted together, and she shifted.
“I won’t do it again, I promise,” Mairin said.
A few moments of silence passed, and Alain raised the book up again, and Mairin sighed.
“...I’m sorry, Alain,” She softly said at last.
He snapped the book shut as the words escaped her, setting it on the lamp table. She turned her head away, like all humans not proud that she had admitted that she had been the one in the wrong. Alain set his glasses on top of the book, but still he didn’t say a word to her. Mairin blinked, but turned to leave– for sure thinking that his attitude wasn’t going to change.
A hand grabbed her wrist as she took a step, dragging her back to the armchair. Alain lifted his gaze as she looked down at him, blue eyes gleaming as they made eye contact. His lips parted to open, his voice just above a whisper.
“You’re lucky I love you too much,” He said softly, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
Mairin blinked, before a small smirk danced at the corners of her mouth. “Lucky? I’m pretty sure you’re the lucky one, mister. Though I must say it took much more than luck to win you over.”
He tugged down on her arm, forcing Mairin down onto his level. His other hand cupped her chin, pulling her into a kiss. Mairin happily obliged, their lips pressing together for a brief moment. Her smirk widened, and she pulled back, happy for once that she was the one looking down at him.
“Do you think that I’m just going to forgive you for your little stunt?” She asked with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t like being ignored.”
Alain pressed his lips together, and he let go of her arm. His hands went to her waist, sweeping her off of her feet and into his lap. Alain swiftly resumed his usual role of being the taller one, looking down at her with a smile that never failed to make her heart skip a beat. He brushed back a strand of red hair, peering into her amber eyes.
“Well,” Alain said softly. “I don’t think I’m ignoring you right now.”
Her playful defiance crumbled, and Alain leaned down towards her. One hand was buried into her hair, pulling her in close as she leaned forward for another kiss. His other hand pressed against her back, his warm embrace surrounding her as her hands wrapped around his neck. Both of their eyes were pressed shut, his soft lips against hers in the blissful silence.
Mairin’s heart thumped in her chest, emotions rising. It had been so long since a peace like this had been in their house, and Mairin didn’t want the moment to end. She pressed herself up against Alain’s chest, lips locked together–
“Eeww!” A voice cried from the doorway of the family room. “Mom and Dad are kissing!”
It seemed that the girls were now home.
Alain and Mairin swiftly pulled apart, raising their gazes towards where their two daughters were standing. Faith had her Fennekin doll tucked under one arm, and had turned her away from her kissing parents. She then turned to her sister, signing the words she had just spoken. Little Varya stared at her parents uncertainly, use to seeing their kisses as a simple peck, like before Alain left for work. Varya glanced at her sister, and then followed her lead by swiftly signing the word ‘gross’.
“Alright girls!” Mairin said, slightly flushed as she pushed herself to her feet. “Go get cleaned up for dinner, you’ve been playing outside all afternoon.”
Mairin shooed the girls out of the room, Faith’s giggles echoing through the hall as she bolted up the stairs. Varya lingered near her mother for a moment longer, arms held up as she demanded to be held. Mairin almost gave in to those adorable green eyes, but she shook her head and signed for her to go wash up. Varya flashed an angry look at her mother– literally, her eyes briefly glowing with a green light– before heading upstairs after her sister.
Mairin glanced back at Alain, smiling uncertainly.
He stood up, wrapping his arms around her, and planted a kiss on the top of her head. He quietly muttered in her ear: “We’ll continue this tonight.”
Mairin smiled, leaning up against her husband. The quiet bliss from before was gone, the sound of the girls running about upstairs now echoing through the house, and of course it wouldn’t be long until Eli woke up from his nap– but a sense of homeliness had taken place of that bliss. Surrounded by her family, her children giggling and Alain holding her close, those were the things that truly brought her joy.
“I love you,” Mairin said with a smile.
“Well, I have good news,” Alain replied with a slight smirk. “I love you too.”
Upstairs Faith began singing a song about Fennekins to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat; her wavering voice echoing through the house as she did so. Mairin stiffened a laugh while Alain chuckled as their child’s voice grew louder as she headed down the stairs, an occasional pause in her song as she thought up some more lyrics.
Alain’s arms unwrapped from around her, a slight frown on his face as he sniffed the air. “...Is something burning?”
Mairin’s eyes widened. “No! My salad!”
She bolted out of the family room, racing towards the kitchen in desperation, while Alain stared after her as she ran out of the room.
“How on earth did you managed to burn a salad?!”
Mairin didn’t answer, too desperate to save the dinner she had worked so hard on.