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Rowdy Parenting

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Things had gotten weird long before Amanda found herself locked in a gas station bathroom. First there was the flu like nausea, then food not tasting like it used to. Gripps told her she smelled ‘different’ but she kept calling it the flu so they didn’t question it. Martin could tell something was wrong by the way she grew distant in the last few days but he never pressed her for information, simply waiting until she was ready. Though that didn’t stop him from worrying night and day that he had done something wrong.

As she waited, sitting on the rip of a railing beside the toilet, Amanda knew they were waiting for her on the other side. She told them she needed to stop to vomit again but there was little point lying to four people who could sense dishonesty and a rainbow monster who was constantly at your side when trying to discreetly shop for a pregnancy test in a truck stop. Thankfully Beast wasn’t the best at reading and Amanda hand made it to the bathroom safely but that didn’t change the fact that she would have to come clean to the Rowdy 3 about the surprise new member. It wasn’t that Amanda wasn’t happy, but living on the road, the way that the did and the dangers they faced. It was a lot to handle on their own let alone adding an infant into the mix.

They would go weeks at a time sleeping outside with no plumbing or fresh water source. Staying in cheap motels were a luxury and since they’d gone on tour looking for more tools of the universe, Amanda had sold her house in Seattle not seeing any point to having an address until now. A baby needed a roof over it’s head, and a warm bed to sleep in at night. How was she possibly going to make this work? A hand fished her phone out of her pocket scrolling until she found Todd’s number. It had been almost a month since they’d spoken. He and Dirk were busy on some new case the last time she tried to call, having to leave a message with the answering machine at the agency. It rang a few times and to no surprise it went to the automated message.

“Hello! You have reached Dirk Gently’s Detective Agency,” Dirk’s voice spoke in a cheerful tone. “We are currently away from the phone right now, probably on a super big important case, but your case is important to us too so please leave your name, number and name of your murder victim and we will return your call as soon as possible, given we are still in this time or dimension….” The voice faded but the message continued. “What do you think, Todd? Do you think people will like it? I quite like it.’

‘Hang up the phone, Dirk’” The answering machine finally beeped for her to speak.

“Todd! Look, I’m coming over. I need to talk to you pronto! Something’s...up...” With that she hung up the phone not knowing what else to say. Taking a deep breath Amanda found her confidence to stand up and unlock the bathroom door. Her heart jumped and she took a step back gasping when she saw five faces staring back at her.

“Everything okay, Boss?” Vogel had an arm leaning on Gripp’s shoulder.

“Yeah, it felt really...stressful in there. Should we take her to a hospital or something. They say you can die from the flu!” Cross pointed out but Gripps shook his head.

“That’s just babies and old people.” He retorted. The sudden mention of babies had Amanda’s head spinning again.

“No, I’m fine.” She insisted as she walked past them to the van. Martin kept a watchful eye on her as he flicked his cigarette butt onto the ground, following behind. Amanda avoided any eye contact as she climbed in the backseat. “Rainbow, why don’t you ride shotgun?” She tried to offer a friendly smile. “I know how much you love sticking your head out the window.” something resembling a laugh rattled in the back of her throat. Martin paused as if he were going to protest but he just shook his head, lighting up another cigarette as he started up the van. Amanda noticed he usually chain-smoked when he was stressed only adding to the guilt in her gut.

“Where to?” His tone sounded cold and he didn’t even bother to look in the rearview mirror as he asked. Amanda was too busy wrapped up in her thoughts to hear him a first time, a bit started hearing him speak.

“Uh-Dirk’s agency. I need to see Todd about something.” Amanda answered finally. An uncomfortable silence filled the van and for the first time she felt separate from the rest of the group. She hadn’t expected it to hurt as much as it did but she had to figure this out on her own for now. The next four and a half hours were perhaps the most awkward and uncomfortable hours of silence The Rowdy 3 had ever experienced. The radio never once played it's energetic music and even the engine lacked it’s usual roar.

Amanda had told the Rowdy 3 to take off and enjoy themselves for a bit, despite Vogel’s plea for her to tell them what they did wrong. He seemed to think she was leaving them like one would leave an unloved dog along the side of the road.

“I just need like an hour with him. I’m sorry I can’t tell you more.” She truly meant it. “I promise when I’m ready,” eyes glanced at the blonde still sitting in the driver’s seat, facing forward. “I will.” The van pulled away leaving her outside the doors the the agency, her heart nearly breaking when Martin didn’t wish her goodbye like the others had. Taking a deep breath Amanda opened the doors, hoping Todd got her message.


_____


“PREGNANT!?!?” Todd’s voice echoed through the walls of the agency as he nervously paced between Farah and Dirk’s desks.

“How do you know?” Farah asked, clearly not happy with Todd’s reaction judging by the look she was giving him as he paced. Amanda handed over the six positive pregnancy tests she had used, dumping them onto the desk which only sent Todd into another groaning spiral through the office. Farah’s eyes went wide not expecting that much evidence. “Uhhhh….Well it’s good that you were thorough.” She nodded trying to sound supportive. Todd was in the background rambling on about what their parents would do when they found out and how their grandmother would be livid that she was having a child in wedlock, but Farah was there to step in and give Amanda the hug she needed. “It’s okay, all of us, ” Farah glared, speaking through her teeth at Todd for him to stop pacing and pay attention to his very anxious sister.  “are here to support you and love you and help you with whatever decisions you make. If you need help planning doctors appointments, or finding the right baby care books. Whatever, we got you...even if some of us are taking a bit more time adjusting to the news than others.” Farah cleared her throat at Todd.

“Not to mention the cost it takes to raise a baby! I mean do the Rowdy 3 even make money? Do-do they sell beer cans? You can’t send a baby to collage on beer can money, Amanda!” Todd kept talking and Amanda moved but Farah stopped her giving a soft smile.

“Please, allow me.” Fara’s hand whipped across Todd’s cheek shutting him up instantly.

“Much more gentle than I would have been.” Amanda noted with a nod and a purse of her lips in thought.

“Thanks…” Todd panted out of breath. “I’m sorry, this is just a lot of information to take in at once but I am really happy for you! Really!” He assured her still rubbing his cheek. “A baby is just kind of a big deal and...are you sure you are ready for that?” Amanda tilted her head back cackling.

“Oh my god no! Are you kidding me? Todd, I am literally part of a gang that travels looking for danger.”

“Mom would be so proud.” He added sarcastically before his eyes went wide. “Oh god! Are you going to tell them? Mom and dad? They still think the Rowdy 3 is a band you’re touring with!”

“Look I don’t know anything yet! I just found this information out like five hours ago and I am kind of freaking out so can you cool your panic shit for five minutes and help me before I go completely crazy?!” Amanda shouted finally losing her temper, tears welling in her eyes as she yelled at him. “I was scared and I just wanted my big brother, okay? You happy? I know you wouldn’t know much more than I do but as much as it pains me to admit it, you’ve always got my back when shit gets crazy...even if you suck at it sometimes.” Through her tears she broke into a smile and the siblings shared a laugh. “And I thought maybe we could figure this out together because I seriously have no idea how to tell the Rowdy 3 we are having a baby.”

“We?” Todd tilted his head, his mind swirling with questions. “How many dads does this kid have?” Lightly Amanda punched his arm making look of disgust.

Ass! It’s not like that. Martin is without a doubt the father, but we are a family and this affects all of us.” She explained. “And they can be very...delicate when it comes to big news. Not to mention I have no idea how Martin will react or if he even wants kids…” That thought lead down a dark path Amanda didn’t want to see the end of. Todd’s eyes went wide looking out the large office window when a flash of rainbow dashed across the street tackling Dirk as he was headed towards the agency after a coffee run.

“Well you’d better think up a way to ask pretty soon.” Todd pointed behind Amanda for her to see the rest of the Rowdy 3 behind Beast who was now chasing after a flailing and screaming Dirk in the middle of the street.

“Do we have ear plugs?” Farah asked, watching alongside them while the man in the bright yellow jacket ran between the rainbow monster trying to kiss him and the four vampires trying to feast on the fear. Amanda and Todd looked up at her not understanding why she would ask. “Dirk is about to find out Amanda is carrying a baby...You remember how excited he got when one of our clients found out she was pregnant during a case? He really got attached to her since day one and when she found out he screamed with joy for over twenty minutes.” Todd’s eyes went wide with horror recalling the incident. “That lady was just an acquaintance. Imagine how excited he will be when he hears it’s a close friend.”

“Oh god no.” Todd looked out as Dirk was being carried bridal style by Beast into the office, The Rowdy 3 close behind. “Do we still have those tranquilizers from that case of the missing Lion case?”

Farah shook her head. “No you and Dirk used them all up when that half robot, half cheerleader broke in last week.”

“I really missed you guys.” Amanda smiled, wanting to hear more about the half robot half cheerleader but the story would have to wait. The front door had finally opened and it seemed the Universe had brought them all under one roof again. Beast bounced in, releasing Dirk once they were inside. The Rowdy 3 followed behind, Cross Gripps and Vogel all prepared to start smashing up the agency but Martin whistled freezing them all in place before they turned their focus to him.

“Hold up, boys.” Martin puffed his cigarette. Blue eyes looked Amanda up and down curiously. “I think Drummer’s got somethin’ she wants to say to us.” They moved together like a flock of birds, closing in and Amanda wasn’t sure if words or vomit would come out first but Farah put a reassuring hand on her shoulder and Todd took her hand giving it a squeeze. He nodded telling her to go ahead. It was now or never.

“Are you dying?” Vogel asked first with worry.
“Are you leaving us?” Gripps could barely get the words out.
"
Did we do something wrong?” Cross put a hand on Gripps’s shoulder.
“Iz weh moovin in wif Bibbit?!” Beast asked with a hopeful twinkle in her eye.

“No, no it’s nothing like that. I’m sorry I’ve been really weird lately and I know it wasn’t fair to keep you guys in the dark but this is something I needed to do on my own terms.” She began to explain, opening her mouth to draw another breath but Dirk was quick to cut in.

“Solved it!” He piped up, eyes wide, jaw with the largest grin any of them had ever seen. He was staring at the pile of tests on his desk. He held one up, eyes still wide with shock. “Oh my god, Amanda’s pregnant!”

“Dirk, this isn’t one of your cases.” Fara interjected. “And I’m sure Amanda is feeling very sensitive. So if you could…” her words faded, angrily gesturing for Dirk to look at Amanda’s stress.

“I’m sorry, I just put it all together, the frantic voicemail, the sudden drop by, the six pregnancy tests on my desk. Which I am not picking up by the way. I hear you have to actually urinate on those to get the results and frankly ugh! I can’t help it if I’m the greatest Detective! I…” He quit rambling long enough for the information to sink in. “Oh my god Amanda’s pregnant! Amanda’s going to have a baby! There is a baby growing inside Amanda right now! This is glorious! And..and..” All joy faded when he noticed the incredibly silent Rowdy 3. “And I take it none of them knew yet.” The Rowdy 3 shook their heads together. “And I’ve gone and spoiled the surprise.” Farah, Todd and Amanda all nodded in unison. “Oh dear…”

“Boss!?” Vogel turned around to Martin who was still standing at the back of the group. “Boss, I think Martin’s broken!” Cross waved a hand in front of his face but Martin was unphased, staring forward.

“This ain’t good.” Gripps added, trying to shake Martin but again no response. The three men walked their leader to a chair, having him sit down before he fell. Eyes still staring forward, jaw hung agape.

I’m...I’m gonna…be...” Martin hardly got the words out.

“A father ! And Todd and I are going to be Uncles, and Farah an Aunt! Yes how brilliant!” Dirk quickly slapped a hand over his mouth. “Sorry... this is incredibly  difficult for me to keep my composure so I will be in the toilet until... this ...sorts itself out.” he gestured a hand over Martin before covering his mouth and retreating to the bathroom with a giddy squeal and shouting "UNCLE DIRK!"  from behind the bathroom door.