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Two’s Company

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A loud ringing brought Nancy and Jonathan out of their peaceful Saturday morning slumber. Nancy looked at the time and groaned, 8:00.

Great.

“I thought it was our day off today!” Jonathan complained, stuffing his face in the pillow.

“Yeah I know.” Nancy agreed before picking up the phone.

“Yeah, yeah, okay. Yes we’ll be right there.” She put the phone back down and groaned again.

“What are we going to do about the kids?” Jonathan asked his wife.

“We could ask your mum, cause mine said she was busy for the week.”

“No, she was on a date last night and I don’t want to disturb her because it’s the first time she’s been on a date with Hopper and you know how long we’ve been waiting for them to get together.”

They both got up and started getting dressed to go and follow up a story about a girl’s body that was found in a ditch.

Nancy suddenly grabbed Jonathan’s arm and said

“We could ask Steve!”

“Steve? God I haven’t seen him since high school, why him?”

“I ran into him the other day at 7/11 and we got to talking and it turns out he has seven kids, seven! So he should be experienced enough. He told me that he’s Also we know him and like him so he’d be better than a random person who we don’t know.”

Jonathan tilted his head to the side in thought.

“Do you know what? Seeing Steve again might be quite nice, and yeah, he may have been a asshole when we were teenagers but I’d like to see how he’s changed.”

Nancy smiled at her husband, knowing that he was partially jealous because she and Steve dated in high school, but she was glad that he trusted her.

“Great! I’ll call him.” Nancy walked over to her bedside table where her phone was, and pulled out the little slip of paper that Steve had written his number on and started dialling.

“Hey Steve, it’s Nancy. I know this is really short notice but me and Jonathan were assigned a news story and need someone to watch the kids. Yes, we have two. One is five and one is two. You can! Oh thank you so much Steve! Can I write down your address?”

Jonathan passed Nancy a notepad which she wrote his address on.

“Great! We’ll be there in half an hour. Thanks again Steve. See you soon. Bye!”

Nancy hung up the phone and turned to her husband. “Well we’d better get the kids up.”

***

20 minutes later, Jonathan was driving his wife and two children to his former bully’s house.

Their first born was a six year old named Bob who was a little shy and timid, but had a sweet personality overall, and their second born was a two year old named Barb who was a chatty, happy go lucky little girl, and was very well spoken despite her young age. Their third child they didn’t know yet as she was still inside his pregnant wife, but he already had so much love for his unborn child and was going to treat her like a little princess.

Jonathan pulled up to Steve’s house, and gaped. His house was enormous. Covered in ivy, the red bricks were over two storeys high and had a beautifully manicured garden out the front.

Nancy walked up to the house, holding her son by the hand, while Jonathan carried little Barb to the door.

Steve answered the door carrying a little brown skinned girl on one hip while trying to keep a little blue eyed ginger girl from running into the yard.

“Nancy! Jonathan! Great to see you! You finally got together. It’s about time!” Steve smiled as he ushered them in to his house.

“Hey Steve! We really shouldn’t stay long, we have to head out for an assignment, but thanks so much for doing this.” Nancy said.

“Oh it’s no problem you two. It was great to run into you yesterday Nancy, we should’ve stayed in touch.”

Jonathan spoke up next.

“So Steve, where did all of the kids come from? I can assume they aren’t all yours.”

“No actually none of them are mine. I always wanted to have kids ever since I left high school and I volunteered at an orphanage for a while, before I was offered a job at Starcourt mall. Then when I moved up to be the owner of the mall, I wanted to give something back so I visited the orphanage to give them a donation, and while I was waiting on the owner, this little boy came up to me and told me he’d wait with me because I looked lonely. He started talking to me and told me his name was Dustin and that his parents didn’t want him because he had cleidocranial dysplasia. It just broke my heart that his parents had just abandoned him like that. Most kids in the orphanage, their parents had died or were too young to care for them, but this kid was just left because of a birth defect, and he wanted to make sure that he wasn’t lonely like he was when he first got there. I went up to the front desk and told them I wanted to adopt Dustin. Then a group of kids ran up beside him and the receptionist told me that they called themselves the party and were a very tight knit group. So I thought that since I had the space and the money I could adopt all of them. And it’s changed my life. It’s been a challenge I’ll tell you that but I couldn’t bear to leave them there. I’ve told them that they’re adopted but that it doesn’t matter because I will always love them and they will always love each other and that’s what matters.

Nancy wiped a tear from her eye. “Steve that was beautiful.” Jonathan nodded in agreement.

“You definitely care a lot about your children, so I think it was the right choice to let you babysit today. Are you sure that it won’t be too much, having nine children to care for?”

“No Nancy it’s fine, you and Jonathan go and get that story straight, you hear me?”

“Okay.” Jonathan replied. “This is Bob, say hi to Auntie Steve, Bob!”

“Hi Auntie Steve!” Bob waves shyly at the man who chuckled slightly. “Hi Bob!”

“And this is Barb.”

“Hiya Antie Steevie Weevie!”

“Hiya Barb! Aww you’re so cute!”

Nancy and Jonathan kissed their children on their heads and waved goodbye to Steve.

***

Steve closed the door after the couple, then turned to the kids.

Lucas and Erica were siblings that had financially unstable parents who couldn’t take care of them so had given them up for adoption.

Mike was the son of a Christian girl who had accidentally gotten pregnant but her parents were against abortion so he had been given to the orphanage.

Max was the child of a drug dealer and had been removed from his house to prevent her from turning to a life of crime herself.

Will was abused by his father and child protection services took him away to a safer environment, which was the orphanage.

And lastly, Eleven was illegally used as a test subject in an experiment to try and find a cure for cancer by using extreme radiation. But the machine malfunctioned which left her with telekinetic abilities.

They were all important to Steve and he had become like the stay at home mum who catered to their every need, in fact they all called him mum.

“Right kids, you have some new friends staying with us today. This is Barb and Bob. I want you to make them feel welcome.”

“Yes mum!” They all chorused.

“Good. Now who want to help me make cookies.”

“MEEE!!”

***

Steve really shouldn’t have suggested the cookie idea, because within about five minutes his vast kitchen was covered in flour.

You see El had taken it upon herself to try and levitate the flour into the mixing bowl. However she was still learning how to use her powers and had accidentally exploded the two kilo bag of flour all over herself, the other kids, the kitchen and Steve.

Bob and El shot an apologetic look at Steve, but the other kids found it hilarious. Lucas and Max were having a flour fight, Mike, Will and Dustin all cannon balled off of the counter and into a huge heap of flour, spreading it even further across the kitchen while Barb just sat in her high chair giggling manically.

“Alright you lot! Stop playing with the flour! Why don’t we all go to the park and get ice cream instead? We can finish making the cookies later.” Steve suggested with a sigh.

Why did he agree to do this?

***

At Starcourt mall there was an ice cream shop called Scoops Ahoy where he used to work, so he dropped by and let the kids pick out their ice cream. Steve smiled as he remembered all of the good times working there with Robin and all of the memories they made while chasing each other with ice cream scoops and Robin making tallies of him trying to win over girls.

After he paid for the kids’ ice cream he took them to the park where they scattered to the four corners of the earth. He sighed again and took Barb out of the buggy and sat her on his knee and bounced her up and down while watching the kids playing on various equipment.

***

After a couple of hours pushing the kids on swings and sliding down chutes with them on his knee, Steve decided to take them back home.

He entered the kitchen and remembered about the flour disaster.

“Well kids, if you help me clean this up then I’ll make the cookies and then we’ll make a pillow fort in the living room!”

There was a chorus of screams as the kids got to work.

El used her telekinesis to make the broom sweep the flour into a dustpan that Max was holding, while the rest grabbed various brushes and started sweeping.

After the kitchen was cleaned, Steve measured out the ingredients to make cookies and after mixing them all together, he put them on a baking tray and in the oven.

“Right, let’s make a pillow fort!”

***

The party had destroyed Steve’s living room and then reassembled it in the form of a magnificent pillow fort with a blanket ceiling and a fluffy duvet floor.

Steve got the kids settled in the fort they watched movies on the TV like Cinderella and Beauty and The Beast while munching on their homemade cookies.

The time the doorbell rang, signalling that Nancy and Jonathan were ready to collect their children, they were all asleep on Steve, there were about three on his lap and the rest were leaning against him.

He carefully extracted himself from the pile of small children and picked up the sleeping forms of his old friends’ children and carried them from the door.

Steve opened the door to see Nancy and Jonathan waiting on his doorstep.

“Hey! How did they behave?” Jonathan asked, taking the still sleeping form of his eldest child from Steve.

“They were great! They behaved really well. We all went to the park and made cookies and they had a great time.”

“That’s awesome! Thanks so much Steve!” Nancy thanked her old friend.

“They’re welcome any time. We should stay in touch guys.”

“Yeah, call you later and maybe set up another play date?”

“That would be great Nancy. Goodbye you two.”

The couple took their children and strapped them into the car, and drove back home.

This is the first of many play dates they have together, and there are still many to come.