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"Ten minutes until dinner is ready." Joe yelled waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

He waited patiently at the bottom of the stairs when he finally got a response.

"Okay dad we'll be right down."  Iris shouted back.

He knew he didn't have to yell , but it reminded him of the old days a little when Barry and Iris would yell okay and race down the stairs and whoever was last would have to do the dishes.  He loved the sound of them laughing as they came down the stairs, but now it was a little different.

"Hey thanks again for letting me stay until I finished this story, I am on a deadline and I can't miss it.  Scott has been on me for 2 weeks now."  Linda says.

"Oh really." Iris says with a raised eyebrow and laugh.

"Shut it West."  Linda says hitting Iris with a pillow laughing. 

Linda Park and Iris had been friends since high school.  They were partnered up in a journalism class Iris sophomore year and even though Linda was a year older they hit off instantly. She and Iris went to the same college and Linda even got Iris a job where she worked at CCPN.  

"Boyfriend or not, I still get talked to about my deadlines thank you very much."

"At least yours is sports, I have to write about a Dr. Wells and some science machine he is building, followed by some other science words I don't know or understand.  So far the article reads: Science guy builds science thing that will do science stuff."

"Please don't piss off my boyfriend, where is Allen and his science brain when you need him."  Linda says laughing.  She stops when she notices Iris's fallen face.

"Exactly, where is he."  Iris says full of sadness in her voice.

"Still nothing from Allen?  How long has it been now?"

"9 months and 12 days, but who's counting right."

"Come on lets go eat your feelings." Linda says placing her arm over Iris shoulder which Iris gives her a small smile, but Iris was still lost in thought about Barry.

Barry had been gone for 9 months.  He had went on some sort of discovery science trip that was supposed to last 2 months and then come back, but Barry didn't and Iris had a feeling she might know why.  Instead he sent a letter home with his bestfriend Cisco informing the family that he would be extending his time, but it didn't say how long.  He went from calling twice a week to once a week which then became once a month to nothing for the past 5 months.  Everyone just wanted to hear from him again, their hearts felt empty without him especially Iris.  They had been bestfriends since kindergarten and had been through all the highs and lows.  From celebrating her first official story to him losing his parents and coming to live with them.  Barry was family and they needed their missing piece.

"Thanks for having me Joe."  Linda says sitting down.

"Anytime, you know that."  Joe says as he smiles at Linda.

"Alright, so any extra guest so I can set extra places. Simon or Eddie?"  Joe says looking at Wally and Iris.

"Simon is having game night with his family, but he might come to the picnic Sunday."  Wally says with a smile.

"Eddie is doing paperwork on some case, so he is working late.  Are we waiting for Cecile?"  Iris asked as Joe brings in the main dish.

"Hot! Hot! Hot!, damn it." Joe says waving his had franticly in the air trying to cool them.

"Oven mittens dad!." Iris yells.

"No she texted saying she will be running a little late, so save her some."  Everyone looks at Wally.

"What?"  Wally says as he already has scooped 2 spoonful's of grandma Esther's noodles onto his plate.

About 10 minutes go by and they are in full conversation mode, talking about work, school, the news etc. when they hear the keys at the front door jingle.

"Hey everybody."  Cecile says walking in and taking off her coat.

"Hey baby, how was work?"

"Pretty good you should see what I brought home?"

Everyone looks up toward the door.

"Ta-Da" Cecile says with her arms open motioning toward the door.  Barry walks in behind her dropping his bag off his shoulder.

"Hey, something smells good.."