“Just sit down, Will!” Daniel hissed.
“The floor is sticky.” William whined. “What the f- Henry!” He whisper-yelled as Henry pushed him onto the ground.
William cringed as he felt the stickiness against his pants, they really need to clean better.
“We’re all going to die anyways once Aera and our wives find out.” Henry muttered quietly. “What’s a sticky floor in comparison?”
“They’re not going to find out.” Daniel said confidently.
William sighed and looked around the semi-dark movie theatre, waiting for Anaya to walk in. Their 15-year-old niece was coming to the movies with her date. A sixteen-year-old boy. It was all their worst nightmare. They were 16-year-old boys once, and they knew what 16-year-old boys were like.
The boy seemed too…nice.
He had been ‘friends’ with Anaya since she started high school, but David was sure that he had been holding out a candle for his baby girl.
Aera liked him.
Taera liked him.
Jiah liked him.
Demi was on the fence.
But most of all, all their kids seemed to like tall boy.
That’s what he and his brother called him, tall boy.
He had a name, Benjamin, but they refused to call him that.
Under Benjamin’s kind face and good manners was a horny 16-year-old.
They all knew this.
It made perfect sense to chaperone the date.
David had been shut down immediately with a glare from Aera and the mini-Aera that Anaya was becoming.
So, they had taken it upon themselves to keep an eye on tall boy.
They said they were leaving for a meeting for BARE – perhaps not the best idea because everyone had given them odd looks as they walked into the movie theatre in business wear.
“Are you sure she won’t be able to see us?” Henry asked as he peeked over the seat.
“Stay down until the lights are dimmed more.” Daniel whispered.
William sighed and scooted down, cringing when he felt the resistance against his pants, the floors were much too sticky. But he couldn’t do anything, he just had to wait for the theatre to fill up.
“Misters, what are you doing?” He heard a voice from the other side of Henry, he was sandwiched between his brothers.
It was a teenager, looking at three of them in suspicion.
“Move along, kid.” Daniel said, handing the kid a crisp $20 bill.
The kid shrugged and moved away.
William was about to say something but then he noticed Anaya walk in.
“Duck!” He hissed, they all bent further to ensure that their heads were under the back of the seats that were sitting behind. They made sure to choose really bad seats that were at an angle, knowing that Anaya would never come there.
Taera had worked out what the perfect seats were in every theatre room, and the whole family booked those seats only.
“He’s holding her hand!” Daniel whispered.
“Of course he is.” William muttered, he was awfully confident for a tall and lanky 16-year-old.
William peeked over the seat to watch the two of them find a seat, as suspected Anaya picked the two best seats in the theatre. Everyone in his family listened to Taera, his wife was a genius.
“They’re just talking.” Daniel said.
“Well, duh, the time to makeout is when the movie starts and everyone is distracted.” Henry whispered.
“You would know.”
“I’ve been doing that since I was thirteen.”
“Your wife would love to know that tidbit.”
“Shut up, Will.” Henry muttered as the lights dimmed, the theatre going dark.
He looked towards his younger brother when he heard rustling, he was passing the popcorn to him. “Why?”
“To throw it at tall boy if he tries to make a move.” Henry whispered.
They all watched tall boy intently as the movie began.
There was no movement for about eight minutes and then he tried it.
He yawned and stretched his arm. The classic move.
“That asshole.” Henry whispered while scooping up some popcorn and throwing it towards him.
They didn’t go that far.
“You’re a genius.” William said, rolling his eyes, while taking out the M&M’s he had purchased, he opened the pack quickly and through a M&M at tall boy.
“Duck!” Daniel hissed, and they all did, just as tall boy tried to turn around.
They peeked after a couple of seconds, tall boy’s arm was not around their niece, thankfully.
He was persistent though.
He tried it again.
He got pelted with six M&M’s before they all ducked.
He tried for a third time, and they all threw M&Ms at him again before ducking.
William peeked out first this time, ducking back just as quickly. “They’re both looking! One of you idiots hit Anaya!”
“How do you know it wasn’t you?” Daniel hissed.
They spent the rest of the movie awkwardly ducking between the seats and peeking out. Tall boy kept looking back over and over again, even when they didn’t throw things at him.
William’s neck hurt, and he knew his brothers were in the same boat. They were tall, all three of them, and the space between the seats wasn’t generous at all.
The three of them made a run for it as soon as the ending scene played, knowing the lights would turn on as the credits started, Anaya would kill them if she saw them.
“Fuck, my legs hurt so much.” Henry whisper-whined as they walked out towards the door.
“It was worth it though.” Daniel said.
They all burst out laughing as they stepped outside. “That was fun.” William sighed. “Did you see his face? He kept looking back – ”
He stopped dead in his tracks, his brothers skidding to a stop right beside him when they noticed her.
Taera was leaning against the wall across the theatre doors. Her arms were crossed across her chest, and she was smiling that scary smile of hers.
“Taera!” Henry said, sounding nervous. “Fancy seeing you here!”
Taera said nothing.
His mind was blank. He was in so much trouble. He would rather it be Aera finding them.
His wife kicked herself off the wall and walked towards them, smoothing out her white summer dress, the scary smile still on her face. “I didn’t know BARE meetings were held in theatres these days.”
He had to save himself. “Baby, I can explain - ”
“Then explain.” She said, focusing all her attention on him.
Fuck. He should have stayed quiet. “Uh…” She was going to kill him. “David made us do it!”
“HYUNG!” Henry groaned.
“We were just watching a movie.” Daniel said.
“All three of you? The newest teen werewolf romance?” She arched her eyebrow in that scary way.
His brother nodded but he shook his head, it was never a good idea to lie to his wife.
“So, this has nothing to do with the fact that Anaya is in there with Ben?” Taera asked, calmly, but it was the scary-calm voice, where if you said the wrong thing in response, she would end you.
“Ben…Ben who?” Henry laughed.
William shook his head at his brother, she already knew, they were just digging themselves into a deeper hole.
Daniel sighed. “He’s a 16-year-old boy, our niece is –”
“Almost 16.” Taera snapped. “Able to make decisions for herself.”
“But you know 16-year-old boys -” Daniel started, William put his hand over his brother’s mouth, stopping him short.
“Ba da fuvvvvv?” Daniel said against his hand, glaring at him.
“I remember someone getting chased around town in their underwear after getting caught trying to have sex with a girl in the backseat of her car, and cockblocking their brother who was trying to lose his virginity in the backseat of a car at a similar age. And don’t even get me started on Henry.”
“Exactly! We know how they think!” Henry quipped.
He wanted to throw his other hand over Henry’s mouth, they never learned. This was a battle they had already lost.
“Why should the rules be different for the two of them than they were for you three?” Taera asked, her eyebrow arched.
Daniel and Henry tried to argue with her, even as William told them to shut up. The rules shouldn’t be different, he knew that, Anaya could make her own decisions.
“You three wouldn’t be here if Kyle was on a date with a girl, but you’re here when Anaya is. That’s sexist – you don’t own her just because she is a woman. Anaya can do whatever she wants -”
Taera was cut short by another yell.
William groaned, they just couldn’t catch a break.
“It was you!” Anaya said as she came into his field of vision.
He hated the way she looked close to tears. He had nothing to say to her, he could barely look at her without feeling guilty – but it hadn’t felt wrong just minutes ago. He thought they were just being protective, she was only 15, she had been running around in pigtails telling everyone she was thwee and a half plus almo a half just over a decade ago.
Taera hugged Anaya, she was whispering to her quietly, he had no idea what, but he guessed she was reassuring her and letting her know that her uncles would pay for their antics. But then Taera pulled out two tickets out of her pocket.
“For the luxury theatre, with couple seats. To make up for the stunt your uncles pulled.”
“Taera, no!” William said, but then shut up when she glared at him.
The couple seats had no arm rest between them, they even handed out blankets – it was the perfect opportunity to do a whole lot. He would know, he had tried with his wife.
Anaya turned around towards them, glaring. “Thanks for ruining my date.” She said before stomping off, tall boy trailed behind her.
“She used to call me Unca Dan.” Daniel sighed. “She was so little.”
“They’re going to grownup. One day Areum - ” Taera started but William couldn’t help but interrupt.
“She’s only ten!” His daughter was years away from even thinking about dating.
“Hannah.” Taera said, she had a devious smile on her face.
“She’s only four!” Henry yelled.
“Gianna, Sarang, Aimee.”
“They’re only three!” All three of them yelled, all together.
“They’re all going to date one day if they want, I’ll make sure of it. Now, the three of you are going to write for us –”
“Us?” Daniel asked.
Taera smiled that scary smile again and held up her phone, he held back laughter as his brothers groaned. Their wives were on a video call. “You’re going to write for us a twenty-page essay on why what you did today was wrong.”
“And you’re deep cleaning all of the Sorelle locations this week.” Jiah said from the phone.
“No video games.” Demi added.
“But baby - ” Henry tried to whine.
William just elbowed him, knowing there was no winning.
“I’ll see you ladies soon.” Taera said to the phone before glaring at all three of them. “Let’s go, you are going to drive ahead of me, so I know you’re going straight home.”
They all sighed. Henry and Daniel walked towards the door. William trailed behind.
“Baby.” He said while trying to grab Taera’s hand, she whacked it away.
He tried it again when he opened the door for her, but she whacked his hand away again.
He tried it again when they reached the car she had driven while Daniel and Henry got into Daniel’s car that had brought them all to the theatre.
“I love you.” He told his wife as his brothers drove away.
“You’re an idiot.” She said as she looked up at him.
“I know. But David was freaking out, and he started reminding us of her younger years and all of a sudden it was the thwee and a half plus almo a half year old going on a date.”
“She’s almost 16.”
“He’s 16 too.”
“And?” Taera asked, arching her eyebrow.
He sighed, pushing her hair behind her ear as it fluttered about in the wind. “If I knew you at 16, going to the movies would mean more than just going to the movies.”
“Really?” She laughed.
He nodded with pout.
“Stop being cute, I am still mad, you were out of line.”
“I can’t help it, I am always cute.” He teased.
She whacked his arm. “Shut up, and let Anaya be a normal 16-year-old.”
“Men are trash.” William said, repeating the words Demi was so fond of.
Taera laughed, still as loud and pretty as ever. “We all know that.”
“But what if -”
“We all know Ben, and Anaya is smart. You just have to trust her.”
He sighed. “She’s going to be mad.”
Taera nodded. “I see silent treatments for all three of you in the future. Plus, Aera is going to kill you.” She teased.
William groaned. “Save me, please.”
“I am your husband.”
“I am the love of your life.”
She shrugged again.
“I am the father your children.”
His eyes narrowed. “You helped her come up with the retaliation plan, didn’t you?”
His wife nodded.
“I get off the easiest?” He asked.
She nodded with a smile on her face. “I know you were probably the voice of reason between the three of you.”
William nodded. “My wife is so smart.” He said, grabbing her face and smushing her cheeks together while she whacked his chest, screaming at him to let her go.
“Never, you’re my wife.”
“So cheesy, please stop.” Taera groaned.