Author Topic: Baby Makes Seven  (Read 976 times)

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Baby Makes Seven
« on: June 14, 2020, 03:12:46 PM »
Bringing a new baby home is always a bit of an experience, especially with other children waiting to meet their new sibling. In the Sparrowhawks' case, there was the added dimension of having three of their children adopted; Gina and Adam both knew that Laura, Oliver, and Amy might have a little more trouble adjusting to their baby sibling than Joey would. But it was too late now - have baby, will travel. As the car drew up into the driveway, Gina laughed at the sight of all four of the Sparrowhawk children on the front stoop. It looked as though Joey had given up on corralling his brother and sisters a while ago.

The three adopted Sparrowhawks were all blond in sharp contrast to their older brother and their parents with their dark and eyes, but it hardly mattered. What the little family lacked in shared DNA, they more than made up for with familial affection. Whether the sibling coming home today was theirs by birth or not, it hardly mattered to the excited foursome awaiting their parents' arrival on the front stoop. It was the youngest pair who were jumping up and down though, shouting and clapping with excitement - so much so one might almost think it was Christmas and not late spring.

"You know, I think they might be pleased to see us," Gina commented, glancing into the backseat, where the newest member of the family was sucking on his fingers and looking around with unfocused interest.

"You think?" Adam replied with a grin as he pulled the car into the driveway and parked. "Think the girls will be okay with another brother?" he asked, as he shut off the engine and pocketed the keys.

"They don't look like they're going to mind either way," she said, nodding to the excited group on the porch. It looked as though Joey had an ally in Laura when it came to preventing Oliver and Amy from rushing down to bang on the car.

"I hope not. Shall we?" he asked, taking a breath before braving the children. He climbed out of the car, going around to the other side to help Gina out, risking being swarmed by four excited children.

The first one to get to him, predictably enough, was Amy, slamming into his leg to hug him around the waist as tight as she could. "Did you get the baby?" she asked excitedly. "Did it come with a stork?"

"No, we left the baby at the hospital," Adam replied, teasing his youngest, but unable to keep the smirk from his face. "Just kidding," he said, scooping her up on his arms to smooch her cheek. "Did you miss me?" Me, not us.

"Yeah!" Amy threw her arms around his neck, hugging tight as she kissed his cheek in turn. "Joey's fun, but he doesn't tell stories like you do."

Behind them, on the porch, Laura cracked up at that, hastily quieting herself in case anyone heard her laughing at her older brother's expense.

Joey gently nudged Laura with an elbow for her laughter, but he, too, was smiling.

"That's only because I can't do make animal noises," he offered, as an excuse.

In the meantime, Oliver had scooted forward and had his nose pressed against the car window. "Is that the baby?" he asked of the little person in the back seat.

"Looks like a baby to me," Gina said, opening up her own door. It looked as though Adam was a little tied up at the moment. She smiled at Oliver affectionately. "Miss us?"

Oliver nodded his head enthusiastically, looking just a little bit shy. He wanted a hug, but unlike Amy was a little too shy to ask. "Did you miss us?" he asked his mother in turn.

"So much," Gina promised him, rising out of the car to wrap him up in her arms. "It's just not the same without all my babies with me." She kissed his hair, looking over to Joey and Laura with a grin.

Oliver smiled as he got wrapped up in that hug. Joey gave a nod of his head to Laura, as he stepped forward.

"Anything we can do to help?" he asked, including his sister in that question.

"Would you all like to meet your new baby brother?" Adam asked, balanced against a hip.

Amy nodded happily, though it appeared she was more than content to stick with cuddling her dad for the time being.

"Joey, you wanna grab the bags out of the back?" Gina suggested. "I think Laura's gonna have her hands full with the car seat."

Laura's eyes went wide in amazement at this announcement, automatically looking to Adam just to make sure this was okay.

"Sure," Joey replied, going to the trunk to grabs his mother's bags and carry them inside.

Adam nodded to Laura, trusting their oldest daughter with the newest member of the family.

Gina stopped Joey on his way past to kiss his cheek with a smile, but she wasn't going to relinquish her hold on Oliver for the time being.

"Okay," Laura said quietly, making her nervous way toward the back door of the car to open it as quietly as she could. "How do I get it out?"

"It's buckled in," Adam instructed, from where he stood nearby.

Joey set the bags down on the drive and went over to help Laura with the seat. "Hey, look!" he said, snickering a little as he helped her from the opposite side of the car to get the seat loose. "He's blowing bubbles!"

Laura gave Joey a grateful look as he leaned in from the other side to help her, only just remembering to look down at the baby when the bubbles were mentioned. She giggled softly, murmuring a thank you to her big brother as she lifted the seat out.

"Are all babies this heavy?" she asked in amazement.

"It's the seat that's heavy, not the baby," Adam replied, watching to make sure she wasn't struggling with it. "You need help or are you okay?" he asked, letting her decide, though he thought it would be good for her to help. She'd been the eldest once, before she'd joined their family and become the second eldest.
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 03:14:50 PM »
"I'm, I'm okay," she assured him, her grip on the car seat handle tightening. Despite her shyness, she looked very proud to be the one to carry their new baby brother into the house.

Gina smiled, one arm still wrapped about Oliver's shoulders. "So what did you guys get up to last night?"

"We played a game and watched a moobie and had popcorn!" Oliver replied, grinning up at his mother as he walked along beside her, nuzzling against her side.

"Sounds like you had fun," she said cheerfully, falling into step with the rest of the family. "Did you sleep at all, or was it just popcorn all night?"

"We slept in a blanket fort!" Oliver told his mother. "It was fun, but I missed you," he confessed, happy to have her home, despite the fun they'd had with Joey and Laura in charge.

"Rhys and Nat checked in on us," Joey told his mother as he led the way to the house, bags in hand, knowing how she worried about them.

"I just bet they did," Gina said in amusement, pausing for just a moment to look across the street and catch said neighbors watching from one of their own windows.

"Ana said she will swap her Dyl with us, but I don't want her Dyl, I want our Davie," Amy offered from Adam's arms.

Rhys had never been shy, even when he'd been caught red-handed, and waved to Gina, before getting yanked away from the window, presumably by Nat. Adam chuckled at both Rhys and Amy.

"And why would Ana want to swap Dyl?" he asked his daughter curiously.

"She says he stinks," Amy informed her father cheerfully.

Gina snorted with laughter, waving back to Rhys before she and Oliver moved to catch up with the rest of the family now entering the house.

"It's not Dylan that stinks, Amy ... It's his diapers. Davie wears diapers, too, but babies don't wear diapers forever," Adam explained. "Even you wore diapers once!" he told her, playfully tweaking her nose.

"Only 'cos I didn't know how to use the toy-lit," she said sagely, nodding in agreement.

Ahead of them, Laura whispered to Joey, "What do I do now we're inside?"

"Um, put the seat down somewhere, I guess," Joey suggested. Somewhere where it wouldn't fall. What did he know about babies, after all? It was just as new to him as it was to his siblings.

"Uh ... okay." At a loss for exactly where to put the baby, Laura opted for the floor in the living room, carefully setting the car seat down before finally taking a proper look at her new baby brother. "Oh, wow," she whispered. "You're so small. Hey, buddy."

Joey set his mother's bags down just inside the doorway, but out of the way where no one would trip over them and followed Laura into the living room to get his first really good look at his youngest brother. The baby bore a slight resemblance to his older brother, but either Joey didn't see it or knew better than to mention it.

"I guess we were both that small once," he murmured as he reached out to offer a finger to the newborn.

His finger was immediately taken by the little chubby hand, gripping tight for a long moment as the baby boy smacked his lips. Laura couldn't help smiling brightly back at him as the unfocused eyes wandered across her. "D'you think Mom and Dad will let us help look after him?"

Joey chuckled at his little brother's reaction to his finger before turning to Laura with a shrug. "I don't see why not. They trusted us to watch Ollie and Amy." Though that hardly compared to taking care of a newborn.

"Really?" It was rare to see Laura bright and hopeful about something; she kept a lot inside, though she was getting better at expressing herself around her family. "Like ... do you think they'd let me feed him?"

"I guess it depends on whether Mom is, you know ..." Joey said, trailing off. He couldn't imagine his mother breast-feeding and it wasn't a question he'd thought to ask her.

"Mom is definitely not you know feeding," Gina offered from the doorway as she and Oliver shuffled inside. She grinned at her children, flopping down onto the couch with a deep sigh. "Oh, it feels good to be home."

Adam followed them all inside, pushing the door closed behind him before carrying Amy into the living room and lowering her to the floor. "Well, what do you think? Should we keep him?" he asked, hands on his hips as he surveyed his family.

"Can I cuddle him?" Amy asked, predictably enough. She was all about cuddles and closeness, and despite the fact that she wasn't the youngest anymore, it didn't look like that was going to change.

"He has a pretty good grip for a baby!" Joey declared, his finger still tightly gripped in baby David's hand.

"What do you think, Mom?" Adam said, letting Gina answer Amy's question.

"I think we can arrange that," Gina said warmly. "But you're going to have to sit on the couch with me or Dad and have him on your lap, because he's heavy and he's a wriggler."

"He doesn't look heavy," Joey remarked, sizing his littlest brother up. Even he was anxious to hold him, as the oldest, he could wait.

"Can I hold him, too?" Oliver inquired.

"You're not five years old," Gina reminded Joey with a grin. "And of course you can," she added to Oliver. "You and Amy can hold him together if you sit side by side on the couch here."
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 03:17:40 PM »
Amy was already moving with purpose to the couch to climb up herself; she'd been looking forward to baby cuddling all day.

"Okay, Momma!" That was good enough for Oliver, and he quickly scurried up to join his sister on the couch. The older ones would just have to wait their turn.

"Okay, get all scooched up close and comfy," Gina told them, grabbing the soft throw from the back of the couch to drape it over both their legs. "Someone grab the baby bean."

"Go ahead, Laura," Adam said, with a nod of his head toward the girl. He had worked hard to make her feel comfortable in the family, knowing from experience that it wasn't an easy adjustment for her to make.

"Out of the car seat, right?" Laura made sure she had that part right before awkwardly reaching down to lift up her baby brother. They'd gone to a couple of parenting classes as a family, so at least she knew how to pick him up. "Wow, he's so wobbly," she giggled, tucking the baby close into her arms as she stood up.

"Yep," Adam replied, watching her carefully, but not moving to help unless she needed it. "You're doing great!" he encouraged, just as he had in the parenting classes.

"Who wants what end?" Laura asked the two younger siblings waiting impatiently on the couch.

"I want his feets!" Amy said happily. "I wanna count his toes!"

Giggling quietly, Laura bent to deliver the new baby directly onto the laps of her siblings, carefully organising Oliver's arm so he was supporting his little brother's head.

Oliver looked equally excited and terrified at the prospect of holding his baby brother, even as Laura settled him into his waiting arms.

"Like this?" he asked uncertainly, as he awkwardly cradled the newborn.

"Exactly like that," Gina assured him with a smile, lifting her hand to stroke her fingers through his hair as the baby wriggled to get more comfortable on the two laps he was now sprawled across.

Just as she had announced, Amy was quick to uncover her little brother's feet, counting his toes aloud as she wiggled them.

"Good to know he has all his toes!" Adam remarked, with a grin, glad the children seemed to be taking well to the newest arrival.

Reassured by his mother, Oliver studied his new brother's face. "Why's he all wrinkly, Momma?"

"He has to get used to his skin, baby," Gina said, carefully scooting over the actual reason. "It's hard work being born. You know how when you go in the bath for a long time, your skin goes all wrinkly? It's kind of like that. It'll smooth out over time."

Oliver frowned thoughtfully, taking this in and believing every word his mother said, even if it wasn't entirely true. "His skin's all wrinkly 'cause he was inside your belly a long time?" he asked. That seemed logical to him.

"Exactly," Gina told him. It wasn't precisely wrong, but it was better than explaining how babies are born in this moment.

"His feets is smaller than my hands," Amy declared from the foot end of the baby, pressing her palm against one of the said "feets".

"He's small 'cause he had to fit inside Momma's belly," Oliver informed his sister. He wasn't too sure all it all worked, but that much he knew for certain.

"We were all that small once," Joey pointed out, from where he stood beside Laura.

"You were pretty goofy-looking when you were born," Laura added to Amy. That, in itself, was a big surprise. Laura never talked about their life before they became Sparrowhawks.

Gina glanced at Adam, a tiny smile on her face. Maybe their eldest girl was finally starting to find her feet at last. None of the kids really talked about it much, but Oliver and Amy seemed to have adjusted to live with their new family quicker than their older sister had.

"Have you seen Joey's baby pictures yet?" Adam asked, at their eldest's expense.

"But I turned out okay," Joey added, grinning.

Laura looked at her big brother curiously. "Why, were you a really ugly baby?" she asked, her expression teasing. "Did you have horns or something?"

Joey laughed. "No, no horns. At least, not that I know of!"

Adam smiled, looking amused. Things had been a lot different then, but everything had turned out all right. "Your mother might disagree with that," he teased.

"He had an adorable smooshed up nose for a whole year before it finally popped out," Gina said with a nostalgic smile, winking over at her eldest. "Every time he yawned, you could see right up his nose."

 Amy cackled with laughter; even Laura was obviously fighting an urge to giggle along at this mental image.

"Joey had a piggy nose?" Oliver asked, eyes wide. It was no secret that he adored his older brother and looked up to him.

"It wasn't a piggy nose," Joey pointed out with a mostly fake scowl. "Thanks, Mom," he added, sticking his tongue out at Gina.

"Oh, honey, it really was," Gina assured him in amusement. "You grew out of it, though. I haven't checked to see if the birthmark on your butt faded over time." She flashed him a warm grin.

"And you're not going to," Joey said, neither confirming nor denying whether said birth mark still existed. At least, his siblings were laughing, even if it was at his expense. "And just for that, I'm gonna go take your bags upstairs - and maybe toss your clothes all over the room."
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 03:17:54 PM »
"You love me too much to do that," Gina predicted affectionately.

"I'll help you, Joey," Laura volunteered, not wanting her older brother to be mad at her for finding the conversation funny.

"Thanks, Laura," Joey replied, grateful for the help, though he didn't really need it. He wondered if the story was true, but he supposed it didn't really matter.

Glad to be of use, Laura smiled at him, bending to pick up one of the bags and lead the way out of the room.

Gina glanced at Adam. "Too far, do you think?"

Adam shrugged. "Maybe a little, but he'll get over it," he assured her. Joey was a good kid, and he was especially close to his mother, who'd raised him on her own most of his life.

"Is Joey mad?" Amy asked, carefully wrapping little David's feet up in his warm blanket again.

Gina smiled at her. "No, sweetie," she promised. "I just teased him a little too much, and I might have hurt his feelings, that's all."

"I like Joey," Oliver declared out of the blue. "He's a good big brother."

Adam smiled at their two younger children. "He is, isn't he? And Laura is a good big sister."

"Laura's bossy," Amy offered up with a grin. She loved her big sister, but they were sisters, after all.

"She's just trying to look out for you," Adam pointed out. He hadn't had any siblings, so he wasn't sure what that was like, but he and Rhys had been like brothers.

Amy beamed at her father for a long moment, her eyes crinkling happily. "Can we have pizza for dinner?" she asked suddenly, that thought swept aside at the prospect of getting a junky dinner two nights in a row.

"Pizza, again?" Adam asked, brows arching upwards, though he wasn't too surprised really. He looked over at Gina, knowing they weren't going to be cooking tonight anyway. "What do you think?"

"I'd prefer a burger, but I'll defer to the hive mind," his wife answered, not bothering to offer up even token resistance tonight. She'd just had a baby, she'd earned a burger and fries tonight.

"Burgers and fries okay with you?" Adam asked, looking back at the kids. Adam had to admit he was getting a little sick of pizza.

Amy looked thoughtful for a moment. "Can I have nuglets 'stead of a burger?" she asked hopefully.

"Only if you get ice cream as well," Gina said with a grin.

"I was thinking milkshakes," Adam suggested. What kid could so no to milkshakes? Yes, it was junk food, but they didn't eat it that often, and this was a special occasion.

"Ooh, that's better," Gina agreed, watching the two children considering the options before them.

Amy's eyes were wide, not entirely sure whether she was being teased or not. "Strawb'ry milkshake?" she ventured.

"If that's what you want," Adam replied, looking to Oliver for his answer, a thoughtful expression on the boy's face.

"Can I have choc'lit?" he asked, tentatively.

"Chocolate it is!" Adam promised. "Why don't you go see what Joey and Laura want?" he said, reaching to relieve the children of their small burden.

The baby gurgled as he was lifted up into a more secure pair of arms, releasing his siblings from their captivity for now.

"M'kay, Daddy," Amy said, wriggling down from the couch. She headed for the door, turned around, and came back to hug Gina. "Missed you," she said, smiling happily before resuming her exit from the room.

Oliver frowned up at his parents as the little bundle was lifted from his arms, wondering if he'd been doing it wrong. "Is he okay?" he asked, with a hint of concern in his voice.

"He's fine, honey," Gina promised him. "Babies make weird noises all the time. Besides, I think your dad wanted to cuddle with him for a bit, too." She smiled at her son. "Why don't you go find the menu to wave at Joey and Laura?"

"Okay, Momma," Oliver said, moving over to give her a hug, muttering quietly and a little shyly. "I missed you, too."

Meanwhile, Adam pretended not to notice, as he swayed the little one in his arms.

Gina wrapped him up in her arms, kissing his hair as she squeezed her little boy fondly. "I'm home now," she assured him. "And I'm not going back to work for at least a year, so you're going to be sick of me." She grinned at him.

"A whole year?" he asked, eyes widening as he looked up at his mother from where he had his arms wrapped around her waist.

"A whole year," she confirmed. "After all, how can I help other people's families if my own family isn't happy and healthy? You're stuck with me making lunch for a long time coming."

"Yay!" he exclaimed, before remembering his baby brother and lowering his voice. "Can I go tell Joey and Laura and Amy?" he asked, eager to share the good news. This was even better than getting a baby brother - well, almost.

"Of course you can, baby," she told him, releasing her embrace to let the boy escape in his own time. "And I'm going to take my shoes and coat off and find the phone."
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2020, 03:18:09 PM »
Adam snickered at the fact that she hadn't even taken her coat off yet. He would have helped except he had a small bundle in his arms. "Make yourself at home," he told her with a smirk on his face, as Oliver dashed away and up the stairs to share the news with his siblings.

"Oh, you mean one night away means I'm a guest now?" she asked cheerfully, pulling herself up and off the couch to remove said coat and shoes. "Gotta make up some bottles as well, but I'll do that in a minute."

"Relax, I can do it," Adam assured her, though this was his first time fathering a newborn. He hadn't really thought too much about it, as he loved all their children equally. "You sure you don't mind calling him David?" he asked uncertainly.

She smiled, turning to lean up and kiss his cheek. "If I minded, you would have known about it months ago," she assured him. "It's a good name, and it has meaning to you. That's more valuable than you might know."

Adam smiled as she kissed his cheek. "He was a good man. He would have adored you," he said, wishing his uncle could have met her before he'd died.

"I don't need to have met him to know that he was a good man," she said fondly. "I just have to look at you, and at Rhys. He did good by my boys."

"Yeah, he did," Adam agreed, no argument there. "And this little guy needs a diaper change," he said, chuckling to himself. "Any idea where the diaper bag went?"

"Upstairs with the kids," she said in amusement. "The station should be fine, though - it's in the kitchen." They'd taken more than a little advice from Rhys and Nat about bringing a baby into a home with children already, resulting in a few changing and feeding stations all over the house.

"Kitchen, right," he said, starting to head that way. "How long do you think it will take before Rhys comes over to check out the baby?" he asked, willing to bet his friend wouldn't wait until morning, unless Nat sat on him.

"About an hour, if we're lucky," she called back, kicking her shoes into the cubby by the front door before padding after him into the kitchen. "Nat usually has control over him, but Amy did get over there within minutes of them bringing Dylan home."

"He's going to laugh his ass off when he finds out what we named him," Adam said, as he laid the newborn on the changing table and put into practice what he'd learned in their parenting classes. "At least, we didn't name him Rhys," he added, chuckling.

She snorted with laughter, moving to make up a few bottles of formula as they talked. "I love my brother from another mother, but not enough to put up with all the smug crowing naming our son after him would produce."

"He's going to think we stole his idea by naming him David, like their Dylan," Adam pointed out. It wasn't entirely true, though it was a little ironic. The truth was both men had just wanted to honor the memory of their foster fathers.

"Of course he is," she agreed. "And once I've hit him with a dirty diaper a few times, he'll drop it." She grinned over at her husband affectionately. "Unless you want to do the hitting this time."

"Nah, I think he actually enjoys when you do it," Adam said, chuckling as he unwrapped the wee one from his jammies and started to work on changing his diaper. "Sheesh, you sure do stink, kid," he said, though the newborn had no idea what his father was saying.

"It's only going to get worse," Gina predicted laughingly, carefully measuring out formula into the sterilised bottles. "This is just milky sludge. You wait until he starts food."

"Oh, yay. There's something to look forward to," he said, though he really didn't mind so much. Changing diapers was a small price to pay for having a son, as far as he was concerned. He was pretty sure Rhys would agree with him on that one.

"Don't worry, he'll get more interesting before his poop does," Gina teased, starting to shake the bottles now as she leaned back against the counter, watching David kick his little legs, apparently enjoying the freedom for the time being.

"He's already interesting," Adam assured her. "He seems to be enjoying the freedom," he said, chuckling at the way the newborn was kicking his legs. But not too much freedom, he realized, securing a fresh diaper in place before the newborn decided to hose down the changing table.

"I'd forgotten how much I missed the first days of just cuddling," she mused softly. "Joey grew up so fast, I thought. I just had to enjoy the time as it went by."

"You did a great job with Joey," Adam said, glancing over at her before turning back to finish up with the baby. "Time waits for no one," he murmured more to himself than anyone else. "Just have to make the most of every day, Gina. And we will, I promise."

"I got lucky with Joey," she said. It was something she had always maintained; despite everything, Joey had turned out incredibly well, and she was certain it was more to do with him than it was with her.

"It wasn't all luck, Gi," he told her. "You never give yourself enough credit. I know what you went through, and I know how hard it was. He turned out the way he did because of you," he insisted, picking the baby back up into his arms and going over to kiss her on the cheek. "We both survived our first diaper change. Only about half a million to go!" he said, offering a smile.

She laughed, carefully not acknowledging his comment on her own ability. Instead, she leaned into that kiss on her cheek, setting one of the bottles into the warmer, and the others into the fridge. "You're practically an expert already!"

Adam chuckled. "Hardly, but I'm learning," he admitted, a little shyly. After all, this was his first experience with a newborn and the first child who was his by birth. Though he had not said as much, his heart was full of fatherly pride and joy at the birth of his son, but he did not want that to overshadow the love and affection he felt for the other children who were his through adoption.

"You got to practice on Micah and Dylan, you're good," she assured him affectionately. It was easier for her, in a way, not to feel a little guilty for the joy of having their first son join the family - she had already experienced it acutely when they had adopted the trio. But she knew Adam would never treat them differently to one another, or love one better than the rest. That just wasn't his way.
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2020, 03:18:23 PM »
"Yeah, but changing a diaper now and then and taking care of a newborn full-time are two very different things," Adam pointed out, settling the freshly-diapered newborn against his shoulder and rubbing his back. That was why he'd decided to take paternity leave. No matter how important his career was to him, his family would be his priority. "Love you, Gina," he said, leaning close to brush a kiss to her cheek.

The day-old baby on his shoulder gripped his collar with one hand, little head thumping onto his shoulder comfortably with a deep sigh. Gina chuckled, turning her face to catch Adam's lips in a kiss of her own. "You're a natural."

"I'm a little old to be having a baby," he admitted a little ruefully. He'd passed his fortieth birthday a few years ago. "I guess I was a late bloomer," he teased.

"Excuse me?" Gina raised her brows with teasing indignance. "You are not old, don't even start with that. Rhys is bad enough."

"I'm getting there," Adam remarked, though the chuckle that followed seemed to indicate he wasn't that worried about it. He had no complaints; after all, he had everything in life he'd ever wanted, starting with Gina.

"You are in your prime, so shut your face," she informed him affectionately, turning to lift the bottle out of the warmer and shake it for a moment, testing the temperature on her wrist. "Wanna feed the monster, too?"

"Right. For about ten more years," he said, with a teasing gleam in his eyes. How did the old saying go? That you're only as old as you feel? Some days he felt like 20, while others more like 80. Just as he was about to answer, there came a very insistent rap at the back door.

"How about this, then?" she suggested, handing him the warm bottle before moving to the back door. "Every time you call yourself old is a day when you get no sex."

Adam laughed, shifting the baby into feeding position before taking the bottle from Gina. "We can't have sex for at least six weeks anyway!" he pointed out. At least, not conventional sex. Even before Gina got to the door, it opened, a familiar face peeking inside.

"Is this a bad time?"

"So I'll just keep a running total of all the times I can say no," she said, reaching out to open the door only to find it already opening. She snorted with laughter at Rhys' eager entrance. "If I said yes, would you be able to leave now you're here?"

"I heard the word 'sex'," Rhys said, looking them over to make sure they were decent.

Adam rolled his eyes. "You might as well come in, now that you're here."

"We're negotiating," Gina assured him. "Besides, there are three smaller people upstairs with Joey. Now is not the time for bumping uglies."

"Well, if past experience is anything to go by, there ain't gonna be no bumping uglies for at least a month, so better get reacquainted with Mr. Hand," Rhys said, mincing no words, half-joking, half-serious.

Adam rolled his eyes yet again. "Hey, thanks, Dad. I'm so glad I have you to tell me these things."

Rhys grinned. "No problem."

Laughing, Gina stepped back, waving for Rhys to come in. "Get your ass inside, then," she told him. "You're only here to see the baby, anyway." She affected a hurt pout, then stuck her tongue out at him.

Rhys happily stepped inside, unable to wipe that grin from his face. It was no secret that he had a soft spot for kids, especially babies, even if they weren't his own. "What? No, I'm not. I came here to see you, too!" he insisted, smooching Gina's cheek.

"Uh-huh." She grinned as he kissed her cheek, hugging him sideways for a moment. "Thanks for keeping an eye on the kids last night, by the way. That was a huge load off my mind."

"Anytime! They're great kids!" Rhys said, a warm smile for Gina before he turned his attention on the newest member of the family. Never mind the fact that it had been like running a mini-daycare center between their kids and his. "So ... Ah, there he is!" he said, spying the newborn in his father's arms. Rhys leaned in to take a good look at the newborn, despite the bottle obscuring part of his view. "Look! It's a mini-Adam!" he teased.

"Just as handsome as his daddy," Gina agreed, this time moving to rummage for something to drink for them all. She had a feeling it was going to be a while before the kids were ready to order their dinner. "With a very special name, too."

"So I heard," Rhys said, still smiling. "Looks like we have a second generation Dylan and David," he remarked, both of them having chosen to honor their foster fathers in that way. His smile softened, turning serious, as he straightened. "David would be proud," he told his friend sincerely.

"So would Dylan," Adam replied.

"They'd be proud of you two as well, you know," Gina said softly, smiling at the two men who meant most to her in the world. "All domesticated and s***. Hell, they'd probably be jealous."

"Maybe," Rhys said with a shrug, regarding the part of them being jealous. Dylan had had a family once, and David had raised his nephew like he was his own son. Both men had sacrificed their lives so that Adam and Rhys could have better lives after them. It was a debt that could never be repaid.

"It was the least I could do," Adam said. "David was like a father to me. He deserves to be remembered."

"It's what you do for family," Gina said with a nod. "You keep the thread going, remembering through shared names, rather than trying to emulate the people who went before."

"So, is his middle name Rhys?" Rhys asked, with a hopeful smirk. After all, he and Gina had given Adam's name to their first born son as a middle name in honor of their friend.

I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2020, 03:18:47 PM »
Adam winced at his friend's question. "No, sorry. Rhys just didn't seem to go with David."

Rhys arched his brows. "What, you don't think David Rhys has a certain ring to it?"

Gina smiled fondly. "We thought you might want to hold onto it for your next kid," she pointed out. After all, the Lady had informed a very impatient Ana that there was the possibility of a little sister in her future.

"You want me to name my daughter Rhys?" Rhys replied, looking confused before remembering the name could be used for either a boy or a girl, depending on the spelling. He wasn't entirely sure there was going to be a fourth Bristol child, but there was no arguing with Ana. "Okay, so what did you name him then?"

"Um ..." Adam muttered. "We named him David Arthur," he mumbled under his breath, as if he was dreading his friend's reaction.

"You could name a daughter Reese," Gina clarified with a smile. She glanced at Adam, wondering why he was so concerned about sharing the second name with their friend. After all, they had a connection to Avalon, too.

Rhys looked between his friends, a slightly incredulous expression on his face. "Arthur?" he echoed. "You named him Arthur? Like King Arthur?"

"Yes, Arthur," Adam replied, a little defensively. "Do you have a problem with that?"

Rhys smirked at his friend's reaction to his question. "No, but, uh ... someone else might," Rhys murmured, looking amused. It was Ian he was thinking of, who was an Arthurian scholar and had actually met the man.

"Well, then someone else can have a son and use it himself," Adam pointed out.

"Maybe someone else should decide if he wants to have two little witches to look after before other people suggest he and his wife get pregnant again," Gina pointed out in amusement. Morgan was definitely a handful for the Evans' family, having inherited her mother's innate abilities easily.

"Relax," Rhys said, gesturing with a hand for Adam to calm down. "You can name the next one after me," he said, half-teasing. "May I?" he asked, holding out his arms for the baby, a pleading expression on his face.

Adam exhaled a long-suffering sigh. "You really are a pain in my ass, you know that?"

Rhys grinned. "I know. It's all part of my charm."

"You could let the little dude finish eating first, you know," Gina said in amusement. She loved Rhys like a brother and, like a brother, she knew he occasionally needed a nudge to be patient for just a little while.

"You're right. I could," Rhys said, grinning back at Gina. "The kids are dying to meet him, but I told them they have to wait until you're settled in." Unlike himself, apparently.

"They can come around tomorrow," she suggested. "Amy and Joey got eyes on Dylan the day he came home; it's only fair Ana gets to return the favor." The other kids wouldn't mind too much, she didn't think. There would be plenty of time for everyone to have a cuddle of their own tonight, and for a long time to come.

"You want me to bring Ana by later?" Rhys asked, unsure if that was what Gina was telling him exactly. He knew she might be more impressed if baby Davie was a girl, but she was still dying to meet him.

She smiled. "Yeah, Ana can come over today," she agreed. "Amy'll be pleased to see her, too. They can chatter about having baby brothers together."

"Are you sure?" he asked, knowing how exhausting a new baby could be, not to mention the four other children. "We could take Amy and Ollie for the night, if you want," he volunteered, assuming Nat wouldn't mind.

Gina shook her head gently. "No, we'll keep them tonight," she said. "We need the bonding time. Maybe tomorrow night, though?"

"Just say the word," Rhys said, taking a lean against the counter as he watched Adam with the baby. "Looks like you're a natural there, Dad," he told his friend, as Adam interrupted the newborn for a mid-bottle burp.

"I got to practice on your kids first," Adam reminded him.

"Practice makes perfect," Gina agreed, glancing up at the sound of quiet footsteps approaching.

"Hey, do you guys want us to ..." Laura trailed off as she realized they had a visitor. "Hi, Uncle Rhys."

"Hi, Laura," Rhys greeted the girl, a warm smile on his face, as he pushed off the counter. "Well, I just came back to take a peek," he said, sensing perhaps he was intruding, even if his friends were too nice to say so. "Tell you what ... We'll come by tomorrow for a little bit. Let you guys get settled in and get some rest. How's that sound?" Maybe they'd even bring a casserole ... or something.

Gina's smile softened, knowing how much that offer cost a man who was desperate to cuddle his newest nephew. "That's very generous," she said warmly. "Thank you, Rhys."

Laura glanced between them, worry on her face. "Did I do something?"

"Nah," Rhys said, slinging an arm around Laura's shoulder to pull her into an affectionate hug and kiss the top of her head. "You're perfect just the way you are," he assured her.

The teenager rolled her eyes, but there was a small smile playing at her lips as she leaned into the one-armed hug and kiss. "Perfection is overrated," she said with the air of an expert. "I'd rather be beautifully flawed."

Gina's smile was all kinds of proud at this statement; it was one of her own guiding mantras.

Rhys chuckled. "You and me both, kiddo," he said, letting her go and moving toward the door. "We'll see you tomorrow. And don't worry - this time I'll call first!" He opened the door to let himself out, before turning back one last time. "Congratulations, Pops!" And with that said, he let himself out.
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2020, 03:19:33 PM »
"Well, that went reasonably well," Adam remarked under his breath.

"Good night, Rhys!" Gina called after him, chuckling as she shook her head. "He's such a child."

Laura hesitated, looking a little uncomfortable. "I didn't mean to chase him away," she told her parents apologetically. "Sorry."

"Don't worry. You didn't," Adam assured her, though he had a feeling Rhys had reconsidered staying when he'd realized maybe the little family needed some time alone to adjust. "He was just leaving."

"He just wanted to be the first one to see David from their house," Gina added, gently sweeping Laura's bangs out of her face. "Like I said, he's a big kid."

"Okay." Laura seemed reassured by this, her eyes lingering on the newborn herself for a moment before she remembered why she'd come down in the first place. "Oh! Yeah ... Joey told me to ask you guys if you want us to order for you?"

"Sure, you can order ... Or you can hold Davie while I do it," Adam suggested, thinking Laura might be more pleased with that suggestion. He'd have plenty of time to bond with his son, after all.

It was hard to miss the hopeful excitement that lit up her face at this offer. "Really?" For all that she knew she was a part of their family now, Laura always seemed to hold herself back just a little. This was a sign that maybe she was going to stop doing that now.

"Yeah, really," Adam assured her, chuckling a little at her reaction. Why would he lie about that? "Why don't you sit down?" he asked her. "You can finish feeding him while I order the food."

Laura's eyes went as round as saucers. Gina snorted with laughter as their eldest daughter abruptly threw herself into one of the kitchen chairs, only too eager to be allowed to both cuddle and feed her new brother.

She was old enough, after all, and Adam thought it would be good for her to bond with her baby brother. "So, what have you guys decided?" he asked, regarding dinner, as he maneuvered the little one into her arms.

Carefully taking her baby brother into her arms to settle him comfortably, it took a moment for Laura to answer. "Hmm? Oh, we went with burgers in the end," she said. "Still can't convince Amy to try Chinese."

"She'll come around eventually," Adam said, making sure the little one was nestled securely in Laura's arms. "So, burgers and fries then?" he asked.

"Mmhmm," she agreed, nodding as she arranged herself comfortably with David in her arms. "We wrote out a list - I think Ollie has it." Taking the bottle in her hand, she frowned thoughtfully, trying to emulate what she had seen Nat do with Dylan when he was feeding.

"Okay, I'm gonna go check in with Ollie then. You two okay here?" Adam asked, looking between mother and daughter. He thought they might appreciate a few minutes alone anyway, while he sorted out dinner.

"I'm sure we can manage," Gina assured him with another fond smile, moving to sit down at the table with Laura and a cup of tea she had just made for herself. The teenager was utterly engrossed, smiling down at the baby as he sucked on the bottle in her hand.

Adam smiled at the sight of Laura and David bonding, at the look of utter devotion on their eldest daughter's face. He nodding to Gina, as if to wordlessly share those thoughts before turning to find Ollie and the list.

Amy found him first, leaping off the sixth stair up as he came around the corner, confident that he would catch her even if she surprised him. "Daddy! I heard the door, did Ana come?"

Surprised as he was, he caught her easily and lifted her into his arms. "No, but Uncle Rhys promised to bring her by tomorrow. Is that okay?" he asked, brushing her hair back from her face. It never ceased to warm his heart to hear her call him "Daddy".

"Mmm, okay," she agreed, hugging him about the shoulders cheerfully. "Did Laura tell you? I can have nuglets from the burger place!"

"I was just going upstairs to get the order, so I can call it in. You want fries, too?" he asked her, as he started up the stairs with her in his arms.

"Yes, please," was her predictable answer. "And Mummy said ice cream, but I want a milkshake instead. And so does Ollie. And Laura was going to get a salad, but Joey got her to change her mind."

"A salad?" Adam echoed with a frown. He hoped she wasn't already worrying about her weight. She was far too young for that sort of thing, and he wasn't sure how to handle it. "Which room?" he asked as they reached the top of the stairs.

"Yours." Amy giggled. It wasn't often she was allowed free rein into her parents' bedroom, but since Joey and Laura had been putting things from the bags away, that was where the kids had convened.

"Right," he said, remembering that Joey and Laura had offered to help them unpack. As they got closer, he could hear the sound of Joey and Ollie's voices down the hall, but he couldn't quite make out their words.

The oldest of the Sparrowhawk brood took his responsibilities as the big brother very seriously, and Joey had made a lot of effort to connect with Laura, Oliver, and Amy. Laura, he was still having a little difficulty with, but he and Ollie had bonded over being brothers easily enough.

"Joey said I wasn't 'lowed to look at your pants," Amy offered impishly.

Adam laughed as he set her down on the bed. "Why would you want to?" he asked curiously. "She thinks you're a giant, 'cause you're so tall," Ollie offered. Adam laughed again. "Not a giant. Just tall," he confirmed. "Before I order dinner, there's something I want to talk to you all about," he started, waiting until he had their attention - Joey's, too.
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2020, 03:19:51 PM »
Amy flopped down onto her back as she was put down, making the most of her freedom in her parents' room, but sat up attentively as Adam asked for their attention. Joey turned back from the dresser, one hand on Ollie's head as he looked at Adam.

He looked at them each in turn, a serious but affectionate look on his face. "I know you know this already, but your mother has just had a baby and having a baby is hard work. Taking care of a baby is hard work, too, so she's gonna need all the help we can give her. I need you all to be on your best behavior now and do everything you can to make things easy for her, okay?" he asked, as gently but firmly as he could.

Joey cast a half-grin toward Ollie. "What did I say?" he said cheerfully, looking back to Adam. "We got this, Dad. We did a chore-chart last night, so you guys don't have to do everything."

Amy beamed. "I'm in charge of keeping the living room tidy!"

"And I'm in charge of setting the table and helping put laundry away!" Ollie declared proudly.

Adam blinked as he looked between them and chuckled. "It looks like you're way ahead of me then."

Joey grinned. "Well, you do have the best kids that ever existed, you have to admit that," he said, not exactly taking the credit for himself but more for his siblings. "Laura got her cuddle, huh?"

"Not gonna argue with that," Adam replied, smiling proudly at his children. "Yeah, Laura's giving Davie a bottle," he said, knowing how much she needed that, too. "Amy said you have the list, Ollie," he added, turning to the little boy.

"Oh!" Oliver declared, fishing a crinkled up piece of paper from his pants pocket and handing it to his father. "We're all having burgers and fries, 'cept Amy."

The littlest girl in the family grinned happily. "'Cos burgers are yucky," she informed them. Her pickiness when it came to certain foods might be a bit strange, but it wasn't harmful.

"And milkshakes!" Oliver added with a grin. He didn't much care what his little sister ate, so long as he got his milkshake.

"We can't forget the milkshakes!" Adam said, laughing.

"We'll mutiny if you forget those!" Joey agreed, ruffling his brother's hair. "Hey, did you guys tidy up the bathroom yet?"

Amy looked a little guilty, looking to Ollie for rescue.

"We'll do it now!" Oliver said, snagging Amy's hand to drag her from the room so they could straighten up the bathroom, leaving Adam and Joey alone.

With Amy's yelp ringing in their ears, the two men of the house were left alone. Joey chuckled, returning to tidying up and putting things away. "You okay, Dad?"

"You don't have to do that, Joey. I can take care of it," he told the oldest - the first one that was his through adoption. He'd known Joey all his life, ever since he'd been born, but he'd never expected to become his father.

"I got it," the young man said confidently. "Besides, you look like you didn't sleep much last night, either. Can't have you keeling over before midnight!"

"Somehow, I have a feeling we're all gonna be in bed early tonight," Adam said, chuckling. And up in the middle of the night for the 2 am feeding most likely, but that was to be expected and it wouldn't last forever.

"I don't mind doing late night feeds for a while," Joey offered. "I mean, my finals are done, I'm not in school anymore, and I don't have a job yet or college. I'm free for a while."

Adam arched a brow, not entirely surprised at his son's eagerness to help. "Are you sure?" he asked. "Maybe we should come up with some kind of schedule," he suggested. With him and Joey helping, it would take the burden off Gina so that she could rest.

"Sounds good to me," the young man agreed. His smile was a little too pleased for him to pretend that he hadn't been hoping for exactly that reply.

"I'm taking paternity leave, so I'll be here to help for a while," Adam told him, though they had discussed all this before. He smiled as he gave Joey's shoulder a squeeze. "We've got this."

"Yeah, we do." Joey seemed to hesitate for a moment before adding, "Laura really wants to be involved, you know? She's just scared that if she does something wrong, you guys won't ever forgive her for it. I mean, I told her about the time I dropped Ana, but all she said was that it wouldn't be the same for her."

"Why do you think I gave her Davie?" Adam said. Though he was smiling softly, there was a hint of worry in his eyes. "I worry about her sometimes. Amy and Ollie ... They're still young enough to forget what life was like before they came here, but Laura?" Adam sighed. "She's gonna need some time."

"She's getting there," Joey said encouragingly. "I mean, she looks me in the eye when she talks to me now. That's pretty good. And she let me handle that boy at her school - I kind of enjoyed doing that." His grin was just a tad evil in the best way.

"What boy at school?" Adam said, eyes narrowing to know anyone might have tried to hurt his daughter.

Joey chuckled at his reaction. "It's okay, Dad, I handled it," he promised. "Just a kid in her year wanting her to go out with him and not taking no for an answer. He and I had a little talk about respecting other people's decisions."

Adam found he had clenched his hands into fists and was now forcing himself to relax at Joey's words. "And how'd that go over?" he asked, moving to take up a pile of clothes and put them away where they belonged.

"After I made him s*** his pants in terror, he was pretty open to it," Joey told him in amusement. "She hasn't had any problems since."
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2020, 03:20:10 PM »

"Joe, you threatened a thirteen-year-old?" Adam asked, his expression a mixture of mortified and amused. So long as it was only a threat and he hadn't touched the kid.

"I didn't have to," his son chuckled. "I just waited until he was all in with his pushy pitch and then loomed over both of them. Never even had to suggest that I might rearrange his face if he upsets my sister again. He got the point quick."

"You realize if you'd have carried through with that threat, you would have been charged as an adult," Adam told him, needing him to realize how serious that could be if things got out of hand.

"Dad, I'm not an idiot," Joey reminded him. "I never said anything to him that was even remotely a threat. Just made it clear that I'm watching Laura's back, that's all."

"Okay, just ... Be careful," he warned the boy who was quickly turning into a man - too quickly, as far as Adam was concerned. "You know, I never told you this, but I always wished you were mine. My son. That was before-before I told your mother how I felt, but I think she knew. Your father - your birth father, I mean - I'm sure you already know what a piece of s*** he was. I came close to killing him once. I would have if Rhys hadn't stopped me."

"You've always been more of a dad to me than the sperm donor ever was," Joey told him quietly. "I mean, I know I took a while to warm up to the idea, but I'm really proud to be your son. You make Mom really happy. She was sad for a long time before you guys got it together."

Adam smiled again. He rarely spoke of Joey's father or of the time before they'd freed the world of demons, but he needed Joey to know how much he cared for him, even if they weren't linked by blood. "I love your Mom. I've loved her a long time, but it's not just about her. It's about you, too. And Laura and Ollie and Amy and now David. We're a family and family isn't just about blood."

"Yeah, I got that pretty early on." Joey chuckled, perhaps a little roughly, attempting to hide how touching it was that Adam had gone out of his way to say this to him. He pressed his lips together, and seemed to come to a decision, stepping forward to embrace the only father he would ever acknowledge as his tightly.

"I'm proud of you, son," Adam said, returning that embrace. He was, of course, proud of all his children, but he didn't want Joey to go off the rails like he and Rhys had been forced to do. Though there was still plenty of evil in the world, they were at relative peace now, at least from the forces of hell. "I couldn't be more proud if you were my own."

Joey squeezed him tight, his voice a little rough by Adam's ear. "Love you, Dad," he murmured, not too proud to say it aloud when they were alone together. He knew better than most kids his age how important it was to make sure the people you loved knew it. You never knew when they might be taken away.

Adam smiled, pleased to hear those words from the boy he'd always wished was his son. It wasn't often either of them expressed their feelings so openly, but Adam, too, had learned the hard way that life was too short.

"Love you, kiddo," he said, laughing at his own choice of words. "Guess I won't be able to call you that anymore, huh?" he said, as he pulled away from the boy who was growing up too quickly.

"You get a free pass once in a while," Joey assured him, drawing back to roughly swipe a sleeve over his face. "When do I get quality time with my baby brother, then? After the kids have gone to bed?"

Adam noticed how the boy - no, young man - had gotten a little emotional, but didn't embarrass him by mentioning it. "When do you want it?" he countered Joey's question with a question. As the eldest and nearly a man himself, he didn't really have a bedtime.

"I can wait," Joey said with a shrug. "The kids are the ones who'll get tired of just holding him really quick, I'll let them have as much as they can handle of it for now."

"It's too bad Diantha isn't here to meet him," Adam teased, though it was likely they'd be bringing the boy to Avalon at some point to have him blessed by the Lady.

At the mention of the warrior girl from Avalon, Joey's ears turned an interesting shade of pink. "Pretty sure she'll meet him sometime," he said, affecting an air of disinterest.

"Mmhmm," Adam murmured, the hint of a smile on his face, but again he said nothing about it, so as not to embarrass his son anymore than he already had. "Those two are taking an awfully long time in the bathroom. Think we should go check on them?"

"Haven't heard anything smash," Joey pointed out, but he was already turning toward the door. "I'm done putting away Mom's bras, so let's take a look."

Adam winced at the mention of Gina's underthings. "Please don't tell your mother that," he said, though he doubted Gina was likely to get embarrassed by it.

Joey snorted with laughter. "Dude, I've been doing laundry for a few years now," he reminded his father. "I've seen it all." He grinned, heading out through the door and onto the landing, keeping an ear out for anything suspect going on in the main bathroom.

Adam frowned. In some ways, Joey had a connection and a relationship with his mother that Adam could never share. It had just been the two of them for years before Adam had finally spoken his mind and his heart. He often wished he'd opened his mouth sooner, but he'd had his reasons to keep quiet, putting Gina and Joey's safety above his own desires. But those days were over, and there was no looking back, only forward.

They didn't come across anything particularly unseemly in the bathroom - just the sight of Amy's feet kicking as she tried to reach something in the bottom of the laundry hamper while Ollie swept the last of the toys into the basket.

Adam went over and plucked Amy up from the laundry basket and pressed a kiss to her cheek. He didn't know why, but he was suddenly feeling emotional, a rush of love for these children who were not of his making.

"Why don't you go downstairs, and I'll finish up here?" he asked them.

A little startled to be picked up out of the basket, Amy beamed at the kiss to her cheek. "I can help you, Daddy," she offered, always happy to spend time with either of her parents. "Did you order dinner yet?"

I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2020, 03:20:29 PM »
Joey chuckled. "I'm gonna do it, pumpkin," he assured his little sister. "C'mon, Ollie, let's go and find out what Mom wants to eat."

"You guys did a good job," he praised the children. "There's not much left to do," he added, though he didn't mind Amy's company.

Ollie beamed a proud smile up at his father as he slipped a hand into his big brother's, declaring, 'I'm hungry!"

"I'll find you a breadstick to munch on while you wait," Joey promised his brother with a grin, tugging him gently out of the door and down the stairs.

Amy looked at Adam, her cheeky eyes seeming just a little older than usual. "Are you sad, Daddy?"

"Sad?" Adam echoed, smiling at the little girl who had so totally captured his heart. "No, baby, I'm not sad. I'm just ..." He sighed. It was hard to explain. "I just wish we could have all been together sooner, that's all."

"We togevver now," she pointed out in her sunny way, hugging him about the leg affectionately. "That's a good thing. It's the bestest."

"Yes, it is," he told her, going down on a knee so that they were face to face. He reached over to trace a finger against her cheek. "Do you know how much I love you?" he asked. It wasn't the first time they'd played this game. He wasn't sure why, but it was easier to open up to the little ones this way.

She grinned. "I love you more," the little girl insisted, though she knew exactly where the game was going. "I love you as much as the stars."

"I love you as much as the sun and the moon and the sky!" he told her. It wasn't a competition so much as a game that they played sometimes to assure her of how much she was loved. How much all of them were loved.

"I love you as much as the whole world in a handbag," she countered with a giggle, leaning forward to plant a rather wet but heartfelt kiss on his nose.

"In a handbag?" Adam echoed, chuckling. He wasn't sure where she'd heard that or even what it meant, but it didn't really matter. "Silly girl," he said, gently tweaking her nose. "You ready for nuglets?"

Giggling, Amy nodded happily. "Will Davie have dinner, too?" she asked curiously. She was only five - it was going to take actual experience of a newborn for her to understand that milk was enough for now.

"No, not yet, but soon. Babies eat a lot," he explained, plucking her up into his arms again, so that he could carry her down the stairs with him. "You might hear him crying sometimes, especially at night. It's just his way of telling us he's hungry."

"Do babies cry lots?" she asked then. "Only Ana said that Dyl cries lots and lots and she has to have a music thing on when she's sleepin', so she doesn't waked up."

"It depends on the baby. Some cry more than others. It's the only way babies have to tell us something's wrong," he explained as he carried her down the hall to the stairs.

"But he will talk, won't he?" she asked worriedly. "Only I don't talk crying and I don't want him always sad." Because sadness was the only reason Amy could think of for crying at all.

"He will talk eventually, but not for a while yet," he said as he started down the stairs. "Babies don't cry because they're sad, sweetheart," he told her. "They mostly cry when they're hungry or cold or need their diaper changed." Or when they're not feeling well, but he hoped that would never be the case.

"But they stop when they get it, yeah?" she asked, fishing for as much information as she could absorb this evening. They had been over all this several times, but it was very different when there was an actual baby in the house.

"Yes, they stop," Adam replied. "Don't worry. We will never let him cry very long," he promised her, hoping he could keep that promise, but not seeing why he couldn't.

"And I can help, can't I, Daddy?" This seemed to be very important to her, grown from a need to be as useful as she could be while also just enjoying being the youngest girl in the house.

"Sure you can," he was quick to assure her as they reached the bottom stair. He could hear the voices of the rest of the family in the other room, almost as excited about the baby as they were about their burgers. He knew how important it was for her to find ways to help, even if they were small ways, as if by doing so she'd ensure they kept loving her.

The little family had decamped to the living room, where Davie was apparently holding court while completely fast asleep in his basket, the subject of rapt attention from Ollie and Laura. Gina was still in the kitchen, it seemed, and Joey was just hanging up the phone.

"Dinner's on its way."

That was met with a cheer by Ollie, before he remembered himself and clamped a hand over his mouth so he didn't wake his little brother. Adam paused to watch his little family a moment, a soft smile on his face, before setting Amy on her feet.

"Want to help me set the table?" he asked her.

"That's Ollie's job," she reminded him with a smile, hugging her father's leg once again. "Can we watch a moobie again tonight?"

"You're right, it is," he said, not wanting to disrupt the chore list they'd all agreed on. "Think we can stay awake long enough?" he asked, a teasing gleam in his eyes.

"I can!" she insisted, nodding with emphatic certainty.

"Stay awake long enough for what?" Laura asked, leaning back from her contemplation of David to tip her head upside down and look at her sister.

"Long enough to watch a moobie," Adam told her, pronouncing the word just as Amy had. "Oliver, can you please help your mother set the table?" he asked the boy, drawing him away from the baby. "Joey, are we picking the food up or did you have it delivered?" he asked, taking charge.

I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2020, 03:20:47 PM »
"I'll go pick it up," Joey said with a chuckle, jangling the keys to Gina's car in his fingers. "You just settle in, Dad. You and Mom had a long night last night."

Laura reached out to grab Amy, resulting in a cackle of laughter as the five year found herself flipped over her sister's head and into a warm hug while they investigated the DVDs next to the TV.

"Can I go, too?" Ollie asked, not quite having gone to set the table yet. He looked hopefully between Joey and Adam, hoping for just a few precious minutes to have his big brother to himself.

Joey looked to Adam, knowing it wasn't his call whether Oliver came with him in the car. "If Mom and Dad say it's okay, sure," he said, carefully caging his answer.

"It's okay with me, if it's okay with you," Adam said, thinking Joey might like both the company and the extra pair of hands. "Don't worry about setting the table. I'll do it tonight," he volunteered, which was answered by another whoop from Oliver.

Chuckling, Joey nodded in agreement. "C'mon then, Ollie, let's go get dinner," he said, hooking an arm about his brother's shoulders to usher him out of the living room and toward the front door. "You can make sure the drinks don't fall over on the way home."

Oliver was grinning from ear to ear, as if he'd never taken a drive with his big brother before, and let him usher him out, chattering all the way about the car and driving and burgers. Adam shook his head and chuckled, taking in the girls looking through the DVDs, before making his way to the kitchen to find Gina and set the table for dinner.

"It got quieter," his wife commented as he came into view. "Who got Joey to take them on a joyride?" From outside came the sound of a car engine starting, announcing that the boys were on their way.

"Who do you think?" Adam said, letting her guess, as he came up behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist. "I can do that, you know. You should be relaxing," he said, before touching a kiss to the side of her neck.

To be fair, she didn't really need to guess. "Ollie," she answered her own question, leaning back into Adam's arms with a content sigh. "You know me. I'm incapable of sitting still and doing nothing for more than five minutes."

"Well, you better try because I intend to spoil you rotten," he told her, giving her another kiss - a soft one that was full of love and a hint of passion that would have to wait a little while to be acted on.

Gina laughed softly, turning her head to meet his kiss with her own, just as loving as he was. "I look forward to watching you try," she murmured teasingly, stroking his cheek with one gentle hand.

"I'm going to start right now," he told her, turning her to face him so that he could give her a proper kiss, one that once again spoke of his heart while stirring just a little promise of passion.

She almost melted into him, looping her arms about his shoulders to kiss and be kissed with equal tenderness and edge of passion, unable to quite keep the smile from her face. A stray thought made that smile deepen for a moment before she pressed closer, just enjoying the closeness of their embrace.

He lost himself to that kiss, if only for a moment before remembering that he couldn't finish this moment off the way he wanted to just yet, but he was a patient man. He had waited a long time for her; he could wait a little while longer. "What?" he asked, brows arching upwards as he noticed her smile, knowing her well enough to know there was something going on inside that pretty head of hers.

"I just had a slightly inappropriate thought, that's all," she assured him with a faint chuckle. She wasn't entirely sure she should share it.

"Inappropriate in what way?" he asked curiously. They'd been together long enough that he doubted anything she said would surprise or shock him.

"Well ..." She couldn't help the grin on her face. "I was just ruminating on the idea that Rhys really should have met Nat and died sooner so we could get together earlier than we did."

It was a testament to his healing that Adam was able to find the humor in that statement. "Don't let him hear you say that," he said, touching another kiss to her lips before pulling away so that he could finish setting the table. He didn't like to think of those days; it was like another lifetime to him now, almost like it had never happened.

It had been a very dark time for both of them, and yet it had lead to all this. Gina was glad they could both look back on it with a smile now. She released him as he pulled away, chuckling at the way he took over her simple task, and instead leaned back against the counter to watch him. "So, I was thinking ..."

"There's more?" he asked, tilting his head at her, brows lifted in curiosity. He might have scolded her to sit, but he knew better; he knew his limits.

She shook her head with a smile. "This is a thought I've been having for a while," she assured him. "But you know how Joey is so against college? I thought ... what if he does, like, one course at the community college that interests him, and apprentices with some carpenter or woodworker?"

"You have anyone in mind?" he asked further. If she'd been thinking about this for a while, then he had a feeling she had someone in mind. Or somewhere.

Gina hesitated for a moment before letting out a soft sigh. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but the one place where he would learn good authentic skills would be Avalon," she admitted. "Do you think Rhys and Nat might be able to find someone who'd train him?"

"I'm sure they could, but are you sure this is what you want? I mean, if he ends up wanting to stay there, what then? Are you going to be able to ..." Adam trailed off, needing to choose his words carefully.

"That's the thing, it's not about me," she said quietly. "It's about him, and what he wants to do with his life. I can push and push, and all it'll do is make him resent me. I just want him to be happy in himself, and this is something he seems really set on."
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2020, 03:21:02 PM »
"You don't think this is all about a girl?" Adam asked, tentatively. He knew Joey was young and at that age, love - or the idea of love - was everything. "I mean, you're the one who brought up Nat and Rhys."

"He's been talking about it since before he met her," she said thoughtfully. "But if it is just about a girl, then he deserves a chance to see if that girl is the one for him. He can always start over if it really doesn't suit him. I did."

"You think the Lady would let her come here?" Adam asked, taking it one step further. If Joey and Diantha were meant to be together, he didn't think Joey would want to leave her there when he visited here.

"She's already been made the sort of liaison, so she gets exposed to this place often enough." Gina shrugged. "I don't know. I just want Joey to be happy, and if that means letting him go his way for a while, then so be it. At least he would be safe in Avalon."

"You want me to talk to Rhys?" Adam asked, unsure if that was why she was telling him this or if she just wanted to know if he thought it was a good idea.

"I'd like your opinion on it before we bring it up with Joey?" she asked a little worriedly. "You're his Dad, he respects you and your opinions. We should be on the same page before we start talking to him about it."

"Okay," Adam said, turning to face her, the table mostly set for dinner. He knew they only had a few minutes before Joey and Ollie were due back, but what he had to say wouldn't take long. "I think if we don't let him find his way, he's going to end up resenting us. Even if it doesn't work out, if this is what he really wants, I think we need to let him try ... no matter how much we don't want to let him go."

She nodded slowly. "I think you're right," she agreed. "It's all part of growing up, isn't it? Moving out, finding your feet, but always having somewhere you can come back to if it doesn't work out."

"Yeah," Adam agreed. "He's young. He doesn't have to get it right the first time, but he has to listen to his heart. Otherwise ..." He shrugged. "He's going to regret it the rest of his life."

"I don't want him to have those regrets," she said softly, moving over to kiss his cheek. "Thank you. I needed to get that out in the open."

"I'm gonna miss him, too, you know," Adam said, frowning a little, even as she kissed his cheek. Once again, he found himself wishing he'd had more years with her, more years with Joey.

"He won't be far," she said in a quiet tone, tilting her head at the sound of the car pulling into the driveway. "In Avalon, he's actually closer to us than he would be in Queens."

"I suppose," Adam admitted, hearing the car drive up, as well. "I just want him to be happy, Gi," he told her, knowing she wanted the same for her - no, their - son.

"So we should talk to him about it, and see if he has any ideas," she suggested. "Then we can think about making overtures to Avalon."

"Right. Anyway, he has the summer to decide," Adam remarked, though if Joey wanted to sign up for a course at a community college, he'd have to do it sooner rather than later.

"He does." Gina let out a soft sigh, rising onto her toes to kiss his cheek. "I love you. Thank you." She nuzzled to his cheek for a moment before drawing away, listening to the sound of Joey getting the front door open before Ollie started complaining his burden was too heavy.

"Anytime," Adam replied, smiling at the kiss and to know that he'd helped in some small way. "Shall we round up the troops?" he asked, as Joey and Ollie made their way inside.

"That sounds like a good idea," she agreed, smiling as she stepped back to look through the door into the living room. Laura and Amy appeared to have come to a decision about the movie for the evening, just in time to see Joey and Ollie troop in bearing food.

Adam went to the door to help with the food before Oliver dropped what he was juggling on the floor. It was a lot to carry with milkshakes and all. "Smells delicious! Thanks for picking it up," he told both boys. "Everyone to the kitchen!" he called over to the girls. "Let's eat!"

"Yay, nuglets!" Amy cheered happily, scrambling up to potter into the kitchen and be seated securely on her booster so she could feed herself at the table.

A moment later, Laura joined the procession into the kitchen, murmuring to Joey, "I talked her into the Princess Bride tonight."

"Oh?" Joey whispered back. "No Frozen again?" he asked with a smirk.

Adam put the food down on the table, looking around to see if Gina had grabbed the baby.

"Nope." Laura grinned at her brother, stepping aside as Gina slipped out of the kitchen to retrieve the baby. "Be glad she didn't win on her alternate, too ... pretty sure you and Ollie aren't that into two hours of Princess Sofia."

Joey stifled a groan, the expression on his face enough to tell her she was right. "Thank you. I can handle Princess Bride." He thought they should come up with some kind of plan for choosing movies fairly that would please everyone, but that was really up to his parents, not him.

"Strawb'rry milkshake for me an' nuglets an' fries," Amy was saying at the table, carefully setting out what she wanted to get out of her evening meal.

Behind Joey and Laura, Gina chuckled faintly, David now against her shoulder to have cuddles while the whole family were eating without him.

"Yes, ma'am!" Adam said, as he patiently unpacked the food and distributed it around the table, remembering what everyone had ordered.

"Mom, how are you gonna eat with a baby on your shoulder?" Joey asked his mother, while Ollie climbed up onto a chair beside Amy.

"Choc'lit!" he called over at his father, just in case he forgot.
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2020, 03:21:35 PM »
"I have many skills," Gina intoned, smiling at Joey. "Which you will pick up over the next few weeks. I just need someone to unwrap my burger and cut it in half for me."

Laura looked a little bemused, but she was in the midst of opening ketchup pots for Ollie and Amy at that moment.

"I can take him, Gi," Adam volunteered. "We can take turns," he suggested. That way they could both share the one-handed eating.

She smiled at her husband fondly. "I got it for this meal," she said gently. "You'll have plenty of opportunity to do the same, trust me. Babies are clingy little monsters after a while."

"You sure?" Adam asked, as he distributed the last of the food. He had even ordered milkshakes for himself and Gina. "Ollie, easy on the ketchup, dude," he said, chuckling a little as the boy licked his finger clean of ketchup.

"I'm sure," she promised, glancing down at her food as Laura reached over to cut her burger in half as she had requested. "Trust me, there will come a day when we will both be able to feed him and ourselves at the same time." And she wanted to cuddle David herself right now, but she wasn't going to say that aloud.

"Okay," Adam said, taking a seat at last, now that everyone had their dinner in front of them. "Uncle Rhys and Aunt Nat are gonna visit tomorrow and they've offered to take Ollie and Amy for the night if you want," he said, to the younger pair. "What do you think?" It wasn't an unusual thing to happen, the kids enjoying sleepovers pretty often, but this was clearly designed to make things easier for himself and Gina.

Amy's eyes went wide with excitement. "We gonna go sleepsies with Ana and Micah?" she asked hopefully. Ollie would be the oldest child there, but that usually meant that he got to spend quality time with the dogs and with Nat, who was capable of coming up with something new to tell them about every time.

"If you want to," Adam said, already knowing what Amy's answer would be, but he wasn't so sure about Oliver. He didn't think Laura would want to go either, as there was no one her age there, and it would give her a chance to spend some time with her parents without her younger siblings hanging around.

"Yes, please," was Amy's predictable answer, even as she rammed more fries into her mouth. She looked hopefully to Ollie, though she knew as well as anyone else that he might not want to have a sleepover with his little sister.

"Do I hafta sleep with Micah?" Ollie asked, as he sucked the ketchup off a fry. "'Cause he always kicks me!"

Joey chuckled at his brother's remark. "And what do you think you do?"

"You could always see if they can make up another bed for you," Gina pointed out. "It's not like they don't have spare rooms!" She chuckled over at her middle boy affectionately.

Ollie shrugged. He really didn't mind sleeping with Micah that much.

"You know, Micah has bunk beds now, so you could sleep on top," Adam told his son. He had a feeling their friends had bought the bunk beds just in case of sleepovers.

"That would be pretty cool, right, Ollie?" Laura asked, gently nudging her little brother into speaking up with his own preference.

"Bunk beds?" Ollie echoed, eyes widening as he looked between his father and older sister. "You mean, with a ladder and everything?"

Adam nodded, unsure what the boy meant by "everything". "Mmhmm," he murmured in reply. "What do you think?"

"Hmm, okay!" Oliver replied readily enough. So long as Micah didn't kick him in his sleep, he was game.

Knowing Natalya, they were probably top of the line bunk beds with everything a small boy could possibly want attached, but that was just her way. Gina smiled, looking fondly at her family around the table. This was what she wanted - a happy, healthy family that knew their own minds but loved each other well enough not to be hurtful. It was practically bliss.

"And we have a graduation in a few weeks," Adam reminded them, with a smile toward the eldest. There would probably be a party to go along with the event, but it would likely be a small one.

Joey rolled his eyes. "You don't need to make a big deal out of it," he said. "I graduated, that's all."

Amy, however, looked offended. "But you got to go and be on a stage and look good and that's a good thing and Mommy said we could get ice cream after."

"It's all about the ice cream, Joe," Adam said with a teasing grin at his son. "And it is a big deal. You've worked hard for this. You deserve to be recognized."

"Well, the ice cream is the most important part," Joey agreed, grinning at Amy even as he absently wiped ketchup off her fingers. "It just wouldn't be the same without ice cream." He nodded to Adam, accepting the compliment with surprising grace for a seventeen-year-old.

Adam let the subject go for now, looking over at Laura and feeling a little bad that she had been overlooked for the moment, between the sleepover, Joey's graduation, and Davie's homecoming.

"I was wondering if you'd like to take any summer classes, just for fun, Laura," he said, drawing the girl back into the conversation.

Laura looked surprised to be addressed, anxiously rubbing her neck for a moment before she answered. "I don't have to go to camp, do I?" she asked hopefully. The thought of spending a week or more away from home when she was only just fully used to it was not something she relished.

"No, of course not," Adam replied. "I just thought you might like to do something fun." He just wasn't sure what. Painting, dancing, singing, cooking, swimming, horse-back riding? What did girls her age like to do, he wondered.

Laura hesitated, glancing at Joey for a moment before sinking into embarrassed silence. Joey raised his brow at her, but spoke up all the same.
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Adam Sparrowhawk

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Re: Baby Makes Seven
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2020, 03:22:03 PM »

"There's a theater arts summer school she's interested in."

"Oh?" Adam said, lifting his brows. This was the first time he'd heard of this. He'd always thought Laura too shy for theater, but maybe it would be good for her. Maybe it would help her to open up a little and find some self-confidence.

"They probably wouldn't want me," Laura said hastily. "I'm not one of the popular kids."

Gina smiled at her. "Honey, the theater kids are never the popular kids," she told her daughter. "But they're usually the happiest."

"Why do you have to be popular to be in theater?" Adam asked, brows furrowed, though Gina seemed to be handling it just fine. "Anyway, being popular is over-rated," he said, as though he was speaking from experience.

"I'm pretty sure the popular kids are universally despised by the rest of the school come graduation," Joey offered up as his take on the subject. "I don't want my sister to be one of them. I want her to be herself."

"Why don't you give it a try and see if you like it? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?" Adam added.

Ollie wrinkled his nose, his head following the conversation like he was watching a tennis match. "What'zat mean, Daddy?" he asked of his father.

"What's what mean?" Adam asked before realizing what he was being asked about. "Oh! It just means if you never try something, how will you know if you like it or if it will work out?"

"But what if I'm not good at it?" Laura asked worriedly.

"That doesn't matter," Gina said, looking to Adam for a little support on this one. "What matters is whether you enjoy it or not. Like your dad said, give it a go. If you like it, we can look a little deeper. If you don't, then we can try something else. Right?"

"Your mom is right," Adam said, backing her up. "It doesn't matter if you're good at it, so long as you enjoy it, and if you enjoy it, you will get better at it ... If that makes sense."

Laura considered this for an awkward moment. "Well .. I'd like to try it, if that's okay," she conceded eventually. "We did King Lear this semester, and ... well, I really liked the language and the acting part."

"King Lear?" Adam echoed, with a frown. "That's heavy stuff. Shouldn't you be doing - I don't know - Romeo and Juliet or something?" he asked. He'd never taken too much to Shakespeare. He'd always had too many other things to worry about at that age.

The teenaged girl rolled her eyes. "I did that twice at my old school," she complained. "It's boring compared with the other plays. Oh, and Ria got to do Othello this year, too." Ria was her best friend, who tended to come up in conversation a fair amount.

"Okay, so you want to do Shakespeare? Maybe we can find a Shakespeare club or something," he said, with a look at Gina that wordlessly said, "Help!"

Catching the silent plea, Gina managed not to laugh, swallowing her mouthful to speak. "I get the feeling you wouldn't really enjoy classes or camps," she said thoughtfully. "What about joining an amateur dramatics group?"

Laura's eyes widened in surprise. "What, like with adults?"

Adam shrugged over at Gina. He knew absolutely nothing about such things, and she'd been the one to suggest it. "Maybe they allow kids to join, too. Someone has to play those parts," he suggested, though he had no idea really. "We can find out anyway." At least, it was something. "Maybe Ria would like to join, too."

"Only if they don't mind having kids join in," Laura said firmly.

Joey rolled his eyes. "You're not a kid," he told his sister affectionately. "They'd be lucky to have you, anyway. I've heard you sing."

"Are we talking about musical theater or Shakespeare?" Adam asked, a little confused. In his mind, they were very different things, though both were theater.

"Who's Shakesbeard?" Ollie asked. "Did he invent milkshakes?"

"The local groups do a bit of everything," Joey offered with a shrug. He may or may not have dated a theater girl in the last year or so.

"Shakespeare was a man who wrote plays hundreds of years ago," Gina told Ollie with a smile. "They're considered to be some of the best writing that has ever been done."

Ollie didn't look too impressed. In fact, he probably would have been more impress if this Shakesbeard fellow had invented milkshakes. "Who invented milkshakes then?" he asked curiously.

Adam laughed. "Does it matter?"

"We can look it up after dinner if you really want to know, Ollie," Laura volunteered, glad the attention was off her for the time being.

"Can I have a barf tonight?" Amy asked suddenly.

"A what?" Adam asked, chuckling at what she'd said and pretty sure that was not what she'd meant.

"She said barf!" Ollie echoed, doubling over and mimicking throwing up on the floor.

Amy looked rightfully offended, pouting into her milkshake rather than clarify herself. Joey came to the rescue.

"She means bath," he told Adam and Ollie. "And don't laugh at her when she has trouble with words, dude, or she's going to stop talking totally." He nudged his little brother gently.
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good.


"Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne