“Wow, you’re dressed like a real pirate!”
Chris looked up at the girl that was in the crow’s nest and grinned. “Sure am! Hi, I’m Chris, Chris Hanover.”
“I’m Lydia, Lydia Fallon! Nice to meet ya Chris! Wanna play pirates?”
“I am a pirate!” he answered with a laugh as he took his place at the wheel.
Blake watched his son for a moment, grinning to himself.
He’s got your charm, ya know.
“Nah, Watcher, I’ve still got all mine,” he retorted with a grin.
Weren’t you giving me a hard time for bad jokes? C’mon now. That kid is very much yours. Look at ‘im.
“Oh I am. He’s a good kid, isn’t he?”
Yeah, he really is… just uh, don’t tell ‘im I said that. You guys are impossible to deal with already!
Blake chuckled. “You can deny it all you want; you love us though.”
Yeah yeah. Ya know I do. Or I wouldn’t put up with ya!
Blake snorted. He stood there, watching his son with a soft smile for a bit longer. Then he crept closer to the pirate ship. “RRRAAWWWRRRR!” he growled.
“Sea monster! Load the cannons!” Cap’n Chris ordered, doing his best pirate voice.
Though it was getting a bit late and full dark had fallen a couple hours before, there was a lot of shrieking laughter in the park as the pirates desperately tried to fight off the evil sea monster. After a little while though, Lydia looked down at her watch and let out a distressed sound. “Oh no! I’m going to be late home if I don’t go now! If I am, Dad will have kittens!”
“Would it help if I called him for ya, sweetie?” Blake asked, “just let ‘im know you were with me and Chris?”
Lydia smiled. “Thanks, Mr. H! But I think I’ll make it.” She turned to Chris and gave him a big hug. “Thanks for playing! Will I see you at school on Monday?”
Chris grinned. “You bet!”
“You sure, Lydia? I was gonna take him to the park in Oasis Springs since there’s a space ship. Feel like tagging along?”
Lydia pursed her lips, then nodded eagerly. “Would you Mr. H? Thanks!”
Blake grinned and took out his phone, dialing the number that Lydia rang off for him. “Mr. Fallon? Wait, J, is that you? Oh wow, you’re married! Well, I’m here with your daughter, as it happens. She and my son have hit it off. I was gonna take him to the park in Oasis Springs. I can have her home shortly after. That sound good? Alright, great! See ya later, J!”
Lydia looked more than excited. “Let’s go!”
Blake took a seat on one of the picnic tables and watched his son play with Lydia on the space ship in Oasis Springs. A young boy with blond hair joined Chris and Lydia, manning the “control panel” in the back.
He leaned back, smiling. His son sure was the take-charge type. He barked out orders, guiding his crew through peril after peril. And the other kids followed him naturally. He looked around, seeing all the kids with bright, smiling faces. He thought back; he couldn’t remember a time he’d been so carefree. He’d only been concerned with how long until he was 18, how long until he was out of the system. He was very thankful that he could give his son a normal childhood. Seeing him smile was more than enough for him.
Blake let them play for a bit longer, then looked at his watch. “Ok. C’mon, Chris, Lydia. Time to go. Promised your dad I’d have ya home before 11.” The two ran to Blake, all smiles.
“Morning beautiful,” Blake murmured as he kissed his wife senseless.
Brenna giggled. “You had better not make me late for my first day of work!” she warned him, though she was still chuckling.
“Who me? Would I do something so underhanded?”
“Without a doubt,” she answered with a laugh.
“You know me well.” He waggled his brows at her. “But I promise, I won’t do that today, not your first day… though I reserve the right to do it at a later date.”
His wife laughed and swatted at his arm. “You are so bad!”
“Yes, yes I am. Now c’mere, and let me get my hands on you a bit more before you have to go, alright?”
He began to gentle message her shoulders.
Alright, it’s that time. Blake, unhand your wife. Time for her to go to work. I’m going to join her today, see how she fares on her first day.
He grumbled a bit, gave his wife a last kiss, and then stepped back. “Have a great day, babe.”
Well, here we are! You’re a scientist!
“This is so cool!”
Oooo, what ya makin’?
“Following these blueprints,” Brenna said absently. She was deep in concentration. “Sparky? Weld a bit more there, ok?”
“There we go! Awesome!” The machine nodded happily at the praise.
“Hey Forest? I ran out of metal samples. You happen to have any?”
“Sure do! Here ya go!”
“Hm, just tweak this a bit, make an adjustment here,” Brenna murmured under her breath as she fiddled with the panel of the analyzer.
“There we go! Oh look, time to go home already!”
“Am I still at work?” she grumbled, not quite as enthused as she fixed the microwave.
Hearing sounds downstairs, Blake came running down the steps. “Welcome home! How was work?” He didn’t let her say anything as he kissed her.
Once he’d gotten his kiss, contact he seemed to need like he needed to breathe, he released her. “Ok, so how was work?”
“It was wonderful! I loved it! Oh, Blake! You should see the things I’ve gotten to do!” Brenna began to gush about her workday, taking him through all the things she did.
He smiled for her. He loved seeing her so happy, though there was still that part of him that hated not having her home. “That’s great, baby. It really is.” He kissed her cheek gently. “I really am.”
–whispered—That’s a boy!