Friday, July 5, 2013

Chapter 15 ~ Getting Used To Everything Again

“Where are we gonna go?” Adam asked me as I picked him up.
“It’s a place with tons of toys and food and all kinds of fun stuff.” I explained.
Ashley giggled right as I looked over at her. Jared tickled her sides as he grabbed her to pick her up. I smiled and opened the nursery door, leaving it open for Jared who was right behind me.
“Oh, okay.” Adam replied, sticking his thumb in his mouth.
“Will we love it there?” Ashley questioned as she was strapped into her pink stroller I got a discount on the other day.
Jared smiled as he clicked the last buckle together. “You sure will!” Then he looked over at me and whispered. “At least I hope so.”
I agreed and grabbed the diaper bag along with two warm bottles of milk; one pink bottle and one blue one. Ashley would always refuse to drink her milk unless it was out of a pink bottle. I could tell she was my little girl.
Jared and I both strapped a toddler into their car seats. Adam always could entertain himself with something for any car ride, but Ashley needed something to keep her busy. She loved cuddling her doll that she received from one of our neighbors, so that always gave her something to do.
I sat in the driver’s seat, turned my car keys in the ignition, and we were off.


I looked back at the kids in the back seat of the car as I shifted into park. They were entertained and had a look of carelessness on their faces. Jared and I unbuckled each toddler and let them walk on their own into the building. Adam stopped at the colorful sign that said ‘T.L.C. – Toddler Learning Center’  to smell it. I laughed at him and grabbed him by the shoulders and swinging him up onto my hip.
“Why did you smell the sign?” I asked Adam, who was now sucking on his thumb like always. Jared opened the door for Ashley to walk in and kept it open for me and Adam.
“Maybe it would smell like cookies. Like the ones you make with the candies in them.” He replied. He was talking about my neighborhood-famous M&M Cookies that I make often. The twins absolutely loved them, but I tried not to make them too often so that we could all stay in shape at least a little bit. Yet, I always had a few of them in a baggie in some purse or bag at all times.
I laughed at Adam and closed the door behind me. A rush of cold, air-conditioned air hit my face and gave me the goose bumps. I shivered at the freezing air, even though it was a nice change from the summer heat wave here in Aurora Skies.
The whole building was filled with all kinds of bright colors and cute kid-like decorations. There were a ton of cute touches here and there. Like the toy train that went up and down the multiple floors to the building, the porthole-type windows with bubbles and fish painted around it on every door, and the little bear tracks imprinted on the ground leading to the 'Cub Clubhouse' area towards the back. Ashley saw the tracks first and pointed to them, smiling up at me. “Bear tracks!” Her eyes were lit up in amazement as she reached down to touch them. Then all of a sudden, she looked confused. “Wait, I’m a Bear. How come I don’t make those tracks?” She asked me.
Jared and I both burst into laughter. “Your last name is Bear, but you’re a human.” Jared explained, rubbing her hair around. I couldn’t stop laughing. They were so adorable and creative; I have no idea how they had any relation to Mystery.
“Well, I wanna be a bear.” Ashley stated, proudly. Adam agreed with her and they both put down their toys to get on their hands and knees. Jared and I watched as they growled and roared as they placed their hands and feet into the bear imprints on the ground, pretending to be bears.
“There go our little bear cubs!” I said. Jared and I giggled and picked up our toddlers’ toys, following them to the Cub Clubhouse.


I could hear Ashley laughing out in the family room from inside the kitchen. Jared was out shopping for a book I had been wanting and some more ingredients to make my M&M cookies (we were almost out). I was busy cooking Jared’s favorite meal—steak with garlic mashed potatoes. As Ashley’s laughs grew louder, I leaned back and peeked through the doorway to see what she was laughing at. Kyle was running around while Ashley chased him all around the couch on the floor. Even Adam, who was learning how to walk in an orange and blue walker, was laughing at the two of them. Their laughs were too contagious to hold anything in, I had to giggle.
Ashley then took a seat on the floor. Kyle laid down right next to her. Ashley reached for his tail and started tugging on it.
“Uh, Ash, I don’t think that’s a great idea. Kyle might get mad at you.” I said, tossing some more chives into the bowl of mashed potatoes.
“But he loves me and he would never want to hurt me, right?” She continued to play with his tail and Kyle started looking aggravated. I thought about what she said for a split second.
‘He loves me and he would never do anything to hurt me, right?’ Well, you’d think so. Even though she didn’t know that what she said may apply to her or anyone, really, in the future, it was something people probably said often. I might even think that one day after something hap-
My train of thought was stopped when Kyle lowered his back legs and pounced on my baby girl.

I gasped as Kyle angrily jumped up with his claws out onto Ashley. I threw the wooden spoon I was stirring the mashed potatoes with onto the counter and quickly moved over to Ashley, now lying on the floor, before Kyle got too angry and did something like that again. Ashley was screaming in fear and Adam looked very worried for his twin sister. Adam was very protective over Ashley—Ashley was protective of Adam, too, though.
“Now you learned to never annoy cats, right?” I scolded Ashley and grabbed a paper towel for the parts of her face where Kyle had gotten her with his sharp claws.
“Right.” Ashley whimpered and reached for Adam, who had somehow managed to get his way out of the walker to comfort Ashley and was now standing by my left leg.
I finished cleaning up Ashley’s face with the paper towel and let her sit on the rug with Adam and her doll. I then threw Kyle out onto the back porch and locked to door. He was being a bad kitty. Katie had paid no attention to the whole disaster and continued to lick her paws. The mashed potatoes became a little dry because I had left the stove on when I took care of the whole mess, so I had to fix that problem now, too.
I felt really bad for Ashley, though, so I gave her one of the last two cookies I had stored away in the diaper bag hanging by the door. She was satisfied after that. Adam became jealous of her, so I gave in and handed him a cookie. I then heard Jared pull up in the driveway, home from the errands. I looked at the kids munching away at their cookies and said, “Don’t let him know I gave you two cookies before dinner, alright?” I held up a finger to my lips and whispered “Shhh,” and they mimicked me, smiling. I threw away the empty bag and swept up a few cookie crumbs on the floor real fast as I heard Jared lock the car doors. The twins could tell I was trying to be sneaky, so they hurried and finished what was left of their cookies. I laughed at them and continued cooking like nothing had happened.


“Hopefully the Band-Aid will help your cut feel better, alright, Ash?” Jared told Ashley, handing her a corner of the soft, knitted, pink blanket in her crib. “That darn cat.”
“Thanks.” Ashley rubbed her eyes and yawned really big.
I smiled as I stood in the doorway and watched Jared be animated with Ashley as he kept talking to her, even when he was getting Adam all situated in his crib. ‘Jared’s going to make a really good daddy one day. One day…’ I thought.
We told both of the twins that we loved them to the moon and back, then turned out the lights, and went to bed ourselves.

I closed the door very slowly, trying not to make a sound since Adam was already snoring. Jared smiled at me and kissed me on the cheek. We made our way into our bedroom.
“You know, you make a really good daddy.” I smiled at Jared as I slipped on my cozy, pink pajama shorts.
He smiled back at me. “I guess so, huh. But you know I’m not a dad.”
“Yet,” I smirked.
Jared’s smile grew wider. “Oh yeah? And when’s that gonna happen, huh?” He leaned over and kissed me. My heart fluttered as I watched Jared take off his shirt, his big tan muscles making my heart skip a few beats here and there.
“I think we should wait until after my challenge, when I’m all yours. Then we could start our family.” I smiled and gave him a kiss back.
“I think you’re right. Better get going on that challenge!” He laughed and reached out for my hand. We both laid down on the soft mattress.
I grabbed his other hand and kept the same smile. “I love you.”
He leaned his head down on the pillow and whispered, “I love you more.”


The morning went nicely. There was a slight, cool breeze outside that took some sting away from the intense summer heat. The birds were chirping, the pets were all running around out front, the twins were playing with their toys, and Jared and I were sitting on the floor with the kids in the nursery. The smell of coffee was strong. I don’t drink coffee; Jared does. He likes it black, but I don’t even know what it tastes like. I like to have hot chocolate in the mornings. I don’t really need some caffeine to give me energy, and hot chocolate tastes good. Even if it’s 100 degrees outside here in Aurora Skies, Jared and I still have our usual, hot drinks when we wake up.
I really had to start get going on my challenge… I am pretty far behind. The whole “Mystery Incident” is not an excuse; I have to pick up right where I left off.
I sighed and left my thoughts alone while I looked at Jared sitting next to me. He looked at me concerned and gave me a kiss on my forehead. “What’cha thinking about, Little Red?” I sipped my hot chocolate then leaned on Jared’s chest.
“I just really need to get going on my challenge. I’m so far behind. I need to have tons of triplets and twins to pick up the pace. It seems like it’s been forever since I started and I only have eight kids.” I took another sip of my hot cocoa.
“You know, you would’ve had nine if it wasn’t for Mystery.” Jared stated.
I was confused. I looked up at Jared, puzzled. “Wait… what… how woul-“
“Mystery didn’t tell you this.” Jared interrupted me. He sat up so that we were looking each other in the eyes. “Before he took us to Aurora Skies while both of us were passed out, he took you to an abortion place. He somehow knew that you were pregnant with our child… remember?”
I was overwhelmed with feelings. Anger, confusion, sadness. “Oh yeah, I do remember being pregnant with our child… god dammit Mystery.” I whispered that last part just loud enough for Jared to hear but quiet enough so that the twins wouldn’t pick up on those words.
“He offered the workers at the abortion place about $100,000 to abort our baby.” Jared’s eyes were full of anger. His voice was a little shaky but evened out, sounding more angry than upset. “If only I was awake-“
I interrupted him. “Jared, there was no way you could’ve woken up… you didn’t know. It’s not your fault. But… how do you know this?”
“He paid me $50,000 when I woke up before you towards the end of this whole incident to not tell you about it. I took the money but never made any promises,” He finished. Jared looked so mad with himself.
I kissed Jared and we kept kissing for a while. The twins were so caught up in their toys, they didn’t notice or understand what we were talking about. “You did the right thing, Jared. Thank you,” I ended the conversation, after finishing our kiss.
“I love you.” He said.
I smiled, “I love you more.”


It was about 12:00 in the afternoon and I had just gotten off of the phone with the owner of the local pet store. I realized how much trouble Kyle had been to this family… I decided it was best to put him up for adoption. Two pets was enough for us, especially with all of the kids that were going to be in the house. A nice lady named Jackie was on her way with a pet carrier to get Kyle. Kyle and his mom, Katie were playing and they seemed like they loved each other so much. Well, I take that back. I caught Katie sitting on Kyle the other day and had to save him from suffocating. Overall, I just figured it was a good time for Kyle to go.
Jackie was very sweet and loving towards Kyle and Katie. She even gave Jack a dog bone biscuit she had in a pouch on her side. “We will find Kyle a loving home for you. Don’t worry about him at all!” She smiled, locking the pet carrier.
“Thank you. But be careful, he’s a trouble maker.” I laughed as Kyle, almost on cue, tried to scratch Jackie’s fingers as she was locking to carrier. I looked down at Katie as Jackie headed out the door. Katie couldn’t care less what they did with Kyle; she just climbed to the top of her kitty tower and licked her paws. I shook my head at her and smiled.
Jared came down the stairs, right as Jackie left, from showering, the only clothes he was wearing being a towel wrapped around his waist. He smiled at me when he caught me staring at his abs. Jared walked closer to me and I put my hand on his muscular chest and kissed him on the lips passionately.
After we pulled away, he said “Well, hello to you, too.” I laughed and Jared smiled. “I always love how your freckled nose crinkles when you laugh,” He tapped my nose with his finger.
I smiled and ruffled his damp hair, “What are you even doing down here?”
“Came down to see my beautiful girlfriend,” He kissed me on the forehead. He always kissed me on the forehead. I guess it was just easy to reach since his lips were at the height of my forehead. I had always been smaller, but when I was with Jared, I didn’t even mind.
I smiled, “Well, thanks, but your beautiful girlfriend is going out to get pregnant.” I grabbed my purse and car keys as Jared laughed. “Life of a challenge mom, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry.” He opened the fridge looking for some lunch. “Go continue your challenge and make some gorgeous babies! I know they’ll be gorgeous since they’re going to have some of your genetics.” He winked at me as I walked down the hall.
“Thank you!” I closed the door and stepped out on the porch. I walked out to my car. It was kind of chilly outside. I could tell it was the end of summer soon. In Aurora Skies, there isn’t the fall season every other year. This year was the year where it would go straight to icicles and snow in winter right after summer ends. Yeah, it seems pretty odd, but I just went with it, believing the neighbors who had lived here 5+ years.
I bundled up a little bit with my gray pullover sweater and turned on my car seat heaters to low. I started up my car, already knowing where I was going. I had talked to someone earlier that morning who had heard of me and my challenge from some of the neighbors. I didn’t know them very well, but they seemed to know a lot about me. I guess when something like the Mystery Incident happens to you and then you just move in, people start talking. Everyone in this town was nice, but it was strange how many times I had seen people on their front lawns pointing to my house and talking in lower voices.
Anyways, this guy I had talked to’s name was Aaron James. He didn’t describe anything about himself, but he gave me his address and told me any time after noon was fine for me to come over.

I arrived at his house in less than ten minutes. Turns out it’s just around the corner and on the end of the next street. Someone was in the front yard turning on sprinklers to a garden. That reminded me I needed to tend to my garden at home. I made a mental note while I parked my car and stepped out. The man had light pink skin, brighter pink hair with purple-ish highlights, gorgeous eyes, and transparent (sort of) fairy wings.
Well, this should be an interesting baby.
“Payton Bar?” Aaron asked, stuttering a little bit when he mis-pronounced my last name.
I laughed, “Payton Bear, actually.”
He looked embarrassed, “Oh, my mistake. I just never thought anyone would have a last name like that. No offense.” He rubbed his neck with his hand and smiled nervously at me.
I smiled to let him know that it didn’t bother me at all. “Nah, I’m used to confused faces when I tell people my last name.”
“So, uh,” He stuttered. I could tell he was uncomfortable with the whole challenge situation.
“Let’s do it?” I questioned, trying to move things along.
“Yeah, I guess.” Aaron replied.
I followed inside, trying to imagine what the next baby or babies would look like. I imagined them with tan skin, red/pink hair, and cute little fairy wings.


Once I finished filling Jacks’ bowl with his special bacon flavored pet food the next day, I clicked the TV onto the weather channel. It had been as hot as an oven outside and I was wondering when it would stop. The tall, weather man came on the screen a few minutes later with the forecast. Has anyone else wondered why all weather men are tall, tan, and have really bright white teeth?
Anyways, the forecast predicted only two days left of heat, then it was time for winter. Apparently we would wake up to snow on the first day of winter, but who knows if they’re right. I turned the TV off and rubbed Jack’s ears, as he was standing next to me the entire time. “I guess we’re gonna see some snow soon, buddy!” I said in that excited baby talk voice and Jack wagged his tail, even though he had no idea what I was talking about. I think it’s just the tone in my voice that made him expect something good. Who knows if the snow will be good or not?


I was still in my pajamas around 7 o’clock at night. I guess it was just one of those lazy days for me. I did go through about four mugs of hot chocolate… you would never have guessed it was summer the way I was dressed and what I was drinking all day!
I looked at the calendar and noticed two marks by today’s date. It said “Jack and Katie’s Birthdays!” in purple ink that looked like Jared’s handwriting. Jared was upstairs with the twins, reading them their favorite book about two pigs that went to the beach during the summer, so I walked towards the stairs to go talk to him about what to do with the pets for their birthdays. When I walked towards the door, I could hear the twins laughing in sync at their favorite part in the book. I smiled and knocked on the door before heading in. As I opened the door, all three of the loves of my life turned their heads toward me and smiled. Jared finished reading the page he was on as the twins looked back at the book before asking me what was up. I explained how I realized it was the pets’ birthdays and that I thought we should do something? “Like what?” Jared asked.
“That’s exactly what I was wondering.” I sighed.
Ashley smiled and I could almost see the light bulb above her head that showed she had just gotten a good idea. “We could make them little doggy and kitty cookies! Like the ones you make, Mommy!” Adam agreed that was a good idea and Jared and I laughed.
“You can’t feed animals human food; they’d get sick!” Jared ruffled Adam’s hair.
“Oh.” Ashley dropped her shoulders in disappointment.
I thought for a moment then got an idea. “We could just brush them and play with them the rest of the day.”
We all agreed on that and headed downstairs to have fun with the pets.


It wasn’t until a little later in the day that Jack and Katie actually aged up. I couldn’t believe that my first pets, after the incident, were both already elders! It was sad to see them age up, but hey, life happens and you just have to go with the flow.


 My stomach gurgled loudly as I felt a pain in my head and stomach. I was overwhelmed with nausea and dizziness so abruptly, I shot up straight out of bed and ran to the bathroom, making it just in time to the toilet. I hugged the cold porcelain and hurled up everything I had eaten that day. Oh how much I hate this part of pregnancy.


The sun was just barely peeping through the window as I looked at the alarm clock on my side nightstand that read “7:38”. I could faintly hear Adam and Ashley crying for someone to go and take care of them. The pain in my forehead intensified and I slowly started to roll out of bed. Jared kissed me on my cheek before I even sat up.
“You’ve been up all night throwing up. Don’t worry about it, Pay. I got them.” He whispered, knowing my head hurt.
“Thanks.” I breathed and rolled over, rubbing my hand over my empty, gurgling stomach. At least my pillow was able to block any sound in the house. I felt absolutely awful.


Around noon, I had starting feeling good enough to actually get up and do something productive. I had wondered what had made me so sick, since I usually only throw up a few times when I’m pregnant… maybe I had eaten some bad mac and cheese or something.
After eating some crackers that I hoped would stay in my stomach this time, I got dressed and went out into the beautiful, warm sunshine and took care of my garden. The excessive amount of weeds and the droopy flowers was a really bad sign. I had a lot of work to do.
I actually liked gardening and found it fun, well sometimes. But I really enjoyed it, especially since it was so nice out. I wasn’t really ready for winter. I loved summer, but it has to end at one point, right?
While I was weeding and picking fresh tomatoes, Jared was outside running around with the twins. (After gardening, I had played with them, too. Ashley and I kept teaming up against Jared and Adam trying to be the best lions. I never said my family was normal!) But the heat eventually got to all of us, so we headed into the cool, air-conditioned kitchen and made snow cones with our cheeks still red. Adam was fascinated that his tongue and teeth turned blue from eating his blue raspberry snow cone; it was adorable! He couldn’t stop sticking his tongue out in the mirror and laughing. I held him up to the mirror in front of the sink until my arms got tired.
(#61, finding out pregnancy after shower after gardening)
Then, the baby kicked my stomach unexpectedly and I almost dropped Adam. I placed him down on the floor and changed my clothes after handing him to Jared. I was pregnant!
“Do you think he or she will be a fairy?” Jared rubbed my ever-so-slightly enlarged tummy.
I smiled, “I don’t know, but I really hope so.” I then realized something. How would I explain this to the kids? Should I just wait until they’re older? It seems reasonable, I guess, but I would have to lie to them now.
“S-something wrong?” Jared realized I looked kind of worried.
I put a smile back on my face and replied honestly, “No, I’m fine.”
“I’m fine, too.” Ashley giggled, listening in on our conversation.
We all laughed and I had the twins wash their hands and faces, since they got so messy with the melting snow cones. After that, we decided to just have a nice family afternoon and hang out in the family room.

Jared and I each grabbed a giggly toddler and helped them into the walkers, which was their absolute favorite toy in the entire house. I’m not even kidding. If I accidentally left them in the walkers, they wouldn’t even mind. They would just stay there all day. It was a great way to let them play while Jared and I watched movies on Netflix.
Right as we chose what movie we wanted to watch, there was a knock on the door.
“Are you expecting anyone?” Jared looked at me.
I was confused, “No, you?”
“Well, let’s see who it is!” I said, getting up from the couch and walking over to the door.

I turned the doorknob not having any idea what or who to expect. As I opened the door I saw a familiar face with dark hair and green highlights. It was my best friend—Danielle Smores! She was wearing a green dress with black flip-flops and she looked as beautiful as ever.
“DANIELLE?” I shouted, filled with excitement.
“The one and only!” She flipped her green-highlighted hair confidently.
I had tons of questions. “But how and when--“

Danielle stopped me from going on with millions of questions by hugging me tight. I needed a hug from her. I missed her so much, and she did cross my mind every day, but I tried to forget about her sometimes because I knew I probably would never see her again. I couldn’t believe that here she was, in my new house, giving me one of the best hugs ever. She always knows how to make people feel better, even if she is a complete mess.
“I know what happened… are you alright, Payton?” Danielle had a concerned tone to her voice. I didn’t need to hear the way she said it to know that she truly cared; she’s just that kind of person.
I looked her in the eyes as the whole scene played back in my head, almost like it was fast forwarded from then to now and I answered, “Yeah, I’m fine now.”

We all sat down on the couch and talked for what seemed like hours, just catching up on everything while the twins played together.
“So that’s the Chase story.” Danielle finished her share of explanations. I could see the tears filled with anger in her eyes so I reached over to her and comforted her as best as I could. She seemed to pull herself back together so quickly, I could easily tell it wasn’t her first time doing that after saying what she just had. I was never sure about Chase, but I always felt happy for her because she was happy with him. I would have never dared to say that out loud, especially now.
She shook her shoulders, trying to shake it off, and she was back to normal. “Well,” She looked at Jared. “How are you treating Payton?”
He kissed me on the forehead. “The best I can. I hope I’m doing a great job. She deserves the best of the best. She needs to be treated like a princess.”  I could tell Jared started getting lost in my eyes. “She’s amazing… I’ve never met anyone like her.” I smiled as he went on and on. “I hope I never lose her. I love her.”
Danielle held up her camera and took a picture of us, trying and failing to be sneaky. We looked over at her with that ‘Really?’ look on both of our faces after the flash blinded our eyes.
“What?” Danielle shrugged and repositioned the camera to her eye.
Jared and I laughed, then leaned into a long kiss. I could hear the click of Danielle’s camera but didn’t mind. I grinned at Jared as the Danielle snapped yet another picture. She was always doing clever things that made everyone laugh. I think that was why we clicked so much when we first met each other.
The oven dinged, telling us that my daily batch of cookies was done. I looked over at Danielle and explained how I always make cookies. When I explained it, it occurred to me how unhealthy that seemed, but I didn’t care. They were delicious.
“COOKIES!” Adam and Ashley shouted in unison. They were always excited when the cookies were done.
Jared laughed and stood up. “I’ll get them. You talk to Danielle.” Adam and Ashley followed Jared into the kitchen in their walkers. They knew the rule: “Stay a few feet away if you want cookies today.” I made it up after Ashley eagerly pulled one of the 350 degree cookies from the oven right as I opened it up. You can guess who didn’t get cookies that day.

Danielle scooted closer to me on the couch and sighed.
I looked at her and shook my head. “How did you do it?”
She smirked like she always does and explained everything to me.  “I had heard about what happened… I mean, everyone did. It was all over the news and it was the front page story of the newspaper almost everywhere for a few weeks.”
I was in shock. “Re-really? How much did it tell everyone?”
“Don’t worry. There were no details; just the basic story was written down and spoken about. Anyways, it stated that you and Jared were now living here. And um,” Danielle stopped short and rubbed her neck with her hand.
“What is it?” I was concerned.
“I’m not sure you want to know, but uh,” She continued and put a hand on my shoulder while I braced for the worst.
It has to do something with my kids.
“They found all of your kids’ bodies in the ocean… near the lighthouse.” She paused for a few seconds. “I-I’m so sorry.”
I could tell she was leaving out details, but I tried to not ask. I really didn’t want to know. I felt stiff… frozen. I pushed all of the images I had in my head of my kids floating, lifeless in the ocean. It was so hard to not imagine it, yet I had to try my hardest not to. I could keep myself from thinking too hard about it, but I couldn’t keep the tears in my eyes from falling.
Jared was watching from the kitchen doorway. I could feel Danielle look up from where she had her arms around my shoulders, telling Jared that she’s got it. Only a few tears fell, but I could tell that this pain would be inside my heart forever.
Danielle tried to move the conversation along. “Good news, though: Mystery will be locked up in a jail cell for the rest of his life.” Danielle half smiled when I looked up at her.
I laughed a little bit from the relief of him out of my life… or I guess everyone’s life, forever.
Ashley, out of her walker now, peeped her head out from around the couch with three cookies in her hands, one half eaten. “Mommy and other nice lady,” She began.
Danielle giggled, “Yes?”
Ashley separated the cookies in her hands and held out two towards me. “I brought you some of your cookies.”
“Thank you, princess!” Danielle took the cookies from her tiny hands.
Ashley smiled and took another bite of her cookie, then walked away, proud of herself.
Danielle and I both took bites of our cookies. “She is so cute! What’s her name?” Danielle asked. She looked over at Adam who only had his back end sticking out of the toy box. “And what’s his? Twins?”
I chewed on my warm cookie and replied, “Twins, yes. Adam and Ashley.” I pointed to each of them. “They’re adorable and they get along well. Hopefully they get along with this one, too.” I rubbed my stomach.
“Aw, I can’t wait to see her or him!” Danielle rubbed my stomach, too. She then said, “You know, these cookies are really good!” before finishing it up.
“Thanks! My kids absolutely love them. Seriously, they’re crazy over these things.” I stated. I then pointed to the two of them standing in the kitchen with Jared. Jared had a plate full of cookies and two begging toddlers at his feet.
“Please, please, please with extra cookies on top?” Ashley whined in unison with Adam.
Danielle and I laughed as Jared gave into their sweet faces, splitting a cookie in half; one half for each child. They then came running with huge smiles on their faces to the couch with their cookies in the air.
“What do you say?” I stood up and picked up Adam, swinging him onto my hip.
“Thank you!” They shouted in unison to Jared. Jared smiled from the kitchen doorway.

Ashley stood at Danielle’s feet with her arms up as if saying ‘Hold me, too!’. Danielle didn’t hesitate and she bounced Ashley up.
They had both finished their cookie halves by now. I went to talk to Jared and help clean up the cookie mess in the kitchen, Adam still in my arms.
I could hear Ashley’s little laughs from the other room and saw Danielle tickling her sides. Ashley has always been a social butterfly, unlike Adam who is very shy. Adam’s pretty much a momma’s boy.
“Hey, where is Danielle staying here?” Jared asked while picking up the cookie sheets.
I turned off the oven and replied, “Huh. I didn’t think to ask that.” I leaned my head out the doorway. “Danielle?”
She swung around as Ashley’s giggle fit had calmed down. “Yeah, girl?”
“Uh, so where are you staying here?”
She scratched her head. “Oh, yeah. Uh, one small problem.”
“You don’t have a place to stay, do you?”
I looked at Jared and we had a quick conversation without saying anything; just making different looks and hand gestures. I have no idea when we got really good at that, but we did.
“We have an extra room upstairs with an extra bed and some other random stuff in there, if you’d want to stay here for a few nights until you find a house.” I put the last of the dirty dishes in the sink and wiped my hands off with a blue kitchen towel.
Danielle smiled, “That’s really sweet, but you don’t have to do tha-“
“C’mon, just follow me upstairs!” I interrupted her. I took Adam’s hand and started heading towards the stairs with Danielle. “Seriously; it’s not a problem at all.”

I opened to door to the crowded extra room upstairs. “I know it’s kind of cluttered and all, but we’d love to have you stay here! Jared and I don’t know what to do with this room anyways, so here you go.” I opened my arms towards the room with a smile.
“Wow, thank you so much!” Danielle hugged me again. “Well, I’ll get changed and go to bed soon. Thank you again, Payton.”
“You’re welcome here anytime.” I smiled.
Ashley was still right by Danielle’s side this entire time. I pried her off of Danielle’s leg and led them out the door. “Goodnight, girl!” I put my hand on the doorknob.
“Night!” She replied and I closed the door.

Jared was coming up the stairs as I walked towards the nursery. “The pets are all taken care of, so don’t worry about them.”
“Thank you. Help me put these little munchkins to bed?” I opened the child locked gate.
Jared picked up Ashley and said, “Of course.”
We went through the usual night time routine and turned out all of the lights. Jared put his arms around me in the middle of the dark hallway and sighed. “You know I love you, right?”
I looked up at him. “Why wouldn’t I?” I held his hand and walked to the bedroom, exhausted. I changed into my pajamas along with Jared when we got inside. “And you know I love you more, right?”
Jared pulled up his covers on his side of the bed. He laughed. “Not possible.”
He kissed me on the forehead before putting an arm around me and falling asleep.
Well, let’s see if we wake up to that winter snow, huh? I snuggled my face into my pillow and pulled Jared’s arm closer. I then closed my eyes and slowly drifted asleep.


Hello, readers! So, here's an important announcement--
*throws confetti*
Woop woop!
I feel awful because I don't have a gift or anything ready to celebrate it!
BUT, this is your gift for now! :D
I know, it's a lame gift, but I promise I will come up with something else and give it to you later!
I love you all and feel free to comment what you thought about the chapter and maybe even an idea for the one year celebration! 
I love you all and if you live in America, Happy 4th of July as of yesterday! <3
*throws more confetti and gives everyone a red, white, and blue cupcake*
But seriously, can you believe it's been a year?
Holy crap!

~Heather ^_^


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  2. Have you abandoned the challenge ? :((