Monday, August 24, 2015

Chapter 269 Good Morning

Good morning, Ronnie!”

Ronnie groaned as Julian pounced on his back. “You sure about that, Jules?” he mumbled into the pillow.

About what?”

Ronnie rolled onto his back pinning his new little brother under him.

Hey, you're squishing me!” Julian shouted, scrambling out from under the massive weight.

I am?” Ronnie said, albeit innocently. He tried opening his eyes, but they weren't doing a great job focusing so he shut them again. “What time is it?”

I dunno,” Julian said. “I can't tell time yet.”

We'll have to fix that...real soon!” Ronnie said squinting at the clock on his night stand. “Little dude, it's only seven-thirty. What are ya doing to me?”

Trying to get you up. It's breakfast time,” Julian said, as if that was reason enough.

Ronnie groaned again and put the pillow over his head. “Call me when you learn to tell time.”

Come on, Ronnie! Get up, Get up!” Julian said, hopping on the bed.

Okay, okay!” Ronnie said, tossing the blankets aside.

Where are your PJs?” Julian said.

Huh? Oh, crap...” Ronnie said, forgetting that he was naked. He pulled the sheets over his lap. “Uh...I don't have any that fit anymore. Go down and I'll be there after I get dressed, okay?”

You better not go back to sleep,” Julian said. “Dad wants to talk wiff us.”

He does? Really?” Ronnie said, excitedly. “Run down and tell him not to start until I get there. I'll be right down.”

'kay,” Julian said bouncing off the bed. “I'm gonna tell Santa to get you new PJs for Christmas.”

You do that, buddy,” Ronnie said, although he knew all too well they'd never get used.

He rushed into a pair of well-worn jeans and tossed on a t-shirt as he padded bare-foot down the stairs and into the kitchen.

Hey, Dad,” he said eagerly, looking at everyone at the table.

Ronnie! Didn't expect to see you up so early after getting home so late,” Victor said, pouring himself coffee.

Yes, what time did you get home?” Simon asked, casting a venomous look across at his brother.

Ronnie ignored him. “Jules said you had something to tell us, Dad,” he said, sitting down and grabbing a piece of toast from Georgie's plate.

Hey, get your own,” she said, half-heartedly as she passed him the butter and smiled at him.

I have something to say?” Victor said, looked curiously at Julian. “Like what?”

What fun stuff we're gonna do today cuz today you're gonna be home wiff us!” Julian said, hopping on his seat.

Well, hate to break it to you, but I can't stay. You'll have to decide what fun things to do for yourself, Julian,” Victor said. “I have a meeting this morning.”

You gotta go work again?” Peter said, pouting.

Simon, already in a sour mood, glowered at the brat. “You better get used to it, kid. It's how parents earn the money to give you fancy toys, clean clothes to wear, a nice home to live in, and warm food to eat. Unless you want to live under a bridge and eat scraps people leave behind, you better learn to accept that Dad isn't here for your constant entertainment. You're lucky you get to see him at breakfast and dinner time. I never did.”

Simon...” Victor said, that familiar guilty feeling coming on stronger than ever.

Dude, shut it!” Ronnie growled.

Trolls live under bridges, don't they? It's a weird place to live,” Julian said, munching on dry Cheerios.

Ronnie laughed, but quickly stopped. “Wait, does that mean you don't really have something important to tell us, Dad?” nothing,” Victor said, watching Simon with a curious frown on his face.

Ronnie glared at Julian. “Why did you wake me up then?”

Cuz it's breakfast time,” Julian answered. “It's the most important meal of the day.”

Ronnie groaned. 

"Kid, there are recent studies disproving that little gem of wisdom," Simon stated.

 Georgiana gave Ronnie another piece of toast, this one coated with jam. Here, Ronnie, try this,” she said. “It's the jam Gramma bought for me. It's really good.”

It's not as good as the dream I was having when Jules woke me up,” Ronnie muttered.

Why don't you tell us about it?” Simon said. “Who was in it...I wonder?”

Uh...” Ronnie said, before doing the wise thing and filling his mouth with food, so he couldn't speak.

I have a feeling it's not fit for young ears, Simon,” Victor muttered.

Do you like it?” Georgiana asked.

Yeah... it's different,” Ronnie said. “What kind is it?”

Boysenberry...never heard of it before, but I don't get it,” she said frowning at the jar.

What don't you get?” Victor asked.

There's poison berries that you're not supposed to eat cuz they can kill you and not poison berries, like strawberries and blueberries, so why would you call a berry boysenberry which sounds so close to poison berry that it has to confuse people. It's just stupid,” she said.

Victor exchanged grins with Ronnie who said, “It's too early in the morning to ask such deep questions, Georgie.”

She shrugged. Okay. Will you be home for dinner, Daddy?”

I'll be in the office in town, so I'm hoping to be home early... maybe just after lunch time, but I'll call you if that changes.”

That's not too bad!” she said, smiling. “Did you hear that, Peter? Daddy's only gonna be gone for a little while. Maybe we can decorate one of the Christmas trees when he comes home. Would that be okay, Daddy?”

Sounds fine. Should we have pizza for dinner tonight?” Victor said.

No, we're having spaghetti and meatballs,” she said.

We are, huh?” Victor said, amused.

Yep, Gramma showed me how to make them from scratch and it's Peter's favorite so...”

What does dat mean, from scratch? You get itchy in da kitchen?” Peter asked, spelling out his name with Cheerios, not eating any.

I always wondered about that, too,” Ronnie said, fixing the P for Peter which was backwards.

We'll have to ask Marty,” Victor said. “Will you be able to watch the kids for me until I get home? Should be before you leave for work.”

Simon choked on his coffee and spit it out all over himself and partly on poor Julian who was unfortunate enough to be closest to him.

Eeeewwwww!” Julian whined, wiping his face on his sleeve, until Georgiana handed him a napkin.

Work? Since when do you have a job?” Simon spluttered.

Since last night,” Ronnie said.

What idiot would hire you?”

Simon, be nice!” Georgiana scolded.

I don't think you ought to be calling your girlfriend's brother an idiot, Simon...bad form, that,” Victor said.

Excuse me?” Simon said, looking somewhere between horrified and livid. “Cassandra's brother gave you a job?”

Ronnie shrugged. “Just helping Frankie out until his bartender feels better.”

Is she sick?” Georgiana asked.

No, she hurt her ankle when she fell on the ice,” Ronnie explained.

Ouch!” she said with a grimace.

Well, I gotta be going,” Victor said, kissing each child before leaving. Peter scrambled onto the chair and held on to his neck. “You're going to have to let go, Peter. I can't take you with me, you know.”

You promise you're coming home today?” he said.

I promise,” Victor said. “Be good for Ronnie and Simon, okay?”

Okay,” Peter said, letting go.

Ronnie put down the toast and stood up, ready to follow his father out.

Where do you think you're going?” Simon snapped. “You're not leaving me alone with these brats.”

They are not brats! Now chill. I'll be right back,” Ronnie said and stomped out of the kitchen.

We're not brats, Simon,” Georgiana quietly said, torn between anger and sadness. “You don't hafta be so mean to us even if you hate us.” She turned to her little brother and added, “You're not eating. Would you like some oatmeal, Peter? I can make you some.”

Nuh-uh, not hungry,” Peter said.

I don't hate you,” Simon said, ever-so-slightly ashamed of himself. “I just can't tolerate whiny kids who have no clue how good they have it. I never got to see my father when I was his age,” he said jerking a thumb at Peter, who sat obliviously writing whatever words he could remember in Cheerios. “And after my parents divorced I got to see him once maybe twice a month and only for a few hours, and this kid's moaning cuz Daddy can't spend the entire day with him? That's infuriating.”

I feel so sorry for you, Simon,” Georgiana said, angrily. “Poor you. You had a step-dad who treated you like his own kid, a mother who cared about you enough not to kill herself and a father who didn't run out on his family so you didn't have to spend three and half years in an orphanage. Yeah, feel real sorry for you.”

Having said that, she left the kitchen in tears.

Properly chastised, Simon lowered his coffee mug only to see Julian staring at him. “What?”

He shrugged. “Maybe you should stay with your mom if you don't like us,” he said and he slipped off his chair and followed his sister out of the room.

Peter looked up and blinked his big blue eyes at Simon. “I don't like you either,” he said, then stuck his tongue out at him and ran out of the room.

Little punk,” Simon muttered.


Wait up, Dad,” Ronnie said, catching his father in the foyer where Victor was wrapping a scarf around his neck and pulled on an overcoat.

What is it, Ronnie? I gotta get going.”

Um...would it be okay if Sophie and Cassie came over today?”

You know you can have friends over whenever you like,” Victor said.

Yeah, but...I didn't know if you'd mind cuz of the kids.”

Victor raised a curious eyebrow. “You're not planning on a make-out party, are you?”

No!” Ronnie shouted.

Then I don't see a problem. Is there something I should know?”

No, it's just Cassie hinted how much she liked hanging with us yesterday. She doesn't get to do much of that, I guess. So, I told her she could come over anytime, but I know her father is all protective and stuff and never would let her come alone. She seems to like Simon—I have no idea why! Don't tell Simon, but I don't think Frankie trusts him. He seemed to like me though. He said it would be okay for Cassie to come over but only if Sophie was here a chaperon or something.”

Victor smiled. “I'm not so worried about Simon with Cassie as I am with you and Sophie. You still have a crush on her, don't you?”

No!” he said, a bit too forcefully. “I mean...I like her fine for a step-sister, but that's it!”

Victor's smile slipped away. “Don't do that, Ronnie. Violet and me are done. Get used to it.”

Dad, don't say that! It's not true. You should have seen her last night. She was so worried when you were late to the concert. She loves you, Dad. I know she does. You just have to...”

Wait? Well, I'm done waiting for her. In case you missed it, Ronnie, I don't have time anymore,” Victor said, pulling car keys out of his pocket and opening the door into the garage.

Whaddaya mean you don't have time?”

Victor sighed. “Thanks for watching the kids. I'll try to be back as soon as I can so you can take the girls out and have real fun. You're only young once, remember that, okay?”

Ronnie stared at the closed door, bewildered by those ominous last words.

©2015 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved

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