Pretty much all of chapter 11 kills me. It's probably one of my favorite chapters in the entire series. ♥
“I wish I were married and had an egg-baby,” said Margo.
“Me, too,” said Vanessa. She looked hopefully at Byron.
Byron sighed. “Okay. I’ll be your husband,” he said. “But only for tonight.”
“Who will be my husband?” asked Margo.
“Not me,” said Adam defiantly. “I am never, ever getting married.”
“Jordan?” said Margo.
“Oh, all right.”
Surprisingly, Nicky agreed to be Claire’s husband.
“Okay, let’s adopt babies!” cried Vanessa.
“Adopt them from where?” asked Mal, even though she thought she knew what the answer would be.
“From the refrigerator, of course.” Vanessa removed a partially empty carton of eggs from the bottom shelf of the fridge. She set it on the table and opened the lid carefully. “Aw, aren’t they sweet?” she said.
“It’s the egg nursery,” added Nicky.
“Hey, there are enough here for each couple to adopt two children,” Byron pointed out. “And Mom will still have one left over for tomorrow. Mal, can we? Adopt the eggs, I mean?”
“I suppose so,” Mallory replied.
A bunch of hands reached for the carton. They were stopped in midair by Jordan. “Wait! Where are you going to put them? We better fix up rooms or something for them.”
“My children are not going to live in any Kleenex box,” said Margo. “My children are going to live in a house. Come on, Jordan.” Margo took two eggs and led her brother to the rec room, where she succeeded in talking him into fixing up the dollhouse for their children.
Meanwhile, Vanessa and Byron arranged their eggs in a shopping bag, and Claire and Nicky put theirs in eggcups.
“That’s what eggcups are for,” said Claire.
“Plus, now they’re dressed,” added Nicky. (Each eggcup was in the shape of a pair of crossed legs wearing blue pants. On the feet were polka-dotted socks and big red clown shoes.)
“We better dress our babies,” said Vanessa. “I don’t want them to go around naked, like Skip.”
“How are we going to dress them?” asked Byron. “I’m not sewing anything. I’ll be these eggs’ father, but not their tailor.”
“Oh, we don’t have time to sew clothes,” Vanessa replied. “We’ll just color their outfits on with crayons.” She retrieved a box of crayons from a shelf in the rec room. “Here we go.” Vanessa aimed a yellow crayon at one egg. “A nice bright shirt for you. … Hey, this hardly shows up at all.” Vanessa pressed down harder.
The egg broke.
“Oh! Oh, no! I’ve killed him!” shrieked Vanessa. “I’ve killed little – I’ve killed poor little, um, little – ”
“We didn’t even name him,” said Byron sadly. “Poor egg.”
“Poor, poor nameless killed egg,” added Vanessa. She was holding the yellow crayon in one hand and the broken egg in the other. The yoke was sliming through her fingers and dripping onto the floor.
Dawn and Mallory both rushed forward – not to comfort Vanessa, but to cup their hands under the egg goo in an attempt to catch it.
“You stay here,” Mal said to Dawn. “I’ll go for the paper towels.”
“The paper towels?!” wailed Vanessa. “Is that all you care about? The rug? Our egg has just been in a terrible accident. If I were in a terrible accident, would you run around trying to clean up my blood, or would you – ”
“Vanessa! For heaven’s sake, it’s an egg,” Mal reminded her.
“And you’ve only known the egg for a couple of minutes,” said Dawn.
“I had grown attached,” Vanessa replied stiffly.
Mal didn’t answer. She ran off, then returned with a roll of paper towels and a plastic garbage bag (degradable). While she and Dawn cleaned up the accident, Vanessa watched sadly. She looked around the rec room at Margo and Jordan, who were putting their eggs to bed in the dollhouse, and at Nicky and Claire, who had loaded their eggs (in the cups) into a doll’s stroller and were taking them on a walk to the garage door. Then she looked at Byron, who was lowering their remaining son into the paper bag.
“Mallory, may we please have that last egg?” she asked in a small voice.
“What – the one in the refrigerator?”
“Then we won’t have any eggs.” (Mallory had a sneaking suspicion that a few more accidents might occur.)
“But… but …” Vanessa’s lower lip trembled. “My baby!”
“Maybe you should let her have it,” Dawn whispered to Mal.
Mal sighed. “Okay. I don’t think one egg is worth all this trouble.” She turned to her sister. “Vanessa, you can have the egg.”
“Oh, thank you! We’ll be really careful this time, won’t we, Byron? We won’t try to dress either egg. They can be naked.”
“Hey, you guys!” called Nicky. “We’re taking our eggs out to dinner at a restaurant. Want to come with us?”
“Sure,” agreed the other kids. And before long, the Pikes had returned to the kitchen and arranged the eggs around the table.
Nicky stood to the side, a dish towel over one arm. “Here are the specials du jour,” he announced. “Eggs over easy, eggs Benedict, egg salad – ”
“Nicky!” cried Claire and Margo.
Mal and Dawn began to laugh. The Pike kids could make anything fun.