“Where’s Nicky?” I asked, suddenly realizing he was gone.
“I don’t know,” said Adam, “but here’s his picture.” He picked up a drawing that had been left on the floor. “Look,” he said. “This one has Uncle Joe in it.”
Sure enough, Nicky’s picture included a blue-suited, spectacles-wearing figure. “That’s great,” I said. I made up my mind right away to tell Nicky he’d won the contest. But where was he? “I wonder where he went?” I said out loud. “Let’s look,” I added to Jessi. “You guys can stay here and draw some more if you want.” Jessi and I walked down the hall and checked the kitchen and the dining room. No Nicky. Then I heard giggles from the living room. I gestured to Jessi, and she followed me to the doorway. We peeked inside.
There was Nicky — sitting on Uncle Joe’s lap! Uncle Joe was holding a white handkerchief that was folded to look like a mouse. “Nice little mousie,” he said, stroking it. Then he made it run up his arm, just like a real mouse. Nicky laughed.
“Do it again, Uncle Joe!” he said.
Jessi and I looked at each other wide-eyed. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Then Uncle Joe glanced up and saw us. “Young Nick here reminded me about this old trick,” he said. “I’d forgotten all about it.”
Nick! He’d actually remembered somebody’s name!
I was speechless.
Ted IS A JERK.
As you walk into the kitchen and say good morning, he gives you this BIG, TOTALLY OBNOXIOUS guy-to-guy wink.
His eyes cut to Maggie.
You get it.
You wish you didn’t.
Ted the Dumb thinks Maggie is your girlfriend and that she has spent the night.
Maggie doesn’t catch this, of course. She is pouring you a cup of coffee.
You give Ted your death-ray look.
Then all is redeemed by Zeke trekking down the hall calling, “Maggie? Maggie, I’m hungry!”
Ted is blown away. The random collection of cells he calls a brain crashes.
As Zeke comes into the kitchen, you enjoy the moment.
In Ted’s limited universe, Zeke does not compute.
I give Ted a big, BIG wink. “Later,” I say.
Ducky needs more wins in his life, LOL!
“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.
( More Under Cut )
From the very end of the book -
Dawn and I talked until dinnertime, and afterward she sat on my bed while I unpacked.
“So you think Vanessa is over her broken heart?” she asked me.
“I’m sure of it. She handled it very well. I’m proud of her.” I reached for a pile of T-shirts, and something white caught my eye. A piece of notebook paper was tucked between my shirts.
It was a poem from Vanessa, and my eyes misted over when I read it.
Dear Mary Anne,
Love can hurt, love can sting,
a broken heart can never sing.
Boys will come, boys will go
but a friend is forever, this I know.
A friend is rare and hard to find
everyone knows it’s true.
You helped me through a very bad time
I’ll always be grateful to you.
Thank you, Mary Anne.
“Yes,” I said softly. “I think Vanessa will be just fine.”
When that topic had been exhausted, [Patrick] turned to Charlie, who’d been almost entirely silent, and said, “So, Chuck. Tell me what’s been going on. Bring me up to speed.”
Charlie gave Patrick a level look. “No one calls me Chuck, for one thing,” he said. “I’m going to college next year. I was in fifth grade when you walked out. In spite of everything, Mom’s been great, and Watson is going to help pay for my college education.”
Whoa. Sam’s eyes widened and I let out a little gasp.
Patrick said, “I don’t think I like your tone.”
Charlie just looked at him.
Sam jumped up, grabbed the Frisbee, and said, “You’re it,” to me. He winged it in my direction. I jumped up too, and we took off down the beach.
When we came back, Charlie’s figure was just a speck on the shoreline and Patrick was leaning back on his elbows, his dark glasses on, his face turned to the sun.
TELL HIM, CHARLIE. <3
Carol looked at Dad and me, then burst out laughing, and whispered, "You have to go to the baby's room. Jeff just hung her a present on the wall."
Jeff yelled from down the hall, "I hear you laughing, Carol. It's not funny! It's not a funny present."
"It's an excellent poster," Jeff wailed. "I saved my money for it. I sent away for it and I didn't tell anybody because I wanted it to be a surprise for my baby brother." He gave my father an angry look. "Dad, you said I could treat a sister just the way I'd treat a brother. That she'd play ball with me and everything. So I'm giving her the poster even though she's not a brother." He finished his speech by mumbling, "But I don't think she'd ever going to be big enough to do anything."
I love my brother. he's an original.
Carol held Gracie out to Jeff. He took her very carefully, held her in the crook of his arm, and faced her toward the poster.
"Gracie, that's Michael Jordan," he said. "He's our hero."
( The Pikes' version of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' )
I have always wondered who said what! Of course it's obvious that day 6 was Claire, and it's canon that day 12 was Nicky, but the others could really go either way. I'm guessing that "7 bologna-and-peanut-butter sandwiches" was supposed to be "salami-and-peanut-butter sandwiches" (since that comes up in several books), so that was probably Jordan. I think "four crawling nerds" could have been Mallory and "three stooges" was probably one of the triplets. Maybe "ten bags of Snickers" was Byron? As far as "some garbage in a bare tree".... maybe they were all arguing over who got to start the song, so Dee started the carol?
I was sick of normal people. Dad deserved someone better than that. Someone like Carol.
I looked at Jeff. He looked at me. I knew we were thinking the same thing.
“We’ve got to get Carol and Dad back together,” I said aloud.
Jeff put up his hand, and we gave each other the high-five.
I CANNOT HANDLE HOW CUTE THIS IS.
Back at the Pikes’ house, things were as hectic as before. The only difference was Mrs. Pike had come home.
“There’s my Nicholas,” she smiled.
She gave her son a quick kiss on the cheek and kneaded his slumping shoulders.
“On the count of three,” Sam said, huffing, as we rocked the car back and forth.
We didn’t even reach three. The car bumped up over the snow drift and coasted the rest of the way down the icy drive. At the bottom, Charlie put on the emergency brake and hopped out, holding the door for Watson.
Watson was still standing back where the car had been stuck. He took a crisp white handkerchief out of his suit pocket and dabbed at the sweat on his brow. I noticed that his face was still flushed. I made a mental note to tell Mom to urge him to take it easy.
Then he picked up his briefcase and smiled at the three of us. “Thanks, kids. I guess I’ve gotten a little out of shape. Too much time at the computer terminal and not enough time in the fresh air.”
“No kidding,” Charlie punched him playfully on the shoulder. “Why are you going to work on Saturday, anyway?”
“We’re opening a new branch office in Houston and I need to go over the architectural plans.” Watson smiled as he settled into the driver’s seat and buckled up. “Don’t worry, I haven’t become a workaholic. I’ll be home in time for the football game this afternoon. And remember, Charlie, it’s your turn to make the popcorn.”
Watson and Charlie have little punch games and they watch football and eat popcorn! NAWW. This makes me smile. ♥
Also, Thomas kids just generally being awesome and helping Watson get his car out of a snowed-in driveway. ♥
Anyway, I'm lost in my own world when I hear Ducky mention something about tonight's rehearsal.
"Are you going, Ducky?” I ask.
“We all are,” Ducky replies. “Sunny, Dawn, and me. We'll be...groupies!”
He shouts the word “groupies” in this high-pitched voice that makes us all laugh.
At that moment, James walks around the corner. He's giving Ducky a wary look.
Ducky sees it and flinches.
“Yo,” James calls out, gesturing to me with his head.
As I walk toward James, I hear Ducky mutter, “I should try that sometime. So much more efficient than 'Would you come here, please?'”
Duckyyy! Maybe it's just a small thing, but those last two lines by Ducky always make me smile. :D