Jon got up early to go on a run, as he was heading down the stairs he heard someone in the kitchen. He knew it wasn't Stephanie, unless it was a school day and he knew the runts wouldn't be up yet, so that could only mean Jesse was going to run this morning.
Dropping his runners by the door, he walked into the kitchen. Drawn by the sent of fresh coffee, he pulled down a mug and filled it up. He leaned on the counter and watched his son as he drank.
“It's a shame what happened last night at the mall.” Jon said as he sipped from his cup.
“It shouldn't have happened.” Jesse said without looking up from what he was reading. “How did you find out, Romey tell you?”
“You tell me,” he walked over and sat at the table with him. Taking a sip of his coffee, he watched the emotions play on his sons face.
“You know dad, there's too much yelling in this family, we aren't even a family really. Oh we got a dad and a mom, brothers and a sister. But lately we're yellin at each other, not listenin to each other.” Jesse looked up at his dad. “Mom now has a new family and we can't even visit, because of yellin and fightin and tearin each other apart. We don't know who we're hurtin the most.”
“Who are we hurting?” Jon asked quietly.
“Jake, we're hurting Jake.” Jesse looked up.
They both watched each other. The things Jesse had said rang true in what he had seen in his middle son. Where had the laughing, yelling, happy little boy gone to.
“He has a point, dad. We need to be a family again.” Jesse got up and put the cereal bowl in the sink. Leaning on the sink he looked out of the yard. “If that means bring Lexie in the family or not, we got of stop being strangers anymore.”
“I got ya Jess. I'll handle it.” Jon got up and walked over to Jesse. “Lets get our run in and we'll talk some more.” He put his cup in the sink
“Okay Dad.” He went to the steps and they both put on there runners and headed out for their run,
Stephanie heard the slap of sneakers on the driveway and the shutting of the door. Stretching she pulled the quit up close and was just about asleep when she got a text. Sitting up she pulled on her glasses and reached for her new phone, Noting the text was from Mark she smiled, just the sight of his name on her message sent warm feeling through her body. Sure she had a boyfriend back at old PT, but what would a little vacation fling hurt.
Mark: Morning blue eyes how is the new phone doing?
Stephanie: Well hello Mark, it's doing fine,
Mark: Good, Still planning on going to Banshee tonight?
Hum what could a little vacation fling hurt, not like Anthony and I aren't engaged or anything.
She looked over at the clock radio om the night stand and winced it was nine in the morning, She was shocked that the rats hadn't started clambering for breakfast.
Stephanie : That's the plan. I'll be with my brother and this girl he met at the grocery store.
Mark : Sally, she's an alright girl.
Somewhere in the back her mind she hated when the boys at Poly Tech called a girl “Alright” seemed to think of her as on the fringes of the popular girls. She's good enough to be a lab partner and friend but not a girl friend.
Stephanie : We're meeting her and going with her tonight. So I guess I'll see you there.
Mark : Plan on it. Got to go to work. See you tonight,
Stephanie : Plan on it.
She had just snuggled back down under the door creaked open and two faces came into the door.
“You up sissy?” Romeo asked. As the door opened more and the two piled in on the bed .
“Jakey and me are hungry for some snap crackle pop.” he snuggled his sister.
Jake just sat on the side of the bed with his game.
Stephanie reached up and pulled Jake into a tickle fest.
When Jon and Jesse came in the boys and Stephanie were around the table eating big bowls of what looked like Romy's favorite breakfast cereal.
“There's fruit in the fridge” Stephanie told them.
Jesse and Jon got bowls and fixed up fruit and cereal. Sitting around the table, Jon looked up, Jesse had been right, they needed to get back to being a family.
“I'm gonna go get a shower, since you two are going out tonight, I'm gonna take the boys to get a movie later.” Jon said to a chorus of movie titles that they want to see. The loudest coming from Romeo.
Once they were done eating, Jesse and Steph were at the sink washing the breakfast dishes, Jon was on his way upstairs after putting on the Disney channel for the boys.
“Dad knows.” Jesse told his sister.
“Knows what?” She handed him a bowl to dry.
“What happened at the mall.” Jesse dried the bowl and put it in the cabinet
“How, I didn't say anything.” She dried off her hands and went to the family room door. “Hey guys we weren't going to tell daddy about what happened last night at the mall.”
“I didn't tell daddy about Jakey running away.” Romeo told her.
Jake just shook his head.
“Then how did he know?” Jesse asked them.
Jake hunched up his shoulders, Romeo hunched his shoulder.
“I just got up a while ago.” Stephanie informed him.
Jon came down the stairs drying his hair with a bath towel.
“Daddy, how did you know Jakey ran away at the mall?” Romeo asked.
Jon stopped on the steps he looked from Jesse to Stephanie with a what the hell look.
“I didn't know.” Jon put the towel on the banister and came over to the kids.
“If you didn't know why did you said it was bad what happened at the mall?” Jesse asked him
“You going to the mall and not finding anything to buy with my black american express card something must have happened, you are the one who told me all about the fighting and yelling that we were hurting Jake, but not that you lost him in a strange mall.” Jon was shocked that he wasn't yelling, he would have, if he hadn't looked at Jake's face. “Jake is safe and nothing bad happened, but don't let it happen again, right Jakey?” Jon was awarded with a smile and a nod.
Jesse could tell this wasn't over and knew his father was ready to blow his top, that vain in his head was about to explode.
“I'm going to finish getting ready, you two get your shoes on and faces washed. Be ready to go in fifteen minutes.” Jon turned and headed back upstairs snatching the towel off the banister as he went up.
Jesse looked at Stephanie with a what the hell look. She hunched her shoulders and started to follow her brother upstairs behind the boys.
Stephanie and Jesse headed into their dads room, shutting the door they waited for the explosion.
“I don't know what to say to you two, you better let me cool off first.” Jon's voice came from the walk in closet.
“We didn't want to upset you.” Stephanie started.
“So you think that not telling me was better?” He came out of the closet tucking his shirt in.
“Dad, we took care of it, he wasn't gone but just a second and this lady saw him and told me where to find him so he was only missing about three minutes.” Jesse explained.
“Jess I just wish you told me what happened when you got home. I noticed something has been up with Jake since we came back.” Jon sat on the end of the bed pulling on his socks and shoes. “I think I might need to talk to someone who can help him and us.”
“It might be the best dad.” Jesse said
Jon looked at his oldest son. Shaking his head he heard the boys downstairs ready to go.
“I'll be back in a while, might see if I can get Jake to talk to me.” Jon said as they headed downstairs to join the boys. “When I get back, the two of us are going to talk about things.”
Stephanie stopped short, Jesse almost bumped into her.
Jon got the boys out to the SUV and they got buckled up.
“Oh yeah, Curfew tonight is ten thirty.” He looked right at Stephanie.
“Dad, you said eleven.”Stephanie huffed.
Jesse put his hand on her arm trying to stop her from making it worse. He really wanted to go tonight and if they had to be in at ten thirty then that would do.
Jon got in the car, backed up even with his older two. Rolling down the window he gave them the famous stink eye that was held for family only.
“You're two steps away from staying home tonight, don't push it princess.” Jon hissed and backed out of the garage.
“Way to go Steph, piss him off more.” Jesse bopped her in the back of the head and pulled out his cell to text Sally.