“Alright bed time,” Lynette told Ken. They had all just returned from the wedding and it was pretty late.
“Aww, but mom! Ryder and I wanted to watch some cartoons, it’s saturday night. I don’t have school tomorrow or anything!” Ken whined. “Pleaseeeeeeeeeee!”
“No way young man. It’s almost midnight!” Lynette put her foot down.
“But Ryder-” Ken began but Lynette cut him off.
“Ryder shouldn’t be telling you what to do.” Lynette crossed her arms over her chest.
“Can he stay up for ten minutes longer? I want to talk to him about Ryder,” Ethan said.
“Again?” Ken complained. “Ryder doesn’t like when you talk about him. He says you’re mean for not minding your own business.”
“Hey!” Lynette scolded. “I won’t tolerate that kind of talk in this house.”
“What? It’s Ryder, not me!” Ken defended.
“Tell Ryder he needs to mind his own business because I’m letting him live here rent free.” Ethan smirked as he changed the television channel.
“Fine,” Ken mumbled, sitting down next to Ethan.
“Ten minutes only and it’s off to bed,” Lynette warned before leaving the room.
“What do you want?” Ken asked his now official step father.
“I want you to stop playing with Ryder,” Ethan said.
“No that’s not fair!” Ken said suddenly. “Then you have to tell Bailey to stop playing with Amelia and Scarlett to stop playing with Night!”
“I plan to. I don’t like these friends of yours. They’re only going to be trouble later on in life,” Ethan said.
Ken nodded to his side. “Ok, I’ll tell him. Ryder says that he doesn’t mean any harm and that he’s just trying to be my friend.”
“Is he out now?” Ethan asked. Ken nodded. “Ryder, know your boundaries. At the end of the day you’re a guest here. You’re not real, you don’t belong.”
“Stop talking to him like that!” Ken demanded. “It’s really mean!”
Annoyed, Ethan leaned back. Why did Apollo let those kids have imaginary friend dolls? It had gotten way too far. Nothing good would come of it. David was the prime example. “Go to bed Ken.”
“It hasn’t even been ten minutes yet,” He argued.
“Just take Ryder and go upstairs.”
“Ryder’s right, you’re terrible!” Ken exclaimed as he stomped up the stairs.
“Haha I knew you were going to pick scissors!” Ryder exclaimed.
“Then why did you pick it too?” Ken asked.
“Because I thought it’d be funny!” Ryder laughed. “And it is!”
“You’re a clown,” Ken said.
“I’m your clown though, right?” Ryder asked insecurely.
“Of course.” Ken nodded.
“Please don’t let anything come between us,” Ryder begged. “I’m your best friend!”
“Are you worried about Ethan? Don’t be. He’s not even my real dad. He can’t stop us.”
“He has magic,” Ryder said. “Magic is terrible!”
“Him? Yeah right, all he knows how to do is boss me around,” Ken grunted. “He’s nothing to worry about.”
“Ken!” Lynette boomed. “What did I say!”
“Ok, ok.” Ken climbed into bed. “I’m going to sleep.”
“Really?” Ryder groaned. “If you sleep then I have to go into doll form and I HATE doll form!”
“Sorry man, she’s different,” Ken said as he rolled over. “Mom makes the rules.”
“Enough,” Lynette said. “I’m trying to tell your sister a bedtime story.”
“Yeah zip it hot head!” Amelia smirked at Ryder. “I want to hear this story too.”
“Excuse me?” Ryder glared at her.
“I can’t even see her, so stop arguing!” Ken demanded.
“Yeah, Amelia, sit down over here. Don’t waste your time on that invisible dork.”
Lynette pushed her hair back from her face and let out a deep breath. This imaginary friend thing might have been cute if there was only one of them. All three of her kids believed in them? She was stressed out. If it wasn’t the kids arguing, it was the “friends” arguing. She wished their imagination would just stop, it was driving her insane!
The next morning Scarlett was up bright and early. “I can’t marry you, I’m too young,” Scarlett insisted.
“Come on,” Night whined. “When I’m real, I want to marry you!”
“Are you crazy? You are real! I’m looking right at you,” Scarlett said.
“No I’m not, I’m just a doll. Look at me and look at you. I want everyone to see me like they see you. I want to talk to your brother and sister and parents. I want to taste food!” Night exclaimed. “Oh, and I want to be your husband.”
“No.” Scarlett placed her hand son her hips. “I’ll never marry you. That’s just gross.”
“Nuh-uh,” Night argued. “It’s not. I’m going to be real and you’re going to want to kiss me!”
“Ew!” Scarlett jumped back. “Boys have cooties!”
“Not me!” Night argued back. “I’m not a real boy.”
“Shut up,” Ken groaned. “I’m trying to sleep.”
“It’s not me, it’s Night. He’s saying he wants to kiss me.”
“Ughhh!” Ken faked a vomiting sound. “That’s just gross. Girls have cooties, Night!”
“Not Scarlett,” Night defended.
“Night says that I don’t have cooties,” Scarlett interfered.
“Then Night is stupid,” Ken answered.
“Am not!” Night stomped his foot.
“He said he’s not,” Scarlett said.
“He is, now be quiet, I’m trying to sleep.”
“I don’t know what to do,” Lynette cried. “I thought they were bad as toddlers, but now they can talk back and I’m so stressed.”
“You need a break,” Ethan said.
“You’re telling me, except you’re forgetting one thing, mom’s never get to take a break!” She held her head in her hands.
“Actually, I have a solution for you. I was talking to Apollo the other day and we’ve both agreed that for our honeymoon we want to go to Egypt with the kids. We’ll take them off of your hands so you and Ambrose can take a break.”
“No. Absolutely not.” Lynette shook her head.
“We’ll take care of the kids, I promise!” Ethan pleaded.
“It’s not that. I trust you both completely and I’d love a break, but this is your honeymoon. Don’t you guys want to spend some time alone?” Lynette asked. “You haven’t really gotten a chance to, we’ve kind of been intruding.”
“We’ll make time, but nothing is more important to me than establishing a solid relationship with the kids. I want to be a part of their lives, and I hate it when they push me away, plus I really think they need some time away from their imaginary friends,” Ethan said. “I brought the idea to Apollo and I owe him a real honeymoon, but we’ve both agreed that this is a good idea.”
“Both of you? Are you guys sure thats what you want to do?” Lynette asked.
Ethan nodded. “It’s what’s best for everyone right now.”
“Ok, then I’m going to go tell them right now. Thank you Ethan, you’re a really great guy.” Lynette smiled.
“What are you doing?” A startled Apollo asked as he was pushed to the floor. “I still need to pack.”
“You worry way too much. Pack later, Lynette took the kids out to buy some new clothes. Ambrose is out, that means it’s just you and me in the house,” Ethan purred. “What should we do first?”
“They’re really gone?” Apollo asked. “Are you sure?”
“Does it look like I’m lying?” Ethan pressed his lips against Apollos and forcefully pushed him to the ground. “How long do you think we have until they come back?”
“A few hours?” Apollo guessed.
“Awesome, I can think of tons to do,” Ethan smirked.
“That was amazing,” Ethan playfully smirked. “We should totally not be getting dressed right now.”
“I have to pack. We’re leaving in a few hours, did you forget that? You’re the one who didn’t want to leave tomorrow.”
Ethan groaned as he pulled his shirt over his head. “Sometimes I wished we lived alone. But at the same time, I love your kids.”
“They love you too.” Apollo kissed the top of Ethan’s head.
“Come on, five more minutes?” Ethan asked as he attacked Apollo with more kisses.
“Fine,” Apollo gave in easily. He loved this alone time spent with Ethan, it was rare, making it even more satisfying.
A few minutes (or maybe more, they weren’t keeping track) into their passionate makeout session, they heard the impatient tapping of a little foot.
Startled, Apollo pulled away from Ethan quickly. Ethan on the other hand thought it was hilarious. “When people are in love, they kiss,” Ethan said.
“Bleh!” Bailey faked vomiting.
“What are you doing up here sweetie?” Apollo asked as he gained his composure back.
“Mom sent me up to see if you were done packing,” Bailey said as if it was obvious.
“See?” Apollo shot him a look. “I told you.”
“Alright, alright. I’ll pack the bags,” Ethan chuckled as he slid off the bed. “Are you packed Sweetheart?”
She nodded. “We all are. I can’t believe you’re not packed yet and we leave in two hours.”
“It’ll take like two minutes, tops,” Ethan tried to reason with the girl.
“Whatever.” She waved him off. “I’m going to my room. My job is done.”
“Do I have to go mom?” Scarlett pouted. “Why can’t you come too?”
“Your dads want to take you on a special trip so you guys can get to know Ethan better. We’ve been living with him for awhile now, and he’s been so nice to us. Now that he’s your step-father I think you guys should be treating him like one. It’ll really be fun.” Lynette leaned down in front of her daughter and stroked her hair lovingly.
“I don’t really have a problem with Ethan, but Ken and Bailey do. They don’t mean to hate him, but Amelia and Ryder are just so rude and they’re telling them all these things about Ethan and magic. I don’t know how to stop them. Night told me that they’re good people, but I just don’t know,” Scarlett admitted.
Lynette took in her daughter’s words. “Can you do me a favor on this trip? No Night, Ryder or Amelia, please.”
“They can’t come out of doll form unless they’re home,” Scarlett mumbled. “I really want Night to come, but I can just show him all the cool things that are there when I get back. I’m bringing a camera that daddy got me.”
“Daddy got you a camera? No way!” Lynette cheered. “Take lots of pictures to show mommy, okay?”
“Mhmm!” Scarlett nodded excitedly.
“I love you, now go have some fun.” Lynette waited for the kids to get into the car before she waved to them.
“Bye mom!” Scarlett waved through the rolled down window of her dad’s van. She turned around to listen to Bailey. “Bailey says bye too!”
“Me too!” Ken leaned over Scarlett and stuck his head out the window. “Bye mom!”
“Have fun loves!” She called out to the departing vehicle.