“What did you say?” the hostess said looking just a little annoyed at Sam’s request.
“Table for 8?” he asked again. He knew she should have called ahead. “Two tables would be fine.”
“I want to sit with Aunt Izzy,” Paige said, tugging on Sam’s arm. Sam looked over at his wife and she nodded quickly.
“Sure you and Pippin and I will sit with Izzy.” Paige frowned a bit at that. Sam bit back a sigh. But before she could protest, the hostess seated them in two booths.
“I need to go to the bathroom,” Paige said staring up at her aunt.
Izzy smiled and nodded to Sam. “Order for me?”
“How are the new glasses treating you, Pip?” Sam asked once the ladies were away. The glasses were the cause of Paige’s recent meltdown. Since Pippin got glasses, she wanted glasses too. Pippin looked up, his eyes magnifying his eyes. He looked like an owl. Pippin had been quiet since he’d been fitted with the glasses. Sam wasn’t sure if he was upset or what. But now was the time to find out if he needed a pep talk. He needed glasses.
“Everything so sharp! The trees have leaves,” Pippin said a grin on his face. Sam let out the breath he’d been holding.
“Of course the trees have leaves.”
“Yes, but I can see each individual leaf now!” Sam grinned.
“Mom?” Elisa asked in the booth next to Sam and Pippin. “Can Evelyn and I go to Felix’s after school?
“Felix? Do I know him?”
Elisa giggled. “No, Felix is a hangout that opened just opened. Strictly for teens. They have tutoring and stuff.
“And foosball,” Evelyn added. Elisa frowned, didn’t her twin see she was trying to sell this to their mom? Foosball was not a mom-selling point.
Karen frowned a bit but then shrugged. “Why not. There are worse places for you to go.”
“Can I go too?” Jasmine asked.
“Not until you’re older,” Elisa said with a frown. The best part, in her opinion, of Felix’s was that there weren’t kids. Not that she didn’t love her siblings, but sometimes they were just so … noisy.
“Can I sit by the window, Evelyn?” The girls traded spots as their food arrived.
Izzy looked over at her brother. Who would have thought he’d have so many kids. She couldn’t even image how much work it would be to raise five. She had enough work with just Caroline. Of course with Caroline it was just her, maybe with two parents it was less overwhelming.
“Aunt Izzy,” Paige turned to her aunt. The girl had been by her side ever since she arrived. At first Izzy thought it was because she hoped Caroline was coming too. But Izzy had explained that Caroline was at summer camp and it hadn’t deterred the girl. She shifted her attention to her youngest niece.
“When Caroline comes back, can I come over and spend the night?”
“Of course,” Izzy said with a smile. “Any of you can come and visit.”
“Just me though?”
It must be hard being the youngest girl. Izzy thought. The other girls probably overshadowed her, and with Pippin needing so much extra attention healthwise, she probably felt ignored.
“Sure,” she said with a smile.
She caught Sam’s expression as she was speaking. Had she done something wrong?
Paige turned to her brother. “I get to stay with Aunt Izzy by-my-self, ” she said with a grin.
So that was it, Izzy thought. Sure, Paige might feel overshadowed by her siblings and her brother, but she wasn’t above trading on that fact.
“And the next week Pippin can visit as well.”
“Time to go,” Sam said standing up. Izzy gave her brother a hug as they left the restaurant.
“Sorry,” she said.
“Nah it’s cool,” he said with a sigh. “It’ hard to balance what she needs with what she thinks she deserves. But I know she’ll love visiting you. You are her favorite aunt.”
“Isn’t Karen an only child?”
“Hmmmm,” Sam replied with a grin. “Don’t be a stranger, sis.”
Izzy looked around Sam and his family with a grin. For all that she’d worried about him, it seemed he’d made a good life for himself out on that island. “No worries there. Take care bro!”
Author’s Note: I know, I know – I didn’t show the twin’s birthday. I do plan to, but it’ll be more flashbacky. I wanted to start to give you all an idea of the kids’ personalities as a whole first and the dinner seemed like a great way – plus Izzy! It’s been far too long, we’ll be learning more about her (and Caroline) as soon as I finish that short story. I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve slowed down a bit in writing. nothing’s wrong, just the summer is full of activities that I want to participate in. No doubt when winter rears its head, I’ll be back to a more predictable schedule. For now – I hope to have a Huffman and a Ghost each week during August.