From the top of the steps, Kelsey could hear sounds coming from the television in the living room. She descended quietly until she could see into the room. Patrick was sitting on the floor between the couch and the coffee table, his hair still a little mussed from sleep, wearing a loose, blue t-shirt and a pair of black and blue pajama pants. Next to him sat Zach, still in his pajamas, hair equally untamed. They were eating a bowl of cereal and watching Zach’s new favorite cartoon. Kelsey sat on the bottom step, smiling as she watched them eating almost in unison.
“So, which one is Phineas?” Patrick asked, pointing to the TV with his spoon.
“The one with the pointy head,” Zach answered.
“And they’re brothers?” Patrick questioned.
Zach sighed heavily and Kelsey pressed her lips together in amusement. “No, they’re step-brothers.”
Patrick nodded and they watched for another minute or two, laughing occasionally, but otherwise silent.
“So, they do this every day? Where do they get all the parts for these things?” Patrick asked. Kelsey peeked at the television to see which episode it was.
“They order them,” Zach stated, sounding annoyed.
“But they’re kids. How do they pay for it?” Patrick asked and Kelsey tried not to laugh. She knew what Zach was going to say.
A giggle escaped and Patrick turned to look at her. He beamed brightly as she stood and approached the couch. She leaned over it and whispered, “He doesn’t like talking when he’s watching TV.” Patrick mouthed an apology and turned around. Kelsey looked at the bowls on the coffee table. Patrick’s was almost empty, but Zach’s was half full of soggy, brown slop.
“What’re you eating?”
“Breakfast,” Zach replied, glancing at her briefly.
“I know that, but what is it?” Kelsey looked at Patrick.
“Frosted flakes.” He grinned as she raised an eyebrow and tilted her head.
She examined the bowl again. Something didn’t look right. “What did you put on them?” she asked as she slowly stood.
“Chocolate milk,” Zach answered, putting another spoonful into his mouth.
Kelsey’s lip curled in disgust and her stomach lurched as Patrick drank the last of his milk and stood. She folded her arms across her chest and glared at him as he walked around the couch. He stopped in front of her, smiling mischievously, then kissed her temple and continued his walk to the kitchen.
“Good morning,” he said as she followed him.
“Frosted flakes and chocolate milk?” she asked. “What’re you thinking? He’ll be bouncing off the walls.”
“Good morning,” Patrick repeated, putting his bowl and spoon in the sink then facing her again.
He smirked, waiting patiently. She was starting to like seeing that smile first thing in the morning.
“Good morning,” she said quietly, and he turned to the cabinet, retrieved a bowl, and set it on the island. “Don’t think you’re off the hook. You shouldn’t give a child that much sugar first thing in the morning.”
“Is that another kid rule?” He held up the box of Frosted Flakes.
She shook her head and he put it down. “No, that’s a parent rule.” She stepped up to the bowl.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish