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Adventure Funny

Recap:

He smiles sadly and rests his forehead against mine. “Close your eyes.”


I look up at him, confused, but I do as he says. And when I open them, he’s gone.


“It doesn’t count if you’re already planning your defeat.”


I swallow, blinking back tears, and Charlie pulls me into his arms.  I grip his shoulders as a single, solitary tear trickles down my face.


“What…what do you mean?”


“He’ll be back, you know,” he murmurs, “I’m sure of it.”


I nod, but suddenly he pulls back, frowning. “What’s this?”


I look at him, perplexed, as he peels something off my back. It’s a scrap of a napkin—it must have somehow been stuck to my back.


“Ew!” I say, grimacing, “thanks.”


“Hang on,” he says slowly, “there’s something written on it, look.”


He holds it out to me, and I squint down at the hastily scrawled words:


You’ll see me again. I promise.

-SK


My hand flies up to cover my mouth. “I…I don’t understand.”


Charlie, too, looks beyond bewildered, but all he says is, “We should be getting on home, darling.”


He takes my hand and leads me out of the restaurant. I follow, still in shock from everything that happened today.


3 years later


Squeak!


“Why is it,” Charlie wonders aloud, as he walks across the room to retrieve the rattle for the fourth time, “that whenever babies get something they want, they just throw it away again?”


I watch, amused, as my husband picks up the rattle and walks back to our eleventh month old son, Theo, who’s plopped down on the floor. He stares up at his father with wide, inquisitive eyes, his mouth making a perfect little O.


“Now then,” Charlie commands, “this is very important to understand, Theo: if you want the rattle, do not throwthe rattle. Got that?”


Theo babbles happily, and Charlie cautiously hands the rattle back to him. Theo squeals in delight as he immediately grabs it and chucks it at his father’s face, waving his arms around triumphantly.


“Ouch!” Charlie yelps, clutching his nose as the rattle falls to the floor. Theo doesn’t look the least bit sorry, and his tiny mouth breaks into a wide, toothless smile, showing the tip of his pink tongue.


I take pity on my husband and finally decide to intervene. “I can take this one to bed,” I say, walking over to Theo, who cheerfully holds his hands up to me—his signal that he wants to be picked up.


“Well,” says Charlie, “he’s clearly chosen his favorite parent, hasn’t he?” But he’s smiling as he says so.


I laugh. “Come on, sweetie,” I say, gently kissing the top of Theo’s blond head. He babbles sleepily and lets out a yawn, his head drooping to rest on my shoulder.


As I rock Theo to sleep, I sigh contently. For me, this life is almost perfect. Almost. But holding my son in my arms, I’m able to pretend, just for a moment, that this is exactly the life I’d always pictured for myself.


It may seem wrong, even cruel, but I know I’ll never stop missing Samuel. He was meant to be the one—he was going to propose to me before everything went wrong. I keep telling myself to move on, that Charlie is the man I married, and the man I’ll stay with. But I keep finding reasons not to stop thinking about Sam, keep finding reasons not to delete the pictures of him from my phone, keep finding reasons not to throw away that napkin with the promise of his return scribbled on it.


And, worst of all, Charlie knows how I feel. He’s seen me looking at old photographs, and he knows what I’m thinking about whenever I look sad. Ironically, he knows me almost as well as Sam does. Or…did. I don’t even know anymore. Sam said I’d see him again, but that was years ago. Does he even remember?


A quiet snore brings me back to earth, and I smile down at Theo. One thing I’m certain of—I’m glad my baby is here. This was definitely, truly, undoubtedly meant to be. I carefully place him in his cot, smiling as he instinctively wraps his tiny hand around my finger, his eyes still closed.


As I’m about to gently pry my finger away, I see Charlie leaning against the doorframe. “You’re a wonderful mother, have I ever told you that?”


His words bring a smile to my face. “It’s only been eleven months.”


“Twenty,” he corrects me, nodding towards my belly. “That’s enough for me to tell.”


He walks into the room and wraps his arms around my waist, kissing the top of my head. I smile, forcing myself to remember that it’s Charlie’s arms, Charlie’s kiss.


The next day, Charlie makes me breakfast and gives me flowers. “Happy anniversary!”


I blink. “You remembered?”


He laughs. “Of course I did! It was one of the most unforgettable moments of my life.”


Of course. Charlie remembers things like that. Sam always used to forget—


I sigh. Stop thinking about him. “Yeah,” I say, smiling, “me too.”


“Not to mention the honeymoon,” he adds pointedly.


The honeymoon. Well, now I can’t not think about him. “Yes,” I say, shaking my head in amazement, “it was…interesting. But I enjoyed it.”


“I’m glad,” he murmurs, and neither of us mention Sam, but I know he’s on both of our minds.


“Well,” I say, steering us away from the elephant in the room, “this omelette is delicious, Charlie. Thank you.”


He smiles. “Of course, darling.”


He reaches out to take my hand, but as he does so, the doorbell rings. Perched in his high chair, Theo starts to giggle, like he always does when he hears the bell.


I frown. “Are we expecting anyone?”


“Not that I know of,” he replies, standing up to answer the door. I get up to follow him, and when I see who’s standing on our front porch, my mouth falls open.


It’s unbelievable. Well, strictly speaking, it’s Samuel, which is unbelievable. I blink multiple times, trying to wrap my mind around the fact that he’s standing on our doorstep.


He looks exactly the same as the last time we met. His brown hair flops over his forehead as usual, and his bronze eyes gleam with amusement.


“Something in your eyes, Holly?” he asks merrily, “You’re blinking a lot.”


I’m too in shock to answer, but Charlie isn’t even surprised. “Of course he’s here,” he mutters under his breath.


“It’s lovely to see you, too,” says Sam, as cheerfully as ever. Charlie doesn’t return the sentiment.


“Why don’t you come in?” I suggest, trying to be more diplomatic than my husband. “Then we can talk about…well, how you found out where we live, for a start.”


I open the door a bit wider, and Samuel steps in. Suddenly, we hear a wailing sound coming from the kitchen.


“That’s Theo,” I say, heading to the kitchen, where Charlie and Sam follow. I lift him out of his high chair and bounce him gently on my knee to calm him down.


“You have a son,” Samuel notices, smiling at Theo. “He’s a cutie.”


“And you have our address,” Charlie retorts, his arms folded, “How do you explain that?”


“I have my ways,” Samuel murmurs, but he ruins the mysterious effect by tripping over one of Theo’s toy cars and falling flat on the floor.


“Ow,” he declares, wincing, and slowly stands up, rubbing his foot as he does so.


Charlie rolls his eyes, and Theo starts to kick in my arms, signaling that he wants me to put him on the floor.  I oblige, and to my astonishment, Theo crawls over towards Sam and holds out his arms.


“Aww,” Sam coos, picking him up. I brace myself for the wailing that’s sure to break out whenever a stranger tries to carry Theo, but to my surprise, he stays quiet.


“Theo never lets anyone else hold him,” I blurt out.


“Well, then,” Sam says, smiling at Theo, “I guess I’m your favorite, aren’t I?”


Theo giggles and gives Sam a kiss.


“Now that we’ve all been introduced,” Charlie says, “would you mind telling us how the hell you got our bloody add—“


“Charlie!” I admonish, “not in front of Theo!”


Sam snickers, and I glare at him.


“How in the world,” Charlie corrects himself, “you got our address!”


Sam shrugs. “Google is a wonderful thing. I kept my promise to you, Holly—I said you’d see me again, and here I am.”


“And we’re all exceedingly grateful,” Charlie says, sarcasm evident with his every word.


“Look,” Sam says, “I know you don’t like me, and I understand why. But I just…need a place to stay for a while. It’s hard to find a place to live when everyone thinks you’re, well, dead.”


“Very fitting of you to arrive on our anniversary,” Charlie points out, “I see you’ve made a habit of interrupting our marital occasions.”


“Charlie, stop. Of course you can stay,” I say to Sam, “for however long you need.”


“I need a word with my wife,” Charlie says icily, “excuse us.”


He starts to go upstairs, and I glance apologetically at Samuel before following Charlie to our room.


“Charlie, what’s the problem?”


“The problem?” Charlie stares at me incredulously, “so you don’t see a problem with what just happened. You don’t see a problem with the person currently in our kitchen?”


“I have no problem with Theo, no,” I can’t resist saying.


Charlie rolls his eyes. “Not the time, Holly. I just don’t see why we have to let him stay here, in our house. He can rent a flat somewhere else, can’t he?”


“I don’t think he can,” I say thoughtfully, “he wouldn’t ask us unless he really needed to. Please, Charlie. He…he might not have anywhere else to go.”


Charlie stares at me, his mouth drawn into a straight, angry line. “Fine,” he grounds out at last, “he can stay. But not for long. And I just need to know…”


“Know what?”


“Do you still love him?”


My lips part. “I…I’m sorry?”


“Just answer the question,” he insists, sounding pained, “do you still have feelings for Samuel?”


By some miracle, we’re interrupted by a knock on the door. “Sorry to interrupt your complaining about me,” we hear Sam say, “but this one needs a nappy change. Theo, not me,” he adds hastily.


“I’ll handle it!” I say immediately, and hurry out of the room. Samuel passes Theo over to me, and I give him a brief smile. “You can stay. Charlie will show you the guest room, won’t you, Charlie?”


“I’d be delighted,” he says flatly, “come on, then. It’s down here to the left.”


Sam follows Charlie down the hall, and I watch, hoping Charlie won’t murder him when I’m not looking. “Come on, sweetie,” I say to Theo, and he gives me a smile.


The days stretch into weeks, and soon we’re all accustomed to having Sam around. Because everyone around here thinks he’s dead, it‘s hard for him to get a job, but he still helps out by taking care of Theo, who loves him. They were rarely seen away from each other—Sam was constantly reading to him, feeding him applesauce, and had even introduced Theo to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” which is now Theo’s favorite game.


Charlie’s made blueberry scones for breakfast, and we’ve just started eating when suddenly the doorbell rings again. Charlie looks at Sam, who’s busy feeding Theo. “Do you know anyone else who faked their death and wants to live with us?”


“Charlie, don’t be ridiculous,” I say, rolling my eyes. Then I turn to Sam and add, “Please tell me you don’t know anyone else who faked their death and wants to live with us.”


Sam grins. “Fortunately, no.”


Theo starts to hit the tray of his high chair, and Sam returns his attention to him. “Here comes the airplane!” he announces, and Theo giggles as he opens his mouth to receive the spoonful of applesauce.


Charlie smiles at his son and goes to open the door. “Robyn!” I hear him say, “This is a surprise. How nice to see you!”


Sam looks at me blankly. “I didn’t know your husband was a fan of birds. And that he…talks to them?”


“What? No!” I say, “You remember Robyn, right? We all went to school together. She must be here!”


Sam’s face drains of color. “Oh, no.”


“What—oh!” I yelp, finally comprehending, “she thinks you’re—“


“Dead, yes,” Sam says guiltily, “this complicates things.”


“Why don’t you come into the kitchen?” I hear Charlie say.


“Listen,” I hiss, “I don’t know how long she’s going to stay here, but we can’t let her see you. Go upstairs, quickly!”


Sam nods, and Theo begins to babble, holding his arms out to Sam.


“Okay, buddy,” he says, lifting him up, “but you have to be quiet, okay?”


Theo rests his head on Sam’s shoulder and begins to dribble on it, and I can’t help smiling as they race upstairs.


He couldn’t have gone sooner. Just as Sam disappears upstairs, Robyn and Charlie enter the kitchen.


“Holly!” she squeals, giving me a hug, “it’s been so long!”


I smile weakly and hug her back. “I know, how are you, Robyn? It’s…so good to see you!”


“I’ll put the kettle on,” Charlie says, and comes back with a plate of scones.


“It’s been a tough week,” Robyn says, “I hope I’m not intruding, but I thought you might like the company since…well, since tomorrow…” her voice trails off, but I know what she’s about to say.


“Since Sam’s funeral,” I finish for her.


She nods. “Yeah. We were really close. He…he told me about his plan to propose to you, Holly.”


Charlie smiles at her reassuringly, and I want to tell her so badly that she has no reason to be upset, that Sam is alive and well in this house, but I can’t.


I sit forward. “You knew?”


She nods, and at that moment, we hear Theo crying upstairs.


Robyn frowns. “Who’s that?”


“That’s our son,” Charlie says, smiling.


Her eyes widen, and she gasps. “Your—oh my goodness! Congratulations, both of you—when did that happen?”


“He’s eleven months old,” I say with a laugh, “I should probably check on him, though.”


“Oh, do you mind if I see him?” Robyn asks, her eyes shining.


My eyes dart towards Charlie, who looks equally panicked, but we can’t exactly say no. “Why don’t we bring him downstairs?” he suggests.


“Oh, it’s no trouble,” says Robyn, “I can just follow you!”


Charlie squints at me slightly, but I get his meaning loud and clear. Since when do guests invite themselves upstairs?


I blink. “Ehrm…sure. It’s just up here.”


As we head up the stairs, I tell her more about Theo. “He’s such a sweetheart,” I say loudly, hoping Sam will hear my voice, “He has Charlie’s eyes.”


“So sweet!” she squeals, and I laugh along with her.


“He should be in the nursery,” Charlie says, almost stomping down the hall. I hold back laughter with difficulty—he’s such a quiet walker usually that it’s funny to see him tromping around the house, even in these circumstances.


Too soon, we reach the door, and my heart pounds. I slowly open the door, trying to give Sam a last minute warning while calling Theo’s name.


Robyn steps inside, and she lets out a shriek. “Oh. My. God.”


My heart plummets. “What?”


“Is that him?” she whispers.


Charlie coughs. “Ehrm…”


Robyn’s face breaks into a smile. “He’s adorable!”


She hurries over to Theo and picks him up. “Hello, there,” she says, gently pinching his cheeks. Theo, being the antisocial baby his is, immediately tries to escape her arms.


I close my eyes and don’t open them for a few moments. That was so close.


But where is he, then? I look around, wondering if he somehow managed to leave the room before we got there, but I don’t see how—


My eyes suddenly lock on the window, which is open. Oh.


Making sure that Robyn is occupied with Charlie, I hurry over to the window and look outside, hoping to see Sam, but he’s nowhere in sight.


My heart sinks. He might have left, and knowing him, who knows if he’ll even return?


“Robyn,” I say firmly, no longer concerned about being rude, “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to leave. Something just came up.”


Robyn looks confused. “What’s the matter? Is everything okay?”


“Everything’s fine,” I murmur, still searching the street for Samuel, “but I have an appointment soon, and I need to get ready. Thanks for visiting.”


“I’ll show you out,” Charlie says with a brief smile, and Robyn still looks puzzled, but she puts Theo down.


“Bye sweetie,” she coos, and follows Charlie downstairs.


“Theo, come here!” I say, but he doesn’t listen. I watch, bemused, as he goes to his dresser and begins to repeatedly hit the bottom drawer, babbling wildly. I raise my eyebrows—I love my son, but sometimes I really don’t understand him.


Then, to my shock, I hear a muffled, “Ow!” from inside the drawer.


“You’ve got to be joking,” I mutter. I pick Theo up, open the drawer and reveal Samuel, who has somehow squashed himself inside among Theo’s nappies. I let out a snort of laughter.


“Help!” he squeaks, and I take his hand and pull him out of the drawer. Theo watches with interest, and giggles when Sam stretches, popping his joints like fireworks.


I wince. “Why didn’t you just jump out the window?”


Sam’s jaw drops. “We’re on the second floor!”


“True,” I concede, “anyway, luckily for you, Robyn left. But…”


Sam looks worried. “But what?”


I purse my lips, trying not to grin. “Unless you leave the house, you’ll have to do that every time we have a visitor!”

October 30, 2020 21:31

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16 comments

ℤ ℍ☮️
19:14 Nov 13, 2020

Love the story!!! Can't WAIT for your next submission!

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22:24 Nov 17, 2020

Thanks so much, I’m really happy that you did!

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Manu Luna
17:38 Aug 31, 2021

We need more of this!

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04:48 Sep 04, 2021

Glad you enjoyed it!

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Phebe Emmanuel
06:01 Nov 24, 2020

Hey, I'm going on an upvote spree to hit back against the haters! Besides, you deserve to be on that leaderboard!! 😘

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08:00 Nov 24, 2020

Omg Phoebe I cannot thank you enough honestly! I’m doing the same for you!! THANK YOU SO MUCH you are the sweetest person!

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Phebe Emmanuel
17:36 Nov 24, 2020

Aww, it's nothing!

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23:13 Nov 24, 2020

Girl, you got me up over 100 points!! That is not nothing!!

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Phebe Emmanuel
23:34 Nov 24, 2020

Ya, but I'm trying to get you onto the leaderboard. Ugochi gave me a push just to #100, and now I'm at #80. I think all you'll need is a push too. Just do a bunch of spam comments on one of your stories and I'll upvote! :)

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05:15 Nov 25, 2020

Wow thank you!!! I will definitely do that!

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Phebe Emmanuel
21:13 Nov 16, 2020

PLEAAAASSSSEEEEE say that there will be another part to this! I don't understand what happened to your "star story" The Girl with the Make-Believe Name, but I think you said family issues, which is totally okay! But you deleted that one, so I feel that it's only fair for you to give us something else to drool over! We've been waiting on the next part for a while... *wink**wink*

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22:25 Nov 17, 2020

Aww thanks Phoebe! Yeah, it was family issues, it’s complicated so I can’t tell everything on here, but I just had to take my first series down :( Anyway, yeah I might continue this one! I’m not sure where I’ll go with it but I’ll definitely try and see if any of the prompts give me ideas! Thanks for all your continued support, really!

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Phebe Emmanuel
03:28 Nov 18, 2020

Hey, you're easy to support! Who doesn't want to cheer for the winning team?

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13:28 Nov 10, 2020

Read the story loved it

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Prathamesh Chavan
13:28 Nov 10, 2020

Hii, Imaan Sorry to intervene, in this brutal manner, I have a request for you would be kind to give a single glance over the vehicle which my team had been working over months. https://www.instagram.com/p/CHX5VUPBJOp/?igshid=5f72nb3cgg30 Sorry to take your time and If possible like the post.Because this would help team to win

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