When I awoke in the morning, I realized I overslept my alarm. Panicking, I sat up and frantically grabbed my alarm clock, only to see the note attached. It was from Joseph.
I’ll watch the kids today. You relax. You deserve it.
I smiled. It was signed, Joseph Joe. Breathing a sigh of relief, I collapsed back against the pillow and decided to rest longer.
“Nate, watch where you’re going,” Carrie sighed, as she straightened the tilting beaker after her kid brother ran circles around her science project.
“Car…wie! Dance!” Nathan demanded.
“No, I have to finish my science project,” Carrie shook her head.
“Dance!” Nathan said happily as he pointed to the stereo.
He clapped his hands and began wiggling his behind. Carrie tried to ignore the child as she fiddled with the baking soda. She was determined to make the best and most explosive volcano in her class. No her entire school.
Kids here weren’t like Brindleton Bay Elementary. They were ruthlessly competitive. Just last week someone stuck a flower bouquet in her locker so she would have an allergic reaction. She was forced to go to the nurse’s office and missed the spelling bee. Someone else won instead of her. It should’ve been me, she balled her fists.
Marshall entered the room and began barking, startling Carrie. She nearly dropped her glass beaker. Parker ran out to join her brother in her onesie, dancing in a frenzy. Joey toddled from the bedroom, screeching for Daddy.
“Dad! Can you make them be quiet?” Carrie said, exasperated as her adopted dad knelt next to her project.
“What are you working on?” he inquired.
“My volcano for the science fair,” Carrie replied. “I just need to get the right mix of chemicals and it should be perfect.”
“Okay kids, here’s the deal,” Joseph said, addressing the triplets. “Your mom is going to have some alone time today and your sister is working on a very important school project,” he winked at Carrie.
She beamed. It was nice that Joseph thought of her as the older sister to his own biological kids.
“So we need to be quiet, but we can still have fun,” Joseph continued. “It can be a contest. Who can be the quietest?”
“Oh me me!” Joey Jr. jumped up and down and scream-whispered.
“No me!” Nathan wiggled his booty and giggled softly.
Carrie rolled her eyes.
“Parker, are you going to play?” Joseph asked.
She nodded, her eyes lighting up at the idea of a challenge.
“Can you help me, Dad?” Carrie asked.
“Can I help you? Hmm…” Joseph rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Let me see. I think I’ve made one or two of these in my day.”
“Dad!” Carrie sighed. “You aren’t going to mess it up, right?”
“Never!” he said in mock-seriousness.
At a quarter past eleven, I wrapped myself in my silky green robe. Joseph had laid it over the dresser, freshly laundered and pressed. I smiled as she adjusted the tie and wandered into the bathroom barefoot. I never slept this late. It felt amazing.
I gasped as my eyes fell upon a copper bucket. A bottle of my favorite celebratory champagne and a yellow rose lay tucked into a bed of ice on the floor by the bathtub. Another little note was attached to the side.
Sometimes it’s okay to drink before noon. 😉 Treat yourself to a bubble bath.
I grinned, noticing a giant bottle of bubble bath sitting on the edge of our jetted tub. Joseph was spoiling me. I poured myself a glass, started the hot water, and added a cap full of bubbles. No two. Giggling to myself, I decided to really go for it. Three cap fulls of bubble bath.
I indulged in the longest bath I had taken since I was single. I didn’t step out until I resembled a sun-ripened raisin.
“What do you think, Dad?”
Carrie looked hesitant as she awaited Joseph’s response. Both the cat and dog gathered to witness her finished product. Marshall whined to go outside, but Dulcie seemed genuinely alert. The triplets were still dancing with a newfound energy even if it had been several hours.
“Are you all going to get dressed?” she inquired. “It’s almost one o’clock.”
“It’s the weekend,” Joseph shrugged. “And we’re enjoying a lazy day, aren’t we, kids?”
Carrie bit her lower lip. “But the volcano? What do you think?”
“I think…” Joseph smiled, proudly. “It is the best volcano I have ever seen.”
“Really?” Carrie’s eyes lit up.
“Really! Now go do something fun for yourself too,” Joseph urged.
While Carrie ran to her room, Joseph played with the triplets.
“Horsey!” Nathan declared, leaping at his father with a furious determination.
“Oh I’m the horse today!” Joseph smirked. “Yesterday I was the knight. What do you think, Joey?”
Joey hmmf-ed on the couch, folding his arms.
“It’ll be your turn next,” Joseph assured.
Both Nathan and Joey gave Joseph a workout as he pranced about in the living room and kitchen. Carrie returned to the couch, turning on the television to watch the Super Shopping Network. The channel ran a special about Al Simharan antiquities. Carrie gasped.
“Those knives look epically sharp!” she exclaimed.
Parker nodded, staring up at her father.
“Is it your turn, Parker?” Joseph asked.
His daughter nodded.
About midday, Carrie asked her adopted father if she could practice her instrument without disturbing Lizzie. Joseph gave permission. He had checked on his wife earlier, so he knew she was awake. He brought her favorite take-out – pizza from Pendragon’s franchise in town. He even special ordered extra pineapple, and planted a deep kiss on her cheek when he delivered her lunch. She smiled gratefully. Then he returned with mini pizzas for the kids. Carrie wasn’t too hungry, and picked the pepperoni off politely. The triplets loved pepperoni. Carrie? Not so much.
She tucked her violin beneath her chin and began to drag her bow gently over the strings. The music always made her feel transported to a time and place where nothing else mattered. The concerto didn’t pick on her when she faltered on the C# like the kids at school did when she asked if she could sit with the white kids and they laughed. The music didn’t care if she was different. The notes didn’t think she was weird because her father was Seoulan and first and second adopted fathers weren’t. She wanted to be normal, and the music made her feel free to be who she truly was – unique.
Mid to late afternoon, Joseph put the kids down for a nap and went to check on his wife. I had been writing for most of the day, hit with the inspiration bug. I think I was ready to show my editor a few chapters. Joseph hopped in the shower while I changed and pulled out my yoga mat. It was time for some soothing smooth jazz and relaxing centering exercises.
Nate climbed out of his toddler bed. Little snorts from Joey and soft snifflings from Parker ensured him that his siblings were sleeping. He felt hot. Daddy didn’t like wearing shirts. Why should he? And while he was at it – why not kick off his pants? He did pull both of his rainboots over his feet. Then he could splash in the toilet all he wanted. Secret playtime when he was supposed to be napping was fun.
“Looking good!” Joseph placed his hands on his hips and admired his wife from behind.
I gulped and gasped, halfway through a pose, surprised when my husband popped into the master bedroom behind me. I could smell his cologne even from a distance.
“Joseph, you startled me!” I exclaimed. Glancing over my shoulder, I added, “Did you have a nice shower?”
“You smell good.”
“Thank you,” he grinned, confidently. “So when are you going to…” he trailed off with a cheeky grin. “…get over here?”
I pressed my hands together, and lifted my eyes toward the ceiling.
“The stereo’s working,” I teased. “As you can tell. It hasn’t needed any TLC for over a month.”
I sighed thinking about the finicky stereo that Joseph insisted on keeping since it brought us together. He was sentimental like that. I didn’t really mind. A smile played at the corner of my lips.
“Maybe I’m the one who needs your TLC,” Joseph replied coyly.
Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Carrie has come home moody a few times, and I got a few notifications in game about other kids’ interactions with our adopted daughter. It made me sad, but it was part of the game, so I added it. The triplets were fun in this chapter. Also I had the champagne bucket from some date aspiration Joseph and Lizzie completed forever ago, and planned to place it in the kitchen. I went into build mode and somehow it ended up in the bathroom, and in true ISBI fashion, I rolled with it. Thanks for reading. This chapter featured InfraGreen‘s Carrie and Buckley, and LegacySims2017‘s Joseph and Dulcie.