One Door Closes

By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2009 MultiMapper and CSU Productions.
All Rights Reserved.

For full disclaimer and Copyright information visit Copyright/Disclaimer Page. Continuation of viewing this document is deemed acceptance of all terms on the preceding link. While these stories are provided for free, I would appreciate it if those who were able would consider contributing to this artist via my Patreon.

CHAPTER 11

"I hope you don't mind, but I have an errand to run. I'm going to drop you off at your house and the others will help you pack things." Chip said as he drove.

"I don't mind, but I'm a little overwhelmed by how fast things are moving. Two days ago I had just seen my son leave for what I thought might be the last time. I thought my life was over. Now I have four sons, a new house and so many things going on I can't keep up with them all." Allen said in an overwhelmed tone.

"That's why we're doing all this for you. I have no doubt that you could arrange the move and everything yourself. But you'd also stress yourself out in the process. Everyone wants to help and has been delegated a job. All you have to do is be there to sort through your personal effects and decide what stays and what goes. We'll take care of the rest. If all goes as planned, you and your family will be able to spend tonight in your new home and all the moving nightmare will be over with." Chip said happily.

"I don't know how I can ever repay you, all of you, for what you've done the past two days." Allen said in wonder.

"That's easy Pop." Kenny said from the back seat.

Allen looked at Kenny curiously.

"Help someone else when they need it." Kenny said with a smile.

"He's right." Chip said seriously.

"That's what all this is about, isn't it?" Allen asked in thought.

"That's right. One good deed breeds other good deeds until you have an entire community of close friends willing to look out for each other." Chip said as he pulled into Allen's driveway.

"How did you know where I live?" Allen asked curiously.

"I don't know. Either Kenny told someone or someone looked at David's paperwork or someone looked it up on the computer or one of the telepaths picked it up along the way. However it happened, Josh gave me your address before we left today." Chip said as he parked the car.

"Come on Pop. Let's get started." Kenny said with enthusiasm.

"I'll see you at your new house later. Make sure you're there by four-thirty." Chip said seriously.

"What's happening at four-thirty?" Allen asked as he got out of the car.

"Let it be a surprise. Just be there." Chip said with a smile as he backed away from the house.

* * * * *

"Come on guys. I was told to get posters, toys, games, and lots of clothes." David said happily.

"Why are you getting all that stuff?" Kevin asked in confusion.

"It's for you guys. You need to decide if you want any special kind of theme or anything for your room. Aaron already suggested something for Jake's." David said happily.

"Really? What's that?" Jake asked with surprise.

"For you, we're going to get posters of every band that you like. We're going to cover the walls of your room with everything you enjoy." David said with a great smile.

"That sounds totally awesome." Jake said, then noticed Xain looking at him curiously.

"What kind of things would you like in your part of the room Xain?" Jake asked curiously.

Xain tilted his head in thought before saying, "Earth."

"I don't understand." Jake said as he tried to make sense of the single word response.

Kevin leaned over and asked Xain something in Vulcan, and Xain responded quickly.

"He wants pictures of different places on Earth... but no deserts. He wants trees and valleys and mountains and snow. Stuff like that." Kevin said seriously.

Jake thought about it for a second before saying, "Why don't we get some real plants too. And maybe a little fountain or waterfall. Could we do that?"

"I think that's a great idea. Xain, what do you think?" David asked with a smile.

"Acceptable." Xain said simply, but his tone wasn't rigid Vulcan discipline. Beneath it was a note of warmth and happiness.

* * * * *

"Where do you want this?" A large man asked as he carried a crate through the door on a dolly.

"What is it?" Brady asked curiously.

"There's a list on the top. I don't read 'em. I just carry 'em." The man said with a hint of anger in his voice.

Brady ignored the man's anger and read the list on the top of the crate.

"It goes in the dining room, right through that door." Brady said and stood aside.

"Where do you want this?" Another man asked.

Brady looked curiously at the second man, and then glanced at the list on the top of the crate.

"In the family room, past the stairs and on your right." Brady said pointing the way.

The man got his crate balanced on the dolly and started away.

Brady watched him go then shook his head as he said, "You're other right!"

"Where do you want this?" Brady heard from behind him and turned to see a third large man, carrying the headboard to a bed.

Brady noticed a piece of paper taped to the back of the headboard and read it quickly.

"This goes to the room at the top of the stairs on your... that way." Brady finished, not feeling like teaching these men the difference between right and left.

The man was walking up the stairs when Brady heard the first man say, "Where do you want this?"

Brady took a deep breath before answering, knowing that this was going to be a very long day.

* * * * *

Allen and Kenny walked back into their home and hadn't got the door closed when they heard a car pull up outside.

"Are you guys ready to pack?" Teri asked as she parked the car.

"Sure, I guess." Allen said without enthusiasm.

"Here's how we've got it planned. Cory and Sean are going to walk with us from room to room. You tell them how you want things packed, what needs special care and what, if anything, you want left behind. As the others arrive, Sean and Cory will see that things are packed the way you want them. Dan and I are going to help you pack your room." Teri finished quietly.

Allen began to nod, then he caught the significance of what she just said.

"You think I'm going to lose it when I have to pack Carl's things?" Allen asked weakly.

"I think it's a distinct possibility." Teri said honestly.

"I guess I hadn't thought about having to do that. God, I don't think I can." Allen said as his eyes welled up with tears.

"Allen. We're going to be there with you. All you have to do for now is go through the things that you want to take to the new house. Someone will come in behind us and pack what's left and it will be put in storage." Teri said quietly.

"So I'm choosing what I'm keeping, not choosing what I'm leaving?" Allen asked in a dubious tone.

"Okay, maybe it's like a little mind game, but it helps." Teri said with a shrug.

"Either way, I'm glad you and Dan are going to be there with me. I don't think I could face this alone." Allen said in a timid voice.

"You're not alone." Teri said seriously.

"Yeah, and don't forget us." Sean said with a smile.

Allen looked at Sean and Cory curiously.

"We're seen as adults in the eyes of the Federation and we've got three kids. There's some stuff that Mom and Dan will be better at helping you with, but I bet there's things we can help you with better than they can." Cory said with a sincere look.

Allen didn't ask, but his curious look prompted Sean to continue.

"We can see things from a kids point of view, so we'll be able to help you understand what your kids are going through. We're parents, so we can relate to your point of view as much as theirs. You're not the only one who's facing this." Sean said, then glanced at Kenny who was standing in the entry hall, looking at pictures of his father.

"Yeah. Thanks guys. I see what you mean." Allen said as he stared at Kenny for a moment longer then said, "I guess we'd better get started before everyone else gets here."

Teri, Cory, Sean and Kenny fell into line as Allen started looking around the room and commenting on what was fragile and how he wanted certain things packed.

* * * * *

"Come on Kevin. You need to pick something so we can make your bedroom feel like 'your' room." David said with concern.

"But I don't like stuff like this." Kevin said as he looked at the posters.

"Then what kind of stuff do you like?" David asked seriously.

"I don't know." Kevin said in frustration.

"What about your pictures?" David asked quietly.

"What about them?" Kevin asked in a cautious voice.

"Would you like to put your pictures on your walls?" David asked in thought.

"Yeah. That would be nice. But my pictures are on bags and food wrappers and stuff. Poppa won't want stuff like that on the walls." Kevin said with disappointment.

"Sure he will. Come on. Let's go get some art supplies and everything made of paper that we can find. By the time we're finished, your pictures are going to be the most normal things hanging on your walls." David said with a grand smile.

"Are you sure?" Kevin asked hesitantly.

"Well, if your Poppa has a problem with it, tell him that it was my idea. That way you're not in any trouble." David said happily.

Kevin thought about that for a minute, then smiled.

"Now let's see if Jake's finished, then we'll look for some blank Chinese lanterns." David said as he led the way.

* * * * *

"This one's nice." Antonio said as he pulled out a poster matted on cardboard.

Xain looked at the tall picture of a waterfall and tilted his head in thought.

"Yes." Xain finally said.

Antonio picked up the poster and carried it to the checkout.

"May I help you?" A young woman asked.

"Is there some place where we could stack a few posters till we're done looking?" Antonio asked shyly.

"Sure, why don't you put that over here." The woman said and pointed to a spot beside the checkout.

As Antonio was putting the poster in place and making sure it wouldn't fall, the woman asked, "Are you looking for anything special?"

"Xain is looking for nature scenes for his new room. Landscapes, Oceans, snow, anything but desert." Antonio explained as he led her to Xain.

The woman looked at Xain curiously then said, "The ones you're looking at are the discontinued prints that have been reduced. Over here we have a better selection and there's an entire nature section that I think you'll be interested in."

The boys followed her back to another rack and started looking at a fresh selection of posters.

"I'm Rina, just call if you need anything." She said as she walked away.

Both boys looked up in time to see her staring at them.

"Which one of us do you think she's looking at?" Antonio asked with a smile.

"Vulcan." Xain said in a low voice.

"Oh. Yeah, I guess you're right. I forgot." Antonio said as he started looking at a new stack of posters.

"You forgot?" Xain asked in disbelief.

"Yeah. You're one of my brothers. Most of my brothers are different somehow. I don't really think about it." Antonio said with a shrug.

"Tony?" Rina asked hesitantly.

Antonio looked at the woman cautiously.

"But you can't be. That was ten years ago... but you look *exactly* like him." She said as she looked him over carefully.

Antonio battled within himself as to whether he should acknowledge this link to his past and possibly put himself in danger, or deny knowing her. The deciding factor was the look in her eyes.

"It's me Bree." Antonio said in a small voice.

"But how? No one's called me Bree since I was twelve. You haven't changed..." Rina said with wide, disbelieving eyes.

"I age a little differently than most people. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't tell anyone. It could cause me a lot of trouble." Antonio asked hopefully.

Rina looked at him and smiled.

"Don't worry Tony, back then I knew there was something different about you. Is that why your family wouldn't let you have any friends?" Rina asked curiously.

"Yes. And that's why we moved." Antonio said quietly, not enjoying that particular memory.

"If you age slowly, I guess it makes sense for you to be friends with a Vulcan, I mean, don't they age differently from Humans?" Rina asked curiously.

Antonio looked at Xain with surprise.

"Correct." Xain said slowly.

"I've got another customer, don't worry Tony. I'll never talk to anyone about you, but be sure and come in sometimes. I always wanted to be your friend, that hasn't changed." She said quickly.

"I will, thanks Bree." Antonio said carefully.

Rina hurried to speak with her new customers.

"What is your rate of aging?" Xain asked curiously.

"I age one year for every four." Antonio said with distraction.

"In adulthood, I will also age at that rate." Xain said with difficulty, trying to find the correct words.

Antonio looked at Xain with undisguised discomfort.

"Let us discuss this again later." Xain said, not wanting to cause Antonio unnecessary distress.

Antonio nodded in thought.

"In one hundred years?" Xain asked with a raised eyebrow.

Antonio looked at Xain in surprise, and then broke into a smile.

"It's a deal. One hundred years from today we'll sit down and discuss how we age." Antonio said with delight.

Xain nodded and went back to looking at nature scenes.

* * * * *

"Aaron? I'm going to need your help." David said into his cell phone.

"What's wrong?" Aaron asked with immediate concern.

"Kevin and Jake's stuff has almost filled my trunk. We still have to get Xain's and we haven't started looking at clothes." David said in frustration.

"Where do you want me to meet you? I'll get someone with a big truck to come." Aaron asked carefully.

"We're at the Skyview Plaza. Why don't you call me when you get here and I'll tell you where we are." David said in thought.

"You should have taken them to the 'Florida Mall'." Aaron said in a teasing voice.

"We're going there next, it's not even a half-mile from here. You'd better hurry, Antonio and Xain were talking about getting a waterfall or fountain last time I saw them." David said with a laugh.

"I'm on my way." Aaron said quickly.

* * * * *

"Are you alright?" Dan asked with concern.

"I guess. It's... I didn't think it would be this hard. I guess a part of me still can't believe that Carl's gone." Allen said as he looked at the bedroom.

"I know what you mean. It's been less than two months since I lost Sharon. It nearly killed me to have to pack her things. Thankfully Teri and John were there for me." Dan said quietly.

Allen picked up a pillow from the bed and clutched it to his chest.

Dan walked to Allen's side and put a hand on his shoulder. "Why don't you tell me about Carl? What was he like?"

Allen smiled and sat the pillow back on the bed.

"Carl always reminded me of a big beautiful cat. Free and wild, cautious of anyone he didn't know, but fiercely protective of his family." Allen said as he walked to the dresser and started pulling things out.

"These are yours?" Teri asked as he handed her a stack of T-shirts.

Allen nodded and continued to pull things out of the dresser.

"Carl worked hard, played hard, he never did anything half-way or without a good reason." Allen said as he absently handed clothes to Teri.

"He sounds like he was a driven man. Someone with that type of personality can be a challenge to get to know." Dan said as he folded clothes and put them into a box.

Allen nodded and walked to the closet.

"He made me work for it, but it was worth it." Allen said as he started pulling clothes out and handing them to Teri.

"Is there one thing you miss the most?" Dan asked as he folded the hanging clothes and put them in another box.

"His snoring." Allen said with a chuckle.

"Really?" Teri asked.

"Oh yeah. Carl's snoring could rattle the glass in the windows. I tried to get him to go to a doctor about it a few times." Allen said in fond memory.

"Snoring like that must be hard to live with." Dan said in comment.

"It's harder to live without." Allen said as he handed the last of his clothes from the closet.

"Maybe you can find a recording of something that sounds similar so you can play it while you're sleeping?" Dan suggested.

Allen smiled and asked, "Do you happen to have a recording of a litter of hungry piglets riding a bulldozer?"

Dan laughed and said, "No, but I might be able to find one. I know enough people in the music business that someone should be able to mix some effects for you."

"No, that's alright." Allen said as he walked to the bathroom and started going through the cabinets.

"Is there anything in there that you don't want to keep?" Teri asked from the doorway.

Allen looked around and finally said, "No, I'll keep it all."

"Then just leave it and someone will come in later and pack it. Look around the bedroom and see if there's anything else you want to bring with you, if you miss something, all the rest will be in storage and you can get it whenever you want." Teri said seriously.

Allen looked around and finally said, "No. I think I'll leave the rest."

Teri and Dan looked at each other, then Dan finally said, "Why don't you pick something of Carl's to take with you? It'll make it easier, I promise."

Allen looked at Dan with surprise.

"In the bedroom I share with John, there's a jewelry box that was Sharon's. I keep it there to remind me of her. She's still part of my family, now her part is in the family history." Dan said seriously.

"I still have a pair of my husband's shoes under my bed. When it was time to move to Florida, I brought them." Teri said quietly.

Allen looked around the room and his eyes were drawn to the bedside lamp with a murky green lampshade.

"I hated that lamp the moment I saw it." Allen said as he walked over to it.

"Carl wanted the god awful thing for some reason. I was able to steer him away from it before he bought it. The next day while he was at work, I came back and bought it for him." Allen said with a smile.

"So you're going to keep something you hate?" Teri asked, looking at the lamp.

"He treasured it because he knew I didn't like it but I bought it for him anyway. So, as hideous as the thing is, I'm going to keep the lamp." Allen said with a smile.

"Grab it and let's go. We need to get to your new house to start the unpacking." Teri said with an amused smile.

Allen smiled as he unplugged the lamp.

* * * * *

"Did you say you've already got a load?" Aaron asked in amazement, as all the boys were loaded down with bags.

"Yeah. The car's full. And we still have to go back for the tree." David said as he handed off a few bags to Aaron.

"Tree?" Aaron asked in disbelief.

"Xain wanted it for his room. It's not very big." Antonio defended.

"Yeah, and it's going to be nice with the waterfall we bought..." David trailed off as he saw Aaron's look of disbelief.

"Waterfall?" Aaron asked as he led the way out to the truck.

"Oh good. You brought the hummer, I was afraid we wouldn't have room for the plants." David said with relief.

"Plants?" Aaron asked.

"Is that it?" Matt asked as he climbed out of the hummer.

"I've heard something about a tree, a waterfall and plants... is that it?" Aaron asked as he turned to face David again.

"Yeah. Then we need to go clothes shopping." David finished shyly.

"You still haven't got the clothes? What's all this?" Aaron asked as he looked at the multitude of bags.

"Just a few things to brighten up their rooms. Really, it's not that much." David said in his defense.

"Kevin? Did you get everything you wanted?" Aaron asked carefully.

"Yeah, we got a whole bunch of stuff to draw and paint with. David says my room's going to be my art studio." Kevin said happily.

Aaron nodded then asked, "What about you Jake? Did you get everything you wanted?"

"Well, almost." Jake said shyly.

"What do we still need to get?" Aaron asked curiously.

"Um, I kind of wanted to get some posters of you and N*Sync, but they didn't have any left." Jake said with disappointment.

"I bet Josh and I can take care of you. Do you need any Backstreet while we're at it?" Aaron asked with a smile.

"Sure, but why Backstreet?" Jake asked cautiously.

"Oh, didn't anyone mention that? Some of your new brother's parents are in Backstreet and Brian Littrell is Chip's cousin." Aaron said happily.

"Oh wow. No they forgot to tell me that." Jake said with wide eyes at the thought.

"Xain, did you get what you wanted?" Aaron asked slowly.

"Yes." Xain said simply.

"Come on, let's get your stuff in the car, then we'll go clothes shopping." Aaron said to the group.

"Who wants to ride with me?" David asked as he loaded his things into the car.

"I do." Kevin said immediately.

"With Antonio." Xain said at Aaron's questioning look.

"I think we'll ride with Aaron, he's got more room." Antonio said with a smile directed at Xain.

"Okay Aaron. I'll show you where to go so we can get the tree, then you can drop us at my car." David said with a smile.

"The tree." Aaron said with a shake of his head, then got into the passenger's seat.

* * * * *

"We are here to install the communications terminal." A Vulcan man said as he walked in.

Brady looked at him curiously, then said, "This is the first I've heard of it."

"Patriarch Short of Clan Short requested that a communications terminal be installed at this address." A second Vulcan man said without inflection.

"Oh, for the Clan. Then I suppose it should be installed in the family room. Down that hall, to your right." Brady said and pointed.

Brady watched the Vulcan technicians walk down the hall as someone said, "Excuse me?"

Brady turned to see a well-dressed black man standing before him.

"Yes?" Brady asked, not having any idea of what to expect next.

"I'm looking for Mr. Thompson." the man said cautiously.

"I'm Brady Thompson, can I help you?" Brady asked in return.

"I'm sorry, I was told that this was Allen Thompson's house." the man said in confusion.

"It is, I'm his brother." Brady said with a smile at being able to say the words.

"He never mentioned having a brother." The man said dubiously.

"We just found each other yesterday. And you are?" Brady asked, still smiling.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Wallace Stevens. And this... Tiffany? Where are you?" Wallace asked as he looked around.

"I'm right here daddy." Tiffany called out and ran in through the front door.

"This is my daughter Tiffany. She's friends with Kenny." Wallace said with a smile.

"Oh. Well Allen and Kenny should be back soon. They're at the old house packing." Brady said as he assumed a more relaxed posture.

"Someone named Josh called us and asked us to come over. He said to be here at four-thirty, but we happened to be in the neighborhood sooner so we thought we'd stop by." Wallace said with a chuckle.

"No problem. Like I said, they should be back soon. You're welcomed to hang around here till they get back." Brady said with an inviting smile.

"Well, it wouldn't make much sense to leave and come back. Is there anything we can do to help?" Wallace asked as he looked around.

"I'm not sure. I've been directing traffic for movers." Brady said and noticed movement outside the door.

"Where's the kitchen? I've got a ton of food to bring in." Helen said from the doorway.

"It's right over there. Let me help you." Brady said quickly.

"No Brady. You need to direct traffic. Tiffany and I can help this young lady." Wallace said with a gentle smile.

"Thank you." Helen said with surprise.

"Helen, this is Wallace and Tiffany, they're friends of Allen and Kenny." Brady said in introduction.

"Nice to meet you. Let's go, I've got ice cream melting in the back seat." Helen said and hurried back out.

Brady watched them go with a chuckle.

* * * * *

"Can I ask you something?" Kevin asked quietly.

"Anything." David said as he waited for the traffic light to change.

"Does Poppa and Kenny really like me or do they just feel sorry for me?" Kevin asked in almost a whisper.

"What makes you ask that?" David asked carefully.

"Cause sometimes I see them looking at me and looking sad, like they're hurting. The way you look when you see a dog that's been hit by a car." Kevin said in thought.

"I know that they love you. Do you want to know how I can tell?" David asked as traffic started moving.

"How?" Kevin asked hopefully.

"Because when I told Allen about you, he wanted you to be his son. He didn't ask who else could help you, he didn't even want to think about someone else adopting you. He wanted to be your father. And Kenny proved he loved you when you two were adopted." David said seriously.

"Cause he said he'd only say yes if I did." Kevin said in thought.

"That's right. If he didn't love you, he would have said yes and waited to see what you wanted to do." David said as he followed Aaron down the road.

"Okay. I was just worried that if they were feeling sorry for me, and I started growing, then they wouldn't want me cause I wasn't little and skinny anymore." Kevin said in a disturbed tone.

"Don't worry about that little guy. They want you to get big and strong. That's why you get to have milkshakes three times a day." David said with a smile.

"Yeah, and that one I had for breakfast was really good." Kevin said with a smile.

"You had about twenty brothers watching you at breakfast all wishing they were little and skinny so they could have milkshakes too." David said happily.

"Really?" Kevin asked in wonder.

"Sure. Those eggs and hashed browns were delicious, but they would have tasted just a little bit better with a milkshake to wash them down." David said with a smile.

"I love you David." Kevin said seriously.

David caught something in the tone in Kevin's voice.

"Kev? Really?" David asked, not knowing what else to say.

"I know Aaron's your boyfriend. But I still love you." Kevin said shyly.

"I love you too but I love you as a brother, I love Aaron as a boyfriend. I'm sorry if that hurts." David said seriously.

Kevin nodded and whispered, "It's cause I'm little and skinny ain't it?"

"No Kevin. It's because I fell in love with Aaron before I met you and we're going to get married. Please try to be happy for me. If you find someone to love I promise that I'll be happy for you." David said carefully.

"Okay. I'm sorry." Kevin mumbled.

"You're my little brother, I'll always love you Kevin. Don't worry, you'll find someone else to love as a boyfriend." David said with a gentle smile.

"I'm always going to love you." Kevin said seriously.

David couldn't think of any response as he pulled into the parking lot.

* * * * *

"Living room." Kelly said as he walked in with a box.

"That way." Brady said and pointed.

DJ and Timmy walked in next, apparently carrying a couch.

"Isn't that a little heavy for you guys?" Brady asked as he watched the boys carefully.

"Unca Eli is helping." Timmy said with a giggle.

"Where do you want it?" Eli said as he floated in with Bastian at his side.

"Try in the living room over there, if it's full, try the family room through the double doors." Brady said as he watched in disbelief.

Tommy and Tyler ran out of the kitchen as Helen called out, "Come back here you two!"

"How are things going Brady?" Allen asked as he walked in with Kenny close at his side.

"It's a madhouse." Brady said honestly.

"As soon as I said 'wash the dishes' those two took off like they were on fire." Helen said with exasperation as she walked out of the kitchen.

"Do you need some help Helen?" Allen asked curiously.

"Yeah. Thanks Allen. If those two see you doing their job it'll shame them into coming back." Helen said with a chuckle.

"Come on Ken, let's help Helen." Allen said as he walked toward the kitchen.

"I just wanted to rinse all the dishes before we put them up in the cabinets in case something got on them in the move." Helen said as she led the way.

"Was that Allen?" Chip asked in a whisper from the doorway.

"Yeah, he's in the kitchen with Helen." Brady said, matching Chip's whisper.

"What about Kenny?" Chip asked as he looked around.

"He's in there too. They're doing dishes." Brady said quickly.

"Good. Come on in." Chip said behind him.

"Brady Thompson, this is Juana Vasquez. And these are her sons Reuben and Ricardo. The little girl in her arms is her granddaughter Edovina." Chip said with a tender look at the baby.

"Nice to meet you Mrs. Vasquez." Brady said formally.

"I'm going to take them into the living room. Try to keep Allen and Kenny out of there until four-thirty." Chip said as he led the way.

"Aye sir." Brady said with a smile.

"Am I late?" A man asked from the doorway.

"I don't think so. You probably need to be in the living room over there." Brady said and pointed the way.

"Thanks." The man said and walked to the living room.

"Is this Allen's house?" A woman asked, leading a boy and a girl.

"Yes. I think that whatever's going to happen is going to be a surprise. You'll probably need to be in there." Brady said and pointed at the living room.

"You mean they didn't tell you either?" the woman asked.

"No. And I'm the one who's supposed to be directing traffic in here." Brady said with a smile.

"Is Allen here?" She asked carefully.

"Yes. He's helping in the kitchen. He doesn't know anyone else is here." Brady said with a chuckle.

"Are we too late?" Aaron asked as Jake, Antonio and Xain hurried in behind him.

"No. Go in the living room and wait." Brady said and pointed.

"We have something to do upstairs first. We'll go in there in a minute." Aaron said and hurried upstairs.

David walked in the door with Kevin and before they could say a word Brady pointed and said, "Living room."

"We've got to go upstairs first." David said and motioned for Kevin to follow.

"Are we late?" A young boy asked as he rushed in ahead of a group of people.

"Living room." Brady said in a tired voice and pointed without looking.

Teri walked in to see Brady standing and pointing.

"I'm sorry you got stuck with this. Why don't you go in the living room and take a break. I can direct traffic for a while." Teri said with a gentle smile.

"I don't know if there's anymore room in there. I lost count of how many people have already gone through here." Brady said as he glanced at the door.

"Is Allen here?" Teri asked quietly.

"Yeah, in the kitchen helping Helen." Brady said.

"What about Josh?" Teri asked.

"No, I haven't seen him yet." Brady said in thought.

"Good. He should be here any minute, then we'll be ready to start. Go on in and get comfortable." Teri said happily.

"Thanks Teri. By the way, there were three movers in here a while ago, but in the chaos, I didn't notice them leave. If they turn up, you'll need to show them the way out, they don't understand verbal instructions." Brady said as he walked to the living room.

To Be Continued...