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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

“Rita dear? Can you pour the milk for yourself, and your brother and sister while I tend to these flapjacks?”Salomi Brewster asked her 6 year old daughter, Rita.

“Yes mommy”Rita said as she carried the container of milk over to the table and went over to her little brother, Michael, who was 5 years old. “Tell me when”she said to him and poured the milk faster than intended. Michael watched with wide eyes as the milk quickly filled the bowl and spilled all over him and the table

“No Rita! Stop!”Michael said and started to cry when the milk spilled all over his pants. “Mommy!”he cried

“Rita Maria!? Why on earth would you do that?”Salomi asked

Rita put the container down and sighed,”Its Mikey’s fault, he didn’t say when!”

“Hey! You forgot me Rita, I WANT MY MILK!”4 year old Dahlia said as she pounded her little fists on the table

“Dahlia, lower your voice and behave yourself”Salomi said sternly and gave her the look that meant business right along with it. She quickly flipped the flapjacks over.

Dahlia crossed her arms and pouted,”Alright mommy, you didn’t have to yell”she said and she started crying along with Michael, however, she had no real tears, she was just making noise as she often loved to do.

“Rita give Dahlia her milk while I clean Michael”Salomi said as she knelt in front of Michael,”Hey there, no use crying over spilled milk, now calm down”she said in a soft voice to him. He stopped crying so he could hear her and he wiped his tears.”You cant cry about everything, your 5 years old, you’re a big man, just like your Daddy. Now you all need to keep quiet. He had a long night at the theater”she said while Michael nodded

“Want some milk?”Rita asked Dahlia. She nodded, still pouting and crying. “No you have to ask nicely”

“Please!?”Dahlia said and Rita poured her some milk, not spilling this time since she knew Dahlia didn’t know the whole ‘when’ game that she played with Michael. Dahlia was soon quiet and ate her oatmeal.

“There you go, your all clean, just a little wet alright?”Salomi said to Michael and then cleaned off the table and poured him some milk,”Apologize to Michael”she said to Rita

“Sorry”Rita said with a sigh.”He shouldn’t cry so much, boys don’t cry. I have never seen Daddy cry”Rita said as she poured herself some milk and sat down.

“Ive seen Daddy cry plenty of times, he cried when each of you were born”Salomi said. Michael was very sensitive for a boy but she figured he would grow out of it. He was surrounded by women all day, but once he started school today and played with boys his age, he would toughen up.

“Why am I crying?”Gabriel Brewster asked as he walked into the kitchen,”Whats all the fuss about?”he asked as he planted a few kisses on Salomi’s lips.

“Spilled milk”Salomi replied

“DADDY!”the three children cried as they all got up and ran to him. He scooped up Dahlia as Rita and Michael hugged one of his legs.

“Well good morning my little heathens”Gabriel said with a laugh,”You all need to take it easy on your mommy now, shes got a lot of work to do”

“Yes daddy”they all replied as they took their seats

Salomi put her hands on her hips and pretended to pout,”They are so easy for you!”she protested as the kids laughed. It was funny to see mommy pout. “Whats so funny?”she asked and they giggled.

Gabriel smiled and gave her a hug,”I just have that way with them I guess”he said

“Im sorry they woke you, I tried to keep them quiet”Salomi said as she put his flapjacks on a plate

“Its alright. I got 4 hours of sleep, I can get some rest later. I wanted to eat breakfast with my three chickadees and my mother hen”he said as he took the plate and sat down at the table next to Michael and poured himself some milk. Salomi put her own flapjacks onto the plate and soon sat down next to him and Rita.

“Im going to school today Daddy”Michael said proudly as he ate his oatmeal.

“I know, you are going to be a big boy soon. Next thing you know you’ll have to move out of here and find a job. Its comin’ soon, its right around the corner”Gabriel said as he winked at Michael

Michael’s eyes widened,”I have to move out? I cant live here anymore?”

“No”Gabriel said as he shook his head,”Once you go to school, you’ll learn so much that you’ll be too smart for us. Then once you leave, you can find a job”

“I don’t want to leave, I don’t want to work!”Michael said in a little squeaky voice. He was terrified, like he had to get packing right now.

Salomi shook her head,”Stop teasing him”she said to Gabriel,”Not today sweetheart. Later on when you finish school, you are just starting school today. See Rita? Shes in school and hasn’t moved out”

Rita nodded as she ate,”Im not going anywhere”she said as she shook her head,mouth full of food.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full”Salomi commented

“Yeah or we’ll kick you out”Gabriel said and Rita laughed,she knew he was joking.

“Im leaving!”Dahlia said with a smile as she threw her hands in the air. Unfortunately, her spoon was in her hand and oatmeal flew along with it. It hit the ceiling and stuck there.

“Oh Dahlia, be careful, your making a mess”Salomi said to her

“Your leaving arent you?”Gabriel asked,”Where will you go?”he asked her

“To Annie’s house”Dahlia said with a smile. Every night before they went to bed, they listened to the Great Adventures of Little Orphan Annie on the radio. All three of the children loved it, as well as going to the movies, they loved the new ‘talkie’ films that just came out.

“Annie isn’t real”Rita said

“Yes she is!”Michael and Dahlia protested

“How are you so sure?”Gabriel asked her. He loved asking them questions and spending time with them. He barely ate breakfast because he was usually busy resting.

“Cause my friend said so, we never see her, shes in the radio”Rita replied confidently

“So do you mean to tell me that Little Orphan Annie isn’t real but yet she lives inside our radio?”Gabriel asked her

“No Dad! Shes not a real person. No one has ever seen her”

Salomi nodded,”She’s got a point”she said to Gabriel,”So if she isn’t a real person but she does exist since we hear her speak, what is she?”

Rita frowned as she thought about it,”I don’t know”

“Shes real”Dahlia said,”Im going to her house to play”

Gabriel laughed,”Good luck with those theories girls”he said to them and then stuck the flapjack into his mouth.They ate in silence for a few moments and then he couldn’t take it anymore, he had to tell them,”Ok I have a surprise for all of you”

“SURPRISE!”Dahlia said as she threw her hands in the air again, this time no oatmeal.

“What? What is it?”Rita asked,”I need new ballet slippers. I want shiny tap shoes like Kit has”

“I want a train”Michael said

“I want clothes and jewels”Salomi said with a smile,”What do you have up your sleeve, Gabe?”

“Weeeeeeeeeeeeee….”he said with a smile as he held out the word, it drove them crazy as they looked at him with excited smiles,”areeeeeeeeeeeeeee….going to the beach!”

“YAY!”the three children shouted. Salomi smiled,”The beach? Which beach?”

“Long Island of course”Gabriel said and then finished his milk,”Uncle Julian invited us out when I ran into him and Dorothy at the Rainbow Room last night”

“They were at the Rainbow Room?”Salomi asked,”How are they?”she asked him

“They’re doing great. Aunt Dorothy said she cant wait to see her 4 favorite children”he said

“Four?”Salomi asked

“Well you know you are still a child to her”he said with a wink. “So this Friday, after school and after Rita’s tap lessons, of course. We are going to spend the whole weekend at Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Jule’s house and go to the beach everyday. How does that sound?”

“FUN!”the three kids shouted.”I cant wait, I love their house”Rita said with a smile.

“What about your performances?”Salomi asked him,”I mean you make most of your money on the weekends”

“I got a bonus which will cover this weekend and next weekend. So I took this weekend off to spend with my 4 favorite people- oh actually 6”he said with a smile

“A bonus?!”Salomi said with a huge smile,”Oh that’s great baby”she said as she pulled him to her and kissed him on the mouth

“Eeeeew”the three kids shouted. “You cant kiss at the table!”Rita said sternly, sounding just like her mother. Gabriel and Salomi laughed.

“Is that so?”Gabriel asked her. She nodded,”Oh but there is one condition about this trip”he said to them,”You all have to be on your best behavior because you know Uncle Jules and Aunt Dorothy don’t like bad children. That means you two have to do good in school”he said as he looked at Rita and Michael,”that means no fighting, you have to do all your schoolwork and not get in trouble with the teacher. You are going to get high attitude scores. You got me?”he said to them. They both nodded eagerly,”And you….you little troublemaker…”he said to Dahlia.”You cant ransack this place like its your own personal playground, no whining, no screaming, no shouting, no tantrums, you got me?”he said to her.

“Yes Daddy”she said very sweetly

“You all cant be this loud every morning”Gabriel said,”You have to help your mother out”he said,”And speaking of….”he said as he looked at her,”You have to behave too”

“Me?”Salomi asked

“Yes, and do whatever I tell you”

“Like what?”she asked him as she cocked an eyebrow

“We’ll talk about that later”he said,”So if you all behave, we’ll go. If I hear anything from your Mother or teachers or anyone else or if I see it, no beach”the three kids’ eyes widened. “You got me?”he asked them, they nodded,”Good, so I expect you all to be angels all week”he said to them. Then the oatmeal that stuck to the ceiling came tumbling down right on top of Gabriel’s head. They all gasped and jumped back in shock. Michael looked at Rita with fear, did that mean they couldn’t go to the beach? Already? Dahlia looked very guilty, knowing it was hers, she looked up at the ceiling.

“Oh no”she whimpered. She was in trouble now.

However, Salomi started laughing, very hard, so hard her body shook and so did Gabriel. The three children were still shocked. Why were they laughing? “You look so foolish!”Salomi said with a laugh

“I have to see it!”Gabriel said as he got up and ran to the bathroom where the mirror was. Rita and Michael got up and ran after him, Salomi picked Dahlia up and followed them. Gabriel laughed as he looked at himself,”Im Oatmeal Man!”he said with a laugh

“Am I in trouble Mommy?”Dahlia whimpered as Salomi held her

“No baby your not. You actually made Daddy very happy. Look, hes laughing”she said as she laughed.

Dahlia smiled,”Daddy looks silly”she said as she laughed. Rita and Michael were laughing as Gabriel took the ‘Oatmeal Man’ joke to the extreme and chased them down the hall. Salomi put Dahlia down and she joined on the fun, screaming the loudest, of course. Salomi smiled and glanced at the clock and gasped.

“Gabriel, stop it, the kids are going to be late for school”she said to him. Gabriel stopped chasing them

“You heard your mother, get your books”he said to them

“Are we still going to the beach?”Rita asked him

“Yes, unless one of you does something really bad”he assured them. Rita and Michael went to the room and got their books.”Lets make it a family affair”he said as he gave Salomi a kiss. “I’ll drive”he said

“Thank you”Salomi said as she helped Dahlia get dressed and cleaned her up. Michael and Rita dressed themselves and got their books together. Salomi gave them their lunches, which was a sandwich and an apple and they all got in the car. Gabriel drove them to school and he turned to both of them,”Have a good day you two”he said to them.

“Thank you Daddy”Rita said eagerly as she kissed him on the mouth and kissed Salomi on the cheek,she ruffled Dahlia’s hair,”Bye Lia”

“Bye”Dahlia said softly. Rita hopped out the car and ran to her friends, showing off her first day of school dress to them. She was entering the 2nd grade.

“I don’t wanna go”Michael said as he started to cry. There were so many kids that he didn’t know, the building was so huge and Mommy wasn’t going to be there,”I wanna stay home with Mommy and Lia”he said as he cried

Tears filled Salomi’s eyes and she turned away, she didn’t want him to see her cry. She had been holding it in all day, her little boy was leaving her and starting school. He was growing up.

“Now you’re a big boy and you don’t cry alright?”Gabriel said to him,”You know Nicholas don’t you? Kit’s little brother? There he is”he said as he pointed,”You do know some children and that’s what school is for, not just to learn but to make friends. And your going to be so smart Michael, you are going to be teaching us things!”he said, “Wouldn’t you rather play with the kids and learn then be at home?” Michael shook his head.

Salomi blinked her tears away and got out the car and beckoned Michael to come with her, he reluctantly did. She knelt down to his level and said,”Michael. You know how much I love you…but you have to go to school. Your Daddy and I did the same thing. You are going to learn a lot of new things”she said to him.”And we cant go to the beach if you don’t go to school”she said. He looked at her and slowly stopped crying. She wiped away his tears as more tears formed in her own eyes,”Im going to be honest. Im going to miss my little boy”she said as a tear fell down her cheek,”Soon your gonna be too old for me”

“Don’t cry Mommy”Michael said as he hugged her,”Im going to miss you Mommy. Im scared”

“I know you are”she said as she hugged him,”But you’ll be safe here, all the kids in your class are going to be your age. Rita will be in a classroom right down the hall if you need her. I will be picking you up at 3 o clock sharp. The day will fly by I assure you, its going to be so exciting”she said through her tears.

Michael stopped crying and wiped away his last tears and reached up and wiped hers away,”Don’t cry Mommy. I’ll be good I promise. Im going to be a big boy”he said to her as he hugged her,”I’ll be good”he said

“That a’ boy”she said as she hugged him and adjusted his hat and light jacket and tied a shoe that came untied,”Now go over to your sister and Nicky”she said to him

“I love you too Mommy”he said to her,”Love you Daddy, love you Lia”he said to them and they waved to him, and then slowly he walked over to Nicky, Rita and Kit. The school bell rang then and all the kids were led inside. He followed Nicky in and stopped and turned around and there was Mommy, standing in the same spot,”I love you Mommy!”he said to her and then walked in.

“I love you too”she said. She smiled and got in the car and Gabriel hugged her.

“He’ll be alright”Gabriel said,”I assure you, he’ll come home today and he’ll be talking your ear off about how great school is”he said to her. Salomi nodded.

“I wanna go”Dahlia said

“Next year sweetheart….next year”Salomi said as they drove off.


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