Ace's Past: When Innocence Still Existed
"Anne! Anne! Up! I wan' up!"
"Ok, ok, I gottcha Ace! Hold on!"
Ace lifted his pudgy hands up, giggling as another pair reached below his armpits and lifted him up. He was adjusted to a comfortable position against the girl, who huffed.
"You're heavy, Ace," She whined. Ace just laughed. The girl smiled in response.
"Anne, Ace, where are- oh, there you are!" A man shouted until he entered the room, his booming voice filled with pleasant surprise. He let out a joyous bout of laughter, causing both children to grin. The man walked up to them, ruffling the girl's hair. "You're getting quite strong Anne, you can already lift this runt, soon you'll be lifting cars!"
Ace laughed, amused, while Anne tried to give her dead an unamused look. It failed miserably as she soon also began to laugh. "Dad, I don't think I'll ever be that strong!" She light heartedly protested. Her father just wiggled his eyebrows at her.
"Never say never or else you'll make the possible impossible!" She giggled softly. He grinned and then pushed her blond bangs back, kissing her forehead. "C'mon, your mother's got dinner ready, it's spaghetti tonight!"
"Getti!" Ace squealed, squirming in his sister's arms. Anne let out a surprised sound as she began to lose her grip on the boy, but her father's large hands quickly came in and gently took the young boy from her grasp.
"Calm down Ace," His father chuckled, holding the boy with one arm as he led his daughter out of the room with the other. The boy just looked at his father and blinked with large eyes before laughing, hugging his dad around the neck and giggling.
"Daddy's mustache weird," The child remarked, giggling as it brushed against his cheek, tickling the skin.
"Oh, my mustache is weird, is it?" The man shifted the child a little bit. "Then how about I give you some of it!" The boy let out a screech of laughter as his dad brushed their faces together, making funny, loud sounds in the process. Anne just laughed and ran down the hall and into the kitchen, humming the whole way.
"Roger, what are you doing?" A woman's voice called from behind the corner where Anne had disappeared. Roger stopped what he was doing and walked a little quicker towards the kitchen.
"Rouge, my lovely wife, I am showing Ace the power of mustache's," Roger replied dramatically as he walked up to her as she finished taking the plates out, handing them over to Anne so she could set the table. Rouge laughed.
"Well, I hope Ace likes that mustache of yours since you always take care of it so well," She replied, a soft smile on her lips as she began to put portions onto the plates laid out on the counter.
Ace was handed over to Anne, who put him in his booster seat at the table before sitting across from him. Then they waited as their parents served them their food. Anne would have helped but Ace would get upset if someone didn't sit with him. It took a minute for things to settle down.
"Hey Mom, Dad," Anne started, waiting for her parents to look over at her, "Can I have a friend sleep over here?" Roger and Rouge blinked at each other before looking to their daughter.
"Why would we say no? You've had friends sleep here before," Rouge pointed out, looking concernedly at her daughter. Anne kicked her feet a little before replying.
"Well, I mean like, sleep over for…a while…"
"How long is a while?" Roger asked, reaching over to wipe some spaghetti sauce from Ace's cheek.
"…More than a week?" Anne replied, unsure of herself.
"Does your friend need help, Anne?" Rouge said suddenly, looking very worried. Anne gulped.
"Yeah, but I can't tell you, she just needs a place to stay. Trust me?" Anne asked, looking to both of her parents with big, innocent eyes. Roger and Rouge looked at each other, having a conversation with their eyes, before they both turned to Anne once more.
"Alright, she can stay," Rouge began, but just as Anne cheered she spoke again. "But at some point, you need to tell us why, are we clear?"
Anne opened her mouth to protest but then paused, staring at her mother stubbornly before hanging her head. "Yes mom," She mumbled, twirling her fork in her pasta with disinterest.
"Good, now don't play with your food, tell us about your day? How was school?"
The next day, Ace was playing with his toys in his room, holding his teddy bear in one hand and making sounds as he drove a toy car around in the other. The young boy slipped on the car and fell on his face, grunting at the impact with the soft carpet beneath his face.
He heard a strange sound come from outside of his window. The child turned around, looking at the window with confused eyes. He pushed himself to his feet, dropping the car and stuffed animal in the process, and toddled over to the window in his socked feet.
The window was oddly low, but considering the age of the house it wasn't all too strange. It allowed the child an easier time to gaze out the window. He put his hands on the windowsill and with his chubby fingers he pulled himself up. His wide eyes gazed around, looking for the source of the strange noise in his backyard.
His eyes focused on some men in his backyard. They were pulling a strange cart with them, talking with his Dad. His brow scrunched, bunching his freckles together as he watched his Dad talk with them suspiciously.
"Ace," Rouge called, her voice excited. "Ace, I have cookies, do you want to come have a snack?"
A large smile nearly split Ace's face. "Save 'ne fah me!" The toddler yelled as he pushed away from the window and ran down the hall, laughing in glee. But he didn't forget the strange men or the cart, and he didn't forget seeing his dad standing with them.
"Ace, this is Lucy, say hi," Anne said, kneeling next to her baby brother as she led him to stand in front of Lucy. Ace blinked and looked at the girl, taking in everything about her.
She seemed the same age of Anne, but she had black hair. Anne's was blond. She was a short girl with large eyes and a large, goofy smile lighting up her cheeks. She wore a read sweater with a white t-shirt and jeans.
"Hi Ace, I'm Lucy," The girl exclaimed, crouching down to get to Ace's height. The child stared a moment longer before a large grin formed on his lips.
"Hi Lucy! I Ace, I's is two!" Ace said, holding up three fingers as he introduced himself. Lucy blinked before laughing, reaching out and putting one of his fingers down. Ace looked between Lucy and his fingers before exclaiming "Two!"
Lucy and Anne laughed. Ace decided he liked Lucy.
Ace couldn't sleep. The child was lying in his crib, not quite old enough to have his own bed yet, too tired to stand but to awake to rest. His thumb was in his mouth and he sucked on it, staring at the door to his room. He could hear someone outside, probably Anne and Lucy.
His door opened and it was, indeed, Anne and Lucy.
The two girls snuck in. The bright light hurt Ace's eyes, causing him to whine in discomfort. One of the girls quickly shut the door and then they were quiet for a whole minute. No one moved or made a sound.
"Anne?" Ace mumbled, sitting up in his crib and rubbing at his eyes. He yawned as he looked in the general direction of the two girls. "Was wrong?" He asked, blinking tired eyes at them. He heard one of them gulp. It was Lucy who tiptoed up to him.
"We're playing hide and seek from your parents right now. We were going to hide in your closet, if that's okay with you?" Lucy finished with the question. Ace stared at her figure in the dark before nodding.
"Cans I pway?" The little toddler asked with a smile despite his sudden bout of fatigue. Anne approached this time and reached her right hand through the crib's safety bars, petting her brother on the head.
"Yeah! If Mommy and Daddy come looking for us, we weren't here, okay?"
Ace, though a little confused, agreed. The two girls scampered off into his closet, and though he heard them whispering, it wasn't keeping him awake. In fact, it was kind of soothing, and it lulled the young one to sleep within three minutes.