Living with the Avengers

Chapter Twenty-One

"He's here."

Carter smiled down at her phone and quickly sent a reply back, fully prepared not to get a text back for a while. "Okay, good luck. Text me later."

"Carter?" There was a knock on her door.

Carter recognized it as the voice of Mrs. King, her foster mother. "Come in." She called.

The door opened to reveal an older woman with a bright smile on her face. "Do you like your room?"

Carter put on a smile of her own. "Yes, it's very nice. Thank you, Mrs. King."

The woman came in and sat on the bed with Carter. "Please, just call me Tanya."

Carter answered with a short nod.

"Is there anything I can help you with?" Tanya asked.

"I don't think so."

Tanya sighed, "Okay then." She stood up, "Why don't you come downstairs? I'm about to start on dinner and would love some help."

Carter smiled weakly. "Sure thing." She followed the woman downstairs.

"James, my son, should be home soon. And Paul, my husband will be home shortly after that." she looked over her shoulder at Carter, "They're both so excited to meet you."

"I'm excited to meet them too." Carter tried to reply with some sort of enthusiasm.

Tanya chuckled slightly. "It's okay if you're not really excited. They'll understand."

The two had been working on dinner for an hour when the sound of the front door opening and closing was heard.

"Mom, I'm home!" A teenage voice called.

Tanya looked up from the meatloaf she was preparing. "And that would be James." She said to Carter. "In the kitchen!"

Seconds later, a boy with dark hair walked into the kitchen, his eyes glued to his phone. "Hey mom, is the new gir-" He looked up and stopped. "Oh, hi." He said sheepishly. "I'm James. You must be Carter."

With a slight nod, she replied. "Yeah, it's nice to meet you."

The boy grinned, and then a sudden look of realization came upon his face. "Hey, you're in my english class, aren't you?"

Carter thought for a moment, "With Mrs. Hoffman, you mean?"

"Yeah!" He answered excitedly.

"Then you two know each other?" Tanya asked.

"Not really." Carter replied, "I've seen him around school, but we've never spoken."

"Yeah. But, we know each other now." He smiled at her and then looked to his mother. "When's dinner gonna be done?"

"It'll be done by the time your father gets home in an hour." She answered.

Carter sat by as James and Tanya talked, feeling rather out of place. She almost didn't notice when James sat down next to her at the island.

"So, how are you?" He asked.

Carter shrugged. "Fine, I guess… how are you?"

"I'm good."

The two teens sat beside each other quietly.

"So… do you like your room?" James attempted to start another conversation.

"Yeah, it's nice."

James nodded awkwardly. "That's good."

All the while, Tanya watched in amusement.

A little more than an hour later, Paul arrived home from work.

"Welcome home." Tanya kissed her husband on the cheek when he came in the kitchen.

He smiled and kissed her back. He then looked to Carter. "And I'm guessing you're Carter?"

"Yes sir." Carter answered quietly.

"Well, it's nice to meet you, Carter."

Tanya walked around the island to the dinner table with the meatloaf. "Come on, dinner's ready."

They all gathered around the large dinner table. Tanya and Paul sat on one side and James and Carter on the other.

Carter quietly picked at her food as the family talked about their day. It was strange, but she found that she missed the taste of take-out and fast food. While Tanya's meatloaf was wonderful, it somehow wasn't as satisfying as the meals she had with the Avengers. Do I actually miss them?

There wasn't much dinner conversation as she replied to their questions with short answers.

After dinner, she went to her room. She fell on top of the bed, face first in the pillow. A quick look at her phone revealed no texts from Laynie. She's probably just busy settling in. She reassured herself.

She sat up when there was a sharp knock on her door. She quickly got up from the bed and pulled the door open. And there stood James.

"Hi." He greeted with a wave of his hand.

"...Hi."

"Um, I was just wondering, if maybe you wanted to hang out. We've got an old PS2 in the basement. We can play some videogames." He offered with a smile.

"Uh… sure. Okay." She nodded. Will the awkward conversations never end?

They ventured down to the basement and found an old and very ugly couch that sat across from the extremely old tv.

"Is that tv capable of playing videogames?" She blurted out before she could stop herself.

James laughed. "As old as it may look, yes."

"Okay…" She plopped down on the couch. And found it to be very comfortable. "Apparently the couch is more than it seems too."

He shook his head, a grin plastered on his face. "For your information, I love that couch. I mean, how could you not? That floral pattern is exquisite."

Carter snorted. "Yeah, okay. Are we going to play videogames or not?"

He placed Call of Duty in the PS2 and turned it on. He then hopped onto the couch next to Carter and practically threw the controller at her.

Carter just stared at him after catching the controller before it hit her face. "You're really quite the charmer."

"I try." He replied cheekily.

She cracked a smile at that. Maybe this won't be so bad after all.

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