VII. The Greysons
They all grab a limb or start pushing me towards the living room. There were toys scatters in every single place, and photos spread on every wall. Every single one is of happy memory, a smiling child, a birthday, a new baby. The furniture is light and easy to the eye, sprinkles liberally with vibrant cushions. I want to sink into the couch and never move. It isn’t just a house; it’s home.
Caleb put in the game while the rest of the boys gather around me, depriving me of proper air.
“Where is Alvin?” Theodore asks.
I smile tightly while Josh places a bowl of candy down. “Alvin will come to visit during winter break.”
“Then, why is Haiwee here?” Calvin questions.
Josh sat on the coffee table, “Hailey is here to go to school with me.”
They all nod, then Caleb hands me the game controller. “Game on!” he smiles, showing off every tooth.
With steady hands and eye coordination, our minds were empty as we scan for our opponents.
“Kill him! Kill him!” I scream, tilting forward.
Josh motion his thumbs and forefingers erratically, eyes following my every movement, “You think I don’t want to shoot that motherfu-”
“Language!” Mrs.Greyson shouted from the kitchen.
“Motherfudger,” he mumbles.
Theodore pouts, “Joshie, I want to play too!”
“Oh, okay. Just let us finish this level,” he continued mumbling.
“That’s what you said three levels ago!”
“Just one more. I prom- Hailey! You missed!”
“I didn’t miss! Your fat, stupid head was getting in the way of my shot!” I scream and smack him in the backside of the head.
“I’m stupid? You’re stupid!”
“Oh, ha ha! Great comeback,” I said sarcastically, and I’m quite sure he didn’t miss my eye roll.
“What! You two cheated!” Caleb shouts. “There are rules for a reason!”
“You must abide by the law,” Josh’s voice deepens.
“But, look here, I am the law,” I copy his deep voice.
He pauses the game and looks at me. “And if you don’t obey the law.”
I dramatically turn my head towards him. “You will be punished by the law.”
He quirks a brow, closing our distance, allowing me to inhale the scent of chocolate chips he consumes earlier. “Oh...and how will you punish me, Officer Vaughn?”
I smirk, “Depends on-”
My eyes skew to the side, noticing all of Josh’s brothers staring at us.
“Mom! Josh and Hailey are doing that weird thing again!” Caleb screamed.
“Ignore it! Dinner is ready! Come eat, boys!” Mrs.Greyson’s voice echoes throughout the house.
“Food!” Everyone screams and rushes toward the dining room.
Josh and I stare at each other momentarily before narrowing our eyes. Instantly, I flung the remote, jumped up, and dash for the dining room with him right behind me. Josh wrapped his ridiculously massive arms around my waist and threw me back. I grab his shirt, nearly choking him, then push him back.
He clung his arm around my neck and licked my face. “Ew! Josh!” I wiped my cheek while he ran down the hallway.
My eyes narrow, and I rush towards him, leaping on his back while linking my limbs around his body. “Hailey! Let g-ahhhhh!” I bit his ear.
Leaping off his body, he held his hands over his ear. “You bit me!”
I stuck out my tongue and continued running.
“You’re going to pay for that, Vaughn!”
Once I reach the dining room, I smack the wall. “I win!” I scream, unable to hold my smile.
Josh is right behind me. “Oh yeah?”
“Yeaaah!” I said mockingly.
His eyes reach behind me. “I’ll get my revenge...right after dinner because all the food is almost gone,” he said in a rush tone and dash for the table.
Turning around, my eyes widen, seeing all the boys devouring the food, like animals.
“You ate five chickens already!”
Slowly, I took a seat beside Mrs.Greyson, who calmly ate the food on her plate.
“That’s my piece of pizza! I’m going to kill you!”
Jada steadily reaches for a piece, avoiding everyone’s greasy hands.
“Stop it! You’re eating too much!”
I release a low puff of air from my nose and reach for the untouched salads.
Lola glares at Mike, who stole her drumstick. “That’s my drumstick!” she shouts and leaps on top of him.
Jada sighs and shakes her head. “Please...Stop...Lola...Young Master Mike.” I can tell she is trying her hardest to stop the bickering. Sarcasm.
The door opens, and Mr.Greyson enters. He tugs down his tie and rushes his hair back, then scratches his neck slightly. “Dinner time, hmm,” he said casually, lifting a hand to stop Jada from standing up to help him.
Mrs.Greyson sighs, then stands up, taking off Mr.Greyson’s tie throwing it behind her chair. “I’m pregnant. You do know that, right?”
He smiles, revealing the single dimple that matches Josh. “I know...I was there to give life to them.” He rubs her large stomach then he helps her sit back. “Took three weeks in England and a broken table if I recall correctly.”
“A broken table?” I whisper.
Josh shook his head. “Don’t ask,” he shutters.
“That was your fault,” Mrs.Greyson states, pouting her lower lip.
“Yes... It’s my fault, always my fault.” He kisses her cheek.
He passes me and pats my head. “Nice to see you again, Hailey,” he greeted me as my cheek grew red. Mr.Greyson is a very handsome man.
“Hello, Mr.Greyson,” I greet him in return, holding back the squeal.
He sat down and cupped his hands together as his eyes scan the table, ignoring the constant bickering and chattering. He releases a deep breath. “Hunni-” Mrs.Greyson places a plate of food in front of him then shoots Calvin a glare when he tries to reach for his dish.
Calvin smiles, showing off his single deep dimple, and back away with two greasy hands up in the air.
Glancing down at my plate, there were three drumsticks. I look up. “Eat more than leaves,” Josh mumbles.
My eyes reach down, seeing - fats...fats...fats.
I look up to see Josh happily chatting with his siblings, a broad smile on his face.
My vision cast back down - fats...fats...fats.
One medium, baked chicken drumstick with skin provides 97 calories, 12 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrate, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 2 grams of monounsaturated fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, and 241 milligrams of sodium.
“Hailey. Are you okay?” Josh asks.
I smile, taking the drumstick and shoving it inside my mouth. “Yup!” Lola reaches for my drumstick, and I slap her hand. “Hands off!” She narrows her eyes and crawls back down the table.
Sitting around the living room, everyone was enjoying the movie - Black Panther.
“Wakanda Forever!” all the boys shout, then laugh while rolling on the ground, fill with infinite pillows and blankets.
My nose began twinkling, and I sat up, gazing at Josh. His eyes peek towards me, then it quickly skews. He slams the bowl of popcorn down. “Darn it, Gumdrop Jr!” He throws a hand, exaggeratedly waving away the foul air. “Sorry. My younger brother can’t control himself sometimes.”
Gumdrop Jr’s eyes narrow, and he barks at Josh.
“Yeah...sure...it’s Jr.” Caleb mumble, eating a piece of chocolate.
Josh throws popcorn at him. “Don’t listen to the boy. He got dropped in the head when he was younger.”
Caleb sat up. “No! You pushed me down the stairs when I was two!”
“For the last time Caleb. You slipped, and I happened to be behind you.”
Caleb narrows his eyes similar to Gumdrop Jr. and laid back down. “I’ll get my revenge...one day,” he mumbles under his breath.
I smile, seeing Mr.Greyson carrying a sleeping Mrs.Greyson upstairs. My vision turns towards Josh, who had an arm around my shoulders while eating popcorn. “Your parents are so in love.”
“Are you suggesting something?”
“What do you mean?”
He grunts slightly, making himself more comfortable on the couch. “Fine...If you want...roughly four years from now, I’ll propose to you, and we can get married,” he releases an exaggerated sound as if he is tired of our odd conversation.
I turn my body with a single amuse chuckle. “What?”
“You know...I’ll marry you since you beg me.”
“I don’t want to marry stinky pants.”
The boys began laughing. “She calls you stinky pants,” Theodore smacked his fists against the carpet.
Josh throws popcorn at everyone else. “Mind your own business...Adults are talking.”
“Okay...stinky pants,” Caleb mumbles.
Josh turned towards me. “You do know why I blasted a bomb, right?”
“Comfortability...something many couples don’t have.”
I smile, “Okay, explain how does saying your parents are so in love meant begging you to marry me?”
He exhales, “Rudimentary Hailey darling,” he said, pulling the warm blanket over my shoulders. “You compliment my parents who are married mean you want to get married and who is better to wed as your groom than me.”
I attempt to look severe and stand up to go to the kitchen. “And what makes you such a good groom?”
Josh follows me into the kitchen. He leaps onto the counter while I pour more popcorn into the empty bowl. He places a finger in the air. “You mean your good groom because I’m not granting that offer to just anyone.”
I stop pouring. “Curious...so this is a once in a lifetime deal?”
He nods, “Now, to answer your question from earlier. I’m tall.”
“Which means I’ll have neck pain in the future.”
I lean against the counter, “Handsome men tend to be unfaithful.”
“So, you’re saying you’re better at hiding your dirty deeds.”
“Oh, so you’re saying you’re going to be at work all the time and neglect me?”
He wraps his arms around my waist and pulls me closer. “I’m not saying I’ll work hard at work.”