Death-Wish Kids

14.

Through out dinner, the boys playfully sucked up to my father. Frank was honestly thankful for the vegetarian alternative that my dad had made for him, so he complimented my dad on his food more than necessary.

Afterwards, Mikey and Frank followed me upstairs to bathe Micah. The two of them headed to my room while I helped Noah pile the plates in the sink.

"I like your friends, Cy," the little boy said as he dumped a couple on top of the others then turned to face me, causing me to stop in front of him, a pile in my hands.

I smiled and bumped him as I passed. "Thanks, No."

Since the table was empty, he ran over and sat down in the seat next to Micah's high chair. Mitchell sat on the other side with his arms crossed and leaning on the table. Noah kicked his feet in the air between the floor and the seat of the chair and lightly rubbed his nephew's soft curls as he spoke.

"Are they sleeping over too?" he questioned, referring to the Mitchell situation.

After I set the plates down and filled the sink with water, I shook my head. "Mikey's brother will come get them in a little while," I explained, turning off the faucet, "They're just hanging out for a little while."

"Are you going to get tattoos like Frank?"

I chuckled at the boy's eagerness. "Maybe someday," I replied as I walked over and undid Micah's tray. "Not so many, though." I pulled the soft baby into my arms and gently pressed my palm into the back of his head to hold him upright.

"Can I get one?" Noah asked, scrambling from his seat to follow me towards the swinging door.

"You'd have to ask Dad about that," I responded with a chuckle. I went to push through the door, but Mitchell quickly got to his feet causing the chair to scrape against the tiled floor. Both Noah and I looked back at him.

He held onto the edge of the table with a couple fingers and pushed his brown curls back so he could look at me. "I need to talk to you," he said straight to me, "Alone."

I glanced at my younger brother and pressed my lips together. After just a moment, I nodded and pushed Noah's shoulder so he'd continue through the doorway to the living room.

The eleven year old whined and pressed his foot into the ground. "I want to stay," he muttered, crossing his arms over his t'shirt.

"I don't care," I replied, handing Micah down to him, "Take Micah upstairs. Frank and Mikey are in my room. You can show them Micah's toys."

Noah rolled his eyes but carefully wrapped his arms around his nephew. I pushed the door open for them and Noah walked through, leaving Mitchell and I alone in the kitchen.

I crossed my arms over my jacket and looked at Mitchell as he stood with his hands in his pockets, his curls falling down below his eyebrows. "What do you want to talk about?"

We sat down at the table with Micah's high chair between us. He put his elbows on the table and I leaned back. He glanced towards the door where we both knew my father would be coming to finish dishes and then spoke. "I'm going to come see Micah more regularly."

I nodded, unsure of what to say about the words I'd heard before. "Okay." I stood up and held onto the back of the chair. "I'll see you then." I walked out of the kitchen before he could say anything more and crossed the living room to the stairs. Just a few steps up and I could hear Frank and my brother, seeing as Micah's room was closest.

I pushed the door opened and peered in at the rowdy group. Mikey held Micah in the rocking chair while Frank had Noah in his arms, with the eleven year old's head closer to the carpet than his feet.

"Frank, put him down," I demanded, wondering how the five foot four sixteen year old could lift a boy who was under a foot shorter than him.

"He's fine," Frank replied, spinning within the large space between the crib and the changing table. When Noah started screeching in laughter, Frank said, "See!" like it was an example of him being fine.

I chuckled and squeezed past them when Frank stopped twirling my brother around. I hurried over to Mikey and took my son from his arms, perching on the arm of the rocking chair as Noah tried to wrestle the short teenager to the ground. After a few moments, I tried to break them up by pulling Noah off of Frank, but the older boy quickly pulled us both down.

Mikey spoke up from the chair where he held Micah. "Frankie, knock it off," he demanded, trying to hold back his bubbling laugher. Frank and Noah teamed up and tried to take me down. Mikey stood up and carried Micah to his crib to set him down before he joined in to force his best friend off of me.

Frank laughed and allowed to be helped up. Noah quickly clambered to his feet and moved over to Micah's crib to narrate to him that he'd definitely won the fight.

"Move Noah," I said, playfully pushing him away, "I've got to get him washed up." I plucked the round baby from his bed and situated him in my arms. Everyday that passed with Micah, I grew to love him more. In the beginning, I was afraid of him and the changes that he would bring to my life. It began with muted love and obligation, then I grew fond of hearing his little heart beat everyday. As I carried him towards the bathroom with the three of them following behind me, I couldn't imagine ever contemplating another option for Micah, than to be with me.

"Noah, get Micah's tub from the closet," I directed as I kneeled on the floor and laid the baby on my lap to undress him. I pulled his tiny arms out of his sleeves and then his shirt over his head, before laying him on his back, his head on my knees so I could pull off his little pants.

Mikey and Frank stood in the door way, leaning against each side as Noah carted the baby tub into the room and stepped around me to place it in the bath.

"Do you guys want to watch Spongebob with me while Micah has his bath?" Noah questioned them, folding his arms over his chest while he waited for an answer.

"Sure, Noah," Mikey replied, reaching out for him to lead the way. Once Noah slipped out of the bathroom, Mikey spoke to me as I gently dipped Micah into the warm water. "I'll call Gerard in a little while so that you can put Micah to bed without having us make a commotion."

I shrugged my shoulders and looked back after I set Micah in his tub. "You guys can stay longer if you want, Micah can sleep through anything," I replied, looking over my shoulder at the lanky boy.

Frank grinned and grabbed Mikey's wrist before the polite boy could rebut and say they were going to leave early. Frank pulled Mikey away and they followed Noah to his room to watch one of his favorite movies.

When I was wrapping Micah in his hooded towel, my dad rapped on the door with his knuckles and stepped in. "Your friends are leaving soon, right?" he questioned curiously, trying to lead me to the answer he wanted me to say.

"They're in with Noah right now," I replied as I got to my feet and clutched Micah to my chest, "We were going to hangout for a while longer after I get him asleep."

"Cy, it's after seven," he replied, meeting my eyes with his matching ones, "I think it's time they head home soon."

"Dad, I'm not eight and neither are they. I don't think they need to go home the minute it gets dark outside." I stepped past him into the hall and then into Micah's room just diagonally.

"Cyren, don't walk away from me," he stated, following me across into the baby's room, "It's getting late. Mitchell is in the living room alone and Mikey's brother isn't going to want to come get him when it gets too late."

I rolled my eyes when he mentioned Mitchell and then handed him my son as I moved to get some pajamas out of his closet. "Gerard does what he's told," I said as I pulled a long sleeved shirt from the hanger and grabbed the matching pants that were folded over the bar of the same one. "Plus, I'm pretty sure he'd drive across an ocean for Mikey and Frank."

"That's not the point, Cyren," he stated, setting Micah down on the changing table so I could dress him for bed.

"It's my point," I rebutted. I diapered and changed Micah and laid him in his crib. I turned the dial on his mobile and leaned against the edge of his crib as he watched it spin and listened to it sing to him.

"One hour," Dad replied, deciding to compromise instead of argue, "Have Mikey call his brother, I want his car in the driveway in an hour."

"Fine," I muttered.

Dad left the room and I softly played with Micah's curls until his eye began to droop. I rewound his mobile and walked downstairs to tell Mitchell that Micah was heading to sleep. He sat on the couch alone, his eyes trained on the TV. "Micah is almost asleep," I said as I breezed past and stood at the far end of the couch, "You might want to go up and say goodnight."

He nodded and pushed off of the couch. I trailed him up the stairs, but let him have his time with Micah by continuing down to Noah's room on the other side of mine, at the end of the hall.
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Crappy chapter.
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