Working through writer’s block today, so even though I had off, I couldn’t get the chapter done. Decided to post a little bit of it as an “I’m still writing this, I swear” assurance.
This bit has the first appearance of John and Rose in it, although I don’t think I’ll tag them in the fic proper even when I post this officially, because it’s really not enough to warrant it, I think.
Tables and chairs were already set up on the lawn. Roxy’s older sister was putting up a string of decorations along a large pagoda umbrella, although how much she was actually getting done was questionable. She was accompanied by both Mr. Egbert and Mr. Crocker, and being in the presence of both her boyfriend and his equally attractive cousin was giving her quite a fit of the vapors.
Their children, minus Jane, were setting plates, cups, napkins and plastic utensils on one of the buffet tables.
The two teenage boys headed toward the younger kids. Jake ruffled John Egbert’s hair and smiled brightly. “Hello there, sport!” he greeted jovially. “We’re up for one ripsnorter of a day, aren’t we now?”
John just looked at him funny. Rose cocked an eyebrow in interest.
Jake’s smile dropped into uncertainty. “What?” he asked, removing his hand from the younger boy’s head.
Rose’s mouth inched up into a sardonic sort of smile. “You might want to try speaking as if you were born sometime this century.”
“Aha!” Jake pointed a finger up as he spoke. “But I actually wasn’t, young lady. I was born in the 1990’s which, in point of fact, was not the same century as we are in now!” He looked enormously proud of himself.
Rose shook her head. “I quite obviously didn’t mean it in the sense of being born in the 21st century exclusively, but perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that even so simple a concept could escape obtuse and literal minds.” Jake’s expression was one Dirk recognized as the one that set in anytime he said something Jake didn’t quite follow all the way through. It looked like his brain might overheat. Rose simplified, “I meant you should speak like someone your own age.”
Jake turned to Dirk with a baffled look on his face and spoke to him quietly. “How old is she again?”
Dirk bit back a laugh and didn’t answer. Instead he greeted, “Hey Rose, John.”
“Hello, Dirk,” Rose said and her smile from before returned. “However do you put up with him?”
“Hey, I’m right here,” Jake complained, but he was ignored for the moment.
“I suppose there’s a point where I just find it endearing,” Dirk answered her. Before Jake could figure out if that was a compliment or not, Dirk continued on another subject, “Do either of you know if Dave is coming?”
John shrugged. “Not to be all, ‘he’s your brother, dude’, but…he’s your brother, dude,” he told Dirk. “Anyway, Dave’s been acting all cagey lately. And I don’t mean in the sense that he’s been acting like Nic Cage, which would be much cooler in my opinion.”
Rose looked Dirk up and down. “Family issues lie deep at the root of his current psychosis. I know more than he wanted to tell me, but he hasn’t mentioned the party today, so I’m afraid I can’t answer your question.”
Jake spoke up again, “Where’s Jane?”
“In the kitchen baking, probably,” John answered him, his hand moving to indicate the entrance to the house. “Roxy is in there, too. Helping, I guess.”
“I’m doubtful how much Aunt Roxy’s actions count as assistance, but the kitchen was where they both were headed last I saw,” Rose added.
Dirk nodded and strode in the direction of the door, pulling Jake with him, who stumbled a bit before keeping up with him. After recovering, Jake called a quick “Thanks!” over his shoulder to the two kids.