Best Days Bus Days
The next morning I woke up to Krissy gently nudging me. “Alison’s gonna follow me out any second.”
I opened my eyes to look at her. Her eyes were dancing as she smirked at me. I turned my head slightly to see Patrick laying beside me, his arm draped over my waist. I smiled. Then I realized the implication of Alison coming into the room.
I sat up quickly and removed myself from the couch. Not a moment too soon, Alison came skipping into the room. “Hi Lauren! Krissy said you would braid my hair!”
I looked at Krissy who shrugged and proceeded to fix Collin a bottle so he would stop fussing in her arms. I took the baby from her and turned back to Alison. “Of course sweetie, go and get your brush and hair ties and I’ll do it while Krissy fixes your breakfast.”
Alison flitted back out of the room.
“Soooooooo,” Krissy drawled, “What happened there?”
I stuck my tongue out at her, “Don’t worry about it.”
“Oh come onnnnn,” Krissy whined.
“It’s none of her business,” I said in a baby voice to Collin as I bounced him up and down. “Is it?” The baby gurgled happily. “That’s right. Such a smart baby.” I smirked victoriously at Krissy, “Smart kid we’ve got, huh?”
“Genius,” she said taking Colin so she could give him his bottle.
Alison had come back dragging the bag where I kept her hair stuff. “I didn’t know where they were, so I brought everything,” she said stopping in front of me.
“Good thinking,” I said, “Why don’t you sit down and I’ll do your hair.”
“Uncle Patrick is still sleeping.”
“Uh huh,” I murmured as I began to work the tangles out of her hair.
“So why did you sleep out here?” Alison asked.
I dropped the brush to the floor with a clatter. Krissy howled with laughter.
“Huh?” Patrick said, sleepily sitting up. He looked at me, I was concentrating and picking up the brush and continuing to brush Alison’s hair. “Why’s your face all red, Laur?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Krissy said, barely being able to contain herself.
Patrick looked at me quizzically. “I was just asking why Lauren slept out here with you instead of in her bunk bed,” Alison explained.
Krissy exploded again. I looked up at Patrick as I began to braid one side of her hair. “W-well,” Patrick stuttered, searching for words. After a moment or two, a look of triumph crossed his face. “We were watching a movie last night, that’s all.”
“But why didn’t you go to bed when it was over?”
“Look straight sweetheart,” I said gently turning her head after I tied off one braid. I was secretly enjoying Patrick being grilled by his niece.
“Because, um, because we fell asleep.” Patrick again looked triumphant.
Alison turned her head again and looked around the room. “Why did you both fall asleep on the couch? That doesn’t seem like it would be much fun.”
“Look straight, I’m almost done,” I said and I glanced at Patrick who was red now.
“I don’t know why, it just happened.”
“Well I think it’s very silly. Why would grown ups sleep on the same couch-“
“Alright,” I said cutting her off, “All done! Why don’t you go take the bag back to your room and wake up Evan?”
“Ok!” She lept down from the chair and ran out of the room pulling the bag behind her.
“Well-“ Patrick started. Krissy’s laughter cut him off.
“That. Was. Priceless.”
I smiled, but I could also feel myself turning a bit red. We heard something clatter from the back of the bus followed by a faint “Oops.” I started to move toward the back of the bus.
“No, no,” Krissy said. “I got it. You two crazy kids just stay here.” I she left the room with the baby.
“That kid doesn’t miss a thing, does she?” Patrick asked. I just started laughing, but I nodded.
“Sorry, it was just funny,” I said, “She so perceptive.” I went into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee and to start making breakfast for Alison. Patrick followed me over. “Do you want one?”
“Ya, thanks.” I poured him a cup and gave it to him. “So…”
“I’m-um-not great at these things-“
“Lauren!!!!!!!” Alison said coming back into the room, “Krissy says that you should make me breakfast please.”
I smiled and said, “Well, someone’s a little demanding this morning.”
“I was just saying what Krissy sayed!” She replied indignantly.
“I know, I know, and it's said, not sayed.” I finished cutting her breakfast up, “Here, your majesty, have some waffles.”
“Thank you, Lauren.”
“That’s better,” I said setting the plate in front of her and giving her a kiss on the head.
It was then I realized I was still in the clothes that I wore yesterday. And they were particularly disheveled. “Alison, why don’t you tell Uncle Patrick about what you did with Krissy last night?”
She began to prattle on and I went to change and things. It was a travel day, so I decided to be as comfortable as possible. I put on sweatpants and a tank top and pulled my hair up into a ponytail. I brushed my teeth. By the time I left the bathroom, all the boys except Pete were awake (typical).
In the main room Dora was on, Alison and Colin were playing together on the floor. “Lauren, I’m teaching Colin how to crawl!”
“Oh good.” In my head I was thinking, ‘Perfect, all we need is for him to be mobile.’ I walked back to the counter where my coffee from earlier was. I took a sip. “Ewwwwww!!!” I spit it out, “What happened to my coffee!”
Evan was laughing in the corner of the booth. “Dearest sister, here’s a note, things you shouldn’t do to your hungover big brother: send an adorable four year old to wake him up.”
“Jerk,” I huffed. I dumped my coffee into the sink and rinsed it out. I went to pour myself another only to find the pot empty. “Sadface.”
“Oops,” Evan said again.
I stuck my tongue out at him and began to make a new pot.
“What does hungover mean?” Alison asked from the floor.
God, I loved her. “I think,” I replied, “Evan knows what it means.”
Evan glared at me and then spent a good fifteen minutes trying to satisfy Alison’s curiosity about what exactly would happen to make a grown up have a headache and be tired in the morning.
During that time I took Colin to change his diaper. When I came back I put Colin back on the floor and slid into a seat at the booth just in time to hear Evan explain that “sometimes grown ups like to drink lots of soda and it makes them really sleepy.”
This seemed to work for Alison who then went back to playing with Colin. I put my head on the table. When I lifted it back up two minutes later there was my cup of coffee filled up in front of me. I picked it up and looked at Evan skeptically.
“I didn’t do anything to it,” he said.
“Promise. Pat poured it and set it down. I didn’t touch it.”
I took a sip. It was fine. I looked up at Patrick and smiled. He blushed a bit and nodded.
The rest of the morning passed with more Dora the Explorer and Backyardigans. We played games and colored. Pete wandered out around noon and declared he was hungry. Our bus driver pulled over at a McDonalds.
We fed Alison and let her run around the playground for a while. She and Joe played tag through the play equipment. At one point he got stuck in the slide. We had to send Krissy (who’s the smallest of all of us) in to retrieve him. It was an adventure as always.
Back on the bus it was nap time. I took the two kids back to the room and put them in the pack and plays. I then stretched out on the bed and read for a while.
After a while there was a knock at the door. “Come in,” I called softly. It was Patrick. I smiled. “Hey.”
“Hey,” he smiled back, “we thought you were sleeping on the job, they sent me back here to make sure your weren’t.”
“Well, I’m not sleeping.”
“I can see that,” he said still standing in the doorway. “Um…can I…”
“Wanna sit down?”
“Ya,” he said, sounding a bit relieved. He closed the door and sat at the edge of the bed. “So…”