Prompt: How does Ethan’s family react the first time he brings home this weird little human kid (Cal)?
Calvin ran up the stairs to the roof, and out the open door which was never locked. Up ahead, Ethan ran toward the low wall at the end of the roof. “Ethan, stop!”
Ethan climbed onto the edge, and Calvin shouted as loud as he could.
“You’re scaring me, you big jerk!”
Ethan turned to look at him with a frown. He sat down on the edge, legs swinging over the side. When Calvin skidded to a halt near the ledge, he punched Ethan in the arm, making him growl.
“Screw you! I was really scared!”
Ethan looked confused. He glanced over the edge, and he realized why Calvin had been so scared. His eyes widened, and he pointed to himself then down at the street before shaking his head.
“Well how was I supposed to know?” Calvin plopped down onto the ground and wrapped his arms around his drawn-up knees. He hated that he was crying and shaking. Ethan sat down next to him and tugged at his arm. “No. I’m mad at you. I thought you were going to do something stupid.” He shut his eyes tight, grunting when Ethan dragged him forward like he didn’t weigh anything. Calvin felt Ethan slide in behind him then his arms wrapped around Calvin, hugging him close.
“We’re best friends,” Calvin said with a sniff. “That means we’re together forever. You promised.”
Ethan squeezed him, and Calvin felt a little better. He was still super mad though. Stupid Ethan. Calvin didn’t want to lose his best friend. Ever. He didn’t know why he cared about Ethan so much. They’d only just met, but it didn’t feel like that. It felt like he’d always known Ethan.
“Ethan!” Seb came bursting through the roof door, Rafe on his heels. They spotted Calvin and Ethan, and ran over, dropping to their knees beside Ethan, one to each side of him.
“Are you both okay?” Seb asked. “What happened?”
Ethan rubbed his cheek against Calvin’s hair.
“Jesus, you scared the hell out of us. Don’t take off like that again. Please.”
“Cavin’s right,” Rafe said, his voice hoarse. “I was being an asshole. If you want to be a THIRDS agent, then… we’ll find a way to make it happen.”
Ethan buried his face against Calvin’s neck, and shook his head.
“Ethan, if you want to be a THIRDS agent, you can be,” Seb promised. “Just because something hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it’s not possible.”
Calvin pulled away enough to turn so he could take hold of Ethan’s face. “Hey, we’re both going to be THIRDS agents, you’ll see.”
Ethan put his hand to his throat.
“We’ll just have to be the best,” Calvin said brightly. “If we’re the best they’ll have to take us. We can be partners.” He looked up at Seb. “If we become the best then they’ll have to put us on a team, right?”
Seb ruffled Calvin’s hair. “Yeah, but you two need to understand that from this point on, life’s going to get even harder. Sometimes it’s going to feel like it’s just the two of you against the whole world, but never forget you have family who love you and are here to support you. Rafe and I, we’re working hard so things will be better out there. Hopefully things will be different by the time you guys get old enough to apply. Until then, just look out for each other, and remember, a good THIRDS agent doesn’t fight unless he has to.”
“Got it,” Calvin said, taking Ethan’s hand. “We’ll show’em.”
Ethan smiled, and nodded.
“Okay. Come on. Dinner’s ready.” Seb stood then helped them to their feet. “You want to be big strong THIRDS agents? That means eating all your dinner, including your vegetables.”
Ethan made a gagging sound, and Calvin groaned. Vegetables were gross.
“Especially you, short stack,” Rafe said.
“I might be short now, but when I’m all grown up I’m going to be big and buff.” He flexed his muscles and growled menacingly.
“Yeah, okay. Take it easy there, Rambo.”
“Whatever. Does that mean I have to do better at Math? I hate math.” Art class was more fun.
“Yep,” Seb replied with a chuckle. “But lucky for you, Ethan is great at math, and science. Chemistry especially.”
“Really?” Calvin asked Ethan, who smiled and nodded, giving two thumbs up. “Cool.”
Seb let out a bark of laughter. “Oh my God, I just realized it.”
“What?” Calvin asked. “What’s so funny?”
“Calvin and Hobbs.”
Rafe rolled his eyes. “You only just got that, genius?”
“Shut up. I was focused on more important things. That’s funny.”
“Yeah, I hope they think so too, because it’s going to follow them their entire lives.”
“I don’t understand,” Calvin said, looking from Seb to Rafe.
“It’s cute,” Seb told Rafe, elbowing him playfully. “Come on. It’s adorable.”
“See if they think it’s adorable when they’re thirty.”
Calvin and Ethan exchanged glances and shrugged. Grown-ups were weird. Downstairs, dinner was on the table, and it smelled so good! Calvin’s mom didn't get to cook much because of how tired she was when she got in from work, but when she did, it was Calvin’s favorite. Ethan’s mom made the best meatballs, and she let them have lots of cheese. After dinner they did their homework, and they were watching TV when the doorbell rang. Calvin jumped to his feet when Julia opened the door, and he saw his mom.
“Mom!” He ran to her and threw his arms around her, hugging her tight.
“Hi, baby.” She kissed the top of his head then smiled wide at Julia.
“Hi, I’m Darla Summers. Thank you so much for having Calvin over, and inviting him to dinner.”
“It's a pleasure, Darla. I’m Julia Hobbs. Calvin’s such a lovely boy.”
Ethan poked his head out from behind his mom, and Calvin took his hand, pulling him out.
“This is my mom. Mom, this is Ethan. We’re going to be best friends forever.”
Darla blinked at Ethan. “Oh. You didn’t mention Ethan was a Therian.”
Ethan squeezed Calvin’s hand, and Calvin smiled. “It’s okay, Ethan. My mom doesn’t care.”
Darla knelt in front of Calvin, and pulled him close. “Baby, you know this changes everything.”
Ethan made a worried sound, and pulled away from Calvin to hug mom, but Calvin wanted to know what his mother was talking about. Did she not want him to be friends with Ethan? She looked really worried.
“What do you mean?”
“It means, you two will have to be very careful. You’ll have to look out for each other. Take care of each other. There will be those who won’t understand. They’ll be angry and look to hurt you and Ethan. Promise me you’ll both be extra vigilante and very careful.”
Calvin nodded. “I promise.”
“Okay.” Darla looked over Calvin’s shoulder, and smiled warmly at Ethan. “Hi, Ethan. I’m Calvin’s mom, Darla. I’m so very happy to meet you. I know you and Cal will be great friends.”
Ethan’s eyes widened. He looked up at his mom, who for some weird reason had tears in her eyes, and she nodded. With a shy smile, Ethan stepped up to Darla, and waved.
“Hi, Ethan. It’s lovely to meet you. Thank you for looking out for Calvin.”
“Ethan has selective mutism,” Julia explained quietly, running a hand over his head. She smiled at Darla. “Would you like a cup of tea, or coffee?”
“I would love some tea. Thank you.”
“Why don’t we go in the kitchen,” Julia said, “leave the boys to watch their cartoons. Maybe Calvin can come here after school, and you can pick him up when you get home.”
Calvin was so excited he was all but bouncing. “Can I, Mom? Please, please, please!”
Darla laughed, and ruffled his hair. “If it’s okay with Julia, and you promise to do all your homework.”
“I will. I’ll be super good.”
“Okay.” Darla and Julia headed for the kitchen, chatting, and both smiling.
Calvin hoped his mom and Julia became good friends. An idea struck him, and he turned to Ethan, whispering loudly.
“Our moms should be best friends!”
Ethan’s smile widened, and he nodded.
“This is going to be awesome!” Calvin grabbed Ethan’s hands, and they jumped up and down excitedly. Rafe walked into the living room, and dropped down onto the couch.
“What are you two so excited about?”
“My mom and your mom are going to be best friends.”
Rafe arched an eyebrow at him. “That so?”
“Yep. I told you my mom wouldn’t care,” Calvin said smugly. “She’s happy Ethan and I are best friends.”
“Easy when you’re faced with a tiny Therian like Ethan.”
Ethan was tiny? Maybe Rafe needed glasses.
“Let’s see how she does with a Therian who’s not so cute and cuddly.”
PART FOUR next week. Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.