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abraham_lincoln_statue_in_julia_davis_park_by_battle810-d5vbqw8“Well,” Jake proclaimed from his seat at the table, “I don’t know about you guys but I’m just about full. Just enough room for dessert. And maybe some coffee?” he directed the last sentence to Joni.

Joni nodded in return, saying, “Just have to turn it on. Everything’s ready to go. Why don’t you guys go sit in the living room and we can clear the dishes?”

Amber emitted a loud sigh and rolled her eyes. “Why don’t they clear the dishes and we can go sit?”

Joni held her right hand up face high, index finger pointing skyward, and rocked her head back and forth with every syllable. “Because this is the good China and I don’t trust them with it. If you don’t want to help, then you can grab extra chairs and bring them into the living room. We need two more, right?”

“Three on the couch, two in the love seat and Louie’s old recliner. So yep, two more,” Bilhah said.

“No,” Amber responded, drawing the word out. “I’ll help with the stupid dishes,” she added one more eye roll for punctuation.

“I’ll grab chairs,” John declared. “TV room?”

“Or dining room, but the TV room ones are way more comfy,” Joni answered.

“I’ll grab one,” Payton declared.


“And I’ll grab desert!” Jake announced.

By the time John and Payton returned with the chairs Jake was sprawled in the recliner and Sean had symbolically laid claim to the love seat by sitting squarely in its middle. Payton raised his eyebrows, silently asking, ‘Where?’ and John nodded his head to the empty space between the dining and living area of the great room that ran along the east side of the Hagans’ home. John set his chair down and Payton did the same. Once the chairs were where they needed to be Payton looked around the room, scrunched his face up and moved the two chairs closer and sat in the right hand one. John headed over to the couch and sat.

Amber and Ashley came out of the kitchen with cups of coffee. Ashley also carried a small chunk of fudge brownie on a plate. “Coffee’s ready,” she declared, sitting next to her husband.

“Great!” Jake declared. “Dibs on my seat!” he added, lowering the foot rest and rising up.

“’Dibs’?” Amber repeated. “Really? What are you, five?” she shook her head, walked over to the love seat, stared down at her husband and asked, “Well?”

Sean shook his head and scooted over to the right side of the love seat. “I was just saving it for you, kumquat,” he said, pronouncing the word with an extra heavy emphasis on the first syllable.

“Of course you were,” she replied, taking her seat.

Bilhah, Jake and Joni entered, each holding a coffee cup. Bil and Jacob each carried desert in the other hand while Joni had coffee in her left hand, two plates with desert resting on her outstretched left forearm as well as a cup of coffee in her right. When John saw her enter he started to rise but Joni shook her head. She walked over to the couch and handed John his coffee. “Thanks, sugar plum,” he said.

“You’re welcome. Now move over,” she added with a wink and a smile.

Her husband bowed from the waist, butt bumped over to the center of the couch and held his hand up toward Joni. She asked, “Chocolate bunt cake with Hershey syrup or cherry pie?”

“Have I died and gone to heaven? Is there more left?”

“A ton.”

“Pie, please,” he answered.

Joni handed him the pie, set her coffee and desert on one little end table and sat down. Bilhah mirrored her actions on the other side of the couch. Bil turned to her left and smiled at him, saying, “Remember; no bird-dogging,” she declared, sticking her tongue out at her husband.

“Promises, promises,” Jake shot back at her, adding a double tongue click for punctuation. “Well, dinner was grand, but I think we need to talk a little business. Anybody wanna start?”