“Man slave’s home,” Marta yelled back to me from the kitchen unnecessarily, because Bradley was already crossing over to my desk set up in the corner of our bedroom to drop a kiss on my head.
“I thought we agreed that I wasn’t going to be called that anymore,” Bradley complained half-heartedly.
“We also agreed you’d stop using your Irish accent against Marta in the house. If I enforce one I have to enforce both,” I grinned, saving the e-mail I’d been typing to my advisor. While Marta had decided that she would rather forgo college to start at the bottom ranks of party planning company and work her way up, Bradley and I had scheduled ourselves into a one-on one-off college plan. I went to school in the fall, working part-time while he worked full-time, and he went to school in the spring, working part-time as I worked full-time. It wasn’t ideal, but it paid the bills, and with Marta still living out of the third bedroom and helping split the rent, we were comfortable enough.
Bradley weighed the too options in his head before grinning. “Man slave it is. How was your day?” he sank down onto the edge of the bed to untie his shoes.
“Fine enough. We got another call from Arthur’s first grade teacher,” I smiled as Bradley sighed melodramatically and let his foot fall back to the floor with a thunk.
“What’s he done this time? If he’s talking while the teacher’s talking again, I swear, we should just give the school permission to duct tape his mouth shut.”
“Well, in a strange turn of events, it’s not Arthur’s fault. It’s ours.” I made my way to the bed next to Bradley, and let him slip an arm around my waist.
“Ours? Well, that is a new one. How is it our fault?”
“Well, apparently they were doing a family tree lesson plan today,” Bradley groaned, but I carried on, “And Arthur had his own interesting interpretation of what a family tree should look like.”
“Is it perhaps because his dad is not his dad, his mom and aunt are his aunt and mom, his grandmother is not his grandmother and his non-grandparents are his grandparents?” Bradley laughed, remembering the way Arthur had tried to explain his family to the people in his Sunday school class.
“Something like that, Which means we have to go talk to the guidance counsoler.at the school and explain the situation with the adoption and all that because our son may have accidentally implied that we have some sort of big love sister brides harem going on here and they are concerned.”
Bradley slumped against my shoulder and let out a groan not unlike the one Arthur made when I tried to get him out of bed for school every morning. “But I hate the guidance counselor. They’re going to ask me what I want to do with my life and try to stare into my soul.”
“Bradley. You’re a grown man, and this the elementary school. I doubt they are going to start questioning you about your major.” Still, I patted him on the head sympathetically, “Can you get out of work early Friday so we can get this taken care of?”
“Yeah, I can.” Bradley kissed me on the neck then pushed himself back up into a sitting position to resume taking off his shoes. “I suppose we should just be happy that they haven’t called social services like that one lady at the park did when Arthur was yelling that his mommies were sisters.”
It was the third time we said his name, so like magic, Arthur appeared. Six years old, he still had the same bright blonde hair from when he was born, and his eyes had settled into blue-grey color that Marta and I boasted. He was tall and thin and fast for his age and I still had no idea who his biological father was, but I’d since stopped caring. All things considered, his real father was sitting next to me on the bed. That was re-enforced by a scream of “Daddy!” and a flying leap that knocked Bradley to his back and earned me a sneaker to the shoulder. “Did Mommy tell you that I didn’t get in trouble but you got in trouble?”
“She sure did—oh come on buddy, shoes off the blankets—but I don’t know if it was really my fault either. I think we need to find a simpler way to explain your family, huh?” Bradley scooped Arthur up and held him slightly over the edge of the bed so his dirty sneakers weren’t staining our comforter.
“Nope. I like my confusing family. No one else in the world has a family like mine.” Arthur smiled and I could see that a tooth was starting to push through his gum where he’d knocked it out playing soccer almost a month ago. Bradley gave me a look like ‘The kids got a point.’
“Oh, my boys. It’s true, there is no one in the world quite like the two of you.” I pushed up off the bed and headed towards my desk. “Now, go be unique somewhere else for a little while. I’ve still got a bit of homework to finish before dinner. Go bug Marta.”
“Master Wilson,” Bradley said royally, “Shall we leave Mrs. Wilson to her peace?”
Arthur stood up as tall as he could, and with too much of a laugh in his voice to sound properly regal he replied, “Yes, Mister Wilson, we shall.” Then he abandoned all pretense and ran up and gave me a kiss on his check before running back to Bradley, pulling on his arm asking, “What are we going to do until dinner, Daddy?”
“Is all your homework done?”
“Well,” Bradley gave me a look, mouthing man slave, before looking back down to Arthur, “Do you want to practice Gramma Wilson’s accident on Aunt Marta?”
When they left the room, I counted slowly to thirty in my head before I heard “Avery! They’re doing it to me again! Control your family!” and I couldn’t help but smile a little bit wider. I put some headphones in to drown out Marta’s protests. Some things never change.
Here ends the (weekly) story of Avery and Marta and they’re little family. From time to time, I’ll probably revisit them for little scenes of Arthur growing up or whatever if there is interest in that kind of thing. I’ll make sure to include Family Way in the title section so you’ll know they’re around. Hope you enjoyed it anyways.