Easter shenanigans with some familiar semi-feral children…

Hello, friends! Happy Good Friday!

I just realized last night that this would be my last post before Easter, and wouldn’t it be nice to do something Easter-ish? I didn’t have any particular ideas, but I woke up this morning with some certain semi-feral children on my mind, and some Easter shenanigans ensued.

(If you haven’t all ready, you might want to read this One Quirk Later post first. I didn’t feel like reintroducing the characters, so it might be a tad confusing if you read it on its own.)

Enjoy!

***

“I want eggs,” Eloise announced on Sunday afternoon.

            Amanda was making pancakes. In the past week, she had—out of necessity—grown more accustomed to making food. Even so, she sometimes found she simply couldn’t think of enough meals to make. Thankfully, the children adored pancakes and didn’t object to having them for both breakfast and lunch on occasion.

            “Eggs?” she repeated, glancing up from the batter she was ladling onto the griddle.

            “Easter eggs,” Eloise said with an emphatic nod.

            Agatha clasped her hands dreamily. “Easter eggs.”

            Amanda had gone shopping yesterday. She had left the kids in her apartment, afraid that if they went out someone might see them—either that or they would give her the slip and she would never see them again, left to worry about them sleeping in an alley somewhere, getting frostbite and eating raw macaroni. Every time she had to leave the apartment, Jonathan told her not to count on them still being there when she got back. But they always were. As much as Jonathan made snide remarks about Amanda being a kidnapper, she knew that, somewhere out there, there were people who were looking for these kids, and they scared Jonathan enough to keep him from taking his sisters and leaving.

            Shopping without the kids was easier and less chaotic, but once she was at the store she realized she had forgotten to ask if the kids wanted anything special for Easter.

            She passed up the bug-eyed stuffed rabbits immediately. She spent longer deliberating over chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, and jelly beans. In the end, she decided the chocolate bunnies were more wax than chocolate and the marshmallow peeps…she just couldn’t bring herself to buy peeps on principal.

            But who didn’t like jelly beans?

            It wasn’t until now that she realized Easter eggs hadn’t even occurred to her.

            “I’m sorry. I didn’t get any. You mean the plastic ones, right? That open?”

            “NO!” both girls shouted in unison.

            Amanda blinked.

            “I mean the real kind,” Eloise said.

“The kind that you color yourself,” Agatha said.

“And eat,” Eloise added.

Of course they wanted something they could eat. She should have known.

It had been years since Amanda had dyed eggs. She wracked her brain. There was something about boiling water, right? She put the kettle on and began rooting through the kitchen cupboards in search of food coloring. Inspired, Eloise and Agatha jumped up to help her. Their method was enthusiastic, resulting in a fair number of pots, pans, and Tupperware containers rolling around on the floor and—eventually—three tiny bottles of food coloring.

“Aren’t there more?” Eloise demanded.

“I don’t think so. But these are the primary colors. They’re all we need.”

Eloise scrunched up her nose. “What’s primate colors?”

Agatha tipped her head to one side, suddenly looking very wise. “I think primates are like monkeys.”

Amanda nearly forgot to boil the eggs. (She didn’t think the girls would have forgiven her if they hadn’t been able to peel and eat the eggs after coloring them.) Half an hour later, everyone’s finger tips (or—in Eloise’s case—an entire hand) were stained blue and purple and green. The girls had insisted on boiling every egg in the refrigerator—nearly two dozen.

Jonathan didn’t join them. He had been restless all day, pacing the living room, looking out the windows, and snapping around to face the door every time he heard footsteps in the hall.

When the egg coloring was drawing to a close, only three blank-shelled eggs left, Amanda noticed that—aside from the happy chatter of Agatha and Eloise—the apartment was quiet. She went to check on Jonathan.

He sat slumped on the couch, a scowl on his face. She wasn’t sure when he had nabbed it from the kitchen, but he had the entire bag of jelly beans clutched protectively to his stomach.

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

“Nothing,” he snapped.

Amanda looked out the window. “It seemed like you were waiting for someone earlier. Who was it?”

“It doesn’t matter because they’re not coming. I was being stupid.”

She took a step toward him, but he bristled like a little angry hedgehog.

She sat on the opposite side of the couch.

From the kitchen came the sound of Agatha and Eloise arguing about what color to dye the last egg.

Amanda watched Jonathan pop two jelly beans into his mouth and chew savagely.

“Can I have a jelly bean?”

Jonathan didn’t even look at her. “Nope.”

Amanda suspected this was the kind of rudeness you weren’t supposed to let children get away with, but he was clutching the bag so tightly, and his scowl—despite his best efforts to conceal the fact—was so close to breaking that she couldn’t bring herself to say anything.

“Mama always said Easter was a time of miracles,” Jonathan said finally, his voice very quiet. “She said things were really bad. Everyone was feeling kind of lost, but then someone they never thought they’d see again came back.”

Amanda nodded. Jonathan sniffed and dragged a sleeve across his nose. “And I know it’s stupid, but I thought, if it’s supposed to be this day of miracles, that maybe…”

He didn’t finish, but Amanda could guess what he was thinking.

I’ll be all right,” Jonathan said, aggressively rubbing his eyes with the heel of one hand, “but Ellie and Aggie really need her.”

            Amanda reached out to put a hand on his shoulder, but stopped herself, not sure how he would respond. “It’s never too late for a miracle,” she said softly.

            Jonathan looked at her hand, hovering in the air. He turned it over, palm up, and dumped nearly half the bag of jelly beans into it.

            “Yeah.” Despite the watery look in his eyes, he managed a small smile. “Happy Easter.”

***

(Okay, but Jonathan with jelly beans is Noah St. Claire with bacon.)

I hope you enjoyed that. 🙂 And I hope you have a lovely Easter!

Do you have fond of memories of dyeing eggs? Do you like marshmallow peeps? (I used to think no one did, but last weekend I saw someone eat SEVERAL of them OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL. I was shocked.) Did you know who this was going to be about as soon as you saw the phrase “semi-feral children”? Do tell!

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5 responses to “Easter shenanigans with some familiar semi-feral children…”

  1. AWWWW, I’m SO HAPPY that the semi-feral children have returned! (I love them SO much. Truly, I could read about them all day.) I didn’t know that’s what this post was going to be (I figured it would be about your real life? Maybe with little cousins? Idk) and I was SO excited when I figured it out. 🙂 A lovely post to read on a slightly-under-the-weather day. And please tell Amanda to give Jonathan a hug for me. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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