“Guys, get up! You’re going to be late for school and I am NOT paying for a taxi to take you there!” Roxie hollered. Sean stumbled out of his and Roxie’s room, grumbling.

“Did you really have to wake me up, too?” he complained. “It’s so early!”

“You could help me get them out the door, you know,” Roxie snapped. “Here. Make Sarah’s lunch. I have Stephan’s finished. Don’t give her any tomatoes on her sandwich. She hates tomatoes.” Roxie banged on her kids’ doors. “I mean it! Out here in two minutes or I’m dragging you out by your hair!”

Stephan and Sarah stumbled out of their rooms, yawning. “I was awake, but I had to hit Sarah with a pillow to get her up. You sleep like the dead,” he scowled at his twin. Sarah just stuck her tongue out at him.

Sean and Roxie quickly found out that school mornings were hectic. Between getting the twins out of bed, dressed, fed, packing their lunches, gathering all their school things and getting them both on the bus on time, there was no time to even blink. Their efforts were well-rewarded, however, when the bus left with the twins on it and Roxie and Sean had the entire day to themselves. Both of them worked later in the day, so during school hours, they were finally free to enjoy their own hobbies. Roxie began playing her guitar again and Sean was actually able to put that expensive treadmill to good use for once.

One afternoon, Sean got out of the shower after working out on the treadmill and stopped in the middle of the living room to stare at Roxie. She stopped strumming her guitar to give him a quizzical look. “What? Do I have a zit or something?” Sean shook his head.

“No. You were smiling.”

“So? I like playing the guitar.”

“I just haven’t seen you smile in a really long time. It’s nice,” Sean mumbled before shuffling off to dry his hair.

Roxie and Sean started to get along better now that they weren’t under so much stress. They weren’t struggling to pay the bills anymore and the kids were older and could for the most part take care of themselves. They hadn’t been intimate since the twins were small, but they shared a bed and cuddled sometimes. It was a very strange relationship. One that neither Sean or Roxie could really define. Roxie had opted for a bit more sophisticated look since the kids were older now and she figured she didn’t want to embarrass them by showing up for parent-teacher interviews in fishnets and miniskirts. She was getting too old to be dressing that way, anyway.

As for the twins, well they were both good students and had As in all their subjects, but Sarah was more obedient than Stephan. Sarah would do chores without being asked and was good at entertaining herself quietly, but she wasn’t a loner. She still liked playing tag with her brother and had lots of friends at school. Stephan needed poking and prodding to get his homework out and it was impossible to get him to do any chores at all. He was good with his sister, though and played with her often. Like a lot of twins, Sarah and Stephan were close and inseparable.

Stephan was more interested in flirting with one of the girls from his class, Rosalinda Wilson. She was a pretty girl with blonde hair, fair skin and blue eyes. She came home from school with Stephan a lot. Rosalinda was a big fan of Roxie Lin, the famous Pop Icon, but seemed to genuinely like Stephan, too.

“So, you seem to really like that Rosalinda girl,” Sean commented to his son one night at the kitchen table. Stephan nodded.

“She’s my best friend in the whole world… except for Sarah, of course,” he agreed. “She’s so pretty. She’s really funny, too. She laughs at all my jokes, even the dumb ones.” Sean laughed.

“Easy there, kiddo. Don’t start shopping for wedding rings just yet. You’re only ten,” he teased. Stephan made a face.

“Who said I’m getting married? I never want to get married. Are you and mom married?” he asked. Sean gave an awkward look.

“Er… no,” he admitted. Stephan nodded.

“That’s good. Only losers get married. When you get married, you have to do what your wife tells you to do and you can’t ever leave. Ever. It’s like prison for regular people,” he said matter-of-factly. Sean burst out laughing and ruffled his son’s hair.

“You are definitely my kid,” he chuckled.