Duct tape fixes everything, Alice mused as she studied her handiwork.
The pipes were finally quiet. Now her favorite redheaded shark man could get some sleep. Alice dusted off her hands and crawling out from under the furnace. She stretched and un-shrunk. A freckled redheaded boy of about six years of age was sitting on a nearby box. "Did you fix it, Mom?" he asked as she put the toolbox away.
"Yep, it's fixed now, Luke. Let's go in and tell your Dad." Alice said. Luke grinned and Alice noticed that his missing tooth was already coming back in. She was going to miss that gap-toothed grin of his.
The house was a small little thing out on the corner of town. The island was a small fishing community that had been welcoming to them. Sometimes Alice's brothers would come by to visit. Right now Uncle Hassen had dropped by for a time and was chatting with Riley on the porch. Riley held the youngest baby, had Lira clinging to his ankle, and the other twin, Reese, was sitting on Uncle Hassen's lap.
"Careful brother, she's a tricky one." Alice warned as she walked up the path. Her brother Hassen laughed. "This innocent little angel? She doesn't have a tricky bone in her body."
Riley chuckled. "You're warning was too late, Alice. She already has him wrapped around her finger."
Reese pulled her thumb out of her mouth and made content gibberish noises like she agreed.
The oldest son, Luke, chose that moment to run up with a excited shout that woke the babe in Riley's arms.
"Shhh, shhh, baby Lio." Riley cooed, rocking in the chair as he tried to sooth the wailing baby.
"I'm sorry," Luke whispered towards his crying sibling. Alice put her hand around his thin shoulders. He always worried when he scared the little ones. Such a kind older brother, though he forgets himself sometimes.
Riley leaned back, careful not to stop rocking the calmed baby. He closed his eyes and kept rocking. Alice shared a look with her brother. "Let's leave them to sleep," she mouthed.
Uncle Hassen stood up with Lira in his arms. Luke walked over to Riley's feet and pick up Reese and carry her. "Come on then," he whispered to the kids.
"Does Riley get any sleep?" Hassen asked as they walked down the path.
Alice gave a little shake of her head, bouncing Reese on her hip. "Lio is a fussy baby and Riley seems to be the only who can get him to stop crying. On top of that, the pipes made all sorts of noises the past few days. So none of us got much sleep, but Riley pulls double shifts when the baby feels colicy."
Hassen's voice was full of a gentle admiration. "You picked a good man, Alice."
Alice smiled. "The best."
Reese giggled as Luke made funny faces. Alice put the toddler down and the kids went running along the beach searching under rocks for bugs. Excited screeching announced when they found some.
"How are the others?" Alice asked.
"They're doing good. Everyone says hello and send their love. Tanner says he'll drop by in a couple of weeks to visit." Hassen replied.
They sat in the cool light of the evening for a while, just talking and catching up. Alice was pleased to hear that her brothers were doing well with their endeavors. Hassen shared news of a couple new faces had joined the family. They made plans to get the whole family together sometime.
A little while later Riley walked down the pathway with Lio resting in the crook of his arm. "Hey Alice, I think he's hungry. Awake but happy." Riley's disheveled appearance prompted a bit of sympathy from his brother-in-law. Hassen patted him on the back. "You should take a nap, man. I'll help Alice get the youngsters something to eat."
"Ah, thanks Leo," Riley managed to stifled a yawn and stumbled off back to the house. Hassen turned to Luke, who was trying to keep Lira from putting a bug down Reese's shirt. "Okay kids, lets go get something good to eat. What sounds good to you, Luke?"
"Poniska!" Luke shouted. Hassen smiled. His grandmother, Luke's great-grandmother, use to make them before she passed away. He'd tried some during the last visit since Alice had mentioned that Riley knew how to make it. "That does sound good. Let's go see if your dad made any."
Hassen scooped the twins up and juggled them in one arm so he could hold Luke's hand with his other.
Alice waved from the rocking chair and made a shushing motion with a finger to her lips as they walked by to get to the house. Hassen bounced the girls on his hip to keep them quiet and snuck into the kitchen. He put the girls down in their high chairs and secured them. Lira threw her bib but after a little effort he managed to get both of them ready to eat. Luke scrambled up onto a stool next to the table.
He sliced some soft fruit for the girls and helped Luke plate out a small serving of Poniska. The kids ate their meal in a mess that deep sea feeding frenzies couldn't compare. Luke did a good job cleaning up his own face and started wiping the tables clean. Hassen helped get the girls cleaned up.
Alice came in after feeding the baby and they herded the kids into the nursery. The girls whined about naps but fell asleep the moment their heads hit the pillows. Luke sat down in a corner to read, he said he didn't need a nap.
A disheveled Riley came in and handed a drink to Hassen before he leaned against his wife for support. Alice wrapped her arms around her husband and smiled to her brother.
"Thanks for helping out with the kids." She said to them both.
Riley smiled a sharp and toothy grin that had pure parental love behind it. "I love them."
Hassen chuckled, "Yeah, they're great."