A/N: Everyone thank you so much for reading this little piece! We hope you're enjoying it! Shout out to my writing partner in this: karvesprincess! Hopefully she's enjoying her time in Disney World and will see this update; especially since she did the Jemily part in this so yeah!
Time seemed to fly by for little Carl as he braved through yet another night of terror, only to somehow manage to fall asleep until the sun came up again to greet him for another typical day, living the life of a five-year old. But his fun filled day quickly came to an end the moment he found himself once again clad in his race car pajamas and huddled securely underneath his blue comforter that covered him from the chin and down, making sure to keep his eyes ever alert and roaming around his dimly lit room for anything suspicious…
…Waiting for when the monster would make its presence known once again…
Meanwhile, a short distance down the hallway from Carl's room…
Jack looked up and smiled when he saw Amanda standing in the open doorway to the master bedroom, her arms crossed over her chest and her body clad in a hip hugging dress. "Hey, Beautiful." He said to her, sitting up in bed and sticking a bookmark in what he was reading. "How was the fundraiser?"
Amanda made a face as she removed her earrings. "Boring – I had my ears talked off by people who clearly just wanted my checkbook. I wish you had come with me."
Jack chuckled. "Yeah well, sounds like I really missed out…"
She narrowed her eyes at him playfully and kicked off her high heels as she made her way over to the bed. "I'm starting to think you love that boat more than me." She said teasingly, nodding towards the manual now seated on their nightstand. Fixing up The Infinity had become Jack's latest obsession – after a bad thunderstorm had done some cosmetic damage to the vessel, Jack had taken it upon himself to fix up their honeymoon boat, spending long hours tinkering with it. And even after weeks of repairs, it didn't seem to be any closer to being finished.
"Not possible," Jack insisted, and Amanda couldn't help but laugh when he grabbed her hand and pulled her down onto the bed next to him. Giggling like she was nine years old again, their lips connected in a series of soft kisses, and she moved to straddle his waist. Two years after their wedding, the honeymoon phase had never really faded – they were still as in love with each other as ever, and sometimes it hit her all over again that this was really her husband, and this was really her life. A few years ago, she never would've imagined things turning out like this.
She pulled away and detached their lips when she felt Jack's hand move to pull down one of the straps on her dress. "I'm gonna go change," She said, swinging her legs over the side of the bed so she could get up. "And your patience –" She kissed him one more time. "Will be thoroughly rewarded."
"Fine," Jack gave in. "But hurry back – the first twenty plus years of waiting were hard enough." She smiled at him over her shoulder, and went into the master bathroom to get ready for bed.
Closing the door behind her, Amanda pulled the bobby pins out of her hair and slipped her dress down her hips. She put on one of Jack's shirts, which she knew he was always unable to resist – he pretended to be annoyed when she took his clothes, but she knew he really found it incredibly sexy. "Was Carl well-behaved tonight?" She called out to her husband through the door, inquiring after her stepson as she ran a quick brush through her hair and wiped off her makeup. A beat passed, but she received no response.
She pushed the bathroom door open, and Amanda froze in place when she saw the sight before her. Jack was laying back down in bed, the boat manual open on his chest, fast asleep. With a slight sigh and shake of her head, she walked over and placed the book back on the nightstand, before kissing her husband's forehead.
Leaving her tired husband to sleep, Amanda exited their bedroom, the door remaining slightly ajar behind her. Since it was barely ten, she supposed she would just sit downstairs with the dog for a while until she was tired enough to go to sleep. She was halfway down the hallway when she heard something – it sounded almost like a whimper. At first Amanda thought it was the puppy, but it became clear to her that it was definitely human. "Jack?" She called out hesitantly, only to receive no response. Which made sense since he was out like a light. She called out softly once more.
Tentatively, Amanda walked over to the door at the end of the hallway, which led to her five-year-old stepson's bedroom. She pressed her ear up against the door, and she could hear a soft hiccup coming from inside. Her brow furrowed in worry, she pushed open the door to Carl's room and peeked her head inside.
"Hey buddy, what are you still doing up?"
Despite being curled up tightly underneath his blankets, Carl recognized the soft spoken voice and stopped whimpering, instantly feeling relief and comfort.
It's my Mommy! Well, my other Mommy. Yup! Guess what?! I'm a really lucky kid 'cause I got two mommies! That's right! Two! My real Mommy, I call Mama so I don't get confused, lives in heaven. Daddy says she watches us from there but left her necklace so that I can think about her anytime I want. But my other mommy, my stairs Mommy I think it's called, but I just call her Mommy so I don't get confused, lives here with me and Daddy!
"M-Mommy!" Carl exclaimed excitedly as he rushed to hug her legs, feeling his fear dissipate completely once she returned the embrace.
Yay! I'm so glad she's here…
I always feel better when Daddy or Mommy show up.
They help keep the monster away.
Especially Mommy 'cause she has a super duper special ultra-secret super power secret.
She's a ninja!
It's true! My Uncle Nolan says so! But it's a secret so ya can't tell!
She's even cooler than the Ninja turtles! But she doesn't live in a sewer, eat pizza, or has a cool ninja colored head thingy or weapons like they do…
But that's okay! Because she's in a secret disguise I think!
Uncle Nolan and Daddy always talked about how brave she is.
Nothing scares her!
I bet SHE wouldn't be scared of some scary invisible monster!
I wish I could be brave like her…
"Carl sweetie, what's wrong? Did you have a nightmare or something?" Amanda asked softly as she bent down to his level and ran her hand through his mussed brunette colored hair.
Carl shook his head and sniffed. "I couldn't sleep…"
"Why is that? Did Daddy forget to read you your favorite bedtime story?" Amanda inquired softly, wondering if that was the problem at hand since her husband was rather occupied lately with working overtime on repairing the boat or having his nose stuck in the boat manual so he could repair the said boat.
Carl shook his head however with a little smile. "No, Daddy read me a story and tucked me in and-and he even promised to get me the new nightlight I wanted with the cool stars and stuff that glow all around the room 'cause I was being a brave big boy."
Amanda couldn't help but crack a smile of amusement at how excited and happy her stepson's voice got, as if his earlier discomfort never happened. "He did? That's great Buddy…So then, what's the matter? It's way past your bed time. What's keeping you awake?"
Carl hesitated, biting his lip as he shifted from one foot to another. He wanted to tell his mommy everything, but what if she didn't believe him? What if she thought he was just being silly? He didn't want to end up like his other friend in Kindergarten class who shared his fears about monsters only to be laughed at.
Looking away from her, he simply shook his head and twisted his body slightly from side to side, tempted to bring his thumb near his mouth, but remembered how sucking thumbs were for babies and quickly discarded that idea-hiding his hands behind his back instead.
Amanda frowned slightly with an eyebrow raised; her suspicions that something was wrong were confirmed in her son's antics. Ever the expert at reading people, she noticed how Carl continued to stay silent and not give her eye contact and how he couldn't stay still. Usually, whenever he acted that way, that meant that he was either up to something mischievous like giving the puppy important trinkets, jewelry, or household items to bury in the ground outside whenever he played "Treasure Hunt", or sneaking into the fridge for a treat that should have been served after dinner time. Or even worse, whenever Carl would be caught in a lie or doing something he knew better not to do, he'd also exhibit the same behavior.
Try as he might, he had a terrible poker face.
Carl risked a quick peek at his stepmother only to swallow a gulp. The frown was evident on her face, as if she saw right through him and yet was trying to figure out the whole situation as she displayed a look of pure concern, but even worse-her arms were crossed.
He knew exactly what that meant.
Uh oh! Mommy's giving the, 'I know you're hiding something' face!
It's part of her super-secret ninja mommy power!
What if she asks me to tell her what's wrong?! Then I have to tell! If I lie, I could go to time-out! Or worse…
Mommy won't make cookies for snack time or dessert tomorrow!
Snapping out of his thoughts, Carl felt his stepmother's hand touch his shoulder, rubbing it comfortingly as she said softly, "Carl? Come on, tell me what's wrong. You don't have to be afraid Buddy. If anything's bothering you, you know you can tell me or Daddy anything. We'll listen." She gave him a warm smile of reassurance that invited and tempted him to spill the contents of his little, still pounding heart.
Soothed by her gentle voice and encouraging words, and not wanting or willing to risk the consequences of not having cookies due to being caught in a lie, he took a deep almost dramatic breath and brought his innocent brown eyes to his stepmother's warm yet inquisitive ones.
"There's a really, really scary and invisible monster in my room that wants to eat me." Carl said with all seriousness in his tone.