True to his word, Hotch stayed home the next morning, waiting for Jessica to drop Jack off in front of the house. Then, after verifying that Jack was all right, he had headed off to Quantico.
"Aunt Jessica got really upset yesterday afternoon," Jack reported to Lynn a short time later.
"Why is that?" Lynn asked quietly. She was sitting at the kitchen table feeding Lilly and Jacob their breakfasts and, after leaving his overnight bag in his room, Jack had joined them there.
"Yesterday, after we got home, she went through my overnight bag and decided that none of my clothes are good enough," Jack told her. "She insisted we had to go shopping. And, then, when we got to the mall, we ran into Aunt Lisette along with Seth and Jonathan. Aunt Lisette told me how glad she was to see me and how good I looked. Then, she asked me how much I had grown over the summer. After I told her, Seth and Jon told me how much they liked my clothes. They wanted to know where I had gotten them. When I said they had come from the common wardrobe, they thought that was a store in the mall. That's when Aunt Jessica got really upset."
"What happened then?" Lynn asked as she spooned some more cereal into Lilly's open mouth.
"Aunt Lisette tried to explain that the 'grunge look' as she called it, is what all the kids my age are wearing but Aunt Jessica said that she didn't care and that she wasn't about to let me go around looking like that. Then she dragged me away from them and down the mall to a store where she bought me some clothes she likes."
"I had a feeling something like that had happened," Lynn confessed. "I got a phone call last night from your Aunt Lisette and she gave me her version of the encounter. She also asked me to congratulate you on your soccer game. It seems that that final play you made caused quite a sensation. Everyone is talking about it."
"It was pretty cool," Jack admitted with a grin.
"I tried to tell Aunt Jessica about how I have been playing with some university level players and how one of the guys even played on the national team for his country," he continued. "But she wasn't interested. She didn't want to know anything about my time on Hutchens Island. She just wanted to tell me all about how you and dad have ruined our lives and how everything is going to be terrible for us from now on." He shook his head dejectedly.
"Your aunt has had a rough time lately," Lynn observed. "And, it is going to take her a while to get over it."
"You done?" she asked Jacob who was getting up from the table. "Any more breakfast?"
The toddler shook his head. "All done," he reported. "Dishes on sink and then wash up?"
"That's right," Lynn confirmed. "And it looks like Lilly here is done, too. What about you, Jack? Have you had any breakfast? Are you hungry?"
"I ate at Aunt Jessica's," the teenager reported. "Oatmeal." He made a face. "She always makes that."
"Well, we'll have to see if we can do better than that for lunch," Lynn promised as she wiped Lilly's face off and then lifted her out of the high chair. "Anything in particular you would like? Dave is going to be here shortly to take us grocery shopping."
"Doesn't Jacob have class today?" Jack questioned. "I thought he went on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays."
"He has a couple of weeks off," Lynn explained as she put Lilly into her playpen and started clearing off the table. "He'll be starting again when Spencer gets back. He still has a week or so before he has report to the university for Fall Semester. The last I heard, he and Professor Chastain were still working to determine which lectures The Professor is going to be delivering to his grad students via satellite feed next term, as well as completing some papers they are planning on publishing. The two of them were also preparing to meet with the teachers for the island's four schools to review lesson plans for the upcoming school year. There are four new teachers coming in who will need to be brought up to speed."
"So, what am I supposed to do until school starts?" Jack grumbled. "Just sit around here and do nothing?"
"Well, for the next few hours you have a choice," Lynn told him. "You can either come grocery shopping with Dave and us or you can stay home here and catch up with your friends from school. Or, you might send an e-mail to The Professor for him to pass on to your friends on the island."
"Grocery shopping?" Jack repeated derisively. "Yeah Right! But, do you have Professor Chastain's e-mail address?"
"I certainly do," Lynn assured him. "And I am sure your friends will be glad to hear from you – Particularly Karen." At the mention of the girl's name, Jack blushed.
"Now, after lunch," she continued. "You and your Uncle Dave are going to decide what new soccer equipment you will need for the coming season and where you are going to get it. I assume some of it can be bought locally, but you may need to order some of it over the internet. It's up to the two of you."
"New soccer equipment!" Jack exclaimed excitedly. "Really?"
"Well, yesterday it looked like you had outgrown a lot of what you have," Lynn smiled at him. "And, you can't continue playing like you did with outgrown equipment. So, your father and I decided that you are entitled to some new gear."
"I'll make a list while you're gone," Jack decided. "So I'll be ready for Uncle Dave to help me."
"And, as for the rest of the week," Lynn continued. "That's one of the reasons your Aunt Lisette called. She wanted to know if you would like to spend a couple of days visiting with your cousins. It seems that Jon, in particular, would like you to coach him on some soccer moves."
"YES!" Jack fist pumped. "And since Jon is smaller than me he can use some of my old stuff. This is so going to work out!"
"That's what I thought," Lynn told him. "Now, I need to get Jacob and Lilly ready to go grocery shopping with Dave. We don't want to keep him waiting when he gets here."
"You came back to Quantico," Rossi observed quietly to Lynn. They had finished the grocery shopping and were heading back to the house with two exhausted children asleep in the backseat. "I saw the look on your face when we were getting ready to leave and I wasn't sure you would."
"Yes, I came back," Lynn replied. "And it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do."
"Why?" was Rossi's question.
"I love Aaron," Lynn sighed. "As much as I think anyone can love another person. And, even though the island is my home and I love it and miss it, this is his home. This is where his life and the job he loves are. So, here I am. Then, there is Jacob. He deserves the opportunity to learn as much as he can and to be able to explore his options in life, and that means he needs to be where the facilities and people who can help him are. And, that's here in Quantico."
"Two good reasons," Rossi agreed. "But, what about you? Are you working on reaching for the stars, too?"
"I don't know about the stars," Lynn laughed. "Astrophysics isn't my field. But, I do plan on getting everything I can out of my classes at the university and then, hopefully, putting it into practical application – Either here or on the island."
"My next objective, however," she continued. "Is learning how to drive. As much as I enjoy our time together and our trips to the store, I would like to be able to pick you up and take you to the store for a change."
"I look forward to that," Rossi assured her as he pulled into the driveway. "Give these tired old eyes of mine a break."
"Watch out what you wish for!"