Woo-hoo, we got to 5 reviews! As promised, here is the next chapter (which takes place during Christmas because reasons).
"Mama, when're Uncle Crutchie and Aunt Clara comin' over?" Josie asked from her place on the parlor floor, where she was playing with a new doll her grandparents had bought her.
"Soon, sweetheart," Katherine responded, not looking up from the book she was reading.
"When's soon?" Josie pressed.
"Soon, little one," Jack chuckled, ruffling her hair as he walked into the room.
Josie opened her mouth to complain more, but just then the telephone that the Pulitzers had bought Jack and Katherine for their anniversary rang.
Katherine began to slowly lift herself off of the couch, but Jack gestured to her to stay where she was and crossed the room to answer it.
"Hello, Kelly residence," Jack stated as he picked up the phone receiver. "Oh, heya Clara, how can I help ya?"
Katherine watched as Jack's expression changed into one of concern. "Oh, okay. He's gonna be okay though, right?" A pause, then Jack nodded. "Okay, thanks for callin'. Tell him we all say 'Merry Christmas'."
Jack hung up the phone and sighed, absentmindedly running a hand through his hair.
"What's wrong, Jack?" Katherine asked, frowning slightly.
"Josie, why don' you go see what Benjy's doin'?" Jack said.
Josie looked at both her parents, then gave a little nod and went into her and Benjy's bedroom, holding her doll tightly.
"Okay, now you're scaring me. What's happened?" Katherine asked nervously.
Jack smiled at her reassuringly. "There ain't nothin' wrong, well nothin' serious anyway. I just didn't want Josie ta hear this before Benjy." Jack sighed. "That was Clara. Crutchie's got the flu, so they can't come tonight."
"Poor Crutchie, that's awful," Katherine said sympathetically.
Jack nodded. "Fortunately it ain't nothin' too bad, but the doctor said he should stay in bed for a few days just ta be sure."
Katherine sighed. "It's such a shame he's sick on Christmas, of all days." Then a look of realization came onto her face. "The twins'll be disappointed, they haven't seen Crutchie and Clara in a few months and they were really looking forward to this."
Jack nodded again. "Do you wanna tell 'em, or should I?"
"I can tell them if you want," Katherine answered, but then gasped.
"What? Kath, what's wrong?" Jack asked, confused at the strange look on Katherine's face.
"I've just had an idea!" Katherine exclaimed, looking straight at Jack with an electric gaze. "If Crutchie and Clara can't come to us, we'll just have to go to them."
"Ow! Da, Josie kicked me!"
"Josie, stop kicking your brother," Jack admonished as he, Katherine, Josie, and Benjy walked the few blocks to Crutchie and Clara's apartment, carrying the food and presents intended for that night.
"It ain't my fault, he stepped on my foot!" Josie protested.
"Still, you shouldn't kick your brother. And don't use the word 'ain't'," Katherine responded.
"Da says it," Josie grumbled quietly.
"That doesn't mean you can say it. Think of what Grandfather would say if he heard you," Katherine said, smiling slightly as both Josie and Benjy shuddered at the thought of being on the receiving end of Joseph Pulitzer's disapproving glare.
The family soon arrived at the entrance to the large apartment building where Crutchie and Clara lived. Josie and Benjy hurried up the steps, Jack and Katherine following close behind. Jack held the door open for them and the two siblings scampered inside, with Katherine following after, keeping a watchful eye on both of them.
Once inside the family climbed a few flights of stairs to the third floor, Jack helping Katherine when it was necessary.
"Here we are!" Jack announced when they reached the door to Crutchie and Clara's apartment. The twins shot excited looks at each other, beginning to fidget slightly.
Katherine reached out and knocked twice on the door. There was a moment's silence, then the door opened to reveal a very surprised Clara.
"Jack, Katherine! You didn't tell me you were coming here!" she exclaimed happily, pulling both of them in for a quick hug.
"Kath figured that if you couldn't come to us, we'd have ta come to you," Jack explained, grinning.
"Well that's fine with me, come on in!" Clara answered, stepping aside and ushering them into the small kitchen.
"Where's Uncle Crutchie?" Benjy asked after studying his surroundings for a moment.
"He's in bed right now," Clara explained, lowering herself so that she was at eye level with Benjy and Josie. "But he should be awake. Why don't we go say hello?"
Benjy and Josie nodded excitedly, and Clara took each of them by the hand and led them over to the bedroom just off the kitchen.
"Uncle Crutchie!" the twins exclaimed simultaneously as Clara opened the door, running into the room and jumping on the bed. Jack, Katherine, and Clara followed them, chuckling to themselves.
Crutchie was sitting up in bed, looking slightly pale with puffy red eyes, but otherwise normal. There was an astonished expression on his face as he took in what was happening, which eventually melted into a look of happiness as the twins greeted him and enveloped him in a bone-crushing hug.
"Heya, kids," he greeted softly, his voice sounding husky.
"Uncle Crutchie, guess what!" Josie exclaimed, grinning happily.
"What?" Crutchie asked, grinning back.
"We brought you presents! Mama says they'll make you feel better, and that she thinks you'll like them," Josie revealed.
"I'm sure she's right, kiddo," Crutchie said, and Katherine laughed as she stepped farther into the room.
"Okay you two, why don't you give Uncle Crutchie some space and go and help Aunt Clara in the kitchen?"
Benjy and Josie nodded and jumped off the bed, quickly following Clara out of the room and into the kitchen while excitedly chattering amongst themselves.
Crutchie, Jack, and Katherine watched them go, smiling at the three-year-olds' antics. Then Jack turned back to Crutchie.
"How ya feelin', kid?"
"Been better, but I'll live," Crutchie responded, shrugging. "Ya didn't have ta come."
"Of course we did," Jack snorted, walking over to the bed and ruffling Crutchie's hair. "You'se family, an' anyway the twins would'a been devastated if we hadn't come."
Crutchie started to laugh, but his laughter quickly turned into a coughing fit. Jack's expression changed into one of concern, but Crutchie waved him off and quickly took a sip from the glass of water which was sitting on the small side table next to the bed.
"I'm fine," he sputtered, taking another sip.
When the coughing had subsided, Katherine spoke up. "We brought food for dinner tonight if you're hungry."
Crutchie nodded, smiling gratefully. "I could eat. Thanks, Kath."
Katherine smiled back and opened her mouth to say something else, but just then a loud crash was heard from the kitchen.
Katherine sighed heavily, turning to leave. "I'd better get on that."
Jack and Crutchie shared a look, before bursting into laughter.
"Man, my kids are crazy," Jack chuckled.
Crutchie nodded. "Yeah, but I wouldn't have them any other way."
"Me neither, Crutch," Jack agreed. "Me neither."
A/N: Please leave a review, and let me know what you thought! Thanks for reading!