The next morning, Arnold headed down to the kitchen, and he was surprised when he saw that his parents were the only people there. Miles was sitting at the table reading a newspaper while Stella was at the stove fixing some pancakes.
"Good morning, Mom. Good morning, Dad," Arnold said as he walked over to the table.
"Hey Arnold," Miles said as he put down the paper.
"Hey Arnold," Stella said cheerfully as she looked away from the pan of pancakes. "How many pancakes do you want?"
"I'll have three, please," Arnold answered.
"Coming right up." Stella smiled, then she turned back to the pan.
Miles stood up from his seat. "Do you want something to drink, Arnold?"
"Some milk, please."
"No problem." Miles walked over to a cabinet and took out a glass, then went over to the fridge, took out the milk, and poured some in the glass. Then he walked over to the table and handed it to Arnold. "Here you go."
"Thank you," Arnold said, then he took a sip of the milk.
A few minutes afterwards, Stella walked over to the table and handed Arnold his pancakes. Then she walked back to the counter and to the table again with plates for her and Miles. By the time she and Miles sat down at the table with their food, Arnold was between both of them. Arnold smiled, as he felt like a typical kid having breakfast with his parents.
After taking a few bites of his pancakes, Miles asked Arnold, "Did you manage to get back to sleep last night, Arnold?"
"Yes, but it took me a while to do so," Arnold answered as he cut up his pancakes.
Picking up some pieces with her fork, Stella asked, "Is there anything you want to share with us about your dream?" Hoping Arnold wouldn't think she and Miles were being nosy, she added, "Honey, your dad and I are just worried about you. We remember you telling us about your summer dream of you never finding us since we came back. But since October 5th, we've assumed you've been dreaming again, but having a different dream."
Miles then spoke up. "We won't force you to talk to us, but we just want to make sure you're all right."
Arnold looked down at his plate. He had a hunch that his parents were trying to get him to tell them about his nightmares, and that having just them here in the kitchen having breakfast with him was a part of it. He knew, though, that they were doing this out of concern, not to be nosy. Arnold didn't want to lie or make it sound like he was lying to his parents, but he just wasn't ready to talk to them yet.
He shook his head, answering his mother's question. "It's too much to really talk about right now, Mom. Do you think I can talk about it with you and Dad later?"
"Of course we can, son," Miles said in an assuring tone. "Anything you want to tell us, you can come and tell us when you're ready."
"Thanks, Dad." Arnold looked at the clock, stood up from the table, and went over to the counter to grab his backpack. "Well, I'd better head off to school." He looked at his parents and smiled. "Do you guys want to walk with me?"
Miles and Stella looked at each other and grinned. "We thought you'd never ask," Stella answered.
Arnold laughed. "You guys still miss me whenever I'm at school?"
"All the time," Miles said. "And we're always eager when you're done so we can see you again."
Arnold smiled, trying to fight back some tears forming in his eyes. Then he ran over to his parents and hugged their legs. Miles and Stella kneeled down and took their son into their arms, hugging him in return.
One week after he had his latest nightmare about losing his parents, Arnold was sitting on the stoop of the boarding house by himself. He had been out on it for half an hour, doing some more thinking about him and his parents, and had decided that he was going to tell him about his nightmares today.
Although Arnold had finally worked up the words that he wanted to tell them about his nightmares, he was still nervous about just letting it all out. But again, he told himself he had to go through with this. He didn't want to keep this from them much longer, and Arnold knew that keeping your feelings inside you wasn't the solution to the problem.
Arnold didn't realize that, while he had been on the stoop, Miles and Stella had been watching him from time to time by means of the window from the room that was located straight above him. Stella was taking another look at him at this very moment. Miles came in the room and noticed her, then asked, "He's still out there, isn't he?"
Not taking her eyes off their son, Stella answered, "Uh huh."
Miles walked up to where Stella was standing. "He'll come to us when he's ready, Stella. I know he will."
Stella looked away from the window and towards her husband. "I don't want to be nosy with Arnold, Miles, but I do want him to tell us, and the longer we wait, the more anxious I get. Why don't we just go see him and sit with him for a bit? He's probably thinking about telling us about his nightmares, and maybe he'll be ready to tell us."
Miles took Stella in his arms and smiled at her. "I guess it wouldn't hurt to do that. And that makes sense; I feel that my curiosity about Arnold is killing me, too." Then he gestured towards the door with his head. "Let's go outside and see him."
Arnold had just made the decision to go inside and have a sit-down talk with his parents about his nightmares when the door opened behind him. Turning his head, he noticed his parents' faces and smiled. "Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad."
"Hi, sweetheart," Stella said.
"Hiya, sport," Miles said. "Do you mind if your mom and I join you out here?"
"Not at all," Arnold answered as he shook his head. "I was actually going to come in and look for you guys, but since you're here now, sit down."
Miles and Stella sat down on the stoop with Arnold, with each one of them being on either side of Arnold. Before any silence between the family got too long and awkward, Stella looked at Arnold as she spoke, "So, Arnold…anything you care to tell us?"
Arnold took a deep breath and then exhaled. "Well, as you guys mentioned the other week, you realized I've been having nightmares."
Noticing that Arnold wasn't looking at them while he talked, Miles and Stella looked at each other, then Miles looked down at his feet before he spoke to Arnold and looked at him. "Are you having nightmares about your mom and me, son? We know you've been dreaming again for the past couple weeks, and we just thought it was too much of a coincidence since October 5th."
Arnold sighed as he realized his parents had gotten it out of him, and he knew he had to tell them everything now. "All right, you guys got it out of me. I've been having the same nightmare about you two. It was the very same one I had on the morning of October 5th last year. It started and ended exactly the same as before, where the three of us are on the ship and encounter pirates, then you two vanish completely."
As he finished his last sentence, Arnold looked at both of his parents and continued, "I think I'm having this nightmare for a reason that is probably obvious to all of us. I mean, I can't tell you how happy I am to have both of you back in my lives at last. And yet, it just seemed like it was an impossible wish come true when I believed that you guys were lost in the jungle and might come back someday…and I was right. People might even say to me, if I ever told them your story, that it would just be too far-fetched and unlikely to have happened. But then there was also the frightening things that happened upon me finding you."
As Miles smiled at Arnold and patted his son's back, Stella took one of her hands and ran her fingers through Arnold's hair. "Arnold…we have already said this in similar words before, but your dad and I can't say in just a few words about how happy we are to be home with you as well. At the same time, we do feel sad because we didn't get to be with you as you grew out of your babyhood and became the person you are today, like many parents get to be as their babies become children. But at least now we still have more years to be with you as you become a teenager and enter the world of adolescence. And you can count on us to be here for you, now and forever more, as you continue to go about your life and experience what life has to offer for you, both now and in the future."
Stella placed her hand on her son's shoulder as she continued, "I think with all that the three of us have been through, you're experiencing what many young kids do when it comes to the fear of losing one or both parents. And since you actually found us after so many years and we're getting to really know you and you to know us, your fear has probably intensified, especially with this nightmare of yours."
Arnold looked at his mother as she talked, then nodded. "That makes a lot of sense, Mom. And believe me, I understand why you guys left me. When I learned the truth, I didn't want to have the feeling of being abandoned. By then, I just wanted to know what had happened to you both." Then he rubbed his fingers on the side of his head. "My friends come to me a lot in order to get advice or solutions to their problems, but when it comes to my own problems, I feel I need someone else to help me and not just listen to my own advice. And none of the other kids can relate to what I have gone through, even if any of them ever worry about losing their own parents. I just…I just don't want to lose the two of you again…ever."
After Arnold finished, Miles added, "You're right, Arnold, they can't relate to you this way, and maybe there isn't any kid in the world who can. Your fear of losing us is very strong because of all that is happened. And we can't ever bear ever being away from you for so long again."
He looked over at Stella, then both of them looked at Arnold. Arnold looked at Stella, then back to Miles as Miles continued, "Your mom and I have talked about this, since we thought you might feel this way. And if there was a chance that we ever had to help the Green-Eyes again, we'd talk it over carefully before making a final decision. But if we decided to help them…we'd want to take you with us."
Arnold's eyes widened. "You would? Even if you wanted to go, you'd take me with you?"
Before Miles could finish, Stella said, "That's right, Arnold. Your dad and I also can't bear the idea of going through another long absence in San Lorenzo after this past ordeal. Now we're not saying this will happen again, at least not very soon, but now that you are older and you have shown to be capable of taking care of yourself during your adventure in the jungle, we feel that you are a kid who can be trusted well by his parents. We really do want to spend as much time with you as possible as you get older after all that we have lost together as a family. And if ever means going away to San Lorenzo again, then so be it."
Arnold smiled and nodded. "I understand. I had also thought that if you ever had to go back to San Lorenzo, I'd want to go with you. Not only because I can't stand the thought of possibly losing you again, but I feel the three of us need to stay together for a long time to come."
"Atta boy, Arnold!" Miles exclaimed. Noticing Arnold's hat, he took it off Arnold's head and placed it on Arnold's nose, like he had done when he first bought it for Arnold. The memory of that moment made both him and Stella laugh, then Arnold laughed with them as Miles placed it back on Arnold's head. Then Miles said, "And Arnold, it's going to take some time for all of us to adjust to this, but really, it's our job as parents to worry about you, not the other way around."
"I know, Mom and Dad. That's just a lot easier said than done."
"It is hard for every kid not worry about their parents when something scary happens to them," Stella said. "But just try not to worry about us and don't let that stop from doing things in your everyday life."
"All right. I'll try, Mom."
"That's my boy," Miles said and patted Arnold's back. "And remember, Arnold, don't hesitate to come talk to your mom or me if you're still worried about this, or about any problems you may have and want to share with us. As your parents, that's what we're here for."
"I know, Dad, and thank you."
Miles smiled, then said, "Hey Arnold, I know the three of us have been spending time together almost everyday by going almost everywhere and doing every activity here in Hillwood. But how about we do something together again, like going out of town for the weekend? We could leave right after you finish school on Friday and come back on Sunday night. That way we could immediately start it off with just the three of us being together and continue to have it be that way until we come back."
Miles and Stella immediately smiled when they saw the big grin that Arnold suddenly wore on his face. "Wow, really?! That'd be so awesome, Dad!"
"So does that mean you want to do it?" Stella asked, even though she already knew what Arnold's answer was based on his reaction.
"Oh, definitely!" Arnold answered excitedly.
"That's great, son," Miles replied. "Well, now that we talked this all through, we'll let you be.
See you at dinner tonight."
As Miles and Stella stood up to go inside, Arnold stood up as well and said, "Wait, Mom and Dad." As they waited for him to continue, Arnold just threw his arms around his mother. Stella kneeled down as she hugged him back and kissed his head. Miles gave Arnold a small hug around his neck and patted his head. "I love you both," Arnold said as they continued to hug him.
"We love you, too," Stella said back. Then she and Miles let go of Arnold and opened the door. Stella started to head in, then looked back at Arnold and smiled at him.
Arnold smiled back, then as Stella went inside, Miles added, "Have a good day, Arnold."
"I will, Dad," Arnold said. He looked at his parents and smiled widely before he began walking away. Miles and Stella smiled back before they finally shut the door.
Hi everyone. After some hard thinking, I decided to just give this story one more chapter, so I combined elements of Arnold interacting with his parents from the second and third chapters of my original story. I don't have any extra ideas in mind for this entire story, so I decided to just go ahead and finish this one and start a brand new one later. So I hope you enjoy this second and final chapter, and if you do, please! Review!