Chapter 4

Shopping

Alex woke up and he went to the kitchen. He ate pop tarts for breakfast. It was 10:30. He surfed the TV channels a few times before he settled on a movie. Fox woke up and she had toast for breakfast. Xanatos and Owen came in next. They ate breakfast. Xanatos decided they would stay home today.

Alex worked on his puzzle books a bit. Then he went to his parent's room and played video games. Fox and Xanatos were on their phones. Owen read a book he brought. They had a late lunch. After lunch, Xanatos took them to the strip mall. Alex wanted to go to the bookstore first. It was a large store with 2 floors. They looked around for awhile. Owen found a section for the local author in the upstairs section. Alex, Fox, and Owen each found something they liked. They paid for the books.

Then they went to the ice cream store. It was a single room with tables on one side and a case for chocolate on the other side. The ice cream was in a refrigerated case toward the back of the store. Alex grinned. Owen went with Alex to the ice cream counter. Alex ordered a chocolate and strawberry in a chocolate dipped waffle cone. Owen had a scoop of mint chocolate chip in a plain waffle cone.

"Alex, what kind of truffles do you want?" Fox asked.

"These are for later, Alex. You have ice cream." Xanatos pointed out.

"Aw." Alex frowned.

They went over to his parents. Alex looked over the treats. He wanted the milk chocolate truffle, a rocky road, pecans and marshmallows, and cashew caramel cluster. Owen got a raspberry cream and salted caramels. They paid and then went to get dinner. Alex and Owen stayed in car, eating their ice cream. It was Chinese food. Then they went home.

Alex lounged for a while until he was hungry. Owen went for a walk. The family ate dinner then went for a bike ride together. It was nice. They went in the hot tub and soaked in it. They showered afterward. Puck taught Alex a simple lesson then they went to bed. The next morning, Alex awoke to the sound of Owen's voice.

"Alexander, wake up. It's breakfast time." Owen told him.

"Noo..." Alex buried his head in the pillow.

"It is the last full day of vacation. Your father doesn't want you asleep all morning." Owen said.

"Fiiine." Alex whined but he got out of bed.

His parents made eggs and toast for breakfast. Alex wanted hot cocoa so Owen boiled the hot water. They ate then got dressed. Fox wanted to see downtown. The drive didn't take too long. They parked behind the buildings and near a park. It had a lake. They walked around. Fox took them into an antique store. It had carpet and lots of shelves and cabinets full of stuff. They browsed the dishes and glassware. Some of the furniture was for sale too.

"Look, David, they have the tea set." Fox pointed a china tea pot and some cups.

"Do you want to ship them home?" He asked.

"It'll be fine in the car." She said.

Owen got the cashier and they got the dishes out of the cabinet. She would keep them at the front until they were done looking. They moved deeper into the store. There were old toys and clothes to one side. Alex touched the fur coat. It was soft. He noticed a box of comic books. Nothing appealed to him. In the very back was the large stuff.

The jewelry was near the counter. They looked the old rings and brooches. Owen chose a few with different gems. Alex wondered what he wanted to do with them. They paid. Fox chatted the cashier as she wrapped the tea set up. They took the stuff back to the car. Xanatos and Alex waited in the shade. Owen and Fox returned.

They walked a few blocks. Alex found a tea store. It was concert with lots of chairs and small tables. He went to the front and ordered a medium peach bubble tea with strawberry jelly bits. They left and found a bookstore on the other side of the building. Alex found a pin he liked. It was a cat face. They walked another block and turned left. Alex had finished his tea and threw it in the trash. There was a candy store on this street.

"Mom!" Alex pointed.

"I guess we're going to look at the candy." She sighed.

"No running, Alexander." Owen told him.

They got to the store, going in. There was a wall of jelly beans and other loose candies to the left. Owen got a couple flavors. They looked around. Colorful packages drew the eye. There were also little toys scatter throughout the store. Alex looked through the prank items. His parents watched him closely. He was disinterested in them. They were relived. Towards the back of the store, there was a TV playing Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. There was a cabinet with novelty gifts. Then there was an ice cream case.

"Would you like a sample?" The worker asked.

"Yeah." Alex said.

"What flavor?" They asked.

"Uh… white chocolate raspberry." He looked at the flavors.

Alex was given a little cup and spoon. He ate the ice cream. It was good. Fox tried sea salt caramel, Xanatos had cookies and cream, and Owen had expresso. They didn't buy any ice cream. They paid for their stuff. Alex had gathered some candy while looking around. He had some chocolate, gummy candy and some other stuff. Before they left, Alex noticed a yellow machine. He went to look at it. It made cotton candy.

"Dad, I need money." Alex told him.

"We already bought your stuff." He frowned.

"I need like 4 dollars." He insisted.

Xanatos gave him the money and followed him to the cotton candy machine. Alex put the money in. The machine played music as it got out a stick. Then it revealed the bowl and stuck the stick in it. The cotton candy spun around the stick. When it was big enough, the lid of the bowl closed and plopped the cotton candy on top. The machine chimed. Alex lifted the door and got his treat out. They left the store and Alex ate his cotton candy. They walked to the car.

"Where do you want to go to now?" Xanatos asked.

"I would like to get lunch." Owen said.

"Bathroom." Alex said.

"Already?" Fox frowned.

"He did have some tea." Owen reminded them.

"We'll go put the candy in the cooler and you two go find a bathroom." Xanatos pointed to Owen.

"Come along, Alexander." Owen told him.

They walked the block. Some restaurant had signs saying restroom for paying customers. Owen wasn't sure if the smaller stores even had a restroom. They found a toy store at the end of the block. They went in. Owen explained the situation to the lady at the counter. She let Alex use the bathroom. It was in the back of the store.

Once Alex was done, he looked around the store super quick. Alex played with the marble track and the train set on display. Owen looked at the puzzles. He found a stuffed fox and a teddy bear. He bought them. Owen found the quickest way back to the parking lot. Fox and Xanatos were waiting for them. They got in the car and drove back. Alex drifted off for a bit. He woke up when he smelt food. He rubbed his eyes.

"Good morning, Sweetpea. Your father got some hum bao." Fox handed him a box.

"Gimme food." Alex yawned.

"We're almost home. We'll make something there." She told him.

Alex didn't answer as he was eating. He ate the hum bao. It was barbeque pork. It was savory and meaty. He was sad when it was gone. Alex then noticed a lot of cars on the side of the road. There was a second hand store. The sign said it was only open two days a week. Today was one of those days. Owen pulled over.

The store looked like a large tractor shed. It was blue. They looked around. The outside area had books and large items. The books were mostly for little kids. Xanatos wasn't interested in the tools. They went inside. Fox looked at the dishes. She found a little purple vase. They had to wait in line for a bit. Fox paid for her vase then they got in the car.

"Ooo, look, a book sale!" Alex pointed to a sign. It was at the library.

"There were books at the store, Alexander." Owen said.

"Those were for babies." He told him.

"We will have a quick look." Fox said.

They pulled in the parking lot and found a spot. The book sale was held outside. There were three rows of tables with boxes on them. The tables had paper signs on them. The family looked the selection. Alex found a couple fiction books. Xanatos had come across a couple battered books which he wouldn't let go of. Owen had a few cookbooks. Fox found a novel she liked. They all got in line and paid for everything.

Then they went home. Alex had a sandwich and chips for lunch. Fox did too. Owen and Xanatos had the Chinese leftovers for lunch. Then they relaxed for a bit. Owen answered a few emails, Fox read her book, Xanatos was on his phone, and Alex played his games before he lounged around.

"Let's go to the mall." Fox walked in the living room.

"The one by the grocery store?" Xanatos asked.

"Yes." She nodded.

"Alex, we're going to the strip mall again!" Xanatos called to his son.

"Okay!" Alex walked up the stairs.

They went to the mall. Alex wanted to see the rock store again so they did. He put his hands in the rock bin. It was full of loose rocks. Alex got a bag of rocks. He and Owen both got something from there. Then they went to the $12.99 store. Fox bought a hoodie. Alex found a night shirt and bought that too. Owen asked him why and Alex said it was for Serena. They went to the grocery store and got some fried chicken and jojos for dinner. Then they headed back to the house.

It was a little early for dinner so Alex wanted to play ping pong. It became a mini tournament. Owen won against Alex. He pouted until he was told he could play after they figured out the winners. Fox and Xanatos had a tight match. But after a bit, Xanatos won. Fox smiled and sat with Alex.

"Who do you think will win?" She asked.

"I dunno." He shrugged.

"I guess we'll know soon." Fox hummed.

They watched as Owen played against Xanatos. It was a tough game. Owen won. Alex cheered. Xanatos shook his hand and congratulated him. Then it was Owen and Xanatos vs. Fox and Alex. It got a bit tense. Xanatos fumbled a serve and made the ball hit the net. Fox and Alex won the game. Alex did a victory dance. Fox laughed at her son's antics. Owen smiled, amused.

The family went upstairs. They got dinner ready and ate. Then it was time for dessert. The ate their chocolate truffles. Alex ate the rocky road truffle. After dinner, they went on a short bike ride. Alex liked feeling the night air on his face. When it was getting dark they headed back to the house. Then they went in the hot tub one last time. The jets were on and the water was warm.

"Did you like your vacation, Alex?" Xanatos asked.

"Yeah, it was fun." He batted at the chlorine dispenser.

"Remember to pack your stuff before bed." Fox said.

"Pfft." Alex stuck his tongue out.

"Alexander." Owen looked at him.

"Fine." He said.

"We love you, Sweetpea." Fox told him.

"I love you too." Alex smiled.

Everyone slowly got out of the hot tub after a bit. Puck had had some time in the hot tub so he was happy. They showered then did laundry. Alex packed up his PS4 and took to his room. Puck taught him how to pack using his magic. It didn't take very long. They played a prank on his father. He took it well. Alex's parents wished him a good night. Owen went to bed soon after. As Alex drifted off to sleep, he snuggled Pandy and couldn't wait to tell everyone back home about his spring break.