A/N: Hey Everyone! Here we are, with our second week of flash fic, and I've decided to revisit an old version of R/M. Because so many of you request continuations for the one shots I write, I figured what better way to do this than to write short snippets of story that could show how our favorite versions are doing down the line in the future. Sometimes, just to let you know, I might go back and reuse characters from a certain one shot just a single time, and, sometimes, when I have a particular favorite version, they might get used often. If this is confusing or you have questions, just ask, but I think everything will make sense once you read this piece and see an example of what I mean. For those of you who need the reference, this piece corresponds with "Santa's Little Helper," but it can be read without going back to the original. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

Charlynn

Puddlicious
OCFF#2: This Little Piggy Went to Market

Marissa Atwood was having one of those days, one of those days where nothing could go right, where you wake up in the morning and you can't find your slippers and you're out of coffee, one of those days where it doesn't just rain on your very favorite silk suit but pours, and, as she pulled into her driveway that evening after a long day's work, she knew her night wasn't going to be much better. In fact, it had the potential to be even worse, and that was saying something.

Normally, the thought of going home to her family was what kept the mother of three going in the afternoon when her back started to hurt and her stomach was growling with hunger, but too much had happened to Marissa that day for going home to be a good thing, for, when she walked through that front door, she'd have to somehow find a way to explain to her five year old daughter that their pet pig would not be coming home that evening from his appointment, she would have to chase around two very rambunctious and energetic twin toddlers, picking up their messes as they made their destructive way through the family's large, suburban home, she would have to deal with her perpetually single brother-in-law who still, after six years, refused to move out of the studio apartment above their garage, and she'd have to share the unexpected news she had received that morning with her wonderful, hard working, and always agreeable husband and hope for a reaction better than the one she had experienced herself. All in all, the doctor really didn't want to go inside of her own house that night; she wanted to turn around, climb back into her car, and go back to the office, and, because she felt that way, her day became even worse, for she had always promised herself she would never complain about the day to day clutter life brought with it if she was ever happy and loved. Sometimes though, a woman reached her limit.

"Ssh," Ryan greeted her, opening the front door before she could even grasp the handle. "Somehow, I managed to get all the kids to take a nap at the same time."

"Even Seth?"

"Afraid not," his face fell with the admission, "but he's occupied."

Grimacing, she asked, "do I even want to know?"

"He's actually making dinner." Shrugging in confusion, her husband stated, "I don't have a clue. I walked in this afternoon after work, and he was actually being the nanny we pay him to be. No one was crying, the house was in decent shape, and he was just starting supper. I grabbed Hadley, McKenna, and Ava, put them all down for late naps, and, since then, I've been standing here waiting for you to get home. Speaking of which," he tilted his head to observe her closely, "you're late. Did something happen?"

"You could say that?"

Her ambiguous response immediately made him worry, the wrinkles and age lines around his eyes and mouth becoming more pronounced as he frowned. "What's wrong?"

Although she regretted being so blunt for he didn't need to be concerned… yet, she was too tired and too upset to reassure him. Instead, she simply dropped her things by the door, laced her arm through his, and led him up the stairs to their bedroom, never saying a word until they were alone and the door was tightly shut behind them. Finally, once they were both settled in their king-sized bed, Marissa held loosely in his arms, she spoke up. "Where do you want me to start? Should we go from bad to unanticipated or unanticipated to bad?"

"The first option," Ryan told her. "Sometimes the things we don't plan on turn out to be the best things in life," he whispered, placing a kiss on her neck, her upswept hair leaving the creamy skin open to his touch. "After all, I certainly wasn't expecting you when I walked into that toy store all those years ago, and there's nothing I would change about our lives… well, except for Seth. I'd really like for him to move out, but, hey, a guy can't have everything."

"You might just choke on those words," she warned him, smirking knowingly.

"Surely, it can't be that unpleasant."

"I met with the homeowners association this afternoon after work," the mother of three prefaced her first reveal. "It doesn't matter what we do, Puddles has to go. He can't even stay in the house. It's against the neighborhood's rules. Apparently, pet pigs are frowned upon in Orange County."

Puddles was the last in the long line of live, troublesome presents her brother-in-law had gotten their oldest daughter. It had all started the year Hadley had turned two when Seth had purchased her a kitten, a seemingly innocent gift, and, although Regina did tend to snag the furniture and rule the house, a child could have a worse pet than a cat. However, her husband's adopted sibling had not been satisfied with just one animal in the house, so he had proceeded to provide their daughter with pets for every birthday and Christmas… no matter that those days for Hadley Noël were one in the same.

For the next year when she turned three, the same year she and Ryan had learned they were expecting twins, Seth had purchased their little girl two exotic fish, who were eventually named Prince and The Artist Formerly Known As, for her birthday and a puppy, dubbed Lula, short for Tallulah, for Christmas. Then, the next year, it had been Elvis the hamster and Lancelot the mallard duck, a pet which had not gone over well with the homeowner's association either, and, just that past December, her brother-in-law had purchased her oldest daughter a tarantula spider Hadley had eventually labeled Hera and an adorable though messy spotted piglet which very rapidly grew into a full sized sow named Puddles. Sometimes Marissa felt as if she should permanently change her name to Mrs. McDonald… or curtail her little girl's interest in animals.

"So what are we supposed to do with him?"

Sighing, she admitted, "he was shipped out this afternoon. Hadley's little piggy went to market. I just," she exhaled harshly, "how do we tell our daughter that? As unconventional as having a pet pig was, she loved him, and, now, he's gone. Besides having to tell her one of her animal friends is not coming home tonight, we're also supposed to explain to her that Puddles is going to be killed and, eventually, eaten."

"Unless you want to say that he got a new home, that he's living in the country somewhere with a farmer," Ryan suggested.

"We can't do that. What if she asks to go and visit him," the doctor countered, rejecting her husband's idea. "Face it, no matter how much we hate the idea, we're going to have to tell her the truth as gently as we can and live with the consequences." Hating the idea of crushing her little girl's heart, Marissa felt tears gathering in her eyes. "She's going to hate us, isn't she?"

"Of course not," the father of her children reassured her, tightening his hold around her. "And, if she does, then I'll beat up Seth for you since he got her the pig in the first place."

She sniffled. "Just make sure I get to hit him a few times."

"I'll always share with you," Ryan teased, making her laugh through her nervous tears. "Now, what else did you have to tell me? What's this unexpected news?"

Deciding to just be forthright, she blurted out, "I'm pregnant."

"Again?"

She could feel her husband stiffen behind her, whether from shock or regret or a mixture of the two sentiments she wasn't sure, but she couldn't blame him. Having one child had been simple enough. Hadley might have been precocious, but she had been well behaved. However, adding two more children to the mix at the same time had been quite a shock for the two parents, and their younger daughters, McKenna Liberty and Ava America, oddly enough born on the fourth of July after Marissa's due date had been incorrect, weren't even two yet. A fourth child, at that point, had the potential to make the young couple prematurely grey.

"I don't… what…," he sputtered, finding comprehendible words and complete thoughts difficult, "but how? You were on birth control."

"It's not full proof. We both know that, and, lucky for us, apparently, we're super fertile. Not only do I have magic eggs that split in two and make twins, but you have wonder sperm that can find a loophole around the 99.8 effective pill."

Surprising her, Ryan smiled. Watching him, he looked overly proud, almost cocky. "Well, what can I say? I've always been partial to my little swimmers." Bewildered by his reaction, Marissa simply starred at him, her mouth hanging open in shock. "Come on, it'll be okay. We'll get through this; we always do. So, this baby wasn't planned, and so what if the twins will be going through the terrible twos when this one is born, we'd never ruled out the idea of having another child. Besides, we still need a boy."

"And what are we going to do if this one, baby number four, is a girl as well?" When her husband's grin grew wider, she held up a finger to caution him. "And don't even say we'll keep trying."

"Alright then," he agreed, "I won't. We'll just have to settle with having Seth."

Marissa scoffed, finally finding the humor in the situation as well. "Yes, because he's so masculine."

After a shared laugh and several quiet moments where the two of them together rubbed her still flat stomach, Ryan was the first to break the silence. "So, when are you due?"

"Ugh, don't ask," the mother of three groaned, giggling. Answering him, she revealed, "Valentine's Day."

"And the tradition continues." Helping her up off the bed, Ryan took her hand as they walked together towards their door. "Let's go get the girls. They should be getting up soon or they'll never go to sleep tonight, and I should think that Seth would have dinner done by now."

"I can't wait," she shared, her mouth watering at the very thought of food. "I'm starving. Do you know what he made?" The question wasn't completely out of her mouth when her husband froze and blanched to the point where she started to worry he was felling ill. "What, what is it? Ryan, are you okay?"

He pivoted to stand in front of her, his eyes wide with dread. "No, I'm okay," he assured her. "It's just dinner..."

"What about it?"

Sighing, he admitted. "Seth made mashed potatoes, stuffing, applesauce, and… pork chops."

And, just like that, the downpour that was Marissa's day turned into a thunderstorm.