It was an early Saturday morning in the Brady household, the kids and Carol were still asleep. Mike tiptoed across the living room and made his move into the kitchen.
"Pretty early to be up on a Saturday isn't it, Mr. Brady?"
the voice startled him, causing him to jump a bit. He turned around.
"Oh, hey Alice," he said with a smile.
"What are you doing up so early?" Alice asked, cleaning the countertop.
"Well, I'm picking up my niece from the airport, her flight is landing in twenty minutes and I gotta get there to pick her up,"
"Your niece," Alice said, with an emphases on niece. "Well my, my, Mr. Brady, why haven't you notified me, or wait...am I the only one who knows?" she asked suspiciously.
Mike laughed. "You caught me, Alice," he responded jokingly. "No, no, Carol knows too. My brother Mark wouldn't let his daughter stay here without her permission, as if he doesn't trust me,"
"Mark, Mark...oh, Alex! Alex is his daughter's name,"
"Right, my brother and his wife are going on a year long trip to Australia, Alex couldn't attend. So why not stay with the most trustworthy brother he has, his only one. Plus, Mark thought it would be good for six kids to hangout with, since she is around the same age as Jan and Peter,"
Mike looked at his watch.
"I got to go! I'll be back in time for breakfast,"
Mike, returning from the airport to pick up his niece, drove up in the driveway he stepped out of the driver's seat and Alex stepped out of the passenger seat looking up at the house.
"Still looks the same," she said with a smile.
"Yep, well I'm going to get the boys, they'll be excited to see you," Mike said as he headed into the house.
"Boys," Mike said, getting their attention, everyone was finishing up their breakfast.
"Yeah Dad?" Greg asked.
"Come out here, I've got a surprise for you," Mike replied with a grin as he walked back outside and waited for the boys to fallow.
The boys looked at each other, wondering what it could be they sat up and walked out the door. They buzzed each other with questions. What do you think it is? What's so important? Is it something big? Is it something for all of us?
When the boys approached the driveway, they saw their cousin Alex there, they were all in disbelief.
"Well?" Mike asked. "Aren't you going to greet your cousin?"
Peter's face lit up. "You mean, it's-!" he looked up at his father, he nodded. "It's you, it's really you!"
"It's me!" Alex added. She walked up and gave Peter a hug.
"Hey, how about you lay one on your cousin Greg?" Greg asked with a grin. She walked up and gave Greg a hug.
Everybody looked at Bobby, he kind of looked at her and then a smile painted across his face. "Awh, why not?" then she gave her little cousin a hug too.
"So tell me Al, what brings you back to Clinton Way?" asked Greg.
"Yeah!" overly excited Peter added. "Did ya come to visit or something?"
Alex grinned. "A little more than a visit,"
"Kids," Mike began, he put a hand on his niece's shoulder. "Your Uncle Mark and Aunt Kathy are on a trip to Australia for a year, so Alex will be staying with us during that time,"
The boys hollered and cheered.
"Hey, hey!" Carol came out saying. "What's all the-oh, you must be Alex! Hi, I'm Carol it's so nice to meet you,"
"Likewise Mrs. Brady," Alex replied.
"Oh, please, call me Carol,"
"Okay well boys, could you help Alex move her luggage into the attic?" Mike asked his three boys. They all were more than happy to help their favorite cousin move in. Greg carried a few bags and so did Peter. Bobby didn't carry as many, he carried a suitcase in each hand. Carol and Alex got the rest, Mike pulled a keyboard from the back.
"I never knew you played, Alex," Mike said as he carefully pulled out the keyboard.
"Yeah, I have been in the last three years, I'm getting pretty good at it too," Alex replied.
"Maybe you should play for us sometime,"
"That would be neat,"
Alex, the boys, Mike and Carol all went up in the attic. The boys laid the luggage on the side of the room, Mike set the keyboard delicately on the other side of the room.
"So do you need so help unpacking?" Greg asked.
"Yes, she will," Mike answered, beating Alex to the punch. "But right now, we got to introduce her to your sisters, hustle your bustles,"
"Hustle your bustles?" Greg repeated. "Is it me, or is dad getting more lame every year?"
"Maybe he's having a midlife crisis," Peter replied jokingly as well.
The boys and Alex walked down the stairs, where they saw Mike, Carol and the girls sitting at the couch.
"Oh hey you guys," Mike greeted. "Come down and introduce Alex to the girls,"
Alex and the boys walked downstairs and took a seat.
"I was explaining to the girls why you are here with us today," Mike said to Alex. "And they would be more than happy to get to know you, so Alex, this is Marcia, Jan and Cindy,"
"Hi," Alex greeted.
"So Alex, where do you live?" asked Marcia.
Alex didn't pay too much attention to the question. "Uh, uh, um, back east, you know," she pointed her finger to the east. "You know, that way,"
"But what state?" Jan asked.
"I'm from New York, you know, back east,"
Marcia, Jan and Cindy laughed. "Yes, you said that already," commented Marcia.
"Why don't you dress like a girl?" asked Cindy.
This put Alex into an awkward feeling, she's dealt with this question before, and she knew much more would come I mean, she's a tomboy. She wears t-shirts and jeans. But it was the fact it was around eight people. I mean, Greg, Peter, Bobby and Mike already know. But she didn't like the question with new people, she was embarrassed.
"Well, it's just more comfortable for me," Alex replied. "I'm, different," The girls looked at each other with a strange look, Alex blushed from embarrassment.
It's not that she didn't like girly clothing. It just felt uncomfortable for her, I guess since she was an only child and she grew up with the Brady boys, she never had a sister or a sister figure to teach her differently.
Later that day Alex unpacked and settled into the attic, it was actually pretty cozy. But she wouldn't mind having a roommate. She sighed and fell onto her bed.
"God, they hate me, they hate me. What a good first impression, 'I'm different'. Did you see their facial expressions? They think I'm a freak," Alex thought she closed her eyes, they were opened again when she heard her name called.
"Alex," the voice called. Alex sat up and saw Jan standing there.
"Oh, hey, Jan," Alex greeted.
"Hello, well, my sisters and I are going to the Ice Cream Parlor tomorrow and we were wondering if you'd like to come,"
Alex's face brightened up. "Really? Is it really okay?"
"Well sure, you're going to be here for a year, and since we're going to school together this year, I thought, we'd get to know each other better,"
"That would be great Jan, thanks!"
Jan smiled slightly. "Well, see you," she walked out of the attic.
"Maybe they don't hate me as much as they thought," Alex said to herself.
Later on that day Alice called everyone to dinner, she made ribs. Something Alex isn't too wild about, but she'll eat it.
"So Alex," Peter started. "Wanna play so basketball tomorrow with me and a few of my friends? I can introduce you to a lot of people before school starts so you won't have to feel you don't know anyone,"
Before Alex could reply, Marcia said, "Sorry dear brother, but Alex is coming with me and the girls tomorrow to the ice cream parlor,"
"Says who?" asked Peter.
"Says me," replied Jan. "I already invited her,"
"Well," Alex began. "They kind of did invite me first, and I did kind of say yes,"
"Oh," Peter said a bit disappointed.
Alex saw that Peter was sad, after all he is the closet thing to a brother she has. Him, Greg and Bobby were all like brothers to her. And they haven't seen her in a few years, and just wanted to hang out. "Maybe, we can play afterwards," Alex said.
"Thanks," Peter said still sounding disappointed. "But my friends can't come over before 2:00 and they can't come after 4:00,"
"Well," Alex was thinking of a time that she could fit both the ice cream parlor with the girls, and play some ball with Peter. Then she got an idea. "Well, maybe just us four can play, you know you and me versus Greg and Bobby,"
"That's sounds like a pretty good idea," said Greg. "You in for it Bobby?"
"Sure!" Bobby replied excitedly. "What do you say, Pete?"
Peter thought for a moment then he smiled. "Alright, that's sounds like a terrific idea!"
Later that evening, the kids were all getting ready for bed. Marcia was in the bathroom brushing her teeth. Peter came in.
"Oh," he said. "Hi Marcia,"
she spit out her tooth paste and rinsed. "Hi," she replied back.
"Listen, I don't think I really like the fact of you trying to take my cousin,"
"What?" Marcia was a bit confused.
"Inviting her to the Ice Cream Parlor,"
"Peter, I was trying to be nice and trying to get to know her a little bit better, besides, she's my cousin now too you know,"
"Yeah, for only like what, fourteen hours?"
Marcia started getting annoyed with him. "I don't really like your attitude right now, your just jealous that Alex is spending time with someone other than you!" she stormed out of the bathroom.
"Oh yeah?!" he shouted back. "Well, she's not really your cousin anyway!"
Peter stormed out of the bedroom and climbed on top of his bunk and laid on his bed. "Maybe she's right," Peter thought. "She can't just hangout with me, Greg and Bobby all our lives. She's going to be living with them, she should get to know them,"
"What a dumbhead I am," said Peter to himself. "I should apologize,"