Disclaimer: JE owns them. I do not.
"Papá, Momma said you'd take us to the haunted house tonight," Mari, our eight-year-old daughter said as I walked through the door.
"Oh, did she now, querida?" I asked her gently. "You don't think it will be too dark or spooky?"
"If Ricky can do it, so can I!" she replied, fuming. "Besides, I heard they were giving out candy."
She skipped out of the room, and I heard her at Ricky's door, taunting him that she would too get to go tonight.
I walked into the kitchen to find Steph pouring food into the dog and cat bowls. "Babe, isn't that Ricky's job?" I asked, sliding my arms around her waist.
"Welcome home, Carlos," she said, smiling softly up at me. "It would have been if he hadn't brought home a ghastly grade on his spelling test. He's in there studying the words he missed. I swear, the words in the sixth grade have gotten a lot harder since I was twelve!"
"Fair enough," I muttered, taking the bag of dog food out of her hand to finish filling the bowl. I looked up at the clock. "What time do we need to leave?"
"I thought we'd go through the corn maze they have first, so if we leave here just after dinner, we should have plenty of time."
"Are all the kids going?" I asked, pulling her to me for a quick kiss.
"Nope. Uncle Lester volunteered to come over and watch the triplets," she replied. Flashing me an evil grin, she continued, "Of course, he doesn't know Grandma is coming over to help. Do you think I need to tell him?"
I laughed. "No, let's keep that to ourselves. Watching three two-year-olds isn't punishment enough for calling Tank and Lula last week at the witching hour and making eerie noises. Remember, he woke up their boys, who had fallen asleep in their bed again."
"Oh yeah." Steph laughed. "Lula was in full rhino mode for three or four days after that!"
"Do I have time for a shower before Ella gets here with dinner, Babe?"
"You do, yes. The question is, do you want some company?"
Knowing my eyes were dark with desire, I slowly advanced toward her. "Babe," I growled softly, "you'd better run."
She took off with a squeal for our bedroom downstairs, and I smiled to myself before running after her.
Life couldn't get any better than this, I thought as I caught up with her, pulling her to me and kissing her senseless.