There were some days that Jeff already had a headache before he even got up in the morning. All he wanted to do on those days was snuggle up next to Randy and sleep until he felt better. But he couldn't do that. He woke up to the sound of Randy yelling at the pancakes for daring to burn and their seven year old daughter Maggie screaming at the top of her lungs. "Sid stop it!" she cried out. She burst into Jeff and Randy's room and jumped on to the bed with Jeff. "Daddy, make him stop."
Sid soon followed her in. The ten year old was holding a plastic spider in his hands. "I wasn't doing anything you big baby," he said to Maggie. "I was just showing you my new toy."
"Well stop it," Jeff said. "You know she doesn't like spiders." He sat up and rubbed his forehead. "Did Jack get up?"
Sid shook his head. "Dad told him to get up but he went back to sleep anyway."
Maggie nodded. "Yeah, he doesn't want to go to school anymore. And he doesn't want to play with me either. He's turned into a real butthead." She stopped and giggled as she realized what she had said. "I said butthead."
"That's enough," Jeff warned her. "You two go eat. I'll get Jack out of bed."
The two of them ran off quickly. Jeff got out of bed very slowly. He was worried about Jack. The fourteen year old had been a lot moodier and stand offish lately and nobody really knew why. Randy thought it was just normal teen anger and angst that had Jack's panties up in a bunch but Jeff wasn't so sure. It just felt like all the anger had come completely out of left field. Jack used to be such a happy child.
"Jack come on, get up," Jeff said as he entered his son's room. He pulled all the blankets off the bed and shook Jack's shoulders.
"Ugh, go away!" Jack grumbled. He put his pillow over his head. "I don't want to get up. I don't feel good."
"Sorry buddy, I'm not falling for that one again. You got to get up and get dressed. You can't miss school when you're not really sick."
Jack groaned. "Why not? School's not even that important."
Jeff was starting to lose his patience. "Jack…"
"Fine!" Jack snapped. He got off the bed and threw some clothes on that had been laying on the floor. "There, I'm dressed. Are you happy now?" He didn't stick around for an answer though. He stormed out before Jeff could even open his mouth.
Jeff sighed. Things used to be so much simpler when he was younger. He left the room and on his way downstairs, he could hear Sid yelling up a storm. The kid had serious ADD and ADHD issues that were sometimes barely manageable even with medication.
"Sid get in here and take your pills!" Randy yelled. "Stupid bacon! You're not burning either! Maggie, do NOT let Delilah jump on the table like that. Jack, tell Sid to stop running on the damn furniture!"
Jeff entered the living room just in time to see Jack grab Sid and literally toss him halfway across the room. "Jack Orton-Hardy! What the fuck was that for?"
Jack just shrugged. "He wouldn't stop."
Sid got back up to his feet. "Asshole," he muttered as Jack went into the kitchen. He rubbed the back of his head.
Jeff immediately started looking for any signs of a bump or a bruise. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah. I was just playing. He didn't need to be so mean about it."
"I know, I'll talk to him. Now come on. You need to eat and take your meds." Jeff led him into the kitchen just in time to see Randy throwing out the food he had ruined.
"Everyone is eating cereal today," Randy announced. "The pancakes and bacon do not like me. Actually, that stove doesn't like me. It's defective or something."
"Your cooking is defective," Jack muttered.
Jeff glared at the teenager. "Your attitude is the thing that's really defective around here. What were you thinking tossing Sid across the room like that?"
Randy looked at Jack. "You did what?"
Jack just threw up his hands in exasperation. "He doesn't listen when you guys yell at him. You said you wanted him off the furniture so I got him off. What's the big deal?"
"The big deal is that he's ten years old. You can't be tossing him around like a rag doll."
"Rag doll living in a movie. Hot damn, Daddy's little cutie…"
Jeff turned around and glared at Aaron and Jenny, who had let themselves in. "Now is not the time Aaron."
"Oh get your panties out of a bunch Uncle Jeff," Aaron said cheerfully. "Today is a happy day."
"Emma is coming to stay with me, which means he gets to make out with her," Jenny explained. Emma was Cody and Ted's oldest daughter, and she was Jenny's best friend and Aaron's girlfriend.
"You better not let Cody or Ted find out if your doing anything beyond kissing with her," Randy said. "They'll kill for that."
"I know, I know." Aaron looked at Jack. "Dude, you look even more pissed than usual. What's up your ass?" He grinned. "Or should I ask what's NOT up your ass that has you so pissed off?"
Jack stood up. "That's it, I'm going."
"But you didn't even eat!" Randy complained.
Jack didn't say anything back. He just punched Aaron on the arm and stormed out.
"Why would you do that?" Jenny asked her twin angrily. She slapped him upside the head and went chasing after Jack.
Aaron sighed dramatically. "Nobody loves me anymore. I'm so sad."
"Delilah and I love you Cousin Aaron," Maggie said.
"Aw how sweet. Oh! Coco Puffs!"
Jeff rolled his eyes as his nephew started stealing their cereal. "Don't Matt and Katie ever feed you?"
"Yeah but there's five of us kids living there and Gary's a bigger pig than I am."
Randy handed Sid his pills. "Take these now so you don't forget." He looked at Aaron. "Hey, what's been up with Jack lately?"
Aaron shrugged. "Hell if I know. He says he's fine and everyone's making a big deal out of nothing. Jenny thinks he's in love or something. If he is, you're helping him because I only give relationship advice out when it involves a girl and a dude."
Jeff sighed and leaned against the counter. Maybe it was just unrequited teen love that had Jack acting out. Still, Jeff couldn't get the little nagging feeling out of his mind that it was something worse. Or at least, it was going TURN INTO something worse. Either way, he didn't like the feeling in the pit of his stomach at all.