FOUR:

The next day, when Molly woke up, she teetered over to the bathtub. Her arms and legs were still sore from the bridge-incident from the day before. The tub was filled with hot water and she stepped in. Her scrapes stung, but it felt good to soak them. Shortly after she got in, Cooper nudged the cracked door open with his snout. Molly was thrilled to see him! She kissed his head as he hung it over the side of the tub. Experimenting with him, Molly splashed his face with warm water. He squinted his eyes and opened them up again. He didn't look angry, like most dogs would. Nor did he run away. Apparently he was not bothered by water. For the rest of the time he laid down on the bath mat and waited for Molly.

"Hey Molly. How'd ya sleep?" Emilie greeted Molly, when she walked into the kitchen, squeaky clean. "Hi Emilie. I slept well, thank you. Did you know Cooper likes to take baths?" "Oh no! Molly, you didn't put him in the bathtub…did you?" "No, but when I was taking a bath I splashed him, and he didn't even react". Emilie laughed and "noogied" Molly's head. "We are walking to the food emporium for breakfast. Do you want to come?" Emilie asked. "Sure! Let me go get my shoes and Cooper's leash." Molly ran into John's bedroom, where she was staying, and slipped on her plaid ballet flats. She also found her soft, navy blue robe on the bed, and decided to put it on as well. She clipped Cooper's leash to his collar and dragged him out the door, lightning speed. "Hi honey. Perfect timing." Annie told Molly as she ran out the front door. Annie, Aunt Laura, and Grace had been waiting outside for Emilie. The food emporium was a cozy restaurant in the little town, and was a favorite breakfast-hang-out for all of the neighbors. It was usually rather early when the family went, so they always wore pajamas. Today, it was 7:45 a.m. and the joint was bustling with people. Molly's favorite things to get were honey buns, and apple-fritters. Annie usually got an omelet. So did Laura. Emilie and Grace liked the bagels. John and Kevin were still asleep in the basement, so they did not tag along with the girls. Jim was also at home, supervising incase the boys woke up. The girls were bringing all three of them donuts and muffins to eat. "They probably were up until three in the morning playing video games." Molly muttered when Laura was saying how she missed their company. The family ate their delightful meals and sadly, it was time for Cooper, and his new family to make their way back to Chicago. By the time they all arrived at Laura's house again, Kevin and John had awaken. They were sitting in the family room, watching ESPN. They were ecstatic when Emilie handed them their muffins. In no time they gobbled them up.

Jim was relived to see his wife and daughter back, for he was stressing over getting a late start home. Jim was all about beating the traffic. As fast as a racecar, Jim sped throughout the house, throwing suitcase after suitcase into the trunk. Finally after fifteen minutes, he took a breather to drink some hot tea, and eat a pumpkin muffin. By 8:30 a.m. the family was gone. Cooper was situated in the back seat, where he sat facing the trunk's window, so he could watch what was happening in Indianapolis as they drove away. Kevin, Grace, and Molly were all squished into the backseat. Annie was seated in the passenger seat, and Jim took control as the driver. They all waved and kissed goodbye through the opened-windows. Cooper was finally headed home.

"On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese. I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed." Molly sang to the tune of "On Top of Old Smokey," the children's' song. "Stop singing, Molly!" Kevin snapped. "IT ROLLED OFF THE TABLE…" Molly protested and continued to sing. "AND ON TO THE FLOOR." "Mom! Tell her to stop! I'm trying to sleep!" Kevin screamed. "Kevin she is seven years old. Let her sing." Grace added. The car ride was beginning to get interesting. Molly and Jim were hungry. Grace had to use the bathroom. And, Kevin was constantly complaining because of Molly's tendency to annoy.

Through all this chaos, Annie sat cheerfully. She sang along with Molly in a sweet tone, when Molly felt like singing. She encouraged Jim to take an "itsy-bitsy" stop when someone was hungry. She persuaded Jim to also stop when someone had to use the restroom, promising it would only take five minutes. At those rare moments when all was quiet, Annie read her book. These times did not occur often, but when they did it usually consisted of Molly sleeping, Kevin listening to his ipod, and Grace studying. Jim did not like to have music playing in the car, which Molly enjoyed, but drove Grace bananas. Grace always needed to have music on…in the car. That is why family road-trips were not her preferred vacation. "It is my car, we will listen to music I like and when I like." That was Jim's way of thinking.

Cooper was a guy to go with the flow. He did not mind Molly's singing, Kevin's complaining, or even the bickering going on in the backseat. At least if he did, he did not show it. Cooper sat or laid down pleasantly the entire ride. He was not urgent with bathroom breaks. No accidents occurred, but about ever hour or so, he would be let out at a rest-stop to run around and go to the bathroom. In Cooper's mind, life was good.