A/N: I own none of these characters.
Not Exactly a Family Outing
"I feel like we never see the kids anymore." Claudia Finnerty complained, leaning her head on her husband's shoulder.
The two were sitting on the couch late Friday night, in the front room of their house. They had both had long days at work and nighttime was the only chance they really got to talk.
"We see them all the time." Sean said. "It's called breakfast and dinner."
"But that's not good enough! Lily will be going to college in a few years and Jimmy's going through his 'I'm a cool teenager' stage. When's the last time we spent time together as a family?"
Sean thought carefully before responding. "I don't know. We went to the beach last summer."
"That was four years ago!" Claudia sat up as she spoke. She clearly had an ideal. "Tomorrow's Saturday. Do you have any plans?"
"Baby, I've been talking about the game all week! Eddie's going to come over and watch it with me tomorrow."
"Would you rather hang out with me and the kids or sit on your butt all day in front of the television?"
Sean knew that there was only one correct answer to that question. If he said the wrong thing, he would definitely be sleeping on the couch that night. So that's how he wound up in the car the next morning, driving his family to an amusement park.
"Why couldn't Brad come?" Lily pouted in the backseat.
"Because." Claudia explained, "This is a family outing. No friends allowed."
Jimmy looked up from the video game that he had been playing. "Then why couldn't grandpa come?"
"Grandpa and Uncle Eddie are busy watching the game." Sean said, while keeping his eyes on the road. The night before, he had explained to his dad and brother how the VCR worked. They were supposed to be at his house that moment, recording the day's game. They were going to call him throughout the day with score updates.
The radio in the car was broken so the drive seemed longer than it actually was. After a while, Henry began singing.
" 'Cause every time we touch…"
"Not right now, honey." Said Claudia.
"I get this feeling."
Sean looked at his son in the rear-view mirror. "Henry…"
"And every time we-"
"Henry!" Sean bellowed.
Henry fell silent, as did the rest of the car. Lily bobbed her head every once in a while because she had her Walkman on. Soon, the car was parked and they bought the entrance tickets. The family was divided about what to do first.
"Roller coasters!" Shouted Henry, who was known for his abundant energy.
Sean grinned. "Henry has the right idea. Let's go!"
Jimmy, Claudia and Lily stood by the entrance. After talking it out for a few minutes, they decided to go on the Ferris wheel. They all sat together in a cart with Jimmy and Claudia on one side and Lily on another.
Claudia couldn't help noticing that Lily was distracted. Her redheaded daughter gazed off into the distance. She seemed unaware that they were so high off the ground.
"Lil," she said carefully, "Are you ok?
Lily looked flustered. "I'm fine, mom! Do I look not ok?"
"You look far off…" Jimmy glanced at his mom. "Do you think she's on drugs?"
"No, Jimmy." Claudia frowned. The day with her family wasn't starting out so well. "I don't think your sister is on drugs, but she keeps looking at something behind us."
As the Ferris wheel descended, Claudia turned around. What could Lily be staring at? There was nothing on the ground that could have possibly caught her attention. Was it the cotton candy stand? Maybe she was hungry...
Once they got off, they tried to agree on which ride to go on next. On the other side of the park, Henry and Sean were still in line for one of the roller coasters.
"Are you sure you don't want to go on another ride?" Sean asked.
"I'm sure." Henry replied. "Look how much the line has shrunk, already."
"But Henry, by the time we're at the front, it's going to be time to leave…"
"I don't mind."
Sean sighed. "You save our place, ok? I'm going over to the payphone. I'll be right back."
Henry nodded and began chatting with the elderly couple in front of him. Sean made a beeline over to the payphone so that he could call Eddie.
"What's the score?" Sean demanded, as soon as Eddie picked up.
"I don't know. Let me check."
Sean tried to wait patiently, but Eddie was gone for a long time. He inserted another coin into the payphone and waited for a response.
"Listen Sean, I'm going to have to call you back." Eddie muttered. "We're having a bit of a situation over here. Hey Bruce, would you turn it down?"
"Situation?" Sean yelled. " And who's Bruce? Who's Bruce? Eddie, I trusted you to be in my house alone! Where's dad?"
"Ok brother. I'll see you when you get back."
Sean slammed his fist against the phone. He suddenly realized that Henry was probably close to the front of the line. Sprinting to the line, he soon realized that it was too late. Henry had already boarded the ride.
Sean looked left. He then looked right. He looked up and saw the cart of the roller coaster going higher and higher. Henry sat in the front row next to an elderly man.
"Henry!" Sean shouted. "Don't be scared! I'll meet you at the exit gate!"
He rushed over to the gate. It was a few minutes until everyone came out, but Henry walked over to his father with a proud smile on his face. Sean couldn't help noticing that Henry was walking with a limp, like he had a pegleg.
"Dad, it was so cool. You should have been there."
"Let's go find your mother." Sean grabbed Henry's hand and pulled him along "And your mother doesn't have to know about this."
It didn't take them long to find the others. Claudia was standing up and Lilly, Brad and Jimmy were sitting on a park bench.
"What's wrong with this picture?" Sean demanded.
"Lily invited him." Claudia looked angry. "I'm not sure how he got here, but I caught him and Lily making out near the fountain."
Sean glanced at his daughter. "Lily! How many times did we tell you that today was a family outing?"
"The more the merrier, right?" Lily laughed nervously.
"No." Sean made an executive decision. "Let's go to the car."
Jimmy and Henry led the way with Lily and Brad following close behind. Sean hung back so that he could talk to Claudia.
"Was this day everything you imagined it would be?"
"Who was I kidding?" Claudia laughed and put her arm around her husband's back. "There's no way that today could have worked out well. What happened to you guys?"
"I'll tell you later, baby." Sean grinned. "If Brad thinks that he's getting a ride home in our car, he's clearly crazy."