Title: Just the Two of Us
Rating: Rated K+
Disclaimer: The Cosby Show is owned by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). All the copyrights associated with The Cosby Show belong to them. Only the ideas contained within this story are the property of the author. No profit is being earned by the writer of this story.
Soft, smooth jazz music floated gently through the cool air. The dim light that shined through the windows in the living room mixed with the already lowered lights placed around the room created the perfect atmosphere. Smiling, Heathcliff Huxtable eased himself in the middle of the sofa. He gazed at the white tray on the oval, wooden table before him. In the middle, a glass bowl contained chopped, assorted fruit and nuts; the small bowl beside it, a dollop of whipped cream that would definitely do the trick. With the whole day off, Cliff consummated the perfect plan that would knock his wife Clair Hanks Huxtable off her feet. Or at least give her a heartwarming smile. He would not mind either one.
What made the day even greater was the children were gone and would not return until tomorrow evening. Vanessa decided to stay with her mother and father while on summer vacation. When Vanessa asked if she could spend the night with her long-time friends Janet and Kara, Cliff surprisingly let her do so instead of staying home. Rudy and Olivia were invited to her grandparents' house, an idea Cliff thanked his father, Russell, over and over again until his father up and left the room. Theo went to a graduation party one of his friends threw for an associate who recently graduated and earned his Psychology degree. Denise remained with Martin in Indonesia, the next stop after Singapore. Sondra and Elvin took a trip to Vermont for their first vacation with the twins Winnie and Nelson.
Cliff glanced at the front door as he saw a headlight pass by the door, only for the car's roaring engine to pass by. He shook his head, knowing it was not Clair. She was working late once again with one of her most difficult clients. However, it was part of her job at the law firm, and he had to take the good with the bad.
Cliff almost jumped at the sight of the front door that became slightly ajar. A multitude of excited voices became louder and louder until the leader of the pack gasped and spotted Cliff, who was gleaming brightly in his black and white tuxedo through the dimly lit room.
"Yo, Charmaine, Lance, looks like we got a change of plans," A big nervous smile crept onto Cliff's cousin-in-law's face. "Hey guys, maybe we can stop by Circus Burger before we go to the graduation party?" She suggested to her two friends behind her.
Cliff loudly cleared his throat which caught the attention of his eighteen year old. "You guys gonna stay in the doorway all night?"
"Hi Dr. Huxtable, we didn't mean to bother you, sir," Lance's grinning face poked out from behind Pam. Cliff blushed and waved his hands to say 'it's okay'. The three teenagers entered the room. It had been a few hours since their graduation ceremony and they were ready to go to college for the upcoming Fall semester.
"Yeah, Dr. Huxtable, if we disturbed you during your private time we see you may be having right now, we're very sorry!" Charmaine said. "See, Pam, Lance and I were cordially invited to a special graduation party, in charge of the refreshments and snacks of course. We wanted to retrieve the soda and snacks Pam bought before we go."
"No, no, no, I'm fine, Pam, Lance, Charmaine! I'm just planning a surprise for Mrs. Huxtable, you see," Cliff waved his hands over the food on the table and pointed at the record player. "Seven children in and out of the house plus the spawn of Satan as a client for the past few weeks have caused a great amount of stress to come over her. But hey, if you want to get some drinks and snacks to take with you to the graduation party, go ahead! As a matter of fact, have as many graduation parties as you want! Just make sure you bring Pam back by midnight, okay?"
Lance nodded. "Got it, Dr. Huxtable! Pam will be back safe and sound."
Charmaine grinned and wrapped her arms around Lance's waist. "Oh, Lance! You're so reassuring!"
Cliff smiled. "Thank you. The last thing Mrs. Huxtable and I want to see on TV before we go to sleep is a missing report on you guys on the eleven o'clock news!"
Pam, Lance and Charmaine laughed. Lance approached Dr. Huxtable and shook his hand. "We really appreciate your kindness, Dr. Huxtable," He said as Pam and Charmaine followed him through the living room and towards the kitchen door.
"No problem. Just know you guys owe me $4 a piece because your food's to go!" Cliff joked as they snuck into the kitchen. As quickly as they came in, Cliff heard them immediately leave through the back door.
A few hours later, the front door opened. Cliff stood and walked over to the bouquet of roses he placed on Clair's desk. Clair sighed as she took off her coat and placed it on the rack next to Cliff's, unaware of what was going on before her very eyes.
Cliff took Clair's hand, smiling. His other hand grasped the green bouquet. Clair looked at Cliff through barely open eyes with a yawn. "Dear, don't even lift another finger. You've been working hard all week and you've barely been home. I've prepared some nice snacks for you, along with a special surprise afterward, so just relax," He led Clair by the hand to the sofa and let her sit right next to him. He placed the roses in her lap.
"Honey, I really thank you for this, but I don't know how much longer I can keep my eyes open," Clair nearly whispered, the back of her hand on her forehead. She rested her head on Cliff's chest.
Cliff draped his arm around Clair's shoulder and brought her closer. "Awww, well, don't worry, dear. Tomorrow is the weekend, and tomorrow is enough time to ourselves before the children come back and take over this house," he said, which brought a small laugh out of his wife.
Before Cliff could finish another kiss to his wife's forehead, the front door swung open. A few bags hit the floor beside a grown man, his face showing signs of distress. Cliff shook his head and sighed upon first look at who showed up at the door. The man turned on the living room lights.
Cliff frowned. "Boy! Didn't I tell you to knock first?"
Cliff's son stared at him as though it were the first time he ever heard those words. At least, it was the first time he could remember. "Uh, no Dad."
Clair massaged her forehead with her fingers for a few seconds and let out a little breath from her lips. "Son, what are you doin' here? I thought you were at a graduation party and you were staying at their place for the night," she crossed her arms.
"Right! Graduation! Party! Food! Sleep over! Yaaaaaaay!" Cliff feigned excitement, pumping his fists with his animated face. At the same time, Theo sat in one of the wooden chairs by the sofa.
"It turned out our party was too loud. An hour after it got started, the police showed up at the door. Luckily, we were only given a warning but we had to stop everything. Then, we left the party and went their own separate ways, including me."
"I see that…so…why here?" Cliff asked, a small smile on his face. "Didn't you get the note your mother and I left for you outside? The note that said Olivia, the twins and cousin Pam ate all the food?"
Theo laughed. "C'mon, Dad! Don't you remember? They're cleaning out my apartment and I can't go back until Monday."
"That is true, Cliff," Clair sat up from resting on Cliff's chest. "We can't exactly be mad at the boy for having no other place to stay."
Cliff frowned. "But I'm sure the boy's got a gazillion other friends! Why can't he stay with them?"
Theo shook his head. "Dad, all my best friends went out of town on Graduation day for the next few months. I only went to this graduation party because I was invited. I don't know the guy from a hole in the ground."
"But why couldn't you ask him?" Cliff shook his cupped hand in front of him. He then reached into his pocket. "Here! Here!" He took out his credit card. "Stay at any hotel you want!" Clair held his hand down and chuckled.
"It's okay, Theo, you can stay here for the night," She got out between laughs.
Theo bounced up from his chair and kissed Clair on the cheek. "Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad," Theo gave him their usual fist pounds before heading upstairs with his bags to his old room. Cliff waited until Theo was out of sight before he opened his mouth.
"You're getting weak."
Clair's eyes widened as she let out a small chuckle. "How?"
"By letting that boy back into this house instead of telling him to stay with one of his friends! I even was willing to pay for the hotel, honey!" Cliff's head shook in disappointment. He crossed his arms. "Four years ago, you were ruthless. Tough. I even named you: Mrs. Old Yeller," Cliff paused while Clair laughed some more. "But now, I barely recognize you, dear."
"Cliff, it's only one night. Besides, things couldn't possibly get any worse."
"Uh oh, you called him out."
"Worse. Don't call on worse, Clair, or else he'll show up and cause a lot of trouble."
Clair patted Cliff on his left thigh. "Oh Cliff, stop with that nonsense! Nobody else will come into this house tonight."
The front door, against Cliff's wishes, opened once again. The cool breeze managed its way into the house and brushed past Clair and Cliff's necks. After waving at the car that dropped her off, a seventeen year old girl took off her coat and put it next to her mother's.
"The vacuum effect is at work once again," Cliff muttered. He made sure no one other than himself heard that comment.
"Vanessa, honey, what are you doing here? I thought you were spending the night at Kara and Janet's?"
"Mom. Dad. You won't believe what happened."
Cliff grinned. "This is a surprise visit, and you came to tell us goodnight once again before you leave."
Vanessa rolled her eyes. "Dad, this is serious!"
"All right, dear, what's the matter?"
Vanessa sat in the same seat Theo was in and crossed her legs. "Well, since it was Kara's birthday, we decided to give her a surprise birthday party. The thing was, we had giant candles on the cake, and well…"
"Well, what?" Cliff leaned forward, ready for Vanessa's answer.
"The sprinklers in her apartment went off because of the heat, but the sprinklers wouldn't turn off. So, until the maintenance people look at what's wrong, we can't go back into Kara's apartment."
"I'm sorry to hear…but…why here?" Cliff said, sighing subsequently. He brushed his hand over his face.
"Cliff, honey, you know good and well Vanessa would've stayed with her other friends if they could accommodate her," Clair nodded at Vanessa, who returned the gesture.
"Right, Mom. I'm sorry I couldn't find anywhere else to stay tonight," Vanessa jumped out of the chair and kissed and hugged her parents.
"It's okay, pud," Cliff said. A small smile came across his face. The children were hit with the vacuum effect he explained to Olivia a few months ago, and it wasn't about to end anytime soon. "We'll see you in the morning," He said as Vanessa made her journey up the stairs.
"Oh Vanessa, Theo is here as well, but only for the night," Clair added.
"Okay!" Vanessa said before she made it to the top of the stairs.
Cliff brought his wife close. He looked around the empty, dimly lit room before his head lifted upward to look at the ceiling.
Cliff gazed into his wife's eyes. "We're cursed by the vacuum effect."
Clair laughed. "Cliff, those two are only here for one night."
"Yeah, but one night will turn into two. Then those two nights will turn into a week. And then they'll never leave! That's why we have to get them out of the house, now!"
Clair got up and looked down at her husband who was shaking his head. "C'mon, Cliff. Let's get to bed. You definitely need some rest as much as I do. You'll forget about this in the morning," Clair made sure to lock the door and turn off the living room lights.
"Yeah, you're right," Cliff stood and followed his wife up the stairs. "Let's get to bed, where I can finally give you the last part of my surprise," He said. He growled and chased after his yelling wife up the stairs to their room, which is where he wanted to express his everlasting love for the one and only Clair Hanks Huxtable.