Disclaimer: I do not own All in the Family or its characters. I own nothing…well I do own the complete series on DVD, bought the last two seasons just a month before the complete series boxset was announced, guess who's calling herself a dingbat now. But the point is I own nothing and am writing this story for pure entertainment.
Author's Note: Hello everyone! How are you all doing? Hope you're doing well! Long time no see huh? Can't believe it's been almost four years since I wrote an AITF Fanfic! I've really missed this show and it's wonderful characters, at the beginning of this summer I started rewatching the series after not seeing an episode in quite some time and instantly feel right back in love with Archie, Edith, Mike, Gloria, and even Stephanie! While rewatching the show I remembered I had some old fanfics I had not posted and found them pretty easily—hard copies though, however I think that may have been better. Rereading them I thought they weren't too bad and after polishing them up a bit i thought it would be fun to share these stories with you other AITF fans! This one is just a little oneshot, kinda testing the waters, coming back into the fandom after being away for so long, the other stories are a bit longer including a Christmas one that I really want to post if you all are interested in reading. I do hope you all enjoy this little oneshot, may not have a lot of Archie but don't' worry he comes out and appears much more in my other stories :D It would mean so very much if you took the time to leave a review if you've got a minute or two, you don't even need an account! Okay I think I better wrap this up now so thank you very much fro stopping by to read this story I do hope you enjoy it, please leave a review if you can, and please enjoy!
It was only a few days until her thirteenth birthday but Stephanie Mills was anything but excited. As she walked down the staircase she replayed the words that some of her classmates had told her. She wasn't sure why the words bothered her so much. Maybe it was because the kids had told them straight to her face, maybe it was because she had been having a bad day, or maybe it was because she was worried they were telling the truth.
It didn't take long for her to hear her Aunt Edith singing away to 'Moon River' in the kitchen. Maybe she could talk to her and find out if her Aunt Edith and Uncle Archie had been hiding the truth from her. She slightly pushed open the swinging door and caught a glimpse of Edith looking through her recipe cards.
"Hi, Aunt Edith." Stephanie greeted with a shy smile.
"Oh! Hi Stephy." Edith welcomed with a large grin, "Only three more days 'til youse become a teenager!"
Stephanie's smile remained weak as she sat herself down at the table and listened to her aunt's plans of her upcoming birthday party.
"Oh my, it's really gonna be a great sleepover. I went out and bought all the things off the list we made up the other night." She then dashed off to the icebox, opening in and looking inside, "Sodas, cookie dough, ice cream, chips, a few candies and everything we need to make hamburgers and we still gotta go pick out the games youse wanna play sos…" Edith frowned. Why was it that she was more excited than the almost birthday girl? "With concern etched onto her face she asked, "Stephy, is something wrong?"
The young girl looked at her, "Um not really…I mean…well...where's Uncle Archie?"
"He's over at the bar. He should be home any minute now….Do you need to talk to the two of us together?" she asked before taking a seat at the head of the table.
Stephanie bit her lips as she began to think, she the shrugged her shoulders, "I guess not. And you're the better one to talk to between the two of you."
Edith smiled as she placed her hand over her niece's, never rushing her to say a word.
Stephanie took a deep breath before asking the question that she'd been asking herself for almost the past two days, "Do I make you and Uncle Archie feel old?" Edith looked at her with confusion but before she could ask anything, Stephanie rephrased her question, "Do I make you and Uncle Archie do a lot of things for me, too many things, that it makes you guys feel really old?
"Oh no!" Edith said in a loud but reassuring tone, "Oh Stephy, Having youse here with us has only made me and your Uncle Archie feel younger."
"You are telling the truth right?"
Edith smiled as she crossed her heart with her index finger, "Cross my heart. Stephy, you have kept the two of us so busy and on our toes, we feel just like we did when Gloria was your age. Just a few weeks ago Archie and me couldn't believe he had turned fifty-eight."
"Wow! You guys are old!" her niece replied jokingly
"Well he is. I'm only fifty four." Edith reminded and Stephanie laughed, "Why would you ever ask a question like that?"
Stephanie's smile shrunk as she shrugged, "Some kids at school. We were talking about our parents and they said I must be wearing you and Uncle Archie out and that you'd rather be in a nursing home.'
A frown appeared on Edith's face as she shook her head, "Oh no. Oh Stephy, your Uncle Archie and me would never wanna move into any nursing home. I used to work in one before, a few years ago, remember? The Sunshine Home." She shook her head slightly, "It could be so sad sometimes. Them old people was just left there by their families and they hardly ever got visited from any of their grandchildren or even any of their own children. Archie wouldn't like it there neither, you have to share the TV with alotta other people too." Stephanie giggled and Edith smiled as she continued, "You living with us has kept us outta there."
Stephanie looked down, smiling while looking embarrassed while Edith went on.
"Without you or the bar, Archie and me would probably just be sitting out there in our chairs watching TV, barely talking at all."
Stephanie's smile dropped, "The bar. Uncle Archie's got enough trouble taking care of that and then he's got me to come home to and …"
Edith took her niece into her arms trying to end her worrying, "Stephy, running that bar is one of your Uncle Archie's dreams. He loves it. Almost as much as he loves you."
Stephanie smiled but still wasn't completely convinced, and of course Edith saw this.
The older woman took in a deep breath, "Stephy, when your Uncle Archie and me first got married we was so happy and we had so many dreams about our future. On our honeymoon night we stayed up talking about all them things we wanted to do. One of them things was having kids. We wanted four of them. Two of each was our plan." She said, her smile growing, "That way Archie could have two boys to help him outside and he could teach them to play all sorts of sports and I could teach the two girls to bake and dress them up and play dolls with them. We wanted to have a porch where the two of us could sit out there, at the end of the day, and watch all of them playing in the front yard…" Edith drifted off for two or three seconds as she recalled the dream.
She gave a small smile that had a hint of sadness, as she continued on, "When we found out we was gonna have Gloria we was so happy, and then she was born and we thought we was the luckiest people ever. We couldn't wait to have another baby." She paused, "But I just wasn't meant to carry no more babies."
Hearing this new piece of information, Stephanie's heart broke for her aunt. She had always seen Edith as a wonderful mother to Gloria, she herself saw her more of a mother than an aunt, and she acted like another mother for a lot of her friends too. And even Archie—though he had that hard outer layer—he did have a real soft side for kids. She'd often wonder why they only had Gloria.
"Aunt Edith, I'm sorry…" she started to say.
"Stephy, the story ain't over yet."
After she'd heard her aunts revelation of her not being able to have any more children, the young girl had assumed that was the end, but hearing that it wasn't over made her frown slightly as she listened to the rest of the story.
"At first Archie and me was heartbroken, but then we remembered we still had our Little Gloria to take care of. Having Gloria really helped us. And so Gloria started to grow up and we watched her with smiles on our faces. Then she married Mike and the two of them moved in here for a couple of years. And Mike became like our own son. Having them here in the house, helping him with his problems, having dinner all together…even to Archie, of course he'd never like to admit it, but I could tell he saw Mike as the son he never had."
Sitting silently, Stephy continued to listen to her aunt.
"So we had half of our dream family, even if it was a little later in life. But that didn't matter. Well after a few years Mike and Gloria moved out of the house and into their own, next door luckily so we wasn't too far from each other. The day before they moved was when Gloria told us she was having Joey." Edith smiled as she remembered that day as if it were yesterday, "Archie and me was so happy and then after a while Mike became just as happy. Seeing Gloria in the family was so wonderful. Almost everything she was going through reminded me of when I was carrying her."
Stephanie grinned, she had seen an old photograph of Archie and Edith—who was clearly showing that she was pregnant with Gloria. They had both looked so happy in that picture, she could only imagine what had happened after the photo was taken.
"Joey was born and we all began to fuss over him. It was so much fun." Edith shared, "Archie and me couldn't get enough of helping take care of him. 'Course Archie would leave the diaper changing to me but he always did that with Gloria too. And even though Joey's out grandson, we looked after him so much when he was a baby and even today, that he's like the little boy that we never got the chance to raise."
Edith took a quick break from her storytelling to make sure Stephanie was following along; after all the next part was the part that concerned her.
"When Joey was two, they moved out to California. And for the first time, Archie and me was left alone in an empty nest. We was both a bit down for awhile but we tried to make the best of it. Archie kept the bar running, I stayed at the Sunshine Home and every night we'd come home and have dinner together with just the two of us." Edith looked sadly at her niece, "But it just wasn't the same. We still tried to keep each other's spirits up. I made Archie his favorite meals and visited him at the bar as much as I could, he brought me a few presents and tried to be home by the time I was going to bed. Something was missing though and it felt like we'd never get over it. That is till youse came along."
Stephanie smirked, "Uncle Archie didn't want me to stay when I first got here, remember?"
Edith titled her head as she frowned a small frown, "Oh Stephy, that ain't true."
"He said the two of you were too old to take care of a kid like me. I heard him. He didn't want me around then."
"Oh Stephy, Archie didn't want Mike around when he first got here neither." Edith paused as she saw her nieces' unmistakable look of a silent, sarcastic 'seriously?' "Well maybe that ain't the right example. But you see Archie was afraid of youse leaving again."
Stephanie stared at her aunt not quite believing her and looking a bit confused.
"It's true." Edith informed her, "Remember when youse first came we thought youse was only gonna be here for two or three weeks. Archie knew we'd both get attached to you and then when it came time for youse to leave we'd fall back in the hole we was close to getting out of at the time."
"So I'm guessing you're glad I didn't stay for just those two or three weeks?" Stephanie questioned.
The dark haired girl smiled as her Aunt Edith continued her story.
"Stephy, when youse came along you made mine and Archie's dream family complete. Youse was the one who made that dream that we thought we'd lost, come true." Edith said smiling brightly, "See Archie had his two boys to teach stuff to but I still only had Gloria, I was missing my other daughter. The first day you stayed with us I knew I'd found her!"
A smile stretched onto Stephanie's lips; her aunt always knew how to make everyone feel better about themselves. Suddenly a new thought entered her mind and she curiously asked, "What about the new baby Gloria's expecting? She or he wouldn't be part of the dream if I'm part of it."
Edith continued to smile, "Oh yes they will. I always hoped we'd get a surprise baby we'd never planned on having."
Stephanie grinned at her aunt who returned the smile as she placed her hand on the young girls arm.
"You feeling better now?"
"Yeah." Stephy replied, "But can you promise me something?"
"What?" softly Edith asked,
"If ever your or Uncle Archie feel like I'm over working you, you'll tell me. Just so I can go easier on you!" she defended her promise.
A laugh escaped from Edith as she nodded, "Alright. But you gotta promise me that no matter, that you'll never put me or your Uncle Archie in any nursing home."
"Deal." Stephanie said with a large smile before embracing her aunt in a tight hug.
"Oh!" Edith exclaimed, surprised by the action before throwing her own arms around the almost teenager.
Just a few seconds into the hug the back door was heard closing.
"Jeeze, what is this?" Archie groaned at the sight that welcomed him home, a frown indented on his forehead, "Wha'd the kid do now?"
"Nothing, Archie." Edith said with a shake of her head but her smile still in place as she looked over at her husband before kissing the top of their niece's head and slightly pulling away, "Why don't youse go upstairs and get ready to go shopping for them board games?"
"Okay." Stephy smiled and got up from her seat.
She started to walk out of the room but then stopped and turned around, running back to her uncle and wrapping her arms around his waist in a tight hug. Archie raised an eyebrow, filled with suspicion, as he looked at his wife hoping she'd give him an explanation but all Edith did was simply smile back at him.
After planting a kiss on his cheek, Stephanie headed for the swinging kitchen door once more, "I'm gonna call Amy and ask if she wants to come too."
"Don't tie up the line!" Archie called after her but Stephanie only waved a dismissive hand in his direction as she disappeared behind the door. Archie's face dropped as he turned his attention to his smiling wife, "Why did I let youse talk me into signing them adoption papers last month?"
With her smile growing at the thought of their birthday present to Stephanie and her possible reaction to the gift, Edith walked over to her husband and cuddled against him, "Cause you love us.'
"Ain't that the truth." Archie said with a smirk before receiving a quick loving peck on the lips from Edith.
Author's Note: Soo what did you think? Yay? Nay? A round of applause or a round of Bronx cheers? Lemme know in a review!
Also would you all be interested in reading the Christmas story one? It would be posted during November/December. It's got all the characters and a few familiar faces.
Until next time, thanks for reading, hope you liked, please review and lemme know what you think, take care and have a nice day!