"And kids that is the story of how I met your mother." Ted smiled and put down the scrapbook he had been using to jog his memory.
"Thanks dad." His daughter said quickly.
"Yeah. Great story." His son added. They both started to stand up when tall lengthy woman with auburn hair that fell down a little past her neck strode confidently into the room.
"Hey guys." She smiled "Skooch over so I can sit on the couch." When the kids moved over she sat down and asked. "So, what has been taking you so long? It seems like you have been in here for almost a decade."
"Dad was telling us the story of how you guys met."
"Oh was he?" The stunning woman's eyebrows rose and she smiled adoringly at her husband "You know it is a funny story. I don't know if he told you but-"
"NO!" The kids shouted at the same time.
"You're right. I don't have time to tell the story anyway. The gang will be here any minute."
At that moment the door bell rang.
"I'll get it." Ted stood up eagerly. "Kids go set the table." He walked excitedly to the door and opened it to find Marshal and Lily beaming at him.
"Ted!" Marshal shouted "It has been to long my friend." He was carrying in his hand a plate with tinfoil wrapping on it. "Guess what?" He said excitedly "I brought Gouda."
Ted laughed as he embraced his best friend. He hugged Lily with equal force. Taking the plate and walking to the kitchen, he said "Barney and Robin should be here any minute. Where are your kids?"
"They should be here in a minute." Lily said. "Marvin wanted to drive himself here everyone else wanted to ride with him. But who can blame them. I mean, what kid wouldn't chose to ride with their cool big brother over their boring lame parents."
"I know I wouldn't." Marshall chuckled.
At that moment Ted's wife and kids came into the kitchen.
"Melanie!" Lily said excitedly upon seeing Teds wife.
"LILY!" Cried Melanie. They hugged.
"Hi Uncle Marshal." The teenage girl walked cautiously up to her father's friend "Don't you dare tickle me."
"Fine." Marshal lifted his hands up as if to surrender. But as the girl hugged her uncle he immediately started tickling her. She jumped back looking indignant "You are smarter than that Lexi!" Marshal chided.
Lexi made a pouting face but couldn't keep from laughing. Moments later, Teds son brushed past the crowd without saying anything.
"Luke." Melanie said sternly "Come and say hi."
The boy turned around "Hey Marsal. Hey Lily."
Lily immediately began talking in what to her was a manly voice. "Hey Man. Tsup?"
Luke laughed and walked over to hug her.
"Works every time." Lily said over his shoulder to everyone in the room.
Luke pulled away from her and hugged Marshal as well.
"Um, Aunt Lily." Lexi asked shyly "Where is Marvin? I thought he was going to be here."
"Oh, he and the kids should be here any minute!" Lily smiled. There was a knock on the door. "Maybe thats them!"
Lexi ran to get the door. When she opened it 6 kids paraded in as if it was their own home.
The smallest came first. He was about 4 years old but he looked 6. He had wavy brown hair and was carrying the control to a remote control helicopter that flew in after him. He was wearing a red t-shirt blasting the letters "The Avengers".
"Hi Caleb!" Lexi said.
Caleb barely looked at her. He ran right past shouting "LUKE! I got a new helicopter! Look Luke!"
Next were two girls, both with red hair halfway down their backs. They were tall and skinny and were about 9 years old. The identical twins were wearing the exact same outfit except in different colors.
"Hey Chloe!" Lexi said, hugging the twin wearing a pastel blue and purple flowered dress with white leggings. "I love your dress."
"Thank you!" Chloe beamed.
"What about my dress?" Asked the other, who was wearing the same dress in orange and yellow. She too had on knee length white leggings.
"I absolutely adore it, Maddie."
"I go by Maddison now." The girl corrected sternly. "It is significantly more sophisticated."
"Okay." Lexi suppressed a laugh. "Why don't you guys go say hi to your mom and dad?"
The girls ran into the kitchen.
Next was a boy of about 12. His black hair was neatly trimmed and slicked back and he wore black thick rimmed eyeglasses. He was wearing a white polo and purple skinny jeans with checkered suspenders.
"Hey Cameron!" Lexi said giving him a hug.
"Hey Lexi!" Cameron hugging her back with over the top enthusiasm.
Lexi pulled away from him and asked "Did you get a haircut?"
"Yes! So glad you noticed!" Cameron said touching his hair. "How does it look? I cut it myself."
"Awesome!" Lexi said.
Cameron moved on and walked flamboyantly into the kitchen.
Lexi shouted for joy when the next person walked in "Aaaaavaaaaa!"
"LEXIIIII!" A freakishly tall redhead shouted as she bounced through the door. "I am so stoked to see you!"
"I can not believe you just used the word stoked!" Lexi said as she hugged her best friend.
"It may be a vintage term but i plan to bring in back." Ava beamed, flipping her short red hair. She was wearing a pink tank top underneath a cropped jacket with black dress pants.
"I love your bangs..." Lexi stopped as Ava's older brother Marvin filled the doorway.
He was a model in the making. At about 6 feet he had a picture perfect body and short dark brown hair. His tan was flawless and natural. He wore a collared dress shirt that despite being slightly loose still highlighted his muscles.
"Hi Lexi." He smiled.
"Hey Marvin." Lexi squeaked.
Ava looked at her for a second and then made a grossed out face. "Uhm. I guess I'll go see if I can help with dinner." She walked away.
The two smiled awkwardly at each other. "So," Lexi began. But before she could finish, Luke walked by with Caleb tagging along behind him.
"Hey Marvin!" Luke said, trying to make his voice sound lower. "Caleb and I are gonna go play this new game I got. It is basically Modern Warfare 3 but it has way better graphics and like 30 new classes."
"Cool." Marvin said casually. "Want to come Lex?"
"Yeah, sure I'll be down in a minute." Lexi replied shakily. The boys went downstairs and she went into the kitchen where the rest of the gang were talking and catching up.
When she entered the room, Maddie and Chloe ran up to her jumping up and down. "We were wondering if you could possibly show us where you keep your dress ups." Maddie said assertively.
"Of course I can Maddie." Lexi said and she started to walk out of the room followed by the girls.
"It's Madison!" Maddie insisted.\
"YAY DRESSUPS!" Chloe cried.
"Ava! Come with!" Lexi shouted.
"Fine." Ava said reluctantly. And she followed.
"And Melanie!" Cameron asked politely. "Is there any possibility that I could help you with dinner?"
"Of course you can." Melanie smiled lovingly. "Come in the kitchen. I'm making a salmon dish."
"How tasteful!" Cameron beams. "I truly idolize your cooking skills!"
"Here take the gouda!" Marshall added.
"Dad. Really?" Cameron made a face. "Gouda? It is so 20 years ago. Nobody eats gouda anymore!"
"Just take it." Marshal demanded.
Cameron shrugged and took the plate, following Melanie into the kitchen.
Marshal laughed and shook his head. "He is quite the character."
"They all are." Ted said. "Wow guys. 6 kids."
Lily and Marshall nodded and smiled at each other. "And the Romance is still there!" Lily added adoringly. She and Marshal shared a quick kiss.
There was a knock on the door. "That must be Barney and Robin!" Ted said excitedly. The three of them began walking to the door together. "Thank god they don't have any kids. It is hard enough to fit 14 people in our dining room. I don't think we could scrounge another seat if we needed too."
"I am so excited to see them." Lily said, "I mean what with their last minute second honey moon it has been almost half a year! I mean I missed Robins birthday for crying out loud"
Ted opened the door to find Barney and Robin smiling back at them. But instead of an over sized bottle of scotch, Barney was holding a little Asian girl with a missing arm.
"Hey guys!" Barney and Robin said together.
Ted, Lily and Marshal said nothing. Their mouths hung open.
"Oh! I almost forgot!" Barney said excitedly "This is Mia."
Still, there was no response.
Robin looked equally enthusiastic if not more. "She is our foster child!"
"Your what?" Ted gasped
"Teddy, ted, ted." Barney began "I know that you're old and you're losing your hearing so I will say it again! This is-"
"He heard you." Marshal cut him off "He was just surprised."
"Oh." Barney smiled. "Well Mia. This is Ted, Marshal, and Lily. They are my best friends. And you know Robin. She is my wife and your other foster parent."
Mia raised her arm and waved but didn't say anything.
"She doesn't talk. She never has apparently" Robin whispered. "But she understands everything."
Nobody said anything.