It's a good thing Ace could sleep through anything with as much racket as the kids made while he was sleeping.
"What in the world are you doing?" Holly asked when she came in the kitchen, after smelling something burning. "Oh Lord, are you... cooking?"
Jesse put the burnt waffled on the counter and glared at them. "I thought I'd do some cooking and surprise you," he said gruffly.
"Well, I'm certainly surprised, Jesse! We've been married for years now and this is the first time you've ever tried to cook something in the kitchen!"
Jesse grumbled under his breath, "Try the first time in my life!"
Turning to the stairs, he called up, "Ace! Breakfast!"
Ace came downstairs with Devon and put him in the highchair for breakfast.
"I'll go get Chase," Holly offered and trotted up the stairs.
Ace grabbed a plate and sat down next to his Dad, eyeing the waffles critically.
"So how's it going, kid?" Jesse asked.
Ace glanced at his Dad and smiled wanly. "I guess it's okay. Kids can be hell on the love life," he said ruefully. He'd never heard back from Becky Baker and had decided it was for the best. His kid sister was best friends with Becky's son now and that might've gotten awkward.
Jesse laughed loudly as he slapped the counter-top. "That they are, kid! That's why you gotta find a good woman, like Holly!"
Ace sighed. He was beginning to think another good woman like Holly even existed! Sighing, he shrugged, "Yeah, and until then... back to the grind."
“No.” Devon said mulishly. “No. No. No. No.”
“Well, at least you've got no down,” he said with a sigh.
Devon cheerfully called out, "NO!" as he reached out for his Dad.
Jesse grumbled and scooped up Devon to put in bed.
He had to wait to pick up Chase. He didn't know why, but the kids loved to crawl over to the stairs to get picked up. And then they were just in everybody's way, making everything take 10 times as long to do! It was frustrating as hell trying to get anything done with the crawling kiddos underfoot!
He couldn't wait until the twins grew up!
Finally Ace gave up. Someone else could put Chase to bed. He had to get some dinner before work!
Ace glanced up as he was finishing his meal. “Hey Holly,” he said. “How was work?”
“Great,” Holly beamed. “I finished that article on Connor Frio. Everyone thought he was this staid, button-up kind of guy – but I got the dirt on him. Nobody will believe him if he tries to smear the Alto name in the mud!”
Ace lifted his eyebrows. “Taking it a little personal?” he asked her.
“No one writes something bad about my father without accepting the consequences,” she said hotly.
Ace glanced down and was quiet a moment. “I miss him, too. He was a great guy, Hol.”
Holly wiped a tear from her eye and patted her step-son's hand. "Thank you for saying that, Ace."
Ace hopped up and ran to work.