"You're up early today," Maritza noted, filling Mittens' food bowl. "Do you work today?"
Glancing over her shoulder, Rachel grinned. "Nope. I have today off!"
"Cool. Do you have any big plans?" she asked.
"If I convince Haley to watch Shaye for me!" she said lightly. "Cross your fingers!"
Maritza rolled her eyes instead.
"Yeah, okay!" Jason said amiably, trotting around to the back of the chicken coop where the eggs were.
"Jason!" Rio called after him. "Don't run and drop those eggs!" Sheesh. That kid ran everywhere!
Haley sighed. "Put it in the compost and make sure you wash your hands really well."
Jason did, then hopped up on the bar chair.
Rio shrugged. "I guess. It's not like he'll be around long anyway."
Jason snickered. "I wonder if he's rich! Like a millionaire. Maybe he'll take you up in a helicopter!"
Rio rolled his eyes. "Right. I'm sure."
"Oh!" Jason said, lighting up, "Or maybe he's a secret agent and he's undercover. Wouldn't that be awesome?"
"Shut up, Jason."
"I hear Darryl crying. I need to go get him," Maritza said, pushing back from the table.
Rachel stood, too. "Can I talk to you, Haley?" she asked. "I have a big favor to ask you!"
Haley took a breath and tried to reign in her temper.
Haley sighed. "Rachel, you don't do your chores unless I bug you!" she lamented.
"Please!" Rachel begged. "This is my only day off this week! Come on, you're already watching Darryl!"
Rachel nodded. "Sure! It'll just be for a few hours. I'll spend the morning with Clinton and then we'll come back here. I'll be back before Rio is home from school!"
Rachel clapped her hands together and kissed Haley's cheek. "I promise!" she said eagerly, rushing off to get ready.
"Itsy bitsy!" Shaye said, moving her little fingers like the little spider.
With Darryl gurgling happily next to her, Haley began to sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider with Shaye.
At least 10 times later...
"Itsy Bitsy!" Shaye called out happily again, clapping her hands. "Again! Again!"
Haley hid her smile. "Again? Wouldn't you rather do Pat-a-Cake? Or Ten Little Ducks? Anything?"
"Itsy Bitsy!" the toddler replied firmly.
Rachel reached around Clinton's back and started pulling his shirt off his head. "I told you Haley would watch her!"
Together, they stumbled up the stairs.
He reached for her hand. "I'd love to tour the science facility with you. It sounds amazing," he told her.
Maritza grinned widely. "It was nice," she said coyly. "We went to see my specimens and then toured the science facility. He said he'd give me a tour of the hospital for our next date," she laughed.
Shaking her head, Haley laughed with her friend. "I guess if it works for you!" she teased.
Maritza looked around. "Is Rachel home yet?"
Maritza let out a low whistle. "Oh no, Rio's going to be so disappointed. She might show up in time, though!" she said, trying to look on the positive side.
"You know better than that," Haley said coldly.
Clinton leaned back against the pillows. "What's the big deal? We'll take him out for pizza another night. Just call them and tell them we got hung up and then come back to bed!"
Rachel popped up, wriggling into her bra. "No! I can't! I promised! Dammit! I can't believe I fell asleep!" she said fretfully. "Where did my shirt go?"
Clinton sighed, seeing that he wasn't going to be able to talk Rachel back into bed with him. "I think it's on the stairs."
Rachel slipped into her jeans and then hurried out the door. "Come on, get ready!" she panicked. "We have to go!"
Hesitation passed over his face.
"What?" Rachel asked, stopping. "What's wrong?"
"I just don't want the first time I meet Rio to be when I've kept him from his mom..."
Tears sprang to Rachel's eyes. "Clinton! You can't change your mind! I told Rio we'd have dinner with him tonight!"
"I know, sweetie," he said, standing up and holding her hand. "But he's already going to be mad at me for dating his mom. Maybe I can meet him another night."
"Fine," Rachel said in a clipped, angry tone. "Whatever. I have to go." She found her shirt on the newel post and slipped it on, slamming the door on her way out.
Maritza took a shot. "I know you were really nervous about meeting Clinton. You know you can talk to us if you need to," she offered.
"I don't care," Rio said, not meeting her gaze as he continued eating.
"What if he's actually a prince from another country and he wants to lay low and he met your mom and fell in love with her. When they get married, you'll be a prince, dude!"
Rio just ignored him.
"What is your problem?" Rachel asked, taking a step back.
Haley fisted her hands at her sides. "One - you promised me you'd be back before Rio got home from school," she said, holding up one finger.
Haley ignored her, plowing on, holding up a second finger. "Two - you didn't answered your phone the million times I called to see if you were okay!"
Again Rachel interrupted, "Look, you know I'm a heavy sleeper! I can't help it!"
"And three - you broke your promise to Rio!" Haley finished, shoving her three fingers in Rachel's face.
Haley glanced back at her friend with a frown. "Well, it wasn't soon enough," she said, stalking upstairs.
Rio sighed heavily. "What?" he asked with annoyance.