After leaving the Pruett Estate, Jonathan decided to pay his sister a visit. He and Oliver walked into the house and found Karim having dinner and Juliana and Carlee watching TV.
“Hey, Karim. How’s it going?”
“Can’t complain. It’s good to see you.”
Since Aubrey had taken over Skyla’s role at the restaurant, Oliver didn’t get to come over as much anymore.
“Look, Oliver! It’s your best friend!”
“Whatcha watchin, Carlee Bear?”
Jonathan gasped. “She’s a Llama Man fan?”
Juliana shrugged. “It was on one day, and I let her watch it.”
“So you didn’t watch when you were a kid?”
“I didn’t really like superhero shows.”
“Interesting! You’re much more like your Aunt Juliette than you know.”
“Yeah. I liked Llama Man, your mom liked Unicorn, and Juliette thought all of them were dumb.”
They shared a laugh.
“Speaking of your mother…where is she?”
She snorted. “Oh, you know how she is…always on the go, still partying.”
He shook his head. “I swear…if I have that kind of energy when I’m her age, Skyla will kill me.”
She laughed. “Yeah…she definitely kept my dad on his toes.”
“I can imagine. What about you? Are you and Karim getting out? You need to make sure you guys make time for yourselves. Is she still sleeping with you?”
She shook her head. “She’s in mom’s room now.” She looked over her shoulder at the pair of children bobbing to the music. “We’ve been trying for a b-a-b-y.”
Jonathan’s jaw dropped. “Juliana! That’s so great!”
“No news yet, but hopefully soon.”
He had been so concerned about her life. Her mother kept her close as a child and probably sheltered her too much. Being best friends with his wild child brought her out of her shell, but perhaps too much. Making dumb mistakes and getting pregnant so young, he worried about her. She lost her dad during those critical teen years. Who knew how she’d turn out? But, there she was, standing before him, a married woman beaming radiantly speaking about expanding her family. He was beyond proud.
Karim cleared his throat in an exaggerated manner. When Jonathan looked over to see what he wanted, he found Oliver playing with paint…on the floor.
He dropped the paint like a criminal ditching the murder weapon.
“What in the world?!”
The little charmer painted a smile on his face. “I paint like mommy.”
“Mommy doesn’t paint on the floor! Do you ever see mommy painting on the floor?!”
“It’s ok, Uncle Jonathan.”
“No! It’s not ok! Did he do this stuff when he used to come here?”
“Uhhh… Karim, can you get the mop?”
Jonathan gasped. “He acts up when he’s here? How come you didn’t tell me?”
“It’s not a big deal. He’s a kid, Uncle Jonathan. Kids do dumb stuff. It’s not like he’s hitting anyone.” She glared at her little one.
Jonathan had no idea the new little people in his life were little terrors. Around him, they behaved so well and had such good manners. It made sense though. Even though Jonathan was the fun dad/uncle, he didn’t tolerate foolishness. Juliana, on the other hand, probably let them get away with murder so they wouldn’t feel smothered like she did as a child. While he understood her feelings, he hoped she would soon find the balance between freedom and structure. Especially because she wanted to add another little terror into the mix.
“Juliana, you can’t let children do whatever they want. Look what happens!” He gestured toward the mess. “You definitely shouldn’t let Carlee hit you! A little discipline and boundaries never hurt anyone.” He turned to his son. “We don’t paint on the floor, Oliver! That’s not ok!”
His bottom lip quivered, but after discovering how good of an actor he was, Jonathan decided to let him know just how serious he was in case he thought he could fleece him again.
“No chicken nuggets for you!”
Oh ho ho ho how he carried on…
He never heard that boy scream like that before. Ever. He was not pleased to meet this side of his son. It was definitely time to go home. But, before he cleaned up the mess and left, he thought he’d try to help his niece out a bit more.
He turned his attention to his great-niece. “Carlee, do you love mommy?”
She smiled and nodded. “Uh huh.”
“Good. Don’t make messes…and don’t hit!”