The alarm went off way too early. Why did it even go off? He turned it off the night before so he would be able to sleep in. He was on vacation... he still had at least four days left before he had to return to work.
But the incessant blaring of the alarm caused him to reach out and knock the poor mechanical object onto the floor where it finally stopped making noise. He was still for a moment and once the silence was confirmed he sighed and turned to his side and started to drift back off to sleep.
The door to his bedroom burst open, causing the items hanging on the back to fly across the room. A small bundle of energy came flying from the bottom of the bed and landed directly on him. Alec gasped, partially thanking the stars that she didn't land on him there. He wasn't planning more children, but still... it would hurt.
The young girl climbed all over him, her young girl's voice piercing the silence that he so badly wanted. "Come on daddy! It's the first day of school! You gotta get up! Come on! Comeoncomeoncomeonooooooooooooooon!"
He pretended to snore. The girl started to laugh as she began to try and tickle her father. Oh that did it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. He sat up and roared like a lion and wrapped his arms around the rambunctious child. She screamed and laughed as he tickled her back. He picked her up and threw her over his shoulder as he stood up from bed.
"Alright! Alright, I'm up, sweetheart." He walked over to the door and set the girl down. He finally got a good look at her and he raised an eyebrow at his daughter. "Who dressed you?"
The girl looked down at herself. She had on bright green leggings and a pink princess costume dress with her favorite orange sneakers. Her blond locks were tangled and had various barrettes and ties stuck in it.
"I did. You likey?"
Alec could only blink dumbly at her. The look in her blue eyes seemed as if she was going to cry if he said the wrong thing. "You... look great. But, don't you want to... uh, wear something else on your first day?"
The girl was ecstatic at her father's approval. "Nope!" She smiled and turned and ran down the stairs towards the kitchen where he could smell breakfast being made. He stood and watched Rayne disappear. Something whizzed by him and he reached out and grabbed his son by the collar of his jacket. The kid, ten-year-old Adian, gasped and flailed his arms.
"I've told you - no skateboarding in the house."
Adian steadied himself and grabbed his skateboard and carried it the rest of the way down the stairs towards the kitchen. Alec watched his son and scratched his hair. It was too early for this. Where the hell did the summer go where the kids could sleep in and leave him alone? He groaned and turned into the bedroom and went to the bathroom that he and his wife shared.
It didn't take him long to shower and dress. Since he was still off from work he didn't have to put on his suit or officer's uniform. He just threw on a pair of clean jeans, which were extremely hard to come by in his household, and a simple dress shirt. Socks and shoes finished the look. He grabbed his dog tags from the bedside table and headed down the stairs as he slipped the tags over his head.
When he entered the kitchen he got a good look of a school day morning. Adian and Rayne were sitting at the island counter and munching on what looked to be waffles. The smell of butter, batter and syrup wrapped around him and made him grin. The grin turned into a smile when a plate of food was held up to him by his wife.
"Good morning. I see that Rayne's enthusiasm was a decent alarm clock?" Jarynn was in an army green tank top and wore a skirt with a camouflage pattern of green, brown and grey. Her dark red-brown hair and her green eyes always managed to captivate him. Alec took the plate and leaned down, kissing his wife.
"Every day she gets closer to the jewels," he said. Jarynn gave him a look and lightly punched him in the abdomen. He rubbed the spot and started to eat the food he was given as he sat down at the island with his family. Adian was busy munching away at his breakfast as he had his eyes glued to his mother's tablet. From what Alec could see he was watching some kind of professional skateboarder. He looked to his wife with a concerned eye.
"You gave him the skateboard for his birthday," Jarynn reminded Alec.
"You talked me into it."
"You succumbed. I'm not taking responsibility for that one."
"But he's your son."
"Guys, I'm right here." Adian looked up and gave both his parents a disapproving look. He knew they loved him and he loved them in return, but sometimes the conversations they have with him present have always made him wonder if he existed at all. He looked to his sister and watched her.
"You treat her more like she isn't the alien."
"Adian Tyrell!" Jarynn looked at her son and frowned. Adian was very much Jarynn's son. The two of them had such a connection since the day he was born that Alec may as well not have been the father. it took Adian a long time before he would even let Alec feed him when he was a baby. Whenever Jarynn went out of town on business he always begged to stay with his cousin, William, and his mother Arianna than stay at home with their father.
Adian only shrugged and slipped of the stool and took his plate to the sink. Like a good son he rinsed off the plate and put it in the dishwasher to be cleaned. He grabbed his backpack, skateboard and lunchbox and headed towards the door out to the back and where the garage was.
"I'll be in the car."
Rayne looked after her brother and turned to her mother. "Mommy, why does he call me an alien?"
"He's just being a big brother," she said. "You're not an alien. Come on, we have to hurry or you're going to be late!"
Alec watched his family clean up and file out of the house. He looked at Rayne and contemplated what Adian had said. Rayne had blonde hair and blue eyes and very pale skin. There was no doubt that she was going to grow up into a beautiful young woman and he was prepared to ward off any man or boy he didn't deem fit enough to be around her. Even at the age of seven she was gorgeous.
But that's where it became awkward at times. His friends at work and even some of Jarynn's co-workers have this running joke that Rayne had to have been either someone else's child that was switched at birth or the aliens had to have abducted Jarynn. Alec and his family all had dark hair and dark eyes. Jarynn was Italian descended and held the common Mediterranean qualities of her family bloodline, including the red-brown hair and green eyes.
The doctors had explained that Rayne's genetic recessive genes were just activated, causing her not to look like the rest of her family. Genetic testing confirmed that Jarynn and Alec were her biological parents. When the door opened he looked up and saw Jarynn looking at him. "You're coming, right? Rayne is demanding you walk her in to class."
Alec couldn't help but smile as he got up, took the keys from his wife, kiss her because he was bored, and then led the way to the car to get the family out.
School was a terrifying thing. Never having gone before and being subjected to the first day ever was more terrifying. Alec could only imagine what his daughter could be going through as he stood outside the front doors to the massive brick building that was Dennyson's Elementary. Adian was hugging his mother goodbye a little down the sidewalk from where he was with their daughter. Her hand was in his and he swore she was shaking. He turned to her and knelt so he was closer to her height. She turned to him.
"You okay?" Rayne was visibly shaking now. She frowned and shook her head. Alec nodded and put his hands on her shoulders. "You're going to be fine. It won't be so scary once you get in there."
"But what if nobody likes me?" she said, a slight tremble in her voice. Alec could only look at her with disbelief.
"Nonsense!" he said, encouragingly. "I have not once found anyone who didn't like you. They're going to love you in there and you're going to get the chance to make new friends."
Rayne was a little better. She glanced towards the large doors and saw that her brother was already walking up the steps to the school. He didn't look back. She looked to her mother and she was smiling back at her daughter. Rayne looked back at her father. "Can you come with me? Please, Daddy?"
When she gave him those eyes Alec was putty in his daughter's hands. He sighed but smiled at her and stood up. "Let's go show them who's the boss."
"That's you!" Alec chuckled and led his daughter towards the menacing-looking building.
From the outside he had to take note that it looked like the city penitentiary where he started his career in the law enforcement field after leaving active duty in the Marines. He shook his head and guided his daughter through the hallways until they found the classroom that would be hers. As they walked he saw Adian grouped with a few other students about his age.
"Come children!" a young man said. Alec looked over and saw a guy about his height wearing simple clothes. He had tan skin and dirty blond hair. It was long enough that he had it tied back at the nape of his neck, dark blue eyes and thin rimmed glasses. He had a sharp face but it was friendly and he spoke with an accent.
The teacher looked over and saw Alec and greeted him with a handshake which was firm and that made Alec like the guy a little.
"Good morning," the man said. "I'm Cornelius Lanme, first grade teacher." He looked down at the young girl trying to hide behind her father. He knelt down and held out his hand to the girl. "A lot of my students call me 'Mr. Ocean'. If you'll stop being shy, I can show you why they call me that."
Alec looked down at his daughter and gave her an encouraging smile. She looked up at the new man and nodded, taking his hand and almost reluctantly letting go of her father's pants leg. Alec lingered by the doorway as the bell rang and all the students filed into their respective classrooms. He watched Mr. Lanme as he guided Rayne through the classroom, which was decorated with fish tanks of many colorful fish. The walls were decorated with past students' fish cut out crafts and the walls were painted like ocean waves.
Mr. Ocean, indeed, Alec thought. He was actually impressed by this show of creativity and seeing his daughter take to the new environment very easily was a comfort to him. She turned to see him and she had a smile again. Seeing that his daughter was going to be just fine he smiled back and waved at her before turning and heading towards the exit.
He got to the SUV that he shared with his wife and sat in the driver's seat. His wife was in the passenger seat and fooling around with something on her phone while she waited for him. She turned it off and looked at her husband.
"How is she?" Alec started the car and kicked it into gear and pulled away from the school.
"She's fine. Do you know who Mr. Ocean is?"
"Of course. He's been there for the last three years. He was Adian's first grade teacher. Very nice man, very creative. He took his class to the aquarium that last week of school that year and I remember that very clearly."
Alec raised his eye as he merged onto the highway to head back home. "Why do you say that?"
"Because I got a call saying that he somehow managed to find a way to go swimming in one of the displays with tiger sharks."
Oh, right. Alec remembered that as well and he recalled how completely terrified and disturbed his wife was during that whole ordeal. It was also the same time that Adian told him that he shouldn't care because he didn't love him. Alec very much wanted to not remember that.
"Oh." The two of them drove in silence for a moment before Jarynn reached over and took her husband's hand.
"Hey, we made it this far. It's ten years of child-rearing and we have at least another eleven to go. Don't quit on me now."
"Eleven? Where the hell'd you get that?"
"Rayne's seven. She'll be eighteen in eleven years."
"Fuck... we're old." He laughed and turned off the exit ramp and drove down until they made it to their street. He pulled in to the driveway and cut the engine. He looked out of the front window at the backyard. That's what he forgot.
Jarynn smiled. "Hey, I have two children's rooms to clean and a kitchen to bring into order. And I go back to work tonight, so I won't be home."
Alec turned his head and watched his wife. She was already part way out of the car but he grabbed her arm and pulled her back inside. She turned and he leaned forward to grab her and brought her to him for a very deep kiss. Jarynn melted against him as he kissed her and she smiled against his lips. Parting, they looked at each other for a moment.
"I love you."
"I know. Now cut the grass, babe."