Part Six

Chapter 1: Introduction to Relocation and Employment Contracts

Summary: Some things change, and some things stay the same

A/N: And we're back for part six, dear readers! Ol' Celery is making the assumption the world doesn't end. And if it does, at least we have fanfic to help us on our way out.

"So this is where things really get interesting. Or terrible. Time will tell."

Jeff nodded absentmindedly as he poked a pen in the lower desk drawer. He still hadn't been able to procure all of his supplies for his teaching gig, and his mom, who was the only one who apparently knew where anything was at Greendale, was stuck in the middle of a meeting with the Dean and the school board. He had been attempting to tune out Abed's narration so that he could spend as little time in the office as possible. Buzz was due back within the half hour, and he wanted to minimize the space spent in awkward grunts.

Abed cocked his head and studied Jeff's maneuvers. He shifted his perched position on Hickey's desk and added, "You're not listening. This is important."

With a heavy sigh, Jeff looked up. "Okay, just tell me." He kind of wished Abed would get off the desk but figured he could handle his own consequences. He still wasn't sure if Buzz was aware he and Abed were working on a detective screenplay or if that was merely in Abed's imagination.

Abed leaned forward. "This will be our final year, pending any other expansions of our universe, say if we were to get picked up for a movie."

"Um hm."

"We have a looser structure in which to work, which presents opportunities for some zany fun, emotional catharsis, and fluffy moments." He paused for dramatic effect and then added, "Or could unfortunately lead to a meandering storyline that bores the audience."

"Okay, I'll try to remember that."

"I hope there are possibilities for the introduction of a new character or two."

Jeff closed his eyes and nodded once again. He considered Abed might himself be bored, and Annie told him to be nice. She had run over to Sophie's preschool to pick her up from her last day and, he suspected, drive past Magnolia Avenue to take another wistful look at the house. Although he normally prided himself on being honest with his lady, he had so far been keeping pretty big news from her, news he considered she might literally combust from hearing. It was preoccupying his thoughts, and he told himself that getting his office set up for the first summer term on Tuesday was probably a good use of time so that they could move on to other projects before he was filled with Greendale teaching responsibilities.

Who was he kidding. This was Greendale. He planned to coast his way to success.

He smiled slightly as he realized he didn't even really need the money anymore. Borchardt had taken care of that. The amount of legal work required to bring back a man from the dead as well as coordinate other ventures, trusts, businesses, and of course Greendale Community College itself was keeping Jeff and Mark busy. The fact that Borchardt didn't seem to see the value in money either and was happy to pay them whatever they wanted, and would often offer bonuses because Jeff had been true to his promise in connecting him to a crazy old man named Elroy they had found in an RV on campus and that he saved Raquel, made Jeff's financial problems disappear.

He hadn't been completely forthright with Annie about it, mostly because he didn't quite believe it himself and he wanted to savor the moment when she knew that they could start to make more of their dreams come true. He already had the wine ready and was going to swing by the dry cleaners to get his best suit. The reservations were set at their favorite fancy restaurant for tomorrow night.

"That's interesting. Why are you smiling?"

He opened his eyes and found Abed staring at him, now with popcorn which had appeared out of nowhere. He sighed and said, "I was just thinking about something, but it has no relevance to anything we've been discussing."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Abed."

Abed shrugged and said, "Oh, for a moment there I thought you were thinking about Borchardt, who let's face it is a zany new character and I saw that guy Elroy you were talking to over near South Hall, and that would be directly related to what I was just saying. Oh, and are you rich now?"

Abed's eyes pierced his, and it was more than a little unnerving.

He considered his options. He couldn't very well lie to Abed, but he didn't want things to get out of hand. Abed blabbed a lot, he couldn't help it nor distinguish when he shouldn't. He leaned back in his chair and, eyeing the door to make sure it was still shut, explained, "Not rich, but Borchardt is a client, and I am helping him get things in order for his return to society. He's paying me in line with the work. Elroy knows a lot about computers and is helping get Raquel back online."

"So are you rich?"

"Not exactly. But I'm no longer freaking out about paying the rent."

Abed nodded, and he hoped that would take care of it.

"Goo! Gooooooooooo!"

Grateful for the reprieve, he started to rise to attend to a wakening Sebastian when the door opened and there was Buzz. His brows rose in mild surprise at the sight of them, and then he spotted the cagepen and his grumpy expression transformed into a full on grin.

"Goooooooooo!"

"Well, what do we have here? A visitor?" The tone was full of bemusement.

Buzz walked up to the cagepen, seemed to study the inside carefully, and then leaned over and picked up Sebastian, handling him like a pro. Jeff's chest warmed, and he considered perhaps he didn't need to be that concerned about sharing an office with Buzz. He had been fixating on the potential awkwardness but not the advantages. Buzz was good with Sophie and likely babies as well. And if Jeff had any bets, he'd wager Annie was more than eager to swing by campus frequently this summer rather stay home full time with the kids.

Buzz was addressing Sebastian, "You could have given me notice, I would have gotten you a special treat. Your mommy told me you started eating mashed bananas."

"And pureed spinach, but I don't know why."

"I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to Sebastian."

Jeff rolled his eyes and decided to assume Buzz was joking in some way. He wasn't completely sure, but he really didn't want this to be any more weird than necessary. He turned to Abed and asked, "Maybe we should go find Shirley? I'll circle back here in twenty."

Buzz turned toward them and the corners of his mouth twitched.

"Now, Jeff, we're going to be officemates. Your mom is thrilled. Let's just play along."

"I'm not playing. We're fine Buzz."

Abed, who was now standing by Jeff's side asked, "Fine or fyne?"

Ignoring the question, Jeff said to Buzz, but it was more of a question, "I know?"

Buzz winked.

X

X

About ten awkward minutes later, Annie and Sophie came bursting in like rays of sunshine. Jeff instantly perked up and if anyone was closely paying attention, Buzz and Abed did as well.

Sebastian, still on the lap of Buzz, was more obvious, with his shrieking and smiling at Sophie.

"Awww, I missed you sweetie! Don't you worry. I'm here. I'm all done with school and we are going to spend the whole summer together!" Sophie ran over to him and Jeff quickly arranged a chair next to Buzz so that Sophie could sit. She proceeded to stand on it, and as Annie started to reprimand her, Buzz growled.

"Sophie, that chair is a little big for you. We should get you your own chair. I'll fashion one up for you in my woodshop."

Now very pleased, Sophie said, "I would like that very much, thank you, Grandpa Buzz." She then tilted her head and grinned mischievously as she said, "See Mommy, I said thank you."

"Yes, sweetie, good job." Annie was eyeing Sophie with some wariness that puzzled Jeff.

Sophie smiled triumphantly and turned her attention back to Sebastian. "Now where is your bear? Did Daddy leave her at home?" She then followed Buzz's nonverbal direction to sit down without any resistance.

"I state for the record I did not." Jeff took the bear out of the cagepen and tossed it at her, the result being a cascade of giggles. He then joined Annie by his desk. She was admiring it, running her hand over the top while licking her bottom lip, and he just about died.

"Hey, it's a little sticky. I'm gonna have to grab some cleaner or something." He leaned in a little, and wondered if they should wait until they were alone. He cast a glance over at Buzz and the kids and noticed they were in rapt conversation.

"Awww, it's your teacher desk." Her eyelashes fluttered up at him, and then she ducked her head with a blush.

Now very intrigued, he sat down, fished his reading glasses out of his pocket, and placed them on his nose, figuring that would do it for her just as much as his suit, which he was sporting today just because he had come from a minor court issue that morning.

"What do you think? Do I look like a professor now?"

She instantly squealed, and he nodded repeatedly as he watched her excitement.

"Jeff! You're wearing them in public!"

"Now, let's not refer to this office as public, or even Greendale as such. And I'll have you know that even I admit I'm having a little bit difficulty reading all of the Dean's memos. He writes like an elf."

"You do look very scholarly." She swiveled her hip and stepped closer, taking her index finger to tap him lightly on the nose, and he instantly had no regrets whatsoever for agreeing to the teaching gig.

"Ahem."

They both turned to see Abed exaggerating a yawn. He was standing eerily close to the desk, and he had Sophie's backpack in his arms.

"We don't have time for flirting. Everyone knows you're together. It's boring. Let's move the plot along." He was inching toward the door.

Jeff scowled.

It was then that the Dean entered, his mom right on his tail with a clipboard. Abed fell back and raised his eyebrows.

"Hi-dee ho! Why it's some of my favorite Greendaliens." The Dean paused and clarified, "Perhaps I shouldn't use that term. Some of our students are sensitive about immigration issues, and I don't want to offend. So, scratch that, let's just go back to Greendale Human Beings." He smiled indulgently at all of them, his eyes lingering on Jeff's glasses.

Quickly removing his spectacles and shoving them in his jacket pocket, Jeff cleared his throat and said, "Hi mom. Dean."

His mom stepped forward with warmth. "Jeffrey, it's so good to see you! We just had a mess of a meeting with the school board. Now, I must tell you…"

The Dean interjected, "Now Dorie, let's not bother him with this right now. Afterall, look at how professory he looks! He'll fit right in!" The Dean tilted his head and continued to admire Jeff sitting in at his desk.

Annie clapped her hands and said, "I know, doesn't he?!"

His mom nodded, and Jeff could have let it die there, but he had an itching on the back of his neck.

Perhaps against his better judgement, he asked, "What happened with the school board?"

His mother, who had been waving at Buzz and the kids, cast a sturdy look at the Dean and said, "Richie and Carl are being ridiculous. They don't know how to properly use the funds that dear Doctor Borchardt gave for upkeep to the school. They want to jazz up the entire quad and hire a new mascot."

The Dean whimpered.

With a look of reproach at the Dean which gave Jeff the impression that perhaps it wasn't only Richie and Carl who were being idiots, she continued, "And really, we all know that the funds should first be used to clear out that underground lair and patch all the holes. The teacher's lounge is almost falling into the basement at this point. Poor Ian was electrocuted and still needs to see a decent hairdresser to fix his burnt and split ends. And someone was apparently playing with dynamite near the back of the gymnasium and blew up some shrubbery."

Buzz coughed.

Jeff and Annie exchanged alarmed looks.

"Mom, you're right. I can talk to Borchardt and we will put conditions on the funds. Of course, we'll need to have someone supervise, obviously."

She shook her head, the space between her brows crinkling with worry. "Jeffrey, I just don't know that school well enough for these types of procedures. As organized as I am, I'm a little out of my element."

Not surprising anyone present, Annie instantly stepped forward and exclaimed, "I can help!"

"Oh, that would be wonderful, dear! Craig, wouldn't that just be fantastic?"

The Dean smiled triumphantly and shook Annie's hand. As she squealed, he said, "That would be terrific! Why, having one of my best students and my former assistant help us with this mess is a godsend! I don't see why this won't work unless something else catastrophic happens!"

Jeff tried to ignore the continued itchiness on the back of his neck.

X

X

By the time they made the Greendale rounds to greet everyone, picked up Ruffles from Ian, and got into the SUV, Annie sensed something was up. She wasn't sure if Jeff was having doubts about teaching, if it was sharing an office with Buzz, her taking on a new project and worried about her ability to tend to the kids this summer, or if Abed had said something terribly wrong. Or it could be all of those things. She considered maybe it was not the moment to share with him the latest development.

Jeff was glaring at Abed, who was seated in between the kids, in the rearview mirror as he drove.

"We are not picking up Troy. This is already a circus."

"I promised him we'd watch Kickpuncher 2 tonight. And he says he couldn't meet me on campus for a little while because, well….because. I should state he told me to tell you he had nothing to do with the dynamite."

Ignoring that potential minefield, Jeff reiterated, "And you can watch Kickpuncher. I will just drop you off at home."

"But I thought we could all watch it together?"

Jeff smiled tightly, the way he did when he was about to lose it. Annie glanced in the rearview mirror and noticed Abed's intense stare and Sophie's wide eyes. She then regarded Sebastian's sleeping face, reflected in another mirror, as he was facing backward in his baby carseat. She had some concerns he was going to assume this was naptime and be grouchy later, but she knew that wasn't the priority.

She simply said, "Sophie's too young to watch Kickpuncher."

"I wanna see it, Mommy. I can kick."

"No, sweetie. We'll watch something better."

Abed said, "I want to watch a movie with you guys tonight."

"Jeff and I need some quiet time tonight, okay? It's been a long week."

"But it's never quiet at your place. Sophie tells me it's loud."

"It IS! Sebastian is so loud. He cries and laughs and says gooooo and throw-ed bananas on me. He's so noisy!"

Annie stifled a laugh as she remembered their morning. Jeff had needed to do a quick sink hair wash and gel maneuver with Sophie, and it had been semi traumatizing yet adorable. She had taken a few pictures of a delighted Sebastian full of banana himself, the slime oozing into his chubby cheeks.

Jeff piped in. "Yeah, munchkin, did you know you hit me with a bunch of goopy bananas when you were a baby?"

"Oh, no! I did not!" Sophie sounded scandalized. Annie peeked in the mirror again and noticed she was smacking her face with an outstretched palm, which was very dramatic.

Jeff's tone remained playful as he continued, "Yeah, you probably don't remember it. You were just a little bit older than Sebastian is now. It was first thing in the morning, and you were very excited to show me how far you could throw your food. My hair was very sticky."

"I'm sorry, Daddy."

"Oh, I wasn't upset. That's just what babies do. It was kind of funny." He winked at her in the rearview mirror, and Sophie giggled.

Annie chuckled at the memory and exchanged soft looks with Jeff. She was glad he was relaxing and teasing. She considered she would very much like to have a quieter evening with him, without the pressures of Kickpuncher.

Abed said, "That's interesting. Jeff, when were you first sleeping with Annie? Troy and I have differing views on that exact timeline. He says New Year's of first year if not before, and I say no or you would have told me."

Annie squeaked, "Abed!"

Jeff shouted, "That's it! Apartment 303 can't get here fast enough!"

"Daddy and Mommy sleep together all the time. I'm going to sleep with them tonight too."

X

X

Eventually they got rid of Abed, after letting him say his goodbyes to Sophie, Sebastian, and Ruffles. Abed never seemed that interested in the dog, but he opened her carrier and pet her gingerly on the head and then took his leave. Annie could sense Jeff easing the tension in his shoulders, and within a few minutes, she was aware that he was humming and seemed excited.

She patted his thigh as he drove and said, "It's Friday. We have a weekend of togetherness."

"Yeah, awesome."

He made a left, and she was wondering why he was going in the opposite direction of their apartment. She was about to ask when Sophie had other plans.

"Mommy, can I tell Daddy now? Please?"

She smiled sheepishly at Jeff, knowing what was coming. She was more than a tad concerned it would ruin his mood, but then she considered that he never could say no to Sophie so that he probably wouldn't be too upset. She felt more than a little guilty that she hadn't run it past him first, but Sophie had been so heart set on it, and she found evern herself not being able to deny her.

He glanced at her and asked, "What is she talking about?"

"Sweetie, let me tell Daddy."

"No, I want to tell him. I'm going to tell him. He'll love it."

"Sweetie, I…"

"Daddy, we have a new friend. Ruffles will love her so much. She's way in the back? Do you hear her? I think I hear her. I hope she's not scared. I told her everyone will love her."

Jeff shot a look of alarm toward Annie, and she bit her lip.

"The what? Do we have another dog?"

"Jeff, it was her last day of preschool, and they needed to empty out the classroom. It's just for the summer, I swear."

He mouthed silently, "A cat?"

She shook her head.

"I don't understand. Munchkin, who's in the back?"

"Mister Flufferstein! Ta da! She had nowhere to go because Charlie puked all over and he was supposed to watch Mister Flufferstein but Charlie's mommy says no Charlie is always puking."

"Jeff, it's just the summer, and maybe Charlie's mom will let us hand off Mister Flufferstein when he feels better."

"No, Mommy, Miss Megan says I get Mister Flufferstein."

"But maybe Charlie would like to see her once he feels better."

"Charlie can visit her. She's mine."

The true situation finally dawning on him, Jeff said, "Wait, do we have a guinea pig now?"

"Yeah, Daddy!"

Annie tapped his thigh once again, hoping he wouldn't freak out. She knew he didn't have much patience for his mother's rabbits and for the smell of cedar chips and cleaning cages. Their baby's diaper and picking up after Ruffles was probably enough right now, but Sophie had been pleading and then insistent. She supposed she had also been wanting to give something to Sophie since she had to put up with a crying baby and no longer getting most of their attention.

"I'm sorry I didn't run it by you first, it's just that things happened so quickly."

"There was a lot of puke, Daddy."

Jeff nodded, and kept driving, this time taking a right. Annie waited for him to say something, anything.

With a heavy sigh, he asked, "It's just for the summer?"

"Yes, she goes back into the classroom in the fall."

"It's a girl named Mister?"

"Yes."

"Can we keep her? I"m going to kindergarten and I won't see her."

"Sweetie, we agreed it was just for the summer. Then she has to meet all the new kids. You're doing a great thing in taking care of her. But it's just for a little while."

She glanced back and Sophie was pouting. With a sigh, she turned and faced the front.

"Are you going to say anything?"

She startled and suddenly realized they were on Broadmore Street in Riverside and turned to see Jeff grinning as he made one final left turn onto Magnolia Avenue.

"Wait, why are we…?"

"Since we have a guinea pig now, we're going to need more room."

They were in front of the brick colonial.

X

X

It was a matter of gasps and then swats before she could fully comprehend that he wasn't teasing. He explained something about Borchardt and a couple new clients he and Mark had reeled in, and then he had insincerely apologized for not having been forthright with her, but he had wanted it to be a surprise.

With a wary brow, she asked, "The surprise being...?"

"My mom's real estate agent Ellen is waiting for us inside. She's going to show us around."

He was grinning like a schoolboy.

"Jeff! You mean you think we can actually afford some place like this? I looked at all the photos online and I just don't know. It's so nice."

He grabbed her hand mid-swat and glanced into the backseat. She instantly felt guilty, knowing that Sophie was likely watching them. She turned to see Sophie smiling impishly with her hands intertwined on her lap.

"Mommy, chill out! Daddy said surprise. Surprises are nice things. Like my birthday. And Mister Flufferstein. I'm going to be five very, very soon. I want another guinea pig so Mister Flufferstein doesn't get lonely."

Jeff was holding back laughter, and he squeezed her hand for encouragement. "Annie, she's right you know." He then narrowed his eyes and addressed Sophie, "Not about the second guinea pig. I think one guinea pig is plenty of guinea pigs. Mister Flufferstein has you as a friend, and you're a good one."

"Yes, Daddy."

He turned back to Annie and waited.

She was conscious of the bubbling in her stomach, the heat in her chest and cheeks, and how much she wanted to believe him.

"Let me take a look at the accounts, just to be sure."

"Let's at least go look at it."

"Okay!"

X

X

Within a few minutes, they had somehow emptied the car and made it up to the house. Due to the heat, Annie had insisted they take Mister Flufferstein and Ruffles with them, and Jeff inwardly rued the fact that he hadn't considered that pets would likely not be welcome in a house being shown for sale.

He managed to text Ellen an apologetic heads up while they were in the car. He tapped on the door. She opened it with a wide, likely nervous, smile and proceeded to take a sweeping look at all of them. Annie held an adorably cute Sebastian. Jeff was precariously gripping a guinea pig cage (he had now formerly met Mister Flufferstein), and his right hand was wrapped through Ruffles' leash and his left leg was grabbed by the munchkin.

Sophie was jabbering, "How come we've never moved, Daddy? Grandma moved. We always live in the same house."

"Well, we might move. That's why we're going to look at this house."

"I hope it has a drawbridge. Maybe it's in the back of the house? I don't see one here. Ariana Puffington likes drawbridge-es-es."

He smiled down at her and then regarded Ellen, a smart dressed and impeccably groomed woman of around fifty. She was stifling a laugh, and he made the round of introductions.

"I'm sorry about the pets. I didn't think it through. And to be fair, we only had the dog this morning. Somehow our daughter wrangled a guinea pig out of her last day of preschool." He nodded down at the cage.

Ellen shook her head. "There's no problem. Here, let's maybe put the cage in the foyer, and would you mind taking the dog, what a cute little dog, to the backyard? It's fenced in, but maybe still secure it in some way?"

"Of course. Thank you so much."

Annie was awwing already, and his heart melted. After settling the fur creatures, they proceeded to get the full tour.

X

X

They were talking amongst themselves in the kitchen, having left Ellen to show Sophie the backyard.

Annie squeaked, "This house is amazing!"

He chuckled. "Yeah, I know. Should we look at more?"

She repositioned Sebastian in her arms and then grunted in thought. He reached over and took the squirt from her so she could maniacally move about, as he knew excited Annie needed it. She readily took him up on it and began waving her hands to illustrate.

"This kitchen is beautiful! There's a full size stove and a brand new dishwasher!"

"Yeah, it's pretty nice." He nodded and kissed the squirt, now full on drooling, on his forehead. He reached for a wipe from Annie's bag, and she readily handed the whole bag over as she sashayed into the living room. He followed.

"And this!" She held her arms wide. "We could have a family space here and then a reading nook over there…."

-"Annie, who's going to read right now? The noise."

"Stop it, Mister Grinch." She smiled playfully and then made her way to the dining area. "And this! We could have our friends over, or Sophie could have a little party with her friends. Or maybe Sebastian won't fling so much banana on Sophie if they're not sitting as close together."

"Yeah, maybe."

She ran upstairs, and he followed.

"This." She pushed open one of the bedroom doors, and they stepped inside. "What a great room for Sophie! It's blue now, but I say a nice purple. Of course, she can pick whatever color she wants, but I have a hunch it'll be purple."

"Yeah, I…"

She tapped his elbow and indicated with her head to follow to the next room.

He couldn't take his eyes off of her and her delight.

X

X

After returning downstairs, they discussed down payment in hushed tones, Annie now finally onboard with doing this. He reassured her they'd talk more about it at home.

"Should we look at a few more? Ellen says there's a place on Chadwick near your old high school."

Annie pursed her lips and seemed to consider something for a few moments. She then tapped her hand on the kitchen counter and looked up at him with determination.

"I don't want to live near my old high school, plus that's a little too close to my mom."

"Ah, both good points."

"Plus, this house is only a few blocks from your mom and Buzz, and I already looked into the elementary school when you first showed me the listing, and it's perfect for Sophie and Sam."

"Of course you did."

"You did too, dummy."

He silently agreed and did his best to walk around the kitchen to keep Sebastian engaged, as the kid was wanting to look at everything these days. Annie had warned him crawling might be soon, and he was giddy at the thought, but even more so if that could happen in a bigger place. He could not fathom their current arrangement lasting much longer, especially with the addition of Mister Flufferstein.

"I should mention that Ellen says there's a house for rent around the corner." He paused for low-key yet dramatic effect and wiggled his brows.

"For Holly and the kids?!" Annie jumped up and down several times.

"That's what I was thinking. She's showing Holly tomorrow."

She stopped and stared at him incredulously and then walked over to give him a kiss. They were interrupted by Sophie's shrieks from the backyard.

"Ooooh! No Ruffles! You don't! Ruffles!"

They jogged out the back door and took in the sight of their fluffy white dog tearing in circles around the fenced in yard, clearly having finagled her way out of her leash. Jeff glanced down to see it hanging loosely from the patio post and had a sneaking suspicion Ruffles might have had some assistance, but he considered now was not the time to get into it. He looked back up and shouted apologies to Ellen in her high heels, who was making attempts to corral the furry beast.

X

X

They returned home and settled Mister Flufferstein in her temporary spot on the dining room table, which annoyed Jeff.

"Come on. Where are we supposed to eat?"

"We can't put her on the floor, Jeff. Ruffles will go crazy."

"Like she went crazy earlier? I didn't know a terrier could run like that."

"Ruffles loves her new yard. Are we gonna move there? Really? Please Mommy? Daddy?"

"We'll see, munchkin. We have to talk to Ellen and work something out. Maybe."

Annie whispered, "I thought she'd be more upset at the idea of leaving this place. It's the only home she remembers."

Perking up her ears, Sophie stood on a dining chair and said, "I wanna live at the new house, Mommy. It doesn't have a drawbridge, but it has the best moat."

"That's a backyard, sweetie. Not a moat."

"It's a moat."

Jeff grinned and rumpled her curls. He was mentally preparing for the hassle of real estate forms and the offer they'd make on the place. It had been awhile since he had purchased anything, but he remembered ownership gave him a certain pride and satisfaction. Although his old condo would not have been suited to his new family, he did love having a place of his own.

Annie went off to change Sebastian, and his thoughts were interrupted by his phone vibrating in his jacket pocket. He frowned and took it out, answering it immediately once he saw who was calling.

"Shirley, what is it?"

She never called him in the evenings unless it was important. They had had a few words about her and Andre last week, and he didn't want to think about what new hell awaited him with that scenario. He was planning to have a stern chat with him on Sunday.

"Jeffrey, I'm so glad I reached you." Her voice was frantic, and he instantly stood up taller and motioned for Sophie to sit down.

"Go ahead."

"It's awful! My business! Garrett! I still can't find Pavel!"

There was an odd clacking sound in the background and muffled cries.

Now thoroughly confused, he picked up Sophie and sat down, pulling her onto his lap. She stopped laughing, likely sensing he was upset. He kissed her on her head and whispered to her that everything was okay.

"Shirley, take a deep breath."

There was a long pause.

"Okay. I'm better."

"Good. Now explain to me what happened."

"The cafeteria roof collapsed and spilled thousands of old frisbees through the place, completely overtaking everyone. Garrett's been sent to the hospital again, and oooh….." She paused and then said, "Oh!"

There was a rustling sound, and Jeff waited.

"It's mad plastic-y under there! Hello Shirley!"

"Oh my lord in heaven, thank you! Pavel, you're alive!"

Jeff closed his eyes and was pretty convinced the rest of his weekend plans were cancelled.