A week had passed since Rosalia met Miles and Jesse Tuck. A lingering feeling of worry gnawed at her whenever she thought about it. She'd only occasionally see them if they happened to drive by or if she and Tyler went on a walk past their house. Even though she realized this was probably just paranoia, it didn't seem to help push down her worry.
Rosalia sat with her laptop in her room. Friends played on Netflix as background noise while she scrolled through social media on her phone.
The door opened and closed, making her pause her show and listen.
"Kids? Sarah? I'm home!"
She gasped and didn't even bother to pause her show as she bolted out of her room.
"Dad!" she exclaimed.
Erik Harper turned as Rosalia wrapped her arms around his torso and squeezed tightly. "Hey, flower. How's my girl?" he asked, kissing her head and giving her a squeeze.
"I'm good. How was your-?"
A flurry of brown hair and paint leapt into Erik's arms, nearly knocking both Erik and Rosalia over.
"Whoa! Hey Ty, how're you doing?" Erik laughed, kissing Tyler's cheek.
"I missed you," Tyler said quietly, burying his head in his dad's shoulder.
"He had a visit with his bio mom a few days ago and he's been in a funk since then," Rosalia whispered.
"Ah," Erik said slowly.
Erik has been on a business trip for two weeks. He occasionally went on trips, but this was the longest he's been on.
"Where's your mom?" Erik asked, gently setting Tyler on the ground. Tyler grasped Dad's hand and stuck to his side like glue.
"Here. Hi Erik," she smiled walking up from downstairs.
Erik smiled and they kissed. Rosalia looked at Tyler, who looked at her. They grinned before exclaiming, "Ew!"
Knock knock knock
"I'll get it!" Tyler shouted, darting towards it and swinging it open.
Erik quickly walked over to Tyler and placed his hand on the four year old's shoulder before saying, "Hey there. Can we help you?"
"Uh, is this the Harper house?" a familiar voice asked. Rosalia couldn't help the dread that slowly began to fill her.
"Yep, I'm Erik. May I ask who you are?"
"Name's Jesse. Jesse Tuck. Me and my brother moved into the house behind you guys and your wife made us some delicious lasagna and I came to return the pan."
Sarah joined her husband at the door with a smile. "Thank you, Jesse. How are you and Miles doing? Are you adjusting well?"
"We are, thank you. I better be getting back. Thank you again for lasagna," Jesse said.
"Jesse, do you and Miles have any plans tonight?" Erik asked.
"Nope. Just working on the house," Jesse replied.
Don't do it. Don't do it, Dad, c'mon, you don't even know them! They could be creepy kidnappers! Rosalia's train of thought quickly turned into panic as she realized her father's plan.
"Would you guys like to join us for dinner tonight?" Erik asked.
Rosalia inwardly sighed and cursed her family for being so kind. The Harper's were always trying to help whoever they could. When Jake's dad left him and his mom, they had dinner with the Harper's for almost a week.
So maybe their kindness wasn't always a bad thing. Rosalia wasn't sure where she'd be without Jake.
"Are-are you sure? I don't want to impose," Jesse said slowly.
"You're not imposing, I promise. We'll eat around five. Does that work for you guys?" Erik asked.
"We'll be here. Thank you," Jesse said. Rosalia could hear the smile in his voice.
"See you then," Sarah said. Erik closed the door and Rosalia saw Jesse walk down the sidewalk out the window.
"Mom, Dad, I love how kind you guys are to everyone," Rosalia said slowly.
"There's a 'but' coming," Erik said, looking at Sarah with a smirk.
"We don't know them! They could be kidnappers!"
Sarah chuckled and said, "Rosie, they're not kidnappers."
Rosalia frowned. "How do you know? You talked to them once, Mom."
Rosalia followed her mother as she walked into the kitchen and dropped her voice to a whisper. "Mom, when I went to their house to give them the lasagna, they were looking at me really weirdly. They kept saying I looked really familiar. It was creepy."
Sarah frowned. She stayed silent for a minute before saying, "Ok, I'll admit that is kind of weird. Maybe you just look like a family member of theirs. I don't think they're kidnappers, Rosie."
Sarah continued to counter all of her daughter's arguments until she had enough and told Rosalia to help Tyler clean up his paints.
"Lia, what's your favorite color?" Tyler asked as he put the lid on the blue paint. Rosalia tapped her chin thoughtfully and decided, "Purple. What about you, Ty?"
"Yellow! It's like the sun!" Tyler grinned.
Rosalia smiled as Tyler began talking about how much he loved the color yellow. He seemed to finally be out of his funk. Now to keep it that way.
"Rose! Tyler! Put that stuff away, they're going to be here soon!"
"Just one more round, Mom! We're almost done!" Tyler said.
Erik had brought home two inflatable sumo suits as presents for the kids from his business trip. At first, Erik had joined in on the 'wrestling tournaments'. But then he put a hole in one of them that they fixed with the power of duct tape. Erik has since been banned from the tournaments.
"You're going down, short stuff!" Rosalia challenged.
Tyler's grinned and said, "Loser has to do winner's chores for a week!"
Rosalia's eyebrows shot up. "Dang kid, I didn't know you had it in you. Deal!"
Tyler laughed and charged. He tackled his sister, erupting into giggles when she rolled over on top of him.
Rosalia wrapped her arms around her little brother and threw him onto the couch. He bounced off and back onto the floor, being cushioned by the inflatable suit. He got up and tackled Rosalia again and this time grabbed her arms.
The siblings were cut off by a knock on the door.
"Rosie, that's probably the Tuck brothers. Can you get that?"