The End

Cassie's mum looked up from her morning coffee as her daughter entered the kitchen, Cassie's father was at the bench, ready to catch his toast before heading out to the barn.

"Good morning." Cassie greeted, beaming at her parents.

Her mother beamed back, "morning, Sweetheart." She responded from the table. Her dad grabbed the toast as it popped and instantly began to butter it, this practice so grained into him it had become second nature.

"What's got you so chirpy today?" he asked, glancing up from his masterpiece.

Cassie gave a dramatic stretch, and gave her clean, green top a bit of a morning scratch. "Just happy to be alive." she responded, double checking that she'd packed everything she needed for school. "Do you mind if Rachel comes over tonight?" she asked, "we've got a Chem assignment for extra credit and we want top marks."

Her parents stared with open mouths at their child, "O-of course." her mother stuttered, just so happy that maybe, just maybe, whatever slump Cassie had been in for the past few years was finally over.

"She can stay the night if you want." her father offered, carrying his breakfast back to the kitchen table.

"Thanks." Cassie smiled.

They had their baby back.

Her sisters had noticed straight away, and they were thankful to say the least.

They had just woken up one morning and there she was; waiting for them in the den with freshly made blueberry pancakes and Saturday morning cartoons. At first they were suspicious; Rachel hated the T.V. on in the morning. Always wanted to sleep in, and cartoons with guns and explosions were outright banned. She always got angry when she heard them…but there she was, with a big, toothy smile.

Her mother had awoken to the sounds of giggles that drew her towards the den. She watched from the door as Rachel tackled her siblings to the ground tickling them until they cried for mercy. She smiled.

Everything was going to be all right.

Marco was studying when his father got home from work; he had Chinese in a box with him when he came in.

"Hey," Marco called when he heard his dad in the hall.

"Hey," his father echoed.

Marco got up and walked into the hallway, spotting his father having difficulty juggling the briefcase and the food, Marco intervened. Removing both the briefcase and the food and taking them into the kitchen.

"Uh, thanks." Smiled his father, grateful but a little surprised by Marco's thoughtful action. It was not that the young man wasn't thoughtful; he just wasn't good at putting thoughts into action.

"How was your day?" Marco asked as he removed the food from their cartons and into some clean bowls.

"Good…" Responded his father, not knowing where this well behaved act was taking him. He assumed it was somewhere bad. "What have you done now?" he asked, expecting this extravagant act was to soften the blow of detention. Possibly even suspension with Marco's track record. He just hoped the young man hadn't been playing chemistry with acids in the teacher's lounge again.

Marco seemed genuinely confused by the accusation, "I got a A+ in my History test at school today?" he offered for explanation.

"You're joking." his father was shocked, more than shocked, he didn't believe a word his son had spoken.

"Why would I be joking?"

Marco's dad let out a huge whoop, clapping his hands. "Way'ta go Champ!" he congratulated, giving Marco an approving whack on the back.

Later, he'd tell Marco that he'd finally asked Rhonda from work out on a date.

Tom burst out laughing, spurting half chewed dinner across the table.

"Tom, that's disgusting!" His mother squealed, trying to protect her plate from the flying derby.

"It's Jake's fault!" Tom accused, thrusting a finger at his brother across the table. Jake pulled an innocent expression. "Please," Tom joked, "Like anyone could trust a face like yours."

The table had never sounded so loud. Mr. and Mrs. Brynson had forgotten how noisy it was to have children that acted like siblings. She hadn't seen her youngest this happy in a long time. He looked healthier than she could remember him ever being, and he was wolfing the food down.

"Didn't have a late lunch today, I see." she commented as Jake took yet another grateful mouthful.

He swallowed before answering, an unusually rare act of manners for this young man, "nope" he answered smiling.