“We’re home,” informed Zachary softly.
Charlotte didn’t react.
Zachary tapped her face lightly to prompt her to open her eyes slowly. She asked groggily, “Are we there yet? Where are the kids?”
“They’re waiting for you,” replied Zachary as he helped Charlotte out of the car.
“Mommy!” called out Ellie. Her short legs ran over. She was so excited that she almost knocked Charlotte to the ground.
Fortunately, Zachary was there to steady Charlotte.
She crouched down immediately to pick up Ellie’s chubby figure and kiss the girl’s soft cheeks.
“Mommy, where have you been? I miss you so much,” said Ellie. Her voice turned thick with tears as soon as her lips parted, and crystal clear teardrops swirled in her eyes.
However, Ellie never let her tears roll down her cheeks because the kids had agreed that they would not cry.
“Mommy missed you too,” said Charlotte while hugging Ellie. The former’s heart was heavy with guilt when she apologized, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t take care of you.”
“Mommy,” said Robbie. He had run over as well, and his tiny, new boots stomped on the puddle as he hurried over. That caused water from the puddle to splash everywhere.
“Robbie!” called out Charlotte, who opened her arms immediately to hold him.
“Mommy, are you okay?”
Robbie’s eyes were reddened with tears. He was quite mature, so he had always presented himself in a tough and calm manner. Yet, he couldn’t conceal his weaker side when he saw his mommy there.
“Mommy is fine,” promised Charlotte while hugging Robbie. She kissed his hair and asked, “Robbie, I heard that you had an allergic reaction. How are you feeling?”
“I’m all better now,” replied Robbie. His tiny hand wiped the rain off of Charlotte’s face, and he seemed heartbroken to see how pale she looked. He asked, “Mommy, are you sick?”
“It’s just a minor issue. I’ll be fine,” answered Charlotte.
As she spoke, the nurse pushed Jamie over to them.
“Mommy, mommy!” called out Jamie excitedly from a distance.
“Jamie!” said Charlotte. She rushed over to hug Jamie and ask, “How is your leg? Are you feeling better? When did they take the cast off?”
“They took the cast off yesterday, and the doctor said that I am recovering well,” answered Jamie. He hugged Charlotte tightly and added coquettishly, “I miss you so much, mommy. I had a dream about you this afternoon, and I was so scared that you won’t come back anymore.”
“Silly boy. Mommy is back now, and I will never leave again,” said Charlotte. She pinched his cute cheek a little and added lovingly, “Alright, let’s go in. It’s pouring out here.”
“Okay,” said the kids. All three stuck to Charlotte’s side. Robbie held her skirt, Ellie held one hand, and Jamie held Charlotte’s other hand.
“Don’t pester your mommy now. She needs to rest, too,” reminded Zachary.
Without saying another word, Zachary picked Ellie and Robbie up and put them on his shoulders.
“Gah!” shouted Robbie, who almost fell down.
“Robbie, do this,” shared Ellie. Her tiny, plump hand was gripping Zachary’s hair. She even demonstrated how she steadied herself while sitting on Zachary’s shoulder.
Robbie saw that and copied her instantly. He grabbed onto Zachary’s hair as well.
“See? You won’t fall this way,” bragged Ellie, with her tiny head held high.
“You’re right. It’s so much safer this way,” replied Robbie, who then sighed a breath of relief.
Zachary was utterly speechless.
If he were in a comic, a series of sweat drops would be drawn on his head. He felt as if he had turned into an actual tree with two monkeys hanging off him.
Fifi flew over at that moment and sat on Zachary’s head. The little parrot scanned around like it was looking for its territory.
“I wanna hang on after my legs recover,” complained Jamie. It sounded like he thought that he was missing out on a lot of fun because he couldn’t join his siblings who were on Zachary’s shoulders at that moment.
Charlotte giggled aloud. Her eyes exuded warmth and love when she turned to Zachary.
“It’s not funny!” grumbled Zachary before he pinched her cheek. He held her hand with one hand and pushed Jamie’s wheelchair with the other. He was leading everyone into the house. “Let’s go home,” suggested Zachary.
The three kids cheered with happiness echoing in their voices.