“What about me?”
Ellie had been eating her breakfast the entire time, so her lips were all dirty. Seeing Robbie and Jamie receiving compliments from Zachary inspired her to voice up, too. She raised her tiny, plump hand and was eager to brag.
“I-I can dance, sing, and paint…”
“That…” said Zachary in a troubled tone, “I honestly can’t help with.”
He could teach the boys some technical knowledge and combat skills, but he knew nothing about Ellie’s hobbies.
Ellie pouted her tiny lips. Her cute, round face crumpled together as her eyes shone with sorrow while staring at Zachary.
“I-I can play the piano. I’ll teach you that,” coaxed Zachary immediately.
“Mommy can teach me how to play the piano,” said Ellie in a disappointed tone. Her tiny hand held the hot cross bunny but she had lost her appetite. “Uncle Zack only likes Robbie and Jamie. You don’t like me,” murmured Ellie.
“That is not true,” insisted Zachary. He didn’t know how to comfort the kid, so he nervously nudged Charlotte to ask for help.
Charlotte suppressed her laughter and explained sweetly, “Uncle Zack is a boy, Ellie, so naturally, he can only teach the boys their hobbies. Mommy is a girl, and I can teach you whatever you like.”
“But there are boys in our class who can dance, sing, and paint,” refuted Ellie, whose logic was flawless. She pouted her tiny lips and stared unhappily at Zachary, “Is Uncle Zack a lesser man than the boys in our class?”
“Uh…” blurted Zachary. He couldn’t actually refute any of that.
Fifi flapped its wings and danced. It even raised its voice and acted like it’d enjoy the show even more if things escalated.
“Fifi!” growled Robbie while deliberately putting a stern face on before criticizing strictly, “Don’t add fuel to the fire.”
Fifi made a face at Robbie for that.
“Hmph,” pouted Ellie. She put her cutlery down and harrumphed angrily, “Uncle Zack is playing favorites, and you only like boys.”
“N-no, that is not true. I honestly don’t know how to do any of that,” denied Zachary nervously.
“You can learn,” insisted Ellie with her head tilted up, “Mommy said that everything is possible if we put our minds to it. You can master it if you are willing to learn, and you are too smart to not master it in time!”
Zachary was utterly speechless.
He had been put on a pedestal and felt like it was virtually impossible to get off of it.
He was troubled, but he had no choice, so he steeled himself up and agreed, “Okay, I’ll learn!”
“Hooray!” cheered Ellie happily, with her tiny, plump arms in the air. She then added, “Starting today, I will be your teacher. I will give you singing, dancing, and painting lessons every day. You don’t need to pay for these classes, but you must work hard and learn well, okay? If you don’t, I will hit you.”
Zachary was stunned. Did that tiny little thing just trick me? And have me cornered?
He quickly covered his face and turned to Charlotte. “Help!” mouthed Zachary.
Charlotte shrugged with a grin on. She looked like she couldn’t help him, even if she wanted to.
“Mommy, please buy me some colored pencils, some paper, a piano music note today. Oh, and please get me a teacher’s pointer as well. I will be giving Uncle Zack lessons today,” requested Ellie with a smile. Her big, round eyes shone with glee and anticipation.
“Okay,” replied Charlotte with a smile and a nod.
“It’s fine for you to give lessons, Ellie, but you’re not allowed to get in the way of Uncle Zack giving me fighting pointers,” said Jamie quickly. He was worried about Ellie monopolizing Zachary’s time, so he reminded, “Uncle Zack doesn’t just belong to you. He’s mine and Robbie’s too!”
“Okay,” agreed Ellie with a straight face on while nodding, “Good things are meant to be shared, anyway. How should we divide his time?”
Zachary couldn’t speak.
Good things are meant to be shared? Seriously?
Zachary raised his brows in exasperation. When did I become an object that was supposed to be shared among the three siblings?