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Return of the Prodigals
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Return of the Prodigals
by Twig

Julian and Ivy watched the remaining people at the table try and hide their expressions of disgust. Under the table, out of sight of everyone else, Ivy opened up a package of chocolate chip cookies and, when she was sure no one was looking, bit into one. Oh heaven…

Julian glared across the table at his wife, having caught her action. What she didn't know was that he had bought himself a chewy fudge brownie earlier in the day, which he slowly removed from his jacket pocket. Then, pretending to eat some of the pea soup pie, he bit into the brownie.

Noah laughed as he saw Amanda's face fall as she caught sight of their desert.
"THIS is desert?" she asked, looking like a lost little girl.
"Try the pea soup pie," Stephanie said with an evil snicker, "It's to die for."
"Is this Jell-O?" Elizabeth asked hopefully, taking a large bite of the jiggling, clearish-pink substance.
"BLECHHHHHHH!!!" she spit it out seconds later, reaching in desperation for the passion fruit milkshake, which she downed in its entirety.
"Something wrong?" Stephanie smirked.
"That…was…it was…it was…LOBSTER FLAVORED JELL-O!!"

Joshua and Bradley glanced at each other, disgusted. They nodded simultaneously and reached across the table, digging their hands into the Jell-o.
"What in the name of god are you doing-" Gwen began, horrified at their behavior.
Bradley scooped up a handful of the horrid concoction and flung it at Ivy, where it splattered all over her face and shirt. With a shocked cry, Ivy dropped her bag of cookies on the floor and leapt up.
Joshua hurled some of the lobster Jell-o at Julian, and it burst in his face, coating him with jiggling pink goo.
"JOSHUA! BRADLEY!" Gwen shrieked, mortified.
Bradley's response was to chuck the entire pea soup pie at his older sister, where it exploded all over her face and hair.
"YEEEEEEEEECHHHHH!!!" Gwen attempted to stand up, forgetting all about her ankle. She tripped over her crutches and sprawled on the floor, taking the tablecloth and most of the deserts with her.
Orange sherbet with bacon-flavored whipped cream spattered all over Amanda, and she leapt up with a cry of outrage, and tackled Ethan.
"HEY!" Ethan yowled as she knocked him to the floor and began pounding him with her fists.
William hurried up behind her, and Ethan yelled for him to help, but instead, William grabbed a fistful of tomato soup cake and smushed it in Ethan's face.

Gabriel crawled under the table on his hands and knees and came face to face with Julian, who was cowering in one corner, clutching a brownie in his hand. He and Gabriel exchanged suspicious glances before Gabriel's hand darted out and snatched the brownie. Then he crawled off before Julian could respond.
"HEY!" Julian finally yelled, grabbing for him, but instead his hand closed around Ivy's ankle, and she crashed to the ground with a yell.
Gabriel scrambled out from under the table and leapt to his feet, dodging through the melee. He finally flung out the door and sprinted out into the cool night air, clutching his prize firmly in his hands.

Noah grabbed Amanda's arm and pulled her off of her brother, leaving Ethan sprawled on the ground with a stunned expression and a black eye.
"What are you doing?" he yelled, trying to be heard over everyone else.
Amanda shrugged innocently, wiping a blob of pea soup off of his cheek with her hand, "I tend to get carried away."
Noah simply shook his head in amazement.

Ivy lying on the floor, straining to move despite all of her previous injuries, finally spotted Julian, and recognized him as the cause of her unexpected spill.
"YOU!" she growled, grabbing a handful of tomato soup cake and rolling towards him.
"Ivy…Don't do anything drastic…" Julian backpedaled rapidly, attempting to stand up but hitting his head on the table.
Ivy crammed the entire fistful of tomato soup cake into his mouth, causing him to gag loudly.
"I…HAVE…PUT…UP…WITH…YOUR…ANTICS…FOR…TOO…LONG!" Ivy screamed, hurling fistful after fistful of Grace Bennett's infamous recipe at her husband.
Suddenly, from out of the blue, Gwen whacked Ivy over the head with one of her crutches.
"AHH!" Ivy yowled in pain, flopping over on the ground again.
Julian sputtered and coughed, spitting out as much of the hideous concoction as he possibly could. Then he glanced up nervously at Gwen, who was leaning her weight on the counter, crutch poised above her head, and her face a mask of fury.
Julian gulped.

"Mother!" Ethan yelled, standing up, "Mother!"
He spotted Gwen standing over his two unconscious parents, crutch still in hand.
"Gwen!" he exclaimed in shock, "You hurt my mother and father!"
Gwen whirled to face him, her disheveled appearance making her look…evil.
"Good lord," she said loudly, her eyes widening, "I did…I'm so sorry Ethan, I don't know what came over me!"
Ethan shook his head, stunned, "Gwen…you hit my parents over the head with your crutches!"
Gwen was staring at the prone forms of Julian and Ivy in shock, "I…"
The blaring of the telephone joined the sounds of the melee that had erupted around them.
"That must be Grandfather," Ethan said slowly, still unable to tear his gaze away from his parents.

William made his way over to the phone, removing his baseball cap and wiping a blob of lobster Jell-O off of it before replacing it back on his head.
He pressed the speakerphone button, "Hello?"
"Who is this?" the voice of Alistair Crane demanded furiously.
William grinned wickedly, "Hello Grandfather."
"William?"
William chuckled, "Yep, it's me."
"Where is Julian? And WHY IS THERE A FOOD FIGHT GOING ON IN THE DINING ROOM?!"
William backed away from the phone, wincing, "Ah…Father is…um…occupied."
"You mean he's passed out on the floor," Alistair corrected in an annoyed tone.
William glanced at the phone curiously, "How did you-"
"Grandfather," Amanda interrupted smoothly, "There was some confusion with the dinner menu earlier. I assure you that it is not nearly as bad as it looks, and this problem will be rectified shortly."
Alistair took a deep breath, for once at a loss for words, "Well…FINE! Just make sure that no one gets wind of this. The tabloids would have a field day if they knew the things that went on in this house. AND FOR GOD'S SAKE, MAKE YOUR BROTHER TAKE THAT RIDICULOUS BASEBALL CAP OFF!"
William cringed but didn’t budge.
Alistair hung up the phone loudly, and Amanda turned to face her suddenly silent counterparts with a grin.
"You've got to know how to work under pressure," she grinned.




Gabriel stood outside in the gazebo, laughing to himself as he bit into the brownie, indulging in all of the chocolatey goodness.
It took him a minute to realize that he wasn't alone.
"What do you want?" the girl asked suspiciously, and he realized that it was Stephanie Crane. She was eating chocolate chip cookies out of a bag that she had snatched from her mother when Ivy was unconscious.
"I just want to eat my brownie," Gabriel said with his mouth full.
"Did anyone get killed in there?" Stephanie asked hopefully, gesturing towards the house.
Gabriel shrugged, "I dunno…as soon as I got this brownie I ran for my life."
Stephanie laughed, "that was probably a good idea."
"This is all my brothers' fault," Gabriel sighed, "I was trying to be good."
"Look at it this way. If your brothers hadn't flung that Jell-O at my mother, we would have probably ended up EATING it. And no one wants that."
Gabriel shuddered, "You've got a point."
"Well," Stephanie said after a moment as she finished her last cookie, "Want to head back up to the house to see what's going on?"

Gabriel backed away, "Have you got a death wish?!"
Stephanie smirked, "Maybe…"
They exchanged glances.
"Lead the way," Gabriel finally laughed.




Crane Cottage

As soon as she had the door unlocked, Sheridan was dragging Luis inside, kissing him passionately. As they stumbled toward the couch, suddenly a light was switched on.
"Ahem."
Sheridan and Luis jumped apart, mortified, to face Pilar, who was standing in front of them with her arms crossed.
"Pilar!" Sheridan exclaimed with surprise, trying to hide her embarrassment.
"Mama, what are you doing here?" Luis asked.
Pilar sighed and sat down on the couch, "I came to talk with both of you."
"Is something wrong?" Sheridan asked her nervously.
"Well…" Pilar sighed, "You two sit down. This is very important."
Exchanging worried glances, Luis and Sheridan joined Pilar on the couch.
"I'm very afraid that you two are making a terrible mistake going into this relationship," Pilar said hesitantly, "There is no telling what Julian and Alistair will do to put an end to this, and I'm afraid it may spell disaster!"

"Mama," Luis sighed, "I know that there are risks, but I don't see any way that Julian or Alistair could split us up now."
"He's right," Sheridan piped up, "We already found out what Julian did to keep us apart before, and I am not letting my family influence my decisions."
Pilar stood up, worry etched into her face, "I fear for you both. You know not what you're getting in to. And I worry that when you do realize the risks, that it will be too late."
"Pilar, you worry too much," Sheridan said with a smile, "Everything is going to be fine."
"I hope, for your sakes, that what you say is true," Pilar sighed, hugging Sheridan. "You two be careful."
Then she hurried out the door.

Sheridan flopped down on the couch next to Luis and sighed, "Sure kills the mood, doesn't it?"
He laughed, "You can say that again."
She cuddled up next to him, resting her head on his shoulder, "Do you think that my family is going to try and break us up again?"
Luis glanced down at her, "I wouldn't let them."
She smiled as she slowly drifted off to sleep.

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