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Day Three: I’ll be Home For Christmas

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It was a few nights after they drew the Secret Santa names. The weekend was here and the kids had planned a sleepover weekend at Amanda’s house. The younger kids were excited to see Cas and Sam again while the older kids were excited to get to spend time together. Sam and Cas had snuck out a weekend's worth of clothes throughout the week so they could just go home with Amanda.

The plan was for the kids to make another pillow fort on the main floor and spend the night down there while their siblings spent the night upstairs. Everyone was bouncing off the walls excited, and had long ago stopped paying attention in class.

The last period of the day was one Sam and Mike shared. They were sitting at the back of the class and passing notes back and forth, making plans for the weekend.

“Mr. Beans and Mr. Jaundice,” the teacher suddenly snapped. “If you aren’t going to pay attention to me maybe you’ll pay attention to the principal.”

“I don’t know, he’s kinda boring,” Sam snarked, grinning at her. “But he’s still probably more interesting than this class.”

“Alright, that’s it!” The teacher's face was red as she started to march down the aisle towards him. Mike shrank down in his seat and tried to become invisible while Sam met her eyes and showed no fear. Before she made it halfway down the aisle, the bell was ringing and Sam was practically out the door. While the teacher was glaring after Sam, Mike took the chance to slip out of the room behind her back.

“Oh my god Sam!” Mike said as soon as he saw Sam outside. Sam was leaning against the lockers next to the door and grinning at him.

“Eh, I knew class was gonna be over soon. I figured I could distract her enough that either I’d be the only one in trouble or the bell would ring.” Sam pushed off the wall and started walking with Mike towards their own lockers.

Halfway to their lockers the girls fell into place behind them.

“How was class?” Hannah asked, jumping onto Mike’s back. He shifted his books into one arm so he could wrap one hand around her crossed ankles.

“Boring, you ready for this weekend?” Sam asked, reaching back and lacing his fingers with Amanda’s.

“Of course, I even stocked up on the junk food you and Cassie like.” Amanda squeezed his hand as they reached the boys’ lockers. Sam pulled out the books he needed for the weekend while Mike grabbed his papers, planning on using everyone else’s books.

“Good, she’ll be thrilled.” Sam closed his locker and leaned on it while waiting for Mike to figure out what he needed. Hannah had gotten bored and started braiding Mike’s mullet as he rifled through his locker.

“C’mon Mike, you can just copy off me and Amanda if you have too. The kids are waiting!” Sam grabbed Mike’s arm with his free hand and started pulling him away from his locker. Mike grabbed one last handful of papers before closing his locker and following Sam and Amanda. Hannah rode on his back all the way to the car where she jumped off and stole the passenger seat from Sam.

“Bitch.” Sam flicked the back of her ear before climbing in next to Mike. Amanda laughed at them as she started the car, pulling out and heading towards the kid’s school.

Amanda pulled up in front of the school and before she even fully stopped the car the kids were opening the doors and climbing in.

“C’mon let’s go!” Cas cheered, settling in between Sam and Mike while Lucy and Matt climbed into the back.

“So what’s the fun Christmas activity you have planned for tonight?” Lucy asked, climbing half over the seat.

“Forts and baking, how does that sound?” Amanda asked, pulling out and heading for Sophie’s sitter’s house.

“Fun!” Matt chimed in, bouncing in his seat.

“How was your day?” Mike asked, turning in his seat to see his siblings.

“Fine.”

“Long.”

“Boring as hell.”

“Cas! Language!” Four voices called out in chorus. Cas rolled her eyes before Sam tapped her shoulder and had a silent conversation with her.

“Sorry,” she finally said, slumping in her seat.

“Does this mean we can swear?” Lucy asked, glancing between Cas and Mike.

“No!” Everyone yelled, Sam and Mike whipping around to give her a look.

“What about just once?” Matt chimed in, unaffected by the yelling.

“Once, and only when it is entirely appropriate and with special permission,” Mike finally conceded. Lucy and Matt cheered and Mike rolled his eyes before climbing out of the car to get Sophie.

They made it home without incident, Lucy and Matt chatting happily about the upcoming break from school.

“Alright, homework first,” Hannah said as they pulled up to the house.

“But it’s the weekend,” Cas pouted.

“And you probably should get your work done now rather than be rushed to do it on Sunday. We’re going to do ours too,” Amanda pointed out.

“We are?” Sam asked.

“Yes,” Amanda and Hannah said in chorus. Sam and Mike grumbled a little but agreed, climbing out of the car and heading for the house.

“You all get started, I’ll make you guys a snack,” Sam said, peeling off for the kitchen. Mike took Sophie upstairs for a bottle and a nap.

Hannah started working with Lucy and Matt while Amanda started working with Cas. They got their homework done together within an hour, at which point Cas wandered off to find out why Sam never came out with snack.

“Sam?” Cas poked her head into the kitchen and saw Sam stirring a giant pot of something. The kitchen was a mess and it looked like he had ransacked the place looking for something.

“Yeah?”

“Oh my god what did you do?!”

“I’m making a snack?”

“We’re done with homework, why did the kitchen explode?”

“Aw shit, really?”

“Yeah, whatcha making though?” Cas climbed onto the counter next to the stove to look in the pot.

“Do you remember the cocoa I made for you last year?” Sam grabbed a ladle and a cup and scooped some of the mixture into the cup before handing it to Cas.

“Yeah, it was so good!” Cas grabbed it and blew on it before taking a sip. “It’s still so good!”

“Yeah, I had to experiment a little because Amanda didn’t have all the ingredients but I think it turned out well. And I guess it’s almost time for dinner huh.”

“What if we made cookies instead of dinner?”

“You guys need real food.”

“Well, what if we had sandwiches and made cookies and drank your amazing cocoa?” Cas was using her puppy eyes now.

“Hmm, if you can get at least three other people to agree to that-” Cas cut off Sam with a cheer as she jumped down from the counter to give him a hug and go ask the others. Sam watched her go with a smile before he started pulling out the ingredients for sugar cookies and gingersnaps. He could hear the other kids cheer in the other room and knew they wouldn’t have a choice but to make the cookies.

“I can’t believe you promised them cookies.” Amanda’s voice came from the doorway. “Do we even have the shit for cookies?”

“Most of them,” Sam said, arranging the ingredients on the island for easy access. “We may have to get creative for some of it though.”

“Well I can decorate, I shouldn’t try and do anything else; it wouldn’t go well.” Amanda came up behind Sam and wrapped her arms around his waist. “You’re pretty awesome did you know that?”

“Of course I knew that,” Sam tried to play it cool but his whole face was on fire. “My name isn’t ‘Cool Beans’ for nothing.”

“Oh you’re not cool, you’re just awesome.” Amanda let go of him and stepped away, helping him arrange the ingredients on the island. Sam missed her warmth immediately but tried to shove the distraction away.

“Cookies!” The kitchen door burst open and the three kids came charging in, followed by Mike and Hannah. The kids crowded around Sam and waited for directions.

“Uh, alright. Mike, you and Hannah start making a platter of food. Meats cheese and crackers so we can just eat quick. Cas, you and Lucy start working on those ginger snaps we make every year. Matt, you and I will make sugar cookies. Amanda can you handle making the frosting? It’s just mixing.”

“Of course I can,” Amanda said, rolling her eyes and grinning at him.

“Good, Cas can help you if you need it.”

The kitchen dissolved into a controlled chaos as everyone started on their respective tasks, talking loudly to each other the entire time. Soon the kitchen smelled amazing and was full of warm laughter.

“Sam, this hot chocolate is amazing!” Amanda said, sitting on the counter next to him with her mug. He leaned on her leg and watched everyone else decorate the cookies. She passed him a mug for himself, resting her arm on his shoulder and leaning on him.

“Thanks, your frosting was pretty good.” Sam took a sip. “Y’know for someone who is useless in the kitchen.”

“Oh shut up.” She shoved lightly at him before leaning on him again. “I’m so glad you and Cas are here, I wish you could stay longer.”

“Me too, but we can’t. You know that ‘Manda.” Sam looked down into his mug sadly.

“I know, but no matter what you can always come here.” Amanda reached up and started running her fingers through his hair. After a few minutes he was completely relaxed against her, and starting to doze off. Amanda carefully took the mug out of his hand and set it on the counter before pulling him closer to her. She let him doze off while she watched the chaos of decoration.