Chapter 9 ~ Going To Grandpa And Grandma's

"Auntie Annie!" Abby stood outside, crying as she watched the house burn. "Where is my Auntie Annie!" She continued to cry, until she felt someone hug her.

"Shh....I'm right here, Baby Girl." A voice whispered.

Abby opened her eyes and sat up, shaking and crying as she saw Annie holding her.

Annie wanted to ask Abby what her bad dream was about, but she saw how hard she was crying and knew she wouldn't be able to get her words out until she calmed down, so she just started rocking her.

It was a week after Memorial Day, just two hours before daylight and also the day that Charles and Jenny would be packing to go back home.

"Your house was on fire ~ and they couldn't ~ find you." Abby finally said a few minutes later, having trouble getting her words out. "I thought your house was really on fire."

Annie kissed Abby on the head as she continued rocking her. "Did we wake you up?" She asked when she saw Eric open the door a little.

Eric smiled. "No, I was already awake."

"I'm cold and thirsty." Abby said.

"Honey, can you please get Abby some water from kitchen?" Annie asked. "Her Care Bears cup is on the counter by the sink."

"Okay." Eric said as he closed the door and left.

"Thank you, Uncle Eric." Abby said, a few minutes later as he handed her the cup of water. "Auntie Annie, I want to go back to sleep, but I'm afraid your house will burn down."

"Uncle Eric went back downstairs to the kitchen, so if the house catches on fire he will let us know, Sweet Baby." Annie said as she wrapped Abby up in her blanket and started rocking her, again.

"He's getting up in the middle of night?" Abby asked, confused.

"Yes, he is, Sweetheart. It's almost time for the sun to come up." Annie said, after looking at the clock.

"Oh." Abby said, as she rested her head on Annie while she continued rocking her.

A few minutes later, Abby was asleep, so Annie tucked in sheets and blankets around her and kissed her on the head, before leaving the room to take her shower.

"I'm ready for my bath." Abby said, a few hours later as she rubbed her eyes.

"Okay, Sweet Baby." Annie smiled as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head. "We can't take too much time in the bathtub, though, Grandpa and Grandma are packing to go back home."

"When are they leaving?" Abby asked. "Are they going to use the bathtub, too?"

Annie smiled as she helped Abby pick out some clean clothes. "They'll be here for a few more hours, Honey. They won't need the bathroom, but Uncle Eric will need to give Simon a bath, soon."

"In your bathroom?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled. "No, Sweetie, he's going to use the one in the hallway."

After Abby had her bath and the rooms were picked up, she followed Annie and Jenny into Simon's room. "Are we going with Grandpa and Grandma?"

Annie smiled as she started putting some clothes into Simon's dark blue suitcase. "No, Simon is going to spend a few nights with Grandpa and Grandma and then we're going to pick him up on the way to Michigan."

"Oh." Abby said. "What are we going to do, today?"

"Do you want to pick Lucy up from school this afternoon and then go bowling?" Annie asked. "It looks like we'll have a rainy day."

Abby smiled. "YEAH! Is Lucy coming, too?"

"Yes, she is, Sweetheart." Annie replied.

"Are Matt and Mary coming, too?" Abby asked.

"No, Baby, they'll be in school. Uncle Eric will pick them up later." Annie said, as she continued putting things into Simon's suitcase. "Lucy is in Kindergarten, that's why she gets out early."

"Oh." Abby said.

After Annie finished packing Simon's suitcase, she carried it downstairs and put it with Charles and Jenny's things. "What does everyone want for breakfast?"

"I want Lasagna and green punch." Abby joked.

Annie laughed and smiled as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head. "I think you're being silly."

Abby smiled. "Can we all get Egg McMuffin's from McDonalds? Please?"

"Okay, Sweet Baby." Annie said, still hugging Abby. "I'll have Uncle Eric pick some up on the way home from taking Matt, Mary and Lucy to school."

"Yeah." Abby said, still smiling. "And then we can have a breakfast picnic outside."

"I think that's a great idea." Annie said. "You are just full of great ideas today."

Abby giggled as she turned on her Nintendo game and started to play.

"Simon is ready." Eric said as he came down the stairs.

"Okay, Honey." Annie replied.

Abby continued to play Nintendo, while everyone else left the room.

"Uncle Eric just left." Annie said, a few minutes later as she sat down next to Abby. "He's going to pick up some Egg McMuffin's and Hashbrown's for everyone."

"Are Grandpa and Grandma ~ and Simon going to eat some, too?" Abby asked as she put her game on pause.

"Yes, they are, Sweetheart." Annie said.

"Did Matt, Mary and Lucy eat, too?" Abby asked.

"Yes, they did, Honey. Grandma made something for them earlier." Annie replied.

After Eric came home with the food, Abby turned her game off and followed everyone outside. "Did you get sausage?"

"Yes, he did, Sweet Baby." Annie replied as she took Abby's sandwich out of the wrapper and cut it in half, before giving her a Hashbrown and Orange Juice.

"Are you going to sit by me?" Abby asked, before taking a drink of her Orange Juice.

Annie smiled. "Do you want to sit on my lap?"

Abby smiled back. "Yeah!"

After everyone finished eating, Eric and Annie helped Charles and Jenny put their bags and suitcases in the trunk, while Abby and Simon played in the front yard.

"This is fun!" Abby giggled as she ran around the front yard, with Simon chasing her. "I'll race you to Auntie Annie!"

"Don't get too tired, Sweet Baby, or you won't have any energy left for bowling." Annie said.

Abby ran over to Annie, laughing and giggling so much that she could hardly talk.

"It's time for Grandpa, Grandma and Simon to leave, now, Sweetie." Annie said to Abby as she got Simon's car seat ready.

"See you later everyone." Abby said, as she continued to giggle.

"See you later, Abby, have fun." Charles said.

"See you soon." Jenny added.

"I will?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled. "Yes, Honey, we're leaving on Wednesday to spend the night with Grandpa and Grandma and then we're leaving for Michigan on Thursday morning."

"YES!" Abby smiled as she skipped around in circles in the driveway, singing. "WE'RE GOING TO MICHIGAN...."

After everyone was ready, they all exchanged hugs and kisses before getting in the car and pulling out of the driveway.

Abby giggled as she stood next to Annie, making funny faces and waving her hands. "See you all later!"

Annie smiled as she picked Abby up, and hugged her while kissing her on the head. "Do you want to move all your stuff into mine and Uncle Eric's room?"

"I thought we were going bowling today." Abby replied.

"We still are, Sweet Baby, but not until this afternoon, right after we pick Lucy up from school." Annie said as she started walking back in house, still carrying Abby.

"Where did Uncle Eric go?" Abby asked as she looked around.

"He's in his office, Sweetie, he went back in the house before we did, so he could get started on work for the church." Annie replied as she walked up the stairs.

Abby giggled as she put her blanket over her head and started walking around the room. "Look, Auntie Annie, I'm a ghost!"

Annie laughed as she picked up a few of Abby's bags. "You are just about the silliest girl I've ever met."

Abby continued to giggle as she rolled up in the blankets on her air mattress. "When we move my bed, I'm carrying my pillow!" She announced.

"Okay, Sweet Baby." Annie replied as she carried Abby's bags down the hall, to her and Eric's room.

"I'll carry my blanket, too ~ on my head." Abby giggled as she skipped through the hall, following Annie.

Annie smiled as she put the bags down on her side of the bed. "Okay, Sweetheart."

After everything was moved into Eric and Annie's room, Abby played Nintendo for awhile.

"Sweetie, it's time to pick Lucy up from school." Annie announced as she watched Abby pass another level of Super Mario.

"Okay." Abby replied as she turned her game off. "Can we eat snacks there? I'm starting to get hungry, again."

Annie smiled as they walked outside to the car. "Yes, we can, Sweet Baby."

"Does Uncle Eric know we're leaving." Abby asked.

Annie smiled as she started the car. "Yes, he does, I told him right before I told you."

"Oh." Abby replied as she started to dance to the music on the radio.

When Annie turned into the parking lot of the school, she pulled into a parking space and turned the car off. "Come on, Sweetheart, we have to go sign Lucy out."

"Okay." Abby replied as Annie helped her out of the car. "I smell rain."

"Yes, I do too, Sweet Baby." Annie agreed. "The clouds are getting darker, too."

"The other children will probably wonder who I am if any of them see me." Abby said, as they continued walking.

Annie smiled as she held onto Abby's hand. "If they ask, we'll tell them you're Lucy's cousin."

"Lucy knows a lot of children." Abby said, as she noticed this was a much bigger school than the one she goes to.

"Yes, this is a very big school with lots of children." Annie replied as they walked in the door.

"Are we going to her classroom?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled. "Yes, we are, Sweetheart, but first we have to sign her out at the office."

"Oh." Abby said.

After Lucy was signed out and everyone had their seat belts on, Annie started the car.

"Lucy, you have a BIG school!" Abby said as they pulled out of the parking lot.

"It is?" Lucy asked.

"At my school, we have Aide's everywhere and some of them help the children who can't walk and talk. Some of them can't even see and hear!" Abby said. "I wouldn't like it if I couldn't see and I wouldn't like it if I couldn't hear."

"Sweetie, Abby's school is made for children with special needs, so it's a lot different than yours." Annie explained.

"Oh." Lucy said.

Annie smiled as she turned onto another road. "We're almost there, girls."

"Do they have chicken nuggets?" Abby asked.

"Yes, they do, Sweet Baby." Annie replied.

Abby smiled. "I hope I can eat some ~ and I want some Rootbeer and M 'n M's from the candy machine."

"Okay, Baby Girl." Annie replied.

"I think we're going to get wet when we go in the bowling alley." Abby announced a few minutes later, when she saw rain drops on the car windows.

"Is there and umbrella laying on floor back there, Baby?" Annie asked as she pulled into the bowling alley parking lot.

"Yeah." Abby said after looking down at the floor.

After the car was parked and everything was paid for, Annie led Abby and Lucy to the lane they would be using.

Abby smiled as she pointed over at the bowling balls. "Can I please, use that bright pink one over there?"

"Yes, you can, Sweetie, as long as it's not too big or heavy for you, okay?" Annie replied as she remembered Abby has low muscle tone.

"Okay. Let's get some Rootbeer!" Abby announced.

Annie smiled. "Shh....Let's get our bowling shoes on, first, Sweet Baby."

"These shoes feel funny." Abby said, as she watched Annie tie them for her.

After everyone was ready, Annie ordered the chicken nuggets and Rootbeer before they started bowling.

"My ball keeps going in the gutter." Abby said after taking her third turn.

As the game continued, Annie went up with Abby each time that it was her turn, to help her.

"Can I please, get some M 'n M's out of the candy machine?" Abby asked an hour later as they were getting ready to go home.

"Yes, you can, Honey." Annie replied as she handed Abby and Lucy some quarters. "You can each pick one thing."

"Auntie Annie, I'm still hungry." Abby said as they walked in through the kitchen door.

Annie smiled as she took the leftover Lasagna out of the refrigerator. "Okay, Sweetheart."

"Can I please, have some green punch, too?" Abby asked.

After the Lasagna was warmed up, Annie poured some green punch into Abby's Care Bears cup before they started eating.

"Sweetie, are you still hungry?" Annie asked as she saw Lucy coming back down the stairs. "We have some leftover Lasagna from last night. Do you want some?"

"No, I'm full." Lucy replied. "Where's Mary?"

"Mary is still at school, Honey. Your Daddy just left to pick her and Matt up, so they should be back soon." Annie explained before taking another bite of Lasagna.

Lucy was surprised as she watched Annie put the last of the Lasagna on Abby's plate. "You're eating, more?"

"I'm still hungry." Abby giggled.

After everyone finished eating lunch, Annie started some laundry for packing suitcases while Abby played Nintendo and watched Sesame Street.

The laundry and packing continued on Tuesday as Annie helped Abby pick out what she was going to wear the next day.

"What time are we leaving tomorrow?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled as she folded Abby's clean clothes and pajama's. "We're going to load all of our stuff into the van tomorrow morning and then we're going to leave to pick Matt, Mary and Lucy up from school."

"Are we going to have lunch before we pick them up from school?" Abby asked as she rolled up in the blankets on her air mattress.

"No, Sweetie, I think we're going to stop somewhere on the way, so Matt, Mary and Lucy can eat with us, too." Annie explained.

Abby smiled as she watched Annie move all the bags over by the door, so they would be ready to go, the next morning. "Can I please bring my Nintendo, too?"

"Yes, you can Sweetheart." Annie replied as she picked up Abby's pajamas. "You, Matt, Mary and Lucy will all need showers tonight and then we can rent some movies."

"Can I please, have my shower before we eat so I don't have to later?" Abby asked.

"Okay, Sweet Baby." Annie smiled. "But we can't take too long in the bathroom, I still need to get dinner started, okay?"

Abby smiled. "Okay! Thank you, Auntie Annie!"

After everyone had dinner and showers, Eric and Annie took the children to the video store to pick out a few movies and snacks.

Abby giggled as she watched everyone wait for her to decide what snack she wanted. "I pick cheese popcorn!"

"Okay, Sweetheart." Annie smiled as she took Abby's hand. "Let's go pay for our stuff."

"My movie I picked, will make me laugh all night!" Abby continued to giggle as they stood in line.

As soon as they walked in the door, Annie helped Abby get her pajama's on and then poured some Rootbeer for everyone, before putting Abby's movie in the VCR.

Abby walked over to Annie and sat down on her lap, as the movie started. She giggled as she ate her cheese popcorn and drank her Rootbeer. "This movie is already funny!"

Annie smiled as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head. "The movie just started, Sweetie, it will get funnier."

Abby continued to laugh and giggle throughout the movie, until she started to fall asleep at the very end.

"Abby must have laughed herself to sleep." Matt said as he stood up.

"I'll take care of the snacks." Eric said as he helped Annie stand up.

"Okay, Honey." Annie replied. "I'll take Abby upstairs to bed."

"What should we do with Abby's cheese popcorn?" Eric asked.

"Just put a clip on it and Abby can eat it on the way to Arizona and Michigan." Annie replied as she carried Abby up the stairs.

"Okay." Eric said as he left the room.

The next morning, Abby heard Eric and Annie packing the rest of their stuff while she hid under the covers. She decided to play a funny trick on Annie to see how long she could pretend to be asleep before she would try to wake her up.

"Are you going to wake Abby up?" Eric asked as he started taking the bags and suitcases downstairs to the van. "We still have to pack her air mattress."

Abby tried not to giggle, but she couldn't hold it in any longer.

Annie smiled as she pulled the covers off Abby and kissed her on the head. "Hey, you're awake, Sweet Baby. I thought you were still sleeping."

Abby giggled even louder as Annie helped her up. "I wanted to play a funny trick on you and Uncle Eric!"

Annie smiled as she hugged Abby. "You sure tricked me, Sweetheart, but if you stay in bed too long, you'll miss Sesame Street. Let's go get your bath water started so we can get ready to go."

"Okay." Abby giggled as they walked into the bathroom behind Eric and Annie's bedroom. "Did I miss Sesame Street?"

"No, Honey, it's only Eight~O~Clock, so you still have an hour." Annie replied as she turned on the water. "Don't forget to brush your teeth, too, since you fell asleep before you had a chance to do it last night."

"Will the toothpaste make my food taste funny?" Abby asked.

"Here, Sweetie." Annie said as she put some toothpaste on Abby's toothbrush. "If you brush your teeth before a bath or shower, the taste should be gone by the time you're done and ready to eat."

Abby smiled. "Okay! Are my cousins awake yet?"

"Yes, they are, Sweet Baby." Annie replied. "Uncle Eric is going to take them to school soon."

"Oh." Abby said as she picked up her toothbrush.

After Abby brushed her teeth and had her bath, Annie picked up around the bathroom and continued the rest of the packing, while Abby watched Sesame Street and played Nintendo.

"Here, Sweetheart." Annie said as she walked in the living room, carrying a McDonalds bag. "Uncle Eric picked up some breakfast for us."

Abby smiled. "YES!"

After everyone finished their breakfast and everything was loaded into the van, it was almost time to pick the Camden children up from school.

"Are we coming back here after we pick up my cousins?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled as they carried Abby's pillow and Nintendo out to the van. "No, Sweetie, we're going on, to Arizona."

"Oh." Abby said as she sat down. "Auntie Annie, will you please sit back here with me? It's really warm and everything."

Annie smiled. "Okay, Sweet Baby."

After Eric locked all the doors around the house and everything, he started the van and pulled out of the driveway. Their first stop, was the video store where he returned the movies and then the gas station.

"I'm thirsty." Abby announced. "Can I please, have some Rootbeer."

Annie took Abby in the store, while Eric put some gas in the van.

Abby smiled. "Look, Auntie Annie they have umbrella's with Care Bears on them! And Sesame Street ones, too!"

"Do you want one, Honey?" Annie asked.

"Yeah!" Abby said, still smiling. "I wish they had one with Care Bears AND Sesame Street on it because I like both."

After a few minutes, Abby finally picked the one with the Care Bears on it and then they walked up to the counter to pay for everything.

"Look, what Auntie Annie bought for me!" Abby said to Eric as he walked in to pay for the gas. "It's an umbrella with Care Bears on it!"

"That is very nice, Abby." Eric smiled as he grabbed something to drink, before joining them in line.

"They had some Sesame Street ones, too ~ but Bert wasn't on any of them." Abby explained.

After they left the gas station, they stopped at the school to pick Matt, Mary and Lucy up.

"Auntie Annie, where is my cheese popcorn?" Abby asked as they sat in the school parking lot.

Annie handed Abby her bag of cheese popcorn as Matt, Mary and Lucy came running up to the van.

"Are we going to Grandpa and Grandma's now?" Lucy asked as she sat down on the other side of Annie.

"Yes, we are, Sweetheart." Annie replied. "But first, we're going to Uncle John's and Aunt Dawn's for a few minutes."

"Can I sit up front with Dad?" Matt asked.

Annie smiled. "Yes, you can, Honey, as long as you put your seat belt on."

"I'm hungry." Mary said as she sat down.

"Me, too." Lucy added.

Abby giggled. "Me three!"

"Are we stopping somewhere to eat?" Matt asked as he put his seat belt on.

"Yes, we're going to KFC as soon as we find one." Annie replied.

Abby smiled. "Now, I can dip my chicken in my mashed potatoes!"

After driving for a half~hour, they finally came to a KFC where Eric pulled into the parking lot and found a parking space.

"Can we please eat outside where it's warm?" Abby asked as soon as they walked in the door. "The air in here is cold."

Annie smiled as she looked out the windows and saw the picnic tables. "Okay, Sweetheart."

As soon as everyone had their food, they sat down at one of the picnic tables outside and started eating.

"Auntie Annie, I invented a new Casserole!" Abby giggled as she mixed her cut up dark meat chicken with her mashed potatoes and corn.

Annie smiled as she put her arm around Abby and hugged her. "You're very creative, Sweetie."

Abby was still eating her food, by the time everyone else was finished. "Auntie Annie, I think I just saw a bee ~ can I please eat my food in the van?"

Annie took Abby back inside, where they gave her a container to put her food in. "Here, Sweet Baby, they put your food in here so you can take it with you."

Abby continued eating her lunch as Eric started the van and pulled out of the parking lot. When Abby was finished, she rested her head on Annie and fell asleep. "Where are we?" She asked, a few hours later as she rubbed her eyes.

Annie smiled as she hugged Abby and kissed her on the head. "We're in Phoenix, Sweetheart ~ just a few minutes away from your house."

"How long are we staying there?" Abby asked.

"Just a few minutes, Honey and then we're going to Grandpa and Grandma's house to spend the night." Annie replied.

"Oh, NO, Brutus is outside playing in his yard!" Abby said a few minutes later as she looked out the window and then unhooked her seat belt, before crawling under the seat.

"Sweetie, where are you going?" Annie asked.

"I think I'll stay in here and hide while everyone goes in the house." Abby said, from under the seat. "I don't want to go in."

"Oh, Honey, he wouldn't be able to see you from where you were sitting ~ the windows are tinted so other people can't see in here." Annie said as she got down on the floor of the van, where Abby was.

"Are we at Uncle John's house?" Lucy asked as soon as the van was turned off.

"Yeah." Matt said as Mary and Lucy followed him out of the van.

"Watch your sisters, they're right behind you." Eric said as he opened the door on his side.

"But, I can see him." Abby said as she looked over the seat, out the window and across the road.

"We can see outside from here, Sweetie, but anyone who is outside will only be able to see a reflection of everything around them. It's like looking into a mirror. They make windows like that so other people can't see inside." Annie explained.

Abby was still a little confused. "I still want to stay in here."

"Don't you want to see your Mommy and Daddy, before we go to Grandpa and Grandma's house for the night?" Annie said as she helped Abby onto her lap.

"Can they come out here and see me?" Abby asked nervously. "I don't want Brutus to see me."

"I'll walk in with you, and I won't let him or anyone else hurt you, Sweetheart." Annie said as she hugged Abby.

Abby put her arms around Annie and started to cry.

"Do you want me to have her Mom and Dad come out here?" Eric asked as he stood outside, waiting for Annie and Abby.

"Yeah. Thanks, Honey." Annie replied as she continued to hold Abby.

"Okay." Eric said, before closing the door.

About a minute later, John came out of the house and walked over to the van and opened the door. "Hi, Annie."

"Hi, John." Annie said.

"Abby, Honey, why don't you come inside? I invited Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Annie, Uncle Eric, Matt, Mary, Lucy and Simon, to eat dinner with us, before all of you go to Grandpa and Grandma's for the night. Your Mommy is inside making spaghetti." John explained.

"I don't want Brutus to see me." Abby repeated.

"I've never seen Abby so scared before. How mean, are they, and what kind of things do they say and do to her?" Annie asked.

"They throw things at her, they call her nasty names, they shoot rubber bands at her, kick dirt at her and a lot of other mean things. Some of them just come into our yard uninvited and start making fun of her and cause a lot of problems. I yelled at them for being nasty and everything, but I think I scared Abby, more than anyone else." John explained.

Annie kissed Abby on the head, as she continued to hold her.

"Brutus and his family, moved in across the road, a couple months ago and he's pretty mean. It didn't take him long to start all of this." John continued to explain, as Charles and Jenny pulled into the driveway.

"Grandpa, Grandma and Simon are here, now, and Matt, Mary and Lucy are outside again. Why don't we all walk in the house together and we can go ahead of everyone so Brutus won't see you." Annie said as she looked out the window and then at Abby again.

Abby was still crying, a little. "Will he see me when I come out?"

"Probably not, Honey." Annie said as she gave Abby another kiss on the head. "It will be dark out, by then."

"He usually goes inside before dark, so he won't see her." John said.

"I won't ever let anyone hurt you." Annie said as she hugged Abby even more, and started to rock her. "I love you, so much, Sweet Baby Girl."

Abby hugged Annie, while kissing her on the cheek. "I love you, too, Auntie Annie."

"Come on, Sweetie, let's all go inside and everyone will be right behind you." Annie said, as she watched Charles, Jenny, Matt, Mary, Lucy and Simon walk over to the van.

"Okay." Abby said nervously, as Annie helped her off her lap and then took her hand as she helped her out of the van. They walked up to the door, and into the house, with Charles, Jenny, John, Eric, Matt, Mary Lucy and Simon following behind them.


Chapter 10

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