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  1. #1
    The Price of fame (with Optimus Prime)

    The Price of fame (with Optimus Prime)

    Shades


    "No, mom, I'm fine, really. It's just a cold. I probably caught it from one of the kids. Yeah, I'm doing my best. It's not easy to rest with two children in the house, but I'm trying. Okay, I have to go pick them up. Thanks, mom, I'll call you back later".


    Hanging up, Mrs. Sinclair put her phone on the seat next to hers and made the turn to the pick up line. She loved how organized the school her kids went to was, as pick up and drop off were always easy and quick. Well, not today. Seeing her son's teacher wave made Sarah take a deep breath. She knew Miss Parker never wanted to talk to a parent unless there was a problem. Gesturing for the woman to wait - she needed to pick up her daughter too -, the woman picked young Maggie up and waited for her to get in.


    "I'll have to talk to Miss Parker, dear. It won't be long, okay?".


    The girl nodded, curious. "Is Ben in trouble, mom?", she asked, curiously.


    "I don't know, baby, I hope not", Sarah replied, finding a place to park her car and helping her daughter out.


    She felt a little nervous about what could have happened. The question did last long, though, as she saw her son sporting a black eye and a split lip.


    "Oh, my God... what happened?", she asked, getting down on one knee to take a look at the boy before looking up at the teacher.


    "He argued with another boy during recess, and when we got to them, they had exchanged a few punches already. Neither boy wanted to say what started it. We're giving them both a two day suspension to cool off. I'm sorry, Mrs. Sinclair".


    "It's okay, you have nothing to be sorry about. I'm very sorry, Miss Parker, that won't happen again. Let's go, Benjamin".


    The little boy cringed. He knew hearing his mother use his name in full was never a good sign. Yet, he held Sarah's hand and stayed silent until they were in the car.


    "Are you mad at me?", he asked in a sheepish intonation.


    "Extremely", Sarah replied, taking a deep breath to calm herself down and checking if both kids were settled before starting the car.


    "Are you gonna tell dad when you call him?", the boy continued.


    "Of course", the woman replied, paying attention to the traffic ahead.


    "Just one more, mom, I promise. Am I grounded?", Benjamin asked, even though he was sure of the answer.


    "You bet. And I will have many, many chores for you".


    The rest of the short drive home was made in silence - Benjamin thinking about the next two days, and Maggie taking a nap.


    As soon as the small family got home, Sarah helped the kids out of the car and sent them both inside to take a shower and change clothes while she prepared a snack for them. While she did so, as usual, Sarah dialed for her husband and left her phone on speaker to free her hands. It was just one of the many traditions they had created in their years living together and as a married couple.


    "Hey, baby, we're home. Ben got into a fight today at school. I don't even know what to say right now. Call me back when you can, please. Love you. Oh, let me know if you have a ride home, or if you want us to pick you up.".


    Having recorded her message, Sarah prepared some fruit salad and waited for the kids to come to the kitchen, still thinking about an adequate punishment for her son and about how she should even approach the situation and figure out why he had gotten involved in a fight when it wasn't something in character for the boy.

  2. #2
    Optimus Prime


    "Adam, the jackass at table two doesn't like his steak. He said it's not rare enough."


    The waitress, an older woman named Carrie, told him as she brought back a plate of food. Adam Sinclair gave her a look. Some days he hated his job. He loved to cook but there were days, like today, that he wanted to be in a totally different line of work. It seemed like everyone and their brother were at the restaurant today. And they had to complain about something. 'My food's too hot, it's too cold. I wanted beans, not corn.' The list went on and on. It was getting to everyone. Not just Adam and the rest of the kitchen staff, but also to the wait staff as well. It was a day from hell and everyone was going to be happy when it was time to clock out and head home.


    "How rare does he want it, Carrie? Does he want it to moo at him?"


    Adam replied in annoyance, he wasn't mad at his co-worker. Just mad at the whole day in general. Carrie shrugged at Adam. She had worked in restaurants long enough, and with him personally, to know he wasn't angry at her. Some customers were just giant pains in the asses. And this customer seemed to want to be their king.


    "He probably wants you to slaughter the cow."


    "Most likely."


    Adam replied grimly and went to work fixing another steak for the customer. Adam was sure that not only would the man bitch to the manager about his meal, he'd stiff Carrie out a tip. His thoughts were proven correct about thirty minutes later. Adam went to take a break, which was over an hour late, and saw his wife had left him a message.


    "Son of a...."


    Just what he wanted to hear, Adam thought. Not only was work hell, but his son had got into a fight. This day just kept worse and worse. He called home and when Sarah answered, he said.


    "Hey, babe. Sorry I couldn't call you sooner. Work's been crazy. This is the first chance I had to take a break."


    He also said 'fucked up' but since he knew Sarah but the phone on speaker, he didn't want his kids hearing him cursing.


    "Can you put Ben the phone?"


    He wanted to hear from his son what had happened. It didn't seem like something to wait until he got home. He could spend the rest of his shift figuring out how to punish him. When he heard his son's voice, Adam asked.


    "So what exactly happened?"

  3. #3
    Shades


    While Adam was dealing with his jackass customers, Sarah had a snack with the children, and then sat to help them with homework. Her idea of helping wasn't the same as many mothers. Sarah would sit with the children and supervise them, only answering questions if they could not find them in their school books. It would take longer, of course, but she felt that her children needed to be independent.


    When Adam called her back, Sarah was trying to get some rest on the couch while she watched her children. Ben was reading a book, and Maggie was coloring on the coffee table.


    Her voice sounded slightly nasal when she spoke, but she definitely sounded better than in the morning.


    "Hey, honey. It's okay, but I'm sorry you're having a bad day. I can hear in your voice that it's pretty stressful", she acknowledge in a gentle intonation.


    "Sure", the woman replied when Adam asked her to put their son on the phone. "Ben. Sweetheart, daddy wants to talk to you".


    Adam could hear his son's footsteps, and his voice, sounding a bit shy. "Hey, dad", the boy greeted, a bit nervous.


    When Adam asked for an explanation, Benjamin looked at his mother and sister, and sighed.


    "Well... I was on recess, and Jack, from my class, started making fun of my lunch. Mom had packed me a PBJ and an apple, as usual, and he said it was lame. I said it wasn't, but he insisted. He said I only took it to school because we were poor". The boy shuffled on his feet, uncomfortable. "I said we were not. He said of course we are, and we are poor because mom is lazy and won't get a job". The boy's voice was a little shaky, as though he was about to cry. "I told him not to say that about my mom. He said she was lazy and that she can't get a job because she is stupid and didn't go to school. It was really mean, and I was so angry when he wouldn't stop saying those things that I punched him. I'm sorry, dad".


    Benjamin took a deep breath and sniffed a little. "He was wrong too, dad. Mom is not lazy, she does a lot for us, doesn't she? And she is not stupid, either. He shouldn't talk about people's moms".


    After presenting his case, the boy stopped speaking and waited for Adam's response. The man could hear his wife's voice murmuring "oh my God, Ben", and a sound that indicated she was giving her son a hug.

  4. #4
    Optimus Prime

    Adam did hope Sarah was feeling better. She sounded a little better. It always made him sad when she didn't feel good. Not that there was much he could do. He had told the kids to try to behave today. Although, obviously that hadn't help with Ben. He could tell his son was nervous getting on the phone.


    Adam gave Ben his full attention and was a mixture of being angry and proud as Ben explained himself. While he certainly didn't think his son should be picking fights at school, he was also proud of him. It made him angry that this Jack kid had insulted Sarah but he was proud of Ben for standing up for his mother and their family. He also wished that his son hadn't had to do it. Listening to Ben, made him wish his shift was already over so he could hug him.


    "It's okay, buddy. You're right, that was mean. Mom isn't lazy. She works very hard taking care of you and your sister. She makes sure everything in our family runs smoothly. But not everyone else realizes that. And we aren't poor. We have a house over our heads and food to eat. There are lots of people who don't have either of those things."


    While Adam wished he could give his family more things, he knew they should also be grateful for what they had. There were plenty of children out there that only got to eat at school. At least Ben and Maggie didn't have to worry about that. His kids never went to bed hungry, even if they didn't have the expensive clothes or the fanciest toys in the world.


    Adam could hear Sarah in the background and said to his son.


    "Ben, I'm proud of you for standing up for Mom but you also can't start fights either. While you have the right to defend yourself and the ones you love, you can't be the one throwing the first punch. Because when you do, you end up like this. The school doesn't care the reason the why, they just know you threw the first punch. Next time..."


    He hoped there wasn't a 'next time'.


    "....Don't push or punch anyone, unless they do that to you first. You understand that?"


    He asked and after getting Ben's response, he told Sarah.


    "Don't worry about picking me tonight. Carrie's working and you know she never lets me walk home."


    Carrie was in her fifties and treated Adam like a son. Whenever they worked the same shifts, she always insisted on giving him a ride home. She never took no for an answer.

  5. #5
    Shades

    Sarah was relieved when Adam wasn't too hard on Benjamin. She knew she had been hard enough on the boy already, as she didn't like the idea of her son picking fights. She had told him that she was not raising a bully, and, now that she knew of his reasons, she felt guilty. Poor Ben had not planned anything, and he surely wasn't a bully, as the other boy had been provoking her son more than he could handle.


    Keeping her son in her arms as she listened to her husband, Sarah allowed Ben to cuddle with her on the couch, feeling that her son was in need of some affection.


    Listening to his father, Ben replied when Adam finished talking. "Yes, Dad. I'll do like Mom says and use my words next time. I promise", he replied, his voice serious.


    Once Adam turned his attention to her, Sarah sighed. She was glad that she wouldn't have to get the kids in the car and drive to the restaurant tonight. Not that she minded at all, Sarah loved spending time with her husband. Today, though, she really felt like resting. "Awesome", she replied to his words on Carrie giving him a ride home. "Tell her she's an angel for me", Sarah requested.


    She then got the phone off speaker, and Adam could hear her walking, probably away from the kids.


    "When you get home, I might ride you myself", she joked. It was obviously a joke, as she was so tired she would probably be out cold by the time her husband got home, but it was still fun to joke that way. "Now, seriously, baby, wake me up when you get home. I want to give you at least a hug and a back rub, how does that sound?", she asked, sitting on their bed and yawning softly while waiting for her husband's answer.

  6. #6
    Optimus Prime

    There was no way that Adam could have been too hard on Benjamin. Not when he explained why he got into the fight. He didn't want his son to be a bully, but he also didn't want him to be a victim either. He wanted Ben and Maggie to stand up for themselves. Especially since he and Sarah couldn't always be around to protect them.


    "I believe you, buddy."


    Adam replied to his son. He did believe that Ben would use his words next time and not throw the first punch. Adam was always grateful when Carrie was working. Since that meant Sarah didn't have the drag the kids out to pick him up. Although he sometimes felt bad taking the rides. Especially when Carrie didn't want any gas money in return. He didn't want her thinking he was taking advantage of her. But the older woman always insisted that he wasn't.


    "I will."


    Adam promised, not that Carrie would believe that. She'd just joke she was angel with horns. He smirked at Sarah's joke about riding him.


    "Hmmm....that sounds like lots of fun."


    Although they'd probably both be too tired for that tonight.


    "I will and that sounds good. I gotta get back. I love you. I'll see you soon."


    Adam told Sarah, he wished breaks never had to end. They always went too fast. Thankfully the rest of his shift wasn't as bad as the beginning of it. After the dinner rush, the restaurant died down. Everyone worked pretty fast at cleaning up. They all wanted to go home. Carrie kept her word and drove Adam home.


    "Thanks, Carrie, for the ride. You know you don't have to do it."


    "It's never a problem, Adam. I won't see you walking, not this late at night, and I don't want that sweet wife of yours dragging your little kids out of bed."


    Carrie replied and Adam gave her a smile.


    "Well, Sarah and I really appreciate it. She thinks you're an angel."


    Carrie laughed and said.


    "Maybe an angel with horns. Have a good night. I'll see you tomorrow."


    Carrie told him as they pulled up the Sinclair house. Adam got out and told his friend.


    "Thanks again and good night to you too."


    Adam entered his house quietly, not wanting to wake up his kids. He hated working late during the school week. He didn't get to see the kids much and he missed that. He kicked off his shoes and hung his coat up. He found Sarah sleeping and smiled at her. She looked so peaceful and gently shook her shoulder.


    "Sarah, I'm home."

  7. #7
    Shades

    Ben was really relieved to know dad wasn't mad at him. Cuddling with mom, and hearing dad say he believed him, the boy couldn't be happier. Sure, he knew he would still be grounded for the rest of his suspension, but that was something he would have imagined. Mom and dad were pretty clear on discipline, so it didn't come as a surprise. It would be only a couple days anyway.

    When his mom got up, the boy returned to his book and resumed reading, while keeping an eye on his sister.

    Back in the bedroom, Sarah smiled when Adam said her riding him sounded like fun. She sighed when he said he needed to get back. His breaks were always so short, and she really missed him when he was out. Still, she would see him later. "I love you too, baby, I hope everything runs well for the rest of your shift".

    After hanging up, Sarah went back to the couch for some rest. Despite really wanting to sleep, Sarah had dinner ready at the usual time and then watched TV with the kids for a while before getting them to bed.

    After putting Maggie to bed, Sarah still spent some more time talking to Ben about the events of the day and making sure he understood that, while his parents understood his reaction, they expected him to react better in the future. After the conversation, Sarah changed into her usual sleeping attire - an old T-shirt of Adam's -, before going to bed herself with a book. It had been a very long day for the whole family, after all.

    When Adam got home, Sarah was sleeping like a baby. She groaned softly when he touched her shoulder and turned to lay on her back with a sleepy smile.

    Pushing herself to sit up on the bed, Sarah brushed her fingers against Adam's cheek softly. She loved the moments they shared when he got home, even though they were usually both exhausted. Before anything, the woman removed her glasses - she had fallen asleep reading, which wasn't unusual - and stole a kiss from her husband.

    "Welcome home, baby", she murmured before rubbing some sleep off her eyes so they could talk and enjoy each other's company for a moment or two before getting back to bed. "It's so good to see you. Sorry about the after school mess, honey, I didn't mean to worry you".

  8. #8
    Optimus Prime

    "It's good to be home."

    Adam told Sarah with a smile as he grabbed his pajamas from his dresser. Whenever he had to close at the restaurant, he always got home late. The kids were already in bed and Sarah would be sleeping too. She always wanted him to wake her up. Even if they only talked for a little while before he went to bed as well. Some days it felt like all he did was sleep and go to work. He didn't get to spend that much time with his family. Not as much as he liked.

    "And it's okay about what happened."

    Adam said as he changed out of his work clothes and into this pajama pants. It had upset him to find out that Ben had been in a fight. Although Adam did understand why Ben had done it. He just wished it hadn't happened. Someday, Adam thought, he'd make enough money for Sarah and the kids that no one would ever call them poor again. He sat on the bed next to Sarah and told her.

    "I have good news, though. Alex traded me a day, he has an appointment he can't miss. I'm working for him Thursday and he's going to work for me on Saturday. And I already had Sunday off. So I'll actually have a whole weekend off for once."

    The restaurant Adam worked at was open seven days a week, so a whole weekend off was a rarity. Especially one he didn't have to request off.

    "We should do something fun with the kids."

  9. #9
    Shades

    Sarah smiled when Adam said it was good to be home. She always loved hearing him say that, as she worked hard to make sure their home was a pleasant place for the family. It was their safe haven, and even it wasn't the biggest house or it didn't have the best furniture, Sarah was happy with their home. Sure, they could use a little bit more money, but that wasn't how things had turned out. They were still young when Sarah had gotten pregnant with Ben, but they were doing decently well. Their kids were housed, fed and clothed, so she shouldn't be complaining.

    "Great. We talked a lot after you called. He is still grounded, though. I feel he could use the lesson", Sarah replied to Adam's comment about the events that had transpired earlier. Since she was home with the kids, she was mainly in charge of discipline, but Sarah still made sure to share every major decision with Adam, to make sure they'd always be on the same page.

    When Adam sat on the bed, Sarah moved to sit behind him and started rubbing his back gently, while listening to what he had to say. It was one of their bedtime rituals, as Sarah knew Adam's work was really stressful, especially when he had closing shift. She really wished she could do something about it, like helping out so his burden would be lighter, but, every time the conversation came up, she ended up giving in and staying home with the kids.

    Focusing on what Adam had to say, Sarah smiled and kissed his neck before speaking. "That's awesome, honey!", she replied happily. It was indeed very rare for them to have an entire weekend for the family. "I fully agree, it has been ages since we have done something with them, and they're old enough to enjoy a day out now", Sarah commented, thinking about what they should do with their children that would be a fun occasion for them and not break the bank at the same time.

    "Maybe the zoo? Maggie has been asking me to go for ages, and I'm sure Ben would enjoy it too", she suggested, yawning softly and resuming the back rub.

  10. #10
    Optimus Prime

    To Adam it didn't matter that they didn't have a huge house. Or that they didn't have lots of expensive things. Hell, some of their things weren't even new. They had to get gently used furniture when they started their life together. And it was expensive to replace them. But it was okay with him. Things didn't make a home. Family did and Adam thought he had great family. As long as he had Sarah and their kids, it didn't matter to him where they lived. As long as their kids were happy, then Adam was too. Even if there were days he wished they had more money. So he could provide his family with better things. Well, money came and went. Family was forever. That's what he always tried to remind himself.

    Adam nodded his head. Thanks to the every changing work hours he did, he couldn't always be at home as much as he wanted. That left Sarah the one in charge of discipline. Which he thought she did a good job at. And he appreciated that she still let him have an input.

    "That's good. He definitely still should be grounded. Hopefully, though, he'll remember that next time he shouldn't be the one throwing the first punch. If there is a next time."

    Adam hoped there wasn't, but you knew. Kids would be kids and sadly some kids like to pick on other kids and make them feel bad. If it happened again, he just hoped that Ben would try to walk away. Or at least let the other kid throw the first punch, so he wouldn't be in as much trouble with the school.

    Adam sighed happily when Sarah started to rub his back. While it would probably help them out if Sarah had a part time job, it didn't seem that feasible. Not with the price of child care. He didn't have a set schedule and it was hard to find one that did. They didn't have any close family near by that could be a set babysitter and babysitters were expensive. Honestly, the cost was something they couldn't afford. It was better for him to just work and for Sarah to stay home with the kids.

    Adam grinned at Sarah's excitement. He would have days off but they usually would be during the week usually and not always together. It was a nice surprise to have an actual weekend off. When she suggested the zoo, he nodded his head.

    "Yeah, let's go. It'll be fun."

    He had always liked going to the zoo as a kid himself and he thought Maggie would like to go. Ben had liked it the last time they had taken him. He could hear Sarah yawning. He turned and gave her a kiss.

    "We can talk more about it in the morning. You should get some sleep."

    Adam wasn't quite ready to go to bed yet. It was hard to get home and go right to bed. He'd go watch a show on the TV quietly before joining his wife.

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