Now that the kids were slowly growing up and becoming more independent, the large house was often very empty.
While Francis and Félix busied themselves with their various clubs and after school activities, the twins could usually be found at the studio or out promoting their newest movies.
Only Freddie regularly spent the afternoons at home, because none of the available after school activities had managed to capture his interest.
On this particular day however, he was very late.
"I can't do this anymore," Evelyn finally said, shutting her book. "We need to go look for him, honey! What if something happened? I'll quickly call to cancel tonight's gig and--"
"Non, chérie," Rémy silenced her. "One of us should stay 'here in case 'he comes 'home. I will go look for 'him and you'll stay 'here. Prepare for your show, Eveline, and do not worry. I will 'have Fred back 'here before you know it!" And with that, he was up and gave Evelyn a quick kiss before heading out, leaving her to stare after him.
Rémy knew exactly where to look for his youngest son. The arcade right across the street from school must have been much more enticing than the bus waiting to take him home that afternoon.
"I'm sorry, Daddy," Freddie whimpered after his father had told him how much he'd worried his mother. "Please don't be mad!"
Fortunately for Freddie, Rémy was not the type to get angry.
"Whoa, for me? Thanks Daddy!" Freddie made a grab for the bear, but Rémy pulled it out of his reach.
"Later, son, but first you 'have to listen to what Monsieur RoboBear 'here 'has to tell you! Then you can 'have 'him, okay?"
Rémy cleared his throat, straightened his back and arranged his grip on the bear. "Alright, 'here goes..." Pitching his baritone voice unnaturally high, he began to move the bear's head to match the rhythm of his speaking. "Ah, Monsieur Fréderic, what a pleasure it is to make your acquaintance! My name is Monsieur RoboBear and I 'have come to tell you something very important."
Freddie's eyes widened, completely enthralled by Rémy's performance.
"Listen to me carefully now, Frédéric, for this is of the greatest significance. You are about to grow up to be a big boy soon, and you need to start acting like it. Big boys have responsibilities."
"Responsi-- wha?" Freddie was confused.
His daddy laughed. "It means you can't just do whatever you like whenever you want to, son."
"Yes, chérie, I've got 'him. Yes, just where we thought 'he would be. Do not worry, Eveline. Focus on your show now, ma chère! See you later - je t'aime!"
... the machine was broken!
Realizing that his wife would have probably had an issue with gumballs for dinner anyway, Rémy took his son over to the adjoining coffee shop.
The coffee shop was long closed, however, so Rémy's hopes for a nice piece of apple pie were dashed.
Instead, he allowed Freddie to grab a chocolate bar from one of those terrible vending machines. Evelyn didn't need to know.
It was already dark when they finally got into Rémy's truck and headed home.
Evelyn arrived back home from that night's show just when Freddie had drifted off to sleep.
She couldn't stop the tears from welling up in her eyes when she saw her beloved husband tenderly kissing their son's forehead.
"It's alright, chérie," he soothed as he embraced her. "The boy simply lost track of time. But I think he finally understands."
At her questioning gaze, he continued to explain, "Well, ma chère, I told 'him about how being a big boy means being responsible. After all, 'he is about to become a teenager also, non?"
"But... he's our little baby boy," Evelyn whined softly.
It was a lovely afternoon when an unassuming Félix was cornered by Freddie's friends.
"Hey, you have glasses, right?" Todd asked.
"So you'll help us with our homework then?" Two pairs of eyes stared up at Félix expectantly.
When the kids noticed his mother and ran up to her to ask for food, Félix managed to extricate himself. With those two around, it was better to be out of the house. He called up Zebulon to schedule a date.
Evelyn happily obliged the children's request and whipped up some hot dogs for Freddie and his friends.
"Why's Rissa sitting over there" Todd asked, looking over his shoulder at her.
"You kids go sit at the table," she called. "I'm gonna sit at the bar like a grown-up!"
Freddie didn't mind being a kid, he thought. What Monsieur RoboBear had told him about responsa-bubblies or whatever didn't sound fun at all! Not to mention that gross story about the chicken... He shuddered.
"Hey there, Legs," Todd said when Fleur approached. She had just come home from a long day at the studio. "Grabbing a hot dog, I see. They're pretty good around here, but I can show you where to get an even better one." Todd's voice was as smooth as any prepubescent boy could manage.
"Seriously, kid?!" Fleur let out an incredulous laugh as she sat down to eat. "You don't even know what you're saying!"
"Do too!" he shot back.
Fleur just rolled her eyes.
"What did you call my sister before?" Freddie asked his friend when they were playing games later. "Legs? ... Why? You know her name's Fleur, right?"
"Of course I know her name! But girls like it when you point out their body parts like that," Todd explained, "They want to know that you don't care about their name or personality, but that you like them for their body no matter what."
Wow. Freddie and Todd were the same age, but sometimes Todd seemed to know so much more stuff! Maybe that was because Todd's parents allowed him watch all those late-night sitcoms that Freddie's said he was still too young for...
"I have legs," Larissa pointed out, dangling them off the edge of the sofa.
"Yeah, but you're different," Todd replied. "Sure, you're a girl -- but not a girl girl... not like Fred's sisters. You're like us."
"No, I'm better than you!" Larissa retorted as she pushed Todd's virtual car off the road with her own. There was a huge, awesome explosion, but Freddie didn't even notice. He was still pondering Todd's words from before.
With her youngest son's teen birthday on the horizon, Evelyn made it a point to read Freddie to sleep every single night.
She didn't want to believe that her little baby was growing up so fast!
Rémy tried his best to console his wife.
... his very best!
Birthday parties were awesome and all, but this time around, Freddie only felt apprehension when he saw his birthday cake.
His head was still swimming with confusing thoughts about robot bears and chickens with too many eggs and girls' body parts. Freddie wasn't sure if he was ready for all of this.
Hugs from Mommy always made things better though.
At some point, Francis and the twins had overcome their constant bickering and were getting closer again. They spent most of the party hanging out and talking together.
As they approached the last days of their time as teens, the three of them were growing more mature.
And Zebulon had apparently overcome his fear of public displays of affection!
When it was time to blow out the candles, Freddie's friends and family cheered him on enthusiastically. He bravely stepped up to the cake, but inside he was still torn. Did he have to grow up? Really?
When he blew out his candles, he wished that things wouldn't have to change.
Freddie's favorite birthday gift was his very own claw machine for his room!
Rémy and Evelyn hoped that this might make coming home after school more appealing than slipping off to the arcade again.
For now it seemed to work!
Todd and Larissa became teenagers on the same day Freddie did.
"Now I know where your daughters got it from, Mrs D!"
Glasses = genius trait. Todd knows. Todd knows all the things.
One more picture of Todd as a child because he was so cute:
Randomly generated from sims in my bin! And here is the reason for his surname - Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos:
I think it's just that his beanie looked like that epic monobrow to me. Unfortunately the likeness disappeared as he grew older.