Chapter 9.

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   The apartment above Mama Rosa's Coffee House was not what I was expecting at all. We'd all traveled through the cramped, awkwardly arranged kitchen until we'd reached a staircase situated towards the back of the place. After hiking up the staircase that never seemed to end, we'd reached a faded and cracked wooden door that Victoria had promptly unlocked with a jangling set of keys. 

 The room beyond the front door was bathed in darkness, so I couldn't see anything. But when somebody flicked on the lights, I wasn't ready for the sight that greeted me. 

  We were all crowded around in what was definitely supposed to be the living room. There was a particularly beaten down leather couch shoved into the tiny space between a coffee table and a battered looking stand that held a TV that was probably from the 70s. There was also a fireplace situated off to the side that looked as if it had seen better days. 

 Beyond the small yet entirely cozy living room was a surprisingly large kitchen with linoleum countertops and appliances that looked a little out-of-date. Situated in the middle of the kitchen was a dining table that looked original to the building with a long white table cloth stretched out on top of it. 

 "Do me a favor and get out of my way, Hadley. You're blocking the doorway."

I quickly stepped to the side before Archer could shove me out of the way, shooting him a nasty look as he marched past me. 

 If we hadn't been in the presence of three very young children, I most likely would've cursed at him. It wouldn't be the first time it'd ever happened. 

 Victoria and Regina bustled into the kitchen, debating on what to make for dinner, while April, May, and June immediately tossed themselves onto the couch in the living room and turned on the TV. 

 I sort of just stood there, wrapping my arms around my middle, wondering what I was supposed to do. I felt sort of ridiculous, standing around like a bumb on a log or something while there was something I probably could have been doing. 

 Of course I could have followed after Archer, but he was currently stomping his way up a circular flight of stairs that lead up to another floor, and I'd rather not face his wrath. Or be pushed down the stairs. That, too. 

 " there anything I can do to help?" I asked awkwardly, walking into the kitchen. 

Regina looked up at me from dumping what looked like a leftover dish of pasta into a pot on the stove. Victoria was currently banging around in the cupboards. 

 "No, you've done enough, Hadley," Regina said with a smile. "You really were a great help today."

I smiled and shrugged awkwardly. What else was there for me to do?

 "You could, however, keep up watch on those three in there," Victoria said in an undertone, waving a finger towards the living room. "The Lord only knows what they get up to."

 Funnily enough, I'd heard that about little kids.

 I stepped back into the living room and took a seat on the edge of the couch where April, May, and June were fighting over the TV remote.

 "Hey!" I was 83% sure that it was May that had shouted at  me, but I could've been wrong. I still was a little unsure about which triplet was which.  "Tell April that we need to watch Dragon Tales!"

 "Dragon Tales is for babies," April snapped, wrenching the remote out of her sister's hands.

It probably would have been highly inappropriate for me to burst out laughing. 

 The quiet one named June merely sat back against the couch with her arms crossed, shooting furtive glances in my direction. I tried to give a reassuring smile. I think I just ended up scaring her instead. Her cheeks flushed bright red and she dropped her head again, but I could've sworn she was smiling.

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