Chapter 23

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"Uh uh oh. What do we have here?"

I cracked open an eye, barely even conscious, and saw Carlo's very amused, very smug face inches away from mine. "What the hell?" I said, trying to blink the sleep from my eyes.

"I think the "what the hell" is more reserved for me," Carlo said, widening his eyes. "What the hell did you and Archer do last night?"


That was when I noticed that Archer's arm was draped over my waist and I was snuggled up into his side, my head resting on his other arm. I was much more relaxed than I thought I would be, actually cuddling with someone, and I didn't really care that Carlo was acting like a creeper.

"Piss off, Carlo," Archer mumbled, his voice muffled by the pillow we were sharing.

"Okay, okay!" Carlo said quickly, holding up his hands in defeat. "I just wanted to make sure that you know, used protection."

Before I even had the chance to let Carlos's words sink in, Archer leapt off the couch in a spectacular display and tackled Carlo to the ground. At first I thought their fighting was actually genuine, but when I heard Carlo cackling with laughter, it was clearly all play.

I sat up, brushing my hair out of my face, and I wasn't so sure if I was supposed to find this entire thing humorous or embarrassing. Mia and Lauren appeared in the basement living room a few seconds later and watched the two boys duking it out on the floor with baffled looks.

"Uh, care to explain?" Lauren asked, pointing a finger at the boys as she looked over at me.

I shrugged, throwing my hands in the air. "The Lord only knows."

I got up from the couch and dragged myself up the stairs, ignoring Carlo and Archer. My stomach was grumbling and breakfast sounded pretty fantastic right about now.

Karin, Ana, Sophia, Regina, and Victoria were seated at the dining room table when I made it up the stairs. In the living room, all the younger kids were sprawled out on the floor, piled underneath mountains of blankets, and it didn't look like any of them were awake.

"Morning, Hadley," all of the women greeted me as I took a seat beside Ana.

"Hi," I yawned, waving a hand.

"You look like you had a good night's rest," Karin said, sipping at her coffee.

"Oh, the greatest," I mumbled, resisting the urge to roll my eyes.

The women around the table all laughed. Except for Victoria. But I highly doubted the woman laughed very much as it was.

"What's going on down there?" Sophia asked, pointing a finger towards the stairs.

"The boys are fighting," I said with a sigh.

Karin and Regina exchanged looks, their lips pursed. It was a look that clearly said we love our sons, but they're idiots some times.

I bit my lip to keep from giggling.

"We should get breakfast started," Victoria said.

It wasn't a statement. It was clearly an order.

"You're probably right," Sophia agreed with a sigh, taking a sip of her coffee. "But don't wake the others."

"Definitely," Karin, Regina, and Ana agreed in unison.

I decided not to ask why they came to this agreement and instead reached forward for one of the sugar rolls sitting on the table.

"Aunt Karin!"

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