ASN 4.1 Armament

by Matt P.

Walter opened the door to the house and stepped over the enlarged pile of shoes in front of the door, noting them with a glance and a chuckle. He looked back over his shoulder to Andre and Leah, who were stepping in behind him. “Looks like we have some company. You guys want to stay for pizza? That’s going to be the question in about…fifteen seconds.”

Andre grinned, and cast a quick look at Leah. At her little shrug and return smile, he nodded to Walter and they both stepped over the pile of shoes. True to Walter’s prediction, fifteen seconds later Antigone and Siobhan tumbled out of the hallway leading to the bedrooms with a wide grin on their features. “Oh father whom we love…” Antigone began, and Walter held up one hand to cut her off and the cell phone in the other hand to reassure her.

“Already dialing,” Walter offered with a smirk. “Go ask your brother if he wants something besides literally all the meats possible.” Antigone spun on her heel and jogged back in to the hallway she had just come from, taking the turn to go to her brother’s room instead.

The Richards house opened in to a large, open concept main room that was divided between the kitchen and living room; off of the living room area a hallway ran down one way to the conjoined suites that Siobhan and Antigone had claimed from the very beginning, and the other way to the other two bedrooms and the stairs to the basement. While dialing the pizza company, he motioned for Andre and Leah to move in to the living room and the couches and chairs there while he dealt with food.

“Meat,” Antigone confirmed a moment later, and Walter finished his order with the pizza place before putting his cell back in his pocket. “You guys have a bad day at the office?” She asked, moving to the island in the kitchen and hopping up on to one of the chairs. “Not that the whole team can’t come play video games if it wants,” she offered with a smirk and a glance to Andre and Leah. It was true, Walter knew, they had tended to go out to a restaurant or bar when they wanted team bonding—or bowling, to keep Leah and Andre’s skills sharp for the departmental league. The last time too many people in the department had been over had been…

“Too many memories of the victory celebration?” Siobhan asked, interrupting Walter’s thoughts by guessing them. She went to sit next to Antigone, and when Lacey and Monica followed it became apparent the High School set was claiming the island for their own. It was, after all, where the pizza would be set down once it came.

Walter shrugged, and went to claim his favorite recliner in the living room area. “Something like that. Or maybe it is nice to get a night out from my children, whom love me so much,” he offered with an insouciant smirk, calling back to her words.

“Mr. Richards, that isn’t how you use whom…” Lacey ventured hesitantly as she noticed Siobhan’s shaking head.

“He knows, he just likes to be funny. Or thinks he is,” his goth daughter commented with a long-suffering look at her father. “By the way, who were the mushrooms for? Lacey and Monica aren’t fungi fan=girls, you know…”

Walter gave his best all knowing grin. “No, but your uncle loves them, and I fully expect that we will be hearing from him—” At that moment there was the roar of a motorcycle coming in to the driveway, and the grin on Walter’s face turned from all knowing to simply insufferable.

Siobhan and Antigone both sighed as only teenage girls disappointed to find out their parents do actually know things can, and shared a look. “I don’t hate it when he’s right,” Antigone explained in an aside to the rest of the room. “I just hate it when he happens to be so right.”

A moment later a key scraped the lock, and the front door opened. Ryan Aquino, namesake of his nephew Ryan Richards, entered through the front door. He had changed since Walter had seen him earlier that day, and was now in a plain black shirt and matching fatigue pants. He looked far more paramilitary then he had earlier in the day, and Walter didn’t need to ask why—or what was in the bag that he had brought with him. “Uh…” Ryan offered, having apparently not expected to see so many people waiting in the house. “You want to go talk plans in the basement, Walt?” He asked after a beat.

“Sure,” Walter said, rising. “After pizza—I got you mushrooms, you monster. But I did want some of the rest of the crowd here, and we’ll just role with the other ones,” he offered, making clear that the ones he had planned on were not the high school students. They all shrugged, and Ryan looked to Walter.

“You still have the black box, right?” He asked cryptically; Walter smiled.