• Once there was a family that lived in the suburbs of New York City. The mothers name was Christine and she was 45. The father’s name was John and he was 60. The eldest of the children was Katelyn and she was 15. The middle child, Sarah, was 6, and the youngest, Steve, was 3. They had had their beagle Charlie since birth, 1 year ago. They were the Smith family. Katelyn’s life long, best friend had moved to Kansas a year ago and was still her pen pal. John and Christine did not approve of Katelyn’s boyfriend Rhett. They wished that she would have chosen Patrick but she had her mind set on marrying Rhett and they honored her decision.
    Late one night, after the little kids had fallen asleep on the couch watching Mary Poppins, Rhett had gone home, and Katelyn had gone upstairs to write in her diary John and Christine snuck out of the house and went to buy Christmas gifts for the children. Katelyn heard a noise down stairs and went to put the kids in bed, but when she was that they were not in their room, the living room, or the kitchen she started panicking. She put her siblings in bed and watched the dog run around in circles in the back yard until he fell down. She accidently fell asleep on a lounge chair on the patio.
    “Wake up sissy,” said Sarah at 4 am, “Steve and I are hungry.”
    Katelyn awoke to her sister sitting on her chest and Charlie running around the yard. She could hear Steve in side screaming so she grabbed Sarah, ran inside to look at her calendar and screamed a couple of curse words when she saw that it was Christmas eve and she had no gifts for the family. She ran upstairs to tell her parents but they were not there. She searched the whole house but there was no sign of her parents anywhere. She went back and picked up her little siblings and set them on the couch. After turning on Barney she went to make breakfast for the family. She put the kids at the table and served them mashed carrots on toast, their favorite. She got napkins and made herself a bowl of cereal with orange juice. After breakfast the kids went back to watching their Barney tapes and Katelyn ran water to bathe them. Then there was a knock on the door. She picked up her brother off the couch and opened the door. Standing on the front stoop in his brown jacket, blue jeans, and white shoes was the city officer and family friend Patrick James. She said hello and the officer just nodded. His partner Buddy, the German shepherd, was sitting at his side. Charlie came bounding out down the stairs covered in bubbles from the kid’s bath and licked buddy’s face. Patrick said, “May I come in Katie.”
    Katelyn got all red in the face like she always did when someone called her Katie because that was what Patrick called her. She nodded and back out of his way. Sarah turned off Barny and ran to get in the bath. “Sarah don’t you dare get in that water,” Katie screamed after her sister then turned to the officer, “hello officer, is something wrong?”
    He looked at her with a depressing expression, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this but; your parents have gone missing Katie.”
    Katelyn fell to her knees, let her brother go and put her head in her hands while crying. She looked up at the officer as he helped her to the couch, “Who called the station and told you they were missing?”
    “I don’t know, but I believe the station said something about it being your aunt and uncle. All I know is I was sent to tell you that you’re going to stay with them until your parents are found,” Patrick responded.
    “How did they know that my parents are missing if I didn’t,” Katelyn asked.
    “I don’t know, but I need you to pack your things so I can take you to your aunt and uncles house,” sensing the anger in his voice Katelyn grabbed her brother and sister and went upstairs to pack their things.
    She went to her brother’s room first. There she packed his monkey, Mr. Monkey face, his favorite book, I Spy: ABC addition, and his jumper. She opened his dresser and packed 6 shirts, 6 pants, 6 shorts, and 6 pairs of socks. She also grabbed her money stash from his top drawer, it was her safest place to hide it. Just then her phone rang. She answered it, “hello?” and there was no response so she hung up.
    She moved on to her room and first things first tossed her diary into her bag. Then went her socks, underwear, and female necessities. She went to her bathroom to grab her hair curler and brush. She grabbed her brother, sister, and her own tooth brushes from the cabinet. She tossed 6 outfits and 6 dresses into her bag and ran down the hall to her sister’s room.
    There, she grabbed socks, pants, dresses, and shirts from the closet and threw them into a bag. She then picked up 2 of her sisters favorite toys and her favorite book and put them in the bag. She then grabbed shoes for all 3 of them and put them on the correct person.
    Once they were packed Katelyn took their stuff and them down stairs to see the officer and Charlie at the open door. Katie grabbed her calendar and hopped in the car with her brother or sister on either side of her. Both of the young children were scared and all 3 hated their aunt and uncle. Katelyn, who was holding both of their hands, could feel the children’s grip all the way to their Aunt Marma and Uncle Willy’s house. As soon as they could see the house they knew their aunt had told their cousins they were coming because they were sitting at the edge of the curb. When the car pulled up to the house Marma flung the door open and pulled Steve out so hard it made him cry. Katelyn and Sarah emerged from the car and Katie grabbed Steve and her bag from her aunt and ran inside. Her cousins, Mary Ann and Susie Joe, grabbed Sarah and Steve’s things and took them and Sarah inside to the guest room.
    Katelyn had forgotten that when she was at her aunt’s house she had to share a room with her brother and sister. She felt bad that she got a bed but her siblings had to sleep in a crib so she let them sleep with her in her bed. Even Katelyn was treated like a little kid by Marma, yet Willy understood that she was a teenager and deserved to be treated like one.
    Since it had been 6 hours since Sarah had woken Katelyn up at 4 am it was breakfast time at the Jones manor. Marma had invited Officer James to breakfast and he had accepted the offer. Willy called the children down to eat. They all took their seats and said grace then Marma brought the food to the table and everyone gorged themselves in scrambled eggs, greasy bacon, soft waffles, juicy sausage, and fluffy pancakes. Steve was eating cheerios and sipping on a bottle of warm milk. Katelyn didn’t even go to breakfast. Instead she stayed in her room and cried.
    When breakfast was over Auntie Marma and Uncle Willy went out, leaving Katelyn in charge of all 4 kids. She put them all down to nap and went to write in her diary. She wrote a letter to Patrick that she would never send him. Then she accidently fell asleep and when her aunt and uncle got home they dragged her into the kitchen to show her that the kids had broken the best china and runaway.
    “I DIDN’T MEAN TO,” Katelyn shouted as she ran out the front door, “I’ll go find them.”
    The first place Katelyn looked was the park. There she found Charlie, whimpering and bleeding, in a hole. She took him home and went back to her search for the 6 year olds. She put up flyers and asked everyone on the streets, but by sun down when she returned home she still hadn’t found them. Willy had taken Charlie to the vet and Marma was sitting on the couch after putting Steve to bed. As Katelyn walked into the house without the girls Marma sprung up from the couch and wrapped her arms around her niece.
    “I have some bad news. The officer just left. As it turns out your parents were killed in a head on drunk-driving accident.” Marma informed her sobbing niece.
    Katelyn ran to her room, slammed the door and screamed a few curse words. Her aunt stayed down stairs and waited for wily to come home with Charlie. Willy did come home with the girls, but no Charlie.
    Marma put the kids to bed and asked Willy, “where’s Charlie?”
    “he lost too much blood on the way there and barely made it in. he needed surgery to stitch his bleeding organs but he died on the operating table and there was nothing the staff there could do to save him.” Willy responded then ran upstairs.
    “You’ll have to tell the children in the morning Will. You do know that right,” Marma asked as she got into bed.
    “Yeah I know.”
    When Susie Joe went to get her cousins in the morning for breakfast Katelyn, Steve, Sarah and their things were gone.
    Katelyn took her siblings to an airport, bought tickets to Kansas and boarded their flight. Once she had taken her seat she took out her phone and called Patrick. “Hello,” Patrick answered the phone.
    “Hey Pat its Katie,” Katelyn responded.
    Katelyn could hear the joy in his voice as he said, “Oh wow, I didn’t expect to hear from you so soon, I just got you letter yesterday. Anyway, what’s up with you?”
    “I’m on my way to Kansas to see you,” she said, “can my brother, sister and I stay with you?”
    Patrick stammered and stuttered for a moment then said, “of course you can, my parents and I miss you like crazy. I’ll see you at the airport, bye!”
    “See you there, Bye Pat,” Katelyn said with a grin spreading from ear to ear across her face.
    “Oh and Katie,” Patrick added, “I love you!”
    Katelyn hung up grinning and enjoyed the rest of her flight. She couldn’t believe it that was the first time he had ever said that to her other then the time they pretended they were siblings.
    When she got off the plane she ran to him and right into his open arms, leaving Sarah to carry Steve. Patrick kissed her cheek, grabbed their bags and took them out to his car. He then opened Katie’s door, put the kids safely in the back seat and drove them to his house. Once there his parents took the bags and kids inside.
    Patrick held Katie’s hand, got down on one knee and purposed to her. Katelyn took her time answering but in the end said yes. Once he stood up she wrapped her arms around him and didn’t want to let go ever. They had a wonderful wedding 2 months later.
    Several months after the wedding Katelyn announced to the family that she was pregnant with a boy, Avery, and a girl, Alliey. She was also going to adopt her brother and sister and a new dog for the children.