Day 13—The Morning After: Eating Pancakes Like a Boss
The first thing Nikolas felt underneath his cheek was a rather hard protuberance that was also surprisingly warm. Then, he felt the warmth covering him and attempted to snuggle closer to both sources of warmth. Then the warm protuberance muttered a groggy “Ow, you’re squishing me” and Nikolas realized that what he was laying on was not, in fact, the couch. It was Leonard. His shoulder, to be specific.
“Oops,” he muttered with his eyes closed. He pushed himself up, accidentally shoving his hand into Leonard’s stomach by mistake. Leonard let out a strangled, deflated sound that sounded suspiciously like a swear word.
“Ow,” he said again.
“Sorry,” Nikolas apologized. “I thought you were the couch.”
“Can you, um, sort of get off my legs? I can’t feel them,” Leonard said sheepishly. Nikolas tried climbing off and ended up falling off the couch entirely.
“Oww,” he complained, rubbing his shoulder. “Why’d I do that? What time is it?”
“Because you’re stupid?” Leonard suggested, rubbing his eyes and smoothing out his now flattened hair. “I think it’s six-thirty.”
“Whatever.” Nikolas got up and staggered his way into the kitchen. “I’m making pancakes. Happy?”
“Very.” Leonard dragged the blanket over his head and tried to sleep once more on the couch. He was soon distracted, however, by the sweet smell of pancakes. Nikolas walked back in, wearing an apron over the clothes he had fallen asleep in—black sweater and black jeans—and his hair tied back with a rubber band.
“Go wake up the little kids,” he ordered.
Nikolas stole his blankets. Leonard woke up.
Breakfast was an incredibly messy affair. There were syrup and butter and strawberry jam all over the place. Nathan wanted to drown his pancakes in the overly sugary maple syrup, attempting to copy Leonard, who had become his witticism idol overnight.
Michael, ever the gourmet chef, tried doing the same thing, but tried adding copious amounts of butter and jam to the mix as well.
Nikolas tried, unsuccessfully, to stop them from getting it all over the floor and their shirts.
“Help me,” he snapped at Leonard, who was calmly chewing his pancakes.
Leonard shrugged. “Okay.”
He left his food, and took the dirty plates away, disregarding the half-eaten, drowned pancakes that were still on the plates. Both Nathan and Michael protested, and Nikolas frowned, unhappy that Leonard was wasting food.
“You know, that’s against my morals.”
“Well, luckily for me, I have no morals,” Leonard countered with a saucy wink. Nikolas’ frown deepened.
“You have a plan, right?”
“Of course I do! I always do,” Leonard assured him. He moved into the kitchen and Nikolas sighed and began cleaning up the mess that the boys had created.
“Sit tight, kiddos,” he told them. “I’ll be right back.” He walked into the kitchen arms loaded with dirty dishes. Inside, Leonard was leaning against the counter, studying his nails.
“So what’s your genius plan?” Nikolas asked him, dumping the cutlery and dirty dishes in the sink.
“Eggs and toast.”
By the time the parents had woken up made it down to eat breakfast, their children were cleaned up and calmly eating scrambled eggs on toast with their orange juice.
Mrs. Wright yawned and tightened her robe. Her hair was askew with bedhead. “I hope Nathan and Michael weren’t complete little devils?”
“Oh, not at all. Lenny is surprisingly good at taking care of children. The eggs and toast were his idea, but there’re pancakes if you want those,” Nikolas informed them. Mrs. Wright nodded and floated sleepily into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee to wake herself up.
“Wait,” Mr. Wright yawned. “Who’s Lenny?”
“I am, sir,” Leonard spoke up. “Leonard Astor. But my friends call me Lenny.”
“Sorry, I’m a little slow in the mornings before I’ve had my morning coffee. Especially after those horrid parties,” Mr. Wright apologized, scratching the back of his neck. “You’re not the Leonard Astor, are you?”
“Um, if you mean the rock star, then yes,” Leonard answered uncertainly.
“Oh. Well, nice to meet you.” He, too, floated sleepily into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee to wake up.
Leonard looked at Nikolas, who looked back, a little nonplussed. “Well, that blew over rather nicely,” he stated blandly.
“If you haven’t noticed, they’re the parents of two children under the age of 8, and they’re, like, forty. They couldn’t care less about who you are, just if you’re a good person to be around their kids.”