Men Are From Mars (9)

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“He’s my new best friend!” Maddie squealed, squeezing the giant stuffed crime-fighting dog.

“Whoa there girly.” Liam said tugging on a strand of his cousin’s curly hair, “Let’s not forget the awesome person who won you him.”

Maddie smiled up at her cousin, her two front teeth poking over her front lip. “My bestest friend.” She strangled Scooby, her cubby arms wrapped around his neck.

“I don’t think he can watch Saturday morning cartoons with you.” Liam responded, shaking his head back and forth in disappointment. “What kind of a best friend is that?”

“Yeah huh! Scooby loves Dora!” Maddie countered, crossing her arms.

“Well he can’t play tea party with you.” Liam told her, sticking out his tongue.

I raised an eyebrow in surprise and Liam smirked and shrugged his shoulders, “Hey what can I say? Maddie throws a marvelous party. Her peanut butter sandwiches are to die for.”

“Of course Scooby can play tea party!” Maddie frowned, “Mr. Fluffington plays all the time.”

Cracking a smile, I hid it with my hand.

“Silly me, how could I possibly forget Mr. Fluffington?” Liam wondered, shaking his head, “But can Scooby push you on the swings?” He crossed his arms in content, daring Maddie to correct him.

She stared up at her cousin, stumped.

“That’s what I thought.” Liam said poking her on the nose. “I am the ultimate best friend!” He flexed his muscles, kissing each bicep.

Maddie giggled, but then a vendor selling colorful sticks of cotton candy captured her attention. It turns out that Liam had quite a soft spot for his little cousin; she had him wrapped around her little finger. Soon her face was covered in pink puffs of delicious sugar.

“You know, paying for the prize doesn’t actually count as winning.” I told Liam as we headed towards the boardwalk. It was getting late and it was way past Maddie’s bedtime.

“Hey now,” He said defending himself, “That basketball hoop was rigged!”

“Sure.” I said rolling my eyes, “Just like the booth attendant was out to get you?”

“He was! I clearly made four of those baskets, but he said it was only three. What kind of crap was that?”

I bit my lip trying not to smile. “Total crap.”

“Well, at least I won a small prize.” He said looking down at the stuffed animal in my hand. It was a purple monkey, the ones with long arms and Velcro on the hands and feet.

“Yes,” I said smiling back up at him, “that you did.”

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