12: Distractions and Discoveries

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Distractions and Discoveries

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                  BLESS LOTTIE, HONESTLY. Louis had completely forgotten about all the homework he would have to grade this weekend, and sure there was still tomorrow, but he sort of had plans. Hopefully.

                  "So I think he'll be sticking around for a bit. He's useful, anyway," Louis was explaining, taking a second to push his glasses up. The buggers were driving him nuts.

                  Lottie frowned. "That's not the only reason you're keeping him around, right?"

                  "What? No. No, I... I'm keeping him around because he wants to be around." Dammit, Louis thought, as he made a correction that didn't need to be made. He began to fix his mistake.

                  "I mean, do you want him around? I like Harry; I hope you aren't using him." She'd stopped checking her papers; Louis had given her the homework for his math class because it was the most straightforward and easy to correct. Instead of doing that, though, she was watching Louis, expectant.

                  He was becoming flustered very quickly. "No! I'm not using him – of course I'm not using him. I like him. I mean... I like having him around as much as he wants to be around. If he wants to hang, I'll hang, you know? If he wants to join the lads and I every night, then he's more than welcome, and I'm – we're – glad to have him. That's what I meant."

                  This seemed to be enough to appease her for now. She went back to her work and Louis went back to his, grateful for the passing of the moment. But after a few minutes of silence, Lottie tilted her head thoughtfully and said, "He's sweet."

                  And, well, Louis couldn't really argue. He'd fondly try to, though. "He's a cheeky bastard, is what he is."

                  "You should invite him over for dinner tonight. You know, as a thanks for last night."

                  "Offered already. He said last night was a thanks for putting him up."

                  Lottie hummed in response. Then she added, "He is a cheeky bastard, isn't he?"

                  Yes. He really is. Without realizing it, Louis' smile continued to grow as he finished correcting the paper he had been on for the last ten minutes. He'd assigned his kids a short book report on How to Kill a Mockingbird, mostly just to see where they were at in the grammar area, but now that was definitely all he could focus on. Originally, he had planned to pay attention to the actual reports of the book as well, but now that they were talking about Harry, Louis found that his attention was almost completely averted; what was left was only enough to catch minor grammatical errors. His kids would be getting off easy with these grades.

                  After a moment, he figured he should try to steer their conversation in a different direction before Lottie starts talking about things that he isn't ready to confront yet. "Do you kiss Mum with that mouth? My poor virgin ears."

                  Lottie sat up straight in her chair at that, setting down her pen abruptly. "Oh, that reminds me. Mum's bringing the twins to visit sometime next month. She told me which weekend, but I've forgotten."

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