030; real life

105 12 14

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"Hey," Gracie greets, coming into the kitchen and giving a friendly smile, "do you always do all the work around here?  I swear, I haven't seen my brother do a thing since we've been here."

"We usually take turns," Thea answers with a quiet laugh, shaking her head to dismiss the idea of Awsten not contributing.  "One of us cooks, the other cleans up from cooking, and then we switch it around.  We're just doing it this way for now so he can spend more time with you guys instead of worrying about this stuff.  He deserves a break anyway."

"Yeah," Gracie agrees with a nod, grabbing a glass for water like she originally came in for, "he does.  Can I ask you something?  Like, a serious question."

"Yeah," Thea allows, trying to hide her nervousness, "of course."

"Is Awsten okay?" Gracie questions before quickly continuing.  "He just...he wasn't okay for a while and he seems a lot more like himself than he has in a really long time but...I don't know, it's just hard to tell with him sometimes; he's good at hiding.  So, honestly, is he doing okay?"

"Most days," Thea starts off hesitantly, "he has his bad days but he's taking care of himself."

"And what about you?" Gracie carries on, leaning against the counter.

"What about me?" Thea is caught off guard by the question, glancing towards Gracie before refocusing on cleaning up from dinner.

"Are you good to him?" Gracie clarifies, deciding to just be straightforward here.  "After his last relationship...that can't happen again.  He can't get hurt like that again.  I just...I remember seeing him back at Geoff's after he walked there in the cold.  I know you didn't see him like that so you don't know but I did and I know what I'm talking about when I say he cannot be put back at that place.  He won't make it out and...I can't lose my brother again.  Don't hurt him."

"I won't," Thea assures her, "I love him.  I never want to see him hurt."

"Good," Gracie mumbles with a nod before giving a smile again.  "Sorry for ambushing you with that, I just needed to get that conversation done."

"It's fine," Thea assures her, "don't apologize for worrying about him.  I'm glad he has a family that cares."

"Okay, so, easier question," Gracie begins excitedly, "so, I watch your videos—and I did before you met Awsten, I knew you first and am gonna rub that in his face forever but anyway, how did you keep putting out videos while you were pregnant?  Like, you didn't show at all?"

"Pre-recorded it all after I first found out I was pregnant," Thea explains with a shrug, "didn't want anyone online asking questions so I made sure I could get content out so no one would have anything to wonder about."

"Smart," Gracie compliments, "no one had any idea."

"Saved a lot of stress," Thea mumbles with a nod as Awsten comes in.

"Better not be embarrassing me in here, Gracie," Awsten jokes, giving a smile as he wraps his arms loosely around Thea's waist from behind.  "I'm still tryin' to make her think I'm cool."

"You've never been cool," Gracie teases, rolling her eyes.  "Lame ass."

"You say those things to me?  In front of my beautiful girlfriend?  In my awesome house?  Get outta here with that shit," Awsten jokes overdramatically, "the disrespect!"

"Literally shut up," Gracie retorts, "you're lame.  What'd you come in here for anyway?"

"Not you," he shoots back with a grin.  "Thea, do you need any help?  My parents are all wrapped up in holding the twins and ignoring me for them right now anyway."

"Smart choice for mom and dad, wow, I'm gonna go ignore you for the twins too," Gracie takes the opportunity to give Awsten and Thea some time alone, giving a little wave as she leaves the kitchen with her glass of water.

"So, what was that conversation?" Awsten inquires worriedly after Gracie is out if the kitchen.  "Did she come in and ambush you?"

"Just a couple questions," she tells him, "nothing too terrifying."

"Good," he mumbles with a nod, "hopefully things stay on track.  Geoff and Jawn will be here tomorrow.  Are you gonna be okay here alone with my family and the twins?"

"Mhm," Thea hums, "they're not as scary as I was anticipating.  I think everything will be fine."

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twitter chapter coming up soon where the internet™ finds out about the twins. gonna do another one of those things where y'all can comment and have that be a tweet! drop your comments here for it if you wanna

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