Chapter 33: Jacob's Playdate

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Buckled securely in his car seat, Jacob watched the large, expansive houses, mesmerized by their grandiosity. The houses they passed along the nicely paved streets were all uniquely styled. Some were Victorian while others were mid-century modern styled homes. The color schemes were also unique but fitting to each house's design.

Finally, they stopped in front of ranch-styled home. The lawn was neatly cut and there was a narrow path from the driveway to the front door. A few small shrubs decorated the front of the yard.

From the driver's seat, Angelique put the car in park and announced, "We're here, Jacob."

Angelique and Simon were determined to keep the experience as exciting as possible for Jacob. They wanted to get him acquainted with unfamiliar situations and new people. In the future, he'd need to attend daycare, and they planned to hire babysitters for their date nights.

"Wait, Batman!" Jacob screamed as his toy fell from his hand while he was being unbuckled.

Simon reached down to pick up the plush toy. "Got it," he said, giving it back to Jacob.

Jacob was helped out of the car and placed on the narrow brick path to the front door. Angelique ushered him forward with a hand on his back, and the trio made their way to the door.

"Are you ready to meet Noah?" Simon asked, tickling Jacob along his side.

"Yes," he squealed, wiggling away from the tickles.

"Well, you're going to be the ringer, Jacob," Simon explained as he lifted him up and held him next to the doorbell.

Jacob pushed it, and he could hear the doorbell ring through the inside of the house. Just as Simon placed him back on his feet, the door opened, and Diana and Noah were standing in front of them.

Diane was a white woman of average height. She had long black hair and a skinny build. Her smile was remarkably bright, and her face lit up with it. Her 3-year-old son, Noah, stood right next to her, and he had a short haircut and a skinny build like his mother. He was dressed in cargo pants and a thin blue shirt.

"Welcome to our home. Please come inside," Diane said, offering space for the trio to walk inside.

While the adults hugged each other, Noah stepped closer to Jacob. "Hi, Jacob. I'm Noah" he said, shyly.

"Hi Noah," Jacob replied.

"Mom let me put all my toys in the living room for us to play with," he explained, excitedly gesturing towards the pile of toys in the living room.

As Jacob still wasn't completely regressed, he knew he had to be careful playing with Noah. His caregivers had stressed the importance of being kind to little kids who were not as "developed" as he was. He wasn't sure what they thought he might do. He didn't plan on holding the kid for ransom, even though it was a tiny fantasy he had imagined for a fraction of a second.

"He's getting so big," Angelique enthused to Diane, looking at the 3-year-old boy.

"It's been a while since we saw each other, Noah. Do you still remember me?" Simon asked, giving him a quick hug.

"Yes," he answered. "You're Mr. Simon, and she's Ms. Angelique."

Diane reached over to give Jacob a squeeze. "It's nice to meet you Jacob."

"Nice to meet you too," he responded politely.

"Wow, you speak in full sentences at your age!" Diane said, surprised. "He's very verbal for his age," she told the couple who pretended to seem surprised by her observation.

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