Shego asked Bonnie to go to the Kringle place and talk about paint and curtains. The pale woman trusted Bonnie's sense of color and style. Bonnie arrived earlier than the time Shego had suggested; glad to have an excuse to get away from her sisters. She found the door unlocked and went in to look at the kitchen again.
“Who are you?” she demanded of the young man seated on a stool by the counter and eating a MacDonalds breakfast wrap.
“I was about to ask you the same question. Oh, and were you hurt?”
“Was I hurt?”
“Yes, when you fell from heaven.”
Bonnie rolled her eyes. He grinned at her, “Oh, you've got pretty eyes, are road maps available? I think I could get lost in them.”
“Look, I don't know who you are.”
“I'm Mr. Right, have you been looking for me?”
“Oh, too bad. You must be another of my sister's friends.”
“You're Shego's brother? No, I'm not one of her friends. Okay, yes, I'm one of friends, but I'm not one of her FRIENDS.”
“So you are looking for Mr. Right?”
“Yes, er, no. No, I don't think you're Mr. Right.”
“Okay, I'm not Mr. Right. But I could be Mr. Right Now if you want me to be.”
“You're a smart-mouthed little kid, you know that? What are you, fifteen?”
“Hey, don't let the fact my older brothers got all the tall in the family fool you. You look like one of Kim's friends. That would make you a sophomore in college. I've probably got a year on you -- I'm a junior. And in your presence I find myself suffering from amnesia. Do I come here often?”
Bonnie smiled, just a little. “No, I've never seen you before.”
“Then I must be new in town. Can you give me directions to your place? If I follow you home will you keep me?”
Bonnie smiled just a little more. “Do any of your cheesy pick-up lines really work?”
“Very seldom. I get slapped a lot. But if she keeps talking with me eventually she finds out I'm really a charming guy. I can charm the pants off some girls. Think I've got a chance with you?”
Bonnie laughed. “I don't think so. But I like charming men, especially straight ones. I'm a theatre major--”
“Oh, yeah. Same at our school. I've got nothing against guys in the theater department, but I wouldn't want my brother dating one of them. Oh, my name is Will. You can call me Will. Or you can call me anytime. Want my phone number? I want yours. What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”
“I'm going to live here… That is, if the place gets fixed up. I heard Shego has a big work crew coming in.”
“Oh, yeah. I'm part of it. Ed and I arrived last night. He's with Shego at the lumberyard and Home Depot. Matt is supposed to fly in this morning. He's going to help Sis with the wiring -- she'll need to work fast, he's flying back tonight.”
“Where is the rest of the crew? Three of you is all?”
Will gave her a broad smile. “Oh, I think you'll be surprised how much we can get done. By the way, you have my name. Can I have a name to go with your face when I masturbate tonight?”
“I don't want to encourage you. But my name is Bonnie. And I don't believe your masturbation line.”
“Neither do I. I'm hoping for the real thing. How do you like your eggs cooked? I make a mean breakfast.”
Bonnie leaned over and tapped him gently on the nose with her forefinger, “You know, if you play your cards right, you will get slapped again.”
“Well, normally I don't go for kinky, but if it works for you--”
As Bonnie started to stalk out of the house she met Shego coming in, with a man who looked like Will. “Do I have to slap you too,” she snapped.
“Sounds like you met my other half. I'm Ed.”
“Ed, this is Bonnie. She'll be living her with Kim and me. Bonnie, this is Ed. He and Will keep me from wishing I was an only child.”
“I met Will. I don't know if I'll hold that against Ed or not.”
Will heard the noise and came out from the kitchen rubbing his cheek, “Hey, Sis. Hey, Bro. I like this chick. She doesn't slap very hard at all -- I think she likes me.”
Shego grabbed Bonnie before she could slap Will again. “Why don't about twelve of you go unload the truck?” It was fortunate Shego was holding Bonnie. She fainted when the Wegos started dividing.
“Take a deep breath, drink a little water. You'll feel better in a minute,” Shego told Bonnie.
“Did I really see that?”
“Yes, you did.”
“Is your whole family…”
“Yeah, especially my Dad.”
“What does he do?”
“He can play the bagpipes!”
Bonnie closed her eyes. “I think I'm home dreaming.”
“Oh, can I pinch you?”
Bonnie's eyes snapped open. “I'm fine.”
“Look, you can stay here and think about colors if you want. If my brothers are as good as they claim there'll be a painting party by the weekend. Or you can go to Kim's if you want. It's going to be major crazy here the next couple days.”
“Did I hear you have another brother coming too?”
“I'll be heading to the airport to get Matt in about fifteen minutes.”
“Does he do that going to pieces thing?”
“No, he gets small. He's going to help me rewire.”
“I think I'm going over to see Kim. I'll be back to think about colors this afternoon if I calm down. Can you walk me out of the house? I'm not sure I'm ready to face six Wills.”
Windows were starting to stack up in the large entryway as Shego led Bonnie out.
“Were you able to rent six of the Sawzall Reciprocating Saws? We only found four.”
“I could only rent four,” Shego explained. “But if some of you concentrate on getting the old windows out that should let others focus on getting the new windows in. I got five nail guns and two power miter saws.”
“Yeah, but if you and Matt are doing electrical work where will we get power for the compressors and other tools?”
“I started work on the junction box two days ago. I'm going to run some heavy cords straight up from the basement. Power will be off in the rest of the house until Matt and I get the new wires in. There should be enough natural light for… Damn!”
Shego turned to Bonnie. “You and Kim have a job this morning. You need to pick out light fixtures. There are just going to be bare wires hanging from holes in the ceiling tomorrow. The old fixtures are shot. Think about overhead fans in the bedrooms.” Shego grabbed an Ed, “She's not pissed with you. Escort her around the house so she can count how many fixtures we need.”
“Why am I going with her? I don't know this house.”
“Because she may try to slap a Will, or an Ed -- I doubt if she can tell you apart. Don't let the Wills hit on her.”
“Are you okay?” the Ed asked as she led him up the back stairs to the top floor. “I figured Sis had warned you about us.”
“I think I'm going to be fine. But it would have helped if she gave me some warning. Maybe it's my fault for getting here early. Is Will always to aggressive? He might be cute if he wasn't so in my face.”
Ed sighed, “Yeah, he's always like that. He strikes out ninety-five percent of the time. I'm not interested in girls who fall for his lines, and the ninety-five percent who slap him figure we're the same and won't have anything to do with me.”
Kim and Bonnie went back to the house in the mid-afternoon and found a state of total chaos. Wegos had already installed most of the new windows and new trim had gone up around almost half of them.
“Hi, guys, where's Shego?”
“She and Matt are pulling up new wires on the second floor. They got the top done this morning. She's working him like a dog because he's got a nine-thirty flight back this evening.”
Shego was down on all fours, yelling into a hole in the wall where an electrical outlet had been. “I'm right here, Matt. Head for the light! Head for the light.”
By the time they got to her they could hear a voice coming from the hole, “You don't need to tell me to head for the light, I'm not stupid. You try crawling through walls if that's going to be your attitude.”
Bonnie stepped back as two tiny arms reached out from the hole, followed by the rest of a miniature person. “Here's the end of the wire,” he told Shego. “Now, pull.”
Mego had grown to full size. “You didn't give me enough slack on that one,” he complained as Shego pulled extra wire through the opening. “Try and be more careful next time. This is ruining my manicure.”
Kim made introductions while Shego pulled, “Bonnie, this is Shego's brother Matt. Matt, this is Bonnie Rockwaller. She's going to help with the girls.”
“Fine, fine,” Mego said, ignoring Bonnie completely. “Sharon, where do you want the next wire run? I'm going to make sure there is enough slack for me to do it right.”
Shego pointed to another hole in the wall and Matt left the room.
“We got light fixtures picked out,” Bonnie said. “With ceiling fans for the bedrooms. Should we try and get them over today or wait for tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow's fine,” Shego grunted as she stretched. “Wire pulling muscles are different from fighting muscles. I'm going to be stiff tomorrow.”
“You look really hot in that low slung leather tool belt,” Kim told her. “Keep that around. After the babies are born I want you in that. All sweaty like today, with tight jeans, a white t-shirt that's too small for you and a pair of work boots.”
“Are you serious or are you just annoying Bonnie? Come on, we need to talk with her.”
Bonnie had put her hands over her ears and was singing the Nightmare song from Iolanthe to herself to avoid listening to Kim and Shego.
Shego pulled Bonnie's hands from her ears, “You still have work to do. The Wegos will need to stop when it gets dark. I need the two of you to go to rent a couple floodlights. I want to keep working with Matt as long as I can before his plane leaves. Make it back before it starts getting dark. Oh, and Bonnie, I'm working late and am going to be sore by the time I'm done today. Is there any chance you could take Will and Ed out to eat? I'm paying for it.”
“Come on, Bonnie. You want this place fixed up as much as I do. They don't know Middleton.”
The sky had begun to darken as Kim and Bonnie got the lights plugged in to the power cords. Matt and Shego had already finished half of the main floor. “I'm glad we started on the top floor while we were fresh this morning. This floor seems like nothing. I probably will have enough time to get a nice steak for Matt at the Astor before I take him to the airport.”
“After the shit he's been giving you all day? You ought to take him to the drive-thru at McDonalds,” a Will said.
“Yeah, and make him pay,” another Will added.
Their work done for the day Wegos began merging into each other, accompanied by the occasional grunt, groan and yips of pain.
“What's the problem?” Bonnie asked an Ed.
“All the bumps, bruises, and splinters are cumulative,” he explained. “When I'm back down to one of me I have all the pains I picked up during the day.” He held up a finger, “One of my idiot brother Wills dropped a window on this finger for one of me, and now it hurts like all get out.”
Bonnie smiled, “Want me to kiss it and make it better?”
“Hey, Bonnie,” the remaining Will spoke up, “want to hear where I hurt myself today?”
“No, but I'll bet if I kick it you'll realize the current pain is not as bad as it could be.”
At dinner Bonnie wasn't certain if she liked flirting with Ed because she enjoyed flirting with Ed, or because of how much it annoyed Will.
Will felt sure he knew the answer. “She likes me,” he told his brother when they were back in their motel room. “She was just talking with you to tease me. She doesn’t have to work so hard, I'm interested.”
“You're interested in every girl you ever meet.”
“And your point is?”
“Maybe she actually likes me.”
Will laughed, “I don't think so. I mean, you're a good looking devil--”
“Thanks for the compliment.”
“But you've got no personality. And by the time I get home I'm going to have another notch to carve on my headboard.”
Ed opened his mouth to speak, and then shut it. At the moment he wasn't talking to his twin.
Shego took a long, hot bath to relax aching muscles. After drying off she laid down on the bed and Kim went to work with the massage oil. “Oh, yes,” Shego thought to herself, “this is so much better than living alone.”
Bonnie had not had time to think about colors, so she was back the next day with Kim. Shego and a couple Eds were installing light fixtures, electrical outlets, and switches. The rest of the Eds and the Wills were mostly repairing walls.
“A little spackle will fill most of the holes,” one Will explained.
“And some of me are using drywall to repair larger problems,” another added.
“There are three rooms where we need to take down wall paper. But, all things considered, we should have most of the walls ready for a their final sanding tomorrow,” an Ed said.
Two more days and we'll have new floors and mop boards through the whole place.”
Shego was smiling broadly, “We should have this place ready for a painting party this weekend -- if you two can decide on colors. I want green in my bedroom.”
“Do I get any say about the colors in my bedroom?” Kim asked.
“You can have any color you want, Princess. As long as its green.”
“That doesn't sound like much of a choice.”
“Okay, black or green. Your choice.”
“Hey, Bonnie, do you know any girl with like, a good personality who'd be willing to go out with Ed tonight while you and I have a good time?”
“No, but I have the perfect girl in mind for you -- her hourly rates are very reasonable. But you can't pay the fraction of the hour -- I'm guessing it only takes about four minutes for you.”
“You wound me, Miss Rockwaller.”
“Only if you give me a chance, Mr. O'Ceallaigh.”
Bonnie enjoyed dinner that evening even more. In his own shy way it seemed like Ed was trying to flirt with her. Which meant the twins spent much of the evening arguing with each other. It felt wonderful to have two men fighting over her.
Ed flew home on Friday morning. At the last minute Will announced that he had changed his ticket and wouldn't be leaving until noon on Sunday. Ed glared at him. “You could have told me your plans. I might have stayed for the painting too.”
“No, you'd just be in the way. I told you. I want another notch in the headboard when I get home.”
Shego had driven to the airport to see her brothers off, and was as surprised as Ed by the announcement. “What are you two fighting about,” she demanded.
“He plans on getting Bonnie into bed before he comes home.”
“You hurt her and you're dead.”
“Come on, Sis. There's nothing wrong with recreational sex between two consenting adults. If she wants a little fun with me, why can't I have a little fun with her?”
“What if she thinks it's more serious than that.”
“I don't think I've ever promised her more than a little fun. I haven't misled her.”
“See what I have to live with?” Ed said. “Bonnie seems like a nice kid. And he's going to…”
“See, he can't even finish the sentence. I'm not twisting Bonnie's arm. I think Bonnie likes me and with you back home I think I'm going to score tonight -- and maybe tomorrow too. She says she was a cheerleader. I'll bet she's incredible in bed.”
Shego didn't feel well, but left Ed out at the departure terminal and headed back to the motel with Will. She had promised the Drs. Possible a grand unveiling that afternoon and wanted a final check of the place. Bonnie was a big girl. She could make her own choices. Had one of her good brothers turned out to be a creep, or was she being over-protective and unfair?
James Possible let out a low whistle as Shego let the Drs. Possible in. “It doesn't look like the same place.”
“You haven't seen the bathrooms yet, it’s the same old house.”
“Well this entryway looks great.”
“Most of the place looks a lot better. How are we doing on budget?”
“Um, I'm not sure. We've spent over budget already by having too much work done in the kitchen and all the materials you bought. I'm not complaining; I'm impressed. With the work you got done I'll bet we could sell the place tomorrow for three times what we've spent --”
Shego looked a little disturbed at the thought.
“No, we're not thinking of selling. I'm telling you that I don't mind a penny of what you've spent. As far as we're concerned this place is Kim's as long as she wants it. But I'd rather not take a second mortgage out on our home.”
“Is there a loan on this place?”
“No. But it has emptied our savings account and we sold some stock to get where we are now. Because the neighborhood still isn't great we can't get a good rate on a home equity loan on the place.”
Shego filed the information away. She didn't want the Possibles going into debt on this house. “Let's start at the top and work our way down,” Shego suggested. “You can see what we've done and where there's still work left to do.
As they climbed to the top floor Shego began, “We didn't work on either set of stairs. We thought that was for a professional carpenter. The stairs are okay for now, but eventually they need to be replaced too. The old elevator can't be fixed. I don't know if we should put a new elevator in the shaft some year or just take it out completely.”
On the top floor she showed them how the three servants' bedrooms had been rehabilitated. “If you ever need to send Jim and Tim over while you're out of town they can sleep here. The old bathroom is still what it was, of course.” The oak floor of the huge loft area had been refinished but the space remained open. “Kim sees this and thinks playroom. I'm not sure if I see playroom or a big home office with computer terminals. I think Bonnie and Ron want exercise space -- but he says martial arts space and she says mirrors and dance bars.”
The bedrooms on the second floor were now all in good shape, but the two bathrooms remained as they were. “The nursery looks huge,” Jean commented.
“Well, it won't look nearly so big when we get dressers, cribs, and a changing table in here,” James reminded her. “Speaking of which, Shego, we need to talk furniture budget at some point.”
“A little later I plan to tell you something Wade suggested. The lack of furniture will make painting this weekend a lot easier though.”
When they returned to the main floor Shego pointed out the large bay window and library as places which would demand the work of a skilled carpenter. “And the little bathroom under the stairs is really bad. I don't think any woman wants to sit down in there.”
“Hey, Drs. P,” Ron called as they walked through the kitchen, “I got a cherry pie in the oven. Should be out when Shego has finished giving you the tour.” Kim, Monique, Will, and Bonnie sat on stools at the counter, watching Ron and drinking tea or hot chocolate.
“Do you want to see the basement?” Shego asked. “I think the only change is the new electrical junction box I put in. We need to get the basement cleaned out and a washer and dryer installed. I have some other ideas to try if we stay here long enough. There is a ton of potential space down there.”
“I think we can skip the basement.”
“Oh, cleaning out the basement brings up Wade's idea. I had him over to double-check my electrical work and he thinks a lot of the junk down there would sell on eBay -- clean out the house and make a little money at the same time. You bought contents when you bought the house. I'm going to suggest you let us do the eBay work and put any profits into a furniture fund.”
Jean looked at her husband, “I'll agree to that, it saves us money and Kim needs furniture.”
“You can tell Wade to move ahead,” James agreed. “Or, I'm guessing you already asked him to start.”
Shego just grinned. “I offered him a percentage on what he sold, but he's calling it a housewarming gift to Kim. He promised to think about a designing a new elevator too -- although that counts as one of the lower priorities.”
As they crossed the yard to the old carriage house/'new' garage Shego pointed out some areas on the house where trim needed to be fixed, and all the exterior trim needed repainting, “But that's a summer project. You may need to hire professionals to get up there with scaffolding. Thankfully it hasn't been too long since the mortar repair and tuck pointing.
“And the yard's a mess. We'll probably just do it ourselves over the next couple years. Ron says if we scrape off some of this gravel they put down for the renters' cars we could plant an herb garden between the house and garage.”
Nothing had changed much in the garage either, but a ladder stood in the area where stairs once led to the upper level. Shego described her plans. “Eventually I can buy a good set of tools and have a shop corner over here. Wade didn't want to climb to the upper story, but I think some of the junk up there could be collectible also. We need to build a new set of stairs there. When we get it cleaned out I think we can let Bonnie and Ron fight it out for dance or martial arts training area in the area they used to store hay. I don't know if I can get my brother Matt to come back and help rewire here. With a small furnace the space can be used year round. I even found a little bathroom up there when I was looking it over a couple days ago. Of course it hasn't been used in decades and all the walls need to be sheet rocked if we want the rooms made useable -- but that has to be on the bottom of the to-do list.”
As they left the garage Shego said, “I think you gave Ron a good deal on rent.”
“Well, he's been Kim's friend since pre-K and his parents thought it would be good for him to get out of the house. I think letting him take care of groceries and do the cooking is a good deal for everyone.”
“Have you heard that Monique wants to move in too?”
“No, no one told us.”
“Oops. I'm sorry. I'll bet they bring it up after a slice of pie to put you in a good mood.”
Jean warmed her hands with a cup of hot tea while Ron sliced the pie into eight pieces. “What do you think James? I'm impressed with all the work Shego and her brothers did.”
“This looks like where I imagined we'd be when we bought the place. Okay, kids, let's talk next project. There will be the painting party tomorrow. Bathrooms are the next item on the list. Budget is a little tighter than expected. We're going to be using fiberglass instead of Corian when we fix things. What's the order for fixing them?”
Bonnie and Ron cast their votes for the shared second floor bathroom, Kim wanted the master bathroom done, and Shego voted for the one under the stairs as the most disgusting and the one most likely to be used by a guest. The Drs. Possible agreed with Shego and wrote it down for first.
“Now, for the next bathroom --”
“Uh, Dr. Possible. Could you let me worry about that when the time comes? I have a couple ideas I'm thinking about.”
“I guess so, Shego, you've done a great job so far.”
“Thanks, but it was Will and Ed who did most of the work. Oh, can Will eat with us tonight? I've been so tired I've been letting Bonnie take care of my family responsibilities, but I'm hoping you can invite him over for dinner and really meet him.”
“Of course, we'd be delighted,” Jean assured her.
Will gave his sister a dirty look. Bonnie gave her a smile and silently mouthed the word, “Thanks.”
“Um, Dad? Monique and I wanted to ask you about something…”
Bonnie was there early the next morning to insure the proper paint went into the proper rooms. “You want which bedroom?” she demanded of Ron.
“The little one, just off the back stairs.”
“But why? It's so small, and so …”
“So private? Yeah, seems like a good idea in a house full of women. I'll use the bathroom on the top floor. And the back stairs go right down to the kitchen. Why do you sound so upset?”
“Yeah,” Will wondered, “why does she sound so upset?”
Bonnie had taken the middle of the three large bedrooms just to insure Ron would be in the next room.
Quite a crowd showed up for the painting. In addition to the Drs. Possible and the tweebs both of Ron's parents were there. Monique brought Will Du and her brother Martin with his current girl friend -- both of whom were probably there to see the inside of the Kringle place as much as to work. Wade was there in person, and Shego, who hadn't realized there would be so many volunteers, had recruited three Legal Lesbians with promises of beer and pizza when the work was done. And, much to everyone's surprise, the Renton handicapped accessible van pulled up and Felix and Justine Flanner got out. Justine was dressed in work clothes -- so new there was still a price tag on the slacks. She waved at Kim, “Felix said we should give you a hand.”
“Thanks,” Kim called. “We're glad for all the help.”
“Felix, could you try and keep Kim busy today?” Ron asked.
“I'd rather help Justine paint. You don't think a guy in a wheel chair can do his part?”
“No, but Shego doesn't want her breathing in paint fumes all day when she's pregnant. And she's going to feel lousy if all her friends are here and she doesn't have anyone to talk with.”
“Okay, I'll go have fun with her -- but I won't be happy about it. What about Justine?”
“The tweebs have a theory about chronological flux -- if she'd be willing to talk with them I think they'd love to talk with her. Wade would be a be a good person to work with her also -- one genius to another.”
“I suppose it's okay…”
“Oh, and you and Kim will be doing the pizza run. With this crowd we'll be done in a few hours.”
Will helped Bonnie in the room she had chosen. “Why do I feel this is all I'm going to mean when I tell Ed I got you alone in your bedroom?”
“Because it is. You're cute, but I don't think you're what I need. I want someone a little more serious. Maybe someone like Ed.”
“Or maybe like Ron?”
“Maybe I'm a masochist. I want a nice guy, and it seems like none of them want me.”
“Well, I know you're wrong about Ed not being interested. You might be wrong about Ron too. But, hey, I'm a connoisseur and I want you. Doesn't that little ego boost count for anything?”
“I appreciate the flattery. But I'm not that easy, and I'm afraid if I show you any affection you'll take it as a sign of something deeper or think I'm a tease.”
Will laughed, “Bonnie. I hope you're available when I decide to get serious -- and believe me, you are the first girl I've ever said that to.”
“I do believe you. But I'm not going to wait.”
“Where are you and Felix? Painting will be done in about fifteen minutes.”
“We're about three blocks away. We've got nine assorted large pizzas and ten two-liter bottles.”
“Good. My crew didn't drink as much beer as I expected and we have plenty in the fridge.”
“Shego, did anyone seriously want an artichoke hearts and anchovy pizza?”
Kim watched closely as Justine went over to Felix and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. She couldn't tell if it was a simple “Hello” to a friend or “This is all you get with people watching us.”
Will O'Ceallaigh glanced around at the crowd eating pizza. There must be another housemate he hadn't been introduced to. He and Ed had seen her a couple times as they worked and he thought he had seen her again today, but with the number of people around he could have been mistaken.
Felix and Justine were two of the last to leave. When the house was almost empty she approached Kim. “You know I'll be getting my Ph.D. at Berkeley this spring?”
“Yes, Felix told me. He said you were thinking about a job with Middleton Research.”
“Well, I need a place to stay when I first get here. I don't want to move in with my parents. Eventually I'll find a place to buy or have to build a home… Are you going to get the elevator fixed here?”
“Uh, probably someday -- why?”
Justine blushed, “Well, I was wondering if I could rent that other bedroom from you until I get my own house? I mean, I have to stay somewhere, and I like you… Could I, please?”
“That doesn't tell me why you asked about the elevator. Tell me Justine. Say it out loud.”
Justine was a bright red and unable to speak.
“Do we need a ramp to make it easier for Felix to get onto the front porch also?”
In the living room of the Kringle house Kim gave Justine a hug and promised to try and have the elevator fixed in June. In her mind Kim was shouting 'Yes!' and doing a little victory dance with her arms raised in the air.
Translation: A posse ad esse - From possibility to actuality