“We didn’t want to leave you alone down here,” Jeanne said, as if this were the most obvious thing in the world. “Besides,” she added nonchalantly, “we liked it down here.”
“No dreams,” Gene said. That doesn’t make me feel any better, Phillip thought. Gene frowned; did he just hear me? “But that’s okay. I didn’t want to go back to being Patrick just yet.”
“I had a dream about a ton of ice cream,” Jeanne shot back. “Like I was swimming in it. ‘Cause I was cold!”
“It wasn’t that bad, you big baby,” Gene said. “Phillip was way warmer than a bunch of old blankets.”
“It’s getting late, kids,” Phillip said, attempting to defuse the scuffle before Jeanne could react. “Let’s get showered and dressed.”
“Can’t we wait a little longer?” Jeanne asked.
“Today’s going to be a long day,” Phillip said. “The sooner we get there, the sooner we can be done and back home. And you know the buses don’t wait for us.”
“Awww,” Gene said, “just a few more minutes?”
Phillip pointed to the cable box; a red light was now on, just above the time readout. “Your programs are recording,” he smiled. “Just like always. We’ll get to them soon enough, okay?”
“All right,” Jeanne said, vaulting over the back of the couch. Phillip caught her as she stepped away. “Sorry,” she said, cutting him off before he could admonish her. “But we’re in a hurry, right?” He chuckled and let her go. Gene walked around the side of the couch and up the other set of stairs to the bedrooms.

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