Jack and Ben are still hard at work on their dinosaur while Lacey is still hard at work becoming one with the couch.
“The mall is open, but nobody’s shopping,” Henry whispers to Brooke, referring to Lacey. Brooke is about to respond when an infant cries in another room.
Ben jumps up, causing the dinosaur to fall apart. “Let me go see Chelsea. I want to be alone with her.” He runs from the room.
Lacey grunts and starts to lift herself off the couch, completely disgusted at being interrupted in her television staring—we can’t even say in all honesty that she was watching it; she was just staring blankly in its direction. After all, if audiences slip into a trance, they’re more susceptible, more subject to suggestion, and more prone to filling their overstuffed homes with even more things they don’t need. That keeps the advertisers very happy.
“Why is he so insistent on that?” Lacey barks. “He’s been like that ever since she was born.”
Jack shrugs. “Maybe we should finally let him be with her, but watch him from the hallway.”
Jack and Lacey tiptoe down the hallway and peer into the baby’s room, where they find Ben leaning his head against the slats of his sister’s crib. She has quieted down and is looking intently at her brother. Her three angels are performing their routine: whispering, computing, watching.
In what looks to her parents like the typical baby’s head-jerking look-about, Chelsea looks at her angels, at Ben’s angels, and then back at her brother. Her room is void of the otherwise ubiquitous piles of who-knows-what and is the cleanest room in the house. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs parade across one of her bright, peach-colored walls—the painted characters a gift from an artistic coworker of Jack’s.
Ben turns to his parents. “I want to talk to her— without you here. Please let me talk to her.”
“Okay, big guy,” Jack encourages him, “go ahead. You talk to her.” Jack pulls a chair over to the crib for Ben to climb onto.
“You can’t stay,” Ben tells him.
“Okay, we’re going.”
Jack and Lacey leave, but they stand right outside Chelsea’s room, listening.
Ben climbs up on the chair and looks down at his sister. “Can you see them? Can you tell me if they’re still here? Please? I don’t see them any more.”
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