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“Home sweet home.” Nicole announced as she pulled into the drive of a larger tan home with green trim.

Brian leaned forward in the front passenger seat to look out the windshield. He tried to keep his face from wrinkling.

“It’s ugly.” Nick said looking between the seats at the house.

“It’s big.” Aaron smiled sticking his head out the window.

Suddenly the front door opened and a smile spread over Nicole’s face as her new husband came into view.

“Be respectful.” She warned opening her door. She stood out of the car and shut the door. “Tom.” She grinned.

“Looks like a freaking hippy.” Nick rolled his eyes looking at him hard.

“I agree but complain later. I don’t feel like getting grounded cause of your mouth.” Brian snapped and began to get out slowly.

“Nicole, I missed you.” He smiled reaching her and hugging her.

“Wow, look how happy mommy is.” Aaron smiled.

“Shut up Aaron.” Nick almost yelled and got out of the car.

Aaron followed suit.

“These must be your boys.” Tom said turning to them. Neither of them said anything to him. Tom felt as though he were being sized up.

Nick folded his arms over his chest defiantly while Brian gave his mom a ‘this sucks’ look. Aaron however forced his nerves aside, held out his hand with a smile and said, “I’m Aaron.”

Nick rolled his eyes as he watched his little brother shake hands with Tom.

Brian tapped his foot. He knew the right thing to do was follow after his baby brother. The problem was that he didn’t want to. When he felt his mom’s hand on his shoulder, he sighed deeply and said, “I’m Brian.”

“Nice to meet you Brian.” He smiled and shook his hand.

Brian forced a small one in return.

“That must make you Nick.” Tom turned to him.

“Way to state the obvious.” Nick replied.

“Nickolas!” Nicole warned.

“It’s alright, I have one of those too.” Tom gave her a reassuring smile.

“One of those?” Nick asked looking very offended and angry. He began to take a step forward but Brian’s hand instantly pressed against his chest stopping him. Nick looked to his older brother who gave him a warning glare.

Tom just tried to ignore it and turned to Nicole. “Someone from Empire Beauty School called looking for you. I just told them you weren’t available but I’d have you call them back.”

“Oh yeah, that’s my work. I’ll call them back later. It’s probably about my start date.” She said smiling as she looked at him. She loved him very much.

“I see; and you’ll be the director?” He asked.

She nodded and smiled.

Lovingly he looked at her, “That’s wonderful. Why don’t we head inside?”

Again she nodded as he placed his hand on the small of her back. Her two older sons rolled their eyes and followed behind Aaron and he followed them in.

The boys very carefully inspected the home. It was decorated casually but was a little messy. It defiantly looked like all guys lived there.

“Wow, it’s so nice.” Nicole said looking around.

“Thanks, uh, excuse the mess. The boys and I have been working on cleaning up.” Tom explained looking around nervously.

“It’s fine sweetie.” She told him.

Meanwhile Tom’s children were turning onto the street.

“Kevin, whose car is that?” Howie asked his older brother.

“I dunno.” He said examining it as he drove.

“Oh, I fucking bet that’s her car.” AJ cursed from the back seat where he seemed to bounce around.

“Will you sit still? You could get me a ticket.” Kevin casually warned.

“Relax would ya? We’re stopping.” AJ rolled his eyes dramatically as the car stopped moving in front of their home.

“I better not have to park on the street all the time.” Kevin complained getting out. “Dad just got me this. I don’t want it getting scratched up or hit.”

“Stop whining. It’s just a car.” Howie told him as he and AJ got out.

They walked up to the door and inside. Slowly as they walked in they came face to face with three blond boys sitting on their couch. Evil yet silent looks were exchanged. AJ began to open his mouth to undoubtedly make a rude remark but was cut off.

“Boys!” Tom excitedly said.

“Dad.” Kevin sarcastically replied as the three blonds kept looking them up and down.

“Come on in here and sit down. I want you to meet some people.” He called again from the living room. They boys set their bags down and walked into the living room. They sat on the other couch in the room across from the other boys.

The six of them once again looked over each other then to their parent.

“Boys I want you to meet Nicole. She’s going to be your new step-mom.” He told them.

“It’s nice to meet you guys.” She smiled warmly.

Kevin let out a puff of air and stood. “I’m Kevin.” He told her and shook her hand.

“It’s so wonderful to meet you Kevin.” Nicole smiled warm.

Kevin sat back down and looked to Howie.

Howie took a deep breath. He really rather not say hi at all but he knew better. Slowly he stood and adjusted his shirt. He then help out his hand and said, “I’m Howard. It’s a pleasure to meet you Nicole.”

Nick couldn’t help but laugh just a bit under his breath. ‘What a nerd.’ He thought to himself as he watched his mom tell him how pleased she was to meet him.

Howie then sat back down and let out a breath of relief. He then along with everyone else in the room looked to AJ.

He said nothing. He just slouched down on the couch. His legs were spread apart a little and his arms were folded over his chest in a defiant fashion. Carefully he looked her up and down.

Tom cleared his through a little as Howie jabbed him in the side.

“Owe man!” He complained moving away from his brother a bit.

“Introduce yourself.” Howie seemed to hiss as Tom glared at AJ.

“Oh uh, I’m AJ.” He said nonchalantly.

Tom stared at him even harder, “Uh, Nicole, Sweetie…” He said then gave her a forced smile, “That’s my youngest Alexander.”

AJ threw him a hard disgusted look. He hated being called that.

“He prefers to be called AJ or Alex.” Kevin softly added trying to avoid a confrontation.

“Oh well Alex, I’m glad to meet you also.” She smiled from where she stood.

“Boy’s why don’t you introduce yourselves to your new step-brothers.”

“Step-brothers?” Howie whispered.

Brian gave his mom a disapproving look but went on anyway, “I’m Brian.”

Nick looked at his mom refusing to speak.

“I’m Aaron.” The smaller boy jumped in sounded enthused yet shy.

“Stop acting like a brat.” Brian tried to warn Nick in a hushed whisper.

“I’m Nick.” Nick grumbled rolling his eyes.

Tom and Nicole smiled as he placed an arm around her waist.

“Dad, if we’re done with this little pow wow I’ve got school work to finish.” Howie said standing.

“Yeah dad, I got a girl waiting on me to call her.” AJ added as he and Howie stood.

“I told Max I’d cover for him at the restaurant tonight.” Kevin too stood.

“Sit you three. I’m not finished.” Tom told them making them freeze.

They all sat and looked at him.

“Now, as you all know there are only three bedrooms in this house. Nicole and I talk about it and we agreed on how we want the room assignments. I had beds placed in the needed rooms today as well as a few other things to help accommodate the Carter kids.” Tom explained.

“Alex, Nick, since you both are the same age you two are going to share a room.” Nicole began.

They both looked at each other disgusted and angry.

“Brian you are going to be in Kevin’s room and Howie you’ll be moving in there as well so that Aaron can have your room.” Tom finished.

“What?” Kevin snapped standing up. “You can’t be for real. Why does he get his own room while I have to share with Howie and… and… him.” Kevin couldn’t remember his name.

“Because Aaron is much younger than the rest of you and we don’t have enough rooms to give each of you your own room. Now Nicole and I will be looking for a bigger house but until we find one everyone is going to have to be a little less selfish.” Tom seemed to lecture his oldest son.

“Whatever.” Kevin said shaking his head.

“You’ll all get used to it and each other in no time.” Nicole tried to reassure them and they all rolled their eyes.

“Boys, why don’t you help each other get things moved around and moved in? Then you three can give them a tour.” Tom finished looking at his kids.

“What’ll you be doing?” AJ asked in a hard tone.

“Helping Nicole move in and showing her around.” He replied and then pulled her gently from the room.