Gabe peeked into the classroom and saw all the children gathered on the floor, listening to the teacher reading a book. Gabe smiled and leant against the wall, waiting for them to come out.
The twins saw Gabe a few minutes later and scampered over to him. He hugged them both, told them to go and play with their friends for a moment, before going to speak with their teacher.
"I've got the money for the twins' fieldtrip with me. Is it alright to pay you now?" He handed the money over to the teacher and went back out onto the twins. Swinging Rose up onto his shoulders, he grasped Liam's little hand and wandered into the centre of town with them. He listened to them chattering happily about their day.
"We looked at a caterpillar today." Rose squealed in his ear, making him wince. "Did you know they turn into butterflies after they peel themselves?" Biting back a grin, Gabe shook his head.
"I didn't know that." He said solemnly. "What do you guys want for dinner tonight?" He asked as they wandered around the supermarket. Rose shrugged.
"Pizza." Liam said firmly. Gabe smiled.
"Alright. We'll get some pizza." He let them chose an individual pizza each, before getting a large pepperoni for Jordan, a medium ham and pineapple for Phoebe and a medium mozzarella for himself.
They fetched a few more groceries, paid and headed home, the twins still chattering merrily. Gabe stayed quiet as they walked. He saw other young children with their parents, playing in the park as they walked past, or running about with friends in large, well-kept gardens. The twins never had friends over. They'd never asked to. Gabe wondered about that for a while. They saw Jordan and Phoebe as they wandered up the garden path. The twins darted up the road to greet them, leaving Gabe to struggled with the grocery bags.
He went through to the kitchen and put the pizzas in the oven to cook, before quickly putting away the groceries. Checking the kids were occupied with Phoebe in the garden, and Jordan had disappeared into his room, Gabe quickly emptied the rest of the money from the envelope into his own money jar, and added a little extra to Jordan's, for that month's gym membership. Gabe made a start on some housework that needed doing. Jordan thudded down the stairs a few minutes later and started making himself a sandwich.
"Dinner's in the oven." Gabriel said, as patiently as he could.
"I can eat both." Jordan replied, eating half the sandwich in one bite. Gabe made a disgusted face.
"I'm sure you can." He said quietly. Jordan shot him a look.
"Can I have twenty quid?"
"I'm taking Tracy to the cinema tonight." Gabe called the other three through to dinner, and took the pizzas out of the oven. They sat down to eat dinner, Jordan sitting in a moody silence while Phoebe chatted about her lessons. The twins tried to start a food fight, but after a chunk of pizza crust hit Jordan in the eye and he shouted at them, they sat meekly and finished their dinner in near-silence.
"Can I have the money, then?" Jordan asked, putting his empty plate in the sink and looking expectantly at Gabe. Gabe nodded. He fetched twenty pounds from his own jar and handed it to Jordan, who smiled, grabbed his jacket and headed for the door.
"Back by eleven." Gabriel called after him.
"The film doesn't finish until ten thirty!" Jordan called back.
"Well, then, you've got plenty of time to walk her home and get back before that, haven't you?" Gabe heard Jordan's exasperated growl as the front door slammed shut. Gabriel rolled his eyes and made a start on the washing up.
"Why's Jordan so mad all the time?" Rose asked, frowning at the door Jordan had just departed through. Gabe sighed.
"It's because Tracy isn't giving him any." Phoebe giggled. Gabe inhaled a mouthful of tea with a choke.
"Phoebe, watch your mouth." He scolded. "It's because he's a teenager, Rosie. Teenagers like to rebel."
"Oh… I won't be a teenager then." She said decisively. "I'm too nice to be grumpy." Gabe laughed and kissed the top of her head.
"Alright then. You stay six. Are you two done? Go out and play then." They scuttled outside and Gabriel could hear them giggling as they clambered over the rusting old swing set in the back garden.
"Sorry, Gabe." Phoebe said when they were gone. Gabe rolled his eyes and sat back down.
"Do you think him and Tracy are having sex?" He asked her. "Has he mentioned anything to you?"
"No, but… he is a teenager." She said, throwing his words back at him. "He's certainly thinking about it, isn't he?" Gabe groaned.
"The last thing we need is a baby in the house." He said wearily. "I swear to God, if he gets her pregnant…" Gabe couldn't think of a threat bad enough. Phoebe giggled at his expression. Gabriel put the dry plates back into the cupboard and took down his jar from the shelf. He looked at if for a moment, before taking forty pounds out, and replacing the jar. "Can you look after the twins for an hour?" He asked Phoebe, sliding the money into his pocket and grabbing his jacket.
"Where're you going? Work?" Gabe shook his head.
"Just… going to get some things." He kissed her forehead and left, calling goodbye to the twins as he went past. He went into the town and found the little alleyway he was looking for. He slipped inside a small, discretely advertised shop and closed the door firmly behind himself.
"Can I help you?" A tall, bearded man stepped out from behind a curtained doorway and smiled at him.
"I'm just looking for some… things, thanks." Gabe smiled shyly.
"What sort of things?"
"Some stuff for my brother." Gabriel paused a moment. "He's been with his girlfriend for a couple of months now, and… I think he's started thinking about… sex." The man nodded. "If I tell him not to do it, he'll go ahead and do it. So I figured the best I could do is just give him some things, and try to get him to be safe." The man nodded, and moved to stand behind the counter while Gabe browsed. After a bit of consideration, Gabe bought three different types of condom, two tubes of lubricant and a small 'instruction manual' that would, hopefully, mean he could give Jordan the bag and let the manual explain everything else. He paid and was about to leave, when the man's voice called him back.
"I know you, don't I?" The man said slowly. Gabe shrugged.
"I don't think so…" He said, flushing a little under the man's penetrating gaze. The man nodded.
"You work near Butterworth's Diner, don't you?" Gabriel hesitated, before he nodded slowly. "I thought so…" The man looked contemplative for a moment. "What do you charge?"
"I'm not working for a few weeks." Gabe muttered, pushing the door open again.
"I'll double it." The man said quickly. Gabriel stared at him for a moment, before he sighed and nodded slightly.
"What do you want?" The man's lustful gaze told Gabe. With a sigh, he dropped his bag beside the door and undid his belt buckle.