Now Pinch-Sitting, Stephanie Tanner (Book Universe)

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dtf955
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Now Pinch-Sitting, Stephanie Tanner (Book Universe)

Post by dtf955 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:34 am

Stephanie, 13, must throw together a plan for 4 kids after an emergency babysitting call. Book Universe, explains (along with the former RKORadio’s Sam Series) a few of her very young babysitting company’s more complex tasks in several books, including watching 4 kids each day for 2 weeks not long after according to one Michelle book

A/N: Part of why Steph gets so many babysitting calls in books is Becky’s referrals, and a lot of it is her doing so much for Samantha (See the Sam Series – RKORadio’s name changed but you can search for “Sam Series” or one of them like “Principal Mandy and Nanny Stephanie” and click on the author name). However, it might be unusual to imagine the young teens doing this one family when it says Steph was watching 4 kids every day for 2 weeks over Christmas break in eighth grade, even presuming one book means “Stephanie and her friends.” (Rightfully so, since being her sister from her POV Michelle would just say Steph was - book “My Ho-Ho-Horrible Christmas”) A couple other times Steph watches 3 kids, too. (Mentioned at the end of “The Babysitting Boss” and shown in “Babysitters and Company.”)

So, while it’s possible dealing with Samantha alone gives her that reputation, something like this is entirely possible for at least the one family, given the circumstances. Book “The Babysitting Boss” referenced as being slightly in the future, as are my story, “We’ve Got You Covered” (based on that book) and a few other Full House books. Note, however, as other fics state, some “Full House” books are only TV canon, not Book canon, for calendar and behavior reasons. “The Great Turkey Escape” is a Thanksgiving one that is only TV Universe, with BU events replacing it, since this is BU it is not referenced. Sam Series 3.5, “Samantha and Friends” also referenced. Samantha used with permission.

Now Pinch-Sitting, Stephanie Tanner

“I never thought I’d share my room with a president,” Stephanie Tanner, thirteen, teased while doing her homework.

Her younger sister Michelle, nine, had been elected fourth grade class president recently. “Share one? You were one till you gave it up,” Michelle reminded her.

“Because I just had too much else going on,” the young teen said without looking up. “Allie was the one with all the ideas anyway. Just like you.” She smiled proudly at her kid sister.

“Thanks. I’ll have plenty of time. I still want to help you babysit, though,” Michelle insisted.

Stephanie chuckled. She needed time to work out a scheme to teach Michelle a lesson, though one was slowly being hatched in her mind. For now, Stephanie finished part of her homework that day after Thanksgiving, and then looked at her watch. “Joey should be back from picking Samantha up at Courtney’s pretty soon. Where are you guys going for lunch?”

“Probably Anthony’s Pizza. Dad suggested we pick a name off the community Christmas tree a few days ago, so now we get to buy for their family, too.”

Stephanie frowned. “So, you’re going to brave Black Friday shopping? I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” Stephanie was protective of her younger sister, just like their dad, Danny tanner, was. However, she was even more protective of Samantha, a girl around a year younger than Michelle whose parents paid no attention to her, and who Stephanie had done wonders with since being a Principal’s Assistant in fifth grade with Samantha in Kindergarten.

“Don’t worry, Steph, we won’t shop for another few days, when it’s not as crowded.” Michelle heard them come in and threw down her pen - she’d been trying to make up a story – and ran downstairs. Stephanie followed.

After Samantha talked about what she and her friend Courtney had done there, she again thanked the Tanners for a wonderful Thanksgiving. It wasn’t her first with them, of course, but she continued to be amazed at how special they made her feel compared to before she’d known Stephanie and the others.

“It was our pleasure,” the girls’ uncle Jesse Katsopolis said. He was brother-in-law to their dad, Danny tanner, and had married Danny’s co-host, Rebecca Donaldson, several years earlier – Jesse and Danny’s best friend Joey Gladstone had moved in to help raise Stephanie, Michelle, and D.J., in her first year of college at San Francisco State, after their mom died when Michelle was a baby. “Becky’s given you quite a few references for your babysitting business, Steph. Had any calls?”

She’d had a few, but as Stephanie said, “They’re only coming in slowly – Allie, Darcy, and I haven’t had many calls where we have to team up yet.” She knew Jesse and becky had said there would be some eventually.

“Well, it might be a little slower with some, a few families have a few kids, if not outright twins or triplets, with us getting to know them ‘cause of Nicky and Alex,” he said of their four-year-old twins. “So, even if you only get single kids at first, don’t worry. Your big break will come.”

“When will my big break come?” Michelle wanted to know.

Stephanie could tell she was really eager. “We’ll see” was all she would say.

Close to lunch time, Stephanie and her eighth grade friends Allie Taylor and Darcy Powell lounged in her and Michelle’s room and went over some of those calls. “Okay, we’ve got yours planned for the next couple weeks…”

“That little girl is so cute,” Darcy said as she looked at one name for next weekend.

“She is. She’s the one…” Stephanie nodded and spoke with certainty. “Yep, I’ll take that one next Saturday,” she said. “Michelle can come with me.”

Allie looked strangely at her. “Michelle? I know she’s been really anxious… okay, never mind. I know that look – you have a plan.” She’d known Stephanie since Kindergarten.

“To teach her a lesson, you’re right. I’ll need you guys as backup at an appropriate time, just in case. My plan’s still forming, but it’ll be cemented by then,” Stephanie promised.

Darcy had known Stephanie since the middle of fifth grade, long enough to agree with Allie as the phone rang. “I agree – Steph’s got this. I can tell.”

“…Yes, certainly, we can be right over. Thanks.” Before her friends knew what had hit them, Stephanie said, “Good thing we didn’t have any for today,” and went to grab a jacket.

“What is it?” Allie said.

“We’ve got an emergency – someone called saying they have to go take care of their mom, she may have broken something,” Stephanie said as she grabbed a few things and put them in her purse. “Darce, grab a pen and pad off that stand; Al, call your mom and then Darcy can call hers to make sure you can come, though it sounds like you can.”

Stephanie ran toward the attic apartment where Jesse and Becky lived with their boys, then realized they were likely downstairs. “Uncle Jesse,” she called as she ran down the back way to the kitchen. “Uncle Jesse, can you please give us a ride? If not, Allie’s mom probably could.”

“Sorry, joey left already. I was just about to start lunch, what’s up?”

“You know that big break? I don’t know if this is it, but we got a call over on Gold Coast Road, four kids between thirteen months and eight years. I figure Darcy and Allie better come, too.”

“Gold Coast Road, eh? One of ‘em must have changed their mind,” Jesse responded, thinking out loud about the situation.

“About what?” Stephanie thought a moment. “I better have Allie’s or Darcy’s mom take us, huh?” She knew they wouldn’t all fit in one car since Jesse would have to take the boys along.

“You better. Yeah, one of Becky’s and my friends, the dad had a business convention today and tomorrow, and the mom planned to go with him so they could have some quality time together. Was it a man or a woman who called?”

“A woman…but she sounded older…” Stephanie thought for a moment. “One of your moms will have to take us.”

“Already taken care of,” Darcy said. “I told my one sister I’d call right back if your uncle could take us, since she offered.”

Stephanie was thrilled. Darcy had two older sisters. “That’s great.”

“They’re just glad this means I won’t have to borrow money to buy something nice for Christmas now, once we split the money,” Darcy teased.

Jesse chuckled. “If she was older, you might be pinch-hitting.”

“Well, that’s what babysitting is,” Allie noted.

The realization dawned on Stephanie. “I think Uncle Jesse means pinch-sitting. The woman said she knew you guys,” she told Jesse, “but now that I think of it, the way she phrased it…” She chuckled – it wasn’t the first time she’d jumped at a chance to do something before realizing what all it involved.

They discussed strategies as they waited for their ride and then got driven to the house. They presumed that the woman would actually know to call the parents, and that it would be a short stay. However, Stephanie recognized that even this might not be possible.

Not only that, but hadn’t Jesse mentioned something about it being overnight?

“Good thing you didn’t bring Michelle on this one,” Allie said, only half joking, as they walked up to the door.

Stephanie could tell she was a little apprehensive. Allie was always quieter and not nearly as willing to take chances as Darcy – Stephanie was a good balance between them. “You’re right, we need to look professional here, but I’m sure we can do this. We might have to wing it a bit, but we should be fine,” she said as she rang the bell.

A woman in her early fifties opened the door; Stephanie introduced herself and the others. “Oh, I’m glad you’re here. Listen, I couldn’t get the parents, but I left a message at the motel and on his cell phone.”

Stephanie was impressed – at this time, the mid-‘90s, only the very rich and important had cell phones yet.

“Okay,” Stephanie began, “I know you have to get going, but we’ll at least try to meet the kids and get all the vitals on ages, allergies, discipline, bedtimes, things like that.”

“I'm sure they’ll be back this evening,” Darcy noted.

“I know, but a good sitter is prepared for anything.” Stephanie gestured sharply as she added, “It's what I keep telling Michelle, so I better be that way myself, right? “

“That's a good point,” Allie said.

They took a couple minutes to meet the kids and get information on everyone. They’d written things down and went over it after Mrs. Morris left.

Soon, the oldest, Barbara, eight, walked up to them.

”Billy and Beth are in the candy,” Barb reported.

“Thanks,” Stephanie said as she strode quickly over to the candy jar. “Freeze,” she spoke authoritatively.

“We always have this before lunch,” the five-year-old said.

“Billy, nobody has candy before a good, healthy, delicious meal. You need to eat well to grow up big and strong like us.”

“I'd rather be a boy, not a girl,” he quipped in response to Stephanie’s enthusiasm.

“Point taken,” Stephanie said with a chuckle. She knew she’d walked into that. “Mrs. Morris put on soup for all of us, and showed us where pasta is for tonight, so we are not down to just candy as the only thing in this house. We have plenty of supplies.”

Darcy walked in carrying the one-year-old. “He was about to get into...”

As she said that, Stephanie noticed that Beth, the three-year-old, had scampered off and began throwing an apple which had been sitting in a fruit bowl into the air like a ball. Allie grabbed it quickly and said no.

Stephanie admitted she had rambled too much, like her dad would do at times. She knew they needed to get together and talk.

“Okay, everyone, gather around,” she instructed somewhat forcefully.

As they came together in a circle, more or less, the idea of being really short on supplies in unchartered (for her and her friends) territory brought to mind shortages like one would see in a story. One concept in particular sprung to mind, in fact; a new Star Trek series.

“All right, everyone,” she ad libbed while doing a good job maintaining a straight, determined look on her face. “I know it's rough, we're stuck thousands of light years from Earth, and we have to work together to get home.”

She smiled inwardly. She clearly had their attention. Billy had even shouted “huh?” If her babysitting partners were also confused they didn't show it. And, even if they were, they would figure it was one of her unique plans. She hadn’t had time to see more than bits of a couple episodes, but that was okay – this was their “starship” anyway. As she talked about what needed done, and how each kid needed to help, she knew they might be stuck playing that all afternoon, but Stephanie also knew they had control of the situation, which was crucial for the young sitters.

“Clever, Steph,” Darcy praised her as they dished the soup. “I just hope their parents got the message.”

“I would think at least one should have.”

As they finished their soup, the phone rang. Stephanie left a good discussion about what terms like “light years” meant and the special capabilities of their “starship.” “I’ll get that, it might be their parents. Darcy, you have the comm.”

“I think it’s the ‘conn,’” Darcy said as Stephanie approached the phone.

“I always thought it was short for ‘command,’” Stephanie said before picking up the phone.

Darcy had been right – Stephanie had only heard it a couple times, actually mishearing it and partly guessing it was “comm” because of the logic of handing over command upon leaving the bridge. However, scripts would later show the word was “conn” and referred to the old-time ‘conning station” where someone told the helmsman and navigator where to steer – had it meant that the captain gave command to someone else he’d have likely said “you have the bridge.” However, that wasn’t important, nor was the discussion at the table over just whether it was “comm” or “conn.”

What was important was that things were about to get a little trickier.

“Hello,” Stephanie said politely.

“Hi, uh... I may have the wrong number.”

“Were you trying to get Mrs. Morris?”

“Yes. She left a message about her mother but reception is poor here.” The man was clearly trying to figure out what happened.

Stephanie let out an “I’m” before catching herself. She didn’t want to reveal anything since she didn't know the parents. “Who is calling?”

An impasse appeared to have been reached for a moment before the man said, “Can I speak to her? Is she there?”

“Look, I don't have a way to know who you are, so let me... wait, one of my partners is waving her arms at me.” She put a hard over the receiver and asked lowly, “What?”

“Steph, the kids can identify one of their parents,” Darcy reminded her.

Stephanie felt silly. She called Barb to the phone. “Tell us if it’s your dad,” she requested.

The mystified girl complied. “Hello? Hey, Dad. Yeah, we're good; I think Stephanie is playing that game she started with us where we're on a spaceship. Here she is.” Barb handed back the phone. “Yeah, it’s our dad.”

“Hi, Mr. Varsho. Sorry about that, but Mrs. Morris had to leave, her mom might have a pretty serious fracture or two, it sounds like. And, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t some random stranger calling. I guess you both know my aunt, Rebecca Donaldson, and uncle, Jesse Katsopolis?”

“Uh, yeah… who are you?” Mr. Varsho blurted, still trying to take everything in.

Stephanie could tell he hadn’t actually been able to hear much of the message Mrs. Morris had left. “I’m Stephanie Tanner, and my partners, Allie Taylor and Darcy Powell, run a babysitting business.” She agreed with him that they did sound young. “I’ll be fourteen in a couple months, Darcy a month after that; Allie’s fourteen already.”

“Okay. I guess I’d hoped she could find someone more experienced, though I know it was an emergency…” he trailed off, somewhat lost in thought.”

“I understand. We’ve got plenty of experience, just with Jesse and Becky’s twins, Nicky and Alex, and then with other kids, too. But, if you do call someone else, since we probably won’t know them, I’m going to have to ask you to call back and give us a code so they can tell us and we know they’re legitimate.” She noticed Allie’s and Darcy’s stunned looks. “I can give you my home number, my Uncle Jesse can give you a good reference; my dad and Aunt Becky are likely still down at the station where they host ‘Wake Up, San Francisco.’ Let me give you that number, too.”

“Sure, I’m in a hurry, I guess that would be better.” Mr. Varsho was a bit frustrated, yet he also appreciated the safety precautions these girls were taking. Maybe they really were good enough. “Did Mrs. Morris leave you any information?”

Stephanie rattled off the instructions they’d been given, partly reading off the list. She also told him which hospital Mrs. Morris had gone to.

After they hung up, Stephanie revealed, “He’s just going to call the station.”

“I can’t believe you told the dad we weren’t going to relinquish control unless he gave you a code word,” Allie remarked candidly.

“I think he understood, though. After all, we don’t know who anyone is,” Stephanie said. Well, except for Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky, she considered.

“But, the kids would,” Darcy pointed out.

“True. Thanks for catching that they’d recognize the dad, Darcy. I can’t believe I didn’t think about that, but my mind had a thousand different combinations running through it of how to handle the situation with the parents,” Stephanie told her. Turning back to Allie, she added, “We’re in charge right now, though, and just in case there’d be any issues, I want to make sure we do it right. We were handed the reins by someone the parents trusted, after all, but the parents don’t know us. What sense does it make for us to hand the reins to someone else unless we know for sure it’s who the parents chose – at least we know there’s a link right now to someone the parents trust.”

Allie thought for a moment as they began to clear the table. “I think that made sense, but I’m going to have to piece together what you just said,” she kidded her.

“I know; one of my classic rambles. Just like my dad’s. Anyway, Barb, I understand you kids are allowed to ride your bikes.”

Barb nodded. “Billy and Beth can’t cross the street yet.”

“I’d rather stay here and fight aliens,” Billy announced. “Can I have a friend over?”

“Barb, you probably know what friends he’s allowed to have over.” Stephanie began to get information about what they’d do as Allie and Darcy took care of the two youngest ones.

“I think I saw you with Samantha,” Barb said. “Do you babysit her a lot?”

“You might say that.” Stephanie said in an understated way, not knowing where to begin with what all that Samantha’s parents let her and the Tanners handle.

“I’m not in Honeybees like her, but we take swimming together. Except she’s in with the smaller kids ‘cause she’s just a beginner,” Barb revealed.

Stephanie knew Samantha’s size was an issue, too, though Samantha and Barb were the same age. She didn’t press it, though – Barb’s parents, though busy, clearly had taken a lot more time with all their kids and likely had had Barb in swim classes years before Samantha had begun. She was glad Barb was so helpful; it would make their job a lot easier.

Minutes later, as she watched Billy and a friend ride around their driveway and front yard, Allie came outside. “Your Aunt Becky called to say she talked with Mr. Varsho and gave a glowing recommendation.”

“Thanks, Allie. Barb went off to ride with a friend for a bit; I guess Darcy’s watching the younger two?” She was; Beth was coloring a bit before her nap while Darcy was putting the baby down for a nap as they spoke. “Great; I’ll let you get back in there. We definitely need three with this many kids, since they don’t know us, but I think things are actually pretty much under control right now.”

“Better not jinx it,” Allie quipped.

“True. We don’t know how long we’ll have here, but I should be able to make my babysitting appointment tomorrow,” Stephanie said, only half joking.

Allie offered the idea that, “If we are still here, maybe since they know them we can ask your Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky to bring Nicky and Alex and come over.”

Stephanie shook her head. “I know, at least that’s someone we both know. But, I meant what I said; I don’t think we should give the reins over to anyone else except for parents or Mrs. Morris, who I guess is like a nanny, unless they say.”

Allie felt a little disappointed, but she also recognized that Stephanie could get very excited at times. She also needed to know what was going on – perhaps that even came into play here, wanting to make sure everything was okay with their charges. Stephanie had been taking charge more than expected in their partnership, but her ideas had been sound and she wasn’t getting too bad, so Allie let it slide. “Well, it was just a thought. They should be here, or at least the mom should be, by early this evening, I guess she’s out shopping.”

“Right; either she’ll come back and get the message at the motel desk or they’ll meet for supper and Mr. Varsho will tell her, at which point she’ll come back early and let him attend the half day Saturday or he’ll skip that and both will be back.” Stephanie paused. “With that drive, maybe mid-evening is more like it, but before at least the older kids’ bedtimes.”

A couple hours later, a car pulled into the driveway. Was it the mom already? Billy, who had come inside by then, said “no,” which made Stephanie wonder if Mr. Varsho had asked someone else to come after all. How was she going to handle that?”

It didn’t matter. “It’s your dad,” Darcy announced.

With some parents, their kids might have worried something was wrong and he was picking her up to take her to a hospital or something to see someone. Stephanie, however, took it in stride, knowing that – with him – he was likely just visiting so he could spend more time with them. It had probably heightened by the loss of their mom when Stephanie was five, which made it a bit less annoying since she understood why.

She was right. Danny entered to see Billy run up to him and say, “What planet are you from?”

“Who, me? I’m from the planet Lysol,” Danny joked.

“He is to cleaning what Mr. Spock is to logic, right, Steph,” Darcy quipped. She’d taken a different tact, seeing Stephanie’s idea about being on a spaceship as the reason why she was taking charge like this. They were still equal partners, it’s just that someone had to play the captain.

Stephanie and Danny both chuckled at the line. “That’s true.” Stephanie explained how they’d gotten the kids’ attention at first. “Billy, this is my dad; this is Billy,” she told him. “So, what are you doing here, Dad?”

“I promised once your Aunt Becky and I got home I’d run over and make sure things are okay. And, I figured I’d find out if anything needs cleaned; I’m here if you need,” Danny reminded them.

“Why are you offering to clean stuff?” Billy asked, clearly bewildered.

Darcy realized he probably wouldn’t have gotten her reference. “See, what I meant was, the planet he comes from, everyone keeps everything clean – there’s not an ounce of dirt on the planet,” she quipped.

Danny could tell the Kindergartener didn’t believe it was possible, but was at least into the fun. “Sure; all the lawns are artificial turf. Even the jungles. Hey, our dog will roll in anything, anywhere, why not wild animals.”

Stephanie admired the silly grin and ability to adapt to any situation, even if in a slightly corny way at times, that typified her dad. Although she was determined to do this with just herself and her friends, part of her wished she could enlist Danny in something. She knew how much he cared, even if he went overboard at times.

Still, there wasn’t much to do. Barb had come back from bike riding – she’d seen Samantha as she’d ridden up close to Girard Street, where they lived; Samantha normally stayed with the Tanners. So, they even had a little extra help.

Or, so they thought. For as Stephanie was telling Danny they really didn’t’ need him, Allie came out carrying the toddler. “Bert woke up and got in some crayons,’ she said. The boy was only thirteen months old, so she added, “I’m going to put him in his playpen a bit.”

dtf955
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Re: Now Pinch-Sitting, Stephanie Tanner (Book Universe)

Post by dtf955 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:35 am

“Barb said she’d make sure they were all up out of his reach,” Stephanie said with a sigh.

“I know – she’s sitting in her room right now, she’s kind of disappointed.

“Thanks, I’ll go talk to her.”

“Steph, I know a great way to get crayons out of things,” Danny interjected.

Stephanie turned and smiled. “Okay, Dad. But, we’re going to have Barb help clean this up; hopefully it’s not too bad.”

“It’s not; just a little on a wall and the floor. Come on, Mr. Tanner, you can show me how to make it while Darcy handles other duties and Steph talks to Barb,” Allie said. He wasn’t needed, but his presence would save them some time.

As the others went to their respective stations, Stephanie walked into barb’s room. She saw her sitting up on her bed, her arms around her knees. “Hey, Barb.”

“Hi.” Barb blinked. “I’m sorry, Stephanie.”

“I know.” Stephanie sat beside her and put an arm around her.

“You guys were counting on me.” Barb managed to smile a little. “At least it wasn’t real quasi-ionic plasmic… what did you call it?”

“I don’t remember, I just made it up. Which is the way a lot of that sci-fi stuff sounds, huh?”

Barb nodded. “It’d be weird if engine exhaust really was a lot of different colors.”

“Yeah. My dad showed up to see how things were; he’s helping us make something to get the crayon out. You can help clean it.”

“Is it a real something, or are you going to invent a funny word for it?” the girl asked as she leaned against Stephanie.

“Well, Dad really does know a lot about cleaning, but now that he knows what I said in the beginning, he might play along and come up with something silly. Although, he’s nothing like his best friend Joey,” Stephanie said with a smile. Joey was so much fun when it came to babysitting. In a way, perhaps she’d even been inspired a little by him when it came to that first funny way of getting the kids to listen.

“Samantha’s told me about him. He really helped her feel a lot better when she had her tonsils out earlier this year,” Barb related. Stephanie agreed, and Barb felt like getting up. “Are you going to tell my parents?”

“Well, it’ll have to go in the ship’s log.” They laughed. “I figured you’d want to tell them.”

“Thanks.” As they went into the kitchen – Stephanie needed Allie to show her where it was – Barb said, “I see why Samantha says you’re so special. You’re so nice and fiorgiving.”

Stephanie didn’t want to mention the time she crashed Joey’s car into the kitchen. This had been so much less, anyway, and she knew such forgiveness was important for everyone, even those who didn’t wreck cars whent hey were eight.

So, she just said, “I try to be. We all have stuff we’ve done, whether accidents like us or on purpose like some people, that need forgiven. Thankfully, in about a month we’ll be able to celebrate that gift the way it was given to everyone.”

“Yeah; I know kids who even sing ‘Happy birthday’ to Jesus,” barb noted.

As they went to the place and began cleaning it, Stephanie said, “We don’t’ do that, but my friend Lisa and her family do.”

Barb smiled. She didn’t understand a lot about it, but she was still old enough to be really thankful that she was not only forgiven but had a personal relationship with Jesus because she’d trusted by faith that what He’d done on cross - dying to take the punishment for her sins and rising from the dead – had taken the whole punishment for her sins, and she’d called on Him by faith to save her and make her new inside.

“Do you believe in Jesus? I talk to Him sometimes,” barb asked Stephanie.

“I sure do; I don’t listen to Him like I should sometimes, but I remember asking even for little things like Mr. Bear’s return; that was a stuffed animal my mom gave me when my younger sister was born, less than a year before our mom died.”

Barb felt bad for Stephanie. “Your mom died? I’m sorry to hear that.” She smiled as she said, “You sure learned how to be a great sitter,t hough.”

“Thanks.” Stephanie and she hugged. She was so glad D.J. had been proactive and had helped her to be able to babysit so well. She might have been winging it quite a bit at times – and probably could have done better had she prayed, though some of the same things might have happened so she’d learn from experiences like this. But, she knew things would work together for good, and had plenty of faith that she could do a good job at it.

Later, as supper time neared, another car pulled up. However, it wasn’t the Varshos – it wasn’t even one of them. Instead, it was D.J. and Kimmy.

Stephanie let them in. “What are you doing here/”

“I thought we’d come and see if you needed anything – we just got done shopping and ate at the food court,” D.J. explained.

“So, why not just call?” Stephanie asked.

Kimmy elaborated. “We heard you were on some kind of spaceship, so I wanted to see how you were doing it?”

“Is this more helpers?” Barb inquired.

“This is my older sister D.J. and her best friend Kimmy Gibbler. Don’t count on Kimmy for much as a helper, though,” Stephanie advised

Kimmy concurred. “Right – for instance, I don’t do diapers.”

“I don’t blame you. I told Samantha they’re really gross, but she doesn’t believe me when I say how gross they can be,” Barb remarked.

Had D.J. not been proactive from the start - being the oldest person besides Danny on the 2nd floor because of the office in the 4th bedroom – Stephanie and kimmy might have teased each other a lot more than they did. As it was, D.J. had worked in that area as well as others, letting Michelle and Stephanie both be a lot more mature. Hence, Stephanie avoided saying that adding Kimmy to the team would be subtracting the amount of help available, and Kimmy avoided asking what planet Stephanie and the others were from.

However, Kimmy added her own weirdness. As she walked intot he kitchen, she saw the spaghetti on the stove. “Mmmm, worms,” she said.

Allie and Darcy were thankful that Kimmy’s comment brought giggles from the children – they didn’t want them to avoid eating because of it. Still, as Darcy went to stir the pasta and check on the sauce - and the teens helped the children set the table - Stephanie felt obliged to warn Kimmy that, “There’s not enough for both you, too, I’m afraid. So, I’m glad you ate at the food court.”

She’d told the children a funny story, and of course the three-year-old chose that time to blurt, “Do they know you ca’t cook?”

“Yeah, you burned somethin’ really silly once,” Billy added.

Stephanie gave a “mea culpa” look. “I told them about the time I tried to start a catering business a couple months ago, before we settled on the babysitting one,” she told the newcovers. “That was pretty crazy. I didn’t want to cook again, but thankfully my friends convinced me to try. Still, I’m glad Allie and Darcy are doing the cooking and letting me just do bits of it till I feel more comfortable.”

Allie knew her friend might be a bit embarrassed, though Stephanie laughed at her own mistakes quite easily. So, to take some of the pressure off, she told a story. “I remember I babysat this one girl who, when she was done, somehow ended up with a strand of spaghetti behind her ear,” Allie related.

“Wow; talk about exotic aliens. That would be a great idea. Say, I wonder if they’d put onion rings in their noses,” Kimmy said with genuine excitement, which was quite odd to the others.

“I don’t know, but who was that performer who wore real fruit on their head?” D.J. asked.

“Someone really did that?” Barb asked with astonishment as she helped to put Bert in his high chair. “That’s weird.”

“And, leave it to Kimmy to know who,” Stephanie said expectantly.

She wouldn’t be disappointed. “Carmen Miranda. Want to hear what I tried to wear on my head one day?” Kimmy asked.

“I… think this is one of those times it’s best to let them guess. It’s more fun that way,’ D.J. said, trying to urge her friend out if they weren’t needed, so as not to embarrass her. Or, rather, not to let her embarrass herself.

“I felt sorry for liver once since nobody buys it, so I bought some. I didn’t like it, either,” Kimmy maintained, “so I thought, why not wear it? I even tried to turn a couple pickles into eyebrows, but that didn’t work.”

“It was around the time we took Health in Junior High,” D.J. said.

“Yeah, then you explained just because we have a liver in our body doesn’t mean she should wear liver outside it. But, say some people wear their heart on their sleeve,” Kimmy said as they bade the group adieu, since they didn’t need any extra help.

Once they all sat down to eat, Barb spoke. “Kimmy was joking with all that liver stuff, wasn’t she?”

“Let’s hope,” Stephanie said as she dished some pasta.

“The crazy thing is, some of the special effects in the ‘50s, even the ‘60s were so hokey, I remember seeing ‘Lost in Space’ when I was little, it looked like the creatures had vegetables for heads,” Darcy said.

Allie ascertained that joking was possible. “D.J. told us once sometimes Kimmy joked around to throw people off of when she really didn’t understand something.”

Indeed, D.J. being proactive had also prevented Kimmy from teasing the Tanners a lot, too – Kimmy got teased enough at school that sometimes, except for close friends like D.J., she felt teasing was the best way she knew how to get along with people. Hence, had she and Stephanie teased each other a lot, Kimmy wouldn’t have minded as much. However, thankfully that was never a problem.

“Kimmy’s been a great friend for D.J., like when our mom died. And, D.J. been a super friend for Kimmy. That’s the most important thing, just being there for someone like that, and, helping them to get along when they do have trouble. Which with Kimmy is a little more often than usual,” came Stephanie’s gross understatement.

She was stunned when Barb spouted, “Is Samantha like that?” Not sure how to take the questioning looks, barb chose to explain. “She just talks about you and your family and Courtney and hers. She wouldn’t say anything when I asked about her parents.”

Stephanie said “yeah,” wondering how to respond further. Finally, she just told Barb, “her parents don’t have much time to spend with her.” She decided it was best to avoid the really neglectful parts unless asked specifically – then she would explain privately, after dinner, since Barb could understand a bit more than her younger siblings.

However, while Barb was at the age where she was starting to notice such little things and be more curious, the explanation was also sufficient, since at that age she didn’t need detailed explanations.

“So, yeah, just keep being there and being a good friend for her,” Stephanie finished, unable to keep from saying something else, given her tendency to ramble at times. Allie and Darcy quickly changed the subject once they could tell that was all that was needed.

The young teens had put the younger two to bed and were in the process of getting Billy to bed. “When will our parents come home?” he asked.

“I don’t know.” Stephanie looked at her watch. She was about to suggest that Allie and Darcy call their parents and ask them if they could spend the night there; which they surely would be allowed to do.

Calls to the cell phone and the motel had yielded nothing, meaning that they’d suspected the couple would be on their way home. In addition, Mrs. Morris was apparently busy, and without a room number or even a name they couldn’t know for sure if her father was in the hospital or how to reach his room. However, she kept thinking back to that clue as she put the boy to bed. Surely they’d had their dinner and gotten on the road by now, at least.

“We’ll let you know. It’s been fun, hasn’t it? We played we saw all sorts of funny aliens, planets named Lysol and ones where all the grass was artificial and where people wore body parts on their heads, huh?” she reminisced with him.

“Yeah; and we got to skip baths, too,” Billy said excitedly.

Stephanie chuckled. She and her partners decided that in this instance, bath time was a nonessential part of things; it would be easy enough for the parents to do it in the orning – or them if they didn’t make it home.

“”Sure,” she quipped. “Unless you wanted to take a meteor shower.”

“What’s that?”

“That’s a joke. Ever see a shooting star?” He had. “Well, those are called meteors; little rocks that are big enough they make a light when they hit the sky and burn up. If there’s a lot of them at once, it’s called a meteor shower.”

Billy grinned broadly. “Wow, you sure know a lot.”

“Thanks; I try. Good night.” She tiptoed out of the room to see Darcy waiting. “Hey, Darce, was that the parents?”

“No, it was your dad.” Once they’d made it to the kitchen, where Barb was eating a snack, she continued. “He said your Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky would come over and watch now, or at least once Barb gets to bed, since it’s getting so late.” Billy had even stayed up later since it was a weekend night.

Stepahnie was resolute. “Guys, we started this journey, and I intend to complete it. I am staying here until we reach Earth.” The girls – including Barb – chuckled. “Or, until their parents get home.”

“You’re really getting in character, that’s for sure, Steph,” Allie said.

Stephanie concurred. “I guess I am. But, that’s part of being professionals. We run a business. I think it’s important to act like it. We’ve got enough chairs and a couch in the living room; you guys can take a couch and put a couple chairs together, I’ll take that one chair. It won’t be as comfortable but I’ll manage.”

“’Cause you’re the captain?” Barb asked as she looked up from her ice cream.

“Well… not really. It is a partnership.” She looked at her friends and said, “Sorry if I’ve been taking charge too much.”

“Hey it never bothered us. Sometimes it just comes naturally to you. And, it never got that bad,” Allie reassured her.

“Yeah, Allie might have the ideas for our class, but you are one clever babysitter,” Darcy complimented her.

“Thanks, guys. I’ll turn to you guys for stuff, too,” Stephanie promised.

“You did here, too,” Allie reminded her.

“I guess you’re right; sometimes I’m just really tough on myself. It’ll take a little time to work out this partnership thing. But, in the meantime, I guess we did a good enough job, huh?” Her friends nodded. “I guess we all put up with each other really well.” Allie and Darcy both said that’s what friends were for. “So, you don’t mind if I say we’re staying instead of having Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky come?”

“Not at all. Like you say, Steph, we’re partners,” Allie said. Each said they would call their parents to ask if they could stay.

It was past 10:30. The house was mostly dark with the drapes closed, though there was a light on over the sink and the porch light was on. Barb had insisted on staying up so she was in the chair Steph planned to use. Stephanie paced a little, and then said, “Okay, one of us should stay up and keep watch for a couple hours at a time.”

“Steph, their parents would normally be asleep,” Allie reminded her as she leaned on a couch arm.

Stephanie snickered. “Okay, maybe you’re right. And, I should make sure I’m awake and ready for my babysitting job tomorrow.”

Darcy offered an idea. “Since you’ve been doing so much, Steph, at 11 or 11:30 or midnight if you need, wake one of us, and Allie and I will take four, five hours each if we need.” Allie thought it sounded like a great idea.

“Thanks, guys.” She yawned; she had been getting a bit sleepy. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

A few minutes later, they heard a car as it pulled into the garage. Stephanie jogged up to the side door and recalled she’d only heard the one voice. Therefore, she’d wait to make sure these people had keys instead of opening the door for them; which she might have done that afternoon or early evening. She turned a light on near the door as her friends began to stir in the living room.

As the Tarshos stepped in, the young teen said, “Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Varsho, I presume? I’m Stephanie Tanner, we spoke on the phone,” she told the man.

“What?” Mrs. Varsho said. “Who are you?” She looked as if to make sure she had the right house.

“…I must have misunderstood Mrs. Morris, and…”

Stephanie grasped that this conversation had taken place after her discussion with Mr. Varsho. “Anyway, as I said, I’m Stephanie Tanner, my partners and I got Billy, Beth, and Bert all to bed. Barb insisted on staying up, she wants to tell you something.”

“Mrs. Morris told us she found another sitter, but…” Mrs. Varsho was still flummoxed.

Stephanie began to rattle off what they’d eaten and other things as Allie, Darcy, and Barb congregated with them in the kitchen. Despite her drowsiness, Barb ran to them and hugged them both.

‘Okay, wait,” Mr. Varsho said. “First, I should tell you because I misunderstood Mrs. Morris, my wife has no idea who you are because I didn’t tell her.” Stephanie muffled a laugh at the craziness of the situation. “We had car trouble so I knew we’d be late, but I’d called Mrs. Morris earlier. She said she’d found another sitter and that she’d call if she’d come back here. When I heard ‘another sitter’ I was thinking someone else, when she meant you, since her mind was elsewhere and she hadn’t realized I’d called home,” he explained.

“I’m Darcy Powell.” After she and Allie introduced themselves and shook the couple’s hands, Darcy added, “How is her mom doing?”

“They think he broke a couple ribs,” Mrs. Varsho said. “What was it you wanted to tell me, Dear?” she asked Barb.

“Well, Stephanie asked me to make sure all the crayons were up so Bert didn’t get them, and I sort of missed some,” Barb said with her hands behind her back, looking down a little.

“We got it all cleaned up, though,” Allie promised. “ Barb helped us. I can show you where if you want.”

“That won’t be necessary – maybe tomorrow.” He and his wife kept looking around, very impressed at how orderly everything was.

Stephanie pulled out a card. “We have a babysitting business if you’re ever interested.”

“Thanks.” He took the card.

“Did you like Stephanie and her friends?” Mrs. Varsho asked. Barb nodded excitedly. “You know, Mrs. Morris was going to need to be gone for a couple weeks over Christmas – I don’t know if you and your friends are booked already,” she told Stephanie.

“As a matter of fact, I think we’re all free. If there’s something little that takes one of us away for an hour or two, I’m sure the others can cover, or my Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky can help,” Stephanie said.

“I don’t think Mom will mind if I miss a piano lesson or two,” Allie said. She yawned. Her mom insisted she attend because of how little money they had, but Allie would be helping to bring the money in that helped to pay for them, after all.

Darcy could tell the couple was still in a bit of a daze. “You probably thought your regular sitter would be back by tonight, I imagine.”

“Actually, I sort of did,” Mrs. Varsho said. She’d thought either Mrs. Morris had called and she’d missed it, or that her mind might have been elsewhere and she’d forgotten to call Mr. Varsho; which would have made sense because she would have already been back there.

Mr. Varsho responded, “I’m sure she heard how professional and patient and everything you were, and she figured our children were in good hands.”

“Thanks. Although, we did discuss letting my Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky come watch overnight, but I kind of pushed to stay here,” Stephanie confessed, a little embarrassed. “I wanted to stick it out; so we could seem like real pros.”

“I’d have been impressed even if you had let them come. It looks like you’ve done a wonderful job,” he said as his wife went to tuck barb in and check on the others. “You can look forward to having us hire you, I think. I remember your aunt and uncle raving about you, but I never thought you could handle this many at your age. Thanks again.” He shook their hands. “Come on, I’ll take you all home. Are your parents waiting, or…?” He glanced into the living room. “Looks like you better call and tell them you’re not spending the night after all first, huh?” They agreed and called before they straightened up their makeshift “beds” and he took them all home.

Stephanie awakened the next morning to see Michelle and Samantha – who also stayed in the sisters’ room, on a bed between Michelle’s and the wall – already up.

Once she got downstairs, Samantha, Michelle, and D.J. greeted her. “Stephanie, you got in late last night,” Samantha observed.

“I sure did; but, now I’m all ready for another busy day,” Stephanie said as she grabbed some cereal.

“Joey took Samantha and I to the Imaginarium yesterday, then we played a lot yesterday evening. We heard you were babysitting,” Michelle told her.

Stephanie looked at the crafts Michelle and Samantha were working on with D.J.’s help. “Cool. We had a lot of fun. I guess you could say we had our first big break as professional babysitters.”

“You’ve been the best for a long time,” Samantha told her, beaming with pride.

“Thanks.” Stephanie sat and they shared a tender smile. “I met one of your friends, too; Barb. She’s a really nice girl.”

Samantha got up and gave Stephanie an impromptu hug, thinking of how loving she had always been since they’d met when she was in Kindergarten and Stephanie in fifth grade.

“You’ll be special to a lot of kids before it’s all said and done,” D.J. spoke with confidence.

As the embrace ended, Danny entered from out back. “Hey, Steph; everything went well, huh? Joey told me you got in about when he was going to bed. You didn’t need me anymore, huh?”

“Nope. You know, Dad, it’s amazing. I found myself really wanting to be there; really wanting to stick to it. I guess, in a way, I’m really starting to understand why you get like you do.” She’d been protective, determined, and so on with Samantha, of course. However, with Samantha there was an intense need there. So as not to make Samantha think of the worst feelings she had, though, Stephanie just added, “I guess, in a way, I’ve got a lot of you in me as it is.”

“A lot of your mom, too.” He smiled proudly as he looked at his middle daughter. “I look at you, and it’s so amazing. You seem so grown up sometimes. And, I’m going to make you really proud and not say I wish you’d stay little longer,” he said with a goofy grin.

“Thanks; I appreciate it, Dad.”

“From what I heard this morning, and yesterday, the way you handled things seemed just like your mom would do. Just like you’ve always done with Samantha.” Danny smiled wistfully. “I know I get a little crazy sometimes with things like cleaning, worrying about change, and so on. It probably does have a lot to do with missing Mom. But, I know I’ve got the three most wonderful girls in the world.” They all hugged, with Samantha joining in, too, squeezing between Stephanie and Michelle, who embraced her. “And, you’ve all got so much of her for me to treasure.”

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