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joeJOE

“Joe, I’ll need those revised drawings on my desk before 5:00,” his boss said, “Do you think you’ll be able to get them to me on time?”

Joe looked up at the clock and nodded. “Sure.”

‘So much for getting home for dinner on time’, he thought to himself as his boss left and he turned back to the drawings he was working on for the new client.

His company had taken on a lot of new business lately. With the staff they had, everyone was working at full capacity. Joe spent most of his time lately rushing to get things done by some unrealistic deadline. There was no time to spend time doing a good and thorough job anymore, and he hated working that way. He was starting to worry about making mistakes. So far, he’d been lucky, but the stress was starting to get to him.

It was after 6:00 by the time he finished the drawings. Luckily his boss wasn’t too upset at the extra time he’d taken.

“You’re here late,” Fran, the cleaning lady said, as she came around the corner, pulling the vacuum cleaner. She looked surprised to see him still at his table, “I can start at the other end, if you want.”

“Nope, I was just leaving,” he smiled, grabbing up his jacket, “Clean away, Wonder Woman.”

“Go on with you!” she laughed, “Have a nice night, Mr. Joe.”

“You, too, Fran.”

He took the stairs down to the street and started home. He was lucky he was able to walk to and from work. Their apartment wasn’t the greatest, but he couldn’t beat the location. They saved a lot of money on transportation.

He came through the door just as Holly dashed by, chasing a shrieking Annelise. They were both laughing. He tossed his jacket onto the couch and was prepared to join in the fun when his daughter turned and saw him.

“Daddy!” she yelled, running towards him instead. He scooped her up into his arms.

“I’ve got her!” he yelled to Holly, and Annelise shrieked and giggled in glee.

“No! Not the tickle monster!” she laughed as Holly approached with her hands out like claws.

“How was your day?” Holly laughed, dropping her hands and leaning past Annelise to give him a kiss. He shrugged.

“Me next!” Annelise yelled, puckering up, and he laughed and kissed her, too.

“How are my favorite girls?” he asked.

“I got an A on my paper about Barney,” Annelise told him, as he put her down and moved over to peer into the bassinette. He bent down to smooth Robbie’s hair and rub his back.

“You did?” he asked, “That’s great, Leesie”. He looked at Holly. “Maybe we have a budding journalist or novelist on our hands.”

“Could be,” she said, “I kept your dinner warm. Why don’t you wash up?”

While he ate, Holly cleaned up the kitchen.

“I want to help out,” she said, suddenly, “with Barney’s daughter. I want to do something.”

Joe swallowed and chose his words carefully. “Be careful how much you take on, Hol.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just don’t stretch yourself too thin.”

“I talked to his daughter for quite a while the other day,” she said, “She’s very nice, Joe.”

“Then be a friend, Holly,” he suggested, “She sure sounds like she could use one.”

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