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Rated: E · Chapter · Children's · #2306287
Check up and Ice Cream

Adventures of Banu And Selena
A Family



nother week passed, and they all went back to the clinic to have the doctor remove the sutures in Banu's eyelid. He had been able to open and see out of it for three days, so this should be the last visit for a while.
         The visit to the clinic went quickly. Mrs. Ortega, Max, and Selena had barely settled into a corner when Mr. Ortega and Banu came out. Banu didn't have his eye patch on. They left and got back in the family car. Banu, Max, and Selena were in the back seat playing 'count the dragons'. It was a silly game as there weren't any dragons around where they lived, so it was mostly them pointing at large birds or bats and calling them dragons. They drove for a while, then pulled into a parking lot and stopped.
         "Since Banu has been so brave, how about we get ice cream?" Mr. Ortega said over his shoulder.
         The children chorused 'yeahs' and then started chanting 'ice cream, we want ice cream'. Once Mr. Ortega parked in front of the ice cream shop, they got out and went in. Neither Max nor Banu had been in a store that sold only ice cream before. They 'oohed' and 'aahed', looking around at the posters of ice cream desserts.
         To service customers of all sizes, there was a set of three narrow steps in front of the cold counter. Once they got to the front of the line, Selena climbed up and went straight to the Chocolate Fudge and Peanut Butter and ordered a cone.
         The serving woman, a tall young elf, said, "A young lady who knows what she wants. I like that."
         She made the cone quickly and handed a cone with a generous helping of ice cream on it. Mrs. Ortega helped Selena down, and they went outside.
         Banu and Max climbed to the top step, so they could look through the glass at the ice cream. The boys walked back and forth, with Banu reading the labels to Max. Banu and Max kept changing their minds as they encountered new ice creams.
         "Banu, you like banana and strawberries, right?" Mr. Ortega asked. He'd been walking along behind them to ensure they didn't fall off the steps in their excitement.
         "Yeah, which one is that?" Banu asked as he tried to peer through the glass that was being fogged up by his and Max's breath.
         Mr. Ortega pointed out where it was behind the glass, and Banu decided he wanted that. Max was very close to choosing the same when he saw a Neapolitan and decided that was what he wanted. They each ordered their choice of ice cream in a cone.
         "Neppoltan," Max said. Mr. Ortega nodded to the server, a tall, thin elf girl, pointed to Max and mouthed the word 'Neapolitan'. She pretended that she understood Max.
         "Very good choice, young man. That is one of our classics. Very popular," she told Max as she made his cone.
         After Mr. Ortega helped him down, he beamed as he walked out to join his sister and mother with his single scoop.
         "And you young sir?" She said as she looked at Banu.
         Banu stood up straight and said, "I will have the 'nanas and strawberries."
         "Another very good choice. Only our most discerning customers get that!" she told him as she topped a cone with a large scoop. She handed him the cone and looked at Mr. Ortega.
         "Two cups, one of chocolate and the other of 'Berry Surprise'," Mr. Ortega said.
         While the server made Mr. Ortega's order, Banu walked out to his family, telling everyone in line that he was a 'discerning customer'.
         Mrs. Ortega, Selena and Max were sitting in the small patio area at a table under a multicolored umbrella when he came out. He sat down next to Selena and told her, "I am a discerning customer."
         "What's that?" Selena asked him between licks on her cone.
         "Bears. Bears are discerning customers," Banu said.
         "Well Ima lassic!" Max said.
         "A what?" Selena asked.
         "A lassic. Lady said so."
         "Momma, what is a lassic?" Selena asked.
         "Sorry I am still working on 'discerning customer'. We'll have to ask daddy when he gets here," Mrs. Ortega said with barely concealed amusement.
         Mr. Ortega came out a few minutes later with the two cups of ice cream, extra napkins, and spoons. Once he sat down and ate a little, Mrs. Ortega had him clear-up what the children were talking about. He repeated what the server said.
         "See lassic," Max said.
         "Well, I'm a young lady, so there," Selena said.
         "'discerning customer'" Banu muttered.
         Once the children had gotten about halfway through eating their cones, they talked about school, books, toys, and the people entering and leaving the ice cream parlor. Selena spied a Gnome boy and asked, "Daddy, that's Reggie from the Dr.'s office. Can I go say hi?"
         Mr. Ortega said she could, and she got up and carried her ice cream to where Reggie was standing with his father. They had a small hopper with them on a leash.
         "Hi Reggie!" Selena said.
         "Oh, hi Selena. This is my hopper, Sir-leaps-a-lot," Reggie said giving the leash a gentle tug. The small lagomorph hopped over to Selena and sniffed her shoe.
         "Can I pet him?"
         "Yeah, just don't touch his ears. He doesn't like that."
         Selena knelt down and ran her fingers through the fur on the hoppers back. His mouth stopped moving for a few seconds then started up.
         "That means he was thinking about it and decided he likes you petting him."
         "Reggie, here is some money. You go in and get an ice cream and I will watch sir-leaps-a-lot. They don't allow pets into the store," Reggie's father said.
         "Oh, I can watch him over there," Selena pointed to her family then added. "While you go in."
         "You sure you don't mind?" the older Gnome asked.
         "No, not at all," Selena said as she stood up.
         The handed her the leash and Reggie looked at the hopper and said, "Sir-leaps-a-lot, please go with Selena. We will come out for you in a few minutes. OK?"
         The hopper looked at the boy, then hopped over next to Selena. Reggie handed her the leash and he and his Father went into the store.
         Selena walked back to the table with her family.
         "A hopper!" Max and Banu said in unison.
         "OK, boys be gentle and don't scare him," Mrs. Ortega said as the boys got down from their chairs.
         While Selena finished her ice cream, Max and Banu gathered around the hopper. Max sat down and without hesitating Sir-leaps-a-lot got into his lap. Max hugged the hopper, and whispered, "I love you."
         Sir-leaps-a-lot wriggled and Max released him. He hopped over to Banu and sniffed his out stretched hand. It sniffed, paused, then sniffed again several times. Then it rubbed itself against Banu's legs.
         Selena sat down, and the hopper didn't hesitate to hop into her lap. Mrs. Ortega pulled a celery stalk out of her backpack and said, "Banu, hand this to Selena, please."
         Banu passed the celery to Selena who offered it to the hopper. Sir-leaps-a-lot sat up and held the stalk with his front paws and started munching on it right away.
         The hopper had just finished the stalk and was looking for more when Reggie came up.
         "Did he behave?" Reggie asked.
         They told him what he did and after exchanging contact information the Gnomes left.
         "Banu, you have a birthday coming up soon," Mrs. Ortega said after Gnomes left.
         "Yes, I will be 8. Same age as Lena," Banu said.
         "What would you like as a present?" Mrs. Ortega asked.
         Banu was quiet for a few moments then said, without much enthusiasm, "Clothes, I guess. My shoes are a little tight."
         "You don't want anything else?"
         Banu was silent. He shuffled from foot to foot.
         "He wants a scooter," Selena said.
         "Selena!" Banu hissed at her. His eyebrow with the scar, where the hair hadn't fully grown back yet, turned red.
         "Hmm. What color?" Mr. Ortega asked.
         "Wha ... green. I really like green," Banu answered quickly.
         "OK," Mr. Ortega said with a smile.
         "We need to get to the grocery store before we head home; so let's head to the car," Mrs. Ortega said.

Banu's Eighth Birthday


he next two and a half months went by quickly. The children, between school, sports, and after school activities, hardly noticed the passing of time.
         On the day of Banu's birthday, a Thursday, he went to school as normal and the teacher had a party for him and two of his classmates who had the same birthday. They had cupcakes and sang the birthday song. They played some games and each got a present. His was a small, stuffed bear that looked like him. Tish, a Dwarf boy, got a little resin hammer that looked real. Leela, a Human girl, got a necklace with a sliver pendant that looked like a rolled up scroll. He could hardly hold still while waiting to get on the bus. He showed Selena his bear, and she was a little jealous.
         The bus dropped them off at the front of their apartment complex with a few other kids. They all walked together to the lift, then at each floor a few of the other children would get off. On their floor, it was just the two of them left. They walked quickly as they wanted to get past the crazy man's door. Sometimes he would open it and yell at them for no reason. Mr. Ortega said that the man had been in the Wizard Wars and got hurt in the head. He wasn't bad, just sometimes confused, but he wouldn't hurt the kids. Still, he was scary. Today was good, they made it to their door without being yelled at.
         They put their school stuff away and changed into their play clothes. They played a board game called 'Candy Mage' until Mrs. Ortega called out that it was close to dinner time, so they needed to clean up and set the table. Mr. Ortega came home just before dinner was served, and went directly to their room. Mrs. Ortega announced dinner was read. Mr. Ortega came back out after having changed into his evening clothes. He hugged each of the kids and then had them sit while he helped Mrs. Ortega bring out dinner.
         Banu was excited because it had all his favorite foods. He'd found out that he liked fish without the breading, and he liked sweet potatoes almost as much as spinach. It was the best meal he remembers having. He was almost sorry it was over. He ate until he couldn't eat anymore.
         Mr. Ortega ushered all the children into the living room and sat them down. Mrs. Ortega brought out a birthday cake with strawberry/banana ice cream! Banu wished he hadn't eaten so much.
         They sang the birthday song to him, and he made a wish and blew out the candles. He looked at each of this of them and his eyes started to tear up. He looks like he was about to cry, then Selena handed him a small rectangular box.
         "Here, Banu. This is from me and Max," Selena said.
         Banu pulled off the ribbon and opened it. Inside were a pair of goggles. They looked like the ones the guys that fly those old airplanes wear. He pulled them out and Selena helped him put them on. Once settled on his head and over his eyes he could see fine, and they were comfortable.
         "Here, feel this lever?" Selena asked, putting his hand on the side of the goggles. There was a little lever sticking out.
         "Pull it down."
         He did, and the room suddenly got dark. He could still see, but the room wasn't as bright. He pushed it back up and the room returned to normal. He pushed it up and down several times.
         "It's for bright days. Like the sunglasses I wear when we go out. You can wear these when we go down to the Levee and you don't have to be worried about that pixie or anybody else hurting you," Selena said.
         "I ... I," Banu started to say, leaned over, and hugged her.
         Max stood up, and hugged them both and said, "Yeah, stupid mean pixie."
         Mr. Ortega put a larger box in front of Banu. Banu unwrapped it, he saw it was a green, three-wheeled scooter like his friends Yuri and Harris had! Banu looked at the scooter, his goggles started fogging up, so he pulled them off and hugged Mr. Ortega then broke off, hugged Mrs. Ortega, while repeating "Thank you" repeatedly.
         Banu returned to where he was sitting, holding tight his goggles with one hand and the scooter with the other, and said, "This is the best birthday ever!"
         "We have one more thing," Mr. Ortega said, paused, then continued.
         "Ever since you came to live with us, you have filled our lives with joy. We have seen you struggle and persevere through very rough challenges. You are brave, honest, and caring," Mrs. Ortega said, paused, then added. "We love you very much, and want you to be a part of our family forever."
         Banu sat still for several minutes then whispered, "Yes. I love you. I want this more than anything."
         "A while ago we applied to adopt you into our family. The state has granted us permission. It is now up to you," Mr. Ortega said, then asked. "Banardu, will you be our son? Will you be a brother to Selena and Max?"
         He nodded his head, tears flowing freely. He choked out, "Yes, please."
         "Oh, thank goodness!" Mrs. Ortega said with relief in her voice.
         After moving his toys out of the way, the family hugged the little bear.
         Eventually, they settled down and Banu opened a few more presents, consisting of new clothes and shoes. Once that was done, they ate cake and ice cream and watched one of Banu's favorite movies. It was an eventful day, so the children retired to bed a little early.
         "Selena, can I come up?" Banu whispered.
         "Yes, I'll move over."
         He climbed the ramp, then snuggled under the blanket with her. They were quiet for a while until he asked, "Can I call Mr. Ortega pappa?"
         "Of course! You have to, it's the rule."
         "Yes, sons and daughters have to call their father, pappa; even if you are adopted."
         "And their mother, mamma."
         Banu was quiet for a while, then whispered, "I love you, mamma. I love you, pappa. I love you, Selena. I love you, Max."
         Selena wrapped her arms around the little bear, and whispered, "I love you, Banu."

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