“You have no idea how much I appreciate this,” Wendy said. She looked outside through the passenger seat’s window, and a feeling of relief and peace washed over her at the sight of the two-story house in front of her. She made the right decision.
Peter chuckled. “I’m surprised you didn’t ask sooner. Those two you lived with were a nightmare.” He shuddered to add to his point, and Wendy giggled.
The pair got out of his car and started to unload Wendy’s belongings. As they walked up the pathway towards the front door, James came rushing out.
“Wendy! I’m so glad you made it!” He gave her a quick hug before turning to Peter. “My boss just called and asked me to cover a shift. Save me some dinner?” He had an exasperated look on his face, as if his boss liked to take advantage of him like this. Peter nodded understandingly, patting his friend on the shoulder before watching him run off to his car.
When the pair reached the front door, they realized they had no hands free to open it with. Wendy tried to knock on the door with her head, while Peter shouted, “Hey can anyone open the door? Please?”
Dave opened the door, smiling at the sight of them. “Wendy!” he cried out in surprise. “Here, let me grab some of that.” He took the duffel bag from Peter’s hand and the pillows stuffed under Wendy’s arm.
“Hey Dave,” Wendy greeted him. “How’ve you been?” She followed Dave through the doorway with Peter at her heels.
He shrugged with a mildly satisfied smile on his face. “Oh, you know, the usual. Not too bad.” Wendy nodded, pleased. “We’re all so happy you decided to move in; do you want these in the guest room, Pete?” he asked, turning to Peter for approval.
“That’d be perfect, Dave,” he answered. “Thank you.”
Meanwhile, Wendy wandered around the house, leaving her backpack and small suitcase by the steps for later. She had only visited Peter’s place a few times, but she always felt at home there.
In the kitchen, she found Sam and Alec cooking mac and cheese at the stove.
“No, Alec, you need the whole stick of butter!” exclaimed Sam with a tired look on her face. “You want it to taste delicious, don’t you?”
Alec rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Whatever you say, Sam. At least it’s not out of the box this time.”
Wendy smiled at the encounter before saying, “Hey guys.” She startled them a bit, but their expressions soon turned into grins. They came around from the counter to hug her, then started up a conversation about her old roommates as they cooked. Wendy sat at the counter while talking to them and occasionally taste-tested the mac and cheese, which was supposedly Alec’s famous recipe – even though Sam kept trying to make her own improvements.
In the adjacent room, Peter joined Rey and Matt, who were playing video games on the couch. “So everything went well, Pete?” Rey asked, popping a piece of popcorn in her mouth.
“Yeah, she packed up everything and we were on our way. I think it’s better too – the rent here is less, so she can afford it.” He sat back, watching the TV screen as they continued to play.
Matt nodded. “It’s definitely cheaper because all her friends live here and split the rent perfectly,” he said as he played the game on the screen.
He was right. Everyone Peter cared about lived under this roof now, and he knew it was a little hard at times dealing with everyone, but it was worth it. From his seat, he looked over at Wendy who was sitting at the kitchen counter with Sam and Alec, and he felt a warmth build up in his chest. He knew he was right where he belonged.
Even if there were a bit too many lost boys living in his house, Peter understood he could never give up on them – even if that meant growing up and openly accepting the responsibility that came with it. Being practically the oldest in this house had its perks, but it also came with the title Designated Conflict Resolver, which became tedious.
The chatter around the house, though, made Peter appreciate the simple fact that he got to live with his best friends, his make-shift family.
They were all lost, together.