FAMILY DAZE BY MONICA BRIGGS (c) Copywrite, Summer, 1997 by author. All disclaimers and rights to characters apply. PROLOGUE The strong desert heat of New Mexico beat down on Sam as he stood outside the suburban house. He noticed he was holding a short pile of mail in his hand, which the leapee must have collected before Sam leaped in. He shifted through the pile of mail, mostly junk mail and a letter. He read the label on the bill, the one piece of mail not addressed to "Occupant" or "Resident," to find out more than the leapee's address in Stallion Springs, a town not far away from Project Quantum Leap . . . finding out information which shocked him. . . . The first line of the label on the letter read: "Mr. & Mrs. A. Calavicci." He saw the attractive twenty-seven-year-old woman approaching him, holding a large cardboard box in front of her. "Honey, can you help me with this?" By looking at her and hearing her voice, he recognized her at once -- Tina! As she stopped next to him by the entrance to their house, he spied the gold wedding band on her finger, which exactly matched the ring on his finger, telling him that the leapee and she were married. "Oh, boy!" CHAPTER ONE Sam stood in place, his eyes glued to her due to his sheer surprise. Some of the mail slipped out of his hand falling onto the brick pathway. He had no idea how he could be standing there right now, the leapee married to Tina, Al's girlfriend (well, if nothing changed, she would be his girlfriend.) Did anything change? Al was supposed to be married to Kelly? They got married back in 1957, didn't they? Sam was very sure they did, because he witnessed the wedding himself. Somehow Al changed, and ended up being married for forty-two years and had twelve kids. He met one of Al's kids, if it wasn't for him Sam would be dead right now. But, maybe everything was a dream? He could have fell asleep a long time ago, and slept for a long time like Rip Van Winkle. He felt like he dreamed everything, in a way, every time Al showed up and began talking about his family. It was too good to be true. Al was Al, plain and simple, with all of his wild ways and the biggest sexual libido of anyone Sam ever knew. No way could a guy like that be happily married for a very long time. Sam felt that he just woke up, back into the real world of leaping. But, Al was not married to Tina! They were just dating for four years, but Al never even proposed to her. Something must have changed somewhere for this to happen. However, the only theory about who he was, which he firmly believed was this one, and, according to him, he had just leaped into Al. Tina leaned over to "her husband" and looked at the letter still clasped in his hand. "You got a letter from your sister," she stated, reading the return address. "She's dead," Sam said without thinking. He knew Al's only sister, Trudy, died a long time ago in an institution for the retarded and other people pushed out of the way of society. The letter did not make any sense to him. "The only way Anna would be dead is if you kill her for not writing you back sooner," she joked. She walked in the house and dumped the large box in the hallway. "Anna? Who's Anna?" Sam followed her indoors. "Your sister," she answered. "I know there's a lot of people in your family, but it still isn't nice to completely forget about one of them." Sam took a long, good look at her without the box blocking his view. He was again surprised at what he saw. *No wonder Al married her! I'm in the future, and he had to.* "You're pregnant!" His eyes stared down at her extra-large round belly taking over her entire body. "I've been pregnant for the past eight months and two weeks. I know we've been spending more time apart than together lately, but you're so Swiss-cheesed right now," Tina responded. "Are you sure your flu went away?" She held the back of her palm to "her husband's" face. Sam was glad that she thought his lack of knowledge was due to being sick, not a mere lack of knowledge. "Yeah, I think I'm starting to feel better." "Are you really sure, Tony?" "Tony?" She smiled at him, not a ditzy smile but a more mature smile. In fact, she didn't act like Sam remembered how to be at all. Not once did she use the word "like" or any of her other airhead expressions, and she was not chewing her bubblegum. She even looked different standing before him pregnant and dressed simply in a plain, large blue T-shirt and black pants, her red hair pulled up in a ponytail at the back of her head. She was still pretty but in a much more adult way. "You were just joking with me since I got home, weren't you?" she said, thinking he was only playing with her. She could find no other reason why "her husband" had just forgotten his own name. "Well, stop it! I just had a terribly hard day at work, and have a splitting headache. Get me one of those herbal pills on the kitchen window still and a cold glass of water, will you, sweetie pie?" "Sure," Sam said, walking into the kitchen, still only guessing on what was going on around him. The kitchen was rather small, but expanded into a larger room which looked like a living area with a tv and a couch and two tables, the two rooms separated by an island. He opened one of the cabinets on the kitchen side of the room and removed a cup, which he filled up with tap water. "Use bottled water. She's really fussy about that," Al told him, showing up behind him. "Al, what's going on here?" Sam asked, hoping his friend would clue him in. "Daddy patrol," he answered. "Was through it twelve times when my wife was pregnant with my kids. Now, it's my kids' time to do it." So, history didn't change at all! Once it did, and it stayed that way, Sam realized. Everything went back to normal--well, the changed norm with Al, his wife, his kids and the rest of his truly humongous family which came which his new life. Sam had only one main question. "Your son's married to Tina?" Confusion was demolished, and surprise set up. "My son, Antonio, married her four years ago." That would explain the name on the letter from Al's daughter, Anna, Sam figured. Mr. & Mrs. Antonio Calavicci. He found it "Twilight Zone" bizarre at whom the "Mrs." is. Al's son married Al's girlfriend (well, a former history girlfriend)! Totally odd! Meanwhile, Al strongly knew nothing was weird. Basically, because, he didn't know anything about the way things used to be, and Sam wondered why but was glad that there wasn't two confused men in that room. "Yeah, you --" Al started. "Al, don't say I should know all of this, because I sure don't!" "Don't know why you wouldn't," he answered. "Well, you leaped into my son, Tony, who's mine and Kelly's fifth, no sixth, youngest kid. He started dating her when she moved out here, because my wife and I had a brilliant idea to bring them together. Actually, it was basically only the missus's idea. Now, they're married for about four years. My grand-twins, Taylor and Tyler, are one; she's pregnant with them when you are. Figures she would call her twins something like that. Her entire household starts with the letter T. Too sickening cute!" "So, your son and Tina are married with twin babies," he repeated. Somehow the truth made a lot more sense than the theories he was thinking up, although he still had just as much trouble believing the truth. It felt very weird that somehow Al ended up being his original history's girlfriend's father-in-law. "Yeah, two identical kids for them and two identical grandkids for me and Kelly," he stated. "Twice the trouble, as well. I'm glad Kelly and I never had twins or triplets." "Al, you have twelve kids! What's the difference?" Twelve kids were still many, and that's how many he ended up having. But not a multiple birth amongst them. "I would rather handle one baby at a time, thank you very much." He took a puff from his cigar as he took out the handlink and looked at it. "I have to deal with those crying twins when I go home in an hour. Kelly is usually stuck taking care of them all the time, since both my son and Tina work. They're just typical '90's parents, not like I have anything against that. I'm just getting too old to be a part-time daddy, and I never remember any of my kids crying as much as the twins." "Al, any idea about when and where I am? And, what do I have to do?" Sam asked, changing the subject to something he would be more comfortable talking about. "Well, you leaped into my son, Tony. Today is Friday, September 25, 1998. That's all I can tell you," Al stated hesitantly. "Ziggy has a computer virus, and decided to take sick leave." "Ziggy's sick! How could this happen?" "I don't know," Al answered. "Maybe, because the turn of the century passed a few days ago, and many computers are breaking down all over, especially the super and high-tech computers. Don't worry, Sam. We have a group of the best computer doctors on the staff working on it. Hopefully, Ziggy will get well soon." "I hope she does, Al." Sam was annoyed that one of his greatest creations just broke like a cheap child's toy. "Have Tina pull an all nighter on this one." He knew she was one of the smartest members on the Project's staff and had the best brain to figure out and fixing whatever problems happened with Ziggy. He also knew that--in this lifetime--she would probably spend all night fixing Ziggy and not doing other things to keep her boyfriend entertained. She might not even have to spend all night on it, if she found the problem . . . well . . . as easy as she used to be.