"It's very late, boys..."
"Please, please," Charlie and Nicholas had together chimed.
All three of them then started jumping up and down on the bed.
Clearly they were still on a sugar high.
"Ah-h hah, yeah, yeah, ah-hah, yeah, yeah," they chimed in chorus.
It was their invented chant like a rain dance to bring on something they wanted.
She and Evan laughed; the boys knew they had won. They scampered back under the covers, so that all five of them again rested in a line along the headboard.
"Your mother was the most angelic thing I'd ever seen." Evan looked over at her. He was grinning. He loved telling the story. She felt herself blush slightly.
"She was in her final year of the two-year analyst-training program at Morgan Stanley, where we both worked at the time."
"Your daddy was much more senior than me; he was an associate investment banker then. I was still in the training program fresh out of college. He'd even been to graduate school. Do you remember what an M.B.A. is?"
"Who's telling this story?" Evan put on a mock face of indignation.
"We want Daddy to tell it!" Nicholas shouted. "He tells the best stories."
"Okay, okay." She smiled.
"Your mother was stepping out of the elevator one morning with a take-out coffee from this café down on the ground floor. I was so entranced I just followed her back to her desk, to see where she sat. The next morning I went down to the café and described your mother to the owner and asked was she a regular and how she took her coffee. Well, this guy just smiled at me and you know what he said?"
"I know," Thomas announced proudly. "He said, 'Join the line, buddy.'"
"That's right, Tom."