A long, tired sigh escaped England's throat.“I honestly had no idea this would be so time consuming, or embarrassing.” He sighed again. “Do you have even the slightest idea how much longer we're going to be in here?”
Sealand grabbed a nearby package from the store shelf and threw it directly at England's head. “Cheer up and stop whining you big jerk. This is your fault after all.”
Clenching his fist, England rubbed the growing red mark between his eyes where the package had hit him. He glared down at Sealand, who was now hiding behind you. “You can't use her as shield forever you little brat.” After taking in several slow, deep breaths to ease his anger, England looked up at you with pitiful eyes. “Why exactly did we have to bring Sealand along again?”
“Because I like Sealand, he makes me happy and he's adorable. Besides, he's good practice. You're honestly not very good with kids, at all, so you could really use it.” Over the past few months, Sealand had become like an adopted son to you. Sure he could be whiny and bratty at times, especially towards America and England, but for some reason he was good as gold and better for you. Actually, since the very moment he found out about your pregnancy, he'd been more help to you than England had. Even when it came to re-planning your wedding and re-sending the invitations, Sealand had been there to help you because England was too busy freaking out over everything.
“Hey, you're spacing out again.” A gentle tug at your heavily stretched out shirt disrupted your thoughts. “You really look a lot like a zombie when you do that you know, it's pretty scary.”
“Sorry Sea, I've been doing that a lot lately.” A quick look around revealed that England had disappeared. This wasn't surprising since he tended to do that nearly every time you went shopping with him. “Where did England go?”
Placing his feet on the bottom back end of the cart, Sealand leaned over your large pile of stuff and allowed you to roll him around the store. “To the food court. While you were all spaced out, you started mumbling about corn dogs and chocolate shakes.”
“Oh, was I?” You blushed. “I guess I am kind of hungry.” With a cart full of clothes, toys, diapers, bottles, rattles and everything in between, you decided you had probably done enough shopping for three babies and wobbled your way towards the smell of nachos. “Man, everything smells so good. I swear as much as I've been eating this kid's going to born holding a bowl of ice cream with a side of fried rice.”
Sealand wrinkled up his nose in disgust. “That would be pretty gross, and weird. But I'm sure you're only kidding, so I can still eat.” He jumped off of the cart and ran towards England, who by the looks of it, had ordered at least one of everything on the menu.
“Oh my dearest Arthur, it's little things like this that remind me why I love you so much.” With a bit of effort, you managed to squeeze yourself into the small booth where England was waiting.
“If you need reminding I'm not trying hard enough now am I.” England gently placed his hand on your knee and leaned in close to you so he could give your cheek a quick kiss. “Speaking of which, I know I haven't been as helpful as you probably need me to be. I feel like a real twit you know. I don't mean to be so, useless.” He looked down at the table and blushed. “It's just, I really don't know what to do, or how to act. It's not a good excuse, I know, but I didn't want you thinking that I was purposely trying to be a failure at this.”
Sensing his growing depression, you wrapped your arms around him and hugged him as tightly as you could manage. “You're not a failure England, you're just inexperienced. In time I'm sure you'll get it. Besides, you still have two months left to get your practice in. And you know what else? This kid really isn't going to know whether you're a good dad, or a bad dad for a while. So as long as you don't treat him like you do Sealand, I think you'll be just fine.”
Dropping his spoon into his empty ice cream bowl, Sealand slammed both of his hands on the table and stood up in the booth. “Yeah you big bully, you should treat me better.”
“That's not what she said. Now sit down before you get in trouble.”
Obeying England's words, Sealand sat back down in his seat, placed his elbow on the table and dropped his chin to his hand. “Well, you should still be nicer to me.”
Finally full, at least for the time being, you patted your mouth with a napkin and placed your hands on what was left of your lap. “He's right you know. It really wouldn't hurt you to be a little nicer. Especially since he's been behaving pretty well lately, considering, he's Sealand.”
England's eyes widened as a scared sort of smile twitched across his face. “W-what's all this then? You two are ganging up on me now.”
Though you really did try, you were unable to keep yourself from chuckling at his terrified expression. “No one's ganging up on you, calm down.” Once again you wrapped your arms around him, this time nuzzling your nose in his bright red neck. “I'm just saying, that being nice to Sealand might help you out a little. Like I said before, you could use him to practice your, parental skills.”
“Oh, I see. I suppose that might work.” Though obviously not at all a fan of your idea, England was willing to do just about anything to make you happy. “This doesn't mean you can run all over me though Sealand, I still have the right to discipline you if you do something stupid.”
“Something like this?” With a completely straight face, Sealand shoved his almost full soda onto the floor, spilling it all over the place.
A waterfall of profanity poured from England's frowning lips as he half strangled Sealand. “England, I don't think strangulation is a legal punishment for bad behavior. Actually, I'm pretty darn sure strangling anyone is illegal, at least in most places. And one other thing, I'd rather our kid not know ninety percent of the words you just used.”
“Oh bullox, you're right.” England let go of Sealand and frowned even more. “I don't know what's wrong with me.” Feeling completely defeated by the simple task you'd given him, he dropped his head onto the hard plastic table with a loud thud and whimpered.
“If you don't stop your whining I'm going to hit you. The only reason you're failing is because you're overly stressed. Now man up and stop whimpering like a four year old.” The words had flown from your lips before you'd had a chance to give them any thought at all. “I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that. I mean, I meant what I said, but I didn't mean for it to sound as rude as it did.”
“No, you're quite right my love. I'm being a complete wuss, it's shameful to say the least.” England suddenly moved out of the booth, grabbed your cart and strolled off towards the registers. “Come on now, I have a plan. It popped into my mind when I slammed my head on that table.” Despite your confusion, you did as he said. After checking out and loading the car, he drove a short distance down the road to a small building with bright pink and blue letters. “Well, what do you think?”
“Parent lessons?” You raised an eyebrow. “Do you really think we're that screwed?”
England let out a nervous laugh. “Well not you, no. But I just tried to kill Sealand, so I definitely am. Believe it or not, I really want to be a good dad to this little bloke. So if I've got to take a class or two, or hundred, I'm willing to do it.”
“That's really, really sweet Arthur. It means a lot to me to have you say something like that.” Roughly grabbing his cheeks, you pulled him across to your side of the car and started to kiss him. Only a few seconds into your kiss, you stopped, smacked your own forehead and sighed. “On second thought, we both might need to take this class.”
England blinked several times in quick succession, obviously confused by your sudden change of heart. “Why's that love?”
“You haven't noticed then huh?” You smiled weakly. “We left Sealand, our practice child, at the store.”