Part I: The Innocent Suggestion
"So, Charlie, honey." The five year old looked up from his coloring book at his mother, who was drying off her hands after washing the dishes. She smiled at her son as she sat down across from him, placing her elbows on the table with her hands holding up his chin. "Your birthday's coming up, you know."
Charlie gave a toothy grin. "Yep. I'll be six! And Daddy says that's old 'nuff to help 'im fix stuff." His smile grew. "He'll let me hold the toolbox!"
His mother laughed at how much this small task pleased him. "Well, do you know what else you'll want?"
Charlie frowned in thought before he looked back down at his book and began to color one of the dinosaurs the dark, forest green. "Um…not yet."
The woman stood up and reminded him, "When you do, make sure to tell us. I'll be outside, okay?"
"Uh-huh." Charlie continued coloring but suddenly stopped, thinking for a moment, before closing the book and rushing after his mother. "Mom, where's Dad?"
"He's at work, remember?"
"Oh… When's he comin' back?"
"At dinner." Charlie looked at a nearby wall-clock and stared on in confusion; he couldn't tell time yet. After she put on her shoes, his mother looked and saw what the boy was doing. "Not for a few hours," she clarified with a laugh.
"Oh…" Charlie frowned before quickly smiling again. "Then…can you play wiff me, Mommy?"
"I'm sorry, sweetie, I have to go pull weeds." She grabbed her sunhat and opened the door. "I'll be back in after a while."
"Okay. Have fun, Mom," Charlie told her giving her a bright smile.
Once the door closed, however, the boy frowned and sat on the couch. He was all by himself. How could he play a game when he was all alone like this? Normally, whenever his dad had to go to work, his parents invited Charlie's best friend Stefan over. But Stefan was at a business party with his own parents today.
Charlie stared blankly ahead as he tried to think of something he could do while he was stuck by himself.
Charlie watched as his parents ate their hot dinner, waiting for his own to cool off. He poked his steaming, mashed potatoes before he spoke, "Mom, Dad…" The adults both looked at the boy and he swallowed a bit nervously before continuing, "I know what I wan' for my birfday."
"Do you?" his father wondered. Charlie nodded. "So, what do you want, son?"
Charlie looked back and forth between his parents before he proudly announced what he wanted, "I wan' a brother!"
His mother's jaw dropped while his father choked on his tri-tip. Charlie watched, a bit confused, as his father coughed and dislodged the meat from his throat. Still coughing, he asked, "A, a brother, Charlie?"
The five year old nodded vigorously. "Yeah. When I was alone earlier, I wanted to play wiff someone, but you and Mom were too busy… But if I had a brother, I could play wiff 'im when you're workin'."
Mr. and Mrs. Davison looked at each other worriedly. As much as they loved Charlie, they both knew that managing him alone was a handful so what would it be like to have another child? They could barely handle thinking about it. "Yes, that's, that's true," his mother began, looking back at her son. "But there—there isn't enough room in the house for another person, Charlie…"
"What 'bout the guest room?"
"Uh…" Mrs. Davison exchanged another look with her husband. "But, sweetie, that's for when guests stay the night."
Charlie frowned. "But nobody ever stays there. When Stefan stays over he sleeps in my room."
The woman couldn't help pursing her lips; Charlie wasn't usually the smartest but when he really wanted something, he could argue all day. Unable to find a response, she looked to her husband who sighed before speaking, "Getting a brother is…complicated, Charlie. It, it would take months just for him to get here."
Charlie's eyebrows furrowed as he gave a small frown. "Can't you just ask the stork for 'nuther boy 'fore my birfday?"
The adults looked at one another with wide eyes. This was not a conversation they wanted to have. Especially not now, the boy was only five, after all. His father looked back at him. "Are you sure there's nothing else you want?"
Charlie shook his head. "No, tha's all I want." He beamed as he watched his parents, waiting to see what they would say. But to his surprise, they said nothing more. The two began focusing on their food and it seemed as though they were ignoring what had happened. Charlie was confused. Did he say something bad? "Mom?"
She spoke without looking up, "You should eat; your food's getting cold."
The boy was indignant; they were ignoring what he was saying! "But, Mommy…!"
"Charles, eat your dinner."
Charlie's frowned deepened before doing as he was told. This conversation had gone a lot better in his head…
The next day at school, Charlie told his friend Stefan what had happened at dinner and the older boy didn't seem the least bit surprised. "Did you really expect them to say yes?" he wondered. When Charlie gave a shrug in reply, Stefan rolled his eyes as he punched the tetherball. "Charlie, they can't just have a baby in a month."
"But I really want a brother," Charlie pointed out as he the ball back to his friend. "Isn't there someplace grown-ups can go to buy kids? Like how you can get animals at the pet store?"
Stefan missed the tetherball; too busy staring in disbelief at his friend. "Charlie, you can't just buy people." When the yellow ball came around again, Stefan noticed and hit back the other way. Though he knew Charlie's thinking was a little off, it helped him come up with a solution to his friend's problem. "But…your parents could go to the orphanage! Then they can adopt a kid," he realized. 
"…What 'bout an orange?"
"Not orange, Charlie," Stefan said, rolling his green eyes, "orphanage." When the younger boy only stared on cluelessly, Stefan decided to clarify. "It's a place where kids with no family live. They stay there 'til another family adopts them."
Charlie was silent for a moment before he grinned. "Stefan, that's a great idea! I'll tell them when I get home. They'll hafta say yes!"