Good evening and welcome to my second story on Muppet Central, A Nest Divided. This is an idea I've been inspired to tackle ever since I saw this video online: I hope you enjoy my take on Sam the Eagle's family life. This story is going to be much more serialized than my last story, so I'll try to work out a semi-regular schedule for updating. *******************************Chapter One "Toothbrush…check. Toothpaste…check. Dental floss…check. Mouthwash…check." "Sure are keeping things thorough, Sam." "Yes, Rowlf, this is so I don't forget a single thing. I wouldn't want to be caught short-handed during my vacation." "You're going to Virginia, not the Antarctic Circle. I think they have pharmacies out there too." "Still, one must be prepared." "I guess you're right, plus if you wanted to go to the Antarctic Circle the penguins left yesterday." Rowlf watched intently while Sam doubled-checked all the clothing he would need for the trip. He sure packed a lot of clothes for someone who so rarely wears any. "So you're going to visit the old wifey, eh? How is she?" Sam looked disgusted at Rowlf's question. "The old wifey? Show a little respect, please." "Okay, how is Mrs. Matilda the Eagle doing? Haven't seen her in a couple of years." There was an awkward pause, as if Sam was unsure how to broach the topic. Rowlf felt a slight pang of regret for parsing the topic, as Sam was fairly reticent about his personal life. His kids only received passing mention, in a solitary photo on his desk, or the sporadic mention of an email. Mostly he appeared to be concerned with keeping all the other Muppets in line and assorted political manners. "She's busy, with her teaching." "Ah, yes, your wife works as a professor." "Yes, American History and Constitutional Analysis, two fine subjects." Rowlf smiled, sensing that Sam was back in safer conversational territory. "That's how you guys met, right? American History." A streak of embarrassment flshed across Sam's cheek, but he quickly composed himself. It was a long time ago that he met Matilda (she was Matty then), across the desk of the library at the University of Virginia. She was returning the very book he needed for American History 1601, 25 Things You Didn't Know About The Monroe Doctrine. He asked her how it was, they started talking, and pretty soon they became inseparable. "Yes, we bonded over our love of this great country." "I'm pretty sure you guys bonded over something else too." If looks could kill, Sam would have at least been arrested for third-degree assault. "Just kidding, Sam. You need any help with your bags?" "If you don't mind taking the one on the bed while I grab this suitcase, and we can head out to the driveway." The two muppets shuffled downstairs, passing through the living room, where Camilla was leading her fellow chickens in a jazzercise routine, and onto the front porch, where Beauregard was varnishing the deck, and his overalls, and the furniture, and the front door for good measure. "You're going to miss us these three weeks, Sam. You're going to miss all this," Rowlf gestured as they walked out to the car. "Hmmph. It will be good to get out to the country, where things are a little more sane. Do you know what I saw Thog doing this morning?" "What?" "Making a salad!" "What's wrong with that?" "He didn't need to bring an entire vegetable stand into the kitchen to do it!" "Hey, I'm all for people eating healthier." Sam threw his bags in the trunk and the two of them headed out to the airport. Rowlf had agreed to drive Sam there so he wouldn't have to leave his car in the lot for such a long time, lest any cockroaches try to claim squatter's rights. "So are your kids going to be home?" "Yes, I think so. It will be good for the four of us to spend some quality time together. We might go to Monticello." "Your kids haven't been around to visit much lately, not even during the holidays. How are they?" "Well, you know how busy college students can get. I've always encouraged them to take classes during the winter sessions so they can get ahead with their studies." "That's nice." Rowlf suspected something else was going on, but he didn't press. Sam was a guarded person and he could get defensive if asked the wrong question. Sure, Rowlf was curious about Sam's family, and why they were never around, but he kept that to himself. It wasn't worth getting him angry and making their friendship awkward. But everyone else's family visited during the holidays; Fozzie's mother, Kermit's parents and siblings, Piggy's nephews, Beauregard's cousin, and so on and on. Sam's family never showed up; he didn't even know if he called them. "Look at this traffic! I hope I don't miss my flight!" "Don't worry, Sam, we still have plenty of time. You'll be fine." "If you say so!" "Are you nervous, Sam?" "What?" "You seem nervous, Sam. That's all." "Well…." Sam paused. He was nervous. It had been over a year since he last spent anytime at his house, and that didn't end well. Matilda (she wasn't Matty anymore) wasn't happy that Sam signed another contract to stay with the Muppets, and they had parted on acrimonious terms. They didn't speak for over three months, both waiting to see who would let the other shoe drop and crack first. It was Sam. "Well…I haven't been home in a long time, and it's a little strange." "You'll be fine! Sure, there may be new curtains, and some new furniture, but it's still your house in the end." "Thanks." Sam nervously fidgeted with his phone while Rowlf navigated through the maze of exits and on-ramps that led to the airport. "Man, they make it really hard to find your way there. Sam, you have wings. Couldn't you have just flown to Virginia? Would save you a lot of money and me a lot of hassle." "Very funny." Eventually the ersatz duo made their way to the airport, Rowlf pulling right up to the exclusive "rewards gate" (Piggy had been able to pull some strings for the gang). As Sam pulled his bags out of the trunk, Rowlf made his way around the other side of the car. "Sam, have a good time! Tell the wife and kids I said hi, and that we'd all love to see them! There's always room in our house!" "I'll pass that message on, " he shouted as he passed through the doors, an attendant gesturing him towards the baggage check. I'll pass that on if they are willing to listen, he thought to himself as he awkwardly, anxiously stepped into the airport terminal, his destination awaiting. ****************************************Coming up in Chapter Two: Sam touches down in Virginia.