Disclaimer: Not Mine.. no profit.
Acknowledgements: Mogs Universe - Thank you.
For Lyse who pointed out that one short story has become a very long
series and for Katherine who suggested the bit at the end. Also, with
heartfelt thanks to all those who regularly send feedback you know
who you are. I find myself eagerly awaiting your comments every time I submit
a story. Quite a few new people have written recently about this series,
it is great to get your notes how about some more suggestions? Are
you running out of ideas, people?
Labor Day Weekend
The horses snorted in turn, seemingly engaged
in their own equine conversation. Above them, the high-decibel chatter of
the child drowned out the continuous chirp of the crickets, the rustle of
the breeze through the trees, the steady thud of the horses hooves
and just about anything else that tried to make itself heard.
The two most taciturn Agents of ATF Team 7, astride their muscular blacks,
exchanged looks of amusement at the ceaseless monologue. They were not at
all fazed by having no opportunity to speak, despite the fact that they usually
enjoyed each others company in near silence. Sometimes, their little
surrogate niece was so much a chip off the old Standish block it was almost
uncanny. Trying to get a word in was like trying to thread a sewing machine
when its running.
Not that Chris Larabee or Vin Tanner would ever come within three feet of
such an unfamiliar appliance.
It was with a sense of relief to the adults, therefore, that the threesome
finally arrived at their destination, a small, sunny pool with a waterfall,
on the Eastern edge of the Larabee property. The child immediately stopped
talking and slid down from the saddle to explore, making a beeline for the
water as children invariably do.
Rorie! Tanner called her back. You fergot ta tie yer
The little girl flashed her dimples as she grinned unrepentantly at him.
She wont go anywhere Uncle Vin, not with Pony so close.
Rories little mare and Chriss large gelding had formed a peculiar
friendship. You rarely saw one without the other these days.
The Texan sighed. That aint the point. Ya gotta do it right,
pumpkin, ta git inta the habit, otherwise one day when yer ridin some
other horse yall fergit an have ta walk home.
kay. She sounded like she was doing it just to appease
him but dutifully tied her pony to a low branch. Vin regarded her intricate
knot and shook his head. Theyd have to allow extra time to undo the
damn thing before they could leave. Rorie grinned at his expression of disgust.
He rolled his eyes, sure the complicated tangle was deliberate, and unsaddled
both their mounts.
After stripping down to swimwear the two men ventured into the water. The
source of the spring was high in the mountains and the water was refreshingly
cold after the heat of the Labor Day Sun. Rorie threw off her clothes with
abandon, scattering them across the grass in a trail towards the waters
edge as she hurried to join her Uncles.
Mix any of the seven with water and you were guaranteed to have fun.
The little girl was perfectly at home in the watery environment, although
she was far more comfortable under the surface than on it. Like a little
pink turtle, her nose and mouth would appear at intervals as she took great
gulps of air before disappearing again for long anxious moments, only to
resurface somewhere else.
They played for well over an hour, splashing around and playing catch until
the child decided to further explore under the water. Chris would occasionally
dive down with her, Rorie clinging to his back like a human limpet, until
she discovered she could sit upright, and thereby keep her head above water,
if she held onto the waist of his trunks. The third time she exposed his
backside he surrendered and climbed out, relaxing on a sun-warmed boulder
as he watched the tanned Texan and the small Southerner frolic in the pool.
It was interesting to observe the tracker enjoying the innocent childish
pleasures hed missed out on in his own youth. Whenever the sharpshooter
played with the little girl, the latent kid in him came to the fore and it
was like having two kids to watch over.
Tanner was making up for opportunities missed.
Vin allowed himself to be dunked several times, much to the amusement of
both his companions, before tackling the child and throwing her over his
shoulder to land with an impressive splash in the middle of the pond. This
lead to a game of toss the munchkin, which lasted for about 20
minutes before he announced that his arms were tired. The two then joined
the older man for a picnic lunch in a flat, shaded spot set back amongst
the trees, close to the horses and out of sight of the pond.
After eating, and all the fresh air and exercise of the morning, the contented
child soon dropped off to sleep, curled up on the picnic blanket with a half
eaten Oreo clutched in her hand.
The two men left her to her nap and moved back to the waters edge,
where they sat in comfortable silence, watching the dragonflies play chase
over the reeds and the sunlight bouncing off the water tumbling down the
The noise of the churning water must have drowned out the approach of the
Vin was the first to sense their presence, silently signalling to his boss
that there was something wrong. As they began to turn to look behind them
there was the sound of a shot. Larabee jerked and grunted.
What the fuck? Tanner rapidly gained his feet, pivoting on his
bare toes as he swivelled to face the threat.
You must be Tanner. Vin paused, poised to attack, weighing his
chances against his opponents. He knew Chris was hurt, but not how badly.
He didnt look at his colleague and hadnt seen where he was struck
but he knew without a doubt that his partner had been wounded.
The three men, all dark and stocky, were too far away for him to strike,
particularly since he was unarmed and dressed only in swim trunks. He narrowed
his eyes at them and relaxed his stance slightly, waiting for an opening
and hoping to appear less threatening and thereby lessen his chances of just
being gunned down.
Reckon I must. Whore you?
Perhaps Mr Larabee would like to tell you? The man in the center
looked at Chris with black eyes.
Vin glanced down at his companion for the first time, making a quick assessment
of his injury, before refocusing on the threat.
The ATF Team Leader sat staring calmly at the three men. His face betraying
none of the pain he must be experiencing from the oozing wound in his thigh.
Tanner knew from experience that the slow rate of bleeding probably meant
the bullet was still in there.
Damn. This just kept getting better. He just hoped Rorie had enough sense
to keep her head down.
Do I know you? The tracker wasnt looking at his boss but grinned
inwardly at his insolent tone. He was still showing that infamous Larabee
belligerence. Good sign.
You bastard. You cost me 12 years in Yuma.
Obviously wasnt enough. The mans finger tightened
on the trigger and Chris held his breath.
Jimenez. Narcotics bust. Remember now?
Chris cocked his head to the side, apparently frowning in concentration.
After a long moment his brow cleared. Yeah. He glanced at his
second-in-command. From when I was in the DPD. The cold green
glare swivelled back to Jimenez. I shouldda shot you through the brain,
not the shoulder, and saved the tax payers money.
Purty small target Cowboy. The man ignored Tanners jibe,
remaining focussed on Larabee.
Youre gonna wish ya had. The man turned to his friends.
If either tries anything, shoot the other. Henkle, get the kid.
No! Both Agents spoke together.
Tanner took a pace forward even as he shouted his denial and all three guns
were suddenly pointed at Larabee. He stopped. She aint got
nothin ta do with this. Shes jist a baby. It was obviously
no good trying to pretend Rorie didnt exist, they already knew there
was a child with them.
Shell be useful to keep you both in line. At least until Mr
Wilmington joins us. He grinned at Chriss involuntary expression
of surprise. Thought Id forgotten about him did you? You were
both responsible. You will both pay. As for you, he indicated the Texan
with a tilt of his chin, you should choose your friends more carefully.
Youd live longer.
Both Agents hands were securely bound behind them with duct tape as
they waited for Henkle to return with Rorie. They couldnt fight back,
not with an armed man out of sight and a vulnerable child at his mercy. They
would have to wait for an opening when they could be sure of protecting the
After what seemed like an age, the luckless Henkle returned empty handed.
Cant find her. Looks like she took one of the horses and
Chris and Vin exchanged glances.
Shit! Jimenez fumed, glaring at the two lawmen. They smiled at
Dont worry about it. Shes just gonna get lost. Like he
said shes just a baby, can be more than three at the most. The
third man spoke for the first time, in a heavy Mexican accent. Vin mentally
labelled him Pedro.
Yeah, thats true. Kidll probably die out here. Okay git
em on their horses. We can be at the cabin in an hour and then Mr Larabee
and I can get re-acquainted. Chris raised his brows at the menacing
look but otherwise didnt react.
But even he couldnt control his reaction when their mounts appeared.
Shit! Tanner was horrified. In front of them stood Pony and
The small ponys reins had clearly been cut with a knife. Obviously
the knot had defeated the gunman as well as the child. Which meant
Rorie was on Peso.
There was no way she could have saddled him.
Tanner took a steadying breath. If that damn bad tempered mule hurt that
kid hed be glue within a week.
An hour later the five horsemen arrived at a small, ramshackle cabin at the
end of a little-used dirt track. They were pulled from the horses and hustled
into the damp, gloomy interior. The single room was sparsely furnished. There
were two chairs and a table in the middle of the room and an old, stained
mattress on the floor in one corner, to the right of the fireplace and directly
beneath the window.
The two bound Agents were pushed over to the rear wall and forced to sit
on the filthy floor, no hardship for Chris who was having difficulty maintaining
his balance on the injured leg.
Henkle. You go down into the town and call Wilmington. Get him to meet
you at the truck stop. Tell him if he tries anything Larabee and Tanner will
be killed and that you are expected to check in regularly. If you miss a
check-in we will cut up the child and return her in small pieces.
We havent got the kid.
He doesnt know that you idiot. When he arrives take him to the
second safe house. Once we are certain you havent been followed well
move to the rendezvous point.
Henkle left and the four remaining men stared at each other in the ensuing
silence. Jimenez smiled and pulled a wicked looking knife out of a sheath
on his belt.
Meanwhile, several miles West, Rorie was making very rapid progress.
She clung desperately to Pesos mane and bridle, gripping the ornery
horse galloping beneath her as hard as she could with her bare knees. She
wasnt so much riding him as being taken where he wanted to go. The
big black was in complete control. She knew if she fell off shed be
in serious trouble, not least because she was only wearing a small pair of
shorts and knowing Peso hed probably toss her into poison ivy or something.
Please, Peso. Please be good. Dont let me fall off, dont
let me fall off. Her eyes were tightly shut as she prayed aloud, reassured
by the sound of her own voice, although it was jarring disjointedly with
every bounce of her little body on the broad, muscular back. Her heart thundered
loudly in her ears, keeping time with the pounding hooves of the powerful
horse. She cried out and was nearly unseated as Peso came to an abrupt halt.
He snorted and pawed the ground.
Slowly opening her eyes the small child was astonished to find herself at
the door of the Larabee barn. Gathering her wits she slowly slid down
Pesos neck until her feet touched the ground. She held onto his foreleg
for a moment as she tried to steady her wobbly legs.
Good boy. She patted the animals sweaty neck.
He made as if to bite her shoulder but she ducked out of reach.
On still unsteady legs she stumbled towards the Ranch house, fishing the
spare key from behind the water trough as she passed.
She let herself into the kitchen and looked at the phone. Her mind went blank.
She couldnt remember any numbers. Coming to a decision, she speed dialled
a random number. Her finger fell on 3. She didnt know who would answer
but it must be someone
UNCLE BUCK? You gotta come. Its a MERGENCY!
At the other end of the phone Buck winced, holding the handset further from
his ear as he was nearly deafened by the frantic bellow coming over the receiver.
Rorie? Calm down. Whats the matter?
Someone shot Uncle Chris!
The ladies man jumped to his feet, startling the group sitting at his table,
JD, Casey and his date, Alison, and earning curious glances from the other
Buck? He held up his hand to Dunne, signalling for silence.
They got him too but they wanted you! You gotta come and bring everyone!
Hurry Uncle Buck.
Listen Short Stuff. Take a deep breath and tell me exactly what happened,
slowly. He listened as Rorie explained the events of the last hours.
Youre there all by yourself?
Okay LilDarlin. Im gonna hang up and call 911 to send someone
to be with you. Dont open the door for anyone except a cop or one of
us, you understand?
Okay. Are you coming quick?
Quick as lightening Darlin. Im gonna hang up now. Remember,
only a cop or one of us. He disconnected the call and dialled 911,
telling the operator that there was a small child alone after a Federal Officer
had been kidnapped and asking for a uniformed officer to be sent to the child
while the rest of the team got ready to go after their team mates.
Ezra and Inez, having been visiting antique and curios stores in nearby Four
Corners, arrived at the Larabee Ranch first, closely followed by the rest
of the team.
Honeybee, are you unharmed? Ezra knelt in the dirt of the yard
and caught his daughter as she flew towards him. Two uniformed cops stood
on the porch and it was they who answered for the hysterical child.
Shes fine. Just worried about her Uncles. Youre her
father? Ezra stood, bringing Rorie with him. He nodded.
Ezra Standish, ATF Team 7. My companion, Miss Recillos. Thank you for
your care and assistance Gentlemen. The two cops nodded in acknowledgement,
both of his statement and his professional status. They, like all law enforcement
in Denver, both knew of and respected the reputation of the most Elite ATF
Unit in the State.
Ezra ran his hand over Rories bare back and arms, checking her for
injury and offering the reassurance and comfort of his touch at the same
time. He turned as three more speeding vehicles arrived in convoy, screeching
to a halt in the driveway. Four more Agents poured from the cars. The
rest of the Team, Agents Sanchez, Wilmington, Jackson and Dunne.
The two cops watched as the new arrivals began pulling an arsenal of weapons
and equipment from their vehicles. Ezra hugged his daughter, spending some
time calming and reassuring her before reluctantly handing her to Inez.
Go, Ezra, we will be fine. Inez stroked Rories hair as
the sticky little body cuddled up against the pretty Senoritas shoulder.
Standish nodded, placing a gentle kiss on each of their cheeks, and went
to assist his team-mates.
Before long, five horses were saddled and ready to travel.
Buck knelt before the little girl, who was still visibly distraught and clinging
to Inezs hand. So they took them from the clearing at the waterfall
and said theyd be at the cabin in an hour?
That narrows the field. Which direction did they go in?
Downhill. The other way from where we arrived.
Wilmington nodded, familiar with the terrain within the Larabee property.
Ezra winked at her. Good girl. She smiled at his praise, but
it was a mere shadow of her usual gamine grin.
Buck pulled out a map. Riding, for an hour would take them somewhere
He paused and Josiah leaned over his shoulder and placed
a finger on the map.
Thats the most likely area. Theres a track with a building
at the end. Secluded enough to be away from prying eyes but within easy reach
of the town.
Yep. I think youre right Okay lets
He was cut
off when his cell began to ring.
Wilmington. He listened. Okay. I understand. Yes. I can
be there in two hours. No I cant get there any quicker asshole, Im
in Garnet Springs. Itll take me an hour to get to Denver and another
hour to get to Four Corners. Okay. No, no cops. Dont do anything stupid.
What condition are they in? Hows the kid holding up? Okay. He
They claim to have Rorie too. He winked at the little blonde.
They dont know just how slippery our little monster is do they?
Okay boys. Lets move. Ill fill you in as we go.
Inez, Rorie and the two DPD Officers watched from the porch as the five heavily
armed horsemen disappeared up the trail in a cloud of dust.
In the cabin, Vin watched helplessly as Jimenez tormented his friend, making
shallow cuts across his bare chest with an evil looking stiletto and kicking
repeatedly at his wounded leg, seemingly just for his own sick sense of
amusement. Chris occasionally winced, or sucked in a breath, but otherwise
remained impassive, fixing his torturer with an icy green glare.
Vin attempted to distract him.
Does it make ya feel more like a man, Jimenez, ta be able ta beat the
crap outta a man with his hands bound? Caint face him on equal terms?
Too scary fer ya? The stiletto moved towards the Texan.
Shut up Vin. Poor guys been in Yuma for twelve years. Cant
be much man still in him. Cept what others have left. Chris
chuckled and the bloodstained knife swung back his way.
Is that the problem? Didnt like bein someones girlfriend,
Shouldnt that be someones asshole girlfriend? Vin
laughed at Larabees sick joke.
There was a snort from Pedro. Jimenez glared at him.
Shut the fuck up, both of you or Ill cut out your tongues.
Jimenez couldnt believe they were goading him. He was the one with
the power, the ability to snuff out their lives, and they were laughing at
him. They were both crazy.
He turned the blade back on Tanner, slicing a nick in his earlobe as he ducked
to avoid being slashed in the face. Blood began to trickle freely down his
bare chest. The Texan winked at him. Chris sent him a warning look.
Jimenezs entertainment was interrupted by the sound of an approaching
vehicle. Both gunmen immediately took up positions on either side of the
door, weapons pointed at the two agents. The door opened to admit Henkle.
What are you doing back here? I told you to wait for Wilmington.
Hes gonna be a while. Has to come from Garnet Springs.
Chris and Vin exchanged quick, discreet glances. Buck wasnt in Garnet
Springs. He was double dating with JD downtown. The boys were obviously already
en-route but they had no way of knowing where their missing men were.
Chris and Vin glanced at each other as their brains clicked to the same
conclusion at the same moment, their eyes met with twin expressions of relief.
They were fairly sure the child must have reached safety and summoned assistance.
Now they just had to stay alert and alive until help arrived. The pair still
looked for the opportunity to gain the upper hand but the urgency was no
The Cavalry was coming.
Time passed slowly for the five men in the cabin. Young Henkle paced backwards
and forwards and Vin followed him with his eyes until it started to make
him dizzy. He wished the idiot would just leave.
For Gods sake Henkle stop pacing! Youre driving me nuts.
Jimenez looked at his watch. Youd better get back to Four Corners
and check there isnt any extra police activity around. When you get
there call Wilmington again and tell him youve changed the meet to
Neros Grill. That way if theyve set up a sting you will be able
to see them moving into new positions.
Henkle nodded and left, the door of the cabin swinging shut behind him. They
listened as the roar of the engine filled the silence outside the cabin,
fading as the vehicle got further away.
There was a tense silence.
Tanners chin came up abruptly and Chris gazed curiously at him.
Vin tilted his head to the side and listened.
A good nothing.
There was complete silence now, where earlier the sounds of the forest could
be clearly heard. They were in the middle of a densely wooded area, and despite
what many city folk are inclined to think, Tanner knew that the forest is
never so naturally quiet.
Unless the animals and birds are keeping a low profile in the presence of
Chris watched Tanners expression and body language and knew without
words that the rest of the team were present. The two waited to see what
A half hour passed and finally Jimenezs phone rang.
Clicking the cell shut, he grinned and motioned that they should get to their
feet. He kept his weapon pointed at them and watched impassively as Chris
struggled to stand.
Sensing his friends difficulty, Vin leaned a shoulder into his side,
providing what little support he could with his hands bound behind him.
They were marched out into the clearing directly in front of the cabin.
Both bound men glanced around surreptitiously, blinking in the glare of the
afternoon sunset, waiting for the signal to move.
Jimenez urged them towards a van across the clearing with the barrel of his
There was a birdcall from the trees and Tanner abruptly swivelled, simultaneously
ducking the weapon aimed at his own back and kicking out at the gun levelled
Chris dived right, rolling into the hard dirt of the track, wincing as the
sharp pebbles gouged deeply into his bare skin.
There was the sound of four shots, so close together they were almost
Jimenez and Pedro were both propelled backwards, dropping their
weapons to clutch at the fresh wounds. Four ATF Agents materialized from
the cover of the woods, firearms pointed unwaveringly at the luckless criminals.
Howdy Boys. Heard you fellas needed a ride home. Buck grinned
at Tanner as he helped him to his feet and ripped the tape from his wrists,
taking a considerable amount of hair with it. Vin scowled at him and rubbed
his abused hands together, trying to get the circulation going. They both
moved over to where Nathan was examining Chris.
Hold still! I need to see to your leg wound and get those cuts
cleaned. Nathan grabbed Chriss calf and sat on it, effectively
pinning his leader to the ground since his hands were still tied.
Untie me Buck. Jackson shot Wilmington a warning look.
Not until Nathans finished, Stud. I know better than to come
between Nate and his patient. Wilmington grinned in the face of the
familiar Larabee glare.
You fools. You have signed the death warrant for the child. Jimenez
and Pedro, having been secured by JD and Ezra, were being cuffed and read
their rights. Our partner has Larabees daughter, she will be
sent back in an envelope. He smirked at the man he despised, hoping
to negotiate his release with the bluff. The call I received informed
me that our friend has found your kid and he
Sorry Jimenez. Your information is wrong. Chris climbed to his
feet with assistance from Nathan and Vin and hobbled over to their prisoner.
I dont have a daughter.
Jimenez laughed a little uncertainly. And the little girl? You forget
her so easily? You try to convince me otherwise but I know she is yours.
Actually, I believe you are referring to my progeny. Standish
stepped forward. His gold tooth glinted in the sunshine as he grinned at
the confused Mexican. She may appear to be little more than a babe
in arms but she is remarkably resilient and extremely resourceful. Perhaps
you should consider how it was that we came to be aware of your location?
And as far as your partner is concerned, he nodded to the track where
a second vehicle was approaching, Your threat carries little weight
since he is already in custody.
Josiah parked the car and climbed out. Henkle was clearly visible in the
back, handcuffed and seemingly out cold. Chris raised his brows.
Josiah shrugged. Wouldnt stop talking. Didnt have a notebook
to take down his confession and after I heard it for the fourth time, Id
The others looked at each other. Went a little Old Testament on him
did you, Josiah?
The big preacher grinned, unabashed. Brothers, I think wed better
head to Four Corners hospital.
Everyone but Wilmington climbed into the vehicles, Nathan fussing over Chris
in the back of the van. Ezra was driving and Vin rode shotgun. Josiah and
JD took the three trussed up criminals in the second car and Buck remained
to collect all the horses and take them home.
Tanner looked up as a cell phone appeared in front of his face. He looked
at his roomy.
Rorie is waiting to hear from you.
Grinning, Tanner accepted the phone and dialled the number for the Ranch.
UNCLE VIN! ARE YOU OKAY? DID THEY RESCUE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU?
The tinny screech was audible to every passenger, even over the noise of
the engine. The Texan winced comically.
Were both fine. Yep they did. Were on our way ta git checked
out. Well see ya later. And Rorie?
I havent fergotten ya took Peso. We WILL be talking about that
later. Be ready. He clicked the phone shut on the blustering.
She rode PESO? Ezra was furious. What the HELL was she
Shed tied Cleo up good and probably couldnt get the knots
undone. Chris sucked in a breath as Nathan poked at the cuts on his
chest. Easy Nate!
By the time both injured agents had been treated and Chris had had the bullet
removed from his leg, it was dark. Ezra and Vin left the hospital once their
leader had regained consciousness following the surgery, to collect Inez
and Rorie and head home. Tomorrow was the first day of the new semester for
the child and the seven were due back in the office after the long holiday
The pair arrived at the Larabee Ranch in a squad car. Rorie came dashing
out to greet them. She leapt at Vin who caught her against his chest and
returned the enthusiastic hug.
Uncle Vin, I was so scared.
Me too, pumpkin. Ya shouldda taken Pony iffn ya couldnt git Cleo
No. He raised one brow at her. I mean yes, I know I should
have taken Pony but I wasnt scared of Peso, well perhaps a bit, but
I was more scared for you and Uncle Chris.
Whilst I understand your concern for your Uncles, I fail to see how
that excuses riding Peso when you know that you are strictly forbidden to
approach that disagreeable animal. Ezra sat down on the porch step
and Vin settled beside him with Rorie sitting across his lap, facing her
I tried to get Pony to come but he wouldnt leave Cleo.
She gazed up at the Texan. Im sorry Uncle Vin. I know Im
not allowed to touch Peso but I had to do something!
The tracker nodded thoughtfully. Ya did the right thing. It was very
brave. But that dont mean ya kin go near m horse again. Hes
still a mean, bad tempered cuss an the rules still apply.
Rorie nodded, satisfied. I dont get punished? She glanced
up through her lashes at Ezra. He shook his head and smiled at her.
Not in this instance. Since there were extenuating circumstances, I
believe we may overlook your disobedience, just this once.
Both Agents smiled at Inez as she approached from inside, carrying two cold
bottles of beer. She sat down next to Ezra and he put an arm around her shoulder.
The four sat in comfortable silence watching the sunset before heading home.
Team 7 Offices
Chris exited the elevator and headed into
the bullpen, manoeuvring his crutches like a seasoned pro, which was as it
should be considering how many prior occasions hed been forced to use
them. Rorie followed on his heels, chattering nineteen to the dozen about
her day at school.
Hey Chris, hows the leg? Hey Sugar Plum. The medic was
the first to notice the new arrivals.
Fine, thanks Nate.
Hello Uncle Nathan. Uncle Chris picked me up from school and said we
could come to the office for a little while. Hey Uncle Everybody! Im
here! The smiling agents around the office returned her exuberant greeting.
Rorie trotted over to the Undercover Agents desk. Hello Daddy.
Good Afternoon Honeybee. How was school? Ezra leaned back in
his chair and lifted the little girl up, kissing her forehead as he set her
on the edge of his desk.
Okay. I like my new teacher. I got a man teacher this year so he
wont be telling anyone how handsome you are.
Behind her, across from Ezra, the wiry Texan snorted into his coffee cup.
Standish glared at him. There were chuckles around the office as the child
continued to relate her day, oblivious to the adult humor at her fathers
Theres a letter in my bag again, Daddy. Ezra sighed and
she hurried to reassure him. I dont think Im in trouble,
I think its about the scholarship test I did in the summer. He
nodded. You know Mr Wilson? Hes Head of Music. He says I can
learn another instrument. I think maybe Ill choose trumpet, she
grinned at her father, or tuba?
Tell me ya dont gotta practise at home! Vin sounded horrified
and she glanced at him over her shoulder.
Course I do! She grinned, knowing he knew full well she wasnt
What would you really like to try? She looked back into the emerald
green eyes watching her with amusement.
Violin? He nodded.
So how are your new classmates? Buck sauntered over and leaned
against the wall behind Standish.
Theres eight of us, including me. Theres another little
girl whos six, I think we can be friends. Most of the others are Okay
too, except Taylor Dunwoody. Hes eight and yucky.
And what did Master Dunwoody do to earn such a disparaging
description? Ezra raised his coffee to his lips and took a sip.
He likes me.
Is that a bad thing?
Too much! You know what I mean? She nudged his knee with her
foot, a look of childish disgust on her face. He wants to sit next
to me all the time and keeps trying to hold my hand. He gives me soppy looks,
like when Uncle JD looks at Casey
There was a series of snorts and stifled laughter around the office. JD was
scarlet and flapping his mouth like a guppy. Ezra looked horrified.
he even told everyone he was going to marry me!
And what did you say?
I told him that my Daddy has a gun!
Ezra joined in the laughter.
Her voice was a loud whisper. Do you think he wants me to play birds
Ezra choked on his coffee and Buck made a quick exit.
To Atlantan Legacy XVII - New York, New
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