"Vincent James Larabee, get your scrawny butt back in this house. Now!" bellowed a red hot Chris. Chris Larabee, the owner of Boot Hill Ranch, was running after his seventeen-year-old-son. The argument began two days ago, when Vin decided he didnt want to go to college, but instead join the service alongside a few of his best buddies. The mild yet very forceful argument only went from slow burning embers to a raging fire. Chris adamantly refused to allow or to accept Vins decision. He of course did not want his son to get hurt. Whereas Vin believed his father didnt want him to go, because it was not his decision and that he did not want him to grow up. So now the raging fire was growing to a point where an explosion was going to blow up and everyone who stood in a five mile radius of the two would get burned.
"NO! You cant control my life all the time. Just because it wasnt your idea does not mean that it is not a good idea. Besides you were in the Navy, alongside Uncle Buck. Is it "do as I say, not do as I do" around here now? You always said that I could be or do whatever I put my mind to. Well, this is what I want to do. I want to be a Ranger." Vin was like a charging bull who had seen red. He did not slow down until he made it to his jeep. Without looking back at his father, Vin opened the door to his jeep. Before he got into the jeep he turned his head and said, "Dad, you have to let me live my own life. You have to respect me enough to make my own decisions. This is one of those times. I cant help it you're too pig-headed to see it, but thats not my problem. I graduated high school, and am now ready for what I wanted to do with my life. School is just not for me. I like the outdoors, and the Rangers have that." There was a long silent pause with both father and son staring at each other. The former had no words to make at Vins declaration nor did he know what to say even if he did. Turning back to his jeep Vin got in and closed the door. Looking over at his father, he rolled the window and started up the jeep. Before he left he made one last look at the ranch and his dad and said "C-ya, pops!. And with that he was gone.
A few moments later, Chris came out of his daze and realized that his son, his precious baby boy, had indeed grown up and was now gone. The only thing he could do was stand there and look like a guppy with his mouth hanging open. A big hollow hole was beginning to form in his stomach, and the only cure that he knew would help ease the pain was a bottle of Jack Daniels. With that thought Chris Larabee, the successful ranch owner, went inside to drown his sorrows.
Four Years Later
Buck Wilmington was sitting in his apartment getting ready to open the days mail. He was browsing through the mail separating the bills from junk mail, when he came across an envelope addressed to "Uncle Buck". Buck realized with great anticipation on who it was from, because there was only one person in the whole world who called him Uncle Buck and that was Vin Larabee. Buck was a little taken aback by the events four years ago, that transpired in Vin leaving Four Corners to pursue becoming a Ranger. He knew it was Vins dream to become a Army Ranger and he knew also that his brother Chris wanted Vin to go to college. Throughout the four years he received letters from his nephew telling him how his training was going and so forth. Once and a while, one of the letters would mention his father. When Buck did manage to write Vin, he did mention in it how Chris and the others were doing. The others being Josiah Sanchez, an old retired minister who now ran a home for runaways who was like a second uncle to him; Nathan Jackson was Vins pediatrician and close personal friend to the family; and J.D. Dunne, a twenty-six-year-old computer wiz who was currently working his way through college at Bucks restaurant. Buck would tell him how they were doing and what was going on in their lives. When Buck opened the current letter it was nothing like what he thought it would contain.
May 22, 2003
Dear Uncle Buck,
I hope this letter finds you well. I am doing great, although my career as an army ranger is officially over. Dont be thinking bad thoughts, this was my choice, because I have something that is more important in my life now. Your probably wandering what I am talking about, well your just going to have to keep wandering at least for a little bit. Thats right Uncle Buck Im coming home. Its time for me to come back home to my family. I have to make things right with pa, and I know how pig headed he can be but as I mentioned before there is something more important in my life now and I think its time I come home. Dont worry Uncle Buck, get all the worse thoughts that you can imagine out of your head. Everything is great. To let you know I will be making an appearance in Four Corners in about two weeks from when I wrote this letter. Uncle Buck, I cant wait to see you and the rest of the family. I cant wait to see pa too. Its been so long. I know me going has left pa upset, and I know me coming back here after all this time will be hard, but we are Larabees and we Larabees aint nothing but persistent and pig headed. Well, until I see you again.
With Love, your nephew
Buck could not believe what he was reading. He had to read it four times before he would even let himself believe it. His nephew was coming home. He looked at the calendar and at the date of when the letter was written and realized that he only had a few days before Vin came home. Wow, he couldnt wait until he told the others, but then what would he tell Chris? Chris knew that Vin and Buck were corresponding with each other, but he didnt know how well Chris would take the news that Vin was coming home and didnt tell his own father. Granted the relationship between father and son was strained, but he believed that Chris would want to know that Vin was coming. He was at a loss for what to do.
While Buck was contemplating these thoughts he failed to notice that the man in question came through his door. When Chris entered Bucks apartment he could tell that his brother had something on his mind, and the way Buck disregarded his presence told him that whatever was bothering him was heavy. After five minutes Chris cleared his throat, which made Buck jump a foot high off of his couch.
"Dang it Chris, give a guy a heart attack why dont ya?!"
"Sorry Buck, but Ive been standing here for about five minutes and you didnt even notice me," exclaimed a very amused Chris.
"You should've knocked or something, then I would of known you were here instead of giving me a coronary," grumbled Buck. I took Buck a few minutes to process that indeed Chris was standing inside his apartment and the letter from Vin was still laying out. Buck hurriedly placed Vins letter back in the envelope and got up from where he was sitting.
"So you ready or not?" asked Chris.
"Ready?" Buck was so preoccupied with the letter that he completely forgot that he and Chris were going to spend the day together and just be brothers. They were going to the pool hall and play pool and darts. They were also going to go Bucks bar and grill called, Moonshine Grill and Still.
"Yessssssssss. ARE YOU READY?" enunciated Chris. "Buck are you alright? You seem kind of out of it. If your not feeling well, then we dont have to go out tonight."
"No, Im fine Chris, really. Why dont we get going before the pool hall becomes crammed?" With that said Buck followed Chris out and locked up his door. He was thinking maybe tonight might give him an answer as to whether or not to tell Chris that Vin was coming back. Granted he would know soon enough, but to gage his reaction now would be harder than to gage the ire of an old bull still seeing the red.
"O-kay, Buck. You want to tell me whats got your mind so rattled?" asked a worried Chris, who was driving his truck.
"Nothing." With that answer Chris gave him an evil look, which made Buck squirm around in his seat. "Alright. I have a hypothetical question. Say that you know something that you know would be very important for someone close to you to know, but you're not sure if telling this very close person is the right thing to do or not. I mean there of course is a third party in this equation and you dont know that by telling the person that you'reclose to is what they wanted you do. Do you understand?" Buck let out a long breath. He felt better since he got that off his chest. He looked over at Chris to see what he was thinking. Chris looked as though he was trying to figure out what language Buck was speaking. When it finally dawned on him what Buck was saying Chris could not hold back his laughter. Buck was wondering what was up with Chris when finally Chris answered for him.
"Buck, are you talking about the fact that Vin is coming home? I already know. He called me the other day and told me that he was coming home and that he was bringing someone special. He also wanted to make amends and attempt to establish our relationship again. Buck dont worry about it, he also told me that he wrote to you. Im not upset. Im actually looking forward to having him back with us. And I think maybe that he met a girl and this special someone will be my new daughter-in-law." After that was all said Chris looked over at Buck, but Buck looked as though he ate a bad pickle.
"Are you telling me that I was worried sick about how you were going to react to the news that your estranged son was coming home and if I should tell you or not I dont believe it. I almost had a panic attack because I wasnt sure how to approach you or if I should even And here you are knowing all of this and more Ahhh! Lets skip the pool hall and let's just go to the still, because I need a stiff drink," ranted an annoyed Buck.
"Sorry Buck, I didnt know that you were losing sleep over this. If I would've known that you were using your brain overtime I would've stopped you." snickered Chris. "Because I know how hard your brain works and how tired it gets just working for a short time. Please forgive me. I would never have put you through that. After all, we are brothers."
"Very funny, Chris. Keep laughing why dont you? I really thought it was a big deal, now I know that it wasnt," grumbled Buck. But Buck being Buck could not stay mad very long especially with the fact that now he could relax and contemplate on Vins special someone. "So you think Vins got himself a girl? I bet shes one of those types that likes the great outdoors and looks like a beauty queen in the process."
"Dont know Buck, but Im sure glad hes coming home and whoever she turns out to be Im going to thank her for bringing my son home," smiled Chris. This was one of the first real smiles that Chris had displayed since Vin left home. But now Vin was coming home again and bringing maybe the future Mrs.Vincent James Larabee, too. With that thought, both men sat in quiet contemplation until they reached the restaurant where both men got helplessly and happily drunk.
Two Weeks Later
Chris and the guys along with Nettie Wells, Vins nanny, were patiently waiting for Vins return. Buck talked Chris into throwing a welcome home party for Vin. Chris was not sure that that was a good idea. He wanted private reunion with his son and his special someone, but Buck was also anxious to see his nephew so he went along with it. Chris was beginning to worry. Vin was two hours overdue. He was beginning to think dire thoughts and that something had happened to him. Then his thoughts began to switch, thinking maybe Vin changed his mind and decided not to come after all. He was so deep in thought that he didnt realize that he was mumbling to himself and that everyone could hear him.
Something hit Chris in the back of his head. He turned around to see what it was when he came face to face with Nettie Wells.
"What was that for?" asked a confused Chris.
"That was for thinking foolish thoughts, Christopher Lee Larabee. Your father never raised no fools, and I dont think its time to start acting like one. Vin said he would be here and I know my boy. He will be here, so if I hear you say anymore nonsense like that again I will introduce you to my other hand. Get my meaning?" exclaimed a very scolding Nettie Wells.
Chris just looked at her for a few minutes before nodding. The others gave each other amused looks that conveyed they enjoyed seeing the tough intimidating rancher get his own. Chris was not oblivious to these looks and in return gave them his own scathing look that quickly wiped the grins off their faces. Buck could only grin more. He remembered the only other person to turn Chris into an obedient little boy was their mother. Buck missed her at times like these. He was sure that if she was there when Vin and Chris had their great argument she would have kicked both of their butts into submission.
Because of his daydreaming he failed to hear a car pull up the driveway, but the others did not. They took off like a flash, each reaching the door at the same time. Finally Buck, seeing that the others left in a hurry, went to see what the commotion was for. When he reached the others he saw that outside was a silver SUV, with black tinted windows. Thinking maybe this was Vin, each man attempted to get out the door all at once until a loud whistle made them all stop. Again it was Nettie who was taking control of the situation.
"Boys you dont need to go out there like a pack of starving wolves attacking a baby elk. Besides, didnt your mothers ever teach that it is always ladies first?" With that said, Nettie walked past all five men, who had their mouths hanging open, and exited the front door. Shaking their heads and grinning at each other they exited with a little more decorum than they first attempted. All congregated on the porch watching as the SUV pulled to a stop in front of the house. They all collectively held their breaths as the driver side door opened up to reveal ..
"Orrin, what are you doing here?" asked an irritated Chris. After seeing that indeed it was not Vin who was here, the others decided to go back inside, except for Chris, Buck and Nettie.
"Good to see you too, Chris," said a smiling Orrin Travis. Orrin Travis was a retired a judge, who was a close personal friend to Chris father, Deke. He, along with his wife Evie, were really close to Chris and his family. They were the grandparents that Vin never had. "Vin called to let us know that he was coming home today and that there was someone special that he would like us to meet," stated Orrin.
"Oh, okay. Im sorry if I sounded abrupt, its just that Im a little nervous seeing him again and given that fact that he is two hours late it has me kind of on edge," said Chris while he was shaking Orrins hand.
While Chris and Orrin greeted each other, Nettie left the porch to go over to the passenger side of the car to greet her long0time friend Evie. Evie was a retired school teacher. She loved her job and sometimes acted as a substitute every once and a while. "Hello, Evie," greeted Nettie while pulling Evie into a hug.
"Hello, Nettie. You look great. Can you believe it? Our boy is finally coming home. It will be so great to see him again. Oh, how I miss him," said a teary Evie.
"I know. He said he was bringing someone special. I just wished he would've allowed us to meet her first, so we could judge to see if she was good enough for our boy, because if she hurts him shell have me to deal with and I guarantee that she will not like that," said a very feisty Nettie.
"Nettie youre terrible. But I agree if this special someone does end up hurting him, she won't only have to deal with you, she will have me to deal with," agreed Evie. Both women looked at each other and laughed. With that they both headed inside. As they made their way past Buck, he made a swoop with his hand and grabbed Evies and gave it a kiss and saying "My, my, my Miss Evie dont you look prettier every time I see you?" Evie just looked over at her long time friend and grinned, then she focused her attention on Buck. Buck received a courteous thank you from Evie. Before he could say anything in turn, WACK! He was smacked in the back of the head.
"Ouch, Nettie what was that for?" asked a grimacing Buck.
"That was for not telling me that I looked prettier every time youve seen me. Dont I get the same treatment Buck Wilmington? Didnt your momma ever teach you manners? On second thought ,your pa had the same manners as well." With that said, Nettie and Evie left to go inside where they were greeted by the other three.
Buck was left on the porch by himself. He looked up when he heard snickering coming from in front of him. It was Chris and Orrin, they were both shaking their heads at him and grinning. "Buck, I would've thought you would've learned by now. Nettie has a mean temper and if I was you I would try to avoid her today or at least until you come up with a great apology. At least Im not the only one in the dog house today," stated a gleeful Chris.
"Buck trust me, Ive known that woman for years. If she doesnt get you for one thing, shell get you for another. I should know, she still likes to get a good smack in once and a while. I believe that woman has no fear of man or beast, so if I was you I would do as Chris said and avoid her until you can come up with a great apology." With that said Orrin, along with Chris, went inside to join the others. Buck was thinking maybe he would have time to run back into town to get some flowers before Vin showed up, but then Nettie would see right through that apology. Oh, well, he sighed and went to join the others.
Around seven that night, Chris was really beginning to worry. The others were also. Josiah had suggested that they call around the hospitals and the police stations to see if they might have someone fitting Vins description. They all called and no one fitting Vins description was at the hospitals or the police stations.
J.D. decided that he wanted to go and check on his horse Bat, short for Bat Masterson, and when he went outside he saw headlights headed up the drive way. He turned around and headed back to the house to tell everyone. "Guys, there is a car coming up the drive now,". stated J.D. He had to move out of the way before being run over by the group of people. They waited anxiously on the porch. When the car pulled up beside the other cars, they could see that it was a Jeep Wrangler. Chris, being more anxious than the rest, stepped off the porch. As soon as he did, the driver side door open and out stepped Vin.
When Vin looked up he spotted his father. For what seemed like an eternity they just looked at each other. Then, finally, they both moved towards each other. Their hug seemed to last a long time. Chris did not want to let him go for fear that it was all a dream. At this moment the fight seemed forgotten. Chris did let go because they were surrounded by the others, all wanting to greet the returning prodigal son. Chris stepped back and took a good look at his son. Vin was twenty-one now, and a lot taller than what he was. His hair was shorter as well. Gone were the long golden locks of before, now his hair was short as though his military haircut had grown out. He looked leaner and more muscular but not too muscular. He looked great. All Chris could think of was his son had returned healthy and all in one piece.
"Hey, everyone let the kid breathe why dont you?" stated an emotional Chris. They all moved back a ways from him, but not to far. They still wanted to be close to him. Vin just looked at them all and couldnt be more happy to be home. He turned and looked at his dad and said "Im home pa!" With that said the tears began to flow from everyone. They were tears of joy rather than of sadness.
Chris looked at his son and said in turn, "Welcome home cowboy!" With that said they hugged each other again. When they broke Vin greeted each of the others individually.
"Hey, Nathan, J.D., Josiah. Its good to see you guys again. Wow, J.D. you look great. You have to tell me how college is going and how you like working at Bucks palace of grease and booze ." exclaimed a joyful Vin.
"What do you mean palace of grease and booze?" asked an offended Buck.
Vin went on ignoring Bucks question and looked at his old pediatrician "Nathan, if you dont mind can we get together sometime this week? I need to talk to you about a few things."
"Sure Vin, but I think youre a little to old to be my patient, but sure I can see you. If you need a referral to another doctor we can discuss that at my office." said Nathan.
"Thanks Nathan." Vin looked from Nathan to Josiah. "Well, preacher man how you doing?"
"Im doing great Vin. Its good to see you again son," Josiah answered while pulling Vin into a hug.
Vin greeted Nettie, Evie and Orrin with great affection and enthusiasm. He also knew that he did not greet his uncle yet and he knew that his uncle was becoming very impatient. Vin knew that he would have to hurry up because he did not want his passenger in the car to wake up alone.
He finally turned to his Uncle and said "Whoo, Uncle Buck! You have to do something about that animal smell youre always bragging that you have. It is not a nice aroma." The others just laughed at that comment and Buck looked a little offended, but by the twinkle in his eye one could tell that he really wasnt.
"That you hillbilly hick, is animal magnetism and all the ladies love the aroma. Youre just jealous because I am a stud and your not," explained Buck.
"Ah, Buck. Dont you mean dud instead of stud?" said an overly amused J.D. With that said everyone broke into laughter while Buck just gave J.D. a scathing look.
"Ha, Ha, Ha! Very funny J.D. Speaking of the female persuasion, where is she?" this was addressed to Vin.
Vin looked at his uncle with great confusion. "Uncle Buck what are you talking about? Wheres who?"
"Oh come on Junior, where is she? You know your special someone," stated Buck.
The rest were just as anxious to meet the girl that stole their boys heart. Chris glanced at the vehicle and saw that no one was in the passenger seat. He looked over at his son and asked, "Did you drop her off at a hotel? Because you know she could've stayed here with you, unless you're not staying here."
Vin looked even more confused. "Pa, there is no woman, and yes Im staying here if its alright with you?" asked Vin. They all looked at him with confusion now.
"So Vin, if you dont have a woman with you then where is the special someone that you were bringing home to meet us?" asked Chris.
"First off, the special someone is a he and he is sleeping in the back seat." stated Vin.
They all looked at each other, not sure what to say at that. The she that they were all eager to meet became a he. Chris daughter-in-law became a what?! A son-in-law? Chris did not know if he could handle that. Silence passed through the crowd for a while until it was broken by none other than Buck.
"Are you telling me that she is now a he? Vin I dont get it. Why? I mean I have nothing against that. Ok, I personally would never go that route. Is this why you left the rangers, because of they dont ask and you won't tell them?" asked Buck.
Vin looked at Buck like he had grown two heads and they both were speaking a different language each. "Uncle Buck, what are you talking about? Never mind, I dont even want to know. Hold on a minute, Ill wake him up for you all to meet."
Vin went to one of the back doors and opened it up. The others could hear him talking smoothly to someone, but they still could not see who. It took a few minutes before Vin reappeared. He looked up at everyone with a huge grin on his face and said "Everyone, I would like you to meet that special someone that I told you about. I would like you to meet Ezra Christopher Larabee." Everyone was shocked because instead of a man who they assumed was his lover was what appeared to be a three-year-old little boy in his arms. "My son!" Vin added with much pride as any father would have, talking about their child.
To say they were surprised, was one thing, to say they were shocked is a whole different ball of wax. Vin still holding his son looked up at them with the biggest smile that they had ever seen on his face. He looked up at his father waiting for him to say something.
He didnt have to wait long because as soon a blood flowed back to Chris head and he began to see straight he looked at his son and his grandson. Whoo, grandson. Chris looked at Vin "Are you serious? This is your son, my grandson. I...I I." At that moment he was at a lost for words.
Vin was a little taken aback by his fathers response. He thought his father would be happy, but now getting the reaction from his own father he wasnt sure.
He looked at his dad and said, "Fine, me and Ez here will find a nice hotel to stay in. I didnt think it would be that much trouble to bring home my son to see his grandpa. I guess I was wrong. Oh, but let me get this straight before I go. It would be okay for me to bring home a girl or even a male lover, but it is a complete shock that I bring home my son? Forget it. I dont need this. Were out of here." He didnt mean to get so upset but he did not understand his fathers reaction to Ezra. The most important person in his life just got shunned by his own father. He began to turn around but was stopped by his dad.
"Im sorry, Vin. I just dont know what to think. A minute ago I was just a dad, but now Im a grandpa and it took me by surprise. Im sorry. May I hold him?" asked a very chastised Chris.
Vin agreed. He wanted his dad and son to get to know each other. That was the main reason why he decided to come back home. He looked over at the others who were staring at his precious bundle with awe. He bent his head to look at his son and said "Ez, baby, this is your Grandpa Chris. He wants to hold you and get to know you, okay? Dont worry because Im still here." With that said he handed over his most precious position to his father.
Chris took his grandson in his arms and studied the little face. He had brown hair with a red tint to it and deep green eyes. Chris thought he must of got that from his mother.
"Hello, Ezra. Im your grandpa. You know you and I got a lot of catching up to do. Why dont we go inside my house and we can have something to eat? You can tell me all about yourself ,okay?" said Chris to the little cherub in his arms.
"O-tay. Daddy comin too?" asked a very impish Ezra.
"Yup, Daddy and the rest of the family are coming also. You get to meet them all," said the already proud grandpa.
The rest followed Chris and his grandson inside the house. When they went inside the house they all gathered in the living room and took up various positions. Vin sat down next to his dad and son. Chris was studying intently the little boy that he held. He could see Vin in this little child. Chris looked up at his son and grinned, he still couldnt believe that his son, his baby boy, had his own son. Chris attention was pulled away from his son when a bright flash erupted in front of him. He looked up and saw that Evie and Nettie were taking pictures of the three generations sitting on the old family couch.
Looking down at his grandson, he could see that he was holding something in his little chubby hands. "So Ezra, what do you have there?" asked a inquisitive Chris.
"Is got gway. Hes a wulf," said Ezra.
"Ah, hes a cute little cub. Just like you," said a joyful Chris.
"Em, not a cub. Im a wittle boy. Right Daddy?" stated Ezra who was now looking up at his daddy.
Vin just laughed and kissed his little forehead. "Yup, you sure are a little boy. But your also my little boy." Looking over at his father, Vin couldnt help be happy. He knew he was going to have to explain some things to him about Ezs mom, but he would deal with that later. Right now he was enjoying seeing his family again.
"Ezra, would you like to meet the rest of your daddys family?" asked Chris. He knew the others were wanting their turn at the little boy.
"Mmmm!" was the shy remark that came from the little tyke.
"Sure you do, Ez. Come here," said Vin while holding out his arms for his son. Once Ezra was sitting on his lap and began to introduce him to the rest of his family.
Pointing at Buck, Vin said, "Ezra, this here is my Uncle Buck. Hes right nice and when I was your age he would play with me. Im sure he would play games with you as well. You want to say hi to your Uncle Buck?"
Unsure of the strange man in front of him Ezra just stared at him. Buck smiled his most jovial smile and knelt in front of his new nephew. "Hey there little guy. Im your Uncle Buck. Im sure we will have great fun."
Buck wasnt sure what else to say because he was a little unnerved by Ezras scrutiny. He had never been so scrutinized by anyone so small before. He was beginning to think maybe Ezra didnt like him. Finally Ezra broke his hold on Buck to look up at his daddy and said, "Daddy, he has a calipetter on his face."
At this comment everyone in the room broke out laughing. Ezra was not sure why everyone was laughing, but did not stop him form smiling, too. Everyone was taken aback by how adorable he looked. Ezra had the cutest dimples that they ever seen.
When the laughter became more snickering then anything else, Vin answered his son. "NO, baby. Buck has a mustache. Its just hair on his face. Thats all, its not a caterpillar." Looking at Buck he took his finger and traced his mustache. Ezra following his daddy's every move, decided he wanted to do it too.
"Its smoove daddy. Uncle Buck you wikes gway. See!" exclaimed a very excited Ezra. He realized that Uncle Buck was like gray, then he couldnt be bad at all.
"Ah, your right, squirt. Gray is nice and sof,." agreed a very happy uncle. Now that he realized that Ezra wasnt afraid of him, he relaxed. Looking over to his brother he could see the pride of joy that his brother was reveling in. Buck loved that look and he hoped nothing would take that look away from him.
"Ez, I would like you to meet J.D., Josiah, and Nathan. Guys, meet Ezra," Vin said, gesturing to his friends and back to the little boy.
"Hello, Ezra. Im J.D. Your daddy and me are good friends," said an overly cheerful J.D. He was so happy to be included in this family.
"Hellwo, J.D. You want to pway wif gway? Hes nice," asked Ezra.
"Well I dont mind if I do. Thanks Ezra!" answered J.D.
Next to greet Ezra was Nathan. He looked over at Vin and said, "So I take it hes the reason why you wanted to see me?" With Vins nod, he replied "Dont worry. How about we meet sometime next week to get everything in order for him?"
"Thanks Nathan. His last doctor was great, but I still prefer you over any others," stated Vin.
Nathan was taken back by this comment and blushed.
"Look daddy, hes turning wed. He looks like Nelmo," said a giggling Ezra.
"Oh, do I? Well, I only look this way for you Ezra," stated a even more embarrassed Nathan. Hearing Buck snickering, he looked over and said, "At least I was compared to a childs favorite character, not a bug." That comment was enough to make Buck stop, but it did not stop the others from laughing again. Ezra was caught up in the laughter and he giggled in his daddys lap.
After a few minutes, Josiah stepped forward and greeted the little tyke. He could not believe the innocence this child held. He prayed that he would always have it. He dropped on one knee to look at the little boy. Ezra leaned way back to look at the giant man. He was frightened because he never saw anyone who was this big before. He turned and buried is head in his daddys chest.
"Ah, Ezra. Josiah wouldnt hurt you. Come on Ezra. He loves little children. When I was your age, he use to tell me these great stories." Still not getting a response from his son, Vin continued, "One of those stories that he told me, was about a wolf." This got the desired result. Ezras little head shot up so fast that he almost clipped his daddys chin.
"Know 'bout wulfs?" asked a fascinated Ezra.
Josiah smiled brightly at the little boy. "Sure do kiddo. I can tell you a few stories about them." Josiah was happy that the little boy had accepted him.
While the others were preoccupied with Ezra, Chris leaned over to his son and said, "Your son has a bit of a fascination with wolves."
"Yup, he saw a live one when I took him to the zoo a while ago and ever since then he has been obsessed with them," answered back a grinning Vin.
They both turned their attentions back to the greetings and Vin had yet to introduce Nettie and the Travis. He knew if he didnt get to it, Nettie would more than likely be a little upset with him. "Ez, buddy. This here was my nanny. She helped your grandpa in raising me." He motioned for Nettie to take the seat opposite him. He turned Ezra to face her better. "Ezra meet Nettie."
"Hello, Ezra. You are such an adorable little boy," said Nettie.
"Hellwo, Ettie. Siah, knows wulfs. Do you know wulfs?" asked an inquisitive Ezra.
Nettie just shook her head and said, "No I dont, but Ive seen one before".
This got his attention.
"Daddy, Ettie saw one. I saw one. Didnt we, daddy? He was like gway. Was yous like gway?" asked a very anxious Ezra.
Nettie just laughed and looked over at Vin. "Hes is exactly like you, when you were that age. Inquisitive and had a one track mind. Although, as I remember you were obsessed with goats." She and everyone laughed at that. She returned her gaze at Ezra and said, "You know Ezra, the one I saw was exactly like gray."
Ezra was in awe of Miss Nettie Wells. "You seen gway's mamma?"
Nettie was at a loss for words on how to answer that question, but thankfully she was rescued by Chris.
"Ez, there are a lot of wolves out there that look like gray. Nettie probably saw one of his relatives." Hoping that that would end the conversation, he began to introduce Orrin and Evie, but was interrupted before he got a chance.
"But it could be momma?" said a tear eyed Ezra. "Momma come for gway, like she come for me."
All of the house guest were beginning to understand what the emotional problem was, but only Vin knew for sure what happened to Ezras mom. Vin seeing that everyone was curious about Ezras mom, he decided that it was time to call it a night.
"Come on Ez, I think its time I put you to bed." Looking over at his dad, hoping that he would get the hint. He didnt have to wait long, because as soon as Vin looked at his dad, Chris was standing up to show Vin where Ezra would sleep.
Vin stood up with Ezra and looked at the others and said, "Say goodnight to the others, Ezra."
Ezra lifted teary eyes to the others, which made all the others want to go over and protect him from the bad world. He lifted his little face and looked at them shyly and said, "Night!" They all in turn said goodnight to him. With that said they made their way upstairs following Chris. Halfway up the stairs they heard a little voice say, "I dont want a baff. No! Gway dont want baff eiter." They looked at each other and grinned.
It was a few minutes later when Chris came back down stairs grinning. "Sorry Evie, Orrin. I know that you didnt get to be introduced."
They both looked at him with smiles on their faces. "Its ok Chris, we understand," said Orrin.
Evie grinned and hugged him. "Its okay, honey. We understand. Besides the night was not a complete loss. He is so adorable. You've got yourself a great grandson there. Well meet him at a later time." She turned and looked at her husband and said, "Come along Orrin. Its getting late and I believe father and son would like some time by themselves." With that said, Evie and Orrin bid goodbye to everyone and left.
Taking the hint the rest were right behind them. Buck waited until they all were gone before looking at his brother and saying, "Do you want me to stay?"
Chris shook his head no. "Its alright Buck. Ill see you later. Why not come by tomorrow and well have a family barbeque?"
"Sure, sounds like fun. Let me know if you need me to bring anything, and Chris if you need anything tonight dont hesitate to call." With that Buck said goodbye and left.
An hour later Vin came back downstairs, after giving Ezra his dreaded bath and put him into bed, to find his father. He found him in the kitchen making a sandwich.
He looked up and motioned for Vin to take a seat and if he wanted a sandwich too. Vin sat down and nodded. They sat in quiet for sometime before Chris broke the silence.
"Hes a great looking boy, Son," stated Chris.
Vin smiled at his dad. "Yup, he is at that. But thats not whats on your mind is it?"
"No," answered Chris.
Vin took a deep breath and slowly let it out. "Shes a beautiful woman. She likes to have fun and she knows how to have it. We met a few months after I started basic training. She loved the idea of being with a soldier. We had a great time. It was about two months after we started dating that she realized that she was pregnant." He paused and looked up meeting his Dads eyes before he continued.
"When Ezra was born she doted over him like you wouldnt believe. He was so tiny when he was born, so we had to be careful. I was still living on base. I got permission from my base commander to live off base with her and my son. We moved into a two bedroom apartment and it felt right. At least I thought it did."
He took long drink of his water before continuing. "When I finally graduated from basic and made the rangers, Ezra was a year old. To say that he was a handful would be stating the obvious. I had to leave for a few weeks at a time to go on training and so on. One time I came back home early to find that my son was left with some stranger. It turns out that Charlotte, my girlfriend, decided that she wanted to go have fun. She had already been gone for three days. She didnt return home until a week later."
"Needless to say, we had a huge fight. That night she left. I didnt see her again until two months later. She came back to tell me that she found another guy and that she was going to go live with him on his yacht. I asked her what she wanted to do about Ezra. She said that she didnt care if I wanted to give him up then that was ok too." Vin was beginning to get really angry the more he talked.
"Dad, she didnt care anything about him," he said looking up at Chris.
"What did you do?" asked Chris, who had remained silent up until this point.
"I called a lawyer and had him draw up some papers that stated that she freely gave her rights of being Ezs mom away. She signed it without batting an eyelash. Needless to say, I needed to stay close to him. I managed to get transferred to the base permanently and there I stayed until about a few weeks ago, and you know the rest."
Chris cleared his throat, while wondering how any mother could do that to her son. It made him furious to think about it. He knew that whatever Vin and Ezra needed he would be there for them one hundred percent. Looking over to his son he asked, "So what are you going to do now?"
Vin looked up at his dad and smiled. "Im going to do what you wanted me to do from the beginning. Im going to college. I figured I could get a degree in Wildlife Biology, and while Im doing that I figured that I could help out around here. Besides I want you and Ezra to get to know each other. I want us to be a family again."
Chris couldnt believe what he just heard. His son was going back to college and he was going to stay home. He smiled a brilliant smiled and hugged his son. They stayed that way until they heard, "Daddy, Gandpa, what da mattered?" They both looked down to see little Ezra standing there in wolf footy p.j.s. They both grinned and Chris picked up his grandson.
"Nothing little one. Nothing at all," Chris stated. He smiled at Vin and then down at the little tyke in his arms and grinned. Three generations of the Larabee men right here in his kitchen. The way its supposed to be.
With that thought he said, "I think its past someones bedtime and I think we should put him to bed. What do you think, Ez?"
"Daddy, wooks twired. Wead story daddy. Gway, and Gandpa will wead to you," said a sleepy Ezra.
"Really baby doll? What you going to read to me," asked a smiling Vin.
"I dont know. Is cant wead. Is onwy twee," said a serious Ezra.
Chris couldnt hold it in anymore. He laughed like he has never laughed before. He was so happy that his son was home, and he thanked God that he has the chance to get to know the little cherub in his arms. With that thought, he led the way to Ezras room, where he helped Vin put his son to bed. After Ezra was asleep, they both said goodnight to each other, both going to bed and thanking God that they were a family again.
Generations: The Chaos That is Family