Note: I want to thank Mog for the sandbox as always, and a big thank you to my beta, I really dont know what I would do without you. Youre always there to help make my meanings clear and understandable. I know its often hard to keep up with me, lol, its hard for me to keep up with myself. And I do promise that the next one in this series will be more into the program and work and such, lol, just had to do this one though.
This story is influenced by the Tony Danza movie Shes Out of Control and slightly by the Mandy Moore movie, Chasing Liberty. I dont own the rights to anything, lol, except my computer.
Chris Larabee maneuvered the vehicle onto the dirt road that was his driveway. It had been a long three-day weekend, and he was ready for the relaxing barbecue that was planned for the afternoon. Orrin Travis, Assistant Director of the ATF department, had sent Larabee's entire team to Aspen for a self-defensive training seminar. Like my team needs self-defense training, Chris thought sarcastically to himself, but Travis had issued the order, so they had to attend.
Chris hoped his daughter Sam would be at home. He had left her in the capable hands of Mary Travis and assumed she had spent most of the time while he was away, in town, at Marys apartment. Mary knew, though, when Chris was due to return, and might have brought Sam to the ranch to await his arrival. He hoped so. But what he didn't know, was what he'd find at the ranch, would alter his personal life, forever.
* * *
Larabee's six fellow agents were following him directly to the ranch house. They felt the need for relaxation and Chris' place was just the ticket. All of the men were tired beyond belief. And, just like their leader, the six ATF agents were unaware of what they would find upon arriving at the ranch. Their lives were also about to be altered.
* * *
Chris smiled at the sight of Marys SUV in the driveway. Larabee got out of his Ram pickup and watched as five other vehicles pulled in behind him. His six agents climbed out of their cars and followed him into the house.
Im home, the black clad man called as he entered the house.
Chris' friends automatically headed to the living room and found themselves places to crash. They were really ready for the relaxation to begin.
Hi Chris, Mary greeted him, rushing through the living room, and disappearing up the stairs to the second floor.
Chris looked briefly into the living room at his men, and shrugged his shoulders. He didn't have a clue as to what that was all about.
Chris! Seven year old Billy Travis yelled, running and jumping at the man.
Larabee grabbed the little boy in mid jump and swung him around.
Hey kid, he responded, smiling at Mary's exuberant son.
The phone rang and Buck Willmington reached over and picked up the receiver.
Hello, he answered. Sam? Uh . . . yeah, I think so. Hang on.
Sam! Wilmington bellowed. Its for you.
Im busy! came the yell back.
She cant come to the phone right now, the explosives agent told the person he was talking to. Can I take a message?
Jake . . . okay . . . Ill tell her, sure."
Buck placed the receiver back on the phone base and looked around the room at his friends.
Remind me to tell Sam that Jake called," he told them.
Chris, guess what mamma did? Billy questioned, his face a mask of seriousness.
What? the leader asked expectantly.
She . . . Billys statement was cut off by the phone ringing again.
Ezra Standish answered it this time. "Larabee residence," he said into the phone. Shes currently busy. May I take a message? Kevin . . . yes . . . Ill inform her.
The southerner put the phone back and looked at the men surrounding him. "That was Kevin," he told them, pursing his lips.
Larabee, a confused look on his face, shrugged his shoulders, then looked back at the young boy in his arms.
Now, what did your mamma do? he questioned again.
She . . . this time Billys answer was cut short by the ringing of the doorbell.
JD Dunne, the youngest agent, jumped up enthusiastically, amazing everyone in the room, except Billy, with his sudden burst of energy. Opening the door, JD looked at the guy in front of him. Sizing him up immediately, JD figured the visitor was a few years younger than himself, but yet, a few years older than Sam.
Can I help you? JD questioned the young man while straightening his shoulders as if to make himself appear larger than his actual size.
Is Samantha ready? the boy queried.
And you are? the computer expert challenged the suitor before letting him in.
Joe, the boy responded, shifting the flowers in his hand, his attitude unchanging.
JD thought about what his next move should be, if he couldn't scare the kid, then he had an idea of what would. Why dont you come in?" he told the young man, silently chuckling to himself.
Dunne moved out of the doorway so that the visitor could enter and then closed the door behind him. JD waved Joe into the living room. The young would-be suitor entered the room and looked around at the harsh expressions staring back at him. Joe visibally took a swallow. He watched as a man dressed all in black sat down in a recliner, a young boy that he carried, was set down on the floor.
Hi, Joe greeted in a slightly shaky voice. Im here for Samantha.
Instinctively, the men in the room scrutinized the young man, checking him out. They were brought out of their silent interrogation as Mary jogged down the stairs and stopped at the bottom.
Shell be right down Joe, the newspaperwoman stated, causing all the men to turn their gaze to her.
Mamma made Sam, Billy began quietly, prettyful.
Larabee watched in open-mouthed fasination as first the black heeled boots came into view, then legs that were encased in tight blue jeans appeared, followed by the tight pink tank top, and finished up with the face of his little girl with her dark hair cascading around her shoulders. Sam gave a slight smile and a blink of her eyelashes to Chris. She came to a stop at the bottom of the staircase and stood in front of Mary.
What do you think Chris? the teen questioned, doing a quick turn about.
When eight pairs of eyes stared back at her in silence, she almost turned around and ran up the stairs, but, instead, she lifted her chin and held her own. She knew Mary was behind her all the way.
Chris? Mary called to him, glaring at the man, willing him to say something nice.
When no response came forth, the teen grinned at Joe and quickly made her way to where Chris was sitting like a statue.
Bye Chris, she said, giving him a quick kiss on his cheek and a nod to Joe.
Sam turned on a heel and waltzed out the door, Joe following behind her, flowers still in hand.
After the door shut, Larabee looked to Mary, Who was that person?
Joe, she responded coolly.
No, I mean the one in heels? he asked harshly, narrowing his eyes at her.
Now Chris, the woman began, you have to realize that this has been coming for a while now."
Oh, no it hasnt, the man in black argued.
Larabee, she snapped, you cant stop nature. She asked me for help, I helped her.
You didnt have to help her.
Im not having this discussion with you. You have a teenage girl to raise and this is part of that, Mary stated. Shes also going to start driving in a few months, which of you has decided to help with that one?" the newspaper woman asked, folding her arms across her chest.
Mary watched as the men shared glances. Just as I thought . . . now, shes a beautiful young woman, shes growing up . . . dating and driving will all be part of that package, so get used to it.
NO! Larabee exclaimed. I dont have to get used to anything. I can handle this.
How? Mary asked. "Just how do you intend on "handling" it?"
By total control, the leader responded, nodding his head. Complete and total control. No one takes her out, unless I know the boy, his parents, where they work, where he will be taking her, and when theyll be back.
Good luck to you. Come on Billy, it's time to go home," the woman told her son. Taking his hand, the Travis' said their goodbyes and exited out the front door.
Larabee turned to look at his team members and ran a hand through his hair. If he wasnt exhausted before, he definitely was now.
Boys, he stated, we need a plan of action.
* * *
The doorbell rang and Chris opened it to face the blond boy on the doorstep.
Ah, Michael, Larabee began, straight C student, but, 3 speeding tickets in a month.
The young man hung his head as Chris shook his head disapprovingly and shut the door.
* * *
Another young suitor pressed the button for the doorbell and the door immediately opened, revealing an immaculately dressed gentleman.
Hello, Standish greeted. Tony I presume. Your grades are exceptional, but you spent half your last semester in detention hall.
Ezra shook his head and shut the door on the young man.
* * *
Vin opened the front door and looked at the blue-eyed boy in front of him.
Eric, the tracker noted. Quarterback for the football team.
The young man smiled proudly.
But, you had your license suspended for refusing to pay a parking fine, Tanner shook his head and shut the door.
* * *
This isnt fair, the teen exclaimed as she stood in the middle of the living room.
What isnt fair? Larabee questioned from his recliner.
The background checks, the curfew, and whats this about a polygraph?
Sam, Chris began, its for your own good.
What exactly, is for my own good? the teen questioned, her voice getting higher, arms thrown out dramatically, for emphasis. Locking me under lock and key, sending me to Ezras or Vins or Josiahs when you have to work late? Nothing has changed, Im just dating is all. Its no big deal.
No big deal? Larabee retorted. NO BIG DEAL?
Easy pard, Tanner soothed, grabbing Larabees arm.
Honey, Chris is right, Buck put in. This is for your own good.
How is that Buck? Hide Snow White behind the seven overgrown dwarfs? the teen tossed back at him. I think not. You can trust me, Im not stupid. Why cant you let me decide for myself who I want and dont want to date?
If I may, Ezra cleared his throat, stood up and placed an arm around the teen. It takes you thirty minutes to decide what to wear, Id hate to think how long it would take you to decide on a young man to date.
Funny Ezra, Sam shrugged off the arm, and moved away. I would really appreciate it if you gave me some say in who I date.
Ill think about it, Larabee remarked.
Vin, help me out here, the girl threw out her last plea.
Sorry doll, the sharpshooter responded. Ive got to agree with Larabee on this one.
Is there no one on the face of the planet that is on my side! the teen cried out in exasperation.
Sam, Buck began, I know how it feels to be
NO! she screamed. Until youve been a teenage girl with seven over-ruling men, you dont know how I feel! She turned, ran up the stairs, and slammed her bedroom door shut.
Well done Buck, JD said, rolling his eyes.
Brothers, Josiah, who had remained silent along with Nathan, stated, we have a problem.
Tell me something I dont know, Larabee remarked sarcastically.
Sam's got a date scheduled for tomorrow night with Andy Kerns and I cant find anything bad about the guy, JD stated, looking through the file in front of him. Hes an A student, has a good driving record, plans to go to Harvard.
This could be a problem, the black clad man said and stood up. But I have an idea.
* * *
I dont feel right about doing this, JD stated as he placed the earpiece into his ear and started flipping on different switches, causing the monitors in the van to come on.
Im sorry JD, Buck remarked as he took a seat beside the computer expert, but youll just have to push your conscience out of the way for a few hours.
Easy for you to say, the youngest agent remarked as he peered at the different monitors, each of them portraying a different angle of a small café. How did Chris get the approval to put up cameras in the store?
Wilmington smiled and shook his head a little. Told them that this Andy kid was being surveillanced because hes suspected of arson.
Dunne shook his head disapprovingly and opened the wrapper of his candy bar. He was ready to sit back and watch the show.
* * *
The two teenagers walked through the doors of the café and moved to sit at a table by the window. A waitress with the nametag of 'Irene' pinned to her smock, met them at the table.
What can I get you two? she questioned, a smile plastered on her face.
The dark haired young man glanced at Sam and answered for both of them. Well share a sundae.
No, Sam spoke up, make that two sundaes.
Irene wrote down the orders and turned on her heel, heading back towards the counter.
Andy looked across the table to his date and gave a weak smile, Sorry, I thought . . .
No, the girl stated, giving him a smile. Its alright.
* * *
Larabee reached over and picked up the ringing phone. Larabee, he answered as he moved back over to the stove.
Chris? Marys voice was loud and clear over the receiver. How are things going?
If you must know, things are going just fine, the leader told her, triumphant.
Oh really, Marys voice sounded slightly sarcastic. So, your total control theory is working?
Yes it is, Chris said, smirking to himself. Sam wasnt thrilled with it at first, but I think shes warming up to the idea.
* * *
Hes bound and determined to screen every guy that asks me out. Its like a freakin job interview, Sam declared from across the table.
Andy smiled as he lifted up a spoonful of ice cream, Well, at least I passed the bar.
Yeah, she remarked, a slight grin on her face.
* * *
Mary, Chris said, into the phone, Im in the process of making dinner and Josiah and Nathan have just arrived, so Im gonna have to let you go. Okay bye.
Larabee rolled his eyes and sat the cordless phone on the counter. He ran his hand through his hair, and took a deep breath.
Problems Brother? Josiahs deep voice rumbled, as Chris turned to look at his men.
Nothing I cant handle, the black clad man remarked. I think.
* * *
The Texan and the Southerner slowly made their way down the grocery aisle. Standish was pushing the shopping cart, keeping track of what was being loaded. He noticed with Vin walking beside him, it was filling up quite quickly.
Im tellin you Ez, Tanner stated, placing a box of Twinkies in the buggy, as much as I agree on what Chris is doing, I think ifn he keeps pullin back on the reins, shell keep fightin the bit.
Ezra took a deep a breath, grabbed the box of Twinkies that Vin had just put in the cart and replaced them back on the shelf and remarked, While your metaphor is eccentric, I would have to admit that I concur.
The sharpshooter turned around, quirked an eyebrow at the fancy-talking agent and placed a box of chocolate cakes in the buggy.
I agree with you, is what I'm saying, the undercover agent commented, leaning on the cart as he started down another aisle.
Good, Tanner said, surveying the aisle for his next goody.
Standish reached down and pulled the latest box of pastries out and placed them back on a shelf as well, shaking his head.
Chris did say he wanted those chocolate cakes, the Texan stated, seeing what his friend had done.
Ezra let out sigh and placed the recently discarded box back into the cart.
* * *
So, Andy tried sparking up a conversation again, what have you been up to this summer?
Sam sat and stared out the window. She jerked her head back to attention at the sudden question. Oh, nothing much, just enjoying my break.
Really, the young man responded. Im involved in this summer school course to further my education, to get a jump start on college. I plan on attending Harvard
If youll excuse me, the teen interrupted, abruptly standing from her seat. Im gonna go, she thought for a second, powder my nose.
Andy nodded his head and watched as the girl disappeared into the back of the café, then turned his attention back to his half-eaten sundae.
* * *
Whoa, JD stated suddenly. Sam just got up and left.
As the youngest agent started checking each of the monitors, Buck made his way back to his seat. Calm down kid, she probably went to check on her make-up or something.
Wait, shes coming back, the computer expert remarked, and she doesnt look happy.
* * *
Im sorry Andy, Sam stated abruptly as she walked up. I just got a phone call, theres an emergency and I have to leave right now.
The girl turned and walked out before he could even ask her if she needed a ride. Andy looked out the window, then back to the table. With a smile, he reached over and pulled Sams half-eaten sundae over to him, ready to finish it off.
* * *
She left again, JD stated, peering around at the different monitors.
Like I couldnt see that, Wilmington said, sarcasm dripping from the words. Whered she go?
Both men jerked their heads to the rear of the van as the door was yanked open.
Oh my gosh! the girl exclaimed. I cant believe this. I cant believe this! You . . . youre . . .spying on me!
Look . . . Buck began, "Chris wanted . . ." but was quickly interrupted by the teen.
How could you? How could the two of you do this? If Chris wanted me spied on, why cant he do it himself? Why send in Happy and Dopey?
Sam, Im sorry, but JD stated, but stopped as the teen turned on her heel and took off down the street.
Sam! Wait! Buck yelled, rushing out of the van and down the street after her, JD right behind him.
The teen ran down the sidewalk and turned onto the adjacent street, trying her best to outrun the two agents behind her. Why? She didnt know, she just felt running was the best thing to do. She vaguely heard the sound of a motorcycle drawing near.
SAM! the youngest agent yelled as he put all his energy to use.
Sam came to an abrupt halt as the motorcycle tore in front of her on the sidewalk, and skidded to a stop. The rider, helmet on and visor down, turned to look at the girl, and offered her a helmet.
Need a ride?
The teen took one look from the biker to the advancing agents. They didnt teach me self-defensive for nothing, she thought, and grabbed the helmet. She pulled it on her head, climbed behind the rider, and wrapped her arms around his waist.
Buck and JD came to a stop as they watched Sam ride away on the back of the motorcycle.
Shit! Buck exclaimed, nearly winded, placing his hands on his hips,
JD took a deep breath and glanced at his roommate, Do we gotta tell Chris?
* * *
Sam waited until the motorcycle stopped moving completely before climbing off. Her and her rescuer had ridden a couple of miles, ending up at the park. She pulled the helmet off, and shook her hair out.
Thanks, she remarked.
What was goin on back there? the rider questioned, his helmet still on.
The girl took a deep breath, and sighed, "It's simple really. My . . .father . . .decided to take control of who I date. And, with the unfortunate rebellious gene I have, I just wanted to date more and more. Great thing about it was, once he screened all applicants no one measured up . . . until tonight.
She walked a few steps and sat on a bench. Its not like I wanted to date a lot, its just the simple pleasure in knowing that I can if I want to. But can anything be simple with him? Nope, gotta do it the hard way. Its not like lifes not hard enough as it is.
Sounds like you just wanted to rebel a little."
Yeah, thats all I wanted, but I cant even rebel a little without it turning into a major deal, the girl responded. Its not like Im 33 and single, you know. Im still of the mind to wait on Prince Charming to ride up and take me away.
The motorcycle rider laughed a little and shook his head.
* * *
I know, Larabee stated into the phone, trying to calm his explosives agent, just come out to the ranch.
Chris hung up the cordless phone, and looked at two of his agents who were sitting on the couch.
Mr. Tanner and I talked it over, and we decided to help out a little, but in a different way, Ezra stated, a smile creeping onto his face.
It was really a good idea pard, Tanner remarked, causing their leader to smile.
* * *
Well, the teen stated, standing back up, Im sorry, I didnt expect to just blurt everything out. I would like to thank you again . . . Im sorry I didnt catch your name.
The rider pulled his helmet off. It's Luke.
The girl stared at her friend in astonishment. Luke? I didnt know you were back home.
Just got in this morning, been debriefed by Miller, the young man stated. Now, since Im back, well see what we can do to lighten ol' Larabee up.
Sam grinned. Okay. I think my rebellious streak has come to an end anyway.
Well then, he remarked, lets get you home.
Luke patted the motorcycle seat behind him and the teen pulled her helmet back on as he did the same.
* * *
Someone could have told me, Buck announced as he walked into the house. At least then I wouldnt have run that half a mile for nothing.
Sorry Bucklin, Vin responded with a grin. Im sure it did you some good though.
Funny junior, the mustached agent retorted, frowning at him.
Theyre here, Nathan stated, turning from the window.
My opinion, Josiah said, let her do the talking.
The sound of the front door opening then closing drifted into the living room. The rebellious teen walked around the corner and looked into the living room.
First off, she stated quietly, Im sorry . . . to all of you. Guess it was just a phase I was going through. Rebel against the elders, been happening for generations, still happens today, she said with a shrug. Second, Buck, JD, Im sorry for running out and yelling and just plain throwing a fit. And lastly, I understand that what I did was wrong, and Im fully ready to be sent to my room to think about what Ive done.
Sam turned to head up the stairs, but Larabees commanding voice stopped her in her tracks.
No, wait, he began, I shouldnt have jumped overboard at the beginning of this. I should have handled it calmly, but I just wasnt ready for you dating and going out and such. It . . . it scared me, and Im sorry for acting like a complete jerk.
Ezra looked at Tanner suspiciously, the infamous Larabee-Tanner communication going on between the undercover agent and quiet sharpshooter.
Mr. Larabee just called himself a jerk.
Yep, guess hes feeling awful guilty.
So, if youre up to it, Id like to set down some ground rules, the black clad man stated. Receiving a nod from Sam he continued, Curfew 11, and only on nights you dont have workouts in the mornings. All dates I am to meet, and youre to carry the cell and mace with you.
Deal, she responded with a nod.
Now, you can go to your room and think about what you did, Chris told her with a slight smile.
Sam walked over and gave Larabee a hug and quick kiss on his cheek, then headed back towards the stairs.
Sam? Buck called, stopping her, about that dwarf comment?
Im sorry about that too, she responded with a grin. But look at it this way, I couldnt ask for any better dwarfs than you guys.
Ah, Ezra remarked, flattery wont get you off the hook, my dear.
Worth a shot, the teen smirked.
Luke laughed and leaned up against the doorframe with his arm, shaking his head at the friendly banter.
Well, Ive already eaten, so 'night, she told them.
"Goodnights" and "Sleep Wells" followed her remark.
'Night Luke, Sam said, walking up beside the teen.
She leaned over, planted a kiss on his cheek, then walked up the stairs. Luke turned in surprise and watched as she disappeared, then turned back to look at the audience in the living room.
Ezra had raised eyebrows pointed in his cousins direction and Buck had a huge grin on his face as did Vin. The others tried to remain emotionless, but to no avail. They all seemed a bit amused.
Well, Josiah stated, my perspective, being a dwarf and all, it seems as if Prince Charming has traded his horse in for a motorcycle.
The statement caused a few chuckles to escape and Luke stood up, a slightly embarrassed yet annoyed look on his face. Ha ha, Im going home.
With that, he turned, exited out the front door, and left the agents to chat amongst themselves.
Well, I do have food ready, Larabee stated, standing up, the rest of his team following suit.
As everyone filed into the kitchen, Chris stopped Vin and Ezra, pinning them both with a glare, and uttered one word.
Feedback: As always, very welcome.