Seventh story in the Angel Girl series.
Somewhere over the rainbow unicorns exist, elves really do clean your house while you sleep, people live in peace, chocolate causes you to lose weight, wrinkles only happen to bad people, it´s easy to find dynamite looking shoes that are really comfortable, and I own all the boys for my very own. On this side of the rainbow, they don´t belong to me and I make no money off of them.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to MOG for inventing the ATF universe and allowing us to romp in it with the boys.
Okay, Marian, bon appétit! <BG>
Sometimes it paid to be an expert in surveillance. People don´t always appreciate the subtle art involved in observing people without their knowledge. JD considered himself to be a master of that art, as evidenced by the growing number of video files that he had captured of his friends and teammates with his trusty digital video recorder. JD had a large collection of video CDs full of scenes that could make him a wealthy man if he ever felt the need to stoop to blackmail.
His current project was putting together a short movie of some of his favorite clips that starred members of Team 7 and the little imp that was his roommate´s daughter, Angela. JD planned to give it to Buck in honor of Father´s Day. JD had been working almost non-stop from the Friday before Father´s Day well into Saturday night just to be sure the finished product was as perfect and professional as he could make it. He wanted Buck to have something special for this day. He finally took the completed video CD from the burner. There, it was done. He pushed back his chair and stretched his cramped muscles. He gave a huge yawn until his jaw popped. JD pulled his tee shirt off, and unzipped then stepped out of his jeans, before pulling the covers of his bed down. He crawled in and pulled the blankets over him with a soft sigh. Before sleep came, he remembered to set his alarm clock so he would be up before Buck in the morning. He had plans for his friend.
A mere four hours later, JD slapped the alarm clock when it went off. He raised sleep glazed eyes to peer at the time, before dropping his head onto his pillow with a groan. JD pushed himself out of bed before he could be tempted to return to his warm cocoon. After a quick trip to the bathroom, he quietly made his way down to the kitchen to start the coffee he so desperately needed. Sundays their live in housekeeper, Rita Aragon, was off so JD and Buck had to fend for themselves.
Little footsteps sounded behind him as he was leaning against the kitchen counter sipping his morning dose of caffeine. Glancing over his shoulder he saw three year old Angel make her way into the room, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
JD set his mug down and turned to face the half-awake child. Morning, Munchkin, JD said with a smile. He leaned down and lifted her up into is arms and kissed her cheek. Angela wrapped her arms around his neck and returned his kiss, then laid her head on his shoulder.
Mornin´, Uncle JD, Angela said around a big yawn.
Are you ready for Daddy´s big day?
Angela nodded and lifted her head from his shoulder.
You want to help me fix Daddy´s breakfast? JD asked.
Yep! Angela said.
Angela, JD drawled sternly, what did Daddy tell you about that? JD raised an eyebrow at the young girl.
Yes, sir, Angela looked sheepish.
That´s my girl. We´re gonna teach you to be a lady if it kills us," JD laughed. Giving her another quick kiss, he set her down, Let´s get started.
JD opened the pantry door and took out the package of pancake mix and set it on the counter, then opened the refrigerator and took out the milk and eggs. He found a mixing bowl and measuring cups in the cabinet, and then he grabbed a wooden spoon from the holder on the counter. Looking around he mumbled, What else do we need? Oh yeah, the pan. He opened another cabinet and removed a large iron skillet, which he set on top of the stove burner. Oil, oil, where does Rita keep the oil? JD hunted in the pantry before he spotted the bottle of vegetable oil. Ah, there we go. Returning to his workplace at the counter, JD set the oil down and drew a kitchen chair up beside him. He lifted Angela up to stand on top of the chair.
Okay, Munchkin, let´s do this, he said.
He measured out the pancake mix and let Angela pour it in the bowl and they repeated the process with the milk and eggs.
Now we mix it up good, JD stated as he put the spoon into the bowl. Before he could stop her, Angela reached for the spoon and managed to flip it out of the bowl again. Unfortunately, it had sunk deep into the pile of still dry mix and sent a geyser of the powdery substance into the air, most of it landing in JD and Angela´s faces. Shaking his head and trying to blow the stuff off his nose as best he could, he looked down at Angela who was looking at him in surprise before starting to laugh.
You look funny, Uncle JD! She giggled.
Chuckling as he grabbed a dishrag to wipe his face, I wouldn´t laugh too hard until you look in a mirror, Munchkin, he smirked. The small child had managed to cover the top of her head and face in the flour mixture and now resembled a short, but very amused little blue eyed ghost. Still laughing, JD made her stand still while he dusted her off and cleaned up the mess.
Okay, let´s try this again, but this time, wait until I help you, alright?
With JD´s help, Angela managed to mix the pancake batter without another mishap. JD made her stand away from the stove as he poured the batter into the pan. While the pancakes were cooking, JD started the bacon and eggs. Angela´s contribution to the process was picking up the eggshells with one finger and thumb and gingerly tossing them into the garbage can.
Yuckie, she said as she wiped her fingers on her pajamas.
JD just smiled at the look of disgust on her tiny face.
JD flipped pancakes and Angela held a plate for him to deposit the finished product on when they were ready.
Did you finish your picture for Daddy, Munchkin? he asked.
All done, Angela responded.
Why don´t you go get it while I put this on the tray for Daddy, and then we´ll take him is breakfast in bed, alright?
Angela hurried out of the room and headed to the den where she had stashed the picture she had colored for Buck. It was a riot of purple, aqua and green scribbles. She went back into the kitchen just as JD was putting the finishing touches on the lap tray for Buck.
All set? JD asked.
Angela nodded and bounced in excitement.
Now be very quiet until we get inside, and then remember what I told you.
Yes, Uncle JD. I remember.
JD and the child sneaked up the stairs and headed to the master bedroom that Buck had claimed for his own. JD nodded down at the child and she turned the doorknob and slowly pushed the door open. They quietly entered and made their way over to the bed where Buck was lying.
Angela looked up at JD expectantly, and JD nodded once more. Angela´s face broke into a large grin as she crawled up onto the bed beside her father. Casting one more laughing look in JD´s direction, Angela jumped on her father´s chest and yelled, Happy Father´s Day, Daddy!
Buck nearly knocked the small child off the bed when he sprang straight up in surprise, but managed to grab her before she fell. Buck waited a second to let his heartbeat slow back down before looking at his smiling daughter and grinning friend.
Why, thank you, Angel girl," Buck smiled back and grabbed Angela close for a quick kiss and tickle. What´s all this?
Breakfast! Me and Uncle JD made it for you ourselves, Angela stated proudly," cause it´s your special day.
Breakfast in bed? My, that is special! You´re both gonna spoil me. I might expect it everyday from now on, Buck joked.
Dream on, JD said snorted, as he moved to set the tray across his friend´s lap.
Buck just laughed. What did you make me, Angel?
Your favorite, she said proudly pancakes.
Mmmm, smells great, Buck said as he inhaled deeply.
I made you a present, too! Angela said as she handed him the drawing she had made.
Oh, baby, this is beautiful! Thank you, darlin´, I love it. I´ve never had such a wonderful gift before. Buck reached over and drew the child in for another kiss and a big hug. Why don´t you tell me all about it while I start this yummy breakfast my two most faaavooorite people in the whooooole world fixed for me, alright?
Buck punctuated his words with moustache tickles on the little girl´s neck. Angela giggled and squirmed out of his hold. She nodded happily and climbed to sit next to her father with her back to the pillows holding out the picture so Buck had a good view of it. JD sat down at the foot of the bed. Buck shared his breakfast with his friend and daughter as he and JD listened with amusement as Angela explained what each and every scribble meant.
JD waited until the meal had been consumed to give Buck his gift. He turned on the Buck´s TV and DVD/VCR player and inserted the disc he had made for his friend. One more gift for you, Buck, he said, Happy Father´s Day from me. JD grinned and took the remote control back to the bed, sat down, and swung his legs up until he settled in beside Angela. You ready? he grinned at his roommate.
Buck looked at the smugness in his friend´s eyes and answered warily, I´m not sure. Just what am I gonna be getting?
JD chuckled. Just watch, he said as he hit the play button.
The video clip was taken on the camping trip the team had taken last summer. It was the first time they had taken Angela camping. It wasn´t a usual campout for the guys, since there was no way they wanted to take the tiny girl on a long hike into the deep woods. They had picked a relatively quiet campsite in the National forest not too far from the ranger station to pitch their tents.
The camera panned to the quiet river where Buck was standing waist deep in the slow flowing water holding the just turned two year old Angela, and Nathan who was pretending to be a shark that was swimming after the little girl. The young child was shrieking with excitement as she tried to climb up her father´s chest to get away from the man swimming toward her. Nathan was trying to look menacing but having a hard time keeping a straight face. The scene ended with Angela suddenly jumping out of her father´s arms to land with a splash in front of Nathan. He hastily grabbed her and pulled her out of the water. She was grinning from ear to ear and shaking water off her face like a puppy, while both men shouted with laughter.
The next scene, from the same trip, showed Vin stretched out flat on his belly like the two year old he was lying next to on the ground of the forest clearing. Vin was showing the child a butterfly perched in the center of a wildflower. The camera was too far away to catch more than the quiet tone of Vin´s voice while he softly explained how not to hurt the delicate creature they were observing, but did capture the rapt look on both faces. Vin reached out and gently transferred the butterfly to the child´s finger, and she giggled when it tickled her, but just let it sit on her finger as Vin had instructed.
They were both totally absorbed in this tiny wonder of nature. When it flew away Angela jumped up and reached her hand out to Vin, who rose to his feet and took it in his own. Hand in hand, they chased the butterfly around the forest until the camera lost sight of them.
The next scene was again at the river. After Angela had almost fallen in the river while playing, her father decided she needed to start learning how to swim. Six full grown men encircled the small child protectively as her father tried to teach her to float. As though perfectly choreographed, six bodies leaned forward and six pairs of hands reached out as one every time the little body started to sink.
Josiah was sitting with Angela on the edge of a small stream, both covered in mud, as Josiah showed the delighted child how to make mud pies. Josiah looked over his shoulder then whispered something in her ear. Angela nodded and stood up with a handful of mud and disappeared from the frame. Josiah grinned and chuckled evilly when Ezra´s voice could be heard off camera telling Angela to keep away from him.
At a backyard barbeque at Chris´ ranch one spring day, Buck handed Angela a soft drink that he told her to take to Ezra. Along the way she accidentally dropped it, twice. Ezra, unknowingly, took the drink from the young child with a thank you. When he opened it, it spewed all over his face and shirt. He leapt up and swore. When he looked down, he saw Angela looking up at him. He saw her little face crumple before tears started to spill down her cheeks. Ezra snatched her into his arms and hugged her tight. He was apologizing for being such a cad and assuring her he was not angry with her while he ignored the soda dripping off his chin and hair. The laughter of his teammates was heard in the background.
Angela was sitting in her high chair in Buck´s kitchen on her first birthday, covered in chocolate cake. Chris was bent over her with a chocolate hand print on his cheek where he had gotten too close when he was trying to clean her up. Once the child was washed, Chris lifted her from the chair and she kept trying to lick the chocolate off his face, much to the amusement of the other party attendees.
Buck was lying on the couch asleep, with a one month old Angela sleeping on his chest with her little head tucked under his chin. His large hand was wrapped protectively around the little diapered bottom. He was exhausted from being up all night with the colicky baby. He had one leg hanging off the sofa as if he didn´t have enough energy to raise it high enough to lay it on the cushions. His hair stuck out in spikes in all directions where he had run his fingers through it so many times during the night in frustration, and there as a large wet spot on his shirt where Angela had drooled in him in her sleep. Every breath he exhaled caused the tiny curls on the baby´s head to flutter against his chin. Periodically, Buck´s other hand rose to his chin to swipe at what was tickling him in his sleep.
Josiah was sitting in a tiny chair in Angela´s room across the child sized table from Angela, his knees almost level with his ears. Angela had happily placed a large, floppy green straw hat on his head, and wrapped her pink feather boa around his large neck. Angela herself was wearing huge sunglasses and a neon yellow baseball cap on her head and several strands of very gaudy beads. Josiah had a stuffed monkey and a stuffed kangaroo in front of him, and Angela a teddy bear and stuffed elephant, each providing voices for their respective animals. The conversation centered, very seriously, around the elephant´s difficulty in finding a sweater that fit his trunk so he wouldn´t get a cold.
Angela was holding on to the saddle horn with both hands while Vin led his horse slowly around the corral, grinning up at the excited child. Then he swung himself up into the saddle behind her, wrapped an arm around her middle and gently kicked the horse into a gallop causing the child to clap her hands and shriek with joy. Buck chased after the pair for a few yards yelling threats of bodily harm and certain mutilation at Vin if he didn´t slow down. The camera caught the devilish smile Vin threw over his shoulder before horse and riders shot across the pasture and out of sight.
Nathan and Josiah were laughing while they held Angela by her little hands and swung her between then while visiting the zoo. Every time her little feet hit the ground, she would start hopping around and begging for them to do it again. They were both happy to oblige, swinging the laughing child higher and higher. Josiah finally picked the child up and let her ride on his shoulders. Her little hands were twisted in his hair, and his were wrapped around her ankles as they walked from exhibit to exhibit.
Ezra rocked Angela in her father´s rocking chair while he read to her from her favorite picture book. Angela held the book in front of her while he read. One of his hands, unconsciously, stroked her hair all the time he was reading.
The camera caught Chris with a startled look on his faced caused by Angela throwing a perfect imitation of his own fierce glare over her shoulder at him while she was sitting in her timeout chair. He had just told her father he had caught her trying to crawl under the house like she had been told not to do, and Buck had placed her in the chair as punishment.
Nathan was in cutoff shorts sitting cross legged in a child´s wading pool in the backyard. Angela was in a tiny pink bathing suit standing right beside him with a bright blue plastic bucket held in her little hands. She was dumping water over his head. After each dowsing, Nathan would shake his head with a roar and pretend to try to grab the giggling toddler, who would refill the bucket to repeat the game.
Buck sitting in a chair beside Angela´s crib with his folded arms resting on the lowered side rail of the crib, just watching the two week old baby sleep.
+ + + + + + +
Buck smiled at his friend, Oh man, JD, that´s so great. Awesome! Thank you! Buck wrapped an arm around JD´s neck and pulled him in for a hug over Angela´s head, then let him go. But I don´t remember you taking any of those videos.
JD took a bow, and bragged, Hey, no one escapes the Master of Surveillance!
Is that right? Buck drawled. As great as that video is, I do believe there´s one clip you forgot to include, JD, Buck chuckled evilly.
JD watched warily as Buck opened a drawer in the bedside table and took out a video tape. He placed it in the VCR and pushed the play button. The TV lit up to show their kitchen. In the kitchen were JD and Angela, heads covered in flour.
But . . . how? JD started to stammer.
You know, JD, you really should remember who taught you everything you know about surveillance, Buck said smugly.
Feedback is appreciated.