Disclaimers: The Magnificent Seven and its characters are the property of MGM, Trilogy Entertainment, the Mirisch Corporation, and the Hallmark Channel.
"Vin! Vin! Buck's home! Buck! Buck! Buck, look!"
With one toe barely inside the large ranch house he shared with his boss and their two respective sons, Buck Wilmington found himself being yanked over the threshold and pulled down the hallway by a very excited five year old. "Slow down, JD," he warned, as the two of them nearly collided with the wall.
"You gotta see, Buck," exclaimed an equally excited seven year old, following closely behind them.
"See what, Vin?" Buck asked, as he was forcefully directed past Mrs. Potter and into the family room.
"Look!" JD was beaming from ear to ear, and his small frame bounced up and down in excitement.
Following the child's outstretched finger, Buck looked across the room. A trail of green Easter grass led from the doorway to the end table. Sitting on the end table were two empty Easter baskets. Spread over the sofa, two armchairs, and the floor were what appeared to be remnants of plastic Easter eggs and torn candy wrappers.
Buck's eyes lit up with comprehension. "The Easter egg hunt was today, right?"
"Yeah," Vin said, shifting back and forth from one foot to the other as he stood in front of Buck.
"We gots lots of eggs," JD announced. "Blue ones and pink ones and yellow ones and orange ones and green ones," he paused to take a quick breath before continuing, "and red ones and purple ones and striped ones-"
"Okay, okay." Buck raised one hand. "I got the picture."
"And we gots lots of candy," Vin put in, his eyes wide. "Tootsie rolls and chocolate eggs and marshmallow peeps."
"And lots and lots of jelly beans," JD added. "Pink ones and yellow ones and blue ones and green ones and black ones and-"
"Whoa, pard," Buck cut in, hoping to end the recitation before every possible jelly bean color was named.
"And we had cupcakes with frosting and jelly beans on top."
"With red juice." JD licked his lips at the memory.
Buck squinted his eyes, examining the room again. "So, where's all the candy?"
A barely muffled snort came from just outside the doorway.
"Where's all the candy?" Buck asked again.
"We ates it," JD announced.
Buck's eyes went wide. "All of it?"
JD nodded. "Yeah. We ate some at school and some on the bus and some when we was watching tv."
Buck sank down on the nearest armchair. "You're telling me you ate *all* of the candy?"
"Yeah!" JD exalted, throwing his fists triumphantly up in the air. "It was *sooo* good!"
"Did you want some, Buck?" Vin asked worriedly. Without waiting for a response, he checked his pockets, pulling out a couple lint-covered black blobs. "Hey, I gots two black ones left! Do you want them, Buck?"
"Come on, Buck! Let's go out to the barn. Mrs. Potter said when you got home we could go out to the barn. I wanna feed the horses and brush the horses and walk the horses and maybe even ride the horses."
Buck rubbed one weary hand over his face. "Boys, I'm really wiped out. Isn't there something else you two could do for a bit? Then, when Chris gets home, we could head out to the barn."
"But we already watched tv and played with our toys and colored some pictures," JD said. "And Mrs. Potter said we's already been in the house *waaay* too long."
"Can we go outside now?" Vin asked, a hopeful expression on his face as he stuffed the two jelly beans back into his pocket.
"Mr. Wilmington?" Mrs. Potter entered the room, carefully making her way through the party debris. She stopped directly in front of Buck and looked down at him, her arms crossed in front of her chest. "I'll be saying 'goodbye' now, as it's time for me to be getting home to my family." Gathering up her coat and purse, she called, "Goodnight, Vin, JD."
"'Night, Mrs. Potter," the two boys yelled in unison, running to give her a hug. "See you tomorrow."
"Goodnight, Mr. Wilmington." The older woman smiled, throwing a significant look at the boys as she added, "They're all yours."
At her words, Buck moaned and sank a little deeper into the chair cushions.
"Buck! Buck!" Suddenly, Wilmington found himself being propelled out of the chair and across the room. "Let's go!"
Buck squared his shoulders, set his jaw in determination, and followed Vin and JD outside. Surely a highly trained ATF agent like himself could handle two little boys on a sugar rush...at least until Chris got home.
"Come on, Buck!"