The Date

by Estee and MMW

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven belong to John Watson, Trilogy, MGM & others. The Little Britches AU was created by JK Poffenberger and S. Berry and brought into the MOG’s ATF universe by Barbaretta Hayden

Universe: LB – ATF

Characters: Chris, Buck, Vin, JD

Feedback: Please

Author’s Notes: MMW – the idea for the first part of this story just popped into my head one day. Estee decided it wasn’t quite complete and the two of us wrote back and forth on it until it reached its conclusion. We hope you enjoy it.

WARNINGS: SPEW WARNING! Though we didn’t really think it needed it, according to everyone who’s read it so far, trying to eat or drink while reading this may be hazardous to your keyboard (soda is such a pain to get out of them). J

Chris turned off the truck and took a deep breath. He wasn’t sure how Vin was going to react to the news, but it was too late now. It probably would have been better if he had told Vin about his date earlier in the week, but the time just never seemed right. Besides it wasn’t like it was that big a deal, right? It was only his first date since…OK. He really needed to do this. He couldn’t even remember the last time he went on a date. Vin would understand.

Nodding his head once to encourage himself, he exited the truck and headed toward the house.

Looking up, he cursed silently as he saw Vin standing on the porch watching him suspiciously. Normally the boy would be launching himself off of the porch to greet his father with a huge hug. Sighing aloud, Chris realized his son was far too perceptive.

“Hey, cowboy,” he greeted as he stepped up and gave Vin a hug. “What’s up?”

Vin’s eyes narrowed. Chris wasn’t telling him something and that had to be bad.

“Nothin’,” came Vin’s simple response.

Reading the guarded expression in the boy’s eyes, Chris resigned himself to talking to Vin. Keeping an arm around his son’s shoulders, Chris guided him to one of the seats on the porch, disappointed when Vin chose to stand in front of him rather than climb onto his lap.

Looking into the blue eyes, Chris felt it best to just come out with the truth, “Vin, I’m going out on a date tonight.”

Vin listened to what Chris said, assimilated the information and waited for more. He didn’t understand why Chris was worried about telling him about a date, after all JD and he had play dates all the time. He assumed it was only natural that adults had to make play dates.

Chris waited, not sure what sort of response he’d been expecting, but the silent acceptance and nod followed by an unspoken request for more information. Not knowing what else to say, he continued, “Her name is Sylvia and she’s a very nice lady.”

Vin’s nose wrinkled in disgust at the idea that this was the other kind of date he’d heard of; but he said nothing, just continued to stare at Chris.

Worried by the lack of response but not knowing what to do about it, he assured, “I won’t be leaving until after dinner.” Seeing Vin relax slightly, he figured the boy was mulling something over and would eventually ask. Deciding not to pressure Vin, he inquired, “So, what do you want to do until then?”

Vin brightened at this thought. Grabbing his father’s hand, he tugged to get him out of the chair. “C’mon! I gotta show you what I made out back!”

Chris rose, a smile on his face, and followed along as Vin led him to the back yard.

+ + + + + + +

Chris stood before his closet trying to ignore the set of blue eyes watching his every move intently. He and Vin had had fun outside before dinner, but at dinner, and after, Vin had grown quieter.

Worried that the boy was having qualms about the upcoming date, Chris hadn’t objected when he found Vin sitting quietly on the bed. Stepping out of the bathroom, Chris had smiled at his son and gone about getting ready when he realized Vin wasn’t ready to talk yet.

Finally deciding on a tie, Chris began putting it on.

It was as Chris was tightening the tie Vin asked, “Are you going to have sex with Sylvia?”

Shocked by the question, Chris’ hand slipped causing him to pull the tie too tight, choking himself. Clawing at the offending object, Chris quickly loosened it and began coughing, his mind whirling over what Vin had just asked. Where in the world had that come from and exactly how much did Vin know about sex? “Excuse me?” Chris finally managed to gasp out, eyes still wide with shock.

Vin watched his father, concerned by his coughing. Deciding that Chris was ok, he settled back a little and asked earnestly, “Are you going to have sex?” Seeing his father struggling for an answer, Vin thought he’d help out. “Eli Joe says that the only reason ‘dults go on dates is to have sex. And Buck said that sex is how babies are made. So I want to know if you’re going to make a baby? If you are, can you make it a little boy? I don’t want no girls in our house.”

Chris just stared, stunned. Deciding he really didn’t want to be having this conversation, he stated, “Sylvia and I are going to a movie and then for some coffee. Dating is not just about having sex. Buck is right that sex is a way to make babies, but that doesn’t always happen. No one can decide to make the baby a boy or a girl. And we will discuss this later.”

“OK,” Vin said, perfectly content with the response he’d gotten. He didn’t really want another little brother anyway, JD could be a lot of trouble.

Chris watched as his son scrambled down off his bed and headed out of the room, obviously content that all his questions had been answered. No such contentment existed for Chris. He and Buck needed to have a serious discussion about the boys, what they knew and what to tell them.

Shaking off the remnants of shock, Chris checked to make sure he had his wallet, watch and keys, then, grabbing his jacket, headed out into the main area of the house to say good night to the boys.

+ + + + + + +

Chris smiled at Sylvia, reaching across the seat to hold her hand as the light turned green. Before he'd even made it through the intersection a car swerved right into his lane, forcing him to grab the steering wheel with both hands in order to avoid a head on collision.

Sylvia threw her arms up in disgust -- and honestly, he couldn't blame her. All night long things like this had been happening. It was almost like there was some cosmic force working against them, trying to keep them apart.

Several times during the movie he'd attempted to lean toward her, wanting so badly to have a taste of her lips, but every time he'd gotten close something or another had interrupted them. Between the boys calling on the cell phone and the group of rowdy kids sitting behind them, Chris had gotten absolutely nowhere with the beautiful blonde.

He glanced at her again, wincing a little as he took in her appearance. Who would have guessed that one jumbo sized soda could do so much damage? What had been soft, beautiful waves of golden blonde hair was now a stiff, stringy, sticky, tangled mess. Her long black eyelashes had sort of melted down her cheeks and her hot pink mini-dress was ruined, or so she'd said. But, her matching nails were still looking perfectly manicured, so maybe not all had been lost. Funny, not a drop of that soda had landed on him and
he'd been sitting right beside her.

She'd stomped out of the theater, and down the sidewalk, Chris trying his best to keep up, to reason with her; and just when he'd started to calm her down as they neared the coffee shop, the heel of her shoe had broken clean off. Chris had promised to make it up to her, told her he'd pay for her dress and shoes and everything, if she'd just give him another chance. He wasn't above begging. Desperate men rarely were.

Somehow he managed to charm her and get her to smile, to see a little humor in the tumultuous evening, and she finally allowed him to take her into his arms. The moment could have been so romantic, the two of them standing in the moonlight, under the canopy of trees, gazing into each others eyes, bodies pressed together, lips so close -- almost, but never quite touching.

Damn. He would have given anything to have had his gun at that moment. F-ing birds.

When he pulled over to the curb outside her apartment building, his plans were to walk her upstairs like a gentleman. Before he could even shut off the engine she'd reached for the door handle; he was about to say something when heard a distinct crack, or maybe it was closer to a snap? and he watched in horror as she yanked her hand back like it had been burned.

They both gasped when they got a look at her four ragged, stubby bright pink fingernails.

He had to turn away, feeling pretty sure that he didn't have much chance at being invited up for a nightcap.

She growled at him before she got out, and then she slammed the passenger door causing him to jump. Still, it was only right that he make sure she get in safely, so he waited as she angrily, unevenly strode up the walkway, and then tried to open the door of her security building.

Damn, she must have forgotten her key, he thought as she jabbed then punched the call button and kicked both of her shoes at the locked door.

As soon as she was in, Chris put the truck in gear and headed for the ranch, wondering if maybe this ordeal was a signal for him to avoid dating the women listed in Buck's little black book? Either that or there was some mystical, unseen force watching him, directing his life, making sure there was an overabundance of angst, that he sustained lots of injuries and received much comfort, and had no chance at a healthy relationship with a woman.


Meanwhile, Back at the ranch...

Chris had just left on his date. The boys were in the den watching television.

Having seen Chris’ pregnant look as he exited his room, Buck had tried to find out what was up. Chris appeared to be about to tell him when all of a sudden an odd expression came overLarabee's face and he closed his mouth. Shaking his head, he’d clapped Buck on the shoulder and simply said they’d talk later.

Making his way back to the boys,Buck overheard part of their conversation.

"Well, did you ask him?" JD asked, curiosity evident in his voice

"Yep," Vin replied distractedly, obviously still intrigued by the show on television.

"Well..." JD led.

Vin sighed, "Well what?"

"Well, is it true?" JD demanded, his five-year-old patience wearing thin.

Vin sighed again. "Chris said no."

Silence for a few minutes. Buck knew it wasn’t right to eavesdrop on the boys, but he wanted to know what they were talking about and what in the world Vin had asked Chris. What ever it was, he just knew it was the cause of Chris’ earlier discomfiture.

"So they're not going to have sex?" JD confirmed.

Buck nearly choked. No wonder Chris didn’t know what to say. Suppressing the laughter that threatened to overwhelm as he though of Vin asking Chris if he were going to have sex entered his mind, Buck leaned against the wall for added support.

"Nope. Just a movie and coffee," Vin said.

"What about.." JD began.

Vin sighed heavily and cut him off. "No, JD. Eli Joe was wrong. Dating isn’t just to have sex."

Buck just about had his laughter under control. Yep, they would need to explain a few things to the boys about dating. At least he knew from where the misinformation was coming. Standing straight and composing his face, he walked into the room, his foot faltering at the next words from JD.

"So we’re not going to get a baby brother?" JD asked.

Baby brother! Whoa! They had enough with these two. No way he was ready for a baby brother.

Vin shook his head. "Nope," Vin confirmed. "‘Sides Chris said no one can choose if the baby could be a boy or a girl."

"You mean we might have gotten a sister!?" JD’s voice squeaked in horror.

Oh, Lord, Buck thought, I am not ready to have that discussion with them.

Vin nodded again.

"Eeewwww!" JD opined.

Catching movement out of the corner of his eye, Vin looked up. "Hey, Buck!" he greeted.

"Hey there, Junior." Buck took a deep breath and decided there was no time like the present. "About this dating business--" The ringing of the telephone interrupted his little talk before it even got started. "Could you get that JD?"

"Sure Buck!" JD responded as he scurried out in search of the cordless phone. It sounded like it was in Chris' bedroom, but he couldn't be sure until it rang again.

"Now, Vin. We really need to talk about this dating thing. Dating is just dating, it has nothing to do with baby making, well, most of the time anyway. I mean, sometimes it does, but that only happens when people aren't --" he halted mid-sentence to briefly consider whether or not to go the more modern, politically correct route, or stick with the good old fashioned way of thinking. Since these were his sons, it was a pretty easy decision to make.



"Hi, is Chris there by chance?"

"Nope, he ain't here. He's out on a da-a-ate." JD picked up Chris' cologne bottle, taking a sniff and wrinkling his nose at the strong scent.

"Oh, I thought he'd be home by now? This is Sylvia, his date."

"You're his date?" Setting the bottle of cologne back on the dresser, he climbed up onto Chris' bed and began testing its bouncing capabilities. "Hey, can I ask ya a question?"

"Well sure, sweetie."

The date lady sure had a pretty voice, he thought. "Are you gonna give us a baby brother or a baby sister?"


"Me and Vin was hopin' you'd give us a baby brother, but Chris said it might be a baby sister. You wouldn't do that, would ya?" JD held the phone away from his ear when the lady started coughing loudly.

"JD?" Buck hollered from the other room.

"I gotta go," he told the lady as soon as she stopped coughing. "Buck needs me. Bye!"

+ + + + + + +

Chris slowed to a stop at the traffic light. Resting his head against the headrest, he wondered how his date could have gone worse and quickly decided it couldn't have.

Glancing to the side, he spotted a wallet sitting on the seat beside him. Reaching over, he flipped it open and recognized Sylvia from the picture on the driver's license.

Deciding the least he could do was return her wallet, he turned his truck around and headed back to Sylvia's apartment.

Pulling up in front of the building, Chris shut off the engine of the truck and headed up the walk, sighing in relief as he noticed a light was still on.

Ringing the bell, he waited for the woman to come to the door. Taking a deep breath, he prepared himself for a tense encounter as he remembered how upset Sylvia was when she left.

Hearing the chain slide out of the lock, he waited while the door opened. He was not prepared for the Valkerie that greeted him.

"You sick, perverted..." Sylvia began before her anger choked out her words. Spying her wallet, she snatched it out of his hands, unwilling to have him hold it any longer.

Chris had just opened his mouth to protest when Sylvia started in again. "I can't believe... babies! ... Who... What... How could you! You're sick!" And with that she slammed the door in Chris' face. It opened a moment later as she threw the contents of a vase filled with flowers and water at him. Her aim was true and Chris blinked in shock as water dripped down his face and flowers littered his hair and suit.

Standing on her stoop, Chris tried to make sense of the outburst as he retrieved his handkerchief to wipe away the water. Babies? A groan escaped the blond as his head fell forward. He should have realized that Sylvia would call the house when shefound her wallet was missing. JD or Vin must have answered. That brought the question of what the boys were doing up so late. Knowing that Sylvia was in no way ready to hear an apology or explanation, he turned and headed home. He had to straighten this out at home before he could straighten things out with Sylvia

+ + + + + + +

The house was dark when he got home, except for a flickering glow from the television set. He walked into the living room to find Buck, Vin and JD huddled together on the couch. Two sets of eyes were glued to the TV screen, while JD was obliviously snoring away.

Chris looked at the time on the VCR, surprised that Buck had let the boys stay up this late. They should have been in bed hours ago. Glancing down to the television, he caught the last scene of the movie they'd been watching.

A lady sitting in a jeep, talking into a little tape recorder. Christ.

"You let them watch Terminator?" he nearly shouted, at the same time switching the light on.

"Well howdy there, pard," Buck said, yawning before aiming the remote and clicking the TV off. "Didn't hear you come in."

"Hi Chris!" Vin greeted, sitting up, wide awake and way too cheerful.

Chris managed a wink and a smile for his son. "Isn't it a little late for you to be up, cowboy?"

"They don't have school tomorrow, they can sleep in," Buck answered nonchalantly, then he tilted his head, giving Chris a curious look. "How come you're all wet?"

"Never mind." He shook his head then cleared his throat and gestured to the television. "The Terminator?"

Buck shrugged, looking only a little chagrined.

"It was so cool how you saved that lady, Chris!" Vin bounced up onto his knees. "I didn't know the gov'ner of Cal'fornia was really a bad guy from the future! How come ya never told me you was from the future, and got sent back to --"

"That was NOT me."

Buck snorted then held his free hand out, pretending to inspect his fingernails. "Sure did look like you," he mumbled.

Vin nodded agreement, glancing from Buck to Chris and back again.

"Buuuck," Chris growled, managing to extend the name into three syllables.

"Just calm down there, Chris. It was all for a good reason, right pal?" He nudged Vin with his elbow and Vin nodded. "I was just giving Vin here a little, well, call it a lesson."

Chris rubbed his forehead, knowing he shouldn't ask but unable to stop himself. "Lesson?"

Vin nodded again, looking up at Chris with big eyes and such an innocent smile that it almost melted the tension away.

"The boy wanted to know what exactly it was that you did on your dates, stud."

"What I . . .what?"

"So, instead of telling him," Buck explained, winking at Vin then waving a hand toward the television. "I thought it'd be best to show him."

Vin nodded some more, and Chris thought he looked a lot like one of those head bobbing dogs he sometimes noticed in the backs of cars. Being the highly trained, veteran agent that he was, it took only a few seconds for him to figure out he was being scammed. Vin was only ever this agreeable with Buck when the two of them were trying to pull one over on him. He tried not to grin. "You two clowns think you're pretty funny, don't you?"

Vin immediately burst into giggles, then quick slapped his palm over his mouth and buried his face in Buck's side.

"I see we've got a little work to do on that poker face of yours, Junior," Buck whispered loudly to his co-conspirator, then turned a beaming smile on Chris. "So, how was the date?"

"Never mind." Chris shook his head, not wanting to relive it again. He took off his jacket, tossed it over a chair, and loosened his tie. "Tomorrow, we all need to sit down and have a nice, long talk about . . . certain things."

"You'll be happy to know that we already got some of those things taken care of, right?" He looked down at Vin and ruffled his hair. "Go on and tell him."

Vin sat up a little straighter. "Dates are just when friends make a plan to meet each other . . . to go to the movies, or dinner, or dancing, or for a walk." Vin shrugged looking again to Buck who gave him an encouraging nod. "And we ain't gonna be having a baby brother or sister anytime soon, and if it ever happens you'll make sure to tell us a loooong time before."

"That's right," he ruffled the boy's hair again, then looked up at Chris. "He asked the questions he wanted to know, and I answered them. I figure that's good enough for now."

"Okay . . ." Chris replied uncertainly, wondering if it could possibly be this easy.

"Now, I know how you like to share the responsibilities around here and all, Chris," Buck went on, at the same time he stood up and hoisted the younger boy up into his arms. "Since I already had The Talk with Vin, I wanted you to rest easy knowing that JD here has about a million and one questions he's been saving up, just for you."

"Gee thanks, partner."

"Anytime, partner."

+ + + + + + +

Fear coursed through Chris' body as he ran faster. He had to get away. Glancing to his right, he saw Sylvia barely keeping up. Her limping run was accentuated by her sticky, stringy hair whipping around her face. He had no idea why she was clutching a vase of flowers. Looking over his shoulder, his heart beat faster as he saw the terminators gaining ground. Half of the flesh covering had been ripped off their faces to reveal the machines beneath. He still couldn't believe it, Vin and JD were terminators!

Facing front, he saw the cliff, but too late! They had no choice but to jump and hope for the best.

As he and Sylvia fell, he could hear he echoing shouts of the terminators:
"Where's our baby brother?!" "Yeah! We don't want no girls!"

Waking with a jerk and a gasp, Chris' eyes darted around his room. A soft swear escaped him as he instinctively moved away from the threat. It took his mind a few seconds to register that the "threat" was JD standing beside his bed in his pj's and morning hair with wide, startled brown eyes focused on him, his second father.

Breathing somewhat heavily, Chris sank down onto the matress from his half-crouch and rested his back against the wall. Glancing at the clock he registered it was 6:07 a.m. He let out a soft groan. He hadn't gotten much sleep last night and 6:00 on a Saturday morning was just too early.

Sighing, he knew he wouldn't get any peace until JD had his say. "What can I help you with JD?" he asked.

JD climbed up onto the bed and sat at the foot, staring at the blond. "Buck said we's going ta talk man to man this mornin' 'bout datin' and sex."

Chris suppressed the groan that tried to escape. It was way too early for this. Taking a deep breath, Chris prepared to start his explanation when JD interjected his own questions.

"Eli Joe said 'dults go on dates ta have sex. Buck said sex is makin' babies, but Vin said you wasn't makin' babies las' night so what did you do on your date? Did you date wrong?" JD asked.

Fighting the urge to allow his jaw to drop open, Chris quickly cut off the flow of questions. "JD. Dating isn't about having sex. Buck is right, sex is making babies, but dating is not about sex. Dating is when you arrange to meet a friend to watch movies or plays or concerts or maybe go out to eat or for a walk. Dating is talking and finding out about people. And no, I didn't date wrong. Sylvia and I went to a movie and then a walk and then some coffee." And it was just about the worst date of my life, Chris added silently.

"Oh," JD said, mulling something over. "Was she sick?"

Chris' brow furrowed, not following the question. "Huh?" he asked, deciding he needed some caffeine if he was going to have to follow JD speech.

"Was she sick? 'Cause she sure was coughing a lot last night," JD observed.

Chris shook his head slightly in puzzlement. "Sylvia?" he asked, trying to clarify about whom JD was talking.

"Yeah! The lady with the nice voice. She called here lookin' for you but you weren't home and I asked her if she were going to give us a little girl baby because I thought that would be real mean since Vin and me don't want no stupid girl and then she started coughing, but 'fore she said anything Buck called and I had to hang up. Chris? Why are you hitting your head on the wall?"

+ + + + + + +

It was only seven o'clock in the morning, and already he had a migraine. He never would have guessed that one small boy could have so many questions floating around in his head?

He rolled out of bed, hearing his joints crackle when his feet hit the floor, then he made his way toward the kitchen one goal on his mind: Coffee.

As he walked down the hallway, he glanced into Buck's room and found three familiar figures sprawled out on the bed. It was nice to see that JD could go back to sleep now that he'd made sure Chris was completely wide awake. Some small part of him wanted to toss a bucket of ice cold water over the lot of them . . . but not until after he'd had coffee.

He remembered in the middle of the night being startled awake by Vin's piercing scream of, "Help! Don't let him get me!" Half asleep, Buck had rushed out of his bedroom, stepping on something in the hallway that made him stop and curse before lumbering on toward the boys' room. With an evil grin, Chris bent down and picked up a stray Lego. Serves him right for letting Vin watch that movie. Maybe his old friend would learn a lesson of his own through this.

Yeah, right.

In the kitchen, he started the coffee, pulled out the bottle of extra strength headache relief caplets and popped three into his mouth, swallowing them dry. As soon as enough coffee had dribbled into the pot, he poured it into his cup and sat down at the kitchen table, enjoying the rare moment of peace and quiet for as long as it might last.

+ + + + + + +


Buck batted at the annoying mosquito buzzing in his ear then tried to roll away from it.

"Buck! Buck! Buck!"

He pulled his blanket up over his head; the damn thing wouldn't go away.


"JD?" He opened his eyes and was met with a big, cheerful grin.

"It's mornin'."

Buck glanced at the clock. "It's still early, why don't you go pester Chris?" Chris would most likely be up; he was always the first one awake.

"I already did."

"Oh really?" He held out an arm, offering the boy to snuggle in beside him. "Well, why don't you try to go back to sleep for a little bit."

"I already tried and it didn't work." JD plopped down across his chest. "I'm BORED!"

He yawned and noticed Vin lying on the pillow beside him, arms spread up over his head, mouth open, sawing logs to beat the band. "Shhh . . . you'll wake Vin." Actually, Vin was a pretty light sleeper, and he was surprised the boy hadn't woken up already.

"Did you and Chris already have your man to man talk?"

JD nodded. "Yup."

"Well, did you get all your questions answered?"


"Why not?"

"I got some of 'em answered and then Chris said his head was gonna 'splode if I asked one more question. He said I should save the rest for you, else you'd feel sad and left out."

Buck shook his head, chuckling deep and low. "Is that right?"


How hard could it be, he thought. A kid JD's age didn't really even have enough information to get too deep on the subject. "Okay, so what question is it that you want to ask ol' Buck?"

JD took a deep breath and licked his lips, "Well, Chris said that all babies start out as girls and then God decides which ones should be boys and takes away one of the chr. . .clo . . .clothes . . .omones. Is that really true?"

Buck blinked hard. "Say what?"

JD's face scrunched up, his nose wrinkling with disgust. "Did I used to be a girl?" he whined pitifully.

Buck looked over at Vin whose eyes were now open wide and looking about as panicked as Buck was starting to feel.

"Well? Did I?" JD asked again, looking like he might actually cry.

Buck nodded, then shook his head, then nodded, then shook his head again. His forehead wrinkled in bewilderment, right before he sat up and shouted, "LARABEE!”


Chris sat in his truck waiting for the light to change.

The weekend had been memorable for both he and Buck, though perhaps moreso for him. After the disaster of a date he had tried with Sylvia, the boy’s questions had really put the men’s knowledge and patience to the test.

Chris chuckled softly to himself, still relishing the thought of his revenge on Buck Saturday morning.

JD had asked more questions than Chris had the patience to answer – especially at 6:30 on a Saturday morning. Finally, his head aching, Chris had convinced JD to keep all the rest of his questions for Buck – who was sleeping soundly with Vin beside him. He knew Buck would struggle with the questions just as he had.

Having finished his breakfast, Chris had waited, sitting at the kitchen table drinking his coffee. Eventually he’d heard Buck’s bellow. Instead of bailing his old friend out, however, Chris had carefully folded the paper, drained his coffee and headed outside to do the chores.

Eventually things had settled down and they four had had a lengthy discussion to answer all the boys’ questions. Of course that discussion had involved reference books, numerous searches on the web, and several calls to Nathan and Josiah, but the boys finally seemed satisfied.

Sunday afternoon, Chris had driven out to Sylvia’s with a replacement dress and pair of shoes. He nearly choked when he found out how much women’s clothing cost, but had told Sylvia he would replace her ruined dress and he would keep his word.

Fortunately the rather large bouquet of flowers he’d sent as an apology the day before had gone a long way to soothing the poor woman’s temper. When he knocked on her door, she greeted him civilly, invited him in and even allowed Chris to fully explain the odd conversation she’d had with JD on Friday night.

The blond woman had laughed and forgiven Chris for all the misunderstandings, but she refused to try again on another date. Chris couldn’t really blame her

Now, with all that behind him, he was headed into the office and looking forward to a new week with new challenges.

Running through his schedule in his head, he winced as he realized he had a morning meeting with Travis and the other Team Leaders.

+ + + + + + +

The meeting had been going well and they were nearly done when there was a knock on the door. Pausing mid-sentence, Travis called, “Come in.”

The door opened to reveal Travis’ Secretary. “Excuse me sir,” she said, “but I have an urgent message for Mr. Larabee.”

“What is it?” Chris asked as the Secretary paused.

“Perhaps you’d like to step out for me to tell you?” she hedged.

“That’s OK,” Travis admonished. “You’ve already interrupted the meeting, just give him his message.”

The nervous Secretary licked her lips and shifted from foot to foot. “It’s of a personal nature,” she began before wincing at the glare she received from Travis.

Chris’ senses shifted to high alert. Something of a personal nature and urgent? That could only mean the boys. His need to know overriding his sense of discretion, Chris commanded, “Please, just tell me what’s going on.”

The secretary licked her lips again. “Well it appears that Vin got into a shouting match of school and they need you down there.”

Rising from his seat, Chris inquired, “Did they say what the fight was about.” He waited several seconds, looking directly at the Secretary when he received no answer.

Not wanting to answer, but knowing she had to, the Secretary could feel her cheeks turning red as she avoided the intense green gaze. As quickly and quietly as possible, she informed, “Apparently he was yelling at a boy named Eli Joe Chavez and insisting that you didn’t have sex this weekend.”

For several seconds absolute silence reigned in the conference room before Chris, knowing his own face was now as red as the Secretary’s let out a groan and sank into his chair as the snickers and soon laughter broke out.

Finally gaining control of his laughter, Orrin suggested, “Someone, please stop Chris from hitting his head on the table.”

The End

Estee and MMW