Barely Buckled

by Carole

Main Characters: Buck, Vin, JD

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven and its characters are the property of MGM, Trilogy Entertainment, and the Mirisch Corporation.

“Everybody buckled?”

“I am!” JD practically yelled, the loud click of his seatbelt accompanying his words.

“Vin? How 'bout you, pard?”

Another click was heard, and then Vin’s quieter, “Me, too.”

“Well, alrighty then, we’re ready to go.”

“Are you buckled, Buck?” JD asked in a worried tone, trying to peer over the seat.

“Yep,” Buck reassured him. “And you know why?”

“’Cause seatbelts keep you safe,” JD responded, “if you get in a acc’dent.”

“And not wearing a seatbelt is a…” Buck prompted, using the moment to remind the boys about the rules of the road.

“…'gainst the law,” the two boys finished in unison.


With two boys chattering in the back seat of Chris’s Ram, safely ensconced in their booster seats, Buck pulled out into traffic, leaving the elementary school parking lot behind and heading for home.

“How was your day, boys?” Buck asked, looking at the youngsters through his rearview mirror. “Vin?”

“Fine,” Vin answered.

“Just fine?” Buck questioned.

Vin shrugged. “It was okay.”

Buck nodded, accepting the short response, knowing how hard school and its demands could be on Vin at times. “JD, how ‘bout you?”

JD didn’t need another invitation, quickly launching into an account of the day’s activities that ended with, “…and after lunch we played on the playground and then we went back inside and I played a game on the computer and then it was time for the bell to ring.”

“Sounds like a good day,” Buck said with a laugh, wondering not for the first time how JD could fit so much into one sentence.

“It was!” JD exclaimed. He turned to look at Vin. ”Except for the spelling test. Vin-“

“JD,” Vin warned, glaring at JD.

“Oh, I forgot, Vin didn’t want me to tell you ‘bout the words he missed.”

Buck couldn’t miss the small grimace that crossed the seven-year-old’s face, so, catching Vin’s eyes in the mirror, he quickly gave the older boy a reassuring smile. “Well, if that’s what Vin wanted, then let’s not talk about them. Okay?”

JD shrugged in agreement. “Okay. Vin, can I tell Buck about your painting?”

When Vin nodded, JD described the other boy’s painting down to the last detail, winning a shy smile from Vin as he finished with, “…and it was the best horse I’ve ever seen!”

“JD’s painting was real good, too,” Vin added. “He used almost all the colors in the paint box.”

JD bounced in his seat. “I painted a dog, Buck!”

“I can’t wait to see them,” Buck said, bestowing a proud smile on the boys.

As the two boys resumed their conversation in the back seat, Buck’s attention was caught by the slow moving car ahead of them. The red convertible was being driven by a gray-haired man, and beside him sat a young woman, her long blonde hair blowing in the breeze. The ladies’ man couldn’t help but take a moment to enjoy the sight of the woman’s bare shoulders.

Pulling out around the car, he glanced over at its passengers just as the attractive blonde looked in their direction. Giving her an approving smile, he winked as she rose slightly in her seat, and then stood up, giving him an unimpeded view of her…

…totally nude figure.

He sucked in his breath sharply, unable to resist appreciating the shapely display. Then, as he realized that the boys’ conversation had abruptly ceased, he quickly glanced behind him. It was as he’d feared. Vin and JD were both turned in their seats, staring at the woman, their eyes wide. With a groan, he stomped on the gas pedal, leaving the convertible in the proverbial dust.

Two questions immediately popped into Buck’s mind: What was he going to say to the boys? And more importantly, how was he going to explain this to Chris?

Just as he opened his mouth to speak, JD beat him to it.

“Buck, Buck!”

Buck took a deep breath. “Uh, JD, Vin…”

“Buck, look!”

“I know, JD, I saw her, too. Now, boys…”

“Buck, that lady wasn’t wearing a seatbelt,” Vin reported in a solemn tone.

Buck blinked in surprise. “Uh, no, she wasn’t, was she?” he managed to get out.

“No, she wasn’t!” JD agreed. “That’s ‘gainst the law. Ain’t you gonna ‘rrest her?”

“Umm, well,” Buck stammered, shaking his head in amusement at the boys’ reaction to seeing the well-endowed woman au natural. “I think we’ll let the police officers take care of that, JD.”

“But how will they know she’s not wearing a seatbelt?” Vin asked.

Thinking quickly, and not believing his luck, Buck nodded at a building in the distance. “See that police station right there?” He waited until both boys nodded before continuing. “I bet when that car goes by the police station, one of those officers will notice she’s not wearing a seatbelt and pull her over. Right?”

The two boys looked at the approaching police station, at each other, and then back at Buck.

“Yeah,” JD said, nodding his head.

“Yeah, they will,” Vin agreed confidently.

A moment later, apparently satisfied with Buck’s answer, the two boys went back to their interrupted conversation, and a mix of loud voices and giggling filled the back seat.

Buck settled back into his seat with a relieved sigh. With any luck, maybe he wouldn’t have to tell Chris after all.



Author’s Note: Inspired by one of those “why we love children” joke-filled emails making the rounds