Welcome Home

by Purple Lacey

Fourth story in the Angel Girl series.

Thanks to MOG for allowing us to play in with her toys, ahh, boys… umm, boy toys? Yeah, that´s the ticket! <BG>

Buck Wilmington stepped out of the Jag and glanced around the busy neighborhood as Ezra Standish came around the front of the vehicle to join him on the sidewalk.

"I personally took a tour of this dwelling yesterday," Ezra said, "and I feel confident it will meet all your needs. As you can see, the atmosphere is very conducive to families, and there is a very fine school just four blocks away when young Angela is old enough to attend."

Buck glanced down at the smaller man beside him and smiled as the undercover agent continued to regale him with a list of features for the house they were currently here to see. Ever since Buck and JD had discussed with their teammates the need for larger quarters in which to raise Buck's daughter Angela, Ezra had made it his personal project to find Buck a house that he felt was suitable. This was the first house he had actually brought Buck to see, but Buck knew from other conversions that the man had toured dozens of homes on his own, searching for the one he felt was acceptable. Buck was very curious to see just what the wily undercover agent had eventually decided on.

Turning back to the house in front of them, Buck took in the details. The house was a lovely restored Victorian painted a light shade of blue with white trim. It had a large wraparound porch, big sparkling windows, and two large trees at each of the front corners of the house. Neat flower beds with a wide variety of blooming plants edged the entire front of the porch and ran along either side of the sidewalk that lead up to the three wide porch steps. The house just seemed to say, "Come on in, you're welcome here."

Buck nodded his head, and slapped his friend on the back, "Damn Ez, this is beautiful. How'd you find it? "

Ezra staggered slightly from the enthusiastic smack, and quickly moved further away from his friend. He straightened the jacket of his Armani suit and answered, "As I have informed you before, I have a few acquaintances in the real estate business. One of them alerted me when this house came on the market last week. The way I understand it, the young couple who owned the home had just finished restoring it when the young man was suddenly promoted and transferred to Rhode Island by his employer. Since they are desperate to sell, I believe we may be able to work out favorable terms, if you would allow me to act as your agent. That is, if the house meets with your approval." Both men walked up the sidewalk and climbed the steps to stand before the front door.

"So far I like it a lot, Ez. Let's look inside," Buck said.

"Certainly, Mr. Wilmington. I have the key right here. Allow me," Ezra said taking a set of house keys from his pocket and inserting one into the deadbolt lock on the heavy front door.

Ezra swung the door opened and allowed Buck to enter the home first. Buck stood on the threshold and absorbed the sight before him. To his left was a large living room, and to his right a formal dining room. He could see a swinging door that he imagined lead to the kitchen on the far wall of the dining room. Growing more excited with every step, Buck wandered through the house opening every door and examining every feature as Ezra gave him the guided tour.

"The last owners tore down several walls to enlarge the rooms. It currently has four bedrooms upstairs and a housekeeper´s quarters off the kitchen. There are two complete baths upstairs and a half bath under the stairs, with another full bath in the housekeeper's quarters. The living room, dining room, den, kitchen and breakfast nook are on this floor, with a finished basement below and attic above. The back yard is large and fully fenced."

Buck ended his tour back in the living room. He stood with hands on his hips and turned a complete circle to view the lovely room one more time.

"I love it, Ez, " Buck said in awe, "It's great. Absolutely perfect!" He turned to look at Ezra once more, and caught a look of intense satisfaction on Ezra's face before the usual enigmatic mask fell back into place. "Do you think I can actually get a deal I can afford though? I mean, this house has got to be worth a fortune."

"Leave everything to me, Mr. Wilmington. I guarantee it will be well with in your price range once I am finished."

"You've sold me, Ez, but I think I better get JD's input before I decide for sure. I mean, its only fair since he'll be living here, too."

"Of course. Mr. Dunne should be joining us shortly. I left a message for him on his voicemail giving him the address and approximate time we would be visiting. He phoned me before I left my abode to accept the invitation. He and Mr. Jackson are already in route."

"You've thought of everything, Ez, as usual." Buck teased.

Ezra let that pass without comment.

Buck continued to wander around the house while they waited for JD to arrive. He could envision his little family living in this wonderful house. He saw his friends gathered around in the living room watching Monday night football. He imagined little Angela learning to walk in that big backyard. He could see her one day stretched out on the floor of the den coloring. Something in this house just called out to him and said, "You're home."

The sound of a car pulling up in the drive way drew him to the front door and he watched JD get out of the front seat of Nathan's Explorer and then open the rear door to remove little Angela from her car seat. Nathan opened the other door and removed a small diaper bag that he slung over his shoulder before following JD up the front steps. Buck met his friends with a grin as they entered the house.

"Wow, Buck, "JD enthused, "This house is great."

"I know, kid. Can you believe it? You two take a look around. Get Ez to show you everything." Buck said as he reached over to take Angela from his roommate. "It gets better, believe me."

JD took off at a fast clip, trying to absorb everything at once. "Hey, Ez, where are you?" he shouted.

Nathan followed behind him at slower pace, chuckling at their young friend.

"Well, Angel, what do you think," Buck asked the little girl as he lifted her up in his arms so she could get a good look around. "Do you like it? Think you'd like to live here?"

Angela looked at her father and gave him her prettiest baby smile. The one where she showed her shiny new tooth. "I'll take that as a yes, then," Buck laughed. "Okay, that's two votes for. Let's go see if JD wants to make it unanimous, hmm?"

Buck and Angela went to join their friends in the back yard where JD was currently rolling around in the lush grass. Ezra and Nathan stood by watching the antics of their young friend with amusement. Angela immediately reached out for Ezra as soon as she saw him, and he took her from her father's arms with pleasure. JD jumped up as soon as he saw his roommate pass the child to Ez and attempted to tackle him. At first he only succeeded in knocking him into Nathan, but then managed to take both Nathan and Buck to the ground, before jumping up with a laugh and running away. Nathan and Buck both pursued the young man, vowing vengeance. "Hooligans! " sighed Ezra shaking head and as he carried Angela back into the house.

"Well, my dear, does it meet with your approval?" Ezra asked, and he gently chucked the baby under her drooling chin. "I picked it out just for you. I believe it has everything a little girl could want in a home." Ezra slowly climbed the stairs to the second floor and entered one of the bedrooms whose walls were papered with a dusty pink background scattered with small white rosebuds and lace.

"See, isn't this a lovely room. I image this will be your room, Angela. Isn't it pretty, hmm? I thought your crib could go right here, so you can look out this window. Did you know there is a squirrel that lives in that tree right there? I saw him yesterday when I first visited this home. I think you will find him quite entertaining. I believe your stuffed animal collection will fit nicely on these shelves, don't you agree, and your new toy box can go right there in the corner. We'll put your changing table along that wall and your dresser right beside it. Add some lace curtains on the windows and I think this room with be entirely suitable for our little princess." Ezra smiled down at the children earnestly watching him speak.

"Can you see it, Princess?" he asked softly. Ezra's gaze seem to turn inward as he continued speaking. "I can see it so clearly. Did you know I used to dream of having a home just like this when I was a small boy. I never really had a home of my own, you know. I was always moving from place to place, from one set of friends or relatives to the next. I never knew when I woke up in the morning if I would be going back to sleep in the same bed that night. That's a very terrible feeling , Angela. It's frightening to not have a home. A place you know is yours, that you know you can always come back to no matter where else you might go. I used to lay awake at night and imagine the home I would have one day. A home with big rooms and a big yard to play in. And most importantly, with someone to love me. That's what I truly wanted in my home, Princess. Some who would pick me up and hug me, tickle my ribs and sing me to sleep at night just like I saw people doing on the television shows I watched as a child. I wanted that so much I used to ache for it, before I learned to accept things for the way they were and get on with my life." Ezra gave a deep sigh and returned his attention to the present. Glancing down at the child he continued to hold in this arms, he earnestly whispered, "That's something you will never have to worry about, Princess. You are going to have a home of your own, and I have no doubt there will always be someone in it to love you. Uncle Ezra will help your father make it a home truly worthy of you. Only the best will do for your home, love, and it will be the best, I promise. Uncle Ezra will see to it!"

Young Angela reached out and put one hand on each side of his face, then leaned forward and gave him a open mouthed, sloppy wet, baby kiss right on his chin.

Ezra laughed and hugged her tightly. "Why thank you, my dear. I assure you the sentiment is returned." He gave her a quick kiss on the top of her head. "Shall we return to the rest of our family?" he said before turning around and starting for the door. They met the others coming up the stairs.

"Okay, Ez, we've decided. Time for you to play Monty Hall," Buck grinned.

"I beg your pardon?," Ez queried.

"Let's make a deal, Ez!"

"With pleasure, Mr. Wilmington. . . Buck, with pleasure."

The End

Feedback is welcomed. (Alright, I confess I live for praise. What can I say, it´s an addiction!)