Atlantan Legacy VIII – Jealousy, The Eighth Deadly Sin

by Squeakypeep

Disclaimer: Not Mine.. no profit.

Acknowledgements: Mog’s Universe - Thank you.

Warning: OFC

Thank you to everyone who has sent suggestions, keep ‘em coming. I really appreciate all the support, the best incentive to write fics is all the great email. I love seeing the new messages sign flashing, it sends me flying back to my keyboard! For those who pointed out how many times Rorie ends up in the beds of these two popular characters – this time she doesn’t even get close!

Monday 14th May
Team 7 Offices
‘You all set Ez?’ Chris came out of his office and approached the Undercover Agent.

‘Indeed Mr Larabee. I believe I am adequately prepared. Mr Dunne? Mr Wilmington?’


‘I’m ready.’ JD packed an extra couple of discs into his carry on luggage. ‘I’m looking forward to this, thanks for letting me go Chris.’

‘Just make sure I don’t get any calls from irate husbands, conference organizers or hotel managers and we’ll call it even.’ He included all three departing Agents in his comment.

Ezra raised a brow and saluted in his customary two-fingered fashion.

Buck spluttered until he received a Larabee glare.

JD just grinned.

‘Yes Dad.’ The three smirking Agents announced in unison. Chris growled.

The threesome was going to Chicago for a Law Enforcers Conference on Surveillance and Undercover Codes of Practice. They would be away until Friday. Chris always hated having any of them out of his sight, even for something as innocuous as a conference. He knew his boys too well, they were bound to get into trouble. He expected it. He just hoped the fallout wouldn’t be too serious this time. At the previous conference, Vin and Buck had managed to annoy just about everyone when Vin decided to repay Buck for an earlier prank by throwing a green smoke grenade into the men’s shower block at the hotel sports center. Unfortunately, Wilmington wasn’t the only one using the facilities at the crucial moment and two Japanese businessmen and El Paso’s Chief of police had not been pleased to spend the next three days looking like Kermit the frog.

Ezra turned to his parent substitute. ‘Rorie has promised to behave herself. There will be no repeat of her performance from the last time I was absent.’

Vin nodded, smiling. ‘Don’t worry pard, me ‘n the munchkin have come to an understandin’.’ Ezra nodded.

‘Okay, Josiah, you’d better get going if you’re going to make it to the airport in time for them to catch the flight. Boys, behave.’

The four Agents hurried out to the elevators.

Standish Household

‘I got my cell, Terri, if there’s any problems.’

Terri Greer smiled at the Texan. ‘Vin, we’ll be fine. Go, have a good time and don’t worry about it. I can handle the girls.’ She glanced over her shoulder at the two children, Rorie and Terri’s own daughter, eight-year-old Olivia, who were playing on the carpet with their dolls. Terri and Olivia’s apartment was now completed and so, whenever the two Agents-in-Residence were unavailable, Terri simply opened the interior door linking the basement to the house and watched both kids.

Vin nodded. ‘Okay then.’ He approached the girls. ‘Hey pumpkin. You be good. I’ll see ya in the mornin’ all right?’

Rorie gave him a hug. ‘Do you have to go? Wouldn’t you rather play with us?’

‘Ya know I love playin’ with ya kid, but I like grown-up stuff sometimes too. It ain’t the same thing.’

‘What’s she like?’ Rorie frowned at him.

‘She’s pretty an’ nice an’ she’s been havin’ a tough time lately. I gotta cheer her up some. You wouldn’t want Ms Richmond ta be sad would ya?’

‘I’m gonna be sad ‘cause you’re going out without me.’ Vin laughed and tweaked her nose.

‘I’ll be back in the mornin’ Okay?’ He rose to his feet. ‘Bye ‘livia, bye Terri.’ He shot Rorie a last warning look that she acknowledged with a roll of the green eyes.

Tuesday Morning

Rorie knocked on Vin’s bedroom door and waited to be told to come in.

After a few false starts he had managed to train her not to just arrive unannounced and she dutifully banged on the door at dawn every morning.

There was a pause and the door swung open, itself an unusual occurrence since Vin normally just grunted to her to come in.

Standing in the doorway was a woman, a practically naked woman. Rorie could hear water running in the En-suite bathroom. She looked up into the stranger’s face.

‘Yes? What do you want?’ The tone was frigid. Rorie took a step back.

‘Where’s Uncle Vin?’

‘Little Girl, MISTER Tanner is in the shower, go away and play.’ She shut the door.

Rorie stood still for a moment, gaping at the wood. Turning on her heel she disappeared down the corridor.

Inside, Charlotte smiled at Vin as he appeared from the steamy bathroom clad only in a towel slung loosely around his hips. He was rubbing another through his wet hair.

‘Did I hear a knock? Was Rorie here?’ He glanced around the room. ‘Where’d she go?’

‘She was here, she went to get ready for school.’ The woman wrapped her arms around his waist and slid sensuously against his chest. ‘Will I see you tonight? I have a table booked for dinner, my favourite little Italian place, my treat.’

After casting a last glance at the door Vin returned her embrace. ‘Sure. Sounds good.’ He looked back at the closed door over her shoulder even as he ran his hands over her silk clad back, wondering why Rorie hadn’t at least said good morning.


‘You’re going again? With HER?’ Rorie pouted at Vin. ‘I don’t like her Uncle Vin. Can’t you stay home tonight?’

‘No Rorie, I’m going out.’ He lifted the child’s chin with his index finger. ‘Don’t sulk pumpkin it makes ya ugly.’

‘What do you care? You like HER more than me. You don’t love me anymore!’ She slapped his hand away.

Vin watched her with a frown on his face. It was unlike the happy child he knew to be deliberately rude. He wondered what had put her in such a bad mood.

‘That’s enough! Rorie stop this. Ya know I love ya, but Charlotte’s different, she’s an adult.’

‘You just don’t wanna be with me anymore. Well I don’t wanna be with you either. So there!’

Vin watched as the child ran off, disappearing into the Greer’s apartment to find Olivia. He sighed and pushed a hand through his hair. Terri patted him on the shoulder.

‘She’ll get over it. She’s just jealous.’ He nodded and went to get changed for his date.

When he arrived back downstairs to collect his wallet and keys, Rorie and Olivia were sitting at the kitchen table finishing their homework.

‘Please don’t go Uncle Vin, I don’t feel well.’ Vin and Terri exchanged looks. ‘Please!’

‘It ain’t gonna work pumpkin pie.’ He kissed the top of her head, ‘I’m goin’.’ She sent him a mutinous look. ‘Behave Aurora. I’ll see ya in the mornin’ afore school.’

‘But Uncle Vin, I really don’t feel good!’ Her call chased him out of the house.

Terri approached and placed her hand on Rorie’s forehead. She detected a slight fever. Best to call Nathan to come and look her over. She reached for the phone.

Lorenzo’s Italian Restaurant

‘Vin, Darling, you don’t like the pasta?’ Charlotte smiled at Vin, trying to gain his undivided attention. He was distracted this evening, not giving her the full attention she felt was her due. She suppressed her irritation and smiled at him with saccharine sweetness, showing her teeth.

‘No, no, it’s great. I’m sorry Charlotte, problems at home.’ Unseen by the Texan, the woman rolled her eyes. She knew that cute kid was going to be trouble the minute she saw her.

She batted her lashes at him and turned on the charm, trying to get his mind back on her.

They were on dessert and coffee when she caught sight of a familiar figure in her peripheral vision. Now was her chance.

Shifting around in the booth until she was practically sitting on Vin’s lap, she put her arms around his waist and kissed his temple. ‘Why don’t you tell me all about it, Lover.’ She breathed.

Vin was turning towards her, surprised by the sudden overture, when he realized they had company. He looked up into the face of an angry, dark haired man looming over their table. Charlotte was smiling at the visitor in triumph and the hairs on the back of Vin’s neck rose. He looked from one to the other.

‘Charlotte. What a surprise.’


Vin rose to his feet. ‘An’ you are?’ He focused on the man, noting his aggressive stance.

‘Will Richmond. I’m Charlotte’s husband.’

‘Estranged husband, darling, get it right.’

Richmond glared at his wife. Turning abruptly he stormed out.

A startled Major domo, leaping out of his way, nearly upset a waiter balancing a huge tray of loaded plates. The two did a quick two-step and caught the teetering tray, averting disaster. The head waiter shot the disruptive dinner guests a dark look.

Vin turned to his date, catching a look of immense satisfaction on her face. He experienced a brief flash of hurt, quickly chased away by annoyance.

‘It’s all about him ain’t it?’ He shook his head. Goddamn, he’d fallen for a pretty face and a sob story, again. ‘Yer usin’ me ta make him jealous.’

Charlotte’s protestations of innocence were cut off when Vin’s phone began to ring. She placed her hands over his, ‘don’t answer it.’ He shook her off.

‘Tanner. Hey Nate. What? When? Oh shit. Okay I’m comin’.’ He hung up and reached for his wallet. Throwing down a pile of notes he could ill-afford he glared at his companion. ‘Thanks for the eye opener, Darlin’.’ He strode off, leaving a pissed off harlot fuming at the table.

She glared at the interested audience at the neighbouring tables. They quickly resumed eating.

Emergency Room
Mercy General Hospital
20 Minutes later

A breathless Vin arrived in emergency and immediately spotted Chris leaning against the wall.

‘Cowboy? What happened? Where is she?’

‘Let’s take a seat Vin.’

The two claimed two familiar plastic chairs in a quiet corner.


‘Terri called Nathan not long after you went out tonight…where’s your date?’

‘Don’t ask.’

‘Okay well, Nate went over and checked her out, she had a little fever and was sleepy so he put her to bed and told Terri he’d stay and see how it developed. About 9 o’clock he went up to check on her and she’d been sick. He was cleaning her up when he realized she was sensitive to the light and when he tried to put her back into bed she curled up with her head pulled right back. Apparently, Nate recognized that as the signs of something serious. He shoved her in the car and brought her here.’

‘Signs o’ what Chris?’

‘Nate thinks she might have meningitis.’

‘Oh Fuck. That’s serious ain’t it?’

‘Yeah. They did some tests, blood and X-rays, and then a little while ago they called Nate and Josiah to hold her down while they did a Lumbar puncture.’

‘Oh God, poor kid.’


‘Has anybody called Ez?’

‘Yeah, I called him on my way here. He’s gonna get the first available flight back.’

‘I shouldda been there, Chris. She told me she didn’t feel well. I thought she just didn’t want me ta go out with Charlotte. I shouldda seen it.’

‘Vin, you couldn’t have known. I’ve had a kid and I probably wouldn’t have recognized it as quick as Nate. We’re lucky he volunteered to go round. Terri’s a mom and even to her it was just a fever. Besides, it may not be anything that serious. We just don’t know yet.’

They both stood as Josiah and Nathan approached looking haggard.

‘Brothers that is not an experience I would care to repeat if I live to be a hundred.’ Josiah swept his hand over his face, forehead to chin.

‘What’s happening Nate? Can I see her?’ Vin was really worried. He NEEDED to see her.

‘Sorry Vin. They’re putting her in isolation until the test results come back. No visitors. I’ll check with the doctor and see if we can watch her through the glass. She needs to know we’re around.’ Nathan moved off to the nurse’s station.

Josiah clamped a firm hand on Vin’s shoulder as he made to follow. ‘Hold on Vin. You’ll get a chance in a minute.’

‘Josiah, I need ta see her. She begged me not ta go out…’

‘Vin, you can’t be there all the time. Calm down. Focus on what she needs now and save your energy. If it is Meningitis Ez is going to need our support.’

Vin nodded and kept his eyes glued to Nathan who was engaged in a rapid-fire discussion with the Senior Nurse. Finally they seemed to reach agreement and Nathan returned to the group to inform Vin that they would allow two visitors up to the paediatric ward.

Chris and Vin set off immediately while Josiah called Ezra to find out whether he’d managed to book a flight.

Pediatric Department

Vin gazed through the glass at the little figure on the bed. She looked so tiny and very sick. An IV was attached to her left hand, bandaged and splinted to keep her from removing it. A riot of red-blond curls clung damply to her head. He leaned his head against the cool surface.

Chris took a seat and waited.

They’d been there for an hour when Josiah and Nathan came up behind them. At Chris’s raised brow Josiah explained.

‘It seems the reputation of Team 7 has spread to the Children’s Ward, brother. They decided not to try and keep us out as long as we behaved.’ He smiled. ‘How’s she doing?’

Chris shook his head. ‘She hasn’t moved.’ He looked at Tanner who remained leaning against the glass. ‘Neither has he.’

Josiah nodded.

‘Vin! Vin come over here. I’ve had a talk with the Doctor.’ Tanner raised his head and turned to Jackson.

‘It’s bacterial meningitis, the lab confirmed it.’ He hurried on as Vin turned a whiter shade of pale. ‘Don’t panic, we caught it really early.’

‘That’s good right?’

‘Definitely. In cases where it goes unrecognised it can be fatal. If left too long some kids can experience serious permanent damage, even if they recover from the illness itself.’

‘What sort o’ ‘damage’?’

‘Deafness, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, impaired mental function… relax Vin. It’s extremely unlikely. They don’t think Rorie’s infection got a chance to get really established. We caught it too quickly. She’s got an excellent chance of making a complete recovery, without damage. She has to stay in hospital for a while and have intravenous antibiotics but she should be back to driving us all crazy in no time.’ He smiled at the sharpshooter who smiled back wearily.

‘Can I go in?’

‘Doc says since you’re officially her parent, at least till Ez gets back, that you can go sit with her.’ He glanced over Tanner’s shoulder at the child. ‘Now would be good cause I think she’s coming round.’

They all turned, and sure enough the child was beginning to toss restlessly in the narrow cot.

Rorie awoke completely miserable. She was grumpy and angry to find herself uncomfortable in a strange place. She attacked the nearest available target. Unfortunately that happened to be an already guilt-ridden Vin.

‘Go ‘way.’

Vin leaned closer. ‘Hey Rorie, how ya feelin’?’

‘As if you care. Go back to HER, I don’t want you! Where’s Daddy? Daddy! DADDY! I want my Daddy!’

A nurse rushed in and attempted to calm the distraught child. Vin gripped the little hand. ‘Rorie, com’on pumpkin, calm down, he’s comin’.’

‘GO AWAY! I HATE YOU! GO AWAY!’ She was screaming by now and the nurse turned on Vin and ordered him out. She shot a mild sedative into the IV and the little patient quickly succumbed to sleep.

A very pale Sharpshooter stumbled from the hospital room. Josiah caught him as he tried to make for the elevators. ‘She doesn’t mean it brother, she’s just hurting and taking it out on you.’

‘I deserve it Josiah. I wasn’t there fer her. I told her I’d always be there. I lied.’

Vin collapsed into a chair and hung his head.

Chris motioned to Nathan to take over with the child. He and Josiah sat with Vin and tried to talk some sense into him.

In the early hours of the morning Ezra, Buck and JD appeared.

‘Gentlemen, how’s she doing?’ A worried looking Ezra approached the glass and peered through. Nathan saw him and withdrew from his bedside vigil.

‘Ezra, hi. She’s making good progress. The infection seems to be responding to the antibiotics and she should be much more comfortable when she comes round.’ Ezra sat patiently through the explanation from the medic, nodding at appropriate moments and asking questions.

‘Thank God for your vigilance and expertise, Nathan.’ Jackson nodded and grinned at the use of his first name. Old Ez was more shook up than he was letting on.

‘Vin, did you…Where is Mr Tanner?’ The others looked around, noticing for the first time that the Tracker had pulled a silent vanishing act.

‘Damn!’ Ezra turned to Josiah as he made the exclamation.

‘Mr Sanchez? Is there something else going on here that I should know about?’

Chris and Josiah exchanged looks. ‘Go find him Chris, I’ll fill Ez in on the details.’ Larabee left as Ezra turned to the profiler.

‘Mr Sanchez?’

Wednesday Afternoon

Rorie wriggled, trying to get comfortable.

‘Honeybee? Are you awake?’

‘Daddy?’ Green eyes blinked. ‘Where… Oh.’ She looked around, taking in the sight of her normally immaculately turned out parent looking decidedly dishevelled. ‘I got sick didn’t I?’

‘Yes Honeybee, very sick. You’re in the hospital. How are you feeling?’

Her brow creased as she considered that. ‘Okay, I guess. Did you finish your con’fence?’

Ezra chuckled. ‘No my Dahling, you rescued me!’

Rorie chuckled in response. ‘Good! Did I rescue Uncle Buck and Uncle JD too?’

Ezra’s chuckle turned into a laugh. ‘Yes you did. They’re here too.’ He pointed at the row of spectators pressed up against the glass wall. Buck was making faces and JD had his nose pressed against the hard surface and his eyes crossed. Chris, Nathan and Josiah were grinning at her.

‘Where’s Uncle Vin?’

The Undercover Agent’s infamous poker face put in an appearance. ‘I was wondering if perhaps you could tell me. What do you remember?’

‘He went out for dinner with the wicked witch and then Uncle Nathan came and put me to bed.’

He chose not to comment on her opinion of Vin’s date. ‘Anything else?’

‘Um…’ She plucked at the sheets with small fingers.


‘I think I was kinda mean to him.’ She looked away.

Ezra sighed. ‘Why would you want to be mean to Uncle Vin?’

‘He wanted to be with the witch lady.’ Her defiant tone turned to a whisper as she added, ‘He doesn’t love me anymore.’ She hiccupped and sniffed.

Pitiful, positively pitiful. He’d never seen such a self-pitying expression.

‘Aurora Standish. How can you say that? You know very well that Uncle Vin loves you. Just like they all do.’ He nodded towards the comic group at the window, now performing an ATF version of Punch and Judy.

‘You DO know that don’t you?’

Rorie nodded, turning tear filled eyes up to her father. ‘I know he DID. But… but…then I was mean to him. Now he really will hate me!’ The tears trickled down her flushed face.

Ezra carefully gathered the distraught child onto his lap, mindful of the IV. ‘Honeybee, nothing you could do would be awful enough to make any of us hate you, nothing, not ever. Uncle Vin will always love you. But you did hurt him. My guess is he’s sitting somewhere all alone and very sad because he is under the impression that YOU hate HIM.’

‘But Daddy I don’t, I love Uncle Vin.’

‘It’s not me you should be telling Baby Girl.’

‘Can you find him for me and tell him? I don’t think I’m allowed out.’

‘No you’re not, not for a while yet. I could venture out and try to persuade him to come and visit you, but you must correct your own mistakes.’ Ezra watched the thoughts processing behind the familiar green eyes.

Finally she whispered ‘will he come?’

‘If I tell him you want him to, I think he will. Do you want to see him?’


‘Okay, well how about if Uncle Buck and Uncle JD come in and stay with you while I go and retrieve him?’

‘Okay.’ She brushed a baby soft hand over his cheek. ‘You need a shave anyway Daddy.’

He laughed and plopped her back on the bed. ‘Be good. I’ll be back soon. Is there anything you want me to bring you?’


Ezra had a sudden vision of leading the pony through the sanitized hospital corridors.

‘Very funny.’

Standish Household
Wednesday Evening

As the black Jaguar purred into the driveway, Vin was packing his stuff into the battered old jeep. He glanced over his shoulder at his friend but didn’t stop what he was doing.

The Texan had hoped to be gone before Ezra got home. It would be more difficult now. He knew Standish would try and talk him out of it.

‘Are you going somewhere Mr Tanner?’

‘I’s gonna move back inta my own ‘partment Ez. I don’t wanna make Rorie uncomfortable. I ain’t gonna avoid her,’ he rushed to assure the calm Southerner, ‘I jest don’t think I kin live here anymore.’

‘Whatever you think is best.’ Tanner was dumbstruck. That was easy.

‘Perhaps, if you have time, you could stop by the hospital on your way. Rorie’s awake and calling for you.’

‘Me? She wants me?’

‘Yes Mr Tanner, you.’ Ezra gazed at the younger man. ‘She sent me home to change,’ he grinned, ‘and shave, but it was you she needed when I left, as always.’


‘Vin, she was sick and feeling sorry for herself. Don’t take what she said to you as gospel. . She had undergone a miserable and painful experience. She is only four Vin, she took her anger and pain out on you. Did you ask yourself why?’

‘Cause I abandoned her.’

‘No, because she knew she could say anything to you.’

‘I wasn’t there when she needed me.’

‘Neither was I.’

Vin thought about that. ‘Yeah but you’re her father, you kin do no wrong.’

Ezra laughed. ‘Neither can you! The light shines out of Uncle Vin.’ He laughed again.

He put his hand on the Texan’s shoulder. ‘Consider, my friend, what exactly she said to you. Simply put, that little girl was jealous of your ladyfriend, feeling pushed aside in your affections. Surely you are familiar with the saying ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!’’

Vin pulled a face. ‘I ain’t goin through this ever’time I date.’

‘That you should worry. I have a date for next Saturday, let’s see how she reacts to that!’

Vin laughed, relieved. ‘Perhaps that would be a good time ta wear that Kevlar vest ya hate so much!’

Mercy General Hospital
Pediatrics Department

When Vin appeared at the interior glass window of Rorie’s Hospital room, Buck and JD quickly excused themselves. Both smiled and winked at the team sharpshooter as they passed him in the doorway. Vin stood aside an allowed the door to whisper shut.

‘Hey Pumpkin Pie. Kin I come in?’

Rorie nodded but didn’t speak.

He walked over and sat down in the chair beside her bed. They regarded each other in silence for a few moments.

Vin watched as the expressive emerald eyes filled with unshed tears.

‘Ah Pumpkin, don’t cry. Please don’t.’ She stretched out her arms to be picked up and wordlessly he complied. He settled her astride his hips, her tummy and face pressed against his chest, the curly haired head tucked securely under his chin.

He waited until the storm abated and handed her a tissue from the box on the bedside table.

‘Ya better not be usin’ my shirt ta wipe yer nose on, kid.’ She laughed, half hiccup, half snort.

Rorie wiped her face with the Kleenex and lifted her face to look into the sapphire eyes.

‘I’m sorry I yelled at you Uncle Vin.’ She sniffed. ‘I didn’t mean it. Please don’t hate me!’ The emerald pools started filling again.

‘Oh, Rorie, I could never hate ya kid. How would I git up in the mornin’ if I didn’t have ya comin’ in fer our cuddle? Ya weren’t there this mornin’ an’ look how late I am.’

She smiled at him weakly. ‘You’re silly. I bet you still got up early.’

‘Yep. But it wasn’t nearly so much fun. It don’t feel right without my cuddle at dawn.’ He kissed the tip of her nose. ‘I love ya, baby girl, ya know that don’t ya?’

‘Oh Uncle Vin, I love you too!’ She threw her arms around his neck in a tight hug. They stayed like that for quite a while until…

‘Uncle Vin?’

‘Mmmm?’ Vin rubbed his chin across the soft curls.

‘What happened to the wicked witch?’ He snorted.

‘Ya mean Ms Richmond? Why’d ya call her that?’

‘She told me to go away when I came to see you this morning, I mean, yesterday morning.’

‘She did?’ Vin frowned.

‘She was mean. You aren’t gonna bring her home again are you?’ He looked at her hopeful expression.

‘No. I ain’t seein’ her anymore.’ Rorie took on a look of smug satisfaction and he hastily added, ‘But I’m gonna date, Rorie. I like datin’ and before ya ask, it’s a grown up thing. Ya like Casey don’t ya? She’s datin’ Uncle JD.’

Rorie absorbed this and nodded. ‘Casey’s Okay, and Mrs Travis is nice. Is she dating Uncle Chris?’

Vin snorted. ‘That’s somethin’ we all wanna know, even Chris.’ He set her away so she was sitting on his knees.

‘Now ya listen ta me Aurora Standish an ya listen good. I’m gonna date an’ I don’t wanna have ta fight with ya ever’ time. Ya understand?’

Rorie nodded.

‘It don’t mean I love ya less, it jest means I like the company o’ grown up ladies sometimes.’

‘I’m delighted to hear that, Mr Tanner. In that case may I come in?’ A new voice spoke from the door.

‘Hi, I’m Doctor Waterhouse, Rorie’s paediatrician here at Mercy.’ She smiled at Vin and he shook the proffered hand.

‘How are you this evening Sweetheart?’

‘Hey Doctor Jo. Okay I guess. Can I go home now?’

The attractive young doctor joined Vin’s laughter. ‘No Rorie, not yet. You’ll be my guest here for a few more days. It’ll give me time to get to know all your handsome Uncles better!’ She bounced her eyebrows at Rorie who giggled.

Vin flushed scarlet.

They both laughed harder.

Friday 25th May
Standish/Tanner Household

‘We’ve both got our cell phones, Terri, if there’s any problems.’

Terri Greer smiled at the two handsome men. ‘We’ll be fine. Go, have a good time and don’t worry about it. I can handle the girls.’ She glanced over her shoulder at the two children who were playing with lego on the carpet.

They both nodded. ‘Okay then.’ Together they approached the girls.

‘Hey pumpkin. You be good. I’ll see ya in the mornin’ all right?’

Rorie gave Vin a hug. ‘What’s she like?’

‘She’s pretty an’ nice an’ ya kin say hello ta her ‘cause they’re meetin’ us here.’

‘Rorie.’ The child turned to her father and frowned at him.

‘You aren’t bringing anyone home tonight are you Daddy?’

Ezra shot Vin an exasperated look when he laughed. ‘Not yet, Dahling. But it may happen one day if I find the right person.’ Her frown deepened and he laughed and ruffled the loose curls. ‘Don’t give me any grief Honeybee, we’ve talked about this.’

The doorbell sounded, bringing an end to the teasing.

Ezra and Vin rose to their feet as Terri answered the door and their dates appeared.

‘Doctor Jo!’ Rorie’s mouth fell open as her doctor stepped forward to receive a chaste kiss from Uncle Vin. She gaped at them and they both laughed.

Ezra’s date smiled down at the little girl, dark brown eyes dancing with humor. Ezra slipped an arm around her waist.

‘Inez, this is my daughter, Aurora. Rorie, this is Miss Inez Recillos.’

Rorie’s mouth dropped open again. ‘Not… Not… ‘THE’ Inez? The one Uncle Buck keeps talking about?’

Ezra raised his eyebrows and then frowned. ‘We’ll talk about that later, Rorie.’

Inez laughed. ‘I have better taste than that!’

Rorie grinned. ‘Please to meet you Miss ‘Nez. I think you’ve got great taste!’ She hugged her father’s leg and gave him a kiss goodbye when he obligingly leaned down to her.

‘Bye Daddy, Bye Uncle Vin,’ she waved at them as they climbed into the Jag, ‘Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!’

The car roared away to the sounds of laughter, both male and female, and a distinctly Southern ‘I’m going to gag that little….’

The End

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