[b]A Bad Start
August 11, 4:29 EDT[b]
The front door opened as Grace Emilia Ross walked through it. She looked around. "Sasmootch?" she called for her dog questioningly when she heard the back door close. "Hello?" she asked. "Is someone there?" she cautiously left the front door, and upon entering the living room to the right, she craned her neck, trying to see into the kitchen around the corner. "Dad, is that chou?" walking around the corner, she saw her dog sitting on the hard wood floor, waiting for her.
"Oh Sasmoa. Was that you making all that noise? You silly dog." she said, petting the animal furiously. After letting the dog out into the large, white fenced backyard, she walked back through the living room to the stairs, and up to her room. It was right at the top step, and at the end of the long hallway.
Dropping her backpack at the door, she plopped on her pink and black mixed bedspread. Closing her brown eyes, she began to doze off, thinking of Ray Stevens. The hottest guy in school always gave her good dreams.
She groaned in response.
She heard Doctor Ross call her again, louder, this time he was standing at the bottom of the stairs. "Hun, it's time for dinner." Her eyes jerked open. [i]SEVEN O'FOUR PM[i] her clock's face said. [i]Oh gosh[i], she thought, [i]I was asleep, for what, 2 hours?[i] Wide awake, she pulled her shoulder length, dark brown hair back, trying to tame the frizz as she glided down the stairs.
She wasn't tall, but she wasn't short. Nor could she have ever expected what was going to happen to her in the next few days...
"Morning," Doctor Ross said, placing the last dish on the table. She froze and stared. "Everything okay?" he inquired cheerfully.
"You actually made dinner? And the table?" she was stupefied as she watched her dad move about. Slowly Grace took her seat. "Everything okay with you?"
"Yeah, well your mother did teach this old dog a few tricks," he said, sitting down himself. "Won't you join us?" he asked glancing over Grace's head.
"Dad, I am. Glad to see how easy I am to ignore," she grumbled, grabbing some bread from the fancy serving dish, not noticing that the good china was out.
"Nah, I'm not hungry," a young boy answered, hidden behind her.
"What the...?" Grace looked over her shoulder with a piece of bread hanging from her mouth. She gazed at Robin, who was in his disguise. He was leaning up against the door frame, watching over the whole room like some ominous guardian or something.
"Uh, dad. Who's that?" Grace pointed a fork over her shoulder, forcing herself to smile sarcastically.
"Oh, this is...um..," Doctor Ross stared at Robin, motioning with his hand.
The Boy Wonder raised an eyebrow behind his sunglasses. "Caleb," he slowly said, amused, it donging on him that, even though he had explained as much as he could about the situation to Ross, he never gave the Doctor his alias. He knew Batman would not have been pleased, but still, he was humored.
He had a right to be...right? This was his chill time, and you know, maybe he was just a little more special than the others on his team, at least when it came to undercover ops. It's not like they would be able to hold a cover, stay alert, or react in a nanosecond like he could.
"Oh, yes... Grace, this is Caleb," Ross stammered.
"Shure he is," the daughter muttered to herself.
The rest of the meal was quiet while Ross and Grace ate, 'Caleb' surveying the scene.
The dining room was to the left when you walk in through the front door. It was good sized, had a large oak table in the center. The table itself could have sat eight, if the leaf was in place. There were a few very decorative chairs sitting around it. Even fewer highly decorated serving dishes, plates, and pieces of silverware which were all placed on the table. The white tablecloth was hidden under as many place mats as there were places. Which there were six of to be exact.
After the meal...
"Okay go on, scat!" Ross commanded, verbally shooing Grace and Caleb out of the dining room. "I'm cleaning up. Um, Caleb you can watch some TV if you want. And Grace; you start on your homework young lady."
Caleb, leaving his post on the door frame, casually followed Grace to the living room. Collapsing on a plush, expensive, leather sofa, he kicked his feet up on the short table in the center of the rectangular room. Grace sat down on her own chair, grabbed the remote, and turned on the wide screen TV. She didn't know what was on the channel that the TV was already on, and it was a commercial anyway.
"So, who the heck are you?" she asked Caleb, not even glancing at the suspicious newby.
"Caleb Lyman. Uh, you're dad's fostering me while the orphanage's getting remodeled," he answered, turning his head to look at her. "It should only take a few days," he muttered, mostly trying to convince himself that this would be over soon.
"Oh the orphanage? Well isn't that sweet..," she responded defensively.
"Shouldn't you be getting to your homework anyway?" he hinted to her, not fazed by her outburst.
"Shouldn't you mind your own business? And take those stupid glasses off, you're inside genius." Grace slumped deep into her leather chair, turning the volume up on the show that she wasn't really even watching.
Convinced that the conversation was over, and making sure that it was just in case, Caleb glanced at the TV, his thin, lack eyebrow cocked. "You watch this often?"
"All the time," she muttered stifling a yawn.
He looked from her back to the screen. Standing, he walked behind her on is way to the window. "Don't fall asleep... I watch you when you sleep," he whispered to the back of her head as she began to doze.
"What?" her eyes shot open.
"Made you look," he teased leaning over her to grab the remote.
"Hey! Give it back!" she demanded, diving for his hand.
"You need to get to work on your homework," Caleb mocked, hiding his arms behind his back.
"You need to stay out of my business!" she scolded, trying to reach around him.
"So then you haven't told your dad about that guy," he swooped under her, jumped up, and landed squatting on the couch.
"Yeah, what guy?" Grace froze in horror staring at her dad. Ross stared back, his gaze demanding answers.
Caleb chuckled, tuned the TV off, and fell back, sitting on the sofa. If he had a sister, he would treat her something like this. And she would respond something like that... He turned his head to watch her storm up the stairs. Her glare bounced off his shining glasses.