That night, around eight o'clock, Gary said good bye to Marissa and headed for the warehouse. When he got there, he could hear noise inside; voices.

He immediately ran to the nearest pay phone and dialed the police station. He informed them of where his younger cousins were and surprisingly, they said that they were on their way.

Gary waited impatiently for the police. He could hear the muffled voices in the old building, but could make out what they were saying. Soon, the police pulled up with their sirens and surrounded the building.

"You got any idea who's got them?" The chief officer asked Gary.

"Dupree, Carney Sam Dupree." Gary replied.

"Oh, boy. Not again. This guy never learns." The officer groaned.

Gary watched as the police worked on getting the kids out of the building… alive. He listened as they tried to get Dupree to come out. And eventually, after an hour of trying, they did.

Dupree gave up and came out of the building. A minute later, an officer brought Michael and Christy out. The kids looked tired and scared.

Christy ran over to Gary. She had tears streaming down her dirty face as she sobbed into his chest. As Gary held the little girl close, comforting her, he watched Michael. The boy was standing off to the side a little bit. He looked both, scared and ashamed, and Gary had an idea that Michael was the one with the bright idea to run away.

"I'm sorry, Gary," Christy said, looking at his face, "I'm sorry I ran away."

The police gave them the 'okay' to go home, so the three left the busy area filled with reporters and police.

As they walked back to McGinty's, Christy fell asleep while Gary carried her. He stopped and looked down at Michael.

"Michael," He began.

"Yes, sir?" The boy replied, politely for a change.

"We're going to have a talk when we get back." Gary told him.

Michael sighed. Boy was he in for it.

When they got back to McGinty's, Marissa was still there, "Gary?" She asked, expectantly.

"I've got them." Gary replied.

"Oh, thank God!" Marissa breathed a sigh of relief, "Are they okay?"

"They're just fine, as far as I can tell." Gary answered her.

"Well, I guess I'd better get going. I'll see you three tomorrow," She said.

"Good night, Marissa." Gary told her and he started up the stairs.

When the three reached the loft, Gary laid Christy on her side of her bed and covered her up. He instructed Michael to get cleaned up and ready for bed.

The boy did as he was told and a few minutes later, he and Gary were sitting on Gary's bed, talking.

"Michael, why did you runaway?" Gary asked him.

"I, I didn't want to stay here." He replied.

"Why not?" Gary asked him, "You are going home tomorrow, anyway!"

"I know." He answered.

"Michael, you're not making any sense." Gary said, exasperated, "I don't think I have to tell you that that could've turned out pretty bad back there."

"I know, Gary, and I'm sorry! I really am sorry!" Michael spoke.

"Why don't you tell me why you've been acting up, Michael?" Gary asked him.

Michael looked down at the bed, ashamed, "I'm sorry I acted real mean, but my mom and dad are going to split up and it's all my fault!"

"Your fault?" Gary exclaimed, "What are you talking about?"

"Never mind, you wouldn't understand." Michael tried to brush it off.

"No, go ahead and tell me." Gary coaxed, "I'm listening."

"My mom and dad are going to split up because I've drove them crazy all these years. I'm a brat and a pain! That's why they sent me here to stay with you." Michael said.

"That's not true, Michael." Gary tried to tell him.

"Yes, it is!" Michael exclaimed.

"No, it's not!" Gary argued, "Your parents are having problems of their own right now. It has nothing to do with you. They sent you and your sister here, so that they could try to work things out peacefully. They don't want to take anything out on you and they don't want to get a divorce, either. Do you understand?"

"Do you really mean that, Gary?" Michael asked, tears in his eyes, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I mean that, Michael," Gary said firmly, "Your mom and dad, they love you. Your sister loves you, I love you, and so does Marissa!"

Michael lunged into Gary's arms, taking his older cousin by surprise. Gary slowly wrapped his arms around the changed boy.

"Thank you, Gary." The boy said softly.

Gary smiled, "You're welcome. Now, it's late and time for bed."

"Okay." Michael said, climbing off the bed, "Good night, Gary."

"Good night, Michael." Gary told him.


"You all ready to go, guys?" Gary double-checked.

"Yes, Gary." The kids told him.

It was the next day and Gary was getting ready to take the kids to the airport. When Michael had woken up earlier that morning he had apologized to Marissa and Chuck for the way he had acted. All was forgiven and everybody was happy.

"Okay, then," Gary said, picking up one of their bags, "Let's go."

The kids said good bye to Chuck and Marissa and then climbed into the back seat of the McGinty's van. This time Michael buckled in.

When they reached the airport, they quickly got ready to board the plane that would take them to Columbus.

"Good bye, Gary," Christy said, hugging Gary's neck, "I'll miss you."

"Good bye, Christy," Gary said, "Don't worry, we'll see each other again sometime."

The little girl smiled. She was sad to leave Chicago, but she was glad she was going home.

"Good bye, Gary," Michael said, also giving Gary a hug, "Thanks for the swell time. I really enjoyed the baseball game, even if I didn't act like it."

"Well, I'm glad you enjoyed, Michael. Who knows," Gary said, playfully punching the boy's shoulder, "Maybe you'll play for the Cubs some day."

After talking a few more moments, the children boarded the plane. Gary waved to them and left when the plane took off. He hoped that everything turned out okay at home.


One Week Later

Gary read the letter from his cousin out loud to Marissa. Chuck had left a few days ago.

"Dear Gary," Gary read, "First of all, I want to thank you for watching Michael and Christine for Jennifer and I. It helped a whole lot and we really appreciate it. The children came home telling of their many adventures, including one which I'm not so sure I believe.

Jennifer and I have settled our arguments and things are going much smoother in our home now. We'd like to have you visit us sometime. Please consider our offer. It's the least we could do.

Anyway, thanks again. Give my regards to your friends, Marissa and Chuck, whom I've heard many good things about.

Sincerely,

David Hobson

"Well, that's good, Gary." Marissa said, pleased with the good news, "I'm glad to hear that things are working out."

"Yeah, me, too." Gary agreed, folding the letter up.

"Why don't you invite the kids over again sometime, Gary?" Marissa suggested.

Gary laughed nervously, "I don't know, Marissa. Maybe when I'm not in charge of so many other different things at the same time."

"You mean, like; dealing with the Paper?" She asked, smiling.

"And Chuck…" Gary groaned.

"…And Dupree!" They said together.

Yes, Gary had done a lot the past two weeks. Some of them he had enjoyed, but he was glad it was over.


Disclaimer:

I do not own any of these characters except for Carney Sam Dupree, Ginger da Vinci, David, Jennifer, Michael, and Christy Hobson.