That new life went by in somewhat of a blur at first. Before they even knew it, a few years had gone by, and as such, many a thing had happened too. First and foremost, Sly had finally asked Carmelita to marry him, and much to his delight, she had agreed! It was a small ceremony now true…but it had been a magical one as well. Sly had always thought Carmelita the most beautiful girl in the world…but, somehow, she managed to look even lovelier the day they married. He still could see her in his mind, so lovely in her white floor-length dress, train and all. He remembered how her veil had only enhanced her already exquisite eyes, making them exotic and mysterious. He nearly laughed to himself when he remembered how nervous he had been waiting for his bride-to-be up at the altar. But, all that fretting and worry had been more than worth it when he lifted her veil and gazed into her loving, beautiful face, and in the span of minutes became the happiest man alive!
Soon after that momentous occasion (made even more momentous by the appearance of Carmelita's mother and father…who, trust me, had plenty to say on the matter!), it wasn't too long before the happy couple was blessed with yet another milestone…Carmelita was happily informed that she was expecting! As her pregnancy continued, Sly and Carmelita were quietly amused by the fuss that both Murray and Bentley made over her as soon-to-be uncles.
In due time (for these things do take time, you know) she and Sly were soon the proud parents of four beautiful children.
The eldest, a clever raccoon lad, was promptly named Slyvester Jr., as he looked uncannily like his famous father. The boy had a bit more red in his fur than his proud pappa…that being Carmelita's contribution to the Cooper/Fox mix. Sly convinced Carmelita---though he did have to talk fast and most convincingly!---to let him instruct young Slyvester---when he was old enough, of course---to become a master thief, and thus continue the Cooper Clan's legacy.
The next oldest child, a most bewitching vixen, was named Silvera, and she was just as lovely as her beautiful mother. The most striking thing about this girl was that her fur, instead of being her mother's reddish brown hue, was instead a stunning silver. She also inherited her mother's breathtaking doe-like brown eyes.
Next, was their son, James, a good-looking little fellow of a fox, with dark hair and hazel eyes…like his Aunt Carmen. He was a curious soul, even from birth, and was quick to learn…nearly as fast as he could assimilate it all.
The baby of the Cooper family was little Cecilia, as cute a raccoon girl as any parent could ever hope for. She was an charmingly introspective and quiet child, but had no trouble interacting with her three siblings. While the others did their thing, Cecilia could often be found quietly playing with her doll, her favorite toy.
It was that toy that prompted some of the strife these two parents were beginning to realize came with the territory. Routinely it seemed, the precocious Sly Jr. would stealthily creep up on his baby sister, and purloin the doll when she wasn't looking. Normally, Cecilia was the quietest of the Cooper children, but…not when her doll, who was named Consuela, was taken from her…no sir! She would wail unconsolably until Carmelita intervened, making her son return it to his sister.
Now, Sly and Carmelita were ecstatic at having four wonderful, healthy children. However, both of them---over the span of the first year---became more and more harried-looking, and exhausted each day. So, evenutally, despite their best intentions to go it alone, they were forced at last to forget their pride. Carmelita---and Sly, reluctantly---agreed to ask for the help of Carmen and her husband, Carlos.
That decision made, the next day found Carmelita and Sly out walking their children in a two dual baby carriages in the direction of Carmen's downtown brownstone. As they walked along, Carmelita turned toward her husband. "All right, now…you let me do the talking, you hear? You know that while Carmen has accepted you, she's still a bit hesitant to trust you just yet," Carmelita told him.
Sly only smiled. "Ah, don´t you worry, querera…I won´t speak unless I'm spoken to," Sly promised, though it pained him a bit to say it. Carmelita smiled a special smile for her husband, and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. Before too long, they were finally in front of Carmen´s stately house.
Carmelita picked up and carried Silvera and James, while Sly took charge of Slyvester and Cecilia. Carmelita, now the veteran mother, somehow managed to ring the doorbell with two children in hand, before they both heard Carmen walking toward her front door. As the door opened, Carmen looked out and smiled when she saw her sister.
"Carmelita!" the elder Fox sister exclaimed joyfully, opening the door only to stop short, gaping when she saw her niece and nephew. "My word!"
"Good morning, Carmen," Carmelita greeted her sister, giving her a tired smile. "Do you think you I could impose upon you to…well," she asked, indicating beautiful Silvera with a nod.
"Of course! Give her to me!" Carmen agreed, smiling happily, as she gently took Silvera from her mother, and held her in her own arms. "My dear Carmelita, it is so good to see you. Come now…come inside," she said and beckoned for her and Sly to move indoors. Carmen was surprised by the maternal feelings holding Silvera gave her, and she smiled. "How old are they, sister?"
Carmelita looked over toward Sly who answered for his wife. "Let's see…they are all one year, one months, two weeks, one day, five hours…and about three minutes old," he declared cleverly, impressing Carmen.
Carmen had to smile at his preciseness. "Well, they are all quite beautiful children…and, at least you seem to have them under control," she complimented her sister and brother-in-law. She gently sat Silvera down on the floor in the living room, allowing her to look around her new surrondings. Soon all four of the youngsters were looking around in their Aunt´s living room. Sly took up watching his young ones (as well as Carmen's china and curios which sat in her china cabinet). The two sisters talked about what had brought them together again.
"Well, the reason Sly and I came over today, Carmen…" Carmelita started, smiling as she watched Carmen enjoying her children.
"Wait, Carmelita, let me guess," Carmen interrupted. "These four…they are too much for you both to handle alone, yes?"
Carmelita sighed wearily and nodded. "Yes, Carmen…that's it…precisely. Sly and I haven't had a good night's sleep in what seems ages. Not that I'm complaining, mind you…I love them all very, very much," Carmelita admitted to her sister. "I was sort of hoping…well, if you and Carlos could move in, maybe live with us…just for a while, you know, until we can manage things again. We both need sleep and that hasn't been easy for either of us to get lately."
Carmen watched the four young Coopers ranging about her living room, their father constantly moving to keep up after them. "No, sweetie, I can imagine it has been," Carmen allowed, looking over at Carmelita, who looked much as she always did…but her eyes showed she was pretty much exhausted. Her normally bright brown eyes looked a bit glazed, and she seemed a bit off her game.
Carmelita smiled at her sister. "It's better now that we've gotten all of them on solid food. Before that point, I thanked God each and every day for that breast-pump you gave me for a shower gift, hermana," she admitted, laughing slightly when Carmen chuckled too.
"So…has that husband of yours been helping?" Carmen asked quietly, watching as Sly moved Sly Jr. away from her china cabinet…again. She still had her doubts about her brother-in-law…face it, old prejudices are hard to break sometimes.
"Oh, Carmen," Carmelita replied, giving Sly an adoring look. "I wouldn't of been able to make it without him. He's so good with the children! It nearly broke my heart when I saw him with both Sly Jr. and Silvera in his arms one evening, all of them fast asleep…" She looked over to her sister, questioning.
"All right, all right," Carmen replied after a moment. "I'll concede he's turning out rather well…even by my standards." She turned and took Carmelita's hand. "Very well, Carmelita…Carlos and I will help you both," she conceded, with a shrug and a smile. "After all, you're family."
"Thanks, hermana…you're the best!" Carmelita exclaimed happily, sighing as she threw her arms around her sister. "What can we ever do to repay you?"
Almost as if on queue…the phone chose that moment to ring. "Right on time," Carmen chose to comment, answering the phone, stating, "Hola, the Foxes," before she was forced to hold the receiver a half meter from her ear.
Sly looked up upon hearing a female voice bellowing on the phone in what was obviously Spanish. "Hmm?" he said, looking to Carmelita, who only helplessly shrugged back.
Carmen looked over to Carmelita, "Ah, what timing! Now, you wondered how you could repay me, no? Well, mi pequena hermana…here's your chance. Please explain to Mama---you know that's her!---that I'm not going to manage to change your mind about being married to a criminal. Our parents have been calling, day in and day out to yell at me…FROM SPAIN! See if you can make them see reason…like you managed to do with me. Heh?"
"Carmen, no!" Carmelita squeaked. "Not now…in front of You-Know-Who…" she begged, jerking her chin over at her husband.
"Carmelita," Sly remarked, picking up Silvera to bounce her gently on his knee. "I do have pretty good ears…and I do know you two are talking about me. What's the matter?"
Carmelita blushed. "I-It's my parents," she told him. "And…they're none too happy about my choice of spouse, it seems."
"Hand me the phone, querera," Sly replied, beckoning for her to hand him the handset. "I'll take care of talking to your Mother." He took the handset from Carmelita, who took Silvera off her father's lap. "Buenos Dias, Senora Fox," he smooth-talked. "This is your son-in-law. But before we get acquainted…perhaps you'd care to say something to your grandson or granddaughter, hmm?"
Carmen looked down, as her brother-in-law sweet-talked her parents, at her darling nieces nd nephews, who looked back to their Aunt with big eyes. James, who was most curious of all of them, blinked, then crawled over to her before hugging her around her leg. She was about to pick up James, when she heard her sister correcting one of her children. Carmelita had whisked Sly Jr. away from her china cabinet---again--- who had somehow managed to open it, and had taken a little porcelain fox out of it. She gently slipped it free from from his hands and gave it back to Carmen. "Must be Sly's part of the family, no doubt, yes?" she said with a small laugh.
Carmen just smiled and sat it back into the cabinet with care. "So you and Senor Cooper are parents, eh?" she asked her sister.
Before Carmelita could answer, a deeper voice barked loudly from the phone, making Sly wince at the volume. He looked over at Carmelita, making an embarrassed sort of face. "Well, I think I've got your Mother converted to our cause, my sweet," Sly offered. "However, as you might of guessed by now…I'm having…er, a bit of a problem with your wonderful father…" he finished, his face paling a bit.
Carmelita sighed, handed Sly Jr. over to his father. "Let me talk to him, my love," she told him. "Um, you might want to distance yourself…this isn't going to very pretty." Carmelita took the phone, steeled herself, and then said brightly. "Hola, Papa! It's me…Carmelita!"
It proved a sort of double-edged sword that Carmelita had taught Sly and his friends Spanish, as they were nearly fluent. That observation became even more clear, when Sly clearly heard Carmelita's apparently irate father exlaim, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN I AM GRANDFATHER OF HIS CHILDREN?"
Sly looked over inquisitively at Carmen. "May I assume that a short temper is an affliction all Foxes share then?" he inquired.
"Well, until of late, it was in the female part of it, Senor Cooper," Carmen replied, smiling. "Now…now, I'm beginning to have my doubts…"
"Carmen," Sly remarked wearily. "When are you going to break down and actually call me Sly?"
Carmen had the good graces to blush softly. "Sorry. But, you must understand…it is difficult for us. I know it is hard sometimes…but, please be patient. Carmelita has made her choice, and we will accept that…" she told him, then winced when her father bellowed again over the phone. "Some quicker than others, unfortunately," she added with a grin.
"No problem, Carmen," Sly laughed softly. "I'll just keep using the ol' Cooper charm. You'll all come around…eventually, I hope."
"Si!" Carmen replied, unable to not like her brother-in-law right now. "Um, that brings up something I've been meaning to tell you, Senor…er, Sly."
"Oh?" Sly inquired, bouncing Cecilia on his knee, which made the little girl giggle softly.
Carmen looked down, looking uncomfortable. "I haven't told a soul this…well, except for Carmelita, but...I was assigned your father's case, way back when. I chased him to the end of the Earth and back. It was eerie, you know…every time I heard from Carmelita, when she would regale me with your adventures, I was constantly reminded of your father."
Sly looked over into Carmen's somewhat somber face and smiled weakly. "Dear ol' Dad. You know, I don´t really remember all that much about him. Hey, that makes sense…I was only eight, when he was…er, you know, that is, well, killed." Sly gulped, feeling a most familiar ache in his chest.
"I know, and I'm sorry," Carmen said. "And, after what I have seen of your police record, I can tell you this…though I will deny I ever said it to the end of my days: Sly…your father would of been very proud of you," she told him sincerely. "Now, most probably he would also be a little stunned that you married an ex-cop, mind you. But, he would of been proud of you."
Before Carmen could say more, Carmelita bellowed herself at her pig-headed father. "That's just too bad, Papa! I love him, and you'd better just get used to that fact! Adios!" She slammed the phone down, working very hard to regain her composure. She looked over at both her husband and her sister before groaning, flopping down on the couch and leaning back with a groan, murmuring, "El dios querido nunca me dejó conseguir en el mal lado de las papás otra vez."
Carmen smiled, shaking her head in sympathy for her sister. "Too late for that, sister dear,"she teased. "Now, please give me a minute, and I´ll go have a talk with Carlos. Now, if he agrees, and I think he will, we will then go home and make sure these little darlings of yours have themselves a little nap," she finished, stroking Cecilia's head fondly.
Carmelita smiled at her sister, and then looked down at her children. "Sly!" she complained to her husband, frowning.
"What?" Sly answered, then sighed, seeing the small porcelain fox in his son's hands once more. "What can I say, querera…like father, like son, eh?"
Carmelita scowled at her husband a moment, then sighed before taking the little porcelain fox out of her son's hands. "No, Slyvester…bad boy. You musn´t take your Aunt's things."
"He'll learn, Carmelita," Sly said as he joined his wife on the sofa, putting an arm around her. "After all, he has the advantage I never had…"
"Oh?" Carmelita asked. "And…that would be?" She began to tickle little Sly Jr., distracting him from the fascinating contents of his Auntie Carmen's china cabinet…at least for a while.
"A family, querera," Sly answered, just a bit wistfully. "A family…" He then found his son somehow in possession of yet another small porcelain figure. "Now, where did he get that from?"
Carmen laughed softly then. No doubt about it…this was one weird family. But, weird or not…it was their family…and that was all that counted.
AN: There! Finally finished whit 'To Catch A Cop'. I might make a sequel to this…but, not right away, I'm afraid. Oh, and for those who wondered, here is what Carmelita said after collapsing on the sofa: 'Dear God, let me never get on papa´s bad side again!'
Once again, to all of you who rewieved my story…you guys all rock!