" Thanks again, Larry," Madeline said as she picked up her four year old from his chair.
" It's not a problem," Larry replied smiling, " I'm just glad I can help."
" Well, it's very sweet of you," Madeline said as she put her son down.
Grabbing apad and a pen she began jotting down a small list. Her four year old looked up at her and then turned to Larry. The older man smiled as an analyzing look crossed the little boy's face.
" Daddy?" the boy finally said, somehow coming to the conclusion that Larry was his father.
Madeline jerked up and looked down at her son. Looking over apologetically at Larry she was relived to see him smile. Ripping the slip of paper from the pad, she checked it over again.
" Sorry about that," she said, and as if compeled to explain she added, " Dominic hasn't seen his father since he was two and a half. I suppose since he didn't recognize you he thought..."
" No explanation needed," Larry said holding up a hand to stop her, " It's not that big a deal."
" Okay," replied Madeline grateful. Handing him the list, " Well, everything you need to know is right there. Dominic's bed time is eight and I left his supper in the fridge."
" Alright," Larry said, taking the list, " I'm sure we'll be fine."
Madeline smiled. Squatting down she kissed Dominic goodbye and said, " You be a good boy for Professor Fleinhardt, alright."
The little boy looked up at his mom. He didn't seem to comprehend what was going on, however. Madeline stood up and walked to the door of her apartment.
" Thanks again, Larry," she said, " I owe you one."
" It's not trouble," Larry replied, " And there's no need to worry, we'll be just fine. Enjoy yourself."
" Right," Madeline commented to herself, " I get to go enjoy a long, atrocious meeting with a bunch of stiff-shirts."
She walked out the front door and looked back. She watched her son look at Larry with questioning eyes and then walk up and take the man's hand. Turning back she hid the smile forming on her face. She had known Larry long enough to know he was a very sweet man and that Dominic was in good hands. With that added comfort she headed for the elevator.
Larry looked down in suprise at the small boy. Another smile crossed his face as he saw the look of innocent grief that filled the young boy's eyes.
" Well, Dominic," he said, " I don't know about you, but I'm rather hungry. Why don't we get you something to eat?"
The four year old looked at Larry in confusion. Then as if figuring out what he meant he pulled Larry's hand and guided him towards the kitchen. The look of grief had left his eyes. The look was replaced by a devilish gleam that Larry did not see, and probably would not have recognized.