Disclaimer: I do not own anything from/ related to National Treasure.
Claimer: I own Carolyn. She's one of my copyrighted creations. Thank you.
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My first National Treasure fic, and I'm so happy. I've had this idea for some time, but I've been so busy, I haven't had the time! And now, since my wonderful sister got me the movie for my birthday, I've been watching nonstop, working out little things hear and there. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this. Some action, some adventure, some romance, and some very good secrets and cliffhangers to come! I hope you read and feel intrigued to keep going! Please enjoy and let me know what you thought with a review when you're done reading. I'd very much appreciate the ideas and feedback you all have! Again, enjoy!
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. Chapter One .
Annoyingly enough as Riley Poole stepped off of his ten-hour flight from England half asleep and made his way into the dismal terminal (where everyone else looked to be experiencing the same joys of jet lag as Riley), his cell phone rang. He rolled his eyes drowsily wondering who would be calling him at 11:30 at night as he took it out of his pocket. Riley flipped it open and held the phone so loosely that it stood a great chance of slipping out of his hand.
"Hello?" he asked in a very deep, scratchy voice as he stood wavering somewhat off to the side of the gate he had just exited.
"Riley, it's Ben," his friend said on the other line. Then Riley remembered: Ben was picking him up here at the airport since it was a late flight. He thanked his best friend inwardly many times over and over until he got tired of it two seconds later.
"Could've fooled me," Riley commented sarcastically. "Where are you, Ben?"
"Standing about thirty feet to your right," Ben replied with an amused tone. Riley swung his head to his right lazily trying to pry open his eyes. There he stood among all of the dark blue seats, his free hand inside the pocket of his pants as he nodded to Riley.
"Okay... cute. Real cute, Ben," Riley said, shutting his eyes with them still in Ben's direction. "Come on, I'm blind man walking here. Take me to the car so I can sleep the rest of my life."
Ben gave a light laugh as he hung up his phone and walked towards his zombie-like friend. As he approached him, Ben saw that Riley's head was tilted back, and his eyes were shut. His smile only grew when he stopped next to him and a soft, drolly snore came from his slightly opened mouth.
"Riley?" Ben asked quietly.
"Five more minutes, Mom…" Riley moaned in response.
Ben gave another huff of laughter before straightening up, clearing his throat, and continuing his conversation with Riley.
"Sorry, Riley but you have school," Ben replied, humoring him. "But I tell you what; I'll let you sleep in the car the whole way there."
"Really?" Riley asked, still not moving.
"Really." He said sincerely. "Now grab your bag (Ben placed the handle of Riley's carry-on suitcase in his limp hand), I've got your lunch (He put a half-eaten bag of peanuts in Riley's other hand that he had snacked on while waiting for his plane to arrive), and we'll be on our way," Ben said, patting him on the back.
"You packed me lunch?" Riley asked in the same lifeless tone. "But you've never packed me lunch before. Thanks, Mom. You're the best."
"No trouble," Ben said awkwardly as he lifted his brow quickly. "Now let's go or you're going to be late."
Ben pushed on Riley's back to get him started walking, and he went at a slow but relaxing pace dragging his suitcase behind him with the wheels clicking across the terminal, down the stairs that led out of the airport, and into the parking lot where Ben's car was parked not too far from the entrance.
"Let me just take this and put it in the trunk for you," Ben said, easing the suitcase away from Riley. "You just get in the car there and keep on napping."
"O…kay…" Riley mumbled, opening the passenger-side door absentmindedly and getting in. Ben shut the trunk and walked passed Riley's door closing it for him, and around the front of the car to the driver's side. He closed his door, started the engine, and made his way back to his family's manor.
About a half of a mile away from the Gates' home, Ben quietly began to talk to Riley again after listening to him snore for fifteen minutes.
Oh great, he's still up to that, Ben thought, rolling his eyes. Again, he decided to humor him.
"Riley, you're sick. You have a very high fever," Ben told him convincingly.
"I do?" Riley mumbled back in response.
"You sure do," Ben told him. "Burning up. You're highly contagious. That's why we're turning around and I'm taking you home so you can sleep as long as you want."
"Cool," Riley said. "And I wasn't even faking this time."
Ben smiled as he pulled up into the driveway and shut the car off. He helped Riley out of the car and led him into the house as he pulled the suitcase along sluggishly, still moaning and grumbling. Once Ben had Riley inside, he shut the door quietly and stopped his friend for a moment as Abigail, his darling wife, walked into the room arms folded with an amused smile playing on her face. Ben acknowledged her with a smile before addressing his friend again.
"Okay, Riley," Ben said. "I want you to take your book bag, head up to your room, and go to sleep. You'll feel much better when you wake up."
"Kay," Riley said as Ben pushed him in the direction of the sweeping staircase to his left. "Night, mom."
"Goodnight, Riley," Ben said. "Don't let the bed bugs bite."
He started going up the flight of stairs, and Abigail left out a small giggle as she took the spot next to her husband, both of them watching Riley ascend the stairs in his sleep.
"Mom? Book bag?" Abigail laughed as she looked at Ben searchingly. "Should I ask? I'm sort of afraid to."
"Nah, don't ask," Ben said, shaking his head. "He's out of it for sure."
Ben swung his arm around Abigail and brought her closer to him as they watched Riley go down a dark hallway and heard his bedroom door open and close. Abigail let out another soft giggle as she put her arm around her husband's lower back. Then he brought her to face him, kissed her softly, and then rested his forehead on hers.
"Kids in bed?" Ben asked quietly.
"Yeah," she said. "Well, more like on the sofa. They were dying to see Riley when he came home and begged and pleaded to stay up, but they fell asleep two hours ago on the couch watching television. But when they wake up, they are going to dart right for his room at seven in the morning before they even turn on the TV to watch cartoons and eat their Fruity Pebbles."
"Well, looks like Riley's in for it tomorrow then, huh?" Ben asked with a smile. "What about Ben Jr. here?" he asked, looking down at his wife's swollen stomach. Abigail gave a laugh.
"Ben Jr.? Who said we were naming it Ben Jr.?" she asked. Abigail was going through her second pregnancy now which made her all the more happy to see herself raising a growing family. She was in the beginning of her eighth month, and she, Ben, Riley, Charlie and Sally were all very excited the day they received the news of another baby joining the family.
"Ah, you'll get used to the idea," Ben said, making Abigail smile. "As for right now, let's get some sleep. And we better pull out the earplugs if we want to sleep through Riley's rude awakening by the monsters we've created."
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And how rude it was.
The following morning at six a.m., the two small Gates twins of five and a half years, Sarah Anne (the younger of the twins who was more often referred to as Sally) and Charles Carroll (who resembled his father greatly every way you looked at him), woke up slowlyand looked at each other with big eyes. Then they smiled.
"He's back!" they chorused as they jumped off of the couch in excitement after fumbling with the blankets their mother had covered them up with the previous night. They raced up the living room stairs to the second floor passing their parents' bedroom, the upstairs bathroom, passed the upper level of the library, and ran into the hallway on the left. To their left was a closet, but to their right…
Suddenly, Riley was jolted out of his sleep as his bedroom door slammed open, hitting off of the wall loudly. Excited squeals filled his ears though he tried to muffle them by throwing the pillow over his head, but the twins had ripped that away from him along with all of his sheets.
They were shouting 'Get up, Uncle Riley, come on!' and 'Tell us all about England!' and 'Do those guards with the funny hats ever move?' Riley huffed and looked as alarm clock with an exhausted moan as Charlie began jumping on his bed. He sat up and smiled however, trying to mask his grogginess.
"Okay, okay! I'm up! I'm up!" Riley shouted, scratching the back of his head. "Stop jumping… please… it's early," he moaned, leaning back into the headboard of his bed. Charlie and Sally fell to his bed, obeying his request that they stop jumping.
"Do realize what time it is?" Riley asked them. "It's six in the morning. I thought we established a rule where no one comes in here til at least nine during the summer? And how many times have you two broken that established rule?"
"Twenty-seven! We've demolished your establishment, Uncle Riley. It's no fun," Charlie said quickly before shooting out, "Hey! Wanna come watch cartoons and eat breakfast with us? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are coming on!"
"Fine, I'm coming," he said, swinging his legs off the bed and onto the floor as he rubbed his red eyes. Riley took notice that he didn't remember falling asleep in his room at all or changing into a white muscle shirt and blue plaid boxers to sleep in. He still felt that tired, only now he got to watch cartoons with his friends' kids at six in the morning.
Charlie and Sally each took a hand and pulled him off of his bed, leading him to in the hallway and to the kitchen downstairs still shooting off random things such as 'We missed you a lot!' and 'Dad got us a trampoline!' and 'You snore really loud, Uncle Riley!'
Riley was obviously oblivious to the fact that he snored loudly. Despite what Ben, Abigail, and the kids repetitively told him, he didn't care. They had, after all, invited him to stay with them in their huge manor. Their problem, not his.
When they had reached the kitchen, Riley turned on the bright lights and walked into the white kitchen rubbing his eyes. Charlie and Sally jumped up on their usual stools at the bar as Riley opened the cereal cupboard above the countertop.
"Okay…" he moaned. "Fruity Pebbles, Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms…" he trailed off and reached up in the cupboard pulling out a box of Grapenuts with a messed up look at the kids. "What is this?" he asked, pointing at the box. "There's no sugar in this crap." He gave the box another glance before looking back up at the twins. "It's your mom's, isn't it?"
"Don't look at us!" Sally said. "We don't know! I want Lucky Charms!"
"Lucky Charms it is…" Riley said as he threw the box of Grapenuts back into the cupboard and cringed. He grabbed the box and stuck it under his arm while taking three bowls out of the cupboard next to the refrigerator, grabbed three spoons, and took out the half full gallon of milk. He sat it all down on the bar in front of the kids and sighed.
As he began pouring the cereal, Charlie and Sally began to ramble on and on again with more nonsense such as 'I caught a frog and put it in Mom's coffee!' and 'This lady moved in last week!' and-
"Whoa, stop," Riley, said, holding up a spoon. "A lady moved in last week?"
"Yeah," Charlie said. "She's a real nice lady, but she spends too much time up in her room on her computer when she's not workin'..." he said rather dryly.
"Sort of like you, Uncle Riley," Sally said.
Riley quirked an eyebrow and looked upstairs thinking of the guest room and who was in it. A smile started to creep onto his face, but all the same, it seemed strange. His smile faded and he started pouring the milk now with curiosity.
"What's she like?" he asked. "What is she even doing here?"
"Well, why don't you ask her yourself?" Charlie asked.
Riley screwed up his face with the 'Huh?' look at the older twin, and Charlie pointed behind himself to the staircase. When Riley looked up, he saw a young women with lengthy hair that curled at the ends lightly, a soft blonde color; not white or golden. She wore a white sundress with red flowers covering it, and put her hand up with a bashful smile a small giggle saying, "Hi."
As Riley's face made known to the world (the one within the vicinity of the kitchen anyways) that she had his attention, Sally and Charlie both rolled theirs eyes and turned back to their bowls of cereal in front of them.
"I think they like each other," Charlie whispered to his sister matter-of-factly.
Sally twisted up her face. "Eww…"
"Tell me about it," Charlie said, folding his arms and laying along the countertop. "Mom and Dad are mushy enough."
Riley, completely unaware of the twins' conversation in front of him, stared at the girl in the middle of the staircase for a time before realizing that he was about to let his mouth open. Then he shook his head and blinked his eyes a few times as this girl gave him an unsure smile and continued down the staircase and into the kitchen, opening the cereal cupboard and pulling out the Grapenuts. Riley's face dropped suddenly.
"You eat those things? You have to put some form of sugar on that... that... bleck," Riley said with a shiver as she poured some into a sundae glass.
"Actually, I eat yogurt and strawberries with it," she said. "I'm on a diet."
Diet? Her? Riley thought. She's got to be kidding... He looked over at the kids, but they were gone. He then panicked and looked at the couch. They were getting comfortable, leaving a space just for him.
"Come on over, Uncle Riley," Sally said happily, patting the spot where she wanted him to sit. Then he looked back at this stranger as she stood there throwing her breakfast together and reading the newspaper beside her at the same time. He decided to introduce himself quickly, even if she didn't seem to thrilled about him.
"Um, I'm Riley Poole," he said awkwardly. "I'm a friend of the Gateses, helped with the whole treasure thing... maybe you've heard of me," he said, sounding a bit hopeful. The girl sat down her spoon and looked up in thought before turning to Riley.
"Hmm, you know, I have heard of you," she said. "I think I've seen you before, too."
"Really?" he asked, missing her sarcastics.
"Yeah," she said with a sigh. "In about every newspaper I've picked up in the past six years."
Riley bent his brow and bit his cheek; that really didn't go as smoothly as he hoped. Oh well. If she wanted to be that way, fine. He was only being polite, but noOoOo... she had to get all snooty and rude.
"What are you doing here anyways?" he asked.
"I was hired," she replied shortly.
"Hired? Ben and Abigail don't hire people. They don't have a staff..."
"I asked them to hire me," she said, overriding him impatiently and loudly. "I need the extra money so I can continue to go to college next year, if you must know."
College? Riley asked himself. She doesn't look like she would be in college...
"How old are you?" he asked.
She put her spoon down again and glared in his direction. Riley suddenly bit his lip and realized that that was not a good question to ask.
"Excuse me?" she asked dangerously.
"Um, I didn't mean it like that," he said as she continued to glare at him angrily. "I just meant that you didn't really look like you went to college still... like you were already a graduate... because most people go right after high school... not that you had to... I mean I, um...What are you majoring in? Err... okay, I'm gonna just...go now."
He took up his cereal bowl in his arms and went over to the couch, falling in between the twins who were happy to see that he had finally come to sit with them. The young women returned to putting the finishing touches on her breakfast, however. The nerve, she thought.
As soon as she had returned all of the food to its proper place, footsteps began to come down the stairs heavily. She looked up to see Ben coming down the stairs already dressed for the day. She straightened herself and gave him a smile saying, "Good morning, Mr. Gates."
"We've been through this; call me Ben," he said as she returned his cheery morning smile with an 'Okay' and giggle attached.
At this, Riley and the twins turned around to see that it was in fact Ben coming downstairs.
"Oh, hey, Ben," Riley said. "Didn't hear you."
"Morning, Dad," Sally said. "Uncle Riley's back, Dad! He came back!"
"So I see," Ben said as he sat at the bar in the kitchen. "But does Riley know he's back?"
"Oh, does Riley know that he's back," Riley said, rolling his eyes and letting his head fall back into the couch exhaustedly. Ben gave a chuckle as he sipped his coffee and got up, moving behind the couch. He lowered himself next to Riley's head, but he looked at Charlie and Sally.
"Now kids, what Uncle Riley promise you before he left two weeks ago?" Ben asked his children in a sickening reminder of a voice. "What did he promise you guys?"
"Souvenirs!" Sally shouted.
"No!" Charlie said. "The camping trip!"
Riley sat staring at the television muttering, "Oh no..." with a defeated smile.
"That's right," Ben said, putting his hands on Riley's shoulders. "A nice camping trip just for the three of you."
"Yeah!" Sally said as Ben went back over to his barstool and newspaper. "We better hurry up and get our things together!"
"Nah nah, not til after dinner," Riley said. "You guys are rushing everything! I haven't even gotten to finish my Lucky Charms yet, watch two hours of cartoons, or give your mom her weekly wake up call which I may remind you, Ben, that I owe her two now."
Ben mumbled something through a sip of coffee that Riley couldn't make out.
"Do you plan to get dressed at any time before, during, or after your schedule?" the blonde-haired girl asked skeptically.
"Yes," Riley said, giving her that 'what-was-that-supposed-to-mean' look.
"Oh, I see you and Carolyn have met," Ben said.
"If you wanna call it that," Carolyn replied dryly. "I'll be out in the yard weeding the gardens."
At that, she placed her dish and spoon in the dishwasher and headed out the back patio door and down the stairs without a glance back at them. Riley made a face of disgust and mimicked her rudely before returning to the television with his cereal.
"Hmm, not exactly good karma there, huh?" Ben asked, turning the page of the newspaper.
"Psh, no," Riley said. "Why did you hire someone so uppity and full of themselves as a maid? How do you live with that in your house?"
"We find her company enjoyable," Ben said. "She needed the extra money for college, and so, Abigail and I decided to help her out."
"Yeah, well, you might've noticed the fangs and claws when you let her into the house," Riley added, but Ben waved him off and returned to the newspaper. "So, Bonnie and Clyde," he said, addressing Charlie and Sally now, "how about after breakfast we go for a swim?"
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