My Summer Vacation By Emma
Rating: K+ Summary: Frohike's daughter, Emma, settles into life with the Gunmen, meets a few FBI agents and has some adventures.
Disclaimers: Chris Carter and his cohorts did not give me permission to play with their toys but since they didn't play nice with them, I seriously doubt they'll notice if I do.
More Disclaimers: Emma is mine and so is the Tougher clan.
Notes: If you're wondering how Fro ended up with a kid, please read 'A Little Frohike'.
A big Thank You to Amy J. who convinced me that I could finish this piece. Without her help as 'Beta Supreme' and chief brainstormer, chapter 6 would be nothing but a wadded up pile of paper creating a fire hazard in the far corner of the room.
This summer I had many adventures and learned lots of new things. One of the first things I did was to help build a new room at the place where my dad works. He used to live there with his friends before he came to live with me.
With school out for the summer, Emma spent most of her time at the warehouse with the guys. It was novel at first but after a while she got a little bored. She enjoyed being with the guys but they were journalists and did have a paper to put out. So they were not always able to spend as much time with her as she would like.
She rode her bike around the neighborhood quite a bit. Her dad taught her to ride it shortly after her birthday. She usually left it at the warehouse because she and Frohike pretty much only went home to sleep. They spent more time at the house on weekends. Sometimes the rest of the guys would come over to make good use of the barbecue Emma had given her dad for Father's Day.
Some nights they worked so late that Emma just crashed in Frohike's old room. Frohike would sleep on the couch but was usually pretty stiff in the morning. This did not improve his usual 'sunny' morning disposition. The other three Gunmen decided it was time to put their plans to remodel into effect.
They showed Frohike and Emma the blue prints they had drawn up on the computer. It would solve the sleeping arrangements on late nights and would give Emma a project to work on. She could help with putting in the new wall, adding a door to the existing wall that faced the hallway, a few electrical outlets, an overhead light, etc. She was very excited by it all. It meant that she would have a room of her own making it easier to convince her dad they should spend the night. Frohike made it clear to Emma that this did not mean that they would be moving into the warehouse. He still felt that it was no place to raise a child, especially when she already had a nice home in a good neighborhood.
Emma wanted to discuss an idea she had with her father privately. The first opportunity came when they headed home that night.
"Dad, can I ask you something?"
"You guys, I mean, you know, the paper, you don't make a lot of money do you?"
"We make enough to get by on. But that's not something you need to worry about. Why do you ask?"
"Well, building materials are pretty expensive aren't they?"
"They can be. What's your point?" Frohike asked but he knew what was coming.
"I want to pay for it."
Emma knew that her dad didn't like to spend what he called 'her money' on stuff for himself, the other guys or the paper. They had discussed this several times when Emma wanted to help out where she thought she could: groceries, gas, etc. but she always lost the arguments. Always. This time she intended to win. She knew that her dad usually won through logic. Petulance and pleading had never worked on him but she'd learned a lot from her dad and this time she knew she was right. It was her turn to win.
"Okay, you said that I could use the money for things that I needed or wanted."
"Yes, I did but…"
She cut him off. "This new room in the warehouse is both of those."
"Both of what?"
"It's something I need and want."
"You guys really can't afford to put that much money into it. I have the money and it's just sitting there."
"That money is only to be used for necessities."
"This is necessary. I need my own room at the warehouse. You can't keep sleeping on the couch and you won't let me sleep on it."
"If you really want to buy something you can buy the furniture to put in the room." A bed, a little table and a lamp wouldn't be that much.
Oh, goodie! She was ready for this one. "There's lots of furniture in the guestrooms at home. I don't need to buy that stuff so let me use the money for building materials."
"It's too much money."
"No, it isn't," she boldly disagreed with him. "A new bed, a comfortable one, would be about $650. A new dresser, nightstand, a headboard, and bedside lamp could be as much as $1300. That's almost $2000." She had expensive taste. "John said that would be more than enough."
"You discussed this with Byers before you asked me?"
"No, I just asked him how much he thought it would cost. He said he wasn't sure so I said, 'Would $2000 be enough?' and he said that it would be more than enough."
"Where did you get the dollar amounts for the furniture?"
Emma shrugged, "Off the internet."
"So you're talking about brand new furniture. I had planned on getting second hand stuff."
"Ew, Dad, I couldn't sleep on a mattress from a second hand store. You don't know who's slept on it before you."
"Don't tell me you've never stayed in a hotel."
"Okay, now you're just trying to change the subject."
"No, not really."
"Well, how about it? Can I use the furniture from the house?"
"Have you thought about your clothes?"
"What about them?"
"Where will you keep them? The plans don't include a closet and we have nothing at home that would work."
"Most of them could go in a drawer," she decided but then she had an idea that excited her, "or I could get a wardrobe like in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." This book was one Emma's mother read to her when she was a little. It had been a favorite. "I've always wanted one of those and I could keep my shoes in there, too." Frohike was always on her case for leaving her shoes lying around.
Frohike didn't say anything for a few minutes. Emma continued to think of reasons to be allowed to have her way on this. The only sound in the car was the newscaster on the radio.
Frohike finally spoke. "All right."
"All right, I can get a wardrobe or all right, I can pay for the building materials, or all right, I can use the furniture from the house?"
"Two yeses and one no."
"DAD!" Now he was just messing with her head. "Which ones are yes?"
"Yes, you can use the furniture from the house and yes, I think it would be all right for you to pay for the building materials."
"So, that means no to the wardrobe. I don't have that many clothes that need to be hung up. I can always use your closet if I need to. Thank you, Dad!"
The happy dance ensued even though Emma was wearing a seatbelt.
"There's only one problem though."
Emma stopped dancing. "What's that?"
"You still need to convince the others."
"Oh." She hadn't thought of that. "What do you think they'll say?"
"I honestly don't know," Frohike admitted.
"Will you ask them?"
"No," he said shaking his head, "that's your job."
"Okay," she thought, "I can do this. I convinced my dad. The others shouldn't be too hard. Well, not Jimmy and Langly anyway."
They got to the office early the next day to catch the guys at breakfast. Langly ran off to get dressed when he heard the buzzer downstairs and Jimmy went to let them in. It was a rather solemn procession that came up the stairs into the living area.
"What's wrong?" Byers asked as they came over to the table where he was still eating breakfast.
Langly came out of his room in time to catch Frohike's answer. "Emma wants to have a 'family meeting'."
"A family meeting, huh. Is that what you think we are, squirt? A family?" Langly liked to tease Emma especially when she seemed so serious.
"Yeah, sometimes." Her answer lacked conviction but the question had caught her a little off guard. She had thought of them all as her family for sometime but had never dared to say it out loud.
Langly could tell he had made her uncomfortable. He went over to her, bent down to put his arm around her shoulders, and pulled her close to whisper in her ear. "Of course we are."
She smiled at that and turned to hug him then went to go sit at the table. They had scrounged around to find a bigger table a couple of weeks previously to accommodate the larger group now regularly eating meals at the warehouse. Two extra chairs had also been bought from a second hand store. These were some of the things that Emma had not been allowed to purchase.
With the dishes cleared away and everyone sitting around the table, Emma presented her proposal in much the same way as the night before to her father.
"Dad already said it's all right with him but that you guys also had to agree to let me do this." She waited for a few seconds for someone to say something. They all just sat there.
Finally Byers spoke up.
"I think we need to discuss this alone. Emma, could you go wait downstairs for a couple of minutes?"
"Oh, okay. Sure." Emma got up and headed down the stairs.
She paced around staying far away from the stairs. She desperately wanted to eavesdrop but if she ever tried to do something sneaky, one of them always called her on it. She had no idea how they knew what she was up to but they always did.
"You actually agreed to let her spend her money?" Langly was surprised. Frohike had been so adamant about not letting her buy things in the past.
"Oh, let her do this. You know she really wants to." Jimmy enjoyed being generous with his money. The sense of satisfaction it gave him far out weighed the effects it had on his checkbook.
"I don't have a problem with it," Langly said, "I'm just shocked that Frohike is up for letting her do it."
Frohike was actually very proud of Emma. Her reasoning was sound and looking up the price of the furniture on the internet showed that she had put a lot of thought into it.
Frohike looked at Byers who had not offered his opinion yet. He knew Byers would be the hardest sell. "What do you think, buddy?"
"I don't know. What if this comes back to haunt you later?"
"What do you mean?"
"We've discussed the possibility that someone could try to take her away from you. Letting her use her own money this way might look like we're taking advantage of her."
Byers didn't like bringing up this private conversation in front of Jimmy and Langly but he felt it needed to be said.
The two younger men were shocked by this statement and started talking at the same time. "No one can take her away. She's Frohike's daughter!" and "What do you mean someone could take her away from us!"
Frohike told them both to shut up. "Do you want her to hear you?" and then to Byers, "I know what we talked about but I don't think this will hurt. It's not that much money, nowhere near the $2000 dollars she thinks it could cost but she really thought it through. It's a huge improvement on the usual whining and pleading. I hate to discourage her."
Byers still didn't think it was a good idea but Frohike didn't want to put it to a vote. He wanted all of them to be on board with it. "How about this? We stipulate that this is a one-time only deal. That she will not be allowed to buy anything else."
Langly snorted, "Do you really think that will work?"
"It will have to."
Byers thought about it for a bit longer. He agreed that her argument was sound but he couldn't shake the feeling that it was all a big mistake. He finally gave in. It would, after all, make Emma happy. "Go get her and tell her that we all agree."
Emma readily promised not to ask to make any other purchases for the warehouse, etc. Building materials were bought and stored in a safe, dry spot in the alley. The plans were carefully reviewed and more measurements were taken. Emma discovered that her math teacher had been right about real life applications of the math they so diligently studied in school.
She found out what the inside of a wall looked like, how the power got to the outlets and how a light switch worked. She learned what studs and dry wall were, how to hammer without smacking your own thumb or the thumb of the person who is trying to show you how to hammer.
She was even allowed to use the big miter saw but only while wearing safety glasses and with someone standing right next to her the whole time. She decided that the most important lesson had to be, "Measure twice. Cut once." She hadn't messed up that many boards but it seemed to be a favorite saying of everyone who worked with her.
All the guys worked on some part of the new room. When Byers helped, he wore jeans and a sweatshirt. This had shocked Emma at first because she seldom saw him in anything other than his usual suits. She thought he looked good in jeans but didn't say anything. She didn't want to be accused of being cheeky.
Emma had never gotten so messy in her life. She enjoyed the taping and mudding part of putting up the dry wall but didn't like the sanding. It was too hard to breath because her dad made her wear one of those white masks that covered her mouth and nose so she wouldn't inhale the dust. Painting was more to her liking even though it smelled funny.
These were all new experiences for her and she found most of them fascinating. She was quite proud of the job they had done and, when Yves came around the next time, Emma had to show off their handiwork. Yves was impressed for Emma's sake and asked when she was going to move in.
"We've rented a truck for tomorrow. So, I can stay here tomorrow night in my new room."
"What are you going to do with your house?"
"Nothing. Dad said that this is just for now and then. More now that school is out. Less when I go back in the fall."
The next day they picked up the rental truck and went over to the house to get the furniture. Frohike helped Emma choose an assortment of clothes to leave at the warehouse. When she was all moved in, they had a christening of the new addition and took some pictures to commemorate the event.
That night Emma slept in her new room or tried to anyway. After tossing and turning for a while she sighed, sat up facing the door and said, "I'm never going to be able to go to sleep with you all standing there. Go find something better to do."
Frohike chuckled at himself and his friends, reached in and shut the door to Emma's room saying, "Goodnight, honey."
"Good night, Dad."