"Close up: Emily Goodhall, with the former Penny Hollingsworth, now known as Penny Goodhall. Emily has just gotten back from meeting with the agency to sign the last of Penny's adoption papers. Our Bohemian family has just gained two new members, but this is the first time we've had a child in our group." Emily, hearing Mark's narration, turned her head slightly and glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, before turning her back on him. A second later, she spun around, and surprised Mark by taking a picture of him filming her with her Nikon FM2. Roger, who had been watching nearby, laughed loudly.
"Finally, someone gives him a taste of his own medicine!" he teased. "Now you know what it's like to have someone sticking a camera in your face, Mark!"
"Oh shut up," Mark scowled.
"Aw, don't listen to him, Mark," Emily smiled. "You have my permission to film me anytime you want."
Mark, Roger, Mimi, Emily and Penny were congregated outside the Life Café, waiting for Maureen, Joanne and Collins to arrive. They were all gathering for a celebratory dinner, commemorating Emily finally being able to adopt Penny. The little girl's freckled face was currently lit up in child-like happiness, showing no sign of emotional trauma from her abduction, while hugging Mr. Twiggers, who was now sporting a one-and-a-half-inch long seam down the stuffed rabbit's belly from where the knife slash had been sewed up.
"There are the ladies of the hour!" Collins chortled as he finally arrived with Maureen and Joanne, all three hugging Emily and Penny in greeting.
"So, Emily," Joanne smiled. "You ready for tomorrow?"
"Yeah," Emily nodded. "Just can't believe it's finally going to be over. The Rat Fangs in jail. Those are words I never thought I'd say. We really did get them, didn't we?"
"How's it feel?" Maureen asked
"Surprisingly, a little nerve-racking. But that's probably just from the fact I have to testify against them in court tomorrow."
"You'll be fine," Joanne reassured. "I'll be there the whole time, representing you."
"And everyone else will be in the back of the room to cheer you on," Collins agreed. Emily flashed all of them a grateful smile. "Now then, how's about we get this party started? Time to order up the rounds of wine and beer!"
"Uncle Collins!" Penny cried. The sound of someone calling him 'uncle' brought a large grin to the anarchist's face. "Mom says I'm not allowed to have that stuff 'til I'm older!"
"Oh, I'm sure she can make an exception…"
"Absolutely not!" Emily cried. "Collins, I respect the fact that you're an anarchist, and don't hold much regard for the laws. Please respect that I'm a cop's sister, so laws and regulations pretty much count double for me."
"Aw, don't worry, Emily," Mimi laughed, ruffling Penny's hair. "We'll order her a root beer instead."
"Thank you, Mimi. Nice to know that I'm not the only one who exercises child discretion." At that moment, a squad car that was driving by pulled up to the curve and Officer Kurtz stepped out.
"I thought I'd find you all here," he smiled.
"Hello, Officer Kurtz," Mark waved. "What brings you here?"
"I'm surprised you ask. You lot helped us all out a great deal, after all. If it weren't for you, the Rat Fangs would still be running free."
"No big deal," Roger waved the praise away.
"You're wrong, Mr. Davis. It is a very big deal. That's why I'm down here. I have things for you." Officer Kurtz removed a large briefcase from his car and opened it, revealing seven portable police radios and pagers. "They're yours," he announced. "If you ever need assistance, or if we could ever use your help again, we can contact one another with these."
"Are you serious?" Mimi gaped.
"I've never been more serious in my life. Also, Miss Goodhall," Officer Kurtz turned to Emily. "Mr. Davis told me you broke your homemade lock pick in the warehouse that night we caught the Rat Fangs. So, Beverly and I went and got this for you." As he spoke, Officer Kurtz handed the photographer a large leather pouch, which she opened to reveal a lock pick set. "There are sixty-two different lock picks in there, all manufactured using the finest spring steel available, durable and rust resist. And stainless steel handles to provide maximum picking comfort." Emily gazed at Officer Kurtz's gift in awe.
"Wow," Emily whispered once she had found her voice. "It's… wow!"
"Think nothing of it, Miss Goodhall," Officer Kurtz beamed at Emily's obvious gratitude. "For what it's worth," he added, before stepping back into the squad car to drive off, "I know Zack would have been very proud of you."
"Thanks, Uncle Kevin," Emily smiled after he had driven off, turning to the waiting Bohemians. "But I already know my brother's proud of me. Why else would he send me six of the greatest friends anyone could ask for?" Grinning broadly, Emily accompanied her new family into the Life Café to begin the celebration.
AN: And that's where this story ends! Hope you all enjoyed it. If anyone wishes to see more, (If you don't, I'll understand) please let me know. Remember, one can never have enough reviews.
In closing, I wish to thank everyone who's taken the time to read, and even more time to review. I really appreciate your feedback. Until next time, this is Data Girl 3, signing off...