Second Chances: Legacy Of Fear

When the last member of an old pioneering family dies, one of the Simons is the unwilling recipient of a legendary treasure map. Danger stalks the entire family-can a story of the past save them before it's too late?

(This is a work of fiction. No money is being made on it, and the characters are owned by Universal Studios and are only being borrowed for a little while. Originally entered in the 2007 NaNo month event.)

A/N: For any new readers, "Second Chances" is my "what if?" for Rick and A.J. Simon...What if they didn't end the partnership or A.J. didn't marry Janet or Liz... What if Rick had a long-lost sweetheart who needed protection from a crazed stalker? And...what if Rick and his girl fell in love, adopted her niece and nephew, and made a home first in San Diego, then in Arizona? These "what if''s" are the basis for my continuing "Simon & Simon" as if they never went off the air. This series also includes crossovers from Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman and Dark Shadows...so feel free to read my other stories for the whys and wherefores of these three worlds meeting

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

"Happy New Year!"

Everyone cheered as Rick and Laurie clinked glasses with each other, then kissed as the crystal ball in Times Square lit up on the television screen. The whole Simon/Whitecloud family was gathered in the ranch house to see the New Year in, and

the room was bursting with noise and laughter.

"Another year….wonder what this one will bring?" A.J. mused as the group exchanged hugs. Rick kept his arm around his wife as he teased, "If we can get through another school year without anyone flunking…I'll call it a success." As A.J. rolled his eyes, Robbie joked, "Pop, the way our bunch is going…I'm going to need to start saving earlier and earlier for college."

At that Rick met his wife's eyes and chuckled as he "heard" her thoughts.

"I hear you, sweetheart…and it's a good idea."

"What's a good idea?" Robin asked, as she came in from the kitchen. Laurie smiled.

"It's an idea I've been thinking about, and one that I should think you and Robbie will like too. We need to have a scholarship counselor for our students here in the valley."

Robbie looked up from his seat on the sofa, a playful Jack on his lap. "We don't have a college prep counselor at the High School?"

"Only a part-time one-and I think too many of the kids in Silver Rock and Window Rock don't graduate because they don't know about their options…or the possibility of scholarships to pay for college. A full time person would concentrate solely on that part of the junior and senior years that students need to concentrate on, and make sure the kids don't fall through the cracks." Laurie explained. She smiled when A.J. said, "You think of everything, Sis. At PHS, Ricky and Ceci had their own College Prep counselor…so that's a great idea!"

"Wait a minute-you didn't think of that so the kids would…oh Mom." Robbie suddenly choked up and Rick saw tears in his daughter's eyes as she realized what her brother was saying.

"Not just for you two, son…but for all the parents in our area.." Rick told him, then embraced his daughter as Robbie got up and hugged Laurie.

"Honey, I just don't ever want you and Robin to worry about if Lala, or Davey or Katie can afford to go to college….so please let me…" Laurie started, then Rick pointed at himself and she beamed, "and your father do this."

"Thanks, Mama…." Robbie sniffed, then wiped his eyes as Cecilia Simon came over, a worried look on her face.

"What are you children upset about? It's barely the new year!"

"We're okay, Grandma….we just found out again how much we love Mom and Pop." Robin explained, hanging on Rick's neck.

"Well, enough of this mushy stuff, tell me what they've been up to now.." she laughed.

After the excitement of the holidays died down, Rick and Laurie found their goal of a full-time "College Prep" counselor for the area was welcome news to the community.

When Rob Gamez came by a couple of weeks into the new school year, he caught Rick in his office as he was trying to figure who would fund the position.

"Hey, pal…what are you doing home? Thought you and A.J. would be at headquarters with Ron?"

Rick scowled at him until he noticed Laurie bringing fresh coffee and cookies.

"I would, except my sweetheart had this ….great idea and I thought it would be simple to help her with it…." He winked as she put the tray of goodies on the desk, then dropped a kiss on his cheek.

"Thank you, darling, but I should have warned you about the beauracrats and how they love to muck up something like this…I'm glad you did come over, Rob, I was thinking that this might have to be run through the Council." Laurie told their friend.

"Only because we would like to have input on the funding of the counselor." Rob explained, then added, "you might want to sit down, I have interesting news for you two regarding your proposal."

Curious, Laurie took a seat next to her husband, as Rob explained, "You know the Masterson Mc Neil Foundation was started by one of the founders of Silver Rock, back in 1916. It was rumored it was in repayment for the crimes committed by one of the members of the family, against the town and its sheriff"

"That would have been your great-grandfather." Rick added, putting an arm around Laurie. At once she nodded, remembering one of Casey Adams' stories of that time.

"That's right, but I never saw the foundation being mentioned in her notes….."

"Well…it wasn't publicized much, but the family has continued making donations and grants to various schools and organizations. We received a call regarding a donation for $40,000 for the next three years from the foundation, with the stipulation that it go to funding the College Prep Counselor position. And they want to present it to you, Light."

For a moment everyone was speechless, then Laurie found her voice.

"Thank you, that's wonderful…I never met any of the McNeil's….but Grandmother Kasey listed them as one of her father's early supporters."

"When are they going to present the donation?" Rick asked, knowing the Tribal Council had a full agenda for its next meeting.

"Next Tuesday, needless to say the council made room for Mr. McNeil's appearance on that night. That idea of yours has really taken off, guys." Rob said, taking a bite of a chocolate chip cookie.

"Well, I'm glad the counselor position will be privately funded, that way the politicians

can just whistle!" Rick said, grabbing a handful of cookies.

"Rick….leave some for A.J. and Linda.." Laurie teased, then giggled as he popped one in her mouth.

"A sweet for my sweet…"

"I thought you two would be happy, now let me have a couple for the road before the cookie monster discovers they are here!" Rob laughed at his friends, then groaned "too late" as a black streak came racing in from outside.

"Here, Jacky" Laurie made a kissing noise at their pet, and he responded by jumping in Rick's lap and licking his face.

"All right, I missed playing with you too, boy." He snickered, then "reluctantly" handed over a cookie. Immediately Jacky gobbled it up, then sat and offered his paw.

"You're welcome, Jacky…now tell Rob goodbye." Rick was pleased when Jack turned then barked and offered his paw to their astounded friend.

"Why….that's great, Rick…good boy, Jacky, here you go…" A laughing Rob gave Jack one more treat then caught him as the little dog jumped into his arms.

"Light, I never can get over the way your dogs have always been so smart…must take after someone we know!"

"Well, I know who Jacky learns the most from.." Laurie beamed, as Rick pretended to puff out his chest.

"Never mind….you be good and look after your mom, okay, boy?" Rob put Jack into Laurie's arms, then said his goodbyes.

As they waved at the departing Chief, Rick put his arm around his wife's shoulders, then noticed a shiver go through her.

"What is it, sweetheart? Are you cold?…." He asked, walking them back into the house.

Laurie shook her head.

"No, Rick, I just had a chill, like something's wrong….something's going to happen…."

As if on cue the phone rang, and he sat Laurie down on the living room sofa as he picked up the receiver.

"Simon Residence."