Chapter 1—The Perfect Life
Disclaimer: The only character I own is Ela, the rest all belong to….whoever created National Treasure.
As soon as Ben pulled into the driveway he knew something was off. Usually there were two blondes waiting for him in the doorway, one a great deal younger than the first, each wanting to be hugged. But as his car pulled to the end of the drive-way there was no one waiting for him, no open door, and no hugs sought. Ben climbed out of the driver's side and shut the door walking away from the car. With a second thought he aimed the control over his shoulder, pressed the button, and heard the receptive honk to signal the car had been locked.
"Hello?" he called as he stepped inside his house. "Anyone home?" Only silence answered him. Ben shrugged off his jacket and turned to hang it up in the closet when a yellow piece of paper caught his eye. He snatched it from the closet door and read it, laughing to himself.
Hide and seek. You're it!
Abi & Ela
"So this is how we're going to play it, huh?" Ben said aloud but to no one in particular. He finished hanging up his coat and set about on his hunt. He checked the kitchen, dining room and foyer without success. 'A little harder than I thought,' he mused.
He tried upstairs next, scanning both he and Abi's room as well as Ela's, but came up with nothing. He made a mental note to talk to Ela about cleaning up her toys for what seemed like the fortieth time this month. On his way back down the stairs he heard the faint sound of a giggle coming from the study. He hurried down the remaining steps and into the room, following the sound to the closet.
"Gotcha," Ben yelled, swinging the door open. Immediately a four year-old with curly blonde locks jumped into his arms.
"You win!" she cried as her father hoisted her off the ground and spun her around. Ela wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a soft kiss on Ben's cheek. "I was waitin' a long time."
"I bet you were," Ben laughed setting her back down. "Where's your mother?"
"Hidin," answered Ela.
"Hiding where?" asked Ben.
"Can't tell," she responded placing a finger over her lips. "You gotta find her!"
"I do? If I give you a present will you tell me where she is?" Ben asked. He had no sooner finished the question when Abigail stood up from her hiding spot behind the giant oak desk in the center of the room.
"Benjamin Franklin Gates, are you bribing a four year old?" she mockingly scolded him.
Ben's initial thought was to deny everything, but being married for five year had taught him that strategy rarely worked well. Reluctantly he confessed, "Yeah I guess I was."
Abi stepped out from behind the desk and came to stand in front of her husband and daughter. She crossed her arms and stared at him. "What are we going to do with you?"
"Time out!" Ela suggested to the amusement of her parents.
Ben reached his arms out and encircled Abi's waist, pulling her closer to him. "I only did it so I could find you faster and get my welcome home kiss." Abi smiled, wrapped her arms around Ben's neck and brought her lips to his.
"Ew," Ela giggled. "Uncle Riley says that's icky!" Not waiting for a response she left the office and went off looking for more exciting things.
"We have got to keep Riley away from her," Abi groaned. "He's corrupting her already." She kissed Ben again quickly before pulling away and following Ela's trail into the living room.
"What's that wonderful smell?" Ben asked following suit.
"It's a chicken I have in the oven," Abi answered as she picked up a few of Ela's toys and tossed them into the toy chest in the corner. "Dinner should be ready in about twenty minutes."
"I'm surprised Riley isn't here already," Ben commented surveying the culinary works Abigail had going in the kitchen.
"He's out with that girl again," Abi commented. "What's her name? Mandy? Amanda?"
"Miranda I think," Ben said. "I'm glad he finally found someone."
"I think he really likes her. He talks about her all the time."
Ben smiled and came up behind Abi, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind. "And the less Riley is here the more alone time we have."
Abi turned in Ben's arms so she was facing him. "And what could we possibly do with this time?"
He smiled, "You do still owe me a punishment for my behavior earlier."
The family ate dinner that night with lively conversation, most of it coming from Ela. She was busy recounting the adventures of the day spent at her babysitter's, Mrs. Miller. She loved the other children there, except for one little girl she always had problems with.
"And Emily broke the purple crayon, but said that I did!" she exclaimed as she picked at her green beans clumsily.
"That wasn't very nice," Ben commented.
"I don't like Emily," Ela continued, "she's a stupid head!"
"Eleanor Maria Gates," Abi scolded her daughter. "You know we don't call other people names."
"Sorry," her blonde head dropped as she began to pout.
"And don't try the pouty thing, it doesn't work anymore," Ben laughed. "We're immune to your evil powers of persuasion."
"Did you tuck her in?" Ben asked as he got ready for bed.
"She's all tucked in but she's eagerly waiting for you to kiss her goodnight," Abi replied, making her way into their adjoining bathroom.
Ben smiled and proceeded down the hall to his daughter's room. Every night they would play the same game, Abi would tuck her in and kiss her goodnight, but Ela would never fall asleep until her father came and did the monster check and gave her a good night kiss. Not that he was complaining, it was really one of the best parts of his day.
"Knock knock," he called pushing the door open. "I heard there's a little girl in here who needs some help."
"You gotta check for monsters daddy," Ela reminded her father. She sat on her bed, tucked under her pink covers, with her favorite teddy bear at her side.
Ben looked at the bear and noticed how tattered and worn it looked. His father had bought it as soon as Abi found out she was pregnant. It was your traditional brown teddy bear but it wore the costume of the founding fathers: three-point hat, vest with white shirt and black shoes. Initially Ben had thought Abi would hate it and refuse to let her daughter play with it, but she was overjoyed with the little bear and aptly named it George.
"Where should I look for these monsters?" Ben asked.
"In da closet," Ela pointed to the two doors on the wall opposite from her bed.
Ben opened the doors one by one and looked inside. "I see a lot of toys and dresses but no monsters," he stated happily as he closed the doors once again.
"Unda da bed," was the next suggestion.
Ben got down on his knees and lifted the bed skirt, searching from side to side. "Nope, no monsters under here either." He stood back up and turned to his daughter, "Satisfied?"
"Yup!" Ela laughed. She laid back and snuggled underneath her blankets. "Night daddy."
Ben pulled the blankets up and tucked them up underneath her arms. "Good night Angel," he said planting a kiss on both cheeks. "Sleep tight."
"Love you daddy," Ela yawned.
"I love you too Eleanor." Ben rarely used her full name, mostly because he hated the way it sounded. To him it sounded more like something you would name a sixty year old woman, but Abi loved it and he learned to settle for the nickname 'Ela'.
He exited the room, pulling the door closed behind him, and returned to his own. Abi was already in bed, glasses perched atop her nose which was buried in a book.
"Monster check all clear?" she asked not looking up from the text.
"Yes. Another peaceful night," Ben replied. He slipped into bed, took the book out of Abigail's hands, shut it and placed in on the nightstand beside the bed. Abi removed her glasses and set them next to the book turning off the lamp in the process.
"You look beautiful tonight Mrs. Gates," Ben said in his best sexy voice, which only made Abi laugh.
"Stop trying to seduce me Ben. I'm all yours."
Ben smiled and considered this. "All mine?" Abi nodded. "Well let's capitalize on that idea."
A/N: I'm not too sure where this idea came from, just kind of popped in my head one day. Anywho, I probably won't get to post another chapter until finals are over around the 14th. So please be patient with me. However if I get enough reviews I may be persuaded to update sooner! wink wink