Summary: Ben was named the legal guardian of his niece, Andrea, right after her parents died in a car accident. Now, Andrea will tag on her uncle's treasure-hunting adventures – better than it sounds.
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Prologue: Welcome to My World
Twenty-five-year old Benjamin Franklin Gates had had a bad day. He had gotten fired from his part-time job at Starbucks and his car had broken down in the middle of the highway on his way home to his four-room apartment. Thinking that things couldn't get any worse and looking forward to an evening of Chinese takeout and channel surfing, the future historian let himself into his home.
Inside, the answering machine on his kitchen counter blinked red – a new message was waiting for him. On his way to his bedroom to change into more comfortable clothes, Ben pressed the PLAY button on the machine.
"Um, yeah, Mr. Gates?" a frantic-sounding voice filled the apartment. "Listen, sir, this is Frank Cobb, I'm a D.C policeman. We'd like for you to come down to your sister's house ASAP, you see, there's been a little accident…"
Ben poked his head back into the kitchen. An accident? At his sister's? Thirty-two-year-old Abigail Adams Gates, now Abigail A. Morrison, had gotten married three years ago and had recently given birth to a baby girl, Andrea, who was now six months old. Abigail, Andrea, and Bill – Ben's brother-in-law – lived in the suburban area of Philadelphia, near Patrick Henry Gates, Abigail and Ben's father.
Sighing tiredly, Ben slipped back into his sneakers and began looking around for his car keys, until he realized that his car was still at the garage, being fixed – drat, he'd have to take a cab to Abigail's…
When Ben's taxi pulled up to the Morrisons' house, Patrick Gates appeared at the front door, little Andrea in his arms. He waved at Ben and ran down the front pathway to greet him as Ben stepped out of the cab to pay the driver.
"What happened, Dad?" Ben questioned as soon as the taxi driver drove off with his money. "Where are Abigail and Bill?"
"That's the thing, son…" Patrick glanced down at his granddaughter, smiling at her precious face. He then looked away again, his face red. "Ben, Abby and Bill…they aren't here…they're…they're dead." Tears ran down the old man's face.
Ben felt his heart drop. "D-dead?"
Patrick nodded curtly. "They drove out to Virginia this morning, for some lecture by a professor. They left Andrea with a sitter. And…on the way home…" He choked on his words. "They were in an accident, okay? Bill died first, Abigail suffered an concussion, and then died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital."
"Oh…" Ben glanced at Andrea, and then at his father. He was never really close to his sister, as she had spent most of her childhood at boarding school in New York. But yet, something about Abigail's death triggered a feeling inside him. "Dad…what about the baby?" He motioned towards Andrea. "Where will she go?"
"That's the main crisis, Ben," Patrick sighed and handed Andrea to her uncle so he could pace back and forth on Bill's well-kept lawn. "You and I both know I'm too old to take Andrea in"
"What about Mom? She could"
"No, no, your mother does love Andrea, but she's too busy with her job at the university to raise a young girl…" Patrick rubbed his temple thoughtfully. "And no granddaughter of mine is going to an orphanage…" He turned to face his son. "Benjamin, you're our only hope."
Ben's eyebrows rose. "Me…?"
"Ben, you love Andrea! If you raise her, she'll grow with our nation's history and you can't go wrong with another historian in the world!" Patrick looked at his son pleadingly. "Ben…please…"
Ben looked at the little baby in his arms and suddenly, he knew that he had to take his niece in. He peered back at his dad and replied, "Dad…where's her stuff?"
Patrick smiled. "I knew you'd do it…"
As Patrick went back into the house to phone the police about Andrea's new home, Ben shifted the baby to his other arm. "So…you like Chinese food?"
So, there's the prologue! I already have the first three and a half chapters written out, and I know a lot of people write about this idea about Ben having a niece and Riley having a romance with an OC, but thanks for reading! Go press that little purple button!