Kat realizes that their daughter will probably be the most ingenious member of their family. She knows this for a fact.
Ally has the darling face, the big doe eyes, the cute curls. She has the cunning and attitude of her mother, the charm and confidence of her father, and the teachings of an ancient practice. But, perhaps most importantly, she has the innocence of being a little girl barely over eight; and they all know how the "innocence factor" is like an ace up your sleeve in their world.
Yet, despite being insured for life on the Hale family fortune and showered in riches and expenses, Ally still feels the need to pick-pocket off of the unsuspecting kids at the park.
"Ally," Kat says evenly. "What is this?"
"Those are cards, Mama."
Kat resists the urge to roll her eyes. Little or not, her wit and sarcasm are enough to rival her daddy dearest. "Ally."
"Sorry." But the wide grin on her face says otherwise. According to Bobby Bishop, it is the same grin Kat used to wear when she did something she wasn't supposed to and was proud of it
"Ally, what did Daddy and I say about picking pockets of other kids?"
"It was only a little pick, Mama!" Ally protests, holding her thumb and index finger a few centimeters apart to emphasize her point. Kat crosses her arms together and arches an eyebrow. Ally blows out a little sigh. "No picking pockets without supervision. But Mama, Uncle Angus and Uncle Hamish were the ones that took me. They said it was good practice!"
"They don't count, sweetie, remember? What do we always say about your uncles?"
"I'm there to supervise them, but let them think it's the other way around." Ally bites her lower lip. "Am I in trouble?"
Kat purses her lips. The maternal half of her thinks that she should be. But the other half, the half that knew what it was like to be a young girl in a family of thieves and knew the temptations, remembers all she had been capable of at Ally's age and figures there are worse things her little girl could be getting herself into. That half makes her feel less guilty when she pinches her daughter's cheeks. "No, I guess not."
Ally beams a little too widely for her liking, but Kat kisses her forehead and places the deck in her hands. "Now put this up in your room and grab your coat. Auntie Gab will be here any minute."
And with that, Ally disappears up the staircase.
"That girl is just as insane as the rest of us. It must run in the family," Kat murmurs in amusement.
"Talk to yourself like that and people will think you're crazy." Strong arms wrap around her slim figure from behind before she can turn around, but she just leans into them and lets Hale drop a kiss on the crook of her neck.
"Did you know that your wife was a little mental?"
"I figured that out when we first met. She tried to steal my painting, and then ate my corned beef," he mumbles against her skin. "At least she's pretty."
This time, Kat blushes just a tiny bit. "Hale," she laughs as he showers her neck with more kisses. "You'll freak Ally out, stop it."
"In case you haven't noticed, Kitty Kat," he says, kissing her jaw and playing with the ends of her hair, "but our daughter is nowhere to be found. I think we're safe."
"She's upstairs getting a coat and she'll be right down," Kat informs. Hale sticks his lip out in a pout and Kat rolls his eyes and kisses him soundly. "You're worse than Ally sometimes. Speaking of which, did you know our daughter has been pick-pocketing little kids at the park?"
"She has?" Hale asks. "Good for her."
"Kat," he mimics. She looks at him and now it's his turn to roll his eyes. "Honestly, Kat, relax. She's just like you."
"Yes, and that's what worries me. Don't you remember all of the trouble we got ourselves into? We were right around her age."
"Which makes it a little hypocritical of us to punish her for being the same, doesn't it?" Hale questions.
"I guess," Kat sighs. "It just makes me feel like I'm being a bad parent by encouraging her."
Hale is quiet for a long moment, so long that Kat would have broken the silence if he hadn't chosen that second to twist her in his arms and lock their lips in a sudden yet heady kiss that makes her gasp , her knees nearly giving in underneath her. In her defense, she hadn't seen it coming at all, and this was Hale—husband or not, that annoying little spell he has on her has not weakened with time.
When he pulls away (her head is light and she thinks she sees stars), she blinks a bit and, yeah, she's most definitely blushing this time. "What was that for?" she asks breathlessly.
"You're perfect," he says. "You could never be a bad parent, or daughter, or wife."
He arches an eyebrow. "Okay?"
"Okay," she repeats, bringing their lips together in another kiss. "And you're not so bad yourself."
He chuckles. "Ally is going to be just fine. She'll be brilliant, and charming, and crazy talented. She'll be spoiled and loved to death." He holds her tighter, kissing her temple. "She'll be just like her mom."
"I can't believe you did that!" she yells, yanking her dark brown hair from its ponytail as she storms across the street. "Actually," she reconsiders, "I take that back. I can believe you'd do that because you love to embarrass me. But was tricking the police dog really necessary?"
"Aw, Princess, it wasn't so bad."
"They nearly strip-searched him," she fumes. "In public. He was a nervous mess!"
"Then you can thank me for saving you the guilt and embarrassment of making him cry when you rejected him."
"My hero," she mutters dryly.
"In my defense, it's reasonable to believe that the dog was perfectly trained. He's a police dog after all."
She rolls her bright blue eyes and yanks open the back door, sliding onto the leather seats of the stretch limo. She tries to slam the door behind her, but he stops it with his hand and laughs. The golden blonde and perfectly tanned girl sitting further into the limo nudges the slightly disheveled brunette beside her. "Uh oh, Jake. Looks like Ally and Carter are having another lover's quarrel."
"No quarrel, Jazz. Just a misunderstanding," Carter corrects.
Ally glares at him. Jazz laughs. Jake rolls his eyes.
"Do you know what he did to the boy I was supposed to be distracting? Do you know what he did?"
Jazz taps her earrings. "Kind of heard all of it, sweetie," she reminds. "And don't worry. Guys will do anything when they're jealous."
"It's still no excuse," Ally mutters.
"Whatever. Sexual tension or not, I'm not going to be the one to tell Auntie Kat that we only got four out of the five jewels because some people weren't following orders. Oh, man. Imagine what Uncle Bobby will say. It'll be just like Rio all over again." Jake makes a face and then shudders at the memory.
"What happened in Rio?"
Ally and Jake look at each other, remembering that once upon a time Jazz hadn't always been a part of the picture.
But Carter merely smiles too smugly and stretches himself out across the seat, resting his head in Ally's lap. "Oh, that was the night when Ally tried to steal the Cleopatra Emerald from me."
A/n. Yes, there was a time-skip, so Ally and everyone should be teens in that second half; and yes, the Cleopatra Emerald was a reference to Uncommon Criminals. I'm so excited! That's why I went ahead and wrote this plot bunny despite the fact I haven't written in forever and I feel rusty (:
So you read it. Love it? Hate it? Please review it!