Yeah...the only excuse I have for not posting any chapters for so long is LIFE. Life interrupting and life stealing my muse. But I think I've found it. Promise, The Beginning is the next to get updated and it will be soon.

This a little jump farther along. Parker and Mia are in thier early twenties in this one.

Fun at the Fair

"That looks good."

"Mmm," Mia smirks at her boyfriend, using the napkin in her free hand to swipe at her sticky chin, speaking through a mouthful of caramel apple. "It is. Very good."

Parker narrows his eyes as she takes another bite, the crunch audible over the carnival noise around them. "You're not even going to offer me a bite, are you?"

Twin emerald eyes laugh up at him. "Nope. Did I get any of your corn dog?"

"Hey, you said you didn't want any!"

"Nooo, I saidI didn't want a whole foot long dog. I wanted to share with you, dummy."

"Yeah, well you didn't say that," he sighs in exasperation, not taking his eyes off the caramel covered fruit all but calling to him. "How was I supposed to know?"

"How long have we been together now?"

"Long enough for you to share you apple."

As fast as lightening, his hand wraps around her wrist, pulling the delightful treat to his lips. Only half heartily fighting against him, Mia struggles to laugh without choking on bits of apple and caramel. Half the apple stuffed in his mouth, he presses his sticky smug smile against hers. It's a short kiss, full of playfulness, fitting perfectly in the setting of roaring roller coasters and carnival games around them. Still chuckling they walk on, his arm comfortable around her waist, wordlessly sharing what's left of the caramel apple.

"Hey, look at that," Mia nods her head, licking her thumb. A group of males aging fourteen to late forties are gathered around a shooting booth, large stuffed toys hanging down the top. "Come on, let's try."

The carnie in charge of the booth, a tall man with oily black hair slicked back from his angular face spot them instantly as they wander over. Coal colored eyes gleam, his lips stretching into a cunningly encouraging smile as he sails right into his pitch.

"That's a pretty lady on your arm," he directs to Parker, shifting the rifle settled on his hip to point to the large toys hanging above him. "Win a prize, show a girl how much you care. It's easy; two bucks get you ten shots at the little duckies behind me. Any hit gets you a small prize; five or more get you a medium prize. Get all ten baby ducks and you pick from the gorgeous toys above. What do you say, buddy?"

Parker throws the apple stick in the trash, eyeing the rifle warily. "Can I see the gun?"

The carnie hands it over, briefly diverting his attention to give out a puny black stuffed dog with false sorrow. Right away his attention is back to the couple in front of him, taking back the gun, impatience starting to strain his smile.

"What do you say? Only two bucks. Small amount to spend on a pretty girl."

"Come on, Parker baby, I want a Tweety Bird," Mia pleads, exaggerating the slight twang that is occasionally heard in her voice. Parker fights hard to not smile at the pouting face the light of laughter in her eyes. Her face lights with a bright, hopeful smile, hopping on the balls of her feet. "Oh, can I try it too?"

"Sure, honey," Parker says indulgently, his brown eyes twinkling. He pulls out his wallet, handing the smirking carnie four ones. "She'll go first."

"Can't we go the same time?" Mia questions, pointing to the now vacated spot directly next to them.

"No problem, sweetheart," the carnie smiles in what those not familiar with the Booth family consider charm. Parker frowns angrily at that smile, opening his mouth to say something but Mia places a placating hand on his arm. The carnie hands them both freshly loaded guns, already formulating how he can get them to lay down another four bucks. "Here we go. Remember, you want to shoot the ducks."

The couple bring the guns up into their sights, eyes following the spinning ducks for a moment. Just as Mia is about to pull the trigger, Parker leans over to whisper in the ear. The carnie stands straighter, eyes narrowed as she nods and shoots, Parker sending him a smug look before focusing on his own targets.





The others at the booth pause in the shooting to watch some in awe and others in frustrated envy. The carnie looks angered.






The couple set their guns on the counter, applause and light cheers breaking out around them. Parker smiles a true charm smile, looking smugly unsurprised at his success. Mia looks satisfied but completely happy.

"Pick you prize," the carnie says to them, lacking his previous enthusiasm. He retrieves the choices they point to, glad to see them leave.

"And hey! Don't come back!" his fellow carnie playfully calls after them, glad that he wasn't the one to be out-conned. "Alright folks, who wants to try for their own perfect score? How about you young man?"

Parker stretches out his arms to observe the giant yellow bird, tilting his head in consideration. "You know, those big plastic eyes are kind of creepy."

Silence meets him and he turns, chuckling at his girlfriend frowning down at her much smaller Tweety. He slows to wrap his arms around her, placing the giant bird in her arms. "Come on, babe, you know I got this for you. I'm not really big on birds."

"Thank you," she smiles, turning her head to kiss him, but the frown comes back almost instantly. She almost growls a sigh. "I missed. Twice. Probably wouldn't have if-"

Parker groans, his head falling onto her shoulder. "I am not taking you to the shooting range or teaching you to shoot."

"Oh, come on, Parker."

"No. It's bad enough my mom has been teaching you. What's next? She's gonna start teaching Tiney?" His head snaps up, eyes wide as Mia only chuckles. "You're joking! Does my dad know?"