I got the idea for this story from the song Tough by Kellie Pickler…and I like what I've seen of In Plain Sight…so I decided to write this little thingy-ma-bob for you all. It's kind of like my other story Family…and you could read that too if you wanted.

Age 6 months to nine years old:

Like any other little girl, Mary Shannon's daughter grew up on all the Disney movies ever made, Cinderella, Snow White, and The Little Mermaid to name a few. But her favorite one was always the Road to El Dorado…she liked the adventure of it all. Her mother hadn't raised her to be a princess, but that didn't stop her from wanting to be one.

Well, that all changed on the eve of, or rather the wee hours of, her tenth birthday.

Ten to eleven years old:

A lot of people didn't know what Mary Shannon really did. A few people did. One of those people was her daughter. Nobody really tries to hide anything from nine-almost-ten year olds, and while the little girl didn't exactly know what her mom did, she was close enough. She knew her mom worked for the government and she knew that she helped people.

The day before her tenth birthday was just a regular old Monday; school, bus, her mom's work, home, and bed. That change took place around two-thirty that morning with the shattering of glass and a half a dozen bullets.

From the time she was startled from her sleep, the girl would only later remember flying glass, screaming, the front door being broken in, the frantic fight sounds, and the blood, so much blood. That night left her mother half dead and left the little girl with a nightmare that she'd never grow out of…and that she'd think of as That Night.

After eleven months of physical therapy for the mother and psychologist appointments for the daughter, things seemed to get better. And they did, and would stay that way, for a few more years.

Twelve years old:

There was always someone both the Shannon women could count on, and his name was Marshall. He had been there for every major event in the little girl's life, her birth, her first word (which was a cuss word), and even her first steps. His number was the first one the little girl had called on That Night and although she didn't realize it, she loved him more than her own father.

She never really made any comment on the fact that Marshall was obviously head over heels for her mother. She knew it, he knew it, and although her mother pretended not to, she knew it too.

When she was twelve and her mother was back at work, Marshall took her mother out to dinner one night and things started to happen.

She was 'in bed' when her mother got home that night…but in reality, she had been spying from the living room, hidden behind the couch.

She had watched as her mother and Marshall had stood in the doorway, hand-in-hand, talking for nearly another hour. More than once, her mother had laughed in that sarcastic manner of hers and tried to wiggle free of her partner's hand…and more than once, he hadn't let go.

After what seemed like an eternity, Marshall had kissed Mary's head gently released her hands and left. Mary watched him go, then closed the door and wiped furiously at her eyes.

The younger Shannon and crawled back behind the couch and down the hall to her bed. She never told her mom or Marshall what she had seen that night.

Thirteen to seventeen years old:

By the time she was thirteen, Mary's daughter had a mind- and a taste- or her own. She liked abstract art and country music and 80s cop shows. She was an athlete, albeit an odd one. She blatantly refused to play sports the other kids did, basket ball, soft ball, that sort of thing. Instead, she rowed, kick-boxed, fenced, horseback rode, and learned five different types of martial arts. She even dabbled in different exotic, strenuous dances.

She was also a bit of a rebel. But nothing like her mother had expected. She worked hard in school, she played hard, and was well on her way to following in her mother's footsteps as a government agent. She had convinced Marshall to teach her to shoot when she was fourteen, and as it turned out, she was a darn good shot.

At fifteen, she had tricked her drivers' ed instructor into thinking that she was old enough to take drivers' ed test. And she was driving her mom's car around Albuquerque just days later. She also got her cartilage pierced as well as adding two more bottom piercings to the original one, giving her a 'half-assed punk' to quote her mother.

Marshall had just winked and distracted her mother with a new case. The daughter loved her mother, her mother loved Marshall, and Marshall loved them both.

By the time she was sixteen, the girl was beautiful. She looked like her mother, and as Mary always said, 'thankfully' nothing like her father. She wore her blonde hair just past her shoulders and her green eyes were always sparkling with either sarcasm or just plain happiness. There were always flocks of boys following her around. Not that she really cared, she had bigger plans. There was a boy everyone called Digget (His last name was Digetosesky) and he was the only one to ask why the girl trained like a demon.

"When I was younger, I always wanted to be a princess…but when I was nine, things got crazy. Life knocked me for a loop. And I've spent the rest of my life just trying to even up the score."

Eighteen years old:

At eighteen, two things happened. The little girl grew up and began college in the fall, and the mother let down her walls and married a man who had loved her for years and years in the summer. Life was just beginning for one and life was starting anew for the other. Dreams were flooding the skies of Albuquerque.

The little girl's dreams included a valley with a little farm about half an hour from Washington D.C. and a Glock 17 at her desk at the FBI, a kid or two, a man who loved her, and white Christmases like she'd never had in New Mexico.

The mother reverted to her childhood, one that was tough like her own daughter. She dreamed of happily ever after.

Like it?