This story just came to me. Thanks again moviemom44. Please read and review.
Pink and purple balloons decorated the porch. The day was perfect for a birthday party. Alex set the lemonade on the table outside as Walker brought the plates and set them beside the pitcher. They both looked up as they heard the car driving up the driveway. A little blonde-haired Angela dressed in a lavender dress with lavender bows in her pig tails came bounding down the steps.
"Aunt Sydney! Uncle Gage!" She stood jumping up and down in the yard as they got out of the car, each holding a pink wrapped present. Gage handed his present to his fiancee Sydney, picked up the pint-sized blonde beauty and spun her around in a circle.
"So how old are you today, Princess?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
She giggled and popped up four little fingers. "I'm four, silly." She giggled again.
Gage carried her to the table of food. He reached for a carrot stick. "You want one, Princess?"
Angela's little nose turned up and her pony tails shook side to side as she said, "EWWW, no way. "
Another car pulled into the driveway and parked beside Gage's. Trivette opened the door and stepped out then reached into the back seat and unbuckled a squirming toddler.
"There you go, Sport. Run and play," he told his two-year-old son. He then jogged to the other side of the car to open up the door for his wife. "Come on, Baby." He offered his hand and she stood up with a hand on her protruding belly. They walked to their friends who were all snacking at the table.
"Uncle Jimmy," Angela called, reaching for him.
Trivette took the little jewel out of Gage's embrace and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
Sydney placed a hand on Erica's pregnant belly. "So when is this little girl making her appearance?"
Erica smiled. "Two more weeks. I hope she isn't late like J.P. was." She scanned the yard for the toddler who was laughing as Gage chased him. Gage caught the laughing boy and swung him onto his broad shoulder where the tickling and laughter continued.
Erica and Sydney smiled at the happy scene.
"He's gonna make a great father," Erica stated, reading Sydney's mind. "Yeah. He will," Sydney replied, knowing it was the truth.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR ANGELA, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU." The adults all sang as they gathered around the little girl sitting at the end of the table. She closed her pretty blue eyes and made a wish before her eyes popped open again and she took a deep breath, blowing all four candles out at once. Everyone clapped.
Alex cut cake for everyone and they all enjoyed the homemade chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. J.P. threw his cake at his daddy and squealed. Direct hit.
"Hey, Sport, what was that for?" Trivette asked, wiping the cake off his face.
Gage laughed. "Well, he sure has good aim." That got everyone else laughing too, including the guy who got 'caked'.
After cake it was Present Time. Walker boosted his little Angel up onto a chair and started handing her presents. Box after box revealed Barbie dolls, princesses from every animated fairy tale ever made, dress-up clothes, play make-up and glamorous movie star shoes.
It wasn't long before a very happy Angela was running through the house, her dress-up high heels clickity-clacking loudly on the wooden floors.
The adults sat and talked as little J.P. followed after Angela who ran out the back door and twirled around in her new Cinderella dress. Spying a butterfly, she smiled at little J.P.
"Look, J.P., a blufferfly," she said, mispronouncing the insect's name as only a four-year-old can. She chased the butterfly with the toddler close behind.
Erica noticed she didn't hear her baby. Panic showed in her eyes. "Jimmy, where's J.P.?"
Everyone stared around the room.
"Walker, Angela is gone, too," Alex noticed.
All six adults moved quickly in the direction of where they had last seen the children. They ran into the backyard just in time to see J.P. step into the woods behind Walker's house.
Trivette and Gage took off at top speed followed closely by Walker. Erica started crying when she heard her baby cry. Trivette knelt down and grabbed up his crying son and held him close. Gage, breathing heavy, placed a hand on little J.P.'s back. Walker tried to catch his breath as he looked around for his daughter.
"Angela!" he called as he stared out at the trees. There was no trace of the little girl.
Trivette looked over J.P. who had stopped crying after snuggling up to his daddy. "I'll take him back to Erica then come help ya'll look." He exited the woods and Gage and Walker proceeded through them.
Alex gasped when only Trivette exited the woods carrying J.P. Trivette handed his son to his wife.
"He's scratched up from the briars, but I think he's fine. I'm gonna help Walker look for Angela."
Sydney took control of the situation. She knew she had to give the two panicky mothers something to do.
"Erica, let's get Little Man in the house and get those scratches taken care of. Come on, Alex, where's your first aid kit?" The three worried women walked back into the house on a mission to tend to J.P.'s scrapes and dry his tears.
Angela ran through the woods chasing the butterfly. She danced and spun in her dress. When she stopped spinning the butterfly was gone. "Oh, blufferfly, where are you?"
She turned in a slow circle and realized she couldn't see her house. A tear started to roll down her cheek.
"Daddy!" she cried. She sat down on the grass and put her face in her tiny hands. Although her cries were unheard by the men searching for her, she suddenly found she was not alone when a strong hand rubbed her back.
"Hey, little darlin', what's the matter?" The voice was gravelly but calming to the frightened child.
The little girl didn't raise her head as she sniffled a response. "I'm wost. I can't find my daddy."
The soothing voice spoke again. "Oh, sugar, now I guarantee your daddy is looking for you. Now, don't you worry. I'll stay right here with you."
Angela lifted her dirty face up to see the face of the man talking to her. "I know you. There's a picture of you in my house."
The man smiled as only he could. He touched her little cheek. "Yes, honey, I know."
She felt comfortable with the man. His smile told her she could trust him and his eyes beamed with love. Angela smiled.
Walker, Gage and Trivette met up at a small clearing.
"Nothing," Gage reported. The other two shook their heads, indicating they'd found no sign of Angela either.
Walker took in his surroundings. He knew this ranch and this land like the back of his hand. She couldn't have gotten too far, but then why hadn't they found her?
"OK, the Miller's spread is to the north. There is a small cliff to the east." He surveyed the area once again. He squinted and moved around Gage.
"Do you see that?" he asked, pointing to a reflection on the pasture grass. Trivette and Gage followed as Walker took off running toward the bright spot that seemed to hover in the green pasture.
Angela was laughing and giggling with the old man. He had a great laugh and was really funny. She ran to him and he caught her in his arms and hoisted her up for a hug. A solitary tear rolled down his cheek. He looked out across the meadow and saw his friends coming to the clearing. He sat the little girl down and smiled his amazing smile.
"Your dad is on his way." He grabbed her hand and walked toward the men.
The trio of searchers saw the two figures in the distance. Walker became angry at first. A man was holding his daughter's hand. But the man appeared to be bringing her to them. Gage slowed down and placed a hand on Walker's shoulder. Trivette stared in amazement as they neared Angela and the man. They all stood staring in awe at the man that was there in front of them.
"B-big Dog? Whaa..?" Trivette stuttered, blinking back a tear.
C.D. smiled and let go of Angela's hand. She took off running to her daddy.
Walker leaned over and scooped her into his arms.
"Daddy, I know you said neber talk to strangers. But he's not a stranger," the little girl said proudly.
Gage stood there with his mouth open, unable to believe his eyes, let alone think of what to say.
"Lord have mercy, Cordell, you need to keep a better eye on that little darlin' right there," the gray-haired man said. Looking at his other two friends, he tipped his hat and turned to walk away.
"B-big Dog, Wait a min..." Trivette started but C.D. was no longer there.
Gage ran a hand over his face. "What just happened?"
Walker didn't answer. He just hugged his daughter and started back to the house.
"He said he loved me, daddy. And that he sees me all the time. I thought you said Grandpa C.D. lived in Heaven, not in our field," Angela said as they made their way back to the ranch.
Walker opened the back door and sat Angela down. She took off running to her mommy.
"MOMMY!" she squealed when Alex ran into the kitchen to see if her prayers had truly been answered. As she hugged her little daughter, Alex noticed the looks on the men's faces. She stood up, pulling Angela into her arms.
"What happened?" she asked.
Trivette wore a wistful expression as he sat down beside Erica who held a sleeping J.P. in her arms.
"Jimmy, what happened?"
Gage sat down beside Sydney, leaned forward and put his head in his hands. He took a deep breath but offered no comment.
"OK, is somebody gonna tell us what happened? You guys look like you've seen a ghost," Sydney said, rubbing Gage's back.
Gage, Walker and Trivette all looked at each other.
"Grandpa was in the meadow," Angela said looking at her mommy. Silence filled the room.
Alex looked at her bright-eyed daughter. "Grandpa? Grandpa Gordon?"
"No, Mama, Grandpa C.D. He was there. He played with me and laughed with me. He took me to Daddy," the little blonde stated matter-of-factly.
Alex looked at Walker who was leaning back against the wall trying to come to grips with what had happened. She looked at Gage who only nodded and then at Trivette who was clearly in shock. "Is she serious? Are you telling me you all saw him, too?" A tear escaped her eyes.
They looked at each other, then back at her. All three slowly nodded.
"He said he loved me and was watching me all the time. Mommy, what's wrong? Why does everyone look so sad?" Angela looked at her family and was confused by the sadness.
Walker walked to his daughter and rubbed her back. "Don't worry, honey. We just really miss Grandpa C.D. and we weren't expecting to see him there with you. "
Erica looked at her husband and smiled. "Did you doubt he was watching over us, Jimmy?"
Trivette rubbed his son's cheek. His voice cracked when he spoke. "We named him James Parker after C.D. I knew he was with us the day he was born. I felt him there," Jimmy recalled, smiling at the memory.
Gage shook his head, trying to grasp what had happened, replaying the events in his head. "All I know is that he was right there, big as life. He spoke to us. Called Walker 'Cordell' like he always did, and told him to keep a closer eye on his little darling. He looked at us, tipped his hat and…d-disapeared." His voice trailed off as he looked into Sydney's eyes. She kissed her fiancée, offering comfort. She'd never seen him so bewildered.
Angela smiled. "He didn't disdapeared, Uncle Gage. He's in our hearts. Right, daddy?"