Meeting Uncle Bos
By Maquis Leader
Rated: R for language
Author’s Note: Set early in Bosco and Faith’s partnership. This is really Ralkana’s story. She handed the plot bunny to me and now she’s trying to get out of claiming it. DNA tests are on the way!
“Em has her recital Monday night.”
“Yeah? So?” Bosco pulled off his turtleneck and tossed it on the floor.
“So, it’s her first one.” Faith unbuttoned her uniform shirt and pulled it loose from her pants. “She’s an angel, and she’s got this pretty little white dress with big wings.”
“I remember – there were feathers all over the squad.” Stripping off his t-shirt, he dropped it on top the discarded turtleneck. “I found one stuck to my pants the other night – Karen was not impressed.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t tell her it was a new sex toy of some kind.” After four months of riding with Bosco, Faith had been treated to a seemingly endless description of his sexual conquests. Apparently, he was better than God.
“I’ve got better toys for her to play with.” He grinned as he pulled a clean shirt over his head.
“All the little boys have that toy, Bosco.” She snickered. Why did every man think he was the only one that had a dick?
“Yeah, but mine is special.” Bosco unzipped his uniform pants and let them drop. Swiveling his head to look at Faith, he made a show of turning his back on her. “You don’t look.”
“Like I would want to?” Long ago, Faith had learned to keep her eyes focused on her locker when she was changing. Not everyone wore boxers. Or briefs. “You seen one – you seen ‘em all.”
“Shows what you know.” He pulled on a pair of jeans, adjusting himself comfortably. “Some guys have pea shooters and some guys have big guns.”
Faith snickered again, looking up at Bosco just in time to catch the glare he threw her way. “Forgive me, Bos. What was I thinking? I’m sure all the girls love you and all the men are in awe.”
“So the recital is Monday night.” Shedding her t-shirt, she quickly tugged her blouse over her head. Changing in a room full of people was still strange – stranger still since most of them were men. “Emily’s all excited.”
Bosco knew Faith had kids. She had pictures of them in her locker, and one inside her hat that he caught her looking at sometimes. He’d even seen them at their graduation ceremony. One was a rugrat and the other was big enough to classify as an ankle biter.
While he hadn’t actually seen her kids more than once – maybe twice – he’d heard about them constantly. Every excruciating little detail. Emily lost a tooth. Charlie’s potty training. Faith yapped constantly about the little monsters.
Sitting down, Bosco pulled on his socks and boots. Much like she was doing right now – babbling on and on about her kids like he gave a rat’s ass.
“So, do you wanna come?”
“What?” He looked up. “What the hell for?”
“I dunno.” Faith shrugged. “’Cos we’re partners.”
“You watched too much Starsky and Hutch as a kid.” Gathering up his dirty uniform, Bosco stuffed it into his duffel bag. “Go watch a bunch of whiney little kids – who’re scared to death and their parents are makin’ ‘em do it – singing like screaming monkeys? No thank you – I’d sooner get a root canal.”
“Oh.” She shut her locker and pulled on her coat. “I was just asking, sorry.”
“Forget it. See ya tomorrow.” Bosco said to her as she left the locker room.
Sully had been sitting in front of his own locker; he’d pulled a double shift and was worn out. It was impossible not to have overheard their conversation, and he shook his head. “You know, Bosco, every time I think you can’t possibly be any more of an insensitive son of a bitch than you already are – you go and surprise me.”
“I’m an insensitive son of a bitch? Says the guy who’s listenin’ to other people’s conversations?” Bosco turned to look at him. Granted, there was no real privacy in the locker room, but clearly this had been a private conversation.
“That’s exactly what you are – I just can’t think of a better definition.”
“Why? ‘Cos I don’t want to go see her kid be totally humiliated?” Bosco pulled his coat on. “All these things are for is making shrinks more money. Twenty years from now, some guy will be in therapy at a hundred bucks an hour and discover he stutters ‘cos he pissed his pants at his kindergarten play.”
“You know, some kids have good memories of these things, Bosco.” Sully fondly remembered his own school plays and recitals. “Besides – you hurt your partner’s feelings.”
“What? Nah, Faith don’t care. She knows I don’t like kids.” Had he hurt her feelings? Nah, couldn’t be. Then again, she usually waited on him and they walked out together. Damn it! Slamming his locker shut, Bosco left the locker room. “Kiss my ass, Sully.”
“I’ll leave that to your many admiring girlfriends. Rosy Palm and her five friends, right?” Sully called after him.
Faith wasn’t outside hanging around and waiting on him, and Bosco hurried to his car. Starting the Mustang, he kicked the defroster up on high while he scraped a hole through the ice on the windshield big enough to see out of. Twice he almost busted his ass as he tried to scrape and look down the street for her at the same time.
He didn’t spot her anywhere. “Crap!” Pulling out onto the slick street, Bosco held the car at a speed slightly better than a belly crawl. More than likely Faith had taken the train and was already gone anyway.
“Ah, she didn’t get her feelings hurt.” He peered out through the clean spot on the windshield. “She don’t care what I think, same as I don’t care what she thinks.”
At the end of the block there was someone walking. Someone with their head down and shoulders slumped. A Faith shaped someone.
“Ah, crap…” Pulling up alongside of her, Bosco honked. When Faith turned to look at him, he reached over and opened the car door. “Get in!”
“It’s cold – get in!”
“I gotta get home.” She rubbed her hands up and down her arms. Now that she’d stopped moving, it felt twice as cold.
“And you’ll get there quicker if you let me drive you.” He said reasonably. “Now get in!”
It was colder than hell, and Faith had already been wondering if she’d make it to the subway. Giving up, she got in the car. Bosco probably didn’t have a clue that he’d pissed on her feelings anyway. The man had the sensitivity of a brick.
“What’s the matter with you? It’s damn near below zero!” Bosco flipped the levers over from defrost to heater. “You wanna be found face down in the snow tomorrow?”
“It’s not that far to the subway.” Holding her hands over the vents, she sighed as the feeling returned to her fingers.
“You should’ve waited on me.” He pulled back out onto the street once again. “Or had Fred pick you up – why didn’t he pick you up anyway?”
“He’s got a new job – he has to be there at eight thirty.”
“So?” At least Fred finally had a job. Another one. That was one less thing for Faith to bitch about all night.
“So he doesn’t have time to come get me and get ready for work and then get there on time.” She rubbed her newly warmed hands on her frozen cheeks. “Besides, he’d have to drag the kids along.”
“Yeah, all right.” That he could understand. No sense getting the kids out in this cold. “When it’s this cold, you catch a ride with me or at least let me drop you at the subway, all right?”
“Bosco, I’m capable – “
“All right?” He barked at her. They needed some rules if this partnership was going to work. Faith was the only one he’d been able to ride with for more than five minutes without going out of his mind. He wasn’t losing her to frostbite.
“All right already!” She hid her smile by looking out the window. Yes, Mother Bosco.
“You freeze and then I end up back with somebody I can’t stand – like Sully.” He’d had who knew how many partners during his training year until the brass finally let him partner up with Faith. Year of training? More like a year of hell.
“Your concern for my well being is touching.”
“You’re welcome.” He smiled at her. Obviously she was learning who was the boss in this partnership.
“You know, I thought the idea was I got home faster.” Bosco was driving just above a crawl. “At this rate, it’ll be spring by the time we get there.”
“It’s slick.” He pointed at the icy street. “You wanna end up sliding off into a pole or something?”
“At this speed? What would it hurt?”
“You know, I shoulda just let you walk.” He spared a second to look her way and glare at her. “That’s what I get for being a nice guy.”
“Don’t worry, Bos, nobody’ll ever accuse you of being a nice guy.” Now that she was warm, Faith turned in the seat to look at him. Bosco was frowning, concentrating on the road. It hit her suddenly that he lived in the other direction and was going out of his way to take her home. Okay, so maybe he’s a little bit of a nice guy. “Thanks for the ride, Bos.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
"How long do you think it'll be before we don't have to work midnights anymore?" Faith yawned. "Seems like all I ever see is the dark anymore."
"In about twenty years when we have some seniority – if we're lucky – they'll let us move to third watch." Grinning, he eased to a stop at a stop light. "I hear there's this big ball of fire in the sky sometimes."
“I’m sorry I put you on the spot like that back in the locker room.”
“Like what?” If he pretended not to know, maybe she’d forget about it.
“About Emily’s recital. Made me sound like one of those pushy stage moms.”
“’S okay.” Bosco shrugged. “You’re a mom – that’s what moms do.”
“It’s the first one of these things. It’s kinda exciting.” Faith smiled, remembering how Emily looked in her little angel costume. “I’m sure that’ll wear off after two or three of ‘em.”
Bosco grinned at her. He doubted it. She’d be all pumped for everything her kids ever did. His grin faded. And she’d be happy to tell him all about it. Great.
“So this recital – “ He swung the car carefully around a snowman who was standing out in the street trying to commit suicide. “I may show – if I don’t have a date.”
“You always have a date.”
“True. I’m very much in demand.” Bosco grinned. “Still, I could maybe drop by.”
“Bosco, it’s okay.”
“Hey, I saw the costume – I wore half the damn feathers – “ He shot her a look when she giggled. “I might just drop by to see what it looks like on the kid.”
“It’s Monday night at seven.” She ducked her head, not wanting him to see the smile on her face. Bosco was a total jerk some of the time. Okay, all of the time – but he had a good heart – he just didn’t like to let anyone know. “At her school. You remember where it’s at?”
“Yeah, we took those eggshells over there one day.” In the middle of pulling a double shift they’d had to stop and buy eggs and then bust them so that Emily would have eggshells for some art crap. And Faith wouldn’t let him smash them against any of the cars in the parking lot. He was never having kids.
There was a spot in front of Faith’s building, and Bosco guided the Mustang into it. He shifted into park and looked up toward her apartment. He didn’t see any lights. “Doesn’t look like anybody’s up yet.”
“It’s late – or early I guess.” She opened the car door. “Thanks for the ride home, Bosco. I’ll see you at work tonight.”
“Yeah.” He watched her get out and walk inside. The hallway was dark. Frowning, Bosco shut the car off and followed her inside.
The hallway was so dim, he could hardly see. “What the fuck?” Faith was standing in front of the elevators and she spun around when he walked up behind her.
“Jesus, Bosco!” She clutched her chest. “Don’t sneak up on somebody like that!”
“What the hell’s the deal with the lights?” Looking around, he spotted one light working farther along the hallway. “Somebody forget to pay the bill?”
“There’s something wrong with the wires or somethin’.” Faith shrugged. “The super’s supposed to fix it.”
“Yeah? For how long?”
“A couple weeks.” The elevator doors opened and she stepped inside. “See you tonight.”
“Sure.” Bosco followed her into the elevator.
“Tonight as in later.” Faith watched him hit the button for her floor.
“I’ll just walk you up.” Okay, so it was almost seven thirty in the morning, it was still dark and there might be punks hanging out in a dark hallway waiting to pounce on unsuspecting women. And then he’d be out a perfectly good partner.
Bosco’s sense of chivalry came and went, popping up at strange moments. Faith wondered if he just did it to screw with her head. “Fine.”
“Good.” Leaning against the back of the elevator, he closed his eyes. Working midnights was wearing him out. And killing him in the dating department. Girls liked to go out at night, otherwise they didn’t consider it a real date and didn’t want to part with the goods. Which was generally the only reason he was wasting his time taking them out to begin with.
Faith took advantage of the opportunity to look him over. Bosco was damned good looking. If she wasn’t a married woman, she’d invite him inside for a drink. Or something. As it was, she was married and he was her partner – more like one of her kids half the time. She’d just have to settle for being proud of having the best looking partner at the 55.
The elevator opened up at her floor and Faith watched, amused, as Bosco got out and peered up and down the hallway before he let her get out. “It’s not a crime scene, Bos.”
“You don’t know that.” The lights were out up here too. Lazy fucking super probably didn’t want to get off his fat ass to fix things. “Might be an axe murderer just waiting for you.”
Pulling her keys out, she unlocked her door. “Here we are, safe and sound. Happy now?”
“Yeah, I guess.” There were no lights on inside the apartment. “Does the super need to fix your lights, too?”
“No.” She shook her head. “Fred isn’t up yet.”
For some reason that really pissed him off. Fred was in there asleep, and didn’t even bother to leave a light on for his wife who’d worked her ass off all night? “He doesn’t leave a light on for you?”
“Well, you know, the bill.” Embarrassed, Faith reached in and flipped on the living room light. “It’s usually light out by the time I get home anyway. I just hurried tonight so that I can get him up for this new job.”
“It’s almost eight.” He checked his watch. “Shouldn’t he be up?”
“He… ah… the alarm doesn’t always wake him up.” Especially if he’d had too much to drink the night before. “That’s okay, though, I’m comin’ in so it’s easy for me to wake him up.”
It wasn’t his business, Bosco reminded himself. Fred was here with the kids at night and he didn’t raise a hand to Faith – things could be worse. Fred drank a little, but it could be much, much worse.
Glancing in, he saw the beer bottles on the coffee table. It had concerned him at first when he found out that Fred liked to bend his elbow. A lot of guys liked to bend their elbow a little too much and put a fist in their wife’s face when they were good and pickled. He’d asked Faith if Fred ever hit her and she’d laughed. She’d kick Fred’s ass, she’d told him. After working with her – Bosco believed her.
“He’s drinking less.” Which was true, mainly because there wasn’t enough money since Fred had lost his last job.
Nodding, he reached out and pulled her keys out of the door and handed them to her. “I’ll see you tonight.”
“Night, Bos. Drive careful.” He waved a hand over his head as he walked away.
Twice the lights in the elevator flickered as it went back down to the ground floor, and Bosco moved closer to the door, ready to bolt as soon as they opened. Getting stuck in a pitch black elevator was not in his plans for the day.
The hallway was just as dim on the way back out and Bosco did a u-turn, looking for the super’s apartment. Fucking jagoff was going to fix the lights. Now.
“Charlie, hold still!”
“Shh! Faith, it’s recording!” Fred waved a hand at her. The movement jiggled the video camera he was holding. “Damn it! Now I need to start over!”
“Fred, it doesn’t start for another half hour or so.” Faith shifted Charlie in her arms. He was restless and wanted down.
“Em!” Charlie hollered. “Want Em!”
“In a little bit, Charlie.” Faith turned and looked over her left shoulder at the people behind her. She’d hoped Bosco would show up, but so far there was no sign of him.
She smiled as she caught Sully’s eye. Sully had surprised her by tapping her on the shoulder a few minutes ago as he took a seat. Faith hadn’t thought he was serious when he’d asked about the recital last night. “It’ll start pretty soon.”
“It takes time to get them all lined up straight.” He smiled back at her. “I’m in no hurry. Not like I have a hot date –“
“It’s okay, I wasn’t figuring Bosco would show anyway.” A part of her had hoped he would anyway. When he’d dropped her off this morning, he’d asked her what time the recital would start. Then he’d nodded and driven off. The lights had been fixed in her building, and he hadn’t felt the need to walk her in this time.
“Well, he’s young and he doesn’t understand how important these things are to parents.” Sully held his smile until Faith turned back around. Plus, Boscorelli is an ass. A thoughtless ass.
Charlie started kicking the seat in front of her and Faith grabbed his legs. “Knock it off, Charlie.” She gave the woman who turned around an apologetic smile. The woman glared before she turned back.
“This thing is great!” Fred jostled her as he shifted for a better angle with the camera. “You’ll see, it’s gonna be worth every penny.”
“Sure.” Not that she didn’t want to tape Emmy’s recital, and Christmas, and birthdays – but that camera was almost half her paycheck. Maybe she could talk Bos into pulling a few doubles. Now that he’d found a place they could lay low and grab a few winks – he might go for it.
The woman in front of her turned around once more as Charlie started kicking her seat again. “Sorry, he’s just bored.”
“You should learn to make him mind.” The woman turned back toward the stage.
“Yeah, I’ll do that.” Bitch. Faith stuck her tongue out, making Charlie giggle and kick the chair again. “Charlie, knock it off!”
“I’m gonna have to arrest you if you don’t quit it, kid.”
Faith looked up as Bosco dropped into the chair next to her.
“Have to put you in the slam for disturbing the peace.” He pointed a finger at Charlie. “Get you a cellmate named Bubba.”
“Hey.” She smiled at Bosco.
“Hey.” He let Charlie grab his finger, playing a little mano a mano tug of war.
“Later.” Bosco pulled his finger back before Charlie could stick it in his mouth. He drew the line at hickeys. “She thinks it’s cute I’m coming to your kid’s recital.”
“Great.” The grin on Bosco’s face told her he wasn’t above using her kids to get laid. “Just great, Bos.”
“So what’s the hold up?” There was some boring stuff going on up on the stage. Some fat, bald guy handing out certificates to teachers or some crap.
“In a few minutes.” Faith pulled Charlie back as he tried to climb onto Bosco’s lap. “Sit still.”
Not sure if she was talking to him or the kid, Bosco decided to ignore her. The guy in front of him had a program and he leaned forward and snatched it out of the guy’s hand. Looking it over, he found a list of events. Boring awards. Boring dedication of the new gym speech. Boring retirement announcement for some boring teacher. Preschool class singing – still boring but then he could leave after that.
Bosco looked up. The man he’d taken the program from was giving him a dirty look. So was the woman next to him. “What?”
“That was my program.”
“Yeah? Well now it’s mine.” He shrugged. “Look at your wife’s.”
“Richard?” The woman said, in that aren’t you going to be a man voice.
Richard took a moment to size Bosco up. He turned around in his chair and faced the stage.
“Well!” The woman huffed in a clear you’re never getting between my legs again tone. “I never!”
“I can tell.” Bosco snickered as she turned red in the face and almost broke her neck whipping around to face front. “I change my mind, Faith, this is fun.”
“Bosco…” Faith moaned. “I have to see these people until Emily starts grade school.”
“They’ll get over it.” He shrugged.
Fred switched the camera off. He wanted to save the battery for when his baby was up there. Resting it on his lap, he turned and saw Bosco for the first time. He’d met Bosco a few times while Faith was at the Academy. He hadn’t been happy to have some young guy come over to study with his wife, and he wasn’t sure he was at all happy that she was working with him every night.
“Hey, Fred.” Bosco reached across Faith and held his hand out to Fred. “Faith told me Emily was singing and I just had to come.”
“Well, that’s – that’s real nice.” Maybe he had this guy pegged wrong. Fred shook his hand. “Wait till you see her little dress – she’s so cute.”
“Hey, I helped make the wings.” Faith’s elbow dug into his gut, and Bosco winced. “The squad was full of feathers for days.”
“Yeah, and you bit – griped.” She caught herself before she taught Charlie a new word.
“Emmy was so happy with the wings.” Fred smiled. “Thanks for helping, I wasn’t sure Faith would get it done the way she works.”
“Ah, between the two of us – “ Bosco caught Faith’s elbow this time. “There’s nothing we can’t do.”
Men. Faith rolled her eyes. Charlie was squirming on her lap, trying to reach Bosco.
“I’m glad that Faith has a man with her to keep an eye on her.”
Bosco nodded, wondering what the fuck Fred meant by that.
“It’s just so dangerous out there – for a woman especially.” Fred patted Faith’s shoulder. “If she was out there with another woman – I’d really be worried sick. But having a man to protect her – that makes it easier for me to sleep at night.”
That and a six pack? Again Bosco nodded, grimacing as Faith ground her heel into the top of his foot. “You know, Faith takes pretty good care of me, too.”
Fred looked bewildered. “What?”
He put a hand on the back of Faith’s neck, pushing her forward so he could lean over and talk to Fred. “I’m a little reckless sometimes.”
Sully had just taken a drink of his Kool-Aid punch. Bosco’s confession made him choke and sputter. “A little reckless?” Great, now he had expensive watered down Kool-Aid all over his tie.
“Just a little.” Bosco nodded, letting his arm fall to the back of Faith’s chair as she pushed back against his hand. “She’s always telling me to be careful.”
“She’s a little bossy.” Fred patted Faith’s leg. “But she’s real dependable.”
“What, am I not sitting right here?” She glared at her husband. “Bossy and dependable? You make me sound like a cow.”
“A very pretty cow.” Fred chuckled and leaned over to kiss her cheek.
That's not a compliment, jackass. Bosco smirked at the back of Faith's head.
“Down!” Charlie pushed at his mother’s arms. “Down!”
“You can’t get down, Charlie.” Faith shifted him around on her lap.
“Don’t you want to see your sister?” Bosco asked. The kid wasn’t the only one who was bored; he felt like kicking back and taking a nap.
“Emmy will be singing real soon.” Fred frowned as he noticed Bosco’s arm lying on the back of Faith’s chair. When had that happened?
“Down!” Charlie demanded again. He slipped from Faith’s arms and Bosco caught him before he hit the floor, sitting him back on his mother’s lap.
The lady in front of them threw a glare over her shoulder. Bosco smirked at her.
“You wanna see my car?” He looked down at Charlie.
“Car?” Charlie stopped struggling with his mother.
“I got a hot little Mustang.” Bosco pulled Charlie out of Faith’s arms. “Wanna go see it?”
“Bos, are you sure?” Faith trusted Bosco with her life, but with her son?
“Sure, I’m sure.” Standing up, he grabbed Charlie’s coat from Faith’s lap and handed it to him. “Put this on, kid.”
Charlie pulled the coat over his head as Bosco carried him outside.
“Don’t worry, Faith.” Sully laughed. “Charlie will keep an eye on Bosco.”
“Funny, Sully. You’re real funny.” She sat back in her chair. At least she knew Bosco would bring him back. No way he’d put up with Charlie for more than five minutes.
Outside, Bosco unlocked the door and slid into the seat, sitting Charlie on his lap. Immediately, Charlie grabbed the steering wheel and began twisting it back and forth. He made vrooming and squealing tires sounds.
Resting his head on the back of the seat, Bosco checked his watch. Twenty minutes left. Wonderful. Twenty minutes of boredom before more boredom. He jumped as the horn blared. “Jesus!”
Charlie laughed and pointed. A group of people were glaring as they walked past the front of the Mustang. Charlie leaned on the horn again, and they jumped and moved faster.
Bosco laughed. “Okay, wait. Here comes some more.” He held Charlie’s hand off the horn. “Wait till they’re right in front of us – it’ll scare ‘em more.”
When the group of people walked past the car’s nose, he let go of Charlie’s hand. Gleefully, Charlie smashed the horn down. “Lookee!”
The people jumped and scattered and Bosco laughed. “That was fun! Who’s next?”
Fifteen minutes went by and they scared at least that many people. Bosco was just deciding that maybe kids were fun after all when Charlie made a face.
“Pee – gotta pee.”
“Not in the car!” Scrambling out of the car, he locked the door. “Let’s get you inside.”
“Gotta pee!” Charlie grabbed himself, his bottom lip trembling.
Vaguely, Bosco remembered Faith babbling about potty training. “Crap!” He didn’t remember any of it! “You go piss like a big boy, right?”
Charlie nodded. “Big boy.”
“All right then. You’ll go piss like a big boy.” All Bosco could remember from being a kid was that he didn’t always have time to get in the house. He considered taking Charlie around the end of the building. Faith might kill him.
“Gotta pee!” It was a frantic whine.
Then again… Bosco carried Charlie around the corner of the building and pointed him at the wall. “Do your business, kid.”
Confused, Charlie looked at the wall and then up at Bosco.
“Jesus…” Kneeling down, he unsnapped Charlie’s pants and pulled them down. There was some funky fat underwear and he pulled them down as well. “You know how to hold your di – it, right?”
Charlie nodded and took hold of himself.
“Great, now pee on the wall and not your shoes.” Bosco turned the boy back to face the wall again. “Aim higher than usual.”
“No potty.” He looked up at Bosco. “’S no potty.”
“Just aim up on the wall.” Bosco tapped the wall. He didn’t want to demonstrate. For God’s sake! Hadn’t Fred taught his son anything?
“’Kay.” Charlie pointed a finger at Bosco. “You don’ look.”
“Like I’d want to?” He turned his back, carefully keeping a lookout. “That’s all I need. Someone to find me out here with his pants down.”
“Shake it off and put it up.” He ordered.
Turning, Bosco found Charlie trying to walk with his pants down around his ankles. “Whoa, boy! You've got to fasten the stud back in the corral.” He pulled the funky underwear back up and pulled the pants up, snapping them shut.
“Wash hands.” Charlie held his hands out.
“Ah…” He was drawing a blank. How did people handle this stuff? “Look Charlie, we’re men. Got it?”
“Men.” The boy nodded. “We’s men.”
“When men are roughing it, we don’t wash our hands.”
Charlie looked at his hands. His mother always made him wash his hands. “Mama says wash.”
“Okay, we’ll go wash.” Picking him up, Bosco carried him back inside. “You didn’t get your shoes wet, good job!” Thank God!
Finding the bathroom, Bosco pushed past the line of men waiting. “Shut the fu – hel – up – the kid needs to wash his hands.”
The sinks were crowded, and he bullied his way up to one, staring down a man who wouldn’t move. “Get outta the way, I got a kid.” The man walked away and Bosco held Charlie so he could put his hands under the water. “Jagoff.”
“Cute kid.” A man to his left said. Reaching out, he started to pat Charlie’s head.
“What are you, a pervert?” Bosco slapped the man’s hand away.
“I’m just saying your son is cute.” The man rubbed his hand.
“I’m a cop, jagoff. Get your pervert ass outta here before I arrest you.”
The man left in a hurry.
“Are we done washing?” Bosco carried Charlie to the towel machine and grabbed a handful of brown paper toweling. “Dry and let’s hit the road, I think the show’s started.”
Faith looked up as Bosco sat down next to her. “I was wondering if I needed to come out and get you two.”
“Kid had to pee.” He handed Charlie over to her. “There’s a lot of weirdoes, you know?”
“Where? In the bathroom?” She clutched Charlie closer, making him squirm.
“Jagoffs!” Charlie said.
“What?” He pointed at the stage. “Shut up, the show’s starting.”
“Emmy!” Charlie couldn’t see over the people in front of them. He stood up on Faith’s lap and hollered for his sister again.
“Shh!” The woman in front of them hissed.
“Come here, Charlie.” Taking Charlie from his mother, Bosco sat him up on his shoulders. “Can you see now?”
“Emmy!” Charlie crowed as he spotted his sister on stage.
Bosco winced as Charlie grabbed his hair with both hands. He didn’t want the kid to fall, but damn that hurt. “Easy on the hair, kid. Leave some for Terry to pull on later.”
“What?” Bosco couldn’t turn to see who was tapping him on the back.
“I can’t see.”
“She’s so sweet looking.” Faith wiped at her eyes. Fred had the camera plastered to his face. She turned to Bosco. “Look at her, Bos. Isn’t she cute?”
Emily was cute in her little costume. “Faith – I forgive you for the feathers.”
“I can’t see – “ The voice behind him bitched. “And that little girl in the angel suit is right in front of my baby.”
Bosco straightened up in his chair, trying to see Emily a little better. “Shoulda put some sparkles on the wings.”
“She’s not a stripper, Bosco.” Faith wiped at her eyes again. “Isn’t she so cute?”
“Are you crying? Jesus.” So much for Faith being a tough broad. Behind him the woman continued to bitch that she couldn’t see her ‘baby’ because Emily was blocking him with her wings. “Shut the hell up, lady. You’re kid’s ugly anyway.”
“Hey!” Her husband leaned forward and growled at Bosco. “You apologize to my wife.”
“Okay, I’m sorry she married you – happy?”
“I meant – you apologize to her right now.”
“Whatever. Shut up.” Bosco ignored him. “I can’t hear Emily singing.”
Sully cleared his throat. Loudly. “If everyone would be quiet, then we could hear the singing.”
Taking that as his cue, Charlie began to sing along. He’d listened to Emily practice every night for two weeks. Unfortunately, he hadn’t learned the words.
Bosco started laughing. It didn’t help that Charlie was only two so what words he did know didn’t come out quite right. “Sing it, Charlie.”
People were turning and giving them dirty looks, but Bosco didn’t mind. What the hell, this was more entertaining than the movie he was taking his date to see tonight. He didn’t even have to try to pretend to be sensitive.
Fred held the camera on Emily and did his best to ignore the other parents who were turning to glare at them and trying to shush Charlie. He was embarrassed and tried to pretend he didn’t know Bosco or Charlie. Or Faith as she started snickering.
Leaning over to Bosco, Faith whispered in his ear. “That bitch behind us, she wanted her kid to be the angel.”
“Which one?” He caught a glimpse of the kid behind Emily’s feathery wings. “The fat kid?”
Sully tried to pretend his laugh was a cough but the woman shot him a dirty look.
She nudged her husband. “Do something.”
He leaned forward again. “You need to put the boy down – my wife can’t see.”
“If I put Charlie down, then he can’t see.” Bosco hummed along with the song. It was kind of catchy.
“How about if I kick your ass instead?” The guy, his wife, and their fat kid were getting on his nerves. He’d spent hours with feathers floating around the inside of the squad, and he wanted to see Emily in all her winged glory.
A hand clamped down on his shoulder and Bosco jumped. Great, he had a kid on his neck and this jagoff wanted to pick a fight? If he dumped Charlie off into Faith’s lap –
“Move it or lose it, buddy!” Faith snarled, peeling the man’s fingers off Bosco’s shoulder.
There was the tough broad he worked with everyday. Bosco grinned at her. “Get the jagoff, Mama.”
“Jagoff!” Charlie yelled.
The song ended, and Faith stood up. “Let’s go.”
“Emily’s not in the rest?” Standing up, careful not to drop Charlie, Bosco walked up the aisle.
“No.” Faith grabbed her coat and pulled it on as she followed him. “Fred, you comin’?”
“Yeah, you got my coat?” He looked around for it, finding it on the back of his chair. “Hey, wait up.”
They stopped at the end of the aisle, waiting as Emily ran to them from the stage as her class trooped off.
“Did you see me?” She asked her mother.
“I did! You were so pretty!” Faith hugged her.
Emily eyed her brother sitting on Bosco’s shoulders. She didn’t know who he was, but he was showing her little brother attention and she wanted some. “Pick me up!”
“Bossy little thing, aren’t you?” He grinned down at her. “Remind me of your mother.”
“I’m an angel.” She turned a circle, making her wings flap.
“That’s not what your mom tells me.” Bosco yelped as Faith smacked his arm. “What? You want me to lie?”
“Mom made my wings.”
“I know that.” Carefully, Bosco picked her up. Quite the balancing act with Charlie on his shoulders – luckily, the kid had a death grip on his hair. “Your mom got feathers all over our squad, too.”
“Will you shut up about the feathers?” Faith led them outside. “I’ll go get the car.”
“Car!” Charlie pointed at Bosco’s Mustang as they walked outside.
“Wow, that yours?” Fred let out a whistle. “Very nice.”
“This was an exciting evening.” Sully clapped Bosco on the back. “How often do you see people thrown out of a preschool recital?”
“Nobody got thrown out.” Bosco shrugged. Or tried to with a kid on his shoulders and another one in his arms.
“Let me know the next time you guys put on a show.” Laughing, Sully walked away.
“You know, what I said earlier?” Fred leaned against the side of the Mustang, looking down at his boots and missing Bosco’s wince. “I meant it. I appreciate you taking care of Faith.”
Off the paint! Off the paint! “It’s nothing – we’re partners.” Off the paint!
“I keep hoping she’ll get tired of it, you know?”
“Tired of it?”
“Yeah, I figured it was a phase.” Fred looked up at him. “I figure she’ll get tired of playing policewoman soon and quit. Do you think she’s getting tired of it?”
“I… ah…” Faith pulled her car in to the empty spot in front of the Mustang and Bosco was saved from answering. There was no way in hell Faith was going to quit. She loved the job. The two of them were damn good together.
Faith walked up to him, and Bosco leaned down a little so she could pull Charlie off his shoulders. He realized suddenly that he understood her better than her own husband did. Not quite sure how to deal with that thought, Bosco set Emily down and pulled his keys from his jacket pocket. “I better get going.”
“I peed!” Charlie told his mother. “Peed onna wall!”
“What?” Faith glared at Bosco.
“He had to go!” Bosco backed up a step.
“We’s men!” Charlie bounced up and down. “Stud’s inna corral!”
“Bosco, I’m going to kill you.” Her voice was soft and sweet, but Bosco knew better than to trust her.
“I want pizza.” Emily tugged on her mother’s hand. “Can we go get pizza now?”
“Sure, baby.” After Fred’s camera purchase, they didn’t have the money for pizza, but she’d already promised Emily they’d go. She looked at Bosco. “You want to come along?”
“Nah. Got a hot date.” He looked down at Emily as she grabbed his hand.
“Come eat pizza with us.”
Bosco opened his mouth to say no. Only it didn’t come out. It had to be the damn feathers. She was looking up at him, a big smile on her face and those damn angel wings wobbling around. “Okay.”
Faith smiled at him. “Thought you had a date.”
“I do.” He lifted Emily up in his arms. “I’ve got a date with an angel.”
Just when Faith thought she had Bosco pinned down, he pulled a surprise out of his hat. “Put her in the car, would you, Bos?”
“I want to ride in the pretty car.” Twisting in Bosco’s arms, Emily pointed at the Mustang.
“Emily, you can’t ride in Bosco’s car.” Fred eyed the Mustang. It wasn’t a car for kids.
“Sure she can.” Bosco walked toward his car. “Girls like my car.”
“You’ll need her car seat.” Faith told him. That should make him back out of it.
“Give it here.” He unlocked the passenger door of the car. “She can ride in the front – no airbags.”
Faith brought Emily’s booster seat from the car and set it in the Mustang’s front seat. “The wings have to come off first.”
“I figured that out.” The damn wings had already whacked him in the face a few times. Bosco slipped the straps off of Emily’s shoulders and handed the dangerous things to her mother. “She need a license for those? They should be classified as a weapon.”
Faith watched Bosco set Emily in the car seat and run the seat belt through it. He checked it to be sure it was snug before stepping back so Faith could double check. Not that he hadn’t done a good job, but she was still going to check.
Another car pulled up beside his and Sully rolled down the window. “She’s a little young for you, Bosco.”
“Shut up.” Walking around the car, he unlocked the driver door. “We’re gettin’ pizza, you want some?”
“Pizza?” Would give him heartburn. What the hell. “Sure. Where we goin’?”
“CiCi’s.” Faith told him as she walked back to her own car.
“I’ll follow you.” Sully told her.
Bosco let Fred pull out ahead of him before following him out of the school parking lot. Reaching inside his jacket, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number.
“Terry? It’s Maurice.”
“Maurice, baby.” She purred. “Are you on your way over?”
“Not exactly. I’m going to be late. A little. Probably a lot.” He winked at Emily. “We’re going to get some pizza and then I’ll be over.”
“Don’t bother.” Her voice hardened. “I’ll be in bed.”
“That works for me.” Good, they could cut right to the chase.
“Fine.” Bosco hung up and stuck his phone back in his pocket. “I hope you know you just cost Uncle Bosco some pus – “ He bit the word off. “Some… fun… on his date.”
“I’m your date.” Emily held her hand out to him. “And you can kiss me when you take me home.”
“I can? Guess this is my lucky night after all.” Smiling, he took her hand and brought it to his lips. “You wanna go fast?”
Emily squealed as the Mustang shot out around her parent’s car, the engine roaring.
Fred looked at Faith as the car zipped past. “Does he always drive like that?”
“No. Usually he drives slower.” She shook her head. Yeah, Bosco takes care of me all right, Fred. You just keep thinking that.