Selena Kyle was dead. That by itself was enough to sadden Bruce Wayne, but when he was told he was mentioned in her will and needed to be present at the reading, Bruce was confused. What took him off his feet was what Selena left him; her 12 month-old baby girl. Her name was Angelina Jessica Wayne.
One year later…
Bruce Wayne signed the last contract on his desk with a sigh. He hated paperwork. When his office door opened, his secretary Jane smiled.
“The daycare just called.”
“What did she do this time?”
Jane smiled. “Apparently she decided to repel off the top of the jungle gym.”
Bruce groaned. “I’m finished here anyway. I’ll go retrieve the mountain goat. Could you let them know I’m on my way down and to have the car out front.”
“Yes sir. Have a good evening.”
“You too Jane.” Bruce grabbed his coat and headed to the second floor of Wayne Industry, which housed the daycare. As he approached the ‘Twoodler’ room, Bruce peeked through the observation window. Angelina Wayne was sitting in a chair facing away from the class. His Angel hated timeout.
Bruce entered the room and Miss LaFountain greeted him. “Hello Mr. Wayne. Did Jane tell you what happened?”
“Something about repelling off the jungle gym.”
“Yes, although how she thought of tying shirts together to make a rope is a mystery.”
“I’m afraid her brothers are guilty of teaching her that trick.”
“I see. Any others I should look out for?”
“God only knows Marsha. Richard was a trapeze artist so anything could happen.”
“Thanks for the warning.”
“Anytime.” Bruce smiled, then turned to his Angel and spoke sternly. “Angelina Jessica Wayne. Come here please.”
The little girl scowled at her father and debated whether to ignore the order of not.
“Now Angel.” Bruce stated again, sterner.
Angel decided it wasn’t worth a swat in public so she walked over to her father. “Papa? I’m innocent.” Angel declared with her hands on her little hips.
“Miss Marsha caught you climbing down the outside of the jungle gym. And you had better adjust the attitude before I do it for you young lady.”
Little hands fell to her side. “Papa, I didn’t knowed I wasn’t ‘posed to.”
Bruce smiled and got down on her level. “Baby, how many times have I told you not to make rope out of your clothes?”
“Not a baby.” Angel stomped her little feet.
Bruce reached over and gave her leg a small swat. “Do not stomp your feet young lady.”
Angel wiped at her eyes. “Sowwy Papa.”
“Forgiven.” Bruce picked her up and gathered her bag. “You need to tell Miss Marsha your sorry for misbehaving.”
Angel lifted her head from Bruce’s shoulder and smiled. “Sowwy Miss Mawsha. No mower climbin’ wiff wopes.”
“You’re forgiven Angel.” Marsha looked at Bruce. “Will we see you tomorrow?”
“Yes but I’m not sure what time. Thank goodness tomorrow’s Friday.”
“No problem. I’ll plan on her being here and then if you don’t need to just call.”
“Thank you Marsha. You’re a saint.” Bruce carried Angel to the desk and signed her out, then headed for the car. “Other than your Mt. Climbing, what did you do today Angel?”
Angel spent the entire ride home chattering about what she did all day. When they drove through the gates of Wayne Manor, Bruce thought he saw a dirt bike move behind the house. He wasn’t too concerned since the security system would tell him who the rider was.
Bruce pulled into the garage and parked. After letting Angel out of her car seat he sent her into the kitchen to find Alfred. As he passed the bikes he felt all of them and found one with a warm engine. Detouring to the security room, he wasn’t surprised to find no evidence that the bike had been out. He moved to the secondary system he had installed after he had found out Ezra could tamper with the state of art system. There on the camera showed who the guilty party was. Surprised by the image, he headed into the house.
When Bruce entered the kitchen, Angel was having a snack along with JD and Vin. “Boys. How was school?”
“Okay.” Vin responded quietly.
JD on the other hand screamed, “It was great dad.” And then proceeded to tell him every detail. Bruce just smiled at JD. Alfred finally interjected that homework needed to be done and to go wash up. Alfred wiped Angel’s hands, and then Bruce led her upstairs to clean up.
Bruce cleaned Angel up and told her to play in her room for a while. Bruce then went to check on everyone.
First room was Chris’, who smiled at his father. “How was school son?”
“Not bad. I met a girl today.”
“A girl huh. What’s her name?”
Bruce smiled. “Don’t let her distract you too much son. I’m very proud of your progress at school this past month.”
“Dinner’s in an hour. Then I’ll quiz you on your spelling if you’d like.”
“Yeah that would be good. Thanks.”
Bruce headed next door and found Buck reading. “Have you finished your homework son?”
“Hey dad. This is my homework. We have to write an essay on The Scarlet Letter.”
“How far are you?”
“Couple chapters. We only got the books this morning.”
“If you have any questions just ask.”
“Dinner’s in an hour.”
Bruce headed to Josiah’s room but found it empty. He was heading toward Ezra’s room when Alfred appeared.
“Josiah is in the library doing research for a paper.”
“Alfred? When did you learn to read minds?”
“Master Bruce, How do you think I kept up with your mischief all these years?”
“Funny Alfred, funny.”
Bruce found Ezra and Vin in Ezra’s room. “Boys”
“Hey dad, Ezra’s helping me with my reading.”
“Helping not doing right?”
“Certainly dad.” Ezra replied.
“Good. Ezra? I’d like a private word with you please.”
“What?” Bruce motioned for Ezra to follow his father out into the hallway.
“Son, have you been altering the security tapes again?” Ezra paused. “The truth son.”
“Yes sir.” Ezra lowered his head.
“Why dad?” Ezra stuttered.
“That’s what I asked.”
“To hide…so he…dad?”
“I don’t want to tattle.”
“How about I make it easier for you. You erased the section of tape to hide the fact that one of your brothers was riding his dirt bike without supervision. Am I correct?”
“What did you get out of the deal?”
“Son, we both know you don’t do anything for nothing.”
“He paid me dad.”
“Thank you. Please go get me the money.”
“We can discuss this with your butt if that’s your choice.”
“No sir.” Ezra disappeared into his room and returned with a $20 bill.
“Is this all of it? Because I will find out.”
“Good. You’re grounded until Monday and no more tampering with the security system. It is there as a safety measure. If we need to have this discussion again, I will spank you. Understood?”
“Yes sir.” Ezra wiped at his eyes.
“Good.” Bruce hugged Ezra for a moment. “Dinner’s in an hour. Would you let Vin know?”
Next stop was Nathan’s room. Nathan was sitting at his desk reading. “Son how was school?”
“Have you been doing homework since you got home?”
“That and chores.”
Nathan looked at his father and sighed. “You know don’t you?”
“About the bike.”
“Ah. You mean paying Ezra to erase the evidence of your unauthorized bike ride?”
Nathan sighed. “The guys were raging on me that I had to have my daddy around to ride and I let them goad me into it.”
“I’m glad to hear you knew it was wrong.”
“I’m sorry. I just got carried away.”
“Son I understand peer pressure is strong, but you knew what you were doing was wrong or you wouldn’t have asked Ezra to tamper with the security system.” Bruce paused but when Nathan didn’t say anymore, he continued. “Finish up your homework and we will take care of the consequences as soon as I finish checking on your brothers and sister.”
“Dad? Can’t you just ground me? Please?”
“Son you disobeyed me. There can only be one response to disobedience.”
“I’ll be back in 15 minutes.”
“Yes sir.” Nathan held his tears until Bruce left the room.
Bruce checked Angel and found she was playing quietly, so he headed to the library to check on Josiah. “Son, how’s the research going?”
“Slow. After dinner can I check the internet?”
“Here, I’ll let you get on now. You’re old enough for a little leeway. Just don’t abuse my trust.” Bruce entered the appropriate parental password and relinquished the chair to Josiah.
“If this doesn’t help, after your younger siblings are in bed, we can try the bat-computer to widen your search.”
“Really? Cool. Thanks dad.”
“No problem. Dinner’s in less than an hour and make sure you log off when done. No need to let little eyes on the net.”
Bruce headed back upstairs to Nathan’s room and quickly reminded him of the bike rules and then spanked him. Bruce also grounded him for the weekend and took away his bike privileges for a month.
Bruce then retrieved Angel and set her up with her toys in the den where he could watch her until dinner.
Dinner was a noisy affair with everyone sharing about his or her day. Bruce looked at his family and smiled. “Boys?” When Bruce was sure he had everyone’s attention, he continued. “Your brother will be home next week for Thanksgiving and with no school on Thursday and Friday, I want you all to let me know what you plan to do. Alfred will have a few extra chores for you to help with before the meal.”
All the boys groaned at the prospect of extra chores but then discussed what to do with a long weekend.
Angel was washed, dressed and ready for bed when she climbed down the main staircase. She heard her brothers in the game room and headed that way.
“Angel? Where are you going?”
“Papa? Game woom papa.” Angel pointed.
“Baby, Alfred said you were in bed.”
“Not sweepy papa.”
Bruce picked Angel up and started into the game room. “Boys. It’s bedtime. Say goodnight to your sister and go get ready for bed.”
“Yes Ezra you may read once you’re in bed.”
Bruce carried Angel up to the nursery with boys following behind them.
“Papa I’m not sweepy.” Angel cried.
“Of course not baby but your old dad is.” Bruce checked her diaper then snuggled her in his arms and rocked her. He told her a story and when Angel was asleep, he tucked her into her crib.
Bruce tucked in all of the rest of the boys then helped Josiah with his research. After Josiah went to bed, Batman went on patrol.