A lot had changed back in Appaloosa Plains while I was at the Police Academy.
For starters, my nephew Keith is now an active toddler.
And my little sister Jennifer is now a teenager.
We also got a few new business in town. Someone opened up a bakery. On my first day back I decided to check it out.
I couldn’t help it and ordered a donut.
It soon became a regular hangout for not only myself but also many other locals. One day I stopped by during my patrols and ran into my brother-in-law Rusty Elliott. He is married to my sister Jasmine and they have two sons.
“Hey, man, how’s it going?” I asked.
“Not good,” he said.
“Oh no, nothing wrong with Jas or the boys?” I asked worried.
“No, no! The family is wonderful. There has just been trouble at the station.”
“What kind of trouble?”
“Someone has been sabotaging the alarm and truck. Twice now the truck has stalled on the way to a fire and the other day our alarm system didn’t even go off to alert us that there was a fire.”
This had my cop instincts on high alert. I quickly pulled out my note pad and said, “Tell me everything.”
Later that night my sister Jessica invited me to a pool party at her place. Only she has no pool.
The only other guest at the party was my nephew Emilio (brother Jafar’s son). Like me he had also become a cop and happens to be my boss at the station.
“Hey boss,” I said.
“Dude, you are my uncle. You don’t need to call me boss when we are off the clock,” he said with a laugh.
“I know but what I want to talk to you about actually involves police business,” I said.
So I went on to explain to him about my conversation with Rusty.
“Wow, someone is sabotaging the fire truck and alarm? That is serious business. I take it you would like to pursue this?”
“Yes, my father was a fireman for years. He loves that place and all the men and women who worked there. I know he would hate hearing that something like this is going on there.”
“Ok, you can look into it. But it will have to be on your own time and in addition to your regular case load.”
My life doesn’t involve only sitting around eating donuts at the bakery or working. I also let myself have a little fun. I spend a lot of my free time at the gym.
I will often invite Spring along. We have been spending a lot of time together. She is so awesome. I think I might be in love with her.
Back at home dad has been going around making everything in the house unbreakable. I asked him why he didn’t do something cool and update the graphics card or something. His response was what good is updated graphics if the computer breaks all the time. I guess he does have a point.
Mom has been working with Keith on learning to talk, walk, and use the potty.
Jennifer has really developed a passion for music. Her favorite is the guitar. I love listening to her play.
My sister Jasmine has been playing matchmaker. She set our brother Jacob up on a blind date with Rusty’s (her husband) sister Gabbie. I remember Gabbie from high school. We were in the same grade but had never really hung out.
They met at the coffee shop and he brought her flowers. He said they had a great time just visiting and getting to know each other.
He called her up the next day and invited her to see a performance at the park.
He said she loved it and they had a great time.
After their performance they shared their first kiss and made plans to go out later in the week.
For their next date they went to a club and sang karaoke together.
Afterwards they took a selfie out front of the club. I saw later that he made the picture his background on his phone. So of course I have to give him a hard time.
They went on other dates dancing.
Or would sit out and watch the stars.
He invited her to Keith’s birthday party. As you can see from this picture Spring had stayed over the night before. I can’t believe both mom and Spring came to the party in their pajamas.
Keith is sweet boy.
He takes after his grandfather in that he loves horses. He has been a big help in taking care of Prairie.
It didn’t take long for Jacob to propose to Gabbie. She said yes.
I had to do my twin brother duties and throw Jacob a bachelor party. I think I look pretty good in my party clothes.
Dad and Justin were both looking good too.
Drew brought a keg and had Jacob doing handstands on it.
Someone invited dancers who came dressed as cheerleaders.
I gave a speech and shared embarrassing stories about Jacob.
Rusty shook Jacob’s hand and made Jacob promise to always treat his sister right.
My best friend and police partner Grady had fun dancing with the cheerleaders. He is usually so socially awkward I am surprised he actually talked to one of them.
We partied all night and eventually passed out on the living room floor.
The following night Gabbie and Jacob married in a moonlight ceremony.
Jessica played the piano.
And all of the guests danced under the stars.
“I had a wonderful time tonight,” Spring said. “Thanks for asking me to attend your brother’s wedding as your date.”
Later Spring joined me for our own private celebration.
The next day we all headed to the summer festival for some fun and relaxation. I was planning on asking Spring to marry me.
Unfortunately, before I could work up the courage to ask mom passed away.
We were all devastated by her loss.
Even though she was only 89 years old she seemed to think it was her time and shook death’s hand.
The next evening there was a knock at the door. When dad opened it he was shocked to see Jade standing on the other side.