It was almost one o'clock in the morning by the time Joe, Colby, and Jon finally left the arena. They had a huge main even match against the Authority, and were exhausted. As much as Joe would just love to crash and go to sleep he knew that he had to make an extra stop, but that extra stop would be well worth it.
"So are you guys riding with me?" He asked looking over at his Shield brethern.
"Yeah" Jon replied as they walked through the parking lot over to Joe's car. "Why wouldn't we?" He asked as he pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket.
"Because I have to make an extra stop on the way to Jacksonville."
Colby sighed. Jon nodded as he placed the cigarette between his lips, lighting it as they finally approached the car. "Ugh. I really wanted to get some rest before our next house show." Colby complained as he stopped next to the back door of his friend's car. Jon nodded in agreement as he blew smoke out of his mouth and into the cool springtime breeze.
"Sorry guys." He apologized as he unlocked the door and they all piled in. "It's my daughter." He told them as he started up the car, "She wanted to spend spring break with me."
Jon looked over at Joe, "She knows you travel right?" He asked, "And that you are going to be really busy right?"
Joe nodded, "She knows, but she begged." He told them as he stopped at a traffic light. "I couldn't refuse. Plus, I don't get to see her nearly as much as I would like to."
Jon glanced back at Colby and sighed as he tossed his cigarette butt out the window. Colby nodded he knew exactly what his friend was thinking, but they also knew that Joe missed his daughter. Every chance he got he would call her and talk to her, and they would talk for hours at a time about how school was going for Natalie and how work was going for him. Joe glanced back at Colby through the rearview mirror and then turned to look at Jon. He knew that the guys were not to thrilled about going and decided to speak up.
"I promise it won't be that bad." He told them, "She's nine." He reminded them, "It's not like we got to hold her hand, change her diaper, or feed her. She is self suffient."
"That's good to hear." Jon said as he laid his seat back and tried to catch a little shut eye before they picked up Joe's daughter. “I can't do the baby shit.” He said as he closed his eyes. It wasn't long after that that Colby had fallen asleep. The car was suddenly filled with light snoring. Joe couldn't help but laugh. He glanced over at Jon and looked through the rearview mirror at Colby and shook his head.
It was now 8:00 in the morning, and Joe had finally arrived at his late wife's parents home to pick up his daughter. He had pulled an all nighter and was completely exhausted, but Jon and Colby were still out. Neither one of them had moved since they fell asleep. Joe turned the car off and slowly made his way up the driveway. He reached out to knock on the door, but before he could raise his hand to knock the door slowly opened up. He smiled once he saw his mother-in-law.
"Hi." He told her with a tired smile.
"Hey." She replied smiling back, "You look exhausted."
Joe nodded, "I am." He told her. "I pulled an all nighter to make sure I got here when I told Natalie I would."
"You need to get some rest once you get to Jacksonville." She told him.
"I plan on it." He smiled.
"Daddy!" He heard a small voice call out to him.
"There's my baby." He said as he squatted down to her level.
"Daddy!" She called again as she crashed into him giving him a big hug. "I missed you."
"I missed you too sweetheart." He told her hugging her in return and giving her a kiss on the side of her head.
A couple minutes later Natalie broke the hug and ran off towards the car. She was about to open the door when she noticed two other people inside. "Daddy?" She called looking over to where he and her grandmother were standing.
"Thank-you for watching over her." He told her with a smile.
"It's a pleasure, and besides we're family."
"Daddy?" She called once again getting impatient.
"I'll have her back Tuesday morning." He told her with a smile.
"Okay." She said pulling her son-in-law into a hug. "Be careful out there and get some rest."
Joe smiled, "I will." and with that he turned around and began walking back to the car.
"Daddy?" She called once again.
"What sweetheart?" He asked as he finally approached his daughter.
"Who are these people?" She demanded looking at the guy in the front seat first.
"Well." Joe began. "The man in the front seat is Jon and you my dear will be calling him "Mr. Jon." He told her.
"Okay, so who is the guy in the back?" She asked looking in the car window at the sleeping man in the backseat with half his face covered with hair.
"And that is Colby, and again to you that will be Mr. Colby." He told her. "They are some guys I work with."
"Well, Mr. Colby is cute." She smiled as she opened the car door and hopped into the backseat next to Colby. Joe couldn't help but laugh out loud at his daughter's comment. He closed her door and walked around to the front.
"Hi!" Natalie yelled startling both men from a sound sleep.
"I'm up!" Jon yelled as he sat up in his seat and lifted his chair back up. Natalie smiled as Mr. Jon shot up in his seat.
"Natalie! That wasn't very nice.” Joe told his daughter sternly.
Colby also quickly sprung up from the window scared half out his mind, "What the f..." He began but was quickly cut off by Joe.
"Language." He warned as he began to back out of the driveway.
"What?" He asked then turned to his right to see a little girl sitting next to him staring at him adoringly.
"Sorry." He said irritation in his tone as he looked at the little girl. "I didn't see her there." He added as he eyed her carefully for the way she was looking at him creeped him out a bit. Even though the way she was staring at him was creepy he had to admit that she was a cute little girl.
"Guys." Joe began, "This is my daughter Natalie."
"Hi." Jon said looking back at her.
"Hi." Colby spoke still angry about being woken up the way he was.
"Mr. Colby?" Natalie asked not once taking her eyes off of him.
"What?" He asked as he turned away from the girl and started staring out the window doing whatever he could to avoid eye contact with her.
Are you mad at me?" She asked.
"Yeah, a little bit." He nodded still not looking at her."You did scare the sh.." He began before catching himself. "poop out of me." He corrected himself.
Jon and Joe burst out laughing. It was so funny to hear Colby try and be polite. Colby looked away from the window and glared at the two men in the front.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Colby." She said taking her eyes off of him for the first time since she got in the car. She felt bad, She didn't want Mr. Colby being mad at her. She lowered her gaze to the floorboard. "I didn't mean to scare you." She said, "Please don't be mad at me."
Colby looked away from the guys over at the girl who's gaze was still at the floor and saw how sad she looked. He couldn't stay mad at such a face. "Please." She begged, slowly looking up from the floor board to meet Colby's gaze. "I really didn't mean to."
Colby smiled at the girl for the first time. Her big brown puppy dog eyes melted all his anger away. "It's alright." He told her. "I forgive you."
"Really?" She smiled, "You're not mad at me any more?" She asked.
"Nah." He told her.
"Good." She beamed, "I don't like you being mad at me." She said, "Do you want to know why?" She asked.
"Oh Lord." Joe quietly responded from the front seat, but loud enough for Jon to hear.
"What?" Jon asked.
"Just wait." He smirked.
"Why?" Colby asked.
"Because I think you are really cute, and when you get mad at me it breaks my little heart." She told him. Jon and Joe once again burst out laughing, but they had to admit it was probably the cutest thing that they had ever heard. Colby glared up at the two of them in the front seat. "Do you think I'm cute?" She asked hopefully.
"Yeah for a little girl." He told her turning his attention back to Natalie.
"Really?" She asked. "So will you be my boyfriend?" She asked with a huge smile. Again Jon and Joe burst out laughing, and again Colby looked up and glared at them.
Colby shook his head as he turned back to Natalie, "No, I can't be your boyfriend." He told her.
"Why not?" She asked.
"Because it just wouldn't work." He told her, "But I'll tell you what?"
"What?" She asked disappointment in her tone.
"I can be your friend that is a boy."
"Okay." She lit up once again. "So as my friend will you play games with me?" She asked pulling some paper and a couple of markers from her backpack.
"Sure." He told her. "What games do you want to play?" He asked.
"Let's play Tic-Tac-Toe." She said handing him an orange marker.
"Okay." He told her as he took the marker that she handed him.
and Joe were still laughing a little bit in the front seat, "Shut
up." Colby told them as he placed an x on the board.
"Yeah sure." Jon smiled, "Sorry man." He said glancing over at Joe who met his gaze and they both smirked. Colby rolled his eyes and decided to not pay them no mind, and before long he had tuned out and forgotten all about Jon and Joe in the front seat making fun of him. He was too engrossed in his tic-tac-toe game with Natalie.