“What…?” Andrea began as Jeanette asked what all the banging was. “Not sure, Jeanette.”
“I want to see my daughter right now!” A man yelled loudly.
“Jeanette, something has come up, and I need to go,” Andrea said as she quickly hung up her phone. She jumped from the bed with a groan and ran for the door, Richard right behind her. On the landing, she stopped at the top of the stairs and called out, “Daddy!”
Gerald Hadley stared up at his only daughter as he answered, “My darling, sweet pea.”
Andrea raced down the steps and into her father’s arms. She might have been upset with the way he had done her lately, but he was her father, and she loved him dearly.
Gerald held her in a tight bear hug as he kissed her all over her head. “I have missed you so much, sweet pea, and when I saw the news this morning—”
“I’m sorry, Daddy, I should have called, but I slept so late. Then I needed to talk to Richard and my friend. Now you’re here, and…” Andrea said, not taking any breaths.
Gerald chuckled at his daughter before saying, “I’m only glad you’re okay. Why didn’t you tell me exactly who Bruce was? I had to find out when the reporter said that a woman rescued last night was thought to be Bruce Wayne’s lover. There were no pictures or anything, but when they said Bruce, I began to put the few things you had told me about your boyfriend together and realized that you were that woman.”
Andrea heavily sighed as she admitted, “I didn’t know how to tell you, Dad. You were so upset with me leaving home, but I needed so badly to try and make it on my own without your name backing me. Because of whom Bruce is in Gotham, I guess I thought you would think I’d found someone else to pave my way.”
“Oh, sweet pea, no!” Gerald exclaimed. “I would never think that. If he treats you well, I have no problem with him. However, this about you being kidnapped, now that scared me.”
“Andrea,” Bruce called from behind her.
Andrea turned to look at the man she loved as she said, “Bruce, this is my dad, Gerald Hadley. Dad, this is Bruce Wayne, the love of my life.”
Gerald reached out to shake Bruce’s hand as he said, “Nice to meet you, Bruce, formally.”
“Nice meeting you also, sir,” Bruce answered.
“Dad, this is Bruce’s ward Richard Grayson who will soon be under my command,” Andrea said, then with a teasing look, Richard’s way.
Richard rolled his eyes and snorted before commenting, “You wish, more like you will be you under mine.”
Gerald chuckled at the apparent caring that his daughter and the young man shared.
Bruce grinned and informed them, “No, she’ll be under my command, and I’ve always commanded you, Dick. Sadly, for you, that will not change.”
“Not even when I’m eighteen?” Dick asked, looking up at Bruce with a slight pout on his face.
Bruce snorted as he wrapped his arm around Dick’s shoulders, squeezing the teen. He replied, “Not even when your one hundred and eighteen.”
Dick just groaned and lay his head over on Bruce’s chest, his grin showing that Bruce’s words pleased him in some way. “Fine. I’ll learn to survive it, somehow.”
The clearing of a throat drew the attention of all. It was Alfred, and he calmly mentioned, “I have lunch ready to serve, Master Bruce if you would like to lead everyone to the dining room.”
“That will be fine, Alfred,” Bruce agreed.
Andrea turned to her father and asked, “Where is Mom?”
“She stayed home because she refused to be rushed out the door,” Gerald said. “She informed me that I was going to get down here and look like an idiot, and she wanted no part of it. When you are ready, though, she requests you call her.”
Andrea nodded as she agreed, “I’ll do that after lunch. You have to stay, Dad. Alfred’s cooking is quickly making me fat.”
Gerald chuckled again and gave his daughter another squeeze before letting her go. They followed behind the others as he said, “Better than for him to be starving you.”
“So true, Dad, so true,” Andrea agreed.
They were all sitting around the table, laughing and talking.
Gerald was getting to know Bruce and the others. He quickly found he liked the younger man and decided he would be suitable for Andrea. That’s when his phone rang. He promptly picked it up and smiled as he said, “It’s my wife.”
Andrea smiled too. I knew it wouldn’t be long before Mom called. She has never liked it when Dad is away from her for too long.
Gerald placed his phone on the table, putting it on speaker before answering, “Hello, darling.”
“Gerald, why has Andrea not called me yet?”
“Oh, well, that would be because we’re eating lunch right now,” Gerald answered as he winked at Andrea.
Andrea laughed softly behind her hand as she leaned against Bruce. “Good morning, Mom. It’s nice to hear from you.”
“Andrea, why are you even in that horrible city? You and your father should have packed up your belongings and headed straight back here!” Mom yelled. “We had to find out on the news that our baby girl had been kidnapped! That is not the kind of thing a mother wishes to hear, Andrea!”
“I know, Mom, and I’m sorry,” Andrea apologized. “I was pretty incoherent last night though after what happened, and I slept late this morning…”
“You should have had someone call us then if you couldn’t,” Mom argued loudly. “That man friend of yours could have called us. This brings me to another thing, did you not think it was an important detail to tell your father and me that the man you are dating is Bruce Wayne?”
“Now, darling, don’t be too hard on the girl. Andrea is old enough—” Gerald began.
“Don’t you start with the “she’s old enough to make her way”. You were just as upset as I was when you heard and were ready to tie her up and drag her home if necessary. You want her home as much as I do, Gerald Hadley!” Mom ranted.
Gerald sighed as he looked down at the table and said, “I know I did, darling.”
Mom said, “Andrea, Gotham is a dark and dreary place where the sun very seldom shines. Why on earth you ever wanted to go there is beyond me. However, now that this has happened, why would you not want to come home?”
Andrea hummed as she pulled her thoughts together to try and make her mother understand why she wanted to stay.
Everyone was looking at her now as they waited.
Finally, she took a deep breath, her eyes on Bruce as she said, “I want to stay for many reasons, Mom. One of those reasons is because I found my sunshine here in the form of a man who loves me more than I’ve ever been loved. Bruce has become my reason to be, and when he’s with me, I don’t miss the sun so much.” She turned to look at Richard as she continued, “I also found a sweet boy who brings out the urge to mother and smother him the way you used to mother and smother me. I think one day he will be the best big brother Bruce’s and my little Robin will ever need.”
Richard snickered even though his face turned a pale red.
“I also found an older gentleman butler who keeps the Wayne household straight and makes the best pot-roast you will ever eat,” Andrea said as she looked toward Alfred. “I’ve made friends here, Mom, friends who accept me for me and not for who my parents are. I’ve met a couple of heroes who give their all to help an all but forgotten city. It makes me what to give my all to.”
Mom snorted as she said, “A hero?”
“Yes, Mom, two of them. One of them loaned me his cape because I told him I like yellow. His name is Robin, and he’s who I’m naming your first grandbaby after,” Andrea informed her mom as she winked at Richard.
“Gerald, who is this Robin she keeps speaking of?” Mom asked.
“I don’t know, dear,” Gerald answered.
“He’s Batman’s sidekick,” Richard informed them.
“Well, who is Batman?” Mom asked, sounding irritated.
“Batman is the other hero she was talking about,” Richard answered once more. “He’s the one who carried her out of the building and brought her home to Bruce, me, and Alfred.”
Andrea turned to Bruce abruptly when he whispered in her ear, “I know who Batman is.”
Andrea whispered back, “You do? Who is he?”
“He’s the man you brought out of the dark and showed him there is still a little sunshine to be found in Gotham City. He’s the one who will protect you for as long as he has the breath to do it. He’s the one who plans to show you how much he loves you for the rest of your life.”
“Hm, I like the sound of this Batman,” Andrea murmured as she reached up to cup Bruce’s cheeks in her hands. She let the rest of the table and their conversation fade away until it was just her and the man she loved. “I like the sound of him loving and protecting me until the end of our days because I plan to do the same for him.”
Andrea kissed him gently before whispering right against his lips, “So, I believe I know who Batman is too.”
“Who is Batman?” Bruce asked.
“He’s the man who loves me,” Andrea answered.
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