Just to clarify, Pete does live in the Black Kettle, but he has separate living quarters. He and Gina are definitely not an item - and if they are, they do an incredible job of not letting anyone know about it. And in a small town like Otterstow, that's just impossible.
Drawing completed - 01 FEB 2009
Black Kettle Pub
"That one will have to wait, Pete," Ignatius said of the fresh pint.
"Oh, no probs," Pete said, putting the full glass under the bar.
"Have you seen Grace since this afternoon?" asked Ignatius.
"No, I haven't. An' Gina's in a right state, I can tell ya. That li'l toerag was s'posed to be here cleanin' the fixtures since two."
"I think I know where she is. I’ll need you and Gina to meet me at The tré in twenty minutes."
Pete's face fell at the mention of the announcement. "Me? I ain't 'er dad," he protested. "Do I look like a Bunny?"
"As you have resided in the same residence with her mother for more than a year and there is no other adult male, you are in loco parentis."
"You can call me crazy all day long, but it still don't make me her dad," Pete objected.
"'In loco parentis' means 'in place of the parent'. You are, by law, one of her legal guardians," Ignatius informed him.
"But Gina an' me ain't togever or nuffin'," Pete defended. "I sleep in my own suite."
"Legally speaking, none of that matters."
"What? When did this come about?" Pete was flummoxed. "Nobody's told me this before!"
"It's never been an issue before. Look, it's just a formality. There are two missing children and I'm required to brief all legal guardians - and legally, you qualify."
The Ursan scowled in anger as he threw his rag on the bar. "That bleedin' rug rat! She's no end o' grief! If I ever get ahold of 'er again, I'll cane 'er li'l white cottontail 'til she can't sit down."
"What?" Pete asked.
"And you say you're not her father."
"Oh, you're a bleedin' bubble, you are. Right, soon as I can get Johnny behind the bar, I'll fetch Gina."