TG Universes & Series:
Think of this as the epilog of epilogs as many old storylines are brought up and settled. Yes there are a lot of names flung around but as an ensemble story and an "all hands on deck" situation it was tough not tin include everyone. Apologies for the ending but it felt right to end there.
There was a steady calm as the elders settled down while the Reagan kids enjoyed some playtime with the Finns. Little Bailey and Hunter Eliza were loving the affection from John Finn and Dora Walker while their big sister Trinity played with Cat and Ella Finn. Trinity stayed away from the Stoners and the three future Kings as she didn't want them to do something in case they didn't like the fact that she was transgender even if everyone there didn't have a problem with her.
Daisy Peterson, Faith Jones, and Ella dragged her over to meet the new girls, who struggled to believe that she was not born with the same equipment that they have. Trinity wasn't sure if she should be upset or happy to which she was hugged by Melinda Stoner to stop her from crying. She and her cousins Tabby and Aggy Stoner were starting to get used to girls like Trinity especially as they had to be around their cousin Sydney frequently and saw their aunt Savannah as being normal.
The girls talked with Trinity, getting used to the energetic girl who was surprisingly bright and more like them than the other girls despite a three year age difference. Piper Stoner had to smile as Trinity was like another cousin to her, especially as she was from the same background in foster care and tragedy. The girls felt bad about Trinity's past but could see that she was just like Piper in that she was thriving with people who needed her in their life like Savannah needed Piper.
Trinity revealed the truth about her mom since the others neglected to tell them, with the girls gasping at hearing it. They looked over at Katie Eliza and couldn't believe it especially when Trinity told them that her brother and sister were Katie's biological kids. The twins were quiet and stuck close to their moms while looking over at Trinity to see if she was still around, they looked a lot like Katie with their mother Alison's blond hair and blue eyes giving them a handsome look for nine month old kids.
The twins wanted to walk around and forced Katie and Alison to take them around, stopping only to get kisses from their grandparents before going on to the other adults and kids. The two were the ones to get the celebration started as they were the center of attention from everyone especially the blushing Dora and John. They loved the attention from Dora, trying hard to win over her heart and calming her.
They moved on to the Smiths and Evans family, giving them a taste of how difficult two kids can be especially ones so young. Charles and Grace Evans gave their son Arthur a loving smile as he rolled his eyes and complained "not for a decade, I love Isla but we are only 14!" The two nodded to one another and saw that he was serious about her continuing her life and studies but didn't close the door on the chance of fatherhood yet.
Bradford and Ophelia Smith were grinning at the twins which only caused Alison Eliza to snicker at Bryan and Hannah Smith needing to take their future children over to England multiple times so their grandparents could spoil their soon to be four new great-grandchildren. Ophelia felt a pang of age as she realized she wasn't going to see the kids grow into adults and maybe produce great-great grandchildren before she passed on.
Bradford knew what she was thinking and gave her a loving smile. She was fit as a horse but still she was getting up there in years and she would be in her 90s when the next generation was set to marry. She hoped to live long enough to see their weddings but it was a long ways off and there was always the chance that something might happen to them before then.
Karen and Nigel Smith were most affected by the twins. They were going to be grandparents again, only this time to Karen's biological grandchildren while Nigel realized it was only a matter of time before his own son and daughter wed and had offspring, albeit Nichole Smith would adopt rather than have children biologically. Ethan Smith was going to marry in nine years time, it was simply unavoidable and if fate had anything to do with it then Ethan would be marrying the girl who had won over his heart and showed others he was a man- Melinda Stoner.
The twins moved on to the Stoners and Kings, letting Ivan King get a taste of fatherhood the hard way as the twins grabbed onto him and wouldn't let go. Justin Stoner had to hold his tongue at the cute scene while their wives smiled brightly at him. Ivan was a toy to them, and he played the part well.
The twins eventually grew tired of Ivan and sought out Savannah Stoner, giving her hugs and kisses and happy looks. Justin was stuck feeling weird but Savannah offered him a loving look as she knew what he was thinking. They may adopt a baby in the future, possibly one that was of her own creation as she had saved her semen at Justin's request, so it was possible through donor eggs and surrogacy.
The twins were winding down and wanted to move on but stopped to give their sister hugs and kisses while the Stoner girls and the other boys and girls got to see them and meet them for the first time. The biggest impact they had was on Jordan Hughs, who was trying her hardest to keep aloof as she had never been around kids so young before. The twins caught on to her anxiety and gave her hugs and kisses and sat in her lap refusing to leave until she was calmed down and enjoyed herself.
Jordan did calm down and saw the girls giving her a big smile while the twins finally gave in and were led away to sleep in their carriage. Jordan was hugged and kissed by Kylie Pena as she gave her a smile and happy "they knew you needed that. They are nice to everyone and want to make you happy so you play with them again. It's likely you will, you could use some playtime with them and Trinity."
The kids didn't tease her as it was clear that she needed that bit of attention. Jordan liked it, it felt right and she did want to become a mother one day. She hoped that it was with Kylie but it was too early in their relationship to think of things like that and too far off to have a baby anyway.
Hunter and Bailey were like their mother Alison, they had great empathy for others and could sense when you needed some affection and attention and when you needed to be left alone. They rarely gave their big sister that kind of attention as she was getting it from their parents and she had friends over a lot. The twins were also smart like their mother Katie so knew how to take advantage of a situation to either diffuse it or turn it to their advantage, which they had just done with Jordan.
The twins fell asleep while more people entered. The Nelsons came in with Flora and Fiona Nelson hanging off their brother Scott's arms. Flora had kept close to him ever since he met them and showed that he was not going to let his new siblings get away from him, especially as he just got to meet them.
Scott finally managed to get Flora to go with her friends while Fiona drifted over to where her friends were as well. She was a little down that her best friend and her girlfriend weren't there yet but the girls had a surprise for her. She turned to see Maisie Campbell dressed in a beautiful dress while Mia Flynn dressed in a loose skirt and blouse matching what Fiona was wearing, showing that their parents had planned that big reveal to both calm her anxiety and give her a little bit of ribbing from her friends.
Scott grinned at the parents being so sneaky while keeping a close eye on Jacob Reid nearly drooling over seeing Maisie's flowing dress. He had to shake his head at the girls pulling that stunt on the two, it was going to be hard to get them to separate especially with the way the girls were hanging off them. He did love that Fiona was almost another person around Maisie and Mia, she had found her two counterparts in them.
Scott sat with Austin Woods and the elders. None said a word about him sitting there as it was to be expected as he would give up his seat to the Johnsons when they came with Scott's friends and the two guests of honor. He was simply biding his time, not wanting to do anything lest he get roped in by the younger kids and endure an awkward talk with them about him not being around much lately.
Scott's eyes were glued to the door and within minutes he saw who he wanted to see, Stacy Lopez and her parents and brothers. She made her way over to Scott and plopped into his lap causing the elders to grin while Scott blushed. The two got up to sit on their own while Stacy smirked to them, giving them a nod at him being kept calm until she got there.
Austin shook his head at the girl having Scott wrapped around her finger like the younger girls. She was a great woman who knew what she wanted and that was Scott. The two were brilliant in their chosen fields of study and if they wanted they could be the next great Nobel and Pritzker Prize winners.
Dan Lopez felt like he was losing his little girl as he watched the two together. His wife Melanie just hugged him and told him "she's a grown woman who knows what she wants. Give it a few weeks, our little girl will announce her marriage to Scott. He isn't going to let her get away from him."
He gave her a nasty look as she nodded. He suppressed his anger as he realized she was old enough to make her own choices and she chose to become a mother. The two were ready for a family, they had a lot of money saved up, had trust funds that would pay for a home, and all the support they would ever want from siblings, cousins, and parents.
He looked over at Melanie who read his mind, adding "she's not our little girl. She hasn't been for years but she is now stepping out into the world on her own. Rebecca will be joining her in 18 months, she is going a lot of places with Thomas going alongside her. It's their lives, we can only be there for them when they need our guidance. We still have DJ and Julio so you get to be daddy for another 14 years."
Dan was saved from further dwelling as the Campbells arrived. Callum and Lucy Campbell kissed Maisie then went off to the side with the parents while Angus Campbell stayed on the periphery watching the kids talk with Maisie. Stacy seized him and brought him over to where the teens were all going to sit and kept him company while Scott kept a close eye on him. He still owed Angus a few hard tackles making Angus squirm under his gaze.
Stacy kept him from getting too anxious by asking about his girlfriends, enjoying his squirm as Angus tried to figure out a way of saying he didn't have one without making himself look bad. She knew he didn't have one because of the four families that ruled his former hometown of Pullen Point sullying his good name with ladiesand wanted to see if he was going to be honest, she finally told him "it's a shame, Reed was going to set you up with his teammate's sister. She's a great girl, she's a senior too."
Angus listened closely while Stacy reeled him in. She had him itching for more information while Scott kept from laughing. She was being honest, she was looking for a boy who was different than the boys in Winnisimmet High and turned to Reed for help as he was a good judge of character.
Reed Pena was off with his girlfriend at the time but Stacy's clearing of Angus would be enough to set up a blind date between the two. He was having trouble finding someone himself so Stacy doing that for him was a godsend. She was a greats judge of character and for her to approve of Angus went a long way towards the two getting together even if it wasn't entirely expected to last.
She texted Reed who complained about her setting up a blind date for someone she barely knew. She just grinned and told him "it's a double date. Either take Jessie with you to give him support or I'll have Rebecca go. Either way, he won't be going alone yet."
Reed gave his approval, Rebecca would skin Angus alive if he got out of line while Jessie would never let him live it down and ensure Angus ran off to another state for safety. They may not know his date but they were going to protect her, just as they will do the same for Angus if she was out of line.
Angus was told the news and accepted it in stride. She walked over to Callum and Lucy and told them that Angus had a date with a girl from her sister's school and when it would be occurring. The two looked at her in shock while Angus tried to hide his shame, showing it to be the truth.
Angus thankfully was saved from further embarrassment by the arrival of the bulk of the young adults including Rebecca Lopez and Reed. The throng of guys and girls in their teens and early 20s made for controlled chaos but they were calmly entering as they knew their parents were already there waiting for them. Sure enough as soon as they entered all eyes turned to them and they walked over to where they would sit without saying a word.
The last to enter were the Bollingers along with Michael Finn. The future bride and groom were the last to physically enter, with all eyes turning to them as everyone cheered. The two blushed and walked to their table in the front, with everyone gathered in enclaves around them.
The actual wedding rehearsal was quick and painless as JD Finn led Marcus Sylvester down the aisle with the rings while Cat Finn helped Sophia Peterson spread flowers ahead of the bride. Cat mumbled a complaining "too old to be a flower girl" which JD shot back "I'm too old to be the ring bearer" which got the others laughing at their little back and forth. They were right in complaining, they had done the whole bit multiple times before with previous weddings and only acted like they wanted to do it.
The couple struggled to keep themselves together as the gravity of the two about to become husband and wife sank in. Michael was shaking while Courtney had tears constantly welling-up in her eyes. They were able to hold together for the rehearsal and sat down to a quiet meal together before the show started once everyone had their fill of Jorge Castillo's food.
John looked over at Michael and saw the concern in his eyes as he knew someone would spring a joke on him. John was concerned that he'd get targeted too, he had been for Bryan and Hannah Smith's rehearsal as well as his sisters Karen and Leslie's own weddings. He was an easy target, but it still hurt.
Hannah got up in front of everyone and acted as the de-facto emcee for the event. She told the kids that if they didn't want to hear a few swears to go take a nap which led to the youngest kids, Hunter, Bailey, Sophia and Antonio Peterson, Marcus, Brent Jones, Nigel Smith Jr., Billy Pena, Jack and Walter Bollinger, Jasmine Flynn, Louis York, Jose Reagan, and Benny Herman being put down for naps so the others could enjoy the fun without their acting up. Surprising to the newcomers, the kids listened to Hannah as she suggested they take a nap which was done more out of fear of her than respect.
Hannah waited for their parents to return then started the little show, getting Jaimie Finn, Jessica Nelson, Rick Samuels, and Claire Peterson to help with some of the commentary as they started the picture show. All of them gave her a glare but her smile showed it wasn't anything serious, only fun.
The couple held back smiles as they saw themselves as babies and toddlers, with Michael trying hard to figure out who the others were. When the picture zoomed out he gasped as he saw Greta Nelson with her twin sister Tiffany Myers, Jessica's mother and aunt and Scott's biological mother. Jaimie shed a tear at the sight, Michael looked closer and she was the fourth kid in the picture- her.
The four looked at Hannah who did it to show they were always close even if they weren't close yet. It was a sign that even from birth the four shared a common bond thanks to their parents. It was a sad thought that it took John's coming west for the real people inside to burst forth.
Hannah showed more pictures of the kids as toddlers and young school kids. When they were about JD and Cat's age they were clearly three boys and a girl based on their clothes but Jaimie's long hair hinted at the girl inside of her that was trying to come out. It was painful for Jaimie to remember those dark days but seeing the pictures of her not even trying to be a girl yet looking like one gave her warmth that she was whom she always should have been 12 years later.
The next pictures were of the kids in elementary school with the kids cleaning out Greta's attic. The odd thing was they didn't know that those pictures existed and what surprised them the most was their mothers had caught the image of Jaimie trying to kiss Scott but accidentally kissing Jessica followed by Jessica grabbing Michael and kissing him. It was both funny and sweet, the two looked at Courtney who was thinking about them maybe getting together had the families not come East years before.
Hannah reserved commentary while Jaimie muttered a happy "you just had to find those pictures. We joked about that before but we didn't know they took pictures." Jessica added "he wasn't that good of a kisser anyway, Jaimie kissed better." That caused a big laugh as Michael blushed towards Courtney.
Next up were pictures of them in sixth grade then straight on through high school. The oddest picture was the first day of school picture which Hannah had to stop and zoom in on then point out "you two really took 'love at first sight' to a whole new level. She's checking out his butt without knowing it."
Courtney blushed deeply while her friends gasped at the picture. Will Bollinger offered his usual joke, saying "are you sure she wasn't looking at me? I was right next to him." Courtney countered with a humiliating "I'm blushing, not gagging. Sorry but he looked much better than you even back then."
Will took his lumps while their friends laughed. Miles Finn and his fiance Christina Connors wisely kept silent as they were in the picture too and were looking at one another in the background. Neither were friends with the group at the time so it was awkward seeing their isolation back then.
Hannah added fuel by saying "she wasn't the only one doing that discrete staring, Check out Christina and Miles looking over one another in the background." Both blushed deeply while Courtney countered "we knew they had the hots for one another long before any of us did, only you and Pete had the hots longer. Don't be jealous of their being just as close as you were with him."
Hannah got the reaction she wanted, Courtney was taking it in stride and letting the others know that it was all of them back then even if they weren't together as friends yet. She moved on to later pictures and had the infamous kiss at Jessica's 13th birthday party that showed just how much Michael really appreciated Courtney after he begged for forgiveness for kissing Jessica. Jessica teased "he wasn't as good as Eric" which Michael countered "she wasn't as good as Courtney" getting laughs from everyone while their fiances gave them knowing smirks.
Courtney knew her photos were coming up so Hannah proceeded to showcase them. Claire had to hold off tears as she saw her father with Courtney and her at Claire's birthday parties followed by him with Courtney's mother Gabby at their elementary school. It was tough to see the third grade pictures as Jerry Peterson would die several months later in an unfortunate car accident.
Courtney held Claire and kissed her cheek calming her down then perked up as she saw the girls all together in fifth then sixth grade. The surprise were pictures of Rick and Courtney getting close while the others gave them space, with one showing him kissing her cheek. Rick cringed while Jaimie offered a smile to him over his old crush being shown for all to see.
Rick nearly fainted when a picture of Courtney kissing Rick full on the lips outside school appeared, with Courtney telling him "they dared me to do it!" Claire countered with a hearty "we didn't think you would, Jenna still owes me $5 for getting you to do that." The girls turned to Jenna who gave Claire the money followed by a hearty "thank goodness she didn't go through on the dare to kiss Will."
The girls lost it in laughter as Will all but shouted "why not?" Rick countered with a flat "she has standards. She can't help but going for the prime meat instead of the hamburger."
That caused the whole of the adults to laugh uncontrollably as Will had no way to counter that and he had walked directly into that insult. He did the only thing he could think of, he stuck out his tongue while Claire kissed his cheek. He had to admit it was a great comeback, one of Rick's finest.
The pictures started to show the kids growing older with the younger boys practically drooling over the girls' bikini pictures. Hannah had done that just to set up the pictures of the boys following Courtney around at the summer jobs program then at the beach getting them to blush at being caught looking. The boys weren't leering too much so it wasn't that big of comeback, but it still stung them.
The picture show started to wind down as they got to graduation and finally pictures of the couple in England with the pictures of Michael being knighted by the queen causing all to let out an "aw" as he was so stoic and determined while her majesty had a smile on her face. The last picture was of the first sonogram for their baby, followed by the one that said "it's a boy!" The couple happily said "John Patrick Finn" as they staked a claim to the name John for their first child.
Patrick Peterson beamed with pride until Jessie Bollinger groaned and proclaimed "he's not naming him after you, he's naming him after our grandpa." He smirked, he knew that already and just wanted her to say it so everyone knew the story. He would rather his namesake be his own child, it just didn't seem right to name the baby after his cousin instead of a closer family member.
The girls hugged Courtney then Michael, with the couple then hugging their parents as they sat down to let things settle before everyone broke up for the evening. Michael was asked where they were going on their honeymoon, getting a meek "we have to make a trip down to the White House then visit the UK embassy to see the ambassador. I wanted to spend some time down in New York as well. We have a suite overlooking Times Square so we can watch the ball drop from there."
John nodded then told them to make out a plan and he'd make the arrangements. Courtney tried to dissuade him but in true John fashion he was not hearing it especially as it was for his son and daughter-in-law and it was his money. They gave in, it wasn't worth the fight and Michael wasn't about to let his father and wife have an argument over money.
The youngest kids finally woke up and sought out their parents ending the evening's festivities. The full group of kids from the youngest infants to the third graders were eager to get home before Santa came, unaware that the teens had already taken care of things for them by putting out their presents while they were in the function hall. When they arrived home, the kids were in tears with the youngest hugging and kissing their parents over Santa knowing they'd be gone.
The ones who were the most impacted were the Kings and Stoners. Jordan, Jacob, and their brother Joshua Harvey were in tears as they saw multiple gifts with their names on them while Piper couldn't believe that someone cared about her enough to buy her presents let alone hide them until she was gone. She didn't believe in Santa Claus, but she did believe that her family loved her deeply and they showed it that night.
The three Stoner cousins had gifts awaiting as well, only theirs were less numerous as they had all of what Piper and the others were receiving already. Still, it was the thought that mattered and they saw several large packages with their names on them from people they barely knew but who had taken a liking to them for what they were doing for the boys and Piper. Their gifts were heartfelt, they may have been simple laptops but the colors were striking and each different than the others.
Over in the Finn home, JD and Cat were screaming at Santa visiting without them there. Logan and Ella were blase about it, they didn't really care about presents so long as they had their parents there. The two were happy to get what they wanted most, loving parents and a family who cared about them.
Logan and Ella kissed their parents good night which prompted JD and Cat to do the same. Cat hugged John tightly, apologizing to him for being greedy. JD didn't have to say anything, his expression said it all and his parents knew he was feeling terrible about acting out in front of Ella and Logan.
Across town, Courtney settled into her old bedroom for the night and endured her baby brother Walter's giggle at seeing the newly placed presents left out for him, his brother, and sisters. The 11-month-old had seen his mother's smile and knew it was a good thing even if he didn't know why. In his mind, it was a pile of fun that he wanted to get at quickly the next morning.
Not to be outdone, Sophia went right for the presents and handed them off instead of trying to open them like Nigel Jr. was doing. She didn't care about the presents, she just wanted to hand things out. It caused all of the adults to give her a big smile as she was acting more like her grandfather Jerry than father David Peterson.
Arthur Evans only saw the fake presents under the hotel's Christmas tree. He had what he wanted, a trip to see the people he cared about and a girlfriend who was going to call him at 7 AM Boston time. His parents were quiet as they thought about the kids who wouldn't be receiving a Christmas due to being in a foster home, it saddened them that they were missing out on something special because of bigotry.
Julio Lopez struggled to calm himself when he saw the presents under the Lopez's tree. It was an even split between him and his brother DJ but it was more than he ever had before. He was lucky to get one present, often just a cheap toy from the dollar store down the street and only bought as an after thought by his grandparents as their friends complained that he had nothing under his tree.
Dan was hugged tightly by Julio who then hugged his mother. Rebecca had to stifle a laugh but it was tough to joke about her brother's reaction knowing he had nothing before and had been given everything he ever wanted in the past year. Seeing the presents was the biggest gift yet, after his parents being given full custody of then adopting him as their own son.
Flora and Fiona burst into tears as they saw their presents under the tree. They hugged their parents tightly then thanked Jessica and Scott for putting them out for them. It was actually their aunt and uncle who did it but the thought mattered more than facts especially as the same was done at the Jones home.
Fiona kept hugging Scott, crying into his shoulder while Flora latched onto her father Quentin. The two had to be carried upstairs to their bedrooms to be put to sleep, only releasing their grips when they were put under their blankets. Both offered a somber, tearful "you are the best parents" as they fell asleep.
The next morning, the kids of Winnisimmet awoke to snow on the ground as a fast moving storm dumped a solid 4 inches of snow. John and the dads had to work hard to clear their sidewalks and clear the snow from their cars. Their sons helped them out, especially the anxious Michael.
Logan and JD kept close to John to ensure he didn't hurt himself shoveling. They took turns digging out the minivan while John reached the tough spots. It was a great father/son bonding moment as JD was now old enough to actually help and Logan was all too happy to help his father do anything.
The work took most of the morning with the guys having to stop and drink cocoa and tea to warm up while the girls happily taunted them. The mothers were no better, giving them directions on what to do next and ensure that they cleared everything to their specifications. It was all a big game to them, but they were doing it because the three guys would have dwelt on the impending ceremony later on.
The ones who had it best were the Kings. Ivan awoke to his driveway and street shoveled by Miles, Eric, and George. They also brought him another gift, telling him it was non-returnable and that if he didn't like it they'd get a better model that suited him.
Yvette walked outside to the trio ripping off a tarp and showing the couple a used minivan, one that was good enough for the family to get around without Jordan, Jacob, and Joshua fighting over space in the rear. Yvette started to cry while Ivan complained "he just can't stop spoiling his friends, can he?" All three gave a happy "nope!"
Miles added "you two are different than everyone else. Aunt Yvette has known dad and Aunts Leslie and Karen longer than anyone else and Uncle Ivan has had half of us as students. Well everyone who was in third grade here that is. You are family even if you don't see us that way."
The two knew not to argue about John's spoiling of them, it was a gift that they needed and saved them money. The kids looked out a the new minivan and asked about it, being told warmly "it's a gift from John to us. Now you aren't going to be crammed into the backseat whenever we go somewhere. I'm sure you three will appreciate not being crunched especially as your friends come over."
The trio walked back inside while the elder trio left for home. The kids went right at the presents and handed them off to one another while Yvette and Ivan observed. They were going to ask why they kept getting video games but held off as they didn't want to upset their new parents.
The gift of iPhones, iPads, and laptops caused all three to nearly faint but the notes from John gave them all a sense that it was conditional and not to be taken lightly. They were going to have to continue to be on their best behaviors in school and at home and be good to their girlfriends if they wanted to retain their new gifts. Yvette added "all of the kids have this same condition applied to them, even John's own kids. The only ones who don't are the ones who owned their own laptops, iPads, and iPhones before they came into the family."
Finally Yvette handed them presents that included a pink controller, a red controller, and a blue controller for a game system they didn't have. The trio looked that them funny but didn't say anything. They began to suspect something was going on but rationalized it as their girlfriends or the girls' boyfriends Steven Pierce and Dante Kelly having a game system that they would play at their houses.
Finally after several presents filled with clothes including ones that Jordan blushed at receiving especially as they came from her brothers they opened the last present together. They gasped at what was inside: a brand new, top of the line X-Station 14 game system. It made sense now, it was going to be used by all three of them as they now had their own controllers and games.
Ivan added a firm "it has other things like Netflix and Amazon, but you won't use those without our consent as they could lead you to watch some movies that aren't age appropriate." The three thanked them, tearfully hugging them and kissing them. It was the best present that they could have received, after Ivan and Yvette that is.
They received a knock on the door followed by a quick talk with someone who rushed off before the kids could see. Yvette handed Ivan three envelopes which caused him to wince as he read them. The kids looked at them but didn't react, only waited for the two to speak about what was inside the letters.
Yvette handed them to the kids then prepared for the inevitable screaming. They spent a while reading over the notices, trying hard to grasp what they said. After several minutes Jacob asked "is it true?"
Yvette tearfully hugged them while Ivan stated "you are now Jordan, Jacob, and Joshua King. You are our sons and daughter. Judge Perez didn't try to hold off, she wanted you to have a good Christmas. She ignored our request to let this be a normal adoption, she prefers to not beat around the bush with kids."
The trio hugged their father and mother, crying into their shoulders as they no longer had to explain their different names nor what happened to their mothers. They had a loving mother and father. They were a family in full, they were the Kings through and through.
Yvette immediately called Karen to tell her what happened. Karen nearly fainted while Nigel told her a happy "she is a great person. She won't delay what is needed most to help a kid. She's going to be one of the best judges ever seen in this or any other state."
Nichole asked what was going on so Karen explained "your aunt and uncle got a special present from Judge Perez." Nichole gasped while Ethan asked what she meant. Nichole blurted out "the three got adopted! Aunt Yvette and Uncle Ivan are their mother and father in full!"
Ethan shrugged then walked off. He didn't care about that, he knew that his sister was going to fuss over Joshua but it didn't matter. It was just a formality, they filed the paperwork two weeks before so it was just waiting around until they received a hearing date.
Several blocks away at Jaimie and Rick's house, Sylvia Roberts was awakening to the couple making breakfast. She tried to help but was stopped by both, with the two insisting that she sit down and eat. She didn't have the heart nor the energy to fight them. Of all of the things that irked her about being pregnant, the lack of coffee to start her day was the biggest especially as she drank four cups a day on average with more drunk during midterms and finals.
The two waited for Mitch Gibson to wake up but the smell of food caused him to hurry to the kitchen. The four ate in silence then cleared the table before going over to the living room to enjoy a rest before they had to leave for the wedding. Rick and Jaimie smirked as the two asked about the presents under the tree, with Rick shrugging and having Mitch reach under for them.
Mitch looked at the names and gave them an odd look. Sylvia was in tears, it was the last thing she expected. When both opened them they gasped at the gifts, with Jaimie explaining "it's tradition. All of us have them, it's a sign of friendship and that you are one of us now. And you are, both of you."
The two kissed each other then hugged Jaimie and Rick. The couple calmed down but cringed when Mitch's phone range. He sighed and told them "it's my parents."
Mitch got up to leave but Rick had him sit down. Mitch answered it, with his mother saying "I hope you two are enjoying your time together." Mitch cringed while Sylvia explained "we are, ma'am."
Mrs. Gibson told her firmly "please, call me mom. If those two who raised you can't accept what happened to their daughter then they lose the right to be called that. Besides, it makes me happy to know that my little boy has met a wonderful girl who is making an honest man out of him."
Jaimie asked if they had a laptop or tablet so they could Skype, getting a yes to which she told them to get on it so they could see one another in person. It was a special holiday, they should see their son face to face that day. Mitch reluctantly signed in and his parents gasped at the sight of Sylvia and Mitch.
Mrs. Gibson was nearly in tears, Sylvia was beautiful and looked like the daughter she always wanted. Mr. Gibson had trouble trying to keep his eyes off of his future daughter-in-law, she was out of his son's league. Mitch knew what they were thinking and tried to fight it but blurted out "I can't believe she let me date her especially given she could have any guy on campus. She's just so beautiful and smart."
Looking at Rick and Jaimie the Gibsons were pleased that Sylvia's child was going to be in good hands. They knew about Jaimie's past and were aware of Rick being someone that was the kind of man that they hoped Mitch would be friends with especially as he didn't run from responsibility. Rick didn't run away, he ran towards it by supporting Sylvia and agreeing to be the father to their child.
Sylvia thanked them for letting her stay during the summer, getting a happy "it wouldn't be right to not let you stay with us. Your boss is too nice of a person to refuse a request from her. You need support and as much as he tries to think he is mature, Mitch could use time with us and you too."
Sylvia and Mitch were relieved especially as the Gibsons told them that they were the talk of town. Mitch knew that Baylston was going to treat him like a king but how they reacted to Sylvia was another story. There were still a few hardliner zealots, an unwed mother who gave up her rape baby was going to cause more than a few to try to take down Mitch just for the brief bit of local fame.
The Gibsons signed off with a hearty "you two look great together" followed by a sympathetic "and you two are two of the best people we have ever met. You will do a lot of good in this world. Thank you for being what our son needed to show him he was more man than he thought."
Nearby, Austin and the Kellys awoke to the doorbell ringing wildly. Austin asked who the heck that was, getting a happy "Benny. The little man is a bundle of energy but is well behaved most of the time. Just don't let him trick you into giving him sweets, he loves his candy."
Benny Herman entered followed by his tired sister Francesca. She looked up at Danielle and Sean and offered a timid "sorry grandma, grandpa. He was told only ring it once."
Sean gave her a nod to show it was alright while her father and mother entered with the gifts for them. Austin didn't have anything but he was fine with that, he was spending the holiday with his best friend and his family which was enough for him. Danielle wouldn't let him stay in his room no matter how much he wanted to avoid being a third wheel with the Kellys.
The doorbell rang again and the Penas entered, with Kennedy Pena hugging her uncle while Billy went for Benny as Kylie and Reed walked in looking upset at Billy's energy. Willie Pena entered and complained that the boy was into the cookies and chocolate already but Danielle said it was just Christmas energy. It was true, the boy loved to receive presents and the holiday was his favorite of the year especially as it brought so much junk food and treats from his family.
The last to arrive were Sean's son William and his wife Amanda and sons Junior and Dante. The kids didn't say anything until given the all clear from Sean, they were ready for Billy and Benny's energy but didn't want to deal with it if it was overwhelming the adults. Dante didn't let on that he was eager to dive into his presents, the boy had never had a real Christmas thanks to greedy foster parents who spent all the money received for fostering him on themselves making him another first timer.
The kids started to open their presents while the adults looked on. Dante was slow in opening his which caused Austin to ask what was going on. Sean shook his head and admitted "the boy never received any gifts before. Everything he got was taken away by his foster parents. He's a great young man but he is still in the honeymoon phase of being adopted by Amanda and William."
Once the kids opened theirs the adults opened theirs with each being happy to receive the gifts while Austin stood back and enjoyed the sight. Sean grinned and told him they had to take a ride, which he knew to mean he was going to see his son Richard Samuels. Austin nodded, getting his coat and hat.
At the Samuels home Al Samuels grabbed Austin and dragged him to living room and sat him down. Sean tried to give them privacy but Al's glare kept him planted in place. Austin enjoyed Al's enthusiasm especially towards getting her way with him and was in a state of happiness when she handed him a present, causing him to snap out of his euphoria.
Austin opened the present and gasped in shock at what he received. Al grinned and nodded while Thomas Samuels told him "dad found that among the things that great-grandpa Ezra had hidden away. He tried to hide it but dad knew it was in there and found it for you."
Austin shed a tear at the picture of his wife and him in front of the town clerk after they had gotten married. In their hands was a copy of their marriage license, one that showed that Richard was the legitimate grandchild of Ezra Heath and thus his mother was illegally locked away in a mental hospital.
He needed a few minutes so Richard told the kids to give them space. Austin explained to him "I know she's dead but we know he hid the reasons. The man had her killed when she threatened to topple him, he killed his only child to protect his house of cards. It's why he didn't go after you when you ran away, you are the one person who could destroy his life. He made a huge mistake, he should have been able to find out all about you but he was too lazy or arrogant to check. This should have ended years ago, but I am glad that the chance meeting of your son and the Finns changed our history."
The two kept quiet for a while, there was nothing more to be said but plenty to be shared between them. Austin finally got up to go but Richard asked him to stay with the family, it was his home too if he wanted. He needed to think about it, he didn't want to abandon Sean and Danielle so suddenly.
Across town Piper awoke to Sydney shaking her. The two started to cook breakfast for their parents then got dressed. When Savannah and Justin awoke they were met with the smells of eggs, pancakes, sausages, bacon, and coffee along with the girls trying to make tea from loose leaves.
The couple sat down and dug in, knowing the girls wouldn't move an inch until they had eaten. They then started to eat and finished before their parents, getting hugs and kisses as they left. Savannah was happy to have gotten the meal, especially the tea which the girls went through a lot of trouble to make.
The kids did a great job and Piper made her especially happy with the tea. She took great care to steep the tea and found the right strainer for it, something Savannah struggled to do at times. It was one of her few addictions, she loved her tea and was proud of Piper for noticing it.
They awaited Justin's sisters-in-law and their daughters and sons. It was going to be a tough fit but he hoped that they boys would be on their best behavior while the girls would be acting like ladies or they would not be allowed to attend the wedding. Piper just hoped her male cousins were nice to Sydney.
Melinda, Melissa, Aggy, Tabby, Beatrice, and Naomi Stoner entered first with Beatrice and Naomi's sons dubbed "Moe, Larry, and Curly" by Aggy and Tabby much to their annoyance and their mothers' enjoyment following behind them. The way they acted it was like the Three Stooges, only less comical.
The boys stood while the girls dug into the pile of gifts. They looked up at Justin and Savannah in awe as they saw their new iPhones along with notes from John about the usage. The boys were jealous, but they were told that they had tried their hardest to keep away from their cousins while the girls had done everything possible to get to know them thus earned John's gifts to them.
The boys were given official looking envelopes from Savannah and Justin. Inside was something that caused the three to ask "you are joking" but Sydney countered "they are serious. I gave it to all eight of you but dumb and dumber chose to hurt Aunt Beatrice and try to hurt Piper and me. Their shares went to the six of you, it's why it's an odd number."
The girls opened their own and nearly cried at the amount given. It was $1.333 million, a gift from Sydney to her cousins in the form of trust funds that were not to be touched until they turned 21, had a child, or married. Savannah explained "it's your uncle Jordan's legacy to all of you. He left it to Sydney's mom on her behalf as he believed she was his daughter but she is giving it to you along with her own money because it should have been yours all along. You are millionaires, now act like it."
The boys tried to think about what was going on but it was tough to do. Their little cousin had given them more money than they'd ever see in their lives on their own, the same cousin they shunned and tried to stay away from every time she was around their sisters. It was mind boggling to them.
The boys needed a chance to let it sink in so Sydney handed packages to the four girls to open. Inside were necklaces with stylized "A", "M", "T", and "P" pendants. Savannah handed Sydney her own "S" pendant then explained to the girls "it's tradition from your boyfriends' family that close friends and family receive those. You aren't the only ones to get them, Fiona, Flora, Jordan, Joshua, Jacob, Arthur, Poppy, Sienna, Sylvia, Angus, Maisie, Mitch, Ashley, and Rosalind received theirs today too."
The spouting of names caused the boys to stare in disbelief but the girls' reaction was one of happiness. Savannah casually told the boys "before you think about going after them, all of them are taken. The only kids not dating or close to dating are the third graders and below."
The boys gave a glare but she started spouting off names left and right and who they were dating and for how long. The boys were badly beaten before they could even start. Sydney did add a happy "they are the top people in the high school, if you are good to the girls maybe their boyfriends' cousins will start to get girls to go your way so you aren't stuck all alone."
They gave her an odd look to which Piper grumbled "Logan Finn and I are close. His cousins got to school with you. You know Rebecca Lopez, Iris and Rachel Sylvester, and Reed Pena."
The trio cringed while Sydney added "dad kept out of what you are doing in school but they won't. If you want girls you have to start acting like gentlemen to Aunts Beatrice and Naomi. They aren't afraid to cut down any boys who aren't good to girls especially Piper and me."
The line was drawn. The boys would either smarten up and act mature or never get a date in the city. It was taking all of their might but Naomi and Beatrice held themselves together until they couldn't hold back and hugged their sons who didn't fight back for once, the girls' impact was already taking affect.
The boys walked home and quietly thought about their futures. It took everything to keep from yelling at the top of their lungs about being setup like that. They quietly pondered their fates as their mothers returned, with one silently slipping into his mother's room to confess that he was sorry to her.
Beatrice calmly sat her son Julius down and hugged him, telling him affectionately "I know. You don't have to hide who you are anymore. They are gone from our lives. Your cousins are going to be handling things better now that they know what's on the line but you need to be honest with yourself."
Julius cried, telling her "I'm gay. I'm sorry mom. I'm gay."
Beatrice hugged Julius tightly and explained "I know, I saw it a long time ago. When your cousins started to get larger you started to act differently. I caught the glances at them at the pool and the beach. You are gay, but you are still my son and I love you. Your sister will support you. If your cousins don't like it then it's them who will miss out on you. You have a future in biology, I know you will do well."
The two left it alone while they prepared Christmas dinner. Their condo was chosen so it would be all 13 Stoners gathered together. It was smaller than the gatherings the were used to but it was still family gathered together with the bad times behind them.
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