Dear Diary

Chapter 29

 

 “I always knew there was the possibility that one of my boys might make me a grandmother before I was ready, but I never thought it would be my twelve year old,” Emily said hollowly.

“Are you upset about it, Mom?” Nate asked nervously.

“What if I said I was, son?  What would you do?”

“I would love my kids the way you taught me, the way you always loved me, and I would hope that someday you could accept them as part of my life, and part of yours,” Nate answered honestly and firmly.

“You wouldn’t find a new home for them?”

“Absolutely not, the twins need stability in their lives after what they have been through, and they have bonded with their Papa Smurf and I hope with me too.  I won’t give them up as long as I am still breathing.”

“That was the answer I hoped you would give, son.  What do you know? You did listen to some of what I told you.”  She turned to Julian and Julienne with a big smile, holding her arms open wide.  The twins dove into her embrace matching her smile with their own.

“We never had a grandma before,” Julienne said.

“What do grandmas do?” Julian asked.

“A grandma gives you loud toys and ice cream and cookies then sends you home to your Daddy and your Papa Smurf,” Emily told them with a conspiratorial smirk.

“Mom, you’ll spoil their dinner,” Nate scolded then gasped.  “Oh my God… I’ve turned into you.”  He thought for a second then spoke again.  “Hey, wait a minute.  You never let me have cookies and ice cream before dinner.”

“I wasn’t your grandmother,” Emily responded as she walked out of the room toward the kitchen with the twins holding her hands.

“Mom, do we get cookies and ice cream too?” Lije called out.  He grabbed Lefty by the arm and chased after his mother, yelling back to his brother as they left the room.  “Don’t worry, bro, I will make sure and tell your kids all the dumb stuff you did before you got them.”

“I haven’t been that mean to you, have I?” Nate called back.

“You were never mean, bro,” Lije told him seriously as he stepped back into the room.  “It’s just telling on a kid’s parents is part of the job description of uncle.  Jesse told me so when he started telling Lefty here about his dads.”

“Remind me to smack Jesse later,” Nate mumbled.

“You better do it quick,” Lije told him.  “He might not be in such a good mood later after he gets back from taking down Dixie’s kidnapper.”

“Wait! They are going after her now?  I didn’t know they had found her,” Nate wondered out loud.

“She was found in New Jersey, when she stole a baby from a shelter there,” Jesse told him as he walked into the room.  “Nate, Dixie and I wanted to let you know that you are in charge of our division while we are in New Jersey.”

“Me? In charge? But... but….”

“I know a couple of the others in our little group outrank you officially, but they will either be with us in New Jersey, or they have too much going on right now to be able to focus properly on command,” Jesse explained.  “We trust you, Nate.  I’m sure Papa Smurf will help you if you need it, but we want you to be in charge.”

“I won’t disappoint you again, Commander,” Nate answered with a serious salute.

“When do you think you have ever disappointed us before?” Jesse asked in confusion.

“I know I caused some problems with how I reacted to Zemal when he first joined us,” Nate confessed.  “I am really sorry about that.”

“You didn’t cause any trouble that our family couldn’t handle, even if we are all really happy that you and Zemal have worked things out now,” Jesse told him.  “Now you keep everything going as smoothly as possible for our division while we go face our own personal demon.”

“You two will be fine, Jesse.  Don’t forget, it isn’t just you two against her this time.  You have the whole Clan backing you up,” Nate assured him.

“One more thing before I go, Huey is trying his best to be strong for his parents right now, but make sure that he and Doug get some time alone so he can grieve for his sister, too.”  Jesse straightened up and got formal for a moment and then said, “You are in command now, lieutenant.”

“You are relieved, Commander,” Nate said with a salute.  “Take care of Dixie for us, and the minute it is safe to do so, give him a big hug from me.”

“Will do,” Jesse said as he walked out of the room.

“Nate, love, I mean, Lieutenant Lewis,” Zemal said over the communicator just then.  “Do we have anyone that is free to help clean up a… umm… mess… in a hallway outside the restrooms?”

“What kind of mess?” Nate asked hesitantly.

“I think you know what kind of mess.  Little kid couldn’t quite find it in time.  Mamee is with him now helping clean him up, but the… well, you know… is still there in the hall.”

“I will get right on it,” Nate told him.  “I helped change my brother’s diapers when he was younger.  I can handle this.  Does the kid in question have family here anywhere so he can get clean clothes?”

“See you are already a great father,” Zemal said proudly.  “We have someone checking on his family.  He says they are here, but he only knows their names as Mrs. Momma and Mr. Daddy.”

“I told someone that about my parents once, too.  I was four, I think.”

“Zipper admits to being three and a half, but he can’t figure out how many fingers that is.”

“Okay, I found the… HOLY SMOKES what did they feed this kid???  P U.”

“On that note, I will return to my duties, sir,” Zemal laughed.

“I’m real sorry I made a poop in the hall mister,” a little voice said beside Nate.  He looked over and smiled at the boy.

“It’s not your fault you couldn’t find the bathroom quick enough, little dude.  I had trouble finding it when I first got here too,” Nate told him.  “Did Mamee get you all cleaned up?”

“Yeah she’s a nice lady,” the boy smiled.  “I’m Zipper, what’s your name?”

“My name is Nate.”  They shook hands with matching grins.  “I’ll bet if Mamee takes you to the cafeteria here, you will find some kids named Jules and Julie that would love to share some ice cream with you.  They are with my mom,” Nate added to Mamee.

“I heard that news, congratulations Nate,” Mamee told him.  “I’m sure you and Zemal will make wonderful parents.  As soon as we can, we can get Melvin… or maybe the Clan construction guys to work on subdividing that room of Zemal’s so you have a nice little apartment down there for your family.”

“Thank you ma’am,” Nate gushed.  “I hadn’t really thought about where we would live.  Mom’s house doesn’t really have room for us.  I don’t want her to think we don’t want to be there though.”

“You just take care of everything else you have going on right now, Nate, and I will have a talk with your Mom.”  She looked down to Zipper then and said, “Let’s go find that ice cream, and you can tell me some more about your parents so maybe we can find them and give them some ice cream too.”

“Oh Momma never eats ice cream, but Daddy does when he and I go to the park while Momma is at work, but don’t tell Momma,” the little boy whispered loudly.

“Zephraim!” a woman squealed.

“MOMMA!” Zipper yelled and ran to her arms hugging her tight.  “DADDY!” he yelled again adding his father to the embrace.

“Where did you get the snazzy little uniform, Zipper,” his father asked.

“I had an accident,” Zipper mumbled as he looked down and sniffled.

“I was able to get him cleaned up without any trouble,” Mamee told them.  “I am Mrs. Amee Wiggins, but you can call me Mamee.”

“Mrs. Amee Wiggins… the Mrs. Amee Wiggins?” Zipper’s father paled as he questioned.  “I just got hired to work for your company last week.  I thought you looked familiar.  I saw your picture in the hallway at work.”

“I have repeatedly told them to take that fool thing down, it scares people,” Mamee said frustrated.  “I’m glad I was able to help out with little Zipper here.”

“He had trouble saying his name at first, so the nickname seemed a little easier,” Zipper’s mom explained.

“Mrs. Mamee?” Zipper asked.  “Do I still get the ice cream even though we found my Momma and Daddy?”

“Yes, of course you do,” Mamee told him and held out her hand for him.  “I may not get my way at the office, but I do here, because I’m a grandma, and grandmas outrank everyone else.  I was told that by Teri Short herself, so it must be true.  In fact, since I am a great, great, grandmother, I even outrank most of the other grandmas.  Let’s all head to the cafeteria and I will introduce you all to some of my other family, right after I meet them.  It seems my family has grown quite a bit today, although the changes in numbers haven’t all been positive.”

“I am so sorry to hear that you lost someone, Mrs. Wiggins,” Zephraim’s mom said softly.

“Thank you sweetie, but you call me Mamee, you hear?  That goes for you too,” she told the boy’s father.

“We are Roger and Alia, Mrs…. I mean Mamee,” the man corrected himself after a stern look from his employer.


Dixon staggered just a little as he got his bearings once he materialized in a cheap trailer park somewhere in New Jersey.  He knew this kind of place from when she had lived in them with him.  She liked places where people didn’t ask too many questions.

“Fan out guys and surround the trailer, but remember; we are here for her.  Unless some of the neighbors insist on starting something, we ignore them as much as possible,” Dixon whispered to his crew.  “Once we have her in custody, if there is anything else in the area that needs our attention, we can deal with that then.”

“I was hoping you would say that,” Layton whispered back with a grin that only a policeman can make when he is about to catch some bad guys.

“I have lived in places like this before, so I know what goes on,” Dixon told him with a grim frown.

“Anything I should know about, Pixie?” Jesse asked him quietly as he squeezed his lover’s hand softly.

“Nothing that did me any harm beyond the occasional turned stomach from seeing things I shouldn’t have too early in life,” Dixon assured them both.

“Well you and I will be shutting ourselves in our room later and cuddling to chase the bad memories away after this is over,” Jesse said firmly.  “Now let’s go save that baby from what you went through.”

Dixon gave the move out motion and he and Jesse went up to the front door of the trailer.  He knocked more bravely than he thought he would, but then he realized that for the first time in his memory, he wasn’t afraid of the woman inside the trailer, and it wasn’t because he knew he had armed backup with him.  He knew who he really was now, and she could never take that away from him again.

“Open up, Mom,” he called out with heavy sarcasm on the last word.  “We need to talk.”

The door flew open, as did the mouth of the woman inside it.  “How… where did you…. I thought you were dead.”

“Reports of my death have been highly exaggerated,” Dixon announced as he pushed past her into the trailer.  “You remember my boyfriend, Jesse, don’t you, Mom?”  he asked her as Jesse walked in behind him.

“Your…. You’re both alive?  How is that…. I didn’t think she ever let anyone…” Her whole demeanor suddenly changed, facial expression, body language, everything.  Dixon knew thanks to his training with the Clan that he was now facing someone else.  The woman who kidnapped him clearly suffered from dissociative identity disorder.  “Shut up, Little Goody Two Shoes, the brat might have made it through the first time, but he isn’t a real he anymore.”  Here she turned to sneer at Dixon.  “Are you little Pixie?  Has Jesse here popped your little girl cherry yet?  Hope so, ‘cause it would be a shame for you two to die virgins still.”

“Nobody is going to die today,” Layton snarled as he stepped into the room from the hallway.  “Now stand real still lady, because I would hate for you to accidentally make me pull the trigger on this pistol.  I haven’t gotten used to those phasers for stunning yet.  I guess I’m old school.”

“Men have to pull a weapon on women to make them behave, don’t they,” Dixon’s kidnapper taunted.  “Fine, nobody has to get hurt here.  I’ll be good.  I’ll even let the brat’s mom come back and talk to him again.”  Dixon, Jesse, Layton, and the others that had joined them now watched a transformation overtake the woman.  Her entire persona changed.  “Dixon, oh thank goodness she didn’t hurt you again.”

“Okay, Mom, I understand what is going on now, thanks to my training with the Clan.  We are going to have to take you into custody, because of what the other one has done, but I promise we will get you help to deal with what happened to you,” Dixon told her softly.  “Can I ask how many there are? Do you know?”

“There’s three of us, but she scares the other one so badly, that we never hear from her,” she replied, beginning to cry quietly.  “Will you really help us?  Even after what she did to you and to Jesse?”

“I can’t speak for Jesse or his brother on this, but I forgive you for your part in what happened.  I don’t think you wanted any of it to happen, did you?” Dixon asked.

“I never wanted to hurt anyone.  Neither of us took you from your family though, that was the little one.  She wanted a baby to take care of and play with.  I am so sorry about that, Dixon, but after it was done, we were afraid that we would get into big trouble if we gave you back and she wanted you so much.”

“I’ve met her before, haven’t I Mom?” Dixon asked curiously.  “She’s the one that used to play with me when I was little, isn’t she?”

“Yeah, she loved playing with you when you were a toddler and even a little after that, but then Paige started taking over more.  Michelle was so scared of her that she started hiding more and more.”  She smiled and wiped a tear from her face.  “That’s why when you were younger you thought my name was Michelle.  She spent more time with you than I did.  As you got older though, she couldn’t be your mom anymore, because she is still a kid herself.  In fact she is younger than you are now.  She didn’t want to hurt you, Dixon.  She just saw you in that store with the old man and thought you were so cute and you smiled at her, so she grabbed you and brought you home.”

“Mom, I have to ask this, who is the original?” Dixon looked her right in the eye as he asked.  He had been trained to spot certain common body language cues if someone is lying.

“I am the original, but Paige has been fighting me and wearing me down so much that she takes over more and more.  She is always so angry and powerful.”

“I’m not sure what I should call you,” Jesse told the woman as he stepped closer to her.  “I just want you to know that now I understand what you have been going through, I know you were not the one responsible for hurting me and getting me taken away from my family.  I can guarantee you will be treated very well by the Clan, and I hope your treatment brings you peace.”

“I certainly don’t deserve to be called anything nice by either of you, but I would appreciate it if you could call me Barbara,” the woman told him.  “I know you may not want to hear this Dixon, and you probably won’t believe it either, but I am very proud of you; as proud as your real mother must also be.  Jesse, I know your parents would also be proud of you for trying to save Dixon.  It was a real shame what happened to them.  That nasty pervert Dupuis was a real sicko.  The things he would do with Paige made me sick.  I just hope Michelle never saw any of it.”

At that moment, J.B. came into the room carrying a little blue bundle.  “Dis here little one sure know how to make a stink, but he all clean and fresh now.  If’n it’s all right wid you, Dixon, I will took this sweet boy to dat safe house and he could played wid BB and the popsicles.”

“Dixon,” a soft shy little voice surprised everyone in the room.  “You gonna take good care of the little baby, aren’t you?  He was all alone and scared in that shelter place.  He was crying and stinky and nobody was paying attention to him.”

“Michelle?” Dixon asked of the person who was talking to him.  She nodded bashfully.

“The little card on his bed said his name is Baby Boy Chevrolet,” Michelle told them, then she got a thoughtful expression on her face and corrected the pronunciation.  “Barbie says his name is Chevalier.  They didn’t know his other names, so we’ve been calling him Chevy.  It was my idea.”  She was sitting on the floor and started tugging and twisting at the hem of her shirt nervously.  “I’m sorry I let the other boys at your school know your nickname, Dixon.  I was the one that called you Dixie Pixie, because you were little and cute like a pixie I saw in a book one time, and well… the other name is because when Barbie changed your diaper, I saw you were a boy, so you got Dixie too.”

“It’s ok, Michelle,” Dixon assured the little girl.  “I don’t really mind the name if someone calls me that because they love me, like Jesse does… or like you do.”

“You’re not mad at me, really?  Paige said I would get into a lot of trouble and they would put us in jail because I didn’t know you had a family really I didn’t.  I promise.  I saw an old man with you, but he kept stopping and talking to cute guys in the store and wasn’t watching you.”

“That man was my great grandfather, Michelle,” Dixon told her.  “It hurt him very much when you took me away.  He and Mamee, she’s my great grandmother, would have understood if you had brought me back when you found out I had family though.  They probably would have gotten you the help you needed a lot sooner.”

Michelle started crying then.  “You mean we could have gotten rid of Paige?”  The transformation was instant and honestly ugly and frightening to see.  “You will never get rid of me, you little snot.  Neither of you will.  I’m the strongest one.  I’m the one that kept us alive.  You two would be dead without me.”

“You’re not the strongest one,” Dixon corrected her.  “If anything you are the weakest one.  You are the one that can’t face when things don’t go your way and you throw tantrums.  Michelle is probably older than you isn’t she?  You just make people think you are an adult because you get all scary and mean, so that they will do what you want.  You are anger, and Barbara and Michelle fear you because for some reason they were taught that they couldn’t be angry.  But they are, it is perfectly all right to be angry sometimes.  We should get angry sometimes when there is a good reason to be.  I am angry right now that you have been bullying my mom and Michelle for all these years.  I’m angry that you hurt me and I am so beyond angry that you hurt Jesse.  But I’m okay with being angry.  I can be angry and not let it take control of who I am or what I do.  I am sending you to a special place that the Clan has to help Mom and Michelle learn that they can feel anger, without you showing up, and they will never have to see you again.”

“No! They need me.  I’m the strongest.”  The transformation this time was almost violent looking.  “Thank you, Dixon.   That is the first time I have ever been strong enough to take over when she was in control,” Barbara said.

“No, Mom, you were always were strong enough, you just didn’t know you were because she made you afraid to try,” Dixon assured her.

“You called me Mom,” Barbara said hesitantly.

“I know that my mother gave birth to me, and that it is Paige’s fault that I never got to see her or my father again, but it was you that raised me.  You were there when I got sick at night, and scared of thunderstorms when I was little.  She was my mother, but you are my mom.”

“Thank you,” Barbara whispered as she wiped tears from her face.  “I don’t deserve it, but thank you.”

“I think you might want to stay out of Mamee’s way for a while though,” Jessie suggested.  “She will understand, I’m sure, that it wasn’t you or your fault, but she has a lot of hurt to work through yet.”

“I can’t possibly ever make it up to her, what we have done to her and her family,” Barbara said sadly.  “I truly am sorry for all the pain she had to go through though.”

“Well, maybe after you are done with your treatment, you and she can have a long talk about that,” Dixon told her.  Speaking into his communicator, he asked for the assistance needed to transport his mom to the Vulcan planet where she could be cared for as she recovered from the trauma that caused her to have multiple personalities.  “I will… I mean, I would like to come visit you when you are settled, if that’s okay?  We have things to work out too, and I really would like to do that, if you would.”

“It would make me very happy, Dixon,” Barbara smiled.  “If I promise that I will keep in control of the body, could I have a hug?  I know it is asking a lot.”  She wiped tears from her eyes as Dixon crossed the room and wrapped his arms around her tightly.

“I love you, Mom,” he whispered.  “I’m so glad that I know what was going on now.  I want you to get better so you can meet my brothers and especially my boys.”

“Your boys?” Barbara questioned.

“Dixon and I are the parents to a set of four year old twin boys named Emile and Etienne,” Jessie explained.

“You’re… parents…. Both of you together?”  She blinked a moment then asked, “So you two really are a couple then?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Jessie answered a little nervously.

“Well, then I have to say, my little boy has much better taste in men than I ever had,” Barbara said with a smile.  “I know you two will take great care of each other and your boys, who I really would love to meet someday.  But for now, I am getting tired and feel Paige trying to take over again.  Perhaps we had better get on to that place you were talking about, Dixon.” Another sudden transformation took place, but they were all surprised to see that Michelle had taken over.

“Dixie, what you gonna do with the little baby?” she asked curiously.  “I didn’t take this one, you know.  Barbara took him, but she was just going to change his diaper ‘cause he was really stinky.  But then some bad people started trouble in the shelter and she took us and the baby outside to keep from getting hurt.  The stupid policeman at the door wouldn’t let us back inside though.”

“Well, I will check into that later, Michelle, but thank you for telling me,” Dixon said to her.  “You are getting stronger too if you managed to take over from Barbara and Paige both.”

“They were busy fighting each other, so I had a better chance,” Michelle explained.  “Are you going to take care of the baby?  Barbara really likes him.  I think she misses taking care of you when you were little.  I miss you too.  You were the first boy that was ever fun to play with all the time.  Some of the other boys when we were all my age were fun sometimes, but I didn’t get to play fun games with them for very long.  Once Father got his movies made, the other boys would disappear.  Sometimes we had to help him get rid of them.  I didn’t like that.  Father even made movies of that sometimes.  I had to get the boys to come to the house, and then we would get to play a little, but then Father would take over and the games were naughty and then mean.  Paige got rid of Father finally, but doing it made her even meaner, and Barbara and me were even more scared of her.”  She had tears in her eyes as she looked at Dixon.  “Will you keep the baby with you?  We heard people at the shelter saying he doesn’t have any more family anywhere.  You could ‘dopt him too like you did those other boys, couldn’t you?  I bet he would like having big brothers and two cute daddies.”

“You know what, Michelle,” Jessie interrupted.  “I think that is a pretty good idea.  I think Emmy and Enny would like having a baby brother too.  He will have a cute little cousin Bethany who is about the same age as him too.”

Michelle suddenly looked over at Layton.  “Do you really not have one of those ray guns?  Cause me and Barbara can’t hold Paige back much longer.  Please help us not let her out.”

Layton just nodded and pulled his phaser out and told Michelle to sit on the couch right quick.  As soon as she did, her transformation started and Layton fired the phaser, knocking the body out before Paige could take over.  “J.B. and I will take her to the facility, boss.  Once we get her settled, I will make sure you get updates from the healers about her, and have the chance for visitation as soon as they say it is ok.”

“Thank you, Layton,” Dixon whispered as he stared at the unconscious woman on the couch.  “I guess I sort of knew it was something like this all along, because she was just so different sometimes.  I am glad that she will be able to get the help she needs now.  Barbara is a really good mom.”

J.B. walked up to him and Jessie and pulled Dixon into a hug with one arm, still holding the baby in the other.  “You don’t gotta be shamed of loving the momma what raised you, little boss man.  Ain’t nothing wrong wid dat, no.  I told you something for sure, it was dat woman made you de boy I am so happy and proud to work for and call my friend and maybe family too, yeah?  Now you and Jessie took dis little one back to Charleston, and me and Layton, we gonna took real good care of you Momma.  Don’t you worried none bout dat.”

“Thanks, J.B.,” Dixon murmured with a smile as he wiped a few tears from his face.  “And what do you mean maybe family?  You’re my big brother now.”

“Hey! What about me? I saw you first, you know,” Layton whined playfully.

“Meh… You’re just a brother in law, you don’t count,” Dixon teased.  “Seriously, I love you both so much.  I want you to know that I can’t imagine my life without the two of you in it now.  You really are my big brothers in everything but blood.”

“We love you too, Frankenweenie,” Layton told him as he stuck out his tongue.

“Aren’t big brothers supposed to be more mature?” Dixon asked looking at Jessie.

“Umm hello,” Jessie said, rolling his eyes.  “You have met my brother, remember?”

“Point taken,” Dixon giggled.  “Okay, back to business guys.  Layton, did you see anything that you would need to come back here for?”

“No, but I will pass along a suggestion or two to the local authorities later on,” Layton replied.  “Nothing major, just some little stuff to keep an eye on.”

“Well, get with me before you send your suggestions, I might have one or two of my own to add,” Jessie told him.  “What?  I have training too, you know.  I’m more than just the boss’ piece of eye candy.”

“Who ever said you were just my eye candy?” Dixon demanded.  “You are everything to me, not just some sexy piece of meat I keep around to look good.  I couldn’t survive without you, and the boys love you every bit as much as they do me, and….”  Jessie shut him up with a kiss.

“Nobody said anything like that, Dixie,” Jessie told him as he pulled away.  “I have never felt unwanted or unloved since the day I met you, and the rest of the family treat me just fine.  I was just teasing, okay?”

“Oh, okay,” Dixon said with a sigh of relief.  “I don’t want anyone to ever think that anyone on our team doesn’t contribute their fair share and then some, especially you.”

“I’m good on that, I promise, love,” Jessie replied with a hug.  “What’s say we go introduce our sons to each other?”

“Good idea,” Dixon said.  When he looked around the room, he realized that Layton and J.B. had already transported out with Barbara.  “Let’s get out of here, before the roaches find us.”

“DIXIE!!! You know I don’t do bugs.  Get us out of here, now.” Jessie whined.

A moment later they appeared on the porch at Whatley farms.  Auntie René stepped out on the porch first with the shotgun in her hands.  “You know you could have told us you was coming instead of almost getting you little butts shot off,” she told them sternly.  “I don’t know what I’m gonna did wid de men round dese parts not talking to nobody ahead of time.”

“We’re sorry, Auntie René,” Jessie told her sincerely.  “But it’s all his fault for scaring me about the bugs.”  He shuddered in revulsion.  “He knows I hate bugs.”

“Did you tease dis sweet young’un wid dem bug, Dixon Daniel Wiggins?” Auntie René demanded, putting her hands on her hips.

“Not on purpose,” Dixon said with a blush.  “I just said that we should leave before the roaches found us.”

“Well… I reckon y’all gonna made dat up soon enough,” Auntie René responded.  “Who dis here new little face peeking at Auntie René out dem blanket?” She asked as she took the baby into her arms and walked back into the house.  “It’s all clear, kittens, let dem popsicle babies come see dey Poppas.”  Two Cajun tornadoes practically tore the door off the hinges rushing into the living room.

“PAPA!  DADDY!” they screamed in unison.  They wrapped their little bodies around their parents tightly, talking a mile a minute, some of which was actually in English.

“Whoa! Calm down, my little ones,” Dixon said returning their hugs just as fiercely.  “We missed you too.  I am so glad to see you are safe, and I am even more glad that you have had a good time out here today.”

“Yes, I’m sure you can come out to the farm again soon,” Jessie answered one of their many hurried questions.  “But, we will have to check with your Uncle Sonny and Aunt Libby since they are going to be living here once the place gets finished with the remodeling.  Bethany will be coming out to see her grandparents fairly often I would think.”

“And speaking of family, we have something very important to ask you guys,” Dixon told them as he pulled them over to the couch and sat down cuddling them both on his lap.  “We met a little guy today who would really like to have to very special twin big brothers.  Do you think you could be big brothers to a little baby?  It would mean sometimes he needs attention instead of you, but I promise you that he would never ever get more love than you two.”

“Is dat de baby?” Etienne asked quietly, pointing at the little bundle in Auntie René’s arms.

“What’s his name?” Emile asked as he slipped off Dixon’s lap and went over to peek into the face of the baby boy who looked up at him and smiled.  “He smile at me!” Emile squealed proudly.  “He already knowed his big bubba Emmy.”  Etienne ran over and joined him beside the baby.  “Little bubba, dis you nother big bubba Enny.  We gonna took de best care of you.  We showed you all de places to play and how to blink you eyes at Grandmama Annie so she give you dem praline candy she made even when it close to dinner.”

“And we won’t let nobody never hurt you,” Etienne added softly, but very firmly.  “Dey hurt you, dey got two big bubbas gonna whup dey… well we took care of dem good.”

“I think we got a yes,” Jessie said with a little laugh.

“I believe so, love, but are you sure you want three sons, and one of them still a baby?” Dixon asked him.

“You know I don’t mind taking care of a baby,” Jessie answered.  “I have changed Bethany too, you know.  As for having three sons, as long as I have you to raise them with, and the rest of our family to support us, I won’t mind at all.”

“Papa, we still don’t know little bubba’s name,” Emile complained.

“You know something, neither do we,” Dixon admitted with a blush.  “Maybe the shelter he was taken from has that information.  I’m sure we can find out.”

“Way ahead of you, love,” Jessie announced as he read the screen of his PADD.  “Our new son is named Evander Lykan Gabriel.  He was born September 1st to Jordan and Ashley Gabriel.  They were both raised in orphanages and foster care with no living relatives.  They were both killed in a car accident caused by the panic of the attacks.  They had fortunately spared no expense on little Evander’s car seat, though, so he survived without injury.”

“Evander?  His name is really Evander?” Dixon asked in wonder as he stared into the face of the infant.

“Yeah, why?”

“My husband already forgetting those little details about our relationship,” Dixon teased.  “Up until only recently, Evander was my middle name.”

“Really?  I never knew your middle name, for your information,” Jessie defended.  “All I needed to know was that you were my Dixie Pixie.”

Emile suddenly reached up and put his hand over little Evander’s face, and did the same with his other hand for Etienne.  He then scrunched his own eyes tightly shut.  “It’s ok, Papa, you and Daddy can kiss now.”

“Emmy!” Dixon squealed, turning red practically all over.

“Thank you, son,” Jessie told the boy as he stole a quick kiss from Dixon.  Enny giggled as he peeked around his brother’s hand.

“Dixon, Jessie,” Osgood started nervously walking towards them.  “I wanted to speak with you about something.  I had thought I would need to wait given the events of today, but seeing you here with your family, I feel the time is right.”

“Go ahead, Mr. Fielding,” Dixon told him.

“Well, you may or may not know that I am the last, very last of my family,” the old man began.  “I have been under some pressure these last few years from my attorneys to make provisions for my estate.”

“Osgood Fielding, you spoke to me rat now,” Auntie René demanded, grabbing the man by his shoulders and looking into his face.  “What you got wrong wid you, you need to make de will and tesment? I just start to lo… like you and you gonna told me you leaving me?”

“My precious magnolia, I am in not in any danger of leaving you any time soon, especially after learning that you do care for me,” Osgood said with the happiest smile of his entire life.  “I just am not a young man anymore, and my accountants and attorneys wanted to know what I planned to do with the family fortune, such as it is.  I’m not as wealthy as our dear Amee by any means, but my name is not without some respect in financial circles.”

“Stop talking circles, and told us what you got to said,” Auntie René ordered.

“Well, you told me that the twins here were your last relatives, and that you planned for them to inherit whatever you have left when you pass, so I have done the same.  Emile and Etienne, and now Evander, are my beneficiaries as well.”

“Oncle Osgood, what a benny fishy?” Etienne asked quietly.

“It means that I claim you as my last living relatives as well, mon petit cher,” Osgood explained after kneeling in front of the twins.  “Now I am hoping you will help me convince your Tante René to make it official.”  He twisted a bit and as he did, changed positions so that he was one knee with a small jewelry box in his hand, looking up at René.  “I know we have not known each other long, my beautiful magnolia blossom, but we have reached an age where time is precious to us, and I don’t want to waste another moment of it waiting for what I already know I want with all my heart.  René Brouillard, will you marry me?”

“Osgood Fielding, you…. you…” René began and then she saw the excited faces of the popsicle twins and their daddies, and even the security kitties in the room.  “I hope you knowed what you in for, old man, cause Amee gonna gone crazy wid a wedding to plan.”

“You said yes?” Osgood questioned in awe.

“Don’t you change you mind now, I got witness you propose proper,” René warned.

“I just can’t believe that I am so fortunate to have finally won you, mon coeur,” he whispered.  “I remembered you saying that you lost all your family heirlooms in the fire, so I hoped you wouldn’t mind having one of mine,” he said as he opened the little jewelry box.  “This is the ring that my Uncle Osgood bought my Aunt Daphne when he proposed to her.  I kept every memento I could from them.  I even have Aunt Daphne’s bull fiddle as she called it.  It still has the bullet holes in it from when she and Joe escaped the horrible shooting that day in Chicago.” At the looks of interest and concern, he waved them off and said, “It’s a long story for another time, but trust me when I say that there is no one better suited to Aunt Daphne’s legacy than you ma belle fleur.”

“Well, don’t just stand around everybody,” Dixon announced with a happy smile.  “We need to go share some more good news with the family.  After today, we can all certainly use more of it.  And Auntie René is right, Uncle Osgood.  Mamee is going to go nuts with the wedding planning, and with Grandmamma Annie Mae, and Aunt Pet helping…. Wow, this is going to be some party.”


***** Author's Note:  Thanks to the people that have kept me motivated to get this chapter finished, and to the long-suffering friends in the CSU that put up with a practically technologically illiterate blonde Cajun when I have to ask how to do stuff repeatedly.   AC, Jeff, Storylover, Eggy, you guys are the best!  Thank you so much.