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PostSubject: The first step...   Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:51 pm

The car Mr. Castellano had promised was waiting at the airport when we got there. I gave him a quick call once our baggage was in the trunk and Bianca and the twins and I were in the car. I sat up in front with the driver and let Bianca sit in the back with Davis and Mabel.

We rode in the car to the house. It didn't take long. The car pulled up in front of the house, and I looked up at it as I stepped out of the car. These people must be making good money. At least Jacob had been well taken care of.

I thanked the man and tried to tip him, but he wouldn't take it. Bianca and I picked up our bags and I looked down at the kids. "Ready to go inside?" We hadn't exactly explained to the children what we were doing here. How did you tell five year olds that? "Oh, we're going to go see your brother, one you've never met." That didn't even sound right.

"Who are these people again, Pops?" Davis asked, pulling his Toy Story rolling suit case behind him beside Mabel who was pulling a Barbie rolling suit case. "They're Mama and Pops' new friends." At least I sure hoped we weren't going to completely hate each other. We'd have to come to some sort of amicable arrangement.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:57 pm

I didn't know how I felt about being friends with them, but I didn't see how we had any other choice. We couldn't just uproot Jacob from his life, no more than Davis could be uprooted from his life. We had to find some way to work this out. I had no idea what kind of plan we would come to, but we would come to some sort of conclusion.

"Are we even going to have fun here if they're old like you and Pops, Mama?" I bit my lip, trying not to giggle. "Yes, Mabel, honey. They have a boy your same age. In fact, he was born the same day you and Davis was. His name is Jacob. You're going to love him."

I could say that because I knew I already did. He was my son. I had given birth to him, but that didn't mean I didn't love Davis with all my heart. I would always love Davis. Jackie and I had raised him since he was born. It wasn't like we were just going to completely forget about him.

We came to the top of the stairs onto the porch that seemed to wrap around the entire house. It was a country-style home, here in the middle of the big city. Well, it's not like it's Manhattan or any place down there, but it just didn't seem to fit. Jackson lifted his hand and rang the doorbell, and the two of us exchanged an apprehensive look.

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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:15 am

"Stop fidgeting." I told Abigail as she moved the family photo on the fireplace again. "I can't help it. I'm nervous." I took her shaking hands, kissing both of them and smiling. "Don't be. Just breathe, okay?" She nodded, pulling her hands away to walk over to the front bay window when we heard a car in on the dirt driveway. "They're here." She said, glancing back at me. "Okay, go get the kids and I'll answer the door." She nodded disappearing up the steps and leaving me to answer the door.

I walked over to the front door, swinging it open and smiling brightly. "Hey, guys! Come on in!" The wife was a beautiful woman. And the husband would be what most consider a stud. And the little girl with them was adorable... but all my eyes focused on was the little boy. My little boy. My hear did a wild dance as I stepped back and let them all in. "I'm happy you could make it. I hope your plane ride wasn't too long or tiring?"
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:22 am

"Come on, kids. Our guests are here." Jenna hopped down, smoothing out her pink skirt. "What guests, mommy?" I leaned down, using a baby wipe to wipe her cheeks clean of the chocolate pudding she had for lunch. "Very nice people I hope to get to know better. Mommy and daddy's friends." Jake was still playing his video game and tuning us out so I stood and walked in front of the TV. "Come on." He dropped his remote, sighing in frustration.

"Oh, come on, ma!" I shook my head. "Get up and come here." He stood up, walking over to me. I cleaned his face off and his hands too and took both the kids hands. "Okay, let's go see our guests. They're dying to meet you two." We walked to the steps. The kids moved faster than me so I let their hands go and stopped in the middle of the steps, smoothing a hand over my skirt as I stared down at the little boy in the entryway.

He was our son. He looked just like Dante. A spitting image. I cleared my throat to hold back the tears and came down to Dante's side, taking his hand for strength. "I'm Abigail Castellano. It's a pleasure to meet the both of you. And I'm sure my husband forgot to introduce himself. This is Dante and that's our daughter Jenna and our son Jacob..." I said holding my hand out to shake theirs. They were a beautiful family. Even with our handsome addition... the addition that wasn't really ours anymore. I found myself turning to look back at him as he talked to Jakey.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:08 am

I cleared my throat, shaking both of their hands. "It's very nice to meet you finally." The woman... I could swear I'd met her before... I guess I could have seen her that day at the hospital when the twins were born. And from the looks of it, the Castellano's had had twins as well.

I looked down at the boy looking up at us inquisitively. He had Bianca's eyes, but you could definitely tell that he was my son. He looked like me. He looked like Mabel. You could actually tell that the two of them were twins. You could just see it, through and through. They were brother and sister.

I turned to my family, prying my eyes from Jacob. "This is my wife Bianca and our kids, Mabel and Davis..." I gripped onto the suitcase I was holding more, Bianca's and mine. She carried our toiletries bag. We always packed light wherever we went. We only came with the four bags in our hands, and Bianca's purse of course, and she kept toys and crafts for the children in it.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:17 am

I shook both Dante and Abigail's hands, smiling softly at each of them, trying to keep from staring at Jacob. I could feel the connection there I didn't feel with Davis, and it hurt me and comforted me at the same time. I did my best to keep my focus off of him.

I crouched down by Davis and Mabel. "Can you two say hello to Jacob and Jenna, bambinos?" Both of them walked over to the other children, offering their hands to them. "Hi, I'm Mabel, and this is my brother Davis. We're twins."

I stood up, looking over to Jackson, pulling the shoulder strap of the bag I was carrying more onto my shoulder. He took a step toward me, wrapping his arm around me, giving me a gentle, reassuring hug. I smiled weakly over at him before looking back down at the children.

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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:24 am

"Why don't we all head to the kitchen? The kids can play with they toys in the living room." I asked, resisting the urge to reach out and touch my son. He didn't know me and I didn't to scare him. Not for a second.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:25 am

"I could make us all some coffee. And we can make a snack for the kids while we're at it. I'm sure your babies are starving." I said with a soft smile, watching Davis.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:32 am

"We took my father's jet out here," I told them. "And he's got the thing stocked with several snacks, but Mabel and Bianca are allergic to nuts, and we don't eat anything that has been around nuts, so yeah, they haven't had anything since before we left Oregon. I'm sure they could eat something."

I looked back down at the children, looking at Jacob, taking a deep breath before looking back up at Dante and Abigail. "Coffee sounds good too." I looked down at Bianca, smiling at her to reassure her that everything was alright. She seemed just as nervous as I felt, but I never let my nerves show. It wasn't always so easy for her. Either that, or I could just tell.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:35 am

I nodded, pulling my gaze away from the children. "Coffee would be good. Thank you."

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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:38 am

"Oh, well, we don't have nuts here. Jake's allergic to them too." I smiled slightly. "We've got plenty of good stuff though. Healthy too. My wife is a health nut." I grasped Abigail's hand more in mine. "Hey, Jake, Jenna, why don't you show your new friends your toys in the living room." They both agreed and the four ran off. I lead the Frost's in the kitchen and sat down at the table.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:41 am

I walked over to the coffee machine and looked back at the Frost's. "When Jakey was three I fed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with his sister. It was the first time I ever gave them it and he turned blue. He didn't even bite the thing but he puffed up like a blow fish and I had to run him to the hospital. It was the scariest moment of my life. I mean nobody in my family is allergic to nuts so I didn't even think of it." My hands shook as I filled the coffee maker. "But ever since then we've never had nuts anywhere near the house. For Jakey's sake."
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:48 am

I pulled a seat out for Bianca, letting her sit down before sitting down myself. I could see the pain in her face even if the Castellanos couldn't. I knew how bad she felt for passing the allergy onto Mabel, but now she knew that she had passed it on to Jacob as well. I reached across the table and grasped her hand gently. "It runs in Bianca's family," I told them, placing my other hand on top of Binx's, rubbing it softly.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:52 am

"Neither of my parents had the allergy, but my father's mother had it. I had hoped it would skip a generation, but we had thought twins threw that theory off, since Davis wasn't allergic, but I guess we know now why he isn't." I was the first one to bring up why we were even here in the first place, even if I hadn't said it straight out.

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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:58 am

My shoulders stiffened slightly as I walked over to sit down. Dante stood, kissing my head and pushing my seat in before sitting next to me. He let his arm rest over the back of my seat and let his other hand grasp mine and give it a gentle squeeze. "I guess so." I bit slightly at my lip.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:04 am

"Okay, so we're all kinda beating around the bush." I glanced at Abby, smiling at her before looking back at Mr and Mrs. Frost. Something about Mrs. Frost seemed comforting. Normal. As if she was someone I knew all my life. I think it was her Italian heritage. At least I think she was Italian. She reminded me of my mom. "We have to figure out what we're going to do about this mistake... I know that me and Abby discussed it and we'd like to hold the hospital responsible. Which means we're going to go ahead with a civil suit. We're not going to go after the nurse, Mrs. Mary Beth Johansson, only because she's suffering enough over a mistake as is.. but I suppose that's not really our issue here. That's tiny compared to what we're going to do about the children."

I felt Abigail's hold on me strengthen and I gave her a smile to reassure her. "It probably would be a bad idea to just move both of the boys into new homes... but we also can't just not get to know our biological son. Or pretend we don't know about him now that he exists.. so... do you have any idea what you wanted? Did you two discuss it?"
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:21 am

"To tell you the truth," I told the two of them, "we honestly didn't know what we were going to do. We just knew the first step would be for the four of us to get the chance to meet Davis and Jacob. Beyond that, we knew we couldn't make any decisions without speaking with the two of you first." I looked over at Bianca, wincing slightly before looking back at the Castellanos. "I don't know about suing the hospital. We don't need financial reparations. But we will have to figure out something to do about the boys, something that doesn't involve taking them away from the families they've grown up in, but something that also doesn't exclude the families that they have every right to know and be a part of."
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:24 am

"I agree with my husband," I said softly. "We don't want to sue anyone, but we do want to have the chance to get to know the son I gave birth to and have him as a part of our lives. And I am sure that you two want the same with Davis. Beyond that, that's really all we want, and I think the four of us need to figure out a way for that to work."

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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:28 am

"Well, we don't exactly need the money either, however, I would like for it to go in a trust fund for the boys. It's the least they deserve for having to grow up confused their entire lives." Abby nodded, agreeing with me, rubbing her fingers over my knuckles, twisting my ring like she did when she was nervous.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:32 am

I was wondering exactly what we could possibly do... and the it hit me. "When I was really little my parents got a divorce. I spent most of my time with my daddy because my mom was a terrible parent.. she's not around anymore, I dropped her years ago, but, eh, sorry, back to the task at hand. Anyways, I spent all week with daddy, and on the weekends I went to visit mom. On holiday's they shared me. We could... we could do that with the boys... make all of us his family. Jacob can live with us all week, like he always has and on weekends he can come spend that time with you. And vice versa with Davis."

I glanced at Dante and back to the Frosts. "But, I'd rather Jakey only call me and Dante mommy and daddy, because it will confuse him otherwise, just like I'd never force Davis to call us his parents. Only issue is one of us would have to move... I mean unless you don't think that's a good idea?" I wasn't giving up Jacob. No matter what. I would run away with my son if I had too. But I wasn't giving him up... but I also didn't want to give up the chance to know Davis.
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:42 am

What the Castellanos had thought up, with the trust funds for the boys and the sharing time, I had no better word for it, would work, and it seemed to be our best option. But I wasn't sure if splitting it like that would be the best. I wanted more time with my son, but I suppose more time could come later, after he got used to us.

"I like both ideas, with the trust and splitting time, but there's a minor kink." I looked over at Bianca. She looked like she knew exactly what I was going to say. I turned back to the Castellanos. "Mabel and Davis have hardly ever been away from each other. I don't know if Jacob and Jenna," I said her name a little slowly because I wasn't sure if I had remembered it correctly, "are the same way or not, but Mabel and Davis are practically inseparable."
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:48 am

"It's true," I reaffirmed. "They hate going anywhere without the other and we can hardly ever separate them. But, don't you think that the kids should have time to spend with each other as well? I mean, it would be good for Jacob and Mabel to get to know each other and for Davis and Jenna to do so as well. And I know Mabel might really want to get to know Jenna. As for moving..." I trailed off, because I really didn't know how that was going to work for either of us. I was sure whatever professions they had would most likely keep them here. It might not be the hardest thing in the world for Jackie and me to move. "Jackie and I would really have to discuss it, but we're both from New York originally, so I suppose we'd just be moving home. We could figure something out."

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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:00 am

"You're right... Jenna and Jacob can't stand being away from each other. I even had to make sure they were in the same glass together because they threw fits..." I rubbed my forehead. "I'm not sure how this can work. I just..." I glanced over at Dante. "Unless you move in the guest house for good and we just sorta see each other all the time? As you said you two need to discuss it and so do we. So maybe we can sleep on it and figure it out tomorrow? I think the twins need a nap before dinner anyways or they get really cranky." I heard the coffee pot go off and glanced at it. "Anyone want coffee?"
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:06 am

"No thank you, honey." I kissed her softly on the side of the head. "I think she's right. This is something we need to sleep on. Think about. It doesn't need to be decided tonight. Can you two stay long? Or do you have to head back to work?"
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PostSubject: Re: The first step...   Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:11 am

"I'd love some coffee, thank you." I told Mrs. Castellano, turning back to Mr. Castellano. "We're high school teachers in Salem, Oregon," I told him, nodding over to Bianca. "But we got substitutes for the rest of this week and the next. We can go from there."
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