It’s crazy that there’s this whole other side of the family nobody knew about. My mom always cared a lot about family; always telling us stories from her childhood, and of her parents and brother. I’m sure if she knew about Evan and Heather’s side of the family, she would’ve talked about them.
Apparently my grandfather, Mitchell, had a brother he didn’t know about – and that brother was Evan and Heather’s grandfather. The story that Evan explained to us is that our great-grandfather, Caiden, and great-grandmother, Jena, divorced. Caiden took young Mitchell with him and never communicated with Jena again. What they didn’t know then was that Jena was pregnant with their second son, Alex. At first I was surprised that it was Caiden who ended up raising Mitchell, since you typically see the mother being the one who takes the kids. But then he explained that Jena had been struggling with a drinking problem – which had been the reason for their divorce in the first place. But after learning she was pregnant, she turned her life around to care for her new baby boy. Both parents, sadly, were too stubborn to try and reach out to one another, so the brothers never met. The only reason Evan and Heather even know we’re related is because Jena ended up telling little Alex about his brother, and he looked up his family tree, but was never able to get over to Windenburg to meet Mitchell. I guess the information that they were related to us just trickled down through their line until one of them – Evan – finally met one of us.
We didn’t end up going to the preschool that day, but it was fine since they had an open house the next day. Vali’s really excited about the idea of preschool; she wanted to go once we told her about it. I wonder if she’ll be just as excited when it’s actually time for her to go.
“Ready?” Dani called down, and I giggled. Right now there was only me to answer that question, but soon enough we’d have two little girls old enough to get themselves ready. Gosh, that seems so far away – probably because it is. It’ll be 4 years until Vali’s six, and six years until Seraphina’s six.
“Yeah, I’m ready. Chloe said she’ll be here in three minutes, so I’m pretty sure we’ll make it.”
“Great.” Dani walked down the stairs, and I gasped. She looked like a queen in that dress. My wife almost never wore dresses, and now I can see why – she’d make everyone drop dead at the sight of her beauty. She looked absolutely stunning, like always, but…well, you know what I mean.
“Oh my gosh,” she whispered, slowly walking over to me.
I blushed, realizing that she was looking at my dress.
I giggled, brushing her hair back. “This is nothing. Nothing compared to you.”
It was her turn to blush as she looked down at her dress and back up to me. “You like it?”
“Yeah,” I replied, as she pulled me into a passionate kiss. I wanted to do more, but we didn’t exactly have time for that right now.
“Do you think we got a little too dressed up?”
“Ehh,” I shrugged,”We don’t get many chances to, why not go all out? It is a pretty big deal.”
“I’m really excited for your sister. She needs something good in her life right now.”
I nodded. “Yeah.” My sister’s struggled with self confidence practically ever since I can remember. Ever since she got the restaurant from Laila, she’s seemed much happier. I think being the boss and having everyone look up to her did wonders for her confidence. She never did straight up say that her and Luca broke up, but why else would she have moved back in? We heard a knock on the door, and I sighed. I was still pretty nervous about leaving Seraphina and Valentina with someone else, even if it was Kiara’s daughter. We’d mentioned the restaurant’s re-opening to Kiara a few days ago, and while she was happy to go, her daughter wasn’t interested – but she offered to babysit instead.
“That must be her,” Dani said, walking over to the door. She looked back over to me, taking my hands. “Hey, don’t be worried.”
“I know. It’s just…”
“And you always say you’re not maternal,” she giggled softly.
“I’m not,” I insisted.
“You’re the one who freaked out yesterday when Vali started running around the living room. Trust me, you’re plenty maternal.”
“Maybe a little,” I relented, “anyway, we better not leave Chloe waiting.”
“Hey guys! Where are the little ones?” Chloe asked, looking around.
“Seraphina’s upstairs in her crib, and Valentina’s playing with dolls, also upstairs,” I told her, looking at the time.
“Have fun. How long do you think you’ll be gone?”
“Probably about a few hours.”
Dani and I looked around the restaurant, and the more I saw, the more impressed I was. Lexie had done a few renovations, and the place looked great.
“Watcher, Lexie. I’m so proud of you,” I gushed, pulling her into a hug. She’d been working on this place night and day every since she moved back in, and it all definitely paid off.
She smiled as she looked around. “It is pretty nice, isn’t it?” I could tell how proud she was about how it all turned out, but she was never the kind to brag.
“It’s great,” I replied.
It was amazing to see Lexie being a boss. All the workers cared about her every suggestion, and I could tell Lexie loved this job.
Gosh, I’m so happy for her. She’s finally truly found her place, and she shines in it. It’s been a long journey for her, and I probably don’t even know the half of it. She’s gone through a lot, and it’s amazing that she’s come out on top. I can’t wait to see what else this restaurant will bring for her. Laila gave her the best gift of her life – her confidence.
“You don’t know shit!” I suddenly heard Lexie scream, and I whipped my head around to find her yelling – at my wife. But why? What could she have – oh Watcher. Dani asked her about Luca, didn’t she? I bet she didn’t mean anything by it, we were both curious, but still. And the customers were right there.
“Lexie…I’m sorry, but…”
“I’m not mad at him because he had a good fucking reason,” Lexie muttered, moving slightly away from the customers’ table. That was when I finally realized why Dani asked. Luca’s father was sitting there.
Lexie sighed, and I sucked in my breath. What could be a good reason to dump your girlfriend? “His mom has cancer,” Lexie finally explained, “and he said he doesn’t want me not to be his top priority – that I don’t deserve that. He needs to focus on his mom right now, and I understand.”
That was a good reason. A really good one. And, yeah, I understand why Lexie isn’t mad, but there’s no way on Earth she’s not sad about it. No way.
Dani gasped quietly, eyes wide. “Oh my Watcher, Lexie. I -”
“You didn’t know,” my sister finished softly, “I know.”
After that confession, I think we all wanted the night to be over. Not only were we right about her and Luca breaking up, there was something else that we’d have never thought of. At least the customers seemed to be satisfied and she got pretty decent reviews. Not too bad for the first day. I walked in to the kitchen to help Lexie clean – and I found her crying. After all that, I’m not surprised, but why now? I would’ve expected her to be devastated right after she and Luca ended, not a few weeks after. Was it finally hitting her?
She finally looked up, realizing I was there, and looked around for anyone else before turning back to me, embarrassed. “Um, I’m sorry…”
“What happened?” I asked her, even though I already knew the answer.
She bit her lip, sighing. “What if I can’t do this? We hardly made a profit.”
That can’t be it. Right? Well…why would she cry over Luca now? “Dani and I make enough money to cover any losses until the restaurant takes off. It’s only the first day, Lexie.”
“I know,” she whispered softly.
“Is that all?”
She could say whatever she wanted to in this moment. I just hoped it would be the truth. “No,” she admitted, “but the other thing…. I can’t be sad about.”
Lexie shook her head sadly. “No, it isn’t. Adelaide, his mom could die! I can’t – I can’t cry over that!”
“Yes, you can. You love him. Of course you’re going to be sad.”
She looked up at me, and like all she needed was permission to cry…she did. I know she’ll be okay – but she needs time. She needs to let herself get over him.
“Thank you for always being there for me,” Lexie whispered, “I’m so glad you’re my sister.”
“I’m so glad you’re my sister too,” I replied, much to her obvious surprise.
“You’re really strong, Lexie, even if you don’t realize it. You’re the strongest person I know.”