Chapter 1: Operation Phoenix
"Happy Birthday Dr. Avery" another of the guests said as they approached him
"Thank you" Jackson smiled shaking his former co-worker's hand before moving on to another guest who had just approached to do the same
It was Jackson Avery's 33rd Birthday. He had just arrived from New Orleans the day before for his birthday and annual summer vacation with his family in Boston. That morning he woke up, expecting his usual birthday breakfast of waffles from his twins, but instead, he was greeted with an empty house and a note that they were hanging with friends that day. Saying that he was bummed was an understatement; he couldn't believe his own children had forgotten his birthday. Things got more awkward when he received a phone call from his mother, saying that the Avery Family was invited to a gala, and he had to be there. She informed him that a tux was being sent to him and before he could question her about this mystery gala, she hung up. He was certainly surprised when he arrived at the venue a few hours later, and the mystery gala was a surprise party planned by his mother and children. After the twins found out that the last birthday party their father ever had was when he was five, they thought it was about time he had another one.
After accepting more birthday wishes from old friends and co-workers, he was joined by his mother who had a large grin on her face.
"Enjoying your party?" she asked
He wasn't a fan of birthday parties, hence the reason he hadn't had one since he was a kid, but the fact that his children had a part to play in it, he greatly appreciated it.
"Yes ma'am" he said before engulfing her in a hug "Thanks mom"
"You're welcome baby" she said hugging back before pulling away "All this running around and keeping my mouth shut actually paid off"
Jackson shook his head at her comment, he himself was surprised that his mother and daughter didn't let it slip to him that there was going to be a party.
He looked over to the side and spotted his grandfather conversing with the present and past surgeons of Mass Gen. He had that bright expression on his face, the one he always had when talking surgery or foundation.
"Grandpa seems to be enjoying himself" he commented
Catherine looked in the same direction and spotted Harper.
"He must be talking about how excited he is now that you're finally back at Mass Gen" she said with a smile
Jackson brows furrowed in confusion "Back? I never said I was coming back"
"Well are you?"
"I don't know, I haven't decided yet"
"What is there to decide when you already have a spot waiting for you? Are you going back to Tulane?"
"Well….maybe" he shrugged "or find someplace else"
"Why would you want to go someplace else when you could continue to learn from your grandfather and I?"
A few years ago, that would have been his go to plan, but things were different now. He liked being an Avery and all the perks that came with it. He especially liked being able to learn from his world renowned grandfather and mother. But during his residency, things changed when Dr. Mark Sloan visited Mass Gen. The older surgeon had planted the idea of perusing plastics in the then fourth year resident's mind. His grandfather wasn't pleased with the change in interest from cardio to plastics, but supported his grandson either way. After seeing Jackson's talent for the specialty, he was willing to let him go to Tulane to learn more, with no doubt that he would return to Boston after his fellowship. Being at Tulane gave Jackson the freedom from his family that he loved, and now, wasn't ready to give up. Plus it would be nice to be on the west coast, where he could be closer to his kids, who lived in Seattle with their mother.
Thinking of his kids, his eyes quickly scanned the room to find them. He quickly spotted his son Aiden, chatting with the other surgeon kids at the party. It sometimes scared him how much his son looked and acted like him. His son was now 15, and he saw so much of himself at that age in him. He was smart, played on the basketball and football team, and was quite a good looking boy just like his father. But along with the similarities came the differences. Physically, his son's skin was lighter than his, and he had more curls on his head. Jackson kept his hair fairly low, but his son found out that girls liked his curls and opted to let it grow out. Although the young Avery looked much like his father, he had settle features of his mother, like the lone dimple in his cheek. And the big difference between father and son was that the boy was a bit of a trouble maker. He was always playing pranks at school and constantly making fun of his younger sister.
Thinking of the sister, Jackson realized that the other fraternal twin, his daughter Jordan, wasn't next to him. She was somewhat a quiet girl, and would always find herself stuck to her brother's side like glue. Aiden sometimes found it annoying, but would allow it so he could give the stick eye to guys who dared look at his sister too long. As much as he picked on her, he liked playing the role of over protective big brother, even though he was older by just ten minutes.
Jackson scanned the room and quickly spotted his daughter. His eyes widened though when he saw that she was talking to some boy. His eyes then narrowed. Who was this guy and why was he talking to his daughter?
Catherine noticed the change in his expression and followed his eyes. She looked over her shoulder and found what her son was staring at.
"Stop staring at the boy, you'll burn a hole through him" Catherine said
"That's the plan" Jackson replied continuing to stare "Who is this kid anyway?"
"Remember Dr. Wesley at the hospital? That's his son, Brent"
"Great" Jackson sarcastically said, he wasn't so fond of the cardiothoracic surgeon, who was always quick to compare him to his grandfather
"He's nothing like his father O.K?" Catherine assured him "He's a very nice boy. He's respectful, ambitious. He's smart too, got into Harvard last year"
Jackson eyes widened once again as they shot to his mother "He's in college?"
With that, he walked away from his mother and headed towards the two.
"Jackson!" Catherine hissed, trying to stop her son
He ignored her and kept walking, there was no way he was about to let some college kid chat up his 15 year old daughter. As he approached, his mug changed into a "pleasant" smile, which boys over the age of ten, found intimidating. As he got closer, he noticed how his daughter bat her lashes, looked to the floor and moved her now straightened hair from her face. She was flirting and she looked so much like her mother when she did. She may have his eye color, the light freckles on her cheek and the slightly tanned skin, but everything else was her mother, down to that damn dimple. Just like his son reminded him of himself, his daughter reminded him of their mother. He shook his head; he wasn't supposed to be thinking about her. He watched as Brent pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. He was about to ask for her number, and Jackson was determined to stop him.
"Hey" he said as he approached the two
Their heads shot up to him, and the looks on their faces instantly changed.
"Oh god" Jordan said preparing herself for the embarrassment she was sure was coming her way
Jackson looked at the younger Wesley. He looked scared and Jackson loved every bit of it.
"Dad, what are you doing here?" Jordan asked, plastering a fake smile on
"It's my party" he simply said, getting a "really?" stare from his daughter "Just came to check up on you. Saw you talking to this young man here..." he added looking at Brent
"Brent Wesley sir" he nervously said putting his trembling hand out
"Ah, Dr. Wesley's son right?" Jackson said taking his hand, squeezing it a little too tightly when he shook it
"Yes sir" Brent answered, slightly looking down at his hand
"Well, nice to finally meet you Brent, been hearing some amazing things about you" Jackson said
"Really?" Brent said with a slight smile, maybe he wasn't in trouble with Mr. Avery
"Really?" Jordan asked squinting her eyes at her father
"Yes actually" he replied "I heard that you go to Harvard"
"Yes sir, I do" Brent answered, a bit more relaxed
"Liking the school?"
"What about Cambridge? Liking the place?"
"The hot girls?"
Jackson raised his brows and folded his arms as a smirk appeared on his face. As he watched the realization of what he just said hit the young man's face, his daughter did a face palm, she should have known something like this was going to happen.
"Uh I-I-I-I-I-I-I-uh" Brent stuttered, nor sure how to say
"This is the part where you run away and don't come back" he said to him, smirk still present on his face
After stuttering again and failing to say words, Brent turned on his heel and friskily walked away from the father and daughter
"Oh my god, dad that was so embarrassing" Jordan said turning to him
"Really?" he asked acting clueless and getting another stare from his daughter "You shouldn't be talking to him anyway"
"He's in college, you're 15" he stressed
"I'm not a little girl anymore dad, I'm going to be 16 next year"
"So that makes you a woman?"
Jackson sighed "Sweetheart, guys like him only have one thing on their minds at that age, something you are not ready for"
"What makes you think I'm not ready?"
"You sleep with a stuffed animal every night"
"For your information, I haven't slept with Mr. Fuzzy Pants for a week" she boasted
"Wow" Jackson joked "That makes so much of a difference"
"She's lying, saw Mr. Fuzzy Pants in her suitcase" Aiden said walking up to them, he had heard the last bit of their conversation
"Shut up!" Jordan said, slapping her brother's arm when he stood next to her
"Ow" he said holding his stinging arm before looking at his father "See the kind of abuse I have to deal with"
Jordan smacked her lips and rolled her eyes. She loved her brother and all, but man was he annoying.
"What's going on?" he finally asked
"Your sister was about to give her number to Brent Wesley" Jackson answered
"Oooo, the college guy?' he asked before looking at his sister "You're in troubleeeee" he teased
"Shut up"" Jordan shot back
Aiden looked at his father "Is she grounded? You know, since she's been talking to older men, Ow!" he received a slap in the back of his head
"No she's not" Jackson said "If she was, you would be too"
"You were supposed to be watching her"
"I was" Aiden defended himself
"I don't need Aiden to keep tabs on me dad"
"Actually you do. The moment I take my eyes off you, you run off giving your number to pedophiles...Ow" Aiden said, he had gotten another slap from his sister "Can you stop?"
"No" she shrugged
Jackson watched the interaction and chuckled to himself. He knew he should stop the bickering and slapping but it was kind of entertaining. It wasn't quite entertaining when he was the one getting slapped in the arm.
"What did you say to that poor boy? He looks like he's about to wet his pants" Catherine said to him
"I didn't say anything" Jackson denied
"Grandma.." Aiden said pointing to his sister "Jordan's been talking to older men"
Once again he got a slap from his sister. He winced at the pain before looking at Jackson, waiting on him to discipline his sister, but he just sat there and watched. Along with it being entertaining, Jackson thought his son got what was coming to him. Aiden then looked at his grandmother for help.
"Jordan stop hitting your brother, this is not how Avery's behave" she scolded, causing a smile on Aiden's face "And you..." she pointed at him, causing the smile to fall "..stop teasing your sister"
"Yes ma'am" they both answered
"Now run along, so I can talk to your father"
The two turned and walked away. Aiden stopped and turned back when he heard his name.
"Watch her" he mouthed, pointing to Jordan
Aiden nodded and followed his sister.
Catherine then looked up to her son. His behavior with Jordan was expected, many men have that reaction when dealing with their daughter and boys. But in Jackson's case, she knew a lot guilt had a part to play in it too.
"You can't protect her forever" Catherine said
"I know" he answered "That doesn't mean I'll stop trying"
He knew his daughter might think he was sounding unreasonable, but all of this was for her own good. He didn't want her or her brother to go through the same thing he and their mother did, mostly their mother. It was the actions from their high school and college years that had gotten them to where they were now. Things seemed to be good on the outside, but they had to go through hell and high water to get there. For Jackson though, things never got better, he still felt the same way he felt back then.
"I know that sweetheart. But you can't let what happened with you and her mother prevent her from living her life" Catherine said
Jackson understood where his mother was coming from. In fact, he remembered making such a promise to the mother of his twins years ago.
He sat on the left of the large rectangular table, she sat on the right. Him in a blue suit and tie, her in a black skirt, jacket and blue blouse. Him clean shaven, her, hair in a tight bun. To the outside world, they looked sharp and ready for what could be the most important job interview of their lives. But the fact that they were in a law firm conference room gave off a different idea.
Her lawyer was late and his had left the room to answer an important call, leaving them alone for the first time in months. The divorce papers laid between them, ready to be signed. They had communicated through their respective lawyers and came to an agreement they both were happy with. Now, the only thing left to do was sign.
"Can you promise me something?" she asked, breaking the silence
He looked up from his palms in his lap and to her. He missed her, and looking at her face made it worse. He had tried everything in his power to stop it, to prevent this day from happening, but here they were, at 21 and 22, about to get divorced, and there was nothing he could do about it.
"Anything" he said, keeping his eyes locked on hers
"Promise me that what happens today, doesn't affect our children negatively. We treat them the same way we would have if this had never happened" she said
Her parents were divorced, so was his. They knew exactly the kind of negative affect a divorce can have on children.
"I promise" he said
Just then the glass door opened, and in walked their lawyers.
"Sorry for being late" her lawyer said "Bad traffic"
The lawyers took a seat next to their respective clients
"Let's get this done" Mike Ferris, his lawyer, the family lawyer, said
They looked over the divorce papers one more time, before they each took a pen and signed their names.
End of FLASHBACKS
Jackson watched his twins converse with their friends as his mind went back to that day. He would try to keep his promise, like he's been doing all these years, but that didn't mean he would try to prevent the same thing that happened to them to happen to his children.
"Do we have to leave?" Jordan whined from the back seat of the car
Jackson looked into the mirror of his car and saw the disappointed looks on his children's faces.
"I'm afraid so" he answered her "Your mother said she needed you guys home"
"But why?" Jordan asked with pout
"I don't know, she said it was something important" he answered
"But we barely got time to spend with you, grandma or grandpa Harper" the teen girl whined again
"I know" he said with a sigh
Jackson knew where his daughter was coming from. He hadn't seen then since last Christmas, and he was looking forward to spending time with them. He would have argued longer for his way, but she claimed it was important and wasn't taking no for an answer. So here he was, driving them back to the airport for their flight back to Seattle, four days after his birthday.
"I bet it has something to do with stupid Grayson" Aiden said for the first time since they left for the airport
"I won't be surprised" his sister said in an annoyed tone
All Jackson knew was that Grayson was April's boyfriend and that his kids weren't too fond of him. He had never met the guy, but if April was dating him, he had to be an O.k. person.
"What is you guy's problem with him anyway?" Jackson asked
"He's a douche" Aiden simply answered
'Hey!" Jackson scolded
"Well he is" his son muttered
He knew what the problem was. This was some guy coming in, wanting to be with their mother and be their dad. They wanted to protect her and felt like they already had a dad, and he couldn't be mad at that. He remembered being that way with his mother when she started dating after his father left.
Soon enough they arrived at the airport. After getting out and getting their things from the trunk, they went into the airport and did the necessary check ins. When their flight was called, they got up from their seats and Jackson pulled his twins into a hug, kissing them on the forehead.
"Daaaaad!" the two groaned causing him to chuckle, kisses on the forehead wasn't cute anymore
"Call me when you get there" he said releasing them
"We will" Aiden answered grabbing his bag and then walking towards the terminal ahead his sister
"Bye dad" Jordan yelled back to her dad as she followed her brother
"Bye" Jackson smiled waving back
April watched as her twins pushed their food around on their plates as they answered "Yes", "No", "Good" and "Not really" to the questions they were asked. She was grateful that Jackson cut his time short with them so that they could be there, and she promised herself she would make it up to him for Christmas. But it was quite obvious to her that they weren't happy to be there and she was beginning to get upset because her guests had started to notice their demeanor. Jordan's face was blank as she kept quiet, unless being spoken to; while Aiden had his brows furrowed much like his father's when he was angry. She casually cleared her throat, causing them to look up at her. She gave them stern looks, hoping that would be enough for them to change their attitudes.
She felt a nudge on her side and she quickly turned to her boyfriend Grayson.
"Are they O.k.?" he asked
"They're just upset that they had to leave Boston so early" she explained
"Did you tell them that this dinner was important?"
"Yes, but they really wanted to spend more time with their father"
April, Grayson and their close family and friends were all at her favorite restaurant. The couple had an announcement to make and they invited them all out to dinner on one of the few nights they were all available. She knew that her children would rather be with their father, but she needed them there to hear this. She didn't want to tell everyone else before she told the two most important people in her life.
April looked back over at her children and saw the miserable looks on their faces as Grayson's mother began one of her legendary stories that always changed whenever she told it and brought everyone to sleep. But no one had the guts to tell the woman her stories were boring and inconsistent. She frowned a bit, wishing that her mother was there to hear the good news. Though, she wasn't sure her mother would see it as good news.
"I think we should put them out of their misery" Grayson said, hearing his mother begin
April simply nodded in response and Grayson stood from his seat. He picked up his champagne glass and gently tapped it with his fork, getting everyone's attention.
"Goodnight everyone" he greeted getting a reply from everyone "I'm glad that you guys can make it here tonight. I know you're wondering why we brought you here tonight and I'm here to finally put that question to rest" murmurs erupted among the guests "April and I have very important news to share with you" he added looking down at April
She smiled as she stood to her feet and he took her hand in his. Aiden and Jordan looked at each other, the initial confusion they had just a few seconds ago was now gone.
"I have asked this lovely woman to marry me…and she said yes" Grayson smiled
Squeals and congratulations erupted from the guest as April lifted her left hand, showing off her engagement ring she'd been trying to hide all night.
April had first met Grayson four years ago, when he first started his fellowship at Seattle Grace Hospital. It wasn't until a year later did they start dating. She wasn't so sure about him at first, but as time went on, she learned more about him and grew to care for him. Was she in love? She believed that she was. Her and Grayson's relationship wasn't like her relationship with her ex-husband. But she was young then, she couldn't expect her teenage relationship to be the same as her adult one, right? Either way, her current relationship with Grayson was better than it ever was, so when he proposed, there was no hesitation when she said yes.
As a grinning April thanked all those who surrounded her, she failed to notice the unhappy looks plastered on her twins faces.
Aiden laid in his bed, eyes glued to the touch screen of his cell phone as he scrolled down his tumblr dashboard. But his focus wasn't on the many funny gifs he passed as he scrolled, it was on the announcement his mother made that night.
This wasn't supposed to happen; he wasn't supposed to be around this long. Aiden couldn't understand why Grayson had lasted so long with his mother and how he wasn't able to run him off like he did the other men his mother dated. He and his sister knew exactly what to do and say to get a man running straight for the hills after meeting them for the first time. Some took more time, but they eventually left. At times he felt bad for doing it, but he ultimately saw it as keeping her away from the men he didn't think was good enough for her, and Grayson was no exception. Something about his mother's co worker rubbed him the wrong way, and he didn't want him anywhere near his mother.
He was pulled out of his thoughts by a soft tap on his bedroom door. He got off his bed, went to the door and opened it. He didn't have to ask who it was, he already knew.
"Are you having nightmares about calling Grayson daddy?" he teased as he stepped aside, allowing his sister to walk in
"What else would have me in your room at this time in the morning?" she said as she plopped herself down on his bed
Jordan was just like her brother when it came to the men her mother dated. But she was a bit too enthusiastic about it and often took it a little too far, making up these so called "operations" to drive men away, which mostly came back and bit them in the ass. Their last "operation" got them in a lot of trouble, and they decided they wouldn't do it again.
"We need a new operation" she said once Aiden returned to his bed
"I thought we were done with those?"
"Yea me too, but this is an emergency! We can't let mom marry him"
"I know, but there's nothing we can do at this point" he said "She already accepted and in case you didn't notice, some of our best stuff didn't work.
She sighed, her brother was right, they had ran out of options. But she wasn't about to give up.
"Looks like its time for a brain storm" she said
"Well, while you do that, I'll try to get some sleep." Aiden said putting phone on the bedside table and going under the covers
Jordan crawled to the top of the bed and did the same. Her sleeping in his bed was a norm. She always did it when she had some nightmare or was having a bad day.
Aiden's eyes started to droop as sleep caught up to him, while Jordan's eyes were wide open. Thirty minutes later she shot up in bed, an idea had hit her.
"Dad!" she yelled
"Where?" Aiden groggily asked, being woken up by the noise
"Dad! We can use dad to get Grayson to leave mom" she explained "or for mom to leave Grayson"
"And how exactly are you gonna do that?" he asked her brother asked sitting up on the bed rubbing his eyes
"We get mom and dad back together" she said grinning down at her brother
"Are mom and dad even into each other anymore?" he asked
"Remember when grandma died?" she asked
Aiden nodded, remembering the time when his grandmother died and their father had flown to Seattle to be with them. They particularly remember their parents being really close and thinking that they would get back together.
"But that was like three, four years ago" Aiden said
"Well, if it happened before, we can make it happen again" Jordan said
"This sounds disastrous" he said thinking of his sister's plan
"Have any better ideas?"
"Sadly, no" he answered after taking a few seconds to think
"So it's settled, we get mom and dad back together!" she grinned
"This is going to be a mess" he whispered to himself
"We'll call it Operation Phoenix, because our parents love will be rising from the ashes!" Jordan said flapping her arms like a bird
"That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard" her brother commented
"Shut up!" she said slapping his arm
"Fine, fine" Aiden said rubbing his arm "Operation Phoenix it is"