Katie slowly opened her eyes and heard Davey’s soft voice whispering to her. A small smile stretched across her face but it soon stretched into a larger one when she realized whom Davey was talking too.
“You see, I love your mother very much and I’m certain that your mom loves me. So having you in the equation doesn’t seem to scare me at all. If anything, it makes me kind of anxious. I never met my birth parents and I can only hope that Katie will help me be the best father I can to you.”
“I’m sure you’re only like, a small embryo inside of your mother right now but…I still think you can hear me. I wonder, how you would feel about the last name Squirtle…you wouldn’t like it very much would you?”
Katie laughed and Davey looked up at her and smiled. “Stop bashing your name. I told you, I love the last name Squirtle and I’m sure the baby will too,” she said, brushing Davey’s hair out of his eyes. Davey laid his head down on her stomach.
“I can’t wait until you get bigger,” he mumbled. Katie slapped him playfully and he laughed. “What? I’m serious. I think you would look beautiful pregnant” he said honestly. Katie smiled at him and put her hand on her own stomach.
Like Davey, Katie wasn’t afraid of this either. She knew that as long as she had Davey by her side, things would work out for the best. Maybe she had gotten pregnant a little too early but she was in love with Davey and deep down, knew that he was the person she would stay with for the rest of her life.
After everything they went through with Pete and through all of the times where Davey confessed his love for her, how could she doubt that he wasn’t the one?
Katie kissed the top of Davey’s head and sighed contently. “I love you,” she said, holding his hand that was on top of her stomach. “I love you too”, he said, interlacing their fingers.
The two of them stayed like that for a while until the phone rang and Davey reached over to pick it up.
“Hello?...are you serious?!...alright buddy, I’m on my way…yeah, I’ll see you at the airport…bye” Davey hung up the phone and reached over the peck Katie on the lips before getting up and getting dressed.
Katie laughed when he almost tripped putting on his pants. “Where are you going?” she asked, sitting up in the bed. “Andie’s back! I gotta go pick her up from the airport” he replied, throwing on a shirt.
“I hope she knows that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. She’s gonna have a lot of explaining to do” Katie said. “Yeah, you bet she is. Alright. I’ll be back in a few,” he yelled, walking toward the door.
“Be careful. And tell her I said hello!” Katie yelled after him. “Will do!” Davey locked the apartment door and headed downstairs toward his car. “Man, Andie. I seriously hope you know what you’re doing,” he said to himself as he started the car and rode off toward LAX.
I helped dad find his last piece of luggage and we both hauled our stuff toward the pick-up zone. “So, this Davey boy is a friend of yours?” he asked, sitting down on the bench.
“Actually, Davey is a friend of the family. He’s been around since I was young. We practically grew up together” I replied. Dad nodded and looked around nervously. I sat down next to him, taking his hand.
“Dad, everything’s going to work out fine. I promise you. Mom can’t stay mad at anyone for too long."
“It’s been eighteen years, Andie.”
“Well…yeah, you’ve got a point."
He chuckled and pulled me into his arms. “I couldn’t have asked for a better child, Andie. Thank you for staying with me this past month. It really does mean a lot,” he said in his gruff voice.
“You’re welcome, dad. Besides, I needed to talk to you. Just like Alex, mom, and Tony need to talk to you as well,” I said. My father sighed and ran his hand over his face. “I’m really going to work hard this holiday, but it’s all worth it. I just hope your mother forgives me” he sighed.
I saw Davey’s red Ford Fusion and I smiled before jumping off the bench, waving to him. He parked the car in front of us and ran over to me, pulling me into a bear hug.
“Andie! Man, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes. Your hair’s gotten a little longer,” he said, letting go of me. He was right. My unruly hair was slightly longer than it was before I left.
“I’ve missed you too Davey! How is everybody?” I asked happily. “They’re all great and waiting for you to come home. I haven’t told anybody you’re back except for Katie, so it’ll be a surprise” he replied.
I looked over at my father and he walked towards us. “Davey, this is my dad, Aaron Fluharty. Dad, this is Davey Squirtle” I greeted. Davey stuck out his hand and dad shook it before replying. “Squirtle? Like that Pokémon creature?”
I burst out laughing and Davey did as well. “It’s a pleasure to meet you sir,” he said, chuckling slightly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you too” Dad replied. Davey and I put the luggage in the trunk before we all get inside the car.He pulled off onto the street and we headed toward my mother’s house.
“Tony! Please help me!” Paris called from the kitchen. Antony groaned and walked toward her. He looked at her panicked face and burst into laughter. Paris frowned and threw the spatula she was holding at him. Antony ducked and looked back over at her.
“What did you do? You’re only making mashed potatoes. How is that a hard task?” he asked, walking toward the over flowing mashed potatoes in the pot. “I think I added to much mix,” she groaned. “Or maybe even too much water. Here, take it off the burner and let it cool down for a second” he instructed.
Paris moved the pot off of the burner and some of the potatoes immediately stopped bubbling. She sighed and looked over at Antony in gratitude. “Thank you, Tony. Antoinette asked me to cook but I tried to explain to her that I don’t know how” she pouted.
Antony laughed. “That’s not gonna work in the Fluharty household. You’re going to learn how to cook or she’ll complain about it for hours. Even Alex and I had to learn” he said, motioning toward himself and his brother, who was sleeping on the couch.
Paris sighed. “I could try to learn. After all, I can’t just rely on Andie to cook for me all the time” she said softly. Antony nodded. “True. She doesn’t like cooking that much either. But she’ll do it if she’s hungry enough,” he said laughing. Paris started to laugh with him but there was a knock at the door.
They both went stiff and stared at the door. Paris’s heart was beating a mile a minute and she ran over toward the door and swung it open. “An-…Liz” she said in disappointment. Liz smiled down at her and kissed the top of her head.
“Sorry to disappoint, you dear. Antoinette asked me to pick up some dinner rolls for tomorrow” she said, walking past Paris into the house. Paris sighed and followed her into the kitchen. Liz hugged Antony and then put the bread down on the table.
“Where’s your mother?” she asked him. “Last minute shopping” Alex yelled from the other room. Liz laughed. “Does that woman ever sit down?” she said rhetorically. Antony and Paris shook their heads.
There was another knock at the door and once again, Paris’s heart was doing flips. Antony opened the door to reveal…
Antoinette carrying a bag full of last minute groceries. Paris banged her head against the table and groaned. Liz smiled over at her and rubbed her back. “Hello Liz. Nice to see you swung by. Would you like to help me with the cooking?” she asked as Antony took the groceries from her.
“Sure. I’m sorry that Paris isn’t much help,” Liz teased. Paris pouted up at her and she smiled before getting up to help Antoinette around the kitchen. Once again, there was another knock. “Why do people keep coming in back to back?” Alex groaned from the couch.
“Lex, get the door” Antony yelled to him. Alex got off the couch with a sigh and opened the door. “Hey there” said…
Katie. Paris gave up and collapsed on the couch. Seeing Paris fall, Katie walked over to her and sat down. “Hello everyone” she yelled. “Hey Katie” Antony said, walking into the living room.
He gave her a hug and she got up to go greet Liz and Antoinette. “Hi Katie” Alex said before collapsing next to Paris. Katie arched her eyebrows at them both.
“What’s wrong with them?” she asked. “Paris is going through Andie withdraw and Alex is just bored” Antony replied. “Oh, I’m sorry Paris, but I’m sure she’ll be here soon” Katie said softly. Paris nodded and they all sat down and watched TV.
Two hours later, there was a knock at the door again. “That’s probably Davey” Katie said, about to get off the couch and open the door. “No! I’ve had it” Paris growled, jumping off the couch and running to the door. How dare they all play with her about Andie’s arrival? Didn’t they see how anxious she was to have her back?
She swung the door open and attacked Davey. “Don’t come back until you have Andie with you!” she yelled, beating against him. “Ouch! Hey! Paris, stop. I do have Andie with me” he said, grabbing her hands.
Paris looked behind him but saw nothing. She groaned and stomped away from him in anger. “Wait! Paris” Davey yelled after her but she ran upstairs.
Davey looked inside at Alex, Antony, and Katie on the couch and frowned. “A little help here” he groaned.
I helped dad pull his luggage out the trunk and we both walked up to the house. “I see your mother hasn’t moved. This is the same house we bought together,” he said, with a smile on his face.
I smiled back at him and I looked up to see Paris attacking Davey. What the hell was she doing? She stopped attacking him and ran back in the house, barely even noticing me as I walked up the steps.
“Andie!” Alex yelled, jumping over the couch and running toward me. I smiled and pulled him into a hug. He could be so childish sometimes but right now, I didn’t care.
“Hey little brother!” I exclaimed, holding him tight. Antony walked toward me and smiled. “Welcome back sis” he said, hugging me after Alex. I looked over at Katie and smiled at her.
“Come on. Hugs all around” I said, opening my arms up to her. She laughed and hugged me back. “I’m glad you’re back home. We’ve really missed you” she said honestly. Davey pulled her into his arms and I smiled at them.
Dad walked beside me and Antony’s eyes widened. Alex looked between Antony and Dad in confusion. Antony glared at him and Dad’s eyes softened. “Why is he here?” he hissed angrily.
I stood between them. “Tony stop. At least hear him out. Maybe then you’ll understand what he’s explained to me,” I said softly. He glared at me this time. “You’ve been staying…with him!” he growled.
“Tony please! This is not the time or place. Dad needs to talk to mom and Alex needs to talk to his father,” I growled back. Alex looked up at dad and his eyes widened. “My…father?” he questioned softly.
I nodded at him. “Lex, this is our dad, Aaron,” I said, moving out the way so that he could get a good look at him. Tears were brimming in my father’s eyes and he slowly walked toward Alex as they fell.
“I’m so sorry Alex. I-I-I wasn’t there for you and…I…I’m just so very sorry” he sobbed. Alex looked at the ground as tears filled his eyes as well as dad pulled him into a hug. At first he fought, but soon, he fell into our father’s arms.
Antony tried to hold back but dad grabbed his shirt and pulled him into the hug also
“That better be my daughter and I swear Andie, you and I are going to have a nice long ch…”
My mom walked into the room and dropped everything she was holding. Her hand covered her mouth and we all looked at her. Tears were rolling down her cheeks and dad let go of his boys to stare at her.
“Antoinette…for eighteen years, I have been trying to work up the courage to speak to you again. It took my twenty- year- old daughter to get me to work up enough to come back to you. I can understand if you never want to see me again. I can understand if you just want me to go and if you yell at me and hit me but…I just need you to know the truth."
“All of the lies I told you. I left you alone pregnant with two children. All the times that you never returned any of my letters and as many times as I tried to make it right but never could. For eighteen years, I wallowed in my self-misery. Dreaming of a time when I would be able to come back to you and tell you how pathetic and so very sorry I am for leaving you, the love of my life, alone."
“I’m sure you don’t want to hear this after eighteen years, but Antoinette…I love you. I have never stopped loving you. I won’t stop loving you even after I am dead because you are simply put; the sweetest dream I have ever dreamt, and the softest song I have ever sang. I have loved you since I was that seventeen-year-old boy, admiring you from afar and wishing that I could be yours."
“Please, if you could give me a second chance. I would gladly show you everyday, the love that you and I have been missing for eighteen years. Please…allow me back into our home."
I looked around at everyone’s faces. We were all in shock. The look on mom’s face told it all.She was scared of trusting him again. Scared that one day she would wake up and he would be gone, but there was something else shinning in her eyes. Love. A love that she hadn’t experienced in a long time that only my father could bring. In in that mere second, I knew that she would take him back.
Mom slowly walked over to him and fell in his arms. Dad shushed her, kissing the top of her head as he rubbed her back. Antony put his hand on my shoulder and pulled Alex over toward us.
“You did good, sis. You did real good,” he whispered to me. I smiled up at him and then realization hit me. “Oh yeah! Where’s Paris?” I asked, looking around the room. “She’s upstairs…oh! Hello Andie!...what’s going on here?” Liz answered as she walked out the kitchen.
Dad looked over at me and nodded toward the steps. “Go get her” he mouthed. I took off toward the steps, saying a quick ‘hello’ to Liz. I hadn’t seen her for a whole month. I wanted nothing more than to have Paris in my arms again!
I stared at the door and inhaled, exhaling before slowly knocking on the door. “Go away Liz. I don’t want to talk” she said, her voice above a whisper.
I knocked again. ” Katie or Liz, whoever it is, please just leave me alone” she repeated, only this time a little louder. I knew I could easily just tell her it was me, but I wanted to see the look on her face when she saw me. Then, I would continue on from there.
I knocked once more. I heard her shuffling behind the door before it swung open. “Liz! I said go aw…Andie?” she jumped. I smiled sweetly at her and took her hand to interlace our fingers.
“Hey…” I said softly. She smiled at me and I smiled back, but her smile quickly evaporated as she snatched her hand back. “You left me…alone…in New York!” she bellowed angrily. I shivered and she clawed at the tears on her cheeks.
“Paris, I am sorry for leaving you in New York but I had too. Things were moving way too fast between us and…I really, more than anything, want this to work out. When I told you I loved you, I was speaking from the heart. I do love you. I’ve had time to clear my head."
“I know about your father. I know how he died and you were sent to live with your bitch of a mother. I know about how she smoked constantly and would beat you for no apparent reason. I know about you running away and living on the streets, starving and hustling for your next meal. I know about all of that and yet… I still love you all the more."
“I don’t know how you’re able to smile and love after the life you had. I don’t know how you get the strength to do the things you do. Paris, in all respect, you’re my hero. I know that sounds corny, but you are. I love you…so much that, it hurt to be away from you. I missed the way you smelt, the way your skin felt, the way you tease me about everything, the way you laughed, and the way you harmlessly flirted with me.”
“I missed the way you kissed me, I missed your smile, I missed the soft touch of your golden blonde hair. God damn it Paris, I just missed you! You came into my life and changed everything. These have been the longest months in my entire life! But it was all worth it…because I had you, because I have you."
“I guess what I’m saying is, I wanna know you. I wanna ask you more questions and I want to be there beside you. I want you to tease me and I want you to constantly throw yourself at me. I want to spoon you in my bed and enjoy the warmth you give me at night, and I want to know more about your past. I want to know everything about.”
“Paris Beaunet, I love you. I love you more than I have ever loved anyone else,” I said, staring at her nervously and sighed after saying everything that I needed to say.
Paris stared into my eyes and it was like the first time we meet again. She walked toward me and brought her hand up to my cheek, stroking it lovingly.
I smiled at her…before she brought her hand back and slapped me. I grabbed my cheek in pain and looked at her in shock. “Ow! Geez Paris. What was that for?” I groaned. “That, was for leaving me alone in New York. Do you know what it’s like alone in New York?” she said, putting her hands on her hips.
I stared at her in confusion. “You weren’t even alone. Liz was with you!” I defended, rubbing my cheek. “It’s not the same! I wanted you to go because I love you! I wanted to stay with you instead of going to Cancun because I love you. I wanted you to go to the runway show with me because I love you. I love you Andrea Fluharty! I love you,” she cried, before crashing her lips into mine.
I smiled into the kiss and pulled her closer to me. I wrapped my arms around her waist and lost my footing, slamming into the wall across from us. She deepened the kiss as I put my tongue in her mouth, making her moan.
I moved down toward her neck and gently bit it. She bit her bottom lip, pulling my lips toward her again, kissing me passionately. She groaned, pulling me toward her room.
“Whoa! Let’s keep it PG!” We both turned around and saw Davey and Katie laughing at us from downstairs. I smiled and flipped Davey off, who just shrugged and held on tighter to Katie.
Paris rolled her eyes at them before looking back at me. “So…” she cooed, wrapping her arms around my neck and leaning toward my left ear. “If they weren’t here, you would give it to me right?” she asked huskily.
I smirked at her and laughed, “Most definitely."
“I think we have a lot to be thankful for this year.”
“Hell yeah we do. It’s kind of ironic that the both of us found love this year.”
“It is, isn’t it? And it all started with that magazine you brought home.”
“Yeah, it did. So, you should be thanking me.”
“For bringing home that magazine of Paris that started this whole thing.”
“No, no, no. You should be thanking me. If it wasn’t for Paris and I making that deal to go out, you would have never met Katie.”
“Yeah, but if I would have never scored those free tickets to Platinum’s runway show. You would have never met Paris.”
“Okay, true. But think about this. If Paris and I would have never made that agreement, Paris wouldn’t have moved in with us.”
“Actually, that was me. I told Paris to move in with you both.”
“Okay well, if Liz would have never told Paris to move in with us, then you would have never met Katie.”
“Actually sweetie, I was the one who suggested we go to the beach and that’s where we met Katie.”
“See? Once again, this proves that Paris and I introduced you to Katie.”
“Whoa! Hold on, who brought the magazine?”
“You did but…”
“No. Who got the tickets to the runway show?”
“You did but Davey…”
“No. Who forced you to go?”
“You did but…”
“No. End of story. You should be thanking me."
Everyone at the dinner table laughed and I glared across the table at Davey. “This conversation isn’t over” I said, continuing to eat my meal. Davey chuckled, “Yes it is."
Paris leaned over and kissed my cheek. “You two should be lucky that things worked out for you. I mean, you went through a lot,” my mom said, setting the dinner rolls on the table and sitting beside my father.
He took her hand and kissed it, making her smile. “That is true. The press, the beach, the club, the fight, the trip to Cancun, the trip to the hospital” Davey named. I waved at him and grimaced. “Please, no remembrance of the hospital” I groaned.
Everybody nodded in agreement. “But really. A lot happened in these past few months. Andie fell in love with Paris. I fell in love with Katie. Andie got her father to come back home. Tony realized what a dick he was being to Paris and Andie."
“Hey! I’ve apologized for that!” Antony protests, eating the rest of his turkey. Alex laughed and looked over at his older brother. “Yeah, yeah. Katie’s pregnant."
I choked on my food and Paris quickly rubbed my back as I tried to get my breathing back to normal. My mom and Liz both shared my reaction. “You’re what?” I asked in shock.
“I’m pregnant, Andie. You know, like I have a little Squirtle inside of me” she replied bluntly. “Yeah, I know but how?” I asked, wide eyed. Davey cleared his throat. “Well you see, when two people love each other very much…”
I threw my dinner roll at him and everybody laughed. “Seriously? Davey’s gonna be a daddy?” I asked amazed. They both nodded and I smiled at them. “Wow. Well, congrats you guys. Hey Davey, now I can watch your kids run around and throw pokeballs at them while saying, ‘Squirtle, I choose you’” I teased.
Davey growled and ran around the table after me. I ran into the living room laughing. Antoinette sighed. “Can’t we ever have a normal dinner?” she said chuckling. “Not with those two around” Paris and Katie said in unison.
Liz smiled at them and raised her glass. “How about a toast?” she asked, looking around the table. Everyone agreed and Paris and Katie walked over and pulled Davey and I back to the table.
“A toast to what?” Alex asked, looking at his glass of sparkling cinder. “Okay! Can’t I at least get a real drink?” he grumbled. “You’re underage” we all replied together. He mumbled and Davey laughed at him.
“How about a toast to love?” I said. Paris grimaced. “Baby, that is way too cliché” she said. I pouted and she leaned over and pecked me on the lips. “How about to baby Squirtle?” My mom said, looking over at Katie and Davey.
“Nah, wouldn’t want the family toast to be all about us,” Katie said with Davey agreeing. “What about…to the future? We can toast to that,” Dad said, raising his glass.
I smiled at him. “Yeah, I think we can all agree to that” I said. Everybody agreed and raised their glasses. “To the future!” Dad said proudly. “To the future!” we all repeated.
We hit our glasses together and I smiled at Paris, who smiled back at me in return. “Your check came in today” she whispered over to me. I shook my head. “I don’t want it. It’s not about the money anymore” I whispered back.
She smiled and said, “We still have a contract. You have to stay with me until I become the runway queen,” she teased. I laughed and drank from my glass before saying, “Paris, I’m not going anywhere."