Isabella's dad, Norman Harrington was a lawyer who belonged to an aristocratic British family with orthodox views. They lived in London and Isabella had never seen them or heard from them at all in her entire twelve years of life. Her mom Gloria Porter was an orphan and worked as a waitress in a posh upscale restaurant of Los Angeles. Norman Harrington met her and married her against his family's wish.
However, their happiness was short lived as he died due to a brain stroke when Isabella was just ten. Her mom tried hard to cope up with the loss when she was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease. She had to discontinue working. Since her treatment was expensive, they had no other option than to use her dad's savings. They sold off the house and moved to a small one bedroomed apartment. After one and a half year of treatment, her mom developed renal infection that lead to kidney failure. After she died, Isabella was left all alone to cope up with her loss. Her next door neighbor was helpful enough and arranged for her mom's funeral.
Now the question was where would she go? There wasn't any other option than going to a foster home. Her neighbor, aunt Dorothy was a sixty year old, poor woman and she couldn't take the responsibility of a twelve year old child. She was so worried about Isabella that she as a last resort, tried calling the last number her mom had dialled on her mobile phone, before she died. The number of Henrietta Gray, who was her mom's childhood friend who lived in Las Vegas.
Henrietta Gray seemed a kind and sweet woman when she spoke to a grief-stricken, frightened Isabella. She immediately comforted her in her motherly way and promised to come to get her. The next day, Henrietta Gray and her husband David Gray drove all the way to Los Angeles to take her home with them.
The moment Isabella had seen her mom's friend, she had broken down with grief. She was exactly like her mom, sweet, kind and very beautiful. Her eyes had swelled up as she hugged the distraught girl to her chest. She had tried her best to comfort Isabella. The next two days, they packed her stuff up and called the packers and movers to shift them to Las Vegas. They released the flat and loading Isabella's personal stuff onto their car, drove her all the way to Las Vegas.
"We're nearly there, Isa," said aunt Henrietta. Isabella nodded and sat up straight. Soon enough the car entered through the gates of a sprawling villa painted in a beautiful combination of white, aqua blue and black. The frontyard was picture perfect with it gardens, a blue fountain and a swing in a shady corner. Isabella looked around her new home, loving the homely feel of the place.
"Come inside Isa," coaxed David Gray, seeing the girl gaze at the swing.
"You can play on that after you eat something," said aunt Henrietta. Isabella nodded. She didn't speak much. She was still in a state of trauma. She followed them into the neat and beautifully decorated house.
"Hudson, Weston, we're home," announced aunt Henrietta, looking around.
Suddenly the sound of footsteps thundered through the air as two gigantic guys ran down the staircase, competing amongst themselves to reach their mom first.
"I win," said one of them coming to a halt right in front of her. Isabella had to look up at him. He didn't look more than eighteen and with his 6 feet 3 inches or so height, he towered above her 5 feet 4 height and slender frame. She noticed that he had the most twinkling blue eyes she had ever seen. His hair was a bit longish and he wore a band to keep it away from his face. He had a big tattoo on his arm of something that Isabella couldn't decipher. He gaped at her with curiosity and something else. Interest? Isabella wasn't sure. He quirked his eyebrow at her with a smirk on his face making her come to her senses. She was so engrossed in him that she hadn't noticed the other one at all.
"Who's this, mom?" Said the other guy. Isabella turned to him. He was also of the same height but his eyes were light brown just like his father's. His hair was normal and he didn't have any tattoos. He looked at her with a friendly smile on his face, making him look warm and kind just like his mom.
"She's Isabella. She will live here from now on, with us, like a family," announced aunt Henrietta.
"Why is she here, mom?" Asked the tattooed guy in a gruff voice, showing his displeasure.
"She's lost both her parents. Her mom was my childhood friend Weston. She will stay here and that's final. No more arguments, " said his mom, sternly.
"Hi, I'm Hudson, " said the brown eyed boy, stretching his hand for a shake. "Welcome to the Gray world, " he said with a smile. Isabella couldn't help smiling too. She shook his hand, feeling a little better.
"I can't possibly live with her mom. You can't just pick up everyone and bring them here. I can't adjust," said the tattooed guy.
"No one is asking you to adjust, Weston. She won't bother you at all," said his dad, sternly. That shut Weston up and he strode past them towards the door. The sound of his motorcycle indicated that he had left. His parents sighed.
"Give him time, mom. He'll come around," said Hudson.
"Hope so," shrugged his mom. Then she looked at Isabella tenderly. The poor girl hadn't spoken a single word since the day she met her. She was very concerned about her. Did she need a doctor?
"Come, I'll show you to your room," she said, walking towards the stairs. There weren't any other bedroom available downstairs. Isabella followed her meekly and so did Hudson, carrying her luggage.
"She'll stay here?" Asked Hudson excitedly, seeing his mom enter the room next to his. His mom nodded. He deposited her stuff and excitedly watched Isabella.
"Isa, you can freshen up dear," she told her. She nodded and went towards the en-suite. Henrietta Gray turned towards her teenage son.
"She's in a state of trauma. She hasn't spoken a word, Hudson. Don't hit upon her please. She's just twelve. Treat her like a sister since your dad will be adopting her legally," said his mom. Hudson nodded since he knew that at eighteen, he was six years older than her. She was too young to interest him. He left her room with his mom, closing the door of Isabella's room after him. His mom turned towards him.
"Tell Weston that too. He shouldn't mess with her at all. I'll punish him if he does," she said strictly. Hudson nodded.
"Yes mom. Don't worry, I'll get that drilled into his head," said Hudson.
His mom went towards her room, tired and exhausted after that long drive. Her husband was lying on the bed after freshening up, straightening his aching back. "That more or less went okay. I hope Weston accepts it just like Hudson did," said David Gray. They all knew that although the boys were twins, their natures were polar opposites. While Hudson was too mature for his age and thought before acting, Weston was immature, headstrong and independent. His actions came before. Although both were brilliant where studies were concerned, David Gray was very concerned about Weston and his bad habits. There wasn't a thing that Weston didn't engage in. He had twice landed in police lock up already and David Gray had to use all his contacts to get him out. Yet he didn't learn his lesson.
"It will be tough but maybe with time, he will," said his wife.
"So who will you consult for the adoption process?" Asked his wife after she had freshened up.
"John is the best lawyer for this, I feel. What do you say?" Asked David Gray. His wife nodded. John Campbell and his wife Gabriella were their family friends and he had helped them many times.
"We should start the procedure as soon as possible, " she told him.
"Yes, I'll call him and invite him and Gabby to dinner tomorrow. What do you say?" he asked her.
"That'll be great," said his wife. She went upstairs to check up on the frightened girl. She reached her room and saw her sitting on the window sill, staring blankly outside.
"Isa? Are you okay?" She asked her gently. Isabella nodded.
"You must be hungry. Come down, I'll make something for you, " said Henrietta Gray. Isabella nodded. Henrietta sighed and went downstairs to the kitchen to make some lunch.
Isabella's gaze went back to her window. She could make out Weston's figure in an electric blue tee shirt and white shorts, playing soccer with a bunch of boys in a field further away from the house. She didn't understand why he hated the sight of her. Was she imposing upon the Grays?