One year later, upstate New York:
Lisa pulled up in front of Beatrice's house, exited her car, shaded her eyes and looked out over the now familiar landscape. She truly enjoyed coming there, and it wasn’t a long drive, a little over an hour or so. While Steve was away on assignment, she decided to stay with them for a few days.
“Here we go, sweetie,” she whispered to her son of three months, Steven Aron Gilbert, Jr., and lifted him from his car seat. Little Stevie was the image of his Father, with dark hair, blue eyes, and a sweet disposition.
“There you are,” her Father greeted his daughter with a hug and immediately took his grandson. The drive had put him to sleep. “Such a good boy,” he whispered to him.
“Thanks, Daddy,” Lisa said and pulled her bags from the trunk.
Beatrice came out and hugged her close and helped her with her luggage. “I’m so glad you made it. How is Stevie doing?”
“Well, he’s sleeping through the night, which is a blessing,” she happily replied.
“Do you have any idea when Steve is coming home?” Beatrice asked.
“Next week; at least that was the plan,” she replied and followed her inside.
Lisa immediately realized that, the walls were different. “Oh, you painted? I like it.”
“Thanks, honey. We need the change and we enjoyed doing it,” Adam replied still holding his grandson. “He’s grown since we last saw him.”
Beatrice came back downstairs. Lisa and Beatrice stared at each other. Adam still doesn’t know the truth; it was time.
“Adam, let me take him upstairs so he can rest comfortably?” She asked and took her grandson upstairs and placed him in a small crib they’d purchased just for him.
“Alright,” Adam replied and watched her leave. “He’s so beautiful; I can’t get over it.”
“Yes, he is,” Lisa replied. “Daddy, I have something to tell you. Please sit down.”
“Okay; this sounds serious,” Adam said and sat down on the sofa.
Lisa also took a seat. “Steve wanted to be here as well, but he had to leave for an assignment.”
“What is it honey?” Adam asked.
“Steve, Jr. is special; he’s different from you and me.”
He frowned. “What do you mean different?”
Beatrice came back downstairs and sat down next to her beau. She took his hand for support.
He glanced at her face. “I can tell; you know what this is about?”
“Yes, I know, but please don’t get upset and listen to what she has to say,” Beatrice replied.
His back went up. “Just tell me what it is.”
“Steve has these gifts. At first, he didn’t know what they were or how to deal with them. He was young, around 13 or so, when he realized he could dream certain things; things that may happen in the future or they may not,” Lisa said.
“He’s a psychic?” He asked, stunned.
“Yes, he is. He can’t control it; it just happens.”
“He was born with it, Adam. Their Father was one; Mitch may have the gift, but I’m not sure,” Beatrice confessed. “Little Stevie may have the gift or he may not.”
He stood up and walked. “How long have you known about Steve?” Adam asked, feeling betrayed and lied to.
“About a year after we met,” Lisa replied.
“But you two have been together for nearly five years, and you’re just telling me this now?” He paused to gather his composure. “Why didn’t you tell me before now?”
She stood up and came closer. “I tried to tell you lots of times. But when Stevie was born, we decided you needed to know the truth. Please don’t treat him differently. He’s just a baby and he needs his grandfather to love him and cherish him.” Her eyes watered.
“What kind of a person do you think I am? He’s my grandson.” Stunned, they would think these things about him.
“Sometimes, I wonder about that.” His eyes widened, then she went on to explain. “Do remember when I came to you after Steve’s disappearance and I asked for your help, but you blamed him for something that wasn’t his fault? Then later, at Steve’s welcome home dinner, you mentioned that case about a psychic who bribed people and cheated them out of a lot of money. You said they were all deceitful and should be put away. Then, I found out I was pregnant, and we felt we couldn’t keep it from you; not anymore.”
“I see,” he said. He glanced up the stairs. “My grandson is a psychic.”
“He may develop the gift or he may not,” Beatrice said. “We have no way of knowing.”
“But how will we know?” Adam asked.
“His dreams are personal; only his. It will be up to him, but we’ll explain it to him when he’s old enough to understand, so he won’t be afraid when it happens,” Lisa explained.
Adam felt horrible. “I’m so sorry for the things I said. I feel so ashamed.” He wanted to cry.
Beatrice took his arm. “You didn’t mean it. I know you’re a good person, kind and loving. It’s just you tend to be a bit narrow-minded. But they are your family; not strangers and they need you to be the person they know you are.”
“You believe in me?” He asked his beau.
“Of course, I do,” Beatrice replied.
Lisa came closer. “I do too, Daddy; I really do.” She smiled through her tears.
He held out his arms; she went into them holding him close. “I’m so sorry, sweetie; please believe me.”
Beatrice stroked his arm. “Everything is going to be alright.”
“Bea, did you know for sure about your husband, Daniel; was that his name?” Adam wanted to know.
“He never said, but after he left us, I asked my sons about it and they suspected the truth.”
“I’m so sorry,” Adam said, feeling awful that they had to go through that.
The baby woke up. “Can I get him?” Adam asked his daughter.
“Yes; go ahead. He’s probably hungry. I’ll get his bottle.”
“Thanks, sweetie.” He kissed her cheek and Bea’s as well, then headed upstairs.
“He’s a good man, Lisa.”
“I know he is,” Lisa said, glad that was over. They headed to the kitchen, then she had a question for her mother-in-law. “His name was Daniel?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“You never talk about him. Steve never mentions him either and Mitch spoke of him briefly about his gifts. He never came back to visit?”
“No, he didn’t; too busy building an empire; I suppose.”
Lisa frowned. “He may have used his gifts to get ahead.”
Bea’s eyes widened. “You may be right; I’ve never thought about that before.”
“I think he did care for you and his sons. All that money he made; he left it for you; he cared.”
Her eyes watered. “I’ve often wondered why he did it.”
Lisa took her hand. “He loved his family; I know he did.”
“Thank you for saying that.” They hugged each other.
Meanwhile, upstairs in Stevie’s bedroom, decorated just for him, Adam picked up his grandson. He stared at him as if seeing him for the first time. “You truly are special,” he said with a smile. Holding him close, he rocked him until he quieted. “Are you hungry? You’re always hungry; just like your grandpa.”
He took him downstairs. “He stopped crying!” He looked between them. “What’s going on? Is everything alright?”
“Everything is fine. You do have a way with him,” Lisa commented.
Adam stared at his grandson. “You think I do?”
“Well, he knows you and he trusts you,” Lisa replied and handed him the bottle.
“I truly hope so,” Adam said and fed him his Mother’s milk. He chuckled. “I knew you were hungry.”
The ladies smiled, stood by and watched the tender scene.
Lisa’s car, halfway to New York:
Several days later, Lisa and Stevie headed back home. “Beatrice is one hell of a cook. These are delicious,” Lisa mumbled and took a few bites of her homemade cinnamon rolls. After entering the freeway, she dialed Steve on her hands-free device.
“Hey you, where are you?”
“Hi, Lisa. I’m still in Paris; I’ll be home in a few days. How did it go?” He asked, curious about Adam’s reaction to the news about Stevie.
“We told him the truth and I explained why we hadn’t told him before now. It was tough going at first, but he came around. He felt really bad about the things he said after you disappeared and at your welcome home dinner, but he apologized.”
“I’m happy to hear that. You know I was worried about him. He just seemed stuck as if he couldn’t accept anyone different from him.”
“Yes, I got that vibe, as well. He’s my Father, and he promised to do better.”
“Good to know. Hold on for a minute.” He put the call on speaker. “Hey, Lisa.”
“Katie, is that you? Where’s Brad?”
“I’m here too,” Brad replied.
“Are you guys working or just hanging out?”
“We’re working, but guess who got married the other day?”
“What? You got married in Paris? That’s awesome; congratulations.”
“Thanks, Lisa,” Katie said and glanced at her husband. “It wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, but we just couldn’t wait anymore.”
“I’m so happy for you both. When you get back, we should celebrate,” Lisa said.
“Sounds great to me,” Brad said.
“We have to go, sweetie. I’ll call you later. Kiss, Stevie for me. Bye honey; love you.”
“I will; love you too; bye, Steve.” She hung up.
Several weeks later:
Time for a party, but instead gathering at Steve and Lisa’s place, the party was set for Mitch’s townhouse, which contained a lot more space for celebrating. The team was there, as well as a few close friends, including: Steve and Lisa; Mitch and Carol; Bill and Angie; Jeff and Anne; and the guests of honor, Mr. and Mrs. Brad Johnson.
Little Stevie was upstairs in the master bedroom in a travel crib. He’ll sleep through the party; they hoped. His grandparents had plans to be out of town this weekend.
Steve and Brad sipped their drinks. “I still can’t believe it. You must have a sixth sense about these things,” Steve commented and glanced at his brother.
“No, I don’t. You two are incredible parents. I had no doubt in my mind about that.”
“Thanks for saying that.” He was thoughtful for a minute and sipped his drink.
“What are you thinking?” Mitch asked.
“Well, Lisa and I had a conversation about kids, not long after we got together, and how we couldn’t possibly fit them into our busy lives. As I recall, she wasn’t even sure about having kids at all.”
“And now?” Mitch knew what was coming.
He shook his head. “She wants another one.”
Mitch refrained from laughing out loud. “I’m not surprised at all.”
“How are things with you and Carol?”
“She moved in several months ago,” he replied, watching her speaking with Angie, whose also a lawyer.
Steve caught his look. “And, when’s the wedding?” He asked, being nosy.
“That’s a sore subject,” he replied. “Carol is career driven. She’s very busy at the firm. Since her Father decided to semi-retire, the partners come to her for help all the time. She’s rarely here.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, but other than conflicting schedules, are you guys Okay?”
“Yeah, we are; it’s just… I miss her.”
Carol and Lisa headed to the kitchen to get more snacks. “How are things? Sorry, we haven’t talked much, but Stevie is a handful.”
“No, it’s fine. Mitch and I are having a wonderful time living together, but the timing is off. Since Dad is gone most of the time, I’ve been busy at work. I miss him.” She glanced at him; he glanced at her from across the room.
“You two need to talk and work this out. Work schedules have been known to tear couples apart, mainly because they don’t talk to each other.”
“We will, after the party; we will,” Carol said firmly.
Steve had words to say about his wife. “Not to change the subject, but I’m sorry, but I’ve been busy with assignments lately, and Stevie is a newborn. Lisa dropped a hint about getting back to work.”
“So soon, but how old is Stevie?”
“Four months old?”
“Don’t women breastfeed to like six months to a year?” Mitch asked.
“Not all women are the same. Lisa has a career and I see no reason for her not to get back to work.”
“But you said she wanted another child.”
“That can wait for a few years,” Steve replied.
“What are you two talking about?” Lisa and Carol worked over to them.
They answered at the same time. The ladies glanced at each other. “I see, well, we need to make a toast for the bride and groom,” Lisa said.
“I have a speech prepared,” Steve said and tapped his glass. “Ladies and gentlemen, please gather around while I toast the newlyweds. Does everyone have a drink?”
“I need one,” Jeff replied. Lisa gave him a refill for his wine.
“Me too,” Angie said. Carol got her a refill as well. Mitch turned down the music.
“Are we ready now? Alright, here goes. Brad and Katie, congratulations on your marriage. You two have come a long way from the bickering, about to come to blows, the couple we all know and worry about, but here you are, married and in love. Who would have thought? Not to quote song lyrics, but they say there’s a thin line between love and hate. You two proved that time and again, but I’m thrilled that you chose the former and not the latter. Here’s to Mr. and Mrs. Brad Johnson, congratulations again! We wish you many, many years together. Here; here!”
After everyone sipped their drinks. Brad had a few words. “Thank you, Mitch and Carol. You have a lovely home. I just wanted to say that Katie and I find that bickering keeps that spark between us. We never know what the other will say, but underneath it was something we couldn’t ignore. We love each other very much and we only want the best for each other. So, thanks again for doing this for us.”
“You’re welcome,” Mitch and Carol spoke at the same time. They stared at each other. The music resumed.
Carol and Mitch came closer. “We need to talk,” Mitch said and so did she.
“Let’s go in the kitchen.”
“I’m sorry,” Carol said and put down her glass. He did the same.
“I’m sorry too,” Mitch said and took her hand. “I love you, Carol and I want us to work this out.”
“I do too, but,” she began, but he stopped her with a kiss. She kissed him back. “Well, talk about unexpected.” She smiled at his look.
“I know, but we want the same things and we can do this. We just need to put in a little more effort.”
“I agree and I’ll find a way to come home to you because this is where I want to be all the time.”
“I’m so glad to hear that.” They smiled, relieved they could clear the air.
Talking about work, Bill and Steve had a few words. “No problem, Steve. Your son comes first. And besides, the staff that we chose; they’re coming along just fine.”
“That does ease my mind.” He paused. “Are you sure about adding another team? Men and women working together can work; Lisa and I are proof of that, but you should pick a leader. If there’s no leader, I’m still not too keen on your idea.”
“As you said, you and Lisa worked out fine. We’ll let them decide who the leader will be, so we’ll try it for a few months.”
“If it doesn’t work out, we’ll disband them, problem solved,” Steve said.
“That’s not going to work. They’ll bond, become friends, and…”
Steve stroked his chin. “You do have a point. I couldn’t imagine us working together as a team, being friends and then end it. It’s not fair to them.”
“I see, well; we’ll work something out, but I still want to do this. It’s not as if we’re getting any ‘older’ or anything.” Bill smirked after that comment.
“Not at all.” Steve smiled as he watched his wife. Lisa sent him a look. “I’ll be right back.”
“Lisa, honey, what is it?”
She handed him the baby monitor and Stevie was whimpering. “We should check him.”
They headed upstairs. They walked into the bedroom and he seemed to have quieted down as if he sensed they were there.
“Steve, do babies dream?” She whispered, staring at her son.
“I think they do,” Steve replied, also staring.
“Oh, no,” Lisa whimpered and covered mouth. She ran into the master bathroom.
Shocked and wide-eyed, he listened as she proceeded to empty her stomach.
Head bowed, Steve shook his head, then he couldn’t help but smile at his beautiful son, who woke up at that very moment, and gave him a smile.