Vin's doing a lot better with Miss Conner's tutoring him than he did with the other one he had. Miss Conner has a lot more patience than the other one. He actually got a B+ on his last English exam.JD loves the iPad he got from his father for Christmas. After he's done with his home work, he's on it till supper time and after supper till it's time to get ready for bed.There are still times Ezra still acts more like an adult than a fifteen year old. Especially when he's with Vin and JD.My eyes were really opened up this past Christmas as to how much the three depend on one another.As for Buck and Chris, they're doing really well. They enjoy having their privacy.Other than what I wrote about above, there isn't anything more than the normal to report on.
Josiah finished his report and sent it off to Nettie. He leaned back in his chair and sighed. He thought of the words that were spoken to him in his head 'they are ours, My Love.' It had brought tears to his eyes just like the words are doing now. Josiah was going to keep his promise to Becky.
Down in the basement, Buck's on the computer when Chris came in.
"Hey, you got a letter from Don," Chris said and handed the letter to Buck.
Buck looked up from the computer to take the letter. "Really?"
"Yep," Chris answered.
Buck opened the letter and started to read. "Hey, Don got a PI license and he says his first case is my mom's murder and I'm his client if anyone asks."
Chris laughed. "I hope he's not expecting a lot of money."
"He says it's a pro bono." Buck smiled up at Chris.
"That's good," Chris nodded. "What else does he go on and say?"
"He's been digging into mom's past and found a few things," Buck read a little bit more.
Chris got a store brand cola from the frig and turned back toward Buck. "Well, what more..." The smile on Chris's face disappeared when he noticed Buck's expression. "What's wrong?"
With a shaking hand, Buck handed Chris the letter. Chris quickly read through the letter until he came to what he supposed made Buck turn pale. "Oh my God, Buck. What are you going to do?" Chris handed the letter back to Buck.
Buck shook his head. "I have no idea. I swear, I never wanted to know who he was. He was a married man, Chris. He cheated on his wife with my mother. I have sisters."
"Yep and a couple of those sisters want to meet you. To bad your father is dead though.
Buck looked up at Chris. "What am I going to do Chris?"
"I can't answer that Buck. I wish I could."
"What would you do if you were in my place?"
Chris thought for a few minutes. "I'd go to Josiah for advice."
Buck nodded. "I think I'll go and do that and take him the letter."
"You want me to go with you?" Chris asked.
Buck shook his head. "No, but thanks." Buck got up from the table and walked to the door and turned back to Chris. "I have four sisters, two older than me and two younger than me."
Chris smiled when Buck opened the door and went upstairs to talk with Josiah.
"Come in," Josiah said when he heard a knock on his office door.
Buck entered the office. He closed the door behind him and slowly walked over to the desk and sat down in one of the chairs and sighed. "I need some advice about this," Buck said and handed Josiah the letter.
Josiah read the letter and handed it back. "What kind of advice are you looking for?"
"On what to do. I never wanted to know who my father was. I always thought he left because he didn't want me."
Josiah came around his desk and sat in the chair next to Buck and put his arm around Buck's shoulders.
"I don't know what to do. I want to meet my sisters but I'm afraid to. What if they don't like me. My mom did try to take their daddy away from them. Mom never told me about the affair she had."
"You thought it was a one time thing?"
"Something like that," Buck sighed and leaned back in the chair.
"I guess the question you should ask yourself is, do I want to know the man that fathered me or not."
Buck looked over at Josiah. "How can I? He's dead."
"Your sisters?" Josiah said with a smile.
Buck nodded. "Yeah, they could let me know about him couldn't they?" Buck thought about it. "You know, I think I'll meet with them."
Josiah patted Buck on the shoulder. "Good choice."
Buck decided it was time to leave when Josiah's phone rang and said thanks for the advice just as Josiah picked up the phone.
Josiah smiled and nodded to Buck before he spoke to who ever was on the phone. "Josiah Sanchez. How may I help you?"
"Josiah, it's Orin. We need to talk, ASAP."
"Can you tell me what's the emergency is about?"
"It has to do with Vin."
"I'll be there in an hour," Josiah said and hung up.
"Chris!" Josiah yelled as he put his coat on, on the outside door landing that lead to the basement.
Chris stepped through the basement apartment's door. "Yeah?"
"I have to be in Judge Travis's office in an hour. I'm leaving you in charge."
"Did he say why he needed to see you?" Chris asked as he climbed the stairs.
"Yes," Josiah answered and left.
Chris stood on the outside door landing and looked up at Buck as if he had the answer.
Buck held up his hands. "Hey, all I know is he got a phone call when I left his office after our talk."
"Then, may I assume neither of you know the reason for Josiah's sudden departure?" Ezra said standing on the back door landing with Buck.
Both Chris and Buck didn't hear Ezra until he spoke and both were a little startled to hear his voice. "Yeah, you may assume," Chris answered.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah arrived at the Court House where Judge Orin Travis had his office. Josiah knew where to go once he entered the building. Josiah walked up to Orin's receptionist. "Judge Travis called me earlier and wanted to meet with me."
"Yes I know Mr. Sanchez. I am to send you in as soon as you arrived."
Josiah entered the Judges office and sat down in one of the chairs facing the desk. "Okay, I'm here. What is this thing that concerns Vin?"
Orin got down to business. "You knew Evie and I went to Washington D.C. over the new year holiday."
"Yeah, you do every year for that thing for Judges. So?"
"This year it was held at a different hotel because of some technical problem. What I have no idea. Anyhow, Evie and I were dining in the hotel's restaurant when this man came in with his son. I went into shock, because the boy looked like your Vin. His hair was cut short and he was dressed like Ezra, but other than that, he was the spittin' image of Vin."
"Are you sure?" Josiah asked.
"Yes, and Josiah, there's more. The man caught me staring at his son and came over to our table and confronted me. Of course I apologized and explained who I was and that his son looked just like a boy I knew back in Four Corners Colorado."
"What did he say?"
"He asked what the boy's name was and I told him. The man went white as a ghost. I had the feeling he knew something about Vin's past and I was right. Josiah, Vin has a twin brother. His name is Martin Fitzgerald. I had a long conversation with the man in his office the next day."
Josiah swallowed, he didn't want to hear any more. Fear had gripped his heart and started to squeeze, but he knew he needed to hear what the Judge found out. "What did you learn?"
"I learned the man's a jerk. He doesn't want anything to do with Vin. He said when Vin's mother had the twins, they each took one to raise and they were never to learn of the other. Josiah, he knew when Vin's mother passed away and did nothing. He let Vin go into the foster system. As far as he's concerned, he has only one son, Martin."
Josiah couldn't believe what he was hearing. "They're twins. Vin is as much his as Martin. I'm glad I don't have the fear of losing Vin, but I swear, Vin will know of his twin brother. It's wrong for them not to know one another. What are you writing down?" Josiah asked when he noticed Orin was writing something when he was ranting.
"I had gotten a phone call from Mrs. Fitzgerald yesterday and she said her husband was going to be out of town for a couple of weeks and felt it was wrong for Victor to keep the boys from knowing each other. This is her number," Orin handed the slip of paper to Josiah. "She wants to talk with you if you're willing to talk with her, but Victor is not to know."
Josiah nodded. "I would like to talk with her."
Josiah stood and shook hands with Orin and left his office so he could get back to work.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah was about to open the door to the breezeway when a red Cadillac pulled into the driveway. Josiah went to greet the driver.
The man got out of his car and looked around.
"May I help you, Sir?" Josiah asked.
The man turned toward Josiah and looked him over and smiled. "You must be Mr. Josiah Sanchez," The man said and held out his hand for Josiah to shake. "I'm Sergeant Major Charles Larabee. I understand you took my son Chris in when he got into some trouble back home."
Josiah shook the man's hand. "Yes Sir I did. Chris didn't say you were coming to day," Josiah said and lead the way to the breezeway.
"Can you tell me if he's here?"
"Well, he was here when I left him in charge."
"You left my son in charge? In charge of what?"
Josiah didn't like this man's condescending attitude toward Chris. Josiah turned toward the Sergeant Major. "Chris is a good young man. I leave him in charge a lot. Sometimes he even takes charge even though I don't ask him to. I have six teenagers, including your son, that I have custody of. Chris is a huge help around here."
The Sergeant Major shook his head. "The son I know is a hell raiser, who shirks his responsibility."
"Then you don't know him at all. I can not ask you to leave and never return, that is up to your son. If he doesn't want to see you, then you leave. Do we understand each other?"
"My son isn't an adult yet, so it is up to you if I see him or not."
Josiah took a deep breath and counted to ten and back before he spoke. "Chris acts more like an adult than some adults I know. He's a grade A student, and has held down a part time job, only because he's still in school, and helps out around here. He does not shirk responsibility. You do."
Josiah turned back to the door and opened it to enter when the Sergeant Major spoke, "You think I shirked my responsibility?"
Josiah stopped to enter the house and looked over his shoulder. "When you left to go over seas when your wife was ill with cancer when you could have said no, but you didn't. You left that up to your son to take care of. As far as I'm concerned, you were a coward. I am not going to say anymore. I just hope what ever it is you came here to say or do doesn't hurt that young man too bad that I can not repair the damage it will cause."
The Sergeant Major followed Josiah into the house. He then took off his winter overcoat and hung it on an empty hook by the door then followed Josiah after Josiah took off his coat and hung it up, up the stairs.
Josiah turned toward the Sergeant Major. "Stay here and I'll let Chris..."
The door opened abruptly, cutting off Josiah's words. "No need Josiah. I saw him pull into the driveway after you."
Chris stepped aside to let Josiah in the house then stepped back in front of his father. "We'll have our talk in the basement," Chris stated and lead the way to the basement.
Chris let his father in the basement then turned on the lights. Charles Larabee looked around the place. "I like what you have done to the place."
"Thanks," Chris said as he went to the frig. "Would you like a soda or a cup of coffee?"
"A glass of water will do, thank you."
Chris took a glass from the cupboard then took one the ice trays and put a few ice cubes in the glass and replaced the ice tray then filled the glass with water and handed the glass to his father.
Chris crossed his arms over his chest. "So, why are you here?"
"Do I have to have a reason to visit my son?"
Chris sighed. "Look at me when you talk to me."
Charles sighed and stood ram rod straight and faced his son. "Fine. I came here hoping you didn't turn out like him. And from what your Uncle and Mr. Sanchez has said, you haven't. At the age of 17, you've done more than he ever had."
"What the heck are you talking about?" Chris was confused.
Charles sighed. "Yeah, you wouldn't know about it. You carry my name, but I am not your biological father. The man you knew as Uncle Frank, he's your biological father."
Chris dropped down on the sofa and stared up at his father. "Mom had an affair with Uncle Frank? Is that what you're telling me?"
Charles sighed and sat down beside Chris. "No. Your mother didn't have an affair. Your mother and I had been trying to have a baby for a few years."
"Yeah I know. You were married for little more than five years when she got pregnant with me."
Charles smiled. "We were excited. We didn't care what the sex of the baby was as long as he or she was healthy. When you were about six, you got real sick and ended up in the hospital. We almost lost you. You needed a blood transfusion and you wasn't a match for your mother so I tried. Imagine my surprise when I was told I wasn't a match either. I became furious. I couldn't look at your mother or you. I had even thought about divorcing your mother. We talked and she said she never had an affair. She told me about the night she and a couple of her friends went out to dinner and drinks. Frank was there. Now, I knew Frank's tricks, so I confronted him and he told me what he did. I almost killed him. He raped your mother after he slipped something in her drink."
Chris couldn't believe what he was hearing. He hadn't seen Frank Keating since he had gotten sick. Now he knew why. "Why would Frank do that? He was your best friend."
"I think he never got over the fact your mother chose me over him."
Chris and his father talked some more.
+ + + + + + +
While Chris was down stairs with his father, Josiah went to his office. Buck, Nathan, Ezra, Vin and JD were at the dinning table eating lunch. Josiah dialed the number Judge Travis gave him.
"Hello," Came a female voice.
"Hello, is this Patricia Fitzgerald?"
"Yes it is. How may I help you?"
Josiah sighed. "Ma'am, my name is Josiah Sanchez. I have been told by Judge Travis you would like to discuss our sons."
"Yes I would. I would like for them to meet one another. Martin and I can fly out to Denver tonight if you like so the boys can meet tomorrow."
"Have you told Martin about Vin?"
"Not yet. I was waiting to hear from you first just in case you felt the same as my husband."
"Oh believe me Mrs. Fitzgerald, I want the boys to know one anther as much as you do. I feel it's not fair to them."
"I am so glad to hear that. We'll be seeing you and Vincent tomorrow."
Josiah laughed. "He prefers Vin."
"Okay, Vin it is."
Josiah hung up the phone and left his office. The boys were clearing the table of lunch dishes. Josiah cleared his throat. "I need everyone's attention please."
"What's up?" Buck asked after Josiah got all their attentions.
"We have very important guests coming tomorrow, so we need to get this place in tip top shape."
"Who are they?" JD asked.
"Patricia and Martin Fitzgerald."
Ezra's eyes got huge. "Are they related to Victor Fitzgerald?" Ezra asked.
"They're his wife and son. You know them?"
"I have heard of him. He works at the pentagon, as in Washington DC. How on earth did you get them to come here for a visit?"
"Patricia and I thought Martin and Vin should meet and get to know one another," Josiah smiled.
"Why?" Vin asked with a dumbfounded look on his face.
Josiah smiled down at Vin Because, Martin is your twin brother."
The room grew so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. The other boys stared at Vin.
Vin had a stunned look on his face when he looked up at Josiah. "I have a twin brother?"
"Yes, Vin, you have. Victor Fitzgerald is your biological father."
Josiah noticed the change in Vin's expression before the words came out, "If he's my dad, then where the hell has he been all these years!" Vin looked around and saw everyone looking at him which made him even angrier. Vin pushed Nathan aside and ran to the back door and down the stairs. He grabbed his coat and slipped it on and went out the outside door.
Josiah yelled for Vin to come back.
Down in the basement, Chris heard Vin yell and shortly Josiah yell for Vin to come back. Chris ran to the basement door and flung it open and stepped out on the basement landing to see Vin go through the outside door and Josiah come through the back door. Chris and Josiah met on the outside door landing and started to put their coats on.
Ezra came out and stood on the back door landing. "Keep in mind, as angry as he is, he'll go up."
Josiah and Chris look to one another. "Stable rafters," both of them said at the same time. "Thanks Ezra," Josiah said and left.
Ezra went back inside and that was when he noticed the mail sitting on the sideboard and looked through it and found a letter for Nathan.
Ezra walked into the living room where Buck, JD and Nathan settled in to watch some TV.
"Nathan, you have a letter," Ezra said and handed the letter to Nathan.
"Thanks Ez," Nathan said and opened the letter.
Ezra sat next to Nathan on the sofa. A few minutes later, Nathan jumped up from the sofa and tossed the letter to the floor and ran upstairs to his room and slammed his bedroom door. Ezra picked up the letter from the floor and read it.
"What's it say?" Buck asked.
Ezra looked over at Buck. "I think Josiah should read this."
Buck got up out of the chair he was in and stood next to Ezra. "Him and Chris have their hands full with Vin right now. And since I'm next in line, I'll handle this one."
"Okay," Ezra said and handed the letter to Buck.
Buck read the letter and sighed, "Shit, what else is going to happen around here. You don't tell something like this in a letter to somebody."
"I agree with you, that is why I said Josiah should read the letter. After all, he is Nathan's rightful Guardian and God father."
"Looks like I'll need to go and have a chat with Nathan," Buck said and made his way upstairs to Nathan's room.
Ezra turned toward the back door when he heard someone clear his throat. "How may I help you?"
"I have a feeling my visit came at a bad time," the Sergeant Major said.
"You may be correct." Ezra hesitated a bit before he said anything more, not wanting to over step his boundary, as he made his way to stand in front of the man. "You have Chris all wrong Sir. Chris has the makings of a good, if not a great leader. In my short fifteen years on this earth, I have had very little people that cared if I lived or died, my very own mother included. Chris is a very responsible young man."
The Sergeant Major looked Ezra over. "How old are you?"
"Fifteen," Ezra answered, confused. "I don't see where that has any bearings on our conversation."
"You sound and act more like someone in his thirties."
Ezra sighed, "I was never allowed to act like a child when growing up. Therefore I am the way I am because of it."
+ + + + + + +
Chris and Josiah entered the stables and looked up like Ezra said to do and spotted Vin high up in the rafters.
Chris sighed, "I'll go up and have a talk with him."
Josiah looked over at Chris. "Are you sure? He's up quite high."
"No, but what choice do we have? I'm not going to shout a conversation with him from down here and I can't see you climbing up there. As long as I don't look down, I should be fine," Chris said and took a deep reassuring breath then started his climb.
+ + + + + + +
Buck knocked on Nathan's door. "Nathan, may I come in?"
"Yeah," Nathan answered.
Buck entered Nathan's room. Nathan was sitting in a chair at his desk writing in a note book.
"What ya doin' there Nate?" Buck asked, his country boy showing in his words.
"Writing a letter to my Aunt, thanking her for telling me why mom killed herself."
"She shouldn't have told you like she did."
Nathan looked up at Buck. "How else was she going to, Buck? My mom killed herself because she was pregnant with her Boss's child after he threatened to fire her and when that didn't work, he lied to the child protective people. Mom and dad almost lost us kids because of it. I'm the youngest and when dad died, Luke and Ruth were already on their own."
"Your mom felt ashamed," Buck stated more than asked.
Nathan nodded his head yes. "She could have aborted the baby or gave it up for adoption. She didn't have to kill herself. Dad did say mom was depressed a lot and when she got pregnant, she had to stop taking her meds which made her even more depressed," Nathan said and wiped at the unfallen tears that welled up in his eyes.
+ + + + + + +
JD was in the living room playing on his iPad when the phone rang. Ezra just let the answer machine pick it up because he was still talking to the Sergeant Major.
Mr. Sanchez, this is Warden Dobson. Please, it's very important you call me as soon as you get this."
The warden left his number for Josiah to call him.
Ezra whipped around toward the living room and saw JD standing in the archway staring at the answering machine.
JD looked over at Ezra. "Something happened to my dad."
"We don't know that." Ezra tried to relieve the worry he heard in JD's voice.
The Sergeant Major could see Ezra had his hands full and decided he needed to get Mr. Sanchez. "I'll let you handle this while I go and get Mr. Sanchez."
Ezra turned back toward the Sergeant Major. "He has his hands full at the moment."
"I understand that, but he's the adult in charge here. You are a fifteen year old child and therefore..."
"Did you just call me a child?" Ezra asked angrily. "I can handle anything an adult can. I am far from being a child."
Ezra's voice rose higher the angrier he got. It had gotten high enough for Buck and Nathan to hear upstairs in Nathan's room with the door closed.
"I think we had better get down there," Nathan said as he stood up and headed for the door.
"I think you're right," Buck agreed.
Once down stairs, Buck made his way over to Ezra and the Sergeant Major and laid a hand on Ezra's shoulder. "Ez? I'll take it from here. I think JD needs you right now."
Ezra took a couple steps back before he turned and went to JD.
"That boy needs to respect his elders," the Sergeant Major said.
Buck shook his head. "Ezra usually does. You must have pissed him off real good for him to yell at you like he did," Buck grinned.
For some reason, the Sergeant Major had the feeling he had better leave and fetch Mr. Sanchez. "I told the boy I'd go and get Mr. Sanchez since he's the adult in charge here."
"Yeah, you go ahead and do that," Buck said and turned toward the living room when the Sergeant Major left.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah watched as Chris made his way toward Vin. He didn't take an easy breath until Chris sat down next to Vin.
Vin looked up when Chris sat down next to him. "What are you doin' up here? You don't like it up high."
"It's the only way I could think to talk to you without shouting."
"Why didn't my mom tell me I had a twin?"
"I don't know Vin. I wish I did. But hey, you know now and he's coming here tomorrow to see you. You've got to be excited about that."
"Yeah, but my father won't be with him, why? Don't he want to know me?"
Chris wished he had the answers Vin needed. "I wish I had the answers, but I don't," Chris said and started to rub Vin's back.
Sergeant Major walked into the stables and stood next to Josiah and looked up into the rafters to see his son comforting the small teen. "I see my son got over his fear of heights."
Josiah looked over at the Sergeant Major. "No he hasn't."
The Sergeant Major looked at Josiah, stunned. "Then why on earth is he up there?"
"Vin needed him," Josiah smiled. "Like I told you earlier, Chris is a responsible young man. He has taken on the role of big brother to the other five teens in my home."
"I came out here to tell you, you had a phone call from a Warden Dobson. He said it was very important that you call him right away."
"Shoot!," Josiah exclaimed. "Chris? I've got to go and call Warden Dobson back," Josiah shouted up to Chris.
"Okay," Chris shouted back without looking down.
Vin looked up at Chris. "JD's goin' to be real upset, Chris. We's got ta get down and go inside."
Chris laid his head against the rafter support beam and sighed, "I know."
Vin smiled. "It's easier getting down than gettin' up here."
"Yeah? I bet you got to look down to get down."
"It helps," Vin chuckled. Vin stood and walked the beam until he was above the hay mow and jumped. He did a forward summersault when his feet hit the hay mow and looked up at Chris. "See? Easy."
The Sergeant Major watched the small teen get up and walk across the beam as easy as a cat would on a fence and jump down to land in the hay mow and yell up to his son and tell him it's easy.
Chris swallowed the bile that was tempting to come up and gingerly got up on the beam he was sitting on, griping the support beam the whole time and just as careful made his way to where Vin had been a few moments ago. He looked down at Vin, took a deep breath, and jumped and did a somersault to land next to Vin. Vin and Chris made their way to the ladder that would take them down to the stable floor. Chris then bent over and placed a hand on a knee and the other wrapped around his stomach.
Vin patted Chris on the back. "Ya did it."
"Yeah, I did," Chris said between pants. "You go on ahead. I'll be in shortly."
"Okay, Chris," Vin said and left the stable.
Chris straightened up with his eyes closed. When he opened his eyes, his father was standing in front of him. He never saw tears in his father's eyes before, but there were unshed tears there now and a smile on his face. "Dad? What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong Son. You just reminded me of your mother and the courage she showed every day when you were young."
The Sergeant Major laughed. "You didn't know this, but your mother was deathly scared of rats."
"But, I had a pet rat when I was ten."
The Sergeant Major smiled. "Exactly. She faced that fear everyday you had that rat. Just like you faced your fear of heights to help that young youth up in the rafters of this stable."
"She never did let fear rule her life," Chris said in a serious tone.
"No, no she didn't. She took what ever life handed her," The Sergeant Major smiled at Chris then. "She sure did like lemonade."
Chris laughed. "Country Time pink lemonade was her favorite."
Inside the house, Josiah went into his office and called the Warden back.
"Warden Dobson, it's Josiah Sanchez. I was told you called."
"Yes I did. I have bad news. John was found dead in his cell this morning."
"Oh my God. Do you know the cause of death?" Josiah asked, not looking forward to telling JD his dad was dead.
"He was murdered. It got out that he was still alive. I need to know what you want done with the body."
"Can I get back with you?" Josiah asked.
"Yes of course. John's thing's will be sent to his son. If it helps, John did request to be cremated. He even has the urn already picked out."
Josiah nodded his head. "Then go ahead with the cremation. You have our address to send everything to us?"
"Yes, we have it in John's file. I am so sorry to have had to tell you this," Warden Dobson said.
Josiah could hear the sincerity in the warden's voice. "Thank you, but you're not half as sorry as I am in having to tell JD."
"I do not envy you, Mr. Sanchez, and please give John David my condolences. I really liked his father."
"I will and thank you again," Josiah said and hung up the phone and hung his head.
It took Josiah a few minutes to get up the nerve to leave his office and face JD. By the time Josiah was done with the phone and getting his emotions under control enough to leave the office, Chris and his father were in the living room waiting with the others for Josiah.
Everyone in the living room looked up at Josiah when he entered the living room. Josiah sighed as he looked in the faces of his sons.
Buck knew the look. "No, don't say it."
Josiah closed his eyes and tilted his head back then looked back at JD. "I'm sorry JD. Your father died this morning."
Josiah got down on one knee when JD ran to him and held JD as the boy cried. The rest of the boys joined Josiah in giving JD their support.
The Sergeant Major felt like he was intruding on his sons family. He felt out of place. After a couple of minutes, the Sergeant Major tapped Chris on the shoulder and told him they could finish their talk in a couple of days and where Chris could get a hold of him. Chris nodded to his father. The Sergeant Major left by the front door so he didn't have to disturb the grieving family.
+ + + + + + +
The next day, the Fitzgeralds showed up at the farm about ten in the morning. Vin was watching for them from the bay window. Josiah kept the boys home from school for various reasons and didn't even go into work himself. His boys needed him today and he wasn't going to let them down or face uncertainty alone.
"I think they're here," Vin said when he watched a black rental pull into the driveway.
Josiah joined him at the window and laid a hand on his shoulder. "I think you're right."
Josiah greeted the Fitzgerazlds at the outside door. Josiah was stunned at the resemblance between the Fitzgerald boy and Vin. "I'm sorry for staring, but Judge Travis was right," Josiah said and lead the way upstairs to the main house.
"That's quite alright Mr. Sanchez," Patricia Fitzgerald said.
Josiah held the door open for his guests. Martin was the first one through the door. He stood off to the side so his mom could enter the room. Josiah squeezed past Patricia to enter the house when Patricia stopped dead when she saw Vin standing in the dining room.
"They're identical," Patricia whispered.
Martin looked up at his mom then back at Vin. "I'm Martin Fitzgerald," Martin said and stuck his hand out.
Vin walked up to Martin and shook his hand. "I'm Vincent Tanner. Everyone calls me Vin."
"Boys? This is Patricia Fitzgerald and her son Martin. Patricia, Martin, these are my boys, Chris, Buck, Nathan, JD and Ezra. And Vin introduced himself."
The boys all said hi and welcomed their guests.
Patricia smiled at Ezra. "You look a little bit like a man my husband uses to know."
"Really? May I ask, what was his name?"
"If I remember correctly, his name was Brice Pembroke. Victor knew him and his wife before me. I met Victor when I answered his ad for a nanny for his son Martin. Martin wasn't even a month old when Victor hired me and a year later he asked me to marry him and six months after that we got married."
"You say I look like this man, Pembroke?"
"Yes you do. Dad has a picture of himself with Mr. Pembroke in his office at home," Martin confirmed.
"I will be right back," Ezra said and left to go to his room.
"Well, come and sit down, and let the boys get to know each other," Josiah said and lead the way into the living room.
"Josiah? Can I take Martin upstairs and show him my room?"
"Of course you can Vin," Josiah smiled.
Ezra stepped to the side so Vin and Martin could pass him. He then turned toward Martin. "Martin? Is this Mr. Pembroke?" Ezra showed Martin the picture of his father.
Martin looked at the picture. "It looks like him."
"Thank you," Ezra said and went downstairs to show the picture to Mrs. Fitzgerald. "Mrs. Fitzgerald? Martin said this man looks like Mr. Pembroke."
Patricia took the picture and looked at it. "Yes, he does."
Ezra took the picture back and sighed. He was afraid to ask Mrs. Fitzgerald the next question, but knew he had to. "Is Mr. Pembroke still alive?"
"Last I knew he was, why?"
Ezra dropped down beside Josiah on the couch. "Because my mother told me he was dead. I never got to know him but she told me I was the spitting image of him."
Chris looked over at Josiah. "Ez, are you saying Mr. Pembroke is your father?"
Ezra nodded his head yes. He then looked Chris in the eyes. "She lied. If Mr. Pembroke is my father, mother lied. Why would she do that?"
"I don't know Ez. I wish I did," Chris answered.
"Ezra, look at me please," Josiah asked. Ezra looked up at Josiah. "Would you like to meet him?"
"Yes and no. Yes because I want to know him and no because this is my home."
Josiah smiled down at Ezra. "This will always be your home Ezra. But I do think you need to see him and get to know him. Your mother had no right to keep you from him."
"I am thinking perhaps the reason we moved around so much and dumping me on any relative that would take me was so my father couldn't locate me."
"That's a good possibility, since he tried to find you for years. He finally had to give up because it almost bankrupted him. And almost cost him his marriage."
Ezra looked up at Josiah with tears in his eyes. "He wanted me, Josiah."
Josiah nodded his head. "Yes he did."
No one noticed Vin and Martin who stood in the archway of the living room until Vin spoke. "Why wouldn't he want ya, Ez?"
"Mother didn't," Ezra sighed.
"I wish I knew how to get a hold of Mr. Pembroke but I don't. Brice and Victor had a falling out a few years ago and haven't spoken to each other since."
"I know someone that may be able to help find Mr. Pembroke," Buck said as he went to the phone on the sideboard in the dining room.
Martin went over to his mother. "Mom? Vin wants to show me the horses. May I go see them?"
"Sure, go have fun with your brother." Patricia smiled up at her son.
Chris stood. "Come on Nate, let's show Martin around the farm. You too JD."
JD sighed, "I don't feel like it."
Josiah sighed, "It's okay Chris."
Chris nodded his head and left with Vin, Nathan and Martin.
"Is something wrong Mr. Sanchez?" Patricia asked.
"Yes there is. JD's father died yesterday."
"Oh, I am so sorry. Perhaps Martin and I should leave and let your family grieve," Patricia said as she started to rise from the chair she was sitting in.
"It's okay Mrs. Fitzgerald," JD said and wiped the tears from his eyes with the back of his hand. "I'm glad he got to see his brother."
"Are you sure? We can come back another day."
JD nodded his head.
"How about this, Martin and I haven't eaten yet, so why don't we treat all of you to lunch?"
JD smiled up at Patricia. "Yeah and we know a good place too."
"I'll go and tell the others and Don said he would be happy to look for Mr. Pembroke," Buck said the left.
Ezra excused himself so he could take care of his picture of his father.
Patricia noticed a sadness in Josiah's eyes. "If you're worried Brice will take Ezra from you, don't. As much as it would make Brice happy to have him, I know for a fact since his wife's passing, Brice has lost his house and lives in hotels. He barely scrapes by. At least that was the way it was six years ago."
"A lot can happen in six years," Josiah chuckled. "A lot can happen in three months."
"How so?" Patricia asked.
"In three months time, I went from an apartment flat in Denver with no sons to this farm house in Four Corners with six sons."
"That is a lot," Patricia laughed and followed Josiah and JD to the back door. Ezra quickly joined them on the outside door landing.
Vin rode with the Fitzgeralds because he wanted to spend as much time with his twin brother as he could. JD told Patricia all about his father and how proud he was to be the man's son. Patricia listened to the boys as each one told how they became to be in Josiah's custody. The next day, Patricia and Martin went back to Washington DC. They spent the night at the farm because Martin and Vin insisted on it. Josiah and his boys saw them off and Patricia promised Martin would come and spend his spring break with Vin rather Victor liked it or not.
The next week, JD received his father's remains and all of his belongings and holdings. There was a small gathering of only family and close friends. The urn, JD sat on his dresser.
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