Real Family Part 13

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This is the home stretch with a couple of new twists coming. Sorry for dragging the story out, but I won't apologize for trying to write something that is a concept- real family for kids who need it. The situations are different but the root stays the same.
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The next day was a blur as the kids were taken to speak with Dr. Dane with both kids trying hard to not admit that they wanted Valerie and John to be their new parents. He asked if they felt that they were feeling that way with Logan tearfully admitting that he felt more love from them than he had ever received from anyone else. He loved Linda but John was able to understand him as a guy in ways that his mother was not able to do.

He hated to tell him but it always bugged him that Linda just couldn't understand him internally. She and Ella were one and the same but he and Linda were oil and water. They liked different things and whenever he took an interest in something it was always something she couldn't quite understand.

Ella was sad to admit that she liked that she wasn't the center of attention all the time now. Their friends were good and all but at the house they weren't under scrutiny by people who looked down on them because their mom liked women. Logan added that he felt normal now, his mother was his mother but people were now going out of their way to treat them better.

Dr. Dane listened then told both "you are dealing with grief and there will be a period where the newness of having two parents wears off. You have a lot of people who are ready, willing, and able to talk with you and who know the feelings you are experiencing firsthand. Jaimie and Miles are in the house with you, Francesca and the Hermans are across the street. Talk with them if you are starting to feel bad about things, they will never say no to the need to talk and if they are busy there are a lot more people who are able to talk in their place and who will listen to you without judging you. Just be careful, when the feelings finally hit that your mother has died don't do anything rash and let John and Valerie help you through it. It's their job to do so as your parents, foster or by adoption."

He sent them on their way with that, he knew they'd have another breakdown once they had the wake and funeral but it was inevitable and it would be among loved ones. Valerie asked if they were feeling better with Logan hugging her tight. She softly explained "it's alright to feel bad for liking being part of the family. Your mom was a great person and she wanted you to have parents who understood you."

Logan timidly told her "I always wanted a dad. Mom and Mama couldn't understand me." Valerie nodded, adding "trust me, I know all too well. Until John came along Michael and I had a lot of trouble understanding one another. I could r relate to girls but not boys."

That got Logan's interest just as Valerie anticipated. She knelt down and confessed "John isn't Michael's biological father, my ex-boyfriend Lance Jones is. Lance was a terrible person who wanted to harm the kids. Lance went to prison for fixing criminal cases, hiding evidence, then lying in court about the cases he was trying. This was all revealed when he tried to get Jaimie away from John when John wanted to adopt her as his daughter, just after she was revealed to the town as being transgender. John and I married just after he won the right to adopt Jaimie then we adopted both kids."

Logan's eyes shot open at hearing that. He mumbled "that was the man mom hired to make us. He knew Uncle Ted." Valerie asked if he was sure to which he shot back "mom has pictures of him and the contract to make us in her things. He and Uncle Ted worked together before Uncle Ted got hired at the law firm with Juan. He came by a couple of times and we met him but he hasn't been around for a long time. I guess what he did to Jaimie explains why."

Valerie saw the look in Logan's eyes and realized he was telling the truth. She sighed and told him "this makes things complicated. You not only have a half brother, you have an uncle and cousins. Both of them have stronger claims to your care than I do. I need to talk to some people about this, it needs to be clarified immediately."

At the Finn home, Valerie called Mick Jones and asked him to come over with Sarah and the kids. She then called Chloe Daniels and her parents. This needed their input as well as the consent of all involved. The last to be called was Michael, who understood that if he was being asked to do this it was important to his mother and the kids.

At the house all of them were sitting in the dining room awaiting the trio. Neil and Faith wanted to play but Valerie asked that they hold off doing so. Both saw that she was in her serious mood and relented, waiting with Logan and Ella while keeping little Brent occupied and out of trouble.

Hannah arrived with Pete, showing Valerie that the kids were telling the truth about their father being Lance Jones. She steeled herself, eventually looking at the angry face of Hannah who took the kids away to play with the energetic Brent while Valerie told the others the news.

Once the kids were out of earshot Valerie explained "the kids told me something this afternoon as we were coming back from speaking with Dr. Dane. Lance Jones is their biological father. Linda and he had a contract for him to impregnate her with Ted and Marlene encouraging his use. He and Ted were friends and had a long friendship dating back to their days after law school."

Mick's face went red while Michael got up to go with the kids. Valerie stopped him, hugged him, then told him "he is no more their father than he was yours." Michael shot back "they deserved better."

Downstairs Michael hugged Ella, with Hannah telling him "he was nothing to them just as he was nothing to you." Michael didn't respond, letting Ella hug him back while Logan tried his best not to say something. He finally asked, "why are Mr. and Mrs. Jones here?" Michael shook his head as Hannah explained "Uncle Mick is your uncle, he is Lance Jones' younger brother. Jones is a common name but he really is your uncle."

Faith and Neil realized just what that meant and hugged Ella and Logan. The kids were more than friends, they were blood relatives. Brent went for attention from Michael, getting Hannah to quip "at least he knows you needed a hug too" which Michael grinned at, letting Brent hug him.

Upstairs Mick asked about the arrangements with Chloe. Chloe read it over with a smile on her face and added "it's solid and she knew what she was doing at the time. You could challenge it in court but given that Michael is their brother and still a minor for the next two months there isn't much reason to. It would be fighting family and cause more harm to the kids than good."

Mick looked over at Valerie who was awaiting his reaction. Mick just shook his head at the whole situation, adding "Lance really knows how to complicate things even when he's in prison. I can't take them from you and would never think of going against Linda's wishes. Michael is their brother, they would only be hiding the truth from people who don't need to know their real lineage. They need you and John, not an aunt and uncle."

Chloe told them that they should file in court to get it legalized. They all knew what she meant and agreed to do it for the kids' sake. The kids were brought up with all of them explaining the situation, with only Brent not understanding what they meant. It was expected as he was only a year old.

Michael hugged the two tight as Valerie told them what had been agreed upon. Faith and Neil understood what it meant to everyone else, they would be cousins in all ways and not have to explain things that were uncomfortable to people who didn't need to know. Brent was finally told, "Ella and Logan are going to become your cousins." He nodded and went back to playing with Hannah, showing that he didn't really care nor understand and letting them talk more without him.

The kids were sent back downstairs to play while Michael got ready for his date with Courtney. John, Miles, and Jaimie eventually entered and were told the story with all of them agreeing with the outcome. Miles added "it was bound to happen, you were acting more motherly to them than you had acted in a while" while Jaimie added, "as long as they are ready for everyone putting them under scrutiny they are going to be alright."

John did go and have a talk with them once the others left, asking them if it was what they truly wanted. Logan hugged him, telling him "we always wanted a dad and you are the best dad anyone can have." Ella was quiet then added, "we just want you to be happy with us."

John smiled down and told her "I am happy. The only thing that you could do to make me unhappy would be breaking the rules or getting arrested, you two aren't the kind of kids to do either. I just wanted to know that you are going to be alright with all of your new cousins. And there are a lot of them- 22 more cousins alone from both Valerie's side and my side of the family beyond the cousins you already are related to now."

The kids looked up in shock but John shot off "Claire, Diego, Eric, Stephanie, Raul, Reed, Billy, Kylie, Bryan, Hannah, Paige, Pete, Nigel Jr., Ethan, Nichole, Marcus, Iris, Rachel, Julio, DJ, Stacy, and Rebecca. You have seven next door to you alone, with another three across the street. It's a lot to take in but it's all true."

The kids looked at Miles and Jaimie who were listening and saw them nodding. Jaimie added, "you also have Scott, Jessica, Christina, Rick, Thomas, Reyna, Sam, Will, Polly, Courtney, Jessie, Trina, and Avery who are going to be around in some form or another since they are all dating your cousins." Miles saw them trying to figure out what to say but added: "Jenna and George are going to be around by default so you will have them as cousins by association" with Jaimie teasing "Jenna won't let us forget that she is your future sister-in-law" causing the kids to snicker at their act.

Logan had it hit him that only Junior wasn't related to him. Jaimie snickered "he is practically a cousin since dad treats Uncle Sean as his uncle and he is Uncle William's father. Sometime tomorrow you can see the big family tree we started to show all of the different branches and how they interact with one another. You just added another branch but it is firmly part of us now. You are our brother and sister."

The kids were told it was bedtime with the teens putting them down for the night. It was going to be a tough day emotionally so they needed all the rest they could get. Jaimie checked in on them to ensure they were asleep and hugged both, getting a soft "thanks, sis" from Logan which the sleepy Logan didn't mean to tell her but meant a lot to her as his true feelings were coming through.

In the living room Miles and Jaimie both admitted the two would have a breakdown at the wake. It was too much for them, even being used to the family they would have to release their built up grief as they saw Linda lay still before them. Nobody wanted to see them in pain but they couldn't stop either kid from doing what was natural to them after seeing their mother deceased in front of them.

In the morning they kids were up early and playing with the twins in their rooms. There was little said over breakfast and even less as they got dressed. Both kids hugged and kissed Valerie and hugged John showing them that they understood the gravity of the day and accepted them as their new parents.

Jaimie dressed Ella and barely noticed what she was trying to hide. Jaimie noticed her hesitation and carefully told her "it's nothing I haven't seen before." Ella whispered she didn't believe Jaimie was born with boy parts which Jaimie countered with "I was hurt badly when I first started to be a girl, that ended up helping me develop faster. I still have ‘it' but I'm having surgery in June."

Over in his room Miles helped Logan dress. Logan wasn't happy to have to dress up in a suit but seeing Miles wearing one and hearing Michael grumble about wearing one put him at ease. Miles calmly told him "it sucks that you have to go but you need to do this for your own sake. Once you see that she isn't coming back it gets easier on you. It is the final acceptance, we live with the memories but we need that closure seeing her laying down and unable to move gives to us."

Logan asked him what he meant, getting a soft "my birth mom died from cancer when I was eight. I had to put up with her funeral and my father being a total scumbag about it. Be glad that you have your sister and mom and dad to help you out, I didn't have anyone until I came here. It was hell for me."

Miles had unintentionally started a bonding session with Logan who asked him what he meant by that. Miles knew better than to lie so he explained "I was adopted by mom and dad three and a half years ago. My birth dad got involved in with a criminal named Roland. Dad didn't see that he was being used and when he was arrested Roland sought the money he paid dad to buy a load of drugs. Dad stupidly thought he could get away with swindling Roland but he was killed. Roland tried to go after me, trying multiple times to get the money from me by beating me and trying to kidnap me."

Miles had Logan enthralled and continued "he only stopping when he gloated to dad about it. He didn't know just who I was in relation to dad yet. When he had enough to send Roland to prison dad got him to stop by telling him just who he was trying to threaten and kidnap- his own nephew. So I know how you feel and I know it sucks but you have mom and dad and a lot of other adults to help you out. They want you to be family, it's up to you to want to be part of it too."

Logan understood. He hugged Miles who didn't flinch at being hugged. Logan asked why he didn't flinch, getting a smile and soft "we are brothers now, it's a painful situation. You can hug your family and friends. Anyone who tells you it's girly and not manly is just stupid. Real guys know when to hug one another especially when it is dealing with something so painful."

Michael came in and told them it was time. Logan asked why he was so quiet around them, believing that the two had done something wrong. Miles shook his head and admitted "it's how he is. He doesn't go out of his way to help you through every step like Jaimie. He has his issues with Lance Jones that run deep, he is fighting his true feelings and is probably going to have a cry with Courtney later when they are alone. Don't worry about him being rough at times, he would never let you two get away from being his brother and sister now that he knows the truth. You are part of his life and won't get away."

Michael was going to say something but Logan embraced him in a hug. Miles grinned at Michael who was set up for the hug. Michael didn't have the heart to make a snide comment, instead giving them a push to get moving while hugging Logan back when Miles wasn't looking.

The wake was somber and quiet as the family was there in force with the family giving their condolences and offering their respects to the woman they had only briefly met or had only heard about through their children. Logan and Ella met everyone and endured tearful hugs from their closest cousins and some of their newest cousins. Sam York and Reyna Toro surprised the two as they were introduced as Iris and Rachel's girlfriends with the two never realizing they liked girls as the two had barely talked about anyone else while they were with the kids.

Daisy took the day harder than anyone. Linda was a direct link to her mother Sophia and with her death she was left with only fading memories of the woman who gave birth to her. She and Ella shared long cries in the corner while Logan tried to remain stoic but lost the fight as he saw Daisy breaking down.

Both kids were given their space with David and Patrick sticking close by to keep the youngest kids from getting close. JD and Cat thought they could cheer them up by trying to play with them but they didn't accept that it wasn't right to do so there. Julio took it the best and stuck close to Melanie and Dan, hugging both and not letting them out of his sight. He knew death all too well and he didn't want his new parents to get too far away until it was time to go.

It was tough to explain to Billy and Nigel about Linda's passing but both seemed to understand it too well. Benny Herman and Jack Bollinger were told but didn't comprehend what was going on. The adults simply let the two youngsters have their innocence, it wasn't the time and place to tell them that Linda was dead and wasn't going to meet them.

After the wake the teens didn't have the heart to go on dates so went home and concentrated on their families and schoolwork. Logan stuck close to Michael with Michael doing his best to not do anything that would upset him. Ella stayed close to Jaimie, with both trying to keep Daisy occupied and focusing on other things.

After dinner the kids started to look at old pictures that their mother kept of them and showed off Marlene resulting in Logan getting up to go to his room for some privacy. Michael checked in on him immediately while Miles and Jaimie had Ella keep looking at the pictures to keep her occupied. She asked if he was going to be alright with Jaimie telling her "he needs a talk with someone who experienced a similar betrayal. Lance Jones didn't kill dad but he tried to destroy dad's life and send him to prison for abusing me. He did it to get mom back but it failed badly for him."

Michael sat Logan down and explained to him "Miles and Jaimie think I am going to talk with you about Lance Jones but you need to know a similar story. They don't want to tell you this but Taylor Gault did the same exact thing Marlene did. He sent people to kill Al's parents for trying to blackmail him and ended up accidentally causing the deaths of the White-Clarks. They were great people who didn't deserve to die, but they also saved Al's life by being there. She would have died if their car didn't cause hers to slow down enough to only cause her lots of damage to her groin but not kill her. He hurt us, but he ended up getting his in the end. The same happened to Marlene and will happen to the man who killed Linda."

Logan went back downstairs and joined the others in looking through more pictures with both kids getting embarrassed as they saw pictures of them doing funny things to one another. They couldn't help but feel better about everything, their mother was gone but she wasn't forgotten. They had something to remember her by and would always cherish the memories of her.

The kids went through all of the pictures but found it hard to toss away the ones that featured Marlene and Linda. It was heart-wrenching but they couldn't turn their backs on someone who hurt them so badly. Deep down Linda loved Marlene no matter what she did to her, she was a part of their lives.

The next morning was a repeat with the kids helping the twins get dressed while John and Valerie got their things together. Once breakfast was done they got fully dressed and got to see John in his reserve police uniform for the first time. Logan was awestruck by the sight, a dad standing proudly over them and doing something that was noble for no pay and lots of ridicule.

John noted Logan's reaction, it was what he usually saw in kids meeting their idols but with Logan it was more intense. Logan asked Miles about John's uniform, getting a smirk and happy "he helped Uncle Willie when the police needed more people. He has done a lot for them and the four dads have done the worst shifts so the others didn't have to. Dad doesn't have to work at all, he helps anyway."

Miles had unintentionally hit on something that wasn't supposed to be told to the kids. Logan wasn't going to let him get out of it so Miles confessed "dad is worth over $500 million. He doesn't have to work but does so because he loves to teach. All of us have our own money, Jaimie and I have worked jobs but we can't keep them for long since people don't like us- her because she is transgender, me because people knew my birth father. I won some money last summer from Patrick and Deborah gambling in Las Vegas so I am all set for money for a while."

He knew the next question so he added "Michael is good with the stock market so he earned enough to not have to work but wants to continue anyway. He also works part-time for a company in England so he earns a small salary from that. A lot of the kids and teens have money, really only Stacy, Rebecca, DJ, Julio, George, TJ, Marcus, Brent, and the tweens don't have their own money."

Logan left it at that, he didn't notice his name wasn't included in the list which Miles was thankful for. Downstairs they finished getting the twins ready and met the limo outside to take them to the funeral. The twins went with Valerie as John went with the kids and the trio in the limo. The funeral was quick and there was a long procession as the multiple cars drove to the cemetery but it was somber and quiet.

The two broke down as the casket was lowered down. Both dropped violets onto Linda's casket as they said their final goodbyes, with all shedding a tear as the kids silently wept for several minutes. The procession broke up with the kids spending time alone in their rooms while the twins did their best to try to keep their spirits up. The four finally fell asleep early, emotionally spent from the sad day.

The next morning was hectic as the kids got ready for school. Valerie had them know that she was ready to take them home if they needed to leave, but both assured her they were fine. The two were quiet but knew she was just doing what she needed to do as their new mom.

At the school Yvette Prince made the changes to their records to reflect Valerie and John as their parents with Jorge and Victoria being their emergency contacts. Yvette did what was needed and was quite sullen as she went about her business with Valerie telling her that it wasn't her fault, nothing was. Yvette sighed and explained "she was the best damn secretary I ever met, she did more in three days than most had done in a year. She is irreplaceable. It hurts to know she died needlessly. It hurts."

The two were talking when Ella's teacher came in to complain about Ella's absences. Yvette kept Valerie quiet but the woman demanded to know why she was being given special treatment for missing school without a note. Yvette let her talk her way into trouble then pointed to Valerie.

Valerie was angered but held her temper in check. She calmly explained "Ella Brown missed school because her mother was murdered outside the school last Wednesday. She shouldn't be back until next Monday but she is insisting that she return and her psychologist has backed her up on this. Her absences are automatically excused per district guidelines for bereavement, particularly of a close relative. She did her work and will present it to you when class begins. This is your second mistake regarding her, as such this is your official warning. Abide by the rules and regulations or you will be let go after the year and a replacement who is willing to follow the rules will be hired."

She was about to say something but Yvette added "Valerie Finn is Ella Brown's new foster mother. She is not lying about doing what she said she would do, she has done it five times already to teachers at the high school, the Early Learning Center, and one right here. She doesn't threaten, she promises. She isn't the one to worry about, John is and he has more clout in the union than you ever will. So please, try her. It's your job to lose. Nobody will defend you against her."

Valerie and Yvette waited for her to say something. She calmly told them "I want her out of my class. I can't teach her. I have a personal issue with her and won't be able to teach her." Yvette just grinned then added "she will be moved to another class. However, you are also losing her cousins as well. I will personally explain to the students why Ella, Faith, and Daisy are moving."

Valerie walked out and caught Mick before he left. He looked at the teacher and shook his head in disgust, telling her loudly "do you always harass and insult students who just lost their parents?" That caught the attention of William Kelly who asked Yvette what happened and got the woman to grow scared as she realized that she had stirred up a hornet's nest.

William just grinned and added "so you are alright with insulting, berating, and complaining about a child who is being treated for a disorder that wasn't their fault, was negligently uncared for, and who just lost her parent? I understand the school district guidelines are strict, care to explain the reason for wanting to break them? Do you select who you target or do you take advantage of life-changing situations for the child?"

Yvette grinned and added "this isn't the first time she has made comments about students who were born different but it will be the last time. We will not be retaining her services after this year and will have her on a short leash. Should she stray from the rules again she will be disciplined." William knew he had the teacher so he just grinned and waited with her rushing away in shame.

Mick just laughed at the whole situation, slapping William on the back in praise. William just grinned and proudly told him "she has been a witch for years. She was one of Mead's hires and it shows just what she was as a principal. Ella is lucky to have gotten away from her, it was only a matter of time before she shot her mouth off and set off Daisy. Hell hath no fury like an upset Daisy."

Valerie bowed out after that, hugging William tight while he blushed. She offered to take Junior home to give him and Amanda some alone time which he grinned at getting him to blush again. She knew how to wind him up and he was grateful for the offer.

She drove on to the probate and family court in Boston to file the adoption paperwork. As expected she was flagged for a talk with Judge Perez. Judge Perez eager to spend some time with her to get to know the person rather than the plaintiff.

Valerie laid out the situation, telling her "my husband and I were asked by a friend to care for her children should anything happen to her. Sadly it was prophetic as she was murdered the next day. We have come to learn that my son is her children's biological brother and that my brother is their biological uncle. We couldn't deny her request but knowing that our son is their sibling we can't let them go no matter what."

She asked the woman's name. A shiver went down her spine as she heard it with Judge Perez somberly offering "she was a looker. It's a tragedy that she passed on but she did the best thing possible for her kids. Your family is one that every child wants to be part of. Can I ask, do you mean your husband isn't your son's father?"

Valerie sighed and confessed "my husband isn't his biological father but is the only man who has ever had the pleasure of having him call him ‘dad'. My ex-boyfriend abandoned us when I was pregnant with Michael and showed up almost six years ago to prevent my husband from adopting our daughter. He stole John's records, hid important parts of social services' file, and used a bigoted doctor to claim abuse. He ended up getting caught with dozens of important files and pieces of evidence that were used to fix cases against people and is spending the back half of a 10-year prison sentence."

She paused then added "the kids were conceived eight and 10 years ago while he was working with their uncle. It was planned and he signed away all rights to the kids, it was pure business. We only found out about their connection because they needed assurances about us knowing how to deal with kids who were betrayed like they were by their mother's ex-wife. Through a twist of irony their cousins are actually their friends, with Logan being related soon to two of his three and Ella directly related to both of her friends."

Judge Perez grinned at hearing that. It was simply the Finns being the Finns and could only happen to them. She considered the adoption but Valerie told her firmly "no special favors. We do this by the book. They only needed it filed, we can wait for the hearing."

Judge Perez laughed at that then told her "so be it, one month they are your son and daughter. There is no reason to delay it as you have everything going in your favor with all possible next of kin being in agreement that they are best in your care. Good luck, and don't let them get overwhelmed."

The two said their goodbyes with Judge Perez wishing her the best, knowing she'd need it. Valerie never had the chance to get home as she was called to the school to sort out a problem, this time with Logan. It was expected, boys just couldn't leave well enough alone and had to challenge him.



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