Real Family Part 14

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I figured it best to end Part 13 on a partial cliffhanger than a full one, if you are observant you might see where the intended end of Part 13 was.
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Logan had been dropped off early and talked with Junior, Ethan, and Neil who all wanted to know how he was doing. Logan was feeling a lot better and was eager to move on and talk about anything else. The four walked around with Logan finally asking about how they got used to so many people.

All three quickly shot back "we are family." Ethan added "mom's, now your family, had a lot of members so she was used to so many cousins. Not all of them were good like our cousins and some even hated mom, Uncle John, and Aunt Leslie for no reason. You won't see most of the family for a while, probably next time at the graduations in June if not at the adoption party next month. The tweens keep to themselves and we don't do much with your brothers and sister and the other teens so it's really four groups as part of the whole family, we just happen to be very big family."

In class Logan's teacher was going easy on him that day. After the confrontation in the office, his teacher was quickly told just who he was now living with and offered his congratulations and condolences getting a snicker from the trio. Logan just smiled back, his teacher was trying to help him move on and accept his new life. He appreciated the effort, it was nice to know his teacher understood.

Throughout the day the four were being observed by the class bullies who thought it best to pick on the new kid especially as they knew he was at his most vulnerable and they had a big issue to hold over him. The leader was Carlos Castillo, a boy notorious for going after kids for no reason and who had already targeted Neil in the past. Logan though was used to bullies going after him, he was an easy target since his sister was considered a freak because of someone telling the school about her birth defect and his mom was a lesbian and married to a known cheater.

During lunch, the boys circled Logan and started taunting him causing him to get up and get away from the bulk of the crowd in case they tried to do something more than taunting him. Logan didn't react, in fact, he ignored them outside of moving to a better location. This tactic was smart as they kept at it until they got fed up and started tossing him around among themselves. This crossed the line, he was now going to defend himself from them.

Junior went off to find a teacher and found the best one possible, Mr. Ivan King. He saw the boys pushing Logan around with Logan not reacting. When Carlos finally punched him Logan punched him square in jaw stunning him then flipped Carlos's best friend and fellow bully Adrian Hernandez onto his back landing hard on his wrist leaving the third and fourth boys, Steven Willis and Dante Green to try to get him in retaliation. Neither got close, Logan ducked and caused one to hit the other then kicked out the knees of the one who punched the other. Neither were seriously hurt just stunned.

Ivan yelled for them to break it up, then told Logan that he saw the whole thing. The four in pain were sent to the nurse to get checked out while he took Logan to the office. Yvette sighed and told her secretary to call Valerie while she got ready for the boys' parents to come after Logan.

Yvette asked what happened with the trio defending Logan. Logan told them to stop, it was his fight, not theirs. He freely told Yvette "I did it. I hurt them. I could have hurt them a lot more than I did. Mom taught me to defend myself and I swore I would never hurt anyone unless I had to. Junior, Neil, and Ethan are innocent. They didn't do anything, they were coming after me and ignored them."

Yvette sent the trio on their way, it was clear he wouldn't let them get involved. Ivan came in and told her exactly what happened and why. The four boys were going after him simply because he just lost his mother and were trying to show him they were the bosses of the school. Logan was considered weak and hearing he was staying with the Finns they thought they could win over the school by showing what they could do to one of the Finns.

Yvette just smirked and asked where Logan learned to defend himself. He shed a tear as he told about Linda teaching him after kids beat him up in the first grade. It was the only thing he could do well and it was something offered for free from the community center nearby. Kids left him alone after that, especially once he earned several belts and was in the newspaper standing over someone who lost to him in a tournament. Logan had never hurt anyone before but this was different, they actually hit him. It was self-defense and he had to stop them before they hurt him or worse- his friends.

Ivan was excused then sent Logan back to class as well. Valerie was called again to get her there faster since it was going to be a mess. She immediately went to the school, knowing it had to have been Logan without Yvette saying who was involved. Yvette didn't say anything about it, she was actually coming to set things straight with the parents and avoid further issues.

Yvette called all four boys' parents and foster parents and made sure they were coming then had Chloe Daniels come since it would be trouble for at least two of them. Chloe understood what would happen when she got there, it was likely they were going to be kicked out of their homes. She had her list of potential foster parents ready, willing, and able to house them but didn't want to do so unless it was absolutely necessary.

Valerie arrived and was told what happened and why. She agreed not to press charges against the boys with the boys getting their only warning to leave Logan alone. Chloe being there surprised her but she didn't ask who she was there for, only saying she would fight for Logan if need be which Chloe didn't offer a response to it in an attempt to not show favoritism towards her.

Yvette called the nurse to bring in the kids once their parents and foster parents arrived. The four were fearful with the parents angry at being called away and on the verge of hitting the kids as soon as they entered the office. Yvette tempered their anger but it was clear that the boys were going to have a tough time at home for a while.

The foster parents were the worst, Chloe texted Mark to have the kids removed from their care and have them removed from the list as being unsuitable and abusive. They needed to get away, even if they were bullies they didn't deserve to be assaulted. Valerie sensed what was going on and texted they were going to get off easy and didn't deserve abuse and this may be the true cause of it for two of them.

The kids were led out for a bit to get out of the line of fire with Yvette explaining to them firmly "Mrs. Finn has agreed not to press charges against you but you are all on short leashes." The boys were silent as they awaited their fates, it was going to be a night of abuse and likely group homes for them but they accepted their punishments. They were told to return to class, they had detention for two months.

Inside the parents threatened to sue which got a laugh from Valerie. Yvette told the two couples "she is a lawyer and there are witnesses that state your sons assaulted her foster son without provocation and he fought back in self-defense. You don't have any legal grounds to sue, he actually does though."

That shut them up but it was felt that Logan should be disciplined. Valerie countered with a firm "he defended himself against four older, larger boys. He did nothing to them and until they laid hands on him he didn't react to them. Self-defense is a justifiable action in his case, whereas bullying isn't."

There were arguments going back and forth with Valerie countering all of them. The parents couldn't win, and the more they tried the more they were made to look like they were seeking money instead of getting restitution for a wrongful act. Valerie then countered that any lawsuit would be met with one against them for twice the amount which shut up all talk about lawsuits.

Yvette finally told them "your sons will receive detention and will have to leave Logan alone for the rest of the year. Given who the boys' relatives are they will enter the middle school with a reputation that will earn them close scrutiny by the principals. This is their only chance to counter that. Carlos is already under scrutiny as it is thanks to his father, I don't believe he wants the fears justified."

The parents left with the foster parents telling Chloe they wouldn't house the boys anymore. They were angry that they couldn't sue for what Logan had caused which Chloe ignored while noting they were money grabbers seeing the boys as paychecks, not real parents. She took custody of the boys then sent the parents on their way with a note that someone would be by to collect the boys' things later and they had better be all together or there would be issues with them.

Steven and Dante were upset but understood why they were being kicked out again. They had nobody and were repentant for what they did. They only did what they did because they had to, Carlos and Adrian were tough on them before they joined them. It was join or get hurt horribly. They chose to join.

Chloe managed to find foster parents for both boys, getting a surprising response from Graham and Riley Pierce as she asked them. The others to be asked were William and Amanda Kelly, who she hoped could do the right thing but feared they would be too afraid to do so. William looked at Amanda and tearfully agreed, it was a chance to mother another child and one who needed love more than anything.

The boys were sent back to class with Chloe arranging for their possessions to be removed by Todd Flynn, David Peterson, and her husband. Mike wasn't too happy to be volunteered but understood the need to be there to help two boys who needed a new start in life. It also helped to knock him out of his funk that he had been in for the past week since the death of Linda.

After school, Chloe got the boys and took them to their former homes and gathered everything with Mike, Todd, and David doing the heavy lifting. They didn't have much, what they did have were simple comforts that none of them could blame them having such as mementos of fun days and of old schools. The two were solemn and sullen and only reacted when one of the guys grabbed a bag that was quickly claimed to be personal.

David saw what was inside and understood immediately what was going on, with both boys getting scared of what they would say. David didn't rat them out, but he did tell them to keep it hidden from others. Chloe asked him what happened, only getting a simple "private matter" from him. He didn't believe it was his place to tell her what was in the bag nor was it his place to judge, it was his job to help move the boys and if they wanted it kept hidden he wasn't about to reveal the contents.

There was little drama as the former foster parents simply let the kids go and didn't bother to try to take anything especially as Todd was in uniform. The former foster parents didn't want to tempt fate by trying to claim the boys' things as their own with the men looking like they were ready for a fight on the boys' behalf. The boys expected the worst but when Steven was dropped off with the Pierces and Dante with the Kellys they tensed up more.

Dante was fearful as Junior was home and outside to meet them. He knew full well why he was really there as it was no secret he was a foster kid and was involved in trying to beat-up Logan. Seeing him caused Dante to react badly, to which Chloe assured him it was going to be alright and they were the best people to help him. He was still scared and didn't ease up even as Amanda led him inside to his room.

Amanda saw him clutching a bag and offered to put it away for him causing Dante to cry and tell her it was private. She let him put his things away while she went to talk with Chloe about what was going on with him but keeping an ear out just in case he tried to do something horrible. Junior told her he was in trouble earlier for trying to beat up Logan but Amanda told him it wasn't that, there was something more going on with him that involved that bag.

Chloe sighed and told them "he has kept that bag safe for a long time. It's his most prized possession and whatever is inside it, he keeps under heavy guard and only shows to Steven. It isn't anything dangerous, it's something that involves the two of them and it's best to let him show you once you have his trust."

Chloe eventually left with Junior promising to not antagonize the fragile Dante. He had no intentions of doing that, he simply wanted to do his work and leave him to get settled in on his own. Amanda though checked in on Dante frequently and spotted the bag tucked away under the bed seemingly out of sight and decided it was best to just try to find out the problem later on once he had settled down more.

After he finished his homework and helped with dinner Dante went back up to his room but stopped short as he saw Junior with his bag looking at the things inside. He was going to attack Junior for invading his privacy but William saw Junior in there and sent him to his room in punishment. Dante was going to gather his things to flee but William sat him down and asked about the contents.

The jig was up. Dante confessed "they are mine. I stole them from the neighbors and wear them when I can. Carlos and Adrian caught me out dressed and threatened to have my foster parents beat me if I didn't do what they said. They made me do things to them t hat were disgusting. I hated it. I just wanted to feel pretty."

He broke down, with William comforting him. It was his darkest secret but it was one that William understood. The two waited for Amanda to come home from the studio to talk about the bag with William doing his best to assure him it was going to be alright.

Amanda returned and gave Dante a big hug when she saw his tears. William showed great concern and confessed "he has some special items in his bag that Junior found. He violated Dante's privacy and is going to be punished for the rest of the week."

Amanda asked what was inside. William looked at Dante who was ashamed of himself over the situation and admitted "it's filled with girls clothes including bras and panties. He has admitted to wanting to feel pretty but not more. He also admitted that he was forced to do some horrible things to the other boys to keep his secret."

Amanda showed care and asked, "are you a girl inside?" He couldn't answer her but the tears belied his truth. She sent William away then told him firmly "if you are a girl inside we will do what we can to help you be the girl you need to be. You have a right to be a normal person and lead a happy life and if that means that you become a girl then we will help you become a girl."

He put his head down in shame. It wasn't what he expected. He was so used to people accusing him of being gay and being another tranny freak that he closed off from the world. Amanda understood what was really going on. She sighed and blurted out "I know you are hiding the truth. You aren't the girl. He is, isn't he? Steven owns these clothes."

He looked away in shame but Amanda hugged him, offering a quiet "I know what he is going through better than anyone, I was born a boy. He needs help before he does something to harm himself. You are his friend, you would take beatings and hide his stash to keep his secret but he needs help. You have no reason to trust us but we want to help him as best we can. Please, help us help him."

Amanda called Graham and Riley and told them that the boys should stay home the next day as they had to have a long talk. Riley was concerned about them to which Amanda had to break confidence and explain "they need to see a specialist. Your new foster son may be your foster daughter."

That hit them hard but Amanda had expected this and added "they are protective of one another, Dante would rather hide the truth and accept a beating than rat out his friend. I know the signs, he isn't exhibiting any of them but the only reason for the clothes is his friend is like me. He may be a girl inside."

The two agreed to call for an evaluation with Amanda having Dr. Bell handle it because of Alison Eliza's impending labor. She turned to her new foster son and smiled, telling him warmly "you are a true friend. You did the right thing, but he needs help nobody can give except Dr. Bell. You are his only support but I think you have a story to tell yourself. We can help you, if you let us."

He started to cry, telling her "he is my only real friend. I don't care that he is a girl inside, he has been my friend since we met in kindergarten and have always been together. I got him the clothes because his foster parents always kept a close eye on him because he is so girly. I kept them safe but now he is going to hate me for getting caught again. Please, I don't want to go to the group home!"

Amanda hugged him and rocked him. He was crying steadily which she had to softly explain "I can't send you away. Graham and Riley will get him proper help but he needs you too. This is your home now."

Amanda put him to bed with a kiss on the forehead. William had a big smile on his face which she shared. It was her chance to be a mother again, to someone who really needed a mother, not just another parent. William wisely whispered "he won't go anywhere now, he needs us. They both do."

In the morning Junior was sent off to school with Neil and Faith. Alison met with them briefly then drove in to work while the Pierces and Kellys met to talk about the boys. All were in agreement, they needed to have a talk with Dr. Bell to get a proper diagnosis to see if he was transgender or if he was simply a cross-dresser or transvestite or going through a phase.

The boys stuck close together with anticipation of impending abuse. It never came, the adults simply talked and bided their time before they had to leave for the appointments. The two were ushered into the cars to go, with the two refusing to separate prompting both to go in with the Pierces.

Dr. Bell greeted the group and asked to talk with the boys separately. She intended to get to the bottom of things as it was a complex and unique situation but one that needed addressing immediately for the boys' sake. The boys were reluctant to separate but did so as they had no choice.

Steven was first and was solemn and scared. He admitted to loving to dress and feeling like he was a girl. It was a relief from his troubles, he could be a different person and not have to worry about the world. He loved Dante unconditionally and to him, he was the closest he had to a brother. Dr. Bell asked if he liked him as more than a brother, getting a sharp "we are just brothers, not boyfriends."

The more he talked, the less he was showing he was a girl inside. To her, it was him trying to escape his tough family life. He was almost a separate person, maybe with proper love and attention he may not need to become his girl self and become the normal boy he really wanted to be.

Dante was the same. He loved Steven unconditionally and saw him as a brother more than anything else. He fully supported his friend, he would rather that he be happy than sad even if it meant he was a girl. He didn't care about being seen as being gay or transgender himself, all that mattered was Steven.

She asked about why he was acting as a girl and got the response of "he wants to be treated normally. People see us as being pathetic trash that you avoid. As a girl, he gets treated nicely. Everyone we met was nice to us and nobody gave him a second look. They didn't pity us, they treated us like normal."

She had her recommendation but added "what about if people treated you differently? Do you think he would be a boy?" He smiled and realized what she was getting at. He admitted "he wants a family. It's all he ever wanted. With a mom and dad, people will stop treating him like he is diseased or should be looked down up. I am used to it and accept that I won't ever get one but can't take the pain anymore. He just wants to be a son to someone even if it means he has to be a daughter."

She called both inside and asked them "are you aware of the Pierces and the Kellys?" Both admitted they only heard rumors about them. Dr. Bell confessed "they branches of the huge Finn Family. Those people are some of the most amazing people you will ever know. If they took you into their homes then they wanted to give you a chance at a stable life. I guarantee they will help you no matter what. You don't have to pretend to be something you aren't, you can be your true self and finally be happy."

They started to think. She had them there. They had their assurances that they were getting what they always wanted in life. She took the initiative and added "I don't believe you really are a girl. I believe you were looking for anything to escape your horrible treatment. In your mind, that was through being a girl. You are a normal boy, you just need love. You have that now. You have a true friend and if I am not mistaken you will have many more who will join you and help you. Give it time, you don't have to be what you aren't to get what you need. You are Steven, not Stephanie or Stacy or whatever name you called yourself while dressed as someone you never were."

The boys were left to ponder her statement. She talked with Riley and Graham separately as the boys were left to think. Dr. Bell gave her official statement, telling them "he isn't a girl in any form. He is abused and neglected. He is in desperate need of a family. I recommend that you try to ease him into things as he adjusts to having you two as parents. If you can try to have the others help them."

Dr. Bell released them with both boys being assured that they were going to be fine. At the Pierce home, Graham hugged him and happily told him "Oscar always wanted a brother but we were just too busy to give up our time to raise another baby. You give him a younger sibling he always wanted. Give him a chance to get used to you, he's a great boy."

Graham took him shopping to get more clothes while Riley made arrangements to find a bigger house to live in. Dan already had one for them, which she had to laugh at. In the usual manner, it was close to the family's inner circle, directly behind the Sylvester home. That meant Oscar would have more chances to see his girlfriend Amy thanks to the number of teens being close by and Polly living two houses down.

She had to tell him that he was a saint to which he shot back "as long as it's not a Saint Bernard" getting a big laugh from her. Graham returned and loved the news with plans for the move made as they had a nice offer on their house already from eager neighbors. They were working hard to plan things with Steven growing increasingly upset at the situation.

Riley realized their mistake so she sat him down, explaining "we need a larger house. Graham needs an office as he usually works from home and you need your own room. You aren't causing any issues, in fact, it's a good thing. You are going to be around people who are good people and who could use a nice young man like yourself to be the big brother for the younger boys. Logan, DJ, JD, and Julio will be looking up to you now that you are in the neighborhood."

This calmed him with Graham adding "Oscar has been begging me to convert the basement into an entertainment room, I guess I can do it now with the new house. It lets you two have your own place while we have the attic and a spare bedroom for an office and guests. Plus Dante is nearby too."

Over at the Kelly home, Amanda introduced Dante to her mother-in-law Danielle. She asked about the clothes in the bag in his room getting a scared look from Dante. Danielle didn't know what was going on but if he was like her daughter-in-law she would be more than happy to help.

Amanda smiled at her and happily admitted "he was doing the most amazing act of love for his friend. He kept his friend's prized possessions safe and helped him try to be what he felt he needed to be. He wasn't really a girl, he just believed that he had to be what he wasn't to escape the scorn of people. He is being helped with his issues, all he really needed was family love which he is getting in droves."

Danielle nodded in understanding. She had seen it before and seen how far people were willing to go to avoid the pain. He chose to try to be a girl, so many others turned to crime. He had support and a true friend, which she happily hugged Dante over being.

At the school, Junior told Logan about the boys now living with him and the Pierces. Logan wanted to hate them but hearing Junior explain why they did what they did it wasn't far from what he had seen many other times before. He forgave them for their actions, as long as they forgot their attitudes.

Neil sensed something was up which Junior refused to talk about. Even in the privacy of the Smith home, he didn't talk about it. A glance at Nichole gave a subtle clue which Ethan backed away at.

After some time with the Smiths Junior was driven home with his parents explaining what happened and why. He listened and understood with Junior telling Dante that Logan would forgive him if he dropped the bully act. He agreed, with Junior adding "the girls may actually like you now."

That sparked a grim from Amanda as Dante blushed. Junior was told "he's too young for girls but Kylie and the others might try to get close to him. It will be hard to avoid Kylie since she lives around the corner." This caused another blush which Junior took to mean he had a crush on her.

Up in his room, Junior told him warmly "Kylie will understand you. Nancy might be tougher but she is always protective of Kylie." He tried to deflect but Junior firmly told him "she likes boys who are real friends, not fake friends. You were a jerk but you weren't the one who started it. She will understand why you did what you did and as long as you don't do it again she and the girls will forgive you."

Logan was asked about his day which prompted him to tell Valerie about the change in the boys. She sighed and told him what she suspected "he was doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. I have seen it before, people will try to be who they aren't because they love someone and want to protect them. Miles and Jaimie did it when they started dating and it failed badly. They probably had a reason for continuing their act, something that was bad and has been corrected with their new parents."

She smiled as she read a text from Riley about moving in behind the Sylvesters. She asked about the boys getting a clear "not TG just needs love" which she had to call about. Riley filled her in with Valerie understanding it all too well. She added, "I'll tell Logan and allay his fears, it might do the six some good to spend time together since they will be around one another now."

She checked in on Logan again, telling him "we found out why the boys were doing what they were doing. I was right, it was doing a bad thing for the right reasons. They are getting the help they need, I want you and your cousins to help them. You know one lives with Junior, the other will be moving in behind your aunt and uncle's house. It's important that you guys get along but I think you can benefit from another boy being so close and one who could use a friend who knows what he went through."

He didn't give her a response, only hugging her. It was enough for her, he understood. Ella asked what was going on and was told sweetly "your brother was asked to give someone a chance to show they are more than just a foster kid." She walked away, but told Valerie "nobody liked those boys." Valerie countered with "some boys are good at heart but have to act badly to protect others."

The next morning the boys had to deal with Adrian and Carlo. As expected Dante and Steven were told what to do but instead of bullying some of the smaller kids they walked away. They didn't make it two feet before they were knocked down and punched by Carlos and Adrian while being called homophobic names and told they would get them expelled for what they did at home.

Mick and Willie pulled the boys off them. Carlos and Adrian struck at them, hitting Mick in the eye while catching Willie in the nose. Yvette loudly told the boys they had earned an expulsion for their actions as they had not only assaulted the boys but two adults as well.

The boys tried to act like tough guys but seeing just who they hit caused them to lose the swagger. Willie asked Mick if he heard what they were saying to the boys, getting a simple "every word of it" then told Yvette "I doubt anything will come from pressing charges but these two have earned a trip to the alternative school for their actions. As big and mighty as they act they haven't yet met boys and girls who won't put up with their antics."

The boys were led inside with the boys' parents being called again. This time they were told there was no reprieve, they had assaulted two people in addition to the assault on Dante and Steven. There were the usual threats of lawsuits but being told that one was chief of police and the other was a federal agent stopped them cold. Carlos' father tried to threaten her directly getting Yvette to tell him to try, she would gladly have him arrested for threatening her then have the boys tried for their assaults.

Yvette added a firm "they could have gotten a suspension but their homophobic slurs and unprovoked assault on Chief Pena and Agent Jones can't be overlooked. They are hereby expelled from this school and will be sent to the alternative school immediately."

Yvette sent them away with word being sent to Chloe to check the children as she suspected abuse and less than ideal family situations. She hated doing it but sometimes imploding a family who was harming a child was what was needed. She just hoped that they learned their lessons. The Castillos were not exact the greatest people outside Jorge and Juan so the boys needed backup.

During lunch, Dante and Steven were approached by Kylie and the girls. Their action that morning caught their gaze as it was so unlike them to do something against their so-called friends. The boys didn't say why Carlos and Adrian said the things they said to them but Kylie and Nichole figured out something was going with them.

After school, the girls cornered them and demanded to know what was going on with them. The boys looked around to see if anyone was within earshot then Steven quietly but angrily told them "they caught me dressed as a girl. There I said it. I was dressed like a girl."

The two walked away with Kylie not letting them get away easily. She told them she was coming by with Nichole, Nancy, and Margaret joining them. It was unavoidable, the girls had made up their minds and would get the whole truth no matter what.

In the comfort of the Kelly home, Steven finally admitted "my foster parents were horrible to me. I thought that I was better off as a girl and kept dressing like a girl. Dr. Bell said I wasn't a girl, that I just needed a mom and dad who cared about me. Dante has been my best friend since we were in kindergarten and kept protecting me so he kept my clothes with him. He kept them from hurting me but had to act like their bodyguard while I was their girlfriend. They didn't like that I was not going to be their girlfriend anymore. I don't need to be. I am not a girl. I never was."

Kylie asked Dante if that was true, getting a somber "his clothes are in my room." She went upstairs and looked in the bag, snickering at the outfits then showing them to the girls. Nancy shook her head, telling him "you can't make that color look good and it's too short on you. No wonder you were clocked."

The girls agreed with her and asked if he really meant it when he said he didn't need to try to be a girl anymore. Steven shot back that he had a brother and parents now. They asked who his foster parents were and laughed at hearing it. Margaret shook her head, telling the others "Oscar is acting weird, guess it's because he's a big brother now and not his normal boy weirdness."

Junior wisely kept away from them, letting the fifth graders handle their own situation. Neil and he talked about the girls being over there, getting a snicker from Faith and Ella as they joked they had crushes on the girls. The boys let it go but did counter with jokes about them liking the boys in their class earning gasps and "ew!" responses from them.

Amanda came home to find the six together in the living room. She saw the clothes out and asked about them. Kylie was harsh with her criticism of the clothes, insisting he looked better in longer skirts and blouses getting a laugh from the girls as the boys didn't say anything.

She took that to mean they were alright now and took the clothes away to be donated. The kids were told to do their homework which got groans from them but a smile from the boys. This little subtle reaction was all the confirmation the girls needed that the boys were telling the truth, they wanted someone who cared about them to show them affection which Amanda had done without knowing it.

Junior finally came home and almost went back out at the girls still being there. They asked him if he did his homework which caused him to rush to finish his while they laughed at him. Riley came to pick up Steven and was greeted by the four girls who told her they knew and it was fine.

The girls left with Kylie hugging Dante tight over being a good friend. He was left with a big smile which Amanda left unmentioned but feeling pride over seeing. He got what he needed most, assurances from those he had crushes on and affection from the one he liked most.

Logan watched as the girls left and saw Dante acting weird. Valerie smiled and informed him "he is crushing on the girls. He got something special from them, he got peace of mind. They are going to be closer to him in school and befriend him. It's what he needs most, people who understand him and who want to help him."

Logan got the message, she wanted him to set aside the past and be there for Steven when he moved in. He accepted the job with Valerie telling him warmly "he will be to you what you are to JD. JD adores you, you can be the little brother he needs to give him a sense of who he is as a person. He already has a big brother but they won't be around each other as much as you and him."

After Logan went to bed Valerie talked with John about the whole situation. She hated that two boys were lost in the system but it was typical of an overworked and understaffed state agency. They were good kids, they just never experienced love that they needed. Riley and Graham were perfect parents and she was grateful that they were willing to open their hearts to someone who needed them so much that he felt the need to change everything about himself to get it.

John was just glad that the others were mature enough to accept that there are people who deserve a second chance. They have seen it multiple times already and that one chance to be who they really are proved to be the greatest thing to happen to them. Scott, Iris, Francesca, Rachel, and Polly were people who the kids respected and loved, now they saw someone they knew who was in the same situation and who wanted the same outcome but with a need far greater- they needed love.



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