TG Universes & Series:
The reunion fun wasn't just limited to Massachusetts. Quentin and Greta Nelson attended Quentin's reunion at his private school in Kansas City. It was a trip they felt they had to make, even if they no longer had ties to Missouri. Quentin had no issues with his classmates but being back in Missouri always gave him a sinking feeling like something was going to happen to him and his wife simply because they had been strong enough to fight against the injustices that their family had faced.
The two were leaving their son and daughter alone for several days for the first time. They were both 18 but it was still tough to leave them alone, especially with others knowing that their parents were gone. Scott and Jessica were adamant that they wouldn't have any parties and went so far as to stay over their Aunt Sarah and Uncle Mick's house to prove they wouldn't do anything immature to lose their respect and trust.
Their stay with the Jones wasn't needed. They were trusted and old enough to make their own decisions about their lives and had never shown any need for supervision. Jessica was also keenly aware that her boyfriend would be under scrutiny from his brother and parents making any conduct that would lose that trust unlikely to occur.
The two were welcomed by their aunt, uncle, and cousins. The teens kept busy with school and work then babysat the kids allowing the adults a break which Mick used wisely for his work. Sarah, in turn, was able to have some fun with Brent as Faith and Neil were kept occupied by Jessica while Scott handled a lot of cleaning and other chores as a gesture of thanks.
Quentin's school was like Lindsay's school, it was conservative and strict. The school didn't allow gay couples nor did they allow transgender students. They were selective in their admissions and had an honor code that was strictly enforced to the point that most students couldn't date until just before the prom and even then it was a boring evening mostly done for show.
Quentin loved his time there. For him, it was a nurturing environment for his artistic talents while not pushing athletics on him as other schools would have. He was an OK athlete but nowhere near the athlete his daughter was and was nowhere in the same league physically as Scott.
The school made a big show of the 20th reunion, hiring a band and giving tours of the school to the spouses of students. Everyone was dressed up with Quentin being forced to wear his police uniform for the event instead of an expensive business suit. He got odd looks but nobody said anything about it, at least not to his face.
Quentin was acutely aware that people were staring at him as they read his name tag and tried to place him. It wasn't as bad as the reception others got in their reunions but it still irked him that people had forgotten about him let alone that he could do something like joining a police department. His only saving grace was that Greta wasn't being given a second glance, being people known for being judgmental he was glad they ignored her instead of offering snide comments about her.
Like the Williams women that John often joked about the Myers women were ruthless in protecting their family and Greta was no exception. Scott was as fiery as his sister, cousin, aunt, and mother but nowhere near as intense or capable of causing you to apologize and run away in fear. His size did most of the intimidation, once his anger started brewing people fled before he got to the ladies' level anger as he physically made you fear him while the ladies refocused their energies into verbal responses rather than physical. He was glad they did that, he couldn't control himself the way they could and that verbal response was usually better than his physical response anyway.
The duo was not talked to most of the night and spent much of it listening to others talk. When Quentin went to the bathroom Greta heard why he was ignored by everyone and didn't like it one bit. Word had gotten around about him adopting Scott four years before and it was felt that he wasn't good enough to be "one of them" because of Scott's prior family life being "below" them as his poor upbringing made them laugh and joke.
The irony of it was that Greta and Quentin were actually not well off as the two struggled financially until Jessica was four years old. She had to rely heavily on her twin sister Tiffany for help and even then they struggled to get by. There were times when the Wests and Nelsons were almost forced to live together to save expenses due to their struggles. Once Jessica turned four and entered school Greta got a job which helped ease the burden then later allowed Quentin to seek out a promotion erasing their debt and giving them financial security for years to come.
Sadly the same wasn't true of Tiffany and Scott. Scott's father controlled his family with an iron fist. Tiffany couldn't work as he believed that it was her place to stay at home and care for her husband. Scott Sr. used every dirty trick to forced Tiffany to do as he saw fit and after she died he turned them on Scott, but that wasn't discovered until years later.
Greta listened intently and silently until the talk became insulting and abusive towards her sister and son. Tiffany may not have had a job but she was a great mother and loved her family deeply. She only wished that Tiffany had been able to meet her niece and nephew before passing on but it wasn't to be.
There was speculation that Scott was Quentin's illegitimate son and they moved away when he was dumped on the family by his mother. There was then talk that Quentin actually lost his job and had to flee in humiliation when his affair got out. There was finally speculation that he faked his degrees and had to give up his job to avoid his former employers.
Greta had finally had enough and confronted those insulting her son and departed sister. She angrily told them "do you always speak ill of the dead whom you have never met before? Do you always insult other peoples' children simply because they were given a chance to have proper parents and a loving home? I certainly hope that this school didn't teach you to act that was because it's sickening to hear all of that coming from people who are supposedly highly accomplished and lauded."
Greta saw the glares from those who insulted her sister and son and angrily added "you have no clue what caused my husband to adopt my twin sister's son. You have no clue why he moved east. You have no clue what my husband even does for a living. None of you do. Until today none of you bothered to contact him. Those of you who did only did so as a way of getting cheap designs for whatever you were hocking and out of pure nostalgia my husband helped you out."
She calmed herself then stated strongly "Quentin Nelson earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture then went on to be hired by a prominent firm here in Kansas City. He has worked on dozens of major projects and was instrumental in designing dozens of school and other government buildings. His crowning achievement and what earned him a promotion to the Boston office was his oversight of the Newhall Elementary/Middle School renovation, done under the auspices of the Finn Group. This showcased modern technology and improvements in a limited budget and space while renovating a vastly out of date school to new government standards."
She then addressed the harsher issues, stating "the reason that the Finn Group was renovating was the head donor gave the town a going-away present in the form of renovating her school. This same girl was brutalized by the town for being transgender. Our son was involved in this and was tortured and tormented by his father until he was on the verge of suicide. We rescued him from his abuse, won permanent custody, and moved east to avoid the horrible backlash the town and county were about to give him. We adopted him as our own at the request of my sister and we proudly call him our son."
She took another breath then finished with "I don't know what kind of people can't feel empathy for a child who was brutalized for over five years before he was able to gather the courage to ask for help. I do not regret for a second leaving this place behind nor do I feel I should have to explain our actions. My husband earned a promotion from his work and was the perfect candidate for the job and our leaving just happened to be perfect timing for him to be promoted to a job he had earned. He is now a full partner at the architectural firm and is on his way to one day leading it. It was thanks to our son that he sought out that job and for you to go about speculating about him, my husband, and my sister is disgraceful, disgusting, and goes against everything this school taught you."
Quentin just stood back and watched. Greta was on a roll and he wasn't about to stop her. He agreed with her about them, they were vultures who acted like scum for what they said.
Quentin then added "go ahead and trash talk my wife for her humble beginnings. She just happens to be a highly respected investment banker who is currently handling accounts that total over $1 billion in assets including $350 from our closest friends and family's assets and $600 million in our closest friend's personal assets. The firm has contacts in a dozen countries with agreements for services with people at larger firms in Europe. I doubt any of you will ever see that kind of money in your lives yet she handles it day in and day out without even batting an eye."
Quentin grinned as he showed a recent article on his wife's business from a national magazine. She was a hot ticket that was going to see a lot more work but work that was worth the effort. Several members of his class were involved in the business and immediately grew red with rage and jealousy over Greta besting them at their own business despite having next to nothing to start with while they had cultivated their family contacts into 1/10th of what Greta was dealing with.
The two got up and left, stopping first to tell the committee to remove Quentin for further contact then revoking Quentin's support for an architectural scholarship h had previously established at the school. He would tell his college to divert the money to any student who wants to earn a degree in architecture rather than just rich students.
One word caught the audience as Quentin left. He said "transgender" which sent several looking online for what he was talking about. News about Jaimie and John Finn's fight against the state, Lance Jones' actions, the implosion of the town and county, Mick Jones' investigation into several people who escaped that implosion, and the rebuilding of the town and county in the past two years shocked them. Quentin being directly involved through Scott came as an even bigger shock as he was quoted multiple times as the progress of the renovations were showcased.
A look into Quentin's firm showed that he was a senior partner and one with several major designs that have taken multiple awards. His constant support of charities and helping to nurture future architects especially ones from troubled backgrounds got him high praise. The biggest shock was his unwavering support of transgender issues especially among kids, Quentin was adamant that they be given every chance to show their stuff alongside everyone else and had personally helped several earn jobs with his firm which was turned into a major PR coup while showing that the young ladies were talented despite their past issues and traumas and who had through their own hard work earned millions for their designs for the firm.
The school instantly regretted Quentin leaving. The man was someone they should have been honoring, instead, they outright ignored him. His family was one that should have been showcased as a huge success, instead, they are people who have a brewing hatred for their school and were going to cost it a lot of money simply by doing what they had done to Quentin: by shunning it.
Quentin shook his head in disappointment in their rental car. He thought the night would be fun and he would enjoy seeing old friends but his memories were rosy rather than factual. He hated to admit it but it was a mistake coming west, Greta had to reason with him by adding "you loved that school and it's not your fault that they only saw you as a scholarship kid. They are snobs, you are a great person who did the unthinkable in adopting his nephew to protect him. You have two kids who love you more family than any of them will ever have. I am proud of you."
The two rebooked their flight for the next day, getting an early flight to allow them enough time to be home when Scott and Jessica got in. They were going to surprise the two and caught both asleep on the couch working on homework as the TV played one of their cousins' favorite movies and little Brent Jones slept in his playpen in the corner. Greta snickered as Neil and Faith Jones came out to see them, getting a head shake as the teens had dome a caring thing in giving their aunt and uncle the night off.
The kids told them just how little the two actually did while their parents were away. Neil complained that all Scott did was talk on the computer and clean with Stacy while Jessica was always out with her boyfriend Eric Vincent. Faith didn't complain, she spent a lot of time playing with her friend Ella Finn while Scott was with Stacy causing the two to hug her over her optimism.
Over dinner, Greta and Quentin told the five about the trip. Brent just ate while Neil and Faith gave them angry looks over their treatment. The two hated mistreatment of people especially loved ones so hearing classmates badmouthing their aunt and cousin caused them to get upset easily.
Faith asked if Quentin was still going to give the scholarship, getting a nod and happy "someone more deserving gets it. It'll actually help someone rather than serve as a status symbol. If even one person is helped by it then it was worth cutting ties with the school."
The kids went home with Sarah and Mick thanking the teens for a lovely day off. Jessica and Scott brushed it off, it was expected of them and their friends had other plans anyway. They were just happy that they were trusted enough to be alone from now on even if they were already 18.
Greta and Quentin enjoyed the family night more than expected and saw the look in one another's eyes. Jessica and Scott thought they were getting empty nest syndrome already and joked that they were going to start looking at fostering or adopting. Both blushed, it hadn't crossed their minds but it seemed like something they might look into in the future.
Scott and Jessica gave sly smiles. They had a lot of love to give and an empty home. They were moving out, some kid would need a home which their parents could give to them.
After Amber was tossed out of the reunion she and Celeste Campbell went out drinking in hopes of washing away the stench of failure. Neither had any place to go so both ended up in bed with one of the local drug dealers. It was a short-term quick fix but Amber needed the bed and both women needed his money.
After a day of leeching off the man, the duo stole his car and drove to Kensington to get liquor but ran afoul of state troopers on routine patrol. The duo thought they could outrun them as they pulled back for safety but ended up hitting a slick patch of road causing them to spin out and topple over the side of the road and into Rumney Marsh. The troopers tried to help them but the two weren't wearing seat belts and were knocked unconscious by the impact, drowning before they could be pulled away. Both died on the way to the hospital.
Ian was given the grim task of telling Kyle that the woman who gave birth to him had died. Kyle was not upset, asking if she finally screwed up badly and shaking his head at her antics. He felt bad for her, but he felt no remorse over her causing her own death by trying yet again to be better than she was.
The two hugged for a while as Kyle shed tears. The boy was trying to act mature but it was getting to him. Ian finally admitted that he'd miss her but he didn't deserve bad memories of a person he never knew. They were the last of their family, and Ian was glad to be there for Kyle when he needed him.
Arrangements were made for Amber while Celeste was given a simple funeral and burial at the expense of John. She wasn't on good terms with him but she didn't deserve to die or sit in the morgue unclaimed. He saw her as the female version of his brother Roland, but without his worst traits. She could have been redeemed, she just needed someone to take an active role which nobody had been able to do before she died.
Kyle kept quiet for the next day as Amber was laid to rest. He attended the service but was there with Paul, Rachel, and Ian so nobody knew he was Amber's biological son. Ian was known as her nephew so his being there was expected while Paul being there was seen as him representing the Finn Family as a whole especially as Amber had rubbed others the wrong way while she had barely any contact with Paul.
Amber had few friends and those that attended were there for information gathering and hoping to get something from her in death. Nobody bothered to talk with Paul or Ian and outright ignored Rachel and Kyle but gave them simple "hellos" when they entered. The only ones actually there for Amber turned out to be Ian and Kyle, making for an awkward service that was mostly in silence as the reverend said the basic service and buried her without so much as a second glance at her casket.
After the service, the four were stopped by Amber's lawyer. He had to defer to Ian on the burial but once the funeral was over talked with them about Amber's estate. The four were shocked that she had left anything to anybody let alone that she had anything to leave.
They immediately went to his office where he laid out Amber's estate and how much she had. For someone who never held down a job, permanent home, or married Amber had several million in the bank and had investments worth another $20 million. She had no will and the next of kin wasn't known so Ian was going to inherit everything.
He took great pride in telling them Amber's real life. She wasn't just a gold-digger, she was a shrewd one at that. She was paid off by multiple men after quickie marriages that went south as the guys couldn't keep to themselves. The money she made added up to a tidy sum but it wasn't the whole story.
Sighing he added "Ms. Turner was involved with a man who was a known criminal and who tried to use her to hide his money. He gave her several million dollars then was deported after getting caught in a nasty drug deal. He was subsequently killed overseas by people who he had angered. The man left her with more money than she'd ever need which prompted her to return to her sexual ways. He also left her with a child, one that she gave up for adoption and whose identity she never learned of. I tried to locate him but his records were sealed and his adoptive parents didn't want me digging into them."
Turning to Ian he sadly stated "as her next of kin due to the inability to locate her child you are her heir. I trust you will know what to do with the money." Ian turned to Paul who sighed and nodded.
Ian looked at Kyle then announced "we know who her child is and where he is at. He's this young man in front of you. Kyle's former parents didn't want Aunt Amber to find him and ruin their reputations which were why they blocked attempts by you from getting information. Kyle was going to prevent contact due to his dad knowing Aunt Amber in person but she died before he could give his refusal."
He took a closer look at Kyle and agreed. He was the right age, had her hair and facial features, and strongly resembled Ian. Looking at the large man he could see that Kyle was starting to mature at the rate Ian did and was likely to be as tall as him in the future. He was glad that Kyle had been able to find a good home but it was a shame that he had to find out about his mother after she died.
He sighed and announced "I'll have the paperwork drawn up for you. I assume that your parents will want to protect the money?" Paul nodded, adding "we will have our friends take care of everything including the taxes and creating a full trust fund for Kyle."
The paperwork was signed and contact information given for Beverly Bollinger and the Nelson/York/Smith Money Management firm. After leaving Kyle asked "can you give whatever I got from our grandparents to Margaret? She should get all of my share."
Ian nodded, knowing not to argue with him. Rachel hugged him for doing that for his sister, while Paul shook his head at him being so thoughtful for his sister's sake. It wasn't just money, it was a part of his legacy and his giving it to his sister was his way of sharing his legacy with her even if she didn't know what it was really about.
Margaret was told what was going on and why. She looked at her brother in disbelief then hugged him tightly, crying into his shoulder for caring so much about her to give her both his inheritance and his trust fund. It was a hefty sum, almost $2 million, but it was also something she deserves to have in his eyes.
Ian tried to sneak away while Kyle was occupied with telling his friends Oscar and Diego what happened but he couldn't escape Margaret. She didn't want to let him go away without knowing how much she appreciated him doing that for Kyle while also wanting him to stick close to her as family. She was the only one among her friends without other family, Ian being related to Kyle changed that and she wanted to stay close to him.
Ian had been dragged closer to the Douglases than he wanted to be but he too was happy to have someone closely related even if only through Kyle. His wife had family, but it was different than actually having it himself. He had gotten used to being alone after his parents passed away from cancer and a heart attack and his aunt was not family to him so this was his first real taste of family in years.
Rachel had to hold back a grin as she watched Margaret trying to get close to Ian and knew that the girl was determined to keep him close. It was a shame to her that Ian was too old to be their son, but he was perfect to be their nephew and they both were happy to call him that. He wasn't blood but he was a great young man who had won over the hearts of the other family members over a year before and continued to show why he was the big brother to all of the teens even if they didn't see him often, he was worth the confusion calling him "nephew" would bring.
Ian left and told his wife what had gone on. Sheila understood and admitted "they are a good family, you are already used to calling them aunt and uncle it just makes it official. It's a shame they weren't able to know your parents but they at least care enough about you to consider you family."
The reunion groups gathered the next day to swap stories. The death of Amber loomed largely but the mood remained happy as reactions and strong defenses by Zeke, Vance, and Greta was happily talked about. Vance himself earned a lot of attention as he got to see the family as they normally were, although Amy, Oscar, and Kyle kept their distance from him out of fear of saying the wrong thing in front of Vance.
Greta and Quentin admitted that Scott and Jessica had all but forced them to start fostering a kid that summer once they had moved out which got the others to get excited for them. The family swapped stories while Greta looked over Kyle's finances with Ian being encouraged to take his share and use it but giving Greta a smile and happy "not for a while, we don't want to jinx things and end up with an unexpected little one" leading to the parents to grin and joke that it was only a matter of time.
Ian being there caused the youngest kids to at first grow concerned then happy as the big man was like a teddy bear to the youngest kids particularly Willow and Cat. Mia Flynn enjoyed having him run ragged as Cat and Willow ran circles around him, figuratively and literally, while he played with them. The adults were joking about his big brother side that he was flexing, with Paul happily telling them that it was what he always wanted but wasn't able to have.
The family spent the day together, with stories being swapped and funny recollections being forced out of the group as Melanie and John were for once not the target. Gabby and Lilly had to admit to being mischievous and pulling pranks on others while Paul and Juan joked about Willie and Jake pulling fast ones on everyone in school. Time slipped away and it was like being kids again for all involved especially Melanie and Willie.
Eventually, it was time to leave but not before they started to agree on things that would be done for the next few months. The prom was the most important with the adults agreeing on restrictions for the teens while making it clear that they didn't have to follow unofficial traditions of hotel rooms and sex. They would not stop the kids from having it, but they would encourage them to think about things first.
The prom was only two weeks away and all eyes were on the 16 attending. Reed and Jessie were going to be rare students, ones that were allowed to attend three proms due to their being in separate grades. It was a controversy that was brewing in the school among jealous 10th graders and angry 11th and 12th graders who were banned or academic and behavioral issues. None of the 16 cared, it was their night and they were going to make the most of it.
The parents were thrilled to help them, with Katie and Alison joining in the fun as the de-facto sounding board for styles that wouldn't pass their parents' tests. Katie was banned from her senior prom due to her biological father threatening the school while angry parents threatened to sue the school for her inclusion. She would get her chance to live the night through her nieces and nephews and was set to get a special gift from all the parents for doing so, but that would wait until the prom itself.
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