Class Reunion Part 1

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This is the first of at least three, maybe four parts. This is a direct sequel to the reunion chapter in "True Friends and Family" that introduced Willie, Paul, and Juan. Timeframe is simply last week of April roughly two weeks after Ella's surgery.

It was fast approaching the Winnisimmet High School reunion season. The biggest reunion was the fabled class that graduated John Finn, Melanie Lopez, Willie Pena, Paul Douglas, Katie Eliza, and Juan Alvarez. Those six people had played key roles in changing the face of Winnisimmet in just over six years and were all anyone talked about.

Each had their own reason for gossip. Melanie adopting her nephew was a heated debate as some saw it as wrong while others saw it as being sweet. Paul doing the same was scandalous but since his son wasn't blood it wasn't as "wrong" as Melanie doing it. Willie was seen as being a traitor to his city for standing up for Jaimie and all of the kids in the summer jobs program and for upending the police department with at least two members of their class being sent to prison for their roles in the corruption of the department.

John was always the topic of debate and seen as being wrong in so many things especially as he didn't need to work and was seen as taking a job away from a teacher as well as causing several unnecessary firings of teachers at the school for being "abusive." They ignored that the teachers were already on the outs with the school and he earned his job as nobody actually applied to be a teacher the year he applied for the job and proven to be one of if not the best teacher in the school.

The most talked about was Katie. People thought it was wrong that she should be allowed to attend as many felt she was an embarrassment to the school. There were fights with Melanie over the issuance of name tags with Katie's deadname being insisted upon. Melanie got the instigators removed then planned everything to how it normally was planned with Katie being the award winner for having the biggest impact in their 20 years since graduation.

The group got a big a big laugh as Jaimie was unintentionally invited to attend the event as the representative of her class while Jake Bollinger was attending as the representative of the high school. They were forced to hold the reunion in the actual school as other schools in the area booked the ballrooms and conference rooms making their reunion seem like the worst among the various reunions. John would be pulling double duty as decorator and gopher for the planning committee while working with Jake and the gym teachers to make the reunion as least impact on the school as possible causing Melanie to grin at the critics on the reunion committee.

Melanie coordinated everything and got her views heard loud and clear. It took two months but she got them to agree to proper decorations, proper seating, proper presentations, and proper speeches. Nobody was favored, everyone was going to be equal, and the part of the program that got the most focus was the presentation to Katie.

Katie, of course, had to be tricked into going. For two months her wife Alison kept going at her to attend with their daughter Trinity backing Alison up. Katie had a lot of replies and no solid excuses so it was a war of wits that each lost.

It took Alison giving birth to their twins, Hunter John Eliza and Bailey Summer Eliza, to finally give in. Katie couldn't deny her wife a night off and it would serve as a healing night for Katie. Alison slipped in that they deserved a chance to unwind and with Trinity serving as a dutiful big sister to the twins and Katie's neighbors the Kellys watching the kids she had no reason to refuse to go.

John had to coordinate with the committee and when they shortchanged the need for people he had to fill in the decorators with his own sons, daughter, nieces, and nephews. The teens got a laugh as John marched them in and gave them instructions on where to put everything and how to set things up. His classmates were on the verge of saying something when Melanie showed up to help out and carefully let out that her daughters, John's sons and daughters, and their future in-laws were all there getting them to play a game of "which one is which" as they had no clue just who was whose child.

The 15 girls gave John kisses as they left leaving the committee to try to figure out who was Jaimie as nobody could tell which girl was her and which was just another girl. John had a big grin as Melanie's little plan worked and people were showing their unintentional bigotry and bias as they talked further about the young lady who had won over so many. She would meet them in person, and she would surprise them and make them apologize for their actions.

Melanie had a field day setting up the final preparations for the event. The teachers who asked John about the event got directed to Melanie with all snickering at the man who normally was in control giving in to his beloved friend. Melanie was, in turn, just as loving towards John with the two making constant jokes to one another getting the teachers to laugh at their comedy show and happily confirm that the two were the best of friends and were definitely siblings in all but name.

The teens enjoyed putting on the show and told Katie about it at home. She was still reluctant to go to the reunion but seeing the teens talking so lovingly about the reactions of her classmates gave her a sense of duty to show them they were wrong about her and try to work through her past. Alison grinned widely and tried to offer the teens money for doing what she had been unable to do without Trinity's help but all of them just smiled and told her it was for John and Melanie more than anyone else, Katie just happened to get the benefit of seeing them at work.

The other mothers and fathers were doing their own things at the same time. Gabby Bollinger and Lilly Peterson were gearing up for their own reunion and were the ones who actually booted the Winnisimmet High School reunion from the nearest ballroom, one that normally held their reunions. Their event was more ordered as the class was simply farther out and needed time to get arrangements made so they put the event together weeks before Melanie had a date agreed upon.

William Kelly had to ignore his own reunion as he had nothing to say to the people in his class and had actually gotten threats from several classmates over his marriage to his wife Amanda. He happily told the 15th reunion committee to stuff their invitation and he'd rather enjoy a quiet evening with his wife and sons Junior and Dante than pretending to give a damn about people who were only coming up to him to get a look at his wife. His wife tried to dissuade him but his sons were proud of him for standing up for their mother despite losing out on seeing the few who actually cared about him.

Quentin Nelson had a surprise in getting an invitation to his own reunion, this one out in Missouri but among people who were actually happy to have contact with him. He was the only member of the "Finn Family" who had friends elsewhere so there was no reason not to go to it. His wife Greta happily booked a flight and hotel with instructions to their son Scott and daughter Jessica to be on their best behavior, but that was redundant as the two were going to be staying with friends for the duration.

Katie had a long talk with Alison once the teens left. Katie didn't want Alison to get too upset at hearing the comments from her classmates while Alison wanted her to be herself and let them see that she was a whole new person and had done more than become Katie, she had become a mother, wife, teacher, and lawyer. Most had only done one of those things, she had done them all and found a whole new family who was better in all ways than her birth family.

They went back and forth with Trinity happily playing with the newborns so her mothers could have privacy. Eventually, Trinity told Katie that she was being dumb and she had five close friends who would be there for her no matter what and would not let anyone say something bad about her, especially not when they owed so much to Katie's work.

Trinity grinned as she said that. She loved having one over on her mother and knew that no matter what was said she would not be able to counter it. Alison hugged Trinity tightly, kissing her forehead and telling her warmly "you are starting to take after Katie in so many ways, don't try to grow up too fast."

Katie shed a tear at hearing that. She loved Trinity unconditionally and despite not being blood she was the daughter Katie always dreamed of. The fact that both were born with the wrong bodies was beside the point, they were so much alike that it was eerie to Alison that they weren't mother/daughter from birth.

Willie had a similar situation on his hands. His wife Kennedy was unsure if she should go with him to the reunion after hearing about the hassle her cousin William was being given over Amanda. She had grown accustomed to the talk about her but Willie was still sensitive and would be reluctant to hold his tongue around gossipers particularly ones who offend his beloved wife.

Willie just grinned and told her she was going no matter what. She was offended but he laughed it off, telling her warmly "you are 1000 times better than any of those people. They think of you as some odd looking person but I can guarantee that none of them has ever seen you before let alone would think you were married to this weird looking guy. Besides, if you don't go it will only fuel their fires and cause even worse rumors to spread."

Kennedy felt better, he always knew how to make her feel relieved and knew just how to get her to come around to his point of view. Willie kissed her deeply causing their children Reed, Kylie, and Billy to gag at the affection. Reed just rolled his eyes while Billy teased them and Kylie groaned at them having sex later causing both to blush deeply as Billy tried to ask what sex was.

That night Kylie told Kennedy that she should go just to show that she wasn't afraid to live her life. Kennedy smiled down at her as Kylie happily told her that she was a great person and who had done a lot to help the lives of many and they would have trouble saying bad things knowing she had done well for the world. Kennedy just hugged and kissed her, then told her warmly "you are still punished for that sex joke. But I guess I can let it go for trying to help me see things better."

Paul Douglas had to figure out a way of telling people about his son Kyle without getting into unwanted details. People knew about Kyle, it was hard to keep him a secret when Paul talked openly among friends about the young man. He was his pride and joy and the part that completed his life as a parent. He loved him unconditionally and despite a year of being part of the family as his son Kyle still found ways of making Paul proud of him.

As much as he loved his daughter Margaret she was her mother's daughter in all ways from her growing body to her red hair to her fiery personality. She and Paul just didn't share the way Paul and Kyle did. He loved her just the same but Kyle completed him the same way Margaret completed his wife Rachel.

Paul and Willie being close caused a lot of talk about Kyle to cease. Willie happily treated the boy as a nephew and with Kyle being close with many influential children he simply added on to Kyle's untouchable status. Willie happily told anyone who asked that Kyle was the boy that he knew his father to be and would be proud if he followed in his dad's footsteps, although he added that he hoped he went "blue instead of red" for a career.

Their classmates knew full well about Margaret being friends with Kylie Pena and other kids who were transgender but wouldn't dare say anything that would get back to Paul and Willie. Paul just grinned as he plotted with Willie about what to say to people who took offense to their kids. They had ammunition against every person attending and were not afraid to shatter the egos of those who would do their children harm even if not in their presence.

They had been key to getting John recognized five years before and for opening the door to so many people who needed to come forward as who they really were. Katie attending was the culmination of that, Jaimie's work to help the children of the city had caused them to see that there was more to being a person than just what's in their pants. Katie going was something they would force to happen even if she hadn't been forced to see them as friends after years of isolation, frustration, and fear.

John had the toughest job of all. He knew he would have to explain a lot to people and spent hours formulating a plan of attack that would get his classmates to not focus on him. It was tough as he had the largest family with now seven kids, five of them joining since the last reunion no less. The two newest, Logan and Ella, were going to require a lot of explaining and tough questions answered that he didn't want to answer.

His wife Valerie just smiled at him and told him to be honest about everything. He had no reason to lie and he had no reason to sugarcoat the truth for people who didn't really care about him. The kids would never meet them, and if they did they wouldn't give the time of day to the kids as they would more likely try to get at John's wallet for a favor that only benefits them.

The kids were happy to have John enjoy himself for once and encouraged him to not think about them. Logan thought that there was more going on and asked John what was really bothering him. Logan may only have been part of the family for just over two months but he knew when John wasn't entirely being truthful or forthcoming with his actions.

John hugged him and sat him down, telling him warmly "I can't lie to you about this, can I?" Logan smirked and shook his head forcing John to explain "I don't want people to talk about you and offer false pity over you and your sister being our children now. You are moving on and accepted Valerie and me as you parents, it would be wrong for others to talk about Linda. They will talk about her and her situation without having known her and that kind of talk can and will get around. You don't need another reminder, she doesn't deserve to have her memory tainted by people who didn't know her."

Logan hugged him tighter. He happily told his father "momma would have been proud of you for caring about us so much. I don't care what they say about her, they never knew mamma and will say anything no matter what. Mrs. King knows the truth, all our teachers know the truth, and we know the truth. Let them talk, I don't care. I love you and mom and am happy that you care about us so much."

Logan had tears in his eyes as he said that. John hugged him again and led him to his room to work on homework until bedtime. He and John were closer than the others especially as John was the father he always wanted and the elder Finns, Michael, Miles, and Jaimie, were almost fully self-sufficient and independent. His younger kids, JD, Cat, and Ella, were closer to Valerie so the two were the odd people out in the house giving father and son more of a bond than anyone else.

Ella was still recovering from her recent surgery to fix her birth defect which caused Valerie to be by her side most of the time. John picked up the slack and helped the twins and Logan allowing mother and daughter to have some alone time to allow them to work out Ella's new plumbing issues without interference. The benefit was Logan finally showing his true self and giving John that fatherly kick he needed at times while also helping Logan endure some of the weirdness of growing up a boy.

Melanie could only grin widely as she watched John and Logan. The reunion would shatter all talk about John the person as John the father was something nobody had ever seen outside of the family and his handling of Logan was exactly as he had done for so many kids and teens in the past when he was Logan's age and older. She knew he would be happy to show off his newest children especially Logan as the boy would never accept any attention and John knew once asked people would stop asking as only one person would be told about his past and the rest would quietly shut up giving John a chance to actually talk about what he wanted to talk about.

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