It had been nearly a year since the trade towers came tumbling down with a jet liner in their frames. Garrett Patterson had lost his wife that day. Luckily his children were all in Elementary school then. He didn't think he could bear that much loss. His wife Gwen had been enough. Evie, Grace and Tyler had come along great they were bouncing back like gangbusters mostly. There were times he could hear one or the other crying themselves to sleep at night. Garrett had done that too. They all missed Gwen a great deal.
Garrett thought about the last time he had been to the trade center. Although most of the space was off-limits to the public, the South Tower featured a public observation area called Top of the World Trade Center Observatories on its 107th floor. Garrett had taken the children to the observation deck for a simulated helicopter ride around the city. The food court was designed with a subway car theme and on clear days, visitors could go to an outdoor viewing platform at a height of 1,377 feet where you could see up to 50 miles in every direction. It was spectacular and they loved it. He couldn't believe it was all gone. With it went the way of life he had grown accustomed to and loved.
Garrett sat on the side of his bed and looked at his hands. He wondered if this would be the day he would take off his wedding ring. Maybe he would just wear it forever. A knock on his door brought him out of his reverie.
Tyler opened the door a crack and asked,
"Dad can I come in for a minute? I want to talk to you about something."
"Of course," answered Garrett, "What's up?"
Tyler sat his gangly twelve year old body down in Garrett's only chair and said,
"Dad, I have been having the strangest dreams. Every night I have dreams about Mom but they are so real it's almost scary."
Garrett patted the side of the bed beside him and Tyler came to sit near. Garrett put his arm around his son's narrow shoulders and hugged him.
"That is completely natural son," Garrett told him gently, "It's the way our mind works through the trauma of loss."
"But Dad, I've begun to walk in my sleep and I never used to do that."
Tyler didn't sleep walk that night. Garett looked in on all of his children. Evie was smiling as he tucked her in. There was a different energy in the room. It seemed to permeate everything. In the bottom bunk lay Grace, sleeping peacefully no tears in her eyes. It comforted him to know that their hearts were becoming as light they once had been.
"Good night, my princesses," he whispered into the night.
The next day Tyler awoke with more energy than he had ever seen the boy have. THe seemed just as well.
"So," Garrett asked Tyler, "what's your school like today?"
"Phys, Ed," Tyler started, "then Spanish, Art, two hours of pep rally, lunch, math science, then I come home."
"Doing anything of interest in any of your classes, today," Garrett inquired.
"Yeah, in art we start clay sculpting today." Tyler responded.
"Well, that's something you've never done before."
Gwen had been so creative. She dabbled in many areas including
sculpting and ceramics. Garrett knew he would have to stretch himself to encourage that side of his kids' endeavors. He was looking forward to seeing what Tyler came up with because he wanted a chance to take a real interest in his art work.
The day passed with a flash and soon Tyler was in his art class. He found the energy somewhat different today than on other days he had been there. He sat down at his station and listened to Mrs. Stone explain the subtleties of clay sculpting. He understood every word.
After a while the students were given their clay. Tyler liked the feel of it; smooth and soft at the same time. He began to work it. A different energy began to flow through him as his hands ran over every inch of the clay. First the head and hair came out; then the eyes and face. They were incredibly life like. He was surprised at what was coming out. All other times he had tried this kind of art it had come out looking well, "kind of goofy."
"Wow," Mrs. Stone complimented, "this may be the best you've done all year. Everything you've done so far has been good. This is clearly the best. When you finish come over and I will help you glaze it."
"Okay," Tyler replied, excited, "a few minutes I think."
Tyler put finishing touches on the angel's hair and finished the dress and feet. He took a few steps back to take a better look at it. Mrs. Stone was right it was a personal best for him.
Tyler took the finished piece up to the teacher and set it on her desk. She was speaking with another student and when she stopped she turned and stared at the finished angel. Her mouth dropped open and she gasped.
"Tyler," she said, "Do you know what you've done?"
Tyler was surprised at her reaction and a little taken aback. Maybe he had done something wrong he thought. When he didn't answer, Mrs. Stone put her hand on his shoulder and told him, "You have sculpted a perfect portrait of your mother!"
Mrs. Stone and his mother had been friends. Having both been creative spirits, they had attended some art classes together. Mrs. Stone picked up the clay figure with a kind of reverence. She had tears in her eyes when she said,
"Tyler, I didn't realize you were so talented."
Tyler didn't know what to think. He hadn't even planned to make a likeness of his mother but he was happy that it turned out that way. He could hardly wait to show his Dad.
It was 2:15 and the bell rang for home room. It wasn't a very long period, only thirty minutes, but it felt an eternity. Tyler just wanted to leave quickly and go pick up his sisters. He didn't know it but Mrs. Stone had done him a favor. Tyler took a seat in the back row to avoid the less savory kids in the class. Just as he was getting ready to sit down Mr. Wright the wood shop instructor walked in with a beautifully stained wooden box.
"Mrs. Stone said you would need this," He whispered, "May I see it?"
Tyler cautiously slipped out of his back pack and handed it to him. Wright inspected it with care noticing every detail. The angel was truly exquisite, almost a masterpiece if it were made by an adult, but for a child just almost twelve the label seemed fitting.
"This is a masterpiece son," Wright told him, the best you have ever done for Mrs. Stone. How did you do it?"
"Truth is Mr. Wright," Tyler said exhaling, "I don't know myself."
"Wanna know what I think," Wright asked.
"I think your mother was there with you today," He began, "She wanted you to know she was alright."
Tyler smiled and embraced the man. Wright gently pushed him away returning the smile. He had just made the kid's day.
"If you like," Wright offered, "We can put this away and we can give it to the bus driver to give to you when you board."
"That's okay," Tyler replied, "I walk home so I can get my sisters."
"Then let me get you out of here early at least," Wright offered.
Tyler nodded. It was a good Idea since some of the bullies were in his home room. He didn't need to attract that kind of mosquito. Mr. Wright took the box and placed the angel inside. It fit snugly inside. This piece of art was not going to be shattered by anyone or anything. Wright went and conferred with Tyler's home room teacher, Mr. Carsden.
"Carsden said it would be alright if you left now," Wright said coming back to Tyler and motioning him to join him outside.
They walked out to the parking lot together. Tyler felt that he could get the angel safely home.
"Thank you for doing this Mr. Wright," Tyler offered.
"Any time," Wright returned, "Let me know."
Tyler nodded again knowing his secret was safe for today. He was walking home early of time so he took a more liesurely pace arriving at his sisters' school just before they were released.
Tyler debated about showing the angel to his sisters. He knew they would be excited about how much it looked like Mother but he also knew they would want to take it out and hold it. He couldn't take a chance on that so he decided to keep quiet about it. He wanted Dad to see it first anyway.
Finally the elementary School bell rang. Tyler knew that where he was standing could be dangerous so he went to pick up Evie first. The angel would be safe in his back pack until he got it home. Evie hugged him around the neck as always.
"How was your day Evie?" He asked her.
"Awthome I gueth." Evie replied with her usual lisp.
None of the parents were there yet and some the children were still in nap time. However, one seemed out of sorts. He was sleepwalking through the class room. Mrs. Todd hadn't noticed him yet. He turned to Evie.
"Eves, who is that boy?" He inquired of her.
She turned to see him. "Oh that's Jacob. He always does that." Evie answered.
Tyler walked over to him and guided him back to his place putting him under his blanket.
"It's alright Jacob; you rest now." Tyler whispered to him.
Mrs. Todd came over to him. "Tyler didn't know you were here. Thank you for Jacob. I usually see him nothing here to hurt him really, so I miss him from time to time."
"Does he do that often?" Tyler asked her.
"No he hasn't, just for the last couple of months. His mother died in 9-11." Mrs. Todd told him.
"Alright, well he is back in place now. Shouldn't be a problem and you're welcome anytime." Tyler offered.
Tyler collected his sisters and started home with them. As they walked along Grace began to limp.
"What's wrong Sis?" asked Tyler.
"It's my leg," she replied, "I've got a cramp."
"Let's sit down under that tree for a bit." he suggested, "Maybe it will get better."
The three of them found a shady spot on the grass under a big oak tree. Evie brought out some fruit snacks she had saved from lunch and they shared them.
"How does it feel now?" asked Tyler.
"A little better," answered Grace with a grimace of pain. Then Tyler noticed a tear roll down her cheek.
"Is it that bad?" he queried, getting worried.
"No," she whispered, I just wish Mom was here to pick us up like she used to do.
Things were going great but it was times like this when they missed a mother's touch. Tyler almost showed them the sculpture at that moment to cheer them up but as he went to open his pack, they heard a car horn.
It was Samantha Greene from down the street. She was in almost the same situation their father was. The only difference with her it was the other way around. Samantha was doing the best she could with her son, but knew this was something he most likely wanted to work through alone for a while. She had been at the school for a conference with Aaron's third grade teacher Mr. Henderson. He told her that Aaron had been acting out on some of the students.
Samantha was a beautiful was a beautiful woman with honey blonde hair and the most inviting, compassionate blue eyes.
"You kids need a ride home?" She asked them.
Tyler was quick to accept the ride. His first concern was for his sister and her cramped leg but he was also glad to get home faster with his treasure. They piled in the back of the Pilot and said hi to Aaron who was up front with his Mom. He just grunted and looked away. It had been a bad day for him.
Samantha was very sympathetic when she heard about the cramp.
"I have just the thing for that," she said, "it's a lotion I used when I was in ballet. I'll share some with you when we get home."
Tyler could see how much the girls were soaking up the maternal attention. He decided to ask Father about inviting the Greens over for dinner sometime soon.
Seeing that they were being helped twice, Tyler decided to return the favor. He contorted to look around the front seat Aaron was in. The girls scooted over to help.
"Aaron, is all this trouble because you miss your dad?" he asked
"Yeah, so what? What do you know about it?" Aaron tersely asked in return.
"We lost our mother the same way. You don't know which path to take, do you?" Tyler posited.
Aaron just looked at him. They stared each other in the eye for five minutes. It was like an old west showdown, the Marshall standing at the ready his cool hand ready to draw at any moment. Neither could say anything now. Aaron just pulled back, hiding behind his seat from Tyler.
"Who is his teacher?" He asked.
"Mr. Standley, isn't it dear?" She answered looking to her son for an answer.
"Yeah," Aaron said with a sad drawl.
"I will go see him tomorrow. Doesn't Aaron have a birthday coming up?"
Samantha was amazed at the maturity and compassion of this child. He was spanning the gap that she had tried so desperately to bridge with her son. She faced ahead to hide the tears in her eyes. Next to her, she sensed the tension leaving Aaron's body. The boy had been in a defensive posture since his father's death. It wasn't the coping mechanism Samantha had hoped for, but at least he wasn't denying what had happened. He relaxed against the seat and although he said nothing, she knew he felt better. Someone had given a name to his pain. Someone really understood. For the first time in months, Samantha felt a glimmer of hope.
Tyler hadn't wanted to take the box out his backpack. Someone needed the treasure inside just now. He asked Samantha to pull over for a couple of minutes.
"Excuse me, Mrs. Greene can you pull over for a minute?" He graciously asked.
"Sure, but why?" She replied.
"I just want to have a little sharing time. It Might be good for all of us." Tyler told her.
Samantha dried her tears as she pulled over taking a deep breath to compose herself some more. She wondered what the boy could have that could be good for all of them. Tyler pulled the beautiful, well built box out of his backpack the rest of the way, Opening it. Samantha watched from the mirror as Tyler opened it, revealing its precious treasure.
"Mrs. Greene, could you hold this for Aaron while I tell him about it?" Tyler requested as he carefully extracted it from the safety of its box.
A moment of silence followed the revealing of the beautiful statue, followed by oohs and ahs from the girls. Samantha took it reverently for she recognized it at once as their mother's likeness.
This was not the way Tyler had planned to share his gift but he knew it was the thing to do. An intervention in Aaron's downward spiral was urgently needed before it was too late to change things.
He took a deep breath and began,
"Our families have both been torn apart by tragedy .We need to know there is something more to life than that. I believe this representation of Mother is more than the work of my hands. No matter how lovingly I tried, I could never have created such an incarnation of her very essence. I can't take the credit for that. I wanted to share this as proof of a Higher Power at work. A Higher Power that wants to comfort us in our grief.
Two little rivers flowed down Aaron's tender face as he touched the statue. He was finally releasing the emptiness and sorrow in his heart. The yonger boy peeked around the front seat where he sat to look the elder in the eyes.
"It's really pretty. Looks like your mom." He offered.
Tyler smiled as Samantha handed it back to him, "It is my mom. She was with me today, all day and you know what?" Tyler asked.
"What?" Aaron replied.
"Sometimes, at night I can feel her touching my face and I know everything's okay because she is watching over me." Tyler confided.
Tyler had just placed the statue back into its box when Aaron unbuckled himself and went to the back seat. He buckled Aaron in as the younger boy began to lean his head on the receptive shoulder and began to cry.
"That's it, let it go." Tyler consoled as Samantha pulled into the traffic again.
Tyler pulled out his cell and called Garrett.
"Hello, son is that you?" Garrett replied
"Yeah, it's me. Grace got one of her charley horses again. That's not why I am calling though." Tyler told him.
"Then why?" Garrett asked his son.
"I wondered if we could have a barbecue with the neighbors in a couple of weeks and have the Greenes over for dinner on Saturday night."
Samantha said nothing because she was all choked up over her son's catharsis. She looked at them in the rearview mirror and said a silent prayer of thanks for Tyler.
The girls looked worried so she felt she should try something to lighten the mood.
"Who wants to get some ice cream from the drive through?" she asked.
She wanted to extend their time together so Aaron could benefit from their company. It seemed to be doing wonders for him. He had avoided his friends lately. All he wanted to do was stay in his room alone. She didn't want this time to end.
"Anybody up for a strawberry sundae?" She asked.
"Are you sure, Sam?" Tyler asked in reply.
"Sure, it's nothing compared to what you have done for me. I probably could never repay it." Samantha told him
Tyler just smiled for a moment, releasing a sigh. He didn't know what it was for, but it seemed like a good thing to do. Is my mom here with us in the car, too? Tyler thought to himself.
"You don't have to pay me back; just pay it forward." Tyler suggested with a smile.
"Speak for yourself brother, It's hot can I have chocolate?" Evie exclaimed.
Samantha chuckled a moment then shot her a smile. They are precious at that age she thought. It wasn't that long ago that Aaron was in K-grade as the kids call it now.
"A girl after my own heart, of course you can." Samantha replies with a smile.
Just then Grace reached over and put a hand on Tyler's forehead.
"Are you sick or somethin' bro. It's ice cream, a kid's best friend and you say pay it forward!"
Tyler took her hand off, wagging his head. Of course, he wanted the ice cream. He was just being polite and maybe trying a little too hard to be grown up. It would e a good break.
"They're right you know. You spend so much of your time being their mom that you forget to just be a kid yourself. So will you indulge me this once?" Samantha offered.
"Sure?" Tyler answered.
They pulled into the drive through and ordered four strawberry Sundaes and one chocolate. They sat for a while talking some more before moving on home.
When they got home, Tyler helped his younger sister find her play clothes and tune in her favorite channel. When his siblings were settled, he went to his room and closed the door. Putting his pack on the bed, he once again took out the box. He sat down at his desk and took out the statue. It was more beautiful than before. He couldn't bear to hide it away anymore. He took it out and stood it on the mantel so his mother could watch over them all.
Garrett sensed a new energy about him as he passed by the kitchen. He wondered what it could be. The energy was so strong it made him follow Tyler upstairs just to watch. The box came out just as he made the door. Tyler never closed it all the way, probably because everyone in the house was welcome. As Tyler took the statue out, the energy became stronger. Garrett could see his young son's hands trying to reach the mantel and just about doing it, but not quite. He rushed to help, "Sorry I put that mantel up so high, son. Let me help you with that." He offered.
"Oh Dad," Tyler said, I wanted to surprise you. I made this in art class."
Garrett stepped away to get a good look at the statue on the mantle. He gasped and fell back into the recliner behind him. His eyes filled with tears as he struggled to speak.
After a moment he whispered hoarsely,
"Gwen, you've come home."
It was as if he was seeing a vision of his departed wife. The statue seemed to glow before his eyes.
"She must have been with you today in a most powerful way. Thank you for letting her guide you." Garrett said.
Garrett pushed himself further back in the old leather chair. He sat there for at least an hour as Tyler finished the last of his homework. Tyler nudged his father back to earth.
"Dad, it is time for dinner and I have something to ask you." He suggested.
"You're right son, it is dinner time. I just got lost in my memories there for a bit. What do you want to ask?"
Tyler looked at the statue,
"I think we're supposed to help Aaron and his mother. Do you think you could spend some one on one time with Aaron? He really needs a father figure right now. I can be a friend to him but he needs more than that."
Garrett stood up and put his arm around his son's shoulders and walked with him to the kitchen.
"Tyler," he said, "You amaze me. Of course I will make the time for him. What does he like to do? What is he interested in?"
Just then the girls came in. It surprise really, they weren't dirty in some way. They would always play hard and that usually meant dirty play clothes. He guessed today was different.
"Dad can I help you make tacos?" the little one begged.
Grace piped up with her offer to help so they all pitched in to make delicious tacos for dinner. Garrett replied giving Tyler a wink.
"Sure," Garrett answered, "go get the shells out. Your brother and I will be in soon."
"We'll talk more about this later."
Tyler nodded and sighed. Somehow the house seemed very peaceful tonight. They talked some more as they joined the girls in the kitchen. It had been a long time since they had a moment like this. Garrett wanted to savor every moment he could. He was proud of his maturing son.
"I don't know him that well, dad. You think Sam would mind if I went over to find out?" Tyler posited.
A thought rushed through Tyler's head and quickly to his lips adding, "You could take him to the metro museum on the last day of school. The Met Museum is having a modern art exhibit he and the girls could have a lot of fun with. I could see them laughing while standing in front of a particular painting because of its name."
"I have an idea, Garrett offered, "To break the ice, why don't you come with us this first time? Then maybe Samantha would like to get to know your sisters. If we can work it out, the girls could spend some time with her while we're out. I would need to discuss it all with Samantha first of course."
Tyler liked the idea because he knew his sisters missed the feminine touch in their young lives. He would still have to make the exchange after all and that would give him time to see the little guy's bedroom. Tyler put out his hand.
"Agreed, Daddy-o" He answered.
"What am I going to do with you?" Garrett laughingly replied.
Like every parent Garrett thought he had the greatest kid in the world. Tyler was certainly becoming that in a way, Garrett had never seen.
"Dad, I am going to be right back. There is something important I need to do." Tyler told told his dad.
Tyler knew it was impolite to show up uninvited at dinner time, this was important enough if his dad was to be the father figure he wanted to be for Aaron. He arrived just as the two were coming out the door.
"Well hello again, Tyler. To what do we owe the visit?" Samantha asked him.
"Your son's bedroom actually. As his friend I want to know what Aaron's interests are. Would you mind if I took a quick look at his bedroom?" Tyler asked in return.
"I don't see why not." She replied, as Aaron looked up at her.
A second later she asked her son, "Is your room clean?"
"Mostly." Aaron answered sheepishly.
"Well it will have to do. We are going to a movie. It is something he has needed for a while now, but i couldn't get him to go. Aaron will you show Tyler your room?" Samantha said.
Aaron nodded taking Tyler by the hand. He rushed Tyler up the stairs and back two rooms on the right, opening the door.
"Here it is. Sorry it's so messy." Aaron offered up sheepishly.
"It's okay. I just need a general idea of what things you like." Tyler assured him.
Tyler looked around the room at a moderate pace. He didn't want to miss anything. It wasn't as unclean room either of them thought. Aaron had actually done a good job for a seven year old boy. Girls always did better, he knew that from experience.
Samantha thought it a little odd that Tyler would show up to look at her son's room uninvited but she put it off to artistic eccentricity. Obviously from his magnificent work on his mother's statue, he was extremely gifted. Aaron was thrilled. He loved the attention from his new friend. It was just what he needed.
When the boys came back out Tyler apologized again, "Sorry I cam uninvited. Hope you didn't feel intruded upon. I should have asked when I was here before, but I forgot. What are you going to see tonight?"
"We're going to check out that new movie, 'Up'," Aaron answered excitedly, "Do you want to come with us?"
Aaron turned a little sheepish and looked at his mother.
"Is that okay Mom?" he asked.
"Oh no, that's okay, "Tyler responded, "Dad's waiting for me to come home for dinner. You go ahead. I don't want to make you late for the movie."
Aaron hung his head dejectedly and sighed. Samantha took another tact,"How about we wait for you to have your dinner and then make a later show?"
Tyler laughed seeing what Samantha was trying to do and calling her on it, "I'll go you one better. How about you come over and have tacos and then we can all go to the movie."
"Well we were going to catch a burger on the way," Sam mused.
"Oh please Mom, can we? Can we go to Tyler's house?" Aaron begged.
Samantha smiled, "Let me call Garrett and talk this over with him before we go any further, okay son? I don't want to intrude."
"Dad really likes you anyway so it probably wouldn't be." Tyler chimed in.
"I have the feeling that you wouldn't be." Tyler offered.
"I just want to be sure, Tyler." Samantha replied.
She dialed the number slowly as Tyler told her what it was. the phone didn't ring long before it was answered by a small voice. Evie had gotten there first.
"Hey Evie, it's Mrs. Greene. Can I talk to your daddy?" Samantha gently asked.
"Evie Who is that on the phone? Garrett asked from the kitchen.
"Mrs. Greene." Evie answered.
So that's where Tyler went, thought Garrett. He walked out of the kitchen toward the phone, taking it lovingly out Evie's hands. He took breath and answered.
"I'll take this now Evie?" He lovingly ordered.
Evie smiled and began to taunt him. Daddy and Sammy sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-ING .
Garrett stopped it cold, "Alright, Evie that's enough now.
"Okay daddy." She replied as she hopped off the sofa.
"Hey Sam, is my Tyler over there?" He asked with a smile.
"Yes, and he had a rather interesting proposition for Aaron and I. He invited us to dinner will this be alright?"
Garrett was very happy to second the invitation. Samantha was a warm and loving individual and he truly enjoyed her company. He let her know that it was fine, "Sure, the more the merrier." He said.
On another note Samantha added, "She's right you know, except for the baby carriage part. My Aaron is far from being a baby."
"Of course he is. See you soon." Garrett answered as he hung up the phone.
"Are you sure it won't be any trouble," Sam asked.
"Of course not," Garrett assured her, "We'll just throw together a few more tacos and we're good to go.
As he hung up the phone, the beautiful statue caught his eye and he sighed. He knew Gwen would approve of the connection between the two grieving families.
At dinner everyone chatted up a storm. All the old grieving energy had dissipated. After dinner, the children cleaned up the kitchen and themselves. Everyone picked up their coats and trekked out the door, piling into the Greenes' pilot.
"Everyone, buckle up!" Samantha exclaimed, "from here there is only one way we can go."
"Up!" the rest exclaimed.
When they got to the theater, everyone got a pair of 3D glasses. They were very excited because they had not been to a 3D movie before. Garrett wasn't sure what to do so he chose to sit one seat away from Sam with Evie in between them. He felt a little awkward but happy. Everyone settled down with their popcorn as the show began.
No one was prepared for what happened next. Within the first few minutes of the film, the main character's wife died. Sam looked down to see tears in Evie's eyes. She reached over and took her into her lap and held her close. Evie soon stopped sniffling and began to watch the show again as it shifted to happier subjects.
Garrett was relieved to see his little girl coping. It got to him too but he was determined not to spoil the evening. Then later in the movie the child star laments the loss of having any time with his father.
Garrett leaned over and whispered in Sam's ear, "This movie is very therapeutic Sam, good choice."
Sam whispered back, "I didn't have a clue what it was about," she admitted.
Garrett smiled at her in the flickering darkness. He was beginning to think something special was happening to them. In all truth it was. They were growing together. Everything just seemed right, at least more right than sitting around sulking about their loss.
The boys had begun to talk some more as well. They had already become fast friends as they looked back on their parents. They were holding hands now with Evie's hand on top. She had fallen asleep. Tyler half expected that as he looked at his watch. It was eight-thirty and he always put to bed at eight.
On the way home, they all made plans for their next get together. A lot had changed in such a short period of time. It felt as though they were becoming one unit, one family.
Garrett felt a twinge of guilt and he could tell Sam felt the same way. Were they being false to the memories of their soul mates? They needed to talk. They needed time alone to sort these things out.
When they all said Goodnight, Sam said to Garrett,
"Please call me later, alright? We had a wonderful evening."
"I'll give you a call when everyone settles down," Garrett said, squeezing her hand.
As Garrett carried his sleeping daughter up to their door, Tyler exclaimed, "Dad, what is that glow coming from inside the house?"
Garrett looked over, "Let's go see."
"Okay, should we leave the girls with Sam or all go together?" Asked Tyler.
"Let's all go," Garrett suggested turning to Sam with an inviting glance.
Samantha wasn't sure it would be right. Somehow, her curiosity was getting the better of her. She looked to her son. Aaron, trying to be brave and daring. It was settled, they all went together. The two families traveled down the walk together in pairs, Garrett leading the way. The house was alive with bright light that flowed to the outer edge of the front yard, Garrett and Samantha made their way to the front porch. Garrett pulled out his keys and opened the door. The bright light seemed to jump out, engulfing him in its glory. When Garrett stepped into the front room, no one was there. The light was as bright as at noon-day. In the center of it all was a vision he had never seen before, but had always wondered about. Now he knew the answer. He motioned everyone in from the window. They all rushed quietly in. What they saw was an angel clothed in purest white and standing just above the floor. Garrett looked to the mantle; Tyler's creation was gone for now. They all stood in amazement, but soon knelt before the heavenly being as she reduced some of the light around her.
"Mom, is that you?" Tyler asked.
"Yes son, It is I." She answered.
She moved on to Garrett picking up his thoughts.
"You, my love could never betray me not even in bonding with another. Our love and our marriage are still eternal, this one will not be and thus you have not betrayed me in thinking to take another as your wife. There is no one better than Samantha to finish that which we have begun. Now it begins anew with an addition. This union is supposed to be." She told them putting their hands together.
Samantha and Garrett looked at each other. Another angel came soon after. Aaron knew who it was. He knelt down to make his eyes meet Aaron's.
"Your heart has missed me these many months I have been away. Grieve no more, son put your heart in the hands of the one who has given it great care. He will hold you up. He is your friend now and will be your brother soon. His work is sealed up above. Many surprises await you, Aaron. They are coming soon." The angel told him shifting his gaze to Tyler.
Aaron looked to Tyler, as well moving a little closer. "I'll still miss you."
"I know," Richard said.
Then he turned to the woman who was his wife. He just stood and looked her in the eyes for a moment. There were memories they all shared together. Richard wanted to make sure that they were never forgotten.
"You now have that which you need most, Samantha. You have someone to help Aaron find his true pat again. Give him the same love you have given our son, he will return it many fold. Marry this one until you return to me. I give you my blessing forever."
The two angels then reached out for their former companions. They looked at one another for a moment and then joined them at the center of the floor. The four danced for what seemed to be hours as their children looked on, smiling. Their lives would soon be happy again. At one point the kids joined the dance. Aaron, probably trying to apologize asked Grace for a dance. She wasn't sure about it, but knew he was being nice to her and took his hand. After a few moments of fumbling around Aaron finally got his rythmn. Tyler danced with Evie until they all finally fell asleep. The day had been like a dream; the fantastic, wonderful kind of dream where everyone was happy after a long darkness.
Sam and Garrett danced all night until the sun began to rise. There children lay on the floor fast asleep. after about an hour, they realized that the angels of their former companions had gone and they now danced with each other. It was the first of many they would share. Both had the day off and decided to get it off for them too. They now knew their families belonged together.
"So where do we go from here?" Sam asked.
Fumbling in his pocked he found the ring that he had bought just a week earlier, "We go to 'Will you marry me?' Samantha. So, Will you marry me and make this dream complete?"
"Yes, I will." Samantha returned.
Garrett placed the ring on her finger. In his heart he hoped the he wouldn't have to be alone again for a very long time. They both did. Samantha made a call to Aaron's teacher and let him know that he and Gracie would not be in school today. The addition of Gracie to her call was a favor of sorts for Garrett who called in for Tyler and Evie.
Everything was set for a day of quiet celebration. Tyler however, had other plans. He knew that today was the last day of school and wanted to attend anyway.
"Dad, I'm going. It's only a half day today and i have some other things I need to do today before I join you." Tyler explained.
He walked over to his desk and took out his children's bank checkbook. It was an account Garrett had gotten for him when Gwen's company had come to help them out after she died. Tyler was a main beneficiary on her 401 plan. She wanted him to learn responsibility with money early and left Garrett instructions on how she wanted it handled.
"So you're finally going to do that fourth room, are you?" Garrett teased.
"Yeah, I have the best reason in the world now." he heckled in return, shooting a smile in Aaron's direction.
"Alright, but don't spend too much on it. Remember, you have other things coming up." Garrett replied.
"Shouldn't be more than twenty-five hundred dad. Just need some paint and some furniture." Tyler said as he walked upstairs to take a quick shower.
"I'll leave you some money for lunch and travel on the Metro." Garrett told him.
"Okay, see you in a few hours." A faded voice called out.
The families split up with Samantha and Aaron going home to clean up and get some breakfast time in. Samantha hadn't done this with Aaron in almost a year. It would be good to have quality breakfast time with him without the grumbling. This was a good change. Garrett let the girls take their showers in his room. Not much later a clean and proper Tyler emerged with checkbook in checking over himself to make sure he had everything. Garrett had been making everyone a quick breakfast and handed Tyler two Breakfast burritos. They were good the way he made them. Eggs with potatoes, jalapenos, onions, ham, sausage and tomatoes with a little avocado on the top before they were wrapped tightly and with care.
"Thanks dad, See you soon." Tyler exclaimed as he went out the door shoving a list of destinations and items to shop for into his pants pocket.
Everyone else went as planned to the museum. Samantha picked up Garrett and the girls who were coming out of the house their teeth wrapped around a breakfast burrito. Garrett was too, along with a couple of napkins.
"Hey Sam, Aaron. Have a good breakfast?" he asked as he hoped in the forward passenger seat of the pilot.
"Yes, the best we have ever had together. We have Tyler to thank for that." Samantha replied.
"We my favorite, French toast with strawberries. Mom makes it with French bread. Those look good though." Aaron said ogling the girls' burritos.
"They are good, my mom's old recipe; breakfast in a shell. Still hungry?" Garrett asked.
"A little." Came the reply.
"Sam do you mind me giving him a little more?" Garrett offered.
"Of course not," Samantha replied.
Robert took one out and unwrapped it, handing it to Aaron with a napkin. He devoured the burrito as Samantha and Garrett talked some more.
"So, why do you think Tyler went to school today?" Samantha asked him.
"I've been on him to get the guest room done. Now, though it looks as though it is going to have a more permanent resident. He might be wanting to create a little surprise for someone for his birthday." Garrett suggested pointing to Aaron with his head.
"Oh, I see." Samantha responded.
"He is just gathering everything today. He will probably start it on Monday, after school let's out." Garrett added.
"So when will we see him again?" Samantha asked.
"Probably around two o'clock or sooner if he has everything delivered. He has a math test today, and one in English." Garrett reported,"Then he will probably slip out during lunch period."
Tyler's school day ended early eleven o'clock. He decided not to take the bus home from school. His path took him through the streets of Brooklyn to Central Park where he helped Mr. Hanratty, an antique shop owner with cleanup every Friday and Saturday. Hanratty was glad to see him.
"Well, hello Tyler. It's only Wednesday you know." He said with a smile.
"I know I'm on a special mission today. I'm getting a new brother and need to get his room ready. Do you still have the bed and specimen cabinet I wanted?" Tyler asked.
"Why, I set it aside just for you. Would you like me to make the bed safe for him to sleep in?" Hanratty inquired.
"Yes please and I need a lamp and a night stand from the same time if you have them." Tyler said taking out his check book and signing an approved check.
"I should have something. Look around see if you find anything you think might work." Hanratty replied, "If you find it I'll throw it in for the help you give me."
"Thank you, can Mr. Parker take it to the house?" Tyler asked.
"Certainly," he said nodding to parker and pointing to the items as Tyler chose them.
Having taken the time to look over Aaron's old room, Tyler knew what his likes and dislikes were. He was sure the boy would be happy with these choices. Plus he would be bringing some of his favorite things with him .He could hardly wait to have a brother.
Next he made his way to the museum. There was an art store nearby so he stopped in to see if they had the Rockwells he needed. A girl he knew saw him and decided to say hello. She was a pretty little thing. The summer dress she was wearing excentuated he best features. At one time Tyler had thought about drawing her for a class project for the art fair the school held every year in May. It was too late to do it this year. Her eyes just melted him like snow in the springtime. Hazel green they were and her hair was flaming red. She was slender in all the right places. Tyler often wondered how it feel to dance with her.
"Hi, Tyler. What are you doing here?" She said
Tyler hadn't noticed her when she walked in. This was her family's shop. The boy spent a lot of time here on Saturdays. Garrett always took the girls that day to give him a break. He was nervous as he spoke.
"Hi, Jordan. Looking for some art for my new brother's bedroom." Tyler replied
"I thought you only had sisters." Jordan replied.
"My dad is getting married again. I'm getting a new little brother Grace's age in the mix." Tyler explained.
"Oh, congratulations. You looking for something special." Jordan asked as she took his hand.
He thought about snatching it back, but the energy felt right to him. This made him even more nervous as he explained waht he was looking for.
"I uh... a couple of Rockwells. One called Can't Wait and another called Before the Shot. You uh... have 'em." he requested nervously.
"Yeah, they're over here." She said as she led him to a small stack by the counter.
"What are they doing here?" Tyler asked anxiously.
"Oh, nothing. I've just been saving them for you. It's you're b-day soon isn't it?" Jordan inquired.
Tyler wasn't sure if this was a good thing, but he couldn't refuse her. It would make him look like just another boy in a crowd of millions. Tyler took a breath to settle his mind.
"Next month. How long have you been.." Tyler asked in return.
"Just since Christmastime. I paid for them out of my allowance every week. I wanted to surprise you, but if you need them for your brother I will see if you can take them now." Jordan suggested.
Just then her mother came out. She had the same red hair and penetrating green eyes. She gave Tyler a looking over before she spoke a word.
"So this is the boy my daughter is after. What is your name kid?" She asked.
"Tyler ma'am...uh Tyler Richardson." Tyler answered.
"The angel sculptor?" she inquired.
"Uh...yeah. That's me." Tyler answered again.
"This is an unexpected honor," she said extending her hand.
Tyler took the offer, shaking her hand once briskly. She then added, "I am Annie Sinton. You can take those now if you like, they're all paid up."
Jordan smiled at her mother. Tyler really couldn't take them then, so he invited Jordan over to help him with Aaron's room.
"If I could borrow Jordan tomorrow, you could bring them along." Tyler suggested.
Annie thought about it for a moment. Her daughter had been thinking this boy was a proper catch. This was true for the most part, and he seemed nice enough. Jordan was sure he was the one even if he was nervous around her. That always happened when she approached a boy she like, they always ran the other way. The only difference with this one is that he didn't run and try to hide.
"I guess Jordan can miss a day of work. She's chosen you, you know. The fact that you haven't run from her means that you are becoming comfortable with her." Annie told him.
Tyler nearly blushed. It was uncanny, but Jordan's mom was right. Jordan's dad even peeked across the framing window sill to see what was going on. His princess had found a boy who wouldn't run from her. He gave Tyler a quick scan and then a smile of approval. Tyler smiled back and waved a quick hello. Mr. Sinton nodded in return.
"Can you bring her tomorrow; I need a hand with the painting. just make sure she's not wearing a dress. She looks to good that way." Tyler requested.
"Sure, I can have Kade bring her. Would ten o'clock be alright?" Annie inquired.
"That'll be fine," Tyler replied writing down the family address.
Annie looked at the address. Kade was just coming to the front to get a better look at Tyler. She handed the address to him as he reached the counter.
"You know where this is?" She asked her husband.
"You live near Central Park West don't you?" Kade asked.
"Kind of, yeah." Tyler answered.
"Ten o'clock it is then. Rockwells will come with. You've made my daughter happy so..uh you can have one more piece of art, anything you like, boy." Kade offered.
"Do you have a copy of Max Escher's 'Relativity'?" Tyler asked.
"I have a framed one on display just there. You can have it." Kade told him.
"I'll come back for it tomorrow if it's alright." Tyler agreed.
He left their shop and went to join his family and the Met Museum. He was surprised to find that they were still at the front end of the exhibit.
Aaron and the girls had already made their way to the more fun part of the exhibit. It was here that the museum had hung works by Piet Mondrian, and Jackson Pollock. Tyler couldn't see for sure but it looked as though the trio had made it to Mondiran's 'Broadway Boogie Woogie' they were laughing at the name. Evie had her mouth covered smiling as she said it. It was good to see them smiling again. He checked in with his dad.
"Hey dad, looks like others are having a good time. Are you two having a good time with them?" Tyler inquired.
"Yes, This was a great suggestion. Let me see if I can get us a guide." Garrett replied.
"No you two stay here. I'll do it." Tyler told them.
He went back to the desk and smiled to the slightly older girl. She knew he wanted something. She was about to inquire as to what that was when the curator walked onto the floor. Tyler had been coming here in secret since the first time he went with his school. He was a tall, thin older British man by the name of Reginald Perkins.
"Hello, Tyler. Here alone again?" He asked.
"No sir, my family is here too. We need a guide through the exhibit. Is there a good one here today?" Tyler replied.
"Sadly, they have all been released for the day. However, I could be your guide today. Will that do?" Perkins offered.
"You sure it's okay, Mr. Perkins?" Tyler asked.
"Of course it is." Perkins answered
Tyler agreed and Perkins took him back to Garrett and Samantha. He took them through the exhibit. They thought they knew more than they did. Tyler knew more and answered qauestions left and right. Perkins was not surprised given the amount of time the boy had spent there on his Saturdays. They had spent all day until closing in the museum and seen most of it by time to go.
"I saw you Ogling the Pollock over there, so I grabbed this for you." Perkins told him.
He handed Tyler a tube. It was almost certain what was inside. Tyle was almost certain what was inside. He nodded again in thanks and ran to join the others as they went out the door.
The next day was very busy. By the time Jordan made it to the house Tyler was up and working on the walls in Aaron's new room. He ran downstairs like lightning when the doorbell rang. Jordan was till a vision of lovliness to him even dressed like a house painter. Tyler invoited her in and took her upto the room. At it's center was the bed, already placed and made safe for it's new user. There were two paint cans on each side of the wood floor which had been stripped and waxed. It shined gloriously in the light. The walls were primed and ready for the new color they were about to receive.
"So, where do you want these, young man." Kade asked.
"Upstairs, by ther rails Mr. Sinton." Tyler replied.
He placed them carefully by the bedroom door, stopping to take a look inside. Tyler and his daughter were working well together.
"What time should I pick her up," Kade asked.
"A few hours." Tyler told him.
"Alright then, I'll be hear." Kade reported.
The room slowly took shape. When the final coat was on the walls, the other furniture was moved in and the tape removed from the mouldings. It would be another hour before the second coat was dry so they washed uo a bit and joined Garrett and the girls for lunch.
"Hey son, who's your guest?" Garrett asked.
"This is Jordan Sinton from school. She came over to help me with Aaron's room." Tyler explained.
"Well it is good to meet you Jordan. I am Garrett Richardson, Tyler's dad." He said introducing himself to Jordan.
They joined the thothers for lunch while the paint dried, having a good time. This was the first time the girls hadn't teased Tyler about being with a girl. He gave them a long, thank ful gaze. Maybe his mautrity was rubbing off on them a little. Lunch finished quickly. Jordan and Tyler went back to Aaron's room to hang the art. All said and done it looked great. The final touches were made and Tyler closed and locked the door until Saturday.
Tyler couldn't sleep that night. There were too many exciting things happening in the next couple of days. Both Sam and Garrett had to work so they entrusted Tyler with everyone's care. It wasn't an unfamiliar thing for him. He just had one more kid to look after and he would take the greatest care he could. Their plans had already been made. They both gave Tyler money enough run all the errands. Tuxes and dresses had already been ordered and just needed picking up. It would be fun for the little ones, like playing dress up for a few minutes each.
By then they had been joined by the owner Ben Whitcomb. He had been watching them from a spot just beyond the counter. Evie and Grace seemed to be enjoying themselves as they changed from dress to beautiful dress. Tyler hadn't noticed him before he approached.
"Hello Tyler, what can we do for you and the princesses today?" Whitcomb inquired.
"We're her to pick up the Richardson-Green order. Is it ready?" Tyler asked reply.
"Yes, we were just waiting for the beautiful dresses you designed for your sisters. They came in just ahead of you from the seamstress. She enjoyed making them for you. You know you really have a gift." Ben reported.
"Thanks, can I see them on the girls?" Tyler saked.
"Certainly, let me go get them."
Jordan Sinton's older sister Anjelica worked for Whitcomb and came over to say hello. She had heard about the angel and wanted to meet him.
"You're a popular boy now." She said in welcome.
Tyler could all but see the resemblance between Anjelica and Jordan.
"Hi, do I know you?" Tyler asked her.
"Not really, you know my sister Jordan better." Anjelica told him.
"Oh, your Jordan Sinton's sister. How come you're not working at the family store?" Tyler asked
"Moved out and started school last year. That and it got boring." She responded.
"Those dresses are really adorable on your sisters. The good thing is they're half off and no one's bought them yet."
Jordan dug around in his back pack for his checkbook. He smiled and began to write a seperate check. One of them would be an early b-day present for Gracie.
"You guys stay here, okay. I am going to be right back." Tyler told the others.
They all okayed him as he left for the back counter where Anjelica rung the dresses up. Tyler gave her the check and his pedestrian ID.
"Out with the herd Tyler?" Anjelica asked.
"Yeah, Dad and Sam have to work today. Gotta be mom and dad, it's fun today really." Tyler reported.
"You're good with them." Anjelica observed.
I've had a year of practice at it. Aaron there is just one more. He'll be my brother on Saturday." Tyler replied.
They talked some more until Mr. Whitcomb brought out the dresses. They were exsquisite. Every stitch was sewn with great care and the color was even right for the wedding. Ben bent down to see how the gitls liked them. It was then that he noticed that the clearance flower girl dresses were gone. He looked all around and there was no one in the store but but these four children. Whitcomb understood and smiled at Tyler.
"Did you buy thise dresses, young man?" He asked.
"Yes," was the answer.
Whitcomb wagged his head in thankful disbekief. He had thought that the dresses would be there until the end of the year or longer.
"Anjelica, did you sell these?" He aske his one employee.
"Yes sir, I did. I thought his sisters would look adorable in them." Anjelica answered.
"How much did you clear them for?" Whitcomb inquired.
"Fifteen percent less than rack. Did I do something wrong?" Anjelica replied.
"No, Not at all. They got sold to a person that needed them. That's all that counts. Thank you Anjelica." He told her.
Tyler checked the dresses out a little further and nodded an okay. Whitcomb packed them up and gave him fifteen percent off his normal price for Tyler. He handed Ben the cards and the orders were rung up.
"You kids have a nice day. I hope your parents have a beautiful wedding." Ben bade them as they went out the shop door.
When they arrived home, Tyler put everything away and began to make lunch for everyone. It would still be another few hours Sam Garrett arrived home. He told them to clean up and take a short nap for a while. Tyler thought that a good Idea and cleaned the kitchen and went up to take one himself. When he opened his bedroom door there was Aaron still sitting up on his bed.
"What's the matter, Aaron?" He asked.
"I just can't sleep right now?" Aaron answered.
"A little too much excitement coming up?" Tyler posited.
"I think so. This isn't my room you know?"
"Let me try something. Come with me." Tyler suggested.
Tyler took Aaron to the locked door at the end of th hall. He hadn't wanted to show Aaron his birthday gift this soon, but it was Aaron needed. He took out the old key and put it into the lock. With a quick turn it was open. Aaron couldn't believe his young eyes. This room was way better than the one he had at home. He walked thorugh and touched everything smiling all the while. There was art on the far wall he couldn't help but smile at. When he saw the new, framed wolverine and Batman posters on the wall, he immediately knew who the room was for. Aaron ran back to Tyler hitting him with a forceful embrace.
"Is this mine?" He asked.
"Yes, it is from me to you. You can sleep in here for your nap now, or wait until after the wedding." Tyler offered.
"I can sleep here now? Yes please." Aaron exclaimed.
"Alright I'll come and get you later. Enjoy your room." Tyler bade him.
Tyler made his way down the stairs to the sofa. He would have gone to his bedroom to relax but he had to watch rhe door for Sam Garrett. A couple hours went by and they still hadn't made it home yet. Tyler drifted off to sleep, waking up when he heard the door being released. The dresses and tuxedoes were still lying on the back of Garrets easy chair. He didn't wake up all the way and fell back to sleep.
Sam and Garrett saw him laying on the sofa. They gave him a getle wag, but left him alone for the moment. Sam looked around none of the other kids were in sight.
"He must have put them down for a nap, it was a hot day after all." Garrett offered.
"True. Did he ever finish that room for Aaron?" Sam inquired.
"Finished it Wednesday afternoon. He could already have allowed Aaron to see it and let him sleep there. Wanna go see?" Garrett suggested.
"Why don't we. If Aaron is up there we could just let him stay the night. His tux is here anyway." Sam said.
They went quietly up the stairs and then to the right two doors. The bedroom door was unlocked when they checked it. Sam opened it and there was her little prince, asleep on a new bed. He looked peaceful just then, so she didn't wake him. Sam and Garrett said their goodbye's until the wedding sharing a long, passionate kiss. After a couple of hours the children began to rouse. One by one the little ones came out of their room barefoot and yawning. Garrett just did nothing but smile and retreat to the kitchen to make dinner for the five of them.
Tyler roused. but didn't make a sound. Instead he just smiled and watched in anticipation of his familiy's new future. The family was whole again, with the addition of one more. Tyler was glad to have that one more kid in the house. He followed his dad into the kitchen as Samantha slipped out the door giving him a smile that said,"until next time son." The next time would be tomorrow at the wedding. Tyler couldn't wait. Sure, it would be the last time he would have to play mother hen to the girls, and he would miss it. He would have a new purpose now as a guide for a little brother. In his mind he could see all the fun they would have together until he left for college. That made him smile, too. Tyler stared off into space until he was brought back by the firm grip of Garrett's hand on his shoulder.
"Shall we go make dinner now?" Garrett asked him.
"Yeah." Tyler answered.
They walked into the kitchen together talking of the events of the next day. Tyler's spaghetti with sausage was on the menu tonight. Garrett made a green salad to go with it. Eventually the other children woke and made their wys to the kitchen following the smell of the sausage. Garrett turned to Aaron and Grace.
"Will you two help me set the table?" He asked them.
The two children nodded. Gracie took the silverware basket from the nook table and gave it to Aaron. He took it with a smile and Grace received the plates Garrett handed to her, five in all.
"They go on the left, Aaron." She told him.
"Okay," Aaron exclaimed as he ran out of sight.
Garrett picked up the mats and placed them one by one on the table as the others followed. It was all done in a graceful flash as the bread sticks and salad came out they all took their places and waited on the main course. That came in as Garrett took the time to dish out the salad. Tyler took a spot by Aaron who had taken his original spot. They took a moment for grace and then broke for a well sought after dinner. Garrett took a moment to recognize Aaron joining them at the table. Aaron liked it because it meant that for one night he was the VIP. Then Garrett turned to Tyler to start the conversation around the table.
"So Tyler I see you bought the girls some dresses to keep. You made good choices. They will look like angels in them." Garrett offered.
"They did. That's why I bought them. It's kind of an early birthday present for them." Tyler answered.
"You made some good choices. You will be helping the others get ready for the last time tomorrow. Are you going to miss it?" Garrett asked him.
"Yeah a little; It was always fun, I have a little brother to help along the way now and I might spend more time with him." Tyler replied.
"Just the way it's supposed to be. You have any guests coming tomorrow?" Garrett asked.
"Jordan Sinton and her older sister Anjelica want to come. Anji wants to see the girls in their dresses." Tyler reported.
Aaron just smiled at all of this as he made his move on a piece of sausage. It seemed every time he looked up, the boy was just a little messier.
"Enjoying the spaghetti, Aaron?" Tyler laughed.
"Yes," Aaron answered his mouth full of noodles.
The girls got a chuckle out of it. They were going to love their new brother. All the old jokes they played on Tyler and Garrett were new again. They smiled at the prospects. Garrett saw the look in their eyes and chided them.
"Girls you are going to have to give Aaron time to settle in before you think that. Leave him alone." Garrett said
Aaron knew that he might have to expect some unusual things to happen with girls around. But as sisters go, he would still think they were tops even if they did play jokes on him it would all just be in good fun. Then the conversation turned to the wedding. Garrett had been working for the whole week on Aaron's Ring Bearer gift. It was a cherrywood ring box that he would get to keep for his treasures. Garrett brought it out to show him.
"We wanted you to remember tomorrow as a new and solid future. So the rings will go in here until you get them to Tyler who will take them out. IN another compartment is your ring bearer gift. I hope you like it." Garrett told him.
Inside was a stainless steel Honer mouth harp. Aaron smiled and closed the lid, sliding it back across the table.
"Thanks, but wait until tomorrow. It will be a double present." Aaron requested.
Garrett laughed, "Sure, but I want to hear you learning to play it all over the house after then."
Aaron showed his smile again.Garrett reached into his pocket and pulled out the next gift. It was a silver plated watch.
"And this is for my best man," he said puting it out for Tyler's approval.
Tyler nodded yes. He thought he would never be asked and wondered why it was so late in the game.
"Why me dad; why not your friend Chuck. He really thought it was your turn this time. Chuck said it would bering us close than we had been in the past year." Garrett explained.
Tyler gently took the watch and put it in his pants pocket so he could put it with his tux. It would be the perfect topper.
"Yes dad. Thank you, its great." Tyler replied.
Aaron had vacuumed up the rest of his dinner, wiping his face. He slouched in his chair, filled he thought to brimming with a good meal.
"Sure you're full, little man?" Tyler asked him.
"I don't know. Is there dessert?" Aaron asked.
Everybody at the table laughed. Garrett thought about it for a moment and then made a suggestion.
"How about we go to the ice cream factory for dessert. I can call your mom Aaron if you like." he said.
Aaron just nodded and smiled rubbing his little belly. It was a great dinner being topped off with a great dessert. Garrett made the call and they met outside the Greene home to pick up Samantha. The talk the whole time was of what was going to happen tomorrow. They were all excited and couldn't wait. When they got home, Aaron was thie first one in the shower. The girls took their baths next. They all played some games and Sam went home again. It was something about it being bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. She knew it was an old wive's tale, but it was as good an excuse as any to get Garrett and Aaron together time as father and son. Before she truly exited the door she smiled at the gathering with a couldn't wait light in her eyes.
There was no stopping the children that day from getting ready for the wedding. Breakfast was equally amazing, french bread french toast in honor of their guests birthday and scrambled eggs. Garrett hadn't risen yet and Tyler was hoping this would get him up. It slowly took effect as Garrett got up to shower. It smelled brilliant as he came down the stairs to the dining room three quarters dressed for the wedding which was at ten o'clock. The chilkdren were also almost ready. The boys were down to shirts and bow ties and Tyler had made the girls wait until after breakfast to put on their flower girl dresses. He wanted his dad to see his little purple angels walking down the stairs with their gentlemen brothers. The younger kids were all finished with their breakfast and Tyler shewed them up to the bathrooms to wash up and finish getting dressed. Tyler decided to eat with his dad. It was something they hadn't done since Gracie was a baby. Yet, in many ways it was new for them. Just as they finished Aaron came down; he couldn't get his bow tie to tie right.
"I can't do this." He exclaimed pulling it taught ant both ends.
Tyler moved to do it, but was backed away by Garrett who wanted this moment with his new son. He tied the tie and made the final bow, kissing Aaron on the forehead.
"Welcome to the family, big guy. Go get your shoes on before you catch your death of cold." Garrett told him.
"Thanks. Should I call you dad now?" Aaron asked.
"Let's wait for that until tonight." Garrett suggested.
Aaron scampered off to put his new shoes on and waited for the girls on the stairs. Tyler had snuck passed him too and was also coming out. looking his usual dapper self. Grace and Evie finally came out as well. Now they were all together on the stairs. Garrett took out his newly loaded camera and took their picture. This was going to be a picture perfect day.
All the catering and some other people who were helping out over the past few days were already there making final touches on the back yard. The angel statues were placed on the edge of the yard facing out toward the reception area. They were the centerpiece of the wedding until the cake came out. Everything was beautiful outside. The weather even behaved. A slight breeze cooled the morning air. Garrett could feel it along with his nervousness. About then Tyler came out.
"We've got your back dad. Don't sweat it, she's not mom, but she'll definitely do and we all love her. So go get married. It's the right thing to do now and you can't turn back." Tyler prodded.
"Thanks son," Garrett replied embracing both old and new son together."
Everyone was there now and things were ready to start. One of Tyler's friends played the march with a smile. The groomsmen were all gathered at the front waiting for the bride to walk her pathway to Garrett. As soon as the music started she came out in her purple chiffon dress with Grace Evie and a few others trailing behind also dressed in the finest dresses ever seen in Brooklyn. The pastor came forward as Samantha reached the altar, taking Garrett's hands.
After the opening remarks the pastor posed the big questions.
"Do you Samantha Anne Greene do you take this man to have and to hold; to love and to cherish in sickness and in health till death do you part?"
"I do." She said looking deeply into Garrett's eyes.
"And do you Garrett do the same for Samantha."
"I do," Garrett said.
Tyler took the rings from Aaron's box and gave them to his dad and new mom.
"With this ring I thee wed." They both said in turn.
Then they kissed as passionately as they had at the top of the stairs the night before. Tyler tugged on Garrett's tuxedo jacket.
"Congratulations," Garrett said.
"Congratulations dad." Aaron said after him.
"Congratulations to you too, son," Garrett offered with a hug.
The five of them reversed the path they had taken and went to the dance area. Samantha and Garrett danced first and then she called for her new son to dance with her. Later, Jordan tapped in and Samantha allowed it to be. They were a family now with a secure future and everything ahead was new. The birthday party was underway with Aaron unwrapping his presents at break-neck speed. He thanked everyone who had given him something. He had wanted all of it, but the best gifts were dancing together and what he had upstairs. Aaron finally felt at home again. Nothing was missing, nor would it ever be again.
Christmas came some months later. The angel outside peered through the patio window and into the house. Her family was happy again as they decorated the tree. She would miss them, but was happy for them. Another joined her and they both shared a dance together. It was a sort of prayer to God that nothing else would happen to their families until it was truly time for them to pass. Light filtered down from the night sky as an answer and they knew that the blessing had been made.