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Secrets

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Secrets
by Jamie Yarbrough

Chapter 33

Sam walked slowing into his familiar dining room wondering if this was the last time they would all manage to sit down together as a family. The chances were pretty good. He took in his children’s faces, they all looked so grown up Sam felt his heart ache for the years that had slid by. Kay looked pale and her eyes were shining as she saw him then when Grace walked in behind him he could see the pain and fury fly into her eyes, he wondered as he took his seat what it was that had split these two apart, they had always been distant to each other but now there was hostility and outright disdain for one another. He hoped that if anything good came out of his announcement it would be to push them back together. Something on his chair crunched as he sat and Sam cursed and leapt off the chair. He saw a tick file folder and a box (obviously what he had smashed) he picked it up with a curious expression and sat again then began to open the box.

"No!" Kay and Jessica shouted in unison.

"Dad, that is a surprise for when we are done eating!" Kay said quickly and pulled the box next to her. She had hoped to have one final meal where they could all talk before the announcements began. Whitney Russell had come as Noah’s guest and from the way he was fluttering around her and doting on her it was obvious that this wasn’t just any girl, not to mention he had never bothered to bring a single girlfriend home until now. Kay hoped that it would work out, she knew Noah needed someone in his life. Kay hoped that they could also bury the tension that had always come between them just as she had with Theresa.

Dinner was quiet and Noah began to look more and more nervous as his family was never like this at dinner, he felt the palpable tension in the air and immediately assumed that it was not approved of that he brought Whitney to dinner. Noah couldn’t think of any reason they had to disapprove, considering Reese’s and especially Luis’ presence at the ta-ble. Whitney was obviously terrified by the time the plates were clear and finally Noah couldn’t take it anymore.

"Quit judging her, I LOVE Whitney and I am sick and tired of the silent treatment just because I brought a woman to dinner!" Noah shouted just as Kay opened her mouth to speak.

All the color raced from Whitney’s face and her ears buzzed, she had been uncomfortable with the silence before but now she was certain she would faint.

"What are you talking about Noah?" Kay asked.

"The silence! We are never like that it is OBVIOUS something is different!" Noah shouted a little dizzy himself from admitting his feeling just then, he had defiantly not meant to do that.

"You love me?" Whitney whispered as she found her voice.

"Yes." Noah said terrified, he had never said it to anyone and meant it until now and this time, when it really counted he wasn’t sure if she would ever say it back. He swallowed hard as he sat back down in his seat and turned to Whitney.

"Noah... oh my god. Noah..." Whitney felt her heart soar and she could feel her stomach pitch as she took the leap. " I love you, too."

Noah leapt out of his seat pulling Whitney with him, oblivious of the grins and laughter around the table, he pulled her close and kissed her hard, deep and for a very long time before he was able to remember that they were all at a family dinner. Whitney was even dizzier when she stepped back and grinning crazily.

Kay was smiling broadly and saw Jessica with tears pouring down her cheeks and Reese holding her hand, her father was smiling and looked happier that he had been for days. Grace however appeared livid, she glared angrily at the couple, and Luis cleared his throat as he saw Grace open her mouth to speak.

"Umm, I would also like to make an announcement of sorts..." He said, hoping to pull Grace’s attention from the new couple. " I asked Kay to marry me today and she said yes."

Jessica squealed and bounded out of her chair the tears still flowing, she threw her arms around her sister Kay held her tight and whispered to her "hormones" when she couldn’t stop crying. Congratulations came from everyone and hugs and laughter covered for Grace, who was seething in her chair. Luis shook Sam’s hand and winked knowing Sam would be ok with the news, he had wanted this for over a year and now that he had it he was going to stop Grace from ruining the moment, he wrapped his arm around Kay and wracked his brain for something, anything to say to keep her from ruining Kay’s moment.

Jessica swallowed hard and shot a look at Reese, he grabbed her hand and nodded slightly. Jess knew that they should just keep the ball rolling so she spoke up next, praying silently for a hurricane or something to interrupt, but no such luck.

"I have an announcement too." Jessica said. Sam pulled his eyes from his elder daughter and focused on the younger, hoping she was strong enough for everything.

"Reese and I are getting married." Jessica said shakily. Kay beamed relieved that at least on hurdle was over. Noah pulled himself away from Whitney and nearly fell out of his chair at the announcement. Grace’s own jaw dropped, Jes-sica had always been her child she related too and this was a definite shock.

"And I am pregnant." Jessica dropped the other bomb. Reese tensed up next to Jessica waiting for the attack, and he didn’t have to wait long. Noah leapt out of his chair and towered over Reese, at almost the same time Luis was shout-ing about trust and responsibility. Kay smiled at her sister and hugged her before she pulled Luis away from Reese and shot him a look telling him you have no place to say anything and pointed to their own daughter who was now fussing in the portable playpen across the room. The fire in Luis’ eyes died down as she walked over and picked up Ahnna. Noah shouted for another minute and then realized neither of his parents had said anything, he turned to see his father who gave the a strained smile, then his mother who just looked at Jessica with pity and disgust.

"Congratulations." Sam said as warmly as possible and both Jess and Reese let out a breath, Noah let go of Reese and looked at his father shocked that he wouldn’t say more.

"Speaking of announcements," Sam said, "I have one too..."

Grace felt the room spin, Kay couldn’t have told him she thought wildly, he would sit that calmly, she was sure.

"Grace, kids, I have kept something from you all for so long, and now something has happened and I have to tell you." Sam began. "When I was you, Kay’s age actually, I met a girl who I fell totally in love with. She was beautiful and full of laughter and life, she loved me just as I loved her, but even though we were determined to be together, her father was determined to keep us apart. She was married off in a business deal, to a man of her ‘class’." Sam spat.

Grace looked at him confused, he shook his head at the questions everyone wanted to ask and continued.

"Her name was Ivy Winthrop, she married Julian Crane. And after she was married I went to Boston and that is where I met Gracie. Ivy and I never really saw each other after that, I was happy in my life and she was busy in hers. But, I found out something today that will put her back into our lives and I can understand if you all hate me after this.... Ethan Crane is my son."

Theresa held Ethan and they sat together in silence until Liam started to fuss and Ethan finally pulled himself away and went to tend to his son. He shot Theresa a watery smile as Liam blew bubbles in his arms and Ethan carried him over and swiftly changed his diaper.

"My father- I mean Julian, used to wonder why I would stoop to something like changing my son’s diaper." Ethan said, "I guess it was the Bennett in me now, but then I just thought I should be more of a ‘hands-on’ father..."

Theresa didn’t know how to respond she sat and watched as Ethan redressed Liam and then he stood and grinned at Theresa.

"How about dinner?" He suggested, carrying Liam into the kitchen and pulling out the bottles of formula and then pe-rusing the refrigerator after plopping it into a pan of hot water. They both knew he was avoiding asking why Theresa had come back, that was obvious and Theresa still unsure of what she should do and if Ethan even still wanted to offer her marriage and to share his life thought it best to wait until Ethan brought it up. Ethan juggled Liam around and grabbed a casserole Pilar had brought over a few days before and grinned as Theresa recognized her mother’s cooking.

"How about we dine on this delicious meal prepared by you wonderful mother?" Ethan smiled again and felt his heart thump as she smiled back. She was twisting her fingers together and obvious itching to talk about his proposal. Ethan dreaded the moment and instead went to his oven and flipped it on and retrieved the warm bottle of formula. He plopped down in the chair next to Theresa where she was perched on the counter and fed his son.

Theresa cleared her throat and prayed for courage.

"Ethan... I know this has been a long day," she began. Here we go, Ethan thought struggling with his emotions and at-tempting to appear calm when his whole world was at stake.

"Ethan I love you, I have always loved you. I couldn’t stop even when you were married to Gwen or when I hated you, still inside I couldn’t stop loving you." Theresa said feeling her courage waver, she sucked in a breath, moment of truth, she thought... "Ethan I want to marry you. I want more than anything to be you wife and to be a part of your family, no matter which family that is."

Ethan felt the weight of losing his father, gaining another, losing Gwen, losing Theresa of everything he had been hurt by and all that was lost before disappear with her words. She loved him still, he wondered how that was possible but in the same instant thanked God that it was. He knew he had hurt her and was positive that they would do so again and again, but now, he thought as a smile spread over his lips, now they would never be alone in that pain, they would have their love.

Liam whimpered at the jolt as Ethan pulled Theresa to him and kissed her fiercely.

"I love you Theresa, thank you, thank you." Ethan whispered before he kissed her again and felt her slender arms wrap around him once again, Ethan was finally right where he should be.

Henry waited outside the Bennett house, glancing at the clock, he was going to "drop-by" at 8:30 and then suggest he and Grace go pick up dessert for the whole family, so they could talk about Sam’s upcoming birthday as a cover. He had tickets and false id and passports in his pocket so he and Grace could go straight to the airport and be on their way to Tahiti by the time Simple Sam noticed his wife (along with most of their cash and her belongings) was missing.

Henry knew they were getting close on the Harmony Robber case and he needed to hightail it out of Harmony right away, he had hoped for one more big heist before they left but the millions they had stashed were going to have to be enough. He was retiring, finally with his beautiful Gracie. Of course it was too bad she wasn’t as young as she had been when they met, he chuckled when it occurred to him that that was when she was Jessica’s age. He loved remembering all the time they spent together while Sam tried to woo her. It was a riot to talk about how sweet and proper he was while they lay in bed together. The both knew that Grace would be a great cover and as the years passed Grace and Sam were better and better cover, and Henry didn’t mind sharing, he had plenty of young beauties on the side, girls so desperate for the money and attention that they would do absolutely anything.

Henry thought about dropping Grace a few years back and hooking up with some young thing, but then Grace had half of the jewels stashed and a lot of the money was in her name, plus she had still been fun. Now she was getting whiney and demanding thinking she could push him around like she did that Bennett loser and Henry was just waiting for the change over to his name once that had settle in Tahiti to drop her. If fact his was thinking of stopping back by Harmony and picking up Kay or Jessica to fulfill their mother’s old role, Henry thought that would be particularly fitting. Too bad hot little Kay had to go get knocked up, now it would be to difficult to get her. So as he waited for time to pass Henry slipped into thoughts of Jessica and what he could do with her and all his money once he made it out of this one horse town.

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