"Well, here we are," he says as the car pulls up to the driveway.
"Yep, here we are," I reply looking out the window as his hand finds mine in an action of affection and caring.
"Did you tell Bessie we were coming?" he asks me.
"No," I whisper, my eyes finally meeting his.
"Lilly..." he sighs.
"Look Luca, if I told her, it would have only given her time to come up with some ridiculously lame excuse in place of the truth."
"Okay, whatever you want," he says smiling at me as he squeezes my hand.
He pulls the keys out of the ignition and slowly makes his way out of the driver's side to me. I squirm and try to follow in his lead, but my current situation is causing me some trouble. He notices my frustration and stifles a laugh. I send him a death stare just like my mother's and stick out my hand for help.
"Let's do it," he says helping me step out of the car.
"Isn't that what got us in this situation?" I ask patting my bulging stomach..
He smiles at me and I look into his eyes.
His eyes... They are the eyes of my Luca. For the first few months we were together, our eyes never left each other. I remember staring at him day and night. We've been married for a year now and my eyes still find his in the same situation. We've been together for five years, but we've known each other all our lives. He's six years younger than I am, but I've never felt closer to anyone in my life. He's just out of college and I've hit the big 3-0 already. But he doesn't treat me like an older woman as opposed to a princess. He's what it is to love. He's aunt Jen's son.
During senior year of college in Connecticut, aunt Jen met a business major. I remember seeing him for the first time when I was about four years old and thinking he must be made of chocolate. He had rich, brown hair and made aunt Jen happier than I had ever seen her. The only thing that made me that happy then was chocolate. They eloped straight out of college. My mom was mad that they would do such a thing and cause her to miss her best friend's wedding.
Aunt Jen explained to her that that was what they wanted and mom and aunt Jen made up and went back to swapping quips. Jake, aunt Jen's broker husband, was offered a job on Wall street, but aunt Jen refused to go back to New York. She said it caused nothing but pain and so they moved to Long Island after three months of marriage were Jake started his own business and aunt Jen became a school counselor. Nine months later they had a baby boy. After that I didn't get to see aunt Jen as often as I liked to. I remember when she'd come to visit while mom was still in college. She'd always bring me some type of makeup. Mom didn't approve of course.
"No way," she'd exclaim. "You take that back and any other makeup too, Jen."
"Sheesh, Jo," aunt Jen would exaggerate as she'd slip the lipstick in my pocket and send me running off to my room. "When did you become so uptight?"
"I am not," she'd reply sternly. "I just think my nerves deserve a couple of good years before I have to start worrying about boys."
"Daddy likes it when you wear lipstick," I'd bud in returning from my room with my new pink lipstick on.
"Yes, he does," mom would reply kneeling down so she'd be eye to eye with me..
"I'm sure daddy will like yours, too. Both your daddies are going to love it."
Both my daddies. I always got the weirdest looks from people when I said that. I grew up with three parents. Two dads and a mom. It made for some weird parent teacher meetings. My friends would just assume the daddy that lived with me and mom was my step-dad. Everyone had a step-dad those days, which proved to be a lifesaver when making my life look normal.
My mom would say I was extremely lucky to have two dads who loved me equally..
I loved them equally, too, and for the longest time I was happy with our family of four. I saw both each day and thought of them both as my father. As I grew older, I realized one was my dad and the other was my dad and father. It would have been easy to assume my father was the one my mother had chosen, but I wasn't so sure. She seemed to have a great love in her eyes for both of them even though she chose to spend her life with one.
One day I finally got the nerve to ask her which one was my father. I'm not an idiot, trust me. It would be seem obvious to just look at myself and then assume which was my father based on my looks, but nothing's easy when it comes to our family. See, I look like both my daddies, which is the oddest thing in the world. I've been told on more than one occasion that my hair color and eyes don't match and that it might just be genetically impossible to have the combination I do. But somehow it happened that I have this combination of hair and eyes color that makes revealing my past even more hard than it already is. I think God was looking out for my mom when he gave me this mixture. I'm not even certain of my personality. I send out death stares like mom, barbs like Pacey, and sweet nothings like Dawson to Luca. Sometimes I really don't know who I am.
When I asked my mom, she shifted in her seat uncomfortably and refused to meet my eyes. I kept turning my body so I was facing her, but she kept glancing sideways. Maybe she was trying to hide the truth that was in her eyes. I pleaded with her, but she wouldn't tell me.
"They are both your father," she said through tears. "They both helped create you into the person you are today. We'd be nowhere without them both."
"But I need to know, mom," I cried. "I can't go on not knowing."
"And I can't let you know," she yelled. I looked at her confused through my own tears. "If I do, you'll distance yourself from one. I don't want that to happen to you or them."
"You mean you don't want me to be like you," I yelled back. "Well, I'm not. Just because you lost one because you couldn't have them both doesn't mean I will too."
It didn't work. She never told me and I learned to just steer clear of the subject. It was too touchy for her. I spent the better half of my teenage years not knowing who my real father was. I tried everything. I asked aunt Jen, Jack, Andie, Grandma Gale, and Grandpa Mitch. When Luca and I started dating I asked him too. He didn't know and no on else would tell me. My crazy mother went as far as to hide my birth certificate and other documents. I thought she had gone mental or that they hide something really horrible that had happened in the past. Maybe neither of them was my father and one of them thought they were.
"One of them did conceive you," aunt Jen told me when I asked her about it.
"But both of them raised you and your mother is only trying to protect you. She lost someone very special to her because of circumstances. She doesn't want you to also."
When I tried to ask my daddies, they'd fall silent. I didn't know if it was a good silent or a bad silent. I don't understand why it bothered them so much.. Was it that hard just to say, "Yes, I am your father," or, "No, I am not?" I guess they feared like my mother that I'd distance one of them and they loved me too much for that to happen. I left it alone. Now here I am at my last attempt.
"You ready?" Luca asks me.
"As ready as I'll ever be," I answer. My insides are doing somersaults from nervousness. I put my hand to on my stomach to make sure it's not the baby kicking. No, it's definitely my nerves. I know this isn't good for the baby. It must feel like an earthquake in there.
"Are you scared?" Luca asks as we walk towards the door.
"A little. I mean, this could be it," I reply hopefully. "Aunt Bessie's always been laid back. Maybe she'll tell. I know she knows everything."
"Either way or father, I've never seen two men love a daughter as much as Dawson and Pacey do you."
"I know they do. I have no question in my mind about how much they love me, but I need more. It's like when one of those adopted kids goes on the search for their birth parents," I say reaching the door. "That's kind of like what I'm doing. What I need."
"I love you," he says out of nowhere.
"I love you, too," I reply knowing where he's coming from.
"Lilly," Aunt Bessie screams as she swings open the door. She wraps us in a huge hug before we have a chance to say anything. I don't how she managed with my stomach. "I knew that was your voice."
"Hey, auntie," I says pulling away. "Is that Alex I hear? Home for the holidays?"
"Yeah, he came to visit for Thanksgiving," she says gesturing us in.
"Bodie! Come here! Alex! Your cousin's here!"
"Thanks for the wonderfully loud welcome," I say sarcastically as I lay back on the couch. Luca sits beside me quiet as a mouse.
"You want anything?" he asks.
"Actually, yeah," I reply as Bodie and Alex enter the room from the back way..
"I mean something that Bessie might have in her fridge," he replies smiling.
"Not gummi bears and chicken soup."
"Um...juice," I answer although I prefer the gummi bears and chicken soup.
Bessie nods in the direction of the kitchen. The place has grown since I've last been here. Luca leaves and Bodie and Alex sit down on opposite sides of me.
"God, you're huge, Lil," Alex says poking at my stomach. I glare him. Bessie smiles probably reminiscing about how similar the action is to that of my mother's.
"Don't listen to him, Lilly," Bessie says coolly. "You look glowing. How far along are you?"
"Six months," I answer as Luca returns with my juice and sits across from me on the opposite couch. Bessie positions herself on the edge of the coffee table, constantly rubbing my tummy. "It only kicks went it wants to."
"It?" Alex asks as I sip my juice. "Ooh, an it."
"I think it's a girl," Luca says. "Look how high up her tummy is."
"You sound like Dawson, following movie standards. Don't think I didn't see 'Nine Months'," I reply putting my cup down on the coffee table. I smile to myself remembering the story my mom told me about Dawson and her and coffee tables. What a kinky pair they were. Luca and me are no different, I guess. We used a shower.
"Whatever it is," Bodie says, "I'm sure it'll be beautiful."
"Thank you, Bodie," I reply sincerely turning towards him as I snap out of my reverie.
"So to what do we owe this unexpected visit anyway?" Bessie asks curiously.
"What?" I ask incredulously. "Can't a niece just visit her favorite aunt?"
"Na uh, there's always a motive," Bessie replies as she grins at me suspiciously.
"Okay, so I have a motive. Can we talk in private?" I ask looking around me at the faces seated next to me. They nod and stand up uncomfortably.
"We'll take Luca out to dinner," Alex says. "He must be starving."
"Okay, just bring him back in one piece and no strippers," I joke.
"That still leaves hookers, Luca, my buddy," Alex smiles as he wraps his arm around Luca's shoulders.
"Ha ha," I mockingly laugh after them as they leave. "Aunt Bess, I need a favor."
"You name it, hon," she says sitting down next to me.
"I need to know who my father is," I say all in one breath.
"Oh, Lil," she sighs heavily as if making a deep decision. "I wish I could tell you. I do. I love your mother. She's my sister, but I think she made a wrong here by not telling you already."
"She says she doesn't want me to distance one like she did."
"How much do you know, Lil?" she asks, her eyes piercing into mine.
"Not much that matters. Just that mom was in high school when she got pregnant. I remember Pacey raising me when I was a toddler and then Dawson doing so also. She fell in love and had to choose. Just the gist. She did tell me some high school stories."
"There's so much you don't know, Lil. I wish I could tell you, but your mother would cut off my head," Bessie says smiling slightly. "That's your mother. Stubborn as a bull."
"She doesn't have to know that I know," I reply trying to convince aunt Bessie to spill. "It could be just between you and me."
"Uh, Lil..." my cell phone interrupts her sentence. She reaches over the couch arm and pulls it out of my purse. Handing it to me, she smiles. She wants to so badly. I can see it in her eyes.
"Hello," I answer the phone on the fifth ring.
"Hey, how's my Lil' babe?" he asks. It's Pacey. My dad. Possibly my father. I freeze and Bessie looks at me with concerned eyes. "Lil' babe?"
Lil' babe. That's his nickname for me. He's been calling me it forever. I hate it, but when he says it I love it. When I was little he'd tease me about being a super model. That's where the babe came from. Lil was what everyone called me. He put them together and when I was little it made lots of sense. Little babe, only Lil' babe. Hey, it's better than ompa loompa he'd say. My poor other dad. What a name to be called. I'll stick to Lil' babe.
Every time he calls me that, I'm surprised. It's a baby nickname, but he's always been extremely affectionate with me. I'm still his little babe. I'm still a little baby to him too.
"I'm fine, dad," I finally reply. "How are you?"
"I'm stranded in traffic so I though I'd give my favorite person in the world a call," he says. I can almost hear him grinning. Such a warm smile he has.
"Oh, dad, I don't mean to be rude, but I'm kinda in the middle of something right now," I say shifting in my place on the couch and my voice.
"Oh," he replies knowingly. "You two never stop." Same old dad. Same old Pacey that my mom described.
"Noooo," I exclaim. "Not that, dad."
"No need to make excuses. I'll talk to you later, Lil' babe. I love you," he says.
"Love ya, too," I reply.
That reminds me of Dawson. I know it shouldn't since it's Pacey telling me he loves me, but it does. Ever since I moved away from home when I turned eighteen, Dawson has made a habit of calling me at the most egregious times and leaving a message on my answering machine. All it says is, "I love you, sweetie." That's it. Every so often. No one knows. I want to keep it our thing just like Lil' babe is Pacey's and mine. One really doesn't love me more than the other.
"Pacey," I say putting the phone down besides me.
"I figured as much," Bessie replies smiling. "Only he could make you blush and call noooo."
"That's my dad, but is he my father?" I ask raising the pitch in my voice. I sound like a detective questioning my aunt. If all goes as planned, she should break soon.
"This doesn't leave the dust bunnies behind the couch," she states. I smile and she breathes deeply. "Alright, this is a long story and I'll try to recap it as fast as I can, but you're gonna have to bear with me anyway."
"No problem, aunt Bess. Thank you so much," I say hugging her with internal gratefulness.
"If you need to use the bathroom, I suggest you go now," she says.
"I'm fine," I reply eager for her to continue.
"Are you sure? 'Cause there'll be no potty breaks, Lil."
"I'm good to go. Start the story, aunt Bess."
"I'm sure you know all about how Dawson, Pacey, and your mother grew up together and Dawson and your mom got together beginning of high school and then broke up," she says and I nod. Mom told me some things surprisingly, but left out everything important. "Well, then I'll just skip forward to senior year. That year, your mother and Dawson got back together. They were extremely happy. On Valentine's Day and your mother and Dawson's anniversary, Dawson took her to a beach. I can still see her getting dressed in my mind. She went through a hundred of my dresses and looked perfect in everyone, but none was perfect enough in her mind for Dawson." I smile thinking of other times when mom would dress up and me, the little child, would be so envious of her that she got to wear all those fantastic outfits. She always had great style and still does to this day. She never lost that, her beauty, sharp tongue, or luster. "She finally chose a blue sundress with sunflowers and left with Dawson wearing red lipstick that just yelled, 'kiss me, I'm on fire'."
"Mom?" I ask incredulously. "Mom can be sexy when she wants to be, but 'I'm on fire'."
"Yup, Dawson did things to her I'd never seen before. He changed her into this sweet, romantic thing that had been hiding under her cynical exterior all along. She started playing this game of 'how can I knock off Dawson's socks now?' And she did. Every time. She changed him too. Your mom once told me it was like seeing everything through newborn eyes. Everything was a new memory never before experienced. Everything was serene as a postcard. Or it was until your mom got pregnant. Dawson's your father, Lilly."
"D...aw...son," I stutter. Now that it's finally happened, I don't feel any different. I know, but everything seems the same. Somehow I thought something tremendously drastic would happen like a hole would open in the ground and swallow me. I feel like I should make a public announcement now. Maybe I'll go the top of the Empire State Building and yell it at the top of my lungs.
"Yes, Dawson," aunt Bessie repeats. "That's where you get that beautiful face of yours. Those locks." I stay silent. "Lilly, are you alright? I shouldn't have told you. I knew it."
"No, aunt Bess, I'm fine," I reply waking from my thoughts. "I'm just contemplating what it means."
"What does it mean?"
"Knowing me," I whisper smiling, "and I have you to thank for that."
"That's not all, Lil," Bessie answers. "There's whole history behind every event that has led to today. See, a couple months after Joey got pregnant with you, Dawson got into a car accident. He got amnesia. Didn't remember Joey. Not a clue about the pregnancy."
"Dad never said anything about this," I say unbelieving to the words coming out of Bessie's mouth.
"Yeah, there's a lot dad never told you. He and Joey decided to give it a try anyway and it was working slowly, piece by piece. He started to regain some memories here and there, but that wasn't what kept them together. They created all new memories. That was the glue in their relationship.
Dawson promised her that they'd be a family even though he didn't remember conceiving you, but Joey being her insecure self didn't trust him. She asked Pacey to raise you with her if Dawson didn't want to. He promised. After school got out, your mom, Dawson, and Pacey went off to UCLA. Dawson proposed to Joey right before they drove out west right in front of this house. He said to her, 'I've been trying to remember for so long and so hard. And I finally did. I remembered that love can't be forgotten.' She said yes and so they moved into freshman married housing on Joey's scholarship. A couple of months later, you were born. One day, just like that, Dawson left with only a note left behind. Something about not being able to be what you and Joey needed until he could remember. Joey was so upset I could hardly understand what she said over the phone. Within an hour, Pacey was moving in to fulfill his promise. She and Dawson never had the chance to marry so Joey passed Pacey off as her fiance to the school. For the next four years they raised you together. Pacey loved you and raised like you were his own. He loved to take you to Disneyland, remember? I think he was trying to make up for the way his father had messed up with him. More than anything he wanted to be the perfect dad and he was. For Thanksgiving, when you were about four, everyone came out here for a feast at Jen's grams. You had run inside to play with some new toys."
"I remember," I interrupt. "Everything's coming back now. I was inside and then I got a craving for Jell-O and I ran outside to where everyone was eating and yelled for Jell-O."
"No, Lil," she corrects me, "you yelled, 'Daddy, I want Jell-O,' to Pacey right when Dawson showed up again. The look on his face was unbelievable. That was the last thing he expected."
"Why had he come back?" I ask. "I remember after that he was just kind of accepted into the family."
"Your mom couldn't not let him be a part of your life or do the same to Pacey since he had been there for you two. Now, this is where it gets complex. Dawson had come back with his memory intact and wanting your mother back, but Joey's heart had been captured. During those years that Dawson had disappeared, Joey fell in love with Pacey and he with her. They became the family that you, Joey, and Dawson should have been. For some time, they just tried to be Joey and Pacey plus Dawson as dad number two, but it never felt quite right. Joey loved them both and she knew they were waiting for her to make a decision. She agreed only if they both promised to continue to be your dad and let nothing change that. She wanted them both and needed them both, but unfortunately polygamy isn't accept in the United States. So she chose the only way she knew how. She chose her best friend and the connection with the other was lost. They remained friends, but the feelings they always had that connected them were no longer there. They drifted apart. She kept one she loved, but she lost another she loved too."
"You said she chose her best friend," I say, "but they're both her best friend from what I understand."
"Yes, they both are, but only one makes her soft to the touch to the point that she let you wear lipstick when you were little because he loved it," aunt Bessie explains.
"So she chose..." I start to say as Bessie interjects and answers, "Yes, the one that made her soft to the touch."
Love's a strange thing. That's what I've learned. Mom never expected to fall for Pacey at all. Dawson never expected her to either. I'm sure no one expected the ending that came out of everything. I never expected to fall for my mom's best friend's son. But you know what? I'm sure as hell glad that it's strange. What's a soap opera adventure that my mom had and I can only wish to have compared to a boring, predictable love? Special.
That's all folks. I know it's a rather strange ending, but I decided that for once it should be up to the fans, who they want together, not some writer.
Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org as always and forever and feel free to join my fanfic list at http://luckyflower.homestead.com/Vlada.html.
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