Harry Potter was currently amusing the kids, and the adults couldn’t help but get mixed up in the hijinks…
“I wonder when all this will hit the fan,” she asked as the kids continued to watch the film.
“I have this gut feeling that it will anytime now,” Michael admitted. “Have you heard anything more about youknowho’s estimated time of arrival?”
“Nope,” Maria said. “Kyle hasn’t spoken with youknowwho since this all started to break.”
“God, I want this to be over.” Michael admitted.
“I wonder what will make it over,” Maria asked as she and Michael got off the couch and went into the kitchen to talk further, and away from the prying eyes and ears of the younger generation. “It feels like we’re approaching…”
“The exit?” Michael asked.
“Or at least where will know how everything shakes down,” Maria sighed. “To think our lives have been pretty quiet these last three years.”
“You had to know something was going to happen to end our status quo.”
“I always figured it would be the FBI coming back into our lives,” Maria admitted. “I never imagined any of this.”
“I always did,” Michael admitted.
“You did?” Maria asked.
“I always assumed Max would come back. You could never stop those two from connecting, but I never imagined any of actual events to go down like it has with Max marrying someone else before the reunion. Or that Liz had stopped him from coming back earlier or even Evan coming back. Tess being alive, and then killing Max’s wife so that he could reunite with their son, and with Liz.”
“I don’t want Liz hurt,” Maria sighed.
“When you grow up, you feel pain, it’s all part of growing up. You can’t keep that from happening. For this to end, Liz and Max will have to find themselves and then face the fallout, and that may involve pain. Or it might not, it’s hard to gage because their love story has always been slightly unexpected.”
“Just like us,” Maria smiled.
“You got it. But you have me now, and I am not going anywhere” Michael said as he brought his wife in for a kiss. “You have given me everything I never knew I wanted, and you made it possible. You, Michelle and Amelia have given me everything.”
“I love you too,” Maria smiled as she could never give up what they had built together, but she just wished that Liz could get that a bit of the same happiness she felt every day.
“Son,” Jim Valenti asked as he looked in shock at his son, for the first time in eight years. Stacie looked confused between the two men, and Kyle broke the trance first and realize how unprecedented this situation.
“Dad!” Kyle said. “What are you doing here?”
“I was in town for some business. Do you live here in Austin?” Jim asked.
“Yes,” Kyle admitted. “I never imagined meeting you here.”
“Me either,” Jim said as he looked around to see whether he could be dreaming this scenario. Which was something that had been in his dreams, for the past eight years and he never imagined it taking place.
“How long has it been since you last seen each other,” Stacie broke the silence.
“A long time,” Kyle admitted although he didn’t want to tell his date that it been eight years because that would bring on a host of other issues. “Stacie, this is my father; James Valenti, Jr. Dad, this is my date, Stacie Thomas. She works as a teacher at the school where I am at.”
“You are…” Jim asked.
“A teacher and assistant football coach,” Kyle said as Stacie felt it was strange how much Kyle’s father didn’t know about his son’s life.
“Maybe I should go,” Stacie asked.
“I am sorry Stacie,” Kyle apologized. “This is not how I wanted tonight to go. Maybe we should postpone. We can discuss a new night maybe if you’re interested tomorrow, or on Monday at school.”
“I’ll call you, but I understand how this is an odd situation. Mr. Valenti, it’s an honor to meet you. And Kyle, I’ll talk to you on the weekend or see you Monday at work.”
“Thanks for understanding,” Kyle said to Stacie, and they hugged and parted while Jim observed the parting and asked once Stacie had left them. “How long have you known each other?”
“It was our first date,” Kyle admitted.
“Awkward,” Jim said.
“You have no idea,” Kyle sighed as he wished things had been different yet then he got to see his father’s face, and he wouldn’t give that away in a million years. “God Dad, it’s unbelievable that you are here…”
“You have no idea how wonderful it is son to see you,” Jim gave one of his huge grins that Kyle had desperately missed, and they gave each other a welcoming hug.
“What are you doing here in town?” Kyle asked.
“The police department called me in because they needed someone to identify someone for them,” Jim admitted.
“Why do they need you?” Kyle asked, confused.
“Because it’s Tess son,” Jim sighed. “She’s dead, and I was listed as next of kin. I know you’re thinking it’s odd that she would be alive since you believed she had died back in 2002. But I recently found out she was indeed alive all this time.”
“I know Dad,” Kyle sighed. “We know…”
“Whose we son,” Jim asked.
“Dad, Liz, Maria and Michael, well, we knew Tess was dead,” Kyle admitted as they walked away from the crowds.
“How so,” Jim asked confused.
“Because she killed Max’s wife, and then deposited Max’s son on our doorstep to be raised by Liz”
“Amy,” Liz tried.
“Liz, please do you know where my daughter is…” Amy asked, begged, as she tried to figure out what was going on and if there was any karma left and she would be able to see her daughter again, after so many years.
“Yes, I do” Liz asked as she stopped and spotted Kyle outside of the restaurant talking to his father. “Oh god,” Liz said.
“What,” Amy asked as she turned to look and saw her husband speaking to his son. “Oh my god, Kyle is here too…”
“I had no idea he would be here,” Liz said. “I knew he had a date tonight, wow, I can’t imagine after all these years.”
“Wait, Kyle has been living here too…”
“Yes,” Liz admitted.
“Does that mean?” Amy asked. “Liz tell me the truth. Is my daughter also living here in Austin?”
“Um,” Liz said as he debated whether to tell Amy the truth and just when she was going to answer, the door opened, and a shocked voice came. “Liz,” and she looked. It was Jim.
“Jim,” Liz said.
Kyle meanwhile could only stand back and whistle at the unbelievable coincidences of the night. “Amy?” he asked.
“Kyle,” Amy asked of her step-son.
“Miss, do you still want your table” a waitress came and shocked Liz out of her trance. Sighing, she turned and said “No,” as she saw that she wouldn’t be making her other clients or eating that evening and then turned to a perplex Amy and Jim, and a bemused Kyle. “We might as well get this over with…”
“Okay you two upstairs,” Maria ordered her two children once them movie finished playing and the children had come into the kitchen for a snack. “Evan, Emma and Parker, that goes for the three of you as well as you both know it’s past your bedtime.”
“It’s Friday night,” Parker complained.
“Which is why I let you finish the movie but you both know that your mother won’t be home until later, so you might as well go upstairs and get ready. You can read for a while if you want. But it’s getting late, and it’s time to turn in for the night.”
“Thanks Aunt Maria,” the twins rushed off with Michelle and Amelia not far behind.
“When did I become my mother,” Maria asked as she heard her parenting the twins. “Did you imagine this would be our life?” she asked her husband.
“Nope, but then I thought I would be dust by now. So, I will take this because my life would have not had been the same without you in it.”
“Where did this sweet talker come from,” Maria teased as she kissed her husband. “I better go up and see if the kids are actually getting ready for bed.”
“Why don’t I do it and you can stay down here and get that bottle of wine ready. We can have a nice drink or two before Liz and Kyle are due back.”
“I like it,” Maria smiled as she watched Michael disappear from the kitchen in search of the kids for a final bed check, as she took a bottle of wine and headed for the living room… when there was a noise from the front door as it opened and closed rather quickly. “Finished already,” she asked expecting it to be Michael returning.
“My goodness Liz, what are you doing home.” Maria said as she found her friend coming through the door. “Didn’t you have some appointments, as we weren’t expecting you home until later.”
“I rescheduled my last two appointments,” Liz said quietly as she tried to think of a way to break this for her friend, and for it not to be as earthshattering as it already was for them.
“Liz, what’s wrong!” Maria asked as she approached her friend as she could sense the turmoil in her friend. “Are, you sick?”
“No, I’m fine,” Liz said as she knew this would be a big shock for her friend and she didn’t know how Maria would take it. “Maria, you better sit down because I have a surprise for you.”
“What is it Liz. Is it Max or Isabel?” Maria asked because of the pale expression on her friend’s face, she was expecting the collision course to already be at their doorsteps.
“What,” Liz asked as she shook her head. “No, wait, where did that come from.”
“Nothing,” Maria quickly asked to try to divert her friend from any other looming questions, “What’s wrong?”
“I need you to prepare yourself,” Liz said. “Because there is someone who wants to see you.”
“Whom?” Maria asked shrugging, as she couldn’t think of anyone who would want to come and visit her or Michael.”
And moments later, she nearly fainted… when in walked…
“Mom” she asked in a whisper before she truly did faint!