Special shout out to Carl B in Boston for helping as proofreader/sounding board. Thanks, buddy. I appreciate your help.
The middle-aged, but way overweight detective led me to a small, windowless room entered through a hidden door behind the cage cashier. With the fancy trim, no one would ever know there was something secret back there. It also made me wonder if he was really a cop, and how he got access to the room so quickly and efficiently if it was the casino's property. But then, cops and security were everywhere, and I started getting bad vibes when I saw the looks some of them were giving me when we made our way across the casino.
Maybe they thought I had something to do with the shooting, or that this was the place where the gangsters that ran things interrogated the card cheaters, dice scammers and other low-life's, and they thought I was one of them. They probably just assumed everyone going in this room was trouble. All of that made me even more antsy. I hated that feeling because I didn't like not being in control.
After I sat down at the desk in the stark, ugly beige room with the super-serious detective, I had a good chance to appraise him. He looked ten or fifteen years older than he probably was, and I guess all the extra pounds he was sporting wasn't doing him any favors. He was wearing high-waters with white socks paired with scuffed shoes, and his brown sportcoat was way past the expiration date. His plain tie was too short, and stained with God knows what, but the funniest part was the powdered sugar dusting his mustache. I had to really bite the inside of my cheek to hold back a comment about that one.
"My Name is Detective Daryl Dunkinstien. You may call me Detective. Mr. Farnsworth, please tell me how you happened to be at the right place at the right time."
I launched into my story quickly because there wasn't that much to tell, but apparently, that wasn't good enough for the donut eater. We spent the next forty-five minutes going over my side of the story several times. He started off nice enough, but when he didn't get whatever it was he wanted, his tone got more and more sarcastic and belligerent.
When he asked me to go through it again for probably the seventh or eighth time, I had had enough. I was worried about my boyfriend and his younger brother who were, I'm sure, freaking out by now in our room upstairs, and I needed to get to them. To top it off, this guy was a complete bonehead, and our chat was going nowhere. Dumbass dude wasn't even taking notes. The only thing I saw him write down was my name.
He seemed like he was a rookie, if he was even a detective, and I thought this had to be his virgin interrogation. He kept asking the same questions over and over, and couldn't understand why I'd do something like what I'd just done. He flat out didn't get it. I was barely keeping my cool, though, until now when I finally lost it.
I stood up, pushed my chair back, and said, "That's it. I'm done. If there's anything I've learned today is that life is far too short for bullshit like this and whatever game you're playing. I've got my boys I need to check on since they're alone in our room upstairs and probably both of them are completely traumatized by now. Go look at the surveillance video, and when you do, you'll be able to see that everything I said is true. A guy with a gun was closing in on us. No one was around to help, so I took action. End of story. Unless you're arresting me, I'm out of here. Besides, I need to take a wicked piss. We're staying in this hotel for a couple more days so you know where to find me. And if you won't let me leave, Detective Dorken-something-whatever, I'll need my lawyer before I answer any more of your questions. And a bathroom, unless you want me to pee over there in the corner, which I have no problem doing."
"It's Dunkinstien. For a big, buff looking guy, you sure are a cocky bitch. But your nails sure are purty. Do they match your toenails?"
"Glad you like them. And your fat stomach is stretching your shirt to the point of indecency. There for a minute, I thought I was going to get blinded by a flying button popping off your shirt. See, I can play your infantile game all day long if you want, but I won't because this is probably the most action you've seen in a long time and I wouldn't want to be the cause of your stroke. I don't have time for your moronic game, whatever it is you're playing."
"I can keep you as long as I want. Until I get answers."
"What answers? Tell me, what exactly do you want to know? This isn't rocket science."
"Why did you do what you did?"
"I've told you this a million times already. Here, let's try it in caveman and maybe you'll understand. Bad man come my way. No one help. I hit him. He go down."
Seriously? How mature. Are you really a detective? Did you flunk out of the Benson and Stabler Detective School and now you're stuck here? Or even high school? Junior high, maybe? Addressing your inappropriate comment from earlier, cocky, maybe. But a bitch? No. You're confusing me with your wife. You're just jealous a civilian did your job. A queer one at that. Am I free to go?"
I really had reached my limit because I never would have gone off like that, but my adrenaline was off the charts, and I was ready to blow because this guy was a total buffoon. Not to mention that I was worried about Zach and Isaac. They were front and center in my mind, and I needed to get to them to make sure they were all right.
"Yes, you're free to go. But we'll be talking again soon, I promise."
"Great. Can't wait for that. I'll call my attorney and please, be sure you bring the wife. I'd love to meet Mrs. Dorkenstein. I'll be sure and bring the donuts."
"Of course it is. My apologies to the missus. Give me your card, and my guy will set it up. For now, I have things to do. By the way, you're welcome for taking the shooter out."
"I could lock you up for assault."
"Wow. Really? You're pulling that card? But yeah, you could do that. I get your power. But it will never stick, and you know it. And when I post bail, I'll call a press conference and explain how LVPD has a bunch of big, clueless, baby douchebags on staff. How would that go down with your captain? You're probably on probation anyway or on your way out the door."
"You little fuck. How'd you know that?"
"Ha! I knew it. My best friend is a Native American who knows how to read people. I've known him since elementary school, and he's taught me how to read assholes like you. He and his ancestors have been through bullshit like this for generations. Now I get what he has been telling me about."
"Dude. Are you like, ten? You wish, closet case. There's an insane CNN reporter who's been hounding us for a story for something else. You know, fake news and all that shit. She'd be ecstatic to have a first-hand exclusive on this shooting. A double-header for her, especially when she interviews you and reams your ass. But then, you might enjoy that."
"I hate the press. What else are you in trouble for?"
"Nothing that concerns you or me or this matter today. It's a family thing if you must know. In California. But who doesn't hate the press? You just have to know how to manipulate them. 'Scraps to dogs, and nine times out of ten, it comes out all squishy at the end', as my Gramps always says. Anyway, I might be young, but I have plenty of resources. You and I both know I saved your ass and now you guys are embarrassed. I did nothing wrong, so get off my case, detective. I need to go, right now."
Wow, did I just say all that? I sure hoped the dumbass detective wouldn't shoot me in the back on my way out. Guess I was getting my disdain for Trevor out. This guy reminded me of my ex – and not in a good way. Trevor was at least intelligent and in shape, but this guy was a dork. Unfortunately, they both had the same stinky attitude. Such a turn-off. I just hoped that Trevor wouldn't turn out to be like him in twenty years.
"Fine. You can go. I'll have someone escort you to your room. The casino is a crime scene and is closed off for now. Wait here while I find someone."
"Just escort me to the elevators yourself. What's the big deal?"
"I can't do that."
"Why? Oh, I know. You probably need to jump the line for the early-bird dinner at the buffet, right? Even though it's not time for dinner."
"Sit down. Now!"
I'm sure he left me in the room on purpose for another ten minutes, just because he was being a total douche nozzle. And I'm sure pissing him off wasn't my best idea and didn't help. At. All. I couldn't help it, but it sure blew off some much-needed steam, and that felt good. For a minute. Then I realized that wasn't a cool thing to do to the poor, stupid detective, even if he deserved it.
I had to get out of this tiny room and check on Zach and Isaac because I was going crazy with worry about them. I got up and checked the door and was surprised – and then pissed – to find it unlocked, which made me even more furious. I took a tentative look outside to find no one guarding the entrance, or even close by for that matter. So, I left. What a fucking moron.
I'm glad I had my key-card and I.D. on me because hotel security was everywhere, guarding the perimeter of the casino area. I had to flash it at them three different times before I even made it to the bank of elevators that took me to our floor. Finally, standing quietly for a minute while I waited for the doors to open, I was able to take a few deep breaths to try and center myself. I needed to be strong for my guys because I'm sure they were still shit-scared and upset.
The bell rang, and a sorta-cute, short Hispanic guy who had to be hotel security came out and asked, "Are you a guest here? May I see your ID and key card, sir?" He had an expensive looking haircut and a noticeable spray tan. He could totally rock being a weathercaster on local TV.
"Sure." I fished it out of my pocket and showed him, only I didn't let them out of my fingers. I wasn't exactly sure who to trust around here, and damn, this was like the fourth time in two hundred feet.
"Oh, it's you, Mr. Farnsworth! We've been looking for you!"
"God, what now?"
"No, no, it's all good. I promise. I wanted to let you know we've got security stationed on your floor, and we want to make sure you're taken care of. I'm Ricardo Lopez, assistant director for hotel operations. I have to say, what you did taking out that guy was amazing."
"Why are you looking for me? And why do you have security stationed on my floor?"
"It's protocol when we have situations like this. We're trained to facilitate entry to first responders and to keep the reporters and looky-loo's out. Also, because the shooter was live-streaming this, and because someone in the lobby filmed you taking out the shooter, it's gone viral all-over social media. We're always on top of things like that because of the caliber of our guests. We want to keep you safe and away from the press while you're staying with us. I have one of our best guys stationed at your door, as well. We want to make sure no more surprises happen during your stay. Like I said, protocol."
"Shit. I am so freaking tired of the press," I moaned. "Can I just get to my room? That's great, what you're doing on our floor, but I need to get to my family."
"Understood. Let's roll."
It was just the two of us in the lift, and I knew he had plenty of power around here because he had a special keycard that he stuck into the elevator's control slot, and we were at the twenty-eighth floor in record time. Thing was, I just had no idea who to trust, or had our back. I realized that all I wanted to do was pack up Zack and Isaac and head back home. But that wasn't going to happen because I'd never be able to get the SUV out of the valet with all the cop cars, paramedics and fire trucks, let alone the satellite media and local TV trucks blocking the driveway.
"That detective? Dunkinstien? Is he really part of the LVPD?" I asked.
"Why do you ask?"
"I pretty much pissed him off. He didn't seem like a detective too me."
"I really can't comment, but I would say it's best to follow your instinct."
It took me a second to figure out what he was implying, and when I got it, I said, "Oh, shit. I get it now. If you find my body floating face down in Lake Bellagio tomorrow, his fingerprints will probably be around my neck."
When we got to my floor, there was a smart-looking woman in a tacky plum-colored suit stationed across from the elevators, earpiece in her right ear and a not so apparent tiny gun sticking out the back of her tight waist. I wasn't sure to be relieved or scared even more. Who were these people? And how did they coordinate this so quickly? I felt like all eyes were on me, and I hated it.
"Nancy, thanks for getting you and your crew up here so efficiently," Ricardo, the director of everything said. "I'm glad our protocols worked this time."
"Yes, sir. I am too."
"This time?" I asked.
We walked down the corridor for a few seconds while I imagined he was formulating a response that wouldn't freak me out.
"We've had a couple of issues in the past. You have to realize casinos may seem like easy targets, but we're not. Ask the Furry Gang that barely made it outside before security got them. That was a couple of years ago. And this guy? The first time he got away on his motorcycle, but with your help today, I doubt he'll try again when he gets out of prison in twenty or thirty years. Besides, all the excess money goes down vacuum chutes to the money room in the basement. It's like Fort Knox down there. I'm sure you've watched the Ocean's movies, and you'd have to have a death wish to rob a big casino like ours, Hollywood be damned. It's just not like that."
"That's smart, I guess. I never gave it any thought." After we walked halfway down the corridor, I stopped and said, "Listen, before I get inside our room, I need some help."
"Sure, what do you need? We can make just about anything happen."
"Awesome. Before what went on downstairs, we were on our way out to get my guy's new phones, and after that, I'm surprising them with a special tour. Since obviously I can't get my SUV out of valet right now, is there any way you could get us Town Car and maybe a trustworthy driver and sneak us out the back? I really don't want to disappoint my guys, because today was supposed to be special and a bonding moment kinda thing for them. And honestly, after what they just went through, I think it would be a good idea to get all of us out of here for a while."
"Absolutely, and no problem. We have a couple of different ways to get you out that the press can't get too, as long as you don't mind going through the kitchen, laundry, or the receiving area."
"That would be great. I'd like the driver to take us to an Apple store or a Verizon store, I don't care which, and then to the Executive airport in Henderson. Add it all on my bill, and I'll take care of it. I just want my guys to be safe and have a good time."
"No problem. Give me the name of the tour company, and I'll coordinate all of this myself. It will take me about an hour or so to put this together. Is that acceptable?"
"More than acceptable. I appreciate it. But please, make sure nobody tips off my guys about the tour I have planned."
"I'll keep it quiet and make sure no one talks, Mr. Farnsworth. This is the least we can do for you. I promise we won't blow your surprise."
"Thanks for that, but please, call me Jeremy."
"Only if you call me Rick. So, if I may, who exactly are your guys? You don't seem old enough to have teenagers."
"It's my boyfriend, and his younger brother, who he didn't know he had until yesterday, thanks to Steven, your cabana guy at the pool. Somehow, he matched the pieces and got them together. Anyway, I was trying to get them some time to bond because they both have had a rough time lately, and need to get to know each other. The kid is in foster care, and my goal is to help Zach get custody of his kid brother so they can be together. It's kinda complicated. But that's our goal. Family comes first."
"I agree. You seem like a good guy, putting this together for them."
"Well, that's just what I do, I'm a caretaker. Hey, I really need to get inside, but I have an idea. Like I said, Steven, the cabana guy that facilitated all of this, getting the boys together – he's a rock star to me. Could he drive us? That way I know it won't get out that we're 'out and about' as they say."
"I can see. That might work."
"Also, one of your valet's named Antoine was amazing and is a great guy too. Every time we pulled up to the valet, he was there. I think he told me it's his day off, but I'd triple his pay if he came in and drove us around. I'd do that for Steven, too. Maybe you could get both of them. I'd feel so much better if it was someone who I know and feel comfortable with."
"I know Antoine, but not Steven. He might be new this season. I'll see if I can pull that together. Get with your guys, and we'll talk in an hour or so. Our employees are great, and I'll get with my people to make this happen."
"Thanks, Rick. In the few minutes I've known you, you seem like a good guy. Thanks for your help, and I appreciate you putting this together on such short notice."
"I'll do my best. I promise. And if I can't, I'll make sure we have a professional driver and a security team member to get you safely to and from all the places you need to go. I'll see you in a bit."
"Thank God you're back."
Both Zach and Isaac came at me full throttle and grabbed me in tight hugs, practically knocking me over.
"Are you all right? I've been so worried for you," Zach asked.
"What did the cop want? Are you in trouble?" This was from Isaac. "Are you going to prison?"
"I'm fine, guys. All good. And no, Isaac, that won't happen." I kissed Zach and said, "But first, I really gotta take a piss. Too much coffee. Be right back and then I'll fill you both in."
When I got back to the living room, I asked the guys, "How are you two holding up?"
"We're all good, but –"
"I've never been so scared in my life," Isaac interrupted. He was really hyper, and it made me laugh. "But Zach was great and calmed me down. I'm so lucky to have a big brother to look after me now. And Jeremy, what you did was epic! Thanks for keeping us safe. Is it too soon to say I love you both?"
"Not at all."
"I totally agree with Isaac. I don't think I could have acted that quickly. I love you so much," Zach said as he landed in my lap, wrapped his arms tight around me and gave a big, sloppy-wet kiss.
"Geez, guys. Get a room."
"Isaac, this is our room."
"Oh, yeah," he giggled. "I forgot."
"What happened with the cop? And is the shooter dead?" Zach asked.
"Not sure about the shooter, and I really don't care if he is dead. As for the detective, he was a total butthead. I finally had to tell him to arrest me or let me go. They have nothing on me, and even if they press charges and take me to court, no jury would ever convict me. They know that. So, no worries. Zach, were you able to talk to Sally?"
"Yeah. She was petrified, but I told her we were all okay. Isaac talked to her too. Um, you're not going to like this, but did you know someone filmed you whacking the shooter? Not only that, the shooter live-streamed it on Facebook. It's everywhere. The local TV station is running it nonstop, too, and now it's all over CNN and MSNBC. You really whacked him. Hard. Remind me never to get you mad at me. But holy shit. That was so cool what you did."
"Jeremy, did you see all the helicopters hovering outside? It's like a war zone out there," Isaac said, pointing to the big windows across the room. I counted at least five helicopters flying in a holding pattern in front of the hotel. Not a good thing.
"Isaac, do me a favor and pull the sheers on the windows. They might be trying to film inside our room. Who knows what those people will do to get an exclusive. I know I sound paranoid, but still…"
"On it!" I think the kid was more excited now than being scared.
"So, yeah, I just heard about it from some director of operations. He caught me by the elevators a couple of minutes ago and brought me up to speed. Is it really everywhere? This fast?"
"Yeah! That's how Mama Sally found out," Isaac yelled from across the room.
"Besides Fiona and your sister, a bunch of other people called and texted you. I didn't know them, so I didn't get back to them other than to text them 'All Okay. I'll get back to you soon.'. I hope that was okay. Jeremy, your face is everywhere," Zach said. "Want to see?"
"Not really. Is Sally cool with Isaac spending the rest of the day with us?"
"Yeah, but you need to call her."
"Good. I'll do that in a second. I'm sure Fi's all freaked out too, but why – and how – did my sister find out so fast? Isn't it nighttime in Spain? Shit. She must be going insane with worry. First the reporters, and now this."
"She is, but we had a good chat, and I calmed her down. One of the twins got a text from a friend who saw it and recognized you. Your sister is so nice. I forgot how cool she is. She wants you to call her when you get a second. She asked me if we needed her to fly out here to help, but I told her I didn't think so and to wait until you talked to her. She really loves you, Jeremy."
"I know she does. In a way, she's like my second mom. Okay, I'm afraid to ask about Fi, but what did she say?"
"I was surprised when she started crying when I told her you were okay. That tough exterior isn't all that tough, I guess. We had a good talk too after she calmed down, and I have to say, you couldn't have a better friend. She loves you so much. We all do! And, well, it's time for another group hug. Isaac! Get your skinny ass over here."
After they ambushed me again, they went back to watching the live TV, while I made a few quick calls to everyone to let them know we were all safe. I had to fight off my sister, though, because she was adamant about flying back from Spain. I reassured her that we were all good and that we were heading home tomorrow afternoon. She made me promise that if anything went awry, she'd be here as soon as possible.
Fiona, on the other hand, read me the riot act, but I just listened while she got it all out. And Zach was right. I couldn't have a better friend. After she mellowed out, I asked her to drive by the house to double check security was doing the job I hired them to do. She jumped at that and said she'd get Nacho to go with her. She had a key to the house and promised to report back to me. It surprised me that those two had made a connection, which was rare for her. She rarely dated guys more than once.
After I finished my calls, I said, "Guys, turn that shit off. I don't want to see my mug over and over and over on TV. We need to get serious and talk about a couple of things. What happened today has made me once again realize that life is fleeting. When I was in that little room taking to that dumbass dork detective, I all I could think about was if you two were safe and well. Zach? Permission to bring up topic one, 'Isaac'?"
"Of course. Bring it. There's no doubt he's my brother. DNA or no DNA."
"I agree. Not only do you two look and sound alike, and both have the same low-rider balls and say 'super-yay'. Which is totally weird."
"What's going on? And how did you know about my balls? Oh, Zach. He told you. You better not start calling me hangers, or I might have to mess you up."
"As if. But you know, I think I'm going to call you Squirt from now on."
"That's a stupid name, old dude. Just spill it. I'm getting nervous here," the kid said.
"Don't worry, Squirt. Sit down and listen up. Like Zach told you, last night we talked about a lot of things, but mostly it was all about you. What would you think if I helped Zach get custody or guardianship or whatever of you? That would mean you would live with us. In California. In my house. With a whole bunch of loving people all around. But you'd be with your real family.
"You'd go to school there too, which is way better than the one you're going to now, I'm sure. Your life would be totally different, but in a good way. Sally and Billy are great, but we can offer you so much more. My sister and her husband, my nephews, shit, even Zach's housekeeper will love you like, well, like you can't even imagine. I'll even teach you how to drive since I have to teach Zach. We'll get you a learners permit and then when you're sixteen you can take the test for a real license."
The kid was quiet for a long, long moment, processing what I just told him. Then, before he said anything, he looked back and forth at Zach and me, his eyes filling with tears. Finally, in a whisper, he said, "You'd do that for me? Me? Seriously? You hardly know me."
"Of course! Like I said, Zach is family, and by extension, now you are too. It would take some getting used to, for sure. I'm not going to lie that your life is going to change dramatically. We'll probably have disagreements along the way, but all loving families do. We'll just work it out. But honestly, you'll be surrounded by people who want to love you and make you part of our family. Sounds hokey, but we really are like that. And like I said, both Zach and I want to take care of you. You're family now, Isaac, and family takes care of family. That's just how we roll."
"Oh my God!" he sobbed. "I've prayed for this like, forever. Ever since mommy got sick and died, I was so scared because I had no one. Are you guys totally serious about this? You want me to live with you? Honestly?"
"Yes!" Zach pulled his brother close in a tight hug while the kid sobbed even more as he digested this out of the blue news. Both Zach and I had to hold back our tears, but I knew we were doing the right thing. Zach shot me a look that said, 'I love you so much'. That just reinforced this was the right thing to do.
Once Isaac calmed down, I asked Zach, "Permission to bring up topic two, the new house?"
"Permission granted. I can't even believe this one. Strap yourself in, little brother."
"Shit! What now?"
"This one freaked out Zach, but it's been in the works for a while. You know my parents died when I was young, and my sister and her husband took me in. They basically raised me. As much as I love living there, it's time for me to get my own place. Shit, Fi has her own condo, and my other best friend Wolfie has his own place too. I've stayed basically to be a big brother to my twin nephews, but they're going away to college in late August, so I really don't need to be there any longer."
"Where are you going?" Isaac asked quietly.
"Next door. I want to start a new life with Zach, and now you."
"Huh? I don't understand."
"I bought the house next door. Old man Johnson's house. His house backs up to our backyard. I'm going to tear down the back fence, remodel the house and make us a compound. The house is a wreck, but together, the three of us will make it awesome, and design and remodel it the way we all want."
"I don't know what that means."
"It means, once we – and when I say we I mean all three of us – remodel it, you, Zach and I will be living together in our own house. We'll be able to walk out the back, use the pool, have dinners with my sister, her husband and the rest of their family, plus our dog Indy will be over all the time. There will be so many people checking in on you to make sure you're loved and happy. And Isaac?"
"This is going to be your forever home. I promise you."
"No. No way. I don't believe it. This can't be happening."
"You better believe it. You'll get your own bedroom and bathroom, too. And I'll let you design it how you want, within reason."
"That means no painting rainbow unicorns farting glitter all over the walls," Zach joked.
"No way! Are you for real? Maybe paint a naked picture of Joe Jonas, but not a unicorn. You're confusing me with my foster sister Natalie. But to be totally honest, I hate sharing a room with Jabril, and it will be awesome to have my own."
"Why? Does he bully you?" Zach asked, all serious business now.
"No. Don't laugh. Every night he jerks off before he goes to sleep. And he's so noisy about it!"
That made Zach and I laugh.
"The master bedroom is on the other side of the house from the rest of the bedrooms. You'll have all the privacy you deserve, I promise," I said. "And you'll be able to jack off all you want."
"Shut up." After a minute, Isaac asked, "Are you doing this because I'm gay?"
"Not at all. We'd do it just the same if you were, God forbid, straight," I joked. "But seriously, me buying the house next door has been in the works for a while. And now it will be officially a home because we're all going to be living there. Together, as a family. Just the three of us."
"Are you going to be, like, my new dads? And can I get a cat?"
"I hate cats," Zach whispered.
"I'm not a big fan either, but yeah, as long as you promise to take care of it and clean the litter box three times a day. Maybe more. I hate that smell."
"I will! I promise."
"Good. Because it will be in your bathroom. And Bella's not going to touch it, no matter how much you whine and moan or suck up to her. I'm not paying her for that shit. Ha! I just made a funny."
"Is there room for a llama?" Zach asked. I knew he was being goofy, trying to lighten things up.
"Shore can! Y'all gonna slop the feed for it, and muck the barnyard, Zachariah?"
"I reckon, Jerimiah," he giggled. "Gonna be needin' me a big shovel, pardner. And a compost pile to shove it all in."
"What the hell's wrong with you two?" Isaac asked. "And what the hell's muck?"
"What you're going to do to the cat box."
"Clean out the shit, Squirt!"
"Oh, hell no. Forget the cat. I'll get a goldfish instead."
"And Zach, to answer your question about getting a llama? Yes. But no. And no freaking way. San Marino doesn't allow farm animals. What's with you and llamas, anyway?"
"They're cute, and funny looking, too. I just like them, I guess. We'll get one when we buy our cannabis farm." He was on a roll and it made me smile to see him like this.
Isaac looked stunned. "Are you two for real?"
"Sorry, Zachy, nope. Maybe you can find some wallpaper with llamas and bud leaves to decorate our bathroom."
"You two are being way too silly. But 'Zachy' I like," Isaac laughed. "That's hilarious. I'm going to start calling you that."
"You better settle down, little brother, or I'll call you Issy. Or Achy. But to be truthful, I like Jer's name for you, Squirt. Hey, I just realized our names kinda sound alike. That's something else we have in common."
"So, Isaac, are you good with all of this? I know it's ridiculously fast, but sometimes crazy events like what we just went through are a catalyst for change. Change for the better. And back to your question, no, we aren't going to be your dads. But, because Zach will have guardianship of you, you'll have to follow his orders. And if you don't, you'll have to answer to me, Fiona and Bella. We're going to be the Supreme Court over you."
He thought about that for a while, and said, "I think I can deal with that. Thanks, guys. You're the best. I love Mama Sally and Billy, and they've been great to me even though they're strict, but to move to California and have my own family, that's always what I dreamed about. Not to mention having my own bedroom. That's super yay!"
"Awesome. I was worried you might not be on board with all of these changes. Just proves you're a strong, young man, just like your brother. Now let's get going. Our ride will be here any minute to take us to get you guys phones. And after that they're going to take us to the other surprise I have planned for you. Don't even ask what that is, because I'm not telling."
"Awesome. Thanks, Jeremy, you're the best. And Zachy, thanks for taking care of me, big brother. I love you guys."
"You're welcome, Squirt."
Blood does not family make.
Those are relatives.
Family are those whom you share your good, bad, and ugly and still love one another in the end.
Those are the ones you select.
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