Always & Forever- Chapter 5, Part 1
Jax and Dara had just put the boys to bed after a long day at the park with Robbie and Carly. It had been a whole week since the boys had been living with them. Jax and Dara were elated to have them there to care for. Four year old little Christopher had been having the time of his life, but it was a different story for his older brother, Matthew. The little boy hardly talked to anybody but Christopher. Even though Jax and Dara were told that his withdrawal from people was expected, they were still worried about him. As Jax and Dara get ready for bed, they talk about Matthew.
''Jax, Im worried about Matthew. I know that his withdrawal was expected, but Im still worried about him.'' She stated, with concern evident in her voice.
''I know, luv. But think about it. About all hes been through in his short life. His father left him and his mother right before she had Christopher. Then just last year, he finds his mother dead on the ground from a drug overdose and then he is sent to live with his uncle, who ended up beating him. Hes only seven.''
''I know and that's what worries me most. That hes so young and been through so much. He's never had anybody to count on and trust. What if he thinks that he never will?'' She said as tears welled up in her eyes as she thought about everything the poor boy has gone through.
''That's what we have to change, hon.'' He said as he kissed her forehead.
Just then they heard a soft knock at the door. When Jax opened the door he was surprised to see Matthew standing there.
''Hey Matthew. What's wrong?'' He frowned at the look of distraught on the child's face.
''I had a nightmare. Can I sleep with you and Dara tonight?''
''Of Course buddy. Come on in.'' Jax said as he led the child over to their king-sized bed.
Matthew climbed into bed where Dara was waiting and Jax went to turn out the light. Then climbed into to bed himself. And without another word, all three went to sleep.
Its morning in the Jacks household and they are just about to eat breakfast.
''Okay, who wants cerial?'' Jax called, trying to see who wanted what for breakfast.
''I do!'' Shouts Christopher.
''Okay,'' he says pouring a bowl of cerial for Christopher, ''then who wants eggs?''
''I do!'' Again shouts Christopher.
''Chris, I thought that you wanted cerial?''
''I do.'' he said.
''Then which one do you want, eggs or cerial?''
''I want them both.'' he said then giggled as Jax tickled him.
''What about you, Matthew? What would you like to eat?'' Dara asked.
''Im not hungry.'' He replied.
''Not hungry? You have to be hungry. You've hardly eaten anything. You have to eat breakfast today at least. We're going to the zoo.'' Jax informed. ''And you want to have a lot of energy fo that, dont you?''
He thought about it then nodded. ''We've never been to a zoo before.''
''Whats at a zoo?'' Christopher asked in between bites of is eggs.
''There are a lot of things at a zoo. There are snakes, all kinds of birds, kangaroos, a bunch of other animals, and, of course, my favorite, lions.''
''Really?'' Matthew asked sounding somewhat interested.
''Really.'' Jax replied, nodding. ''I've seen them myself.'' He added as he and Dara sat down to eat with them.
''See Matthew, dont you want to eat breakfast so that you can see as many animals as possible without getting tired?'' Dara said trying to coax the boy into eating.
Matthew thought about it for awhile. ''Well...that cerial that Chris is eating looks kinda good.''
''You mean Frosted Flakes? Well they should look good, because theyre great!'' Jax said imitating Tony the Tiger.
Then Matthew surprised both Jax and Dara by leeting out a small giggle. Jax smiled then asked him if he would like a bowl. He accepted and they all sat down to eat breakfast and talked about what animals they would see when they went to the zoo.
''Matthew! Christopher!'' Robbie called as he ran over to them after he got out of the car in Jax and Dara's driveway.
''Hey Robbie. Guess what?'' Christopher said excitedly.
''Jax said that we're gonna see lions today. Lions are cool!'' Christopher told his new friend.
''I know. I can roar like a lion. You wanna hear?''
''Yeah.'' He nodded and giggled as Robbie roared. ''I can act like a monkey. Watch.'' He said as he started jumping up and down and making noises like a monkey.
Robbie starting to laugh. ''What about you, Matthew? Whats your favorite animal?''
''I dunno.'' He said and shrugged. ''I guess I like the kangaroos.''
''Hey, you know what Matthew?'' Jax cut in when he heard Matthews interest in kangaroos. ''Where I used to live in Austrailia, there were kangaroos everywhere.'' Maybe we can visit there someday.
''That would be cool, I guess.'' He said as they began to walk toward the cars.
''Hey, wait. Where are A.J. and Keesha?'' Dara exclaimed.
''Oh yeah. They told me to tell you that they were going house hunting but that you are all invited to dinner at the Q mansion tonight. Theyre finally going to tell the family about their new addition.'' Carly smiled.
''That's good. We didnt have any plans for dinner. And we can finally introduce the boys to the Q family. Im really happy for them. I know that they are happy and that makes me happy.''
''I must tell you, you and Jax are looking much happier now that you have Matthew and Christopher. Me and Keesha were getting a little worried about you guys.''
''Oh we are happy. And we want to make them happy too.''
''I think that they are. Look at the smile on the little one's face. And I've even seen Matthew smile a few times.''
''Yeah, we were a little worried about him. But he seems to be warming up to us. Hopefully he'll warm up to us completly to us soon.''
''He will. Dont worry. Well I think that we better get moving. It looks like the kids are ready to go.''
''I think youre right. I'm ready.''
''Me too. Lets go.''
And with that they all climbed into their cars and left.
''Oh A.J., I love this house. It's perfect. We can put the nursery right across from our bedroom. And we could put a swing set and build a deck in the backyard. It's perfect. Can we get this one, please?'' Keesha pleaded with her husband.
''Well this is a really nice house, and, of course, theres plenty of extra rooms for all the other kids we're going to have.'' He says with a devilish grin on his face.
''Don't get carried away now Mr. Quartermaine. But on the other hand, we could have a lot of fun in the process.'' She said as she put her arms around his neck and kissed him.
''Ahem. Mr. and Mrs. Quartermaine?'' Mrs. Johnson, their real estate agent called to them trying to get their attention.
''Sorry.'' A.J. said with a nervous laugh.
''So what do you think of this house?'' she asked.
''Well,'' A.J. started, smiling as he look at his wife then turned back to Mrs. Johnson. ''I know that weve just started house hunting, but we really like this one. And we were wondering, how soon can we begin the purchasing process?''
''Are you two sure? This a nice house, but there are a lot of other houses to look at. Are you sure you don't want to wait until youve seen the other houses?''
A.J. smiled to his wife again and said ''We're sure.''
''Okay, well then lets go back to the office and set up an appointment so you can sign the papers and tie up any other looses ends.''
''Okay. Let's go.''
''Dara? How come all those kids over there get to play with those animals inside that gate over there?'' Christopher said as he pointed over to the petting zoo.
''Oh. That's the petting zoo. You get to feed and pet the animals in there. Would you like to go in there after you finish eating your lunch?''
''Yeah!'' He answered.
''Daddy? Can I go too? Thats my favorite part of going to the zoo. Please?'' Robbie pleaded to his father.
''Yeah. But not until you finish your lunch.''
''Yay!'' he exclaimed as he took one bite of his hot dog. ''Im finished. Now can we go?''
''Hey, just because youre finished eating doesn't mean that your mother and me are.''
''We're almost done over here. We can take him if you want us to.'' Jax said.
''Please can I go with them Daddy?''
''Okay, but you better behave yourself over there. And don't go running off by yourself. Stay with Jax and Dara, okay?''
''Okay.'' He said as he took Dara's hand and went over to the petting zoo gate.
When they got there, all three of the kids wanted to feed the goats. While Christopher and Robbie followed Jax and Dara to get the goat food from the vendor, Matthew wanders off.
''Here's some for you Chris. Here's some for you Robbie. And Matthew,--'' Jax stops as he realizes that Matthews not there. ''Matthew? You guys see where Matthew went?''
Jax and Dara start to worry when both boys shake their heads.
''You guys stay here. I'm going to go look for Matthew. Keep them calm, okay? I'll be right back.''
''Okay.'' She said as Jax left, then Dara turned her attention back to the other two boys. ''Come on you guys, let's go feed the goats. They look a little hungry, don't you think?''
''Yeah. But what about Matthew?'' Asks Christopher.
''Don't worry. Jax'll find him. He probably followed one of the goats somewhere or something, okay? So don't worry.''
''Okay. Let's go feed the goats now.''
''Okay, let's go.''
''Matthew?! Matthew, where are you?!'' Jax calls, frantically looking around. After what seemed like eternity of searching, he finally sees him over in the corner, but himself, petting a goat. ''There you are Matthew. We've been looking all over for you. Please dont run off like that again. You scared us, you know?''
''Okay, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. But I just wanted to see this goal. I like him. He's nice.'' Matthew said as he continued to stroke the goats head.
''Oh, so you like animals. Have you ever had a pet before?''
''Not really. My mom wouldnt let me have one, but when I lived with my uncle, I had a hamster but it got out of its cage and I couldn't find it.''
''Sorry about that. But maybe we can go to the pet shop sometime and get you another one. And we can get it a nice cage and anything else you want to fix it up with.''
''Really?'' He said, his face lighting up.
''Really.'' Jax smiled. ''But one thing, lets not mention that to Dara for awhile, okay? She's not a big rodent fan.'' He said and laughed as Matthew giggled.
''Speaking of Dara, let's go find them. They were a little worried when I left. You ready?''
''Okay, then let us be on our way.''
Then they both go in search of Dara and the other boys as they strike up a conversation about what Matthew would name his new pet when he got it.
It is now later on in the day and everyone is at the Quartermaine mansion eating dinner. A.J. thinks this is the ideal moment to tell everyone their big news. He taps the his glass a few times with his fork to get the familys attention as he rises from his seat.
''Can I have your attention please,'' he says as he looks around the table at everyones faces. ''My beautiful wife and I have wonderful news to share with all of you. It seems that this family is going to have a new addition in a few months.''
Smiles spread across the room as everyone realizes what he means. Emily is the first to respond.
''No way!! This is so cool! You guys are going to have a baby?''
''Yep.'' A.J. said as he smiled at his wife.
''Oh, I'm so happy for you two. I know you will make wonderful parents.'' Lila said as she went over to her grandson and granddaughter-in-law.
''Thank you very much, Lila.'' Keesha said to the woman who reminded so much of her own grandmother who she knew was probably smiling down on her from Heaven.
''Auntie Keesha? Will the baby be my little cousin?''
''Of course he or she will be, sweetheart. And you are going to make a wonderful big cousin, I know you will.'' She said and kissed his chubby little cheek.
''Cool. Matthew? Christopher? Guess what?'' he said as he ran over to where his two friends were playing.
''Congratulations son.'' Alan said as he came up to hug his son.
''I know that I don't let you know all the time, but I'm proud of you son. I know that you are making a good life for yourself, your lovely wife, and now your child.''
''Thanks dad. And I will. I promised to Keesha that I would be the best husband and father that I could possibly be. And I intend to keep that promise.''
''That's good. I know you will.'' he said and smiled. ''Now what this I hear about you guys moving out of the mansion?''
''Oh yeah. Keesha and me found the perfect house today. It's not far from here at all. It's close to the schools and its in an ideal neighborhood.''
''Well you better not let your grandfather find out until youre all packed and ready to go, because you know hell try to make you change your mind. Especially since he knows that you guys are going to have his great-grandchild.''
He laughed. ''Yeah, I've thought about that. I've got it covered.'' He said as he looked over at his wife who was talking with Carly and Dara.
''You two are going to have a good life together, son. I know that I havent always been the best father, and I'm sorry for that. But you have to know son, I love you with all my heart and nothing's going to change that.''
''Thanks dad.'' He said as they hugged each other again. ''I love you too.''
They didnt notice Monica looking at them from afar, smiling.
''Well, did you have fun today Matthew?'' Jax asked as he and Dara tucked him in.
''Yeah. The zoo was a lot of fun and I like the Quartermaines house. Its really big.''
''Yeah, it is big isn't it. They said that you can go over there anytime you want, to swim or anything else you want to do. Would you like to do that sometime?''
''Well we'll talk about that tomorrow, okay? But right now youve got to go to bed.''
''Goodnight Matthew.'' They called at the door.
''Jax? Dara?'' Matthew said right before they left the room. ''Will me and Chris have to leave here?''
Dara looked at Jax before answering. ''No honey. Not for awhile at least, unless you want to leave.''
''Good, because we like it here.'' he said and smiled as he turned over and went to sleep.
Jax and Dara looked at each other and smiled, then turned out the light and closed the door.