Victor couldn’t believe his eyes and certainly not his ears. He pinched himself—quite literally and very hard, too—just to make sure he was truly wide awake and seeing what he never imagined possible, namely he and his ex-wife together in the same house once again and NOT at each other’s throat. In fact, they were getting along incredibly well. He pinched himself again. Really he just couldn’t believe it!
This incredulity started when Catherine, holding her new baby, beamed as Andy opened the door to Victor and his new brood of kids.
“Hello, Victor! I’m so glad you could make it. Now we’re all here,” she said, kissing his cheek. “Ronnie, Simon! Your father’s here, apparently with more brothers and a sister, for you.” She then gave each child a welcoming smile.
It was a Thanksgiving Day to remember, Victor spending it with his new family, his old family and …well, he didn’t quite know what to call Morris Kramer yet, but somehow he was now family, too.
“Hey, Dad,” Simon said, giving his father a sedate hand shake. “Happy Thanksgiving.”
“You too, Simon,” Victor replied, casting an appreciative glance at his son’s attire. He wore dark dress slacks and a blue silk shirt which perfectly matched his eyes. “You clean up good, Simon.”
“Must get it from you. You look none too shabby,” he remarked with a smirk.
“Hey, Dad, Happy Thanksgiving!” Ronnie—in his usual jeans and t-shirt uniform-- shouted bear-hugging his father, then spotting the kids surrounding Victor he grinned at them. “Whoa! Who are you guys?”
Ever-so slightly nervous, Victor introduced Georgiana, Julian and Peter, then said, “These are my sons I’ve told you about, Simon and Ronnie.”
The three of them stared in wide-eyed wonder at the two giants, their mouths hanging open.
“Are you sure these are your boys, Victor?” Peter whispered.
“Yeah, they’re so big!” Julian said, baldly.
Ronnie and Simon laughed. “Dad, didn’t you tell them we were all grown up?” Ronnie said.
“Well, he may have mentioned that I am, but I’m sure Dad didn’t tell them you were,” Simon interjected. “You still have all your toys in your closet, after all.”
“Shut it!” Ronnie snapped, elbowing his brother none-too-gently in the ribs.
“Guys!” Victor growled. “You are to be a good influence on these kids, please.”
“Sorry, Dad,” they said together.
“What kinda toys ya got?” Julian asked.
Ronnie grinned and waved him forward. “Come see, little brother,” he said leading him to his bedroom. Winking at his father he added, “Little brother…that is so cool!”
“Where are day going, Victor?” Peter asked.
“Probably to play with cars and trucks, maybe some army men. You want to join them?” Victor asked, but Peter shook his head, grabbing his hand.
“I wanna stay wiff you, Victor,” Peter said.
“Why are you calling him Victor, Peter?” Simon asked kneeling in front of him. “You should call him Dad just like Ronnie and I do. You’re his son too now, you know, right Dad?”
“Yes…yes, he is or will be soon. Thank you, Simon,” Victor said, visibly touched by the kind gesture.
“Can I weally, Victor? I can call ya Dad?” Peter asked.
“Only if you want to,” Victor said.
“I want to!” Peter said.
“We all do,” Georgiana quietly said.
“Victor, there you are,” Marty said, coming in from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a dish towel, before kissing his cheek and running a loving hand over Peter’s soft blond hair then caressing Georgiana’s cheek. “We need a fresh opinion.”
“Don’t ya mean someone who agrees with you?” Morris grumbled, following her and shaking Victor’s hand. “Good to see ya again, Laddie.”
“Stuffing needs to go inside the bird, does it not?” Marty said, ignoring her husband. “It makes zero sense to call it stuffing if it isn’t stuffed into the bird.”
“Then call it dressing and be done with it. Either that or we start cracking heads!” Morris growled, then quick as a whip he smiled. “Hello, Peter, my boy!”
“Hi, Mr. Kramer,” Peter said. “Are ya cooking today?”
“If that’s what you wanna call it,” Morris said, pointing his thumb toward the kitchen. “It’s more like a battle of wills in there.”
“Huh?” Peter said.
“Whatever you think is right, Marty, will be fine for everyone, I’m sure,” Victor said. “We’ll let Morris decide the grand marshmallow debate, shall we?”
“Marshmallow debate?” Morris asked, his bushy brows joining in the middle.
“Oh yeah, it's a fight every year. Should there be marshmallows on top of the candied yams or not?” Andy interjected, with a laugh. “I vote no cuz they’re sweet enough, but I’m always outvoted.”
“Well, how you like that? I never liked marshmallows, Andy, ‘specially not on candied yams,” Morris said. “We’ll go without this year.”
“Sweet!” Andy shouted.
Marty rolled her eyes and went back to the kitchen in a huff.
Simon shook his head. “Pitiful, they are, fighting over marshmallows,” he said smiling down at Georgiana who was still staring at him in abject awe. “Hello.”
“Hello,” she said, shyly. “Ronnie looks just like Victor, but you…”
“No, I don’t look anything like him,” he said, trying to hide his annoyance.
“You’re beautiful, just like your mom,” Georgiana breathlessly finished.
Simon’s eyebrows shot up. “You think so, huh?” he said, grinning. “Funny, I was thinking the same about you.”
“So, you’re my new little sister, huh? Now I have two.”
“Yep, my mom and Andy just adopted a baby girl. Want to see?” Simon asked, holding out his hand to her.
She nodded and let him lead her to the sofa where Catherine sat trying to soothe her now fussy baby.
“Mom, have you met my other little sister? This is Georgiana. Isn’t she the prettiest little thing?” Simon said, sitting beside his mother, placing Georgiana between them.
“Hello, Georgiana. Such a lovely name,” Catherine said, slightly distractedly. “Oh, please don’t cry, Honey.”
“What’s your baby’s name?” Georgiana asked, reaching out to allow the baby to grip her finger. She smiled when she did.
“Well, I can’t decide,” Catherine said. “I thought about Rebecca, but I know everyone will call her Becky. The same with Jessica, Gabriella and Nicole, everyone will call her Jesse, Gabby-- and heaven forbid-- Nicky, and I can’t do that to her or to me.”
“May I hold her… please? I can stop her from crying,” Georgiana asked in the tiniest of voices, her bottom lip clamped between her teeth.
“She’s not too happy right now,” Catherine replied, as the baby started whimpering.
“I always used to make Peter stop crying,” Georgiana said.
“Peter? You mean your brother?”
Georgiana nodded. “My…my mother didn’t like him crying all the time so…I stopped him.”
Intrigued, Catherine and Simon exchanged looks before she smiled and placed the baby in Georgiana’s arms. “Let’s see, shall we?” she said.
“Oh, she’s so cute,” Georgiana said. “And so little, just like Peter when he was born. I used to feed Peter and change him and stuff.”
Catherine frowned and skeptical. “You couldn’t have done. You’re just…how old are you?”
“I’m almost ten now, but I was six when Peter was little and I took care of him…really,” she said earnestly. “Cuz…cuz my mom didn’t like Peter. She said it was his fault when my dad left us.” She suddenly looked frightened. “Please don’t tell Peter! I don’t want him to feel bad.”
Catherine’s blue eyes widened and she exchanged horrified looks with Simon who had only just placed a protective arm around Georgiana. “We would never tell him such a thing because we know that couldn’t be so. Peter and you and…” Catherine looked up trying in vain to remember the other child’s name.
“And Julian,” Simon supplied for her. “are all great kids. Anybody with a brain would know that. We’re so glad you’re part of our family now.”
“Okay, thanks,” Georgiana said, relief showing on her sweet little face.
“I see what you mean, Georgiana. The baby loves you. You’re a natural. I’ll get you if we ever need a babysitter,” Catherine said, stunned to see her baby quiet and content once more.
Georgiana giggled. “Okay,” she said holding a finger out to the baby so she could grab it again. When she did, Georgiana kissed the tiny fist, and the baby ceased to fuss. She merely stared up at Georgiana. “I think she does like me.”
“Sure looks like it,” Simon remarked. “Now if we can only find her a proper name. Any suggestions, Georgiana?”
Georgiana looked around the room until she found Andy talking with Victor and Peter. “Victor said she’s Andy’s first kid, so maybe you should name her after him.”
“But Honey, she’s a girl. We can’t exactly name her Andrew,” Catherine said.
“But Andrea is kinda like Andrew, but is for girls,” Georgiana said, smiling down at the gurgling baby. “Would you like that name, baby? Would you like being called Andrea?” The baby squealed just then and Georgiana laughed.
“Hmm, I think she does,” Simon agreed. “What do you think, Mom?”
“Andrea…Andrea…” Catherine whispered, saying the name as if savoring it on her lips. She abruptly rose from her seat and went to Andy. She spoke excitedly to him, he nodding and grinning. Then they hugged and came back to their baby.
“We have a winner I think,” Simon smirked, a long finger stroking the baby’s soft skin. “Georgiana and Andrea, my two new little sisters. This is the best Thanksgiving Day ever.”
“Mine too,” Georgiana said, when he kissed the top of her head.
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