Late one afternoon at the 23rd Precinct in Bay City, Illinois, Captain Joe Carlino had a surprise visitor, a man he had never met before.
"I can't wait to see the look on Paulina's face when I bring you home to dinner tonight," Joe said.
"Neither can I," said the man. "So much has happened since the last time I saw her."
"Well," said Joe, "you'll have time to catch up. You're staying in Bay City for awhile at least, aren't you?"
Two hours later, Sofia was sitting on the front porch of the Carlino home when an obviously pregnant Paulina came out and said,
"Joe called a few minutes ago and told me he's bringing someone home to dinner."
"Oh? Who?" asked Sofia.
"He wouldn't tell me," Paulina answered. " He just said I'd be surprised."
"Here they are now," said Sofia.
"Hey, Blue Eyes," Joe said, with a big grin on his face, " look who's back in Bay City!"
Paulina let out a shriek. "Derek! It's so good to see you again!"
"It's good to see you, too," Derek said.
"This is my sister-in-law, Sofia," Paulina said.
"I'm glad to meet you," said Sofia.
"Likewise," Derek responded.
"Are Remy and Dante inside?" Joe asked
"No," said Paulina. "I let Remy take Dante to Foster Park, but they'll be back in time for supper."
"I have an idea," Joe said. "Why don't we turn off the oven, and eat at Carlino's tonight?" He turned to Derek. "You like Italian food, don't you?"
"I love it," Derek answered. "And I see that Paulina and I have some catching up to do. When is the new baby due?"
"In a few weeks," Paulina said.
Forty-five minutes later, Joe, Paulina, Sofia, Remy, Derek, and seven-year-old Dante were seated at a table at Carlino's, eating.
"This is the best Italian food I've ever tasted outside of Italy," Derek said.
"I didn't know you'd been to Italy," said Joe
"Yes," Derek said, "I've been to Rome and Florence."
Joe said, "Someday you've got to see Calabria."
"Paulina told me that's where your family came from," said Derek.
"Speaking of family," Paulina began. She looked at Joe, then looked at Derek, and then back at Joe again. Joe, understanding what Paulina meant, nodded in agreement.
"Speaking of family," Paulina continued, "we'd like you to do us a favor."
"Sure, if I can," said Derek.
"Well," Joe said, "Sofia and Remy are going to be the baby's godmothers, and we would be very pleased if you would agree to be his or her godfather."
Me?" said Derek, surprised. "Don't get me wrong, I'm really flattered, but let's face it, Joe. You and I don't really know each other that well yet."
"Look, Derek," Joe replied, "I realize that we just met today, but Paulina has always talked about you. In a way, you were Paulina's foster brother, and I know you
were the first person to ever look out for her. Because of that, I've always thought of you as family."
"Since you put it that way, I accept, and I thank you very much for the honor," Derek said.
Meanwhile, Grant Harrison, mayor of Bay City, was having a private meeting with Tito Banecek.
"Are you absolutely sure nobody saw or recognized you?" Grant asked.
"I'm positive,"Tito answered. "I've been careful to stay out of sight."
"Good," said Grant. "Let's keep it that way for now."
"I don't know," Tito said, "how much longer I can stay out of sight."
"You'll stay out of sight for as long as I tell you to," Grant told him.
"But it's been more than a month now," Tito complained. " I'm getting tired of this."
"Now isn't that just too bad? Let's get one thing straight, Tito," Grant said. "You will do exactly what I tell you to do when I tell you to do it, or you'll be
back in prison so fast, it will make your head spin. Don't forget, you were in for attempted murder. Specifically, for my attempted murder. Now this," Grant said, showing him
a photograph, "is Sofia Carlino, Joe's sister. I want you to get to know her."
"But," Tito began.
"No buts," Grant said. "Get her to trust you. That is how you will renew your involvement with the family. And when you talk to Sofia for the first time, don't let on that you
already know who she is."