The Wildebrams Season Six
Chapter 25: Dinner With His Family
By Wilde Abrams
Author's Notes: My day by day retelling of Artie and Kitty's first week back together as a couple continues. I'd originally planned for this to be the last chapter or that, but I've been inspired for there to be one more before he returns to New York.
In the one, at long last, my readers are going to get to meet the family I've created for Artie. I hope you like them!
=== Kitty's House - Saturday Morning
At about 2 AM Kitty awoke to use the bathroom, and when she returned, she placed the protective pillow between Artie's knees before snuggling up beside him in bed and falling back to sleep.
They awoke around nine and made love again and then they lounged in bed for another hour before getting up. Because it was Saturday, they were able to have a lazy morning in bed before starting their day. They were invited for 1 PM to visit with and later have dinner with his parents and siblings.
After she assisted him with his stretching exercises, each of them took showers and completed their morning routines. Kitty went all out and wore a nice pastel blue dress and wore her hair down, but nicely styled. Artie wore nice slacks and a blue button down shirt.
It was around eleven before they finally emerged and joined Bill and Andrea in the kitchen for late morning brunch before leaving for the rest of the day.
=== The Car Ride To The Abrams House - Early Saturday Afternoon
On the ride over, Artie observed that Kitty seemed a little on edge.
"Is everything okay," he asked her.
"Fine," she lied.
But, the truth was that, the closer they got to his home the more of a bundle of nerves she became. She'd met Artie's family before, of course, but this was the first time she was seeing them all together since she and Artie had gotten back together. This was also the first time that she was meeting them as a serious girlfriend with long term plans with him. He'd also effectively been living with her for the week, and she wasn't sure how they would feel about it.
"I know you better than you realize," he told her. "The last time I saw you this agitated was when we were waiting to find out what was going to happen to the glee club after we lost nationals. What's up?"
She sighed. "Just a little nervous," she admitted. "I've met your family before, but our relationship is more serious than we had when you were in high school, and I'm kinda freaking out about how they are going to feel about it."
"They will feel fine," he told her. "They all love you!"
"Your mom and little sister love me," she corrected him. "Your dad and older sister barely know me, and your little brother always gave me the cold shoulder."
"He does that to everyone," Artie told her. "He's a teenager and will grow out of it! Dad and Grace just need to get to know you better."
=== The Abrams House - Saturday Afternoon
They arrived promptly at five minutes to one. Kitty had always been taught to be prompt or a little early, and she wanted to make a good impression today. She parked the car, and after she got out, she removed the pieces of his wheelchair from the back seat, and handed him a piece at a time as he expertly assembled it. When he was done, he transferred into the chair and they headed up the front sidewalk towards the front door.
Artie's mom, Nancy Abrams met them at the door and gave each of them an affectionate hug, and presented her cheek to her son, who promptly kissed it.
She ushered them inside and then announced their presence, "They're here!"
James, Artie's father, was the first to approach them and greet him with a smile and a hug. Kitty smiled and returned the hug because it was the polite thing to do, even though she barely knew him. Artie's parents had been divorced for several years, but had managed to make co-parenting work quite well. They still love each other and their kids, they just couldn't live together anymore. Artie and the others lived with Nancy, but James was around a lot and always made time for Artie and his siblings.
Next up was little Becca Abrams. The nine year old ran up to the new arrivals, plopped herself down into Artie's lap, and gave him an affectionate hug. "I've missed you so much!" She said, wrapping her arms around his neck.
Kitty's heart melted as she saw how genuinely the little girl loved her brother. She was about nine and a half years younger than Artie, born over a year after his accident, and as a result had only known him in the chair, so it seemed perfectly normal to her to have an older brother on wheels.
"I've missed you too, kiddo," he told her with his trademark grin. "But I was spending time with Kitty. You remember Kitty," he said, gesturing to her.
"Hi Becca," Kitty said, kneeling down to the girl's level. "It's so nice to see you again!"
"Are you still a cheerleader?" The younger girl asked.
Kitty nodded, and smiled proudly. "Head cheerleader," she added.
"And you and Artie are boyfriend and girlfriend again?" She wanted to know.
Kitty glanced at Artie and smiled as she responded, "Yeah, we are boyfriend and girlfriend again."
"Well good," the girl said, "We were all tired of hearing how much he missed you every time he came home!"
"Becca!" Artie blushed.
"What?" The little girl said, "It's true!"
Kitty met his eyes, and smiled before telling her, "Yeah, I missed him very much too! That's why we got back together."
"I've missed you too," Becca said. "I'm going to be a cheerio when I get older! Can you show me how to make a ponytail like you have when you cheer?"
"Of course I can," Kitty greeted the younger girl warmly. "I can also show you how to do your makeup so that you look all pretty for the spectators!"
"I like her!" Becca said, glancing at Artie.
"Blech!" Came the sound of Artie's younger brother Ryan who stuck his finger in his mouth and made the puking sound from where he sat playing his Nintendo Switch on the couch.
"It's nice to see you again too, Ryan," Kitty greeted him sarcastically. He was a freshman at McKinley so she'd seen him in the halls a few times hanging out with some of the jocks, but he had completely ignored her. She seemed to remember he was about 15 years old, but he still acted like he was about twelve.
"Ryan Abrams," Nancy exclaimed, "Be polite to our guest!"
"Yeah, sorry, whatever!" he said, before going back to his game.
"Sorry about that," Artie said to Kitty.
She just waved her hand and dismissed it as if it was nothing. She'd encountered a lot worse in her time.
"Well well, well! Look who's finally here!" The voice of Grace Abrams chimed in as she entered the room. Grace was about 24 and Artie's older sister.
Artie and Grace smiled at each other, and she walked over and gave him a hug as Becca vacated her spot on Artie's lap.
"I've missed you little brother," she said.
"I've missed you too, sis!" He told her. Grace had been away at college the entire time Kitty had known Artie, so they had only met a couple times.
When they broke their embrace, Artie glanced over at Kitty. "You remember Kitty," he said.
Grace stepped over and gave her a smile and a hug, much to Kitty's surprise.
"Good to see you again," she said. "I hear you and my brother are back together. I hope you made him sufficiently grovel before taking him back after that boneheaded break up!"
"Oh yeah," Kitty told her, smiling. "Everyday for over a month."
Artie rolled his eyes, and tried not to be insulted. The truth was, his entire family had been mystified and sad, about his decision to break up with Kitty; and Grace had given him an earful over the phone after she'd found out about it. He'd finally found a girl who didn't look down on him, treat him like a child who needed to be cared for, and could keep up with him both intellectually and his witt. But had broken up with her because of the long distance part of their relationship, and not wanting to hold her back, in spite of the fact she hadn't been concerned about that herself.
"Why doesn't everyone take a seat and get more comfortable," Nancy suggested, and everyone did just that.
The living room had two couches and several chairs. James sat on the one couch with Ryan, Kitty and Grace shared the other couch, which Artie parked next to. Nancy took one of the chairs, and Becca sat on Kitty's lap.
At first no one knew what to say, and after glancing around the room, Kitty smiled at Grace and decided to break the ice.
"So, Grace," Kitty began, "Do so what are you up to these days? If I recall correctly, you were a senior in college?"
Grace smiled. "Yeah," she said. "I graduated from OSU a year ago, and am a seminarian now."
"You're going to college to become a pastor?" Kitty asked, surprised.
"Yeah," Grace told her. "I have been attending Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus working on my Masters of Divinity degree."
Kitty gave her a confused look. She knew that the older woman had been active in her church since she was a little girl. That was something that they had in common. But Kitty had never met anyone who actually wanted to become a pastor.
"I'm a bit of a bollworm. My undergraduate degree is in theology," Grace began. "My faith has always been an important part of who I am, especially since Artie's accident. I've been active in my church as an acolyte, communion assistant, lector, greeter, singing in the Choir, and other assorted things since I was little, and I've always felt a call to service, which I think I get from mom and dad."
Out of the corner of her eye, Kitty saw Nancy smile and nod. Kitty remembered that Artie's parents were social workers. Nancy was a School District Disabilities Coordinator, and James was a community organizer/activist.
"I'm not sure if I am going to be a parish pastor or work in some other form of ministry, but that's part of what we discern when we go to seminary," Grace finished. She seemed very clear about what she wanted, and where she was headed, something that Kitty wished she had clarity on herself.
"Well good luck with that," was the only thing Kitty could think of to say.
"Thanks," Grace said. "I seem to remember that you've been active in your church as well?"
Kitty nodded. "Nothing like you, though," she said. "I go pretty much every Sunday, and I attended Bible camp since I was little until I had to start attending cheer camp instead, and I used to help out with the Sunday school and stuff."
"It's been a few weeks," she continued. "But Artie and I are going with my family tomorrow morning."
"Wow!" Grace responded. "I'm impressed! I've been trying to convince Artie to come to church with me on days other than holidays for years. How did you do it?"
Artie rolled his eyes at his sister.
"Just persuasive, I guess," Kitty smirked.
The truth was, she hadn't really had to try that hard. He had agreed to attend church with her once in high school, but something had come up and they had to change their plans. Now that they were back together, she had reminded him of this, and he had just shrugged his shoulders and agreed to go.
Over the next couple hours, the group chatted about a variety of things, including religion, and future plans for Grace, Kitty, and Artie.
Kitty learned that the Abrams family attended Zion Lutheran, an ELCA church in Lima. It had been Nancy's family's family church for many years, and the family had all begun attending after they had gotten married. They offered both traditional and contemporary worship.
Kitty's family has more of a non denominational family. They had begun attending Lima Community Church, the same one that Sam Evans and the Fabray's attended, when they moved to town. It was a big church with contemporary music.
Grace gave more details about the seminary she was attending, and Kitty told them about all of the college options that she had been considering. "But I'm pretty sure I'm limiting myself to things in or around New York," she assured them.
Kitty heard the story once again about how Nancy and James had met in college for social work, and married shortly after graduation, but smiled and nodded as they told it again.
# # #
After a couple hours, the group had broken up and Artie took Kitty on a tour of their home. She had been there before, but this time he allowed her into parts of the home that she hadn't seen before.
All of the most important things we're on the main floor, but Artie had also transferred over to a chairlift, rode it upstairs, and transferred over to his older blue "upstairs" chair, so he could take her on a brief tour of the upstairs of the house, specifically his old childhood bedroom, which she'd asked about a couple times.
Entering it was like going into a time capsule, preserved almost exactly as it has been before his accident. The walls were painted blue and adorned with childhood photos and other memorabilia, and his old twin bed still had that ninja turtle's bed sheets and pillowcases on it.
Kitty smirked at that as she took a seat on the bed.
"It's been used as a guest room a few times," he explained. "But mom hasn't had the heart to actually redecorate it."
"I can see why," she told him. "I know that you don't like to talk too much about your life before your accident, but it's still worth remembering to those who know you during that time. Thank you for sharing it with me."
"Can I ask you something?" She asked.
"Of course," he responded.
"I guess I always knew that you weren't really much of a church goer, but why is it that you don't want to go to church other than on holidays?" She asked. "I gather that you used to go more when you were younger."
He nodded and pursed his lips as he considered his words.
"I still believe in God Kitty," he began. "But it's really hard for someone in my situation to have been such a strong believer, and had so many people praying for him after such a catastrophic accident, and yet to end up having to live his life like this through no fault of his own." His arms hit the armrest of his chair to emphasize his frustration. "Church is largely about celebrating and thanking Him, and what He's given us. But I guess I don't really feel like I have much to celebrate most of the time.
"I know that they thought that I was going to die," he continued, softly. "Mom thought that I had died until the paramedics told her otherwise, and I guess I should be thankful that I didn't. I know that's how Grace looks at it. And I suppose it's easy to look at it that way when you are looking at it from the outside. But it's a little different when you're the one sitting in the chair for the rest of his life."
Kitty sat there taking all of this in and her eyes began to water. He seemed so vulnerable. They'd never had a conversation like this before. He'd almost always been able to look at things from a positive perspective. But, she supposed, that was probably mostly a front that he put up for other people's benefit, and while it hurt her to hear it, she was glad to see that he was letting her in behind that wall.
"I'm really glad that you didn't die," she told him, softly, her voice cracking, as a couple tears streamed down her cheeks. "Because I can't imagine my life without you in it."
"I love you so much," he said as she leaned in and embraced him in a loving hug, which they held for several minutes until they were interrupted by Grace, who chose that moment to pop her head in through the door.
"Um," Grace said with a sheepish look on her face, "Sorry to interrupt, but mom said dinner was almost ready."
"It's okay," Artie said as they pulled apart.
"We were about to head downstairs anyway," Kitty added, wiping away her tears. "Just give me a moment to wash my hands and face."
"You can use the bathroom up here while Artie transfers himself downstairs," Grace told her and Artie nodded as he headed back towards the chairlift at the top of the stairs.
Kitty let Grace lead her down the hallway to the bathroom at the far end. This one had a tub shower, toilet, and a double vanity where both women washed their faces and hands. Kitty realized that even if the hallway had been more specious, there was no way that Artie would have been able to comfortably maneuver his wheelchair in there.
"Artie really trusts you," Grace observed, wiping her hands off. "I don't think any of his other friends have ever been invited up here before, even Tina."
"Arthur is the only person outside of my immediate family whom I've ever fully trusted," Kitty said. "I've shared things with him that I've never shared with anyone else. He knows this, and I think he is just returning the favor, as we've been doing all week, because that's what serious couples do."
She splashed water on her face.
Grace nodded and dried her hands with a hand towel.
"So you two are pretty serious?" Grace theorized.
"He has my heart," Kitty said, reaching for a towel. "And before you ask, I'm well aware of what I'm getting into being in a long term serious relationship with him."
"Good," Grace said, nodding. "I realized it before, but now it's blatantly obvious that he really loves you, and I've watched every other relationship he's had disintegrate, at least in part because the girl failed to understand and accept his special needs."
"That won't happen," Kitty assured her.
"I'm well aware of the circumstances of his past relationships with Tina, Brittany, Sugar, and the girl in the wheelchair he met at the wedding with the disturbingly massive boobs," Kitty told her. "I've done research, and we've spent a lot of time together and have talked a lot. He's always been kind of a private person, but I'm slowly starting to learn the details and specifics of his needs as he becomes more comfortable sharing them. Nothing has phased me, and I can't imagine anything will."
"Good," Grace responded, smiling. "Let's get downstairs before they start to miss us."
# # #
Kitty and Grace were the last ones to the table, but none commented on it. Once everyone was seated Grace led them in the table blessing, and they began to pass food around. Conversation was light as they enjoyed the delicious homemade lasagna and breadsticks that Nancy had made.
# # #
Ryan and Becca had each made plans to spend the night at friends houses, so they departed shortly after dinner, leaving only the adults to continue chatting.
"So you've been spending all of your time with Wildes this week," Nancy said. "We've missed you."
Earlier in the week he'd told her that he'd be gone a few days. She hadn't expected it to be all week
Artie nodded. "Now that we're back together," he explained, taking Kitty's hand, "we want to spend as much time together as we possibly can while I'm here in town. I wasn't sure how you would feel about that, being under the same roof as Becca and Ryan. So it just became easier to stay there. I didn't think that you'd mind since you've all gotten to spend time with me almost every evening for the last month and a half anyway."
Nancy and James nodded, understanding that he meant they were sharing a bed. They were a pretty liberal family and were well aware of the fact that the two of them had slept together after the wedding of their friends, and Nancy had talked to Kitty briefly about it.
"We appreciate that," Nancy said, eyeing her ex husband. "But you aren't on the same floor of the house as them, and as long as all that was going on was sleeping, I think that it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. I was also looking forward to spending time getting to know Kitty as well."
What Nancy had said was unexpected. Kitty and Artie shared the gaze.
"Well," Kitty began, "I guess we will keep that in mind for the next time he's in town." She was actually kind of relieved, because she knew that Artie would be much more comfortable with access to his own customized bathroom.
"And if you're alright with it," Artie added. "We could probably spend the afternoon, and night here tomorrow. It would give us some more time together and save me the trouble of packing up everything I have to take back to New York and bring it over to Wilde's house."
He looked over at Kitty who simply nodded. It would be a lot easier for her to bring over the things that she needed for school on Monday, then for him to pack up all of his things to be returned to New York."
Across the table, Grace just sat there paying entirely too much attention to the meal she saw eating, something that didn't escape Kitty's attention.
=== The Car Ride Back To The Wilde's House - Saturday Evening
Later that night on the way home, Kitty approached the subject with him.
"I don't think that your sister approves of us sharing a bed," Kitty told him as she drove.
"You think so?" Artie asked.
"Did you see the way she wouldn't make eye contact with us when we talked about staying over at your house?" She said, "I'm not really sure if she's just that conservative…"
"No," Artie assured her. "Don't let the seminary thing fool you. She's just as liberal as the rest of us. I think it has more to do with being overprotective of me. She knows how traumatic my first time was."
"When Brittany just picked you up and had her way with you," Kitty responded with more than a little bitterness. Kitty believed that sex was special and your first time should be with someone you were in love with. Artie had been robbed of that.
"She will get over it as she gets to know you better," Artie assured her.
"I get that she's protective of you," she said. "But we are both consenting adults."
"I'm always going to be her little brother," Artie told her. "But she has liked you from the first time she met you. She majorly ripped me a new one when I broke up with you."
Kitty smirked at the mental image she'd just formed of that. She hoped he was right. She knew it was a bit early to be thinking about it, but she had never had a sister, and could tell from her relationship with Artie and the others that Grace would make a good sister in law someday.
=== The Wilde Home — Late Saturday Evening
Bill and Andrea had gone out to dinner themselves that evening but they had arrived home a few minutes before Kitty and Artie. The four of them sat down at the table talking about they'd days. Kitty wasn't sure how they would take her spending Sunday afternoon and Night at the Abrams house, but they hadn't had a problem with it.
They turned in a little early that evening because they had a long day ahead of them.
Author's Endnotes: So, until now, I've always been intentionally vague about Artie's family in my stories.
I assumed he was an only child like Kitty for a long time, because there's never been any references or hints about any sibling in the show, and Wonder-ful implied that it was just he and his mom (even though it had been previously established that his dad drove him to events when a handicapped bus couldn't be procured. But I've finally decided to establish a family for him, and they will be consistent across all of my writing.
Historically, most Artie centric fanfic I've read (mostly Quartie - Shoutout to GLEEfull Heart, who is my main inspiration here) had established that everyone in that family had names that started with an A, but that went out the window when Glee canonized his mom as Nancy Abrams. Typically he had one or two younger siblings (a boy and a girl), and occasionally, but not usually an older college age brother. Gigundoly has established the idea of an older sister, and really liked that, but am making Grace significantly different from her original character Amy Abrams.
What does everyone think of the story, especially the new family which I've created. Please review and favorite and tell me your thoughts.