Dear Dad

Note: This one shot takes place after Jason and Sam were first married but there is no Franco, no little Jake, no Elizabeth. It's just Jasam against the world. Sam finds out her father is Joe Carlino. Joe was a character on the late, great soap "Another World" played by Joseph Barbara. But you don't need to have seen the show to understand this longggg ass one shot. Enjoy! It's a bit angsty but through it all, Jasam are a team, as always.


Meeting Dad

Sam sat in the passenger seat of the Escalade, plucking imaginary lint off of her long black dress. It was a long, sweeping number and not the sort of style she typically preferred, but she had tried to dress to impress today.

"You look beautiful," Jason said. He dropped one hand from the wheel and scooted it across the console between them to rest on her leg. "Really beautiful."

Sam looked up at him with a little smile. "Thanks," she said. She fingered the sleeve of his white button-down shirt. "You clean up pretty good yourself." She had actually lost her breath when he walked out of their hotel bathroom wearing slacks and a dress shirt. He had dressed up for her, for the occasion, knowing how much this meant to her. A swell of gratitude and love filled her chest. He had instinctively known just what she had been hoping for without having to ask him for it. He was the epitome of wonderful.

Jason shrugged sheepishly and turned back to face the road. They were approaching a four-way intersection. He took a left after glancing at the map before him and piloted the car down a side street. "Seems like a quiet town," Jason murmured as they passed houses with big picture windows and manicured lawns.

"Yeah, like something out of 'The Stepford Wives'," Sam returned. "I am not sure I'm going to fit in. That I'm going to be what … what he is expecting."

"If he doesn't love you on sight, then he's a fool," Jason said. "Because you're wonderful."

Sam's smile widened and some of the anxiety swirling in her stomach died away. "Thanks for saying that. When I wrote the letter to him… I guess I never really expected a reply. But his return letter said that he really wants to meet me too so… We have to hope for the best."

"Just do me a favor."

"What?" Sam asked, resting her cheek against the warm glass of the window.

"That no matter what happens… If things don't go the way you hoped … You will know you did everything right. This is on him."

Sam nodded. "I promise I'll try," she said.

"I think we're here," Jason said, motioning to the number on a large, white frame house. "215 Bayview Road."

Sam nodded, feeling a flock of butterflies take flight in her stomach once more. "I think you're right," she said quietly. Jason squeezed her thigh and then pulled the Escalade to a stop at the curb in front of the house.

Jason killed the engine and looked over at Sam. "You ready?"

"I'm not going to lie …. I'm nervous. Are you nervous too?" Sam asked, flicking at another imaginary fiber on her dress.

"Yes, because I might have to talk," Jason said, giving her a soft, encouraging smile.

"It means a lot to me that you're doing this, Jason," Sam said. She leaned over to capture his lips in a quick, sweet kiss. "Here goes nothing." She pushed open the door after grabbing a bouquet off the seat, and they piled out of the car. Jason met her on the sidewalk, reaching for her hand and lightly threading their fingers.

They started up the front walk. Sam noticed small toy cars littering the grass; a little sandbox in the corner of the yard with a green plastic bucket half submerged in the sand. There was a child here, a little boy, of course. She had read about him in the letter, of course, knew his name was Dominic but it was still surreal to see. She had a biological brother - well, two of them actually. Dominic had an older brother named Dante, twenty years old and at college in Boston. She couldn't quite wrap her mind around all of this.

"This must all belong to Dominic," Sam said as they climbed the steps together.

Jason gestured ahead. "Think that's him?" Sam looked forward and spotted a little boy with bright brown eyes at the window, pert little nose smushed against the glass. He watched them with curiosity and a little tentative smile. He even lifted his hand and waved to them as if he knew them intimately.

"Oh god, he's so cute," Sam said, feeling a sisterly affection for him immediately. She paused in her tracks to watch him for a moment and then finished her climb up the steps. She looked at Jason expectantly. "I guess we'd better knock, huh?" Jason just nodded.

"Yeah," Jason said. He placed his large hand on the small of her back and urged her forward. She dragged in a shaky breath and then raised her little fist to knock on the door with two quick raps.

She immediately heard movement on the other side of the door, muted but seemingly excited voices, and then the door opened. A woman with a shock of blonde hair stood there with a tall, dark-haired man with broad shoulders. He had deep brown eyes and they were warm and kind. Sam thought they reminded her very much of the ones she saw in the mirror every morning.

"Sam," the man said. There was decided awe in his rich baritone voice.

"Hi," Sam said. She shifted from foot to foot. "Thank you for inviting us here today."

"Of course," he said. Joe Carlino held out his hand to Sam and then thought better of it, tugging her into a warm hug. Sam didn't know how to react at first and was stiff in his embrace until she reminded herself that this was her dad. That he was the other part of her she had been searching for. He seemed to be everything she had been secretly hoping for. She hugged him in return and then stepped back. Tears were in her eyes.

"I am glad I finally got to met you," Sam murmured. She looked at Jason who stood there, appearing a little awkward. "This is my husband, Jason."

Joe smiled and held out his hand to Jason. "Nice to meet you," Joe said. Jason shook his hand slowly.

"You too," Jason said quietly.

"And you must be Paulina," Sam said, moving her eyes to the curvaceous blonde. Her eyes were decidedly soft and inviting.

"Yes, 'tis I," Paulina said. She had a bright smile on her lips as she shook Sam's hand. "This is wonderful. Joe has been talking about nothing but you since he got your letter."

Sam looked up at Joe. He smiled at her. "Anyway, no more standing on the porch," Paulina said. "Come inside and meet the rest of the family."

"Okay," Sam said, feeling a well of emotion in her throat. "Oh and these are for you," she said, holding out the freshly cut bouquet to Paulina.

Paulina accepted the flowers into her hand and sniffed them. "Mmm," she murmured. "Violets are my favorite flower. You're every bit the charmer Joe is, aren't you?" She beckoned them inside. Sam looked around the house. It was beautiful and neat with a big window that light shone brilliantly through, playing on the photographs on the mantle. She noticed her own photograph sitting among the others - the same one she had sent Joe when she first reached out to him after Alexis told her the truth about who her father really was.

She felt her eyes burn a little. She felt so emotional, especially as the little boy from the window spotted them and ran over. Joe looked at his youngest child. "This is Dominic," Joe said. He started to pick up the three-year-old but the toddler squirmed free, instead running up to Jason and looking up at him expectantly.

"Hey," Jason said in a quiet voice. "Uh, nice to meet you… Dominic." The little boy kept staring up at Jason and then held up his arms.

Paulina chuckled. "That's his signal… That he wants you to pick him up."

Jason's eyes widened and he looked at Sam helplessly. She just smiled encouragingly at him. Jason stooped to gingerly lift the child into his arms. The little boy immediately stared at Jason adoringly and patted his cheeks with chubby hands. Jason smiled at him, a little less stiffly now. He had no doubt not been expecting this but Jason loved children and was so good with them.

Sam reached out and lightly thumbed Dominic's soft cheek. "He's so cute," Sam said. Her heart swelled with sisterly pride. She looked towards the door as it opened and a young man of about twenty shuffled into the room. He was dressed in black pants and a chambray shirt. His brown eyes were wide and searching. "Dante?" Sam guessed.

He nodded. "Yes. And you must be Sam… my sister."

Sam nodded, hearing him call her his sister choked her up anew. "Yes, I'm Sam," she said. She held out her hand to him. "It's so nice to put a name with a face."

"Yeah it is," Dante said. He shook her hand. He looked at his mother. "Are we eating soon? I'm kind of starving."

Paulina laughed. "That's Dante for you, always hungry and yet somehow managing to stay so slim. Lucky him." She looked at Sam and Jason. "Should we go to the dining room?"

Sam nodded. "Sure." She looked at Jason. He tried to put Dominic down but the little boy clung stubbornly to him.

"I've never seen Dom take to anyone so quickly," Joe marveled. "Jason, you must have the magic touch."

Jason's face heated with color. Sam just grinned at her husband as they followed Paulina into the dining room.

After Dinner Conversation

Dinner consisted of heaping bowls of pasta and thick slices of garlic bread. Sam had never felt so stuffed as she did when she finally pushed back from the table. Jason had sat beside her, holding an adoring Dominic on his lap the whole time. It was particularly adorable when Dominic tried to feed Jason some of his carefully cut up spaghetti. Sam had had to bury a chuckle at the expression on Jason's face but he'd, of course, been accommodating. He was so good with children. He would make a great father and she hoped and prayed children would be in their future soon.

After dinner, Joe asked Sam if they could talk for awhile. She looked at Jason questioningly and he nodded. "Yeah, go ahead," he said. That would leave him with chatty Paulina and he would hate it the whole time but Sam would definitely thank him with hot sex later.

Joe and Sam walked out onto the porch. There were two rocking chairs positioned close together and Sam slipped into one nearest the window. She saw Jason inside, lightly batting a cloth ball between himself and Dominic. Dominic was a little clumsy and slow to return the throw, but the sight warmed Sam's heart like none other.

She turned to look at Joe, feeling a little nervous but also happy. Dinner had been an easy-going affair, everyone chatting amiably back and forth - except for Jason, of course. Sam had felt peaceful and happy sitting there with her father and brothers. Dante had confided in her about his post-college plans. He told her that he had a girlfriend named Bridget McKinnon and his handsome face had lit up in a goofy smile when he talked about her.

"Your family … is wonderful," Sam said softly.

"They're your family too," Joe said. "At least I hope you can think of them that way someday."

Sam nodded. "Thank you for having Jason and me over today."

"Of course …. The second I read your letter … I knew I wanted to meet you. I am glad you came to Bay City for the weekend." Joe shifted on his chair a bit. "I want you to know… I didn't know about you."

"I know," Sam said. "Alexis… Mom ... told me she kept you in the dark all these years. She is sorry for that. I know that much."

Joe nodded. "If I had known about you, I would have been there, Sam, honestly. I sowed my wild oats as a teenager but still, nothing means more to me than family."

"I can tell," Sam murmured. "You've raised a couple of really great kids."

"Thanks," Joe said. He stretched out his long legs. "Dominic has really taken to Jason, in particular. He seems like a good man."

"He is the best," Sam replied, a smile on her face. "He treats me like a princess."

"That's all I can ask for ... That you're safe and happy."

"I am."

"He looks so familiar to me," Joe said. "But I am sure I've never met him."

Sam settled her hands on her lap. "Maybe has one of those faces. Although I've certainly never found anyone else like him, and believe me, I've been a lot of places."

Joe offered her a smile. "What was your childhood like? Did you have a good childhood - two loving adoptive parents?"

Sam looked down at her clasped hands. "I would like to tell you that I did but -" She dragged in a breath. "It wasn't exactly idealistic, to be honest."

Joe's eyes clouded noticeably. "I'm sorry, Sam. I wish with all of my heart I could have taken you away from a bad situation."

"It's okay and it's not your fault. You had no idea I was out there and for the longest time, I didn't know about you either." She sighed quietly. "Things came full circle though and I'm really happy. I have a home now with Jason."

"I'm glad he treats you well," Joe said. "That you're happy with him. You two seem like a loving couple, having a good marriage like Paulina and I have."

"Speaking of Paulina, she seems so nice, so accommodating. But this can't be easy for her - a grown up child of yours suddenly popping out of the woodwork like this."

Joe smiled easily now. "Oh trust me, we've had a little experience with this."

"Huh?" Sam asked. "You have other-"

"No, not me. This is a first for me, you being here, but Paulina…She had a child when she was a teenager too; gave her up for adoption. Her name is Remy and she came into our lives rather unexpectedly, already a young woman with her own ideas about life. Things were rocky between Remy and Paulina for a long time but they smoothed out somehow and now they're close as two people can get."

"That's so nice," Sam said. "It sounds a lot like how things used to be with Alexis and me."

"Things were difficult, when you two realized who you were to each other?"

Sam nodded. "Very difficult. I think there was a part of me that really resented her for the longest time … And now I can't… I just can't imagine my life without her in it."

Joe smiled. "I am glad you two found each other...And Sam, I am glad you found me too. I hope it's not too late in the game for us to mean something to each other."

Sam swallowed over the hard lump of emotion in her throat. "It's not too late. I really like being here with you and Paulina and the kids. I would like to be a part of your life in some capacity if you'll have me."

"Of course I will," Joe said. "I am just so … humbled by the whole thing. You seem to be everything … I ever would have wanted in a daughter."

A tear slid down Sam's cheek. "Thank you. Thank you so much." She reached out and tentatively touched his hand. His fingers wrapped around her tiny ones and he held her hand lightly. It felt so good to finally know the other part of her. She felt completely whole.

Surreal

After thanking the family for their hospitality, Sam and Jason left the Carlino house several hours later. Dominic had fallen asleep in Jason's strong arms and Paulina had asked him to help tuck Dominic in for the night. Sam had stood in the doorway watching Jason as he tucked the covers up around the little boy's chin and gently touched his cheek.

"He loved you," Sam said as they climbed into the Escalade.

"Dominic?" Jason said with a sheepish smile.

"Yes, him," Sam said. She saw Joe and Paulina watching them from the porch as they strapped on their seat-belts. She offered them a wave and they waved back, soft smiles on their faces.

"He was a nice kid," Jason said as he started up the engine. "A cute kid."

"Yes, he was. Paulina told me he's generally pretty hands off with people, that he has special issues, but look at how he responded to you, Jason. He saw a loving, wonderful person and stuck to you like glue."

Jason shrugged. "I liked him."

"I know. You love kids and you're so good with them… I hope someday-" Sam's voice trailed off.

Jason reached between them to squeeze her thigh. "We'll have that someday, Sam, I know we will."

"I hope so, Jason. All I want in the world is to have a little boy with your eyes; one with your smile and kind heart."

She couldn't see his expression in the darkened car, but Sam knew that Jason was blushing. She smiled as she rested her head against the window. "They want to see us tomorrow, if you're up for it. Have a picnic in the park before we leave town. I know it's a lot to ask but would you come with me? I guess a few more people will be there which is probably really nerve-wracking for you but-"

"Sam, it's okay. I'll come with you," Jason said. "Dominic and I can hang out."

Sam grinned. "You're going to be an amazing father to our child, Jason. Let's hope he or she comes soon."

An Outing

Sam and Jason arrived at the Bay City town park the next afternoon at noon. They had spent the morning in bed, making love, just holding each other, just being. Sam felt an incredible sense of peace being with him, knowing where she belonged, in his arms. She was home with him and now she had her father in her life. Everything was pretty damn perfect.

Paulina immediately spotted them walking into the park. There were several big picnic tables which she had secured for the occasion. Platters overflowing with all types of food sat atop the tables waiting to be devoured. Sam's stomach grumbled a bit and she realized that she had Jason had been so busy loving on each other that they never got to eat.

Paulina walked over to them and greeted them both with a hug. Jason awkwardly patted her back and Sam just smirked. "I'm so glad you could come," Paulina enthused. "There are so many people who want to meet you... My daughter Remy - Joe tells me he told you about her ... Your aunt Sofia... Dante's girlfriend Bridget came too... So many people."

Jason did his best to conceal his panic and Sam tucked her arm in his. "Joe's around here somewhere," Paulina said. Dominic had been scooping sand in the sandbox when he suddenly spotted Sam and Jason. He was like a heat-seeking missile as he ran for Jason on slightly wobbly legs. He launched himself at Jason.

Sam and Paulina laughed. "He adores you, Jason," Paulina said. "He isn't even this happy to see Joe and me usually." Jason gingerly lifted Dominic into his arms. Dominic wordlessly stabbed a finger towards the sandbox.

"You want to go to the sandbox?" Jason said. He looked at Sam for a moment. "Okay, let's go." He carried Dominic over to the big box and perched on the edge of it as Dominic tossed sand about. Sam just stared at them in wonder.

"He's wonderful with Dominic," Paulina said. "I hope you two plan on having kids because he's a natural."

Sam nodded. "That's the plan." She smiled softly. "We keep hoping."

"I am sure it will happen for you," Paulina said. "And Joe will absolutely love being a grandfather."

Sam smiled at the thought. "Do you think he'd want to know his grandchild?"

"Are you kidding? Nothing would keep him away. He thinks you're amazing, by the way."

Sam felt her eyes get a bit dewy. "I really like him too. I like your whole family."

"Speaking of family, there's your aunt Sofia with her latest boyfriend Jensen. Come on, let me introduce you to them. I am sure Joe will be back soon from wherever he skipped off to."

Confrontation

It was close to two p.m. by the time Joe made his presence known. Sam had met at least thirty people and remembered about half of their names. Jason sat beside her at the picnic table with Dominic, predictably, on his lap. Dominic was contentedly squishing his sandwich into bits.

Joe had a decidedly unhappy expression on his face when he walked over to them. Sam noticed the downturn of his lips right away and the stormy expression in his eyes. "You're here - finally!" Paulina said as Sam watched him curiously. His eyes moved to lock on hers and then floated over to Jason. Sam thought she saw a vein pop on his forehead. What the hell was going on here?

Paulina must have noticed the tension too because she pulled Joe aside. Sam watched them under her eyelashes, whispering heatedly back and forth to each other. Jason followed her gaze. "What's going on?" He asked, looking as uncomfortable as she felt.

"I don't know but it doesn't seem good," Sam said.

"Problems at the restaurant, probably," Sofia said, overhearing their conversation. "The new chef at Carlino's is a bit lazy and petulant." Her voice was reassuring but Sam wasn't sure she bought into the explanation.

Paulina and Joe were drawing stares from everyone. Sam shifted uncomfortably as Joe's gaze locked on hers once more. She forced herself not to look away. Instead she held his stare as she pushed back from the table. "Where are you going?" Jason asked.

"To talk to him. He seems really upset and I feel like... I'm the reason somehow."

"Sam, no. You didn't do anything wrong."

"He seems to think I did. Look I'm just going to go talk to him. Stay here with Dominic. He's looking a little flustered by the shouting match his parents are having." Indeed Dominic was getting a little fidgety and fussy. Jason rubbed his back gently in an attempt to soothe him.

Sam squeezed Jason's shoulders and walked towards Joe. She felt Jason's concerned eyes following her the whole way. She stopped in front of Joe and Paulina. "Hey, Joe, thanks for having Jason and I here with you two today. Is everything ... is everything alright?" She shifted from foot to foot.

Joe looked at Sam and shook his head. "No, everything is not okay right now," he said in a tight voice. He didn't appear to be anything like the man she had met just yesterday. The softness was gone from his eyes and hardness was in it's place.

"Sam, we need to talk. Right now," Joe said.

"O-okay," Sam said.

Paulina stared at her husband imploringly. "Joe, don't do this right now. Not in front of everyone. This can wait."

"No, it can't," Joe said. He looked at his wife. "Just go get Dominic."

"Joe-"

"Paulina, please don't argue with me," Joe said in a steely voice.

Paulina sighed loudly and looked at Sam apologetically before moving to Jason and Dominic. "What the hell is going on here?" Sam asked, watching as Paulina pried Dominic from Jason's arms. The little boy burst into tears and reached desperately for Jason but Paulina just moved away. She sat at the other end of the bench with the sobbing little boy, tears born of upset in her own eyes.

"What's going on?" Sam asked. "Why did you just have Paulina rip Dominic out of my husband's arms?"

"We need to talk," Joe said. He gestured for her to follow him and against her better judgment, Sam did so. They walked about thirty feet and then Joe came to a stop between the arch of two tall Pine trees.

"Joe, what is wrong?" Sam asked. "Why are you so upset and suddenly acting like Jason and I are contagious."

"Because, Sam, because I know."

"Know what?" Sam asked. She folded her arms across her chest, hugging herself.

"You know I'm a police officer. I told you that in my first letter to you. You had to know I would figure this out - figure out why Jason looked so familiar to me."

Sam suddenly understood what he was getting at and her face flushed with heat. "Why didn't you tell me, Sam?" Joe asked. "Why didn't you tell me I was sitting down to dinner with a hired killer, a thug?"

Sam felt like she had been sucker-punched. She immediately glared at Joe. "Jason isn't a thug," she said. Ire was in her voice. "How dare you?"

"You told me that he was the co-owner of a coffee business. That he imported coffee beans."

"He does import coffee beans!" Sam snapped.

"Yes, among other things," Joe said. "I spent the whole morning reading up on your husband." The way he said husband made Sam feel sick. There was no warmth in his voice. Just disgust and anger. "He has quite the colorful history. He has been accused of a host of crimes from murder to-"

Sam spat at him, "Jason was never convicted of any of those crimes."

"Are you going to stand here and deny who he is?"

"I am going to deny he's the deviant you're making him out to be. Jason is the best man I've ever known; kind and gentle and -"

"I bet his victims wouldn't agree," Joe said. "You brought a hired gun, a wanted man, around my family and -"

"Your family," Sam echoed. "Yeah I get it. All those people over there are your family and I'm just .. chopped liver. Everything you said about me being your family too was nothing but bullshit."

"That's not true, Sam," Joe said. "I want you in my life, I really do."

"If I dumped Jason, is that it?" Sam asked. "Never, ever going to happen."

"He's a dangerous man, Sam. Every moment you're with him, your life is at stake. I read the papers. You were shot because of him, because of who he is and what he does. You could have died for gods-sake."

Sam shook her head. "You only know what you read in the papers, what you saw on some police report. No one has ever loved me or protected me or fought for me the way Jason does."

Joe's voice softened but only slightly. "I am worried for you; that you can stand there and justify this person to me."

"This person," Sam said. "This person is a man - a damned good man, and my husband, and I am not going to stand here and let you trash talk him. I'm done here." She started to spin away but Joe reached for her arm.

"Sam, wait-"

Sam shook free of Joe's grasp. "We're done here."

"I am genuinely scared for you, Sam. Being with a man like Jason.. No good can come from that. I can accept that you love him but being with him... Putting your life in danger, putting the lives of everyone around you in danger..."

Sam gave him a hard look. "If you can't accept Jason, then you can't accept me. Because he is a part of me, the biggest part of me. I am sorry if you think I came to you under false pretenses but I will never, ever apologize for loving Jason or being with him."

Sam spun on her heel and hurried back to Jason. She heard Joe calling her name but she didn't turn around. Hot, angry tears stung her eyes. Jason stood up and moved to her. "What happened?" He asked, his voice laced with concern. "Did Joe hurt you?"

"Yes, but not the way you think," she whispered. She grabbed for her purse. "We should go."

Jason nodded. "Alright."

Paulina stared at Sam and Jason. "You don't have to leave. Joe has a temper but he'll cool off, eventually."

"I don't think so," Sam said. She looked at Paulina and her sons fondly. "It was nice to meet all of you. My best -" her voice wavered - "best wishes to you all."

Dominic was still crying and reaching for Jason but all he could do was wave to the little boy and say, "It's okay. It's okay." He reached for Sam's hand and together they walked towards the park exit.

Sam felt Joe staring back after her, heard Paulina tell him to go after Sam, but he just said, "I can't, Paulina. I can't."

Back in Port Charles

It had been two weeks since Jason and Sam returned to Port Charles after that disastrous afternoon in the Bay City park. Sam hadn't heard a word from Joe although she had received an email from Paulina apologizing for the ruined visit. Paulina had also attached a picture of Dominic with the email. Sam had printed it out and given it to Jason. Jason understood what had happened with Joe, perhaps even more than she did. He just said Joe wanted her to be safe to which Sam said she never felt more safe than when she was with Jason.

Sam felt sick over the whole thing - physically sick. Sometimes she just laid in bed feeling sorry for herself until Jason would crawl onto the mattress with her, wrap his arms around her body, hold her tight, and reassure her that he loved her like crazy.

One morning, coming down the stairs, she nearly passed out and would have toppled down the staircase but Jason caught her in time.

"Sam, this isn't normal," Jason said, holding her gently to him. "You're obviously really sick."

"I'm heartsick, Jason. Really disappointed that my own flesh and blood treated you like that."

"I'm okay, Sam, I just want you to be okay. And I don't think you are. I want to take you to see Monica."

"Jason, no. It's not necessary."

"Yes it is," Jason said quietly, yet firmly. "You're having physical symptoms so its more than just being hurt from what Joe did."

"He was supposed to love me," Sam said. "He was supposed to. I was hoping for that. I really was."

Jason nodded. "I know, Sam, I know." He tucked her beneath his chin and just held her for the longest time.

Big News

"Sam, I have the results of your blood test. They were very telling," Monica announced, coming back into the exam room where Sam and Jason sat together. Sam's fingers curled into Jason's as if by their own volition.

"Is it bad news?" Sam asked, feeling her heart slam painfully against her ribcage.

"I don't think so," Monica said. "I tend to think it's wonderful news."

Sam looked at Jason. Jason smiled back at her. "Monica, is Sam-" He started.

"Pregnant?" Monica said. "Yes, Sam, you're pregnant. About four weeks along."

Sam's hands flew to her mouth and tears filmed in her eyes. She couldn't believe what she had heard. She was pregnant. She was actually pregnant. She turned to look at Jason. An awed expression was on his face. He settled his hands on her shoulders. "Sam, did you hear that?" He said.

Sam nodded. "I heard," she said with an eager nod of her head. "Ohmigod, Jason, we're going to be parents!" She leaped at Jason, pulling him into a tight hug and he laughed. They held each other tightly.

Monica smiled. "Congratulations, you two. I am thrilled for you."

"Thank you," Jason said.

Monica nodded. "You should make an appointment with Dr. Westbourne as soon as you can. Pre-natal care is of course so important."

Sam stared at her mother-in-law. "Is the baby ... Are they okay?"

"So far, so good. I have every reason to believe that this pregnancy is viable and that in several months you'll be bringing home a healthy baby boy or girl, my new grandchild."

Sam hugged Jason around the waist. "Thank you, Monica. Thank you so much."

"Of course," Monica said. She was smiling as they walked out of the hospital room side by side, Jason holding Sam's hand.

"I can't believe it, Jason! Our dreams came true," Sam said. "I'm so happy."

"I am happy too," Jason said. He tucked her petite body under his arm and touched her still-taut belly with a wide, contended smile on his face.

Beautiful Thing

That night, Sam and Jason lay in bed talking about their hopes and dreams for the baby. "Hope they have your eyes," Sam murmured, snuggling closer to Jason.

"Hope they have your ... everything else," Jason said.

Sam smiled and kissed his chin lightly. "We're so sappy," she said. She rolled over, spooning herself against his lanky body. "Mom is going to be so happy when we tell her - this is her first grandchild." Sam sighed softly then and Jason seemed to read her thoughts.

"I am sure if Joe knew ... He'd be happy too," Jason said, stroking her silky hair.

"I doubt that," Sam said. "But I am sad he is going to miss out on knowing this baby because he or she is going to be incredible."

"Yes they will be," Jason agreed. "And I just want you to know that ... that no matter what decisions they make, no matter what they choose to do with their lives, or who they choose to be with, I'm going to always to love them, the same way I do you."

"I know, Jason. I know. Your love is unconditional and it's the most beautiful thing in the whole world to me."

Dear Dad

Later that night, Sam found herself unable to sleep. As she listened to Jason's soft, even breathing, she laid awake thinking about Joe and what she would say to him if she ever saw him again. She hadn't said half of the things she wanted to or should have that day at the park.

Around four a.m., realizing she was not going to sleep, she gently disentangled herself from Jason's warm embrace and padded downstairs. Taking up residence at his desk, she pulled out a pad of paper and a blue ink pen and began to write. She started to address it "Dear Dad" but then thought better of it, instead writing simply "Joe". And then she poured out her heart onto the page - every thought she had about this whole situation. She had no intention of sending it but it was enough to write it all down. She felt a little freer when she was done.

Party

Nearly a month had passed by. Sam was feeling more secure every day as the pregnancy progressed normally. Britt Westbourne had assured her and Jason that the baby was healthy - thriving was actually the word she had used.

Sam and Jason had decided to host a small gathering to tell their families and closest friends about the pregnancy. They had kept it to themselves thus far but Sam was going to start showing soon enough and then the secret would be out anyway.

It had surprisingly been Jason's idea to have the little party at their place. As much as he hated entertaining company, he had told her that he wanted her to be surrounded by family and friends so she would know how much she was loved. He didn't want her to ever feel she was lacking in some way because Joe refused to be a part of her life. Sam still hadn't heard from Daddy Dearest and she was sure she never would again.

"Set out the pâté," Sam said, coming into the kitchen where Jason was watching the stove. They had ordered a bunch of food from the Metro Court and he was keeping it warm in the oven until the guests arrived. They should be there soon enough.

"What the hell is pâté?" Jason asked with a smirk.

"Cooked ground meat with lots of fat made into a spreadable paste," Sam said. "It's yummy. I had several scoops on a chip. What can I say? This baby is hungry."

Jason just laughed. "I bet." Sam's appetite was legendary and now that she was pregnant, she was devouring everything in sight. She spotted the fruit plate sitting out and snatched a handful of grapes before he could stop her. Popping them into her mouth one by one, she pronounced them "delicious!"

Jason reached out to touch her flat belly, caressing it gently. He looked at her earnestly. "Are you happy, Sam?"

"With you, deliriously," Sam said sincerely. She arched up on her tippy toes to kiss him.

"Do you wish Joe was here today celebrating with us? Being happy about the baby too?"

Sam shrugged. "I guess, but he doesn't want to be here so it's his loss - just like you keep telling me. This baby will be surrounded by love and won't miss one grumpy grandpa." She sighed. "Do I wish I could have him in my life? Yes, a little, but he made that impossible when he tried to make me choose him over you. Which I will never, ever do." She hugged him. "I love you."

"I love you too, Sam." He kissed her softly on the lips as Sam knotted her fingers in the fabric of his tee-shirt. "Do we have time to-" She broke off as the doorbell suddenly rang. She rolled her eyes. "I guess not, but you're all mine later.

"I'll get it," she said, moving out of the kitchen and padding to the door on high heels. She pulled the door open and her greeting died in her throat. She couldn't believe who was standing there.

"Sam," Joe said. "Hello." Sam couldn't find the words to reply. "Can we talk?"

Sam crossed her arms over her chest and affected a dismissive look. "I think we said all we needed to back in Bay City."

"I don't think we did," Joe said. He reached into the pocket of his black denim jeans and withdrew several papers that had been obviously folded and re-folded about a hundred times. "I got your letter."

"What?"
Sam asked. "I didn't - I didn't send you a letter."

Joe leaned forward to show her the pages. "It was signed by you. Same, familiar scrawl I used to see in all your letters to me before we met. Although this letter wasn't like those. I could tell how angry you are."

"Yes I am extremely angry but I didn't send that letter," Sam said. She heard Jason moving around in the kitchen and sighed. "Jason must have put it in the mail because I had no intention of you ever seeing it."

Joe nodded. "You were done with me."

Sam nodded. "Yes.. So you got my letter. Why did you come here?"

"Maybe I realized that I said some things that were too harsh that day at the park."

"Some things?" Sam said. "You called my husband a murderer and a thug. I can't forget that."

"I don't expect you to. But Sam, I had just found you. Do you understand how worried I was, how actually terrified I was, that I was that I would lose you because of Jason's lifestyle?"

"If you came here to insult Jason again, you can just get the hell out of here."

"I didn't," Joe said. "While I will never agree with or understand what he does for a living, wanting you to be a part of my life trumps all of that. I want to know you, Sam. I want to know my only daughter. We have already lost so much time. Thirty-plus years too much time."

Sam wanted to believe in his sincerity but she didn't know if she could. Or if she could forgive him for the nasty way he had treated her and Jason that day.

"Jason and I are a packaged deal, Joe. Where I go, he goes. You have to know that I'm never going to cast him aside because you or anyone else demands that I do."

Joe nodded slowly. "I know. You're obviously a loyal, loving person, Sam. And I do admire that. You remind me of Paulina that way. She was just devastated that things ended up the way they did between us."

"So are you here because Paulina told you to come?"

"No, I'm here because I want to be apart of your life, if you will let me. I want to know you, the person you are now. I am thirty years too late to be ordering you around like you're a child. I understand that now. I respect your decision because I wouldn't let anyone boss me around either. I like to think we're alike in that way - strong, tenacious, maybe a little stubborn."

Sam didn't know how to respond at first. Then, she said, "You read the letter so you know about the baby I'm carrying."

"Yes," Joe said. "My grandchild. I know he or she will be loved so much by both you andJason. And I want to love them too, if you'll let me."

"You're saying all of the right things but ... How do I know you're being sincere right now?" Sam asked.

"I guess you can't know... I will just have to earn your trust."

"You had Paulina literally rip Dominic from Jason's arms. That was cruel and nasty of you. If you saw him holding our child, would you do the same thing?"

"Sam, I was scared. It's a feeling I'm not used to - being helpless - so I reacted in the worst possible way. Before I knew what Jason did, I saw how good he was to Dominic, so I think I can say he will be a good father. I just want you to be safe, I want you all to be safe. That's all a parent ever wants for their children."

"Jason protects everyone he cares about. He would never let anything happen to me or this baby."

"I am trying to believe that," Joe said. "I am trying to accept it because I want so much to be in your world. I certainly want you in mine. You're the one thing I was missing that I didn't realize was missing until you sent me that first letter telling me you were my daughter. And now I can't imagine knowing you're out there and not having you in my life." He ran a hand down his face. "I'm sorry, Sam. I am sorry that I hurt you."

"I'm not the only one you need to apologize to."

"I should say something to Jason, yes."

"He cared enough to send a letter I had no intention of sending so you owe him that much."

"I'll talk to him. I'll try to make peace," Joe said.

Sam moved for the kitchen and poked her head inside the door. "You've been bad," she said with a little smile.

He smiled back at her. "How so?"

"You sent the letter I wrote to Joe and now he's here, apparently wanting to broker peace."

Jason's smile faltered a bit. "I am sorry but I wanted him to know what he was missing out on."

"You're too wonderful," Sam said. She grabbed for his hand. "I know it's a lot to ask but will you talk to him - or at least let him talk? He wants to say something to you."

She wasn't surprised when Jason agreed. He really would do anything for her.

They walked into the living room and found Joe waiting in the doorway still. Joe took a long breath before saying, "I need to ask you something, Jason."

Jason nodded. "Okay."

"Do you love Sam?"

"With all of my heart."

"Do you promise to do your damnedest to keep her and the baby she's carrying safe?"

"Joe-" Sam started but Jason interrupted.

"It's okay, Sam. I want to answer this," Jason said. He looked at Joe earnestly. "I would lay down my life for Sam and our baby, with no hesitation. I will always protect them. I will always love them."

Joe sighed softly. "That's all I can ask for then," he said. "Just for you to be there for them the way I couldn't be for the past thirty-something years."

Sam saw it then - how it had broken Joe that he had a child out there he'd lost so much time with. She didn't know if he could completely forgive him for the things he had said on that day in the park; she knew she certainly couldn't forget them, but she wasn't blind. She saw a man who was desperate to protect his child; to protect her, his own daughter.

Her eyes stung as Joe motioned towards the elevator. "Well, that's what I came for. I'm sorry for the way I acted. I just thought I was being protective." He looked at Sam. "Thanks for letting me say my peace."

Sam nodded. She looked at Jason helplessly and he gestured to Joe, mouthing, "Ask him to stay."

Sam sighed and called after Joe, "Wait."

Joe paused in his tracks. "We're having a little get together today," Sam said. "To tell everyone in our lives about the baby and ... Well there's a ton of food and I guess we need someone to help eat it all..."

Joe turned to look at her. "You want me to stay?"

"Yes, but only if you can keep your opinions to yourself," Sam said.

Joe nodded. "I think I can manage that."

"Good," Sam said. "Because I think I want you to be here."

"Alright," Joe said. Sam held back the door for him and he stepped tentatively inside of the penthouse. All was not forgiven yet, all was not forgotten, but it was a start.

the end.

I am truly sorry that this was soooo long but I just couldn't find a good breaking off point. If you made it this far, kudos to you! lol Sam & Jason were probably too forgiving of Joe but that's how they can be sometimes.