A New Beginning

Helen sat quietly in the den placing pictures on the pages of a photo album. After so many years of stumbling in the dark and searching for some normalcy her family had found it. Their lives were back to normal. Everything was good again and it all felt right. Kevin, her eldest son, was graduating college; something that they never thought that he would ever attempt. Joan, her second child and only daughter, was finishing her Junior year at Penn State where she was studying to be an architect/ interior decorator. And her baby, Luke, was finishing his sophomore year at MIT where he was studying to become a Neurologist. Her husband Will had given up his job as a cop three years ago and opened a restaurant in downtown Arcadia. The pieces to their family puzzle were finally fitting together and everything felt good. They were definitely in a time of Consolation again. She placed the final picture on the page and closed the book. She wrapped it and placed it on a table along with a stack of other gifts. "Honey I'm home!" Will shouted happily as he walked through the living room and into the den. "Oh good, did you set the plans for the big party tomorrow?" She asked as she stood up and wrapped her arms around his waist. "Of course I did sweetheart, it's all set" he answered gently kissing her.

Kevin sat in his apartment watching a baseball game on ESPN while he slowly buttoned his blue collared shirt. "Ready?" a beautiful brown haired woman with glowing blue eyes asked as she walked gracefully into the living room dressed in a beautiful black dress. "Of course" he answered smiling up at her. Kevin was amazed at how beautiful she looked. Even after two years together he was still amazed that she had chosen him. Her name was Alexis Browning; they had met one day outside of the coffee house on campus. She had literally bumped into him and something clicked right then and there. Alexis was the perfect girl for Kevin, she never showed him pity, and she was a strong and willful person. However she also could make him laugh, she was intelligent and down right beautiful. She handed him his coat after she had put hers on. "I'll drive" he said grabbing his keys quickly. "You got it" she smiled following him out the door and locking it behind them. They drove to their favorite place in town, besides Will's place, it was a small Italian restaurant. Together they sat in one of the small booths holding hands and smiling at each other. "So tomorrow is the big day huh?" Alexis smiled taking a sip of her water. "Yeah, I can't believe we are finally graduating. We can finally be real working adults!" Kevin answered excitedly. Alexis could see the excitement in his eyes; she knew that Kevin had dreamed of earning a college degree in Journalism. He was tired of doing a job that he was really not qualified to do. That was what had brought him to the decision of finally going to college. "Your parents are having the party at their house right?" Alexis asked twirling her spaghetti and sticking it in her mouth. "Of course my dad wouldn't dare let anyone else do any cooking" he joked. "Are you coming?" Kevin asked expectantly. "Of course unless you don't' want me too" Alexis answered cautiously. "Who else would I want to come my other girlfriend." He smiled teasingly at her "Ha-ha you're such a comedian" she smiled as she finished up her spaghetti.

"Mom! Dad! I'm home!" Joan shouted dropping her bags at the door. Helen came running at the sound of her daughter's voice. "Joan! Oh, I'm so happy to see you! How are you honey?" she asked pulling Joan into a big hug. Mom, I'm fine, but I can't breathe you're suffocating me." Joan joked to get her mother to let go. "Right, sorry honey. So how did your finals go?" Helen asked as she picked one of Joan's bags up and began walking up the steps followed closely by Joan. "Oh, well they were hard as usual but I think I did okay. I'm not so sure about Physics though." She said quietly. "I'm sure you did fine sweetie." Helen reassured her. Joan walked into her old room and fell onto the bed dramatically. "It is so good to be home!" she smiled hugging one of her stuffed animals that lay on the bed. "It's good to have you home. We miss having all three of you around it gets lonely sometimes and really boring. You were what kept us busy" she joked as she unpacked all of Joan's dirty clothes throwing them into a laundry basket. "Where's dad?' Joan asked sitting up on her bed. "He went back to the restaurant to prepare the food for tomorrow." Helen answered. "So it's the big day tomorrow huh? I can't believe Kev's finally graduating." Joan smiled as she saw her mother's eyes become very watery. 'It's wonderful isn't it?" Helen answered quietly wiping a small tear from her eye. I'm going to go wash these okay" she said walking out of Joan's room quickly with the basket full of clothes. Just as she reached the bottom of the steps the phone rang. "Joan can you get that!" Helen shouted up the steps. "Yeah!" Joan answered. She rolled over on her bed and picked up her purple phone from her night stand. "Hello" Joan said "Joan?" the voice on the other end answered. "Luke, hey how are you" she asked glad to hear her brother's voice. "I'm good, I was calling mom to tell her when my flight gets in, do you have a pen and paper?" he answered quickly "Um, I have pen and my hand" Joan answered smiling. "Okay, my plane gets in at 7 okay, gate 35 A, flight 905" he told her slowly making sure she wouldn't miss any of it. "Okay got it, I'll tell mom okay" Joan answered after scribbling the last numbers on her hand. "Thanks Joan, see ya tonight." Luke answered and hung up the phone. Joan hung up and made her way down the stairs. "Mom that was Luke" Joan said as she made her way into the kitchen. "Oh really, what did he want?" she asked from in the laundry room. "He wanted to tell you that his plane gets in at 7 at gate 35 A, and the plane number is 905." Joan told her as she read off of her palm. "Great thanks honey" Helen answered turning on the washing machine and walking into the kitchen. "Are you hungry or anything" Helen asked as she began to unload the dishwasher. "Yeah do you have any left overs from the restaurant?" Joan asked excitedly. "Um, there may be some lasagna in the fridge" Helen answered. "Ooo my favorite!" Joan said excitedly as she opened the fridge pulling out a plateful of lasagna. Helen turned and smiled and the handed her a fork.

Luke stood in line at the airport waiting to get his bags checked. It didn't take too long, he took his ticked and headed for gate 16 B to board his plane to Baltimore, Maryland. He hadn't been home since Christmas because he was in the middle of important research at MIT. He missed everyone so much including Kevin and Joan. It was weird not seeing his brother and sister for such a long time. After a short 2 hour flight the plane landed and Luke headed off the plane to meet his mom. He walked out of the hallway and into the gate where he saw his mom waving to him. "Hey Mom!" Luke said dropping his bag to give her a hug. "Hi honey" Helen said giving him a big hug. "How are you sweetie? I missed you so much" she asked picking up one of his bags. "Great, how are you and dad?" he asked as the headed for the parking lot "We're great, but we miss you three so much, it gets kind of lonely without you." She answered as they got in the car. During the ride home Luke talked endlessly about his topic for his thesis paper that he was going to be writing about spinal cord injuries. Helen was intrigued by how much Luke knew and how much of it she had never heard from any other doctor.

"We're home!" Helen shouted as she and Luke walked through the front door. "Wow something smells good" she said dropping Luke's bags at the bottom of the steps. "We're in the kitchen" Will shouted out to them. Helen and Luke walked into the dining room together where they were greeted immediately by Joan. "Luke! Hey!" she said putting the plate she was carrying on the table to give him a hug. "Hey!" he answered shocked by her enthusiasm. "Wanna help me set the table?" Joan asked handing him the plates. "Sure just like old times" he answered smiling as he took the plates. Will came in from the kitchen carrying a plate of pork chops and a bowl of rice. "Hey Luke! How are you?" Will asked giving Luke a quick hug as he put the food on the table. "Good" luke answered as everyone sat down at the table. "Good let's eat" Will said rubbing his hands together.

Kevin lay in his bed staring at the ceiling because he couldn't sleep. He had way too much on his mind sleep was the last thing he was worried about. All he could think about was tomorrow. He was excited but nervous at the same time. He couldn't wait to graduate and be in the real world with a real job and everything. He laid there thinking for over an hour before he finally fell asleep. He woke up the next morning around 7:30. He slipped out of bed and headed for the bathroom to take a long relaxing shower. Finally he and Alexis struggled into their long graduation robes with help from each other. Alexis helped Kevin position the hat perfectly on his head with the intention of not making him look too ridiculous. Luckily he had gotten a good hair cut so it actually looked rather good. They drove together to the ceremony to save gas. When they arrived they gave each other a quick good luck kiss and then headed to find their places amongst the rest of the graduates.

The Dean got up and gave his usual graduation speech before he started calling out the names. When the dean got to Alexis all of the Girardis went crazy. Alexis' parents had both been killed in a car accident ten years ago so the Girardis had become like her makeshift family over the past few years. Finally they called Kevin's name and Will and Helen stood and began to take pictures and a video while Kevin smiled proudly at them. Luke and Joan clapped as loudly as they could while pretending they weren't related to their parents. After the ceremony had ended all four of the Girardis met up with Kevin and Alexis behind the stage. Helen walked over and gave Kevin a hug and whispered in his ear "you did it Kevin!" Then she walked over to Alexis and gave her a hug as well. Joan wrapped her arms around Kevin's shoulders and kissed his cheek. "Congratulations Kev.!" She smiled. Will gave him the usual cuff of the neck and said "Awesome job Kevin." Alexis bent over and kissed him right on the lips. "My parents are right there" Kevin whispered in her ear. She giggled. "I don't care" she answered. They took a few more pictures with friends and teachers before they headed back to their house for the party.

When they got home Kevin went upstairs to take a nap while everyone else prepared the food for the party before the guests arrived. About half an hour later the door bell rang and Joan answered it. "Hey!" she said when she found a group of her aunts and uncles standing on the other side. "Come on in. Presents can go on the coffee table in the den" Joan told them as she pointed across the room. After most of the guests had arrived Kevin came downstairs and made his way through the crowded kitchen out to the backyard. He made his way through the crowd receiving pats on the back and words of congratulations. He finally found Joan near the back of the yard sitting on the swing. "Do you even recognize half of these people?" Kevin asked scanning the many faces in the yard. "Um, nope, you?" she answered. "No" he smiled. "Well apparently we're related to most of them" she answered smiling at him. "Well that's good to know" he laughed. "At least there's good food and presents to look forward to" she reassured him. The two of them made their way back through the crowd towards the house. They finally got inside just as the food was being served. "Perfect timing" Kevin smiled rubbing his hands together. Joan shoved him in the shoulder. They both got huge servings of their dad's famous lasagna and some sausage. Kevin got another plate for Alexis and left to go search the crowd for her.

After most of the guests had left they decided to open presents. Alexis and some of Kevin's closest relatives were the only guests who stayed. They all gathered around Kevin and the pile of presents on the table. After about an hour of opening presents he had accumulated about $600 in checks and a couple of savings bonds, a few books and shirts. They reached the bottom of the pile where the gifts from Luke, Joan, Helen and Will laid. He picked Luke's up first. He opened it to find a daily planner and an Workers Survival guide book. 'Thanks Luke" he said trying to sound appreciative. Will's gift was next; it was a plane envelope but inside was season tickets to The Baltimore Orioles. "Wow Dad these are awesome! Thanks" Kevin said excitedly. 'No problem Kev." Will answered smiling at him. The next present he picked up was from Helen and Joan. Kevin pulled off the silver paper to find a photo album with his name inscribed on the front. He opened the book and found the very first picture ever taken of him. The pictures continued chronologically with pictures of him on his first day of preschool, and holding Luke as a baby. His eyes began to water as he looked at pictures of himself playing football and baseball. He got to the end and wiped a small tear from the corner of his eye. "Thanks guys, this is cool" he said trying to hold back the last of his tears. "you're welcome honey" Helen answered. "Well that's the last one" Kevin said as he began to pick up pieces of wrapping paper off the table. "Not quite" Alexis interrupted standing up. "You didn't have to get me anything" he told her. Alexis stood in front of him gazing into his baby-blue eyes. "I know the girl doesn't usually do this but…." She started. "Kevin you were the first guy who ever let me be myself, you can make me laugh and most of all you showed me what it's like to love again" Alexis told him as her eyes began to water. "Kevin, I want to spend my life with you I want to laugh with you and cry with you. Kevin Girardi will you marry me?" she asked excitedly. "Oh my god yes!" he answered with his eyes wide. She jumped up off her knees in excitement. He pulled her into a hug on his lap and kissed her. Helen was now in tears with Will hugging her. "That is so cute!" Joan said as one small tear dripped down her cheek.

Kevin and Alexis were married on August 28 2009 in the small church in town by Father Mallory. Their wedding was small but elegant. They were together at last but they couldn't wait to spend the rest of their lives together with a loving family.

Well that's just the beginning! Please RR! This is my first fan fiction! I already have most of the story written so I'll update soon! Thanks