Thanks to everyone for being so patient with me. Happy reading.
Nana sat in the window of the airy sitting room as she knitted, keeping an eye on the rowdy boys playing in the front yard. It was unusual to see them playing together without the usual bickering. She should be concerned but she knew they were worried about the new arrival and and so had banded together to wait for their father to return home.
Noticing they had become still as statues she shifted her gaze to see a car coming down the circular driveway. Her lips thinned as she recognized the owner and driver of the vehicle. Noticing the way the car seemed to be weaving she glanced sharply at the boys, glad to see that they had the sense to back out of the way.
Unsteady on her three inch heels Kimberly Page climbed out of her little sports car and ran a hand through her disheveled hair.
"Hi Miss Kimberly." Brent called out dutifully while both John and Randy stared at her suspiciously.
She waved her fingers at them as she made her way up the steps. Pounding hard on the door she demanded that someone let her in. Nana chose to ignore her, calling through the screen for the boys to play around back.
"You there." Kimberly called as she leaned precariously over the porch railing. She peered in the window at the older woman. "Let me in. I have to get my baby."
"You smell like a brewery." Nana admonished, swishing the drapes closed.
"I need my baby." The slurred words were occupied with more heavy pounding on the door.
"What you need is a swift kick in the ass." Nana muttered as she walked towards the kitchen.
Laura met her in the hall, a concerned look on her face. "What's going on?"
"That babies mama is here, drunk as a skunk and wanting to take her home." She explained, her tone sharp. "Like we didn't have enough to worry about today." She added as she continued towards the kitchen. Laura sighed as she walked to the front door.
"That bitch that you hired wouldn't let me in." Kimberly snapped angrily as soon as she saw Laura.
"That bitch is a member of this family and she had a good reason for not letting you in." She said while taking in her friend's appearance.
Kimberly waved off the words as she pushed her way inside. "I need to get Lexie. Dallas will be home soon."
"Honey I can't let you take her." Laura said softly.
The taller women aimed a hard look over her shoulders. "You can't stop me. I'm her mother." Laura thinned her lips as she followed her into the kitchen.
Nana looked up as they entered. "Make sure you don't scuff up my floors with those ice picks you're wearing." She snapped folding her arms.
"I'll fucking do whatever I want to do." came the sneering reply.
A gasp from the back porch caught laura's attention and she hurried forward as she spotted the faces pressed against the screen door. "Don't you three have chores to do?" She asked before shutting the door firmly in their faces.
"Where's my daughter?" Kimberly asked almost falling as she turned in a fast circle. Not finding what she wanted she trotted on to the next room.
Ignoring Nana's angry gestures Laura followed with the older woman close behind. Neither heard the door open behind them.
"Here Lexie. Here baby. Come on now. It's time to came home." Kimberly called as she went from room to room.
"She's not a dog. She's a little girl that you're not capable of taking care of right now."
"Of course I can take care of her. She's mine."
"Unfortunately even whores reproduce." The older woman muttered for Laura's ears.
"You're not helping." She snapped back before forcing a smile. "Kimberly honey, why don't I drive you home and you can get cleaned up."
The other women was already shaking her head even as she headed up the stairs. "Dallas expects his little girl to be waiting on him." She muttered sourly. She teetered on the step causing the other two to catch their breath.
"Tell him that Lexie's having a play day and he can come get her." Laura stated reasonably.
"Nope you don't understand. I need her now." She said getting more agitated. She stopped in front of the girl's room.
Nana pushed forward and grabbed the doorknob. "You try to take the baby out of this house and I'm calling the police and charging you with drunk driving, public intoxication, child endangerment and anything else I can think of."
Kimberly stepped forward and pushed the older women away. "Go ahead and call the cops. I'll charge you with kidnapping." She swung the door open.
Laura reached out and grabbed her arm. "You need to calm down or you're going to scare both girls."
Shrugging off the restraining hand she swept into the room. "Where are they?" she asked indicating the empty beds.
Nana frowned as she walked over to check the bathroom. "They were napping before you made enough noise to wake the dead."
Standing in the doorway Laura turned her head slightly as she saw John stick his head around the corner. She nodded when he mouthed randy and pointed outside. She waited until he had slipped away before stepping forward. "The girls are safe and I'm tired of you disrupting my household." She turned and left the room. Giving an outraged shriek the intoxicated women rushed after her.
Steve walked in the door in time to see Kimberly launched herself at Laura, causing both of them to fall down the stairs. Dropping his bags he rushed forward, reaching his wife as she crawled out from under the other woman. "Don't move." he instructed her as he ran his hands down her body.
"Mom." John rushed forward from where he had been lurking. Nana finished coming down the stairs in time to grab him.
"I'm fine." Laura told him as she pushed her husband's hands away. "I'm fine." She repeated. She reached out to hug her nine year old. "it's takes a lot more than that to hurt your mama." She gestured to the grinning kid standing a little distance away. "Why don't you take him to meet your brothers while your dad and I straighten all this out.
Steve let out his breath as he helped her to sit up. "John this is Logan. Play nice." He warned.
John eyed the tall boy in front of him. "Sure." He answered his father before jerking his shoulder. "This way."
Logan followed him as far as the kitchen. "You don't have to show me around. I can wait in here." He grabbed a cookie off the top of the stove.
John frowned. "We aren't allowed to eat those this close to dinner." He warned. "Come on. I'm not getting in trouble over you."
The seven year old shrugged. Grabbing a handful of cookies he walked outside. "Wow." He said as he caught sight of the acres of white fenced pastures with the two large barns at the front.
John smirked as he waited for the other boy to catch up. "It's no big deal. Mom raises horses." he explained snatching a cookie from the new boy.
Brent materialized as soon as John walked through the door of the larger barn, "What's going on?" He asked showing a rare bit of impatience.
John gestured to the boy standing behind him. "This is Logan."
Brent faked a smile for the other boy. "Hi." Turning back to his brother he demanded. "What's Miss Kimberly doing now?"
"Is that the lady that pushed your mom down the stairs?" Logan asked, a small smile playing on his lips.
John grabbed his brother before he could run past him and into the house. "She's okay." He said while throwing the other boy a mean look. "Dad's home and he's taking care of it."
"So you're John, the oldest right?" Logan asked showing a cockiness far beyond his years. "And you
are?" He looked pointedly at Brent.
"My name is Brent London. I'm 8." He answered warily.
The younger boy frowned thoughtfully. "You don't have the same last name as Steve." He observed.
"None of us do. We're all adopted." John answered impatiently.
"Both of you?" He asked in surprise. "How many more?"
John nodded his head to tell Brent it was okay. In turn the dark haired little boy led them to a stall in the middle of the long row. They looked through the partially open door to see Randy holding a puppy while the two little girls giggled.
"Randy, this is Logan." John introduced them.
The six year old looked up at his older brother with relief in his eyes. "Dad's home?" He asked unnecessarily.
John nodded as Logan moved closer to the little girls. "Hi." He said softly, while smiling charmingly. "I'm Logan. What's your name?" He asked well aware that all three boys were watching him warily.
"Becca." The 4 year old spoke up. "This is Princess Lexi."
"A princess." He said appropriately awed, causing the little girl to grin back at him.
"This is Chipotte." Becca announced, stumbling over the pronunciation of the puppies name. "You can pet him but you have to be really careful cause his mama will get mad."
Logan obligated her by petting the dog gently.
"So where do you live?" John asked abruptly.
He shrugged. "London, Paris, New York City. I've lived a lot of places."
"With your parents?" Brent asked fascinated despite himself.
Logan shrugged, stepping on the puppies tail as he shifted. There was a low growl from the corner of the stall. As one the children drew back as a large dog rose, his lips pulled back in a snarl.
"Dad's going to be mad if he finds out you brought the girls out to play with the puppies. He told you to stay away." John warned his younger brother.
Randy shrugged uneasily as he watched Brent calm the animal down. "We were fine until you brought him out here."
John looked over his shoulder to find Logan hovering anxiously at the edge of the stall, his eyes opened wide in fright. "Take them somewhere else to play." He warned his brother before approaching the other boy. "It's just a dog. Didn't you have one?"
Logan backed the rest of the way out of the stall as he shook his head. "I wasn't allowed to have pets."
"Man your life sucked." John said leading the other boy out to an empty pasture.
Logan didn't reply, instead turning to Brent as he rushed up to join them. "Do they understand you? When you talk to the animals?" He clarified at the other boy's blank look.
Brent shrugged. "I dunno. They just seem to listen. So where are your parents now?" he asked instead.
"I dunno." Logan answered truthfully. Seeing the looks on their faces he quickly explained. "Their plane went down over the amazon. They were treasure hunting." He boosted.
"How long ago?" John asked suspiciously.
"What does it matter to you?" Logan shot back.
John shrugged, undisturbed by the other boy's anger. "I want to make sure you go back to where ever you came from."
"I didn't come from anywhere and have no where to go." He shrugged as he walked around the barn.
Do you always talk like that?" John sneered as he followed slowly. "All rich and snobby?"
"Maybe I am rich." Logan threw over his shoulder. "Are those yours?" He asked pointing to a couple of dirt bikes propped up against the barn.
"This one's mine." the older boy stepped between him and the bike. "That one's Brent's."
Logan raised his eyebrows. "Bet I can beat you in a race." He challenged.
Brent grabbed his brother's arm. "You aren't allowed to ride it. Remember you got in trouble last week and dad took it away."
Logan laughed when John hesitated. "Of course if you're worried about getting in more trouble."
John jerked his arm out of his brother's grasp. "Let's race."
"Dallas will be here in a couple minutes." Steve said as he joined his wife in the doorway of the kitchen. He frowned in the direction of the table where Kimberly sat sobbing.
"How does something like this happen?" Laura asked sadly.
"Dallas has been worried about her." he admitted as he wrapped his arms around her. "She's used to traveling with him, being in the moonlight. Ever since she's had the baby she's not been able to do that."
"So she's jealous of him and resentful of her." Laura shook her head. "What do they do now?"
"That's up to them." Steve answered as there was a knock on the door. Kissing the top of her head he went to answer it.
"Steve" Dallas Page said grimly as he walked in. "Where is she?"
"In the kitchen." He answered gesturing.
Dallas stopped in the doorway as he caught sight of his wife. "Should have known this was going to happen sooner or later." He grumbled. He looked back at his friends. "I don't want Lexie to see this. Can she stay here for a while?"
Laura smiled softly at him. "Of course." She assured him. "She's out in the barn with the boys if you want to see her."
He smiled his thanks as he took one last look at his wife. Shaking his head he eased past her and out the back door, the other two following.
They were halfway to the barn when Steve spotted the boys around the dirt bikes. "John you better not be getting on that bike." He called.
Logan took the opportunity to race over to the adults. "John challenged me to a race. He said it was okay to ride them. I didn't want to get in trouble but he called me a chicken."
"That's not true." John yelled as he ran up.
"I don't care how it happen. Nobody's getting on those bikes." Steve decided as they continued into the barn. He sent his son a look when he continued to argue. "Don't make me get rid of them altogether."
Logan took the opportunity to cling to laura. "I don't want to go back in there." He whined indicating the long row of stalls where Randy was leading the girls out.
"Why not sweety." She asked rubbing his back.
"Randy was playing with the dogs and he made the big one come after me. He almost bit me." He said showing her his arm.
Page raised his eyebrows at Steve as he bent down to pick up his daughter. "Something tells me they're not getting along."
Steve sighed as he grabbed the back of Randy's shirt before he could attack the other boy. "Why don't the four of you go get cleaned up for dinner." he suggested.
"What about him?" John asked suspiciously. He was glaring daggers at the new boy.
"Go now." his father gave him a little push. Walking to the side of the of the walkway he grabbed the football that was laying there. "Logan why don't you come catch some throws with me."
Later that night.
"Dad, can I talk to you?" John asked softly as he stood in the doorway of his parents room.
Steve exchanged a look with his wife as he put down his book. "Sure." He answered.
"Are you going to keep Logan?" the boy started.
"I know that you don't like him." Steve started to answer.
"He's lying to you. I went through his stuff when you were out playing with him and his real name is Logan Holloway. I goggled him on the computer. His parents are some rich ad people. They live in Italy right now." John finished in a rush.
"John how could you?" Laura admonished sitting up and staring at her son. "It's not right to go through someone else's stuff."
"But I had to find out the truth about him." He argued.
Before anyone could respond the door burst open the rest of the way. "How could you tell them." Logan yelled at John. "I thought you were going to be my friend. Instead you're just like everyone else.
"I never wanted to be your friend." John sneered. "Especially not with someone who is trying to take away my father."
"At least you have a father." The younger boy cried before running from the room. John sent his parents a confused look.
"Logan's father is really his stepfather. Mr. Holloway got rid of him when the man's own son was born. For the last four years he's been raised by various housekeepers and butlers." Steve informed him.
"You already knew?" John realized.
Steve nodded. "A Ms. Dumfries will be here to pick him up tomorrow."
You know John, Logan's not allowed to go to school. He's trapped in the house with tutors. He has no friends."
He had the grace to look ashamed.
"Get another unit of blood started. Make sure you send several units to the OR." The surgeon called as he examined the wound in the patient's side. He looked over at the ER doc. "Have you notified family yet?"
The taller man shook his head. "He appears to be a victim of a mugging. No identification, no watch or wallet. The cops are looking into it but for right now he's John Doe."
"He belongs to someone. The homeless don't where shoes that nice." The nurse observed.
"Well if I can't fix his lung all his family is going to claim is a corpse." The first doctor observed as he indicated the surgical techs to take the pt to the OR. "Let me know if they find out who he is."