Two years later
Frank nervously stood in front of the alter. His best man, Joe, was at his side.
"Easy now," his brother whispered.
Frank smiled. The revelation of Joe's adoption had not affected the brotherly bond. In fact, it seemed to have strengthened.
The Shaw family was more than receptive to the addition of Frank joining them. They were willing to do anything in order to make sure that they were able to keep Joe well within reach, and if that meant seeing Frank and Callie married, they'd see it done.
Joe and his newly found parents had been spending every weekend together. Caroline already knew Joe's favorite foods, and Howard knew his hobbies. They'd let Joe decorate the spare room, even buying him his very own brand new 50" HD TV complete with a new FiOS agreement.
Callie and Joe's relationship remained much the same. In all the years they had known each other it was as if they'd had a sibling relationship all along. The teasing and bantering back and forth continued. The news of actually being siblings seemed to have affected them the least of all the family. The only difference was Joe's somewhat newly acquired protectiveness of his sister.
"Break her heart and I'll break you," Joe had told him last night at the rehearsal dinner.
The memory of last night's practice brought Frank back to the present. The procession of bridesmaids seemed to be lasting forever compared to the night before. Frank glanced at his watch.
"And they say I'M the inpatient one," he heard Joe mutter.
What could possibly be taking this long?
Frank thought back to the month after the adoption bomb, willing himself to think of anything to help the time pass quicker until he could see HIS bride.
That first month had been full of questions. What had happened? How had Joe ended up in California instead of Texas? And what role had the babysitter played? In addition, the police wanted a DNA test to prove beyond a shadow that Joe actually WAS Michael. The test confirmed what they already knew.
I took several weeks to track down one of the few living members of the gang that Fenton had helped imprison for Laura's kidnapping. Joe would never tell Frank what he'd said to make the man finally talk, but once the man finally opened his mouth, he sang like a canary. The boys used this information and were able to verify the facts.
The babysitter was a young teenage runaway. She had gotten involved in some shady deals with the help of her older boyfriend. They'd agreed to hold Michael for ransom, but when the time came for her to carry through, she'd backed down. Not willing to abandon his plan, her boyfriend had kidnapped both the girl and baby. However, he was in over his head and his boss had killed him and transported the two hostages to another base of operations in California until he decided what to do with them. It had been a mistake that Laura had ever been placed in the same cell as Joe. One week more and he would have been illegally adopted on the black market to who knows who. No one ever knew the real name of the babysitter.
The gangster thought he remembered the baby calling her Cal.
But Joe hadn't been calling the babysitter Cal, Caroline Shaw told them. He was asking for Callie. He always called her Cal.
Frank smiled again. Callie, his beautiful Callie. Every thought led him back to the present. There was no escaping it, and the wait was torture.
Finally, he caught sight of his love. Escorted by her father and his, she made her way down the aisle. Callie had insisted both men, a joining of two already intertwined families she called it.
"Hi," Frank managed to say as her hands graced his.
"Hi yourself," she smiled.
The moment was perfect. Their family stood watching a love united that could be torn apart by nobody, absolutely NOBODY.