Author's Note: So I know, I was mean and horrible and waited forever to post this, I got caught up in lots of other stories and stuff and I apologize. But this is it. The real real ending for this, I think I was in denial. I just didn't want to let go. Anyway, I just want to give some very special thank yous, some of which might not even be seen. The first and biggest goes to jeytonlover, who without question was the single most supportive reader and reviewer I could have asked for. Really, I just want to thank everyone who indulged this almost three year long (Jesus!) ride I put myself, you and, most importantly, these characters on. It's kind of hard to believe that it all started with me being bored in the car on a Youth Group road trip and writing Prom Problems in my journal. Anyway, thanks for everything you guys, and thanks for all of the love and support, I hope you enjoy their ending!
Disclaimer: Over the past three years I have gained the ownership of the following characters: Heather Banket Banks, Katherine Anne Portman Banks, Julian Adam Banks, Andrew Powell, Alexandra Vanderbilt, Daniel Francis Portman, Theresa Elizabeth Portman, Deena Heather Banks Wells, Ryan Wells, Dominic Mariano, Lillian Powell, Taylor Donavon, Reid Dean Portman, Fulton Dean Portman, Marie Jane Portman, Dean Reed, and in the end, Danielle Mary Portman, Alexander Julian Portman and Charlotte Luisa Banks. It's quite a group. I'm pretty proud of them.
Chapter 8: Loving Family
Lilly lay on the couch watching TV. She flipped through the channels and settled finally on E. She decided to test if she could watch it without crying now.
"It's confirmed!" The host said excitedly. "Starlet Kitty Portman's expecting. She and husband Julian Banks have announced that she's pregnant with the pair's first child. Of course this comes after Portman explained that lately being spotted baby shopping wasn't for her, but for best friend Lexi Vanderbilt and brother Danny Portman."
"Good for the Portmans," She mumbled and shut it off. Did everything good have to come for them? The door bell rang. She grumbled and walked over to open it. "Taylor?" She said, he smiled sheepishly at her, "What are you doing here?"
"I miss you," He said, "I needed to see you."
"You shouldn't be here," She sighed, "If Andy finds out,"
"I want you to come to New York with me," He said. She looked at him, "Dom moved to Chicago, I have the studio to myself, move in with me."
"Um, what?" She said, "Taylor, you're a bartender,"
"I'm a songwriter," He corrected her.
"No," She said, "You're a bartender with a guitar. We've gone over this. I'm in college, here, in Minneapolis!"
"You're a dance major," He said.
"So?" She crossed her arms.
"That's not a real major!" He shouted, "What was your last final in jazz hands?"
"Ah," She huffed with nothing else to say. She walked over and kissed him.
"What are you doing?" He asked.
"Just shut up," She said, pulling him over to the couch and pushing him down. They kissed again.
"Lilly, I love you," He said.
"I told you," She kissed him, "Shut up!"
Lexi sat on the couch in her apartment, lounging after work. She was tired and she'd now begun to gain weight, which made her cranky because none of her clothes fit. There was a knock at the door and she stood up and opened it.
"Dad?" She said, "What are you doing here?"
"I can't come visit my daughter?" He smiled and kissed her on the cheek.
"Not when you're not talking to her," Lexi sighed, "No."
"I'm sorry about all that," He sighed, "But you know your mother Lexi."
"If you're here to talk me into getting married," She said and plopped on the couch, "Forget it."
"No," He said and sat down with her. "You've made up your mind, I know better than to fight you on it." She smiled. "I just miss you, that's all."
"I miss you too," She said, "Dad, I want you to be involved in the babies's lives, I really do."
"Babies?" He asked. She nodded.
"I'm having twins," She said, "I left you guys a message."
"Twins," He said, "Really?"
"Yeah," She whispered, "That was my first reaction too."
"And Kitty's pregnant too now," He said, "Or so I hear."
"From where?" Lexi laughed.
"Julie called me to yell at me," He smiled. "She's good for that."
"Yeah she is," Lexi nodded. She hugged him, "I'm glad you came."
"I love being home," Deena smiled.
"I love having you home," Heather nodded, and squeezed her. "Are things better?"
"Mom," She sighed, "Things were never bad, just tight. You were never there, I mean, you and Dad got married when you were thirty and both pretty rich, you didn't do the young poverty stricken married couple thing, the problem was never Ryan and me."
"I don't like seeing you unhappy," Heather sighed.
"I'm happy Mom," She said, "I'm really happy. And I'm going to be an Aunt."
"I'm going to be a grandma," Heather raised her eyebrows.
"At least it's not three times over," Deena laughed.
"Well," Heather sighed, "Julie always did have to do things three times bigger than I did." Deena laughed.
"So," Dominic said, Theresa looked at him, they were sitting on the couch in his new place in Chicago, "When are you moving in here?" She laughed.
"I'm not," She said, "I'm a good Catholic girl, no cohabitation." He kissed her.
"Danny lives with his girlfriend," He smiled.
"Danny's fallen," She nodded, "We pray for him every night." He kissed her again. "Dom," She whispered. He kept kissing her. "We're going to be late."
"She can wait," He kissed her.
"Mm," She smiled, "No," She stood up, "She can't, she's only here one day. I will make you into a family guy if it kills you." He groaned as they walked outside, and then across the street to the bar. "Hi Connie," She smiled.
"Hey Mom," Dominic said through gritted teeth, "I'm so glad you're here."
"You almost convinced me," Connie nodded and hugged him. "Hi Re." She hugged her too. "Are you taking care of him?"
"I'm trying," Theresa laughed. "How are you? Where are you in from?"
"I just got back from Chile," She smiled, "And I'm heading to Africa next week."
"Mm," Dominic nodded. "How fun for you. You working?"
"Dominic," Connie sighed.
"That's a no," He mumbled.
"I'm taking time off," She explained. "You understand that." He nodded.
"Yes, I remember time off," He said, "Lots of time off actually." Theresa looked down uncomfortably, she hadn't been anticipating this.
"I think a subject change is in order," Connie said. "Theresa, I heard your sister's pregnant. You must be excited."
"Mm," Theresa rolled her eyes, "Thrilled." Dominic looked at her. The sarcasm was clear. "Babies tend to get on my nerves and we've got three new ones coming into the family."
"You don't like babies?" Dom looked at her. He'd just assumed that Theresa wanted a family someday.
"No," She scoffed. "God, everything goes to chaos with a new baby."
"I think someone's got a little bit of middle child syndrome," Connie laughed. Theresa blushed and looked down.
"That's part of it," She nodded. "The smell is the other part."
"I love summer," Marie smiled stretching by the pool.
"Mm, me too," Deanie crawled over and on top of her.
"Hey!" Reid shouted from the water, "You two promised." Marie gave him the finger and kept kissing Deanie. "Nice baby."
"Not the baby anymore." She called, "We've got three new babies coming in."
"Fuckin eh we do!" Fulton smirked. "Kitty's having a girl."
"Word," Reid nodded, "My goddaughter is going to be awesome."
"Who said that she was your Goddaughter?" Fulton said tackling him under.
"They're a couple of savages." Deanie sighed, Marie giggled as he kissed her neck. "Mm, I'm not moving from this spot all summer."
"You better not," She looked at him seriously.
Nine Months Later
"See that," Danny said holding his now three month old daughter Danielle up to a glass window, "That's your cousin Charlotte."
"Danny," Lexi laughed cradling Alex, their boy in her arms, "She doesn't understand."
"Shut up," He said, "Don't insult my daughter's intelligence like that. She knows her family."
"Our family," Lexi smiled softly as Alex wrapped his hand around her left ring finger, now quietly adorned with an engagement ring.
"Our family," He laughed, "Three babies?"
"Three babies," Lexi sighed. Theresa walked over.
"Where is my godson?" She asked. Lexi smiled as she took the baby and walked over, "Wow, that's a Portman baby." Danny laughed.
"Yeah, already got the hair and everything," Lexi laughed, "Not like these two," She said, kissing Danielle's head.
"Yeah, you red heads have fun," Theresa said, "I'm gonna go visit the new mommy." She handed Alex back to his mother. "See you two around."
"She seems better," Lexi said, Danny nodded, "She's back in school?"
"Back in school, out of Dom's," He smiled. "My little bitch is back." Lexi laughed. "I'm just glad she found the balance."
"This whole Aunt thing," Marie giggled slipping over, "It's catching on, I'm liking it."
"Yeah, I'll bet you are," Danny laughed, "You're not the baby anymore." She smiled, "Take her, I need the bathroom." She rolled her eyes.
"Danielle Mary," Marie sighed holding the baby up, "What are we going to do about your Daddy huh?" She sat down next to Lexi. "So, what's the deal? You're engaged now right?"
"Yeah," Lexi smiled, "We think we might wait until Alex and Dani can walk down the aisle with us." Marie laughed. "We're just seeing where it goes, these two take up most of our time lately." Marie nodded. "What about you?"
"What about me?" Marie shrugged, hovering her finger above Danielle who reached up and grabbed it.
"I don't know," Lexi nudged her, "You and a certain Bash 2.0? How's Deanie?"
"He's fine," She said, "I miss him, but I always miss him, so whatever."
"It gets easier," Lexi smiled.
"I think we Portman girls are doomed to long distance relationships," Marie said. She'd warmed substantially to the prospect of her new almost sister, even if Lexi had taken her Danny away. But it helped that she had her adorable new niece and nephew to distract her.
"So we're really all family now huh?" Julie said looking around at what was left of their friends, all in New York to see the babies.
"No I think Charlie and Luis are still pretenders," Dean smirked.
"Hey, the baby is named after us!" Luis reminded them.
"That we're grandparents is weird right?" Heather said. Adam nodded.
"Speak for yourselves, I'm not a grandparent," Connie said. "Hopefully, I won't be for a while."
"Your mouth to God's ears," Dean mumbled. Connie looked at him, "It's not that I don't like Dominic." He recited automatically.
"Uh huh," Connie rolled her eyes.
"How'd all of it start anyway?" Adam laughed playfully kicking Julie.
"You two went to college together," Charlie pointed at them.
"No," Heather said, "Scooter couldn't come home for the prom!"
"It goes back further," Julie whispered. Dean looked at her, "You tried to kiss me in the locker room." He laughed.
"Let's not kid ourselves," Luis said, "It didn't start there. This is about them," He nodded to where their children, the massive twisted family had gathered. Everyone else laughed.
"Julian," Kitty whispered tiredly.
"Yeah baby," He said softly, kneeling by her bedside and stroking her curls.
"I want to hold her," She said.
"You will honey," He kissed her. "I love you."
"I know how you feel," She pressed her forehead to his.
14 Years Later
"No! Alex please don't!" Danielle Portman shouted from the water as her twin brother Alexander stood up on a pile of rocks in a cove near their grandparents Cape Cod house.
"What are you afraid of Dani?" He teased, "I climbed up fine, I'm just going to jump down."
"Please, just climb down," Charlotte Banks, their cousin agreed with Dani from the water, "I jumped and it hurt like hell." The trio was now fourteen and happily enjoying their last summer of childhood before being unceremoniously shipped to Minnesota to attend the Eden Hall Academy. The New York lifetime cousins had fought their parents tooth and nail on the decision, but it was as it was. They were third generation, pure bred Eden Hall kids and there was no getting away from it. Lotte was the most conspicuous of the three, being that her mother Kitty and her father Julian were both major celebrities. Julian had been one of the top players in the NHL and Kitty was one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Lotte had inherited her mother's crop of dark out of control curls, and her father's soft Waspish facial features and a pair of bright ice blue eyes from her paternal grandmother, the combined result was an interesting and unique kind of beauty. Dani was equally beautiful, though more traditionally so. Her red hair fell in soft loose curls around her shoulders and she'd gotten what the family affectionately called the Gaffney eyes. They were a soft grey color and according to their Uncle Dominic were more open and soulful than any other color. A director had also apparently said the same thing to Kitty. Alex, who played big brother to both, despite being actually ten minutes younger than Dani and not a brother at all to Lotte, was tall for his age, with similar red hair to his sister, although it was kept cut short to avoid anything out of control. He was broad shouldered and dark skinned, like his grandfather and uncles, not slender like his father. In fact save his red head and quick violent temper Alexander had very little in common Daniel. Dani had developed both her mother's cautiousness and her father's gentle spirit, and so she was a meek and motherly little creature. She preferred quiet to the rambunctiousness of her brother and cousin. She tagged along after them happily but often found herself disapproving of the wild pair's choices. Lotte was as stubborn as could possibly be and never changed her mind much about anything. She did have her father's reasoning abilities and used them but she stuck to a decision, no matter what.
"And Mom said not to!" Dani called up to him.
"I'm not the one who ran and tattled to Mom that Lotte did it!" Alex stuck out his tongue.
"He has a point," Lotte shrugged. Dani sighed. "Be careful though Alex, please!" She called up. He laughed recklessly and jumped, Danny covered her eyes and Lotte squealed frighteningly until he landed with a crash in the water and then resurfaced laughing his head off. "Alex, you really should have thought it through," She sighed.
"Sometimes I think you're all Banks Lotte!" He shook his head, "And that this one's all Vanderbilt." He splashed Dani, who stuck out her tongue. "I'm the last Portman."
"Don't be stupid," Lotte shook her head, "We don't know what Camilla and Terry will end up like, but being raised but Uncle Reid, they'll probably be savages." She dunked her head under the water and did a flip. "Besides, I'm proud that my Gaffney and Banks genes have overcome all that dominant Portman breeding."
"You've been reading too much if you're talking like that," Alex said disgusted with his cousin's tone.
"Try cracking a book Alexander," Dani said, "It wouldn't kill you."
"We have four years to hole up and read while we're stuck at Nowhere Hall," Alex said, "I thought we agreed that we were going to run and swim and bike, and not wear shoes this summer." The girls giggled, they'd made the childish pledge before leaving New York two weeks before. "I thought I had a few more months before you two got boring and girly." Largely through Alex's influence Lotte and Dani had both avoided the typical crash into obsessions with boys and makeup and other frivolities of middle school life. He knew once they left the safe cocoon of Manhattan he had little control over what happened.
"Race you to the shore," Dani shouted and began swimming. The other two laughed, they were the children of athletes, and although they didn't participate in organized sports they did run, swim and move whenever possible. They raced, Dani already multiple graceful strokes in the lead was a clear winner followed by Lotte, Alex brought up the rear. They climbed out of the water and lay out on the sand to let the sun dry them. "Will everything change in September?" Dani whispered sadly.
"Not everything," Lotte shook her head, "We'll always be best cousins no matter what." The term had been coined by the trio, they were best friends, but so much more because they were family. That was the end of it, they were family.
No Really That's IT! Thanks again so much, it means so much to me. If you review, not that I deserve it for making you all wait so long, that would be great too.