AN: I hope you have all enjoyed the story. Sorry it's taken me nearly four years to write it...such is the legacy of writer's block and procrastination. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with it so patiently and to those who kept encouraging me to finish it. And so, finally, here is the wrap up to Poseidon!
Chapter Twenty Four: New Beginnings (Epilogue)
Being back in suite 2330 without Carey being there was very hard for the twins. The suite seemed so vacant and alien to them without her there. Moseby had offered to let them move to a different suite and for a moment they had considered it. In the end, however, they decided to stay. The suite was a place they had lived with their mother for three years. It held a lot of happy memories and so, while it was strange at first to be there without her, remaining somehow helped to keep those happy memories alive.
Over the next few days the boys discussed their idea to stay at the hotel and live under the guidance of Mr. Moseby. At first Kurt was surprised that the twins didn't want to come with him but he understood it in the end. The life he led on the road was simply not conducive to raising two teenagers. He signed a form that gave Mr. Moseby rights as a guardian without giving up his own rights as their father. It was complicated but the two men were able to work it out.
Kurt lived at the suite with the twins for about a month. He wanted to make sure his boys were really okay before he went back on the road. During this time Cody had met with the Brownstiens as he'd planned and the sorrow that they now endured would forever be etched in the young man's mind. He had expressed how much he had loved Barbara and how much her loss had affected him. They had thanked him for being such a good friend to their daughter and told him they were glad he and the others had made it out. Bob had also met with Mark's family and told them all about their son's bravery as he fought along with him and London to survive. Mark's parents had hugged Bob and cried, thanking him for trying to get their son out and making him promise not to carry around any guilt at not succeeding. As London had done, Mark's parents told Bob that they knew their son would not wish for him to feel that way. Bob had left feeling much better about the situation yet still feeling deep sadness over the loss of his friend.
After a few weeks of being home the twins, along with Bob, London, Max, and Russell, returned to Cheevers High. All the students welcomed them back with respectful attitudes. They were happy that they had made it home safe while at the same time expressed their condolences over those that had not. Settling back into 'normal' life at Cheevers was not easy. They all had to deal with some minor post traumatic stress issues. Loud bangs and sudden noises would cause them to jump more than they normally would. Some of them couldn't go into small confined rooms or poorly ventilated ones. As the weeks went by, however, these symptoms gradually subsided.
One day about two months after coming home the twins were sitting in class. Cody, usually the super attentive twin, was daydreaming. His thoughts drifted, as they often did these days, to the good times he had had with his mother and also with Barbara. Zack, who had astonishingly decided to start paying more attention in school, was awake and actually taking notes at his seat directly behind his brother. The day seemed to be going normally until there was a knock at the classroom door. Upon hearing it, Cody was snapped back to reality and his eyes followed the teacher over to it where it was opened. The teacher stepped out of the room briefly to speak with whoever had knocked and eventually came back in followed by a girl none of them had ever seen before. Cody looked at the girl and was instantly attracted to her as if some sudden spontaneous connection had been made just by the sight of her. He tried to suppress it, feeling as if his sudden thoughts were somehow betraying Barbara, but he couldn't.
"Class I want you to welcome Bailey Pickett. She has come all the way to Boston from Kansas" the teacher said.
The class issued their greetings and Bailey gave a small wave back at them. Her eyes seemed to settle on Cody before the teacher directed her to a vacant seat off to his left in the front row. He tried not to make it obvious that he was watching her every move, but again, he failed miserably. As Bailey sat down she gave him a small smile and he shyly looked away. It wasn't very long though, less than a minute, before he turned his head to glance at her again.
Stop it Cody! What would Barbara think! he mentally chastised himself as he looked away back towards the front of the room.
It was really starting to bother him and Zack must have picked up on his brother's distress as he leaned forward suddenly.
"You okay?" he whispered.
Cody nodded, hoping that the sweat caused by his mental battle wasn't showing.
Later on after class he attempted to talk about his feelings with Zack. At first his new and improved school motivated brother seemed more intent on getting to his next class than stopping to hear what Cody had to say. Normally nothing would have made Cody more proud of Zack than this, but he really needed to talk to him about his instant attraction towards Bailey. So Cody invoked the one word phrase, Gemini, that they had established on the Poseidon before the accident and Zack instantly dropped everything and gave his twin his full attention. After Cody had explained how Bailey's arrival had taken his breath away and how he felt guilty for thinking that way because of Barbara, Zack started giving him advice.
"Codes, eventually you are going to have to move on with your life and go out with other girls. So you think this Bailey girl is cute…it doesn't mean you have to move right to dating her. Just be her friend for now. Besides, what do you think is the one thing Barbara would want for you?" Zack asked.
"She'd want me to be happy" Cody replied.
"Exactly…and again, there's no rush…just make friends with her and see where it goes" Zack replied.
Cody smiled at his brother. He really did seem to always know just what to say. He turned and noticed Bailey at her new locker. Zack gave his brother and gentle push and Cody found himself moving towards her. When he arrived he prayed that he could remember how to speak.
"Hi, I'm Cody…Cody Martin" He said holding out his hand.
"Bailey Pickett, nice to meet you Cody" Bailey said shaking his hand.
On the other side of the room Zack watched the exchange with a smile on his face.
… . . . … . . . … . . . …
As time went on the twins were eventually called back a few times to testify about what had happened in the South China Sea. At those times they got to see Dillon and the other survivors again and catch up with them. The twins even made it out to see their Grandma who was thrilled to hear about their personal encounter with God on board the sinking ship. They started going to her church whenever they got a chance to visit and each of them eventually encountered God once again when they were filled with God's spirit. It happened at their baptism. The pastor baptized them in Jesus name and when they came out of the water they spoke in a heavenly language as God's spirit gave them the words to say. Not since that time in the bowels of the Poseidon when Jesus had appeared to them had they felt such a sense of peace, love, and joy. This time it was accompanied by a feeling of total acceptance and belonging. God was what they needed to help them move on from the hurt and loss they felt in their lives in Carey's absence. And help them He did. They still missed her every day, but God's spirit living inside of them helped give them the peace they needed to get through it. Whenever they had nightmares about the disaster God would be there yet again to calm their fears. And, obviously, they still had each other.
They would never forget what happened to them that night, but now at least they could live with the aftermath. And life seemed to get sweeter and sweeter everyday thereafter.