Charlie called a couple of weeks later to let them know that Doreen and Johnny were charged with kidnapping and arson, along with fraud, and would probably be put away for a very long time. That made them all very happy.
Paul called Jim to fill him in on what happened, and he made the trip down the next weekend to see them all. Tyler finally sat down with his dad and had a nice long talk, even showing him that he was now wearing the chain and wolf charm that he had given him. By the time Jim left, he finally felt like there might be a chance for him to get to know both of his sons.
Paul and Chuck drew up plans for the house and as soon as the check from the insurance company arrived, they bought what they needed and got to work. Chuck was good enough to clear the calendar and make time to work on the house so they could get it done quickly. Living with Sam and Emily was OK, but it was kind of a tight space for four adults and three boys.
They slipped into a routine again with Paul working on the house and the boys back to school. Leah and Emily divided up the chores and kept things going at home. Leah even took the time to contact Carlisle at the hospital and he helped her get the supplies she needed to set up her little clinic in the back room at Sam and Emily's. She wanted to be ready for any emergency that might come up, and now she felt confident that she could.
Leah also talked to Carlisle about how she might be able to finish her degree. He told her he would be more than happy to help, and he would contact the school immediately to see what could be done. When she left the hospital that day, she shook her head and again was amazed that he was a bloodsucker. He just didn't fit the profile.
Tyler's birthday came up the first week in February, and Emily insisted on throwing him a huge party. "You only become a teenager once, you know," she said to Paul and he found he couldn't argue with that. So Emily and Leah went crazy and made too much food, invited everybody they knew, and even shy Tyler had a great time. Especially since Cristy was invited.
Tyler and Paul were standing in the kitchen when she walked in with Collin and Brady. She was dressed in a cute little plaid skirt with leggings and boots and a white blouse with a short sweater over it. Paul nudged him and whispered, "Hey, you're 13 now. Go for it." Tyler looked over and grinned and Paul laughed.
Jim came over from Seattle for the party and was very happy to finally celebrate a birthday with one of his boys. For a gift, he gave Tyler a really nice digital watch. Tyler seemed pleased with it and put it on as soon as he opened it. "Thanks, Ji . . . Dad." Jim's smile lit up the room.
Leah's gift really surprised him . . . it was a telescope! "Wow, Leah! Thanks. This is awesome!" Tyler cried out as soon as he ripped off the wrapping paper. She had remembered last year how he had mentioned he was trying to save up for one, but she knew he would never really buy one for himself. He would spend the money on something practical like school supplies or socks, or something for Travis, like he usually did. She had to admit she was just as excited as he was and she could hardly wait to help him set it up.
His favorite gift came from Paul. After Ty opened all his other gifts, Paul kidnapped him and put him in the truck to take him to the house. "Why did we leave the party? Why are we here?" Tyler asked as Paul led him toward the house.
"You'll see," Paul told him with a mischievous look in his eye. Paul opened the door and flipped on a light. The house was still in progress so there were a lot of tools and sawhorses sitting around, and it was cold as there was no heat on yet. Paul led him through the living room, and down the new hall way where the new addition had been added. Paul stopped and set Tyler in front of a door then flipped on the light switch. "This, is your new room, Ty. Your OWN room. No more sleeping with your little brother. What do you think?"
Shock and surprise was written all over Tyler's face. He just stood there at the door way and took it all in. Paul told him that it was 13 feet by 14 feet, and it had a nice-sized closet, and two windows. The floor was still bare and the walls were just dry-wall, but Tyler could see how great it would be when it was finished. Tyler finally took a few steps inside and then turned to Paul.
Paul was grinning as he watched him. "I need to know what color you want us to paint it, and then we'll need to pick out some furniture. We can move the double bed in here that you and Trav have now, but I thought we'd get a dresser and maybe a desk for you to do homework and stuff . . . "
He was stopped by Tyler plowing into him and wrapping his arms around his waist. "Hey, you like it, don't you?" Paul asked him.
Tyler nodded as he pulled away. "I can't believe you did this for me. Why would you do that? I mean, Travis and I have always shared a room and this cost a lot of money and . . . "
Paul put his hands on Tyler's shoulders. "Hey, you deserve this, bro. I appreciate what you have always done for your little brother, but let me and Leah do that for you, OK? You're a teenager now . . . you need some time to figure out who you are and what you want to be, and you deserve to have your own space. And remember, we are using the insurance money for this, insurance money that we got from the fire that our bitch of a mother caused. So, in a way, this is payback for all you had to put up with when you lived with her. This is something she owes you, bro. Just be happy and take it."
Tyler nodded and smiled then looked around again. He walked over to the window and looked out at the woods and thought how he would wake up to this view everyday. Then he turned to Paul and asked, "Can we put up some shelves for my journals and books?"
Paul smiled. "Yes, we can do that."
Tyler walked back to stop in front of Paul. "Thanks. Thanks alot. I really like it."
"Good. Now let's go back to the party. I want some of that cake!" Paul hooked his brother around his neck and pulled him in to rub his head as they walked back down the hallway and out into the cold night.
Leah and Emily were soon sorry they had made the offer to help when Kim put them to work on her wedding. She had them making party favors and centerpieces and shopping for dresses, and flowers . . . Leah told her she didn't work this hard on her own wedding! But she had to admit, Kim made it all fun as she was so excited.
The day of the wedding arrived and it went off perfectly. They got married in a church in town . . . Kim was a beautiful bride and Jared was over the moon happy. The rec center looked like something out of a movie, as there were little white lights hung EVERYWHERE and flowers and candles . . . it was gorgeous. They all partied and danced late into the night, and Paul even caught Tyler kissing Cristy out in the hallway on his way to the bathroom. He didn't say anything, he just silently turned back into the party and smiled. Let the kid have some fun.
Everyone was stunned to see Jacob walk in with Bella on his arm. Not only because they were together, but because Bella looked so different. She had color in her cheeks and a genuine smile on her face. She was friendly and talked to everyone and she looked . . . really happy. Leah had to admit that maybe she wasn't so bad after all when she saw the happiness that radiated from Jacob. Paul told her that was because he finally got laid, and Leah just rolled her eyes. But, she had to admit he was probably right.
Jared took a few days off of work after their short honeymoon in Canada to move him and Kim into the little house he had fixed up for them. She was so excited and was soon making curtains and painting rooms. Leah wondered how long it would be before there would be another baby on the way. At least they got married first! Leah thought. Leave it to them to be conventional.
Paul came to Leah one Friday night about a week after the wedding, and told her he had a surprise for her. Emily told her she would watch the baby and Travis, so they walked out the front door and got into the truck.
When Paul stopped in front of their house, Leah gave him a curious look. Paul just grinned and walked around to open her door. "Come with me," he said softly.
They stopped at the beautiful new red front door and Paul put the key in the lock and turned the knob. "OK, are you ready?"
Leah smiled. She had seen the house in bits and pieces, but Paul wouldn't let her come over for the last two weeks. He wanted to surprise her when it was all done. He surprised her now by scooping her up into his arms to carry her over the threshold. "Welcome home, Mrs. Jacobs."
Leah leaned in to put a kiss on his lips then he set her down and flipped on the light switch. "Come to the kitchen first. I can't wait to see your face." Paul took her hand and led her to the kitchen.
Leah's face lit up as Paul turned on the light. "Oh my God, Paul! It's gorgeous!" The kitchen was bigger and it had all new oak cabinets and stainless steel appliances and a bright new tile floor. A new, bigger oak round table with six chairs was in place, with a high chair in the corner for Noah. Leah walked around and ran her hand along the new countertops and appliances. "I can't believe this," she gushed.
"Well, come on, there's more!" Paul told her excitedly as he pulled her into the living room and right away the new stone fireplace caught her eye. Paul was really proud of that. He built it himself and some of the stones were from their own property. On the mantle, in nice gold frames, were pictures from their wedding: one of the two of them, one of them with the boys, and the one of them with just the pack.
Leah touched each photo then turned to Paul. "I love it. I can't wait to sit in front of a roaring fire, just the two of us."
Grinning like a little kid at Christmas, Paul pulled Leah down the hall to what had been the boys' room. It was repainted in blue and there was a new twin bed on one side of the room for Travis and a crib for Noah on the other side. "Do you think he'll mind sharing a room with the baby?" Leah asked.
"No. But it's only for a little while until I get the other bedroom done. Then this one will be Noah's and Travis can move to his new room."
Leah nodded and they walked into their room. It was a little bigger and painted in a nice sage green. They had managed to save his grandma's bed frame and it was now refinished and sitting in the room with a new mattress and box spring. Leah looked around and smiled. "I love the color. I knew this would look good in here."
Then they turned back to check out the new bathroom and Leah gasped and whipped around to look at Paul. "Really? I can't believe it! A Jacuzzi tub!"
"Well, I remember how much you liked the one on our honeymoon. So I splurged a little and got one." He pulled her close and nuzzled her neck as he said, "I seem to remember you saying something about how great sex was in a Jacuzzi."
Leah laughed and replied, "Yeah, but with three boys in the house, how often do you think that will happen?"
Paul pulled back and said seriously, "Oh, I will MAKE that happen."
Leah laughed some more and said, "Come on. Show me the rest."
Paul led her down the new hallway to the two new bedrooms and small bathroom. It only had a standup shower, toilet and sink, but it was big enough for the boys to share. Tyler would have the bigger room, and Travis the smaller one. "Oh, Paul, this is so wonderful. You and Chuck did a great job. I can't wait to move back in."
"Well, we still need to get a few more furniture items, and I thought I would let you pick those out. Chuck was so great to get everything we needed at cost that we have money left over."
"Who would have thought things would turn out so well after what happened?"
Paul snorted and replied, "Yeah, her evil plan backfired on her and we finally got something we deserve. Go figure."
Leah put her arms around Paul's waist and laid her head on his chest. "I just know that we are all going to be very happy here."
"How about we go and try out that tub?" Leah lifted her head to look up at Paul and he gave her a wicked smile and wiggled his eyebrows.
"Oh yeah? I might like that."
"I will make sure you like that," he said as he put his lips on hers. She sighed and opened her mouth to his tongue and felt that old familiar heat shoot through her body at his touch.
She broke away and grinned at him. "Race ya!" she called out as she took off for the bathroom, ripping her shirt over her head and dropping it as she ran.
Paul smiled as he bent to pick her shirt up off of the floor then bring it to his face to take in her scent as he thanked his lucky stars for at least the millionth time that he had Leah in his life. Their journey had been rough . . . but it had led them to where they were now, and Paul had to admit, he was more than happy to be here.