The following day was Christmas Eve and Drew was out trying to find the perfect Santa Claus outfit. He would wear it that night to surprise the kids. He had gotten the okay from Roger and Mimi to dress up as Santa, knowing how much it would be a surprise for the kids.
Jovi and Katie-Rose were eating dinner with Sherrie, Mimi and Roger when there was a knock on the door. The three of them were in on Drew dressing up as Santa and didn't want to spoil it for the kids.
"I'll get it!" Roger announced, jumping up and rushed to the front door. Standing in the doorway was Santa.
"Ho, ho, ho – I'm here to see Jovi and Katie-Rose." Santa said in a deep voice.
"They're right in here. How've you been, Santa?" Roger asked, leading Drew into the room where Katie-Rose and Jovi were.
"I've been busy getting ready to go on my rounds tonight." Drew told Roger. At that point, both Jovi and Katie-Rose looked up from their dinners. Mimi turned off the movie the kids were watching while Sherrie took pictures. She then joined Sherrie and Roger in taking pictures, watching the kids marvel at Santa.
Santa read them The Night Before Christmas before giving them presents – Jovi got a toy guitar and Katie-Rose got a doll that she had wanted.
After taking some more pictures with Santa, he left and told the kids to behave themselves. They promised and watched Santa leave. Sherrie took the kids upstairs so that they wouldn't know it was Drew who had dressed up as Santa.
Once Drew had exited the house and re-entered through the garage, that's when Sherrie took the kids back downstairs.
"Daddy! Uncle Drew! Santa came!" the kids told Drew, holding their new presents in front of him.
"Santa was good to you two this year, huh?" Drew asked, admiring the kids' presents.
Roger, Mimi and Sherrie put the kids to bed while Drew checked on dinner. They didn't go to the Christmas Eve service at the church because time had gotten away from them.
The following day, Drew and Roger's mother, Tatiana, would be coming for Christmas. She hadn't met her grandchildren and Roger was sure that the three of them would get along.
"Rog, have you seen Katie-Rose's new doll? She wants to sleep with it." Mimi told Roger. Roger nodded and handed Katie-Rose's doll to Mimi, who took it back upstairs.
Roger and Drew were having a jam session when they saw a car pull into the driveway. They knew it was their mother, Tatiana. Tatiana was in her late 60s, had auburn hair and had brown eyes. She stood at 5'7 and today, was wearing an expensive-looking light blue three-piece suit with matching shoes and jewelry.
"Wow – mom hasn't changed a bit, has she?" Roger asked, putting his guitar back on its stand. The two of them walked towards their mother, not knowing what to expect.
"Hello my boys." Tatiana greeted her sons, hugging each of them. Tatiana turned back to the car and the boys saw a man about their mother's age carrying six bags – three in each hand.
"Mother, you don't have to let Henry carry those." Drew said, rushing to help Henry – their mother's latest boyfriend. Both Roger and Drew's fathers had died four years ago, so their mother was back in the dating game. She had been dating for about a year and a half.
"Oh, it's all right, boys." Henry told the guys as Roger got the door for his mother and Henry. Jovi, Sherrie, Katie-Rose and Mimi were in the kitchen, having something to eat.
Sherrie got up from her spot at the table and hugged Henry, taking the presents from him. Henry looked up and saw Mimi, Jovi and Katie-Rose at the table.
"Sherrie, you never told me that your sister was as pretty as you are." Henry teased.
"Henry, she's not my sister – she's Roger's wife and that's their daughter, Katie-Rose." Sherrie reminded Henry. Mimi hugged Henry as Katie-Rose and Jovi inspected the bags that they had brought.
"Children, those aren't for you." Sherrie told the children, scooting them away from the bags.
"Two bags are for them, one is for Mimi, one is for Roger, one is for Drew and one is for Sherrie." Henry told Sherrie. Just then, Tatiana entered and sneered at Sherrie.
"Hello, Tatiana." Sherrie greeted her mother-in-law, whom she despised.
"Where are my wonderful grandchildren?" Tatiana inquired.
"They're finishing their lunch, then they'll come over to see you." Mimi told Tatiana, cleaning up the mess in the kitchen.
The children had finished their lunch and everyone was gathered in the living room to open presents. Katie-Rose was opening her present from Tatiana and was taking her time opening the present. Jovi came over and tore the paper off the package, which made Katie-Rose scream. She reached over and hit him on the arm.
"Katie-Rose, we do not hit. Tell Jovi you're sorry." Roger told his daughter. She refused. Roger took the package out of Katie-Rose's arms and took her upstairs. The others could hear Katie-Rose's screams all the way downstairs.
"I'm sorry that she hit Jovi. Is he okay?" Mimi asked. Sherrie nodded and kissed the top of Jovi's head.
The others were talking when Roger brought an angry-looking Katie-Rose back downstairs. He placed Katie-Rose in a corner and had her stay there.
"Nobody look at her – she's in big trouble." Roger told the others, some anger in his voice.
"Rog, what happened?" Mimi asked. Mimi didn't believe in punishment, whereas Roger did.
"She poked me in the eye while we were upstairs and I took away her Make-A-Mouse and Make-A-Moose." Roger told Mimi. Mimi took hold of Roger's sleeve and dragged him out of the room.
"What are you teaching her by taking away her toys?" Mimi asked.
"I'm teaching her a lesson."
"All she has to do is apologize and everything will be okay. Speaking of Katie-Rose, where is she?"
"In the other room, sitting in the corner. I told her not to move, otherwise she would lose her stuffed animals."
Mimi glared at her husband and went to tend to her daughter, who was crying.
"Honey, it's okay. All you have to do is apologize to Jovi then you can have some Christmas fun." Mimi told her daughter, getting to her level and hugged her. Katie-Rose cried into Mimi's blouse. Mimi carried Katie-Rose to a quiet room and held her. "Shh, baby, it's okay."
"Why daddy no love me?" Katie-Rose asked through her tears.
"He does love you, sweetheart – he has a different way of showing it." Mimi told her daughter. "I think Santa brought you some amazing toys, but to enjoy them, you need to say you're sorry to Jovi."
Katie-Rose calmed down and followed her mother out of the room.
"Mommy, am I still in trouble?" Katie-Rose asked.
"Only if you don't apologize to Jovi." Mimi told her daughter. Katie-Rose nodded and walked over to Jovi.
"Jovi, I sorry that I hit you." Katie-Rose apologized.
"It okay. Wanna pway later?" Jovi asked. Katie-Rose nodded and hugged her cousin.
Later, the kids were playing, watched over lovingly by Roger and Drew. Henry and Tatiana had left twenty minutes ago and both girls were in the bathrooms, puking their guts out.
The following day, Roger, Mimi and Katie-Rose left the Boley residence, thankful for their stay.
Nine months later
Mimi and Sherrie went into labor at the same time, but at different hospitals – Mimi was at New York General and Sherrie was at Glendale Hospital.
At 8:00 pm, Mimi gave one final push and welcomed a little boy into the world. She and Roger named him Andrew Michael Davis. Andrew was 7 lbs, 12 ounces and was 14.5 inches long.
At 10:00 pm, Sherrie gave one final push and welcomed a little girl into the world. She and Drew named her Melissa Kate Boley. Melissa was 8 lbs, 11 ounces and was 13 inches long.
"How does it feel to be a dad, again?" Roger asked Drew as Mimi and Andrew slept. They had named their new son after Roger's brother.
"I love it. What did Mimi have?"
"A boy – we named him after you."
"Really? Sherrie had a girl and we named her after Mimi."
"How's Sherrie doing?"
"She's doing well – she and Melissa are sleeping."
"I thought you said you named your daughter after Mimi."
"We did – I went online and did some research on Sherrie's family tree. Turns out that she and Mimi – aka Melissa – are sisters, just like us, they have the same mom, but different dads."
"I never knew that Mimi had a sister."
"I never knew that Sherrie had a sister."
"Funny how life works, isn't it?"
"Yeah, it is." Drew agreed. "Wonder why the girls didn't tell us?"
"I have no idea, but I'm kind of glad they didn't."
"I liked finding out this way."
Even though he couldn't see him, Drew knew that Roger was smiling.
The brothers ended up talking for a little while longer before tending to their new babies and wives.
"I don't know how this could get any more perfect." Roger told his wife, looking down at the sleeping baby in her arms.
"Me, either." Mimi agreed, resting her head on Roger's shoulder. Roger looked over at Katie-Rose, who was asleep nearby on a comfy armchair. Roger took off his jacket and placed it over Katie-Rose's shoulders. He kissed the top of her head and climbed in next to Mimi, holding her in his arms.
The next morning, Roger decided to confront Mimi about her secret. He waited until she was finished with the kids so he could have her full attention.
"Hey, Meems – can I talk to you about something?" Roger started.
"Of course, sweetie. You know you can talk to me about anything."
"Why didn't you tell me that you and Sherrie were half-sisters?"
"I thought that would put you and Drew in an awkward position."
"Why do you say that?"
"You've known him your whole life, whereas Sherrie and I just met over Christmas. We didn't grow up together – she stayed with her dad and our mom, while my dad raised me. We met briefly at the Venus Club on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.
I quit the Venus Club shortly after Sherrie did and moved to New York where I started working at the Cat Scratch Club. I was sixteen at the time and trying to support myself. That's when I got hooked on drugs and got HIV. A year later, I met Benny and we dated for a while before he met Alison. Shortly after that, I met you. Sure, we had our ups and downs, but we were always there for each other. I got clean and stopped working at the Cat Scratch. I turned my life around and I'm sure glad I did.
We eventually got married and had these two wonderful children." Mimi said, tears streaming down her cheeks. Roger felt his stomach drop as he held Mimi to him, letting her cry. He didn't expect to hear her whole life story – just why she didn't tell him why she and Sherrie were related.
They received some good news – the family could go home that day. Mimi and Roger decided that Katie-Rose was old enough to have an HIV test. The nurse smiled and ordered a test for Katie-Rose.
Roger held Katie-Rose on his lap while the nurse administered the needle and gently pulled it out of her arm two seconds later. She put a band-aid with Minnie Mouse on Katie-Rose's arm and told her what a good girl she was. Andrew wouldn't get one until he was Katie-Rose's age.
"I'll mail you the results." The nurse told Roger. He nodded and kissed the top of Katie-Rose's head.
Two weeks later, Katie-Rose was playing in the living room, Mimi was putting Andrew down for a nap and Roger was returning from work when the mail truck came. Roger broke into a run just as the mail truck moved down the street. He looked through the mail and saw an envelope addressed to him. The return label was from the hospital. He walked up the sidewalk, opening the envelope as he walked.
Dear Mr. Davis,
I am pleased to inform you that your daughter, Katie-Rose Davis, does not have HIV. However, I would like her to come in again when she's eight to check again.
Roger cried as he read the letter again and again.
"What's wrong, daddy?" Katie-Rose inquired as Roger sat in his favorite chair, bawling his eyes out. Mimi exited the nursery at that point and rushed over to Roger.
"Honey, does she have it or not?" Mimi asked, not realizing that Katie-Rose was in the room.
"No, she doesn't." Roger choked out. Mimi sat on Roger's lap, joining him in crying.
"Mommy, daddy, why you cryin'?" Katie-Rose questioned, looking up from her playing. Roger and Mimi dried their tears and turned their full attention to their oldest.
"Honey, your mommy and I have a disease called HIV. It stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It means if mommy or I get sick, our bodies can't fight off the virus. We're crying because you don't have the virus. We're going to wait until your brother is older to see if he has it. We're also going to retest you when you're eight to see if you have it." Roger explained in terms that his daughter would understand.
"Why do I need to be tested again? Did I fail?"
"No, sweetheart, you didn't fail. Sometimes tests change and they want to be sure you're okay." Mimi piped up. Mimi gave her daughter a squeeze, not wanting to let her go.
Four years later
Mimi and the newest edition to the Davis family – another little boy that the family named James Henry – were sitting in the waiting room – while Roger, Katie-Rose and Andrew were in the doctor's office. Katie-Rose was getting retested for HIV and Andrew was getting tested for the first time for HIV.
"Hey there stranger." Sherrie's voice greeted Mimi's ears. Mimi smiled and carefully stood up, hugging her half-sister around the neck. Sherrie looked at the bundle in Mimi's arms.
"This is our newest edition – James Henry." Mimi told Sherrie just as Drew entered with Jovi and Melissa. In his left hand, he carried a baby carrier.
"We also have a new edition – another little girl that we named Helena-Tatiana." Drew spoke up. Mimi looked over in the baby carrier – there was a bundle wrapped in pink fast asleep.
"She's precious." Mimi whispered, looking at the sleeping baby. She then turned her attention to Sherrie and Drew. "What are you guys doing here?"
"We sold our house and moved here. We actually bought a house in your neighborhood." Drew told Mimi. "Where are Roger and the kids?"
"Katie-Rose is getting re-tested for HIV and Andrew is getting tested. I decided to stay with James while Roger went with the others." Mimi explained. Just then, her AZT pager went off and she excused herself to take her AZT while Drew and Sherrie watched James.
When Mimi returned, Roger and the older kids exited the doctor's office. Roger smiled and embraced Sherrie and Drew before looking at his nieces and nephew.
"She's negative and so's Andrew." Roger told Mimi. He then turned to Drew and Sherrie. "What are the chances of us meeting at a doctor's office?" he teased.
"We just moved here and Jovi got a sliver. We're here to get it out." Drew told Roger.
"You don't have tweezers?" Roger inquired. Drew shook his head as a nurse brought Jovi and Sherrie back out to the waiting room.
"How you feeling little man?" Drew asked Jovi.
"Okay, daddy." Jovi answered. Drew ruffled Jovi's hair and took Sherrie's hand in his. She squeezed his hand back and looked over her shoulder to Mimi and Roger's family.
"Are you guys coming?" Sherrie asked.
"Yeah, we're coming." Roger said, slipping an arm around Mimi's waist and urged her forward, keeping an eye on the kids.
The two families headed out of the doctor's office and to their respectable cars, talking to their kids about where they were going.
Half an hour later, the two cars pulled in front of the Hogshead Theater. Mimi got out first while Roger finished listening to the current song that was on the radio. He then shut off the ignition and went to assist Mimi with the kids.
Once the two families were together, they entered the theater and purchased tickets for that afternoon's performance of Annie.
After Annie was finished, they went to Roger and Mimi's house for dinner and conversation before Drew and Sherrie went to their new house.
Roger and Mimi couldn't see how their lives could be even more perfect than they already were.
Four months later
Roger and Mimi were having a barbeque in their backyard when an extremely pregnant Sherrie and Drew came up the driveway, flanked by their children.
"Drew and Sherrie, this is my best friend, Mark Cohen, his wife Ashley and their kids – daughters Tina, Diana and Sofia. Their son is visiting from college, his name is Blaine." Roger made introductions.
"It's nice to meet you, Drew and Sherrie." Mark said, shaking Drew's hand and kissed Sherrie on the cheek. Ashley hugged Drew and Sherrie.
"These are our children – Jovi, Helena-Tatiana and another little girl. We have a name picked out, but we're not telling anyone." Sherrie told Ashley and Mark. Ashley motioned for her kids to play with the Boley children. Blaine was currently chatting with Collins.
Roger smiled at Mimi, who was also expecting – she and Roger were expecting a little boy and planned on naming him Alexander Michael.
"How are you doing, Meems?" Collins asked, coming over to them.
"I'm doing great. I'm about three weeks away from my due date." Mimi told him, taking Collins' hand in hers and placed it on her belly.
"What are you naming your baby?" Collins inquired.
"We have a name picked out, but we're not saying anything." Mimi said. "We're having a little boy."
"I wish Angel was alive to see him." Collins said, tears in his eyes.
"I know. I wish she was, too." Roger piped up, getting Collins another beer from the cooler. Maureen and Joanne were the only ones who couldn't make it – their daughter, Kloey, was sick.
As Roger dished out hot dogs, chicken, turkey dogs, burgers, turkey burgers and cheeseburgers, he thought about his life with his beautiful wife and children. He and Mimi had celebrated their tenth year together, which didn't seem possible.
Three weeks later
Mimi and Roger were now at the hospital and in a delivery room. Mimi's little boy was on his way and she was doing great.
Twenty minutes later, she held her new son in her arms.
"He's perfect." Roger whispered, kissing Mimi's forehead.
Just then, there was a knock on the door. Roger looked up and saw Drew enter the room, flanked by Jovi and Helena-Tatiana.
"Sherrie just had our daughter, Sara Nicole." Drew whispered, looking at his nephew asleep in Mimi's arms. "He's a handsome little guy."
"How long ago was Sara born?" Roger asked.
"Fifteen minutes ago. What about – um – what did you name him?" Drew inquired.
"Alexander Michael. He was born ten minutes ago." Roger said.
Drew stayed for a minute longer, then motioned for Jovi and Helena-Tatiana to follow him out of the room.
Roger held his son as Mimi slept, softly singing to him.
Mimi was right – how could their family be any more perfect?