*Here is the 3rd installment to the Forbidden Stories I hope that you enjoy chapter 1*

*NEW YEAR'S DAY ONE YEAR LATER*

"How are you doing today?" asked Carol asked John as he set up for Zaiden's and Zuri's 1st birthday party.

"Mom, the same way I have felt all year. This day is possibly the most bittersweet day I've experienced in my life. I don't know if I should be sad or if I should be happy. I don't know," answered John. Over the last year he had a lot of these moments. A lot of moments where he wasn't sure if he should be happy or if he should be sad. His entire life over the year was a rollercoaster ride never knowing what type of emotion to feel.

"Well, I think you should be happy," said Carol. "I mean look at how happy Zaiden and Zuri are. You should be happy. It's their day."

"But it's also the day their mother left us," he said.

"And their birthdays will ALWAYS be the day their mother left you but you can't keep dwelling on that, John. You can't keep being sad on their birthdays. It's not fair to them and it's not fair to you. You should see this day as a gift," said Carol.

"A gift? My wife died because of me.. And you want me to see this day as a gift?"

"She gave you two beautiful children.. They are a gift."

"Three," he said, "don't forget about Zola."

"I know but I was only thinking about Zuri and Zaiden."

"I know," said John as he hanged up the Happy Birthday banner in the dining room while his mom set up the table. "Although I never expected my New Year's Days to be like this for the next 18 years."

"I bet," she said with a smile as Zuri walked into the room. "Hey there, Pretty Girl."

"Hi," she said with a smile. Over the last year Zuri began to look more and more like Ryan everyday. She had a light tan complexion, curly dark brown hair, long eyelashes with the biggest dark brown eyes anyone had ever seen. She had her mother's eyes she was her mother. "She looks like Ryan."

"I know," said John. "She is her mother 100%. What's wrong, Princess?" Zuri didn't say anything but pointed at the Yo Gabba Gabba decorations on the table. "Is that Brobee?"

"Yes," she said as Zaiden came into the dining room too.

"Hey, Little Buddy," said John with a smile. "Here's my little buddy."

"Daddy," he said as he came into the room. Zaiden on the other hand was completely John. He had a light tan complexion, curly dark brown hair, John's facial features and bluish grey eyes.

"What's up Buddy?" asked John as he picked him up. "It's almost time for your party. I know you two have no idea what's going on but it's your birthday, Zaiden. Happy Birthday. And you my princess had a birthday last night when you were sound asleep. Happy Birthday Zuri." He scooped her up too and gave them both a kiss on their foreheads. He put them down and told them to go play. They both toddled off into the living room to go play.

"So is Zachary coming to the party today?"

"He is but Scarlet is not. Dave has Scarlet and he is not letting her come to the party with Tessa."

"That's a shame. That poor girl is always left out."

"I know but when it's his time to have her he keeps her and doesn't make exceptions. Tess gets her back at the end of the week."

"I see," she said. "And what about Zachary? Does he even acknowledge him anymore?"

"Nope. Not at all," said John. "The day we found out was the last time he even spoke to Zachary. He told him that he loved him and he always would but he never bothers with him. He never asks if he's okay and when Zachary was having a hard time dealing with everything he never once bothered to help out with the adjustment but all the while he was father of the year to Scarlet."

"Would you have let him in Zachary's life?" she asked.

"Of course I would. Zachary knew him for 7 years as his father… I wouldn't have told Dave to go away. I'm not that kind of guy, Mom. You and Dad raised me to have some integrity."

"I know we did a good job with you," she said as the front door opened and closed.

"Honey, I'm here," said a female's voice.

"We're in the dining room," yelled John with a smile as Zachary came running into the room. "Hey Buddy."

"Hey, Dad," he said as he hugged his father.

"Where's your mom?"

"She's coming," he said as Tessa walked into the room.

"Hey, Baby," she said as she walked over and gave him a soft kiss on the lips as she held the kids' birthday cake.

"Hey," he said with a smile. "You got the cake."

"Yeah," she said. "It's amazing. Look at it," she said as she laid it down on the table. She opened the box exposing the Yo Gabba Gabba cake. "The bakery did an amazing job."

"I'll say," he said as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "They will love it," he said as Zola came into the dining room.

"Who is…" she said as she looked at Tessa. "Oh. It's only you."

"Zola," said John, "Be nice."

"John, don't worry about it," said Tessa. "I am used to it. She doesn't want me here. I know"

"But she is being disrespectful."

"She is being protective," said Tessa. "Hello, Zola."

"Goodbye, Tessa," she said as she left the dining room.

"Is she always like that?" asked Carol.

"Yep," said John, "she's even worse now that Tessa and me started going out again. Hopefully she'll come around."

"I doubt it," said Tessa, "she doesn't like me."

"She likes you she is just protective and thinks you're taking the place of Ryan."

"I'm not though," she said.

"I know you're not," said John. "It's okay. I still love you."

"I love you too," she said with a smile before John softly kissed her lips.

"So did you think about what I asked you?" asked John when he broke the kiss.

"I don't know, John. I really don't know."

"Come on. Please?" he asked her again.

"I will think about it," she said. "I will think about it. I need more time."

"All right," he said, "I'll give you more time. But trust me it will be well worth it."

"John, I said I need more time. You promised me that you would take things slow and give me time to make decisions. Isn't that what you promised me when we got back together?"

"Yes," he said. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay. Just try to remember."

"I will. Now let's go enjoy this party."

"All right," she said with a smile.

Zuri and Zaiden didn't really have a big 1st birthday party. It was just a small get together with Tessa, Zachary, Zola, Carol and John's father. John didn't want it to be anyone else because it was still a very emotional day for him. He wanted to keep it small and just spend it with the people he loved the most. It turned out to be a really good party despite the small amount of people. Zaiden and Zuri got presents that they opened themselves without any help and when it came time for cake they put their hands in the cake and had a field day eating it. They were a complete mess and as John watched them he wished Ryan could have been there to see them turn a year old. She would have enjoyed every moment of this but he knew that she was in Heaven watching over them. When they were finished with their cake John cleaned Zuri up while Tessa cleaned Zaiden up. Tessa was like a mother to them. John never asked her to be and never asked her to stand up to such responsibility but Tessa did it on her own. She stood up to be a mother figure in their life. She didn't ask them to call her mommy because she wasn't their mother but they did call her Tess which worked perfectly fine for her. She had been there since they were two months old and promised to be there the rest of their lives. She loved them as if they were her own and treated them as if they were her own. John was grateful for Tessa though because she helped him out a lot. There was no way he would have done all this on his own so he was grateful that Tessa stood up and offered to be there for the kids even Zola although she did not like Tessa; Tessa was still there for her when she was ready to accept Tessa into her life and accept that John and Tessa were together now. Which comes to this… John and Tessa never really had plans to get back together but it just happened one night. Things were much different this time but they were back together and John couldn't be happier but deep down he still felt like he was betraying Ryan in some way.

*A/N: So what did you think? Is it a keeper or no? Please Review and let me know.