The next day Isabella came back from school and found her brother sitting in their mom's living room casually reading a book looking as if he belong there instead of being in New Haven. Sam only came home from school every two or three months for a weekend if it wasn't the holidays so Isabella was quite surprised to see him here as it was a Wednesday and her brother no doubt had classes today. "Sam, what are you doing here?"
"Mom called me late last night and told me what happened, I drove down after my classes ended." Sam said and Isabella wearily bit her lip, she hadn't anticipated her mother calling her brother for reinforcement after their phone call yesterday.
"You didn't have to come all the way down Sam, it's fine and I'm about to pop out to the studio to go see dad, I just came to drop off some of my school things that's." Isabella replied as she started unloading her school textbooks onto the coffee table.
"C'mon Iz? I'm not the most frequent or present person in this family but there was no way I wasn't coming home when mom told me about your phone call. I know you told mom that you didn't want to talk about it but I know how hard you worked to try and get in there and you've wanted to attend Stanford since you were a kid. I'm sorry you didn't get into Stanford Izzy–" Sam began and Isabella just bit her lip, the problem with Sam was that she had this problem of being unable to keep things from him and he had this innate ability to see when she was.
"About that Sam, there's something you should know…" Isabella said trying to figure out how to go about telling her brother the truth as he got his temper from their father.
"Know what?" Sam wearily asked.
"You better come with me." Isabella reluctantly said as she walked into her bedroom and opened her bottom desk draw, stuck her hand in and felt up the bottom of the draw above it before pulling a large white envelope and handing it over to her brother. "This came for me two weeks ago, it's from Stanford…"
Sam slowly opened the envelope and pulled out a large colourful pack and looked at the letter that was with it. "This says that you did get into Stanford Izzy, what the hell is going on? Why would you call mom and lie about not getting accepted to your dream school."
"Because I'm not going," Isabella announced.
"What do you mean your not going? You've worked so hard towards this, dreamt of going to Stanford years and now all of a sudden you don't want to go?" Sam demanded.
"It's not that I don't want to go because I would love to go but I can't not anymore."
Isabella took a baited breath, her brother really was not going to like it what she was about to say. "Because of dad."
"Dad? Are you seriously going to stand here and tell me that you're going to turn down your dream school because of him?"
"It's too late, I've already called them and turned down their offer and accepted my the offer I got from Columbia. It's complicated Sam, you've just got to trust me on this. I'm doing the right thing by staying here." Isabella said swallowing yet another huge lump in her throat, it was still taking time for her to deal with the decision she had made yesterday.
"Doing the right thing? You've got to be fucking kidding me Isabella! Who the hell are you doing the right thing for? Certainly not you because your giving up your dreams and everything you've worked for! I really don't get it Izzy, why would you do this and for dad of all people? If this is about that stupid outburst of his then don't worry about it, you know dad does stupid shit all the time there's no reason to give up going to Stanford for that! Besides dad wants you to go to Stanford." Sam yelled.
"Dad's a mess Sammy." Isabella quietly said.
"When is he not?"
Isabella shook his head. "You don't get it Sam, yesterday dad went back to work and he found out that Don, his executive producer is moving to the 10 o'clock slot with Elliot and he's taking practically all of dad's staff. And you'll never guess who Uncle Charlie hired to be he's new EP."
"Who?" Sam asked clearly not interested.
Sam looked shocked and it was clear that he wasn't expecting to hear that name of all people's names and now he had become interested in the matter. "Mac? As in MacKenzie Hale? Shit… How's dad?"
"How do you think? He's a bloody mess despite trying to pretend like he's not, which is why I have to stay because he needs me Sammy. I'm worried that if I go he'll fall apart and I just couldn't in right conscious go to Stanford and be worried about him. He'd be all alone and I hate the thought of that as you leaving was hard on him. He loves you so much Sammy but he acts the way he does with you because it's the way you like things and all he wants is for you to be comfortable with him. Dad asks about you all the time, wanting to know how you are and what your up to and how's school. I know dad isn't normal but he tries really hard and as much as you would hate to admit it he's a good dad. You know he could have turned out like his own dad."
"Izzy…" Sam slowly said.
"Dad is a functioning wreck and he can't be left alone, we all know that Sam. I don't want to go away to college and be worrying about him day and night, if I stay in New York I can still go to school and be able to keep an eye on him. I know Columbia isn't Stanford but I'll make it work." Isabella said and once she had finished neither of them had said anything for a few moments.
"That shit head doesn't deserve you as a kid, you certainly wouldn't see me doing something like this for him… you sure about this Isabella." Sam questioned.
"I don't like this at all Izzy." Sam wearily replied.
"You don't have to, you've just got to go along with it. I told mom that I didn't get in to Stanford because she wouldn't have let me do this and she would have certainly wouldn't have understood. I figured it would be best if I told both mom and dad that I didn't get it, if I'm going to lie to one then I might as well lie to them both." Isabella reasoned.
"I'm assuming you haven't told dad." Sam noted and Isabella just shook her head.
"No not yet, but I'm going to tell him now. I said I'd come over to the station and we could have lunch and I'd bring over his dry cleaning. He was having a really bad day yesterday so I figured I'd him some time before dropping the bombshell on him,"
"I'll come with you."
"You don't have to Sam, it's fine." Isabella said taken a back by her brother's offer to come with her as he wasn't one for volunteering to spend time with their father unless it was necessary
"No I want to."
And just over an hour later arrived at Atlantic Cable news office and entered the newsroom on news night and immediately the two of them made a beeline towards their father's office as to avoid anyone they didn't want to talk to and when they reached Will's office Isabella knocked on the door and moments later Will bellowed for them to come in. "Hey Izzy, you came…" Will began as he rose from his office chair until he saw his son there too. "And Sam."
"Hey dad." Isabella replied as she went to go hang up her father's dry cleaning on his bathroom door.
"Hey son." Will said.
"So what brings you to New York on a Wednesday of all days? Not that I'm not happy to see you Sammy because I am it's just not typically like you but it's fine. I'm glad you're here and now I'm rambling in front of my grown children." Will replied.
"Nice to see you too dad, I saw clips of the show last night. You did a great job." Sam said much to the shock of both Isabella and Will as that was probably the nicest thing Sam had said to him in about five years and without being prompting.
"Um dad, there's something that I want you to talk about or rather tell you about and it's something really big and I really think you should sit down for this because it's going to be a bit of a shock to you." Isabella said as Sam went about pouring their dad a drink.
"I'm confused here, you want to tell me something and apparently it's very bad and you think I need to sit down for it and your brother is making me a drink so I can hear this news. Has someone died? Is it your mother? Just tell me now and get on with it…" Will questioned
"Dad take the damn drink and sit down." Sam stated and Will eyes his two children suspiciously before taking the offered drink and sitting down in his chair.
"Okay, what's going on? I have both my children in here giving me a drink and telling me to sit down because they have something to tell me and judging by the looks on your faces it's not exactly good–"
"–I didn't get into Stanford." Isabella blurted out and once she did she watched as he dad drained his entire drink.
"Sweetie…" Will began and his features immediately began to soften which made it even harder for Isabella to lie about this to him but she kept telling herself she was doing this for a good reason.
"I'm okay dad." Isabella stated. "I've had some time to let the news sink it."
"When did you find out about this? Will questioned as he got up from his seat.
"Day after you went to St. Lucia."
"Why didn't you call me and tell me?"
"You said you didn't want to be bothered unless it was life and death and me being rejected by Stanford wasn't life or death. I figured it could wait until you got back as it was no big deal." Isabella said with a small shrug of my shoulders.
"Anything to do with you or your brother is life and death, if you had told me I would have come home straight away Izzy." Will began before turning to Sam. "I assume this is why you came home?"
Sam nodded "Yeah."
"Does mom know?"
"I told her yesterday, she called Sam and he came up this morning." Isabella said with the biggest smile, which she could muster which wasn't exactly much.
"I honestly can't believe this, I was so sure that you'd get in Izzy." Will said and he placed a reassuring hand on Isabella's shoulders. "Who are they not to want you? The people in admission must be idiots if they passed up on you but don't worry I'll fix this, I don't know how but I will. You've had your heart set on Stanford since you were twelve Izzy and I don't care what I have to do or who much I have to pay to get you in but I will!"
"Dad, seriously it's fine. I know I had my heart set on Stanford dad but whose to say that I can't go later? There's nothing stopping me from transferring or going there to do my masters degree? I love you for caring dad but I got into plenty of other good schools like Duke, Berkeley, NYU, Carnegie Mellon and Columbia." Isabella replied with a watery smile.
"Any idea, where you want to go now?" Will asked
"I've decided to go to Columbia, I've accepted their offer a few days ago and they are just waiting for you to send them a cheque and then it's just a matter of me graduating. I brought the acceptance letter with me, figured you'd want to frame it in here like you did with Sammy's one." Isabella said pointing to the frame on the wall that held Sam's acceptance letter to Yale and moments later she was surprised when her father pulled her into a hug. It was weird as her dad wasn't much of a hugger and it even caused Sam to smile at the sight, until their father pulled the two of them out of his office and into the newsroom.
"Can I have everyone's attention for a moment?" Will called out and seconds later all eyes were on him.
"Dad, you really don't want to do this…" Isabella began but her dad chose to ignore her as he placed an arm around both her and Sam.
"I don't know most of your names and right now I couldn't really care less as I want you to meet two people. You've probably seen them occasionally but had no idea who they are, well now I'll tell you. These are my children, my son Samuel who is a junior at Yale and plays on their lacrosse team and my daughter Isabella who had just been offered a place at Columbia this fall and I just wanted to you all to know that I couldn't be any more prouder of my kids!"