I hope I've made the Della lovers happy! Thanks for everyone's support! xxxooo

Malibu Beach, July 4th, 2001

"I want my grandma," said the frighteningly beautiful little boy with thick dark waves of hair, dimples everywhere and indigo eyes, as he perched on the edge of the pool. With his long arms encased in water wings and a little Buddha belly above the swimming trucks that were so long they made his scraggly legs seem short, he was an exact, miniature, replica of the older gentleman standing next to him—minus the water wings, of course.

"Me,too, young man. Me, too."

"Grandpa, please get Grandma. Please?"

Perry who heard her car arrive a few minutes ago, bellowed to his wife. "Della!"

Perry, standing in the pool waiting to give a swimming lesson, laughed watching his 4 year-old grandson trying not to throw a fit, his bottom lip pushing in and out with his breathing.

How many times had Perry Mason felt the exact same way waiting for Della Street?

When at long last the sliding glass doors parted and the center of their world floated out of the house on the pink cloud that was her shirtwaist dress—happily back in style, you must keep everything she advised Perry with a laugh—the little boy broke into a huge smile, leapt from the pool and ran to her, arms outstretched and dripping.

"Danny-boy," said his doting Grandma, swinging him up in her arms and settling him on her hip where he snuggled in close. "My Danny-Boy! Are you and Granddad swimming?"

"Where were you, Grandma?" the plaintive tone of his voice reminded her of Perry any time she strayed too far from him.

"Well, you were a surprise visitor today my little love. Grandma was out of fish sticks."

"Did Grandpa eat them?" said the little boy scowling at his grandpa.

Della laughed and hugged him close.

"I most certainly did not young man. I have absolutely no interest in your fish-cicles." Perry was scowling back.

This sent Danny into a fit of giggles.

"Grandpa's funny!"

"He has his moments," Della looked lovingly at her husband, who returned her look.

"You know what we're going to do tomorrow, young man?"

"What grandpa?"

"We are going to make our own fish sticks!"

Danny started to scowl again. "I don't know…"

"What do you mean? You love to cook with me! We made lasagna, and you did a fine job stirring the cheese; and we make eggs…"

"I'm good at eggs, too," said the child matter-of-factly. And he was.

"You are, you are," Perry nodded his head shortly. "So we are going to go to the fishmonger's to get a nice piece of cod and make our own fish sticks."

"I like the ones in the yellow box," he explained stubbornly.

"We can make them better, I promise. Today we're going to make our own tartar sauce."

"Grandma makes my tartar sauce the way I like it," Danny looked at his heroine and almost sighed, "Gram does everything the way I like it."

Perry laughed at their smitten grandson; he loved how much the little fellow adored Della. From the day they had exchanged their first look, Danny had been in love with Della. To them he was a sweet, chubby, happy baby. Others found him truculent and churlish; he didn't cry often but he sure could scowl. By default, Della and Perry ended up with Danny frequently.

In the innumerable ways that he was exactly like his granddad, the most endearing and prominent was their shared love of Della Street.

"Well, we're going to give it a try."

"Oh, okay."

"Those I shall consider eating with you and we're going to make our own chicken fingers, too. It's called chicken Milanese. Of course, I'll have to find a white wine that goes with all of that," Perry put his chin in his hand scowling off into the distance.

Danny, who wouldn't let his grandma set him down, shook his head, scowling, too. Della looked at her two boys and started laughing so hard she cried.

"What?" they both said in unison.

"Ohhhh, you two…"

The love between Danny and his grandma had only gotten stronger over the years and Perry knew that, at least in part, the reason his wife survived her very deadly bout with cancer was that little boy.

"When are we going fishing again?"

"What do you think, Grandpa?" Della turned to Perry?

"How about next weekend?"

"Yay!"

"By the way Grandma," Perry looked up at his lovely wife. "I know something you don't know but want to know very, very much…"

Della knew instantly that Kaitlynn had called with results from the amnio and came straight over to Perry, kicked off her shoes and sat next to him on the first step of the pool.

"Watch me grandma!" Danny said as he slithered out of her arms and into the water.

"Okay baby!" Della smiled at him before turning to Perry. "Well?"

"What will you give me?"

"A smack if you don't tell me this instant!"

Perry laughed, "Well, that's not what I had in mind but frankly I can't imagine why in the world you haven't smacked me long before now."

"Me either, stop teasing me, Chief."

"What will you give me?"

Della just shook her head and putting her arms around his neck, dropping her voice as low as it would go, she gave him the answer for which he was waiting, "Anything you want…tonight."

Perry held up two fingers.

"Twins?" Della screamed and jumped into his arms.

Perry grabbed her, stunned, and then started to laugh. "Want to know what kind?"

"Perry Mason…"

"One and one."

Della kissed her husband, noticing his enormous grin. "Happy?"

"Della, I'd be happy about anything that made you this happy."

"Does the baby know anything yet?"

"No and we are charged with telling him, well, you are."

Danny had been swimming around them in big, splashy loops when his grandpa's long arms plucked him from the water and handed him to his grandma.

"Danny, how would you like to be a big brother?"

"Oh finally," said the four-going-on-forty-year-old.

"I'd say that's a yes," said his grandpa.

"Well, you're going to have a little brother and a little sister!"

"Two?"

"Yup!"

"What's that called?"

"Twins; two babies born at once are twins," Grandma explained.

"So mommy and daddy are going to have one of each now…" Danny said nodding, thinking and looking for all the world like his grandpa in court.

"That means…" said the child reasoning, "They don't really need me anymore."

Della was aghast, "Sweetheart, mommy and daddy will always need and want you! You're their little man. Who's going to help with the brand new babies?"

Perry had his arms crossed, head down, laughing. Darling Della, she wasn't getting it. Their grandson wasn't unhappy at all, he had other plans.

"That's not what you meant, was it young man?" Perry asked already knowing the answer.

"No, grandpa, I meant now I can come here to live all the time!"

"That's what I thought you meant," Perry was chuckling.

"Oh sweetheart," Della didn't know what to do, "You know children have to live with their mommies and daddies."

"Sesame Street says that some kids live with their grandparents. Why can't I?"

Della, was terrified this would be so upsetting to say, other grandparents, that Danny wouldn't be able to spend weekends with them anymore. So, Della Street did something that she had done very few times in her life.

"Perry do… something!" said Della Street Mason with a terrified look in her eye.

Perry Mason almost fell over in the pool, he couldn't believe his ears.

"Come here young man," Perry lifted his grandson out of his grandma's arms and sat down close to her on the edge of the pool as Della put an arm around his shoulder.

"You can visit us anytime you want," Perry saw the lip starting and put a finger on it. "Now, now… stop that. You can come and see us whenever you want and you know that you are, and will always be the single most important thing in our lives, right?"

Danny nodded and snuggled up against his grandpa, another rare occurrence. Touched, Perry held him close and kissed his forehead making Della cry. "But you have to live with mommy and daddy and that's just the way it is. So do not mention it to them and do not upset yourself anymore about something that is not going to happen—just enjoy the time we spend together. Understand?"

"Yes, grandpa. Will you love the new babies as much as me?"

"Danny, I think I can safely say, and speak for grandma when I say it, that neither of us will ever love anyone in the entire world the way we love you. You must keep that our secret. We will love the new babies very much but we have known you longer and will always know you better, just like you will always have known us longer. You will always be the one we love the most."

"When they get big do they have to come and visit?"

"Yes, baby," said Della, "But you can still come by yourself whenever you want."

"And someday you'll be a big boy with lots of friends and you'll want to see them and play with them on weekends instead of us; and that will be okay, too," said Perry.

"No, Grandpa. You're wrong," said Danny looking seriously at his granddad, two sets of enormous indigo eyes meeting, a tiny hand curling around two fingers of a much bigger hand. "I will always want to come here." And he always did.

Danny looked at his grandparents, considering what they had said about visiting and new babies and being a big brother and it didn't seem so bad. He took a deep breath and stuck his thumb in his mouth. Normally his granddad would have told him he was too old for that and Danny looked at him expectantly. But Della had rubbed off on him over the years and knowing that the little fellow needed extra comfort after such big news, he just kissed him on the forehead again and held him even closer. The three of them sat like that for a while, on the edge of the pool the sun shining overhead.

When Chet Baker started coming through the stereo system, singing "Long Ago and Far Away," Perry wanted to dance with Della but knew he wouldn't get the chance.

"Grandma dance with me!" yelled the little voice, making Perry smile.

His grandmother took him from her husband and held him close, their right arms out and started gracefully dancing him around the edge of the pool. How many kids, Perry wondered, had a 79 year-old grandma who was still so radiant? The full skirt of her pale pink sundress she billowed gracefully above her knees when she twirled her grandson.

"Grandma…"

"Yes, baby…"

"Sing to me…" Della sighed and looked over his shoulder at his granddad, who just shrugged his shoulders.

"That's my boy."

Perry came over and held them both. Danny put an arm around each of their necks and his head on his granddad's shoulder. Della laid her head against Perry's other shoulder.

"Long ago and far away

I dreamed a dream one day

and now

that dream is here beside me.

Long ago the skies were overcast

but now the clouds have passed

you're here at last…

Chills run up and down my spine,

Aladdin's lamp is mine,

the dream I dreamed was not denied me

just one look and then I knew…

that long all I longed for long ago was you…"

~Fin~

THERE MAY BE AN EPILOGUE TO COME…I'm not certain tonight. If it's closed I will note that this week!

Music Notes:

Chet Baker is one of, if not my all-time favorites and a certain man named RB was a huge fan, as well.

Chapter Nine:

"Long Ago and Far Away," the inimitable Chet Baker singing and playing

Rosie Clooney's version is also wonderful and time appropriate

Chapter Two:

"My One and Only Love," Chet Baker

"You're My Thrill," Chet Baker