Jamie stepped aside, pulling her somewhat shy son out into view. Steve stood, speechless. He felt like he was looking at pictures of himself from his youth.
"Steve, I'd like to introduce your son, Matthew Shawn Austin."
The boy stepped forward slightly, offering his hand to Steve.
"Nice to meet you, Dad," Matthew said, flashing a lop-sided grin.
Ten years later
Matthew had remained with his father for several months after their initial meeting to get to know him better He then decided to split his time between both parents spending the summers in Colorado with his mother and the winter in California with his father. Both Steve and Jaime seemed pleased with the arrangement, and since Matthew was sixteen Jaime felt he was old enough to make his own decision
“Well Matthew.” Steve smiled. “How do you feel knowing you’re about to become a married man?”
“It feels great dad.” Matthew put his arm around him. “The only thing I ask is that you get along with mom today. Please!”
“I’ll try.” Steve smirked.
“What was it that made you two fall apart?” Matthew asked.
“I really don’t remember, but it was what happened later that got my goat.” Steve turned away from his son.
“Want to tell me about it?” Matthew pressed.
“Maybe later.” Steve again smiled at his handsome son. “Right now let’s get you married.
“By the way, where are mom and Robin?” Matthew asked.
“I think they are with the nervous bride.” Steve laughed as he straightened his son’s bow tie.
“Thanks dad. I’m so nervous.” Matthew tried to smile.
“Hey, don’t worry about it pal.” Everything is going to be just fine.” Steve assured. “By the way…” He was interrupted by a knock at the door.
Steve walked over to answer it. “Oscar, Rudy. Come on in.” In invited.
“We just wanted to see Matthew one more time while he was still single.” Rudy laughed.
“Well I’m afraid he’s a bit nervous.” Steve smiled at them.
“I guess that’s to be expected.” Oscar speculated.
The wedding went great. Everything was great until the reception. Jaime and Steve got into a heated argument.
It all started because Steve had refused to speak to Jaime all night.
“Dad. I really think you and Jaime should say something to the happy couple.” Robin suggested.
“I don’t think that will be necessary.” Steve sneered.
“Come on dad.” Robin pleaded. “It’s not for you, it’s for Matthew.”
“Don’t you think I know that? Look Robin it took everything I could muster just to be in the same room with her.” He pointed to Jaime.
“Well. I’ve said all I’m going to say on the matter.” Robin walked away from him.
Steve sat watching the couples enjoying greeting Matthew and his new bride Cammy.
“Steve.” Jaime spoke behind him. “I think we should say something. I mean Matthew is our son.”
Steve ignored her.
“Steve for land sake, put aside your petty attitude and join me in toasting our son and his new bride. Cammy’s parents are about to do so and asked us to join them.”
“Then you go ahead.” Steve thundered much louder than he had intended. The entire reception turned toward them.
“Steve. Please. You’re making a scene.”
“I’m making a scene? I’m making a scene?” He shrieked.
“Why don’t you tell me just what in the world is bothering you?” Jaime asked.
“I don’t even want to be in the same room with you, much less share a speech with you!” Steve seethed.
“I can’t talk to you when you’re like this.” She turned to walk away.
“Don’t you turn you back on me!!” He screamed.
Oscar and Rudy were standing in the reception line waiting their turn to greet the happy couple that was now staring in amazement at Matthew’s parents.
“We better do something.” Rudy turned to Oscar.
“I know, but what?”
They were getting ready to make their move when Jaime screamed back at Steve
“I’ll do what ever the hell I want to do.” She picked up a plate off the table and hurled it at him.”
Steve responded by doing the same. Before anyone could stop them they had broken every plate in the reception hall.
Looking around at what they had done Steve and Jaime embarrassed, left he reception hall.
Matthew put his arm around Cammy. “Don’t worry about them.” He whispered. “As long as they are separate they aren’t that bad.”
Eighteen months later
“I just don’t know what to do Robin.” Matthew spoke into the phone. “My job keeps me busy all day. Cammy was always the one who would take care of the baby, and now… well now that’s she’s gone…”
“I’m so sorry big brother.” Robin cried. “How did it happen?”
“Car accident. Rudy did everything he could.” Matthew continued crying.
“Have you talked to dad and ‘mom’?” Robin wanted to know.
“I haven’t spoken to either of them since the wedding.” Matthew sighed.
“Maybe they could help. Thanksgiving is coming up, maybe if we get the two of them together…”
“I don’t know Robin.” Mathew was still in tears. “I was hoping you could help out.”
“I wish I could Matthew, but I just finished law school and I have been offered a job in a New York law firm.”
“Wow, that’s great sis. What does dad think?”
“He’s got mixed emotions. Proud of his baby girl, but yet sorry to see me move to NY.”
“Yea I suppose so.” Matthew sighed.
“Look I’ll have Thanksgiving at dad’s I’ll get Rudy and Oscar to work on mom and see if she’ll come. Maybe when they find out they are grandparents, they’ll have a change of heart.”
“I doubt it. But it’s worth a try.” Matthew was still crying, but it was letting up..
“I’ll get to work on dad about having Thanksgiving here. If you want to work on Oscar and Rudy and tell them to get Jaime to agree to come.”
“It’s worth a shot.” A baby crying interrupted them.
“Is that my nephew?” Robin asked anxiously.
“It sure is.” Matthew laughed. “What a set of lungs, huh?”
“Really! By the way how old is he now?” Robin wondered.
“Six months. And Rudy says perfect in everyway. “ Matthew added proudly. “He crawls all over the place.”
“Well that’s good. Listen give him a big kiss from his auntie Robin. And I’ll see you at Thanksgiving.”
“That’s great sis. I just hope everything works out the way we want.”
“Dad” Robin approached her father.
“Yes Robin?” Steve turned to her.
“Well Thanksgiving is coming up. I’m leaving after Christmas to start my job in NY. I was wondering if we should have a little get together, you, Oscar Rudy and myself?”
Steve turned in her direction. “I don’t know.” He whispered.
“I may not get a chance to get back here next year for Thanksgiving. But I think we should rent a place.” Robin suggested.
After giving it some consideration Steve agreed that would be a great idea. “I’ll call them myself and invite them.”
By the time Steve called to invite them, Matthew had already spoke to both men and they knew the plan.
“Yes Steve. I think it’s a great idea.” Both stated.
On Thanksgiving day Rudy stopped to pick up Jaime. “I have a little surprise for you. Oscar and I are treating you to Thanksgiving Dinner.”
“I really don’t feel much like celebrating Rudy. I was hoping Matthew might stop by. He hasn’t spoke to me since the wedding. I don’t even know how the marriage is going.”
“All the more reason for you to join Oscar and I. Take your mind off of everything.”
“Maybe you’re right.” Jaime sighed.
“I know I am. Doctor’s orders.” Rudy smiled.
They arrived at the Inn Steve and Robin had specially reserved. Of course Robin had to go back and inform them there would be more people eating.
Rudy had just reached in to assist Jaime out of the car when Steve pulled up in the parking spot across from them.
“Why did I know this was a set up from the beginning?” Steve stormed.
“You set this up!” Jaime screamed at Rudy and Oscar.
“Now Jaime.” Oscar tried to calm her down.
“No way!” She cried. “I’m getting out of here!”
“Don’t bother!” Steve shouted. “I’ll leave!”
They both started heading toward the entrance of the Inn.
Just as they were leaving Matthew pulled up.
“Hold it you two!” Oscar shouted.
Jaime and Steve turned to him.
“I want to see you right now!” He led them into the Inn. “Now you two just sit down!” Oscar shouted. “We are going to have this out right now!! You’re going to tell me just what is going on here!”
“Ask him!” Jaime pointed to Steve.
“Well pal? Just what got you so upset with Jaime to begin with?”
“I really don’t remember…”
“Look, I was willing to let bygones be bygones. You know for give and forget? Well I will never forgive her for having my son and not telling me…Especially when he had all the problems he had. And that’s another thing. Why did you wait so long before you allowed Rudy to operate on him?”
Oscar turned to Jaime. “Well?”
“I just didn’t want Steve to feel obligated.” Jaime snapped. “And as for the other reason, I felt that was Matthew’s decision. Not mine!!”
He was interrupted when Rudy opened the door. “They ready?” He looked at Oscar
“I don’t know Rudy. I don’t think either one of them deserve to know.” Oscar shot a glance at Steve. “Not the way they’re acting.”
“Well Matthew is waiting…”
“Matthew is here?” Jaime and Steve echoed.
“Yea he’s right outside. He needs your help.” Rudy glared at the two of them.
“Send him in!” They again spoke together
Jaime and Steve were shocked when Matthew appeared in the room pushing a stroller with a baby in it. The baby was well dressed in a little red shirt with tan pants. He giggled as Matthew lifted him out and handed him to Jaime.
“Mom, dad. I’d like to introduce you to my son. Steven James Austin…”
“Your son?” They both stammered.
“Yes mom. He’s my son.” Matthew sat across from them.
Jaime looked from the baby to Steve then to her son. “That means he’s my…I mean our…”
“Grandson.” Steve finished.
Jaime then turned her attention back to the baby in her arms. The deep blue eyes stared back
“I can’t believe it”. Steve proclaimed as he pried the baby out of Jaime’s arms. “A grand son.”
Jaime turned to Matthew “How old is he?”
“Six months.” Matthew smiled.
“And perfect in every way.” Rudy added.
Steve was having trouble holding the boy so he set him on the ground. Steven crawled over to his father, grabbed his pant leg and pulled himself into a standing position.
Matthew bent over and picked the boy up. “Now that’s a first.” He added. He turned toward his son. ‘You just want to show off for grandma and grandpa. Huh Steven.”
Steve turned to Matthew. “You said his name…”
Steven James. Steven for you dad and James for mom’s dad that way he’s named for both of his grandpas.”
Jaime and Steve looked at one another with tears in their eyes. Then they stepped over to their son. “Oh Matthew.” Jaime cried.
Matthew set the baby down and he crawled around the room. Jaime and Steve made their way toward him. The three of them gave way to a huge embrace.
They were interrupted when Robin stepped into the room. “Alright you guys. You have had enough time. I want to see my brother and nephew.”
Steve turned to her. “You knew about my grandson?”
“We all did Steve.” Rudy explained. “But Matthew swore us to secrecy He didn’t want you or Jaime around the little fellow, especially if you were going to argue and fight all the time.”
“I suppose you’re right. “ Steve watched his grandson scoot around the floor. He then turned to Oscar. “You said Matthew needed our help…”
“I’ll let Matthew explain.” Oscar gave him a nod.
“Matthew?” Jaime looked around. “Where is Cammy?”
“That’s why I need your help. Cammy was in a car accident two moonths ago. …”
“I did everything I could.” Rudy interrupted. “But she was gone before I got to her.”
“Anyway I need some help with Steven. I need some one to watch him during the day while I work as a computer programmer.. I guess you and mom have the job if you want it.”
“If we want it?” Jaime gushed. “Of course we do. Oh! I can’t believe it. It’s like raising you all over again.” Jaime cried.
Matthew gave his parents a serious look. “I don’t want you two arguing in front of him.”
“We would never do that.” Steve defended.
“Ok then.” Matthew smiled. “The job is yours. Starting Monday I’ll bring him by your place. Because it’s on way to work.”
Steve turned to Jaime. “My place is big enough for both of us. I have two spare rooms. One we can fix up for the big guy here.” He bent over and picked up the baby crawling around on the floor.
“I guess that will work.” Jaime agreed. “We have to do this for our son, and now our grandson.” She beamed.
Everyone in the room nodded.
“Hey I thought we came here to eat!” Oscar proclaimed.
They all headed into the dinning hall.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving Steve and Jaime got together, they planned on converting one of the spare rooms into a nursery for their little ‘Dumpling’ as Jaime was starting to call him.
They painted the walls blue. And Jaime put up little decal airplanes for a border. They went out and bought the best crib they could find. They bought jars of baby food and diapers and by Monday morning, they were ready to receive their new guest.
Matthew dropped him off at 8:00 sharp. “Ok here is the diaper bag. I put some jars of food in…”
“You don’t have to do that anymore. We have everything here. We thought it would save you the trouble.” Jaime smiled. “We also bought some little outfits to change him into in case he gets dirty.”
“You guys didn’t need to go to all that trouble.” Matthew smiled back.
“Oh no trouble. We want to do it.” Steve assured.
“Well that’s great. Now I won’t have to run around getting his things ready before I come over.”
“See. I think it will work great.” Steve stated.
The next six months flew by. After spending Christmas with her ‘mom’ and dad Robin moved on to New York to start practicing law. Jaime and Steve were usually waiting on the porch when Matthew pulled up. He never even had to get out of the car.
“I can’t believe he’s going to be one in a week.” Jaime cooed as they watched Steve pull himself up into as standing position and start walking around the coffee table. He had been doing this for several weeks now but as of yet had to venture away from holding on.
“Well I’m going to get lunch started. We should really think about a birthday party for him.”
“Yea we can discuss it with Matthew when he comes to get him.” Jaime headed for the kitchen and Steve stayed in the living room with his little namesake.
He started picking toys up off the floor. He picked up a stuffed bear that was lying on the floor next to the coffee table and dropped it into the toy box on the other side of the room.
Steven glared at him. “What’s the problem little man?” Steve asked
Steven looked toward the toy box and without thinking started walking toward it.
“Jaime!” Steve shouted. “Jaime quick get in here.”
Jaime came running she got there just in time to see Steven finish his treck across the living room.
“Oh my!” Jaime gasped. “Did he just do that?”
Steve nodded. “I put that stuffed bear away. I guess he wanted it.”
“That is fantastic!” Jaime beamed. She scooped up the baby. “That’s mommy’s big boy…”
“Jaime.” Steve started. “Uh you’re not his mother and as much as I would like to be I’m not his father. We’re his grandparents.”
“You’re right. I just feel like…well like…”
“I know. But he’s our grandson Jaime. We have to remind ourselves of that.”
“You’re right.” Jaime agreed.
She set Steven on the floor. “Well listen I’m going to go to the store and pick up that newspaper you wanted. I’ll finish lunch when I get back. Can you hold down the fort?”
“You know I can. I’ll just take Steven into the bedroom and play blocks or something, if I can get him interested enough, I’ll try to start lunch.
Jaime left the house and Steve took his grandson into the bedroom. He was hoping to get him al least interested enough to so he could get lunch fixed.
It worked Steven was busy playing blocks when Steve slipped out of the room. He headed into the living room.
As he crossed the doorway he heard a noise. ‘Jaime must have forgotten something. I’ll tell he I have the baby occupied and I’ll get lunch started.’
When he stepped into the living room he saw a strange young man Young man? More like a young kid maybe between fifteen or sixteen years old. He was stuffing things into a large bag.
“Hey!” Steve shouted. “What are you doing?”
Startled the kid spun around he had a ski mask pulled over his face. When he saw Steve, he became very nervous and fired the handgun he was holding right at Steve hitting him in the chest….
Panicked the kid removed the ski mask and ran over to him. “Gee mister. I didn’t mean it…” He saw the blood pouring out of Steve’s chest. ‘I better get out of here’! He cried.
He headed for the window that had gained him entry into the house. Just as he was backing out of the window Steven stepped into the room. Luckily the man was so nervous about getting out of the house he didn’t see the boy. Little did the man know, the tiny little witness had seen the whole thing
Twenty minutes later Jaime arrived back home. She stepped into the kitchen. She could here Steven screaming from somewhere in the house.
“Oh! Great!” She slammed her purse on the counter after seeing Steve had not even begun to get lunch underway. “I’m going to give him a piece of my mind!” She muttered as she stomped into the living room.
She wasn’t prepared for the scene that awaited her. Jaime stepped into the living room She saw Steve laying on the floor in a pool of blood and Steven standing over him screaming hysterically.
“Oh my G--!” She cried as she ran to the two of them. First she grabbed up the baby and placed him in his crib. The she dialed Rudy who had moved his main base to the Air base hospital in Ojai. Oscar spent most of his time there to. Since he was on the verge of retiring he spent most of his time in Ojai as well.
“An OSI ambulance is on the way Jaime.” Rudy informed her.
“What about Steven, Can I bring him?” Jaime sounded terrified.
Jaime waited a nerve-racking 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. She threw the door open the minute she saw it pull up in front of the house. She was relieved to see Rudy climb out of the passenger seat. Oscar pulled up the curb in his car. He jumped out and joined Rudy by the ambulance.
“Where is he Jaime?” Rudy called as he ran up the sidewalk.
“In here! In the living room oh Rudy please hurry!!” Jaime cried.
Rudy ran past her and into the house.
Oscar took Jaime by the arm. “What happened?”
“I don’t know. I went to the store to pick up a few things. When I got back Steven was crying and Steve was on the floor shot and bleeding.”
They joined Rudy in the living room. “How is he Rudy?” Oscar asked bending over Steve.”
“He’s going to alright. We got lucky it is a surface wound. He just lost a lot of blood. Let’s get him to the lab.”
Rudy helped bring the gurney in and they loaded Steve into the ambulance. “I’ll meet you at the hospital.” He called as the back door closed.
“Come on Jaime. You can ride with me.” Oscar spoke calmly. “Matthew is waiting for us at the Air base hospital.”
“I have to get Steven’s car seat out of the car.” Jaime reached in her car and got out the car seat she kept in there. She carried the car seat, and Oscar carried she and Steve’s grandson to his car.
“There we are.” She said after strapping Steven into it. “I guess we’re ready. You said Matthew was meeting us?”
Oscar nodded as he got behind the wheel. “Yea he said he would meet us there.”
Jaime sat in the passenger seat. “Ok let’s go!”
They arrived at the Air base hospital in record time. “Now let’s get up the lab and see if Rudy has any news for us.” Oscar said.
Matthew was standing outside the lab when they arrived. Jaime pushed Steven in his stroller
“What happened mom?” Matthew asked.
“I don’t know!” Jaime clung to him. “Oh Matthew I just don’t know!” She told him she hadn’t been home…
“Do you think Steven saw what happened?” Matthew bent down and picked up his son.
“I don’t know. I never thought of that. Matthew.” Jaime stammered.
“Matthew, he’s not ever a year old. What good would it do if he did see something?” Oscar wondered.
He didn’t get a chance to respond when Rudy stepped out of the lab.
“How is he?” They all asked.
“He’s conscious. He wants to see you Jaime. Go on in. But not to long huh?”
“Why not?” Jaime stopped herself. “Oh you have to get him ready for surgery.”
“Right.” He led her into the lab.
“Steve. I’m here.” Jaime walked over to him.
“Is the baby ok?” He wanted to know.
“Yea he’s fine. Anyway we think he’s all right…”
“What does that mean?” Steve demanded.
“We were discussing the possibility that he may have seen who did this to you.” Jaime spoke softly. “Did you see who did it?”
Steve shook his head. “No. As I was telling Rudy if I did, I don’t remember it.”
“Jaime.” Rudy called. “Times up. I need to get Steve to surgery.” Rudy came up beside her.
“Yea sure ok. You take good care of him Rudy!” She demanded
“I always do. Actually I’m only assisting, Michael will do the actual surgery.”
“Well you tell him to be careful then.” Jaime left the room and joined Oscar and Matthew in Rudy’s office.
“Oscar and I were discussing the possibility that Steven saw who did this. Did dad see him?”
“Like he said, if he did, he doesn’t remember it.” Jaime said.
“Well that could be a problem.” Oscar began. “I mean if we are going to prosecute…”
“We may never be able to.” Matthew sighed as he cradled his sleeping son.
“Here honey.” Jaime said as she took her grandson. She laid him down in the stroller where he remained sleeping.
The three of them sat till Rudy arrived.
“Well?” they all asked.
“He’s fine. Like I said, it was a surface wound. Not vital organs involved.” Rudy told them.
“Well that’s a relief.” They all sighed.
“He still has no memory of who did this to him?” Oscar whispered.
Rudy shook his head. “I doubt he ever will.”
“He has to Rudy.” Oscar proclaimed. “If we’re going to get…”
“I guess Oscar, this is the one that got away.” Rudy sighed. He turned to Jaime. “He’ll probably sleep through the night. You might as well go home and get some rest.”
“No Rudy. I want to be here if he wakes up.” Jaime whispered. “I…”
“I know what you’re trying to say. You care for him.” Rudy began.
“Maybe now more that ever before.” Jaime turned to him.
“He’s going to be just fine. I told you it was just a surface wound. He’ll go home in a couple of days.”
“Well that’s a relief.” Sighed.
“Well what ever you’re comfortable with. I can arrange for you to have the room across the hall if you would like.”
“I would Rudy. Thanks.”
Rudy made arrangements for Jaime to sleep across the hall. Rudy stayed the night just in case Steve had trouble in the night.
“Come on Rudy. I feel fine.” Steve protested when Rudy informed him he had to stay one more night.
Jaime needs my help with the baby.” He again tried to get Rudy to relent and let him go.
“I’m sorry Steve. I just want to be one hundred percent this time.” Rudy held him down. “And besides, Jaime can handle the little guy for the day.”
“That’s right Steve. You listen to Rudy for once. Steven and I will be fine. In fact he’s down in Oscar’s office with Callahan right now.”
“Ok. But one more day, then I’m going home.” Steve lay back on his pillow and was soon sleeping.
Jaime stopped by Oscar’s office on her way out to pick the baby up. “By the way Callahan we are going to have a little party for Steven next week He turns a year old.”
“I’d be more than happy to come.” Callahan smiled as she reluctantly handed the baby over to his grandmother. “Anytime you want to give him up, you can leave him on my doorstep anytime you want.”
“I don’t think there is any danger in that happening.” Jaime laughed.
The next morning Steve was stomping up and down the halls before Rudy arrived. “You going to let me out of here?” He demanded.
“You can leave as soon as Jaime gets here.” Rudy agreed. “I’ll see you at the OSI.”
Steve waited, and Jaime and Steven finally arrived. “Let’s go.” Steve reached into stroller and clucked his grandson under the chin. “Hey there little guy grandpa missed you.”
“He missed you too.” Jaime smiled.
As they headed out the door a young kid was heading in. Steven looked up at him and began screaming…
The kid, after looking Steve over up and down turned and headed the other direction.
Jaime picked Steven up out of the stroller. “I wonder what that was all about?” Jaime pondered as she turned to Steve.
“I don’t know.” Steve said as he folded up the stroller and placed it in the trunk while Jaime strapped Steven into his car seat. “I wish you could tell Grandma what’s wrong.” Jaime ran her fingers through his hair.
“He’s so much like Matthew.” Jaime said as she started the car. “Where to?” She turned to Steve.
“Let’s go to see Oscar. He told me to stop in after Rudy let me go.”
She drove to the OSI branch office in LA. She pulled up to the curb and parked. “You head on up, I’ll grab our grandson and be right behind you.”
Rudy was sitting in Oscar’s office when Steve stepped in. Oscar was talking on the phone. He waved for Steve to sit down.
“Who’s he talking to?” Steve whispered to Rudy.
Rudy shrugged. “He’s been talking for about ten minutes though.”
“Well I appreciate that commissioner.” Oscar said. “Yes once you have brought him in we will be pressing charges.”
He hung up the phone and turned to Steve. “That was Commissioner Gordon. They are close to finding the man who shot you.”
“Well that’s good news.” Steve related.
“They lifted the prints from your house. Apparently they belong to a kid name Jeff Pike. He’s been in and out of trouble since the age of nine.”
“How old is he now?” Jaime wondered.
“Fifteen.” Oscar told them. “The police told me they are on their way to his house to pick him up for questioning. They wonder if you could pick out of a line up?”
“I don’t know Oscar.” Steve winced “I remember very little. All I remember is seeing someone in our living room. He had a ski mask on. That’s all I can tell you.”
“A ski mask?”
“Yea. You know one of those hats that cover your entire face.”
“I know what they are. According to the police, This Pike kid wears one when he’s on the job.”
“Has he ever shot anyone before?” Steve wondered.
“No, just petty theft.” Oscar related.
The police would like to see you.” Oscar turned to Steve. “I’ll give you a ride if you want.”
“That’s ok Oscar. I’ll drive him I wonder?” Jaime pondered. She turned to Steve.. “That kid we saw coming into the hospital as we were going out…Steven screamed when he saw him…I wonder?”
“I’m sure it’s the same guy.” Steve said.
“What do you mean Steven screamed?” Oscar wondered.
“He looked up at this kid and just started crying.” Steve explained.
“Do you think he saw him?” Oscar wondered.
“I don’t know.” Jaime stood holding the baby. “But are the police going to take the word of a one year old who can’t talk yet?”
“I’m willing to bank on him.” Oscar smiled at his friend’s only grandson.
“Me too!” cried Steve. “Come on. Let’s go see if they have him in custody.”
The three left Oscar’s office and they headed for Parker Center where Steve was to see if he could identity the person who broke into his home and shot him.
Jaime, Steve, Oscar and Little Steven stood in the viewing room. As the seven young kids filed in Steven looked in the same direction his grandparents.
“The instant he saw the boy who was in his grandparents house Steven let out a scream once again.
“What’s with him?” the desk sergeant wondered.
Oscar explained. “We believe he may be our only witness. We thing he saw the burglar.”
“Oh that’s just great.” The desk sergeant complained.
“Don’t be so quick to dismiss him.” Jaime scolded holding the boy tightly. “We saw that same boy as we were coming out of the hospital. Steven gave the same response.”
“What happened then?” The sergeant asked.
“The kid just took off in a different direction.” Jaime told him.
“Well what kid are we talking about?’
“Number four.” Steve pointed.
“Let me try something.” The sergeant stated. “I want each boy to leave the area then come in one at a time turn around once, then leave.”
Jaime tried to keep Steven’s attention on the two-way glass. The boy’s attorney stood in the back of the room.
“Just a moment.” The lawyer spoke up. I want the boys to switch clothes; maybe my client was wearing the same outfit the burglar was wearing. That’s what the child is reacting to.”
“Go right ahead. I have ever bit of confidence in my grandson.” Jaime articulated.
“I also want the two of you out of the room. A policewoman can hold the baby. How do I know you’re not coaching him?”
By now Matthew had showed up. “I have no objection to that. I agree with my mother. I think my son knows who did this.”
The three of them left the room. Oscar was allowed to stay as long as he didn’t go near Steven. A policewoman held Steven up to the glass.
After switching clothes the boys filed across the platform one by one.. When Jeff Pike strode across Steven began screaming once again. He screamed so hard that Jaime had to come in and comfort him.
“Well.” The lawyer began. “I’ll tell my client about the witness. I want the DA here. I mean we just might come up with some kind of deal”
“No deal.” Steve shouted. “Your client broke into my home. I might be willing to forgive that. He’s a young kid. He shoots me, I might even have been willing to forgive that. But now that he did it in full view of my one-year-old grandson, that sir I cannot forgive.”
“I understand.” The lawyer whimpered. “I’ll talk to my client.”
The gang left Parker Center. “The DA said he would call us.” Oscar said as the headed back to Oscar’s office.
The phone was ringing when they stepped in. Oscar picked it up. “…Yes thank you.” Oscar hung the phone back up.
“Well?” The all asked.
“That was the police…”
“We figured that.” Steve barked.
“The kid confessed. He wanted to from the beginning but his lawyer wouldn’t let him. I guess right after he saw you. by the way he was coming to see if you were all right. I guess when Steven looked at him and screamed he was ready to confess.”
“Well that settles that.” Steve reached down and picked the baby up. “How’s grandpa’s little hero?”
Steven looked him straight in the eye ‘papa’ He giggled.
A week later everyone gathered at Steve and Jaime’s house to celebrate Steven’s first birthday. Even auntie Robin showed up herself. She had a surprise of her own for everyone.
“I’m getting married.” She announced. “His name is Todd Barns. He works in the same law firm I work for.”
“That’s great!” Steve exclaimed as he shook the hand of his future son-in-law.
“Todd’s family lives in Oregon.” Robin explained. “We are going to have the wedding here in California.”
“When will the wedding be?” Steve asked.
“In a few months. We are hoping for Sept 10th Robin beamed.
Steve smiled “Your mother’s birthday.” He stated.
“I thought you would approve.” Robin hugged him. “I really need your help ‘mom’ Dad. Since I live in NY I need someone out here to make the arrangements. Would the two of you mind?”
“Not at all.” Jaime beamed “I would love to help you.”
The months flew by. Steve and Jaime did all they could to set up things for the big day. Robin spoke to them at first weekly, then as the wedding day drew nearer she called them daily.
On the big day Oscar and Rudy showed up at Steve and Jaime’s house. “Well Steve.” Oscar began. “The last of you kids is getting married.”
“Yea I know. I’m starting to feel real old.” Steve smiled. “I mean it won’t be long and my grandson will be two…”
“Steve! It’s only Sept. “ Jaime chided. “He won’t be two till May.”
“I suppose you’re right. But trust me, it will be here before you know it.”
The day progressed and Steve once again became a father-in-law and this time there was no plate throwing at the reception.
Steve had been right though. After September came October, Steve and Jaime were pleased to take their only grandson trick or treating. Then the holidays rolled around once again. Soon it was May and time to prepare for Steven’s second birthday.
“I can’t believe how quickly this past year has gone.” Jaime muttered as she and Steve cleared away the mess from the party.
If Steve and Jaime thought that year had gone fast, it was nothing compared to how quickly the next three years passed.
When Steven turned three Jaime began preparing him for kindergarten. She bought all sorts of workbooks for him and the two of them worked daily.
As the years passed Steve became a grandfather two more times Robin had first a little girl, then a little boy.”
“I wish they lived closer.” Steve said when they arrived back home after seeing their new grandson.
Jaime accepted both as he grandchildren as well.
Soon the big day arrived. With tears in their eyes Jaime and Steve watched as Matthew walked Steven into his kindergarten classroom.
“Mom, he’ll be fine.” Matthew assured when he emerged from the school building.
“I know.” Jaime sniffed. “It’s just so hard to believe he’s starting school.”
“Yea I know. Look I still need the two of you to pick him up and take him when school is out at three.”
‘We’re just so used to having him.” Steve added.
“You still will.” Matthew assured.
“It’s not the same.” Jaime was still crying.
They got in the car and drove back to the house.
“What do we do now?” Steve asked as they walked into the quiet house.
“I don’t know.” Jaime sighed and plopped down on the couch. “You said something about making things out of wood.” Jaime reminded. “Why don’t you go buy some tools and fix up a shop in the basement?”
“That might help. Want to ride along?”
“Sure.” They were headed for the front door when the doorbell rang. Confused the two looked at one another.
“I’m not expecting anyone.” Jaime shrugged.
“Me either.” Steve opened the door. “Robin! Todd!” He exclaimed.
“Hi dad. Our firm is moving us out here. We are going to work in LA but will live in Ojai. We feel that’s the best place to raise children.”
“By the way, where are the kids?” Steve wondered craning his neck to see if he could see them.
“They are in the car.” Todd explained. “We wanted to make sure you were here before we drug them out of the car.” He stepped off the porch to go get them.
“That’s great, but what did you mean when you said living here would be for the best?”
“We have a favor dad.” Robin said as Todd set their two-year-old daughter on the step. “We need you to take care of the kids while we’re at work.”
Steve bent down to his granddaughter “Hi Christy. I’m grandpa.” He cooed. Then he turned the attention to the bundle in her arms. “And how’s the latest addition doing? How old is he?”
“He’s two months.” Robin proclaimed proudly. “David is just fine.” She continued to smile.
Steve took the squalling bundle from his daughter. Then turned to Jaime. “Well.” He smiled “Here we go again…”