Saturday, August 6, 2016

Snowball Epelouge

Lexie sat at the antique vanity that she and Jon had shipped back from England on their twentieth wedding anniversary. They had been scouting out locations for her next book and had come across a Victorian bedroom set and had fallen in love with it.  Inky lay curled up on the pillow at the head of the bed.  They had installed steps for him and his mother before she had crossed over the rainbow bridge.  Snowballs death had been a crushing blow to the whole family.  They had taken her out to the cabin for Christmas and on the way home she went peacefully on her princess pillow that the girls had all chipped in and bought her.

Stephanie had gotten married and presented them with their first grandchild, a daughter, Addison Rose.  Stephanie and her husband Stephen, lived in their old townhouse.  Jon and Lexie gave it to them as a wedding gift.  Since it was just the two of them, they had moved back into the house by the river in Rumson.

Jesse and Sally got married during his senior year at Notre Dame, and Jesse was playing for the New England Patriots. They had given Lexie and Jon their second grandchild not long after he signed his NFL contract.  The little boy, Carter John, was named after both grandfathers.

Jake had followed in his father’s footsteps with a band of his own.  He had married a girl he had met in high school, just like his dad.  Jake and Hannah, were living on the road, with an apartment in LA and New York City, in the same building as Stephanie and Stephen.  His band was playing at the new Stone Pony that his father had bought and renovated with his Godfather Southside Johnny.

Romeo was a senior in business management and was working for his brother’s band, the way his uncle Matty had done for years for his father.  He was not married, as he was either at school or on the road.  Not that he didn’t have his own share of groupies.

The trio had split off into three different directions going to college.  Maddy was in culinary school in Saint Gimignano, Italy.  She wanted to open her first Italian Restaurant in New York City by the time she was twenty five.  Olivia had been bitten by the acting bug while on the set of her mother’s movie written about a private investigator, which stared her daddy. She had attended acting at NYU and got her first part on a soap opera.  Cullen had surprised them all when he entered the military.  He was stationed in Greece, and was dating a sweet young girl who made sure he was fed good Greek food, one of twins, she and Cullen made a cute couple, and they would be home for Christmas at the cabin.

Bon Jovi had finally retired, and only got together for reunion shows at the Stone Pony.  Jon had a recurring movie role in all the sequels to Lexie books that turned into movies.  Even with silver hair, the fans still loved him.

They had moved into the cabin when Bon Jovi left the road, but when Jon had bought the Stone Pony they had moved back into the River house and only used the cabin for family get togather’s during the holidays. 

Tonight was Jon and Lexie’s twenty fifth wedding anniversary.  Almost all of the family were coming to the party.  The bedrooms were full with family, even some of the band had made it to town.  Jake and Hannah were staying out in the apartment where the studio was, and Romeo was in the bedroom at the guest house.  She finished her makeup and putting on her jewelry. First the gold paw print necklace with Snowballs ashes in them that she only took off to shower.  The diamond earrings and necklace that had been her bride’s jewelry when they had first gotten married.  Jon was in his closet grumbling about wearing his tie.  Kenneth Cole had sent them both clothes to wear at their silver wedding anniversary, tie included.

“Ken knows I hate to wear a tie,” Jon said as he came out of the closet. Tossing the jacket over the foot of the solid oak canopy bed.  He would much rather spend the rest of the day in that bed than attend the party. Lexie watched him in the mirror as he struggled with the tie.  As always he took her breath away, he was still as handsome as he was the day she first saw him leaning on the bar in the kitchen of the cabin.

“Come here and let me tie it.”  She got up off the bench and turned reaching for the tie.

“I have a better idea, let me get you out of that gorgeous dress, and we can climb into that bed over there and see if I can still make you scream my name?”  He gave her that smoldering look that made her shiver with pleasure.

“If we weren’t supposed to be at a party in our honor, with almost all of our family attending, I would’ve never let you out and you would be screaming my name.”  She took the tie and made quick work of tying his tie and slipping the knot up slowly.  “We can use this tie later, those Victorians must have loved tying their mates to this bed.”  They had found out once they got it home that one of the spindles in the middle of the headboard was perfect for just that thing. They had christened it in just that way the first night.   She gave him a kiss that held promise for later that night.

The bedroom door creaked open slowly and two little heads sneaked around the door.  Carter and Addy Rose peeked in on their grandparents.

“Day kissing again.”  Addy Rose whispered none too softly.

“Day aldways do dat.” Carter informed his cousin.

“We like to always do this.”  Lexie told her two grandchildren.

That brought the two running into the room and grabbing them around the legs.  Both dressed for bed, as the nanny would be watching them.  They had a tea party out on the lawn for the kids today, mini wedding cake and punch.

“You look bootifull Gammie.”  Addy Rose said.

“Yes she does.”  Picking up both grandkids and sitting them on the bed, Jon let them watch their grandparents finish getting ready.

 Putting on his jacket he went and stood behind Lexie, looking at them both in the mirror.  Where was David Bergman when they needed him?  As if by mental magic David had come by to take pictures for them. He caught them standing like that after Stephanie had noticed them and went and got him.  This would make a perfect addition to the family wall downstairs.

“I found them Jesse,” she yelled. “You two slipped away from Callie, and she has been looking for you two.  Its story time!”  Stephanie said as she sat between them on the bed.

“Gammie looks so bootifull.”  Addy whispered to her mom.

“She sure does. And Grampie looks handsome. A tie Mom? You got him to wear a tie?”  Steph laughed at the stink eye she got from her dad.

Jesse came to the door.

“Limo just got here, are you two finally ready to leave?”  He too sat on the bed beside his son watching his mother and father finish getting ready.

We’ll be down by the time you get those two in bed.”  Jon told his son.

After goodnight kisses and a reapplication of lipstick they headed down to the front door.

Reaching into his jacket pocket he pulled out a velvet box and handed it to Lexie.  Inside was an eternity band of sparkling diamonds.  Lexie gasped as he placed it on her finger, next to her wedding rings.

“Here’s to twenty five of the best years of my life with the woman who still makes me scream her name. We’ve had some bumps along the way, but I’m so happy that I found you in that kitchen twenty five years ago.”  Jon pulled her back into his arms for another kiss.

“Ditto.”  Lexie said as she gently wiped her lipstick off his lips.


Finally after eight years of writing Snowballs Adventure I can now say The End.  I started writing this as a Temptation short story on Jovination the website.  Readers begged me to keep it going.  Even though the webpage doesn’t get the visits it used too, I kept it going. Through the death of my Grandmother, my stroke and my Thyroid Storm, the last two almost ended my life. It was finally time to put the little white puff of fur to rest.  Thank you to Shelly and Sunstreaked who talked me into writing a temptation and to Elena for making it so much better by editing it to its final form.

Is this the end of my writing?  Ha, I started a new one a few weeks ago that had been whispering to me for months.  Going to take a few weeks off to give Elena a break.  But you know it’s the only thing that keeps me from talking to the walls.

I hope you enjoyed this fan fiction as much as I did writing it.

The End

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chapter 120

Lexie hated family court. It didn’t matter what city or what state, they all were the same: the crying children, women and men having heated discussions with their lawyers.  This just multiplied her hatred for Dorothea tenfold.   These kids didn’t deserve to be a part of this.  Pulling the boys out of school and having Stephanie on a day pass from Seaforth, just added to her hatred.

Stephanie looked at the other families there in the waiting room and sighed. She noticed a girl about her age, when she turned, she was stunned to see she was about seven to eight months pregnant.  The girl had to be around seventeen years old, and already pregnant, that could’ve been me.  And the way the girl kept rubbing her nose and sniffing, were sure sign of drug use, most likely coke.  There was a girl at Seaforth that was going through drug rehab, but she wasn’t her roommate, but in the room next to her. She knew the sounds and that girl showed all the signs.

Jon and Lexie went into the court room with Martin, he had told the kids that they would be brought in if needed.  They had just walked in when Stephanie huffed.

“I want to tell that judge a thing or two.”  Stephanie told her brothers.

“I do too, I don’t want to go back to mom and Grahams.  Why is she doing this to us?”  Jesse tossed the magazine he was reading back on the table.

“Money maybe?” Stephanie said, as her little brothers nodded.

“They won’t make us go back to live with mom and Graham will they?”  Jake asked looking scared.

“Me too, I won’t go stay there either.”  Romeo said, “I love mamma Lexie.”

“We all do.”  Jesse said looking for conformation from Stephanie.

“I didn’t at first. But the longer we were together, being her coach when daddy was gone, working with her at conventions made me change my mind. I wanted no one else but Lexie when I was in the Hospital.  So yeah, I love her too.”

The doors to the court room opened and a bailiff came out and asked for Stephanie Rose Bongiovi to step into the court room.  Stephanie got up and looked back at her brothers.  Jesse gave her the thumbs up, and the younger boys nodded.  She walked into the room and looked around.  It was no bigger than the class room at Seaforth.

Martin came up and walked her to where she was to stand and face the judge.  Her dad and Lexie were on one side of the room, Graham, Dorothea and their lawyer were on the other side.

The bailiff swore her in and then the judge started to ask her questions.

“Miss Bongiovi, do you know why we are here in Family Court?”  The judge asked,

“My mother, who gave us up so that Mamma Lexie could adopt us and we could all be one family, you know not his kids and their kids.  Now she wants to take us back. It started when I was in the hospital after a drug overdose at College, I ah was a student, and I am now in rehab at Seaforth in the Hamptons.  The police and the hospital got my cell phone and called the house, Mamma Lexie and Daddy’s house, as they are my emergency contacts.”

The judge had been writhing notes as she talked.

“Miss Bongiovi, didn’t your parents have joint custody of you and your brothers. What happened that you were living with your father and Stepmother?” Martin asked her,

“Well, when Graham and my mother left for their honeymoon and after they got married, Jesse and Jakey and I were staying with Graham’s parents, while Romey stayed with daddy. He didn’t like Graham’s parents, because they were pushing use kids to call them grandma and grandpa, Romey was afraid of them and cried a lot, so Mother and Graham decided that he could stay with daddy, until they came home from their long Honeymoon, in Hawaii.”  Stephanie told the judge, looking over at Martin to see if she should tell them about Jesse getting arrested and ending up in juvie.  “While they were gone, I met my new stepsister, she and some of their friends were going out, so I was going to go with then. Grandmother thought I was dressed smutty and I told her she couldn’t tell me how to dress.  She drew back her walking cane, like a baseball bat and was going to strike me.  My brother Jesse grabbed the cane to save me. Her husband called the police and they claimed Jesse was going to hit her and they arrested him. I called Daddy to come and get me, I didn’t want to live with them, she was going to strike me with her cane, and she hated us, said we were wild and spoiled rich brats.  Graham and mother came home early, and we, Jakey and I went to daddy at his hotel.  When we woke up, daddy told us we were going home with him.”

Martin told the Judge that was when the first check of a quarter of a million was given to Mr. and Mrs. Adams.  The check was the payment sole custody for all four children by Mr. Bongiovi.

“Miss Bongiovi, is there anything else you want to tell us?” The judge asked her.

Stephanie looked over at Her Dad and Lexie and smiled, then turned to the judge.

“My brothers and I had a meeting, after we all talked with Martin, daddy and Mamma Lexie.  We decided that we don’t want things to change.  We want to stay with Daddy and Lexie, we don’t want to go back to mother and Graham, if that is alright with the court.  We love Mamma Lexie and our little sisters and brother.  We’re a family us seven kids with daddy and Mamma.”  She turned back to see if Lexie noticed she had called her Mamma and not Mamma Lexie.  She had.

“Will the bailiff please bring in Jesse James, Jacob Hurley and Romeo Jon please?” The judge asked.

Soon the three boys stood by their sister.

“Do you three agree with your sister about staying with your dad and mother instead of returning to your Mother and Graham?”  The judge asked.

“Yes sir, we want to stay with dad and Mamma Lexie.”  Jesse told the judge.  Jake and Romeo nodded their heads in agreement.

The judge made more notes and looked over the divorce decree and the change in custody document along with the five million dollar payment for giving up her rights as a parent.  He let the bailiff take the four children back in the waiting room.  Then he looked at the new lawsuit.

“Mr. Smith, can you explain why this new suite has brought against Mr. and Mrs. Bongiovi for this amount.” The judge asked Dorothea’s lawyer.

“Since they have joint accounts, we brought the in the duress lawsuit against both of them” Mr. Smith said.

“Excuse me Judge, Mr. and Mrs. Bongiovi do not have joint accounts.  Actually they have separate accounts, it was part of their prenup agreement.  The only accounts they jointly have are a household account which they both put funds into, and one for the three youngest children Maddison, Olivia and Cullen college funds.  And since the legal adoption the older children, Stephanie, Jesse, Jake and Romeo by Mrs. Bongiovi, a joint college fund was also set up for them.”  Martin told the Judge. 

“Because this new information has been brought forward, I will have to look further into the merits of this lawsuit. I will dismiss this hearing at this time and both parties will be informed of my decision on this matter. Thank you for coming in and you should hear from me in the next few weeks.  Court adjourned.”  The judge banged the mallet and got up and took the big file with him.

Martin went over to Jon and Lexie and talked to them, as Dorothea and Graham left with their lawyer.

Soon they were all headed back to Seaforth to drop off Stephanie.  After stopping for lunch, they pulled into Seaforth.

“Can you walk me in Mom, a parent needs to sign me back in.”  Stephanie asked Lexie.

“Sure Steph, I’ll be happy to go sign you back in.”  Lexie got out of the car and walked with Stephanie from the parking lot.

“I meant what I said in that courtroom to the judge.  I want you to be my mom.”  Stephanie told her as they got to the office.

Lexie stopped at the door with her hand on the doorknob. She was shocked how things had changed since that night she drove to the hospital to be with Stephanie.  Looking at her daughter she smiled.

“I need to tell you something Steph, I’ll walk you to your room.”  Lexie told Stephanie, it was time to tell her somethings about her life. 

They checked Stephanie in and went up to her room. She had fifteen minutes to get to the twelve step meeting, so Lexie knew she didn’t have long.  Walking into the room they sat on Stephanie’s bed.

“Today was hard for you and the boys,” Stephanie started to answer but stopped at the look on Lexie’s face. “I know, I spent some time in family court.”

“I never asked you about your family, I know, no one came to the wedding.  All you had was your editor, which I thought he wasn’t coming, and a few of your friends.”

“My mom and dad died when I was a little girl, I hardly remember them. My first time in Family Court was when my grandparents argued who I would go live with.  It got nasty, I went with one family only to be back when they couldn’t handle me.”

“Does daddy know?” Stephanie asked her.

“Nope, he knows I was in foster care, but not the Family Court stuff. Granted when I started writing, I used it to help a lot of other kids going through the system.” Lexie explained.  “This is just between you and me.”  She reached over and placed her hand on top of her folded hands and gave them a light squeeze.

“I won’t tell daddy.” Stephanie said softly.

“I better get back out there.  We’ll come up on Sunday for a family visit.  If you need anything, just call us and we’ll bring it up.”  Lexie said as she got off the bed and started for the door.  “I love you Steph, always know that.” Lexie told her when they hugged goodbye.

“Thanks mom, I love you too.”  Stephanie said softly as they hugged.

Lexie held back the tears, as she walked out to the car.  Jon reached over and put his hand on her folded hands and looked into her eyes.

“Okay?”  He asked softly.

She nodded her head, afraid she would dissolved into ugly tears.

Putting his arm around her shoulders he pulled her close for the rest of the ride home.

That night as they snuggled close Lexie finally let her tears come out that she had held in all day. It was hard telling Jon all the facts of her life that she had hid from him.

“I pushed it to the back of my mind, I didn’t let it ruin my life.” Lexie rested her cheek on his chest.

“I always thought you were a strong woman, I now know why.”  He said as he kissed the top of her head.

It was over a two weeks later when Martin got the call and the letter with the judge’s decision.  They wanted to all be there when it was opened, but Stephanie was not going to be able to come home yet, so after school they all piled into two cars and headed to Seaforth. Martin was riding with the family for the opening of the letter.

‘What if it’s not good?’  Stephanie texted Jesse.

‘What if its good news and we can be one big family?’ Jesse texted back

‘They won’t split us up will they?’  Stephanie texted back.

‘Let’s not think of that think about that.  We’re almost there.’  Jesse told his sister.

‘Okay, I have to go to class, they’ll come and get me when you guys get here.’  Stephanie signed off and went to class.

They pulled in and parked at the school, it took them a while to unload.  Getting the Trio in the stroller was a job in itself.   The facility gave them one of the offices to have their meeting. They waited for Stephanie to get out of her class.  Three seven month old toddlers, locked in a stroller got antsy, even sippy cups and cheerios stopped pacifying the restless Trio. Lexie and Sally took them for a walk and found that a trip around the yard helped soothed them to sleep. Coming back to the room, they met Stephanie at the door.

“Shhhh we just got them to sleep.”  Lexie took a hug from Stephanie.

“I have an upset stomach, I’m so worried I don’t think I slept much and I skipped lunch.”  Stephanie told her as they went into the office.

Martin got right to work.  He read it first to himself, then looked up and look at each family member.

“Let’s start with the charge of under duress the court cannot see just cause.  After looking at financial records, the alimony payments and work status of Mr. Adams should be enough for a family of four to live on comfortably.  I am dismissing the claim against Alexis Bongiovi and John Francis Bongiovi.  Looking over payments to Mr. and Mrs. Adams, it is my decision that as Mr. Bongiovi has not submitted a claim of repayment of five million dollars.” Martin took a breath and looked at Jon, who nodded his head in agreement.  “That the money not be repaid.”

Lexie, who had been holding on for dear life to Jon’s hand in case the decision did not go as planned, gave it a tight squeeze.

“What does it say about us, you know me and my brothers?” Stephanie asked, sitting on the edge of her seat by Jake.

“It’s in here, there’s just a little more about money.” Martin smiled at Stephanie.  “On the continuation of Alimony, it is Mr. Bongiovi’s decision to continue to play, with the guarantee that Dorothea Adams, finds gainful employment within one year, if none is found, Alimony will be cut in half.”

Lexie looked at Jon.

“Isn’t that kind of harsh?”  Lexie asked Jon.

“Hey that was the Judges suggestion, to make her less dependent on my money to survive.  I would have kept it the same, she did raise these kids while I was out on the road.”  Jon told Lexie.

“Actually Mr. Jon, it was my suggestion after our talk about continuing the alimony.  The Judge also suggested it, if we hadn’t put it in the counter suit.”  Martin reminded Jon.

Jesse cleared his throat to get attention.

“About said children, my sisters about to be sick and Romeo is scared.”  Jesse informed the adults in the room. 

Martin read over it to himself first them looked at the children.

“On the claim of resending full guardianship of the children, it is my judgement that Stephanie Rose, Jesse James Louis, Jacob Hurley and Romeo Jon, remain in the full custody of Alexis and John Frances Bongiovi Junior.  Visitation rights to Dorothy Adams will be supervised for a set period of time with a child advocate present at all times and must be held in a public place.” Martin looked up in the faces of the children waiting as it sunk in that Lexie will now be and forever, in the eyes of the court, be their mother.

“It’s over.” Stephanie whispered.

“It’s over.” Jon said throwing his arms around a crying Lexie.

“They’re mine.”  She cried over and over.

All four kids ran and hugged their mom and dad, they were now and will forever be a family of not his and hers but theirs.

The End

Monday, July 18, 2016

Chapter 119

The boys and Jon were hiding out in the den with soda, popcorn and movies, while the girls were going through boxes and the truck.  They had set up three separate areas in the alleyway, one section to sell, one to donate and one to keep. Lexie had brought out a cooler with water, juice and soda’s for the girls.

Stephanie had called a lot of her high school friends, she had even invited Sarah, but she was informed that she could not come because of the lawsuit.

Lexie came out with several pizza’s, checked the cooler, then looked at some of the things they had put in the donate pile. Picking up the books she shook each one of them out. Slips of paper, receipts and other things fell out.

“Girls, shake out the books before you put them in either of in the piles.  I just came across some money used as bookmarks.”  She held up to folded dollar bills up.  One of the things she didn’t show them were the packs of rolling papers she also found.  “Oh yeah, check all purses, wallets and pants pockets too.”  She headed for the door.

“You got a smart mom.”  Missy, one of Stephanie school friends.

“Yeah I do.”  Stephanie said just as Lexie went in the door.

She paused for a couple of seconds, but continued on into the townhouse.

The ride to Seaforth was shorter than Stephanie expected.  The boys stayed home with rules not to leave the townhouse.  They had left through the alleyway, the driver never questioned the pickup location.  

“It doesn’t look like a rehab.”  Stephanie said as the pulled up to the facility.

“What did you think it would like like Steph” Lexie asked her.

“A hospital maybe, this just looks like a big house.” Stephanie sat back on the seat by Lexie.

The driver had dropped them off at the door, with no reporters in sight. By leaving through the alleyway they managed to avoid the media outside the townhouse.

They were seated in an office by a young lady, who was all but drooling over Jon.  Nothing about the place reminded Jon of a rehab, like the last place he had visited Richie in. That place smelled like a last ditch effort to get sober.

They did the walk through and were soon on the road back.  The place wasn’t as bad as Stephanie thought it was going to be.  Besides counseling, she had to go through drug testing, classes, and then usual twelve step program. “Thirteen weeks should go by quick” she thought when she looked at the schedule in the packet that they were given. Between lectures, classes and studying to finish her classes at Hamilton, she had very little down time.

They were halfway home when Jon’s cell phone went off.  Looking at the caller ID he rolled his eyes.

“Let me guess, it’s Dorothea?”  Lexie asked as she leaned over and looking at his caller ID to make sure.  “You better answer it, she’ll only call over and over till you give in.”

“Alright Dotty what do you want?” Jon asked with a sigh.

“I just got to Seaforth and they said you had already left. We were supposed to meet the director and the staff together.”  Dorothea said in an acid tone.

“No we weren’t, your lawyer should’ve told you, and that until the hearing on custody, you signed you have no rights as a parent, and you sold them.” Jon informed his ex. He was really getting tired of telling her this, over and over again.

“I would never have signed away my kids.”  Dorothea whined.

“But you did Dotty for five and a quarter of a million dollars.”  Jon finally said what he had paid Dorothea when she signed the papers.  Jon saw the shock on Stephanie face. That sick feeling came back to his stomach.  He hung up and tossed the phone on the seat beside Stephanie.

“So that’s how much we were worth to her?” Stephanie asked her dad.

“You and your brothers weren’t supposed to know that.”  Jon told her.  “It was the second payment I made to her.” 

Lexie knew this was a long time in coming, her presence wasn’t needed for this discussion, why weren’t they home yet.

“Jon, can this wait till we get home?”  Lexie asked him, looking between father and daughter.

“Lexie do you know anything about this?” Stephanie asked Lexie.

“No, I don’t know a thing about this.”  Lexie reassured Stephanie.

“She doesn’t know anything about this. Martin and I took care of all this.”  Jon told Stephanie.

“But this concerns the boys too, you and Martin have been taking care of this and they’re the most important part of this” She searched for the right word. “Lawsuit.” Mess would have been a better word but she didn’t want to upset Stephanie.

Jon looked between the two ladies in the car and knew what was coming.

“I think this should be taken care of in a family meeting.”  Lexie told them.

“I agree daddy, this should be a family meeting.”  Stephanie nodded in agreement with Lexie.

“And they need to be told from the start.”  Lexie said.

“From the start?” Jon asked looking between the two.

“The start.”  Lexie nodded along with Stephanie.

They all sat around the table looking at Jon, waiting on him to let them know what was going on.

“Well, your all going to have to know before the hearing anyway.”  Jon got up and walked around the table to stand behind Lexie.  “It all started when Jesse got arrested.  When we, Martin and I got back from the juvenile detention, there was a letter from Grahams parents blackmailing me for a quarter of a million not to take this to the press.  I knew it wasn’t from Grahams parents it was from your mom.”

“So that is how you all came to live with me.  Yes I paid only if she gave me full custody.”  Jon told them.

“Then there was more money paid for Lexie to be our mom?”  Stephanie asked him.

“Yes, Graham lost his job and they were going to lose the house and so for five million dollars and more, she signed the papers.”  Jon started to walk back to his seat at the table.

“So she was under duress, when she signed the papers.”  Jesse said.

“When I found out she was offering to sign her parental rights, I offered the money, not beforehand.”  Jon told the kids.  “I offered, she took.”

Jesse looked over at Stephanie, whose eyes were shocked.  She looked at her father and then down to Lexie.

“So she took the money after you found out they were in trouble?” Stephanie asked, when her father nodded she then turned to Lexie. “Why is she going after you? You’re the one who made visiting mom and Graham’s okay, you even took the boys over when they wanted to visit.”

“I think it was after the overdose, when the police called the house and I went up there and I didn’t call her to let her know.”  Lexie reached out her hand to Stephanie. “Your uncle Tony heard her threatening to get your four back, so she’s going after the both of us.”

“I hate that, why is she doing this?”  Stephanie shook her head.

“To hurt dad and mamma Lexie.”  Jesse said.

“We don’t want daddy and mamma Lexie hurt.”  Jakey and Romeo said together.

“Don’t worry, we are prepared to deal with this.   Stephanie and Jesse are old enough to decide who they want to live with, but the two of you, they may ask you who you want to live with.”  Jon told his younger two.

Jake looked over at Romeo, then back at their dad.

“We want to live with you and Mamma Lexie.” Jake told his father, Romeo nodded in agreement.

“I’m glad Romey, you too Jakey.”  Lexie told the boys.  She looked down the table at Jon and smiled.

“Okay, let’s go get some food and then it’s homework time.”  That got Lexie a lot of groans.  It was a short walk to Whole Foods. This was what a family does, Lexie thought, listening to the banter between father and kids, damn Dorothea, for trying to separate him from his kids.