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Introduction:

A romantic story about an orphan who finds a family.
This is a very long story. It’s over 47,000 words and 118 pages.

There is a little described sex at the beginning of the story but most of the story has no sex.

The story has not been edited by a professional so you will find some spelling errors and miss use of word and miss placed commas etc.

This is a complete story with an ending. I hope it brings a tear to your eye at some point.



A Kind Stranger (The Whole Story From Beginning To End)



My name is James. Back when I was a child I was very lonely and unhappy. I had no family, I was an orphan. I spent most of my childhood with foster parents never staying with anyone for more than a year or two. I wasn’t a problem child; I guess I was just unlucky when it came to foster parents.

One of the families I stayed with when I was about four years old moved out of the area because of a job change and didn’t want to adopt me.

Another couple I stayed with when I was seven years old thought they couldn’t have children but when my foster mother became pregnant I was no longer wanted so I had to return to the orphanage.

The first couple of times I was pulled away from my foster parents it hurt, it hurt me real bad. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t stay with them. After that I learned not to get close to my foster parents anyone. I just went into a shell to protect my fragile feelings.

Thinking back I never got many, if any hugs from most of my foster parents. Oh sure they fed me and told me when to go to bed but most of the time I was pretty much on my own. At that young age I didn’t know any better, I didn’t know or understand what a normal real family was like so I thought that was the way it was. Looking back on my young life I guess some of them where in it for the money.

I was transferred in and out of a number of schools and as a result I didn’t have any close friends. Always being the new kid I was picked on a lot. This caused me to stay away from them and I tried to keep a low profile, avoiding others, and didn’t make friends.

In my senior year of high school shortly after I turned eighteen I met Kathy. She was like me, an orphan. The best way to describe Kathy was average. There were a lot of other girls that caught my eye as beautiful but Kathy was average. Don’t get me wrong she wasn’t ugly. She had dark brown hair, brown eyes, and an average sized chest. She stood about 5’ 6”and carried a few extra pounds but if someone asked, I would have said that she wasn’t fat. We knew each others names because we shared the fact that we were both orphans but she had her own crowd that she ran with and we didn’t hang out together.

One Saturday night I was walking around the city alone when I saw Kathy at a bowling alley. She waved at me so I walked over to her and said hi. She said she was waiting for a girl friend of hers to show up. Her girl friend was already late and she didn’t want to wait any longer so she asked me if I’d walk her home. I didn’t have anything else to do so I said yes.

It was a cool spring night as we started walking the two or so miles to her foster home. We talked on the way and the subject turned to sex.

She asked me, “Have you ever done it with anybody?”

I hadn’t been on any dates and walking her home was the longest time I had ever spent alone with a girl. I tried to avoid answering the question for fear she would tell someone that I was a virgin and make my life worse.

I threw the question back at her, “Why, have you ever done it with anybody?”

She smiled at me and said, “I’m not a virgin but I think you are.”

I didn’t say anything. I was embarrassed and turned my face away from her not wanting her to see me blush.

She took my arm in hers and laid her head on my shoulder and said in a kind voice as we walked, “Don’t worry about it everybody starts off as a virgin, if you want I’ll do it with you.”

I was speechless and didn’t know what to say. She pulled me to a stop with her arm and stood in front of me. She put her arms around my neck and we kissed. I was new at this; it was the first real kiss that I had ever received from a girl. I put my arms around her waist and tried to kiss her like she was kissing me. She relaxed her lips and I felt her tongue trying to wiggle its way into my mouth. I took in a deep nervous breath and relaxed a little and our tongues met.

My heart was beating faster and I was getting excited. My dick was getting hard as she pulled me closer to her, pressing her B-cup breasts into my chest. We broke our kiss and continued walking arm in arm. When we got close to her house we walked down the alley and she whispered to be quiet. We went to the back of her house and she took a key from the top of a window sill and quietly unlocked their garage. We went in and she locked the door behind us.

It was a large single car detached garage with a work bench and an old couch on one side. Kathy cleared some stuff off the couch and sat down. I sat down next to her and she put her arms around me and we began kissing again.

After a few minutes she must have gotten impatient and took my hand and put it on her breast. My heart was pounding in my throat as I squeezed her breast a few times but mostly just left it where she had put it.

A few minutes later she stopped kissing me and after a frustrating sigh said, “You are new at this aren’t you?”

She then just came out and said it. “You can fuck me if you want to.”

I could just barely see her outline in the dark as she stood up and took off her pants and panties. She reached down unbuckled my belt and pulled my pants and boxers down to my ankles. I was glad it was dark because I would have been too embarrassed to let her see me without my clothes on.

She knelt down on the couch facing me with one knee on each side of me. I reached up and massaged her breasts while she reached for my hard penis. When she touched it, it felt so good I damn near came right there in her hand. She slowly lowered her body down on top of me and slid my cock up into her slippery oh so wet pussy. It was the most pleasurable feeling that I had ever felt. I couldn’t believe how warm and soft her pussy was. She sat still for a few seconds and then started slowly sliding up and down.

Being my first time I lasted just a few seconds and I came inside her. She once again had a frustrated sigh when I started getting soft and she just collapsed down on me and rested her head on my shoulder. Every once in a while she gave my penis a squeeze with her pussy muscles and it didn’t take long for me to become hard again. When my cock was fully erect she sat up straight and lifted up her blouse and bra and took my hands and put them on her bare breasts. She put her hands on my shoulders and started slowly rocking forward and backward.

I started rolling her hard nipples between my finger and thumb and she was moaning and whispered, “Ohh that feels sooo good.”

She started rocking faster and faster and whispered, “Ohh that feels so good, squeeze harder.”

I squeezed her nipples harder expecting her to squeal out in pain but she didn’t. She was rocking back and forth about as fast as I thought she could as I squeezed her breasts and rolled her nipples. She grabbed two handfuls of my hair and started grinding her pussy hard into my pelvis. On every forward stroke she moaned then she let out a squeal and collapsed on my chest breathing hard.

Her pussy started quivering around my cock in short fast bursts. The sensation was incredible and it didn’t take long for me to start cuming again. After resting for a few minutes Kathy got up and teased, “Not bad for your first time.”

After we got dressed I walked her to the door and gave her a goodnight kiss. I couldn’t believe what had just happened to me. I was in a dreamland, ‘I had a girlfriend!’ I was happy and couldn’t wait to see her at school on Monday.

When I saw her in school I smiled at her but she didn’t smile back at me, she just said hi and kept walking. I ran to catch up to her and asked, “What’s wrong?”

She pulled me to the side and whispered, “Last Saturday night I was just horny and wanted to fuck. Don’t take it personal.”

She then just walked away from me and out of my life. I was hurt, to go from such a high to such a low so quickly really hurt. I made a promise to myself to never get hurt like that again.

I didn’t go out on any dates and kept clear of girls, which was pretty easy for me because I was invisible to most of them. As time went on I withdrew from people to the point where you could say I was a hermit. My faith in mankind was at an all time low.

By some miracle I managed to graduate high school. I didn’t bother buying graduation announcements because I didn’t have anyone to send them to. I wasn’t very close to the foster parents that I was living with so no one that I knew came to the commencement ceremony to watch me graduate.

After I graduated I packed my things and told my foster parents that I was moving out of their house. I followed my dream of hitch hiking across the country to see all of the things that I had read about and seen on television. The first few days I made good progress heading out west to see the Rocky Mountains. I was about six hundred miles from my hometown eating breakfast in a truck stop diner when I discovered my wallet was gone.

I had a few dollars stuffed in my front pocket and paid the bill. I don’t know if I was pick-pocketed or if I had just lost it. I retraced my steps back until I got to the spot where I got out of the last car that gave me a ride. I couldn’t find it and wondered if it dropped out of my pocket while I was in the car. There was no one I could call and ask for help so I was on my own.

I was depressed and didn’t want to continue my journey so I began hitch hiking back home. I didn’t have a home to go to but I wanted to get back to some familiar surroundings. I was having a difficult time catching a ride and it took two days for me to go only fifty miles, most of that on foot. I was dropped off at a gas station toward the end of the next day and I only had a dollar left in my pocket. I hadn’t eaten anything in the last two days and I was thinking about going into the store and shoplifting some food.

Not paying close attention to my surroundings I was startled by a woman’s voice saying, “Young man!”

I looked to see that an elderly woman was walking toward me. She asked, “Would you please help my husband change a flat tire?”

She was a nice grandmotherly looking person with a nice smile so I said, “Sure.”

She grabbed my arm in hers and used me as a crutch as we started walking back to their car. She whispered, “My husband is a proud man and will probably say that he doesn’t need any help. He has a bad heart and needs the help and you should just help him.”

I nodded my head and said, “Yes ma’am I understand.”

When we went around the corner of the building there was a brand new Cadillac with a flat tire. An elderly man was empting the trunk that was full of suitcases and other personal items to get the jack and spare tire out.

I walked up to the trunk and said, “Let me give you a hand with this sir.”

He looked up and said, “I’ll be fine I don’t need any help.”

His wife cut in and said, “Damnit Bill you have a bad heart. Let him help.”

He backed away from the trunk and I changed the tire and loaded everything back into the car.

Bill shook my hand and said, “Thank you son, let me buy you some dinner.”

I smiled and said, “Sure.”

This would be the first meal that I had since yesterday morning. I was so hungry and I ate the food so fast it made Bill ask, “My god son when’s the last time you ate?”

I said, “Yesterday morning.” and then told them my story.

Bill looked at his wife and said, “A bus ticket can’t be all that much?”

She nodded her approval and the next thing I knew I was in the next town’s bus depot with a ticket home in my hand.

I tried to get their address to pay them back but he patted me on the shoulder and said, “Life has been good to us and we have more money than we know what to do with.”

He then handed me a twenty dollar bill and said, “You’ll probably get hungry before you get home.”

I couldn’t believe it, I gave them both a hug and said, “Thank you I’ll never forget you.”

Bill and Nancy Washington were the nicest people that I had any dealings with. The bus ticket cost over a hundred dollars and they paid for it like they had known me their whole life. I was happy on the bus ride home, happier then I had been in a long time.

The day after arriving back in my hometown I found a good job with a major manufacturing company. The pay was good and there were benefits including vacation, sick leave, and a 401-K.

I looked around and found an apartment not far away from the manufacturing plant where I worked. The apartment complex consists of five large identical brick buildings with eight apartments in each building. Four apartments are on the first floor and four on the second floor. The complex was huge and took up a whole city block. They are all arranged in a big U shape with each building facing toward the large center green area and swimming pool.

The green area was criss-crossed with sidewalks and was shaded by several dozen large hardwood trees. The grounds were landscaped with shrubs and small flower gardens along the sidewalks and around the swimming pool. At the far end of the grounds sat a large stately three story Victorian house.

The house was owned by David and Mary Williams who also own the apartments. David and Mary was a nice retired couple in their late sixties. David was a stockbroker and Mary was a registered nurse. They’ve been married for over forty years and are childless.

The house appeared to be at least one hundred years old and upon close inspection it showed great craftsmanship with ornate molding around the windows, doors, and on the eves. The front and back of the house had large screened in porches. The kitchen and dining room had beautiful built–in solid oak cabinets and all of the rooms had solid oak floors.

The stairs were also oak with hand carved scroll work on the railings. It had three fireplaces, four bathrooms, and six large bedrooms plus a few extra rooms that could be used for a library or den. Mary used one of these rooms as an office.

My apartment had an electrical problem when I moved in. David wasn’t very good when it came to electricity so instead of waiting for an electrician to show up and fix the problem I asked to use some tools and fixed the problem myself. It turned out to be just a bad wall switch so I replaced it and everything worked as good as new.

David shook my hand and said thank you. He’s a very kind man with a nice smile that immediately put me at ease. We talked for a few minutes and then he asked me to look at some other electrical problems he had. I went with him and we looked at the electrical problems in the other apartments. We got along good with each other and the next thing I knew I was helping him with all of the other maintenance.

It took some time but we became good friends. I didn’t have any other friends so I spent most of my time helping David with the maintenance or helping Mary with the gardening. I helped out so much that they let me stay in my apartment rent free.

I tried dating a couple of times at Mary’s insistence but I didn’t have very good social skills and it was difficult for me to carry on a conversation with someone I didn’t know. If I had any spare time I usually went to the movies alone or I went out to dinner with David and Mary.

I ate supper at their house three or four times a week and was always invited to their holiday celebrations. We were a perfect fit for each other. They had no children and I had no parents. While working close with David he taught me a lot about the stock market and gave me insight on where to put my 401-K money. Needless to say my 401-K grew by leaps and bounds.

I had been living there for almost fifteen years when David died of a sudden heart attack. I cried at the funeral like a son who had lost his father. Soon after the funeral Mary and I had a long talk and it was decided that I would move into the house with her and start taking care of the apartments full time. She offered me a salary that was about twice as much as I was making at my job so I quit and transferred my large 401-K to an IRA.

Mary was in her late seventies and never fully recovered from David’s death. I soon took over her duties of collecting rent and paying her bills. I did all of the shopping, most of cooking and I even took her to her doctor appointments. Finally old age caught up with her and I truly believe she died of a broken heart about a year after David.

The day after the funeral I was contacted by their lawyer and was surprised to find out that David and Mary had willed their estate to me. I was shocked, between the value of their IRA’s and the income and value of the house and apartments I became an instant multi-millionaire at the age of thirty two.

Not bad for an orphan.


Tara

I have never seen mom look so worried. It’s beginning to scare me. Last night she was crying because the landlord came to our apartment and said, ‘If the rent isn’t paid by Monday you will have to move out of the apartment.’

She took off work today to look for a new apartment for us. We needed to find a cheap place to live but the first three apartments we looked at mom said they were too expensive.

Ever since dad left, mom has been working a lot, almost every day. Mom and Dad had a real bad fight just after Christmas. He left that night and I haven’t seen him since. My older sister Katie is sitting in the front seat of the car and I’m in the back. The car is making a funny noise as we pulled to the curb in front of the apartments.

Mom checked the address in the newspaper and said, “This is the last one lets hope for the best. “

The apartments looked real nice, better than the last one we saw. We got out of the car and I poked Katie and pointed to the swimming pool. We walked to one of the apartment doors that was propped open with a chair.

Mom knocked and said “hello is anybody here?”
A nice looking man carrying a paint roller walked into the hallway. He’s tall, taller than dad was and he has brown eyes and dark hair. He looked at mom from her head to her toes and then looked at Katie and me. He smiled at us with a nice smile. I like him.

James

It was a hot June day and one of my apartments was empty. I was inside painting one of the bedrooms with the doors propped open to keep cool and to let the paint fumes out. I heard a knock at the door and a female voice say, “Hello is anybody here?”

I went to the hallway and looked to see a beautiful young woman about my age followed by two very cute young girls. The girls were the spitting image of the woman and I assumed they were mother and daughters.

They all had Strawberry blond hair and were in very good physical condition. She had beautiful deep blue eyes and larger than average breasts. Both of the girls were slim with their hair in a ponytail and they had an athletic look to them.

The woman was holding a newspaper and asked me, “Do you know where the office is?”

I pointed behind me and told her, “It’s over there but I run the place.”

She smiled and asked, “Is this the apartment that’s for rent?”

“Yes.”

“How much is the rent?”

When I told her she said ‘damn’ under her breath. The oldest girl crossed her arms and had a worried-disappointed look on her face.

The younger girl tore at my heart strings. She looked to be about nine or ten years old. Her lip started to quiver and a tear came out of her eye and quickly ran down her cheek. She looked like she had the weight of the whole world on her young shoulders. My instinct was telling me something was very wrong.

I thought back to my childhood and I knew she had that hopeless feeling that I had when they took me away from my foster parents. I also remembered those few desperate moments when I was walking into the gas station to steal some food. The mother said thank you and started to leave. The younger girl hung her head down and followed. I couldn’t let them leave without finding out their story.

I said, “Wait, is there a problem? Maybe I can help.”

She stopped and looked at me and said, “There’s not much you can do.”

Her face was beautiful even with her sad expression. Something in her eyes gave me the confidence to talk to her so I said, “Try me.”

She looked at her girls and then back at me. I could tell she didn’t want to say anything in front of them so I reached in my pocket and pulled out a five dollar bill and gave it to the oldest girl and said, “There’s a store down at the end of the block. Go buy you and your sister some ice cream or what ever you want while I talk to your mother.”

They looked at their mother and she nodded yes. Smiles broke out on their faces and in an instant they were gone.

I held out my hand and said, “My name is James.”

She shook my hand and said, “My name is Megan and my girls are Katie and Tara.”

I said, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

She crossed her arms and looked at her feet and said, “I’m having a hard time right now. I can’t seem to get my feet on the ground.”

Her head rose and she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “My husband ran off with another woman and left me with the girls and all of the bills. Don’t get me wrong, I love my girls, but I can’t pay the apartment rent where I’m at and we have just a few days before they will throw us out. I don’t have a very good job and I can’t afford the rent that everybody charges.”

Her answer seemed honest and sincere and she looked like she needed someone to give her and her daughter’s a break. I was amazed at myself because I was able to talk to her without stumbling for words to say. She was a very beautiful woman and I wanted to ask her out on a date but I was too shy to ask her. I thought a couple of months of free rent wouldn’t hurt and when I knew her better I might find the courage to ask her out.

I asked, “How old are your daughters?”

She said, “Katie is eleven and Tara is nine why?”

I said, “I’m getting behind in the work that I need to do around here and if you and your daughters are willing to help out I’ll give you the apartment rent-free.”

I really wasn’t behind in the up-keep but she seemed like the type of person that didn’t like to take something for nothing and it would also give me an excuse to keep in contact with her.

She had a look on her face like she was trying to figure out if I was teasing her.

A smile broke out and she said, “Really?”

I answered, “Yes.”

The smile disappeared from her face and she asked, “What will the owner say?”

I kept a straight face and tried not to smile, “Well, the owner is a real nice guy and I don’t think he’ll mind.”

We walked outside and saw her daughters coming down the sidewalk licking ice cream treats. Megan went to meet them and I could tell the moment she told them the good news. Both girls started jumping up and down and dancing on their tiptoes. It brought a smile to my face seeing her girls were happy. I thought to myself ‘now that’s the way little girls should act.’

Megan asked when they could move in and I said as soon as we get done painting and cleaning up. Megan and I finished painting while the girls swept, mopped, and vacuumed. We finished by early afternoon. Megan said they lived in a semi-furnished apartment and they just had clothes, a few small pieces of furniture, and personal items to move. She had a small car not made for hauling so I offered and we went to get their things in my pickup truck. We picked up their meager belongings in one load and brought them to their new apartment.

They had no beds or a couch that they would need so I brought Megan to a storeroom that I put all of the things that tenants leave behind when they move.

I pointed into the room and I told her, “You can use anything you want.”

She started to cry and I asked, “Is something wrong?”

A look of relief came over her face and she surprised me by turning and giving me a hug and said, “A few hours ago I was at rock bottom. I didn’t know where we would be living next week. Then a Knight-in-Shining-Armor comes by and saves the day. You don’t know what this means to me.”

I didn’t say anything to her but I knew what a little help from a kind stranger felt like.

She has very soft skin and her perfume smelled nice. She was pressing her breasts into my chest as she hugged me. I started day-dreaming and was loosing my train of thought. I have been living alone for a long time and I found the physical contact with a woman exciting.

We set up the beds and arranged a couch, a table, and chairs. When we finished we sat down and took a well deserved break. I looked at Megan slouched back on the couch with her eyes closed and watched her breasts heaving up and down as she breathed. She is an extremely beautiful woman and I was getting aroused. I was nervous that she would see my growing erection so I stood fixing my pants so my hard-on would have more room and walked toward the door. I told her if she needed anything to let me know and I left for home.

I was up early the next morning vacuuming the swimming pool when Katie and Tara found me. They ran over and said, “Good morning we’re here to help.”

I said, “Good morning girls, where’s your mother?”

Tara said, “She has to work today.”

I showed Tara what I was doing. She soon caught on and started cleaning the pool. I took Katie with me and showed her how to operate the riding lawnmower. I grabbed the weed eater and we soon finished what would have taken me all day to do.

It was lunch time and I asked them, “What’s for lunch?”

The smiles left their faces and Katie looked at her feet and said in a low voice, “We don’t have much food.”

There went my heart strings again. ‘Damn it!’ I said to myself little girls shouldn’t be worried about such simple things as food. I said, “Well I can fix that. Come on.”

I handed Katie my cell phone and told her, “Call your mom and tell her we’re going to the store.”

We started in the Health and Beauty section and I told them to get what they need and don’t forget about their mother. We then stopped in the girl’s clothes department and I asked if they had swimming suits. They ran off looking for suits and I told them to each get some summer clothes, socks, underwear, and a pair of shoes. We then went up and down the grocery isles and when we pulled up to the cash register the shopping cart was full to the top.

The total came to just over four hundred dollars and the girls looked at me with unsure eyes. I gave them a reassuring smile and paid with my credit card. We loaded everything in the back of my pick-up. Tara sat in the middle and when I got into the drivers seat she grabbed me around the neck and gave me a big hug and said thank you. Katie also reached over and gave me a hug. I hugged them back and told them they were welcome. The huge smiles they had on their face had been worth every penny I had spent.

We were still putting things away when Megan came walking in from work. She stopped and looked at all of the shopping bags and then at me and said, “I don’t know when I’ll be able to pay you back.”

I cut her words off and said, “Don’t worry about it.” I thought to myself that I didn’t want to make her feel bad that I had given her something without her giving me something in return so I said, “I could use a nice home cooked meal.”

Megan is a fabulous cook and made probably the best pork chops I had ever tasted. I helped her clean up the kitchen while the girls played in the living room. She was easy to talk to although she did most of the talking and I just listened.

When we finished she walked toward me reached her arms around my waist gave me a hug and brought her face to mine. I was nervous and wasn’t sure if she wanted me to kiss her. I was beginning to get an erection and didn’t want to poke her in the stomach with it so I patted her back a couple of times in an attempt at a hug and quickly stepped back away from her mumbling thanks for dinner and hurried out the door.

As the weeks went by I found out that Megan was a waitress and the money she made wasn’t enough for them to get by on. I noticed Katie was wearing the same clothes over and over and I asked her why. She told me that she had grown quit a bit in the last few months and the only clothes she had that fit were the ones I had bought her. Money was no problem for me so every week as a reward for helping me I took the girls shopping and let them buy some clothes and girly thing’s to play with.

Being with them with all of their energy made me happy, happier then I have been in a long time. It felt good and I enjoyed buying things for the girls. I loved the way they laughed and giggled. After I had known them for a little while they freely gave me their hugs and kisses.


Katie

Mister James is the nicest man that I have ever known. Mom says she likes him but she isn’t sure if he likes her. He works Tara and me pretty hard in the mornings. We go with him and he fixes things that are broke in people’s apartments.

He talks to us like grown-ups and even shows us what’s broken and how he fixes things. Every Monday Tara cleans the swimming pool while we cut the grass. I enjoy driving the lawnmower and Mister James says that I’m really good at it.

After we eat lunch we put on our swim suits and meet him at the pool. We swim for a couple of hours and then he always gives me a twenty dollar bill and tells us to go to the store and get an ice cream.

Two ice creams cost less than two dollars and I would bring him back the change and he always says, “That’s ok Katie you can keep it.”

When mom gets home from work I give her the money and she uses it for bills and things. One afternoon James took us to mom’s restaurant to eat. She was surprised to see us. When we finished eating Mr. James left mom a twenty dollar tip.


James

Katie and Tara are very smart girls. They follow me around while I do maintenance on the apartments. When I need a part I would show them the broken one and tell them where a new one was in my shop. They would run and bring me what I needed.

They soon learned what tools I needed to fix things and they would fetch them for me too. At first I thought at their age they wouldn’t be much help but I was wrong they save me a lot of time and energy.

I enjoyed their company and one Saturday I invited Megan and the girls to my house for a barbeque. The house is overwhelming to someone who has lived in an apartment their whole life. I remembered the first time David and Mary had invited me in. The house has slightly more than eight thousand square feet and has high ten foot ceilings.

David and Mary collected antique furniture and they filled the house with it. The girls were excited and wanted a tour. Katie was amazed at the size of my master bedroom closet. She said it was bigger than her and Tara’s bedroom. When we finished the tour Megan looked at me and said with a suspicious tone, “The owner must pay you pretty good to take care of this place.”

I had an embarrassing grin on my face as told her, “I’m the owner.”

From my back porch Megan and I sat and watched the girls swim while we talked. She was very easy for me to talk to. She sat and listened as I told her stories of the girls helping me during the day while she was at work. She told me that she was trying to find a job that paid more money but so far she hadn’t any luck.

She reached over and took my hand and held it between her hands and told me she was grateful for the money and clothes that I was giving the girls. She said that the girls are happier now then they have been in quite a while and that they talk about me all the time.

I had only known Megan and her daughters for a short time. I’ve enjoyed their company and looked forward to seeing them each day. Katie and Tara are very sweet lovable girls and Megan has taught them good manners and to be polite. It was then that I decided that I needed an office manager to run the administrative side of the business.

“Megan, would you be interested in being my office manager?” I threw out a salary amount that made her jaw drop. It was the same amount that Mary Williams had paid me to take care of everything and I thought it was fair.

She said, “Are you kidding? That’s three times what I make now!” She looked at me with a confused look and said, “James why are you being so nice to me?”

I thought back to David and Mary and all the things they had done for me. When I first moved into their apartment I didn’t have enough money for a deposit or the first months rent. They realized I needed a break and waved the fees until I started getting my paycheck.

I told Megan, “The first day we met I saw the sad looks on Katie and Tara’s face and I realized you needed someone to give you a break. I had to do something.”

I then looked at my feet took a deep nervous breath and said, “And I was hoping you would go out on a date with me.”

“Oh my god it’s about time you asked me. I was beginning to think you didn’t like me. Of course I’ll go out with you! And yes I’ll take the job!”

She stood up, walked over to me and sat down on my lap. She put her arms around my neck and gave me a hug and a kiss. She kissed me again and I felt her jaw relax and our tongues meet. I held her around the waist and we kissed for quite a while.

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Katie

I swam to the edge of the pool and looked toward mom. I whispered, “Tara Tara look look! Mom is sitting on James’ lap kissing him.”

Tara said, “It’s about time! We have to be extra good and extra nice and not blow it for Mom.”

“Ya,” I said, “I kinda like it here. It’s better than all of the other places we’ve lived and Mister James is a lot nicer than dad was.”

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James

Megan was still sitting on my lap and she asked, “Where would you like to go on our date?”

I wanted to impress her and her daughters so I said, “I’d like to take you and your daughters out to dinner at Antonio’s.”

She said, “Wow that’s an expensive place. I don’t know if we have anything nice to wear.”

I gave her an advance on her salary and the date was set for next Saturday night.

I pulled my car up in front of her apartment and went to the door and knocked. Megan opened the door and I stared at her in awe. She was dressed in a white evening gown that was showing a lot of cleavage. The floor length skirt was split on the side to the mid thigh. It was a halter style dress that didn’t have a back to it.

I must have stared at her breasts for a long time because when I looked back at her face she was blushing. I was stumbling for words and all I could say was, “I’m sorry for staring Megan, you look very beautiful.”

I heard the girls behind her giggling. They were dressed in very cute white little girl dresses. Tara had a yellow ribbon on her ponytail and Katie had a red ribbon.

We started walking to the car when Katie started pushing her mom toward me. Megan stopped and said as she looked toward her girls, “They won’t leave me alone until I thank you properly for being so kind to us.”

She reached her arms around my waist and gave me a hug and a big kiss on the lips. The whole time we kissed I could hear the girls giggling.

I pulled into valet parking and we got out. I had a feeling of pride walking with Megan. All of the valet’s and other couples were looking at Megan. She was stunning in her gown. We walked into the restaurant with Katie pushing her mom to walk close to me. Megan took my arm and held me close.

This was David and Mary’s favorite restaurant and we ate here almost every weekend. They were good friends with the owner and I was introduced to them and we became good friends.

I knew most of the people that worked here and didn’t need a reservation. I always got VIP treatment while I was here. We walked up to the maître d’ and I said, “Good evening Michael.”

He looked up and smiled and said, “Welcome James.” He looked at Megan and the girls and said, “Table for four?”

I handed him a fifty dollar bill and said, “Yes something nice.”

He took the bill and said, “Please follow me.”

The interior of the restaurant was impressive. It had an old world medieval flair to it with twenty foot high ceilings, massive oak beams and large stone fireplaces. The girls were impressed as they walked in front of us with their mouths open looking at the crossed swords and shields that adorn the walls. Our table was close to the main fireplace on a quite side of the room away from the kitchen.

The maître d’ seated Megan and two waiters helped the girls with their massive oak chairs. Megan looked at the menu and leaned close to me and whispered, “This place is expensive!”

I said, “Don’t worry about the prices order what you want.”

I ordered appetizers and a bottle of wine for Megan and me and two Shirley Temples for the girls. The girls were excited when they saw their drinks come in fancy grown-up glasses. I could tell this was a new experience for them so I helped the girls decide on what to order for dinner.

The food is expensive but they took no shortcuts. All the food was prepared when it was ordered. Not like some restaurants that just warm it up when it’s ordered. The food generally took about an hour but it was always well worth the wait and very good.

Megan and the girls had a smile on their face the whole night. It warmed my heart watching them being pampered by the restaurant staff. Katie and Tara true to form acted like little ladies and I was very proud of them. As we waited for valet Megan smiled at me and took my arm in hers and laid her head on my shoulder.

I walked Megan and the girls back up to their apartment door. She opened the door and Katie pushed her mom toward me again and under her breath said, “Kiss him Mom.” then both of them ran into the apartment.

She was a little tipsy from the wine as she smiled and wrapped her arms around my neck. She rubbed her breast into my chest as she gave me a very long passionate kiss. She said, “Thank you for the dinner James. I had a very lovely time.”

The wine was giving me extra courage and I said, “I can’t remember when I’ve had a better time.” I held her around the waist and looked her in the eyes and said, “I really don’t want the evening to end.”

She grinned and whispered, “Give me a couple of minutes to get the girls in bed.”

When we got back to my house I asked, “Do you want something to drink?”

She said, “No, I really want another tour of the house.”

She took my hand and led me to my master bedroom. She walked over to the bed and sat me down on it. She backed up a couple of steps and put her hands behind her neck and undid the clasp that held her dress halter together.

She slowly brought her hands holding the halter between her thumb and finger to the front of her neck. She had been watching me with a big smile on her face the whole time. She released her grip on the halter and it took the dress all of one second to slide down over her graceful figure and hit the floor. I was in shock! She looked incredibly beautiful standing there in just her white bikini panties.

I looked at her for a few seconds as I could feel my heart pounding in my throat. I felt my face blush and quickly looked down at my feet. I’d had a hard-on ever since Megan gave me the good night kiss at her apartment. I was beginning to get nervous and started to shake. I had only made love to one other girl and that was in my senior year of high school over fifteen years ago. We did it in the dark so this is the first nude female that I have ever seen.

Megan must have noticed me shaking and knelt down in front of me. She whispered, “James what’s wrong?”

I said in an embarrassing whisper, “I’m a little nervous and I’m not sure what to do.”

She took my hands in hers and asked, “When’s the last time you made love?”

I said, “High school.”

She slowly lifted my chin up with her fingers and said, “James, you’re full of surprises. I must be the luckiest girl in the world.”

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Megan

I couldn’t believe it! James was practically a virgin. I whispered, “Would you be more comfortable if I turned off the lights?”

He nodded yes and I walked over to the switch and shut it off. I found his arms in the dark and coxed him into standing. I pressed my breasts into his chest and whispered, “Enjoy yourself and let me do everything.”

He was still shaking as I removed his clothes in a slow bewitching manner. I wanted him to get used to my touch so we stood there kissing while I slowly rubbed his back. I couldn’t feel his penis touching me so I lowered my hands to his ass and pressed him into me. I reassured him by whispering, “Don’t be embarrassed I expect you to be hard.”

He just stood still, shaking from nervousness and breathing heavy with his arms around me. I gently pushed him onto the bed on his back. I removed my panties and lay down beside him. He made no move toward me so I reached down and took his wrist and guided his hand to my breast. James began to calm down and stopped shaking. I started rubbing his chest and gradually moved my hand lower and lower. I didn’t want to startle him so I whispered, “I’m going to touch his penis and stroke it.”

His breathing stopped as I touched him and he began breathing out a slow ragged moan. With his lack of feminine contact I knew he couldn’t take much more of this so I quickly moved on top of him and placed his penis inside me. I slid him in all the way as we both moaned.

It has been more than six months since I was with a man so I was tight. I held still and let him enjoy the feeling. I slowly started sliding him in and out of me and said, “You can do anything you want that makes you feel good.”

His hips began moving up and down to match my thrusts. Soon his instinct took over and he started pumping harder and faster. He suddenly stopped and pushed his penis in as far as it would go and I could feel him cum inside me. When he finished I lay down on his chest and we hugged. I whispered, “Oh that felt sooo good. Thank you.”

When he softened I told him that I had to get back to the girls. We dressed and he walked me back to my apartment.
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James

Megan is a very organized person and soon had the office running better than I ever had. I wasn’t very good at communicating with people and probably lost ten percent from tenants not paying their rent. She was more forceful than I was in collecting the rent and was collecting all of it the very first month that she was on the job. That in it’s self paid her salary.

That first night that Megan and I made love was wonderful. She was so kind, understanding, and gentle. We continued making love and she showed me more positions and ways to increase our pleasure. Soon she and the girls were staying at my house on the weekends. Megan and I stayed in the master bedroom and Katie and Tara stayed in the downstairs guest bedroom.

The second story of the house has four bedrooms, a large den, and two bathrooms. I seldom went upstairs and it smelled musty. I wanted each of the girls to have their own bedroom when they stayed on the weekends. With the help of Megan and the girls we redecorated the upstairs painting the walls in the girl’s favorite colors, bought new linen, and curtains and I had new carpet installed.

The girls started school and I lost my helpers. I missed them and it took some time to get used to them not being there everyday. With Megan working in the office in my house she soon took over looking after the house. She began cooking supper for us and doing a lot of my inside chores.

Instead of the girls riding the school bus or walking Megan drove them to and from school. One day I got a call from her saying her old car finally broke down and it wasn’t cost effective to repair it. She started using my pick-up truck to run errands and take the girls to and from school.

Both of the girls were B and C students mostly because Megan didn’t have the time to help them with their school work. I knew they were smart and I knew they could do better. With the extra time Megan and I had we tutored them and helped them with their homework and projects. Katie and Tara were excited and we were proud when they both brought home straight A report cards.

The afternoon before Thanksgiving Day I sat in the kitchen and watched as Megan and the girl’s baked pies and cookies. Megan is a very good cook and prepared one of the best Thanksgiving dinners that I could remember. The house had a festive air about it that I hadn’t seen since David was alive.

After dinner the girls were in the living room watching a movie while Megan and I sat together in the den by the fire place sipping after dinner drinks. The warm glow of the fire was the only light in the room while Bing Crosby’s White Christmas softly played. Outside a gentle snow fell lit only by the street lamps.

The conversation soon turned to Christmas and Megan told me that the girls have never had a good Christmas. When she was married to their father money was always tight. I told her this year we were going to make up for it.

Megan and I started making decorating plans and we gathering what we needed. The front room of the house was massive and designed to impress whoever walked through the front door.

I had a nine foot Christmas tree delivered and when the girls came home from school and saw the tree they squealed. I strung the tree with over three thousand miniature clear lights and I sat and watched as Megan and the girls trimmed the tree with all sorts of ornaments. I would lift one of the girls occasionally so they could place an ornament at the top of the tree.

Megan and the girls put pine garland and lights on the stair railings, fireplaces, and decorated the rest of the house in a Victorian style. I strung lights on the outside of the house and decorated the yard with candy canes and Santa and his reindeer.

I loved the girls as much as I loved Megan, they were so affectionate. One of my favorite times is Friday night when Megan and the girls would spend the night. We would eat dinner and then sit in the family room and watch a movie. Before the movie the girls would take a bath.

When they finished their bathes, they would run to me and jump on my lap and give me hugs and kisses. They would cuddle up to me one on each side and we would watch the movie until bedtime. The smell of their little girl soap was intoxicating. They treated me just like I was their natural father.

I had special plans for Christmas and wanted Megan and the girls to spend the night Christmas Eve. Christmas morning came early as it always does with young children. I went a little overboard on the girls buying them bicycles, a computer, cell phones, i-pods, the latest x-box, a lot of clothes, and toys. Megan just shook her head and said, “Where are we going to put all this stuff?”

After they had opened all their gifts Katie looked up at me with sad eyes. I asked her, “What’s wrong Katie? Did Santa forget to bring something?”

She said, “You didn’t get very many presents. I wish I had a lot of money to buy you lots of nice things.”

I smiled at both of the girls sitting on the floor by the Christmas tree, “My precious precious angels, your love, hugs, and kisses are the greatest gift you could ever give me.” With that they both jumped up and grabbed me around the neck and gave me the tightest hugs ever. I think they loved me as much as I loved them.

I gave Megan a few inexpensive gifts saving the best two for the end when everyone was finished unwrapping gifts. With everyone watching I reached into my robe pocket and handed Megan a long slender box about the size of box that a bracelet would come in knowing that she would assume I had bought one for her.

When she opened the box her mouth dropped open and the girls asked, “What is it Mom?”

She pulled the key out, held it up and asked me, “What is it?”

I asked, “What does it looks like?”

“It… It looks like the keys to a car,” she answered.

I smiled and cocked my head toward the front door. She jumped up and moved to the front door while keeping her eyes on me saying, “No, you didn’t!”

She pulled the curtain back and saw the brand new SUV in the driveway with a big red bow on it. With all the screaming the girls were doing I thought the car dealership had delivered three SUV’s.

Megan ran back to me crying and hugged me saying, “No one has ever gotten me anything like that. Thank You James! I love you.”

With the four of us in one great big group hug I knew it was time to give her the last present. I stepped back a couple of steps and said, “I have one more present for you.”

I reached in my pocket and pulled out a 3 inch square box, about the size of box a ring would come in. Everybody knew what was coming next. The girls were jumping up and down squealing next to their mother.

Megan was still crying and she began to shake. I opened the box looking at the contents. I got down on one knee and looked at the girls and asked, “With your daughter’s permission.” I then looked up to Megan, “Will you marry me?”

The girls tugged on her robe and kept repeating, “Say yes Mom, say yes Mom.”

It took Megan a few seconds to find her voice but to me it seemed like an eternity. She grabbed me by the collar and pulled me up to her screaming, “Yes! Yes!”

Christmas day was shaping up to be the best day of my life. I had proposed to Megan and she said yes! Megan was still shaking as I pulled the ring out of the box and slipped it on her finger. We kissed for a few seconds before we were distracted by the girls. They suddenly realized all of the gifts they received this morning and tore into the boxes that they came in.

Megan said, “Girls! Girls! We need to get dressed so we can take this stuff back to the apartment, most of the things need to be set up and programmed.”

Both girls grabbed their new cell phones and started hammering on the key pads like pro’s as they slowly headed off to their bedrooms to get dressed.

I held Megan around the waist from behind and guided her to our room as she was busy fully examining her new diamond engagement ring. “James it’s so beautiful and big! It must have cost you a fortune.”

“Yes it was pricy,” I answered, “but you’re worth every penny that I spent.”

We walked into the bedroom and closed the door. Megan stopped and turned to me and gave me a strong hug and a very passionate kiss. After several seconds I broke the kiss and said, “The girls are going to be banging on the door any minute.”

Megan sighed and said in a very sexy voice, “You just wait until tonight I’m going to wear you out!”

She gave me another kiss as she rubbed her breasts into my chest. I was getting an erection as I wondered if Megan would think of some new way to make love to me.

A sad empty feeling all of a sudden hit me. Megan and the girls would be going back to her apartment tonight. I had thought on several occasions about asking her to move into the house permanently with me. With her accepting my marriage proposal I thought now was as good of time as any to ask her.

“Megan, why don’t you and the girls move into the house permanently with me right now? There’s a lot more room here and you’re already here most of the time.”

Megan smiled, “I didn’t want to be pushy. I was waiting for you to ask me and since we’re engaged it would make a lot of sense. I know the girls will be happy here and we need the extra room because of all the presents you got them.”

As we were getting dressed I asked, “Megan where do you want to take your new SUV on its maiden voyage?”

Megan looked surprised, “Oh my gosh! I almost forgot I have a new car!”

She thought for a moment, “Let’s take it to show my Mom and Dad. Mom will want to see my ring and Dad will want to see his new son-in-law to-be.”

We ate a lite breakfast knowing we were having a full Christmas turkey dinner this afternoon with all of Megan’s family.

I dangled the key to Megan’s new SUV in front of her as she finished checking on the turkey baking in the oven. She smiled at me as she took the key. We put on our jackets and headed out the door. It was a cold crisp morning, overnight it had been snowing lightly and there were a couple of inches of new pure white snow covering the foot or so of snow from previous snow falls.

The decorated spruce trees in the yard looked tranquil and peaceful as the lights twinkled from under the snow covered limbs. Megan said, “James I’m so nervous this is the first brand new car I’ve ever owned or driven.”

“Just take it slow and easy,” I said, “it will drive just like my pickup truck.”

I walked to the driver’s door and opened it for her and said, “Get in and start it. Let it warm up while you look at everything. I’ll get the girls seat belted in and take the Christmas bow off.”

I got a snow brush out of my truck and brushed most of the snow off the SUV as I watched her closely examining the dashboard. I slid in the passenger side and watched Megan as she continued to study everything. She had the defroster on but it was a cold morning and she was holding her arms as she shivered.

I said “There’s a seat warmer button on the side of your seat next to the power seat controls.”

She giggled like a school girl as she pressed the seat warmer button and played with the power seat controls. I looked in the back seat at the girls and said, “What do you think? Do you like it?”

“Wow it’s so cool.” Tara said.

Katie asked, “Does it have a TV?”

I said, “It sure does.”

I reached in my jacket pocket and handed her a DVD. Megan put the SUV in gear and we slowly crawled out of the driveway.

It was early in the morning so the traffic was extremely light. Megan had both hands on the steering wheel and was cruising along just under the speed limit.

A couple of blocks away from the house we passed an apartment complex and I noticed a young child probably about Tara’s age sitting on the front step of one of the apartments. As we got closer I noticed that it was a young girl still dressed in her pajamas. She was wearing a coat that was too big for her and she was sitting with her knees up tight to her body holding her legs with her arms. Her chin was resting on her knees and she seemed to have a sad disappointed look on her face.

I thought to myself that her family was probably poor and she didn’t get what she wanted for Christmas. I sighed as I thought back to my childhood and remembered a couple of Christmas’ when the only presents I got were used clothes and maybe a single inexpensive toy.

One Christmas I sat and watched as my foster parents natural kids opened present after present getting three or four times as much as I got. When I protested I was yelled at and reminded that I could go back to the orphanage if I wanted.

It was plain to see even at that young age that some of my foster parents took a lot better care of their own children then they did the foster children entrusted into their care.

As we passed her Megan snapped me out of my trance by placing her hand high on my thigh and said, “This is the best Christmas I’ve ever had.”

She squeezed my thigh as she said; “I love you.”

I smiled at her trying to get those bad memories out of my head. I bent over to her and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and said, “I love you too.”

Megan pulled up in front of her parent’s small run-down house and honked the horn before we got out. I had been here before and seen that because of a lack of money the house was in need of a lot of maintenance. Megan’s father George didn’t have a high school diploma and therefore spent his whole life as a laborer. The heavy lifting he was required to do finally caused him a back injury a few years ago. They were living on a small disability check and the money Megan’s mom Linda made as a waitress.

George and Linda opened the front door and the girls ran to their grandparents and gave them hugs and kisses. George was a very nice man a little on the short side. He walked a little bent over with a slight limp from his disability. He was skinny, almost frail looking. He was distracted by the SUV as Megan said, “Do you like my new SUV?”

George said, “Where did you get that?”

Megan answered, “I got it for Christmas from James.”

Linda was now looking and said, “Oh honey its beautiful, James must be getting serious about you.” She teased.

Megan began jumping up and down and said, “Ya mom real serious!” as she began flashing her engagement ring at her. Both women were squealing and began hugging and jumping up and down.

George shook my hand and said, “Congratulations James and welcome to the family.”

I barely got out the word ‘thanks’ when Linda began tip-toeing through the snow with outstretched arms to give me a hug. She was a very attractive woman with a small frame, probably in her early fifties. She was thin but not skinny, her housecoat was open and I watched her braless breasts bouncing quite nicely as she tip-toed through the snow towards me. The cold weather had made her nipples rock hard and I could feel them through my shirt as she hugged me.

We went inside and talked for a few minutes while the girls opened their Christmas presents from George and Linda. Megan at my urging had invited her family including her brother and sister and their families to Christmas dinner at our house.

On the drive home when we passed the apartment complex I looked to the apartment steps where I had seen the young girl sitting and was relieved to see that she wasn’t there. I hoped that she went back inside where it was warmer.
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Mary

My name is Mary and I’m nine years old. I don’t remember my real parent’s. My first memory is being in Saint Catherine’s Orphanage. Once when I asked one of the Sister’s about my mother she said she gave me up for adoption when I was very young. I asked her why she gave me up but she didn’t know. I often think about why my real mother gave me away. Had I been a bad baby? Or maybe she didn’t want to, or couldn’t take care of me for some unknown reason. I tried real hard to remember what she looked like but there just isn’t any memory of her.

I’ve been in and out of three different foster homes and I’ve been living at this house for about a year and a half. I have a step sister and a step brother who are both older than me. My step mother is divorced so I don’t have a step father but she has a boy friend that comes by, usually at night.

My step sister and brother are mean to me. They push me around and they are always getting me into trouble. They make me do a lot of their chores when I get home from school before my step mother gets home from work. If I don’t do what they say they make up a story and I get yelled at and made to do extra work. If I protest my innocence my step mother just screams at me louder and usually spanks me. I’ve learned that it is better to not say anything and just take the punishment.

I don’t talk much to them and just try and stay out of their way. My bed is down in the basement and when my chores are done I usually go down there and study or read.

School isn’t much better all the kids tease me and call me “Orphan Mary” because my clothes are so old and out of date. My teacher is about the only person who is nice to me. We talk a lot but I’ve learned not to talk to her in front of the other kids because they call me teachers pet.

Christmas has always been a disappointment for me. When I was younger and believed in Santa I would be extra good before Christmas but to no avail. When I didn’t get the things I wanted my step parents would blame me for not being good. After I learned the truth about Santa I realized it was my foster parents that gave out the presents.

I woke early this Christmas morning waiting by the basement door for the others to wake up. When I heard them I went to the living room where the tree was set up and sat down on the floor in the corner out of the way. There were a lot of presents under the tree and I tried to read the names on them but from my spot I couldn’t see them clearly.

My step mother began handing out the presents giving my step brother and sister three each before I finally got one. When the presents were all handed out we all started tearing off the paper to reveal there contents. I saved the present that had the most promise of being the best one and opened the others. All the presents I received were used clothes except for a package of new socks and panties. I was careful to say thank you to my step mother after I opened each present.

I stopped for a moment to watch the others opening their presents. It was plain to see the difference in their presents compared to mine. I sighed and slowly opened my last present finding a new stuffed teddy bear. I was sad to see the way I was treated compared to the others, they clearly got more and better presents than I did.

After I cleaned up the Christmas wrappings I began to think about my real mother again and was hoping she would find me and come rescue me. I day-dreamed about how she would be rich and shower me with all kinds of expensive presents.

I didn’t feel like going down to my room so I put on my jacket and went outside still day dreaming about my real mother. I sat on the front steps and watched a few cars going by hoping that one of them was my real mother. I sat there until I started getting cold and the realization set in that no one was coming to get me. I felt sad and started to cry until I couldn’t bare the cold any more and went inside.
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James

I was in the study hooking up the new computer while Megan and the girls were working on the Christmas dinner in the kitchen. I had tasted Megan’s turkey dinner on Thanksgiving and the smell coming from the kitchen was driving me crazy. I heard some talking coming from them in the kitchen and then their voices went to a whisper.

I looked up and saw the girls come into the library with serious looks on the faces followed by Megan who had a huge grin on her face. The girls walked over to me and it was apparent that they had something very important to say to me. They stood in silence for a few seconds then Tara poked Katie and whispered, “Ask him.”

Katie had a thoughtful look on her face as she seemed to be searching for the right words to say.

“Mister James your going to marry our mother isn’t that right?”

I was wondering what this was leading too, so I answered, “Yes”

Katie continued, “And we’re all going to live here with you, right?”

I answered, “Yes”

“Well if you’re going to marry Mom and we’re going to live with you that makes you our new father, right?”

I looked at Megan who had a really big smile on her face as I answered Katie, “Yeees.”

Once again there was several seconds of silence and finally Tara couldn’t stand it any longer and spoke as quickly as she could, “Mister James is it ok if we call you daddy?”

Both girls had a nervous look in their eyes. Megan had tears of joy running down her cheeks as she smiled at me. I was at a loss for words. I was so happy and I didn’t think I could speak without my voice cracking so I held out my arms for them to give me a hug.

As I hugged them I whispered, “Girl’s it would make me the happiest man in the world if you called me daddy.”

I thought to myself about how lucky I was that Megan wanted to marry me. She was a beautiful, smart, sexy woman who was also a great cook and I was going to spend the rest of my life with her. As an added bonus I would also get to share in Katie and Tara lives as they grow into beautiful young ladies. Life couldn’t possibly get any better than this.

The girls watched me as I finished setting up the computer.

Megan said, “Come on girls, we have things to do in the kitchen.”

I got up and followed them into the kitchen. Megan had been teaching the girls how to cook for sometime and today one of their jobs was to make a cake from scratch. I sat at the table and watched them carefully measuring the ingredients. Megan was busy with other things but would look over and give them words of encouragement. They put the cake in the second oven to bake and started making the frosting.

When they finished with the frosting, Katie grabbed a clean spoon and took some frosting from the bowl and held the spoon out to me and said, “Daddy would you like a taste?”

It was the first time that she actually called me daddy. A wave of emotion came over me and I was blinking fast to keep the tears from running down my cheeks. I took the spoon and tasted. It was maple flavored and I thought it tasted real good. “Girls that’s the best frosting I’ve ever tasted.”

They both smiled and Tara gave me a hug and said, “Thanks daddy.”

Megan’s family arrived late morning and the house was a buzz of activity. Everyone congratulated us on our engagement and welcomed me to the family. Katie and Tara disappeared upstairs with their cousins and we only saw them again at dinner.


Christmas dinner with all the trimmings was the best I ever tasted. During dinner when the girls were listening I made a big deal about how delicious the dishes and cakes that they prepared were. The girls were happy and proud telling everyone that they made it.

After dinner we exchanged gifts and then the men settled down in the living room to watch the football game while the ladies talked in the kitchen. George and Linda were the last to leave and I blew out a long sigh as I closed the door behind them. It had been a long day, the girls were upstairs fast asleep before ten o-clock.

We went to bed shortly after and when Megan came out of the bathroom she was wearing a very sexy red push-up bra and matching panties. Covering everything was a lacy white see-through thigh length night gown. I sat up on the edge of the bed and whispered, “Wow Megan you look beautiful.”

I stood and walked to the center of the bedroom to give her a hug and kiss. As we kissed her arms went around my back into the waist band of my boxers and she squeezed my bare ass cheeks. I felt my shorts slowly move down my legs as Megan began kissing my chest getting lower and lower with each kiss.

She was now kneeling on the floor and I watched as she slowly licked the side of my penis. She held her tongue out and I felt it slide along the bottom of my shaft as she closed her lips around it. I placed my hands on her head as she slowly slid her lips back and forth not once did she stop licking on the underside of my penis.

The feeling was incredible with her warm soft tongue seemed to know where to touch it to give me the most pleasure. After a few minutes I warned her that I was cumming but she held my ass cheeks tight and looked at me nodding her approval. I released shot after shot of warm cum into her mouth.

Her hand went to my shaft and she milked the remainder of my cum into her mouth. She stood and pushed me back to the bed and I sat down. She slowly did a striptease removing the articles of clothing one at a time. By the time she finished I was ready for more action.

Megan pushed me down on the bed and crawled in lying on top of me. I reached for the lamp on the nightstand and shut it off. She made love to me until we fell asleep naked in each others arms.

Megan wanted a winter wonderland wedding so we were married in late February. We had a small wedding with about twenty people in attendance. Megan wore a beautiful lacy off white wedding dress with a white fur stole. The brides maids wore very light tan dresses with a darker fur stole, which made Megan’s dress look even whiter.

Katie and Tara stayed with Megan’s parents while we flew to the Caribbean for our honeymoon. We stayed in a honeymoon cottage at one of those ‘couples only’ all inclusive resorts. Our large private cottage had a hot tub and a small pool on the patio overlooking the beach.

We were somewhat surprised the first day when we went down to the beach and found most of the women topless. When Megan saw this she pulled me to the side and whispered, “James it’s been a fantasy of mine to go topless on a beach. Would you mind if I took my top off?”

I teased her, “I don’t know I’ll have to spend the whole time waist deep in the water. Sure go ahead I don’t mind.”

Megan’s eyes lit up as she reached for the string on her top. She was the mother of two but her body still looked good. When she took her top off she giggled and said, “I can’t believe it, I’m so excited I almost wet myself.”

I enjoyed watching the women walking around flaunting themselves holding their chests out proudly for all to see.


It was early April and I was out front fixing a broken window on one of the apartments. It was about two-thirty in the afternoon and the school kids were walking by on their way home. I heard some shouting down at the end of the block and looked to see a group of kids. They all looked to be about the same age as Tara, about ten years old.

It looked like three girls picking on another girl. She was walking on the sidewalk with her head down and trying to ignore the girls picking on her. One of the three girls was pushing her from behind and then she pushed her real hard and the lone girl fell to the sidewalk.

I got down off my ladder and started walking down the sidewalk towards them. When the three girls saw me they walked past her leaving her on the sidewalk crying. As the three girls passed me, I tried to look mean and said, “Three against one isn’t fair.”

They ignored me and kept walking. I walked to the girl who was still sitting on the sidewalk sobbing and I helped her to her feet. She held her head down and didn’t look at me when I asked, “Are you OK?”

She nodded yes and I got a little glimpse at her face. She seemed familiar but I couldn’t remember from where. She began walking and peeked up at me as she went past me. I watched her as she continued walking slow, with her head down.

It reminded me of myself when I was about that age. I just transferred into a new school and a gang of boys, some of whom were in my class took it upon them selves to make my life miserable. I tried to make friends with them but they cut me down calling me ‘orphan boy’ and always picked on me.

I followed the girl at a distance back to the broken window I was working on. I watched her as she turned the corner and went out of sight. She was walking toward an apartment complex that was just a few blocks down the street. Suddenly I remembered where I had seen her, it was the same girl I saw sitting on the steps on Christmas morning when we drove to George and Linda’s house.


The next week Katie and Tara’s school was having ‘parent lunch day’. Parents were invited to the school to eat lunch with their children. Both girls ate lunch at the same time so Megan and I split up. Megan sat with Katie and I sat with Tara.

I met Tara’s class in the hall outside of the cafeteria. Tara smiled took my hand and said, “Hi daddy.”

Each class stayed in line at the lunch counter and then sat at the same long table with the teacher sitting at the end. Sitting next to the teacher was the girl that I saw last week getting picked on. I looked at Tara’s other class mates and saw the three girls that were picking on her. I bent down to Tara’s ear and whispered, “Who’s that girl sitting next to your teacher?”

Tara looked and then whispered to me, “Oh that’s just orphan Mary.”

I was surprised and a little upset at Tara for speaking down about her. I would have to speak to her when we got home.

Last year I told Megan that I was an orphan and about my childhood but the girls didn’t know anything about my childhood. I thought now would be a good time to tell the girls.

I sat the girls down and told them that I was an orphan and about my childhood. I didn’t hold anything back, I told them about being dragged away from my foster parents, being picked on by the mean kids at school, and not having any friends.

Both Katie and Tara were sobbing. After I finished my story Tara came to me and gave me a hug and said, “I’m sorry daddy.”

I told her, “That’s ok Tara you didn’t know.” I pulled her back at arms length, looked her in the eyes and said, “Mary hasn’t done anything wrong and she really needs a friend.”

A few days later, Tara came into the living room after school to talk to me. She said, “Daddy, I’ve tried talking to Mary a few times but she doesn’t seem to want to talk to me or be friends. What should I do?”

“Just give her some time.” I answered, “It will take some time for her to trust you.”

“Ok daddy,” Tara said, “I’ll keep trying.”

Every day Tara talked to me about her day and the progress she was making with Mary. I kept telling her to be patient she would come around. As the weeks passed Tara said that Mary was loosening up and beginning to talking to her. I told her to invite Mary to spend the night this weekend with us.

She came home from school with a big smile and said, “Mary is going to ask her foster mother if she can stay this weekend.”

The following day when Megan picked up the girls, Mary rode with them to her apartment to get her clothes. The girls got home and Mary walked into the house and looked around in wonderment. She said to Tara in a low voice, “This is your house?”

Tara nodded yes and said, “Daddy this is Mary.”

I shook her hand and said, “Hello Mary my name is James.”

Tara said, “Come on lets take your stuff to my room.”

All three girls ran up the stairs and we didn’t see them again until supper. I guessed that Mary was abandon as an infant at the Catholic orphanage. When the nuns named a child they always choose a biblical name.

During supper Mary didn’t say much. She kept her head down and didn’t make eye contact with anyone. I recognized her behavior and knew it was from being picked on and her attempt to keep a low profile. She behaved a lot like I did when I was young. I noticed Mary’s clothes were old and outdated probably from the goodwill or hand-me-downs.

After dinner I asked the girls, “Do you want to go see a movie?” They said yes and we picked out the latest Disney movie and left. After the movie we stopped at the local ice cream shop for a treat. When we got home it was our normal weekend bedtime so the girls headed up to their rooms.

Megan said as they headed up the stairs, “Don’t stay up too late.”

Megan and I lay in bed and talked for awhile. I told her about some of the things that I noticed about Mary and related them to my childhood.

Megan said, “The poor thing. What can we do to help her?”

I thought for a moment and said, “She needs a boost in confidence.”

We lay in silence for a few minutes and Megan said, “I know we’ll take then shopping at the mall tomorrow and buy Mary a nice dress and then take them to the hair salon.”

“Yes that’s a good idea and after that we’ll take them to dinner at Antonio's.”

At breakfast Megan broke the news to the girls that we were going shopping at the mall and they were going to get their hair fixed at the salon. Mary is a very pretty girl. She has dark brown shoulder length hair with bangs that touch her beautiful brown eyes. Her hair is uneven in places which makes me think that her foster mother last cut it.

At the salon, they all had their hair washed and trimmed and they had manicures with the girls picking their favorite color nail polish. They were in the salon for about two hours so I walked around looking in stores while I waited for them. We left the salon and I told the girls that I was going to take them to Antonio’s for dinner and we needed to find Mary a nice dress.

They spent a couple more hours going in and out of the dress shops looking while I sat on a bench on the mall and watch the pretty girls walk by. After they left the last shop I asked Mary, “Have you seen anything that you like?”

She nodded and said, “I like the pink one at Penney’s.”

It was a pretty pink knee length dress with a white lace sash that tied in the back with a bow. We brought the dress to the register and paid. Mary seemed to be excited about the dress and dinner. She had a big smile on her face and her eyes were sparkling.

On the way home I listened to Katie and Tara tell Mary all about Antonio's. Mary was excited and nervous saying, “I’ve never been to a fancy restaurant. I don’t know what to do.”

Tara answered, “Don’t worry just watch us we’ll show you what to do.”

The girl’s spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready. I was dressed for dinner and waiting in the living room for the ladies when I heard the girls coming down the steps and Katie said, “Daddy, we’re ready.”

I looked and saw three beautiful girls walking down the steps. Katie was wearing a nice dark blue dress with a white collar and white shoes. Tara had on a powder blue skirt with a white sweater. Mary looked very pretty in her pink dress. She was looking me straight in the eye, her eyes were sparkling and she was smiling from ear to ear. There had been a huge change in her from that sad little girl I saw sitting at the dinner table yesterday. “Girls, you look beautiful.” Tara curtsied to me and they all put their hands over their mouths as they giggled.

Megan came out of the bedroom wearing a dark blue sequined knee length dress. The dress plunged down the middle showing off her cleavage. If she was to walk down the street in that dress I had no drought that she would have stopped traffic or at the very least caused and accident. I gave her a wolf whistle and said, “Wow Megan you look very beautiful.”

She smiled and said, “Thank you James and you look very handsome.”

We pulled into Antonio's valet parking and got out of the SUV. As we walked into the restaurant Megan was doing that supermodel walk where she slightly crossed her feet as she stepped. With her high heels on it made her ass move side to side in a very seductive way, I felt my penis begin to stir.

I looked in front of us at two male high school valets who had their eyes fixed on Megan. As we walked by Megan smiled at them and said, “Hello boys.” Neither one of them could speak they just stood there with their mouths hanging open but one of them managing to nod his head at her. Megan pulled me closer to her, she giggled as she whispered into my ear, “I wonder what those boys will be doing in their beds tonight.”

There were several couples waiting in the lobby as we walked in. As soon as Michael saw us he motioned to us to come forward. We greeted each other and he asked, “Table for five?”

I said, “Yes.” handing him a fifty.

Tara spoke, “Mister Michael is Jimmy working tonight?”

“Yes Miss Tara he is.”

Tara held her hand to Mary’s ear and told her something and they both began to giggle. I remembered Megan telling me a while back that Tara had a crush on one of the waiters that worked here.

I said to Michael, “We would like Jimmy as our waiter.”

As we followed Michael into the dining room he held up three fingers and three waiters made their way to our table, one of them being Jimmy. Michael smiled at Jimmy and discreetly pointed at Tara. Jimmy smiled and slowly nodded his head as they reached the table.

Jimmy stood behind Tara’s chair seating her and said, “Hello Miss Tara, you look very beautiful this evening.”

Tara was blushing but managed to say, “Thank you Jimmy.”

Michael seated Megan and said, “Jimmy, this is your table.”

They all left leaving Jimmy standing next to Tara waiting for me to order drinks. Megan looked at Tara who seemed to be in a dream world staring at Jimmy. “Tara, introduce your friend.”

Tara snapped out of her trance and said, “Jimmy, this is my friend Mary.”

Jimmy bowed slightly and very graciously said, “Hello Miss Mary it’s very nice to meet you.”

I ordered the girls favorite appetizers, a bottle of wine, and looked at the girls and asked, “Shirley Temples?”

Katie and Tara quickly nodded yes but Mary had no idea what I was talking about. Tara whispered in her ear and she smiled and nodded yes.

The main course arrived and it was delicious as always. Jimmy paid close attention to all three girls bringing them what ever they asked for further intensifying the crushes they had on him. It was nice to watch Mary, who was all smiles, come out of her shell. Megan and I could tell she was enjoying herself by the amount of eye contact she made and by all of the talking she was doing.


The following week Megan got a call from the school. Tara had been in a fight and we needed to go talk to the principal. We walked into the office and I saw Tara, Mary, and the three girls who were picking on Mary sitting in chairs against the wall. I had a pretty good idea what the fight was about.

We went into the principal’s office and introduced ourselves and sat down. The principal said, “The five girls were at recess and they began fighting and pulling each others hair.”

Megan apologized for Tara’s behavior.

I told the principal in a very stern voice, “I witnessed those three girls picking on Mary a few weeks ago off school grounds and Tara was probably sticking up for her.”

The principal answered, “Yes, that is a possibility but for the safety of all the children I can not allow any fighting in this school. All five students will go home with their parents today and will be suspended for one day. You must warn Tara that any further fighting will be dealt with severely.”

I was pissed; I knew Tara was just sticking up for Mary who was probably ganged up on by the three girls.

After I calmed down a little and we were on the way home Megan said to Tara while she looked at me, “The principal is right Tara; you can not solve your problems by fighting. Someone always loses a fight and that person will start another fight making things worse until someone gets hurt. In the future the best thing to do is to walk away and tell your teacher.”

When we walked into the house Tara went to the couch and plopped down folding her arms in front of herself. Megan sat on the couch next to her and took Tara’s arm and pulled her onto her lap. She hugged her tight and whispered to her, “I know you think you were doing the right thing protecting Mary, but fighting is dangerous and you could get hurt. We’re just looking out for you trying to keep you safe.”

Tara served her one day suspension and went back to school the following day. When she returned home we asked, “How did school go?”

Tara answered, “Fine, but Mary didn’t go to school today.”

The next day after Megan picked the girls up from school she told me, “Tara is very upset. She said Mary was beaten by her foster mother.”

“Beaten? How badly?”

“I’m not sure, Tara said her back hurts and she has bruises on her butt and legs.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I have to do something we can’t just ignore what Tara told me. When I drop the girls off for school tomorrow I’ll talk to the principal. He seems concerned for the student’s welfare. He can have the school nurse look at her.”

The next day after the school nurse examined Mary our worst fears were confirmed. It appeared she had been struck several times on her back, butt, and the backs of her legs with a blunt object. The police were called and Mary was removed from school and brought to the local hospital to be examined further.

When Tara came home from school she went straight to me. I could tell she had been crying.

“Daddy, what’s going to happen to Mary?”

“Honey,” I said pulling her onto my lap, “Social Services will bring her to the orphanage until she can be placed in another foster home.” I could see the gears turning in her head, she was thinking of a way to help Mary.

“Daddy, can you and mom be foster parents?”

I have to admit I had thought about the possibility of taking care of her yesterday when I heard that she was beaten. I looked at Megan to try and read a sign as to her feelings on the matter. I looked back at Tara and said, “I don’t know Tara your mother and I will have to talk about it.”

Tara must have figured that I was a possible yes so she turned to her mother and began begging.

“Please Mom; I don’t want to lose my friend. They’ll probably put her in a foster home that’s worse than the one she’s in now. She’ll have to change schools and start all over making friends. Please Mom please.”

Mary is a sweet girl and I was feeling tightness in my chest. After listening to Tara beg and seeing how happy Mary was staying with us for those two days I couldn’t bare the thought of her being jerked around in the system. A flood of bad memories from my childhood suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt a wave of emotion close in on me as a tear ran down my cheek. I took a deep breath and looked at Megan.

She smiled at me and said to Tara, “We’ll have to talk about it. We’ll see what we can do.”

Tara pulled her mother by the hand toward me and said, “Talk! Talk! Do you want me to leave?”

That night while lying in bed we talked. I said, “This is a long term commitment she’s ten years old and we’ll be responsible for her until she’s eighteen or longer.”

Megan sighed, “Yes I know it will be forever just like when the girls were born but she seems like a sweet girl and it will be nice watching her growing up. Where do you think she is right now?”

“Well, after she leaves the hospital they’ll probably take her back to Saint Catherine’s. They’ll process her in and she’ll be transferred to the school over there. She’ll probably start school on Monday.”

“Oh the poor girl.” Megan said as she cuddled up tight to my back, “She’ll be the new kid again and will have to start over trying to make friends.”

“Yes I know all about it. I’ve been in her situation; it won’t be easy on her. Just so you know if we register as foster parents and they find out how big of a house we have they’ll be asking us to keep more kids. I’m afraid to say what happened to Mary happens all the time. You’ll get a phone call and have to set another plate at the table for dinner. Sometimes it happens that fast.”

We decided to fill out the paperwork and take it from there. The next morning we went to Social Services and put in the application. While there I saw a woman that I knew from my days in the orphanage that had placed me in foster homes. I introduced myself to Mrs. Parker and she remembered who I was. I asked her if we could bring Tara to see Mary so she could say hi to her.

She smiled and said, “I can do better than that James.” She went to her desk and reviewed our application, calling the references we had listed and within one hour she was in her car following us to our house.

When Mrs. Parker walked in the house she looked around and said, “My-my James you have done well for yourself.”

We showed her the rest of house and Tara’s bedroom where Mary would be sleeping until we could get the other upstairs bedroom refinished.

She said, “James, Megan I don’t see any problems with your application. I am going to transfer Mary into my personal care and I have no problem with her spending the night at her friend Tara’s house until your application is approved.”

Megan looked at both of us in shock.

I smiled at her and said, “You better set an extra plate at dinner tonight.”

I don’t know who was more excided, Megan or me. As we drove to the school to pick up the girls so they could ride with us to the orphanage Megan was talking about a million miles an hour.

“I’ll have to take them shopping. I wonder what size she wears. I wonder when her birthday is. Do you think she gets good grades in school?”

“Slow down Megan, we’ll take it one step at a time. We have the whole weekend to get her settled in and ready to go back to school.”

We walked into the school office and made the request to have Katie and Tara sent for early checkout. When the principal saw us he came over and talked with us. We told him that we had registered as foster parents and were going to picking up Mary from the orphanage.

He shook our hands and said, “I’m glad to hear that, she needs to be looked after. It really bothers me when children fall between the cracks and we can’t do anything about it. As soon as I hear from Social Services I’ll call so you can come in and take care of the paper work. In the mean time I’ll put you down as her contact in case of emergency.”

When Katie and Tara walked into the office Megan told them the good news. “Girls you have a new sister.”

Tara looked confused and asked, “What do you mean Mom?”

“You’re going to the orphanage with us. Mary is going to live with us.”

They ran to us and we got hugs and kisses from both of them.

On the way to the orphanage I was beginning to get nervous. Over the years I had avoided driving by the orphanage because of all the bad memories I had about the place.

We arrived at the orphanage and parked in the visitors parking in front of the building. I turned off the ignition and sat behind the wheel looking at the front door.

Megan sensing something was wrong asked, “Are you ok? Is something wrong?”

I took in a deep nervous breath and answered, “This place brings back bad memories to me. This is the first time I’ve been here in twenty years.”

She got out of her seat and walked around the front of the SUV and opened my door. She reached in and took my hand. “Come on, today you will have happy memories about this place.”

Megan sensing my discomfort held my arm and forced me to walk to the door. When I opened the door and looked in, more deep strong emotions hit me. The interior of the building looked exactly the same. Even the sounds and the smell coming from the building were the same.

We walk into the waiting room and were greeted by Mrs. Parker. “Wait here,” she said, “I’ll go get her.”

She left and we sat in the waiting room. I had seen this room several times during my childhood except I was always the one on the other end walking down the long hallway to the room wondering what my new foster parents looked like.

When Mrs. Parker and Mary came into the waiting room the girls squealed and ran to her. Mrs. Parker didn’t tell Mary who her new foster parents were so she was totally surprised to see us there.

Tara and Katie hugged her and said, “We’re your new sisters!”

Mary looked at Mrs. Parker and asked, “These are my new foster parents?”

Mrs. Parker smiled and said, “Yes”.

The excitement was too much for Mary. She had gone from such a low of being beaten unmercifully to going to the foster home she was desperately hoping for in her dreams. Mary lost control of her emotions and cried uncontrollably on Tara and Katie’s shoulders.

Mrs. Parker quietly walked over to me and gave me a hug and whispered, “James you are a good man. This is the favorite part of my job.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Megan knelt down and held her arms open. Mary ran to her and cried even harder on her shoulder. When she was somewhat recovered she opened her eyes and I knelt down on one knee and held out my arms to give her a hug.

I held her tight in my arms and whispered into her ear, “There, there Mary you’re safe now.”

When she finished crying I held her at arms length, looked her in the eyes, and said, “Mary I’m just like you. I’m also an orphan. Mrs. Parker has brought me to this room more than once to meet my new foster parents.”

Mary looked up at Mrs. Parker as she nodded her head yes. Mary looked back at me and I continued, “I promise that you will never see this room again. We will never send you back here. You can live with us for the rest of your life.”



Authors note: The rest of the story is written in a narrative voice.



Mary smiled at James as her surprised eyes softened with love. She suddenly knew he understood her heart ache of being an unwanted unloved orphan. She began crying again and grabbed James hard around the neck. He held her tight around the waist with one arm and gently patted her shoulder with his other hand.

After a long few seconds he loosened his grip expecting her to pull away but she didn’t. She was still crying and held him tighter around the neck not wanting to let go.


He looked at Megan and saw Katie and Tara leaning against her, one on each side. All three of them had tears flowing down their cheeks and their eyes were red and swollen. They were all smiling and it reinforced the feeling that he had done the right thing fostering Mary.


James lowered his arm around Mary’s bottom and stood with her tightly in his arms. She laid her head on his shoulder, wrapped her legs around his waist and he carried her out the front door of the orphanage to the SUV. When Megan opened the back door of the SUV he whispered into Mary’s ear, “Mary it’s time to go home.”


She loosened her grip and rubbed her eyes. He set her down and she stepped into the SUV. They put her few meager belongings in the back and started the drive home. All of the emotion and crying had taken its toll on them; they were all exhausted and didn’t speak much on the way home.


James stopped the SUV in the driveway of the house and they all got out. He retrieved Mary’s belonging out of the back and followed the girls to the front door. Tara was holding Mary’s hand as Megan unlocked the door and opened it. As Tara and Mary walked in Megan said, “Welcome home Mary.”


She had a big smile on her face and said, “Thank you, I’m very happy that you’ll let me live here.”


James took her belongings upstairs and set them down in Tara’s room. He then took Mary’s hand in his and said, “Mary come with me and let me show you something.”


He opened the door across the hall from Tara’s bedroom and walked in with Mary. The room smelled a little musty from lack of use and there was some dust on the furniture. On the left side of the room was an antique four post double bed with a matching night stand next to it. Against the right wall was a chest of drawers and a French style vanity set with an oval mirror. In front of them between the two tall double hung windows was an antique walnut roll top secretary’s desk.


James said to Mary, “As soon as we get it painted this will be your room. You can pick the color and what kind of curtains you want.”


Mary was in shock and filled with surprise. Never in all of the foster homes that she had lived in was she given such a large and beautiful bedroom of her own. She said, “You mean it’s all mine, even the desk?”


James nodded and said, “Yes it’s all yours even the desk, you can decorate the room any way you want.”


She let go of his hand and went to the bed, sat on it and bounced a couple of times. She then went to the window and looked out for a few seconds before she was distracted by the desk. She ran her hand slowly along the hand carved scroll work along the edge and opened a few of the drawers which were mostly empty.


She looked genuinely happy with a huge grin on her face as she ran back to him and hugged his waist.


Megan was busy unpacking and sorting through her clothes when they returned to Tara’s room. James said, “I need to go to the store and get a few things for Mary’s new bedroom.”


They all left for the home improvement store where Mary with Megan’s help picked the color of her room and chose new carpet. James spent the remainder of the evening moving the furniture out of the room and cleaned and repaired the walls and trim in preparation for new paint and carpeting.


The next morning after breakfast Megan took all three girls shopping for new clothes for Mary. James stayed home and painted the room and got it ready for the new carpet that would be arriving along with the installers in the early afternoon. The ladies arrived back home late in the afternoon about the same time the carpet installers left.


James opened the front door as all four of them walked up the sidewalk with both hands full of shopping bags. He was truly amazed at just what it took to outfit a girl with new clothes. They set all of the bags down in the living room and he was given a fashion show by a very excited Mary.


The following day Megan and the girls went shopping again. This time they shopped for curtains, rugs, new sheets, and blankets for the bed. James worked hard getting her room ready and it looked a little sparse with a lack of furniture and other personal items but Mary happily fell asleep in her new room Sunday night.


Megan took the girls to school Monday morning and when she returned she said to James,” Tara and Mary’s teacher wants to talk to both of us as soon as possible.”

“Did she say why?” James asked.


“No not really.” Megan said, “She was busy with the students but she was smiling so I don’t think it’s anything bad.”


That afternoon they both went to the school to pick up the girls. The girls waited in the office while James and Megan went to Tara and Mary’s classroom. Their teacher greeted them with a smile and a handshake and said, “Come in. it’s so nice to see you again.”


Megan said, “It’s nice to see you, I hope there isn’t a problem.”


“Oh no, no, “she said, “Just the opposite. Mary is a very bright girl and she seems to be enjoying school and life in general much more since you took over her care.”


“That’s nice.” James said, “But why did you want to see us?”


“You don’t understand,” she continued, “Talking and working with Mary throughout the school year I’ve discovered that she is gifted, bordering on genus. She can read at an eighth grade or higher level and no matter what I give her to do she completes it with ease and now that her home life has improved considerably her learning will accelerate.”


Megan and James looked at each other dumbfounded and he was not sure what questions to ask her so he said, “How should we handle this?”


“Mary is in need of a challenge. Frankly she is bored in this class. You need to expose her to things that would be appropriate for someone who is in high school.”


“Like what?” Megan asked.


“Well to begin with, books. She is capable of reading hundreds of pages per day if she is interested in the subject. A computer with an internet connection would also be helpful. There is software out there that teaches the user the fundamentals of a computer. Mary is very capable of learning on her own.”


“We have a large library room and a computer with an internet connection.” Megan said, “Anything else?”


“Yes, maybe some computer classes at night. One night a week should be enough.” She added. “She is very interested in computers but she only gets limited exposure to the ones in our library.”


They picked up the girls from the office and headed home. Tara asked, “What did our teacher say?”


“Oh nothing much, she said that both of you are doing quite well and that Mary likes to read.”


When they got home Mary set her book bag down and James said, “Mary, please come with me I want to show you something.”


James and Mary went to the library and opened the door. He didn’t go into this room very much but he thought that Mary would be spending quite a bit of time in here. All four walls of the library were covered in dark solid cherry paneling with cherry trim. Directly in front of them against the far outside wall was a large fireplace flanked on either side by tall double hung windows.

In front of the fireplace were two large hunter green wing chairs with matching ottomans and floor lamps. Behind the chairs and directly in front of the door was a large mostly red oriental rug on which a rectangular oak research table sat with six matching oak chairs. The walls on both sides were filled from end to end with books about eight shelves high. James had estimated at least two thousand books were on the shelves.


Mary looked around and whispered ‘wow’ to herself. She looked back at James and said, “Can I look at the books?”


He said, “Yes you can look at anything you want in here. But it will be your responsibility to keep this room clean and neat. Put the books back where you found them before you take more off the shelf.”


“Yes sir.” she said as she walked to the book shelf and began reading the titles.


One of David and Mary Williams’ favorite hobbies was collecting first edition books and reading. During other times in the library James had glanced at some of the titles and knew that most all of the classics were in here plus a lot of titles that he had never heard of. He thought to himself that it would take young Mary a long time even at the rate she could read to finish reading all the books in here.


It was a true joy living under the same roof with Mary. She instantly bonded with James following him around the apartment complex helping him whenever she could. When they watched television Mary always chose to sit on James’ lap.


One of Mary’s favorite times was when James came into her bedroom to tuck her in and kiss her goodnight. He would usually stay a few minutes and tell her a story of his life growing up. The stories were sometimes sad and Mary could sometimes relate his stories to her own past life. When he finished they would hug each other and he would tell her that those sad times were over and they now had each other. Mary fell asleep each night with happy thoughts and always had sweet dreams.


They didn’t have to tell her to help clean up around the house and apartments; she did her chores without whining or making a fuss.


***


One of Kimberly’s favorite times of day was morning when she walked to school with her friends. She looked out the back door and saw two of her friends already waiting on the benches in the center of the apartment complex. Kim quickly grabbed her school backpack said good bye to her mom and ran to join her friends. When all five of them were there they slowly walked to school gossiping usually about the boys in their class.


Kim and her friends were all ten years old and were in the same fourth grade class.
She was a happy child with a caring mother and lots of good friends. Kim didn’t have a father, it was just her and her mom. She had never seen him and her mom didn’t say much about him when she asked her about him.


Kim’s mom had a good job and they lived in a nice two bedroom apartment in a different part of the city. The apartment complex had quite a few families with children that Kim could play with. Kim had a nice big bedroom with lots of pretty clothes that filled her closet.


Kim’s didn’t realize it at the time but her good life changed one summer day when her mom came home early from work. She was crying and in a terrible mood. Kim asked her mom what was wrong but she just screamed at Kim and told her to go to her room.


The next day Kim found out that her mom had been fired from her job. Her new boss was a womanizer and when she refused to ‘put out’ he made up a flimsy excuse about her job performance and fired her on the spot.


Kim’s mom tried for months to find another job of equal pay but the economy was bad and she couldn’t find one, not even for a lesser wage. Her mom was an orphan with no family to call on in this time of crises so things started spiraling downhill at a fast pace.


She applied for and received welfare and food stamps but it just wasn’t enough to live on in the way that they were accustomed to.


Within a few months they had to move out of their nice apartment away from Kim’s friends into a cheaper small one bedroom apartment in a not so nice neighborhood. Kim’s mom used the only bedroom so Kim’s bedroom became a futon in the corner of their small living room. The new elementary school was too far and too dangerous for her to walk to so she had to take a school bus to school.


A few months later when Kim out grew her clothes her mom had no other choice but to get her new ones from the Goodwill. The clothes fit her ok but they were old and not in todays style. Nobody, she thought to herself takes ‘in style’ clothes to the Goodwill.


Because of this, some of the mean girls started teasing her about her lack of style and most of the others students fell in line with them and teased her. Kim’s happy carefree life took a turn for the worse and she now felt sad and lonely most of the time. She became an outsider and a loner living on the edge of the school’s social order. She kept her head down and avoided others so she wouldn’t have to endure the endless teasing about her clothes and lack of style.


Kim’s mom in desperation started hanging around in bars at night hoping to find a companion that would help take care of her and her daughter. Most of the men that she met were turned off and ditched her as soon as they found out that she had a daughter.


Some of the men were just looking for a one night stand and she found out quickly that she could sell her body to make extra money.


Some nights Kim would close her eyes and pretend to be sleeping when she heard the key slide into the lock of the apartment. She would listen and sneak a peek at her mom as she quietly escorted a man to her bedroom. Kim would wait a few minutes and quietly sneak over to the bedroom door and listen. She could hear the bed springs squeaking and a lot of moaning and giggling coming from the bedroom. Kim listened to stories at school from the other kids and knew that they were having sex.


Kim found out that some of the men her mom brought home were dangerous. Once when her mom went into the bathroom and left the two of them alone. The man coaxed her into coming close to him. He grabbed her arm and pulled her tight against him and rubbed her small breasts and put his hand between her legs. After that day Kim was careful not to get too close to them especially when they were drunk.


Kim’s mom lost all of her own self respect and began drinking heavily almost every day trying to forget her problems. In the morning Kim would have to get herself dressed and catch the school bus while her mom lay passed out drunk in bed. When Kim got home from school her mom would be just getting out of bed. She would get dressed most days and head to the bar leaving Kim home alone to fend for herself.


Most of their money went towards alcohol and beer so there was little or no food in the house especially towards the end of the month so Kim relied on the food from the school cafeteria. It fell on Kim’s shoulders to wash her own clothes, cook, and keep the apartment clean. She had to force her mom to go to the grocery store on the first of the month before she had a chance to sell her food stamps for cash to buy more alcohol.


Kim’s life dragged on like this for five long agonizing years. When she was fifteen and a sophomore in high school her life, if that’s possible, took a turn for the worse. Her mom’s five years of alcoholism was taking its toll on her body. She would often become sick spending days at a time in bed. Kim tried to get her to go to a doctor to get some help but she refused. It became another of Kim’s responsibilities to take care of her while she was sick.


One day when she returned from school she went to the bedroom to check on her sick mom. She appeared to be sleeping in the bed and when Kim touched her cold arm to shake her to consciousness she stepped back and screamed, realizing that she was dead. Kim had done the best she could do taking care of her but it wasn’t enough.


She called the police and the coroner arrived and her body was removed from the apartment. During her interview with the police she lied to them and said she had an aunt that she would go stay with. With no friends or family to call Kim stayed in the apartment alone and returned to school after her mom’s funeral.


Word had spread among the students at school that her mom had died and it didn’t take long for one of the seniors to take advantage of the situation and befriend her. Michael was a tall popular boy and Kim was happy to have a boyfriend and someone to talk to.


When she first met him at school he sincerely told her how sorry he felt about her mom’s death, hugging her tightly. Kim had not received many if any hugs in the past five years so with all the emotion bottled up inside her she began to cry on his shoulder.


After school she saw Michael again and he offered her a ride home in his car. She accepted the ride and invited him in when they got to her apartment. They talked for some time and then Kim asked if he would drive her to the grocery store. She used all of her mom’s food stamps to buy groceries not knowing when the welfare department would catch up on the paper work and cancel the account making the card useless.


The following month Kim checked the welfare and food stamp account and was happy and relieved that the money was deposited as usual. She once again had Michael take her to the grocery store and spent most of the money on food in case the welfare department cancelled the account. She paid the monthly bills with the checkbook forging her mom’s signature silently hoping that she wouldn’t get caught and sent to jail.


Michael became a regular visitor at Kim’s apartment with her sometimes cooking him dinner. They would often sit on the couch after dinner and kiss, Kim even allowed him to touch her breasts. One thing led to another and they ended up in bed.


Michael told her that he loved her as she spread her legs and allowed him to penetrate her for the first time. Kim thought to herself how nice he had been to her and felt that she was falling in love with him. Michael continued telling her that he loved her and wanted to marry her as they made love night after night.


In late May just a few days before Michael was to graduate from high school Kim thought she was pregnant. She thought to herself that she would quit school, marry Michael, move into a nice house and live happily ever after. She decided to tell Michael the good news after graduation that he was to be the father of her baby. After the graduation party when they were alone in her apartment she told him that she was pregnant.


The smile left his face as he said, “Who’s the father?”


Kim smiled and said, “You are silly.”


He raised his voice and said, “I can’t be you must have slept with someone else!”


His face filled with anger and Kim quickly began to get scared. She had never seen that look on his face before as he moved toward her. Kim was unsure of what he was going to do so she began to back away from him. He grabbed her by the throat with both hands and chocked her for a few seconds before he slapped her and pushed her down hard to the floor. “You fucking slut, I never want to see you again!”


He turned and walked quickly to the door as Kim held her throat and spoke hoarsely, “Michael wait, you’re the only one I’ve slept with! I love you! Please don’t go.”


Michael heard all of those words but never turned around to look at her as he opened the door and slammed it shut behind him. Kim sat on the floor where he had pushed her, she massaged her neck and cried as her dreams of a happy life came crashing down around her.


The next day she tried to call him but he didn’t answer his cell phone nor did he return her text messages. After two weeks of not returning her calls she decided to try and talk to him in person. She took a bus to his house noticing as she walked down the sidewalk that his car wasn’t there but she still decided to knock on the door.


His mother answered the door and smiled, “Yes, can I help you?”


“Hello my name is Kim,” She answered, “can I speak with Michael please?”


“I’m sorry Kim but Michael moved out of the house last week.”


“Oh, I didn’t know that. Do you know how I can contact him?”


She stopped smiling and looked suspiciously at her as her voice hardened slightly, “Michael left instructions with me not to tell anyone where he lives. If this is important I can get a message to him.”


Kim was heartbroken as she realized that Michael used her for sex and didn’t want to see her or the baby she was carrying ever again. She realized it would be pointless to try and contact him.


“No, it’s not important,” Kim lied to the woman as tears began welling up in her eyes, “Good bye.”


She turned away and walked back to the sidewalk knowing she would have to deal with her pregnancy on her own. Kim boarded the bus back to her apartment and began to formulate long range plans. She knew that eventually the welfare money would end and she would have to tell someone that she was pregnant and alone.


Being a minor with no family she knew that she would be placed into the foster care system like her mom had been. Being pregnant she was unsure if she would live in Saint Catherine’s orphanage or the women’s shelter downtown. Her bus trip would take her a couple of blocks from the shelter so she decided to get off the bus and see firsthand what the women’s shelter looked like.


It was a large, old, and dirty three story sandstone building that had seen its better days. The first floor had very large windows but the second and third floor windows were smaller and closer together. She assumed that the upper two floors was the dormitory where the women lived. The building was set back from the side walk a short distance allowing for a few small trees and a small sitting area in front of the building.


A sign on the front door said ‘free lunch,’ Kim hadn’t eaten any breakfast or lunch today so she decided to go in and try out the food. Kim walked through the door and immediately noticed the odor. She frowned as she saw that some of the people that were eating looked dirty.


Two men sitting at a table close by her were wearing nasty smelling dirty clothes and she couldn’t believe they hadn’t washed their filthy hands before they ate. She silently said a prayer to herself, ‘Dear Lord please help me, I don’t want to live in this place.’ Just as she was about to leave she noticed a nice looking woman smiling at her and she was walking across the dining room toward her.


***


A very sad time in Megan’s life was the few years before she met James. Her sorry good-for-nothing ex husband was out of a job most of the time and she had to find other means to conserve what little money that she had. To save money she would often bring Katie and Tara to the women’s shelter to feed them. The people who ran the shelter were very nice to Megan and her girls; they even offered her a place to live if she ever wanted to leave her husband.


It was only natural after she married James that she came back to the shelter to volunteer and maybe help someone else who needed a break. Some days she would help out in the child daycare, on other days she helped out in the kitchen and dining room. Megan arrived at the shelter that morning at about ten-o-clock and helped with the free lunch that they served every day.


Megan had just installed a full insert of food into the serving line when she looked up toward the door. She didn’t know why she chose that exact moment to look towards the door nor did she understand the Powers at work conditioning her mind. She did a double take as she noticed the beautiful teenage girl walk in. Megan thought that she had seen her somewhere before and the wheels were spinning in her mind trying to remember where that had been.


The teen stepped through the doors and moved to the side out of the way of others that were coming and going through the door. She scanned the room looking unsure of herself, so Megan began walking toward the girl to welcome her as one of the volunteers did for her on her first visit to the shelter. The teen was frowning and Megan thought she saw the teen silently mouth the words ‘Dear Lord’.


She couldn’t stop staring at the young teenagers face. She had dark brown shoulder length hair, brown eyes… beautiful brown eyes that were looking sadly at the dining room. Yes, she had definitely seen her somewhere before but couldn’t remember from where. She had seen a lot of people when she was a waitress at the diner and decided that she had probably been one of her customers.


Megan smiled and held out her hand and said to the teen, “Hi’ I’m Megan.”


The teen cautiously held out her hand and shook Megan’s hand and replied, “Hi, I’m Kim.”


“Hello Kim is this the first time you’ve been here?” Megan asked.


Kim answered, “Yes this is my first time.”


Megan asked, “Are you hungry?”


She nodded her head and Megan gestured with an outstretched arm for her to go to the cafeteria style lunch counter. Megan walked with her and then stood behind the buffet and watched the hungry people filling their plates. She knew that for some of the people this would be their only meal of the day.


She didn’t understand why but she continued looking at Kim sitting at a table eating her lunch. Megan studied her eyes, lips, and other features as she wondered where she had seen her before and wondered why such a sad young girl was eating a free lunch here. Megan watched her as she finished her meal and brought her tray to the dish washing window.


Kim slowly moved around the room stopping to look at a bulletin board. She continued slowly walking pausing for a few seconds to look down the open hallway toward the administrative offices in the back of the building. She made eye contact with Megan as she turned and walked across the dining room toward the exit.


Megan smiled at her and slowly walked toward the path that Kim would take to exit. When she walked by Megan said, “Good bye Kim. You’re welcome here any time you need a hot meal or someone to talk to.”


She half heartedly smiled at Megan and quietly said, “Thank you.” as she walked through the exit doors.


Kim returned to the apartment and kept to herself for the rest of the summer so the other residents wouldn’t realize that she was living there alone. It was a boring existence, most days she listened to the radio while rereading old magazines. Just about every day she would cry when the thought kept going through her mind of what will happen to her when the money ran out. She knew she was too old to be adopted and the only place she could live was the orphanage.


Twice a week, very early in the morning, because it was safer, she would ride the bus to the grocery store only buying what she could carry home. The money kept being deposited in the accounts for the next two months much to her relief. In the beginning of September when she needed the money the most it wasn’t deposited.


She needed to buy some looser fitting clothes for school to hide her swelling belly. Kim had just a few dollars left to her name and knew that her life was going to fall apart within a week. She didn’t have enough money to pay the rent or utilities and the food wouldn’t last for more than a week or so. For some strange reason that she was not fully conscious of, she decided to go to the women’s shelter to eat lunch and then stop at the Goodwill and spend the rest of her money on some loose fitting clothes.


***


Megan had a busy day scheduled on that particular day. She needed to go grocery shopping and the girls were pestering her to take them shopping for school clothes plus two or three more errands she needed to run. Megan was in a hurry so she quickly grabbed her purse and decided to go to the grocery store first.


The traffic was heavy and slow moving as her mind began to wander off the subject of grocery shopping. Suddenly a crystal clear image of Kim and the inside of the woman’s shelter formed in her mind. Megan didn’t consciously understand why but at the last second she turned left and headed towards the shelter.


Kim stood in line at the shelter waiting for her turn when she heard a familiar voice behind her say, “Hello Kim.”


Kim turned and recognized Megan, the woman that she had talked to the last time she was there.


Megan said, “I’ve missed you. I thought you would have come back for lunch sooner.”


Kim lied and said, “Yes it has been a while... I’ve had a busy summer.”


Megan noticed the extra weight that she had put on since the last time she saw her. Her stomach was bigger and her breasts seemed larger. Then it dawned on her, ‘She’s pregnant!’ Megan said to herself. ‘Good Lord she can’t be more than fifteen or sixteen years old and nobody is with her! I wonder if there is someone else or is she all alone.’


Megan sensed something was wrong and she wanted to talk to her some more so she picked up a tray and got in line behind her. They talked about little or nothing while they walked through the line filling their plates. Megan followed Kim to an empty table and they both sat down. They talked while they ate and when they were finished eating Megan casually asked her, “Kim, how old are you?”


Kim shifted her eyes back and forth not making eye contact with Megan and said, “Ahh… I’m eighteen. Why?”


Megan knew she was lying and gently put her hand on Kim’s arm and said, “Kim I’m just a volunteer here. I’m not going to say anything. How old are you really?”


Kim was getting nervous, “Why do you want to know?”


Megan moved her lips a little closer to Kim’s ear and whispered, “Kim, I know you’re pregnant. “


Kim was about to panic and run when Megan said, “Please don’t be afraid of me Kim. We need to talk. Would you like to go somewhere that’s private?”


Kim knew that she needed help but she was frightened and didn’t want to lose her freedom and be forced to live in an orphanage all alone. The landlord would be knocking on her apartment door any day now looking for the rent money and the electricity would soon be shut off. She needed clothes and other things if she was to return to school next week. Kim was worried as she looked at the warm smile on Megan’s face.


Her instinct was telling her to trust Megan so she sighed and nodded yes.


“There’s a quite room down the hall.” Megan whispered.


Kim felt safe walking down the hall with Megan and was feeling at ease talking to her. They walked into a vacant room and Megan closed the door.


Megan asked again, “There’s nothing to be afraid of Kim I’m not going to hurt you. Will you please tell me how old you are?”


Kim sighed and said, “I’m fifteen but I’ll be sixteen in December.”


“Oh I see Kim, do your parents know that you’re pregnant?”


She began to quietly sob and said, “My mom died about three months ago and I don’t know who my father is.”


“Oh, I’m so sorry about your mother Kim. Do you have any other family?”


“No, my mom was an orphan so I don’t have any aunts or grandparents.”


Megan’s heart was aching and she could feel her eyes getting misty as she opened her arms to give Kim a hug. ‘The poor child,’ Megan thought to herself, ‘she’s pregnant and all alone.’ She whispered to her as she held her in a tight hug, “Don’t worry Kim it’s not the end of the world. I’m going to try and get you some help. Where have you been living?”


“I’m staying in the apartment where my mom and I used to live. They kept on sending the welfare and food stamps so I just paid the bills and stayed there. Do you think I’ll get in trouble for using the money after my mom died?” Kim asked as Megan released her from the hug.


Megan thought for a moment and answered, “I don’t think so Kim they probably won’t know who spent the money anyway. Besides most of the money is yours and you put it to good use.”


Megan looked down at her stomach and asked, “How far along are you?”


Kim replied, “About three months I guess.”


Megan smiled and asked, “Have you seen a doctor?”


Kim knew pregnant women were supposed to see a doctor and she was disappointed in herself for not doing so. She let her head and eyes fall to her feet, to ashamed to look at Megan and slowly shook her head no.


Megan sighed and thought for a moment. She put her finger under Kim’s chin and gently lifted her head up until they were making eye contact again.


Megan said,” I know we just met Kim but do you trust me?”


Kim sighed and said in a frustrated tone,” I guess I’m going to have to trust somebody. I’m just about out of money and food and the rent on the apartment is due. They’re going to find out about me pretty soon.”


“Ok Kim, I’ve got a plan,” Megan said in a gentle but confident voice, “we need to get some things done, let’s go out to my SUV.”


Megan and Kim walked to her SUV as they talked. “Kim, will you show me your apartment?”


Kim gave Megan directions and they drove to the apartment. Megan had always avoided this particular part of the city. The crime rate was a lot higher here and she was worried as she parked in front of the apartment.


She walked into the apartment with Kim and looked around. Kim took good care of the apartment. Everything was neat and clean with no dirty dishes or clothes scattered about. She looked in the kitchen cupboard and saw a few cans of food and some dry goods. The refrigerator was empty except for a few cans of soda and some condiments. There was no milk, fruits, vegetables, or meats of any kind. This worried Megan she knew that Kim wasn’t eating the way a pregnant woman should be eating.


Megan walked into the bedroom and looked in her closet and asked, “Do you have any maternity clothes?”


“No,” replied Kim, “I was planning on going to the Goodwill after I ate at the shelter.”
“Ok Kim, first things first.” Megan took Kim’s hand and they left the apartment walking back to the SUV.


“Here’s what I have in mind. First let’s go to the mall and get you some looser fitting maternity clothes.”


Kim protested, “But I don’t have enough money to buy clothes from the mall.”
Megan smiled and squeezed her hand, “Don’t worry about the money Kim it’ll be my treat.”


Megan continued, “It’s very important for the health of your baby that you need to see a doctor.” Megan said, “Don’t panic Kim but the best way to do that is we need to get you signed up with social services.”


Kim gave Megan a worried look. “But when they find out about me I’ll have to live in an orphanage like my mom did.”


“Don’t be alarmed,” Megan smiled reassuring her, “I’m not going to just drop you off at the orphanage and leave. I know some people down there and I’m sure I can get you through the process in the express lane.”


“It’s also too dangerous and you’re too young to stay at that apartment by yourself. I’ll have to talk to my husband James, and if he and social services agree, you can stay with us. I can’t guarantee it but I’m pretty sure I can make it happen.”


Megan drove Kim to the maternity store at the mall and they picked out five or six sets of clothes. While she was in the dressing room trying on the clothes Megan called James.
Megan explained to James the situation that Kim was in. “James I have to do something, she’s just a kid and only a few days away from living on the street.”


“Good Lord, Fifteen? Pregnant and living alone without parents?” James said with a surprised tone. “Yes of course she can stay here. I would have been disappointed if you hadn’t brought her home with you.”


“Thank you James I knew you would understand. We should be home in less than an hour.”


When Kim was finished trying on all of the clothes Megan told her, “Great news Kim, I talked to my husband James and he said you can spend the night with us at a minimum and after we get you registered with social services tomorrow I’m sure they will let you stay with us at least until your baby is born.


Kim began to sob lightly; a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She had been making most of her own decisions ever since she was ten years old. Her mom was too busy looking into the bottom of a whiskey bottle to give Kim much help growing up. She was happy that someone was once again taking care of her and making decisions for her.
She hugged Megan and whispered, “Thank you Miss Megan you don’t know what this means to me.”


Megan held her tightly and rocked her in her arms as she thought back to the day she met James. If James hadn’t given her the apartment to live in her next stop was going to be the women’s shelter. She knew what a little help from a kind stranger felt like and she smiled to herself suddenly realizing that it felt even better being on the giving end this time.


They left the shopping mall and Megan drove Kim to her house to meet James and her girls. As they drove up the driveway Kim said, “Wow this is a big house, is this where you live?”


Megan answered, “Yes this is it. I hope you like it.”


“It’s beautiful; I’ve always lived in an apartment and never in a house.”


James opened the front door of the house and walked to the SUV as the girls waited and watched from the porch. Megan told Kim, “That’s my husband James and those are our three girls.”


James saw the shopping bags and opened the back door of the SUV to retrieve them. Megan gave him a hug and a kiss as Kim walked around the SUV and stopped next to her. “James this is Kim, Kim this is my husband James.”


James smiled and shook her hand and said, “Hi Kim it’s very nice to meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you too Mister James,” Kim answered, “Thank you very much for letting me stay with you tonight.”


James smiled as he remembered back to when he was eighteen years old and didn’t have a penny in his pocket. David and Mary Williams welcomed him and gave him a chance to get back on his feet before he started his new job. They fed him those first few weeks and gave him an apartment free of charge until he started getting his regular paycheck. It was the least he could do to help out such a young vulnerable person as Kim.


“You’re very welcome Kim.” James said.


They walked to the front door and when they got close to the porch Megan said, “Girls this is Kim she’s going to stay with us at least for the night.” Megan pointed to each of the girls as she said their names, “Kim these are our daughters, that’s Katie, Tara, and Mary.”


Mary pushed her chest out having a sudden feeling of pride and smiled as she realized that it was the first time that Megan had referred to her as her daughter.


All three girls started talking at the same time asking Kim questions.


“Girls! Girls!” Megan said raising her voice over the top of their voices, “Kim doesn’t understand a word you’re saying with all three of you talking at the same time. Let’s give her some time to adjust before you start with the questions.”


Kim and the others walked into the large foyer and she immediately looked up at the high ceiling, she had been in buildings with high ceilings before but never in a house with a high ceiling. She then looked to her left and saw the spacious living room with the plush sofas and chairs. Against the far wall between two large windows she saw a large wooden cabinet that held a big flat screen television. Her television had quit working a year or so ago so it has been a long time since she had watched TV.


Megan said, “Follow me Kim I’ll show you to your bedroom.”


Kim followed Megan down the long hallway past the kitchen and office toward the back of the house. Megan then walked through a doorway into the most beautiful bedroom that Kim had ever seen in her life. The antique dressers and tables looked expensive like something that came from a museum or the pictures in one of those ‘living’ magazines.


Kim quickly scanned the elegantly designed room from the pictures and paintings on the walls to the thick soft rugs on the hardwood floor. Every picture and rug seemed to be just the right size and made for that exact spot.


Megan walked around the bed and opened the double doors to a large closet in the far corner of the room. She opened the draperies that covered the windows and then pointed to the other side of the room and said, “You can use that bathroom.”


Tears formed in Kim’s eyes as she said, “It’s the most beautiful room that I’ve ever seen in my life.”


James set the shopping bags down on the bed and said, “We’re glad you like it Kim.”


Katie added, “The bed is real comfortable, Tara and I used to sleep in here before we got our own rooms upstairs. Mom can we show her our rooms?”


Megan said, “Ok just don’t ask her a million questions.”


The girls spent the next few minutes showing Kim the rest of the house while James and Megan talked in the kitchen. “James you need to go to her apartment and get some of her things that she will need. Take a few boxes and two suitcases. Get her clothes, bathroom things, and her important papers; she will need her birth certificate tomorrow when we take her to Social Services.”


Kim and the girls came into the kitchen after the tour and said, “This is the biggest and most beautiful house I’ve ever been in.”


Megan smiled and said, “I’m glad you like it Kim. James and Katie are going to take you to your apartment to get some of your things that you will need while the rest of us stay here and cook dinner.”


Kim nodded her head and turned to follow James out the door. Megan called out to James just before they left the room, “James, don’t let her carry anything heavy.”


When James and Kim stopped to look back at Megan she had a cold chill run down her back as they both smiled at her almost identically.


James didn’t know where his ancestors came from but Megan and James both thought that he was Eastern European. Kim too had the same skin tone, hair color, and facial features and looked to have had ancestors from the same region of Europe.


Megan, Tara, and Mary cooked dinner for their growing family while James, Kim, and Katie packed up things that she would need from her apartment. James and Katie had just brought the last of the boxes into the house when Mary announced that dinner was ready.


Kim walked into the kitchen and saw what she thought was a Thanksgiving feast that would have made any mother proud. The table was set with plates, silverware, glasses and napkins. Mary was setting a big bowl of mashed potatoes on the table while Tara was bringing a large bowl of tossed salad.


Katie saw that Kim wasn’t sure where to sit so she offered, “Kim this is your chair.”


Kim sat in the chair that was between James and Katie with Mary sitting across from her.
“Wow,” Kim said, “Do you eat like this every night?”


Megan set the large platter of pork chops on the table and sat at the head of the table opposite James and answered, “Yes this is a normal dinner for us.”


“The table looks very nice and the food smells wonderful.”


Kim reached for a pitcher of iced tea when Megan smiled and said to her, “Kim you need a lot of vitamin D, you should drink milk.”


Kim knew that Megan was right so she set the tea down as James filled her glass with milk. Kim was happy, her real mother was gone but she knew in her heart that Megan and James would look after her with her best interests in mind. She silently said a prayer to herself hoping that social services would let her live here with James and Megan.


As Kim ate she looked around the table and studied everyone’s face. She smiled every time Megan or the other family members looked back at her.


Katie was curious of this and asked, “Kim why are you looking at me so funny?”


“I’m sorry for staring at you Katie,” Kim said, “But it’s been a very long time since I’ve sat down to eat dinner with other people. My mom usually wasn’t there when I ate dinner.” Katie was satisfied with the answer and continued eating her dinner.


After dinner and the kitchen was cleaned up Katie followed Kim to her room and asked, “Can I come in?”


Kim replied, “Sure, come in I’m just going to change clothes and put some of this stuff away.”


They talked while Kim opened the bags of clothes Megan had bought her and hung them in the closet. Katie looked close at the pants she had and said, “Those are maternity clothes. There for pregnant women. What are you doing with them?”


Kim sighed and sadly looked at Katie, “I’m pregnant.”


Katie surprisingly replied, “But you’re too young to have a baby.”


“Yes I know. I made a bad mistake. My boyfriend told me he loved me and wanted to marry me.”


“Oh,” Katie said, “Mom told me about that and said to be careful about those things.”


Later that evening Megan and Katie helped Kim unpack the rest of her things and found her mom’s death certificate and her birth certificate. She would need them tomorrow when they went to social services. Megan looked at the death certificate and the birth certificate and saw that her mother’s name was the same on both. When she looked at the space provided for her father’s name it was blank.


The following morning James called Mrs. Parker at the orphanage and told her about Kim. “Oh the poor girl,” Mrs. Parker said, “I’m glad you found her. No telling what would have happened if she fell in with the wrong people. Bring her in around ten this morning and I’ll personally take care of the paperwork.”


That morning James, Megan, and Kim went to the social services office to do the paper work so Kim could start receiving assistance. Their top priority was to get her to a doctor to check on her health and the health of her baby.


They sat at Mrs. Parker’s desk in the large open office area and after all of the applications were filled out James said, “Mrs. Parker we would like to care for Kim at least until her baby is born and maybe longer if that’s possible.”


Mrs. Parker smiled and said, “I’m glad to hear that James all of our foster homes are full and she would have to stay here if you hadn’t offered to care for her.”


Kim was happy and relieved; she looked at Megan with an excited smile. Megan whispered, “See I told you everything would work out.”


When it was time to sign the papers James looked them over, he then stopped and stared at the paper work. Mrs. Parker and Megan noticed a surprised look on his face and then a worried look. He started leafing through the other papers in the folder until he found Kim’s birth certificate. He stared at it for several seconds and then set all the papers down on the desk.


James pushed his chair back and stood. He picked up the birth certificate again and looked at both sides of the document as Megan asked, “James what’s wrong?”


He took in a deep breath as he stared at Megan for a few seconds. He glanced at Kim and then turned and walked across the room to the window and looked out. Megan looked at the documents that James was looking at and didn’t see anything wrong with them.


She touched Kim’s hand while trying to smile to reassure her and said, “I’m sure he’s just nervous about taking on additional responsibilities. Let me go talk to him.”


She walked over to James and asked, “What’s wrong?”


“Oh god I don’t know.” He said to Megan as he continued to stare out the window.


“Please tell me James, it can’t be that bad.” Megan said with a worried tone to her voice, “Is there something on the application that’s bothering you?”


“No… I don’t know. I have to think.” James said as he turned away from Megan and began walking.


Megan didn’t understand what was wrong. Was he having second thoughts about caring for Kim? She was beginning to get nervous when James stopped after walking several steps and turned to look at her. He sighed as he looked back and forth between Megan and Kim. He noticed Kim looking over at him with a worried look on her face as Mrs. Parker was trying to comfort her.


James nervously told Megan, “Oh god… I don’t know what to do. We need to talk.”


Kim watched from the desk as Megan walked toward James and listened as he talked to her. They were too far away for Kim to hear anything that was being said. She was thinking that James had changed his mind about taking care of her and was telling that to Megan.


James didn’t look happy as he mostly stared at the floor while she watched his lips move. Part way through the conversation Megan’s mouth fell open as she listened to James. She had a surprised look on her face as she covered her mouth with her hand and quickly looked back and forth between James and the desk where Kim sat.


At the end of the conversation Megan looked extremely surprised as she put her arms around James’ chest and hugged him. Megan spoke to him for a few seconds before she took his hand and walked back to the desk with him.


Megan looked extremely excited as she asked Mrs. Parker, “All of us need to go somewhere private to talk.”


As Kim nervously stood she asked Megan, “What’s wrong?”


Megan hugged her shoulder and said, “Don’t worry Kim everything is fine and you will know what’s going on in just a few minutes.”


They all walked to the back of the building and went into a small conference room. Mrs. Parker closed the door as Megan told James, “Tell her James.”


James was nervous as he paced back and forth on the far side of the large conference table. “How do I tell her?” James said as he continued pacing.


Megan walked around the table to his side, stopped him from pacing and said, “Just tell her what you told me.”


James looked at Kim and took in a deep breath before he spoke, “Kim please don’t be angry with me. I think it’s possible… ah… I think I knew your mother. We went to the same high school. One night I walked her home and we… ah… had sex.” James looked a Kim for a sign to see if she was angry.


“What does that have to do with signing those papers?” Kim asked almost in tears, “Did you change your mind about letting me stay with you?”


James nervously continued, “No... It’s nothing like that. Ah… I remember it being a cold night just before I graduated, probably around February or March of the year you were born.


There was silence in the room for several seconds until Mrs. Parker suddenly gasped and covered her mouth with her hand.


It still hadn’t dawned on Kim until Megan started counting off the months in front of her. “April,” Megan held up one finger, “May”, Megan held up two fingers. When Megan got to December she was holding up nine fingers. “Kim you were born in December, nine months after James and your mother had sex.”


Kim surprisingly looked at James and took in a deep breath, “You mean you’re my father?” Kim said as she put her hands on her face and started to cry.


James quickly walked around the table and stood in front of her. “Kim I’m so sorry.” He said, “Your mother broke up with me a couple of days later and she didn’t tell me she was pregnant. After I graduated I never saw her again. I didn’t know you existed, had I known I would have been there for you. I’m so sorry Kim.”


Megan spoke, “Let’s not jump to conclusions, there still is a good possibility that James is not your father. “


“I know someone over at the DNA laboratory.” Mrs. Parker said, “If you want, I’ll call them and see if you can be tested.”


Megan asked Kim, “Do you want to find out for sure if James is your father?”


Kim was still crying as she nodded her head yes.


James was heartbroken, he desperately wanted to hug and comfort Kim but he was unsure if she was crying because she was happy or sad.


“I’ll make the call.” Mrs. Parker said, “In the mean time I’ll put your application in my desk until we find out for sure.”


Mrs. Parker pulled Megan away from James & Kim and whispered, “The DNA test is just a formality she’s a carbon copy of James.”


Megan smiled as she whispered back, “Yes the likeness is incredible. When I first saw her I thought I knew her from somewhere but now I realize that she just looks so much like James.”


Mrs. Parker left the room to make the telephone call to the DNA laboratory.


Kim wiped the tears from her eyes and looked up at James and said, “It’s not your fault, you didn’t know. I just wish mom would have said something to me. She was the only one who knew who you were.”


James opened his arms offering Kim a hug if she wanted one. He didn’t want to make the first move still not being sure of her mood. Kim tucked her arms in, drawing closer and he enveloped her with his arms. His hand cradled her head and he stroke her hair, her head was against his shoulder. Slowly he rocked her back and forth while his fingers stroked her hair.


“Oh Kim I’m so sorry.” James said in a soft tone, “I’m going to make up for the time that I wasn’t there for you.”


“I’m so happy I found you.” Kim said trying to hold back her tears, “It’s been a tough few years on me. When my mom died I thought I would be put into the orphanage and be alone with no family for the rest of my life.”


“I’m very happy things turned out the way they did. “James said to Kim, “You don’t have to worry anymore I’m going to take care of you now.”


“Unbelievable,” James whispered to Megan with a huge grin, “What a day this has been. I still can’t believe that I have a daughter!”


Megan smiled at James and whispered, “And you’re soon going to be a grandfather!”


It was true, James was so busy thinking about his daughter that it slipped his mind completely that she was pregnant and he would soon be a grandfather. With social services now out of the picture he realized that Kim’s health and that of the baby… his grandchild, now became his responsibility.


James looked over Kim’s shoulder and smiled at Megan and whispered, “She needs to see a doctor.”


She nodded to him as she pulled her cell phone out of her purse and started pushing buttons. When the phone began ringing she turned and walked to the other end of the room.


Kim was still trying to make sense of it all. Yesterday morning, she was at rock bottom dreading the next few days when she knew that she would be living at an orphanage by week’s end. There wasn’t a single ray of hope of having any better of a life.


Then when all seemed lost, she, for some unknown reason went to the woman’s shelter and by chance she met Megan again. She still didn’t understand why Megan had taken a liking to her, putting her under her wing and washing away all of her fears. And how could it be that this woman was married to her father that she thought she had no hope of ever finding?


James and Kim held on to each other for several minutes until Megan came back to them. “I called my doctor,” Megan said quietly, “the one that delivered Katie and Tara and they set up an appointment for this Wednesday.”


James nodded to Megan as he released Kim from her hug and said, “Thank you Megan. Come on Kim, let’s go home.”


They all left the conference room and went back to the main office. Mrs. Parker told them that the DNA laboratory wasn’t busy right now so they left and had the simple test done.


When they arrived at home they all sat in the living room. James and Kim began telling each other their life story. When Megan brought the girls home from school she didn’t tell them of the day’s events, just that James had some news to tell them. Katie, Tara, and Mary filed into the living room and sat down on the sofa.


“Hi daddy,” Katie said in an excited voice, “What’s the good news?”


Kim was sitting on the other sofa next to James holding his hand in both of hers.


“Well I have some good news to tell you.” James said, “I’m not one hundred percent sure yet but I think Kim is my daughter.”


Katie looked puzzled as she said, “You mean you’re going to adopt her too?”


“I don’t think I will have to, I knew Kim’s mother when I was in high school and… well… I’m pretty sure that she is my daughter.”


Megan spoke up and explained, “They had a DNA test done today to find out for sure but I think that they look too much alike for them not to be related.”


“Really?” Katie said as they all jumped up off the sofa and went to Kim and they each gave her a hug welcoming her to the family.


“Wow,” Tara said with an excited voice, “We have another sister! That’s two in one year!”


Kim looked at Tara a little puzzled at her remark. “What do you mean?” Kim questioned.


“Katie and Tara are my natural children.” Megan began to explain, “I met James… I mean your father, a little over a year ago. We were much in the same way that you were. I was working at a dead end job with very little money. We were about to lose our apartment and go to the Women Shelter to live but for some reason I stopped here first to find out how much the apartment rent was and James took a liking to us and gave us an apartment to live in rent free.”


“Apartment?” Kim asked, “You have an apartment you rent out?”


“Not just one,” Megan said pointing toward the back of the house, “We own the whole complex behind the house.”


“Ya,” Tara piped in, “In the summer time we get to go swimming in the pool any time we want!”


“Wow,” Kim said turning to look at Mary, “then is Mary your daughter… I mean my sister?” Kim asked turning back to James.


“No,” James said in a somber voice, “Mary’s like me, an orphan, her last foster family was mean to her so we took her in and she will soon be adopted by us.”


“I’m so sorry to hear that Mary.” Kim said.


“That’s okay Kim,” Mary answered as she got up off the couch and went and sat on James’ leg putting her arms around his neck. “Those days are all in the past. I now have a real mommy and daddy that love and take care of me.”


Kim became excited as she heard Mary call James daddy, she was still getting used to the fact that she had a real honest to goodness family with a mother, father, and sisters. James was watching her and saw her face light up with excitement.


James smiled and asked, “What is it Kim? What are you thinking about?”


Kim smiled and shyly looked down and said, “I’m still getting used to having a family,” she looked up and grinned,” Is it okay if I start calling you mom and dad?”


Everyone chuckled as James put his arms around Kim and Mary and pulled them both in close for a hug and said, “Of course that will be okay. You can call us mom and dad or whatever you like too. I know what you mean though, I’m still trying to get used to having a daughter.”


The whole family moved as one into the kitchen to help prepare dinner. No one wanted to miss the stories that were bonding them together as a family. After dinner they all helped clean the kitchen and continued talking while they sat at the kitchen table.


James suddenly realized that Kim would need to be registered at a new high school on this side of the city. Memories began flooding into his mind of all the problems he had when he was forced to start a new school. Not only would she be the new student but she would also have to endure the endless teasing that went along with her pregnancy.


After they went to bed that night James expressed his concerns to Megan about Kim going back to school while she was pregnant.


Megan said as she turned on her side and put her head on his shoulder, “We could enroll her in a private school.”


Megan snuggled in close to James’ ear and gently probed the inside of his ear with her tongue. This sent a shiver down his body straight to his penis. He was having a difficult time concentrating on the subject at hand but managed to answer, “Yes we could do that but she would still be teased by the other students.”


She began nibbling on his earlobe while slowly running her fingers in small circles through his chest hairs. “Well then we could get her a tutor.” She said.


His breathing became irregular and his penis was rock hard as he answered, “That’s a good idea; she could stay here and be tutored full time in the library.”


Megan thought for a moment as she licked the side of his ear and said, “Maybe we could get a full time teacher to home school all four girls for the rest of the year. I think it would benefit Mary a lot having a teacher here to give her extra attention.”


Megan slowly moved her hand down his chest and dug her fingers under his shorts and began stroking his penis. He managed to move his hand to Megan’s breast and found one of her nipples and slowly tweaked it as he said, “That might work but where would we find a full time teacher?”


Megan momentarily released his penis and arched her ass up off the bed and pushed her panties down with her thumb down until she hooked them with her big toe and removed them, discarding them at the end of the bed and said, “We could ask the girl’s principal, he may know of someone?”


James did likewise and discarded his shorts and rolled over on top of Megan and said, “Ok let’s check into it tomorrow.”


The following morning when Megan dropped off the girls at school she went into the office and asked the principal if he knew of a teacher they could hire full time for the year.


He said he knew of a couple of retired teachers that he could call and ask if they would be interested. Megan told him that they owned an apartment complex and could give an apartment to the teacher as partial payment for accepting the job.


Just before lunch that day, Megan received a telephone call from a retired teacher. She told Megan that her husband had passed away last year and she was thinking of selling her house and was interested in the job and the apartment. An interview was set up for the following afternoon at four P.M. when all of the girls were there.


Megan answered the door precisely at four the following afternoon. Mrs. Hilton was a very nice looking woman in her sixties with mostly gray hair. She was dressed in typical school teacher fashion with a below the knee dress and a sweater.


Megan smiled and said, “Mrs. Hilton?”


She smiled back and extended her hand and shook Megan’s hand saying, “Yes and you must be Megan.”


“It’s so nice to meet you,” Megan said, “will you please come in. Girls, James, come and meet Mrs. Hilton.”


All four girls being on their best behavior lined up in the living room and smiled at her. James walked out of the kitchen and shook her hand saying, “It’s nice to meet you.”


Mrs. Hilton asked each girl in turn what grade they were in and flattered them with a compliment on how pretty they were.


“Please come with me,” Megan said to Mrs. Hilton, “and I’ll show you where we think the best place to hold class is.”


They walked down the hallway and went into the library. As soon as Mrs. Hilton saw the room she smiled and said, “What a lovely room, this will be perfect.”


They sat at the research table in the library and talked for the next few minutes. Mrs. Hilton gave Megan and James a resume’ which they looked over while she told them that she would handle all of the paper work so each child would get full credit for the home schooling. She also said she would be interested in looking at the apartment as partial payment for her salary.


James retrieved the key and they walked out the back door of the house to one of the closer apartments that as vacant. James and Megan waited by the door as Mrs. Hilton walked through the apartment.


Megan whispered to James, “I like her, and I think she will be a good teacher for the girls.”


“I agree,” James whispered back, “if she likes the apartment we should offer her the job.”


Mrs. Hilton returned and said, “I like the apartment and I could live here if I get the job.”


“Then it’s settled,” Megan said smiling, “you’ve got the job.”


The girls were excited not having to go to the school building everyday but were saddened on their last day because they would not see their friend’s every day.


Mrs. Hilton contacted the schools and had Katie, Tara, and Mary withdrawn from their classes. She also contacted some of her former colleagues and borrowed their curriculum and textbooks for each of the girls.


James and Megan bought each of the girls a new laptop computer with wireless connections. The stores computer geeks came to the house and set up the desk top as the master computer for Mrs. Hilton complete with passwords so the girls wouldn’t be tempted to cheat. When the girls were in their room studying Mrs. Hilton could tap into the laptop camera to keep an eye on them and also answer their questions without them having to come downstairs and talk to her in person.


On the first day of home school Mrs. Hilton arrived at seven in the morning and Megan invited her into the kitchen for coffee. After some small talk Mrs. Hilton said, “I’ve contacted a realtor and put my house up for sale. They say the house is in a desirable location so it shouldn’t take very long to sell it. I’ll be moving into your apartment very soon.”


Mrs. Hilton continued, “I also spent some time with each of your daughter’s last year teachers and looked over their grades.”


Megan was a little worried when she asked, “What did they say?”


“Katie and Tara are slightly above average and I’m sure that I can help them to become even better students by the end of the school year. I am very excited to be working with Mary, her teacher said she is very smart and needs to be challenged. Kim on the other hand is behind in her school work. I’ve seen her grades and test scores and it seems she began to slip behind in the fifth grade. It will take a lot of effort by all of us to catch her up in just one year.”


The girls began walking into the kitchen for breakfast one at a time. After they ate they went to Mrs. Hilton’s car and helped bring in her teaching supplies.


The first day Mrs. Hilton laid down the ground rules and gave the girls a schedule of their school hours. They were all to meet in the library at eight A.M. to hand in their work and get their assignments for the day. Katie and Kim would leave the library while Mary and Tara had class from eight to ten. Katie would be in class from ten to twelve and Kim would have class from one to three thirty. While not in class each girl was expected to go to their room to study and complete their daily assignments.


Megan took Kim to the doctor and they were both relieved that she and her baby were healthy and doing fine. They did an ultra sound and snapped a Polaroid picture so she could show James. Kim was told by the doctor to start taking vitamins and get plenty of exercise.

The following week the DNA results arrived in the mail. Megan called James who was working in an apartment telling him to come to the kitchen. When everyone was in the kitchen Megan held up the sealed envelope and said, “Here it is.”


James reached out and held Kim’s hand and said, “No matter what it says Kim you are still my daughter and I will take care of you as long as you want.”


He turned to Megan and exhaled nervously and said, “I’m too nervous you open it Megan.”


She opened the envelope and began reading the results. The first page told of the tests that were preformed and what the test percentages meant. She began reading the second page as James began to get impatient.


“Megan what does it say?”


Megan glanced at James and Kim and continued reading the third page. “Ah here it is,” Megan said as she pointed to the page, “It says that the probability of paternity is ninety-nine point four percent.”


She looked up from the letter and said, Congratulations, its official, you are father and daughter.”


The kitchen erupted into a scene of celebration, James hugged Kim as she began to cry, and the girls were jumping up and down screaming in fits of joy.


***


Jerrod and Connie were having a hard time making ends meet lately. Ever since Connie was laid off six months ago their money has been getting tighter and tighter. Last month when Jerrod’s truck had two flat tires in the same week, they were forced to use the last of their savings to buy a used set of tires.


Then last week when their daughter Sally became sick Jerrod had to ask his father for the money to buy a prescription medication for her. Jerrod had been upset ever since that day. He always prided himself on the fact that he could take care of his family on his own without any help from others. But when it came to the health of his children he reluctantly asked him for help. It was a bitter pill for him to swallow but he had no other choice.


Several months ago Connie stopped buying the finer cuts of meat and other more expensive foods. They cancelled the cable television and cut their expenses as much as they could. Thankfully the children were oblivious to the shortage of money and food and were happy to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.


Last Friday’s paycheck was gone almost before it was cashed. There wasn’t enough to pay the electric bill so they only paid half hoping it would be enough to keep the electric on for another month. After Connie bought groceries for the week Jerrod put the last twenty dollars in the gas tank and hoped it would last until Friday. When Friday came there was more bad news when the boss came around with the paychecks.


He handed the check to Jerrod and said, “I’m sorry Jerrod, but this job is winding down and I’m going to have to let you go. You’re a good worker and when the next job starts we’ll hire you back.”


“When do you think that will be?” Jerrod said fighting to hold back his disappointment.


“I’m not sure, maybe a couple of weeks or a month.” He nodded as the boss left to find the next man.


‘Damn’ Jerrod said to himself. ‘Now what am I going to do.’

When he came home from work and told Connie the bad news she began to cry, “Jerrod we need to go down town and apply for food stamps and welfare.”


Connie had seen that look of determination on Jerrod's face before. She knew what the answer to her request would be before he said it.


“NO!” Jerrod said stubbornly, “I’m not going to put my family on welfare as long as I’m still breathing. I’ll go Monday and apply for unemployment, which should hold us over until the next job starts.”


Jerrod was wrong, it wasn’t enough. Over the next few weeks they fell further and further behind. They paid half of the rent and the landlord granted them only two weeks to pay the rest. The power company wasn’t as generous, they demanded full payment or they threatened to cut the power off.


Jerrod was at the end of his rope as he sat in the kitchen that morning. Connie begged and pleaded once again for him to go with her to the welfare office. Jerrod held firm not wanting any assistance of any kind.


It wasn’t until Connie got down on her knees and hugged Jerrod’s chest while he sat in the chair and began crying a very hard cry that his heart started to soften. “Please Jerrod,” Connie cried, “We can’t live like this much longer, if we can’t take care of the children they will take them away from us.”


He was beginning to see reason in Connie’s argument so he sighed and said, “Ok, I’ll go with you but I can’t say one way or another whether I’ll sign up for it.”


Connie looked up and smiled as he helped her up and sat her on his lap and hugged her. “Maybe they have something else that we could get.” Connie said in high spirits, “Or maybe they can help find work for us.”


***


It was an early November morning; James was in the office looking over the latest financial statement from the brokerage house that they used. Just before the market crash a couple of years ago James had recognized the warning signs that David Williams had told him about.


There had been a couple of small down turns in the market and David had shown him all of the indicators that the market was going to go down. Sure enough, James and Megan had safely moved most of their money into safe investments when the market crashed.


“Watch the big guys,” he remembered David saying, “When they start to move back into the market, you do the same. It’s not going to be easy buying when everyone else is selling and all the news is doom and gloom.”


James watched the market very carefully and when he saw Berkshire Hathaway start to gobble up stocks at dirt cheap prices he did the same. Their latest portfolio statement showed that they had hit the market almost perfectly. He smiled as he looked up toward heaven and said a silent thank you to David.


James set the statement down and picked up his cup of coffee and walked into the living room and looked out the front picture window. It was going to be a good day, the first cold snap of fall had arrived and a harsh biting wind was blowing hard out of the north.


He had checked his schedule for the day a found that he had only one small job to fix a leaky sink in one of the apartments. Other than that he was free for the rest of the day.


He took another sip of his coffee as he watched several of the children walking by on their way to school. He was in a good mood and began day dreaming thinking about the large changes that had taken place in his life over the past two years.


He thought how lucky he was on that day when he first met Megan. But a shiver went down his spine as he thought how close he had come to just letting her walk out of the apartment without talking to her.


Had he not asked her if there was a problem on that day, he wouldn’t have gotten to know her, Katie, or Tara. And not knowing Megan, she wouldn’t have found his daughter Kim and he probably would still be living his lonely existence that he had known for so long. He was amazed at the split second decisions that are made that have such a profound effect on one’s life.


His focus came back to today as he watched two small children walking by. The young boy looked to be around seven or eight years old and the girl looked to be around six. They both walked together with their heads down into the strong wind. They both wore light jackets and no hats on their heads and it was obvious to James that their jackets weren’t doing the job of keeping them warm. His heart poured out to the little girl as she appeared to be sobbing because she was cold.


James sighed to himself as he wished there was more he could do to help people. After the two children were out of sight he walked back into the kitchen, filled his coffee cup and sat down at the table and watched Megan preparing breakfast for the girls.


Megan noticed the sad look on his face and asked, “What’s wrong James?”


James sighed as he looked up at Megan, “I don’t know, it seems now that I’m enjoying my life a lot more than I was before I met you, I’m seeing a lot more of the hardship around me. There are a lot of people out there that need help and… I don’t know… it just seems like I should be doing more to help people.”


“I know what you mean,” Megan said as she continued with breakfast, “It makes me feel good when I go down to the woman’s shelter and help out. Why don’t you come with me today and help serve lunch?”


James thought about his light schedule for today and said, “Ok, all I have to do today is fix a sink. I’ll go do it now and we can leave when the girls start school.” After breakfast James and Megan drove down to the women’s shelter to volunteer. James being the rookie was put on cleaning pots and pans while Megan made biscuits and rolls.


When the dining room opened Megan took his hand and said, “Come on, this is the best part.”


They walked out to the dining room just as the doors were opened and watched the hungry people come in. After the dining room had been open for a few minutes James saw Mrs. Parker walk in with a young twenty something couple. They stepped to the side out of the way of the traffic moving through the doors and Mrs. Parker continued talking to them.


The woman was listening to her talk but the man seemed disinterested. He was standing next to the woman with his hands in his front pockets and was looking at the floor. James recognized the behavior and realized the man was embarrassed to be here.


Mrs. Parker put her arms around the backs of both of them and guided them to the buffet line. She looked up and saw James and Megan and smiled as she left the couple in line and walked over to them.


“James? Is that you?” Mrs. Parker sarcastically said to him, “How did Megan manage to drag you down here?”


James grinned and said, “I thought I’d come down here to see where Megan is spending all her time.”


They talked and joked with each other for a couple of minutes until Megan changed the subject.


“James and I were talking this morning about how we wished we could do more to help people.”


“Well,” Mrs. Parker said, “There are a lot of thing you can do if you want. For instants, do you see that couple behind me that I came in with?”


Megan and James both nodded their heads.


“That’s Jerrod and Connie, they have two young children. Jerrod is a very proud man and it took his wife Connie a week to convince him to come in and ask for help. I’ve talked to him all morning and he refuses to sign up for welfare and food stamps. It was all I could do to get him to come here for lunch. Connie was laid off over six months ago and Jerrod was laid off last month. What he wants and needs is a job.”


“What does he do for a living?” James asked.


“Mrs. Parker replied, “He a carpenter.”


A light bulb went off in both James and Megan’s head at the same time as they turned to each other and said simultaneously, “The kitchens!”


Mrs. Parker looked puzzled as James explained, “Our apartments are old and we’ve had a difficult time keeping them all rented. We have talked about remodeling the kitchens and bathrooms in all of the apartments but it’s too big of a job for me and besides I’m not a very good finish carpenter. We have been talking about hiring some carpenters to do the work. Right now we have three apartments that are vacant so we could keep a couple people busy for a month or two.”


Mrs. Parker stood there and listened as the plans unfolded.


“Probably longer than that,” Megan said, “As the apartments get finished and others open up we could probably keep him busy for a year or two by the time we get through all forty apartments.”


“That’s just what he needs.” Mrs. Parker said and then changed her tone to a whisper, “Jerrod and Connie are at the end of their rope and the rent is overdue on their present apartment.”


“Say no more,” James said, “They can move into one of our apartments and if things work out they can pay as they go with no upfront deposit.”


“James, you’re a life saver,” Mrs. Parker said, “When they’re finished eating I’ll introduce you to them.”


James and Megan returned to their duties in the kitchen while Mrs. Parker joined Jerrod and Connie at their table. She smiled at Jerrod and said, “I have some good news, I think I may have found you a job.”


Jerrod looked up from his plate and sarcastically said, “Doing what?”


“You’re a carpenter aren’t you?” Mrs. Parker said with a firm tone, “It will be carpenter work.”


“Really?” Jerrod said with a surprised expression, “Where? Doing what?”


“I don’t have all of the details,” Mrs. Parker said, “but there is a couple volunteering their time here, they own a large apartment complex and they want to remodel all of the kitchens and bathrooms. It may be steady work for a year or two. When you finish eating I’ll introduce you to them.”


Jerrod and Connie quickly finished their lunch and followed Mrs. Parker into the kitchen. They stood by the door and she called out, “James, Megan!”


They walked over to them and Mrs. Parker introduced them to each other.


“I understand you have some carpenter work that needs to be done.” Jerrod asked.


“Yes,” James said as he shook Jerrod’s hand, “we’ve been thinking about remodeling the kitchens and maybe the bathrooms in the apartments that we own.”


“Well,” Jerrod answered, “I’m the guy you need. I’ve got a lot of experience in new construction and remodeling. I’d be very happy to take a look at what you have.”


With lunch almost over they said their goodbyes to the women’s shelter staff and left with Jerrod and Connie. James rode with Jerrod while Connie rode with Megan. When they got close to the house James pointed and told Jerrod to pull into the driveway and park. Megan and Connie were right behind them.


“Wow,” Jerrod said, “Is this your house?”


“Yes, this is it.” James answered.


“I’ve always wondered who lives here; I’ve studied this house while I was going through trade school. The school has a lot of close up pictures and blueprints of this place.”


As Jerrod got out of the truck he was excited as he pointed to the gingerbread molding above the second story windows.


“All of that trim work up there on those dormers is hand carved. One of the projects I had in school was to carve exact copies of that scroll work above the windows.”


“You’re kidding me.” James said.


“No I’m not. This house was built in the eighteen eighties; it was one of the first houses to be built in this area.”


They walked onto the front porch when Jerrod stopped and used his knuckles to knock on one of the large posts holding up the porch.


“These posts are over one hundred and twenty years old and as solid as the day they were installed. They’re made of solid southern live oak, the same wood that the ship ‘old ironsides’ is made of. They didn’t cut any corners back then, they really knew how to build things.”


James unlocked the front door and they all walked into the foyer. Jerrod ran his hand over the front door as he said ‘wow’ under his breath. Then he was distracted by the oak staircase that leads to the second floor. He walked over to it and ran his hand along the handrail and then tried to shake it to see if it was loose, which it wasn’t.


“I’ve often wondered what the inside of this place looked like. This staircase is incredible, it must have taken hundreds of hours to make,” he looked back at James and said, “They didn’t have routers or other power tools back then, this was all handmade by a master carpenter.”


“I’ve always thought that it looks nice, James said, “but I didn’t give it much thought as to how it was made. After we’ve looked at the apartment I’ll give you a tour of the rest of the house.”


“Thanks,” Jerrod said, “I’d really like that; my instructor from trade school will be green with envy when I tell him.”


James retrieved a key to one of the apartments and they continued talking as they went out the back door towards the apartments. “He’s welcome to come by and take a tour if he wants and maybe some of his students as well.”


They walked into the apartment kitchen and Jerrod looked around. “What do you have in mind James?” Jerrod asked.


James looked at Megan and said, “We don’t have anything specific in mind, maybe a new floor, cabinets, countertops, and fixtures.”


Jerrod was nodding his head as James listed his needs. They walked through the living room and Jerrod looked at the bedrooms and the bathroom.


“These are nice apartments,” he said while thinking, “I’ve got an idea, I know a woman who is an interior designer. She does a real good job of highlighting the best features of living spaces. She knows how to pick the right colors and fixtures to really make a space look real good.”


“That sounds like a good idea.” Megan said.


“As for this apartment, I agree with everything you said except for the cabinets. They look to be in very good condition except for the finish. I can take the doors off and strip the paint off, sand, spray paint, put on new hardware and they would look as good as new.”


James nodded his head at Megan as Jerrod continued, “I can do the same for the doors, windows, and trim. I can also sand the walls and ceiling, retexture, and paint. I can sand and refinish the oak floors in the living room and bedrooms and put a new ceramic floor in the kitchen and bathroom. When new countertops, sinks and a new shower/tub are installed the place will be brand new. The majority of the cost will be labor.”


James asked Megan, “What do you think?”


“I think it sounds good,” Megan said, “I also think we should have the interior designer look at it too.”


James nodded his head and turned to Jerrod, “How long do you think it will take?”


“Well,” Jerrod said as he looked at Connie, “If you hire both Connie and I, it should take five or six, forty hour weeks, but the more apartment we do the faster we’ll get. We can start work today if you like.”


“Ok Jerrod,” James said, “We’ll hire both you and Connie to do this apartment, and if we like your work we’ll probably have you do the others as they come available.”


Jerrod shook James’ hand and said, “Thank you, you won’t be disappointed. “


James smiled and said, “Call the interior designer and make me a list of things that you need to get started. We have to keep detailed records for tax purposes.”


Megan’s thoughts turned to what Mrs. Parker told them at the woman’s shelter about Jerrod and Connie’s money problems. In order for them to save face and not having to mention the money problem to them Megan offered, “If you would like to live closer to your work, we will offer you an apartment with a discount on the rent and wave the security deposit.”


Connie smiled and nodded her head as Jerrod looked at her. “Yes that would be nice,” Jerrod said, “It would also be a shorter walk to school for our kids.”


“Good,” James said, “Let’s go back to the house and fill out the paperwork for the apartment; you can move in to this apartment and start work when you get settled in.”


As they walked back to the house Connie talked with Megan, “Thank you, thank you! We have been out of work for a long time. I was beginning to get worried.”


“I’m glad we could help,” Megan patted her on the shoulder and continued, “With the turnaround we have in the apartments, we should be able to keep you two busy for a couple of years.”


As they walked back through the house Jerrod pointed at a closed door, “This is the library, right?”


James said, “Yes, our children are home schooled and are in class right now.”


When they walked into the office to fill out the paperwork Jerrod said, “You made this into an office? The blue prints I’ve seen show this to be a bedroom.”


Jerrod pointed at the wall between the office and the library and said, “There should be a long closet there and a built-in bureau there.”


“Where did you get blueprints for this house from?” James asked.


“My trade school instructor said he bought them from the estate sale of the architect who designed it.”


“That’s interesting,” James said, “I’d like to see them.”


“That’s not a problem; if you want we can drive over to the trade school right now and see the instructor Mr. Karl.”


“Megan,” James asked, “Can you take care of this? Jerrod and I are going to the trade school. I’ll be back in an hour or so.”


“Jerrod parked behind the school and they walked into the large carpentry shop. James saw about fifteen students working on different projects all around the room. Jerrod pointed to the far wall and sure enough, James saw two exact replicas of his upstairs bedroom windows hanging on the wall.


An older man approached them and extended his hand and said, “Jerrod, it’s nice to see you!”


They shook hands and he said, “It’s nice to see you too. Mr. Karl, this is James, he owns ‘the house’.”


Mr. Karl looked surprised at James as they shook hands, “You’re the owner of the big Victorian on Main Street?”


“Yes,” James said, “it’s nice to meet you Mr. Karl.”


Jerrod told Mr. Karl about all of the architectural detail he saw while he toured the house.


James spoke up, “I never realized that people actually studied the house, you and you’re students are welcome to study it close up if you like and you’re welcome to tour it.”


“Thank you James, Mr. Karl said, “I’d like that very much.”


“Mr. Karl,” Jerrod asked, “The reason we came is James would like to see the blueprints for ‘the house’.”


“That’s not a problem; in fact I’ll give you a set that you can keep.”


He went to his office and returned with a large roll of prints which contained about twenty separate pages. Mr. Karl spent the next few minutes showing James the window replicas and they watched a few students that were working on hand carving several of the ornate pieces that made up the window.


James and Jerrod returned to his house and he placed the blueprints in the office. On Saturday morning with the blueprints in hand he spread them out on the large table in the library.


When he looked at the first floor plan he noticed that his office was labeled ‘bedroom 3’, he then noticed the closet that Jerrod had told him was supposed to be there. That wall, which separated the office from the library, closest to the hallway, showed a plumbing chase where the water pipes and the waste lines ran from the second floor bathrooms to the basement.


The center of the wall showed a built in bureau like the one in the master bedroom and the wall closest to the outside of the house showed a closet with a wide set of double doors. It was obvious to James that these prints weren’t the final ‘as built’ plans and he wondered why the change was made.


He went to the wall in the office and tapped on it to see if he could find the header that would have been put in for the closet door. As he tapped, he didn’t find the header but he did find the studs in the wall. He thought it was strange that there appeared to be several horizontal braces running side to side between the studs.


‘Why would they put braces in the wall?’ he asked himself. He didn’t find just one brace but several braces between all of the studs on the outer half of the wall where the closet and bureau should have been. The braces were spaced about eighteen inches apart starting at the bottom of the wall and running up about half way to the ceiling.


James next went into the basement and found where the plumbing pipes came down from the upstairs bathrooms. He then looked at the joists under the wall and noticed a double thick oak joist running the full length under the wall supported by two posts.


‘It must be there to support the extra weight of the books on the library shelves.’ He thought. James looked at the plumbing lines again and realized that there had to be at least a two foot space between the office wall and the back of the library shelves. But the walls in the office and the library were straight with no jogs in them.


Then it dawned on him, ‘the wall is at least two foot thick all the way from the hallway to the outside of the house! ‘I wonder why they did that?’ He asked himself.


James went back upstairs and found a long tape measure. He measured the distance between the library door and the office door in the hallway. He then measured the distance from the wall inside the office and library to the door opening. When he compared the measurements his hunch was right, ‘That wall is three and a half feet thick’ he said to himself.


Suddenly thoughts of secret rooms, and hidden passages began running through his mind. He went to the living room and found Megan. “Megan, are you busy?”


“No not really, what do you need?”


“I was looking at those blueprints of the house that I got the other day and I discovered something interesting. Let me show you.”


James showed Megan the measurement he made and told her, “This wall is three and a half feet thick.”


“Why is it so thick?” Megan asked.


James chuckled and said, “The first thing I thought of was a secret room.”


Megan laughed, “You’ve been watching too many old movies.”


James laughed with her and then held his hands about four feet apart and said, “Ok smarty, why do you think that wall is this thick?”


“Megan seemed surprised, “If it’s that thick you could probably walk in there. How would you get in? Where would the door be?”


“The office side is solid; the only place there could be a door is in the library.”


“Ok, let go and see.” Megan said leading the way.


James picked up his flashlight and followed Megan into the library. The library shelf’s on that wall were eight identical units each one being about three feet wide and sixteen inches deep. Megan walked to the shelf and leaned a book out from the top and said, “In the movies they always leaned a book back and the secret passage magically opened.”


James laughed and said, “Ya I think I saw that movie too but I don’t think it works that way, if one of these units moves there is probably a latch or lock of some kind.”


James looked at the top of the shelves where the top molding of the bookcase met the paneling and didn’t notice anything strange. He then went down on his hands and knees and used the flashlight to look where the bookcase kick board met the floor. Everything looked the same until he got to the bookcase closest to the outside wall of the house.


He crawled on his hands and knees to it and looked again and noticed a one quarter inch gap between the bookcase and the floor. He shook that bookcase back and forth and it appeared to move slightly but only about one sixteenth of an inch. He tried to move the bookcase next to it but it was as solid as a rock.


He stood up and put his hands on his hips.


“What are you thinking about?” Megan asked.


James pointed to the other seven bookcases and said, “Those bookcases are all touching the floor but this one,” James said while pointing at the bookcase on the end closest to the outside of the house, “has a gap under it and this side moves a little.”


“Do you think it opens somehow?” Megan questioned.


He pointed at the small section of paneling between that bookcase and the outside wall and said, “If there was a hinge on this side, you could push this bookcase flat against the outside wall of the house and you would have access to the back of the other seven bookcases.”


“Well,” Megan said, “the only thing we can do is take all of the books out and see if there is a door knob of sorts.”


Five minutes later all of the books were stacked in piles on the floor in front of the other bookcases. James and Megan both looked at the empty bookcase and the only thing unusual was a small hole on the bottom shelf in the left rear corner and an identical hole on the top left rear corner of the top of the bookcase.


James thought for a moment and said to Megan, “I was watching a television show about prohibition a while back. There was a liquor vault in the basement of a ‘speak easy’ that the police never found. It was behind a thick stone wall and the only way to open it from the outside was to stick a five foot long rod through a small hole to unlatch the latch on the inside.”


James pointed to the holes in the bookcase and said, “There might be a latch that needs to be undone inside them holes to allow this side of the bookcase to swing free.”


James thought for a few seconds then asked Megan, “What would the key look like to unlock this?”


“Well,” She began, “It would have to be small enough to fit in the hole, and it could only be as long as the shelf it high or you wouldn’t be able to put it in the hole.”


“I have an idea” James said snapping his fingers, “There’s an old rusty wire down in the basement.”


And he took off to go look for it. It was hanging on a nail and had been there for as long as James could remember. It had a ring on one end a little bigger than the size of a finger and was about twelve inches long with a small ninety degree hook bent on the end. James brought it upstairs and showed it to Megan.


He slid the hooked end into the bottom hole in the bookcase and began fishing around for something the hook to fit into. Almost immediately he felt something and pointed the hook toward it. He slowly scratched the hook against it until he felt the hook fall into a recess. He reasoned that because whatever he had the hook in was below the bookcase he should push down.


He slowly pushed down until he heard a snap and felt the hook fall away. He pulled the hook out of the hole and saw that the old rusty hook had broken off.


“The hook broke.” He said to Megan.


“Now what are you going to do?” Megan asked.


“Well, James said, “I could cut the hole bigger and ruin the bookcase to see what’s down there. I’m just guessing if I should push, pull, or I might even be in the wrong hole. I think I’ll go and buy one of those miniature telescoping cameras and push it in the hole to see what’s down there.”


“While I’m gone,” James said to Megan as they walked over to the blueprints that were still on the table, “would you please get on the internet and see what you can find out about the architect and this guy.” Ed said while pointing at the owners name on the blueprint.


James returned an hour later with the camera and began assembling it and testing the operation. Megan met him in the library with a printed report in her hand.

James asked, “What did you find out?”


“There wasn’t much of anything about the Architect,” Megan said while looking at the report, “but I did find out a lot about the man who had this house built. He was a workaholic Entrepreneur who bought and sold machinery mostly with businesses on the west coast. He wasn’t married and when his sister’s husband died in eighteen eighty one she moved in here and he took care of her until she died in eighteen ninety four.”


Megan continued, “It says he had this house built in eighteen eighty two and shortly after that he became eccentric and a recluse doing most of his business out of this house. There’s even a picture of this house when it was built in eighteen eighty two. He died in nineteen-o-two with no known relatives; the house and his estate were awarded to the state.


James said, “That’s ashamed he died without a family.”


James had the camera working and he took it to the bookcase and slowly pushed it down the hole. What he saw was pretty close to what he thought was down there. It was a large rusty custom made dead bolt that had a hole in it for actuating it.


He saw that the bolt would need to be raised about a quarter of an inch and then moved to the left a quarter turn and then pushed down. The problem was the bolt was badly rusted and it looked like it hadn’t been moved in one hundred years.


“There is definitely a latch holding this bookcase,” James said, “so there is a room of sorts back there. But it’s going to take some time to free up that rusty bolt action.”


Megan was excited, “What do you think is in there?”


“There’s no telling,” James smiled and said, “We might find his sister back there.”


“Dear lord,” Megan said, “I hope not.”


“I’m just kidding; we’ll probably find nothing or a stack of his old papers.”


James went to his shop and brought a can of spray lubricant back to the library and sprayed both latches and looked with the camera to make sure he covered the bolt with the spray. He went back to his shop and took a long skinny screwdriver and hammered the tip so it would fit into the hole. He then heated the tip red hot with a torch and bent the hook at the tip with the vise then cooled it with oil to harden it.


He worked on freeing the latches all afternoon without any luck. He was entertained by the girls telling each other stories of what they would find. They talked about everything from valuable oil paintings to rare books and civil war swords.


James thought that there would be nothing in there, but you never know what an eccentric old man may have stashed back there he thought. After dinner he tried again finally giving up for the day around nine-o-clock.


James and Megan both found it difficult to sleep that night wondering what was in there. The next morning after breakfast he started working again. Mary was sitting by his side keeping him company when the lower bolt finally began to move. He slid the bolt sideways and it dropped freeing the bottom of the bottom of the bookcase.


Mary went and told the rest of the family and in no time everyone was in the library watching James work on the top bolt. Finally the top bolt started moving. After a couple more sprayings he managed to move the bolt up and out of the way.


Everyone moved in close next to James as he forced the bookcase back and the musty smelling air hit everyone.


“Eww that stinks,” Katie said.


James pushed the bookcase far enough back to look into the dark recess. “Megan hand me that flashlight please.”


James pointed the light into the cobweb infested passage and couldn’t believe his eyes. “Good Lord,” he said, “You’re not going to believe this.”


James reached in and pulled his hand back out and showed everyone in the room two rolls of coins. He handed them to Kim who began to open them.


He looked back in and then back out at everyone and said, “There are rolls and rolls of coins stacked on shelves and in the back there are a bunch of bags that look like their filled with coins.”


The room erupted into screams of joy and laughter. James stepped out and handed the light to Megan who stepped in and said, “Good Lord, there has to be hundreds of rolls of coins in here.”


By then Kim had one of the rolls open and screamed, “Mom, Dad, there gold coins! They say United States of America, twenty dollars! They’re gold coins and they all look brand new!”


Megan backed out of the passage and handed the light to Katie and let her look. Each of the other girls also had a look before James said, “Not a word about this to anyone.”


James rolled up the blueprints that were on the table and asked Kim, “Kim will you please get a blanket to cover the table?”


“Yes daddy.” She said as she left the room.


Megan said, “James I’m going to call my dad, he collects coins, I’ll tell him to bring his coin book so we can find out what some of this is worth.”


“Good idea,” James said, “Mary, go get your laptop and get a spreadsheet built. It will be your job to keep track of everything.”


Mary smiled as she left the room to get her laptop. She was happy that her daddy had given her such an important job to do.


James scratched his head and said, Tara, “Go get two big metal cake pans out of the kitchen so we can get these coins out of here and on the table.”


For the next half hour they carried the coins and organized them on the large research table.


When the door bell rang Megan said, “That’s probably my mom and dad.”


She went to the door and let them in. Linda asked, “Megan what’s going on? You sounded excited on the phone.”


Mom, dad,” she said taking a deep breath, “You’re not going to believe this but James found a secret compartment behind the book cases in the library and it is filled with gold and silver coins.”


George asked, “How many? What years are they?”


“That’s why we called you,” Megan said as they walked down the hall to the library. “You’re going to have to tell us what they’re worth.”


George and Linda walked into the library and saw several rows of rolled coins on the table and several canvas coin bags lying on the floor. His mouth fell open, he saw that one roll of gold coins on the table had been open and asked, “What kind of coins are they?”


Kim pointed at a long row of about fifty rolls and said, “These are all gold, they say twenty dollars on them.”


George quickly said, “Those are double eagles.”


Kim then pointed at the other four rows which contained a couple hundred rolls and said, these are all silver dollars I think.”


George sat down at the table and opened his coin book. “Tara, what years are those gold coins?” he asked.


She picked up three coins and said, “they’re all eighteen eighty nine’s and they look brand new.”


George looked in his book and asked, “Look at the back, on the bottom. Are there any letters?”


She turned them over and said, “Yes, they all have a small CC on them.”


He checked his book and looked up at Linda and Megan with his mouth open.

Megan asked, “What are they worth?”


Well, he said, “When it comes to coin value the condition, year, and mint mark of the coin is everything. If those coins are uncirculated or brand new as Tara said. They are worth between six and twenty thousand dollars… Each!”



Mary stopped typing on her laptop and said as she quickly added up their value in her head, “You mean those twenty coins are worth over a quarter of a million dollars?”


George slowly nodded his head and said to James and Megan. “Yes, it could be less or it could be a lot more. They need to be professionally graded. One thing is for sure though… you’re rich beyond the dreams of Avarice.”


James looked at Megan and smiled, then looked back at George and Linda and said, “You mean WE’RE rich, there’s no way we’ll ever be able to spend all of this. We’re going to need your help.”


After the initial shock of how much the coins were worth, the cataloging of the gold coins took about two hours. All of the rolls were brand new original bank rolls from the San Francisco mint except for eight rolls that were from the Carson City mint.


Mary added the formulas to the spread sheet that automatically added up all of the coins and said, “That’s nine hundred and sixty gold coins worth a little over five million dollars.”


George said, “That’s a conservative estimate. If the coins are a higher grade they could be worth three or four times that much.”


As the coins were dated and counted James stacked them in a dish towel lined cake pan and put the seventy pounds of gold back on a shelf in the ‘secret passage’ as they began calling it.


The silver coins in the bags had an assortment of mixed date with around two hundred of them coming from the Carson City mint and the majority of the others coming from the San Francisco mint. Some of the coins had a possibility of being quite valuable but George wasn’t sure how high they would be graded.


They separated the coins that George thought were worth more than five hundred dollars to better protect them and James put the rest, around four thousand coins, back in the bags and Mary assigned a value of fifty dollars each to them. George said, “Most of these coins will be easy to sell.”


They began opening the silver dollar rolls and found that most of them were original bank rolls from the U.S. Mint in San Francisco where the original owner of the house did most of his business.


Megan told everyone, “The internet said he was eccentric, he must have had a mistrust of banks and insisted in being paid in gold and silver.”


Most of the rolls they opened were from the early eighteen eighty’s to the late eighteen ninety’s. After they opened a few dozen rolls, Tara and Katie each opened a roll of brand new eighteen eighty four ‘S’ silver dollars. George looked at a few of the coins and said, “I’m just not sure about the grade of the coins, they could be worth anywhere between five thousand to three hundred thousand dollars each.”


Several more rolls were opened that had a large swing in their value and James told Mary, “Whatever your grandpa says just put the low value in your spreadsheet.”


They continued opening the silver dollar rolls and were about half finished when Kim opened a roll and said, “Grandpa, I got another roll of new coins that are all the same date.”


George asked, “Ok Kim, What year?” She looked at a few of them both front and back and said, “Ah… they’re all eighteen ninety three with an S.”


Mary typed the information into the computer.


“Ok Kim,” George said with a surprised look on his face, “Very carefully set them down without letting them scratch each other.”


When George said that everyone stopped working and watched Kim gently set them down on the table with both hands. They all watched George as he stood and began carefully separating the coins one by one while he looked at them.


Linda was sitting next to George and pulled the coin book in front of her and looked for the date. When she found it she let out a shrill gasp and put her hand over her mouth.


George began speaking to no one in particular in a reverent voice, “I’ve only seen one of these coins in person at a coin show and it wasn’t in as good of condition as all of these are. They call the eighteen ninety three ‘S’ the king of the Morgan dollars. There are only a hand full of these coins left that are in this good of condition.”


After he had them all separated from each other George was still in shock and quietly said as he looked at James and Megan, They’re worth around a half a million apiece. If some of these coins grade at the top of the mint state scale you’re looking at one million dollars each.”


They all looked at each other in stunned silence; Kim broke the silence by quietly saying, “You mean I was holding over ten million dollars in my hand?”


James smiled at her and said, “You handled the pressure like a pro.”


George looked at Megan and said, “These coins have to be put into protectors, one little scratch could cost a hundred thousand dollars.”


A few seconds later Katie continued opening the roll of coins she had in her hand and looked into the end of the roll. “Grandpa did you say eighteen ninety three?”


George looked up at her and said, “Yes Katie.”


Megan was standing behind her as she gently set the roll down and said in a nervous voice, “Mom, there’s a brand new eighteen ninety three on the end of this roll.”


Everyone stopped again and watched as Megan held the coins together between her thumb and finger and began slowly tearing the paper away. When the coins were exposed, she took the first coin away and giggled as she read the date. “It’s an S!”


She pulled the second coin away and said, “S,” she continued saying ‘S’ until all of the coins were safely separated from each other.


Tara held her open hand up to Katie and she gave her sister a high five and said, “YES!!!”


Mary installed the formulas in the spread sheet that automatically added up the figures for the silver dollars. “I’ve got eight thousand four hundred and twenty two silver coins with a value of four million six hundred and seventy thousand, not including the ‘Kings’ and a grand total of just over thirty million dollars for everything.”


“Wow,” George said, “And that’s a conservative estimate! A lot of the coins I looked at could be worth five hundred dollars or fifty thousand dollars depending on how they’re graded. We could easily have fifty to seventy five million dollars worth of coins!”


James, Megan, George, and Linda sat at the library table and discussed what they would do with the coins for the next hour while the girls went to their room to look up information about the coins on the computer.


Megan was worried that if the State found out there was coins in the house left by the original owner that it would try and claim them. So it was decided to tell everyone who officially asked, that George and Linda ‘found’ the valuable coins hidden in their house probably by Linda’s grandfather who previously owned the house. They would make up a story that he worked on rebuilding San Francisco after the great earthquake of nineteen o six and probably brought the coins home with him.


James would ‘suddenly’ become a great collector of coins who had been collecting them for many years and now had thousands of them that he wanted to sell.


Kim and her sisters came back into the library with a laptop and set it on the table, e-bay was on the screen.


Mary spoke, “Daddy, we have been looking on the internet and found that e-bay has thousands of coins for sale. Most of the coins that are selling for more than five hundred dollars are coins certified by one of two, third party grading services. I’ve read articles about them and it seems people trust the grade of the coins when they’re certified by these two companies and will buy them sight-unseen.”


Katie set some printed papers on the table in front of them. The adults looked over the papers as Katie explained, “This is what to costs for coins to be graded by those two companies. You have to buy a membership in order to submit coins for grading.”


Tara set some more printed papers on the table, as they looked at them she said, “Both companies have detailed lists of every year and grade of coin and their value.”


Kim added, “We compared the prices of the coins on that list,” she said while pointing to the papers, “with the selling prices on e-bay and they are very close or slightly higher.”


The girls all stood quietly and waited for someone to speak. Megan looked at James and he nodded his head. She then looked back at the girls and said, “Very nice work girls. We have decided that you four will sell the lower value coins. I’ll go to the bank tomorrow and open a checking account in all of your names and you can start selling some of the low value coins on e-bay.”


James then said to the girls, “It will have to be done slowly, with checks and cash in amounts of less than ten thousand dollars or else the IRS will be notified. It’s going to take several years or possibly a life time to sell off everything. This is also going to be very time consuming and a lot of hard work.”


James continued, “When the money starts coming into your checking accounts, we’ll divide it equally among all of you, then I’ll show each of you how to open a brokerage account. You’re mother and I need to show all of you how to invest the money in stocks and mutual funds. You’re all going to have to learn how to manage money because in a few years you will all be millionaires.”


The girls were all smiles and began high fiving each other. Kim suddenly began crying and James asked, “What’s wrong Kim?”


She went to him and held him tight and began to cry harder. He gave Megan a questioning look and she said, “She’s ok James, her hormones are kicking in.”


Kim sniffled and looked up at him and said, “I’m so happy I found you. When I first became pregnant I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to take care of my child and they would take it away from me. But now I’ve got you and… (sniff) I’m going to be a millionaire and… (sniff) and…”


The flood gates opened and she began crying again, her sisters went to her and they all hugged her. Mary looked up at James and smiled, “Me too daddy, I glad I found you.”


He looked down at her and smiled, then looked at everyone else. “Me too, I’m glad I found all of you.”


After Kim calmed down a little Megan continued, “If the IRS gets involve at ten thousand dollars, what are we going to do with the coins that are worth more than that?”

George offered, “We may be able to find a rich buyer at a coin show that will pay in cash for the expensive ones.

“Or’” James said, “We might have to pay taxes on them.”

George continued, “We should get the high value coins certified but we don’t want to flood the market on the king Morgan’s, which may drive the price down, so we should only certify them a few at a time and sell them before we certify more.”

It was getting late so everyone pitched in to clean up the library and put the books back on the shelf’s so the girls could return to their studies in the morning. They used several towel lined cookie sheets to protect the valuable coins from touching each other and put them all back in the secret passage. James oiled the bookcase latches and hinge again and was satisfied with their operation and the bookcase was closed and locked.

George and Linda returned the next day from several coin shops in the area with over one thousand coin protectors, coin rolls, and several dozen coin boxes. After the girls were finished with school they opened the secret passage and brought the gold coins out. They began placing the gold coins into the two by two Mylar protectors and sorted them by year. When the girls finished their homework they helped finish packaging the gold coins. Mary numbered the coin boxes and made another spread sheet detailing the coins in each box so they could be easily found.

James and Megan purchased a laptop computer for George and Linda so they could begin selling the low to medium valued gold and silver coins. The girls scoured the internet and printed out highly detailed pictures of professionally graded coins so they could grade the low value coins themselves and assign a value to the coins for selling purposes.

The girls developed a system of grading the coins by at least three of them secretly grading the coins and then compare the grades. If there was a discrepancy in the grading they would discuss the coin and arrive at a decision as to its grade.


James contacted one of the better coin grading services and purchased a platinum membership; he and George picked a few of the higher valued gold and silver coins from different years, packaged them and sent them in to be graded.

Over the next week they sorted the bags of silver dollars by year and put them in plastic tube rolls and wrote the contents on the outside of the rolls. They put the rolls back in the secret passage in ascending order so they could be easily found. Megan supervised as all of the girls set up their accounts on the computer and began listing a few of the least expensive coins for sale.

***

The next week was a busy one for James and Megan. Jerrod handed James a schedule of when different materials would be required on the job to continue the work without any delays. He went with Jerrod to the building supply store and purchased the necessary materials to start work on the apartments.

The interior designer, Megan, and Connie worked on choosing the floor tile, countertops, the paint scheme, and other necessary items needed for the apartments. Because they planned to do all forty apartments eventually, they found out that it would be cheaper if they bought everything that they needed in bulk and store the materials until they were needed.

Over the weekend Jerrod and Connie had packed up all of their apartment contents and James and Megan helped them move in when they finished their job of working on the apartment for the week.

During the week days while the girls were in school James and Megan were regular visitors at the apartment that Jerrod and Connie were working on. Megan made lunch for them and they often ate together in the kitchen.

George and Linda were happy and excited when they sold two of the coins on e-bay for nine thousand dollars. James and Megan told them to use the money to travel to a coin show that was scheduled after the first of the year. They planned on taking a couple of dozen coins higher value coins with them to test the market conditions for the coins. The girls were excited as they watched the auctions count down for the coins they were selling on e-bay. After a couple of days they each had over a thousand dollars in their accounts. Everything was going according to plan.


***

Megan was working at the women’s shelter a few days later. She had just finished making the biscuits and looked at her watch. She had fifteen minutes before she would put them in the oven so they would be hot and fresh when the doors opened for lunch. She looked around the kitchen to see if there was something she could do until it was time to put the biscuits in the oven.

She looked at Julie who was one of the full time employees who did a lot of the cooking. She was standing at the stove stirring a large pot of vegetables and Megan noticed tears rolling down her cheeks. She had a worried look on her face and was in the verge of crying.

Megan walked over to her and touched her shoulder and asked, “Julie, are you ok?”

Julie was startled and flinched when Megan touched her. She looked at Megan and said half heartedly. “I’m fine Megan.”

She was trying to put a brave face on as Megan asked, “How’s Frank doing?” Frank was Julie's husband and had broken his ankle a couple of months ago. “Is his ankle getting better?”

Julie’s shoulders started to shake and Megan could see that she was trying to control her emotions without much success. Megan stepped in and began assisting her by putting some of the food into inserts to be put into the serving line. When they had everything ready she went back to her biscuits and put them into the oven.

She went back to Julie and asked, “Julie what’s wrong?”

Julie sighed and said, “Frank went to the doctor yesterday and asked when he could go back to work. He’s wearing a soft cast now and we were hoping he could go back to work next week but the doctor said that it would be at least three more months before his ankle would be strong enough for him to work.”

Her shoulders began to shake again and she continued, “We’re behind on our mortgage and will lose our house before Frank can get back to work, we’ve already got a foreclosure notice. I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Megan hugged her and continued helping her while she checked on her biscuits.

That afternoon when Megan got home she talked to James. “Do you remember Julie from the shelter and her husband Frank?”

James thought for a second and smiled, “Yes I remember, didn’t Frank break his leg a couple of months back?”

“Yes that’s them,” Megan said, “but it wasn’t his leg, it was his ankle. I was talking to Julie today and they’re having a hard time. Frank won’t be able to go back to work for another three months but by then the bank will probably foreclose on their house.” The smile left James’ face as he sighed. Megan asked, “Is there something we could do to help?”

“Do you know who holds the mortgage on the house?” James asked.

“Yes,” Megan answered, “I’m pretty sure they use First State Bank, the same bank we use.”

James smiled and said, “Yes, I think we can do something.”

The following week Megan was back at the shelter working. She watched Julie and saw that she still carried a concerned look on her face. “Julie,” Megan said, “Would you and Frank and your kids like to come over to our house for dinner tonight? James and I have something to ask you.”

Julie said, “Sure, we don’t have any plans. What do you want to ask?”

Megan smiled, “Let’s wait until after dinner tonight.”

Frank, Julie, and their two sons Frank Junior and Mike rang the doorbell at six that evening. James answered the door and invited them in. Frank hobbled through the door with two crutches wearing a soft protective boot around his ankle.

“Hi, Come on in.” James said. He looked at Julie as he shook her hand, “Megan and the girls are in the kitchen.”

He looked back at Frank and shook his hand, “Come on in Frank and have a seat, dinner should be ready in a few minutes.”

Frank and his two, twelve and thirteen year old sons followed James into the living room and sat. Moments later Tara and Katie came in with three glasses of iced tea and offered them to Frank and his two sons. The girls were both dressed in pretty sun dresses and immediately caught the eye of the two teen boys. Both of them grinned as Tara and Katie offered them the drinks.

James smiled as Frank’s two sons watched the girls as they sashayed back into the kitchen. A few minutes later Megan walked into the living room and greeted Frank and said, “Dinner is ready.”

Frank sat next to James on the side of the large dining room table while his two sons sat next to him and Kim at the end next to Megan. Julie sat next to Megan on the other side of the table with Mary, Katie, and Tara sitting next to her.

The dinner conversation was light with Frank telling the story of how he broke his ankle. Then using a worried tone, told them that the doctor would not let him go back to work for at least three months.

After dinner the girls cleared the table and cleaned the kitchen while the adults sat at the dining room table drinking coffee. Frank Junior and Mike followed the girls into the kitchen.

James excused himself and went to the office and returned seconds later and placed his briefcase on the table in front of himself. “The reason we asked you to dinner,” James said while opening the briefcase, “is to inform you that First State Bank no longer owns the mortgage to your house.”

James removed a contract from his briefcase that contained about a dozen legal sized pieces of paper that were stapled to a thick blue backer paper and slid the document across the table to Frank and Julie. Frank and Julie paged through the document remembering it from six years ago when they signed it at the bank. The last page showed their notarized signatures on it. Below that they noticed the bank presidents and a loan offices notarized signature. In the middle of the page was a large red First State Bank stamp indicating the loan was paid in full.

Julie looked at Megan, “I don’t understand, I told you a couple of days ago that we won’t be able to make the payments until Frank can to get back to work.”

Megan smiled and patted Julie’s hand, “I know, that’s why we bought the contract.”

Megan looked at James as he placed another new looking contract on the table and slid it to Frank and Julie and said, “This is a new contract that we had drawn up for you to continue making your mortgage payments to us instead of the bank.”

Frank sighed deeply, “You don’t understand James, we still won’t be able to make the payments until I can get back to work.”

“We understand that Frank,” Megan said, “That’s why the new contract says that your first payment is due one year from today. That should give you enough time to get back to work.”

Julie’s shoulders began shaking as she silently tried to control her happy tears. James watched as Frank looked down at his hands, he seemed embarrassed. “Frank, Julie, this is a win-win situation, it’s not charity. Your new interest rate will be about half of what it used to be on the original loan. Your new mortgage payment will be about three hundred dollars per month less, including the escrow, and in fourteen years when you’re finished paying for your house we’ll have made money too. It’s just business, you pay less and we make money on the deal. We both win.”

Frank looked at Julie and nodded his head in agreement. Julie sniffled and said, “Thank you; I don’t know what to say, this will help us get through this.”

Megan nodded to James and he continued, “We’ve seen your house and talked with a real estate agent, they said that your house is in a very good location and has appreciated in value.”

James removed a cashier’s check from the briefcase and slid it across the table as he continued. “To sweeten the deal we will give you this check for ten thousand dollars when you bring the signed contract back. This money has been added to the contract and should help you with your doctor bills and see you through until you start working again. Take the contract home with you, read it over and have your lawyer look it over if you want. If you agree to the terms, sign it, have it notarized, and bring it back to us.”


***

<<<James suddenly found himself standing at the sink at the woman’s shelter. The sink was full to overflowing with dirty pots and pans. He looked to the floor and was surrounded by several dozen more pots and pans. The water filling the sink began to overflow and run down the front onto the floor. He franticly searched for the handle to shut the water off but it was hidden from view behind the mountain of dirty pots and pans.

Off to his right he heard Megan say, “James I need that pan now!”

Off to his left he saw Kim standing by the kitchen door. “Hurry daddy, I’m hungry,” she sobbed out to him.

He franticly searched through the pans but couldn’t find the one that Megan needed.

Off to his right he again heard Megan say, “Hurry James! I need it know!”

He looked at her but instead of seeing Megan it was now Mrs. Parker standing there. She yelled, “Hurry James, there isn’t much time left, I have to have it know!”

In a panic he looked on the floor for the pan she needed and he noticed that he was standing in water up to his knees. He began searching through the pans in the sink again for the faucet handle but he couldn’t find the back of the sink.

Off to his left he heard Kim again say, “Please hurry daddy, I’m hungry!”

He looked and saw that it wasn’t his sixteen year old daughter Kim any longer but she seemed to have aged. She now looked to be thirty years old and very skinny. He franticly looked back at the sink and he was now standing on his tiptoes with the water splashing over into his mouth. With his hands under the water he desperately felt around for the faucet to shut the water off.

Off to his left he heard a constant screaming and looked to see a fifty year old Kim standing by the kitchen door crying. He looked closer and saw that she was nothing but skin and bones. As his mouth and nose went under water he relaxed and accepted his fate.
As he drifted helpless in the water, unable to move he felt someone shake his shoulder, “James… James… JAMES!” >>>

He opened his eyes and bolted straight up in bed. Sweat was pouring off his forehead and he couldn’t catch his breath. He franticly looked around trying to catch his breath and realized he was sitting in bed.

“James, are you all right?” Megan asked in a concerned voice. “It’s just a dream honey! Lie down and go back to sleep.”

She rubbed his back and he began to calm down. He took in a deep breath and lay back down next to Megan. “Ya, I’m all right. It was just a stupid nightmare.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked as she cuddled in close to him.

James sighed and told her of his dream.

Megan hugged him tight and whispered, “Sometimes our dreams are trying to tell us something, but most of the time they are just stupid dreams.”

“Yes honey I know,” James said, “But they seem so real when they’re happening that it’s just difficult to get them out of your mind.”

Megan held James tight and kissed the back of his neck and said, “I know honey, try and get some sleep.”

She lay there next to James wide awake now as she thought back to the morning when she went to the Woman’s Shelter and found Kim. The weeks before that, she had some dreams about the first time she had seen Kim at the shelter and that morning the dream popped back into her mind while she was driving. She clearly remembered the goose bumps she felt as she made the quick left hand turn and headed for the shelter. ‘If I didn’t have that dream,’ Megan thought to herself, ‘I would have never gone to the shelter that morning and found Kim.’

She thought back to the first day that she met James. The instant she saw him standing in the apartment she felt something. It was more than an attraction to someone; it was a warm relaxing feeling, more of a bond that had been instantly formed and she realized that she could trust him with her life.

Megan began remembering moments during her life with James when she was doing something and she realized that she needed James for something and she would look up and he would be standing there. She did the same thing to James, he would look up at her and say, ‘oh there you are I was just going to go find you.’ A warm feeling washed over her as she hugged James and smiled to herself. ‘So this is what it feels like when you find your soul mate.’

She thought about James’ dream again. ‘If I’m somehow connected to James is he trying to tell me something? In his dream I had turned into Mrs. Parker while Kim was hungry and needed help, but James couldn’t help her. But we have already found Kim and ‘have’ helped her? It can’t be her, could it? James said that Kim got older and skinner in his dream. ‘Hmmm,’ Megan thought, ‘an older and skinner Kim…’ Then the light went off in Megan’s brain, ‘James’ mother…’

The next morning after breakfast she drove to the woman’s shelter and went to Mrs. Parker’s desk.

“Good morning Megan,” Mrs. Parker said with a bright cheery smile, “how are you?”

Megan smiled back and said, “I’m fine.”

“What can I do for you?” Mrs. Parker asked.

Megan sighed as she sat in the chair in front of her desk, “I was just wondering if James’ adoption file is here?”

The smile quickly left Mrs. Parker’s face, she knew what Megan wanted and said, “Yes it’s here but it’s sealed and can’t be opened without a court order.”

“How do I get a court order?” Megan asked.

“Forget it Megan, they don’t open those files unless there is a very good reason such as a medical need and then they won’t give out names.”

Megan was frustrated and sighed looking Mrs. Parker deep in her eyes, “You know,,, Katie, Tara, and I were very close to coming to the shelter to live before we met James,,, and wasn’t that a nice thing he did taking Mary in?”

Mrs. Parker was shaking her head no. “We could do more.” Megan continued as she glared at Mrs. Parker, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a couple more apartments to put struggling families in?”

Mrs. Parker was shaking her head the whole time that Megan was talking. “I could get fired and go to jail Megan. I can’t do it.”

“Yes you could get in trouble if someone found out,” Megan whispered, “but you could also be putting a family back together of one of the finest most generous human beings that I know.” Megan stood and continued, “Think about it, all I want is a name and her date of birth. James deserves to know.”

She turned and left the office. Mrs. Parker thought about Megan’s request for the rest of the day. She knew in her heart that James was a good man and deserved to know. But if his mother didn’t want the information released and complained, she knew she would be fired and probably sent to jail. There’s no way she could look at the file without signing the register and the ‘powers that be’ would see her signature and know she was the one who gave the information out.

She sighed and thought that it wouldn’t hurt to look at the file to see if she could figure out the reason why James was given up for adoption. The following morning she went to the records department, signed in, and looked at the file. She read the file and saw his mother’s name, Connie York, Date of birth, November second nineteen sixty. She then looked at James’ date of birth, September fifth, nineteen seventy six.

‘Damn,’ she said under her breath, ‘she was only fifteen years old when she gave birth.’ She sighed as she closed the file and left the records room. She struggled with her decision for the next two days finally writing her name and date of birth on a post-it note and put it in her purse. Mrs. Parker called Megan and asked her to join her for lunch.

Megan had a worried smile on her face as she saw Mrs. Parker walk over to the table and sat down.

“Hello Mrs. Parker.” Megan said trying to read her expression.

“Hello Megan, how are you?” Mrs. Parker asked.

“I’m fine, have you decided to help me?” Megan asked.

Mrs. Parker sighed and opened her purse and took out the post-it note with James’ mother’s name on it. “Megan, my life is in your hands. If a complaint is made it will come back on me, I had to sign my name to look at the file.”

She passed the note to Megan. Megan held Mrs. Parkers hand and said, “Don’t worry I’ll be very discrete. If something happens we’ll post your bail and get you the best lawyer we can find. Please don’t say anything to James; I don’t want to get his hopes up if I can’t find her or if she’s dead.”

“His mother was only fifteen years old when he was born,” Mrs. Parker said, “I’m hoping that she was forced to give him up and will want to find him and be a part of his life.”

That evening she secretly began her search for Connie York. She was frustrated to find out that there was hundreds of Connie York’s in the United States. None of the names had a date of birth with them but they did have an approximate age. She narrowed the list down to thirty and began calling them the next morning. Over the next few days she called as many as she could. There were a few with disconnected numbers and a couple of hang-up’s but the rest of them said that it wasn’t her birth date.

She tried the marriage database thinking she may be married. There were a few possibilities but they turned out not to be the person she was looking for. Most of the states didn’t make the database public including the state they were in so Megan temporarily gave up until she could think of something else.

***

It had been a very busy and exciting week for James and his family. After their life had calmed down somewhat his thoughts had turned to the upcoming holiday season.

The Monday before Thanksgiving while they were eating dinner Megan asked, “What does everyone want to eat for thanksgiving?”

James immediately said, “Stuffing, please make the turkey stuffing that you made last year.”

Megan smiled at him as the girls began telling her their favorites.

James looked back and forth between Mary and Kim and said, “This will be your first Thanksgiving with us and you both are in for a treat. Your mother is the best cook in the whole world!”

Megan blushed and said, “Well, I don’t know about the whole world.”

James smiled and joked, “Ok, maybe not the whole world, but certainly the whole United States.”

During and after dinner they planned the menu and made a grocery list of everything that they would need. On Wednesday school had been dismissed for the weekend to allow their teacher Mrs. Hilton to travel to her family’s house.

After breakfast everyone helped with the baking. Megan and her mother Linda introduced Kim and Mary to the finer points of baking. They patiently watched and guided them as Kim and Mary rolled the dough for the pies and watched them measure the ingredients for the cookies.

They all enjoyed talking about what they wanted to do with some of the money of their new found wealth. James helped with clean up while Megan and the girls went on to new baking projects. Once again all of Megan’s family came for Thanksgiving dinner to James and Megan’s house.

The day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas season started with the decorating of the family tree and the house. The girls were very excited and with James and Megan recent windfall they spared no expense to insure that all of the girls had the very best Christmas that they ever had. Because it would be Kim and Mary’s first Christmas with them he wanted this year’s celebration to be better than last years and one that they would never forget.

In early December about a week before Kim’s sixteenth birthday they were sitting at the dinner table when Kim asked, “Mom, Dad, Would it be ok if I had a birthday party next week?”

James and Megan both smiled at each other.

Megan acted surprised and looked at Kim and said, “Oh that’s right your birthday is coming up isn’t it?”

Kim sounded a little disappointed when she answered, “Yes, it’s next Thursday.”

James and Megan had been secretly planning a birthday surprise for her and the girls for the last two weeks.

James looked up at the ceiling and said thoughtfully, “Let’s see… Thursday, Thursday,” he looked at Megan and said, “Megan, do we have any plans for next Thursday?”

“No James, I don’t think so.” She said then looked at Kim saying, “Would you like some cake and ice cream?”

“Kim was a little disappointed in their lack of enthusiasm about her birthday and said, “I was hoping that we could maybe get some reservations or something and go out to eat?”

“Reservations?” James said while trying not to give the surprise away, “Yes I think we can get some reservations for somewhere.”

Nothing more was said about it until the following Sunday night. James called up the stairs, “Girls! Would you all come down here please?”

They walked into the living room and Katie asked, “What’s up daddy?”

James picked up an envelope from the coffee table and handed it to Kim and said, “We got you some reservations for your birthday party.”

They all looked at James a little funny and Megan said, “Go ahead Kim, open it.”

Kim opened the envelope and saw the Disney logo at the top of the page but there was too much writing on the page for her to immediately understand what it meant.

James allowed Kim to scan the page for a few seconds then said, “I hope you don’t mind but we made dinner reservations for your birthday at Disney World.”

“We’re going to Disney world?” Katie asked as they all began jumping up and down while they hugged each other.

“We’re going to Disney world!” They all said at least five times each as they continued jumping up and down. James and Megan laughed the whole time as the girls jumped on their laps and dozens of hugs and kisses were exchanged.

“Girls!” Megan said in a loud enough voice so she could be heard over their constant chatter, “Our flight leaves tomorrow afternoon, and we will be there for seven days. Go upstairs and lay out your clothes on your bed so we can get packed.”

“Flight?” Kim said, “You mean we’re going to fly in an airplane?”

“Yes,” Megan answered, “our flight leaves tomorrow afternoon.”

“Wow,” Kim’s said, her eyes were as big as saucers, “I’ve never been on an airplane before.”

“Nether have I!” Katie and Tara answered at the exact same time. They hooked their pinky fingers together and wrinkled their nose at each other which was a sister thing they always did when they spoke the same words at the same time.

“Well,” James answered, “it’s a lot faster than driving and it’s very exciting the first time you do it, I think you’re all really going to enjoy it.”

It was a hectic evening trying to get enough clothes packed for the girls. The girls ran around the house looking for different articles of clothing that they wanted to bring. The evening wore on into the early hours of the morning as they were all too excited to fall asleep.

The next day it seemed like one of the girls asked James or Megan every ten minutes, ‘when are we leaving?’ The time finally arrived and they got into the limo and rode to the airport. They checked in and made it through security and on to the departure gate.

At this point, after looking out the windows, the girls began to get nervous about flying, finally realizing after they saw the aircraft up close that they were getting onto a jet.

When they called for the first class passengers to board James said, “That’s us, let’s go.”

Kim and Mary held on to James’ hand for dear life as they walked down the jet way. All four girls had fear in their eyes as they stepped off the jet way and on to the aircraft. They took their seats and the stewardess welcomed them and brought them some drinks.

James said to the stewardess, “None of our daughters have ever flown before.”

The stewardess smiled at Kim and said, “Welcome aboard, there’s nothing to worry about. There will be some strange sounds and sensations but its safer flying than it is driving to the airport.”

She then turned to Tara and Mary who were sitting together across the aisle from James and said the same thing to them. The plane taxied to the end of the runway and James pointed out the window and said, “There’s the runway, as soon as we turn on to it we’ll be ready for takeoff.”

As soon as the engines came up to takeoff power and the jet accelerated down the runway Kim grabbed James’ hand and held on tight. James looked across the aisle and saw Mary and Tara holding each other’s hand while they had excited smiles on the faces.

After liftoff Kim watched out the window and became fascinated with the view and relaxed her grip on his hand. The first class stewardess only had to cater to ten people so the girls got everything they asked for.

James and Megan rented a three bedroom villa at the beach club resort for their seven day stay. The first evening there, the girls changed into their swimming suits and they all explored the resort, including the beach and heated swimming pool.

On Thursday afternoon they returned to the rooms to relax and get dressed for Kim’s birthday dinner. She and the girls were surprised when they went to the marina and walked onto the fifty foot yacht for their private dinner cruise. The crew catered to the family for dinner. They all, including the crew, sang happy birthday to Kim.

James told Kim after her birthday song was finished, “Your birthday presents were at home and you’ll have to wait until then to open them.”

“Daddy,” Kim smiled, “I don’t need any more presents, and this is the best birthday and the most fun I’ve ever had in my whole life.”

After dinner they all went outside onto the deck to watch, at close range, the nightly fireworks display.

Seven days is barely enough time to see and do everything at Disney World. Every day was crammed full of one exciting event after another. Sunday morning they packed their bags and headed to the airport for their flight home.

***

Christmas was an exciting day and James and Megan bought the girls more gifts than they should have. Kim was loaded down with baby gifts plus some new maternity clothes. The other girls received new clothes, the latest new cell phones, and matching earrings & necklaces.

With the girls new found wealth all of the girls had a large family portrait painted in oil for James. He stared at it with an open mouth then said, “I know the perfect place for this,” while dabbing at the tear in the corner of his eye, “I’ll put it above the fireplace in the den. Thank you girls; this is the best present I’ve ever received.”

James closely examined each face in the painting before he set the picture aside and glanced at Megan. She smiled and nodded her head as James stood and reached in his pocket. He pulled out the same bracelet box that he gave Megan last year and walked over to Kim.

“Kim, I’ve got one more present for you.” He said handing the box to her.

Katie and Tara were giggling, knowing what was inside the box. Mary looked at Tara with a questioning expression and Tara quickly whispered in Mary’s ear. A smile burst out on her face as Kim opened the box. She slowly pulled the key out and looked at James. “What is it?”

“Go look out in the front yard.” James said smiling at her.

The girls were squealing with delight while they pulled Kim off the couch and pushed her to the front door. She pulled back the curtain and began crying as she looked at the brand new silver Lexus, with a giant red bow on top, sitting in the driveway. James and Megan were standing in the living room, while they watched Kim at the front door.

Kim hugged her sisters and then said to her parents, “You bought me a new car?” They nodded their heads as Kim ran to them and hugged them both.

When the excitement died down Megan quickly kissed James and pushed him down on the couch. She smiled and said, “I’ve got one more present for you.”

She brought him a small gift wrapped box and handed it to him. He grinned at her and tore the wrapping off of it. He opened the box and pulled out the new white baby booties. “Oh, you must have meant for this to go to Kim.” He said while handing the package to her.

“No James,” Megan said while shaking her head and rubbing her belly, “We’ll need them.”

He looked at her with a questioning expression and she said, “James you’re going to be a daddy, I’m pregnant.”

The room erupted in screams of excitement, while James smiled at Megan. He held his arms open and she sat down on his lap and they kisses while the girls piled in around them in one giant group hug.

***

One afternoon shortly after the New Year, Megan was helping Connie strip old paint from the interior window frame of the apartment they were remodeling. They began talking about James. “James has been living here for about twenty years.” Megan said, “I met him about two years ago when I was down on my luck. James gave me and my girls an apartment rent-free and we took an instant liking to each other.”

“That’s sweet,” Connie said, “does he have any brothers or sisters?”

“No, none that we know of,” Megan sighed and sadly continued, “James is an orphan, and he was unofficially adopted by the previous owners of the apartments and became their heir because they had no family.”

“Oh that’s so sad,” Connie said, “My mother told me that she had to give up a child when she was a young teenager. So I guess I have a brother out there somewhere that we can’t find.”

Megan stopped scrapping the old paint off the window and closely looked at Connie. She had never noticed before that Connie had the same dark brown wavy hair, and the same eyes and nose that James had. She stepped back a couple of steps and took in her eastern European features. ‘Could it be?’ Megan thought to herself. Megan’s mouth fell open as she continued looking at Connie.

“Megan, what’s wrong? Are you ok?”

Megan gathered herself together and sighed. “Connie, what’s your mother’s name?”

She smiled, “Connie, I was named after her.” She said with pride.

Megan’s hand covered her gapping, wide open, mouth then she took in a deep breath. “What is her date of birth?”

Connie gave Megan a concerned look, “November second, Why?”

“November second nineteen sixty?” Megan almost shouted.

“Yes nineteen sixty, how did you know?”

Megan screamed out a shrill squeal and jumped up and down then grabbed Connie in an excited hug. Jerrod stopped working in the kitchen and walked to the living room to see what was going on. He stood next to Connie as Megan asked. “Where is she?”

Connie looked at her watch and said, “She is probably at work right now.”

“No, no, that’s not what I meant; does she live here in the city?” Megan asked barely able to talk without screaming.

“Yes she lives over in the housing project on Front Street with my dad. Megan, what’s going on?”

Megan took in several deep breaths to calm herself and said, “Mrs. Parker looked at James’ adoption record and said his mother’s name is Connie York and she was born on November second nineteen sixty.”

“York?” Connie said, “That’s my mom’s maiden name!” It finally dawned on her and she started crying, “That means that James in my…”

Connie turned and cried on Jerrod’s shoulder as Megan finished the sentence, “Half brother?”

Connie looked back at Megan and shook her head as she cried out, “No, he’s my full brother! My dad got my mother pregnant when they were still in high school. We both have the same father!”

Megan was stunned; this had all taken her by surprise. Just a few short seconds ago she was at a loss as to how she was going to continue her search for James’ parents.

Megan called James on her cell phone and told him to come over to the apartment. When he arrived Connie screamed as she ran to him and hugged him tight. James nervously looked at Jerrod who was grinning from ear to ear.

“James,” Megan said as he looked at her with concern, “You need to sit down; we have some good news to tell you.”

Connie took his hand and led him to a chair and stood beside him. He was embarrassed because Connie was still holding his hand. He looked at Megan and she said, “It’s ok James, She’s your sister.”

James looked at her and said in an irritated voice, “What do you mean she’s my sister?”

“I talked to Mrs. Parker last month and she told me your mother’s name. I’ve been searching for weeks for her. While talking to Connie this morning we found out you both have the same parents. There’s more James, your mother and father are alive and they live a few miles from here over on Front Street.”

James sat in the chair stunned as Connie hugged him and kissed his cheek. James was still in shock when he asked Connie, “Why did they give me away?”

“I’m so sorry James,” Connie answered in a solemn voice, “My… I mean our grandparents were very religious and very strict, when they found out mom was pregnant they made her give you up for adoption. They were very embarrassed and very abusive toward her, they even called her a whore.”

“She was only fifteen at the time and didn’t have a choice.” Connie continued, “Right after I was born, I guess when you were about five years old, they tried to find you but the judge wouldn’t open the adoption records. There was nothing else they could do. Believe me when I say that mother has been heartbroken ever since.”

The gears in James’ head were spinning about a million miles per hour. All of the bad memories of his childhood ran through his head like a video tape on fast forward. Most of his life he had been upset and mad at the world because he had been abandoned and had no family.

Megan saw the emotion on his face and could almost read his mind; she spoke, pulling him back to reality, “James, this is a dream come true for you. The circumstances were out of your parent’s control, they did everything they could to find you. You need to leave those bad thoughts in the past and look forward to a bright new beginning.”

James sighed as he thought for a moment. He realized that Megan was correct as usual. He could hold a grudge and be pissed off or he could do as Megan suggested and ‘leave those bad thought’s in the past.’

He smiled at Connie and pulled her onto his lap, “So, you’re my sister huh, tell me about your life and our parents.”

Connie hugged him hard and cried happy tears for a few seconds then told James stories of her life living with their mother and father. Thirty minutes later James and Megan followed Connie and Jerrod to their apartment and they sat and looked through her photo album.

Megan called Mrs. Hilton and the girls were released from school for the day and they all walked to Connie and Jarrod’s apartment and were reintroduced to their Aunt Connie and Uncle Jerrod. They all ate lunch at James and Megan’s house and continued talking while sitting at the dining room table.

“Mom and dad aren’t doing very well financially,” Connie said to James, “Dad was working full time after you were born instead of going to school. They both ended up quitting high school and neither one of them has a very good job. They are living on assistance in the housing projects over on Front Street.”

“I’ve driven by that area,” James said, “It’s not a very good or safe neighborhood. Maybe we can talk them into moving into one of our apartments.”

Connie nodded her agreement as she looked at her watch and said, “They’re both off work by now and should be home, do you want me to invite them over here?”

James exhaled a long nervous breathe and said, “Yes of course.”

He looked at Megan and asked, “Is it too late to have them for dinner?”

Megan smiled and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll throw something together, come on girls we have work to do.”

Connie told James that she would break the news to them when she went to pick them up. They both agreed they didn’t want to give them a heart attack breaking the news all at once in front of everyone.

He was a nervous wreck waiting for her to get back with his new found parents. He paced back and forth glancing at his watch and out the window every couple minutes. He spent a couple minutes watching Megan and the girls doing their magic in the kitchen as they were preparing dinner. The girls were excited, especially Kim. After all, they just found out they had grandparents.

He finally saw Connie’s car pull into the driveway and he walked back into the living room and sat down. He was too nervous and didn’t want to be the one that answered the door.

Megan and the girls answered the door and he heard the excitement as they were all being introduced. James slowly stood and walked into the foyer; he stood in the archway and watched as his mother was hugging Kim.

His father saw him first and nervously smiled. James saw the resemblance and immediately knew that he was his father. His eyes, jaw line, and the same light olive skin told him what he needed to know. James stepped forward and shook his hand.

“Finally we meet,” James’ father Raymond said, “You have no idea how long and how hard we’ve looked for you. I’m so sorry that we weren’t there for you when you were growing up.”

Before he could answer he heard his mother squeal with excitement. He looked at her just as she grabbed him in a bear hug and began crying happy tears. James wrapped his arms around her back and hugged her tight. He looked over her shoulder at Megan and the others and saw the happy smiles on their faces.

They hugged each other for a full minute before she released him and pulled back. She blinked her eyes quickly, trying to clear her tears so she could get a good look at him. “James, Son,” she softly said, “I’m so very happy to finally meet you. I thought this day would never come.”

“I’m so happy that I have found you too.” James said to his parents then gazed into Megan’s eyes, “But all of the credit goes to Megan.” He looked back into his mother’s eyes and said, “About a year and a half ago she walked into my life and everything changed. I still don’t understand how she managed to find all of you, but she did. She is the best thing that ever happened to me and I truly believe that she is an angel that was sent to me.”

Epilog

To say that James’ life was now complete would have been an understatement. Two short years ago he was lonely, single, and an orphan. Now he had a full family with a beautiful, sexy, and talented angel for a wife, four smart caring daughters and a child on the way, a loving sister, and most of all he had a real mother and father. What more could anyone possibly ask for.

Connie was correct when she said they were having financial difficulties. The low paying jobs they managed to keep didn’t allow for any of life’s extras. But James fixed all of that. When Jerrod completed the renovation of the first apartment they insisted that his parents move in. James went one step further, with the assistance of the interior designer; the apartment was furnished with all new appliances and furnishings. When the second apartment was finished Jerrod, Connie, and their children moved into it.

Jerrod’s work on the apartments was of the highest quality so James and Megan decided to set him up with his own construction business. His first job was remodeling and adding an addition to George and Linda’s house.

Kim gave birth to a healthy baby boy in early March. She named him Raymond after her newly found grandfather. With five females living in the house with him and a grandmother and an aunt living just a few yards away it is safe to say that the child will be spoiled rotten.

Kim, Katie, Tara, and Mary’s bank and brokerage accounts grew almost daily. James taught them and cautioned them that research and hard work was the only way to consistently pick good stocks. It turned out they had a knack for picking them. Almost every morning one of them could be found with their nose in the Wall Street Journal.

George went to the coin show and found that there was a great interest in the coins he brought with him. One of the dealers had a confidential client that bought several of the higher priced coins and paid cash for them.

James and George examined all of the King Morgan’s closely under a magnifying loupe. They picked the very best one and hand delivered it to the professional coin grading service. It didn’t score a perfect Mint State seventy but it did score a Mint State sixty nine which was the highest grade ever for a King Morgan.

They allowed the grading service to exhibit the coin at coin shows around the country to generate interest in it and it was sold at auction the following year to an undisclosed telephone buyer for one point seven five million dollars. The highest amount ever paid for a Morgan silver dollar.

James and George were both present at the auction and smiled at each other knowing they still had nineteen more of the coins at home in almost the same condition.

It was a hot and miserable summer for Megan but on September fifth, which was James’ birthday, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Megan insisted that he be named James after his father.

A tear formed in his eyes as he watches little James suckling at his mother’s breast. “Thank you Megan for everything you have done for me. I think that I’m probably the happiest man in the whole world.”

Life goes on.

The End
124 comments

Anonymous readerReport

2014-04-19 05:55:28
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2014-04-17 06:44:31
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