“I am so sorry,” Jaclyn said. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “It was nice. Um, would you maybe want to go get dinner tomorrow night?”
“You mean like a date?”
“Yes, would you like to go on a date with me?” I nervously asked.
“I would love too,” she said.
So the next night Isabelle watched Joy while Jaclyn and I went and had dinner at the bistro in town. While we were eating we talked and talked. I told her all about my time in Sunlit Tides and showed her pictures of my kids. I was worried after what Andrew did to her and Joy she would think I had abandoned them. But I was worried for nothing. She said the situations were different. That I had never made Eve promises or told her I loved her just to get her into bed. I had gone into it with my eyes open – knowing that I was helping her with her challenge.
After that we spent more time together. Sometimes at home watching movies.
Other times we got a baby sitter and went out. My niece Rosanna was graduating from High School and my bother Ian was throwing a party. She had met my family before but this was the first time I introduced them to her as my girlfriend.
During the party everyone started dancing. It was fun.
Until Jaclyn stepped on my foot with her heels.
She felt terrible but I told her not to worry about it.
We also spent a lot of time with Joy. I worked on teaching her how to talk while Jaclyn tackled walking and potty training.
She is a very happy little girl and loves bath time. She loves to splash and play with the bubbles.
Of course I also make sure to spend time with both Dexter and Shadow.
Shadow and I are training for some more advanced competitions.
I am also thinking about breeding him. My brother Ian has a female so I have been having the two spend time together to see how things go.
Of course I also have work at the fire station.
One day after a particularly bad fire I knew that I needed to make a change in my life.
“Jaclyn, you and Joy are one of the best things to ever happen to me. I love you both with all my heart and I can’t imagine not having you in my life. Will you merry me?”
“YES, nothing would make me happier,” she said.
About a month later Jaclyn came up to me and said, “I have been thinking. I know you talked to your sister Ivy and she plans to come for the wedding. I think you should call Eve and see if she would let Ivy bring your kids with her. I would love to meet them. And I think they should be part of our day. Plus if we get married soon they could all experience snow which I doubt they have a lot of in Sunlit Tides.
“How did I get so lucky as to have you in my life,” I said.
“I’m the lucky one,” she replied. “Now go call Eve.”
“Hello,” Eve answered.
“Hey, Eve. It’s Isaac,” I said.
“Hey Isaac. If you were wanting to talk to the kids they are asleep,” she said.
“Oh, sorry. I forgot about the time difference.”
“No worries. I was up. You remember my daughter Gisella? She had a baby girl earlier this evening. I just returned from dropping her and my granddaughter off at home.”
“Congratulations,” I said.
“Thanks,” she said. “Did you call for any particular reason? I hope everything is alright.”
“Oh yes, things are great actually. I am calling cause I wanted to tell everyone that I am getting married. Jackie, that’s my fiance, and I would really love if Jafar, Jasmine, and Jessica could come to the wedding. Ivy is planning on coming and I am sure she would be happy to bring them. It is winter here right now and Jackie thought we could get married right away and if the kids come they could experience snow.”
“Of course they can come. And I am sure they will love seeing snow and experiencing winter. They have of course seen pictures from my days in Hidden Springs and Sunset Valley but I don’t think they really grasp what it is like. I will talk to Ivy and make the arrangements. Oh and congratulations on your engagement.”
“Thanks, I said.”
A week later Ivy arrived with the kids. I was thrilled to see my big sister again.
But even more excited to see my kids. I hadn’t held them in my arms since they were babies so to be able to give them a hug was more wonderful then I can describe. I can’t believe it has been 13 years since I last saw them.
The next morning we all gathered around the table for a big breakfast. It was so wonderful having the house full again.
Later that day I took the kids to the winter festival. Jafar tried out snowboarding. He is a natural athlete and took to it right away.
The girls went ice skating. They were a little wobbly at first but soon caught on.
When we got home the girls built their very first snowmen. It was a wonderful day.
“Thank you so much for encouraging me to invite them here and including them in our wedding.”
“I was happy to. You have done so much for Joy. Always treating her as your own. I wanted to be able to do the same for you.”
After that no words were needed for the remainder of the night.
A week later was our wedding day. It was too cold to get married outside so we had the wedding in our living room.
Jaclyn had taken the girls shopping for matching bridesmaid dresses.
I had taken Jafar to get a tux. They all looked great.
We exchanged our vows.
And then cut the cake.
I was so happy my aunt Holly was able to attend. She is the last of dad’s sisters. My aunt Hannah had past shortly before mom and dad.
A few days after the wedding I came downstairs to find Jessica on the phone.
“Oh, hey dad. It’s mom. She wants to talk to you.”
“Hello,” I said.
“Hey, Isaac. I heard your wedding was beautiful. Congratulations.”
“Thanks,” I said. “Jessica said you wanted to talk to me.”
“Yes. I have been talking with all three kids and they have decided that if you and Jackie are ok with that they would like to live with you for awhile.”
“Of course I am ok with that. But is it ok with you? I don’t want you to think I am taking them away from you.”
“I never love it when my kids leave but I also understand that it is important to them to get to know you and your family. I couldn’t very well tell them no when I have given permission for some of their siblings in the past to go live with their fathers. I have had them for the first 13 years of their life. If they want to live with you for the next five or six who am I to say no. I will of course miss them like crazy and will want frequent phone calls and video chats. But I am used to having long distance relationships with my kids. I have 25 kids and even more grand kids back in Hidden Springs. I have another 20 in Sunset Valley. Even though we are miles apart I am still close to all of them. I can tell they really want this and I think you do too.”
“Thank you so much, Eve. I don’t know what to say. I never thought I would get this time with them.”