“What I want you've got And it might be hard to handle Like the flame that burns the candle The candle feeds the flame, yeah, yeah What I've got's full stock Of thoughts and dreams that scatter Then you pull them all together And how I can't explain Oh, yeah Well, well you (Ooh-ho, hoo-ooh, ooh-oo) You make my dreams come true.”
Damn song has been stuck in my head for two weeks, since Pat’s birthday party. Always the first verse and then back to the beginning. Grr!
“What do you say, Riley? Is it driving you crazy too?”
I picked up the frying pan, then set an egg on each breakfast sandwich. Riley bounced in the high chair, hitting her hands down on the tray like she was demanding her breakfast.
“What I want you've got And it might be hard to handle Like the flame that burns the candle The candle feeds the flame, yeah, yeah”
“Dammit!” I said frustrated.
Two strong arms slid around my waist, Adam’s body warming mine as he came closer kissing my neck.
“You make my dreams come true.”
Reaching up behind me I ran my fingers through his hair, holding his head in place.
“I love you.” I sniggered.
His hands slid back as he grabbed two handfuls of my ass. “This is mine later,” he growled.
“You didn’t get enough last night?” I asked quietly knowing Pat would be down any second.
Adam made a noise that rumbled in his chest and through my back.
“I’ll never get enough of you.”
I put the pan down, spinning in his arms, and lay one hell of a good morning kiss on him. His hands went into the back pockets of my jeans, pulling me closer to him.
“Seriously, will you two ever stop?” Paddy laughed, then kissed Riley. “Morning, angel girl.”
“Nope!” Adam said smiling. “Might as well make peace with it now son, your Dads love each other.”
Pat smiled, putting a couple of toy blocks in front of Riley.
“That part I actually like.” Pat smiled warmly.
I breathed in Adam before releasing myself from his embrace.
“Okay men, I’ve made egg and bacon sandwiches, do you have time to sit and eat or do you want them to go?”
Adam picked up two of the plates and walked to the table, “We have time,” he said.
I grabbed the other sandwich and Riley’s bowl, following him to the table.
“Thanks, Dad,” Paddy said before inhaling his sandwich.
I fed Riley while eating and humming that damn ‘Hall & Oats’ song. I had boiled an egg and mushed it up with a tiny bit of butter and the tiniest bit of Miracle Whip for Riley to try now that she was starting to eat solids. The first couple of spoonfuls were hilarious. I put the spoon to her lips first so she could get a little taste. She licked her lip, smacking them together then leaning forward mouth wide open to get the rest. Once it was in her mouth, her whole body shuddered, Riley’s tongue kept poking out trying to expel the evil within. We couldn’t help but laugh at her misfortune. I did the same again, she repeated the process, but this time she kept some in her mouth getting a taste for it.
“Have you fed Rain, and put her out to do her business?” I asked Paddy.
“Uh-huh, I’m taking her over to Will’s to play with Cash and C.C. while we’re at golf,” Pat said.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come? You know Mom won’t mind watching Riley,” Adam asked. Hell no!
“I’m good, thank you.” I chuckled. “I’d rather watch paint dry, you guys have fun.”
“We will, I’m determined to beat Grandad today,” Pat said with the fire of determination in his eyes.
I laughed, “Good luck with that, just don’t make any bets on the outcome.”
Paddy grumbled something unintelligible.
“Can you ask your folks if they're coming to New England for Thanksgiving?”
“Yep, will do. If they are, I’ll get Mom to call you. Payne will be calling sometime too, her and Amy are coming as well since your Mom invited them and her Dad’s going to stay with his sister for a while to give Payne a break.”
“That’s great, Payne’s always fun. I’m glad things are working out them.”
Adam smiled as he stood from the table, taking his plate and putting it in the dishwasher. While he was there, he started on the breakfast clean up.
“Leave that, I’ll fix it up. You guys should get going; you know how your Dad is if you’re a minute late.” I rolled my eyes, his Dad was a stickler for when it came to being on time.
“Thanks, Babe,” Adam said while he washed his hands. “You ready Pat? You’re driving; we’ll take your Jeep.”
“Sweet,” Pat said.
He couldn’t move quick enough, his plate was in the dishwasher, next thing I know Rain was running around, and Pat was standing in front of us with his golf clubs while he tried to put the leash on Rain. Adam was watching Pat fondly, sometimes I think he is still in awe that he’s a father to a teenager.
“Come on Tiger,” Adam said chuckling.
“Bye Dad, see you later.” Pat stomped off, Rain under his arm rolling his golf clubs along behind him.
“We’ll see you at Will and Liam’s, I’ll text you when we leave the clubhouse.” Adam kissed me. “Love you.”
“Love you too. Have a good round,” I said hoping that was the right term for golf.
About an hour after the boys left, I gave Riley a bottle and put her down for a short nap. It was a good time to get some marking done.
“What I want you've got And it might be hard to handle Like the flame that burns the candle The candle feeds the flame, yeah, yeah What I've got's full stock Of thoughts and dreams that scatter Then you pull them all together And how I can't explain”
“Dammit,” I sighed.
Maybe if I turn on the radio or put on some music the song will go away. As I headed to do just that the doorbell rang. On the other side of the security door stood a couple about my age with worried and scared expressions on their faces.
“Can I help you?” I asked.
“Uh…” the woman said looking at her husband anxiously.
“Are you Mr. Wright, Patrick’s father?” the man asked quickly.
“Yes, is everything okay?” I answered panicking.
“No,” the lady said.
My heart started thumping in my chest.
“I mean yes, I’m sure it is.” She frowned.
I stared at her, worried something was wrong.
“Calm down, love,” the man said to his wife putting his hand gently on her shoulder.
“Excuse me, have we met?” I asked; this was getting weird.
The man stepped closer to the door, so I took a step back even though I knew they couldn’t get through the locked security door.
“Sorry, we didn’t mean to frighten you. We’re Vince and Deborah Drake, Declan’s parents,” he said.
Declan, who the hell is Dec… Oh Shit!
“Oh, sure,” I said trying to remain calm, unlocking the door. “Did you want to come in?”
“Thanks,” Mr. Drake said, putting his hand on the small of his wife’s back guiding her into the house; while I locked the door again behind them.
The couple followed me to the kitchen.
“Would either of you like a drink, tea, coffee…”
“Sweet tea if you have it, please,” Mrs. Drake said politely.
“We only have unsweetened.”
“Um… water is fine then.”
Mrs. Drake just smiled sadly as I put the bottles of water in front of them and sat down indicating for them to take a seat. Once they were seated, Mrs. Drake began.
“Is Pat here, or your wife by chance?” Mrs. Drake asked.
“I don’t have a wife, I have an “Adam”, but he and Pat are out playing golf with the rest of the family at the moment.”
“Oh, this is humiliating,” the woman mumbled raising my hackles to the defensive.
“Excuse me,” I growled.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry.” Mrs. Drake fidgeted glancing at her husband quickly; her face bright red. “I didn’t mean that the way it cameout. I… meant me, not you…” the woman sighed, hanging her head for a moment. “Declan has only referred to you as Pat’s parents and I assumed a man and a woman. Not that I care, but I just assumed. I didn’t mean to off–“
I put my hand up to stop her rambling.
“It’s fine,” I said shrugging a shoulder, “you didn’t know, no offense taken.”
The woman sighed and relaxed a little, but I could tell she was still uncomfortable. I’m really in no mood for guessing games, and the woman looked like she was about ready for a nervous breakdown.
“Are you okay?” I asked because her discomfort was making me anxious.
“No… No, I’m just embarrassed,” she said just above a whisper.
“Well don’t be; no harm done. What can I help you with? Is Declan okay?” I said in a no-nonsense tone.
“Um…well… Declan was here the other week for Pat’s birthday,” Mr. Drake said, as he rubbed his wife’s back to calm her down. “When he came home, and since then, he won’t stop talking about how Pat’s last name was O’Rourke and that he was adopted.”
“That’s correct,” I said. “But he’s Patrick Wright now though.”
The man nodded his acknowledgment.
“Well you see, Declan is also adopted, he came to us when he was a baby. His birth name was also O’Rourke, the two boys are very similar and we can’t help but wonder if maybe they are related in some way or even brothers.” The man swallowed nervously. “I’m sorry, we didn’t mean to drop this on you, but it seems really important to Declan.”
My entire body began shaking, somewhere deep down I’ve been expecting this but now that it’s here, I’m not sure how to handle it, or my own reaction to it. I could feel my chest tightening.
“I know… I know how this must be a shock to you,” Mr. Drake said. “Do you know if Pat had any siblings?”
“No, I don’t. His file showed he was an only child.”
My head was starting to pound. I couldn’t sit still, their eyes never left me, even though they were polite it felt like an interrogation.
“That’s disappointing,” Mr. Drake said defeatedly.
“And so why are you here?” I asked cooly.
“Declan is our son. We’d do anything to make him happy. Although we have our concerns, we’d like to follow this through somehow. Find out if he and Pat are related.” Mr. Drake said.
He can’t be serious. I sat silently panicking, my mind was racing and I wasn’t sure what to say or do.
Riley cried out through the baby monitor. Saved by the crying baby.
“Excuse me for a moment.” I swallowed roughly, my throat was scratchy from the emotions I was holding back.
I went upstairs to grab Riley, her face lit up when I entered the room, and she stopped crying immediately. Before picking her up, I turned the baby monitor off.
“Aw, baby, were you being ignored.” I picked her up kissing her cheek. “Did you have a nice nap? Let’s change your bum then you can come meet some people.”
As I walked down the stairs, I heard the front security door close. Shit! The Drakes had escaped before we could get anywhere, Adam was almost running through the house.
“Who’s in the kitchen?” Adam asked bluntly.
“Declan’s parents.” I answered nervously.
“Who?” he said confused stopping to look at me while I spoke.
“Declan’s parents. They want to talk to us about–”I’d just noticed Adam was soaking wet from head to toe.
“What the hell happened to you?” I asked frowning.
“It’s not funny.” Adam barked.
“I wasn’t laughing,” I raised an eyebrow at his reaction.
“Sorry.” He flicked his hand forward on his head frustratingly. “My ball went in the water hazard, I went to get it, but I slipped, I tried to save my self and ended up going ass over tit right into the drink.”
He put his arms out looking down at his wet self.
“Please tell me Pat isn’t with you?” I asked, Adam not picking up on my anxiousness.
“No. He’s still at golf, they’ll take him to Will and Liam’s for brunch. We’ll meet them there.” He stomped past me.
“You’d better dry off, then come into the kitchen and meet the Drakes.”
I know I should have said more but he was a bit pissy and I didn’t need him coming to join us with all guns blazing. After everything we’ve been through as a family, Adam tends to protect us feircly and ask questions later. Not exactly what we need in this situation.
“Oh, I don’t know who that is but I’ll be down in a minute,” he grumbled.
I made my way back to the kitchen slowly, I really didn’t know how to deal with these people. The dread seeping through me, our family is about to change because of them.
“Sorry about that,” I said to two amused faces. “You heard that huh?”
“Yeah!” Mr. Drake said trying not to show his amusement.
The three of us chuckled nervously together it seemed to break a bit of the tension.
“This is Riley, our daughter.” I lifted her hand and waved at the people across the table.
What the hell am I doing? I’m not sure if these people are friend or foe right now.
“Adam’s just going to dry off, he’ll be down in a moment.”
It only took Adam a few minutes to dry off and change, he came into the kitchen going straight to the fridge for a beer. He grabbed two out, opened them both sliding one in front of Mr. Drake, who eyed his wife sideways for a moment before accepting the beer after getting no reaction from her. Mrs. Drake was oblivious staring into space. Probably thinking the same thing as me, what if they try to take my baby away from me?
My hands were still a little bit shaky with a feeling of nausea in my gut. But hopefully, no-one else could tell. I was trying to keep it light, so I didn’t lose my shit.
Adam kissed Riley then me before sitting at the table knocking the top off his bottle.
“So what’s going on?” Adam said swallowing about half his beer.
I introduced him to the Drakes, then recapped why they were here.
“Okay,” Adam elongated the word. “So what is it that you’re looking for?”
“We honestly don’t know, if the boys are blood relatives I think we should understand that and then see if it would be good for them to know that and have a relationship if they want it. Declan seems to think they are, but I don’t want to disappoint him if they're not.” Mrs. Drake said is if in a daze. “We knew that it was important to talk with you first”.
Adam nodded along taking in what the lady was saying, but I could tell his mind was reeling, the cogs turning a mile a minute. He leaned forward resting his arms on the table around his drink.
“How old was Declan when you adopted him?” Adam asked evenly.
“He was just a baby, not even a year old,” said Mrs. Drake.
“So he’s been a happy kid in a loving home for what? Fifteen years almost?” Adam tone was forbidding, and intense, “He’s a lucky kid, how much do you know about Paddy?”
The Drakes both stiffened and looked at each other.
“Not much at all really, only what Declan has told us which isn’t much past that he thinks they are related and Patrick’s characteristics,” Mr. Drake uttered sheepishly.
My heart rate when up, Riley started fussing she could definitely feel the tension between the four of us. I was ready to pounce, I can’t believe they came here without knowing anything about Pat. I handed Riley over to Adam, to try and have him calm down. Adam stood up, bouncing Riley gently trying to get her to settle. I took a deep breath.
“Pat’s life has been completely the opposite of Declan’s. This is the first stable home that he has had.He’s been in and out of foster care Some of the situations have been abusive. He would go days without food. He’s endured bruises, broken bones, abuse, you name it. When he first came to live with me, he slept with his shoes on in case he needed to escape, run. It took a long time for him to settle, he’s just finally started to believe we are his family for good, finally feeling like he is part of a family.” I said, my chin was quivering, my eyes were stinging at the thought of what Pat went through. “I am NOT going to do anything to jeopardize that!”
Mrs. Drake looked horrified, Mr. Drake’s knuckles were white from holding his beer bottle so tightly.
“We had no idea,” Mrs. Drake said, her eyes glossy with tears.
“So you can see why we won’t be party to anything that will upset him anymore, he’s finally happy. We love him, and we will protect our son.”
Adam put his hand on my shoulder standing behind me with Riley in his arms. I wiped away the tears in my eyes, then looking up at Adam. He seemed as upset as I did.
“That poor boy, if we’d have known Declan had a brother you know we would have taken them both, don’t you? There is no way we would have let them be separated.” Mr. Drake spoke, his voice rough.
The four of us sat in silence, the weight of the situation heavy on all four sets of shoulders.
Mr. Drake drank from the bottle nervously. Mrs. Drake snaked her hand over holding her husbands. Adam sat back down now that Rile was settled again.
“This isn’t the right time honey, we can’t do this to Patrick.” She said sadly.
My face must have asked what I was feeling. Mr. Drake addressed the about face.
He cleared his throat, “We both aged out of the foster care system, if anyone knows what Pat went through, it’s us. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to find each other when we were sixteen, able to protect one another. We have three children, Declan has two younger sisters, all three are adopted.”
Mr. Drake smiled affectionately at his wife, covering their clasped hand with his other.
“Declan will have to be patient. This is a lot to dump on you and you both need some time to absorb it all. Then we can figure out the next steps. In the meantime, we’ll try to make sure Declan doesn’t put any pressure on Patrick.”
I can’t even explain the relief that went through my body. I even felt Adam relax a tiny bit next to me.
Adam gave me Riley and eventually saw the Drakes out. He came back to the kitchen.
“Wasn’t expecting that,” Adam commented as he slumped into the chair next to me. “How are you feeling about this?”
“I honestly don’t know.” I paused trying to gather my thoughts, “It was kind of thrown at us, we haven’t even had time to think. I feel a million different things. I know I’ll be happy for Pat if they do turn out to be related. But as for me, all I feel right now is scared.”
Adam nodded his head leaning forward and playing with Riley’s hand. “Me too.”
“How do you think Pat is going to take this?”
“I don’t know that either, I couldn’t even begin to guess. We’ll have to be cautious and do what anyone else would do – wing it.”
I cuddled into Riley, at least I know she’s going to be okay.
“We should talk to him tonight, I think. Tackle this head on, if anything he has a right to know if he has a blood relative. But he may feel a lot of conflicting things. We have to be there for him. I think this will ultimately have to be his decision.” Adam crossed his arms over his chest.
“I agree,” I said nodding. “Do you want to cuddle your daughter, babies cure everything.”
I faced Riley toward Adam and made her dance for him. Adam smiled, then cuddled her into his chest.
“You okay, Babe? Really?” Adam asked, his eyes showed their concern.
I blew out a breath, “I’m barely holding it together. The one thing I’m happy about is they have no intention of interfering with our family by trying to take Pat. Not that they probably could, but who knows… I guess we’ll see. What about you?”
“I don’t know, like you said, we’ll just wait and see how this pans out I guess. It’s all we can do right now, we’ll just have to keep a close eye on Pat, his feelings come first. Things are about to get crazy, I guess.” Adam gave me a weak smile, kissing Riley gently before laying his cheek softly on her head while his eyes were watching me.
It was getting late in the evening, I’d just put Riley down for the night, we’d had dinner a couple of hours ago. My men were watching television so I went to join them so Adam and I could talk to Pat.
“You look happy.” I smiled at Pat.
Sitting down on the couch next to Adam, I snuggled into his side. Pat was in the love seat with Rain. They were watching a cooking show of some sort.
“Your Grandad couldn’t stop bragging about you at lunch today.”
Pat scrunched up his nose.
“I still didn’t beat him,” Pat grumbled while he mindlessly petted Rain, who was settled in his lap.
“Patience, my son, keep at it; you’ll beat him eventually.” I smiled.
Poor kid, he’s only been playing golf for a few months, but he wants the ability of Tiger Woods without the effort. Somehow his Grandad brings out the competitive side of Paddy. They have become really close, and love to rib each other.
Adam turned off the television and Pat gave him the stink eye.
Before speaking Adam cleared his throat, Pat and I waited expectantly for what he had to say.
“Paddy,” Adam said, then kissed the top of my head, “Uh… the Declan’s, I mean Drake parents… dammit. The Drakes, Declan’s parents came to see us today.”
Our son frowned, “Okay, what’d they want?”
I sat up straight, leaning forward so I could somehow be sitting closer to Pat, before I spoke.
“Well, it seems Declan is also adopted.” I rubbed my hands down my jeans nervously.
“Ha! Cool,” Pat said smiling.
“Maybe,” Adam blurted.
Pat frowned at Adam’s outburst.
“It seems Declan’s birth name was also O’Rourke,” I said feeling Adam stiffen next to me as we waited for Paddy’s reaction.
Adjusting his shirt, Pat sat up straight, seemingly a way to comfort himself. His fingers feathered threw Rain’s fur, as she yawned and then laid her head back down. Pat’s eyes pensively pasted on the wall ahead, his brow furrowed. We waited for him to process the information.
“So.” Pat swallowed audibly, looking over to me and Adam. “Does that mean Declan and I are brothers?”
“Uh… we don’t know. You could be,” Adam stated in a soothing tone.
“Huh!” Pat answered quietly.
Pat cut Adam off.
“But if we were brothers, or related even, wouldn’t it have been in the file before we were adopted?”
Adam glanced over at me.
“We would have thought so, yes,” I answered while Adam just looked confused.
Pat closed his eyes, his body sinking into the chair adjusting Rain in his lap.
“Am…” Pat swallowed, his voice meek and scared, “am I going to have to leave?”
I swear I felt my heart break.
“Over my dead body,” Adam growled, “you’re our son.”
“What?” I practically leaped into the space next to him. “Of course your not leaving, please don’t even think it. We’re a family, always will be,” I pulled Pat into me.
That didn’t really help Pat any, he still looked, well… about a million different things: confused; hurt; angry; sad. You name it, I’m pretty sure he was feeling it.
Paddy’s eyes filled with tears.
“Then what do I do?” Pat’s voice was strained.
“You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to Pat, the choice is yours,” I said. “Just remember it would just mean that your family is getting bigger and you would have a sister and a brother”
He paused, his face contorted with pain and a pensive crease in his forehead. Paddy shrugged.
“Do you think Theo would be able to find out? Or what if we did one of those DNA tests that you talked about in class?”
I scrubbed my hand across my mouth.
“You’d have to get Declan and his parents’ permission for that. But if everyone agrees it might at least be a quicker way to find out if your blood relatives,” I said out loud but kind of thinking to myself at the same time. “If that’s what you want Pat, it’s entirely up to you. There’s no right or wrong here.”
“Do you think Theo would look into it if it comes back we are related?” Pat asked, he wiped more tears out of his eyes.
I smiled warmly, “I’m sure he’d do just about anything for you Paddy.” “But Pat, remember that you are our son and that is not going to change whatever the result”
Pat returned with a sad smile, his eyes dropped to Rain as he pet her.
“Everything is going to work out, you’ll see,” I whispered to him.
It felt so good when Pat’s body relaxed into mine, he stopped fighting within himself letting go and gathering strength from me.
“I love you Dad,” Pat said wiping his eyes again.
“I love you more.” I smiled tightening my grip on Pat. “Come here, you are not too bigfor a hug”
He didn’t fight me, Pat put his arms around me and squeezed me tight.
“Can I think about it?”
“Absolutely, take your time. You have to be comfortable with your decision.” Adam told him.
“Is it okay if I go to bed?” Paddy asked that was remnant of his past.
“Of course it Bud, just make sure you take Rain out to do her business before you turn in.” I reminded him.
Pat nodded as he stood, Adam was standing waiting to hug Pat. He wrapped his arms around our son.
“Love you buddy, we’re here for you, don’t forget that.” I heard Adam say to Pat before kissing the top of his head.
“I know, love you too, Dad.”
Paddy took Rain out for her last chance to do go to the bathroom before we locked up for the night. Once Pat was upstairs and out of earshot, Adam turned to me.
“This is going to be hard to navigate, isn’t it?”
“Yep,” I said nodding my head slowly.
“Are you okay?” Adam asked as he pulled me into his lap.
My head rest on his shoulder.
“I have no idea, I can’t help but worry what’s going to happen. I can see Pat retreating every second back to the kid he was when he first came to live with me. We can’t let that happen.”
I lifted my head so I could look at Adam.
“We won’t. We’ll just have to keep reminding him, he’s loved, and that we’re here no matter what.”
Hey there, thanks for your patience, and I apologize for the delay. This is dangerous territory and particularly hard. Rick has been exceptionally patient with me, so thank you to you. I hope to get the next chapter to you a lot quicker.
Thank you for reading, and please leave a comment, I'd really like to know what you think.
I'd also like to thank Rick, Glenn, John, and Rob for all your help, you've all been amazing.