Chapter 5: The Reunion...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Free Verse

Reads: 133

As Tony drives, his heart began to sink, with the fear of what if something terrible happened, Tony shakes it off, says a prayer and continues to search, just then the phone rings, he sees it’s Darrel and answers, Hello…

Tony I think I know where he is… Poor Tony almost crashed the car, he pulled over and got the info from Darrel, then called Nyam...

Nyam picks up the phone and Tony says, Darrel said he’s found Gramps, Nyam screamed with joy and said Thank you Lord… Nyam spread the word, and everyone headed toward the diner…

As Gramps and Francisca, the two new found friends, finished up their meal, Darrel walked into the diner, as soon as he saw Gramps face, a big sigh of relief came over him, and he smiled…

Gramps sees him and smiles also, Gramps stands up and greets Darrel with a hug, where have you been? Darrel said, Francisca grabs Gramps hand and squeezed, Gramps looks down at her, puts his hand on her head and says, It’s ok Francisca, Sgt. Strawberry is familia, and one of the good guys, she smiled and continued slurping her milkshake.

I’m sorry Darrel, I know everyone must be worried sick, but I kinda got turned around and ended up at the bus station, but it was providence, because Francisca and I met each other in our time of need, Francisca said, can you help me find my Papi, two guys stole our car at the bus station across the street, and my Papi ran after them, Darrel said, how long ago was that Francisca? About four or five hours ago I think. Gramps noticed a solemn look in Darrel’s eyes, but decided not to ask about it just then…

Francisca moved over to Gramps side of the booth and Darrel sat down, just then, a herd of people rushed into the diner, with Tony leading the way, followed by Nyam then Grace, Djimon, Suzi & Jimmy, all smiling and happy, Gramps gets up, and Tony cried and said I missed you Pop, don’t ever do that again, Gramps said, I’m sorry son, I get confused sometimes, but even mistakes have purpose as he puts his hand on Francisca’s head, she smiled at the family and they all smiled back.

Grace said, Wow, what a day… can we go home now? Gramps said, Francisca this is my son Tony and his beautiful wife Nyambura, her sister Grace and her husband Djimon, and this is our friend Suzi, and I’m afraid I haven’t met you yet, as Gramps holds out his hand to shake, Suzi says, Gramps this is my fiance Jimmy, they shake and Gramps says welcome to the family, everyone laughs and Francisca says, Hola…

Gramps asked Tony & Darrel, to talk for a moment, they start to head outside the diner, and Francisca says Gramps are you leaving me? Gramps says, I’m not leaving you little one, I’ll be right back, I promise, she smiled and said okay… When they got outside Gramps said to Darrel, I saw a strange look in your eyes when Francisca was telling you about her Father, what do you know Darrel?

If it’s the same man we found tonight, It’s not good Gramps, Gramps says, Is he? I’m afraid so, Darrel says. Gramps holds on to Tony’s arm, as he feels the pain he knows Francisca will soon suffer, Tony said, Pop are you okay?

I’m fine son, but that child, she has nobody now, her father and mother were both orphans, and her mother died in childbirth…

Darrel I can’t abandon this child to the system, can you help me, and Tony, please back me on this, Tony says of course Pop, anything and everything we can do…

Darrel says, I’ll make a couple of calls Gramps, we’ll see if CPS will allow your family temporary custody until we can sort this whole thing out. Thank you Darrel… They go back in the diner, and everyone’s laughing and having a great time, Tony says ok guys, ready to go home? Everyone heads toward the door, while Gramps & Francisca head over to settle the bill. Once paid, Gramps gives Francisca ten dollars to put on the table for John the waiter…

Outside, Tony explains the situation to Nyam, she agrees and everyone except Tony & Darrel head back to the house. Gramps and Francisca come outside and Darrel says, Francisca we should go to the station to fill out some paperwork to find your Papi, okay? Francisca looks at Gramps and says, you’re coming too? Yes little one, I won’t leave you, she smiled and looked at Darrel and said okay…

Gramps and Francisca jumped in Tony’s car and they all headed to the station... Once at the station, they all went into a room and sat down, Darrel asked Francisca some questions and took some notes, Officer Sandra Ramirez comes in and hands Darrel a file, then asked Francisca if she would like a cup of Hot Chocolate, Francisca says, yes please, and Officer Ramirez held out her hand, Francisca looked at Gramps for approval, and Gramps said, go ahead little one, I’ll be right here.

When Francisca had left the room, Darrel opened the file and began to read and explain the particulars of the case. “Well it seems Francisca’s Father, Angel Montes was born in Clearwater, Texas as a ward of the state, no specifics on how or why, he was raised at St. Bartholomew’s Boys Home in Corpus Christi until his 18th birthday, he was married to Maria Sanchez about 7 years ago in Los Angeles, until her death during childbirth on January 15th 2012.

Mrs. Sanchez was also a ward of the state of California, and was raised in a Catholic girls home up north, no known relatives for either of them. Gramps looked very sad, he put his hand on his forehead and said, “how do you tell a six year old child, with no one else in the world, that her Father is gone? Tony said, Pops, she’s attached to you, you should be here when she’s told. Darrel said, yes I agree, and Mrs. Johnson from CPS should be here by now also, I spoke to her and she has already started the paperwork for temporary custody, so when everyone is here we’ll do the best we can to support her...

Mrs. Johnson from CPS walks in and introduces herself to everyone, and then gives Darrel a hug, soon after, Francisca and Officer Ramirez come back in, Francisca is smiling and holding her hot chocolate until she sees Mrs. Johnson and notices the serious look on all the faces.

Mrs. Johnson says, Hello Francisca, I’m Mrs. Johnson, I work with an agency that helps children, we would like to talk to you if that’s ok. Francisca didn’t reply and her face turned stoic, she glanced at Gramps, but he didn’t say a word, Mrs. Johnson said, “I have some bad news about your father,” Francisca’s face doesn’t change, “He was hurt today, and the doctors weren’t able to save him, I’m so sorry Francisca.” Francisca’s face still showed no emotion, her body slumped and she lowered her head, saying PAPI... As tears streamed down her little face.

She put her hand on Gramps hand who was sitting next to her, and looked at him and said, “I have no one now, I’m alone.” Gramps said to her, “You’ll never be alone, I’ll always be there.” Tony stood up and said, “And so will I” Darrel stood up and said, “And I will too.” Francisca look at them, and jumped in Gramps arms and wailed in grief, as he held her, he cried also…

Everyone else got up and left the room, giving Gramps and Francisca some privacy to talk… After a little while, Francisca raised her head and said, Gramps, what’s going to happen to me? Gramps wiped her tears, and said, “You would make me the happiest Gramps in the world if you would come and live with me and my family, would that be ok with you?” Oh yes Gramps…

But, but Gramps, I’ll never see my Papi again? I didn’t even get to say goodbye… I’m so sorry little one, but remember, you can always talk to him, he lives in you, in your heart, so anything you ever need to say to your father, just say it, he’s listening always… Oh Gramps, and she began to cry again. Gramps just held her tightly and stroked her hair, and said a silent prayer for her…

A few minutes later, Darrel, Tony and Mrs. Johnson came back in, and they saw Gramps putting his finger to his lips for quiet, he was holding Francisca and she was fast asleep… Tony came over and whispered, all the paperwork is done Pops, we can take Francisca home now, and tomorrow Mrs. Johnson is going to come by to check out our place, okay? Yes, Gramps said, but did you talk to Nyam? I just got off the phone with her, she’s already set up Bobee’s old twin bed that was in the garage, she put it in Kat’s room, she thought it would be better Francisca didn’t sleep alone until she gets situated, later we’ll fix up the spare room for her.

Gramps said, that wife of yours is a smart woman… Yes she is, the smartest... Let’s go Pops... It was just after 6pm when we reached the house, Francisca was wide awake, but feeling tired and emotionally drained, as we were walking in the house I was hoping there would not be too much fanfare, It was good that everyone had gone home, Nyam and the kids were waiting quietly as we entered, no doubt coached by Nyam so not to disturb Francisca in her time of grief.

We all went over and sat on the sofa, Gramps said, Francisca you meet Nyambura, Tony’s wife at the diner, do you remember? Yes, I remember, she said quietly, Nyam said, I’m very happy you’re here Francisca, thank you she said, Gramps said, these are my grandchildren I told you about, this is Bobee, and his sister Kat, they waved and Francisca waved back. Nyam said, are you hungry? Francisca shook her head no, would you like to see where you’ll be sleeping? She said yes please, Kat & Bobee each got up and took her hand and brought her to Kat’s room…

Nyam, Tony and Gramps sat and talked for a few minutes while the kids were gone, Gramps said, I’m so sorry Nyam for putting you guys through all this trouble, Nyam reached over and hugged Gramps tightly and said, you’re not trouble Gramps, you’re family, and what’s important to you is important to us…

Gramps said, thank you, and you know how much I love my family, but sometimes we’re called upon to do things as a family, for the greater good, even though it’s not part of our plan. Francisca I believe will be a lifelong commitment, and I know I have no right to project such a commitment onto you, I’m 70 years old, and I’m asking this of you, because I must.

Tony says, Pop, there’s no need to worry, Nyam and I understand the responsibility, and we accept it willingly, for you, for us & the children and for Francisca, we’ll be one family…

Bobee and Kat came back in the living room, Kat said, Francisca’s asleep, Bobee gave her a pair of his pajamas and she laid down and went to sleep. Gramps winked at Bobee and he winked back. 

Then Bobee jumped in Nyam’s lap and said, Mom, I'm hungry, Nyam’s mouth was open and she had a look of shock on her face, Tony started crying, and Kat jumped in Tony’s lap and they all hugged and cried…

Gramps smiled and said, I’m tired, I think I’ll go to bed.

Good Night…

The End


Submitted: January 22, 2020

© Copyright 2021 CigarGuy1. All rights reserved.

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