Holding Lynn’s hand tight Casey tried to reign in his rising anger. Why should she be here? It was her fault his brother was fighting for his life. Why had Gene allowed himself to be manipulated into helping her? That woman should have gone to the police if she thought her daughter was in danger. He glared across the room at Amelia. He couldn’t understand how his father could be nice to her when she was the one responsible for what happened to Gene. The other individual responsible was out of sight, the only decent thing she’s done since she left Gene.
Leaning over Lynn pulled Casey close to her “Honey quit throwing daggers at that poor lady. Don’t you think she feels bad enough as it is?”
Shrugging Casey attempted to turn away unwilling to acknowledge her words. He wanted that woman to know she was responsible for what happened. Lynn held his face between her hands forcing him to look at her. “I’m sorry but if it weren’t for her my brother wouldn’t be here.”
“I know but that’s no reason to take it out on her. She couldn’t have known Wallace would have tried to kill her or that Gene would play the hero and step in front of her. You know Gene reacts first then thinks. It’s who he is. It’s what we love and hate about him.” Lynn gently rubbed her hands along the side of his face “you know I love you right?”
“Never doubted it for second,” Casey gave her a slight smile. “I hope that Gene is lucky enough to find someone who will love him back. He deserves to have what we have.”
“How do you know he hasn’t already found it?” she asked.
“If you’re referring to Aimee, forget about it,” Casey growled “I’ll personally pound some sense into Gene if he takes her back.”
“Don’t be like that,” Lynn chided “there’s a reason why he went to rescue her when Amelia asked him for help. He loves her ….” She pulled Casey closer when he tried to pull away. “I know you don’t want to hear that but it doesn’t make it any less true.”
Sighing heavily he nodded “if Aimee hadn’t left him the way she did. She nearly broke him. How do I forgive that? I thought she was the one. He was so happy. I’ve never seen him like that before. Then she goes and leaves him and we don’t even know why.” Looking at Lynn “all I want to do is protect my brother. I wasn’t there for him when we were kids. I didn’t understand what was going on then but now I can’t simply sit back and let him get hurt again.”
“Oh baby I know,” Lynn held him close feeling the pent-up sobs he held inside shaking his body. “Gene doesn’t hold the past against you and neither should you.” Holding his face between her hands she looked deep into his deep brown eyes “he loves you and he knows you love him. Never doubt that.”
“Bbbbut what if he doesn’t make it through this? I’ve already lost one sibling I don’t want to lose another.” Casey let the sobs take control as he let Lynn hold and comfort him.
“Robert” Michael shouted as he jumped up from where he was sitting beside Casey. In his haste he tripped over Casey’s feet and fell face first into the carpet. Chuckling a little Casey helped him up. “Thanks” Michael mumbled as he jumped int the arm of their older brother Robert.
Casey stood back content to watch Robert for a moment. There were four kids trailing behind him. He recognized the two oldest girls. He was shocked at how big they had gotten since the last time he had seen them. There were two others a boy and a girl and realized they were the reason why Robert disappeared to protect them. Fleetingly he wondered why Robert would have brought them along but answered his own question. Robert no doubt didn’t know anyone well enough to entrust his kids too, plus after the traumatic events of losing their mother it would have been difficult to leave the kids behind.
Casey waited until Michael was done talking to Robert before approaching him. “Rob ….” was all he was able to get before he was enveloped in a bear hug.
“It’s so good to see you,” Robert mumbled in his ear “I’ve missed you so much.”
“I missed you too,” Casey mumbled back “I wish we were reuniting under different circumstances.”
“So do I brother” Robert held him at arm’s length asking “how is he?”
Shaking his head “I don’t know. We haven’t heard anything other than they had the best neurosurgeon performing the surgery. Other than that nothing.”
Robert looked around at all the familiar faces. His gaze landed on Lynn and smiled “I knew she’d be good for you.”
“Who? Lynn?” Casey asked.
“Of course Lynn. Don’t you remember I helped interview the nanny’s for Eddie. I liked her the best. How is Eddie?”
“Growing like a weed,” nodding towards the kids standing behind Robert “like your’s I see. I hardly recognized the girls.”
“Kids come and meet your Uncle Casey,” Robert waved his kids over introducing them “Jennifer, Diana, Amanda and Alexander.” The kids mumbled various things that sounding greetings. They seemed a bit subdued and overwhelmed by their surroundings.
Casey stooped down and asked “would you like to see your cousins Jazzy and Steph?” They nodded their heads remembering the girls from when Gene had stayed with them while their father was in the hospital. “I can take you to them.”
Casey got up and took a step when Robert grabbed his arm “where are you taking them?” Worry clear in his voice.
“Not far. Aimee has been taking care of the girls in her room,” Casey explained.
“Ok that’s be ok,” Robert mumbled. Casey walked away as Robert was practically attacked by their father in his excitement to see his son again.
Poking his head into Aimee’s room he announced “I have a few more kids for Aimee’s daycare.” He noticed how Aimee jumped at the sound of his voice. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to scare you,” he apologized.
“It’s ok,” she mumbled in a flat tone.
Casey backed his way towards the door hesitating “I’m glad he didn’t hurt you too much Aimee.”
She raised her eyes towards . “thank you but you don’t have to worry about me,” she spoke so low it was difficult to hear.
“Well we’ll let you know when Gene is out of surgery,” he offered. He looked at Aimee unsure why he was reluctant to leave her alone. Something about her demeanor was crying out for reassurance.
“I’d appreciate that,” she said still in a flat listless tone.
Taking a step forward “you may not believe this but no one hates you. We’re upset with how your ended things with Gene. Gene deserved better. He loved you like I had never seen him love anyone else before….”
“Then why did he kiss that girl?” she asked standing facing him.
“What girl?” Casey asked confused “do you mean Tracee?”
“No not her,” she fumbled in her purse for the magazine she kept since it was delivered to her. She didn’t know why she kept it. It hurt so much to look at the picture of Gene kissing that girl. She handed it to Casey.
Taking the magazine Casey frowned remembering when this was taken. “You can’t believe everything written in this rag. This person ambushed Gene as he was leaving the hospital. They had known each other in high school She was the one who started Gene on drugs. She forced herself on him just for the paparazzi to take the picture. She was paid well for the photo-op. Gene didn’t know anything about it. He was too busy trying to disentangle himself from her.” Casey threw the damaging picture into the trash can “she almost got her claws into him again that night. You broke him up so bad but he fought his demons and called me for help. Everything in that rag was made up lies.” Looking as Aimee he asked “is that why you got involved with that person?”
She nodded as tears flowed down her cheeks “I thought he had moved on. Didn’t love me anymore. By the time I figured out it wasn’t true it was too late. I wanted to tell him but Wallace he … he ….”
Casey moved and pulled her in close. Her tears soaked his shoulder. The kids looked at them with sad eyes until Jennifer asked “is she ok?”
Casey nodded “she’s upset about Uncle Gene. She’ll be ok in a minute,” he reassured them.