Never Give Up
I was just walking out the office door when an unknown car was coming into the parking area. Someone I didn't think for one second I would ever see again got out of the drivers seat, he looked sick and gaunt. "Steve, what the fuck do you want, get off my property," I yelled at him as I moved back towards the office.
"Cody, I'm in trouble again, please help me. I'm sorry for what I did to you, really I am. I live with it everyday, you were never anymore than kind to me and I abused you in a terrible way, I'll never be able to forgive myself but I haven't got much time, will you help me please? I'm going back to prison and it looks like it's going to be for a long time, my girlfriend has overdosed and she's dead. I'm being charged with accessory to murder and drug trafficking. My parents haven't wanted to know me for years and you're the only person I know that has the heart to do this," he was talking a million miles a minute! I didn't know what to do. He then said the words I thought I would never hear, words that pelted my heart with sorrow and love.
"Cody can you look after my boys? I will sign them into your custody. Please I can't let children services split them up or adopt them out, will you be their legal guardian?"
He caught me off guard; I had my phone out at the ready to call the police.
"What? You have children?" I asked surprised, that stopped me in my tracks.
"Yes Cody, please help me. I know I don't deserve it but they are so young and I just don't know what else to do. It's not their fault they have me for a father.
"I promise I won't be in their lives. I have to know they're safe and you're the only person that can provide that for them, please I beg you," he started crying.
"Where are they?"
"In the back of the car," he sobbed.
I moved over to the car and looked in the back. Two curly headed blond boys popped their heads up and slapped their hands on the windows, they wanted to get out.
"How old are they?" I asked entranced.
"Two Cody," he sniffed. "They will be three in sixteen weeks time. I have everything you will need, birth certificates and stuff, so will you help them, please?"
"You know I will Steve, how could I not help," I said.
"Thank god, can they stay with you now? I need to go; I have an appointment with my lawyer. There's money in the bag and clean clothes in the suitcase in the boot. We don't have much but I promise I can get more money to you after I get through this court thing."
"No need for money Steve, what are their names?"
"Conner and," he looked down turned and opened the door and said,
"This little one is called Cody," he wept.
He was a broken man, someone in this much pain trying to give me his babies, it's not right.
"You called him Cody?"
"They are both my pride and joy, I treat this Cody with respect and much love."
"Cody, I have to go really but here's my number, can you call me tonight about seven so I can say goodnight to them?"
"What are you going to do? I can get you a really good lawyer, maybe he can get you off."
"Not this time Codes, I'm scared but I'm more scared for my boys. Please love them as much as you loved me."
"You know I will Steve but we have to talk more,"I said.
"Please, just love them and yes call me tonight, I will have calmed down by then," he replied.
He then opened the trunk and put a bag and suitcase on the path then he put the boys on the ground and said,
"Be good boys and stay with Uncle Cody and Uncle Dan for awhile."
He kissed them both and I noticed he took deep breaths of both of them.
He went to kiss me but I pulled back.
"Tell your Dan he got his wish Codes. It was relentless but to be fair I did it for the drugs, thank you."
I should have asked loads of questions but as he drove away the boys started crying, I had to think of them so I knelt down and hugged them both. They were almost identical but lucky their little t-shirts had their names on them. Later, I would discover a birthmark on the side of Cody's neck it was like a little raspberry heart.
"Bobby, Bobby they're here, they're here," I was crying as I rapped on the office door then I swung back to these beautiful angels.
Bobby ran out and screamed,"Yes."
He got his phone out to ring Rory, "Do you mind Codes?"
"No, go ahead, tell everyone but ring Dan first, he shouldn't be too far away, I'm just gonna take these two gems inside and fill them with ice-cream."
I heard Bobby as I picked the boys up.
"Dan, it's Bobby, your boys are here, come home as soon as possible."
He then rang Rory,
"Rory honey, the babies are here, what's their names Codes?"
"Conner and Cody."
"I got a Conner and Cody but hey, they are twins and blondes."
"Cody?" he inquired.
"Yes, Cody," I laughed.
I took the boys inside, they had settled down and their big blue eyes were everywhere. Putting them down on the sofa I went to get them a juice and a bowl of ice-cream; they were timid but enjoyed their treats. Bobby started asking me questions I couldn't answer, and then Dan arrived home soon after and stood in awe. Cody screamed when he saw my gentle giant and raced over to him, hugging his leg and dribbling on his shoe. He was talking baby talk, not quite putting sentences together, yet.
"He loves you already Dan,"I said remembering Tim's first reaction to him.
"What's his name Codes?" he asked as he picked him up.
"Cody,"I flashed a smile.
"And the other little fella?"
He bent over and kissed Conner on the head.
"Where did they come from?"
"Umm, we got to talk, maybe later Dan."
"Codes, you didn't kidnap them did you?"he asked.
"No Dan, it's all on the up and up, I hope."
"Cody?" he said with suspicion.
He got a slap on the face from the little one, guess he was trying to say look at me. (How, Timmy, okay you win, and me.)
Rory and Luke came in and Bobby said,
"Yesss," said Rory as they slapped hands.
"Cody, whose babies are they?" Luke asked.
"Ours Luke, you knew they were coming, this one is Conner and that one is little Cody."
He gave me a weird look and said, "What have you done?"
"Nothing, their mum is deceased and their dad is giving them over into our care but they belong to all of us Luke, you especially. Twins Luke, twin boys, awesome," I cried.
He looked at me as if I was mad.
Dan let the kids take the babies down to the beach. He really was confused and everything was happening so fast.
They were giggling and screaming just like Donny and Timmy did over a decade ago, stomping their little feet as they waddled through the sand.
"Whose the father Codes?" Dan asked.
"Someone I used to know Dan, can we talk about it later?" I really was too excited to delve deeper at that moment.
"Ah, let me think Squirt. NO!" he grabbed my arm.
"Dan, it's okay," I started to cry, more for joy.
"Cody Mitchell, whose babies are they?"
"Steve's, Dan, they are Steve's babies."
The blood drained from his face, he made a fist and said,
"No, this is not happening, don't do this to me?" I could read disappointment in his eyes, and maybe a tear.
"He came here today. He's going inside for a long time and he wanted us to look after his babies and he told me to tell you that you got your wish."
"He looks very sick Dan and he might not survive his sentence, we can't blame these beautiful babies, we just can't Dan," I cried as my tears ran.
"Fuck, do we ever just have quiet, normal times in our lives Cody Mitchell?" he was exasperated.
"Yes Dan, when I'm in your arms baby."
He smiled, I knew then he was just as hooked as me.
"Let's make sandcastles Dan," I said.
"Race you." Luke followed and then Jamie appeared, all smiles.
We all played on the beach until the babies ran out of steam. Later, everyone was in the bedroom fussing and cuddling them, wanting to not let go but needing to let them have a nap.
I pulled Luke aside and said,"Why don't you and Jamie check them out? I'll clear the room and you can check their blood pressure and temperature and things."
"They look healthy to me Codes."
"I know, I just thought you might want to sing them to sleep with a lullaby or something Luke."
"Eh?" he looked confused.
"Well they are your's and Jamie's also Luke, you have to bond too," I wiggled my eyebrows.
After explaining things, as I knew them to all the family I heard a little boy crying.
"Go Dan, someone needs you." I was too excited and was desperately trying to settle down, going to the boys in my state would be wrong.
Dan got up and went to their room, he didn't return so I peeked in and there he was asleep with two little kids nestled up to him, the smile on his face was priceless.
I closed the door and smiled, the phone rang and it was mum.
"I hear you have a full house again Squirt?"
"Yes mum, twins, Conner and Cody, they are waiting to meet you and Rob."
"We'll come over tomorrow Codes, my guess is they are blonde?"
"Yes mum, same as Luke and Mike, Dan's in there taking a nap with them and he's got the biggest grin on his face, I have to take a photo or a hundred."
"Okay son, we will see you tomorrow, does Tim know yet?"
"No mum, we will ring them in Paris tomorrow, I'm too excited to speak to them at the moment."
"Okay, see you at noon."
I hung up the phone and said,"Rory come with me, they will need more clothes."
We went out to the container and put together five sets of casual wear, some awesome pajamas and a few pairs of swimming trunks.
I leaned on the door while taking big breaths and trying to calm down, it was getting to me. I've waited so long for them to arrive and I just didn't know what to do first, my adrenalin was working overtime.
Bobby rubbed my back and was whispering, "Calm down Codes, calm down."
He then said,
"Cody do you think Steve's having a lend of your generous nature?" he asked.
"No Rory, he's scared stiff the boys will end up in a home or separated. This is the obvious place to leave them, he didn't scare me one bit but Rory he looked so sick, I need to help him in some way if I can and I'm loathed to tell Dan."
"Well, you have our support Codes, anything you want we can do between the eight of us."
"I have to ring him tonight around seven so I will be able to tell you more, after we talk," I replied.
I rang just after the boys had their bath, which Dan and Luke gave them, they smelt all baby like and powdery, I couldn't get enough of them.
"Yes Cody, can I say goodnight to the boys then we can talk?"
"Of course,here's Conner."
The babies talked for ages, I couldn't understand them but my guess is Steve could, a bit. When Cody took the phone he started to weep but eventually calmed down to baby chatter.
When they finished, Dan turned the TV on and found the cartoon channel; they snuggled up with him and Jamie on the sofa,mesmerized by Tweety pie and Sylvester.
"Steve we have to talk."
I took the phone outside so I could hear properly; Dan followed me not long after so I switched the phone to speaker.
"Cody, I know what I did to you was terrible, I was high and not thinking but I humbly apologize for it and if giving you my babies makes you happy then I'm happy to do that. They are beaut little kids; their mother didn't want to know them so I've had custody since they were born. It was enough to make me dry out but I'm afraid the damage was already done. I'm terrified I won't see my boys grow up, can you send me a photo and progress report sometime Codes?"
"Of course I will, you know it's a done deal. I want you to write to them and call them as often as you possibly can, you won't be completely shut off from them Steve, I won't have it," I looked at Dan.
"Thank you Codes and Dan if you're listening,I'm sorry and apologize to you, I was a cunt and so messed up, I can never make it up to you both."
Dan was silent.
"Cody, I got the drugs for the ex and the stupid cow took them all at once, they killed her. My lawyer says I will get seven to ten years for trafficking and manslaughter. I was at my wits end until I found the solution, you will love them, they are untouched by drugs and alcohol; they are just the most beautiful kids Codes, very much like you. I have asked my lawyer to draw up the custody papers and I will sign them tomorrow so can you give me your lawyer's name? I will have them shipped to him and you and Dan can sign them also. I have some money hidden away and I will send that to you also, it's not a fortune, but it will see them through school, I hope."
"Use the money on yourself Steve, I have money for that."
"No Codes, where I'm going I won't need it. My lawyer is through legal aid and I don't have to pay but at least I want my boys to have it."
"Okay Steve but I can assure you they will have the best of care Dan and I can give them. What about your parents?"
"There won't be any trouble Codes. They don't want to know me or them, they haven't even seen them. I will make sure you won't have any trouble from them Codes. I will make the custody papers water tight. I don't want them anywhere near our boys."
"Okay Steve, if you want to ring or need anything then just let us know."
"I'll be in touch Codes, they must be tired, go put your babies to bed and Cody?"
"God bless you and Dan," he said and hung up.
I breathed out and looked at my beautiful man.
"Fuck I hate this Codes, one minute I want to kill Steve and the next I want him here for his boys. I guess it's up to us to make sure they grow up right with heaps of love and attention."
"Thank you Dan, thank you," I said as I took his hand and kissed it.
We went inside to find Jamie and Luke and the babies all watching cartoons, so I sat on the floor and watched them and Dan sat in the armchair. When Cody finally noticed, not taking his eyes off the screen he wiggled down from the sofa and leant up against Dan's legs, Dan pulled him up and cuddled him, kissing his head. I had to have some more photos and then I sent them out to everyone in my family phonebook.
Conner was mesmerized but cuddled up to Jamie and finally they both were asleep. We moved them into our bed and there was no way they would be alone for the next few weeks.
Later, as we showered I said to Dan,
"Looks like we are back to parent sex again."
"Codes it was fun while it lasted but these little guys need us right now. Maybe Luke and Jamie will take them for a night or two so we can have some us time."
"Do you really think that will happen Dan?"
"Of course not Squirt, maybe they would consider moving upstairs for a few years," he chuckled.
Moving into the bedroom we found two babies cuddled up and fast asleep, one sucking his thumb and the other with his arm around the other's waist.
We crawled into bed, kissed goodnight and went to sleep.
Crying always got to me especially when it concerns babies and around two am it started. We whispered, cuddled, rubbed backs and changed night nappies and by three-thirty we finally got them settled. Dan looked at me and smiled before he leant over and said,
"Well done mum."
"Well done dad," I replied.
Morning was much the same; we prepared scrambled eggs and toast with vegemite, some warm milk to settle them and they were ready for another day in front of the cartoon channel.
We sat them on the couch but they moved nearer to the screen. They were so close I'm sure they were only seeing the pixels.
Dan moved them back and when Rory and Bobby arrived with Will and Karen they sat with them while I settled the bedroom and put their clothes away. There was an envelope in the knapsack with three thousand dollars in it. We decided, as soon as possible, to start a bank account for them and deposit it.
We couldn't do much until the papers were signed so Dan put it in the safe with their names on it. I noticed he opened another envelope and put more money into it, then later that day I matched it.
That day we Skyped Tim and Donny and they were so excited to meet them. They have known about the painting for a long time. Tim used to ask when his brothers were arriving but I didn't have a positive answer. But now they could see them. I swear Tim got a tear in his eye; he spoke baby talk to them then wanted to talk to Dan. They just sat there and smiled at each other touching the screen. Dan was asking about their holiday and Tim was telling him how much they missed us. They will be home soon so that will be two more babysitters added to the list.
Mum, Rob, Mike and Debs arrived at lunchtime and it was love at first sight. Mum and Debs took over and fed them while Mike and Luke just grinned from ear to ear. Rob was out on the porch talking to Dan and Jamie and my guess it was about their father, Steve. I couldn't do anything about that but just pray he will be okay, I will ring him again tonight.
As it turned out Steve couldn't handle the thought of being incarcerated again, I spoke with him at length one night just before the magistrate signed the boys over to us. He was HIV positive and he said his life was over and this was his punishment for being a coward. Three days later before his court case he committed suicide. I was in a daze all day; it was like a living nightmare. I was called into his lawyer's office, he had provided money for his funeral costs and a large envelope was handed to me for his children, it was full of cash, it wasn't a fortune but it was substantial. We talked for some time and I signed the paperwork. We organized a small chapel for his service, his parents came and some workmates he had kept in touch with also attended. I had met his parents a couple of times and they were the reason he was the way he was. They treated him appallingly and they were the basic cause of his problems. They even came to his funeral stinking of alcohol and cigarettes; her dress was so old I thought it was going to disintegrate in front of everybody.
I didn't want anything to do with them then, and I don't now.
His pompous assed mother said,
"Well I suppose I had better clean out a room for the kids, I know Steven had some money put aside for their upbringing and I guess the state will help with educating them. What's the name of Steven's lawyer, we must get on to that as soon as possible?" She swayed.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing; Steve never told them he gave us custody.
Dan was right beside me when this was going on after the service. His father,who I hated with a passion, said,
"I suppose if it gets too much for us Shirley we can send them to Aunty Bea's place, she's got more room," he was resigned to just giving his grandchildren away.
I tried to move closer but Dan held my arm tight, he knew I was pissed and so was he.
"That's very noble of you both but it's not necessary, you're just so lucky I didn't take you both to court when Steve moved out."
They gave me a shocked look.
"Oh don't play that little game with me you pair of cunts, I know Steve was giving you my things and my money to feed your drinking habits, you fucking low life's."
His father went to say something but I held my hand up in front of his big, fat, ugly face. Then I got right into it and said,
"If you both ever so much as look sideways at Steve's boys, even think about them for one split second, I will make sure you never see the light of day ever again, you understand me?" I was calm at this point.
"Now listen here, we are his parents," he slurred out.
I had created a crowd and you all know how much I love an audience.
"Your son was so fucked up by the time I got him; he was so fucking damaged by you pair, it was impossible to turn him around. Now I know why we got custody of his beautiful boys and why he never told you cunts. It was because he wanted me to have the last word and, by God, if I ever see you two miserable excuses for human beings again, it will be too soon. Go home and die, hopefully choking on your own decaying liver and lungs, and die fucking quickly, because you're not welcome on this earth any more, you cunts."
I spat this out more from the desperation I felt for Steve's unhappy life but also for my sake.It was so good to get it out of my system.
"Come on Dan, let's go home and see our sons." I left them standing alone in their own vile stench; I hated them so fucking much.
When I got to the car I turned to look at them.
"Not for one fucking second, you hear me," I screamed.
"Codes settle down, I think you made your point, loud and clear."
"Well it wasn't strong enough Dan. I should have kicked them both into next week; could you imagine those two in charge of our babies Dan? They wouldn't stand a chance. They got Steve to take my things and when his mother visited us she was virtually there to pick out her new furniture. That fucking bitch; and he was giving them money, money I worked for Dan and money I saved. They played him like a violin, you only saw the dark side of him and he was terrified of his parents. I know he had loved me at one time Dan but we didn't stand a chance at all with them in the background chipping away at him," I said starting to get a bit hyper.
"Codes, calm down, there's nothing they can do about it and if they even try anything, the documents we have from their father are watertight," Dan said calmly.
"I know Dan but you never trust vermin like that. They are stupid individuals and could try anything. Oh Dan, it's not about the kids, it's all about the money with them, I know them. The next thing they will try is to blackmail us into giving them money so they won't try to take the kids. I know the type and I'm ready for it, bring it on I say, stupid people."
I breathed deeply while Dan massaged my lower spine, it felt so good when he laid me face down on the bed and the slap, slap noise that was coming from the babies hands on my back was calming. My boys, our boys were helping daddy to calm me down and bring me back to earth.
We went the next day to the site where the mall would be built and my boys met us there. They were too interested in playing with the babies than planning the next step so when I clapped my hands and said,
"Okay boys, listen up."
They took notice of me.
"Jamie will tell you where things are going and run through the plans with you. Make sure you understand what's what, and any input will be good."
I went and played with my kids who were throwing pebbles into a bush, so I sat and made daisy chains for them.They were very excited with their necklaces and so was Larry with his.
After a lot of talking everyone started to leave and then there was just Dan and I.
"What do you think Dan?"
"Amazing Codes, it's going to be brilliant but what a lot of work, where do you start?"
"You start here Dan, at the front gate."
I went and got a sign out of my boot which read,
'Gymnasium, Pool, Factory Outlet Complex coming soon, members welcome', and a phone number.
"Here's the hammer Dan, stick it over there near the gate,"I grinned.
"Maybe people will start joining now Codes?"
"My plan exactly baby, now let's go home and start planning an opening party."
He kissed me like no tomorrow and said,
"Want to do something on the way home Codes?" he raised his eyebrows.
"Like what do you have in mind Dan?"
"Oh, just maybe turn up a dirt track and make out for awhile, you look so hot in those shorts?"
"Okay babe, your on,"I giggled.
(See its Dan that's tacky, not me)
Then I added,
"Ask the boys if they would mind Dad?"
He realized we weren't alone.
"Groan," he whined.
We had two very happy little kids in the back with their bright yellow daisy chains on watching cartoons and one grumpy driver, which would be me.
Bath time was another nightmare but Luke had it sorted in no time, he took a small DVD player in and started to sing nursery rhymes.
"Let's go look at the moon Codes."
We strolled down the beach and sat on our rock and after staring at our moon Dan said,
"We're not too old Squirt, are we?"
"No Dan, not at all, we will see our grandkids grow baby."
"Life's just getting away from us Codes, I wish it would slow down a little."
"I know Dan, let's just enjoy what we have baby, my stars are beautiful tonight."
"They are Codes but they don't outshine you."
We kissed and cuddled.
Arriving back and giggling to ourselves, the boys were ready for bed and each one kissed everyone and I took them to bed. Well Luke and Jamie did and stayed the night. When we woke in the morning we had two little blonde headed boys in bed with us.
"I lifted them in around four, something about noises scaring them," Dan grinned. I'm thinking either Jamie or Luke snored or it could be both of them.
We cuddled up to the boys, took photos and sent them off, kissed them and looked at their perfect faces, then Dan leant over and kissed me, he couldn't stop grinning.
"Donny, can you get the suitcases and hand luggage, I want to talk to dad for a minute?"
"Okay baby, I won't be long."
"Tim don't do that, I'll give him a hand, you can't treat him like that." Dan said quite annoyed.
"Oh okay dad, if you want."
"Come on dad, let's get some real coffee while they are doing that," he giggled.
"You are going to get into trouble one day Tim, you just can't treat Donny like that," I said.
"He loves it dad, he would do anything for me, makes him feel like more of a man but I will let you in on a secret dad, I would walk over hot coals for him," he sighed. I knew that.
I saw Dan and Donny struggling with the suitcases and walked over to get a trolley for them.
"Here, this will help Dan but don't be long, we need coffee."
I walked off arm in arm with Timmy and he gave me a knowing look.
"So how was it baby?"
"Oh dad, just wonderful, we saw heaps of museums and galleries, old castles and fabulous live shows and we ate at your restaurant in Spain and it was amazing. Jacques sends his love and where's my brothers, you didn't bring them?"
"They are with Rory and Bobby, playing pirates, Tim."
He got a far away look and smiled, "He was so beautiful wasn't he dad."
"Donny, my pirate friend, he was so handsome, I was totally in love with him then but in a brotherly way," he giggled.
"You both were Tim and you both still are."
The boys finally came over."Coffee, I need coffee," said Donny.
"When we get home Donny, I want to see my brothers," Tim said.
"Okay Timmy," he answered.
Dan let out a loud groan.
"Come on Dan, don't dilly, dally," I said and smiled at him.