Pay It Forward Ch. 08byIread2relax©
Thank you, everyone who is reading this series for taking time out of your day to read something I wrote. I am awed, and appreciative of you and your support. I am now presenting Chapter 8; I hope you enjoy it.
There are two more chapters left. Chapter Nine is almost done. I'm excited to see where it takes me.
Again, thank you for reading.
Gianni called Mr. MacGregor as soon as he made it back to his apartment. He was nervous and so afraid of disappointing the one man that ever kept his word to him. Then he remembered what Mr. MacGregor told him when he was at the center. "A man faces his problems head on. He doesn't hide, make excuses, or blame others. He might flounder a bit, but in the end, he stands tall and strong."
So Gianni took a deep breath and dialed. Shaun answered and Gianni explained his situation. He didn't reply at first. Gianni was nervous, as he waited. Then Shaun carefully spoke, "I wish you had waited before fathering a child. I am so proud of you for being the man I knew you would be. Know this I will always be there for you Gianni, always. I will gladly call Reverend Johnson and talk. Thank you for honoring me this way.
Gianni sighed, relieved. He wasn't harsh or cruel. He understood. Just like Momma, they both understood. He wanted to talk to Ms. Delia, but she was asleep. She'd call him tomorrow and he'd get an earful/ Gianni bid his mentor goodnight, and went to bed. He couldn't sleep as his mind raced trying to make sense of all the changes that had occurred this day.
Shaun called Reverend Johnson the next morning and made plans to drive over for dinner that night. They picked Gianni up and drove over to the Johnson's home for dinner. Momma, and Delia instantly bonded with the Johnson women and quickly accepted Kara in the folds. As the women took Gianni and Kara to the living room to bond, Reverend Johnson invited Shaun to his office.
"Well, Mr. MacGregor, I am glad to meet you. Your son is an honorable and strong young man. You did a great job raising him."
Shaun smiled, "Thank you, but he's not my son by birth. I met him several years ago when I became a mentor. He is a d=strong young man. His mother deserves the real praise for that."
Reverend Johnson," Shaun spoke. "I am not much of a church goer, but what are you really feeling about this? I know Gianni, and he is not some careless philanderer."
"Wait my name is Otis. Call me Otis. I'll call you Shaun. If that's alright." he stated.
Shaun nodded. The two men continued to talk. Otis explained to Shaun what the repercussions of this pregnancy would be. However, as upset as he was about that, he was hoping that Gianni would do what was honorable and marry his daughter. Shaun didn't see why they had to marry. With support from both families they would be fine. Once they really got to know each other, they could decide to marry. Shaun and Otis talked a long time before the two men agreed to disagree. Shaun felt marriage because of pregnancy was a sure way to disaster, but Reverend Johnson believed that marriage was necessary and right in the sight of God. In the end both men decided to let Gianni and Kara decide what was best for them.
He told Shaun of Gianni's offer to cover Kara's tuition for her final year. He was amazed at how mature he was. Shaun then sat back, and took a deep breath. He explained to this man who would now be an important member of his family from now on.
"Gianni has had it hard. I almost lost him before I even knew him. He isn't my biological son, but he is the son of my heart. He and his other brothers mean the world to me and I will move heaven and earth to protect them. That young man has stood on his own since he was fourteen years old. He was incarcerated when he turned fifteen.
His mother, Maria, signed up for a mentoring program through the courts and that's when I met this angry, small, fifteen year old boy." Shaun chuckled, "He was so scared that he struck out at everything around him. He didn't trust me at first; I had to earn his trust. He eventually learned that he could. I made that kid a promise and I intend to keep it. I gave him a card that said, "You will never be alone again. I will stand with you. If you make two steps, I'll make four." MacGregor exhaled. "He called me and said you wanted to meet his father. That above all else is the biggest honor he could have given me. So, if he promised you that he would pay her tuition, it's paid. She will finish school and both she and the baby will want for nothing."
Reverend Johnson was stunned, speechless. "MacGregor, I will take care of my daughter and my grandbaby. You need not worry about that. I know Gianni is an upstanding God fearing young man. I have nothing but respect for him. After hearing about his beginnings my respect for him has grown tenfold. I am honored to welcome you and yours into the Johnson family. Now how about we go out and let the women know what we've decided." He suggested.
Shaun laughed, "Otis, you've been married for how long?"
The reverend puffed out his chest, "My lovely Donna and I will celebrate twenty-seven years next month."
Shaun chuckled, "Congratulations and she lets you think you are making the decisions. She's good."
Both men laughed and went to join their wives. Donna served dinner, along with help from Delia and Maria. There other two daughters arrived with their kids. Shaun and Delia loved meeting the little ones. It made them think about grandchildren of their own. And all of the women talked to Gianni and Kara.
Shaun and Otis sat quietly watching the interaction. Then Shaun decided to speak. "Kara have you seen a doctor?"
Slightly stunned, she answered, "Yes, sir. We have a clinic at school I saw someone there."
"OK, well we need to fix that. Delia, Donna, can you two find an obstetrician she can visit? Don't worry about the cost, it's covered. Gianni, when they get the appointment, you need to accompany her." Shaun suggested. He remembered when Delia was pregnant with Michal, that the first thing his in laws did was find the right doctor for her.
"Yes sir, of course." Gianni answered, as Kara nodded in agreement with him.
Donna spoke and informed everyone that she had already called and set up an appointment for Kara; she was hoping Gianni would be able to come with them when they went. Then she smiled at the young couple who anxiously wanted to leave the room. They thanked her for her help and glanced anxiously at the door. Donna looked at her other daughters that had joined them, "Janice, Sharon, Kara, why don't you young people leave us old folks so we can talk. You too, Gianni, go." They all laughed at how quickly all four moved.
Maria hugged her son Kara before they could escape. She liked this girl. And it was obvious Gianni loved her.
The four left to allow the older adults to visit.
"Well, well, little sister. I see your halo is tarnished as well." her older sister Shelia taunted her.
Kara bristled. She never teased them; she supported them throughout their pregnancies. She was a about to retorted when Janice spoke up.
"Shelia lay off. At least her guy stuck around. Besides from what I heard she was lucky. Kara, that party you went to. Is the stories about the girls being drugged and raped true?"
"Yes, and if I hadn't left with Gianni, I would have been too. I can't believe how dumb I was to go there." She stated castigating herself.
"Wait, you are not dumb. Those guys are the criminals, and when the police finish investigating, they need to go to jail." Gianni explained as he cupped her cheeks and looked deeply into her eyes.
"Gianni's right. They are the criminals, not you nor those other girls. We're just glad you weren't hurt." Both sisters said.
All three sisters embraced as a chorus of "Mommy, mommy rang from upstairs.
"Hey you two need practice. How about you both babysit your niece and nephew this weekend?" Janice suggested as she headed upstairs to get her twins.
"Yea, she's right. I'll add your other niece in for good measure." Shelia added.
Gianni wrapped his arms around Kara and help her close. "Not this week ends guys. We're visiting my family, but we might take you up on it next weekend." Kara elbowed him in the ribs.
"Ouch, what was that?" he asked rubbing his bruises.
"I am not babysitting while you go out and have fun. Besides I love my nephew and nieces, but they are so mischievous." She complained.
Gianni laughed. "Sorry, baby. I won't go out. I'll stay and help alright. Besides I like kids."
Kara held him close then she thought about it in seven months they'd be bringing their own baby home. Was she really ready for this? Was she ready to be someone's Mom?"
Gianni sensed her tension and whispered, "I'm right here with you. We're in this together." Kara relaxed in the arms of her man.
Soon Janice and Shelia came down stairs with their children. They were adorable. Gianni could not help but imagine what their baby would look like. He hoped it was a boy, but he'd be just as happy with a daughter. He really didn't care as long as the baby was healthy.
Saturday morning came quickly. Gianni almost changed his mind about driving home. He wasn't nervous about Momma; she'd driven to Bradford with the MacGregor's to meet the Johnson's earlier that week. He wondered how Kevin and Michal would treat him. Clemmie would skin him alive, as would Sharon when she got back. He smiled; Darren had mellowed since he met Sharon. He might not do him so bad.
Gianni drove up to his mom's house first. He wanted to see his mom before heading to the Macgregor's. Gianni pulled into their small yard and Maria met them on her porch. His two younger brothers rushed out to meet her new sister in law.
"Gianni, she's pretty. Why is she with you, dork?" Juan teased.
Laughing Gianni shoved his brother. His youngest brother, Jose, joined in as Maria took Kara inside to feed her breakfast. She had to eat, "The baby needs food." she said.
Maria refused to leave her home until her new daughter had eaten. After Kara couldn't eat another bite, they all rode with Gianni to the MacGregor home. As soon as he drove up. Clemmie took off like a shot, leaping into Gianni's arms, greeting him enthusiastically.
Kara frowned. "Who was this girl jumping all over her man?" She didn't like it one bit.
"Clemmie, let go girl. Kara, this is my big sister Clemmie. Clemmie , this is the love of my life, Kara." Gianni quickly introduced the two women. At this point everyone had rushed out to meet her. Gianni proudly introduced her to the rest of his family. He looked around. He knew Darren and Sharon were away, but where was Kevin.
Shaun noticed he was looking for his brother and he told him he was on the way. Gianni smiled, and could not wait for her to meet him. They went inside as everyone was asking a million questions, about their wedding, the baby, where they'd live.
Michal held Clemmie close, a part of him jealous that they weren't pregnant yet. But if he had his way, they'd be married and she'd be carrying his child soon.
As everyone was talking, Kevin walked in. He stood in the background and admired the newest member of the family. She was pretty. He could see why Gianni would be attracted. He had yet to talk to her, but he would before he left. He'd make sure she understood that he was going to protect his brother.
Gianni looked around and saw Kevin standing once again alone in the shadows. Kara was listening to stories by Clemmie about their antics. Clemmie called Darren and let him and Sharon meet Kara by phone. Gianni didn't get a chance to speak with his brother, but he was sure he'll get an earful when they got back.
"Hey, big brother, what are you doing, hiding out? "he teased as he stood beside him.
Kevin smiled, "She's very pretty, Gianni. I know we all gave you the talk. How did you manage to knock a girl up your first time?" Kevin asked teasing.
"Ha ha, what makes you think it was my first time, big brother? Only one of us is still a virgin?" Gianni teased right back.
Kevin laughed, really. "I didn't think you took your nose out of a book long enough to notice let alone, fu-" Shaun walked in and stopped them. "Boys, women and children are present."
Laughing Kevin said "The youngest person in this room is Jose, and he can teach us a thing or two."
Shaun and Gianni laughed, as everyone turned to see what they were laughing about. Delia looked at her husband and knew. She glared at him and signaled that he needed to control himself. Properly chastised, he looked contrite.
Kara saw Gianni standing and moved over to him. He took a deep breath. "Baby, I have one more person I need you to meet. This is my brother Kevin." He held his breath.
Kevin assessed the lovely woman standing nervously before him. "Hello, Kara. Welcome to the family."
Gianni release a breath he didn't realize he was holding. Kara felt the tension leave him as she realized how important the man before her was to him. She smiled and Kevin was stunned she was truly lovely. "Kevin, I am so glad to finally meet you." She answered so sweetly.
"Oh my goodness! You're breathtakingly beautiful, Kara. We now have another woman that will wrap us around her finger. Gianni, this baby needs to be a boy alright. We have enough women controlling us." Kevin joked. Everyone laughed.
The day progressed and before long it was time for them to drive back. Delia and Shaun offered to let them stay, but Kara had to be at church early the next morning. So they hugged everyone goodbye and promised to drive back over soon.
"You have a black sister and brother." Kara asked. "I could strangle you. You know I was worried about that." She fussed
Gianni held her hand as he drove and gently kissed her knuckles. "Kara, I told you not to worry. They would love you, because they love me. Yes, my family is eclectic, but we love each other. That's what matters most. We don't see race in our family. OK."
Kara sighed, "I wish my folks were..."
"Baby I know, when the people in your church look at me, all they all see a white boy, but I don't care. Your parents are struggling with my race as well. The only people who seem to like me are the twins. Kids amaze me; they don't see race like adults. Sweetness, none of that is important. All that matters to me is what you see. Tell me love, what do you see when you look at me?" he asked curious as to how she might answer.
Kara looked at him. Then she smiled and answered, "I see the man I'm falling in love with."
Dumbfounded, Gianni locked at her, "Damn girl, don't make me pull this car over." He whispered, as he kissed her knuckles.
"Kara, Kara" he whispered. And then he continued to drive them home. Neither spoke for a while. They simply enjoyed being in each other.
Gianni drove up to the Johnson's home and helped Kara from the car. He walked her to the door, and was hoping to get invited in, but she was tired and needed to think. So he kissed her good night and went back to his apartment.
At his apartment, Gianni was alone and had time to think. Was he really in love with this girl, or was he in love with the idea of being in love? If she hadn't gotten pregnant, would they be together? He was expected to marry her in six weeks, was he really ready for that? Too many questions and doubts raced through his mind. Hours after climbing into bed, Gianni Russo knew one thing for sure. She was carrying his child and he would support them in always.
Kara went into her home and straight to her room after Gianni dropped her off. She knew he wanted to come in, but they'd spent the whole day together, and she needed space. She heard Daddy practicing his sermon. Mom and grandma were not home. Her sisters weren't there either. She started to call Shelia, but decided not to. She thought about Janice, and wondered why things were so difficult with her.
She rarely visited, and when she did it was usually a family dinner and she always took the twins and left immediately afterwards. She knew Dad was part of the reason, but all Janice had to do was tell him who fathered her children.
Not wanting to think anymore, Kara decided to watch a movie. She found one of her favorites and popped it in. Two hours later, Mom and Grandma came home.
"I stopped by the girl's today. They'll be at church tomorrow." Donna explained to Otis as she waked into his office.
"That's nice. We can all show a united front. I'm calling Gianni to make sure he comes as well." He stated.
Donna smiled. "You like him, don't you?"
Her husband nodded, "He's young, but he's honorable. She will be cared for and loved. Never thought I'd like the guy touched my baby girl. I just started tolerating Shelia's husband. Janice, I just wish.... She'll trust me enough one day to tell. Now Gianni, he's a good guy, Donna. I can respect that." He concluded.
She nodded in agreement as they saw in his office. He worked on his sermon and she read for a while. They were waiting for Kara to come home..
Kara walked in and they all wanted to know how the visit went. They liked Gianni's family and were excited to hear what the rest of them were like.
Soon everyone was tired and they all went to bed. Kara couldn't sleep. She pondered, Did he really care about her, or was it just the circumstances. She thought of her sisters. Rodney was scared, but eventually he stood by Sharon and they married. Alicia was born and they seem to be happy enough.
Janice never named the father of her kids. And no guy ever came around. She moved out right after she had them. Kara knew in many ways she was lucky, but part of her wished she could be as strong as her sister.
A wedding date was had been set, and the day was fast approaching. Sharon and Darren came home and learned of the pending nuptials. She and Clemmie drove to meet Kara. The three women met for lunch, along with Kara's sisters. All five women became fast friends. They were all excited for Clemmie and her move to LA. Clemmie had put in a transfer request and was in the process of securing a position at a sister hospital on the west coast. She and Michal decided to have a winter wedding, to tie into the Christmas holiday. Their wedding would be after Gianni and Kara's. Michal had returned to his job, but he would be home to watch his younger brother marry.
Kevin was floored; all of his brothers were marrying, except him. He wasn't too worried, because right now he was focused on his career.
Four weeks passed, and Gianni was in class. He'd secured a small two bedroom apartment for them, and it was close enough that Kara could visit home as much as she needed too. Although they were together, and expecting, the two hadn't been intimate since the night there child was conceived. It wasn't for lack of attraction, but opportunity.
Reverend Johnson said no messing around, and he meant it. Gianni moved to the new apartment from the faculty apartments. This weekend, he and Kara, along with their mothers were shopping for basic furniture. Gianni was nervous, because he was on a strict budget, but shopping with Clemmie, Mom, and Ms. Delia had showed him women often went over limits.
Kara arrived at the apartment Friday after she got out of class. She loved the small spacious abode. Also she found herself in a state of rampant horniness.
He's my man right. I want him, and tonight he's mine."Gianni, I missed you today? I thought you were meeting me for lunch at Chik-Filet.?" She asked.
Gianni could not breathe. He wanted this girl and the past four weeks hadn't helped. Her family was diligent about them being alone together. Usually one of her sisters, or a lady from the church would be with her. Tonight she'd shown up at their apartment alone.