Finding ForeverBy: Melody Anne
“Hello, children. As I told your aunt just now, my name is Mr. Smotter. It’s very nice to meet you both. I have snacks for you, and then you’ll be served breakfast on the jet.”
“You talk funny,” Ally said as she moved closer to the man.
“I speak very well, young lady,” he told her, and he seemed offended.
“Ally, that wasn’t very polite. Would you please apologize to Mr. Smotter?” Whitney told her niece.
Ally’s head drooped. “I’m sorry, Mr. Smotter.”
“No offense taken, young lady,” Mr. Smotter said, clearly warming toward the young girl when he saw the distress in her face.
Everything in the limo fascinated the two children, and they were overjoyed when Mr. Smotter opened a bottle of nonalcoholic sparkling cider. Ally giggled when he gave her a glass of the bubbly liquid in a crystal-stemmed glass.
After they arrived at the airport, Whitney’s jaw fell several inches when the limo pulled off into a private terminal and parked in front of a huge jet with Felton Enterprises painted boldly across the back.
“Wow! Are we flying in that? Just us?” Brayden gasped as he saw all the people surrounding the aircraft.
“Yes, Mr. Felton has sent his personal jet to collect you. He wants to make sure you arrive without any inconvenience or any harm,” Mr. Smotter said, and Whitney cringed.
“Is our grandpa megarich?” Brayden asked his aunt.
“Well, I didn’t want to shock you both too much, but apparently your father’s family has done quite well,” Whitney told him in as offhand a manner as she could.
“This is so unreal,” Brayden said, and then grinned for the first time in what felt like forever.
Whitney didn’t know why, but she suddenly got the giggles. The entire situation was just so bizarre. Things like this didn’t happen in the real world — only in her favorite romantic movies and books. The kids seemed to find the humor in the situation too, and soon the three of them were laughing so hard that none of them could breathe.
Mr. Smotter was looking at them as if they’d all lost their minds. He sat a bit stiffly, waiting for them to collect themselves and exit the limo to board the jet.
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Smotter. We’re just a little overwhelmed,” Whitney managed to say between chortles.
They were led up the blue-carpeted stairs into the jet, and all three of the newbies looked around the luxurious cabin in awe.
“This is really cool, Auntie,” Ally squealed as she rushed forward and jumped into a cushioned chair.
“I could get used to traveling like this,” Brayden said with a barely repressed twinkle in his eyes.
“I think this is a fun adventure, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying every minute of it,” Whitney told the children. “But let’s try not to get too used to it.” Then she sat down in the chair next to Ally and decided not to let any worries of her real life get to her until after this vacation.
She only hoped that it was nothing more than a vacation. Would this mysterious family try to keep the children?
If they did try, they would find that Whitney wasn’t a person to give up without a fight. A big fight. She loved these two children more than they could ever know. Money was a fine thing to have, but it wasn’t a substitute for love.
When the Big City came into view, Whitney’s breath lodged in her chest and her fears returned. What if she was making a mistake? The chances that this family didn’t want to take the kids was slim. What if ...?
No. She mustn’t think these things. Her sister wouldn’t want her to keep the children from a family who wanted to love them. At least she didn’t think she would. Had her husband told her he didn’t want anything to do with his family? There were so many unanswered questions.
“Wow, Aunt Whitney, this is so exciting,” Ally exclaimed.
The girl would have no trouble adjusting to the situation.
“Yes, honey, I know it is,” Whitney said as she stroked her niece’s hair.
“Whenever you’re ready,” Mr. Smotter said to them once the plane had landed. He led them from the jet and into a limo that was similar to the one they’d ridden in earlier.
The slow drive through heavy traffic made Whitney grateful. It gave her time to practice her breathing techniques and prepare herself for what was to come.
The car picked up speed as they left the city and its skyscrapers. In an hour or so, they rounded a corner and then she heard Brayden’s breath whoosh out. She turned to follow his gaze and then couldn’t stop her own gasp from escaping. Up a long and winding road a gigantic house dominated the snow-covered landscape.