Chapter 5

They were seated around the large dining room table dressed in their finest attire, enjoying a scrumptious meal from the PC Grille with Maroon 5 playing softly in the background. Jokes and stories were shared back and forth and Brenda felt at peace. She was home with her family.

The Cerrullos had always treated her like part of the family and she felt very comfortable, but there was always a part of her that never felt completely apart of the family. With this family, she had been a member since its inception. It wasnít an easy feat getting everyone living under one roof, even on a temporary basis. But they all cajoled, pushed, harassed, begged, pleaded, threatened, blackmailed, and even asked until they all came together. Getting everyone to act like family was something entirely different. But they were there, finally. They were an official family, if not all by blood, by something much greater, love.

Looking around the table, she smiled. Anna sat at one end of the table and Tad at the other. Her parents, finally she had two people who cared, loved her, and could even understand what sheíd been through.

Tad had been separated from his family and loved ones when his amnesia and circumstantial evidence led him to believe he was Ted Orsini.

Like her, Anna spent years living in captivity thanks to Faison, while Robin and the citizens of Port Charles mourned her and her beloved Robert.

Even little Katie, seated to Annaís right, had missed her beginning years with the Martin family. Unlike the initial reports stated, Dixie had survived the car crash in Europe. Tad had been give the wrong remains, whose, they would never know. But while Tad, JR, Jamie, Melanie, Palmer, and the rest of their loved ones mourned her; Dixie was in a coma, disfigured. She remained in a coma long enough for the doctors to take Katie. Dixie died soon after the birth, quietly in her comatose state. Katie went to live in an orphanage run by nuns.

As luck would have it, Katie was named Katherine, after the Mother Superiorís mother and called Katie for short, the

same name that Tad and Dixie had picked out for her in honor of her Great-Grandma. Katie lived with the nuns and the other children for four years, until one day JR and Jamie came to Tad wanting to know what Dixieís final days had been like. Tad hired a private investigator and the rest was history.

After a sudden attack of the flu rendered Ruth unable to go to Switzerland to pick up the surprise member of the Martin family, Anna was recruited. Tad, with good reasoning, figured after years of being reared primarily around women Katie would be hesitant leaving the only home she had ever known with three men. Thankfully everything worked out fine.

Tad and Anna made sure Katie kept in touch with the nuns and her friends. As a matter of fact tonight was not only a celebration of the completion of the house, but also a welcome home party to Nola Dixie Devane Martin, the newest member of the family. Nola had been Katieís best friend in the orphanage. Tad and Anna felt there was room in their hearts and in the family for one final member. Personally, she thought Nola captured Tadís heart when he found out she had the name of the woman whom he thought was his mother when he was living as an Orsini.

In what other family could four members all have experienced being separated from their loved ones and thought of as dead. If she didnít fit in here, she would never fit in anywhere.

Her eyes lingered over the boys seated across the table from her. Being with JR, Jamie, Gabriel, Aiden, and occasionally Peter, reminded her of her days at the Quartermaine mansion with AJ, Jason, and Ned. The fighting, the competition, the arguments, but the love was always there even if deeply, deeply buried. She chuckled.

She reminisced on the arguments, JRís Chandler side at war with Jamieís Martin side and throw in the Devane boys and on a bad day you had a full-fledged war. But their fierceness could also be used to protect those whom they loved. When Tadís godson, Frank Hubbard stopped coming over to hang with them, but to be with Robin, he went from being viewed as a close family friend to a male looking to break their sisterís heart, never mind that Robin had lived

on her own in a foreign country and was more than capable of taking care of herself. Brenda had often imagined strangling the lot of them for all they put Frankie through, but he stayed the course and now she wondered if the guesthouse would house a pair of newlyweds instead of visiting grandparents.

Happiness flooded her heart, her little sister had moved on. After Robinís bitter breakup with Jason, she worried her lilí sis wouldnít share her heart again. Robin had once again taken the risk and was greatly rewarded with a great catch in Frankie. He was a handsome, intelligent, loving officer of the law who was family oriented, fun loving, and was going to be with Robin come what may with her HIV. She knew Stone would approve of Frankie and so would Jason, if pushed.

Robin had a knack for picking the right guys, while she on the other hand. The smile left her face. Ugh! She didnít even want to go there. She had one disastrous relationship attempt in Pine Valley with Adrian, Tadís younger brother. They tried to make it work, but they couldnít move past the just friends stage. The more time she spent with him, the more she realized he would make a wonderful match with Lois. After their initial meeting, Adrian and Lois became inseparable. Brooke Lynn adored him.

Since Adrian she stayed clear of dating although pretty much everyone in the family had tried to set her up with someone. But she had found she was most content in the bosom of her family, spending time with her daughters and working.

"Whoo who! Bren, where are you?" Gabriel asked, trying to get her attention.

"Iím right here," she said, hoping she sounded normal. She looked around and noticed the whole family had left the table and was dancing on the other side of the room.

He gave her a look of disbelief, but said nothing.

"What can I do for you?" she asked.

"Would you like to dance?" he requested, holding out his hand.

Nodding, she took his hand and thanked him for his assistance.

Gabriel twirled her until they were with the rest of the family. She laughed and watched Glory and Robbie mimic Katie and Nolaís dancing. Looking around at all her loved

ones, this was where she belonged. Sonny and Jax had both done her a huge favor by leaving her at the altar. She hadnít thought so at the time, but if they hadnít left her she wouldnít be in this moment with her daughters, her parents, her brothers, and her sisters. All the pain she had suffered at the hands of Sonny was all worthwhile because it gave her this family and gave him the family he had always craved.

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