The Past Returns, Chapter 3

Brenda knew she was going to be swarmed when Stefan made the announcement, but she hadnít expected this.

"Brenda, dear itís so good to see you and AJ," Lila said as Reginald wheeled her to the couple.

"Lila, itís so good to see you." Brenda leaned over and kissed Lila on the cheek.

"Grandmother, youíre looking lovely," AJ said as he too kissed his beloved grandmother. As AJ straightened, Edwardís bellowing began.

"A Cassadine, how could my precious Brenda be associated with such riff raff and AJ, where the hell is my money?"

"Hi, Edward," Brenda said with a smile in her voice.

Edward stooped down so she could kiss his cheek, which she did with a grin on her face.

"AJ, whereís my money? You know, I should press charges against you. You better be glad your Grandmother here likes you!" Edward continued.

"Grandfather, good evening to you, too, and donít worry your money is safe." He grinned at Edward.

"Why, you no good- -"

"Edward, stuff it!" Monica said, exasperated.

Edward continued to mutter and curse underneath his breath.

"AJ, Brenda, itís so good to see you two," Monica stated as she embraced them both. She then whispered in her eldest sonís ear. "Could you give me a little more notice before you take off next time, son?"

"Now that I think about it, how did you two get together? Last I looked, you, missy, were crying cause that foreigner broke your heart. I donít know why you were with him anyway." Edward turned to AJ. "And you had run off with all my money and with that foreign girl, no less."

"Edward." Lilaís warning did not go unheeded by her husband.

"Iím just curious, Lila. I want to know how our newest granddaughter entered the family again."

"Dear, you do need to stop sneaking off and getting married to our grandsons," Lila softly reprimanded her newest granddaughter.

"Sorry," Brenda said dually punished.

"Sorry, please. Tell us the truth. Why are you with Junior?" Ned questioned.

"Ned!" Emily yelled, as she hugged her brother and his new bride.

"So you convinced another woman to marry you. What are you blackmailing her with?" Tracy asked.

"Aunt Tracy, itís so good to finally meet you. Ned and the rest of the family have told me so much about you." Brenda walked up to Tracy and hugged her with all her might. A stunned Tracy limply returned the hug.

"Now I know the two of you are up to something," Ned stated. "No one willingly hugs my mother."

Brenda and AJ smiled brightly and interlocked their fingers. She turned to look her husband directly in his eyes. "I realized, after all my searching, the one thing I always wanted was staring me right in the face the whole time. My best friend since I was a teenager."

AJ brushed her cheek with his fingers and pulled her in for a passionate kiss.

"I think Iím going to be ill," Tracey commented.

The rest of the family looked skeptically at the couple.

Alan coughed to get AJ and Brenda to end the kiss. They giggled like school children.

"Weíre sorry," they said at the same time and then laughed again.

The family looked at them strangely.

Alan stepped forward. "Brenda, welcome to the Quartermaines, although Iíve always thought of you as a member of this family."

"Thank you, Alan," she said politely genuinely touched by her father-in-lawís words.

"Thank you, Dad."

Alan stared at AJ for a moment before speaking. "Do right by her and youíll make us all happy." Alan extended his hand to his son. AJ appreciated the gesture and gave his father a fierce handshake.

"I will, Dad."

"Yeah, right," his older cousin said sarcastically.

"Ned, shut up!" his aunt yelled.

"Ah, the joys of being a Quartermaine. Welcome back AJ and Brenda," Dillon whispered.

AJ, Brenda, Emily, and Dillon laughed.

"What in the world is so funny?" Edward demanded.

"Nothing, Grandfather," Emily said as she tried to stop laughing. "Nothing at all."

"Weíre just being silly, Edward. Weíre sorry."

Accepting the apology, Edward nodded. "Itís Grandfather and Grandmother now, young lady."

Brenda walked up to him and hugged him. "Iím sorry, Grandpa," she whispered in his ear, then gave him a quick kiss on the lips.

Edward blushed and was flustered. "Lila, letís go get some champagne," he blustered and wheeled Lila away.

The rest of the family stared in amazement and laughed.

"What in the world did you say to Grandfather to get rid of him like that?" Ned asked.

"Wouldnít you like to know," Brenda grinned.

Ned embraced her. "Whatever you two are up to, Iím going to find out, so why donít you just tell me?"

AJ walked behind Brenda and wrapped his arms around her. "After what - five marriages, cousin Ned, are you so cynical and blind that you canít recognize happiness and love when you see it?"

"He just recognizes a scam when he sees one," Tracey answered for her son.

"Well as much, as we enjoy these fun `conversationsí, we do have other guests we must attend to," AJ stated to his family. He stepped away from his wife and held out his hand. Brenda took his hand and they walked away.

"AJ, Brenda," Monica called.

They paused and turned around.

"Dinner at the house tomorrow night at 7 pm?" she asked.

"That sounds great, Monica. Weíll be there," Brenda answered.

A moment later, they disappeared into the crowd.