I'm sitting in front of the house where I am supposed to meet my older brother for the first time. My true father’s house. I'm so nervous my stomach didn't have butterflies it had bats flying around in there. I take several deep breaths to try to calm myself while looking at the house in front of me. But it isn’t working. So I focus on the house instead.
It is a two-story house with a big front yard. A little run down, but not too bad. Grey paint peeling in various spots. Nothing a good paint job couldn’t fix. A beautiful wrap-around porch that looks like several boards needed to be replaced. The windows look like they haven't been cleaned in months. Nothing a little care and maintenance couldn’t fix. The lawn looks like it has recently been mowed but the flower beds close to the porch were overgrown. But overall it doesn't look like a nice place. I wonder if this is where my dad lived.
I didn’t ask Ethan too many questions when he gave me the address to meet him. Maybe this is his house. But I won’t find out unless I can get my ass out of this truck. I don’t understand why I’m so nervous. I just really hope he likes me and the boys. Ethan seemed so eager to meet me when we talked over the phone. But in person could be a different story. I notice a black motorcycle parked on the right side of the house. But other than that there were no signs of anyone around. I’m going to guess the bike belongs to Ethan. He said he was in a motorcycle club so it would make sense that it was his.
I know I need to get out and meet my brother. A brother I didn't even know I had until about two months ago. Let me explain how the life I knew had been turned completely upside down with one phone call. It was a Tuesday afternoon. I was sitting down to lunch with my twin three-year-old boys Jace and Jax trying to get Jax to eat one more green bean as usual when my phone rings. I pick it and see a number I don't recognize. Normally I would ignore them but for a reason, I still don't understand I answered. " Hello?" "Is this Merigold Stevens?" a man asks. " Yes' ' The man proceeds to introduce himself" My name is Richard McMasters. I'm a lawyer hired by your biological father and brother to help track you down regarding your father's estate." " I'm sorry Mr. McMasters but there is some sort of mistake. I don't have any brothers and I don't know who my biological father is. I'm afraid you have the wrong person."
I'm about to hang up when I hear " Miss Stevens please don't hang up. Allow me to explain." he asks and his voice almost sounds urgent. Still, no clue why but I let him continue. " Ok, I'm listening," I say. " Thank you, Miss Stevens. You are Merigold Raider Stevens. Correct?" he asks. "Yes" "Born August 12, 1994, to Crystal Ellis Stevens. Correct?" Yep, I'm getting uncomfortable with the questions but I answer " Yes' ' The next question throws me for a loop. " The man you thought to be your father is Raymond Charles Stevens. Correct?" There are only a few people who know the man I thought was my father wasn't. I don't ever talk about it. "Yes. How do you know all of this?" " As I said, I was hired to help track you down. I'm sure this is probably a lot to take in." " I don't understand," I say, cutting him off. " Miss Stevens, your biological father, and brother have been searching for you for some time now," he says. I look over to see the twins are still eating, staring at me. The only response I have for the lawyer is " Why?" because my brain has suddenly stopped functioning properly.
" Miss Stevens, your brother wishes to talk to you and explain everything. But I can tell you that your biological father’s name was Clint Pierce Adams but was known as Raider. Your brother's name is Ethan Jackson Adams." he said. I froze when he said the name Raider. I was glad I was sitting down or my ass would be on the floor. I never knew where my middle name came from. My mother never would explain it to me other than to say it was important.
" I'm sorry, but did you say his name was Raider?" I ask, shaking. " Yes, Miss Stevens. I'm sorry to say this but Raider passed away last month." and he did sound sorry. So the man that is my father is dead and I lost the chance to meet him. " Miss Stevens, your brother Ethan would like to speak with you. And there is the matter of your father’s estate. I would like to give Ethan your permission to call you." “ I have a brother?” I whimper. “ Yes, Miss Stevens. You do.” Mr. McMasters says. Shit, I didn’t mean for him to hear me. “ And he is very anxious to talk to you."Mr. McMasters said.
“What does the estate have to do with me? I'm sorry Mr. McMasters but I'm very confused right now." I tell him. " I'm sure you are Miss Stevens so let's take this one step at a time. Why don't you talk to Ethan first? He can answer any questions you have to get a better understanding of what is going on. And then we can go from there. How does that sound?" I nodded knowing he can't see me. I squeak out" Yea ok I can do that." " Wonderful. I'll inform Ethan and give him your phone number. As excited as he is you should expect a call from him very soon. Have a good day Miss Stevens." he says and hangs up. I'm left staring at my phone wondering what just happened.
True to Mr. McMasters word Ethan called me later that night. We talked twice a week for the next several weeks. As it turns out I had a whole other family that I never knew about. After some pleading and a lot of convincing from Ethan and encouragement from my best friends/ adopted brothers Alaric and Mac I packed up the twins and made the very long drive from Alabama to Minnesota to meet Ethan in person. I missed out on knowing my father. A father that wanted to know me, I wasn’t missing a chance to meet my brother. And that is where we are now. Sitting in my truck trying to calm my nerves. Damn it Merigold get your shit together. You are stronger than this. Cowgirl up and get out of this truck.
I turn around and smile on my face at the boys `` Well, you ready to go meet your uncle?" " Ready?" they say in unison. Ok, I can do this. I get out and open the back door to get the boys unbuckled from their booster seats. I get Jax unbuckled first when I hear the screen door squeak. I move on to Jace as I hear what sounds like heavy boots on the wooden porch. Once the boys are on the ground and the truck door is shut, that's when I turn around and see a very large man coming towards us. And when I say large I mean at least six feet 5 inches tall and built like he bench presses cars daily. He is dressed in black faded jeans, a white tee-shirt, and what looks like a black leather vest. He has dark brown short hair that looks like he runs his fingers through a lot. But soft-looking light brown eyes. He has a stern look on the chiseled features of his face that makes me a shake on the inside. Definitely wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley. He is very intimidating and makes me a bit nervous.
" Merigold, I'm glad you made it, '' he says when he gets about a foot from me. Instantly I recognize his voice and am instantly put at ease, it's Ethan. He got the height in the family because I'm only five foot five inches. So I have to look up to my older brother. " It's good to meet you, Ethan," I say holding my hand out. Ethan takes it and pulls me into a bear hug. Not what I was expecting at all considering he has to bend down to do it but I hug him back.
" It's good to finally meet you, little sis," he says after he lets go. " And this must be Jace and Jax," he says looking beside me. The twins are stuck to my legs on either side of me. Ethan squats down close to their level and holds out his hand to them. " Hi, I'm your Uncle Ethan."
Jax looks up at Ethan and shakes his hand " I'm Jax. You're big!" My jaw drops " Jax that's not nice." Ethan takes it in stride and just laughs " It's ok he is only speaking the truth. I'm a big guy. And you must be Jace." offering his hand to him. Jace takes it a little unsure " Yes." Ethan stands up and faces me " Why don't we get you guys inside. I'll show you around and you guys can get settled in ``'' That would be great. Thanks." I say as Ethan leads the way.
We step onto the front porch and Ethan holds the screen door open letting us pass first. The first thing I noticed was the smell of lemons lingering in the air. It was like someone had just cut up several bags of them. The living was right there when you walked in. There was a dark brown couch that looked like it was well worn facing the front wall. Just to the right side of it was a light brown fake leather recliner that had cracks on the armrests. To the left of the couch was a light brown loveseat. A small area rug was in the middle of the room. There was a big flat screen tv on the wall. A few pictures were on the wall but other than that the walls were bare. Ethan came up behind me after shutting the door. " The kitchen is through there." pointing to the left of me. " I had the fridge stocked up for you so you wouldn't have to worry about it right away. I also had the cabinets stocked with snacks and things for the boys." " You didn't have to do that Ethan. Thank you." I said. " Let's go upstairs and I'll show you your rooms," Ethan said and led the way up the stairs.
We got to the first door on the right and Ethan opened the door. " I have the boys set up here," he says as we walk in. There were two twin beds. The first bed has a comforter and pillow with airplanes on it. The second bed has a comforter and pillow with cars and trucks on it. There was a small nightstand between the beds with a little night lamp on it. The curtains on the only window had cars and trucks on them. There was one tall dresser on the wall opposite the beds. " Which bed mine," Jace asks, looking up at me. Before I can answer Ethan says " Pick the one you want." And with that, the boys let go of my hands and went straight towards the beds. Jace went straight to the bed with the planes climbed up and sat on his knees bouncing. Jax went to the one with cars and trucks and climbed up on and laid down. Ethan laughed behind me " Well, looks like you two like your beds." "Yes. fank you Unka Ethan '' they said in unison. " Good. Let's show your mom her room." Ethan said, already heading toward the door. The boys jumped down from their beds and we followed Ethan across the hall. " I have you here. I figured you would want to be close to the boys." Ethan said.
There was a queen bed with purple pillows and a white and purple comforter. Beside it was a nightstand and a dresser across from the bed. The room had a large window facing the back of the house with white curtains with little purple flowers. I looked at Ethan “ This is very nice of you but I don’t want to put anyone out of their rooms. The boys and I can stay at a hotel " For a second he looked confused then said “ Oh, no Merigold you're not putting anyone out. This is mine and dad's house though I hadn’t lived here in a while. When you agreed to come here I had the house cleaned and set up for you and the boys. I know dad would have wanted you to stay here and so do I.” I wrap my arms around his waist and hug him “Thank you, Ethan." I said. Ethan opened the next door " Bathroom."
Then we went to the last room at the end of the hall. Ethan put his hand on the doorknob and paused. " This is dad's room. Was I mean? I haven't done much with it." I placed my hand on his " It can wait. Maybe let me settle a little then you can show me. And we can handle it together. " He took his hand off the knob and nodded in agreement. " Let's go downstairs and I'll show you and the boys the rest."