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True Love At Last

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Author's Note | Chapter One
Chapter One

Part One

Joel Callahan stepped off the train in New Bedford. He set his suitcase down and stretched his arms before he bent and picked the suitcase back up and walked toward main street.

He looked about himself as he headed straight toward the New Bedford Hotel. What he saw pleased him very much. *Honey and the children picked an sweet place to live.* He nodded his head at people as he walked casually along.

He opened the main door of the Hotel with his free hand and almost got ran over by an middle aged woman.

"Pardon me madam my deepest apologize." Joel said in his deep serious voice as he stepped aside to allow the woman to pass.

The woman blushed. "I'm so sorry sir. I should have watched where I was going. Did I harm you?"

Joel grinned. "No I'm quite all right. Name is Joel Callahan."

"Nice to meet you Mr. Callahan. My name is Alexandra Deviant." Mrs. Deviant said putting out her hand.

"Pleased to meet you Mrs. Deviant." Joel shook her hand.

"I must be off. Sorry again about running into you Mr. Callahan." Mrs. Deviant said as she stepped around Joel to leave the Hotel.

"No problem Mrs. Deviant. Now don't go worrying your head about it." Joel replied with an smile and an wave.

Once Mrs. Deviant was out of sight Joel shut the door behind him as he once again presided into the Hotel.

Joel didn't bother stopping at the front desk he knew where he could find his cousin and second cousins. He walked up the stairs and went to the Sutton flat and put down his suitcase and knocked on the door. While he waited for an answer he removed his hat.

The door opened to reveal the most beautiful woman Joel had ever set his eyes on.

"Hello." the woman smiled as she spook.

"Hello. I think I got the wrong flat. I'm looking for Honey Callahan Bailey Sutton." Joel said blushing at the site of the beautiful woman.
"Joel? Is that really you." Honey came rushing from the parlor to
the front door and set her eyes on her cousin.

"Hey cousin." Joel smiled looking from the beautiful woman to his cousin.

Joel and Honey hug.

"Come and bring your things in here." Honey said smiling. She turned and looked at the woman "Grace this is my cousin Joel Callahan. Joel this is my sister in law Grace Bailey."

Grace smiled and held out her hand. "Nice to meet you Mr.
Callahan."

"Please call me Joel; miss. Bailey." Joel put out his hand and shook Grace's hand.

"And you call me Grace. and it's ms. and miss." Grace said.

Joel looked down and saw an tan line on her left finger. "Sorry about your husband." He said with an sad note in his voice.

Grace shook her head "My husband isn't dead. He is my ex-husband I just got an divorce." She removed her hand from Joel and Joel saw an sudden frown come to her lips and face.

"Oh I'm sorry to hear that Grace." Joel said.

"He was scam. It was an laps of judgement on my part. My head as always was in the clouds. But I am learning from this mistake not to allow my head to be in the clouds anymore." Grace bust out as she stepped back into the flat to allow Joel to step in.

Honey walked over to Grace and put her arm around her shoulders and squeezed gently. "Now Grace you are allowed to have your head in the clouds once in awhile. Please do not lose that guilty that makes you."

Grace suddenly let the tears that were hided behind her eyes fall. "I don't know what to do Honey I just don't."

Joel shut the flat's door behind him and walked over to the two women he gently pulled Grace to him and hugged her. "If you will allow it Grace I would love to help you heal."

Grace wrapped her arms around Joel and cried into his chest.

Honey stood in shock watching her cousin and sister in law whom havent meet until that very moment have an very interment moment.

Zack came out of his room after waking up from his nap and saw his aunt and an man he never saw before holding each other while his aunt sobbed. He looked scared and looked wildly around for his mommy.

Honey saw Zack and walked over to him and picked him up and said "It's ok Zack you second cousin Joel is just comforting you aunt Grace."

Grace sobs stopped but she didn't move from Joel's arms. She closed her eyes with her face facing Honey and Zack and she just allowed herself the confront of this strange but yet familiar man's arms around her.

Joel keep his arms tightly around Grace protecting. When I run into Grace's ex-husband I'll give him something to worry about for hurting Grace. He thought fiercely. He looked down at her  I love her. I want her to be mine forever. But I know until she gets over her ex-husband she'll never can be.  He wasn't at all surprised that he felt this way he knew that his heart would never fail him.

Honey looked over at Joel and Grace and saw Joel's eyes. 
He's in love with Grace. It can never be until Grace is completely over Van. Sorry James I should say. Oh I sure hope that Grace can get over James she deserves happiness and know true love. Joel will give her that I know it.

Grace opened her eyes and gathered herself to leave the protecting arms of Joel. She pulled away from him and smiled softly "Thank you Joel." She laughed as she brushed her tears from her cheeks. "You probably think I'm crazy the way I acted."

Joel gently pulled Grace's hand from her face and presided to wipe away her tears himself. "No." He simply stated.

"Aunt Grace are you all right?" Zack suddenly asked from where Honey held him just outside the parlor.

Grace turned to face Honey and Zack. "Oh Zack I'm sorry I didn't mean to scare you." Walking over and kissing Zack on the cheek. "Yes dear I'm all right."

Joel walked over to Honey, Grace and Zack he smiled down at the four year old boy. "So you are my new second cousin. My name is Joel."

"My name is Zack." Zack said.

"Well it's pleased to meet you Zack." Joel smiled and held out his hand.

"Pleased to meet you too Joel." Zack put out his hand and solemnly shook hands with Joel.

The flat door opened and Fat entered when he saw Joel shaking hands with Zack Fat slammed the flat's door and yelled "JOEL!" He rushed over to his mother's cousin and gave him an bear hug.

"Fat! How's it been little cousin." Joel said as he gasped for breath after Fat let go of him.

"Not much. When did you get into town?" Fat asked with excitement in his eyes.

"Just now. Where is Hub and Violet?" Joel asked looking behind Fat expecting to see his other two second cousins to enter the flat also.

"Oh Hub is taking Violet to grandmother Bailey's for an little visit." Fat said as he led his mother, aunt, younger brother and Joel into the parlor.

"Mother and Aunt Grace you two sit on the couch." Fat began directing the sitting arrangements. Looking at Zack "Zack would you like to sit with mom and aunt Grace or with me or Joel?"

"Mama." Zack whispered shyly.

"Come here sweety." Honey said as she patted her lap.

Zack climbed onto Honey's lap and laid his head against her chest. He kept his eyes on Joel the entire time.

Joel smiled at Zack assuring him that he means no harm to Zack.

Zack smiled back shyly.

He's good with children.  Grace thought as she watching Joel and
Zack. "So where is your wife Joel?"

Joel turned his corn blue eyes on Grace. "I'm not married. Never been lucky enough to find the woman of my dreams." He smiled softly at Grace "I haven't stopped looking and never will I know that God will bring her into my life."

"I wish I could say the same. Van was surely not the man God chose for me. Although he was an prince Charming but not mine. Now I don't think I'll ever fall in love again. I think I have ruined it for good for myself." Grace said sadly.

Joel shook his head and stared into Grace's eyes. "I don't believe that and I know deep down youd don't eighter. The man God has chosen for you is still out there looking and waiting for you. Now you must still look and wait and be patient for God to show you who he is."

Honey looked at her cousin and sister in law back in forth waiting for the proper moment to break in and say something.
I wonder if Joel is the man God has chosen for Grace.

*I wonder if Joel is the man God has chosen for Aunt Grace. Or
perhaps Jim Flett* Fat wondered to himself as he was listening to his Aunt and cousin talking.

"So Joel how long are you in town for?" Fat asked as there was an pause in Joel and Grace's conversion.

Joel smiled over at Fat. "As long as you can stand having me in town."

"You can stay in Hub and mine room." Fat said. He stood up and went to the door where Joel left his luggage. "I'll go and put your luggage in the room." He called out happily.

Joel laughed. He turned and smiled at Honey. "Do you mind cousin?"

Honey smiled and shook her head. "Nope. I would offer you Violet's and Zack's room but both of them are up at all hours of nite. And I know you wouldnt get an wink of sleep."

Joel looked over at Zack and smiled an soft smile at the little boy. "I remember Edward, Edmund, Joe and I were that way whenever Joe came over to stay the nite with us. Edward, Edmund and I were always like that when we were children."

"So how are Edward and Edmund? I haven't seen them in years. Just as I havent seen you Joel." Honey looked over at her cousin.

"Oh Edmund is in Ireland doing his missionary work. Edward is out to sea being the best darn sea captain that he always said he would." Joel said with an smile.

"Can we go to Ireland and visit Edmund mom?" Fat asked as he came back in the parlor to join his little brother and the adults.

"Perhaps someday we can." Honey said.

"I wouldn't mind going to Ireland myself. I have never been there but I hear it is beautiful." Grace said softly.

Joel turned his eyes back to Grace. "Oh it is. Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to."

"Do you travel a lot Joel?" Grace asked.

Joel nodded. "Whenever I can." Joel was already cooking up ideas on how to get enough money to treat Honey, Max, Fat, Hub, Violet, Zack and Grace to an trip to Ireland to visit with Edmund.

Honey looked over at her cousin.  He is up to something. I can tell by the look in his eyes.  "Want to shall what you are thinking about with the rest of us Joel?"

Joel smiled an private smile and shook his head. "Nope. I'll tell you when it is all set through. But it'll take an while."

Honey nodded her head. "Ok."

Joel turned back to say something to Grace when the door opened once again.

Max came in and said "Honey I'm home."

"Max we are in the parlor." Honey called out.

Max walked into the parlor and smiled at Honey, Fat and Zack who were sitting on the couch. Than he glanced over at Grace and said "Hello Grace." He caught site of Joel sitting in the chair close to Grace's "And you are?"

Joel stood up and walked over to Max. "Joel Callahan." Joel smiled as he put out his hand to shake Max's.

"Max Sutton." Max said with an smile.

"Joel is my cousin Max. Max is my husband Joel." Honey said with an smile as she watched the two men shake hands.

After shaking Joel's hand Max went over to Honey and bent down and kissed hercheek and than kissed Zack's forehead. "Hello son."

"Hello Dad." Zack smiled up at his father.

"So how long are you in New Bedford for Joel?" Max asked as he leaned against the wall with his hands across his chest.

"As long as you will have me." Joel said as he sat back down.  Honey did good for herself once again. I'm happy she met and feel love with an nice man. Joel looked over at Max 
I just met Max Sutton and I can tell he is just right for Honey.

"He is staying in the boys room." Honey smiled up at her husband.
"Than as long as you are comfortable you are welcome to stay until you feel you need to move on." Max said with an smile at Joel.

"Thank Max." Joel said with an smile.

"All right." Fat said with an grin.

Grace just smiled an soft private smile.

Hub and Violet entered the flat and heard voice coming from the parlor they went to join the folks.

Hub stopped short when he saw Joel sitting in an chair. "Joel!"

Joel smiled and laughed as he got up to meet Hub. "Hub how's it going little cousin?"

"Hub's not so little anymore. Not like Zack and me." Violet said with an little giggle as she smiled up at Joel.

"You are quite right little cousin of mine." Joel bent and picked Violet up and hugged her and kissed her soundly on the cheek.

He looked over at Hub and used his free hand slapped Hub on the shoulder "So how's it been roommate?"

"Oh the usual....Wait did you just say roommate?" Hub asked in confusion as he looked at Joel.

"Joel is staying in our room for an while Hub." Fat said as he stood up and walked over to where Joel, Hub and Violet were standing. "Isn't that great?" He slapped Joel on the back and grinned at Hub.

Hub nodded his head sure is.

All three of Jack's children in one place and smiling as they usually do when they are together. What an sight. Honey thought as she looked at Joel holding Violet and Fat and Hub standing around Joel with happy grins on their faces.

I bet that was the scene when Jack was alive. Max thought as he
to watched the happy scene. He looked down at Honey who was still
holding Zack.

Poor Max. Grace thought as she caught Max's expression as he looked at the happy scene than down at Honey and his son. "Hey Zack come here and join us." Joel said with an smile over at Zack.

Zack got off the couch and went over to Joel.

Joel bent down and picked Zack up with his free arm and stood back up and grinned over at Hub and Fat while holding both Violet and Zack.

Joel is good with the kids. I wonder why he never got married? Grace thought as she watched the happy scene.

Max went and sat next to Honey and they watched the happy scene
with smiles on their faces.

"Joel put me down I'm to big for you to hold." Violet said with an slight giggle.

Joel looked Violet in the eye and said "Say's who?"

"I'm seven after all. Too big to be held for long." Violet said with an sigh. "After all you are holding an three year old and Zack needs both of your arms most of the time."

Joel looked over at Zack and noticed that he was about to slip. He bent down and let Violet back on the ground and grasped an firmer hold of Zack as he stood up once more.

"Much better." Violet said with an sigh as she began to fuss with her dress making sure all the winkers were out.

Honey burst out in sudden laughter as she watched her seven year old daughter act all lady like.

Violet looked over at her mother with an injured look.

"Oh honey I'm not laughing at you I am just..." She shook her head. "It's too hard to explain."

"That's ok mommy I know that you would never laugh at me." Violet said as she ran to her mother to be hugged and kissed.

Honey leaned forward and kissed Violet on the cheek and hugged her. "Would you care to sit with Max and I?"

"No I want to sit on Aunt Grace's lap. She looks all lonely over there all by herself." Violet said looking over at Grace.

Grace was shocked at what Violet said about her looking lonely. She smiled gently and said "Come here Violet. My lap is cold without you on it." She smiled gently as Violet came to her and she leaned forward and lifted Violet up to sit on her lap.

Joel watched the entire scene as he held Zack on his hip. He smiled softly at Grace as she got Violet settled on her lap.

Hub and Fat decided to sit on the floor that was closets to the couch. As they got settled Joel still holding Zack sat back down in his chair that he left when Hub and Violet came into the parlor.

"So Joel how are Edmund and Edward?" Hub asked.

"They are doing good." Joel smiled over at Max as he said "Edmund and Edward are my older brothers. They are twins. Edward is an sea captain and Edmund is an missionary in Ireland."

"I also have an older brother Del. He travels around a lot. He should be coming to New Bedford soon. It's about the time of the year when he pops in." Max grinned as he thought about Del.

Grace smiled softly to herself. Too bad things didn't work out with Del. Or with Jim for that matter. Del I wasn't all to surprised at. But Jim I thought we were an item when he finally confessed that he was ready to be in an romantic realistic again after his late wife died and he kissed me at the talent show two years ago. Grace shook her head
But that died out as soon as it started. No fault of mine but Jim really wasn't ready. Than Van / James came along and all that mess happened. Now I'm single again but Jim is dating that woman from North bridge.

I wonder how Pritchard is taking it all. I know that he had his heart set on Jim and I getting married and having me as his step mother. Grace looked up and saw that Joel was watching her quietly. Grace's heart gave an leap of love as she looked into Joel's eyes.

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