Jocelyne raised an eyebrow curiously as she crossed into the study, peering over her brother’s shoulder at the softly glowing monitor. She hadn’t expected to find Lucas using the computer – especially if he wasn’t using it to watch a Youtube video or play around with his sound editing software.
“Luc?” She said at last, making her presence known. “Are you… reading?!” Jocelyne asked with a laugh.
“I know, I know.” Her brother replied, smiling. “Shocking, right?” Lucas closed the browser window quickly and rose to his feet. “But if you need the computer, it’s all yours. I’m done for now.”
“Thanks.” The girl smiled. Jocelyne took a step toward the desk, but hesitated. “So… what were you looking at?” She asked, her curiosity getting the better of her.
Lucas sighed. “It’s stupid.”
Her brother bit his lip for a moment. “Well… do you remember what Papa was saying at dinner the other night?”
Jocelyne nodded, her lips curling into an amused smile. Royalties had begun coming in from sales of the band’s latest album, and things were going much better than Lucas had been expecting. He still had nothing even close to his father’s wealth, but Lucas had suddenly found himself with much more money than he knew what to do with.
When Tobi learned of this, he began doing what he did best – worrying too much. “That’s a lot of money, Lucas. I think maybe it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll do with all of that if something were to… happen.”
Jocelyne had rolled her eyes. She and Lucas had just turned twenty-one years old. Surely that was much too early to start thinking about that sort of thing… Wasn’t it?
“I’m not ACTUALLY gonna write a will yet or anything.” Lucas assured her, his voice calling his sister back to the present. “But I’ve been looking into it a little.” He shrugged. “Just in case.”
“Oh?” Jocelyne laughed. “And have you decided what you’re gonna leave me?” She teased.
Her brother nodded, returning her smile. “All my old horror DVDs.” Lucas said jokingly. “That blue t-shirt you keep trying to steal from my laundry…”
“Hey, it makes a good pajama top!” She insisted with a smile.
Lucas ignored her comment. “I think that’s pretty much it… Oh!” His eyes lit up. “And my kids too.”
“What?!” Jocelyne’s surprise was evident on her face. “You’re joking.”
For a moment, her brother’s face turned serious. “Why would I be joking?” Jocelyne could tell that Lucas was being sincere. “You’re the most responsible, mature person I know, Joce. I’d never trust anyone else with my kids.”
Jocelyne felt oddly touched. She smiled gently at him for a moment. “Well thank you. And I promise I’d take good care of them. But… is there something you aren’t telling us?” Her playful demeanor suddenly returned. “All those one-night-stands finally catching up with you? ‘Cause, y’know, Clara and I have a bet going on how many mini-Lucs there are running around out there…”
Her brother rolled his eyes. “Oh my God, shut up.” For a moment, he looked almost embarrassed. “I just mean, like… for like… the future and stuff.” Lucas shrugged as he spoke. “Just in case.”
Jocelyne smiled warmly at her brother. “You are SO turning into Papa.”
I can’t believe it.
I can’t believe that I’d forgotten.
I can’t believe he was serious.
I can’t believe he never changed his mind after everything that had happened between us.
But I remember it now, looking back. He’d told me more than nine years ago that he was going to name me as guardian in his will.
And I’d promised that I’d do it. And that I’d take good care of his children.
I can’t break that promise now, can I?
I just don’t know how I’m gonna do it. And I’m running out of time to figure it out.
At first, I actually considered saying no. I mean, it’s not like it would have been an issue. Luc named Clara and Florian as backup guardians in the event that I am “unable or unwilling to act as guardian”.
I’m able. I know I am. But willing? Maybe if the situation were different. But this makes things so complicated. For all of us.
Clara and Florian told me it was okay. “We can do this, Jocelyne,” they said. I know they meant it. And believe me, I was so tempted to take them up on it…
But I couldn’t.
This is what Luc wanted. And Hazel too… They picked me. And after everything we went through, the least I can do is honor their wishes… right?
So that just leaves one more question… One that’s much harder than you’d think.
Technically I’m allowed to be Zayne’s guardian from anywhere in the world. There’s nothing saying I have to physically be there. He could live with my parents or Mark while I just make the big decisions from back home in Willow Creek.
But that doesn’t feel right. That’s not what being a guardian’s supposed to be about, is it? And I’m sure that’s not what Luc had in mind for Zayne. I know it isn’t.
Still, I’m back in Willow Creek for now. I had to come home to my girls while we figure this out… But I’m heading back to Germany in a few weeks to visit Zayne again.
I’m just not sure how much longer I can keep this up – this bouncing back and forth between continents. It’s not fair to me or to my nephew. Or to my girls either.
So what am I gonna do?
I know I could bring Zayne to Willow Creek with me. That seems like the simplest solution, doesn’t it?
But simple for who?
Definitely not Zayne.
All he has left now is our family. And they’re all back in Windenburg. The poor kid has already lost his parents. How can I take him away from the rest of his family too?
That just leaves one other option…
I never thought I’d ever end up doing this. But I just feel like it’s what has to happen.
I haven’t said a word to the girls yet… But I brought it up to Elliot a few days ago. And he definitely didn’t like it. I don’t really think I can blame him, either.
But I just want him to understand why. I don’t want to take the girls away from him. I know that’s not fair. I know he doesn’t deserve that.
But I want to do the right thing. And I just know this is it.
I can’t make this decision without him, of course. And I never would. He promised we could talk about it more. He seems willing to listen, at least. But would he be willing to follow me halfway across the world for a little boy he’s never met?
We have to work this out soon, one way or another. And no matter what happens, I know it won’t be easy…
But then, I guess nothing ever is.