Sorrel Venachek appeared behind her father. “Has he been telling you about how his books aren’t all that well known?”
Matt smiled. “Yes, as always.”
She smiled. “Well, don’t believe him. His royalties tell a different tale. He just likes to downplay his popularity.”
Marty smiled. “Modesty keeps one’s feet on the ground.”
Sorrel giggled. “Sure it does, Pops.” She looked at Matt. “You haven’t aged a bit from the last time we met. You remember me, don’t you?”
Matt nodded. “Sorrel Venachek. Youngest daughter of Marty, the legendary lawyer from Selma. You still live down there?”
Sorrel shook her head. “Oh God no. We live in Chicago now, just a few blocks from Aunt Danni.”
He nodded. “You’re still single? I would’ve thought that there’s be a long line of young men trying to knock your door down.”
She nodded. “Yep, still flyin’ solo. Not too big on the modern men. Too immature…well, maybe I am being too picky.”
He shook his head. “No, you aren’t. You wouldn’t be a Venachek if you didn’t pick and choose. My daughters got a little of that too.”
She let out a sigh of relief. “Whew! I thought it was just me.”
Amanda walked into the room where they stood talking. Marty let out a whistle. “I can see why you fell in love with her. If I was single, I would be trying to take her from you, you know that don’t you?” He winked. “But I have Marta and she’s been the best wife ever for over thirty years. Well, forty.”
Amanda smiled. “And who are these fine people?”
Matt kissed her cheek. “This,” he gestured to Marty, “is my cousin Martin Venachek and his daughter Sorrel. Marty was in Selma on the day of the historic march.”
She took Marty’s hand. “Nice to meet you. You’ll have to come around more often and tell me more about your adventures.”
Sorrel smiled. “You’ll have to come and visit our home sometime. It’s a virtual shrine to the event.”
Amanda looked over at Matt. “That we will.”
Matt smiled. “Yes. I fully intend to travel more and work less. Now that I have a companion to share it all with.” He gave Amanda a squeeze.
Amanda pulled Matt free from the small group. Stopping at the door of his office, she ushered him in. Once inside, she looked at the small crowd gathered there. “Sorry he’s late, but I had to extract him from a conversation.”
She turned and left. Matt turned long enough to watch her go. He turned back to the group she had brought him to. He counted them. Five young men and women.
He smiled. “Can I help you?”
The Goth girl stepped forward. “Sandra contacted our mothers and said that she had got their names from a list you had kept. She said you were searching for any children you might have had. Our mothers sent us.”
He nodded, understandingly. “OK. Names?”
She smiled. “I am Divine McAdams.”
A Hispanic youth stepped forward. “I am Emilio Velasquez.” His accent marked him as Argentinian.
Another stepped forward. “Jean Marc De Champs.”
And the fourth. “Franscesca Avante.”
The fifth, though apprehensive, also stepped forward. “Nadja Friedrich.”
Matt smiled. “I will sit down later and ask your mothers’ names. Right now, I need to know ages.”
As he listened, they all opened up about their ages and their mothers. He looked at the evidence before him. They had to be his. There was no two ways about it.
He cleared his throat. “I only ask one thing. though I know you are mine, I must ask that you be willing to take a paternity test so we can prove beyond any doubt that you are mine. Please understand that this is not for me, but for my family.”
All five nodded in agreement. Divine smiled again. “I don’t really understand, but I am willing to do whatever it takes.”
Matt nodded. “Wait here.” He turned and walked to the door. Sticking his head out, he whistled for Amanda. After she appeared he began. “Contact doctor Lindt. We need some samples taken and it needs to be done immediately.”
She smiled. “Yes, Dear.”
He pulled his head back into the office and shut the door. He turned back to the group. It’ll only take a few minutes.”
They nodded. He only hoped that they wouldn’t hate him for this. He already knew they were his. He just wanted to be able to prove to the rest
Amanda knew why he desperately wanted to surround himself with his children. She knew why he wanted them all to know that they were family. She loved him for it. She welcomed it.
She hurried into the kitchen and dialed the hospital’s genetics lab. She waited until they picked up. “Dr. Lindt? Yes, this is Matthew Morrow’s fiancee Amanda. Yes, everything is fine. He asked me to call you and request your presence. He has another five possible children waiting to be confirmed. Twenty minutes? Good. I’ll tell him.” She hung up and rushed to Matt’s office. She knocked.
He opened the door and let her in. “Well?”
She kissed him. “He will be here in twenty minutes.”
He smiled. “Good. Thank you, Honey.”
She winked at him. “You can thank me later.” She turned and walked out of the room.
He turned his attention back to his small band of new children. “Please. Make yourselves comfortable. We have a small wait. What have your mothers told you about me?”
Divine smiled. “You were like a really popular singer-dude in the eighties. And even before that. She raised me to know that you were my father, but that she had chosen to raise me outside of the spotlight.”
Jean smiled. “Maman taught me to love you, but also wished for me to remain-what you say-normal? She never got over you. She never married. I was her only child.”
Matt nodded. “I have heard that story before. Seems to be a common theme among the ladies I have had something to do with.” He paused, unsure whether he’d overstepped or sounded too full of himself.”
Divine giggled. “Yes, you’re right. Most of our mothers remained single. To them, you were the only man worthy of their bodies. Mom broke up with her boyfriend after her night with you. At least that is what she claimed.”