Chapter Ten: Ending

The night of our discovery at one of "Isabelle"/Erica's parties was the perfect time to announce their horrible deception that had ranged over years and stole time away from them. Garrett was, of course, heavily drinking openly. His announcement shocked everybody.

"Isabelle and I are getting a divorce." He came right out and said.

"We are not. How can you just go and announce that in front of everybody? What about the press? The PR?" "Isabelle"/Erica shrieked. "IT'S A JOKE. CAN'T YOU ALL SEE IT'S A JOKE?" She announced shrilly. She did one of those high pitch laughs. Now every revelers attention was turned to see "Isabelle". They didn't see an unfamiliar face make an entrance down the stairs.

The real Isabelle was no longer looking fragile or dainty. She looked like a warrior on a mission. She was on a mission—one to reclaim her life. Isabelle didn't draw attention to herself. Garrett's eyes laid sight on the woman he recognized as his mistress. "IS THIS ABOUT HER? ABOUT YOUR MISTRESS? I WILL RUIN YOU BOTH." 'Isabelle'/Erica screamed pointing to the real Isabelle.

"Kind of hard to ruin them, honey." I remarked.

"You—you I saved you from being raped! Can't you show any gratitude?"

"No, honey. I know that little break-in at my house was set up by you. Claire and you devised it to draw my suspicions away from you as the inside man in this little plot. Too bad it didn't work." I answered.

"YOU—" She lunged at me. I dodged her. Owen caught her firmly before she could do any real damage.

"Be quiet, Erica." Isabelle ordered.

"Erica? But you're Erica." Garrett remarked in confusion.

"Put down the drink, Garrett. That alcohol is frying your brain cells. You used to be able to put the dots together." Isabelle commented unsympathetically.

"Isabelle?" Garrett said in a ghost whisper. Then he turned to Erica, who was spitting at me. Luckily she couldn't spit that far. "That makes you Erica. You've been masquerading as Isabelle all these years!"

"Duh. It took you long enough to put that one together." Erica remarked. "Isabelle, he's a crappy husband."

"Maybe it was the other spouse." I countered.

"I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!"

I covered my mouth in mock horror. Really I shouldn't make fun of people making death threats at me. "Oh, my. Like I haven't heard that one before." I remarked sarcastically. "Taking your cue cards from Claire now that is low. Where is she by the way? The police would like to have a nice chat with you both about embezzlement and fraud."

"YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO FIND HER!"

"Too late already have. She's in the interrogation room right now. You'll be joining her shortly. A word of advice—don't believe a word she says. There are already too many people that have already fallen for that one." I stated.

"SHE WOULD NEVER BETRAY ME!"

"Oh, please. You've helped her bury enough bodies to know that isn't true. What did she tell those people?" I countered. "'Trust me. I'd never hurt you.' Then you end up six feet under. Do you want to end up doing her sentence and yours?"

"SHE WOULD NEVER DO THAT."

"Ask that Greg guy, who she was going to run off with. What happened to him? I bet he said the same things you did." I remarked.

"You should try being wrong every once in awhile." She hissed.

"It's a curse. I'll see you when you get out, darling. Don't get any ideas about killing me. I'm hard to kill. Just ask Claire. I hope you two are cell mates. Give her a kiss for me." I waved bye to her as she was hauled away. My husband came to stand beside me.

"Why don't you bother to tell me before these things happen?" He asked.

"Why don't you get over me being assaulted? Do you think I want things to be weird between us?" I countered.

"Things are always weird between us, baby. How do you want me to prove things aren't weird between us anymore?" He asked.

"You could touch me without acting as if I am china."

"You aren't china?" He joked.

"Rainer." I warned.

"Well, it doesn't help when your brother threaten to whip my butt if I hurt you." He said.

"Which brother?"

"I meant to make that plural. I'm talking about all of them, of course. There was Dierks, Owen, and surprisingly even Eric. I fear for my life." Rainer stated.

"Ooh, since when has the big bad Marine been afraid of three big brothers?" I said.

"Hey, I'm getting old. I have a bummed leg." I touched his lips. "Amazingly my wife likes my bummed leg, but she's always been a bit strange."

"Then what are you?" I countered.

"I'm crazy about her." He answered.

"Good answer." I congratulated. My parents were getting reacquainted and my siblings were shocked. Expect Owen who was shooing everyone out the door.

"We really have to find that guy a woman." Rainer remarked.

"I know. We'll have him matched up before long. Ah, I always heard married couples become match-makers for their single friends. Is that what is happening to us?" I asked.

"Maybe. I want nieces and nephews." Rainer answered.

"Umm . . . you know those adoption papers we filed when we married?" I asked.

"What about them?"

"There's a little girl in need of a home. They would like us to pick her up tonight." I summarized.

"Really?" He asked happily.

"Yes, really we are going to be parents if everything goes right." I answered.

"Here we all thought you were down from . . . um, well that and you were only formulating a plan to get everyone's lives back on track. Why do I keep forgetting to never underestimate you?"

"Keep doing that. It makes you easier to take advantage of." I joked.

Isabelle and Garrett walked up to us. Isabelle was tugging him along. "Apologize to all of them for being a jerk and a dead beat dad." Isabelle ordered.

"Everyone!" Garrett called. It seemed his wife had him on the right track. "I am deeply sorry for all the pain I have caused with my selfish intentions. I shouldn't have been thinking about myself. I should have been thinking about my family and my friends. I apologize for any trouble my behavior has caused any of you." His eyes fell to my husband's leg. "Rainer, I am truly sorry for what my drunk driving has cost you."

"It's all right. See I have your daughter. You defiantly got the short end of the stick." Rainer said putting his arm around me. Everyone laughed.

"Dierks, I am sorry for ignoring the obvious and letting you suffer. I know that was an unforgivable thing to do." Dierks nodded and no longer was looking so judgmentally at his father. "Diana, I never should have ignored your eating problems. I should have been worried about you not what a field day the press would have with your hospital visit."

Diana hugged him. "Does that mean I get that Ferrari like I want?" She asked hopefully.

"Maybe if we find you a job." Isabelle answered.

"A job? The horrors!" She exclaimed.

"You'll survive." Isabelle promised. Somehow I had the feeling Diana was no longer going to be the spoiled princess her dad had treated her like.

"Eric, I'm sorry for never paying any attention to you. Owen, I am sorry for never claiming you. Ivory, I'm sorry for everything. The list is a mile long. You have to hate me." Garrett continued.

I shook my head. "Hate you? No, that would be like hating a part of me. I still intensely dislike you. It takes a lot to forgive someone. Hating takes more energy out of you than forgiving does. I can't say I forgive you this second, but I will soon. It takes time." I said.

He sighed at me. Then he went on, "Lastly I am sorry to Isabelle for not recognizing she was being replaced." Everyone laughed. Then Rainer excitedly announced our adoption news. I watched this family of mine as they interacted with each other.

"Are you okay?" Rainer asked. He was always concerned.

"I was just thanking God for everything I have." I answered. "I'm fine. I don't think I've ever been this happy before. Thank you, Rainer."

"For what?"

"Without your friendship, without your love I would have never known what family, friendship, and love means. You saved me from a world without color. I don't know what I would have down without you." I answered.

"You're welcome." He whispered. Our sentimental moment was broken up by a fight between my siblings. I sighed and stepped into negotiate. Good thing I have my negotiating skills otherwise I wouldn't be able to handle my family.

And, of course, we lived happily ever after or as happy as a dysfunctional family can live.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I appreciate reviews. I'm sorry if you feel the ending is rushed, but I fell like this part of Ivory and Rainer's life is over. Perhaps if I received good reviews I might consider doing a sequel. It depends on reader response. Once again if you hate the story please tell me why so I can improve.