Later that night I was landing in Dallas and driving to the Jonas family house. I immediately went up to my room where I shut my door, tossed my bags on the floor and flung myself down on my bed. I stayed there until I heard a knock at my door. Without moving, I said,
I heard the door open, barely lifted my head and saw Nick standing in the doorway. He just stood there watching me until I finally picked my head up.
“What? Did you need something?” I asked before burying my face in my pillow again.
“No, I don't need anything. I just came to see if you're ok,” he asked as he walked over and sat down on the edge of my bed, “You know this is a lot like that time when you were 13 and I came in cause I heard you having a nightmare and wanted to make sure you were ok.”
I sat up next to him and said, “Yeah, you know you and Joe were always my two best and closest friends.” I sighed and leaned my head on his shoulder, “Where is he, by the way?”
“Not sure, but I'm sure he'll be back soon,” Nick answered.
After sitting there 15 more minutes, my phone rang. It was Emily letting me know that she had arrived at her apartment. We had decided that she would live there just a few blocks away from me until the baby was born.
6 months later, I had arrived back home after my trip to Africa with Demi. Emily and I had communicated constantly either video chatting or talking on the phone. And of course Joe and I kept in touch all the time too, including our conversation 2 months ago.
One night, after Demi and I returned from visiting a newly built school for young African girls, we walked into the cottage we were sharing. I went into my bedroom knowing it was 8 pm here and that made it 1 in the afternoon in Dallas. I pulled my favorite big fleece blanket off the back of the couch. It was an old navy blue fleece blanket of Joe's that I had started using anytime he was on tour and I had brought it with me on my trip to Africa. Whenever I wrapped myself in it, I felt like Joe was right there with me even when he wasn't. So, it was for that reason that I got it and curled up in the big comfy armchair in my room with my phone. I chose Joe's number from my contacts and hit 'dial'. I waited while I heard 5 rings, but he didn't pick up and I left a message.
"Hey, Joe, it's Bri! I just thought I'd call to check in and see how you're doing. How's your family? And my sister? Have you been checking in on Em for me? I love being here and the kids here are great, but I miss you. Demi and I have been talking and we'll be here about 2 more months. Please call me back. I can't wait to hear your voice and see you again."
As soon as I was done recording my voicemail and had hung up, I realized how tired I was. I set my phone down on the table next to the chair and wrapped myself completely in the blanket, feeling comforted that it still smelled like my fiancé. I fell asleep in a matter of minutes.
The next morning, I woke up at 7:30 am to my phone ringing on the table. I picked it up, saw it was Joe's number calling me back and I pushed "answer".
"Hey, Joe, I didn't know when you'd get a chance to call me back."
"Yeah, we were doing soundcheck when you called. We just finished the show."
"How did it go? And what time is it there?"
"12:30am. It went great. Wish you were here though."
"Whoa, didn't realize it was so late there. I wish I was there too. I know you guys always put on a good show. How's Emily doing?"
"She's fine. Came to tonight's show."
"Great. I've been thinking while Demi and I have been here. There are so many orphaned kids here, I would love to adopt. You know how much I want lots of kids. And I know you do too."
"Yeah, and you know Mom can't wait to have grandkids to spoil."
"Well, I imagine you'd like to get a little sleep after that show. So, we should hang up for now and we'll talk later. In fact, maybe we can do a video chat later."
"Yeah, I'd like that. It's been too long since I've seen you."
"I agree. Well, then, I'll see you later. Say, 10 in the morning for you, which will be 5 in the afternoon here for me?"
"Alright, it's a date. Or at least as much of a date as we'll get for a couple more months."
And with that we hung up. He went off to get some sleep and I got up, folded my blanket and walked into my closet where I picked out a pair of jean shorts and a bright orange tank. I went into the bathroom, took a quick shower and got dressed. As soon as I finished, I left the cottage and walked over to the local orphanage where I was meeting the social worker I had been talking with off and on for the last few months.
"So, as I was telling you, if you're looking to adopt, we are looking for a home for 5 year old twins, Mikayla and Benjamin. They've been here the longest because so far no one has wanted to adopt more than one child and they refused to be separated," Maggie told me.
"That is so sweet that they won't let anyone separate them, but sad that no one has wanted to adopt both of them. I want to."
"I want to adopt both of them."
"Shouldn't you talk it over with Joe first before making such a big decision?"
"I did mention it to him and he seemed to like the idea. And I'm sure he'll back me up on this decision absolutely. He has been my best friend basically since we were babies with a short 5 year break when I moved back east."
Maggie immediately began to fill out the necessary papers for the adoption while a worker at the orphanage went to bring Mikayla and Benjamin out to meet me. As soon as they came into the room, Mikayla walked quietly over to me and said, shyly,
"Are you going to take us home with you?"
I crouched down beside her so I could look right in her eyes and said,
"Yes, sweetie, I am."
"But you are going to bring my brother too, right? Because I won't go with you without him."
"Don't worry, of course your brother is coming too. I wouldn't dream of separating the two of you."
"So, you're going to be our new momma?"
"Yes, in fact, I'm getting married soon. So, you're both also going to have a new daddy too."
The adoption papers were written up. I signed them and took them with me since Joe would need to sign them too when I got back to the States. The twins and I walked back to my cottage where they curled up on my bed to take a nap on a softer bed than they ever had before. I picked out a book and began to read until I noticed that it was 5 pm so I dug out my computer to get ready for the video chat with Joe. I waited another 10 minutes and then his face popped up on my screen.
"Bri! Sorry I'm late. Nick stopped over and we got to talking and brainstorming some lyrics."
"It's ok. Gave me some time to think."
"Oh, lots of stuff. I was starting to plan out a few wedding details and I was looking over adoption papers."
"So, you found just the right little one for us to adopt?"
"Little ones, actually. See, the social worker was telling me about these 5 year old twins, one girl and one boy, who wouldn't let anyone adopt just one of them."
"What are their names?"
"The girl is Mikayla and the boy is Benjamin."
"Nice names. Are they there with you now?"
"They are actually taking a nap at the moment but would you like to meet them?"
"Yeah, definitely, can I?"
"Sure, let me go get them."
I got up from the chair, set my computer on the table and walked into the bedroom. I sat down on the bed next to Mikayla. She must have been awake because she opened her eyes and said,
"What is it, Momma?"
"Would you like to meet the person who will be your new daddy?"
Her eyes lit up and she nodded her head before waking her twin and telling him. I scooped both of them up, carried them out and set them down on the couch. I picked up the computer and said,
"Well, Joe, here they are. This is Mikayla and Benjamin. Miki, Benny, I grew up with him since we were younger than you. We probably know as much about each other as you two do."
"Do either of you have any brothers or sisters?" Miki asked.
"Yes," I answered, "I have a sister, Emily, and Joe has 3 brothers, Kevin, Nick and Frankie."
Miki, Benny and I stayed in Africa for those remaining 2 months. After that we traveled to the airport headed back to Dallas. 3 hours into a 9 hour flight, I scrolled through my phone's contacts till I found Joe's number and hit 'dial'.
4 rings later, he answered, saying,
"Bri, what's going on?"
"We're headed home. A 9 hour flight into Dallas. We're 3 hours in right now."
"So, you'll be arriving around 3 pm, right?"
"Yeah, that's right."
"I'll be there. To pick you and the twins up at the airport."
"Sounds good. I'll see you then."
We had a layover stop at Baltimore-Washington International. And our connecting flight to Dallas-Fort Worth International was delayed by an hour. But we finally got on our plane and took off. We landed 3 hours after take-off. As we were taxiing to the gate, I said to the twins,
"Well, we're getting close to your first look at America outside of the airport."
"Momma?" Miki looked up at me, "I'm kinda scared."
"It's alright, I know it's a lot to take in all at once. But you'll get used to it." I reached my arms around her to comfort her.
15 minutes later, I carried Miki and my carry-on out of the plane with Benny walking beside me. We walked over to the food court and I got the twins both a McDonald's Happy Meal. We took our food over to a table and I pulled out my phone while Miki and Benny munched on their chicken nuggets and fries. I dialed Joe's number and waited.
"Hello? Bri?" he answered.
"Hey, where are you?"
"We're at the airport. The twins are eating at the moment. Where are you?"
"Rob's parking the car. We're headed in now."
End of flashback.