Chapter 16

Second Chances

Cora and Zane waste no time in getting married. The wedding is planned in a matter of weeks.

It seems to Don that it isn’t that long ago he stood in this church with Alex. It’s hard to believe that both his little girls are married now.

“Don’t you dare grow up too quickly”, he whispers and hugs Daniel tight.

Brie is also emotional. Both of her parents are now gone, with Johnny dying only a few months ago. At least Alex got to see Cora return, even if she won’t see her married.

In the back of the church, on Zane’s side of the isle, Layla and Aidan are showing their support. Layla is expecting their second child and is happily chatting to their old university friend Conor, who was on Cora’s football team. Conor is seated next to Zane’s sister Isabelle.

Zane’s father, Wolfgang, is struggling with some mixed emotions. He wants his son to be happy, but marrying into Don’s family wouldn’t have been his first choice for Zane.

As the ceremony finishes, Daniel squirms out of his seat and runs to his parents.

Zane and Cora scoop him into a hug.

Even grumpy Wolfgang can’t help but smile at the happiness radiating from the trio.

Outside the church, Morgan finds Don.

“Don, have you ever met my daughter, Isabelle?”

“Isabelle. You are certainly the spitting image of your mother. Just as beautiful”, Don replies, and gallantly kisses her hand.

“Mom, you didn’t tell me Don was such a gentleman.”

“There are many things I have’t told you, dear.”

“Mom, Isa, I see you have managed to corner my new father-in-law but I need you all to join us for a few speeches.”

During the speeches and toasts, Isabelle gets tipsy and starts trying to grill Don about his personal life. Morgan barely manages to steer the conversation away from her and Don’s past.

As Wolfgang passes the table where Don is talking to his wife and daughter, he shoots Don an angry glare.

Zane also joins the table. Wolfgang is so focused on Don that he even ignores Payton’s attempts at congratulating him on his son’s wedding. After a while, Don retreats to a quiet corner to get away from the awkward situation.

It doesn’t take long before Isabelle finds him.

“Heeeey Don… mom didn’t tell me how handsome you were, you know…”

“Isabelle, please. I think you’ve had enough champagne.”

“No no, I’m fine. C’mon, gimme a kiss…”


A furious Wolfgang storms up to them as Isabelle quickly climbs off Don’s lap.

“I knew it! Keep your hands off her, you sleazy bastard!”

“Wolfgang, I haven’t done anything to Isabelle, and I’m not going to…”

“Do you think I’m blind? I know your tricks! I know what kind of man you are!”

“And what kind of man am I, Wolfgang?”

“Dad – no!”

The punch barely fazes Don. Wolfgang himself actually seems surprised at what he just did.

“Don… I didn’t mean… I just…”

Luckily for Wolfgang, Don, former world champion bodybuilder, simply walks away.

Zane pulls his father aside.

“Dad… how could you? I asked you not to make a scene.”

“Son, you don’t understand. That man has no morals. I know him. Something happened years ago… your mother…”

“Dad, if I recall correctly, you had walked out on us. According to mom, Don was the one encouraging her to give you another chance when you came back.”

“She was still my wife! I… he… he had no right…”

“Dad, you need to get it together. I know you don’t like Don, but he’s my father-in-law and you can’t just go around punching people in the face.”

“Take mom and Isa home. And find a way to deal with your issues that doesn’t involve hitting anyone.”

“Our little baby girl got married today, babe. You should have seen her. Beautiful. Zane is a good man, you were right about them. He’ll make her happy.”

“Daniel is such a great kid. So smart too, just like Cora. And Brie is expecting your third grandchild. Third! You can be proud, babe. Your family is doing well. And I… I still miss you every single day.”

The old house in Willow Creek is too small and too full of memories of Alex, so Don agrees to move to Newcrest with Cora and Zane. Zane has also sold his apartment in San Myshuno.

Cora is working late tonight, but Zane appreciates the extra bonding time with Daniel.

When it’s time for bed, Daniel insists on having grandpa Don read him a story.

Grandpa Don always does the best voices.

A few weeks later, Don is up late, enjoying the silence, and a cup of tea in his “world best grandpa” mug.

His thoughts are disturbed by the sound of footsteps on the stairs, and Zane appears.

“You still up? Mind if I join?”

“Sure, go ahead. Can’t sleep?”

“No, I’ve been tossing and turning for over an hour. I guess I’m a bit nervous about tomorrow.”

“What’s the succes rate for each IVF treatment? Something like 50%, right?”

“Something like that. And I shouldn’t be nervous, Cora is the one having the procedure. And we won’t even know if it has worked for weeks. It just feels… big, you know?”

“Zane, it’s understandable that you’re nervous. You never expected to have kids, right? And I know you love Daniel, but this will still be different.”

“How did you do it, Don? It wasn’t until Cora told me that I even realised that Brielle wasn’t your daughter. To me, you always seemed to be her dad. I don’t want Daniel to feel left out when we have another baby.”

“You’ll do fine. Honestly, what I did was simply deciding that Brie was my daughter. Sure, Johnny’s genetics were involved, and he did visit and spend time with her, but a child can have more than one dad, right?”

“From what I’ve seen, you already treat Daniel like he’s yours. And you don’t even have some guy with his genetics dropping by constantly to remind you.”

“I guess you’re right, but… Daniel is literally blue. It’s not like I can forget he’s not mine.”

“Zane, Brie literally has her father’s face. I was constantly reminded. The point is, it doesn’t matter. I was also Brie’s father. I never treated the girls differently.”

“You’re right. I’m sure it’ll be fine. Just promise to hit me over the head if I ever neglect Daniel.”

“Zane, you know I don’t hit people.”

“I know, I was joking. But honestly. I kinda wish you’d punched my dad back at the wedding.”

“Yeah, that was a mess. I’m sorry about all the drama.”

“You’re sorry? My dad should be sorry. That reminds me, Isa actually asked me to apologise to you. I think she’s too embarrassed to contact you directly.”

“I hope she laid off the champagne after I left.”

“Actually, our friend Conor ended up taking her home. I think they’re still seeing each other.”

“Anyway, thanks for talking me through this, Don. I better try to get some sleep so I can be there for Cora tomorrow.”

“Sure thing. Daniel and I will be crossing our fingers at home.”

“Good luck tomorrow.”

5 thoughts on “Chapter 16

    • I mean, Don is not just a one-night stand to her, he’s a good friend that helped fix her marriage. (Although why you’d want your marriage to Wolfgang fixed is beyond me!) And her son is getting married to Don’s daughter, so they’re family now. Gotta meet the family.

      Morgan knows that Don is a good guy. I just don’t think she knows what kind of person Isabelle is 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Good for them! I do love the conversation Zane has with Don at the end: makes sense he’d need some support dealing with a situation he didn’t think he’d find himself in, and Don is a great role model for blended-family patriarch. Points for “some guy with his genetics.”

    Liked by 1 person

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