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Chapter 10: The Donovan Kids Arrive

"Jeannie!" Kim hugged her daughter as she entered the baggage claim area.  

Jeannie said nothing until Kim released her, then looked her mom in the eyes.  "Tell me what's going on."

"You are so much like your Uncle Bo," Kim said, shaking her head with a mix of admiration and exasperation.  Like the world needed a female Bo Brady.

"Nah, I have a distinct lack of facial hair."  They both laughed.

"We'll talk when we get home."  She looked over at the monitor displaying arriving flights.  "Andrew should be getting through customs right around when we get your bags."

"Oh, no need."  Jeannie motioned to her laptop case and shoulder bag.  "I packed light.  So where to?"

Normally, Kim would have brought the car around and moved it closer to Andrew's terminal.  That was the problem with LAX; like so much of LA, it was too spread out.  But walking would allow her to think and avoid uncomfortable silence for the moment.  The International Terminal was not that far away.

Jeannie took the lead, and it gave a chance for Kim to study her daughter.  She strode confidently through the crowds, easily maneuvering her rolling laptop case around them.  It was hard not to notice some of the glances Jeannie got from men as she passed, which was pretty funny considering the girl was wearing jeans, a sweatshirt with "YALE" emblazoned on it, no makeup, and her blond hair pulled back in a loose ponytail.  She clearly was not the fashionista that her cousins and even her brother tended to be.  Jeannie must have realized that she had gotten ahead of her mom, because she stopped and looked back.  "You coming?"

Kim sped up.  She was starting to feel a bit shaky, not from her illness, just from the anticipation of telling her children about the cancer.  Her illness would devastate Jeannie; they had always been so close, almost best friends.  And Andrew, after living so far away for so many years, well, she just didn't know.  He was no longer her baby boy, and with the war and the mysterious disappearance of the father he idolized. . . .

"Andy!" Jeannie shrieked as they passed through the doors into Terminal 4.  Their timing perfect, he was just coming through the walkway from customs, pushing a cart with three cases on it.  Kim's eyes began to tear as her children embraced.  They seemed so different next to each other.  Jeannie, so petite and blond; Andrew, tall with dark wavy hair like his father.  Her children broke apart and Andrew approached his mother.

"Mum," he said softly.  His grey-green eyes betrayed little, but he held his arms open to give her a hug.  There was something about his manner that took her back so many years, back to a time when she knew that if she felt hurt, she could always find solace in comforting arms.  Her resolve broke, and she buried herself against her son's chest.  His strong arms wrapped around her. 

"It's okay," Andrew said, softly yet obviously stunned.  He looked over at Jeannie, the confused expression on her face a mirror of his own.  "Mum?"  When Kim pulled away, he could see the tears running down her cheek.

She touched his cheek and studied his face.  He had so many of his father's features.  His hair might be a lighter brown and shorter than Shane normally wore his hair, but it had the same thick, wavy texture.  Andrew also had the same cheekbones and the high forehead as Shane.  She kissed Andrew's cheek, ignoring the way he tensed slightly.  "It's so good to have you home."  Then she turned to Jeannie and pulled her into their embrace.  "It's been so long . . . so long since I've had my babies with me.  I love both of you so much."  She looked at them again and saw that Jeannie was glancing around the terminal, obviously embarrassed by her mom's display.  Kim stepped back and shrugged.  "Aw, look at me.  I'm just being silly.  Let's go home."

She turned toward the door and led her bewildered children to the car.  There would be time enough for tears later.