Yeah, right, he chuckled to himself.
Well, in a way, it sort of was. This was the Olympics, it was being held in the USA-New York City, to be precise-and Evan, as of the past year, was the president of the United States Olympic Committee. So, in a way, this was his big show. But he really didn’t think of it that way-this show belonged to the athletes. Having been one, he knew that.
He was the very first president of the USOC to own an Olympic medal-a silver. Four years after Warren and Sophie had won the very first gold medal in ice dance, it had been repeated, but this time it was a one-two punch. Ryan Killen and Amy Lowell had won the gold. Evan and Courtney had won the silver. After that, Evan had decided to go into administration. He’d thought about the USFSA, but decided he wanted to work with more than figure skaters. It had been a rapid ascent to the top of the USOC totem pole.
Of course, he still had a soft spot for figure skaters. But he couldn’t think of that now-considering the Olympics that he was about to preside over was the Summer Olympics!
He left his office and headed over to the Athlete’s Village. Officials and stuff were also staying there, and he headed to the cafeteria, hoping Ilona was there. He quickly found her, and happily noted that she was chatting with some old friends.
"Warren! Sophie! How are you?"
"Evan!" Warren greeted him. "Hey, sit down."
"Don’t mind if I do," he grinned. "You corrupting my daughter?"
"Oh, Daddy," Ilona sighed. "I’m already corrupt."
"Uh-huh," Evan grinned, looking upon Ilona with affection. He’d adopted the pretty 14-year-old 11 years ago, from one of those notorious Romanian orphanages. Ilona herself was part of Romania’s large ethnic Hungarian minority-that’s why Evan picked her, considering he was the grandchild of Hungarian immigrants. He saw her in an overcrowded, decrepit orphanage in Cluj, and immediately fell in love. They made a good team.
"So, you’re doing double duty here, huh?" Evan teased Warren. "Daddy and Doctor."
"Yup. That’s one of the great things about being a sports doctor-I get to go to all these Olympics. This is like the fourth straight I’ve been asked to help out at."
"Well, we’ll get you for every one as long as I’m running the USOC."
"It’s a deal. Just don’t expect much from me this time at the swimming venue."
"No doubt," Evan laughed. "Betsy’s in a ton of events, isn’t she?"
"Yup. Let’s see-the 200 and 400 free, the 200 and 400 IM, and the 200 fly. Oh, plus the 4x200 free relay," Warren confirmed.
"And she’s the defending world champion in the two 400 meter events, and won a bronze in the 200 free, so she’s got a good shot at some hardware," Sophie added.
"Of course, she’ll have to go some distance to win more swimming medals that her honorary Aunt Sheila," Warren laughed.
"Too true," Evan agreed. "So how are your partners in crime at the practice, Doctors Carruthers and Bellamy?"
"Sheila and Kris are fine. Well, overworked without me there. We’re going to have to find a fourth for the practice soon anyway." He grinned. "They’re both pregnant."
"No shit!" Evan exclaimed.
"Yup. It’s Sheila and Brendan’s second, they have a little boy, he’s three. But Kris and Tom have been trying for some time, this is their first. They’re thrilled."
"I’ll bet," Evan laughed.
"Well, that kid’s at least going to be born into a normal family," Ilona teased.
"Oh, you love it and you know it," Evan teased back.
"Sure I do," Ilona volleyed. "Two fathers and two mothers telling me what to do!"
"Nobody tells you what to do," Evan returned. "Though I must admit, it’s an interesting situation."
"How exactly has it worked?" Warren asked.
"Well, the house is huge. Ilona has her own bedroom. Courtney’s two kids are sharing a bedroom, but that’s going to change. Shawna’s son has a bedroom. Matt and I share a bedroom, as do Shawna and Courtney, and then there’s an extra. Courtney and Matt sometimes use that, but we’re going to give it to the baby."
"So, who sleeps with who?" Sophia teased.
"Well, Matt sleeps with me and Courtney sleeps with Shawna. Except when Courtney’s sleeping with Matt, which generally happens once or twice a week. Sometimes Shawna and I sleep together," he grinned. "Actually, we generally do sleep together-and by that I mean sleep, and cuddle-if Matt and Courtney are together. And we’re just bi enough that we sometimes have sex-she’s the only woman I’d ever be comfortable doing that with, but we do it occasionally. It’s worked out amazingly well. Shawna and I got lucky. Having a relationship with a bi person can be difficult, especially for this long. It’s 15 years for the two of them, 9 for Matt and I. But Matt and Courtney have someone to scratch the hetero itch with, and they do genuinely love each other. And you know how I feel about Shawna. "
"And it’s worked for making babies," Warren grinned.
"Yes. Shawna’s son is mine, you guys know that. Both of Courtney’s are Matt’s. Shawna and I are happy with the one. Courtney and Matt may have another. And then there’s this one," he said, pointing at Ilona.
"The black sheep," Ilona laughed.
"The scourge of my existence," Evan joked, but it was plainly a joke. The affection between the two of them was palpable. "Still trying to figure out where she came from."
"Romania," Ilona deadpanned. "He doesn’t understand me," she told Sophia and Warren. "Of course, in that house, who would? The babies are still too young, but, outside of them, I’m the straightest person in that whole place. All these bisexual and gay parents-and I’m as hetero as it gets."
"The boys are already gathering," Evan laughed.
"Already? They’ve been gathering since I was eleven. I’m damn near irresistible," Ilona joked.
"Yeah, yeah," Evan laughed. "Now, you guys, you have the four, right?"
"Right. Betsy is 17, Alicia will be 14 in November, Curt is 10, and Isabelle is 8," Warren said.
"I was so happy when the Red Sox acquired Curt Schilling, I didn’t have to name a son Nomar," Sophia laughed.
"And are they-well, the two oldest anyway-definitely your kids?" Evan asked, grinning.
"Are they ever," Sophia laughed. "Betsy’s very sexually active. Has been for a while. She has a boyfriend now, for the last six months. He’s here, somewhere, we brought him with us. Prior to that, it was a different one every three weeks."
"Sounds like my kind of girl," Ilona interjected.
"Shaddap," Evan laughed.
Sophia laughed, then went on. "Anyway, Betsy’s very careful and smart, but it was a wee bit worrisome. She had no problem with sex, but even she worried if she were capable of falling in love. This one-Aidan-turned out to be different, so she’s very happy."
"Especially since the poor girl had Everlasting Love staring her in the face every day, and from her younger sister," Warren said.
"Alicia?" Evan asked.
"Yup," Warren confirmed. "You’ve met Ryan and Jessie’s oldest, Seamus, right? Seamus and Alicia have been joined at the hip since they were toddlers. You ask them when they started going out, and they’ll tell you, ‘Oh, when we were two.’ It’s not really an exaggeration."
"I think they first kissed when they were, like, seven," Sophia said. "I know they were doing naked fondling at eleven. And, last year, two months before her thirteenth birthday, Alicia marched up to Warren and me and said, ‘Seamus is taking my virginity on my birthday. Birth control pills, please?’ And that was that."
"They spend weekends in one of our houses," Warren said, "together. We make them separate on school nights, but they’re together on the weekend."
"That’s amazing," Ilona said.
"Yep," Warren agreed. "They’re practically married, and they’re 14 and 13 at the moment. It’s really quite cool. And they absolutely don’t have eyes for anyone else-and I doubt they ever will."
They met up again a few days later, in a break between events at the Olympic pool.
"So, how’s the practice?" Evan asked Warren
"Good. Like I said, we’re looking for a fourth, but we have some applicants. Maybe even a fifth. Of course, Jessie runs the place with an iron fist. You’d think she was the dictator and not just our head nurse. Sheila calls her Nurse Rached-which she likes, being Jessie and all." They all cracked up at that. "Like I said, though, it’s time to expand. I might do less of the day-to-day stuff and concentrate on this kind of thing. And spend more time relaxing."
"Less money, though, if you’re not billing," Evan said.
"Who needs it?" Warren laughed. "I actually never have to work another day in my life if I don’t want to."
"Still living off Sophie’s endorsement money from fifteen years ago?"
"Hardly," Sophia laughed. "That got us through Warren’s med school and residency. No, it’s an investment Warren made. Have you ever heard of Brenilaur Software?"
"Of course, they’re the number one games software in the country. You’re invested in Brenilaur?"
"At the ground floor, almost ten years ago, when the stock was peanuts, and before it split a gazillion times," Warren told him.
Evan whistled. "How did you manage that?"
"The ‘Bren’ in Brenilaur is Sheila’s husband, Brendan. The ‘Laur’ is my sister-in-law Laurel, my brother Ryan’s wife."
"Yeah, the two computer geniuses," Sophia laughed.
"I knew they were going to make it, so I got in. It’s been very lucrative."
"No shit," Evan laughed. "And what’s Ryan doing?"
"He’s actually the chief financial officer of Brenilaur. He did the NBA for a few years but that didn’t work out, so he got his MBA."
"He and Laurel have three kids of their own now," Sophia told him.
"And the rink is still going well?" Evan asked.
"You bet. Ryan Killen’s running the place now. Amy’s the chief dance coach. Tom and Allison work with the singles skaters," Sophia told him. "We don’t, unfortunately, have much of a pairs program."
"We have a great choreographer, though," Warren said, smiling at Sophie. "Of course, now Amy’s pregnant with her second."
"Eric’s a programmer at Brenilaur," Sophie said. "That’s my brother, Amy’s husband. He’s a programming genius. They have a two-year-old girl."
"And your stepsister Kate? She just had a big showing, didn’t she?"
"Yep, at a big gallery in Manhattan. Her paintings are selling well. She and Chad have two kids. Chad’s with the Patriots now, as of two years ago," Sophia said. "That’s good, I missed Kate when they were living in Green Bay and then Cleveland. Chad figures he’s got a couple of years left."
"Yeah, we miss Crash and Liz. They still live in California, so we only see them occasionally," Warren added. "They have two kids and we’ve only met them, like, three times."
"Well, you see Liz on TV all the time," Evan laughed.
"True enough," Warren agreed. "The new Peggy Fleming up in the commentator’s booth. She loves doing it, too."
"Got to put those two gold medals to good use," Evan laughed.
"Yup. Especially since the second one was such a close thing," Sophia said.
"It sure was," Evan remembered. "Of course, Alison got hers, four years later."
"How’s the rink out in Detroit?" Sophia asked.
"You should know, we’ve had a dance team win Nationals the past three years. Two different teams. Beating out all of yours," Evan teased.
"Shawna and Courtney do a good job. We’d like to get more in the way of disciplines other than Dance, but the dance program is so strong, that sustains us."
They all met up again on the last day of swimming. Evan had invited them all to watch the end of the meet from the USOC president’s box. Even Betsy was there, having finished her events the day before.
"So, what’s that, three golds, a silver, and a bronze?" Evan asked her.
"Yep," Betsy said happily. "Golds in the two 400 meter events and the relay, silver in the 200 free, and bronze in the 200 fly. I choked in the 200 IM."
"Hey, you can’t win them all," Warren teased her.
"Right. I just wanted to win two. You know, one more than my parents," she laughed.
"Of course," Evan agreed, while Sophia just smirked at her. "So, you going to try to stay in for another four years?"
"I think so," Betsy said. "We’ll have to see. Right now, college is the big thing. I’m going to be a senior, so I have to start thinking about colleges. And that’s a problem-because I’m not sure I want to go too far away, and there aren’t a lot of high-level collegiate swimming programs in New England, so I’m torn."
"Her Aunt Sheila is, of course, pushing Stanford," Warren joked.
"Like you wouldn’t believe," Betsy laughed. "But California’s so far away."
"Is the boyfriend a factor in your decision?" Evan grinned, pointing at Aidan, who was chatting with Warren.
"Not really. Aidan can go anywhere. We think we want to go together, but Aidan gets good grades, and he wants to major in accounting, which you can do most anywhere."
"We keep telling her that Wisconsin has a competitive swimming program for a northern school," Sophia joked.
"Yeah, yeah," Betsy laughed. "Actually, I’m looking into Maryland. They’re not Stanford, but they have a decent swimming program and it’s not too far away."
They watched the swimming for a while after that. After the women’s 50 meter freestyle, a Dutch swimmer came out of the water, clearly in pain from cramping of some sort. She collapsed on the pool deck.
"I think duty calls," Warren said with a chuckle, and made his way down to the pool deck.
"He loves being useful," Sophia laughed. "He jokes about retiring, but he’d never be able to do it completely. Hell, some of the Red Sox and Bruins use him as a doctor-he gets all jazzed about that. He’d never be able to give it up completely."
"At least he isn’t in a specialty that requires him to work all hours," Evan pointed out.
"Yes, that’s a fringe benefit. He’s home most of the time at night and on weekends. He loves being a Dad, so he likes to be home with the kids as much as possible."
"And he loves you," Evan teased.
"Yes, he does," Sophia agreed with a smile. "And I love him. It’s a great life. It really is."
Thus concludes-finally-the tale of Sophia and Warren. It’s been three-plus years in the telling, but it really has been a labor of love. I’ve fallen in love with both of them, and all their friends and family.
When I started this thing, I knew it was going to be epic. I also knew that I liked it, and loved the characters. But I never, for a second, expected the response it’s gotten. It’s been amazing and thrilling how so many people took Warren and Sophia into their hearts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
There may be more here. Remember when I shifted Sophia’s cousin Siobhan to Stanford, to room with Sheila Mitchell? There’s a story in there. Betsy may have a story. And there’s definitely a story in the courtship of Seamus and Alicia-which, if I write it, will probably be the most sickeningly-sweet thing I’ve ever written, and considering me, that’s saying a lot ‹G›.
However, those are stories for another time.