Merry Christmas and Happy 2020

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*Alex's POV*
*December 24, 2019*

I pull Erica onto my lap, "Have you been a good girl this year?" "Yes, I have been" Erica giggles. "How long has dad been with her?" Dylan asks. "2 and a half weeks now" Lillian says. "It's nice to see him with someone new. Mom's been dating someone for 5 years and is engaged" Dylan says. "Well, they both deserve to be happy and it seems like they both are" Dianna says.

Erica goes out to the kitchen, "Hi Jake. Having a nice Christmas Eve so far?" "Not really, I just found out that my brother broke out of prison and the police are looking for him" Jake tells Erica. "I thought he was in a maximum security prison" Erica says. Jake looks up, "He was, but he managed to escape when the guards were breaking up a fight in the cell block he was in". "Is there anything I can do?" Erica asks. "I think you did enough by representing his in-laws" Jake says. "I'm sorry, Jake but the jury at his trial heard from both sides and saw the evidence which is why they found him guilty of first degree murder" Erica says. "I'm sorry for taking my problems out on you. I'm just frustrated with my brother" Jake says. "I understand. My sister, Taylor's also in prison for the same thing" Erica says. "Is that why you decided to go to law school?" Jake says. "Yeah, it is. The only thing is she's innocent and I'm doing my best to get her a retrial, but without any evidence to prove that she's innocent. No judge will take our case" Erica sighs.

"I hope you find something to prove her innocence" Jake tells me. "How come you're not doing the same for Henry?" Erica asks. "Because he's not innocent and he changed his story when he was being questioned" Jake admits. Erica looks at Jake, "So, you're not mad that my firm represented his in-laws?" "No, I'm not. You were representing the right side and Jill's parents were very grateful when they heard the sentencing" Jake says. "Thank you, I was a bit worried about that" Erica admits. "You're welcome, Erica. Also, I can see how Alex looks at you and his parents like you" Jake says.

I wrap my arms around Erica, "Everything ok here?" "Yeah, I think so. Jake's brother escaped from prison, though" Erica says. "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope they find him soon" I tell Jake. "Thanks Alex. I hate that he did this, especially with it being Christmas Eve" Jake says. "Yeah, I know. Just get your mind on something else and I'm sure that the police will find him" I say. "Yeah, you're right. I have a baby on the way and that's more important than worrying about my brother" Jake tells me.

Tyler comes in, "Merry Christmas, aunt Lil and uncle Martin". "Merry Christmas, Tyler" Lillian and Martin say. Erica comes out with me, "Tyler". "Erica? I didn't know you knew my aunt and uncle" Tyler says. "Yeah, I just met them a couple of weeks ago since Alex took me to the banquet for your uncle" Erica says. Tyler looks at me, "I had no clue you even knew her". "We're neighbors and now a couple. So, how do you know her?" I ask. "We went to school together and I took her to prom when she was a junior and I was a senior" Tyler says. "What a small world this is. My brother is dating the same girl you had a crush on in high school" Dianna says. Erica looks at Tyler, "You had a crush on me?" "Yeah, I did. I was gonna ask you out back in high school, but once prom came around. You had just broken up with Ryan and I didn't think it was the right time to ask you out, but you were sweet enough to go to prom with me" Tyler admits. "I forgot that I was even dating him. Ryan Andrews, now there's a jerk who just didn't like hearing the word no" Erica shakes her head.

"Why did you date him, then?" I ask. "Cause I was 16 and didn't listen to my friends when they warned me about him" Erica admits. I caress Erica's cheek with my thumb, "I think your exes helped you grow into the woman you are today and I'm lucky to be your boyfriend". Erica smiles, "I did deal with a lot of pain thanks to them and now I'm with you and you've gotta be the sweetest man I've ever met". "You ok, Ty?" Lillian asks. "Yeah, I'm fine. I guess I missed my chance with Erica since Alex is with her" Tyler says. "They're cute together and I guess they had an instant connection when they met nearly 3 weeks ago" Lillian says.

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