Ch. 7 Reunion

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Jo was a little surprised when Dino came home from work without her brother in tow. He was always at their place since he said his was too quiet with his family gone. She was thankful for it, it made it a lot easier to watch out for him and make sure he didn't do anything stupid. The fact he wasn't there the very same day Angela revealed they were expecting was a huge red flag. Jo had been elated when her sister-in-law had called to tell her the news, and then her elation became fear. She knew exactly why Angela had called her. She had to keep Juice in Texas, a feat she knew would be easier said than done. She figured her husband would do his best to help her, but now, she had a feeling she was mistaken. She raised an eyebrow at him, taking a sip of her wine as she watched Dino kiss each of their sons before going to the fridge for a beer. He leaned over to kiss her cheek. "What's up, buttercup?" he asked, popping the top off his beer.

"Nothin'. Where's my brother?" she replied suspiciously.

Dino shrugged a shoulder, refusing to look at her as he inspected what she had cooking in the big pot. "At his place, checking on Rigs."

She crossed her arms over her chest, not buying his answer in the least. "Uh-huh. He wouldn't be...packing for a trip now, would he?" she questioned, smirking when Dino shook his head. "Look at me, Dean. Where is my brother?"

Dino scowled, lifting his head to look at her. "He's at home packing, all right? Because his wife is pregnant, and I totally understand his need to be with her right now because if it were me, I'd move hell and earth to get to you."

Jo tried to be mad at him. Tried to work up the anger to yell at him for being such a moron and letting her brother think it was a smart move to go back. She couldn't, though, because deep down, she understood that kind of love and loyalty. "Ugh. You suck."

" 'cause you know I'm right, right?" he said with a huge grin.

She did, but she wasn't about to admit it. "No, because now I gotta go fix this," she shot back, sticking her tongue out at him. She pecked his lips quickly before gently slapping his cheek in a loving way. "Feed your children, I'll be back in a minute."

Dino waved her away, calling to the kids to get their plates while she rushed out the back door towards her brother's house. She loved how close he was to her now. Loved that the only thing separating their houses was the wooden fence with the cute little door in between. The kids went freely between backyards during the day, laughing as they ran through with Rigs tailing them. It was perfect, everything she had always wanted. She'd missed her brother the few years they'd lost contact. She'd only kept her distance to keep from bothering him. She regretted that now. Maybe if she'd intervened earlier, she could've saved him some heartache. Sighing, she opened his back door, stepping inside and grinning as their big dog ran to her. "Hello handsome," she cooed to Rigs, leaning over to kiss his head. " 'm here to stop your Dad from making the worst decision ever, then I'll come down and give you some love, okay?"

She scratched him behind the ears one last time before climbing the stairs and going to the master bedroom. The door was open, and she leaned against its jamb watching her brother neatly put things into an open suitcase. "Where ya goin'?" she asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Charming to be with my pregnant wife," Juice answered without looking up.

"You know you can't do that, Wonka."

He glared at her for a moment before throwing the shirt in his hand back into the suitcase. "Try to stop me," he dared, mirroring her stance. "This is my wife. I need to be there for her. I'm not gonna let her do this alone again."

Jo had to fight the urge to laugh. She'd seen this obstinate look on her brother's face many times when they were growing up and it never lasted long. He'd always been a bit of a pushover. "Don't be stupid, Juan," she said on a scowl. "She's gonna be fine. You go and you're puttin' your life on the line, ya idiot! Ain't gonna be useful to her if you're six feet under."

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