EPILOGUE: REAGAN LEEDS: RUN THE WORLD
Over two years have since past since Mom came back into our lives. She’s fitting in like never before and we’re all so happy that she’s here with us. Let me tell you about everything that’s happened. The biggest thing to happen in our family since Mom’s return, is that Kennedey, yes Kennedey became a mom!
Let me explain how all this happened. Do you remember the little girl, Lila in Kennedey’s art class at the Youth Center? Well, Lila was in and out of foster homes for most of her young life. This all happened nearly a year after Mom’s arrival. Lila came to live with The last foster home she was in before she went to Kennedey’s was horrible. The people were very mentally and verbally abusive to Lila and the other kids. The Child Protective Service of Isla Paradiso had an emergency hearing and needed to find a home for Lila and the other kids right away. It was hard finding another suitable home on such short notice.
Mrs. Shelman, Lila’s social worker, asked Kennedey if she would consider becoming Lila’s new foster mother, since Lila had taken such a liking to Kennedey. She was the only adult she trusted. Kennedey’s heart broke for Lila, but she wasn’t sure how she would be able to turn everything around and have Lila come to stay with her. Kennedey was afraid that she didn’t know how to be a good mother. I assured her how good she is with Marseille and I even let my baby stay the night with her and Marseille always comes back home happy and in once piece.
Once Kennedey agreed to become Lila’s temporary foster mother, Mrs. Shelman arranged an accelerated vetting process in order for Kennedey to get approved by child welfare. Kennedey had to get a bigger house since hers was a loft. Lila would require her own room. Kennedey moved out of her home and found a bigger house near Mom to rent. This was very convenient since Mom’s schedule is flexible with her studio, she is able to help Kennedey out. I’ll tell you more about that later.
Lila loved living with Kennedey and Kennedey grew to love Lila very much. It was always understood that Lila would stay with Kennedey temporarily until they found another suitable foster home or she was adopted. The sad thing is, no one ever talks about, is that many children Lila’s age don’t get adopted. The older a child gets the harder it is for them to find a permanent family. When Lila came to live with Kennedey she was only seven years old, but she was no longer a baby, or even a toddler.
Kennedey and Lila loved one another , and we loved having Lila in our family. I felt like an aunt, but it hurt me to know that some day, she wouldn’t be around any longer. At the thought of losing her, Kennedey decided to talk to Mrs. Shelman about the necessary steps she would need to take in order to possibly adopt Lila permanently. Mrs. Shelman was very happy to hear that Kennedey wanted to keep Lila, but the Isla Paradiso child welfare services needed to make sure Kennedey would be a suitable parent.
They found Lila’s natural father and he signed away his parental rights. Child Welfare had long since terminated Lila’s birth mother’s rights. After a rigorous process, nearly a year after she came to live with her, Kennedey was able to officially adopt Lila as her own. Lila became Lila Leeds.
The family was so happy. We already loved Lila and became attached to her that it would’ve hurt if she had to leave. I was officially an instant auntie. I loved having a niece. Now I had someone to spoil and dress up. Yes, I dress up Marsy, but she’s only a toddler and I have much more flexibility with Lila’s clothes. As much as Kennedey loved spoiling my daughter and leaving the consequences up to Jay and I to handle, now I can pay her back a little.
Lila loves to shop with me and the clothes we find for her. She’s very much like her mother, but she’s a little style diva in the making thanks to me.
Lila is such a sweet and caring child. She loves Marsy to pieces, just like a little sister and Marsy loves her just as much. She’ll ask me just about every day if she can go play with “Li Li and see Auntie Kenney”. It’s so cute, hearing my baby talk. She’s a social butterfly like her Daddy and I, so she talks a lot and loves being around people.
As much fun as Lila loves to hang out with me, she’s so much like her mother. It’s as if Kennedey gave birth to Lila herself. For one, the school received Kennedey’s permission to test Lila. They found that she was highly intelligent and very gifted for someone her age. Just like Kennedey, Lila excelled in art and other subjects in school. Kennedey told me that Lila often complained that school was boring for her. Kennedey figured out that it wasn’t challenging enough for her. So, just like Kennedey, Lila ended up skipping a grade. Instead of entering fourth grade as a nine year old, she instead entered the fifth grade.
Before playing with her toys or watching cartoons, Lila chose to either read or play chess. It wasn’t anything Kennedey told she had to do, but Lila’s natural inclination.
Another major thing that happened to Kennedey, is that Micah finally popped the question. Of course Kennedey said yes. We were all so happy for her. Micah has assimilated well into our family over the last two years.
Sure, he is still who he is, but he found out that none of us were trying to change him. I teased him that Kennedey and my mother are both oddballs and they work well in our family and so will he. Micah encouraged Kennedey to adopt Lila and promised her his full support. While his band, Edge of Anarchy continues to do well and have played at some very impressive and widely popular music festivals. Once Kennedey and Micah walked down the aisle, Micah would adopt Lila too, and she will become Lila Leeds-Dalloway.
Kennedey asked Micah if Lake was okay with them getting married. Surprisingly, Lake is fine with it and he seemingly has gotten over me. You wouldn’t believe who he started to date, Mari Sol Meija, yes, Martina’s twin sister. Go figure. Now, not only was Martina tied to me through my husband, but my sister as well. Well, that’s life. All in all, I’m just happy that Kennedey has everything she’s ever wanted and a whole lot more. (I must say, my old clothes look good on Kennedey, I love how her style has evolved).
Once Lila became an official part of our family, we had a shower of sorts; really a welcome to the family party for Lila. We all brought presents, a cake, and a few games. (Can you believe, my mom and Marcia can even stand to be in the same room with each other. It was awkward at first, but we’ve learned to make it work).
Lila bonded with Daddy and Mom soon after she came to live with Kennedey. Although she was still Kennedey’s foster daughter at the time, Daddy and Mom told Lila she could call them Grandaddy and Nani. I could tell that meant a lot to Lila and for the first time in her life, she had a real family.
Within six months of filing, Mom and Daddy’s divorce was finalized. Their twenty-five year marriage had come to an end. I couldn’t truly say how I felt about it once it was all over. I was happy that they could move on with the rest of their lives, but it was kind of sad that we weren’t that same family unit any longer.
Daddy and Marcia didn’t jump right up and get back together as soon as the ink was printed on the paper, but rather they eased into their relationship. They’d built up that trust again and Marcia realized she had nothing to worry about when it came to Mom. At least she said she didn’t, but I know deep down, Marcia will always keep one eye open whenever Mom was around.
Daddy and Marcia weren’t getting any younger and they’ve raised their families. I suppose when you get their age, you pretty know what you want. I guess it shouldn’t have come as a real shock to Kennedey and I when Daddy told us, he was getting married again. I was stunned, but at least he waited over six months after the divorce to up and take another wife. Mom claimed she was cool with it. I believe she was, but I could tell, there was just a small ache inside of her that will always hurt that she and my father couldn’t work things out.
After Daddy and Marcia announced their engagement and she invited all of us to Appaloosa Plains to meet her children, David and Alana; my would-be step brother and sister. So it was off to Appaloosa for Kennedey and I to meet our new relatives.
David and Alana were younger than Kennedey and I. Alana was in her last year of college and David was nearly finished with grad school. Both of them were very pleasant. I didn’t know how I would feel about them initially, but they had great personalities. They were also quite mature for their age. I soon realized they had a lot of Marcia in them, which is why I liked them. Marcia is a very sweet person, it’s hard to imagine her having any real enemies, I suppose I could add Mom as a non-enemy at this point.
Marcia sold her house and moved in with Daddy here on IP. By the time summer came around they were married. It seemed to happen so quickly. It was a small simple ceremony. It gave me a good feeling that my father had found happiness again.
About a year after Amarre and Martina had Sapphire, Tomo Miami opened to rave reviews. After all the hard work and trouble Amarre went through to see this day, was well worth it he says. I haven’t been in the club in so long. The last time I was there, was at Tomo’s anniversary party. Now that I’m a wife and mommy, my priorities are totally different. Don’t get me wrong, I love the club when I go, I just don’t live for it as I once did.
Jade and Jayson, who were now in a serious relationship also made an appearance at the opening. Briah and Apollo also came out from IP. Things have been rocky between Jade and Briah for some time now. They’ll be cool one minute and the next there’s back and forth between them within the family. With both of them equally complaining to me, gives me a headache and try not to side too much with either or to keep the peace. But mostly I see that it’s Jade being funny style.
Amarre and Martina have has some major ups and downs in their relationships. Within a year of having Sapphire, some major news was dropped on the family. One of Martina’s so-called friends, Asia told Amarre that Martina planned to get pregnant on purpose in order to get him back. She went off her birth control and lied and said her medication had interfered with it. I remember that Jaylen had suspected something like that at the time, but he couldn’t be for sure.
What made Martina’s back stabbing friends give her up, you may ask? Well, Asia tried to give Amarre the draws on the sly, behind Martina’s back. When Amarre rejected her advances, she got angry and told him about Martina’s plot. Once Amarre confronted Martina, she had no other choice but admit to what she did.
Amarre was angry with her for a long time and no one honestly expected for them to be together. Everyone in Jay’s family gave Martina the side eye for that low down mess, especially Yuri. She was angry at Martina, but ultimately she made herself be okay with it because Sapphire was already here and she loved her. When Amarre was unsure if he could get past Martina’s betrayal, it was Yuri that made he realize that maybe his relationship was fighting for since the baby is here.
No one ever doubted that Sapphire was Amarre’s, she looked just like him. She was such a daddy’s girl and Amarre was in love with his daughter. For Amarre to have such a long stick up his behind for most of the time I’ve known him, fatherhood calmed him down and he eased up significantly. He’s not as uptight as he used to be and realizes he can’t plan for everything.
It took a while for Martina to gain Amarre’s trust again, but eventually they worked things out. Right before Amarre found out what Martina had done, he was ready to propose to her, but he ended up putting it off for another year. Now, they were happy again, engaged, and planning their wedding sometime in the future.
Okay, on to my “relationship” with Martina. As you know, much of interactions with Martina have been volatile over the years. We could never manage to get along. Once I confronted her in the club that one time, I never thought of her again, not until I saw her with her tongue down Amarre’s throat that time in his and Jaylen’s living room. Needless to say I was beyond annoyed I would have to deal with that girl yet again.
Once I saw that Amarre was serious about her, I knew there was no getting rid of her. I didn’t set out to get her ousted from our circle, but I would’ve liked if she just went away or if Amarre found someone else. Once the wedding came around I sought to squash my beef with Amarre. The tension between Jaylen and his brother was high, and I hated being in the middle of all of that. Jaylen is important to me, therefore his family was too.
I started hearing through the grapevine (mainly Jade) that Martina was crazy jealous once Jaylen put a ring on it and even more so when I got pregnant. Martina wanted what I had for herself and she was irritated I was living the life she desired. I couldn’t say I was completely shocked when she wound up pregnant months after I did. When Jay suspected she had a keep a man baby, I did too, but I wanted to stay out of it.
I realized that no matter what happened with Amarre and Martina as far as their relationship, I would have to deal with her for the rest of my life, namely because our daughters were related. In a few words, she and I had to make nice. No, we’re not best friends, we don’t have lunch dates and braid each others hair, but we’re cordial.
I think the first time Martina came over to our house with Amarre and Sapphire, she was just as amazed as I was that she was there. Jaylen and I invited her over as a show of goodwill. Our babies are cousins and we knew they’ll grow up together. Now that a couple of years have past, Marseille and Sapphire are doing more than growing up together as cousins, they’re each others best friends. They love each other and ask for one another all the time. They’re as close as two toddlers can be. Yuri said she the only other time she saw kids their age this close, is when Jaylen and Amarre were babies.
Marsy and Sapphy had a deep connection. Martina and I had to get along for their sake. Both of them have sleepovers at least every week. One night Marseille will be over there with Sapphire, or Sapphire will be over here with us.
Every so often Amarre and Martina come over for dinner when the rest of my family isn’t around. At first it was weird having her in my home, but now I’ve sort of gotten used to it.
We don’t really engage in too deep of a conversation, but we’re cordial and usually just listen to our men conversing or our kids speaking toddler talk, which can be hard to decipher at times.
We see each other whenever Yuri and Kevin are in town. They bought a beautiful large home overlooking the water on the East Island. It’s bigger than their home in New York, but they wanted to have a lot of space for Marseille and Sapphire to play around. And soon enough they’ll have even more grandchildren to add to their count.
Mom is still renting out the little house she found shortly after she moved out of the hotel. She’s adjusting well to life in IP. After a couple of more years of saving and a bank loan, she was able to open her own dance studio near downtown.
I know that it was my mother’s life long dream to become a famous dancer, but things didn’t turn out that way. But Mom says she had a new dream and it came true once she got her family back. She soon realized that she didn’t have to stop dancing, but she could show the art of something she loved so much to others.
The dance studio which she named Caribbean Dreams Dance, is doing quite well. Mom teaches several classes of traditional ballet, Afro-Caribbean dance, modern dance, and hip hop for all different age groups and levels. Yes, my mother still dances hip hop. She started in the eighties and progressed into early nineties hip hop, which in my opinion was the golden age not just in the music in hip hop, but the whole style as a culture.
Mom never got down with all that booty shaking twerking, and bass dancing southern and Miami music that became so popular in the mid to late nineties. She teaches her students the traditional style with a modern twist and it’s one of her most popular classes. She has a couple of dance assistants on her team that help along in the lessons. My mom may be well into her forties, but she moves like a twenty year old.
As much as Mom loves teaching all of her students at the school, there are two very special students she gives private ballet lessons to once a week, Marseille and Lila. It brought her a lot of joy to be able to share something she loved so much with her granddaughters. Kennedey and I brought the kids to their lessons and we would sit there and reminisce how much we loved to dance with Mom when we were little. It was like looking back through time. To share that moment again through my daughter is one of the most precious moments I’ll ever have.
Marseille and Lila enjoy learning dance too. Not only is it fun for them, but they get to spend one to two hours more with their grandma each week. Marsy is still very little, so she can’t practice as long as Lila and many of the moves she makes up on her own. They both look so cute together. It’s a time for all of us girls to get together and spend quality time with each other. We might as well, because Daddy and Jaylen make it their excuse to turn on some football or basketball game and bond that way.
Eventually Mom did make go to Miami again when Nani and Nana went up there to visit the rest of their kids. She figured it was about time to make nice with her siblings again. She has spoken with a few of them over the telephone, but things were still very tense between her, Uncle Anthony, and Auntie Aurora. Things were little Awkward for her when she saw them, but they managed to put a lot of their differences behind them. The situation between Auntie Aurora and Mom is still tense, but I think they’ll get past this. Some in the family gave Mom a hard time about leaving, but generally speaking they were happy she was back and doing well.
Even after all of that and Mom returning to IP, we later heard Aurora and Patrice still talking mess about Mom. I know my mother and the damage her clap back is capable of having, but she controlled
herself and chose to focus on the positive things in her life, namely us. After all, we were all that mattered to Mom in the end.
Another major change to my life, is my work as a model. No, I haven’t done any major runway shows or shoots since I first got pregnant. I’m still a spokes model for Cover Girl and a I have a few other beauty and hair endorsements that pay me pretty well. I have to do print work for their campaigns from time to time, but nothing like the grind I was in during my supermodel days.
I could go back to modeling full time if I wanted to, but ever since I first got pregnant with Marseille, I knew that my life had changed. I loved my work, but I loved being a mommy more. I was fortunate that I had a husband that made good money and I could live off the endorsements I had. I wanted to spend as much time with Marseille as possible. I don’t ever see myself going back to modeling the same way I used to and I’m perfectly fine with that.
What I have ventured off into doing was designing the beginning stages of my infant and toddler line. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to wait about another year to get pregnant, because I wanted to launch my line in the near future, but it’ll have to be put on hold. Taylor, Jazz, and Lana were excited about my designs and vision. I wanted to bring cute, quality clothes for babies that normal people can actually afford. I didn’t come from money and I surely didn’t forget where I came from.
Yes, as you can see, I am expecting another baby, a boy this time. I can’t tell you how excited Jaylen was when he found out he was going to have a son. Jaylen was very excited for Marseille, but it’s different with boys. Jaylen is happy he has someone to carry on his name. We’re naming the baby Neko, Neko Raymond Powers, after Daddy.
We’ve tried to explain to Marseille that she’s going to be a big sister soon. Jaylen and I have bought books to help her learn, little baby boy dolls and I have her touch my stomach and explain to her Neko is still getting ready to come inside Mommy. Marsy seems happy (she’s always happy) but I don’t think she quite understand what this all means just yet.
I hope she’s okay once Neko comes along. She’s been the baby in the house and the family for over two years now and she’s gotten quite used to her role. Marseille is also very spoiled thanks to her daddy, my daddy, and my mom. Jaylen would let her get away with murder. She has no chill when it comes to getting her way with her father. Marseille is very sweet and she loves everyone, but she knows her daddy is wrapped around both of her little fingers. The ultimate daddy’s girl.
Mom can’t help but want to spoil her and Lila. She feels as if by doing so, she can make up for not being able to with Kennedey and I. In Marseille’s case, she also feels as if she is in comparison to Yuri. Marseille’s other grandparents can afford a lot more material things than Mom and she often feels badly that she won’t be able to give Marsy as much as them.
I tell her, Marseille doesn’t care about that stuff. What will really matter to her is that she has her love. I can remember wanting Mom to just be my mommy more than wanting toys or clothes when I was a kid. Besides, Mom sees Marseille all the time and they’re closer than with her and Yuri. It’s the same with Daddy, he’s closer to Marsy than Kevin is, although she loves Jaylen’s parents too. Marseille loves everyone and often says, “I love you, Mommy, I love you, Daddy, I love you, Grandaddy, I love you, Nani, I love you, Auntie, and I love my baby brother in Mommy’s tummy.”
Jaylen is like fine wine, he only gets better with age. My man is everything, my king. Not only is he a great father, wonderful husband, and business man, he continues to put it down in the bedroom more than a few times a week with no let up. Yes, I may be pregnant, but that hasn’t stopped us. Shoot all that love making is what got me in this position again. This time around we planned for it, sort of. Jaylen and I decided to wait until Marseille started pre-school before I got pregnant again, only it happened several months before our plan.
I was happy as can be and the rest of the family was anticipating Neko’s arrival. Daddy was just as sprung about having a boy as Jaylen was. Now, he’ll have someone else to toss a football around with since Kennedey and I weren’t the least bit interested.
Daddy was also very happy when Jaylen and I got married because he felt like he has a son and they get on like a lot of fathers do. I asked Jay once if Kevin minded that he and Daddy was so close, but he wasn’t bothered at all. Matter of fact Kevin, Jaylen, and Daddy hang out a lot when he and Yuri are in town. Even Micah comes along on their excursions from time to time.
I guess that’s about it as far as the Leeds/ Powers Family Dynasty. It’s been a wild ride and I’ve gotten some bumps and bruises along the way. But if I had to do it all over again, I probably would minus some of the uglier things I experienced. But like I said before, I live my life with no regrets, and from here on out, things are only going to get better.