Robbie received the lab report which he went on to examine carefully.
Jamie and Ellie gathered close and scrutinized it with their big bright eyes.
The younger boy waited for some time before he asked, “Do you know what’s on it, Robbie?”
“I can recognize this,” Ellie said as she placed the tip of her plump index finger against the one-hundred percent figure on the report. “Can’t understand much of anything else though.”
“These two I know.” Jamie pointed to the text that came before that. “Paternity… is!”
Zachary was speechless.
He had been speaking to them so earnestly, but all the rambunctious trio seemed interested in discussing was which words they could read.
“Quit messing around, you two,” Charlotte said. “It’s okay if you can’t understand it, Robbie. Let Mommy…”
Robbie raised his head to regard Zachary. “It states that the probability of paternity is one-hundred percent. I know what that means.”
“That’s good.” Zachary nodded in relief. “So from now on…”
“Can I have a couple more questions answered?” Robbie asked. “Could I?”
“Of course you could. Please ask away.” Zachary was quite impressed with the boy’s assertiveness at his age.
“You didn’t know we’re yours before the discovery of my allergy, did you?” Robbie asked.
“Yes.” Zachary nodded.
“Would you have treated our Mommy and us equally well if you did not have this set of tests done?”
It was a crucial question that the boy had just tabled, and one which elevated the tension in the room in an instant.
The two other tots did not get the underlying implications and knew only to echo his words. “That’s right, would you?”
Mrs. Berry looked at Zachary intently, as she too was interested to know.
Charlotte was surprised at Robbie’s incisiveness. It was a question that she herself had not considered before.
Zachary deliberated before he offered up a response. “I was aware that she had kids right from the beginning, and was quite upset with her because I thought they were conceived with someone else. I must admit that I’ve overreacted and did some things that I’m not proud of. However…”
He raised his head to regard the three children, and continued with sincerity, “I’ve never once had the intention to harm any of you, nor have I hated your existence, and never have I considered giving up on your Mommy because of it. Therefore, my answer would be that I would have loved your mother and accepted all of you just the same, even if you were not of my own.”
His words touched Charlotte profoundly. When she revisited the countless occasions in which she had doubted him previously, he had not tried to harm the children once even while he was under the impression that they were Michael’s.
When she assumed that he was the one who had abducted her children when they went missing, he did not try to defend himself. Instead, he quietly went out to find them and return them to her. Even though he did threaten her then out of spite, he had not brought harm unto them, just like he said.
Out of consideration for the safety of the children when she got into some trouble, he had Spencer fetch the children and put them up with Henry. It may be a credit to his kindheartedness that he incidentally found out about Robbie’s allergy to the kiwi fruit, which in turn led him to the truth about their parentage.
He really was a tough talking softie.
“That’s good to know.” Mrs. Berry was almost tearing up at this point. “It’s beyond question that the children are yours. I know Miss all too well. She had kept herself chaste all these years and had never been with any other.”
“I know.” Zachary curled his lips.
“Thank you!” Robbie took a deep drawl before he continued, “The next question is, does Mr. Henry know that we are your kids? If he doesn’t, would he be able to accept us?”
“He doesn’t know yet.” Zachary thought Robbie was one with a rigorous mind, being able to adopt a multifaceted approach to considering issues. “He has always been fond of all of you, so I expect that he should be very happy when he does.”