Sixteen years had passed since the twins were born. Robert was twenty years old and attending the University of Albuquerque on a basketball scholarship. He had followed in his father's footsteps and Troy couldn't have been more proud of him. Easton and Everly were both sophomores in high school. Easton was on the junior varsity basketball team at East High. Jack, Troy's father, was still coaching the wildcats but was planning on retiring as soon as the twins graduated. Easton was following in Troy's footsteps as well, but he also had a love for the law. He wanted to study law like Gabriella and start working with her at the firm. Everly was always trying to make her parents proud of her. Unlike her brothers, Everly didn't play basketball. She loved to dance. Everly loved modern dance and had been taking classes since she was eight years old. Being the only daughter, Everly was introverted. She expressed herself through dance. Troy and Gabriella were supportive of her dancing because they felt it allowed her to say what she couldn't say, which was something that the couple had struggled with in the past. Troy had changed careers in the sixteen years since we last saw him. He had gone back to school and started to pursue a dream of working in human resources. The Bolton family had also moved out of their old house and into a bigger home so that the kids had space to spread out. Life was crazy for the Bolton family, but they always were able to get through anything that life threw at them.
"Mom, I am going to be late to dance if we don't leave now" Everly said.
Gabriella walked into the entryway of the house and looked at Everly.
"Ev, you won't be late" Gabriella said.
The two girls left the house. Gabriella dropped Everly off at her dance class. That night, Gabriella and Everly had returned home. Easton and Troy were talking about the basketball game that was coming up the following week.
"Hey Ev, how was dance?" Troy asked his daughter.
"Fine. We are working on the big piece for our show. You will be able to make it, right?" Everly said.
"Yeah, your mom and I were planning on it" Troy said.
"Isn't Everly's show the same day as the game?" Gabriella asked.
"Guess you will have to do this one alone, Ev" Easton said.
Everly sighed and ran upstairs. Troy looked at Easton.
"Why did you have to say something like that?" Troy asked.
"Dad, she doesn't play basketball. She's essentially the black sheep" Easton said.
"Easton Bolton. That is your sister" Gabriella said.
Troy looked at Gabriella. Gabriella looked at Troy.
"I'll go talk to her" Gabriella said.
Gabriella walked upstairs and knocked on Everly's door.
"Go away" Everly said through the door.
Gabriella sighed. She opened the door and walked in and shut the door behind her. Everly was laying on her bed watching videos of the dance that she was working on. Gabriella sat on the edge of her bed.
"Everly he was joking" Gabriella said.
Everly shook her head.
"Rob and Easton are always the ones that everyone is proud of. I'm obviously not that one" Everly said.
"Everly, we are so proud of you. You don't play basketball and that's fine. But, you are passionate about other things that the boys aren't" Gabriella said.
"But, every time something like this happens, they always get first pick. It's never about me" Everly said.
Gabriella closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Everly was very much like her.
"You can believe what you want. But, I'm done with this conversation" Gabriella said.
Gabriella got up and left the room. She shut the door behind her. Gabriella walked downstairs and Troy knew that the conversation had not gone well.
"What happened?" Troy asked.
"She's mad. I tried to talk to her but she wouldn't budge" Gabriella said.
"Do you want me to try and talk to her?" Troy asked.
Gabriella shook her head.
"Let her calm down. You going up there will just make her mad" Gabriella said.
"Okay" Troy said.
A couple of days later, Everly was in the dance room of East High. She was doing a run-through of her part of the dance. Everly was dancing with the music on and didn't hear the door open and close.
"Do you want to run through it together?" Victoria asked.
Everly turned off the music and looked at Victoria, or Tori, as her friends called her. Everly and Tori had known each other since they were eight and had met through dance.
"Sure" Everly said.
Everly turned the music back on. She and Tori rehearsed sections of the dance. They were interrupted by the basketball team walking through.
"Sorry honey, we needed to walk through because the other side was locked" Jack said to his granddaughter.
Everly smiled and shook her head. Jack hugged Everly and walked out with the rest of the basketball team.
"Does it get weird when your grandpa is the coach of the basketball team?" Tori asked.
"Sometimes. But, it makes me feel more secure knowing that he is here in case I needed him" Everly said.
The two girls practiced their dance for two more hours until Everly got a call from Rob.
"Hello?" Everly answered.
"I'm here to pick you up. Mom and dad told me to come and get you" Robert said.
"Okay. I'm coming" Everly said.
Everly and Rob hung up the phone. Everly looked at Tori.
"I got to go. But, let's try to rework that section before dance tomorrow" Everly said.
"Yeah" Tori said.
Everly left the dance room and walked out to the parking lot and saw Robert's car waiting for her. She walked over to it and opened the door and got in.
"Hi" Everly said.
"Hi. Is Easton still at practice?" Robert asked as he started driving.
"Yeah. Grandpa saw me and Tori practicing for our show next week" Everly said.
"Oh. So how is school?" Robert asked.
"Okay dad" Everly said sarcastically.
"I'm just asking and trying to make conversation. You don't need to bite my head off" Robert said.
"Well, if you must know, it's pretty weird" Everly said.
"Why weird?" Robert asked.
"A bunch of sophomores and a bunch of hormones" Everly said.
Robert chuckled. Everly then started laughing.
"Hormones that I hope you are not putting to the test" Robert said.
Everly shook her head.
"What guy would want to even want to do that with me? If I date a basketball player, I will never be allowed out of the house again" Everly said.
"That's not true" Robert said.
"I have you, dad, Easton, and grandpa around. I'll never be able to date anyone" Everly said.
"Who said that you have to date a basketball player?" Robert asked.
"Mom dated one" Everly said.
"Yeah, but that was twenty years ago. You date who you want to. They just have to meet us" Robert said pulling into the driveway.
"I guess" Everly said.
Robert parked his car. Robert and Everly got out of the car and walked into the house. Gabriella looked up and smiled.
"Hi, guys" Gabriella said.
"Hi mom" Robert said.
"How was dance today, Ev?" Gabriella asked.
"Fine. Grandpa came through the dance room with the team today" Everly said.
"Oh" Gabriella said.
A couple of weeks later, Everly had met a guy from her dance class. His name was Luke. Luke was also a sophomore. He had asked her out on a date. But, Troy and Gabriella had a rule about Everly dating. They needed to meet the guy that would be taking her out first. Everly had told Luke to come to the house early so that he could meet Troy and Gabriella. One day, the doorbell rang. Everly ran down the stairs pushing Easton out of the way.
"Dude, you need to chill" Easton said.
Everly got to the front door and opened it. Luke stood at the doorstep. Luke had dirty blonde hair that was spiked in different directions. He was slender but also had a built upper body. Luke was wearing a t-shirt that showed off his toned arms and shoulders. He paired the shirt with dark wash jeans. Everly smiled.
"Come in" Everly said.
Luke walked into the house.
"Mom, Luke is here" Everly said.
Everly and Luke walked into the kitchen.
"Hi Luke, I'm Gabriella" Gabriella said.
"Hi, nice to meet you" Luke said shaking Gabriella's hand.
"Troy, Luke is here" Gabriella called.
Troy walked into the kitchen.
"Hi, I'm Troy" Troy said.
"Hi, I'm Luke" Luke said holding his hand out to shake Troy's.
Troy shook Luke's hand.
"You are a sophomore at East High?" Troy asked.
"Yeah" Luke said.
"He's in my dance class" Everly said.
"Cool. You guys have fun" Troy said.
Gabriella giggled. She knew that Troy was nervous about Everly going out on a date. Troy walked Everly and Luke to the door. He hugged Everly and whispered into her ear.
"If you need me to come and pick you up, call me or Rob" Troy whispered.
Everly smiled and looked at Troy and nodded.
"I'm serious, Ev" Troy said.
"Thanks, dad" Everly said.
Everly and Luke left the house. Troy walked back into the kitchen and Gabriella smiled at him.
"You are cute" Gabriella said kissing Troy's cheek.
"What did I do?" Troy asked.
"You are nervous" Gabriella said wrapping her arms around Troy's neck.
"I just want her to be safe that's all. We don't know this guy" Troy said wrapping his arms around her waist.
"You got to let go a little bit, babe" Gabriella said.
"She's sixteen years old" Troy said.
"I understand. But, you need to trust her a little bit" Gabriella said.
"Okay" Troy said.
Gabriella smiled. She leaned in and kissed Troy's lips softly. A couple of months later, Everly and Luke had developed a love for each other. Luke had asked Everly to be his girlfriend. Although Troy was still having a hard time letting go, he wanted to see her happy. Everly and Luke walked into the Bolton home.
"Hi guys. How was dance?" Gabriella asked.
"Fine. We did two complete run-throughs and we are getting better" Everly said.
"Amy is pushing us harder every day" Luke said.
"Good. You guys will be strong for the competition" Gabriella said.
"We will kick Rio Grande's butt" Everly said.
"Is dad at school?" Everly asked.
"Yeah and then we are going to meet him at Easton's game" Gabriella said.
"Oh okay. Do you want to go to the game?" Everly asked Luke.
"Sure" Luke said.
"Okay" Everly said.
A couple of hours later, the Bolton family and Luke were sitting in the East High gym. Troy had moved so that he was standing next to his dad on the sideline. Gabriella and Everly rolled their eyes at how serious Troy was taking the game. After the game was over, Easton shook his grandfather's hand. The Wildcats had won the game. Troy and Easton were strategizing for the next game.
"Good game, baby" Gabriella said kissing Easton's cheek.
"Thanks. Rob didn't show?" Easton asked.
Troy shook his head.
"He has conditioning today and couldn't miss it" Troy said.
Easton nodded. He noticed Luke standing with Everly.
"What's up, man" Easton said shaking Luke's hand.
"Good game, Easton" Luke said.
"Thanks" Easton said.
Gabriella looked at Troy and raised her eyebrow. The Bolton family and Luke left East High. After they got home, Luke and Everly went out. The couple went to a local hang out spot.
"How did you like the first family outing?" Everly asked.
"It was nice. Your parents are nice. Your brother I could tell didn't pay much attention to me" Luke said.
"Yeah. But, they are just overprotective since I am the only girl" Everly said.
"They need to protect you because there aren't a lot of girls like you" Luke said.
Everly blushed. Luke took her hand in his.
"What do you mean by that?" Everly asked.
"You express yourself through art. You need to feel something to really love it. When something doesn't feel right, you step back. That's something that not a lot of girls do" Luke said.
"But, is that a bad thing?" Everly asked.
Luke shook his head.
"No, it just makes it harder for guys to date you and get to know you" Luke said.
"I protect myself" Everly said.
"Then how should I be expressing myself so that it is easier for you to date me?" Everly asked.
"Let everything just flow. Trust the process. Like dance, feel the music and let your energy fill the room" Luke said.
"Like this?" Everly asked as she moved closer to Luke and kissed him.
Luke pulled back and smiled.
"Yeah" Luke said kissing Everly.
The couple spent a couple of hours talking. When Luke had dropped Everly off, she was in tears. Everly walked into the house and ran upstairs and shut and locked the door. A couple of minutes later, there was a knock on the door.
"Ev? How was your date?" Gabriella asked.
Everly changed out of her clothes and into her pajamas. She got into bed and placed the covers over her body.
"Ev?" Gabriella called again.
Silence. Gabriella opened the door and saw Everly buried in her bed. She walked over to the bed and sat on the edge.
"Everly" Gabriella said.
"Leave me alone" Everly said.
"Everly, talk to me" Gabriella said.
"I don't want to. Just please leave me alone" Everly said tearfully.
"Did you guys have a fight?" Gabriella asked.
"I don't want to talk about it" Everly cried.
"I hope that when you are ready to talk about it, you'll come to me" Gabriella said.
Everly just cried. Gabriella got up and was about to walk out of the door.
"Wait" Everly said from under the covers.
Gabriella stopped and looked at the pile of bed covers that held Everly.
"I'll tell you but I don't want you to get mad" Everly said.
Gabriella closed the door behind her. She walked back to Everly's bed and sat on the edge. Everly took a deep breath and released it.
"Honey, I won't judge you. Just tell me what happened" Gabriella said.
"He pressured me" Everly said softly.
Gabriella pursed her lips. She looked down at the bed that held her daughter.
"I said no and he backed off. We broke up" Everly said.
"Can you talk to me now without the covers?" Gabriella asked.
Everly pushed the bedsheets back so that Gabriella could see her face.
"Thank you for telling me. I know that was hard to do. But, I'm really proud of you for standing your ground" Gabriella said.
Everly started crying again. Gabriella laid down next to Everly and held her in her arms.
"it's okay, baby. I'm here" Gabriella said.
There was a knock on the bedroom door.
'Go away whoever it is" Gabriella said.
Troy poked his head in. Gabriella shook her head.
"Can I just ask if she is okay?" Troy asked.
Gabriella looked at Everly.
"It's up to you, Ev" Gabriella said.
"No" Everly said simply.
"Okay. If you need me, I'll be downstairs" Troy said.
Gabriella smiled sympathetically at Troy.
"I love you Ev" Troy said.
"I love you dad" Everly said.
Troy closed the door and went downstairs. An hour and a half later, Gabriella came downstairs. Troy looked at Gabriella.
"What happened?" Troy asked.
"She doesn't want you to know. So you have to respect that" Gabriella said.
"Is it bad?" Troy asked.
"She has two brothers and an overprotective dad" Gabriella said.
"She will be okay" Gabriella said.
"Can I go up and at least talk to her?" Troy asked.
"What do you want to talk to her about?" Gabriella asked.
"The weather" Troy said.
Gabriella raised her eyebrow.
"You can check on her but do not ask about what happened" Gabriella said.
"Okay" Troy said.
Troy walked upstairs and knocked on Everly's door.
"Mom?" Everly called.
Troy opened the door.
"It's dad. Can I sit with you for a minute?" Troy asked.
"Okay" Everly said from under her bedsheets.
Troy got onto Everly's bed and sat up next to his daughter's covered body.
"You know that you can come to me about anything right?" Troy said.
Everly nodded slowly.
"Some times" Everly said.
Troy smiled sympathetically.
"All the time" Troy corrected her.
"Not about this" Everly said softly.
"I'll respect that. But, if you need to talk to me Everly, I'm here" Troy said.
Troy felt Everly take a deep breath.
"Promise me you won't get mad" Everly said.
"I promise" Troy said.
"Luke pressured me. I said no. He backed off. I broke up with him" Everly said.
Troy took a deep breath and released it.
"Can you uncover your face please?" Troy asked gently.
Everly took the sheet that covered her face off so that Troy could look at her.
"Ev, look at me" Troy said.
Everly looked at her father.
"I'm sorry that happened. But, I'm proud of you for the way you handled it" Troy said.
Tears ran down Everly's face. Troy kissed Everly's head.
"I know that it hurts. But you did the right thing" Troy said.
Everly sniffled. She moved so that she was curled into her father's chest. Troy rubbed Everly's back.
"I love you" Troy said.
"I love you too" Everly said softly.
Troy and Everly sat in silence for a while. This was Everly's first relationship and Troy knew that she needed him and Gabriella to help get her through it.