I went to pick up my mother at the house of nightmares and found light where there had only been curtains that blocked out the rest of the world. The house needed repairs, but I could tell she was doing what she could to change it. She answered the door sober and invited me in. The furniture was still the crap we always had. She came out of the kitchen with a huge cookies and cream cake that was never really something I liked, but Nathan would be one happy kid.
“Justin wanted to have you over to the house. I thought it would make it easier for you than a busy restaurant.” I tell her
“Brian, the only thing that matters is that you're comfortable with where we go.” She tells me.
“I thought it would be nice for you to see the place I live with my family.” I tell her.
“I’d like that, could you help me get my things? I couldn’t think of something for Penny until I saw some of my old costume jewelry. Little girls love to play dress up.” She tells me, when I stare at her old jewelry case..
“Mom, you don’t have to buy my kids attention.” I tell her.
“I just wanted to give my grandchildren something, it’s not to buy anything. I missed all their lives and it would be nice to be able give them something for once. Something that you didn’t have to pay for.” She tells me.
“I need you to know before we go that Nathan and Penny aren’t the only grandchildren you’ll meet. I have a son Gus that you never met and Jenny his sister is mine too as far as all of us are concerned. Lindsay and I had Gus before I met Justin and Mel, Lindsay’s wife had a child with someone, but biology doesn’t make any of the kids less ours to the four of us.” I tell her.
“I’ve missed so much, do you think the kids will be okay with sharing the cake?” She asks, looking worried.
Just don’t spoil them, it makes Lindsay and Justin cranky.” I tell her.
Lindsay really was skeptical about this whole thing, but she trusted that we wouldn’t do anything to hurt our children. Brian texted me to let me know they were on their way. Lindsay was helping me make lunch for the everyone, when Brian brought her in. Joan walked in and I could see she was uncomfortable in the new surroundings. I was walking over when Nathan was running past and stopped.
“Grandma, I looovvvve you.” He tells her, eyeing the cake.
“Nathan, this is for after lunch.” Brian tells him, picking him up.
“Joan, come in and meet the family.” Justin tells her.
“I can definitely tell this must be Gus.” She smiles as she see Gus.
“This is Jenny.” Lindsay tells her pulling Jenny in front of her.
“I wanted to have something for the kids but I only knew about Nathan and Penny. Hopefully they won’t mind sharing the cake.” She tells Lindsay.
“They won’t mind at all, but I think getting to know you would be more important to them.” Mel tells her.
“Can I help? I’m not much of a cook, but I can clean up or help cut up things.” She asks me, and at first I was going to say no, but could see she needed something to do.
“I think Brian learned that skill from you, he’s never been able to make anything that didn’t require a microwave.” I tell her, handing her the vegetables for the salad.
“Grandma, we don’t need to many of those.” Nathan assures her standing on his stool.
“He likes carrots, but only because they’re not green.” Penny tells her.
“Nathan will eat anything if we let him.” Gus tells her.
“Do I call you Grandma?” Jenny asks her.
“Brian told me you're his daughter too, so yes Sweetheart.” Joan tells her.
Jenny runs to Brian, hugging his legs. “You gave me a Grandma.” She tells him in awe.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Brian asks her, as if puzzled.
“I think she sometimes feels left out. All the other kids call you Papa and Daddy.” Mel whispers to us.
“You could let her call them the same thing.” Joan tells us.
“We never really discussed it before, I mean Nathan and Penny call us by our names. I’m Linny to Nathan.” Lindsay tells her.
“I’m not really someone who should be telling you how to raise kids, but kids notice if there’s a difference in anything the other kids do.” Joan tells us.
“Really, Brian and Justin are the only fathers that Jenny will ever know.” Mel points out.
“What happens when Nathan and Penny get older? You two are the mother figures in their lives.” I tell the girls, and really, why do they have to leak all over lunch?
“Wipe the tears girls, Nathan is waiting for that cake.” Brian tells them.
When Joan opened the chest with the jewelry, Jenny and Penny didn’t care about cake. Gus sat watching but he was slow to warm up to the woman he had been told he wouldn’t ever know. Brian pulled Gus out of the room for a minute to talk to him. I followed to see if I could help him.
“She seems okay, but you always said she wasn’t someone I wanted to know.” Gus tells him.
“At first I didn’t believe she would ever be anyone I wanted you to know. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I’m giving her the chance to show us that she’s changed. I promised myself that my children would never be hurt by anyone, and I’m promising you that if she hurts you or your brother and sisters, she’s not welcome.” Brian tells him.
Gus walked back into the kitchen and sat down and started telling on Brian and Mel. I watched Joan try to hold in the laugh but let it go when Gus pulled out his phone to show her the pictures.
“I’ve never seen her smile or laugh.” Brian whispers to me.
“She never had a reason to.” I tell him.
Gus and Nathan were thrilled at the cake and their new Grandmother, who told them baking was the one thing she did well. When the doorbell rang, Joan went to get it while we cleaned up Nathan, Penny, and Jenny. Emmett came into the bathroom and closed the door.
“Did I just see your mother?” He asks Brian.
“Grandma brought us cake.” Jenny tells him.
“I can see that, but that Grandma is here just surprises me.” Emmett tells Jenny, getting a wet towel to clean her.
“I’ll tell you later.” I tell Emmett.
“I came to let you know that Alex and I set a date. We want to get married in two months.” He tells me.
“After the launch? Don’t you think it’s going to be hard to plan a wedding and the launch?” Brian asks him.
“Renny is coming to help me. He wanted a break from the whole football thing.” Emmett tells us.
“Everything okay with Drew and him?” I ask.
“I’ll leave you two to gossip, come on kids.” Brian tells us, taking the kids out.
“He’s just tired of the way the press is constantly wanting shots of the two of them. I think he thought he was only dating Drew, not becoming the poster child for the Gay Player.” Emmett tells me.
“I could see how hard that could be, but when you love someone and you deal with all the bullshit in their lives.” I tell him.
“I think he just needed a break, he didn’t sound like he was leaving Drew. What the hell is St Joan doing in your house?” Emmett asks.
“She showed up at Kinnetik, sober, and apologizing for the shit she did to Brian. She joined AA and wrote him the apology letter. She seems to see the world differently.” I tell him.
“She better, or she deals with all of us.” Emmett tells me.
“Let’s give her a chance before we worry about it.” I tell him.
After lunch my mom told me she needed to get to her meeting. She was telling me about the counselor and how he seemed to really care about them. I drove her to the meeting place and saw who the counselor was, and understood, because Blake did care about his patients.
“Hi, I guess your mother finally talked to you.” Blake tells me.
“It was time to stop hiding the truth from Brian.” She tells him.
“I hope you understand, I couldn’t tell you.” Blake tells me.
“It’s your job to help your patients, not tell on them.” I tell him.
“Do you want to stay?” Blake asks me.
“I don’t mind, but you don’t have to.” Mom tells me.
“I have something I want to do, but I can come back and get you.” I tell her.
I called Justin and asked him to see if Lindsay and Mel could stay at the house while he and Emmett came with me. I called Ted and told him to get what I wanted done and pay what it took. When I picked up Justin and Emmett they didn’t ask questions, just waited until we pulled up to my mother’s house.
“We need to move the old shit out.” I tell them, as Ted pulls in.
“I want you to know the furniture store says thank you for the many dollars it took to get them to let us have the showroom furniture, and bring it right now. They should be here soon. Blake said he could keep them there for an extra hour, apparently there’s one guy who loves to tell everyone about everything in his life. So for you, Blake is willing to be tortured by him.” Ted tells me.
We were moving all the stuff the guys would take with them when they dropped of the new stuff. I was coming out with the old dining room chairs when Claire came marching up the steps with her two future convicts.
“You actually believe she’s changed?” Claire asks me, as Peter and John roll their eyes.
“Why are you so pissed that she might want better then the life she was living?” I ask her.
“Because she acts like you’re so much fucking better than us.” She tells me.
“What, not being able to talk about your faggot brother bothers you?” I ask her.
“She not willing to watch the boys anymore when I have to work, how am I supposed to work when I don’t have anywhere to leave them.” She tells me.
“Why won’t she watch them?” I ask.
“She said she wasn’t able to keep up with the boys. It’s not like she has to do anything but sit there while they watch TV.” She tells me.
“Aren’t they old enough to stay home alone by now?” I looked at the two teens.
“They can’t stay out of trouble. What are you doing with all Mom’s furniture?” She asked when Ted walked by with the last of the chairs.
“It’s time for Mom to have new things.” I tell her.
“I can’t believe you. Your helping her when she never did anything for you?” She asks me.
“What I do isn’t any of your business. Deal with your sons, and possibly call the father who never does anything and make him be a father to his kids.” I tell her.
“He’s a worthless piece of shit that left us for a younger model.” She tells me.
“You wonder why he wouldn’t want anything to do with his kids when you talk about him like that?” I ask her.
“Like you would understand how hard my life was, since you married your trophy.” She tells me, walking away with her boys.
“How did I end up having to haul furniture if I was your bimbo?” Justin asks, kissing me and sitting on the couch with Emmett and Ted on the lawn.
I left the everyone to get things set up while I picked up my mother, who seemed to be a social butterfly, talking to everyone else waiting with her. She got in the car still smiling. I pulled up and she looked at me when she saw the bow on the door. Only Emmett would think of something like that.
“Brian what’s going on?” She ask getting out of the car.
“I wanted you to have a new house to go with your new life. I couldn’t buy a new one today, but I could give you a reason to keep those curtains open.” I tell her, as she pulled the bow and went in.
“You didn’t need to do this. I would have eventually.” She tells me, touching the new couch.
“I wanted to give my mom something, for wanting to make her life better.” I tell her.
She walked over to Justin and hugged him. “Thank you for loving my son.” She tells him.