Is It Too Late? by starlight
FeatureSummary:

Justin leaves when he sees Michael and Brian in the comic store. At thirteen Gus runs away to Justin. 


Categories: QAF US, Reader's Choice Award Characters: Ben Bruckner, Blake Wyzecki, Brian Kinney, Carl Horvath, Cynthia, Daphne Chanders, Debbie Novotny, Drew Boyd, Emmett Honeycutt, Gus Marcus-Peterson, James 'Hunter' Montgomery, Jennifer Taylor, Jenny Rebecca Marcus-Peterson, Justin Taylor, Lindsay Peterson, Melanie Marcus, Michael Novotny, Original Character, Original Female Character, Original Male Character, Ted Schmidt
Tags: Anti-Lindsay, Anti-Melanie, Anti-Michael, MPreg (Yup! Went THERE!), Post-series
Genres: Alternate Canon, Angst w/ Happy Ending, Humor, Hurt/Comfort
Pairings: Brian/Justin, Emmett/Drew, Melanie/Lindsay, Michael/Ben, Ted/Blake
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 38 Completed: Yes Word count: 89332 Read: 295962 Published: Nov 03, 2016 Updated: Jan 16, 2017
Story Notes:

DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

1. Chapter 1 by starlight

2. Chapter 2 by starlight

3. Chapter 3 by starlight

4. Chapter 4 by starlight

5. Chapter 5 by starlight

6. Chapter 6 by starlight

7. Chapter 7 by starlight

8. Chapter 8 by starlight

9. Chapter 9 by starlight

10. Chapter 10 by starlight

11. Chapter 11 by starlight

12. Chapter 12 by starlight

13. Chapter 13 by starlight

14. Chapter 14 by starlight

15. Chapter 15 by starlight

16. Chapter 16 by starlight

17. Chapter 17 by starlight

18. Chapter 18 by starlight

19. Chapter 19 by starlight

20. Chapter 20 by starlight

21. Chapter 21 by starlight

22. Chapter 22 by starlight

23. Chapter 23 by starlight

24. Chapter 24 by starlight

25. Chapter 25 by starlight

26. Chapter 26 by starlight

27. Chapter 27 by starlight

28. Chapter 28 by starlight

29. Chapter 29 by starlight

30. Chapter 30 by starlight

31. Chapter 31 the wedding part one by starlight

32. Chapter 32 part 2 wedding by starlight

33. Chapter 33 by starlight

34. Chapter 34 by starlight

35. Chapter 35 by starlight

36. Chapter 36 by starlight

37. Chapter 37 by starlight

38. Chapter 38 by starlight

Chapter 1 by starlight

Is It Too Late?

 

 

 

JUSTIN

 

When the doorbell rang, I was sitting in front of my computer trying to sketch out my next painting. I really wanted to get the idea down but the person ringing my bell wouldn’t stop. 

 

“Dad, you want me to get it?” My son Jacob yelled.

 

“It should be some supplies I ordered. Just sign for them.” I yell back.

 

I got back to work on the sketch, but was interrupted when Jacob came running in.

 

“Dad, there is some kid standing at the door he said he wanted to talk to you.” He tells me.

 

I got up and walked to the front door and the kid was looking out in the street. He was carrying a backpack and had a wary look in his eyes when he turned and saw me.

 

“Can I help you?” I ask him.

 

“Are you Justin Taylor?” He asks me.

 

“Yes, and you are...?” I ask him.

 

“Gus.” He tells me.

 

“Brian’s son Gus?” I ask him.

 

“You named me, remember?” He asks me.

 

“Yes I remember, but can I ask how you remember me?” I ask him.

 

“Can I come in?” He asks me. 

 

I let him in the house and lead him to the kitchen. I figured we could talk while I fed him.

 

“Are you in trouble Gus?” I ask him.

 

“No.” He looks down at the empty plate.

 

“Are you here with your moms?” I ask him.

 

“No one knows I’m here, and please don’t tell them.” He begs me.

 

“They have to be worried sick about you. New York is a long way from Pittsburgh. How did you get here? ” I ask him.

 

“Mom was excited when she saw your picture in the newspaper, she was telling Mama about you being in New York. I came here to find you.” He tells me. 

 

“You remember me?” I ask him. 

 

“Mom had pictures of you and told me that you used to date my dad and take care of me for her.” He tells me.

 

“Is there a reason you wanted to find me?” I ask him.

 

“Mama said that you loved me. I wanted someone to care about me.” He sniffles.

 

“Gus, I’m sure they care. We need to tell them you're here.” I tell him.

 

“I won’t go back to them. If you don’t want me I’ll just find some place else to go.” He tells me. 

 

“Gus, does anyone know where you are?” I ask him. 

 

“No.” He tells me. 

 

“I have to at least call someone so they know you're safe. Do you want me to try your father?” I ask him.

 

“Don’t bother with my dad, he won’t care.” He tells me.

 

“Gus, Brian cares.” I tell him.

 

“Mel told me he doesn’t.” He tells me.

 

“I know he does, even if I haven’t talked to him in years, it’s the one thing I know about him. He cares about you.” I tell him.

 

“Then why did he stop coming to see me and give me up?” He asks me.

 

“Did he move away or something?” I ask because I haven’t checked if Brian was still in Pittsburgh.

 

“He still lives there, but we moved to Canada. If he cared wouldn’t he come see me? He hasn't contacted me in two years.” He tells me.

 

“I don't know the answer to that, but trust me, your dad cares about you. If you don't want me to call your mom then I have a friend who still lives in Pittsburgh, is it okay if I have her talk to your dad?” I ask him.

 

“He won’t care.” He tells me.

 

“Dad, who’s this?” Jacob asks.

 

“This is Gus.” I tell Jacob.

 

“Like, my brother Gus?” He asks.

 

“Yes, your brother Gus.” I tell them both.

 

“Gus, this is your brother Jacob.” I tell him.

 

“Dad left you with a kid?” Gus asks me.

 

“No I left your Dad, Jacob kind of came with me.” I tell him.

 

“Jacob, why don’t you and Gus get the spare room ready while I call Aunt Daphne. Gus please make yourself at home, and I promise you can stay until I find out what is going on.” I tell him. I couldn't stand the look of sadness he had, thinking no one cared about him.

 

Jacob took Gus upstairs and I had to wonder what was about to come down on my head. I never hid the truth from Jacob, but I couldn’t share him with Brian and Michael. I told Jacob about Brian and Gus, but that his father wanted to be with someone he loved and it wasn't me. Jacob hasn’t asked to see Brian yet, but I know he will. I know I can deal with seeing Michael and Brian together and not fall apart. I was no longer the kid that was hurt when Brian showed me he wanted Michael. 

 

I still remember standing with Daphne, in front of the comic shop and seeing Brian and Michael practically fucking right inside the doorway. Daphne met me at work and we were walking to the loft, when she saw Brian’s jeep parked in front of the comic book store. We walked over to see if he was headed home. What we saw was Brian and Michael practically fucking each other in front of the door. My heart broke because it was Michael, the one person Brian admitted to loving. Seeing them kissing, I knew it was over. I guess when it’s Michael, Brian can admit he loves him. With Brian, Michael came first and I was expected to live with it. How many times did I have to hear Brian tell Michael he loved him before it sunk in? 

 

I stayed at the loft for a few hours and even called Brian’s phone, but all I got was voicemail, so I figured it was time to cut my losses. I decided to give Brian and Michael what they both seem to want and took the first bus out of Pittsburgh. When I found out about Jacob, I was just happy to have a part of the man I once loved. Daphne thought I should at least tell Brian about Jacob, and the day I called, Michael answered the phone so I hung up. If Brian was with Michael, then Jacob and I weren’t going to cause problems for them. 

 

The only problem with calling Daphne is that she’s still pissed about what happened, but I need her to help me help Gus. 

 

“Daph, I need a favor.” I tell her when she answers.

 

“No hello, just I need a favor. You better be glad I love you, because that greeting sucks.” She tells me.

 

“I got a visitor who is way too young to be in New York, on his own.” I tell her.

 

“Who?” She ask me.

 

“Brian’s son Gus.” I tell her.

 

“How did he even know where to find you? I mean he was a baby when you were still in Pittsburgh.” She ask me.

 

“I guess Lindsay still talks about me to him. She saw the article about the show and Gus took off to find me. Can you see if you can find Brian?” I ask her.

 

“No.” She tells me.

 

“This isn’t about me, it’s about a very confused kid. He thinks that no one cares where he is. Can you put aside the anger that doesn’t even matter anymore and help Gus.” I tell her

 

“Wouldn’t it be better to talk to his mom?” She ask me.

 

“They moved to Canada. I think it would be easier to find Brian and let him deal with this.” I tell her.

 

“I just don’t want him messing with your head again. I doubt he’s going to be thrilled about Jacob, since he didn’t seem to give a shit you left.” She tells me.

 

“I’m fine Daphne. I would want someone to tell me if they had Jacob.” I tell her.

 

“Fine I’ll go see him.” She tells me.

 

“Give him my number if he wants to talk to Gus, but please leave the other shit alone.” I tell her.

 

“You mean don’t tell him that while he was fucking Michael, he was cheating on his pregnant boyfriend. Yeah I’ll leave that one alone.” She snaps.

 

“Daphne, right now I’m worried about Gus. He ran away thinking none of his parents give a shit.” I tell her.

 

“Well he’s probably right about Brian, because he’s a selfish prick.” She tells me.

 

“Daph, Can you just help me?” I ask her.

 

“I’ll restrain from kicking his ass long enough to deliver the message.” She tells me.

 

“Thank you.” I tell her.

 

BRIAN

 

Cynthia buzzed to tell me I had a visitor. I went out to see who it was, and was surprised to see Daphne standing there. Last time I saw her she told me to stay the fuck out of her and Justin’s lives.

 

“Can I help you?” I asked her. 

 

“Not really, but I was sent to tell you to call, if you give a shit about Gus.” She tells me and shoves a piece of paper with a number in my hand. “Do him a favor after you call, lose the number. He doesn’t need you around to fuck with his head.” She tells me and tries to walk out.

 

“Wait, what does this have to do with Gus?” I ask her. 

 

“Apparently Gus thinks his parents don't give a shit and went looking for someone who does.” She tells me.

 

“Who?” I ask her.

 

“Someone who knows that you don’t give a shit about anything. Justin.” She tells me.

 

“Why is Gus with Justin?” I ask her.

 

“Like I just fucking said, he showed up at Justin’s house today, which is in New York, not here or Canada. My question is, why don’t you know your kid ran away?” She tells me and walks out of the building. 

 

“What was that about?” Ted asks me. 

 

“I need you to call Mel and find out where Gus is.” I tell him. 

 

“Brian, you know she still has that order against you.” He tells me.

 

“I don’t give a shit, I want to know if Gus is still with them.” I tell him.

 

“I’ll call, but you know I can’t let her know your involved. It’s the only way I get any information about Gus for you.” He tells me.

 

I walk back in my office and wait for Ted to make the call. When Lindsay and Mel moved, at first I was still able to see and talk to Gus, but when Lindsay and Mel started fighting again, Mel told me she wanted me to stay out of their lives. When I called Lindsay and told her this was bullshit, Mel took the phone and told me I signed away any rights I had to Gus. My lawyer told me that unless Mel and Lindsay agreed for me to see Gus, I couldn’t. 

 

“Brian, Mel and Lindsay aren’t answering me.” Ted tells me.

 

“They better have gone to New York.” I tell him.

 

“I wouldn’t know. Why?” He ask me.

 

“Gus is there with Justin.” I tell him.

 

“Justin is in New York?” He ask me.

 

“That’s what Daphne just told me.” I tell Ted.

 

“What would Justin be doing in New York?” Ted asks me.

 

“Living his life, I guess. It’s not like I know why he left.” I tell Ted.

 

“I still don’t get it, you two seemed to be doing well then he leaves without a word.” Ted tells me.

 

“Probably got tired of me fucking around on him. I need to know the address for the phone number she just gave me. Cynthia, book a flight for New York and text me the address when Ted gets it.” I tell them.

 

I honestly don’t know why Justin left, but hell I didn’t blame him for being tired of my shit. I wasn’t ready for a relationship, but I didn’t want him gone. When I came home to find his stuff gone, I decided to let him do his thing while I did mine. I only found out when looking for him at the diner that he quit without even telling Deb. Jen told me that Justin needed time and didn’t want to see me. All I could think was that he finally realized he didn’t really love me. I went to see Daphne to just make sure he was okay and all I got was a fuck off and a door slammed in my face. At that point I was pissed and went back to my life, before Justin. I always hoped one day he would call and at least tell me what happened to make him shut me out of his life.

 

 

Right now I need to find out what was going on and how Gus managed to get to Justin.

 

JUSTIN 

 

I was waiting for Brian to contact me, but I needed to know how Gus got here.

 

“Gus, how did you get here?” I ask him. 

 

“I sort of stole money from Mom, and got a guy to buy my bus ticket.” He tells me. 

 

“When did you run away Gus?” I ask him. 

 

“Two days ago.” He tells me. 

 

“Your moms must be going crazy.” I tell him 

 

“They probably think I'm staying at my friend’s house.” He tells me. 

 

“Is that what you told them?” I ask him. 

 

“If don’t have to tell them anything, they're hardly around enough to notice. Mama is always at work and Mom is too busy trying to impress her boss, to come home.” He tells me. 

 

“Can I at least call them?” I ask him. 

 

“You can if you really have to, but they never answer their phones.” He tells me. 

 

I call the number he gives me but like he said, no one answered. I leave a message and just hope they were out looking for Gus and would call me when they got the message. I don't understand how the people I knew could make Gus think they don't care.

 

I was making dinner a couple hours later and was starting to believe Gus, no one called. Daphne told me she saw Brian, so he knows. I just don’t understand why he hasn't called. Gus seems resigned that he was right, no one cares. 

 

“Gus could stay with us.” Jacob tells me. 

 

“He will until one of his parents call me.” I tell him. 

 

“I told you they didn’t care.” Gus tells me. 

 

“Gus, when I knew your Dad, you were the one person he would do anything for.” I tell him. 

 

“Then why didn’t you stay and let Jacob know him?” Gus asks me. 

 

“I didn’t want to make your father feel like he had to stay with me.“ I tell him.

 

The doorbell rang and Jacob ran to get the door.

 

“Gus, until someone contacts me promise you won’t leave?” I ask him.

 

“I came here because Mom made it sound like you love me.” He tells me.

 

“I do, you were my buddy.” I tell him.

 

“Dad, he’s here.” Jacob tells me rushing in the kitchen.

 

“Who?” I ask him.

 

“Me, and I think you and I need to talk.” Brian tells me looking at Jacob.

 

“Can we handle one thing at a time?” I tell him.

 

“Gus, where are your moms?” Brian asks him.

 

“Home.” Gus replies.

 

“Why aren’t you home?” He asks Gus.

 

“I told you he doesn’t care.” Gus stands and starts walking out of the room.

 

“Gus, don’t walk out of here.” Brian tells him.

 

“NO, I HATE ALL OF YOU AND I WANT TO STAY WITH HIM.” He tells Brian and runs out of the room.

 

“GUS.” Brian yells. His answer was a slam of the door upstairs.

 

“Dad, is it okay if I go check on him?” Jacob asks me.

 

“Yeah, take your plates upstairs and let me talk to Brian, okay.” I tell him.

 

Brian stands and watches Jacob leave the room. I honestly wanted to go with Jacob, because Brian isn’t really looking too happy at me. 

 

“Since I fucked that up, would you like to tell me about Jacob?” Brian ask me.

 

“I had a son, named him Jacob. Anything else you need to know?” I tell him.

 

“Yes, is there some reason you didn’t tell me?” He asks me.

 

“Yes, but it doesn’t matter anymore. Jacob and I are fine without you.” I tell him.

 

“What did I do so wrong that you would leave and not tell me?” He ask me.

 

“How about we just worry about Gus, who you haven’t bothered to see in two years?” I ask him.

 

“I couldn’t.” He tells me.

 

“That’s all you want to tell me?” I ask him.

 

“You talk and I will.” He tells me.

 

“This is about Gus, not my son.” I tell him.

 

“You mean OUR son.” He corrects me.

 

“Sure, but if you want to see OUR son, you need to explain why you haven’t seen yours. I’ve been trying to convince Gus you love him, but it’s hard to tell him you do when I don’t know what caused you to be absent from his life for two years.” I tell him.

 

“Mel and Lindsay used the fact that I signed away my rights to keep me out of Gus’s life.” He tells me.

 

“Shit, I knew that would bite you in the ass someday.” I tell him.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me about Jacob?” He asks me.

 

“I didn’t want to have to share Jacob with Michael, the way I was apparently sharing you.” I tell him.

 

 

 


Chapter 2 by starlight

BRIAN 

 

“What does my friendship with Michael have to do with Jacob?” I ask him. 

 

“I didn’t want Michael involved in Jacob's life.” He tells me. 

 

“What would have been the big deal about Michael being around Jacob?” I ask him, confused. 

 

“I didn’t want Michael involved in Jacob's upbringing.” He tells me. 

 

“Why would Michael have anything to do with it?” I ask him, not understanding why he thinks that. 

 

“I figured that since you and Michael were together, you'd expect me to let him be involved in Jacob’s upbringing.” He tells me, clearly annoyed that I’m still questioning him. 

 

“What the hell are you talking about?” I ask him. 

 

“You fucking Michael.” He snapped.

 

“Again, what are you talking about?” I ask him. 

 

“I left because I didn't want to have to be told you wanted Michael. “ He tells me. 

 

“Where did you get the idea I wanted Michael?” I ask him. 

 

“Most likely when I watched you and him all over each other in the comic shop.” He sneered.

 

“You saw that?” I ask him. 

 

“Anyone walking by would have fucking seen it. I've spent the last twelve years trying to unsee it.” He tells me. 

 

Suddenly Justin leaving makes sense, but only if he didn't stay around to see me leave.

 

“It wasn’t what you thought.” I tell him. 

 

“That's what people say when they get caught, but it doesn’t matter anymore. I left and got on with my life, so you don’t have to worry about breaking my heart.” He tells me.

 

“Can I explain?” I ask him. 

 

“It's too late for an explanation, it was too late when you didn’t come home that night.” He tells me. 

 

“Justin…” He stops me.

 

“I got it, you wanted Michael. I mean I should have clued in when you could tell Michael you loved him but couldn’t say it to me. Maybe I should have clued in when we said no kissing on the lips but you still kissed Michael on the lips, but then I wanted to believe you wanted me, not him. Although, you both could have not fucked around behind Ben and my backs, but then we weren’t very important to either of you, were we? Shit, you know what, never mind, you’re here about Gus, so can we just try to stay on the subject of your son?” He asks me.

 

“You ARE going to let me explain, because I lost my other child for something that never fucking happened.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t have to let you do anything but help me get Gus to understand that you do give a shit about him.” He tells me.

 

I realize that Justin isn’t going to listen to anything I say. Part of me wonders if he should, it wasn’t innocent, but it wasn’t what he thought. 

 

Michael was acting like the fact that I fucked Ben before Michael even knew him was the end of the fucking world. So when I went to the shop, I thought that he would stop me. He acted like it was about Ben, not me, but when I started treating him like I would any trick, he seem to think it was a green light. I kept going, waiting for him to stop me. I finally pulled away and walked out of the shop, because he wasn’t going to stop. Michael and I haven’t been the same since, he is still angry at me. 

 

After Justin left, Michael started showing up all the time. He took my new Justin-less life as a sign that I wanted more. Maybe if I had told everyone the truth, Michael would have stopped thinking that Justin was gone because I wanted him, which I didn’t. Michael and Ben broke up, when Michael told Ben what almost happened. Ben told me that he hoped that Michael and I would be miserable together. I tried to tell Ben that I just wanted Michael to stop acting like he and I cheated on Michael. 

 

“No, instead you and Michael cheated on Justin and me. You both deserve what you got, because the minute you two started kissing each other, you cheated on us.” Ben told me.

 

“It didn’t mean anything.” I told him.

 

“It must have to Justin and it does to me. I don’t have time to play games with two people who never got past being fourteen year olds.” Ben told me.

 

“Have you seen Justin?” I ask him.

 

“If I do, I’ll let him know you and Michael are total fuck ups and he was smart to get out, before he ended up the loser.” He tells me.

 

Ben walked out of my loft and left Pittsburgh. Deb told Michael and me that we needed to figure out what we wanted before we hurt another person with our stupid games. Michael decided that if I wouldn’t commit to him, we were through. I accepted that because I don’t love Michael. Now I know that what we did had consequences. I lost Justin and the chance to know Jacob.

 

“Brian, what is going on with you and Gus?” Justin asks me.

 

“Mel and Lindsay moved to Canada, with Gus and Mel’s child Jenny. For a while I was still a part of Gus’s life. I don’t know what happened with Mel and Lindsay, but in the end they started fighting again and I was told to stay away from Mel’s family. When I still tried to see Gus, she got a Cease and Desist order, saying that I was not legally allowed to see Gus. My lawyer has been trying to find a way for me to see Gus without ending up in jail.” I tell him.

 

“You can’t be around Gus at all?” He asks me.

 

“No, I could get in trouble for being here.” I tell him.

 

“You need to leave, Brian.” He tells me.

 

“Justin, I need to make sure Gus is okay and I want a chance to get to know Jacob.” I tell him.

 

“Brian, if Mel finds out you were here, and is still acting like a bitch, because that is what she’s doing, you won’t be able to help Gus.” He tells me.

 

“What am I supposed to do, head back to Pittsburgh and forget all this?” I ask him.

 

“I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but give me a way to find them.” He tells me.

 

“What are you going to do?” I ask him.

 

“I’m going to go to Canada and surprise the girls. Is the order only for you?” I ask him.

 

“Yes.” I tell him.

 

“I guess you and I are going to take Jacob and Gus to Pittsburgh, then I’m going to go find out why Mel and Lindsay haven’t bothered to call me. I’ll get my mom to watch the boys, and for now you stay away.” He tells me.

 

“You want me to stay away from my kids?” I ask him.

 

“You can’t be around Gus, and if you start trying to get to know Jacob, it could hurt Gus.” He tells me.

 

“Justin, we still need to talk about what happened.” I tell him.

 

“Like I said, it’s too late.” He tells me.

 

“I won’t let it be too late.” I tell him.

 

JUSTIN

 

Why am I getting involved in this? I should have just taken Gus and Jacob to my mom, and told Brian to go home. Instead we all get on a flight the next morning and he stays with us until we got to my mom’s house. Brian stayed outside while I dropped the boys off. I told him I could get to the airport on my own but he said that he was going to take me. My mom was thrilled to see Jacob and curious about why I had Gus with me.

 

“He ran away from home.” I tell her.

 

“How did you get him?” She asked me.

 

“I’m where he ran to, he thinks that no one else wants him.” I tell her.

 

“Shouldn’t you tell Brian about this?” She asks me.

 

“He knows, but Mel could have him arrested if he’s near Gus.” I tell her.

 

“How did he take finding out about Jacob?” She ask me.

 

“Jury is still out on that one.” I tell her.

 

“I still don’t understand why you left. I did what you asked and didn’t tell him, but you should have.” She tells me.  

 

“I didn’t want him to stay because of Jacob. I needed a chance to grow up and Brian would have kept taking care of everything.” I tell her.

 

“Justin, he didn’t deserve what you did to him.” She tells me.

 

“After I find out what’s going on for him, he and I can talk about Jacob. I just need you to make sure no one knows Gus is here.” I tell her.

 

“It’s not like I see any of them anymore. With you gone, we lost touch.” She tells me.

 

“Please don’t tell Daphne about this, because she thinks I should stay away from Brian.” I tell Mom.

 

“What didn’t you tell me?” She asks me.

 

“A lot Mom, but right now it doesn’t matter.” I tell her.

 

I give Jacob a hug goodbye and walk to Gus and let him decided if he wants me to hug him too. He walks into my arms.

 

“Gus, he cares.” I tell him.

 

“Why can’t he come into your mom’s house?” He ask me.

 

“That’s what I’m going to find out.” I tell him.

 

I go out to Brian’s car and we head to the airport. I hope the girls are looking for Gus because if not, Brian would have one hell of a case for neglect.

 

“Your flight doesn’t leave for a couple hours.” Brian tells me.

 

“I need to get something to eat anyway.” I tell him.

 

Brian follows me into the airport restaurant and orders coffee. I got a sandwich and drink and sat with him.

 

“Can you at least tell me where you went after you left and how you ended up in New York?” He ask me.

 

“I got on a bus and left, I was in Chicago for a while. My mom helped me get into college and was there with me when I had Jacob. I got a job working on Ad copy to support Jacob and I. I was offered a job in New York making twice what I was making in Chicago so I moved. I was still painting and started making the rounds until a gallery offered me a show with three other artists. I was able to quit Ad work and paint full time.” I tell him.

 

“You became an Artist after all.” He tells me.

 

“It took about five years but I no longer have to work on anything but painting.” I tell him.

 

“Too bad you don’t still do Ad work, I could have used your help when I started Kinnetik.” He tells me.

 

“You own Kinnetik?” I ask him.

 

“I started it a few years after you left.” He tells me.

 

“I’ve heard good things about the company, congratulations on it. I guess I better get through security check out. I’ll call you after I talk to Mel and Lindsay.” I tell him.

 

“Call me when you land.” He tells me.

 

I start to walk away and he pulls me back to him. 

 

“Justin, when you get back, you are going to listen to me.” He tells me.

 

“Does it really matter anymore, it’s been twelve years?” I ask him.

 

Instead of answering me, he puts his hands around my head and kisses me. I didn’t kiss him back because I couldn’t do this with him again.

 

“I won’t be the kid who let you jerk him around again.” I tell him.

 

“Then stop letting me get away with it.” He tells me as I walk away. 

 

 

Chapter 3 by starlight

JUSTIN


I went to the address Brian gave me but no one was home. I called my agent, Thomas, to see if he could find out where the girls worked, hopefully Lindsay work in a gallery, because Thomas knew people here.


“Justin, I called around to the larger galleries but no one seems to know Lindsay Peterson.  There is a Melanie Marcus working at a firm where you are. Patrick Allen is the owner, so you could go there.” He tells me.


“Do you know him?” I ask him.


“He’s been to a couple shows in New York, but I’ve never really talked to him.” He tells me.


“Hopefully Mel is there.” I tell him.


“Why are you helping the guy?” He asks me.


“I'm helping Gus, not Brian. “ I tell him.


“Daphne is going to kill us, you know.” He tells me.


“Just don’t tell her.” I tell him.


“Trust me, I'm not. I still want a chance with her.” He tells me.


Thomas needs to stop being such a pushover when it comes to Daphne.


“Instead of hinting, ask her out, she’s the kind of girl you have to use the direct approach with.” I tell him as I get in my car.


“I'm working on it, but she's going to have my balls if she finds out I'm helping you help the enemy.” He tells me.


“He's not the enemy.” I tell him.


“I'm a dead man, cause she told me if you defend Brian in any way, he's got an in with you.” He whines.


“He’s Jacob's father. I can't not let them know each other now. That horse has already escaped the barn.” I tell him.


“I just wanted a date, now she's going to kill me.” The Drama Queen tells me.


“Thomas, shut up.” I hang up on him.


When I got to the law firm, they told me Mel was in a meeting. I asked if I could wait. The receptionist told me it would be about an hour. I told her I would wait. I was sitting around reading the boring magazines, when I heard Mel talking to someone. The receptionist told her I was there and she walked over to me.


“My God Justin, it’s been years. How have you been?” She asks me.


“Good, just thought I would look you up.” I tell her.


“Come to my office and we can talk.” She tells me.


I follow her to her office and sit in the chair in front of her desk.


“So tell me, what you've been doing?” She tells me.


“Mel, I didn't come to tell you about me. I came here to find out why you won’t let Brian see Gus.” I tell her.


“Because Gus is my child, and if Brian sent you here, you can leave.” She tell me.


“I'm not leaving until you tell me why you and Lindsay forced Brian out of Gus’s life. “ I tell her.


“Why do you even care, you left him?” She asks me.


“Did he do something to make you keep him away?” I ask her. Ignoring her question.


“He isn't the kind of influence I want for MY SON. You want to know what it's been like since you left?” She tells me.


“Sure, since you seem to want to avoid answering me.” I tell her.


“Brian comes around and causes chaos to everyone's life. Lindsay and I end up fighting about Gus, and Brian thinks he has a say. I finally got tired of him interfering in my family. He signed away any rights he had, I just made sure he couldn't have contact when he wouldn’t listen and stay away.” She tells me


“It doesn’t matter to you that Gus might want his father around?” I ask her.


“Like I told Gus, Brian gave up him up.” She tells me.


“That’s not what happened Mel and you know it.” I tell her.


“It got him out of my life and that's all I care about. Don’t get caught up in his shit, you’ve been out of it too long to be sucked back in. Brian destroys people and thinks he can just swan around without anything touching him. I got tired of him thinking got away with everything he did.” She tells me.


“It doesn’t mean you punish Gus.” I tell her.


“Justin, when you left, he ruined Michael’s relationship with Ben. When Lindsay cheated on me, he helped her get a lawyer to sue me for custody of my daughter. I had to share my child like she was a toy with Michael and Lindsay. I got tired of him causing issues in my marriage. I moved my family away and he was still causing us problems.” She tells me.


“By wanting to see his son?” I ask her.


“By making Lindsay want to go back to Pittsburgh, so she could have ‘Peter’ solve everything. Lindsay had to make a choice, me or Brian and she chose me. My only condition was that we get Brian out of our lives.” She tells me.


“Wait, Michael is your daughter’s father?” I ask, because Brian didn’t tell me that.


“It sure as hell wouldn’t have been Brian.” She tells me.


“He’s fine with what you did?” I ask her.


“Why wouldn’t he be? After Brian made it seem like they were headed for a relationship, he tossed Michael aside.” She tells me.


“So all of you decided that Brian couldn’t see his son, for something which had nothing to do with any of you.” I tell her.


“Gus doesn’t need the slut of Liberty Avenue teaching him to trick.” She tells me.


“No, just parents who don’t care that he would be hurt. I mean you and Lindsay fuck around on each other so it must be Brian who caused it. Michael wanted Brian, but who the fuck cares that he was with Ben, or that I was with Brian at the time. Let’s punish Brian and his children, because we were all hurt. You know what, we are all shitty people to think we deserve our kids.” I tell her.


“What are you talking about his children?” She asks me.


“When I left, I did what you did, took his child away and left Brian out of my son’s life.” I tell her.


“Be smart and keep your kid away from him too.” She tells me.


“Actually it was probably the most selfish thing I ever did. Of course my son wasn’t left thinking that he was worthless to his other parent, so you win the asshole award for that one.” I tell her.


“I did what was best for MY FAMILY.” She snaps at me.


“No, like me you did what you wanted, not what was best, but I can see talking to you is a waste of time. I hope Gus forgives you when he finds out one day. What's Gus going to think of you making Brian stay away. You can't stop Gus when he turns eighteen and goes to find out the truth. I don’t see Brian lying to him about what you and Lindsay did.” I tell her.


“By then hopefully Brian’s lifestyle will catch up with him, so who know’s if Brian will be alive to answer the questions.” She tells me.


I decide to let them figure out Gus isn’t in Canada on their own. I need to let Brian tell me what I didn’t want to hear and hope he forgives me for what I did to him. I get up to leave and Lindsay comes in the office with Michael and a little girl.


“Justin, what are you doing here?” She asks me.


“Wasting my time.” I tell her.


“Daddy who’s that?” The little girl ask Michael.


“No one you need to know.” He tells her glaring at me.


I got up and walked past them, but Michael had to get his jab in.


“He should have left you on the ground.” He tells me.


“It still wouldn’t have changed that he didn’t want you.” I tell him.

“Fuck you.” He tells me.


“Not even if I was in a coma.” I tell him.


I left the building, but of course Lindsay followed me.


“Justin, what’s all that about?” She asks me.


“It’s about people who claimed to love Brian turning on him.” I tell her.


“I had to make a choice. Brian was never going to give me what Mel would.” She tells me.


“Mel couldn’t give you what Brian did, so it’s all evened up now.” I sneered at her.


“Justin, you left him too.” She tells me.


“It just makes me feel marvelous being lumped in with you and the assholes in there. Do me a favor and get the fuck back to your family, because you and Mel are such wonderful mothers.” I tell her.


Sitting on the plane back to Pittsburgh, I wonder why they never got the message about Gus I left.  


MICHAEL (Two days earlier)


“Michael can you check the messages?” Lindsay asks me.


“Leave a message”


“Hey, it’s Justin…” Delete.


Like we need him coming back around again.


BRIAN


Justin called me when he landed and asked if we could talk. I told him to meet me at the loft. He walked in but instead of sitting he wandered around like he was avoiding me.


“What did they say when you told them about Gus?” I ask him.


“I couldn’t tell you.” He tells me, looking at things on my desk.


“Mel and Lindsay told you you couldn’t, didn't they?” I ask him.


“No, I decided since they don't know he's missing, I wasn’t going to tell them.” He tells me.


“I thought you called them?” I ask him.


“I did, but maybe they haven't checked their messages.” He tells me.


Justin started fidgeting with the pens on my desk. He started looking for something.


“Did you need something?” I ask him.


“Yes, but I don’t know what to say to you.” He tells me.


“Just say whatever it is you want to say.” I tell him.


“I don’t like myself right now.” He tells me.


“Okay.” I tell him, confused at where he's going with this.


“Before I make an idiot of myself, I’m ready to listen to you.” He tells me.


“You're willing to let me tell you what happened?” I wanted to make sure.


“Yes.” He tells me.


“You remember when you let the cat out of the bag, about Ben and me?” I ask him.


“I was really tired and not thinking.” He tells me.


“Justin, that wasn’t your finest hour, but it led to what happened.” I tell him.


“I remember Michael trying to pretend he didn’t care.” He tells me.


“Trust me, he cared. He spent the next week avoiding Ben and generally acting like Ben cheated on him with me. I got tired of Michael acting like it should matter anymore. I showed up at the comic shop to talk him and he was still being shitty about the whole thing. I figured if he wanted to know what being a trick to me is like, I’d show him. I came back in the door and started doing what I did when I tricked with guys. I thought he would stop me, but instead he let me keep going. I finally pulled away when it seemed like he wanted to finish what I started. I never thought it would get any further than him realizing that having Ben was better than being a trick. I left him standing in the shop still dressed and to me nothing worse than a kiss.” I tell him.


“Where did you go after that, I tried to call you?” He tells me.


“I went out drinking, ended up on Deb’s couch.” I tell him.


“Why did Ben and Michael break up, if that was all that happened?” He asks me.


“Because Michael took it to mean that I was open for more. When you left, I didn’t tell anyone you left me, just that we wanted different things. Michael took that to mean I wanted him and told Ben what happened at the comic shop. Then told Ben that he wanted a chance to see if he and I could make a go at a relationship. Ben walked out and came to tell me to grow up.” I tell him.


“Is that all? I saw Michael too, and he wasn’t very welcoming.” He tells me.


“I told Michael why I did it. He still wanted us to try, but I finally told him that I don’t love him the way he wants me to. We haven’t been friends since then.” I tell him.


“So everyone turned on you?” He asks me.


“Ted and Emmett are still around. Emmett is still friendly with Michael, but told us he isn’t going to play sides. Ted and Michael really don’t talk anymore, only because Michael didn’t want Ted working for me.” I tell him.


“What about Deb and Vic?” I ask him.


“I didn’t want to Deb to have to choose sides either, she’s still there for me, but Michael is her son. Justin, Vic died.” I tell him.


“When did Vic die?” He asks me.


“A couple years after you left.” I tell him.


“I didn’t know.” He tells me.


“He lived longer than he thought he would. Don’t feel bad that you didn’t know.” I tell him.


“Brian, I owe you an apology.” He tells me.


“Justin, you know I think apologies are bullshit.” I tell him.


“I just hope you can forgive me for doing what Mel and Lindsay are doing.” He tells me.


“Which is?” I ask him.


“Keeping your child from knowing you.” He tells me.


“I have to be honest, I’m not thrilled you didn’t tell me.” I tell him.


“I was hurt and didn’t think about anyone but myself. I realized, listening to Mel, that I was doing the same thing to you. I just want you to know that I never said anything bad about you to him.” I tell him.


“Are you going to let me get to know him?” I ask him.


“Yes, and if you want me to stay away, I’ll do that too.” He tells me.


“I’d like you to give us a chance to raise our son together. I’m not saying we get back together, just not rule it out. I need to know that you aren’t going to run off every time you get upset. I don’t want to even consider a relationship if you and I can’t trust each other.” I tell him.


“Brian, I don’t even live here anymore.” I tell him.


“I can live anywhere, Justin. I just want to know my children and see if we could make it work this time.” I tell him.


“I can’t be in a relationship with you and other people.” He tells me.


“This time it will just be us.” I tell him.


“We still have to figure out what to do about the Gus situation.” I tell him.


“My lawyer told me to let him handle it. He thinks Canada’s children's services will be interested that Gus has been missing for almost a week and the girls haven’t reported it.” I tell him.


“Brian, it’s like they don’t even know.” I tell him.


“Maybe Gus could tell us why.”  I tell him.




Chapter 4 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

I called my mom because we were about to violate Mel's order. 

 

“You're telling me that Brian isn’t allowed to see his son?” She asks me. 

 

“If we come over, Brian will be violating the cease and desist order she put on him.” I tell her.

 

“If they were taking better care of Gus, they’d know where he was.” She tells me.

 

“I just wanted you to know before I brought him in the house.” I tell her.

 

“Justin, they don’t know he’s here, so it’s unlikely Brian would get in trouble for this, just come in the house.” She tells me.

 

Brian and I get out of the car and walk in the door. Gus and Jacob are on the couch staring at Brian. 

 

“Gus, we need to know why your moms don’t seem to know you’re missing?” Brian asks him.

 

“I normally go to a friend’s house for most of the summer.” He tells us.

 

“What do you mean you normally go to your friend’s house most of the summer?” I ask him.

 

“Michael visits for most of the summer and I told Mom I wouldn’t stay in the house with him.” Gus tells us.

 

“Is there some reason you want to avoid Michael?” Brian asks Gus.

 

“He acts like I’m not around when he comes over. I got tired of hearing how Jenny has a dad who wanted to be around. Michael seems to go out of his way to always say it in front of me.” He tells me.

 

“Did you tell them you were going to your friend’s house?” I ask him.

 

“No, just left when I found out where you were.” He tells me.

 

“Your moms don’t ask where you go?” Jacob asks him. 

 

“Not really.” Gus tells him.

 

“My dad would ground me for life if I took off like that.” Jacob tells him.

 

“That’s because he wants you.” Gus tells him.

 

“Just like I want you Gus.” Brian tells him.

 

“Then where have you been?” Gus asks him.

 

Brian seems to be struggling with what to tell Gus. Part of me wants him to tell Gus that his mothers stopped Brian from coming around, but I get that Gus is hurt enough that hearing that would just make Gus feel worse.

 

“Gus, sometimes parents make bad decisions and end up hurting their child. Your moms didn’t want to share you with your dad, so they made it so he couldn’t see you.” Mom tells him.

 

“But they let Jenny see her dad.” He tells us.

 

“They think I’m not a good influence on you Gus.” Brian tell him.

 

“I don’t understand.” He tells Brian. 

 

“Gus, when you were born, I was doing things that I wouldn’t have wanted you to see, so in a way they were right to worry about you spending time with me.” He tells Gus.

 

“You didn’t do anything wrong around me when you did visit.” Gus tells him. 

 

“Gus, nothing was more important to me than spending time with you.” He tells him.

 

“If I’m so important than where have you been?” He asks Brian.

 

“Gus, there are things that made it so I couldn’t.” Brian tells him.

 

“I guess I’m not as important as you keep telling me.” He tells Brian.

 

“My dad said that your dad loved you a lot.” Jacob tells Gus.

 

“Your dad took you away from him too.” Gus tells him.

 

“Gus, your dad didn’t do anything wrong, I did. I thought something and instead of telling your dad, I ran away too. Jacob could have had your dad in his life, if I hadn’t been acting like a child.” I tell him, looking at Brian so that he knows how sorry I am for doing that to him.

 

“Gus, when would your moms expect you to be home?” Mom ask Gus.

 

“I’m just home when I’m there, no one tells me to stay.” He tells us.

 

“Gus, doesn’t anyone check where you are?” Brian asks him.

 

“Not really, I mean Mom knows the parents of my friends, but when Michael is there she told me it’s fine to stay with my friends. The other parents don’t mind because it’s summer.” He tells us.

 

“So what you're telling me is your mom shuffles you off when Michael visits?” Brian asks Gus.

 

 “No, I just told them I didn’t want to be around Michael.” Gus tells him.

 

“Does he not want you around?” Brian asks.

 

“It’s like I said, he’s always saying things like how Jenny is so lucky not to have a part time dad. Which sounded like he was saying I was unlucky to have you for a father. He makes sure I know that only Jenny gets to do things with him.” Gus tells him.

 

“Justin why don’t you take the boys and get them something for lunch, I’d like to spend some time with Brian.” Mom tells us.

 

Brian wasn’t handling Gus’s home life well, so I did what my mother asked me. 

 

BRIAN

 

“Brian sit down.” Jen orders me.

 

“I’m fine.” I tell her.

 

“No your not, but you can’t go up there and do anything without making the situation worse.” She tells me.

 

“How much worse can it get Jen? My son is being raised to believe I don’t want him around. I'm not even supposed to be in the house with him.” I tell her.

 

“Brian, there has to be a way for you to get them to see this is hurting Gus.” She tells me.

 

“I don’t think it matters to Mel as long as she wins.” I tell her.

 

“What about Lindsay? She was always trying to get you to play father.” Jen asks me.

 

“She wants Mel, so she gave up trying to help me see Gus.” I tell her.

 

“I didn’t know them well but they didn’t seem this vindictive when I did.” She tells me. 

 

“Mel wasn’t happy with me when she found out that I knew about Lindsay having an affair, and told Lindsay not to tell her. Lindsay insisted it was over and wanted to be with Mel. Why tell Mel something that would hurt her. When Mel found out, they broke up and I helped Lindsay find a place to live and supported her and Gus. Mel was pregnant at the time with Michael’s kid and Michael wanted custody when it looked like Mel would be raising the baby by herself. Which is funny because so would Michael. Lindsay came to me about how she was left out of it. I hired a lawyer for her. The lawyer made them look like less than desirable parents and they all got custody. Mel seems to think that if I stayed out of it none of it would have happened.” I tell her.

 

“Can you tell me why Michael isn’t helping you with this, because I thought he was your friend?” She tells me.

 

“He wasn’t happy when I didn’t want a relationship.” I tell her, not wanting to tell her the whole mess.

 

“Did you and Michael date after Justin left?” She asks me.

 

“No, I just did something that he misinterpreted as wanting more.” I tell her.

 

“Is this the something that made Justin leave?” She asks me.

 

“Yes.” I tell her.

 

“What happened between you and Justin, because Justin won’t tell me.” She asks me.

 

I tell her the whole story, leaving nothing out because if she is going to help me, she needs to know. I wait for her to kick my ass, but instead she nods.

 

“Justin reacted without finding out what happened?” She asks me.

 

“Jen, if you saw that what would you have done?” I ask her.

 

“Banged on the door and demanded an explanation, but then I’m not nineteen.” She tell me.

 

“Jen, I don’t blame him for walking away. I wasn’t really proclaiming I wanted Justin around.” I tell her.

 

“That part I do understand, you both being able to let go. I want you to know that I did try to get him to tell you that he was pregnant, but he kept telling me that you would feel obligated to be there for him.” She tells me.

 

“I don’t know if I would have or not, but I would never turn my back on my kids.” I tell her.

 

“I know that and Justin was wrong to not tell you. Just don’t let Jacob see you angry with Justin.” She tells me.

 

“I’m not angry… fuck, yes I’m angry. He had no right to take off with my kid and not tell me.” I snap.

 

“You're right.” She tells me.

 

“Justin fucking knows how I felt about Gus and how I would have felt about Jacob. It was fucking childish to run away and then tell everyone not to tell me.” I rant.

 

“You're right.” She tells me.

 

“Being right doesn’t change the fact that I was the one denied the right to see my kids and be there for them, because the fucking other parents don’t like the things I do.” I tell her.

 

“No it doesn’t.” She tells me.

 

“Why are you agreeing with me?” I ask her.

 

“Because they are all wrong for what they did and I think you needed to hear that. I love Justin but it doesn’t make what he did right. If I had known the real reason he took off, I would have dragged him back to tell you about Jacob. I’ll be honest he was finally letting me back in his life, so I just didn’t rock the boat with him.” She tells me.

 

“I want Justin and I to be able to raise Jacob together, but right now I don’t trust him not to run if I do something he doesn’t like.” I tell her.

 

“Make him prove to you that he won’t. I think he’s realizing that what he did was wrong.” She tells me.

 

“I still don’t know what to do about Gus.” I tell her.

 

“Spend time with him, so when he goes back he knows you are here for him. Mel and Lindsay won’t be able to convince him you don’t want him that way. Then they are going to deal with a parent's worst nightmare.” She tells me.

 

“What’s that, me as your son-in-law?” I joke.

 

“No, their son determined to be with Brian Kinney.” She tells me.

 

 

 

Chapter 5 by starlight

MEL 

 

“What was Justin doing here? ” Michael asks me. 

 

“He wanted to know why we were keeping Brian from seeing Gus.” I tell him. 

 

“It's none of his fucking business.” Michael tells me. 

 

“I don’t get why he was here, he's been gone for years and the first thing he asks is why Lindsay and I won't let Gus see Brian.” I tell him. 

 

“How does he even know about that?” He asks me. 

 

“I guess he got in contact with Brian, since Justin has a child with him too.” I tell Michael.

 

“There is no way Justin had a kid with Brian. He probably wants Brian to support his ass again.” He tells me.

 

“Justin had a child with Brian?” Lindsay asks when she enters my office.

 

“That’s what he told me. Hopefully Brian can be happy with that kid and leave Gus alone.” I tell her.

 

“Justin needs to leave Brian alone.” Michael tells us.

 

“Why do you care, you were thrilled when I kicked Brian out of our lives?” I ask him.

 

“I don’t care. I think I’ll take my honeybun to lunch, so I’ll see you two later when I drop her off.” Michael tells us.

 

I wait for him to leave to talk to Lindsay. With Michael, I honestly don’t know where he stands in my fight with Brian, and I don’t trust him to have my back if it came down to a fight.

 

“So Justin had a child with Brian?” Lindsay asks me.

 

“Is that a problem for you?” I ask her. I hate the green eyed monster that comes out of her when it involves Brian.

 

“I was just wondering.” She smiles.

 

“We need to talk to Gus.” I tell her.

 

“Why?” She asks me.

 

“Gus seemed really interested in where Justin was when you sat around gushing about Justin’s article.” I tell her.

 

“Gus is with one of his friends, you know he doesn’t like being around Michael.” She tells me.

 

“Call and tell him to come home.” I tell her.

 

“Do you remember who he said he was going to stay with?” She asks me.

 

“Jesus Lindsay, how many time do I have to tell you to make him call us when he’s going to stay at a friend’s house?” I ask her.

 

“I’ve been busy with work and entertaining Michael. Which should be your job, because I didn’t pick that asshole to be my child’s father.” She tells me.

 

“No, you wanted me to go with the asshole you picked.” I sneer at her.

 

“If we had, we wouldn’t be stuck with the custody agreement Michael holds over our heads like a guillotine.” She hisses back.

 

“That wouldn’t have happened if Brian hadn’t gotten involved in the whole thing.” I tell her.

 

“You were leaving me out, so I went to the person who supported me and Gus, which sure as hell wasn’t you.” She tells me.

 

“Why would I support someone who fucked around on me while I was pregnant?” I tell her.

 

“I don’t know Mel, could it be because we had Gus to take care of?” She asks me.

 

“Sorry, but you spread your legs, so you deal with the consequences.” I tell her.

 

“Even when it’s you spreading your legs.” She snaps at me.

 

“You were too busy letting fucking ‘Peter’ solve your problems to give a shit that I was feeling left out.” I snap back.

 

“Only because you were suddenly acting like you didn’t care that we had a kid. At least Brian was there to listen to me.” She tells me.

 

“Everything with you comes back to Brian. Well Brian wasn’t going to make your WASPY dreams come true and marry you.” I tell her.

 

“I KNOW THAT, you don’t have to keep reminding me that I settled for you.” She yells at me.

 

“More like I settled for a woman who couldn’t decide who she was.” I yell back.

 

“Unlike you, I don’t hate men because I couldn’t fucking be one.” She sneers at me.

 

Patrick walks in my door looking unhappy with me again. Shit, why can’t Lindsay wait till we get home to start this shit.

 

“This isn’t your home girls, this is my business, and you both need to deal with your problems AT HOME. I will not have you two fighting here, do I make myself clear?” He asks us.

 

“I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.” I tell him.

 

“This is the last time Mel, I don’t need clients or the other lawyers hearing that one of my attorneys can’t handle her home life.” He tells me and leaves, closing the door.

 

“Find your son.” I tell her quietly.

 

“Don’t you mean OUR son, since you wanted to show Brian you had the bigger dick?” She tells me.

 

“You could have chosen your wonderful Brian, but then you don’t have a dick either.” I tell her.  

 

“Fuck you Mel.” She hisses as she walks out of my office.

 

LINDSAY

 

I was angry when I left, it’s not like I expected Brian to decide he wanted me. It’s just that when he visited Gus, he didn’t spend any time with me. I thought it would be us taking Gus out but Brian told me that he came to see Gus, not me. I wanted my Peter to listen to me, but he told me to solve my own problems, because he was here to see his son. I complained to Mel about Brian not including me and of course it pissed her off that I wanted to spend time with Brian. Brian brought Gus home to us fighting about it and told us both that we straighten out our shit or he would find a way to keep Gus. Mel walked out of the room and brought back the paperwork he signed, giving away his rights.

 

“You don’t have any say in Gus’s life and you sure as hell don’t have any in ours.” She tells him.

 

“My son isn’t going to live in a house where his parents fight all the time.” He tells her.

 

“You mean MY SON, because you signed away your rights.” She tells him, waving the papers in his face.

 

“Last I checked Gus has my blood in his veins, not yours.” He sneered.

 

“I wish he didn’t, but I can’t change that Lindsay was stupid enough to want you for a father.” She sneers back.

 

“Mel, that was uncalled for.” I told her.

 

“Brian you need to leave my house, and not come here unless I tell you you can.” Mel tells him.

 

 

“I’ll come back in two weeks to visit MY SON.” He told her and left the house.

 

Mel spent the next hour telling me that I had to make a choice, her or Brian. When I told her that it was her, she told me that she wanted Brian out of our lives for good. Brian didn’t care what Mel wanted and kept showing up, until Mel managed to get the order. 

 

Now I have to find Gus, I hate having to call the other parents. Gus’s friend Allen is usually where Gus goes when Michael shows up. Allen’s mother, Mary, told me that she doesn’t mind having Gus but that Mel and I should be the ones asking if he could stay over, not Gus just showing up randomly. I guess I’ll get to listen to another one of  Mary’s lectures on Gus.

 

“Hey Mary, it’s Lindsay… Can I talk to Gus… Oh, did he go home… He didn’t go to your house a few days ago?… Could you see if Allen’s seen Gus… Mary, Gus told us he was going to his friends house, it’s not… I don’t need you telling me how to raise my son… Of course I’ve seen him… He was home a couple days ago, I just assumed… It’s none of your business how we parent Gus… We are good parents, maybe it’s time for Gus to stop spending time with your child.” I tell her and hang up fuming.

 

(Hello, Lindsay… Gus isn’t here… I wouldn’t know, I haven’t seen him… No he hasn’t been over in a couple weeks… Allen is at his grandmother's so I can't ask him for you… Lindsay you should have been the one calling the other parents so you know where Gus is… I know where my son is all the time, which you don’t seem to. When was the last time you saw Gus… You should know, not assume anything about Gus. Lindsay, he needs you and Mel to pay more attention to him… It’s my business when he comes to my house all the time. What kind of parents let someone stay at their house and talk to Gus the way Jenny’s father does.”)

 

I hate talking to her, but now I have to figure out where Gus went. After calling all of Gus’s friends and listening to the moms tell me that I should know where Gus is, I have to wonder if Justin knows where Gus is. Mel and I need to get to Justin before Brian finds out we don’t know where his son is.

 

BRIAN

 

Jen told me that she wanted me to let my anger at the Justin out so that Jacob wouldn’t see it. 

 

“Jacob will defend Justin and make sure no one hurts his dad.” Jen tells me.

 

“I don’t want to hurt Justin.” I tell her.

 

“I know you don’t, but you have a right to be angry about what we all did.” She tells me. 

 

“Justin was hurt by what he saw, so I can understand why he did it. I just wish he didn’t let twelve years go by and not give me a chance to know Jacob.” I tell her. 

 

“It's not Dad's fault, he told me I could see you.” Jacob tells me from the entrance to the living room. 

 

“You didn’t want to meet me?” I ask him. 

 

“I did, it's just I didn’t want to have to be nice to the guy you picked instead of my dad.” He tells me. 

 

“Jacob, that was a misunderstanding.” Jen tells him.

 

“So you love my dad, not someone else?” He asks me. 

 

Jacob has to ask the one question that I avoided with Justin. 

 

“It was complicated.” I tell him. 

 

“Either you loved him or you didn't, that’s not very complicated.” He tells me. 

 

“I wasn’t ready to love someone the way your dad wanted me to love him.” I tell him. 

 

“So he was right, you didn't love him.” He tells me. 

 

“No… but…” Jen interrupts my fumbling with an answer.

 

“Jacob, Brian loved your dad enough to help him when he needed it, but he was also dealing with what happened to your dad, at the same time.” She tells him. 

 

“When dad got hurt?” He asks us. 

 

“Yes sweetheart, at the time Bri… your father and I, wanted to help your dad.” She tells him. 

 

“I still don’t understand why you can’t say you love Dad.” He tells me. 

 

“I was afraid to.” I tell him. 

 

“Why?” He asks me. 

 

“Your dad was the first person who really loved me, I didn’t know how to deal with it.” I tell him. 

 

“No one loved you before?” He asks me. 

 

“Not the way your father did.” I tell him. 

 

“I don’t understand.” He tells me.

 

“I didn’t have parents who wanted me, and my friends wanted things from me in order to love me. With your dad, it was different, he didn’t ask for things. I didn’t know how to deal with someone who just wanted me, without a reason.” I tell him. 

 

“If he had told you about me, would you have felt obligated to stay with us?” He asks me. 

 

“Jacob, you wouldn’t have been an obligation. It doesn’t matter to me how you got here, just that I can have you in my life.” I tell him. 

 

“What about Gus, you want him too, right?” He asks me. 

 

“I want you both, and if your Dad and I can work through our problems, we could be a family.” I tell him. 

 

Jacob comes over to me and puts his arms around me. “I'll help you love my dad.” He tells me. 

 

“I don’t need help with that, I already do.” I tell him. 

 

I pull my son into my arms, pick him up, and hold him for the first time. “I love you, for being my son.” I whisper to him.

 

“I love you too, Daddy.” He tells me. 

 

Gus walks in and stares at us. I put Jacob down and walk to my other son, it’s time for him to know he matters to me too.

 

“Gus, I'm going to find a way to be able to see you, but until I do, you need to know that I want you in my life.” I tell him. 

 

“I won’t go back to them.” He tells me. 

 

“I'm trying to make sure you don't, but if you do, give me time to work this out.” I tell him. 

 

“Brian, would you be willing to talk to my husband’s brother.” Jen asks me.

 

“Why?” I ask her. 

 

“He's a lawyer who deals with custody disputes, maybe he could help.” She tells me. 

 

“My lawyer has been trying to get them to let me see Gus.” I tell her. 

 

“It couldn’t hurt to have a second opinion.” She tells me. 

 

“Call him, maybe he could think of something my lawyer hasn't.” I tell her. 

 

MICHAEL 

 

Once again it's all about Justin, I had a plan and he has to come back. If only he would have stayed gone, Brian would have owed it to me for getting the girls to let him see Gus. 

 

When Mel pulled her shit, I saw it as a way to make Brian see me as the person who helped him get his son back. I know he would love me the way I want if I did that. Then we could raise the kids together as a couple. 

 

I only stayed around Mel and Lindsay so I could prove they suck as Gus’s parents. Hell, they hardly know where Gus goes when I'm around. It kind of pisses me off that Gus runs off when I'm around. I was hoping Gus would get attached to me by seeing how much I do for JR. I wanted Gus and I to be close so he would make Brian see I should be the one in his life. Then the four of us could be a family.

 

If Justin thinks he can interfere in my plans by using his kid, then it's time to remind Brian who loved him the most. Brian needs to remember Justin ran away, not me. I was there waiting for him to realize we belong together. I tried to love Brian, but as usual Brian pretends he doesn't want a relationship. I'm sure when he finds out I've been trying to help him, that he'll finally stop lying to himself about loving me. I guess it's time for Mel and Lindsay to understand they are going to do it my way, and tell Brian it was me who made them let Gus back in his life.

 

I waited for them to come home, so I could tell them what was going to happen.

 

“Did you and Jenny have a good day?” Lindsay asks me. 

 

“I always make sure JR is taken care of.” I tell her. 

 

“We know that Michael.” Mel tells me. 

 

“I think it's time for us to talk about Brian and Gus.” I tell them.

 

“There’s nothing to talk about, Brian isn’t going to be around Gus.” Mel tells me. 

 

“Yes he is.” I tell her. 

 

“Michael, you don’t have a say in that.” Mel tells me. 

 

“If you want to still be allowed to see either of the kids I do.” I tell her. 

 

“What are you talking about?” Lindsay asks me. 

 

“I’m talking about the fact that you two barely bother to be home with the kids. I come here and Gus runs off and neither of you can tell me where he is.” I tell her. 

 

“He leaves because he doesn’t want to be around you.” Lindsay tells me. 

 

“That doesn’t mean you two should let him run off, without telling you where he is. Do you even know where he is?” I ask them.

 

“He’s at a friends house.” Lindsay tells me. 

 

“Then get him home, unless, as usual, you don't know which friend.” I tell her. 

 

“I'm not going to force him to deal with you.” She tells me. 

 

“Well then, you both can deal with my lawyer. I think it's time JR returns to Pittsburgh. He'll be interested to hear how JR and Gus are left with anybody, while you and Mel are too busy to take care of the kids.” I tell her. 

 

“We don't leave them with just anybody, Michael.” Mel tells me. 

 

“Really, because JR told me that she spends a lot of nights with a babysitter, because you two aren’t home. I bet if I talk to the parents who are watching Gus, they aren't going to make you two sound like caring moms. I doubt a court is going to see that as being good parents.” I tell them.

 

“Michael, we have to work.” Mel tells me. 

 

“Last I checked it doesn't require either of you two to be gone all night. You aren’t trying a case in the middle of the night, are you? Lindsay where are you all night, because the art store you work at closes at nine?” I ask them.

 

“That’s our business, not yours.” Mel tells me. 

 

“As JR'S father, it is my business to know why you're not taking care of her or Gus. I bet Brian would love to know the kind of upbringing you two are providing Gus. Maybe it's time for him and I to talk.” I tell them.

 

“Michael don't threaten us. I'll make sure you don't see JR.” Mel tells me. 

 

“I doubt you could, I've been here taking care of her while you two take off all the time. Which my lawyer knows, since he keeps a log of everything I tell him about you two.” I tell them.

 

“What do you want?” Mel says through clenched teeth.

 

“I want to show Brian that I'm the reason he can see Gus. It's really simple, you tell Gus to come home because Uncle Michael is going to take him to see his father.” I tell her. 

 

“Brian isn’t going to give you what you want.” Lindsay tells me. 

 

“When he sees that I'm the reason he can see Gus he will.” I tell her. 

 

“I won’t be blackmailed into letting Brian back in our lives.” Mel tells me. 

 

“You either do as I tell you, or I take JR away from you. I'll make you feel how Brian felt, when you did it to him. Before you two try to argue with me, find Gus and have him ready to go see Brian. I expect a call by tomorrow.” I tell them.

 

I leave them in the living room and go say goodbye to JR. Soon I'll have everything I always wanted.

 

MEL 

 

That motherfucker thinks he can threaten us. He better have more than Lindsay and me not being home some nights. 

 

“Lindsay, get Gus home.” I tell her. 

 

“I'm trying.” She tells me. 

 

“Tell him to get his ass home. We don’t need him staying with his friends, when Michael is using it as us neglecting Gus.” I tell her. 

 

Lindsay start fidgeting instead of calling Gus.

 

“Stop just sitting here and get him.” I tell her. 

 

“I can’t find him.” She mumbles. 

 

“What do you mean you can't find him?” I ask her. 

 

“He isn’t at any of his friends houses.” She tells me. 

 

“THEN WHERE IS HE?” I yell at her.

 

“I DON’T KNOW.” She yells.

 

“HOW THE FUCK DON’T YOU KNOW WHERE HE IS?” I yell.

 

“BECAUSE I FUCKING CALLED EVERYONE AND THEY HAVEN'T SEEN OUR SON.” She yells.

 

“YOU HAVE ONE FUCKING JOB AND IT’S TO TAKE CARE OF THE KIDS. YOU CAN’T EVEN TAKE THE TIME TO KNOW WHERE THEY ARE?” I scream at her.

 

“I CAN’T BE THE ONLY ONE HOME TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. I WORK TOO.” She screams at me.

 

“YOUR A FUCKING CASHIER AT AN ART SUPPLY STORE. UNLIKE MY JOB, YOURS ISN’T IMPORTANT.” I yell at her.

 

“NOTHING IS IMPORTANT UNLESS IT HAS TO DO WITH YOU. WHY AREN’T YOU LOOKING FOR GUS, YOU'RE SO CONCERNED ABOUT HIM.” She yells at me.

 

“Gus left to find Justin.” Jenny tells us from the stairs.

 

“What baby?” I ask her.

 

“Gus said that he was going to find Justin.” She tells us.

 

“When did he do that?” Lindsay asks her.

 

“Right after you showed him the article about Justin. He told me he wanted to go find someone who loved him.” She tells us.

 

“We love Gus, but you should have told us that he ran away.” I tell Jenny.

 

“I didn’t want you to be mad at Gus. He said that he wanted a Dad.” She tells us.

 

“Honey, Gus shouldn’t have just run away. We needed to know.” I tell her.

 

“I just thought he should have a daddy like I do.” She tells us.

 

“Baby go back to bed, let Mommy and I talk.” I tell her.

 

“You woke me up yelling.” She complains.

 

“We won’t yell anymore, but we need to find Gus.” I tell her.

 

“He doesn’t want you to find him. He said he wanted someone who cared, that he wanted a daddy.” She tells us.

 

I take Jenny back to bed and realize that Lindsay and I were in trouble. Michael doesn’t need to find out Gus ran away and we didn’t know where he is.

 

“Sweetie when did Gus leave?” I ask her.

 

“When Daddy came.” She tells me.

 

I kiss her goodnight and hurry to talk to Lindsay.

 

BRIAN

 

We waited for Tucker’s brother to come over. I doubt he was going to tell us anything that could help me, but like Jen said it doesn’t hurt to have as second opinion. Justin and I put the boys to bed and sat together in the living room.

 

“I wonder if Mel and Lindsay figured out Gus is gone yet?” Justin asks me.

 

“I hope they do, because I never wanted Gus to live in a house where no one cared where he disappeared to.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t get how they would let him take off like that, Jacob is right, I would have grounded him for life if he did that.” He tells me.

 

“You seem to really be involved in Jacob’s life.” I tell him. 

 

“He’s my world, nothing matters to me but that he’s happy.” Justin tells me.

 

“Lindsay made me think the same thing, that’s why I gave up my rights to her and Mel.” I tell him.

 

“I never understood that until I had Jacob. Now if I had thought he would be better off with you, I would have done the same thing. Not that I think he’s better off without you.” He tells me.

 

“I’m not going to bow out of Jacob’s life.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t expect you to. I want him to know you, it’s my fault that he doesn’t.” Justin tells me.

 

“I think we should set the blame aside and do what’s best for Jacob and Gus. Right now that’s all that matters.” I tell him.

 

Tucker brings Brad into the room and introduces us. Brad was all business.

 

“I need to know from the beginning how you became the father of Gus and what kind of agreement you signed. Also, when you signed away your rights, were you warned by your lawyer what you were doing?” He tells me.

 

“Lindsay wanted to have a baby, I agreed to donate, just to get her off my back. I never really thought I wanted a kid. The three of us agreed that I would be in his life but not as the father. The problem was that I fell in love with my son and didn’t want to give him up.” I tell him.

 

“So you didn’t give him up at birth. Did you pay support?” He asks me.

 

“I gave Lindsay money to pay the hospital bill and if she needed anything for Gus, I helped her. I didn’t give him up until Lindsay tried to marry a guy who needed a green card.” I tell him.

 

“What did that have to do with you giving up your son?” He asks me.

 

“I wanted Gus raised by people who loved him, not some guy looking for a green card. I got Mel and Lindsay to agree to get back together, if I gave up my rights.” I tell him.

 

“Your lawyer was there when you signed over Gus?” He asks me.

 

“No, I just went to Mel’s firm and got the paperwork. Signed it and handed it to Mel and Lindsay.” I tell him.

 

“When you went to court with them, did you have a lawyer with you to explain what you were doing could make it so they could block your rights to Gus?” He asked me.

 

“I didn’t go to court, Mel did all that.” I tell him.

 

“Brian, in order for that agreement to be valid, you have to be given time to reconsider giving up your child. The courts see too many cases where the biological parent changes their mind and want their child. If you never went to court and restated you wanted to let Mel adopt Gus, you can still reconsider the decision.” He tells me.

 

“My lawyer never told me that, just that they have the right to refuse to let me have a part of Gus’s life.” I tell him.

 

“Did he know you didn’t have representation when you gave up your rights?” He asks me.

 

“He knew that I signed away my rights, because he worked with Mel.” I tell him.

 

“Brian, if everything you told me is correct, than you can fight Mel’s order.” He tells me.

 

“Even though I willingly signed the agreement?” I ask him.

 

“It doesn’t matter unless you went and signed it in front of a judge. How did they get the order past a judge without the judge forcing you to appear?” He asked me.

 

“Mel took care of it.” I tell him.

 

“Mel and you would need separate lawyers to do that. Mel couldn’t represent herself because she was personally gaining from it, and she couldn’t represent you for the same reason.” He tells me.

 

“So I can get my rights back?” I ask him.

 

“Yes, and truthfully it shouldn’t be to hard for you to do. Do you still support Gus?” He asks me.

 

“I send the money to Lindsay, she still takes it.” I tell him.

 

“Are you hiring me?” He tells me.

 

“If you can make it so I can see my son, than yes.” I tell him.

 

“Then sign here and hand me a dollar.” He tells me. 

 

I sign where he tells me and pull out a dollar.

 

“I can write a check for the retainer, if you need me too.” I tell him.

 

“The dollar is your retainer, I won’t charge family.” He tells me.

 

“I’m not your family.” I remind him.

 

“Your Jacob’s dad, so that makes us family.” He tells me.

 

“What about my lawyer?” I ask him.

 

“The partner from Mel’s old firm?” He asks me.

 

“Yes, he knew about the whole situation with me and the girls. I figured he would know if I had a case.” I tell him.

 

“Yet he never told you that you had to have representation in order to give up your child?” He ask me.

 

“No, just that Mel and Lindsay were the only parents who could make decisions.” I tell him.  

 

“Brian was he involved in the case when you gave up Gus?” He asked me.

 

“He told me he was, why?” I ask him.

 

“Because he couldn’t represent you and Mel at the same time, it’s a conflict of interest.” He tells me.

 

“Or covering his ass, if he helped Mel pass the paperwork through the courts without keeping Brian informed of his rights as the father giving up his son.” Justin tells us.

 

“He could be disbarred if he was involved in the adoption process because he can’t be both your lawyers.” Brad tells me       

 

“I don’t know if he was involved.” I tell him.

 

“We need to find that out. If he is, you have a case against his firm for misleading you on your rights.” He tells me.

 

“Then find out, I don’t care how much it costs. I just want to be in Gus’s life.” I tell him.

 

Brad packs up his things and tells me that I need to be in his office in the morning. I finally feel like I can get my son back.          

 

 

 

Chapter 6 by starlight
Author's Notes:

This chapter is full of legal jargan. Most of it is my interpretation of what I read, so understand that I made it fit what I was righting not that it's true.

JUSTIN


Brian and I were on our way to meet with Brad, when Thomas called me, all flustered.


“Hey, I didn’t tell Daphne you helped me, so you can can the drama queen routine.” I tell him.


“Yeah, well make sure she knows you acted alone. Where are you right now?” He asks me.


“Brian and I are on our way to see a lawyer.” I tell him.


“Fucking A, you are trying to guarantee I never get a date aren’t you?” He whines.


“You keep whining like that and you won’t all on your own. Is there a reason you called other than to prove you're more gay than I am?” I ask him.


“Yeah, just wanted to whine a bit about my Daphne-less life.” He tells me.


“You sure he isn’t gay?” Brian asks me.


“Please tell me that isn’t Brian.” He begs.


“Didn’t I just say I was with Brian?” I ask him.


“I was hoping you meant you weren’t going together.” He tells me.


“Why… did… you… call?” I ask him, hoping he’ll get to the point.


“Well for a few reasons, first you were asked to do a show in Pittsburgh at the Warhol Museum.” He tells me.


“You better have said yes.” I tell him, excited.


“Hello, I’m a competent agent, so of course I said yes. I figured it gave me a reason to see my woman. Oh, and it’s the Warhol.” He tells me.


“What else?” I ask him.


“I thought I could give you the great news first because the rest is sucky.” He tells me.


“It’s like talking to Emmett.” Brian comments.


“Thomas, what else?” I ask again.


“Lindsay Peterson is insisting I give her your number, something about you harboring a minor.” He tells me.


“And?” I tell him.


“Some guy keeps calling saying he wants your number. When I asked why, he said that you owe it to him to talk to him.” He tells me.


“Michael.” Brian whispers.


“Give Lindsay my other number, and tell the guy that I don’t owe him a fucking thing.” I tell Thomas.


“You want me to say ‘fucking thing’, because I really, really want to.” Thomas tells me.


“You have free rein on it.” I tell him.


“Hold on, it’s Lindsay on my office line, want to hear what she has to say?” He asks me.


“Yeah and record it, because I could be in trouble here.” I tell him.


“The kid ran away and you offered him a safe house to stay in while you waited for his parents to come to you. You didn’t owe them an explanation.” Brian tells me.


“Do you think the police are going to see it that way?” I ask him.


“Justin, I don’t think Lindsay wants anyone to know Gus is gone.” Thomas tells me.


“Why do you say that?” I ask him.


“She told me that she just wanted you to return him to her, no need to involve anyone else at all.” Thomas tells me.


“Put her on and give her my number.” I tell him.


“Ms. Peterson, Justin gave me permission to give you his number.” Thomas tells her.


“Tell Justin I expect him to call me. He had no right to keep my son and not tell me.” She tells him and hangs up.


“Text me her number.” I tell him.


“Will do, call me if you need bail.” Thomas jokes and hangs up.


“Justin, don’t call until we talk to Brad. I think if you call we need to let him hear what she is saying.” Brian tells me.


I agree to wait until we talk to Brad. We get taken into his office as soon as we arrive.


“Okay, so far it looks like Mel and her partner Ron did get the paperwork passed through without following proper procedure. I talked to a judge I know and he said that Judge Russo did it as a favor to them as long as they returned the favor to him one day.” He tells us.


“Wait, Roy Russo?” Brian asks him.


“Yes, why do you know him?” Brad asks him.


“He was the judge who ruled on the case when Justin was bashed by Christopher Hobbs.” He tell him.


“Did Mel get involved in the case?” He ask us.


“No, the DA dealt with it. She told me that we didn’t have a leg to stand on since the judge ruled it simple assault instead of attempted murder.” Brian tells him.


“It could just be a coincidence, but it’s worth looking into.” He tells us.


“Mel didn’t have anything to do with the case.” I tell them.


“How can you know for sure?” Brad asks me.


“My mom didn’t want her involved, Mel did try, but Mom felt they were all to blame for me getting hurt at the time.” I tell him.


“It still doesn’t hurt to check around about it. It could only help Brian’s case.” He tells us.


“Brad, Lindsay wants me to call her, I think she knows Gus is with us.” I tell him.


“Justin, you didn’t do anything but take a kid off the street.” He tells me.


“She said I was harboring a minor.” I tell him.


“Sounds like Mel telling her what to say.” Brian tells us.


“Brian, we need to file the paperwork for you saying you don’t want to give up Gus. I also want to file to have the first case reviewed because you weren’t informed that you had to appear.” He tells Brian.


“What about Lindsay?” I ask Brad.


“This is going to be the part you don’t like, we need to inform child services here that Gus ran away. He is going to be taken by them and I can have them release him into Brian’s custody because Brian is his natural father, who will be suing for custody.” Brad tells us.


“Brad, this is going to scare Gus.” Brian tells him.


“No, because we are going to explain it to Gus. I already have the paperwork on Brian so child services can release him to Brian and prove Brian’s home is a suitable home for Gus to live in.” Brad tells us.


“How do you have all that?” Brian asks him.


“I plan to steal Cynthia when this is over, she faxed everything while I was on the phone with her.” Brad tells us.


“The loft is a suitable home?” I ask.


“No, but the country house Brian owns is suitable.” He tells us.


“Country house?” I look at Brian.


“I bought it a while ago, I didn’t like living where Michael could keep showing up.” Brian tells me.


“Do I call Lindsay back?” I ask him.


“No, you do what I just told you to do. Do not speak to her.” Brad warns us both.


“I don’t want Gus to lie about when I found him.” I tell Brad.


“Then tell child services that you were bringing Gus to his parents. You didn’t know they didn’t all live in Pittsburgh.” He tells me.


“I went to see them yesterday.” I tell him.


“You aren’t required to return him to parents who don’t seem to be looking out for his best interest. Gus is being neglected, Justin. His mothers couldn’t even tell you he was missing, and you felt that that environment would be harmful to Gus. Plus, Gus is still a US citizen.” He tells us.


“How could he be, they have lived in Canada for five years?” Brian asks him.


“Mel became a citizen because she applied under the independent/skilled worker category. Lindsay is a resident with the children through Mel. It was easier than applying for citizenship.” He tells us.


“Couldn’t they force the US to send Gus back?” Brian asks him.


“No, because Gus is a US citizen, Canada would stay out of it. They don’t get involved in US custody disputes anymore than the US would with Canadian disputes.” He tells us.


“I need to go fire Ron.” Brian tells us.


“I want to be there with you when you do. He needs to answer for why he and Mel didn’t go through the proper channels.” He tells us.


“So first we take Gus in?” I ask him.


“Yes, but only to inform them of Gus’s whereabouts and that Gus’s father is willing to take him in.” He tells us.


Brad tells us he will meet us at child services. Brian and I drive to get Gus, I hate that we are doing this, but I want to help Gus. When Gus got in the car, I decided to be the one to tell him.


“Gus, we have to take you to child services so that they can allow your dad to keep you.” I tell him.


“I don’t have to go back to Canada?” He asks us, finally smiling a real smile.


“No, you stay here if what Brad told us is true.” Brian tells him.


“Do I have to stay in a foster home?” He asks us.


“Brad is already there at child services, showing that I can provide you a safe place to live.” Brian tells him.


We get to the office and they ask to speak to Gus alone with Brad. We sat and waited to see what was happening. Brian was called in and told them I needed to be there too. Gus’s age became the deciding factor. At thirteen and that he had reasonable intelligence was all they were proving, and when asked where he wanted to live he told them he wanted to live with Brian. It helped that his US birth certificate still listed Brian as the father. Guess when Mel was busy getting the adoption through, she forgot to change it. We took Gus out the door with us, and Brad told us that Mel and Lindsay were going to have to fight this in the US, not Canada.


Chapter 7 by starlight

BRIAN

 

I asked Justin to take Gus back to his mother’s house while Brad and I visited Ronny boy. I wanted to believe that an attorney I was paying was there for me, guess that was the wrong decision to make. We didn’t wait but five minutes when Brad told me to let him be the one asking to see Ron.

 

“Brad, good to see you.” Ron holds out his hand to Brad.

 

“You might not think so when you know why I’m here.” He tells Ron, ignoring Ron’s hand.

 

“Brian, did we have an appointment?” He looks past Brad to me.

 

“Brian is here with me.” Brad tells Ron.

 

“Well let's go to my office, and you can tell me why you're here.” Ron tells us.

 

We get in his office and Brad barely waits for Ron to sit before talking.

 

“Ron, I need you to explain how you could represent Brian when it’s conflict of interest?” He asked Ron.

 

“I don’t see why you think that.” He questions Brad.

 

“You and Melanie Markus were partners in this firm and you helped her push the adoption through without informing my client of his rights.” He tells him.

 

“Look, Mel told me that Brian was fine with us pushing it through.” He tells Brad.

 

“Were you her attorney or Brian’s at the time?” Brad asks.

 

“I guess I would have been Mel’s.” He tells Brad.

 

“Then if you were acting as her attorney, why didn’t you inform Brian that you couldn’t represent him in a custody case involving the same child. While you're at it, what did you and Mel promise Russo to get him to put the paperwork through without following proper guidelines, such as having Brian appear in court to sign his rights away in front of a judge?” He asks Ron.

 

“Russo just wanted us to do a case pro bono for him. We helped his son keep custody from the ex, it’s done all the time. Mel told me that she had Brian sign but that he didn’t plan on appearing. I really don’t appreciate you questioning my ethics.” Ron tells Brad.

 

“Not questioning your ethics Ron, just wondering where they went. I hope you're telling me the truth about Judge Russo, because I’ll be looking into whether you defended his son pro bono. I have a hard time believing that Russo wouldn’t have just hired an attorney for his son, instead of asking a small firm like yours to help. Then again I’m finding out all kinds of strange law practices since Brian hired me. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Brian wants to terminate his business with this firm.” Brad tells him.

 

“Brian, I really was trying to help you.” Ron tells me.

 

“I thought you were too, but I should have asked a lot more questions than I did.” I tell him.

 

“Before we go, I just want to warn you, I have already asked for the case to be reviewed.” Brad warns Ron.

 

“I only helped push through the adoption.” Ron tells Brad.

 

“Without allowing Brian to restate that he was willingly giving up his rights with an attorney present who would have made sure Brian was present through the whole process.” He tells Ron.

 

“Brian, they could come at you for child support if you pursue this, they have Gus, and have been the primary parents.” He warns me.

 

“I guess all the money I have been paying would then be considered child support Ron.” I tell him.

 

“Don’t worry, Brian’s accountant kept careful track of all the support he provided Lindsay to take care of Gus.” Brad tells Ron.

 

We left with Brad calling to get an investigator to look into Ron. 

 

“Why did I go with the guy?” I ask myself.

 

“You aren’t a lawyer, you went with someone you knew. Most people do Brian. You had no way of knowing the guy was a sleaze.” Brad tells me.

 

“So unless the girls show up, Gus stays with me?” I ask him.

 

“I’m going to make sure he stays with you either way, Brian, I’m great at my job.” He tells me.

 

“Now I just need to figure out where Justin and I stand.” I tell him.

 

“From what I see, you two look like you still love each other, it’s enough if you can forgive Justin for what he did. Truthfully, if you wanted, you could get custody of Jacob, not that I would help you do that.” He tells me.

 

“I don’t want custody without Justin.” I tell him.

 

“Then give him a reason to stay.” Brad tells me.

 

“You married?” I ask him.

 

“No, but if Tucker hadn’t snatched up Jen, I would have.” He tells me.

 

“What is it with young studs and Jen?” I joke.

 

“Guess it must be in the genes, because I might not be gay, but I get why you want Justin.” He tells me.

 

“Keep your eyes off his ass, I swear it could make a man gay.” I tell him.

 

MEL

 

I waited to see if Justin called, we needed to get Gus home without Michael finding out. When the phone rang at three I was ready to scream at Justin for making us wait all day. Instead it was Ron.

 

“Ron, why are you calling?” I ask him.

 

“Because you owe me an explanation.” He tells me.

 

“About what?” I ask him.

 

“About the fact that Brian is now having the adoption reopened and we are going to get our asses handed to us by Brad Tanner.” He tells me.

 

“What does Brad have to do with this?” I ask him.

 

“Brian hired Brad to represent him, and fired me. Brad asked why we didn’t have Brian appear for the hearing that never happened, and what we owed Russo. I told him I represented Russo’s son, which I did. You never told me what you did, so I said you were with me. Mel if everything wasn’t on the up and up, we are going to be facing the review board.” He tells me.

 

“Don’t worry Brad, I didn’t do anything illegal for Russo.” I tell him.

 

“Brian didn’t want to be bothered with the adoption, so I took care of it. He told Lindsay and I he understood what he was doing.” I tell him.

 

“You’d better be telling me the truth Mel, my license could be at stake here.” He tells me.

 

“It’s fine Ron.” I assure him. 

 

“Tell Lindsay that taking money from Brian for support was a stupid thing to do.” He tells me.

 

“I’ll do that, goodbye and don’t worry about it.” I tell him staring at Lindsay.

 

“Why were you talking about Judge Russo?” Lindsay asks me.

 

“Why have you been taking money from Brian is an even better question.” I ask her.

 

“What are you talking about?” She asks me.

 

“The fact that Ron found out you were taking money from Brian. It would be considered support Lindsay.” I tell her. I can feel my anger bubbling to the surface.

 

“It was for Gus.” She tells me.

 

“Lindsay, you promised not to take anything from him.” I tell her.

 

“I wanted a nest egg in case you ran off with the chick you were screwing, you know, like the last time you left me scraping by.” She tells me.

 

“I was working Lindsay, just because we were in my office together doesn’t mean I’m screwing anyone.” I tell her.

 

“Really, because I was talking about the hotel you went to with her. Where do you think I was all those nights JR and Gus stayed with a babysitter.” She sneers at me.

 

“YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN WITH OUR KIDS, NOT CHECKING UP ON ME.” I yell at her.

 

“I WANTED TO HAVE SOMETHING TO TAKE YOUR ASS TO COURT WITH WHEN I LEFT YOU, SO I HOPE YOU DON’T PLAN ON FIGHTING ME. I’LL PUT THE FUCKING PICTURES UP ON BILLBOARDS AROUND YOUR OFFICE. I’M SURE PATRICK WILL LOVE TO SEE PICTURES OF YOU FUCKING THE INTERN.” Lindsay yells at me 

 

“Lindsay we need to talk about that, it was just stress relief.” I tell her, hoping I could calm her down.

 

“I honestly couldn’t care less. I do care that you think you can belittle me and I have to take it.” She tells me.

 

“Lindsay, I’m sorry. I just hate all the fighting we do.” I tell her.

 

“Then tell me why Ron seems so worried and why Judge Russo was mentioned, and don’t lie to me.” She tells me.

 

“I wanted the adoption for Gus to be done, Ron and I had Russo help us circumvent the system. It’s done all the time.” She tells me.

 

“Really, then why did you look worried when he mentioned favors?” She asks me.

 

“I didn’t do anything illegal if that’s what you're hinting at.” I tell her.

 

“What did you do?” She asks me again.

 

“Fuck. When Justin’s case came up, Russo told me to tell Chris Hobbs attorney any dirt I had on Brian. Like I said it wasn’t illegal.” I lie to her.

 

“The judge presiding over the case telling you to help the defense isn’t illegal? Mel, I’m blonde not stupid.” She tells me.

 

“They could have pulled me in and asked me anyway.” I tell her.

 

“Why would they? They wouldn’t know you knew Justin or Brian unless you told someone.” She tells me.

 

“Lindsay if this gets out I could lose everything, including the children.” I tell her.

 

“You're going to lose everything anyway, we can’t produce Gus.” Lindsay tells me.

 

“He’s with Brian and Justin, we need to go there before Michael comes here.” I tell her.

 

Lindsay was at least willing to go to Pittsburgh, so we packed up the car and drove off before Michael showed up. Guess he slept in.

 

 

Chapter 8 by starlight

MEL

 

I keep thinking Michael wouldn’t have not shown up this morning because he thinks he has us by the balls. Why haven’t we heard from him?

 

“Lindsay, where the hell is Michael?” I ask her as I drive.

 

Lindsay checks to see if JR has her earphones on. 

 

“I made sure he wouldn’t bother us today.” She tells me.

 

“How did you do that?” I ask her.

 

“I followed him to the bar he went to last night and had someone slip him some of your sleeping pills. I wanted time to figure out how to keep him from showing up and having this blowing up in our face.” She tells me.

 

“You might not believe me but I do love you.” I tell her.

 

“I don’t know if I can believe anything you say anymore. Mel, what you did on the Russo thing is something I can’t condone. Justin didn’t deserve that from you.” I tell her.

 

“Russo was threatening to go to Brian with how we did the adoption.” I tell her.

 

“Brian would have done it. He promised us.” She tells me.

 

“Like he promised to give Gus up at birth. Don’t try to sell to me that he wouldn’t have found a way to try and keep Gus.” I tell her.

 

“What you did affected Justin’s life too. Mel you shouldn’t have done what you did.” She tells me.

 

“I can’t change it, so just let it go.” I tell her.

 

“I will for now, but if I find out there was more to it, I’ll tell them.” She tells me.

 

I can’t get a fucking break, I did what I had to do to keep my family together. Why can’t she understand everything I did was for us? I still hate myself for letting them force me to tell them about Brian and Justin’s relationship. Everything I said turned it into Brian being a child molester and Justin taunting Chris to do what he did. I remember sitting in the room with Chris and his family and thinking the fucker doesn’t even care that he almost killed someone. Sooner or later Chris would get caught doing again and I could at least not feel guilty, because he wouldn’t get away with it twice. I keep telling myself that maybe one day I can look at Justin and not feel like I betrayed him.

 

MICHAEL

 

I get up and feel like I slept for ages. I need to go see whether the girls did what I told them. I shower and almost fall back to sleep again in the shower. What the hell, I only had a beer. I looked outside and it was still early, because the sunlight was dim. Walking over to the bed to gather some things so I can leave right away, I see it’s five, but normally it’s darker out at this time. I grab my phone and it’s five pm not am. How did I sleep the day away?

 

I hurried to my rental because the girls weren’t going to think that I didn’t show up. I’ll tell them I was giving them time to say goodbye to Gus. When I got to the house Mel’s car was gone but she’s probably hiding out at work and left Lindsay to deal with me. Not that I can’t handle Lindsay, but I wanted both of them to be there when I tell Gus the truth about his moms and how Brian always wanted to be there for him. Well, Lindsay is as good as Mel being there. Knocking and ringing the bell didn’t get an answer, so I call the house phone and then the cell numbers. I called Mel’s office to be told she called in today. I stood in the driveway fuming that they were avoiding me, when one of the neighbors came over.

 

“You looking for the girls?” He asked me.

 

“They were supposed to be waiting for me here.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t know but they took off around three, and they had bags packed.” He tells me.

 

“A lot of bags or just like a day trip kind of bags?” I ask him.

 

“It looked like they were going to visit for a while.” He tells me.

 

“Thanks, if you see them could you call this number.” I tell him, writing my number on the back of an envelope from their mailbox.

 

“Sure, good day.” He tells me and walks off.

 

If they think they can run away, they have another thing coming to them. I drive off, but decide to go back home. It’s time for me to tell Brian I was trying to help him.

 

BRIAN

 

When Brad and I arrived at Jen’s, it was to hear Daphne yelling at Justin.

 

“Justin, you can’t let him into your life.” She tell him.

 

“Daph, he’s Jacob’s father.” Justin tells her.

 

“Like he cares about that.” She tells him.

 

“He cares Aunt Daph, he told me he does.” Jacob tells her.

 

I walk to the entrance of the living room to see Jacob on one side scowling at Daphne and Gus on the other with the identical expression.

 

“Jacob, it’s what Brian does, he sucks you in and gives you the idea he loves you but never tells you.” Daphne tell them.

 

“You don’t know my father. He always told me he loved me. He told Jacob too.” Gus defends me and it felt really good that he did.

 

“Daphne, if you say one more negative word about their father, you can leave.” Justin warns her.

 

“He got to you. I told you not to fall for it again.” She tells him.

 

“Fall for what Daphne? Because I’m standing right here and I think you need to tell Justin how you wouldn’t tell me shit when I came to your house.” I tell her.

 

“You didn’t deserve to know after what you did.” She tells me.

 

“Daphne we aren’t going to talk about this in front of my children.” I warn her.

 

“Fine then you can explain it to me outside.” She tells me.

 

“The only person Brian needs to explain anything to is me Daphne, not you. Which he did and I understand now that we saw only half of what happened. So leave it alone.” Justin tells her.

 

“If you're sure, then fine.” She shrugs. It can’t be that easy.

 

She smiles as she walks up to me and grabs me by the balls. “You cause one more worry in Justin’s head, you won’t need these.” She tells me smiling at the kids.

 

“You’d better be glad my kids are here Daphne, because this is the second time you crossed a line.” Justin tells her.

 

“Justin, he hurt you.” She whispers to him.

 

“And I hurt him and Jacob, I’m lucky Brian is still talking to me.” He tells her.

 

“Daphne, let me go. And Justin, she doesn’t know.” I tell him.

 

“She doesn’t get to fight for me.” He tells me.

 

“But she is doing it because she loves you, the way a friend should.” I tell him.

 

“Well I kind of hope you could use your balls sometime soon.” He whispers to me.

 

“Probably not tonight, but tomorrow’s possible.” I smirk at him.

 

“Oh God, why do I even bother with you two? It’s like you guys forget to be mad at each other. Well boys, want me to make some cookies?” She turns to Gus and Jacob.

 

“She makes them with pecans and lots of chocolate.” Jacob raves to Gus.

 

“We need to go to my house boys, but if Daphne wants to make cookies there, than she can.” I tell them.

 

“Brian, you never have food at the loft.” Daphne tells me.

 

“Then you and Justin buy the ingredients and dinner and we’ll meet at my home, not the loft.” I tell her.

 

“You have a house?” Daphne asks me.

 

“Yes, Brian Kinney is a homeowner.” I tell her.

 

“This I have to see.” She tells Justin.

 

I give them the address and instructions on how to get there and say goodbye to Brad and Jen. The boys decided to ride with me. I hope they want to talk, it’s time to get to both the boys. It took about ten minutes before Jacob started talking and Gus seemed to just join in.

 

“Why are we driving so far away?” Jacob asked me.

 

“I live outside of Pittsburgh, it was just easier than having people show up at my loft all the time.” I tell him.

 

“Is it the house you told me about?” Gus asks me.

 

“Yes, and trust me you two have plenty of room to run around.” I tell them.

 

“Did you buy a house because you wanted Gus to visit?” Jacob asks me.

 

“Yes, and if I had known about you, it would have been for you too.” I tell him.

 

“You just wanted Michael to go away didn’t you?” Gus asks me.

 

“I wanted you to have a home to visit me at, one where you could have your own room. That Michael couldn’t come was a bonus.” I tell him.

 

“You don’t want to meet Michael.” Gus tells Jacob.

 

“What’s wrong with him?” Jacob asks Gus.

 

“He wants Dad.” Gus tells him.

 

“My Dad or our Dad?” Jacob asks him.

 

“Our Dad.” Gus tells him.

 

“But you don’t want Michael because you love my Dad right?” Jacob asks me.

 

“Right?” Gus asks me too.

 

“Right.” Did I say I wanted them to talk?

 

“That’s good because I really like the idea of Dad and my Dad together.” Jacob tells Gus.

 

“You know that might get confusing calling both me and Justin Dad.” I tell them.

 

“You could be Daddy.” Jacob tells me.

 

“I could call Justin, Justin.” Gus tells me.

 

“But if my Dad marries Daddy, then Dad would be your Dad too.” Jacob tells him. 

 

“Boys let’s let Justin and Gus decide what they want to call each other.” I tell them, just to stop the conversation.

 

“But Daddy this is important.” Jacob tells me.

 

“I know it is, but Gus needs to feel comfortable with what he calls your Dad.” I tell them. Did I just get sucked into this?

 

“I think since we're brothers, he should just call him Dad.” Jacob says under his breath.

 

“So tell me about the cookies.” I pray they will let it go for now. And it works all the way to the house, thank you Daphne.

 

JUSTIN

 

After I tell Daphne the whole story, she still wasn’t too charitable about Brian, but agreed to respect my decisions. I figure I’d at least help Thomas in his crusade to date Daphne.

 

“You know Thomas is dying to date you.” I tell her.

 

“If he ever bothers to ask, he can.” She shrugs.

 

“Can I tell him that?” I ask her.

 

“No, because I won’t date a guy who has to be told he should ask.” She tells me.

 

“The man has serious blue balls for you.” I tell her.

 

“Speaking of blue balls, what’s with the whole wanting to uses Brian’s?” She asks me.

 

“Daphne, I never stopped loving him. I just had to let him go so I could raise Jacob.” I tell her.

 

“Okay, so we are being sucked back into the Brian vortex. Next question, what is going on with Gus?” She asks me.

 

I was glad we had a thirty minute drive to Brian’s house because by the time we were just down the road I finished giving her the play by play of what we learned. 

 

“Wait, first let me just say the bitches need to burn. But Justin, there is no way the shit with Russo is just a coincidence.” She tells me.

 

“Daphne, I was in a coma, so I don’t really know what happened at the trial.” I tell her.

 

“Justin they crucified you and Brian. The information they had was really detailed, like someone gave them the information.” She tells me.

 

“Like what?” I ask her.

 

“You were made to sound like you taunted Chris until he reacted, and Brian was made to sound like he was into little boys.” She tells me.

 

“Mel better hope we don’t find out she is the one who gave up information on us.” I tell her.

 

“Yeah and not just because you and Brian would make her regret it either.” She tells me.

 

“Daphne, I know you have my back.” I tell her.

 

“Yes I do, but I would also tell Deb, she’d probably kill Mel and make us hide the bodies.” She tells me.

 

“I think this is the house.” I tell her.

 

“Holy fuck, Brian should have said Manor, not house.” Daphne tells me.

 

I look at the house I would have bought if I’d seen it first.

 

 

Chapter 9 by starlight

BRIAN 

 

When Justin and Daphne arrived at the house I asked Daphne to watch the boys so Justin and I could talk. I wanted to talk to him alone, about the boys and about us. We left the kids with her and started walking the grounds.

 

“How much property surrounds the house?” He asks me. 

 

“Five acres, I bought the property behind me that hadn’t been developed yet.” I tell him. 

 

“What made you buy it?” I ask him. 

 

“It was a lot of things. I didn’t want everyone constantly coming over all the time. I wanted a place where Gus and I could stay, somewhere that had more than one bedroom. Mostly I could think here, without all the people around.” I tell him. 

 

“It’s a great place, my first thought when I saw it was that if I had seen it first I would have bought it.” He tells me.

 

“Justin we need to talk about us and the kids.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t know how it could work Brian. I live in New York now and you still live here.” He tells me.

 

“If you need to be there, I can be there too.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t necessarily need to be there, it’s just been my home for eight years.” He tells me.

 

“I want to be able to see Jacob more than every other week or weekend. He’s had eleven years without me around, I don’t want another day to go by that I’m not with my son.” I tell him.

 

“What are you asking me?” I tell him.

 

“I’m asking for a compromise, is there anything keeping you in New York right now?” I ask him.

 

“With it being summer, no, but when school starts we have to be where he is going to attend school.” Justin tells me.

 

“This Warhol thing, is it something you can do here?” I ask him.

 

“If I bring my computer and art supplies, yes.” He tells me.

 

“Before I ask you to do that, you need to understand that you don’t get to run off when I do something that upsets you unless you talk to me first.” I tell him.

 

“Brian,when I left it was because I really thought you wanted Michael. It wasn’t just what I saw at the comic shop, but having to watch you kiss him when we were out. We agreed that there was no kissing on the lips but if Michael wanted you to, you did. Then having to hear you and Michael constantly say you love each other when you told me you couldn’t love me. It all just came to a head when I had to see you with Michael in the shop. It wasn’t some innocent kiss, it was what I thought was only something you and I did. It was the only thing I felt was mine at the time.” He tells me.

 

“It was a stupid thing to do, but you should have waited to confront me about what you saw.” I tell him.

 

“Brian, we didn’t talk to each other about stuff like that, you would have told me it wasn’t my business.” He tells me.

 

“So running away was your answer?” I ask him.

 

“At the time, I was afraid that if I stayed I’d have not said anything, until you told me to go. I felt like the wives in my mother’s circle, the ones who know their husbands cheat but act like it never happens just to keep the husband.” He tells me.

 

“Justin, it wasn’t about you, I stupidly thought that Michael needed to see he would never be more than a trick.” I tell him.

 

“You couldn’t just tell him that?” Justin asks me.

 

“I should have, but like the saying goes, hindsight is twenty/twenty. I wanted my best friend to stop acting like the world was coming to an end because I never wanted to fuck him.” I tell Justin.

 

“Yeah, but you can’t put the moves on someone who wanted you and then say ‘just kidding’. I might have acted like a child and ran away, but you and Michael were playing childish games too. Shit, I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said that.” Justin tells me.

 

“Why, because it’s true? Deb told me that I can’t string Michael along then yank the rug out just so we stay friends. She wasn’t happy with either of us when you disappeared and Ben made sure she knew why he was leaving. Good ole Ben wasn’t going to leave without telling Mom what assholes Michael and I are.” I tell him.

 

“If I tell you something, will you promise not to get upset?” Justin asks me.

 

“I can’t promise, but I’ll try.” I tell him.

 

“Ben lives in New York now.” He tells me.

 

“Why would that upset me?” I ask him.

 

“It shouldn’t, but he and I are friends now. When I moved to New York, I ran into Ben at NYU, he teaches there and I was displaying on campus. He told me he left after Michael told him you and Michael wanted to be together.” He tells me.

 

“So he wanted to make sure you didn’t have a reason to come back. I guess he’s still bitter about the whole thing.” I tell Justin.

 

“Ben isn’t your number one fan, but he was in love and felt cheated on.” Justin tells me.

 

“Ben knew I didn’t want anything to do with Michael. I told him when he showed up at my loft.” I tell Justin. 

 

“I wasn’t telling you this so you could defend yourself, but because Ben and Jacob do things together when I need a babysitter.” Justin tells me.

 

“Do you and Ben do things together?” I ask him, trying to keep the jealousy from showing.

 

“Ben has dinner with us once a week, but that’s all we do.” He tells me.

 

“Ben could have told you that I never wanted Michael, and I could have known Jacob sooner.” I tell him.

 

“Ben and I agreed not to talk about you two. I made him stop after he told me he and Michael broke up. I didn’t let him say anything else about it.” Justin answers.

 

“You really tried to shut me out of your life didn’t you?” I ask him.

 

“Seeing you and Michael together almost destroyed me Brian. It’s why I cut off all contact with everyone you know. I know Deb well enough to know that she would have tried to tell me things I didn’t think I could handle hearing. Emmett and Ted are your friends, not mine. In a way, shutting you out kept me from falling apart everyday.” He tells me.

 

“Justin you're one of the strongest people I know. You might have been hurt but you went on and took care of yourself and our son.” I tell him.

 

“I am now but I wasn’t, not when I left. It was hard getting over you.” He tells me.

 

“Are you over me?” I ask him.

 

“I’m not the love sick kid who expects happily ever after, but I have a feeling I could never get over you completely.” He tells me.

 

“I don’t want you to get over me at all.” I tell him. 

 

Chapter 10 by starlight

BRAD

 

I was waiting for my investigator to come in this morning, he called to say he needed to ask me about Justin’s case. The thing that bothers me is reading the transcripts and seeing information about Brian and Justin that only people who knew them personally would know. I wanted to get Jen and Brian in here, because none of this information had anything to do with Chris bashing Justin. How did they even get away with simple assault? The case became about Brian’s relationship with Justin, not about the kid who tried to kill Justin. The people involved in the case crossed into Gus’s adoption.  

 

My assistant, Lily, called to tell me I had Melanie Marcus asking to see me. 

 

“Did she say why?” I ask Lily.

 

“She wants to talk about returning her son to her custody.” Lily tells me. 

 

“Have her wait for a few more minutes, I need to make a call.” I tell her. 

 

I picked up the phone to call Brian. He needed to know one of the moms was here, and I wanted to ask him to come in to see me about some of the information I have.

 

“Kinney’s home for lost children, how may I direct your call?” Jacob answers.

 

“I need to speak to your dad.” I tell him. 

 

“Which one, you know I have two now?” He asks me. 

 

“Are you happy to have two?” I ask him. Melanie can wait while Jacob entertains me.

 

“Gus and I think it’s neat so far. Dad even agreed that we could stay with Daddy for the summer. I just hope Gus is allowed to stay too.” He tells me. 

 

“I’m working on that, so don’t worry too much, but can I talk to Brian.” I tell him.

 

“That’s Daddy, so you don’t get confused.” He informs me.

 

“I’ll keep that in mind, but I think he would rather I call him Brian.” I tell Jacob.

 

“Okay, let me get him.” He tells me.

 

“Brad, you need me?” Brian asks me.

 

“I need to talk to you and Jen about some things that seem to cross over between the bashing case and your adoption case, but you also need to know Melanie Marcus is here asking to see me.” I tell him.

 

“I’m not letting Gus go with them.” He tells me.

 

“As of right now you don’t have to. They are going to have to explain to Child Services why it took a week for them to know Gus was missing. I wanted to make sure you know at least one of the moms is here.” I tell him.

 

“What time do you want Jen and I at your office?” Brian asks me.

 

“Give me an hour to make sure Melanie is gone, so anytime after that.” I tell him.

 

“There isn’t a lot to tell you about Justin’s case except it was like watching him being bashed all over again.” He tells me.

 

“Brian there are too many of the same people involved in both cases.” I tell him.

 

“I’ll get Jen, and Justin is going to be there too.” Brian tells me.

 

I hang up and tell Lily to bring Melanie in, I wonder where mom number two is?

 

“Hello, I’m Melanie Marcus, Gus’s legal mother.” She tells me.

 

“I’m Brad Tanner, Brian’s lawyer. Have a seat and tell me why you're here.” I tell her.

 

“I’m trying not to involve the police, but unless Justin produces Gus, I might have to.” Is she really threatening Justin?

 

“I’m sure once you call the police they are going to inform you that Child Services would like to interview you and your wife.” I tell her. It’s not easy but I keep from smiling at her.

 

“Why would they want to talk to us? Justin is the one harboring a minor.” She informs me.

 

“Justin brought the child to Pittsburgh and offered him a safe haven until he could find Gus’s parents.” I tell her.

 

“He should have brought Gus to Canada.” She tells me.

 

“At the time, Justin wasn’t sure returning him to you and your wife was in the best interest of Gus. He told us that you and your wife didn’t seem to know Gus was missing. Can you tell me how you didn’t notice your son was missing?” I ask her.

 

“That’s really none of your business.” She tells me.

 

“It might not be my business, but Child Services is going to want an answer. They remanded Gus into Brian’s custody because he is Gus’s father.” I tell her.

 

“Brian no longer has any rights to Gus.” She tells me.

 

“Actually he does, because in order for Brian to give up his rights, you, Lindsay, and Brian would have to have been standing in front of a judge together Melanie. Which you and your partner Ron seem to have gotten around somehow. I’m still trying to figure out how two upstanding lawyers like you and Ron didn’t go through proper channels.” I tell her.

 

“This isn’t about the adoption.” She tells me.

 

“For me it’s about protecting my client’s right to be a father.” I tell her.

 

“Your client is not someone any child should be exposed to, and I’ll make sure Child Services knows what kind of man Brian is.” She tells me.

 

“Good luck with making them see that, but you need to figure out how to defend yourself.” I tell her.

 

As Mel gets up to leave I ask her one more question. “What did you do for Russo, you know, the favor?” I ask her.

 

“Ron did the favor, not me.” She tells me and walks out.

 

BRIAN 

 

“Brad, why do you want to know about Justin’s case?” Jen asks him.

 

“There are too many names crossing between Gus’s adoption and Justin’s assault case.” He tells her.

 

“What do you want to know?” I ask him.

 

“How did they know so much about you and Justin?” He asks me.

 

“I always figured it was someone Justin and I pissed off. Justin and I had a open relationship but there were no repeats. Guys didn’t like being blown off.” I tell him.

 

“Could Craig have given them the information?” He asks us.

 

“He didn’t really know Brian enough to give any information.” Jen tells Brad.

 

“Why does this even matter?” Justin asks him.

 

“It matters because we are pulling the adoption up for review and I have to explain why I want Judge Russo questioned about it. It's not unusual for paperwork to be passed through by judges if the paperwork doesn’t warrant going to court, but third party adoption requires all parents to be in attendance. The thing is, no one wants to go against a judge of the court with Russo’s record. I need to know that nothing happened in your trial that Mel was involved in.” He tells us.

 

“I didn’t want any of them involved.” Jen tells him.

 

“Mel did try though?” He asks my mom.

 

“She wanted to know what the DA had.” Jen tells him.

 

“Why?” Brad asks.

 

“I honestly couldn't tell you.” She tells him. 

 

“The DA really didn’t do much to help the case. She could have just wanted them to stop letting the defense attorney get away with making it out to be Justin’s fault.” I tell him. 

 

“Hopefully that's all she did, because if there is more to it, we are possibly opening up all of Russo’s cases.” He tells us. 

 

“What could that do?” Justin asks him. 

 

“I'm theorizing here, but if Russo told Mel her favor was to give information to the defense, then Russo could be in serious trouble and all his cases would be opened for review. Including yours Justin.” He tells us. 

 

“Would Chris be retried?” I ask him. 

 

“No, double jeopardy would keep that from happening, but the defense attorney, judge and anyone else involved could.” He tells us. 

 

“We just want to keep Gus.” Justin tells him. 

 

“I'm just making sure you know what is involved. Russo involved in both cases could just be a coincidence.” He tells us. 

 

“If not?” I ask him.

 

“Then Russo is going to try like hell to make sure you get what you want, which is good for Gus. If they committed a crime, I can’t, in good conscious, not report it and still call myself a good lawyer.” He tells us.

 

Chapter 11 by starlight

MEL 

 

Lindsay and Jenny were staying at the hotel while I tried to get Gus back. After I left Brad’s office I knew that I needed to talk to Ron. What we did with the adoption could get us both in trouble. Ron told me to meet him at home, because we didn't need anyone overhearing us.

 

“Mel, why is this coming up again? You told me Brian was never going to look into what we did.” He tells me. 

 

“I thought you managed to convince Brian his rights were revoked.” I tell him. 

 

“I thought I had, but out of nowhere he's firing me and I'm being questioned about why we didn't follow proper procedure. Mel, Brad Tanner isn't going to let this rest.” He tells me. 

 

“I can’t let them find out what Russo asked me to do.” I tell him. 

 

“Mel, what did you do?” He asks me. 

 

“Russo wanted me to provide information to the defense in a case.” I tell him. 

 

“Please don’t tell me he was presiding over the case?” He asks. 

 

“It was the case for Justin Taylor’s bashing.” I tell him. 

 

“Why would you agree to that? Don’t you realize you could be disbarred for helping him? Not to mention that I thought Justin was a friend of yours.” He tells me. 

 

“Russo was going to reverse the adoption, and tell Brian what we did.” I tell him. 

 

“I told you to let Brian see the kid. We wouldn’t be in this mess if you had listened to me.” He tells me. 

 

“I wanted Brian out of my life, and I thought you could keep him from doing anything.” I tell him. 

 

“All he wanted was contact with Gus, his son, he wasn’t asking for anything more than that. All you had to do was drop the kid off with him and leave, what was so hard about that?” He tells me.

 

“Everytime he showed up, Lindsay and I would start fighting over her wanting to spend time with Brian. I got tired of it, and wanted to keep him away from us.” I tell him.

 

“I hope keeping Lindsay from fighting with you is worth losing your career over, because Russo is going to make damn sure you take the fall for this.” He tells me.

 

“Russo is just as guilty as I am, for asking me to help the defense.” I tell him.

 

“You have to prove he asked you. When he finds out the adoption is being looked into, he isn’t going to take the blame for us.” He tells me.

 

“I taped the conversation with Russo and Chris’s family, I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t talk either.” I tell him.

 

“Great, so you now have evidence of your guilt, along with theirs. It’s not going to save you. If this gets taken any further, I plan to admit to what you asked me to do. I’m not losing my license for you. As it is I’ll probably face some sort of sanction for my part in this.” He tells me.

 

“Right now I have to tell Lindsay that Brian was given custody of Gus.” I tell him.

 

“How did that happen?” He asks me.

 

“Gus ran away. If Lindsay had bothered to keep up with Gus, it wouldn’t have taken almost a week for us to find out he was missing.” I tell him.

 

“This just keeps getting better and better. Why weren’t YOU keeping up with Gus, you're his mother too?” He asks me.

 

“I was working, and depended on her to take care of it.” I tell him.

 

“Like that excuse is going to fly with Child Services. You know if Jenny’s father finds out about this he could take Jenny away from you.” He tells me.

 

“That’s why I’m trying to get Gus home, I don’t need any more threats from Michael.” I tell him.

 

“Mel, you need to figure out what you’re going to do, because this is bigger than a couple of custody cases. I can’t be a part of something that is going to ruin my career. Please don’t contact me anymore, because I’m through putting my ass on the line for you and Lindsay.” He tells me.

 

DEB

 

Someone knocked on the door and Carl went to get it. When Carl opened the door Jenny leaned out of Lindsay’s arms towards Carl.

 

“What a nice surprise.” Carl tells Lindsay.

 

“I need to talk to you, Carl.” She smiles at me.

 

“Is everything all right?” Carl asks her.

 

“No, but I don’t know what to do about it.” She tells him.

 

“Where’s Gus?” I ask Lindsay.

 

“That’s part of what I wanted to talk to you about, Brian has Gus right now.” She tells us.

 

“So you two finally got your heads out of your asses and let Brian see Gus. I’m glad you see that, it wasn’t right what you two have been doing to Brian.” I tell her.

 

“Mommy didn’t let Gus see his daddy, Gus ran away to Justin.” Jenny announces.

 

“What do you mean Sweetie?” I asks her. 

 

“Gus said he wanted someone who would love him and he ran away. Mommy and Mama couldn’t find him, so I finally told them Gus left days ago. Daddy was mad at Mommy and Mama.” She tells me.

 

“You didn’t know Gus ran away?” I ask Lindsay, but Jenny answers me.

 

“Grammy, Gus told me to keep it a secret, but you know, if Gus had waited Daddy was going to bring him home and tell on Mommy and Mama.” Jenny tells me.

 

“What would your Daddy tell?” I ask, looking at Lindsay.

 

“He wanted Gus’s daddy to be happy that he made Mama and Mommy let him see Gus. Daddy thinks it will get Gus’s daddy to love him.” Jenny tells Ma.

 

“Please let me explain first.” Lindsay begs us.

 

“Jenny why don’t I get you some cookies while Grampa talks to your mommy.” I tell Jenny. 

 

I got Jenny settled with cookies and a coloring book and went back to the living room to find out what’s going on.

 

“Mel and I left yesterday to get here before Michael.” She tells us.

 

“Is there a reason you wanted to beat Michael here?” I ask her.

 

“Michael demanded that we let him bring Gus to Brian or he was going to take Jenny from us.” Lindsay tells us. 

 

“Why does Michael care about Gus seeing Brian?” I ask her.

 

“He seems to think Brian would be grateful enough that he would then want to be with him.” She tells me.

 

“You mean he still thinks Brian is going to want to be with him?” Carl asks.

 

“I guess, but it’s not the reason I’m here. Mel took off to try to force Gus to come home. I couldn’t sit in the hotel any longer. Carl, Mel did something that I can’t condone.” She tells us.

 

“What is it?” Carl asks her.

 

“She gave information to the defense attorney in Justin’s bashing case, but that isn’t all. Judge Russo is the one that told her to.” She tells us.

 

“Are you telling me that that bitch helped Chris?” I whisper.

 

“She told me herself that she did. I lied to her on the way here and told her that I wasn’t going say anything. I just needed her to trust me enough to leave so I could bring Jenny to you. I owe Brian and Justin the truth.” Lindsay tells us.

 

“Why now Lindsay?” I ask her.

 

“I love Gus enough to know that Brian would be a better parent for him. I’ve let Mel get away with so much and it hurt Gus. I never wanted to be that kind of mother to Gus.  I also won’t stay with someone who could help an attempted murderer go free. Justin didn’t deserve to be victimized again the way it happened at the trial.” Lindsay tells us, crying.

 

“Lindsay, if you think this is going to win Brian over, it won’t. You hurt him when you let Mel keep him away from Gus.” I tell her.

 

“At first I just wanted to stop fighting, it wasn’t about anyone but me.” She tells us.

 

“What’s different now?” I ask her.

 

“I want my son to be happy, even if it isn’t with me.” She tells us.

 

“Lindsay, Brian wouldn’t do to you, what you and Mel did to him.” I tell her.

 

“I know, because Brian would think of Gus first. I want to move back and hopefully share custody of Gus with Brian. I can’t be the mother he needs right now, if I had, my son wouldn’t have run away.” She tell us.

 

“You know you can stay with us.” I tell her.

 

“I need to make everything right for Gus and Brian. Which means I need to see Brian.” She tells us.

 

“I don’t know if he’s going to believe you Lindsay.” I tell her.

 

“Tell him to bring Brad with him, they might be interested in the conversation on this tape.” Lindsay tells us.

 

“What’s on that Lindsay?” Carl asks her.

 

“Judge Russo telling Mel to help the defense attorney and Chris’s family.” She tell us.

 

“We need to get that to the DA.” Carl tells Lindsay.

 

“That might be a problem.” Lindsay tells us.

 

“Why?” Carl asks her.

 

“He’s on here too. I guess everyone owed Russo favors.” Lindsay tells us.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 12 by starlight

BRIAN 

 

Justin and I had the boys with us when we arrived at Deb’s house. Deb told me that her Sunshine better be with me when I came over. We decided to surprise her with Jacob. 

 

“SUNSHINE GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE!” Deb yelled as soon as we were in the door. 

 

“Hey Deb, I want you to meet Jacob.” He tells her, holding Jacob in front of him.

 

“Who do we have here?” She smiles down at Jacob.

 

“I’m Jacob Kinney Taylor, ma'am.” Jacob tells Deb. 

 

“Kinney?” I ask Justin. 

 

“I wanted him to have your name too. Kinney is his middle name.” Justin tells me. 

 

“Sunshine, we are going to talk later. Right now I need hugs from my boys.” Deb tells him.

 

Gus runs to Deb and hugs her. Jacob looked to me to see if he should. I nod and he walks over and hugs her.

 

“Why are we here?” I ask her. 

 

“I wanted to see Justin, and I need you to listen to Lindsay.” She tells me. 

 

“So Lindsay came over giving you a sob story and you think I should listen to her?” I ask her. 

 

“Brian give her a chance.” Deb tells me. 

 

“I'm supposed to stand here and listen to someone who kept my son from me?” I ask her. 

 

“Brian, I'm asking you to do it for Gus.” Lindsay tells me from the stairs. 

 

“I'm not going back with you.” Gus tells her.

 

“Gus, I'm not taking you back. I'm here to help your father keep you.” She tells him. 

 

“How can I believe a word that comes out of your mouth?” I ask her. 

 

“I'm hoping when your attorney gets here and I tell all of you why I'm here, you will believe me.” She tells me. 

 

“Brad is coming here?” I ask her. 

 

“You need to call him and ask him to come.” Carl tells me.   

 

“Why?” I ask him. 

 

“Because I need to figure out how we are going to deal with the tape Lindsay brought here today.” He tells me. 

 

“What's on it?” Justin asks him. 

 

“A conversation with Russo, Mel, the DA, and Chris Hobbs’s parents. Which wouldn’t matter except that it explains how they got Chris off with simple assault.” Carl tells me. 

 

I call Brad and Jen because she needs to know too. They both agree to come over to Deb's house. I still don’t trust Lindsay. Gus stayed by Justin and away from Lindsay, he wouldn’t talk to her again, no matter what she tried. I was just glad when Jen, Tucker, and Brad got here, it allowed Gus to take Jacob and Jenny out of the room.

 

“Why are you helping now Lindsay?” Jen asks her.

 

“I wanted to do the right thing.” She tells Jen. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at her.

 

“Let me hear what you brought us here to listen to, then maybe I’ll believe you.” I tell her.

 

We listen as Mel is told to help the defense get Chris off. The fucking DA is telling Russo that Justin being in a coma can only help the case. Mel starts telling the history of Justin and me. When Mel gets done betraying Justin, Russo tells her unless Chris get’s off, her favor isn’t over. Mel asks why he’s helping Chris. Russo tells her that he owed Chris’s father a favor and he was repaying it. Mel, like the good attorney she is, recites the date and time and names all the people in the room as she leaves the office.

 

“I can’t believe she sat next to us and made us believe she was upset at the verdict.” Deb tells us.

 

“Brian, you know I can’t, not do something with this.” Brad tells me.

 

“Do whatever it takes to fry their asses.” I tell him.

 

“Lindsay, I need you to write a statement on where this came from.” Brad tells her.

 

“I’m here to tell the truth.” She tells him.

 

“I still don’t understand your sudden change of heart.” I sneer at her.

 

“Mel crossed the line when she told me about Russo. I would have probably stayed with her and left you out of Gus’s life, but I can’t stand by someone who betrays people she claims to love.” She tells me.

 

“So she’s cheating on you again?” I ask her.

 

“Yes, but this isn’t about her cheating. This is about Gus being made to feel he had to look for someone to care about him.” She tells me.

 

“Which he wouldn’t have had to do if you and the she bitch didn’t take him out of my life.” I tell her.

 

“Brian, we were wrong. I know that doesn’t change anything, but in the end he found the one person who would have brought him to you.” She tells me.

 

“What do you expect now?” I ask her.

 

“I’m hoping Carl and Deb can protect Jenny from Mel and Michael. I plan to sign my rights over to you and hope that one day Gus will want to see me again.” She tells me.

 

“If he does, then he will, I would never refuse to let my son see one of his parents. You better be mother of the fucking year when that day comes. It's the only way I can forgive you for what you did.” I tell her.

 

“I understand. I just want Gus to be happy.” She tells me.

 

“Both my sons are going to be happy Lindsay. At least Justin had a reason for why he kept Jacob from me, you didn’t.” I tell her.

 

“None of us were right, don’t give me too much credit. If Gus hadn’t showed up, I can’t say I would have contacted you either.” Justin tells me.

 

“You would have if Jacob wanted you too, and that’s where what you did was different to me.” I tell him.

 

I pull Justin in my arms and try to take away the guilt he feels. “You would do anything to make Jacob happy, it makes what happened between us different.” I tell him.

 

“Why the hell is he here?” Michael scowls from the door and points at Justin.

 

“Because I invited him to MY HOUSE.” Deb tells him, 

 

“I hope Lindsay was explaining how I made her and Mel see that Brian deserves to see Gus.” He tells us. 

 

“Actually Michael, your daughter explained how you threatened Lindsay and Mel.” Deb tells him. 

 

“I wasn’t threatening them, I just felt Brian shouldn't be left out of his son’s life. I wanted to help Brian.” He tells us. 

 

“No, according to your daughter, you thought Brian would be grateful for your help. You were a little late with your help, Gus beat you to it.” Deb tells him. 

 

“No, I'm the one who convinced the girls to bring him.” He tells us. 

 

“It would have been hard for them to bring Gus, since he's been here for almost a week.” I tell him. 

 

“What are you talking about?” He asks us. 

 

“Gus ran away to find Justin the day you came to visit. He’s been with Justin this whole time.” Lindsay tells him.

 

“You should charge Justin with kidnapping. He probably took Gus when he came to see Mel and is lying to you about Gus running away.” Michael tells us. 

 

“Why would Sunshine lie?” Deb asks him. 

 

“Because he is still trying to win Brian. He couldn’t stand the fact that Brian wanted me. He did us a favor by getting out of our lives, can't you see that?” He tells us. 

 

“What do you mean Brian wanted you?” Deb asks him. 

 

“Brian proved it at my shop. What do you think you were seeing that night, Justin.” He tells Justin.

 

“From what I've been told, Brian tricking.” Justin tells him. 

 

“You're mistaking you with me. He would have left you if he hadn’t felt guilty about you getting yourself hurt. Even your mother made him feel like he had to take care of you. You wouldn’t believe how glad I was that you saw Brian proving who he loved, in front of you. “ Michael tells Justin.

 

“Jen allow me, he’s my son.” Deb tells an angry Jen.

 

“You know it's the truth Ma.” Michael tells her.

 

Deb grabs Michael’s face and turns it my direction. “You want to see the truth, Michael. The truth is that while you ruined your relationship with Ben, Brian was falling in love with Justin. He might have fought loving him, but unless you're blind, it was there to see. Nothing you do will make Brian love you the way YOU WANT HIM TO. He couldn’t, because he loves Justin. Even after all these years, who is Brian holding, because it's not you? What you and Brian did was the most selfish thing you two have ever done, and you both paid for it by losing the people who loved you. Brian got lucky because through all the shit he did, he managed to keep Justin’s love. You've lost not only Ben but your best friend, because you think you can make Brian love you. He is never going to return your feelings, get that through your head, or you're going to keep being the loser. ” Deb tells him. 

 

“If Justin had left Brian alone he would have come to me. Jen should have been a better mother and taken care of her son. Instead she dumped him off on Brian. It wasn’t Brian’s responsibility to take care of Justin. Everyone knew how little Brian cared, I mean where was he when Justin was in the hospital? I'll tell you, he was tricking every night. To me that proves how little he gave a shit about his broken boy toy. I even...  ” Deb slaps Michael so hard the hits the ground. 

 

“Brian was hurting and you fucking turn it into him not caring about Justin.” Deb yells. 

 

“Brian was there every night.” Jen tells him. 

 

“WHAT?” Both Justin and Michael ask.

 

“Justin please understand, I never told you because I blamed him for what happened to you. I couldn’t see past you being hurt, to know that Brian didn’t cause it. I wanted you to get away from him, so when the nurses told me Brian was there every night, I kept it from you. I was wrong to do that, but I won't sit here and have him accuse Brian of not giving a shit about you.” Jen tells Justin. 

 

“You were there?” Justin asks me. 

 

“I had to keep you safe.” I tell him. 

 

“I love you.” He tells me. 

 

“Not as much as I have always loved you.” I finally tell him.

 

“Brian you can’t love him, it was supposed to be me. Remember, we were going to be two old queens together. I waited all my life for us to be together, don’t let him come between us.” Michael begs.

 

“I thought I'd never love anyone, so us growing old together was my way of saying we'd be friends growing old together. I never meant you and I were going to be a couple.” I tell him. 

 

“You promised me.” He tells me. 

 

“It's not going to happen Michael. I have Justin back and our son. Justin and my sons are my happiness and my life, nothing is going to change that.” I tell him. 

 

“I could have made you happy. I tried after Justin left but you wouldn’t let me.” He tells me. 

 

“Michael if I could take back that night in the shop, I would. Instead of showing you the only way you and I could be together was as you being a trick, I should have just let you ruin your relationship with Ben the way you already were. Then I would have been there to see my son being born. Instead, I lost Justin because you couldn't be happy with Ben. I can’t give you what you want because I never loved you as anything other than a friend.” I tell him. 

 

“When Justin takes off again, you'll understand I'm the one for you.” He tells me. 

 

“I won't let him leave me again, so you’re never going to get what you want.” I tell him. 

 

“Michael it's time for you to go. There are more important things going on.” Deb tells him. 

 

“You're asking me to leave?” He asks her.

 

“No, I'm telling you to leave. You're not listening to anyone. Like I said there are more important things going on than listening to you.” Deb tells him. 

 

“I'm your son, why aren’t you siding with me?” He asks her.

 

“Just because you're my son doesn't mean I'm going to keep listening to you lie to yourself.” She tells him. 

 

Michael crosses his arms but before he can start pouting, Deb grabs him and shoves him out the door.

 

“Brad do you need anything else, because I want that judge and Mel to pay for what happened at that trial?” Deb asks him.

 

“I need someone outside of Pittsburgh to handle this, because it involves the DA.” Brad tells Carl.

 

“It's time Deekins repays a favor.” I tell Carl.

 

“Well it started with favors. At least Deekins favor is legal.” Carl tells me. 

 

Chapter 13 by starlight

BRIAN 

 

“The mayor owes you a favor?” Brad asks me. 

 

“I made sure he got elected and he knows it. One thing about Deekins is that he's honest. You bringing him the tape and Carl bringing him the file on Justin’s case will hopefully be enough for him to have internal affairs look into it.” I tell him. 

 

“Lindsay, do you know where Mel is right now?” Brad asks.

 

“Most likely talking to Ron, trying to get their stories straight.” She tells him. 

 

“It won’t help either of them. If it was just about the adoption, they would have gotten fined and a slap on the wrist. Ron should have told Brian he couldn’t represent him, but even that could be overlooked, if he does the right thing now. Mel’s career is in the toilet no matter what she does. No one is going to want her in their firm because she knowingly broke the law.” Brad tells her. 

 

“Brad and I are going to visit Deekins. Brian, take your family home, because I'm going to deal with this for you.” Carl tells me. 

 

“If you need Justin or me just call and we'll show.” I tell him. 

 

“Lindsay, what is going to happen with Jenny?” Deb asks.

 

“I don’t know, I was hoping you and Carl could keep her. I'm not anything more than her guardian. Mel and Michael made sure of that.” She tells Deb. 

 

“Mel is going to be prosecuted, but Michael could try to take her.” Brad tells us.

 

“Michael couldn't take care of a goldfish.” Deb tells him. 

 

“If he can prove that he has a suitable home, he'll get custody.” Brad tells her. 

 

“He lives in a one room apartment above his comic shop. I wouldn't let him live here because I wanted him to take care of himself.” Deb tells him. 

 

“The only other possibility would be if Mel's family wanted Jenny.” Brad tells her. 

 

“They don't, because they don't approve of her life or the way Jenny was conceived.” Lindsay tells him. 

 

“Then the only people Deb would fight are Michael and Mel. Brian you'll have custody of Gus when Lindsay tells Child Services she wants to give up her rights to you. Mel won't fight it because she will have more than enough other things to worry about.” He tells us. 

 

“Justin, get the boys, I want to go home.” I tell him. 

 

“I want to have a family dinner soon to welcome Sunshine and Jacob home.” Deb tells me. 

 

We let the boys say goodbye to Jenny and the grandparents. Lindsay tells me she'll take care of Child Services tomorrow. Brad tells her he'll be there with the paperwork transferring her custody of Gus to me. Justin’s mother asked to talk to us outside before we go.

 

“Justin, I'll understand if you're angry with me.” She tells him. 

 

“I don’t know what knowing would have changed, but I wish you both hadn’t keep it from me. It’s the past, so let's leave it there. Brian forgave me for my selfish decision, so I forgive both of you for not telling me.” Justin tells her. 

 

We finally get in the car to leave. I need to get Justin to forgive himself for running away. We have a new start, and the baggage needs to be left in the past too.

 

MEL

 

When I got back from talking to Ron, Lindsay and Jenny were gone. I tried her phone but it was ringing on the other side of the room. I look for something to tell me where she went, which is when I notice all of her and Jenny’s things are gone. If she took off to Brian’s with my daughter, I'm going to charge them both with kidnapping. My child isn't going to be around that asshole. 

 

I waited until it got dark and decided to go look for her. I decided to start at Brian’s loft. I pulled up to see Michael sitting on the steps. He looked up, walked to the car and got in.

 

“Fucking Gus is already with Brian.” He mumbles. 

 

“Guess your little plan didn’t work.” I sneer at him. 

 

“Kiss my ass, Mel. If you'd have been a better mother, it would have worked.” He tells me. 

 

“It wouldn’t have worked, because Brian can't stand you.” I tell him. 

 

“Looks like Lindsay can’t stand you either, she ran straight to Brian.” He tells me. 

 

“Where are they?” I ask him. 

 

“They were all at Ma’s house. Fucking Justin was there too. Ma kicked me out, saying no one wanted to listen to me lie to myself. “ He complains. 

 

“It's Jenny there?” I ask him.    

 

“Lost another kid?” He sneers. 

 

“I fucking left her with Lindsay.” I tell him. 

 

“Good job, now Ma is involved. She's still pissed at you about Brian.” He tells me. 

 

“It was none of her God damned business. I fucking moved so your mother would leave us alone. Now because Gus had to run away, I have to deal with your mother.” I tell him. 

 

“You don’t need to worry about her. I'm taking my daughter away from you.” He tells me. 

 

“You couldn’t take Jenny, unless you found somewhere to live other than that shitty apartment you live in.” I tell him. 

 

“I'll be able to afford a new place, because I'm going to sue you for child support.” He smirks. 

 

“Read your custody agreement. You already owe me child support. Which you haven’t paid.” I tell him. 

 

“We shared custody so I don't owe you shit.” He tells me. 

 

“You do, because the new agreement we signed when Lindsay and I moved stated you would support Jenny. Remember you wanted Lindsay taken off as a custodial parent, the new agreement made you and I responsible for supporting Jenny. Right now you owe three years of support. Which leaves me supporting your ass, in your dreams. Now get the fuck out, so I can get my daughter.” I tell him. 

 

Michael gets out and slams the door. He tries to kick the car but I was already peeling out. I watched as he fell on his ass. Lindsay better have a good fucking reason for going to Deb's.

 

JUSTIN 

 

Brian and I picked up dinner for the boys and waited for them to go to bed before we talked. 

 

“I can't believe Gus running away is bringing up all this crap.” I tell him. 

 

“I want to be there to see them all pay for that travesty of a trial.” He tells me. 

 

“What did you mean when you said you were keeping me safe?” I ask him. 

 

“I couldn’t stop what Hobbs did to you, staying with you every night was my way of protecting you. The nurses were the only ones who would tell me the truth about you. I made them tell me everything, so I’d know if you needed something.” He tells me. 

 

“In a way, you staying away made me work harder. I was determined to get well.” I tell him. 

 

“I always knew you would, you were unstoppable when you wanted something.” He tells me. 

 

“If I want you, will you stop me?” I ask him. 

 

“I never could stop you, and I'm not about to start now.” He tells me. 

 

I stand up hold out my hand, when Brian puts his hand in mine, I pull him to me. 

 

“It’s been a while.” I tell him. 

 

“It's been twelve years for us.” He tells me. 

 

He leans down and fuses our lips together. Brian runs his hand through my hair. I can feel when he touches the area that was damaged when Chris hit me. I grab his hand because it's the past and I don’t want him to think about it. We walk to his bedroom, and undress each other. 

 

“How long?” He asks me. 

 

“A year, just go slowly.” I tell him. 

 

“Like the first time.” He asks with a smile. 

 

“Not that slowly.” I joke.

 

Brian opens a drawer and pulls out condoms and lube, then he lays me back on the bed and runs his hands down my chest until he reaches the scar from having Jacob. 

 

“It's from having Jacob.” I tell him. 

 

He leans down and kisses the scar. “It's makes you more perfect.” He tells me. 

 

Brian continues down until he reaches my cock and licks the head while separating my cheeks to rub my entrance.  I feel him preparing me for him. I feel his fingers breach me as he uses his mouth on my cock. His fingers rub on the nerve endings that make it hard for me not to cum. I run my hands through his hair as he pleasures me. I know what he wants from me, so I enjoy his mouth and tongue until I feel my climax. I hold tight to his head as I unload my essence. He swallows all of it and crawls up to kiss me. I taste Brian and me as we lick each others tongues.

 

I lay there coming down, as Brian prepares to join us both. He rubs my entrance with his cock and begins pushing in. He stops when he's all the way in. I reach up and put my hands on his face and pull him down for another kiss. He pulls out slowly and thrusts back in as we stare into each other's eyes. I needed more and he changed his angle to hit my prostate with each inward thrust. I began moving with him. He clasps our hands over my head and starts moving faster. I could feel him swelling in me and wanted us to finish together. Brian makes sure to hit my sweet spot, holding off his orgasm until I finish. I finally feel my climax starting and Brian starts moving faster until I release all over my chest and thrusts one last time, falling on me as he finishes. 

 

We both lay there breathing hard. I didn’t want to move because I wanted to keep us joined. 

 

“We aren’t done.” He tells me.

 

“We never were.” I tell him. 

 

BRIAN 

 

I let Justin sleep and head to the kitchen to start the coffee. The boys should be up soon and want food. Gus and Jacob walk in and lay their heads on the table.   

 

“You could have stayed in bed.” I tell them.

 

“Jacob said Justin always cooks big breakfasts.” Gus mumbles without lifting his head.

 

“We’re really hungry.” Jacob tells me turning his head to look at me.

 

“I can make toast and cereal.” I tell them.

 

“Dad makes french toast, bacon, eggs. We want that.” He tells me. 

 

“I'm not much of a cook, your dad always did that.” I tell him. 

 

“I couldn't find him in his room, do you know where he is? I want him to feed me. Gus said you didn't cook, and I promised him my dad would.” He tells me. 

 

I look to see that Gus seems to have gone to sleep at the table. 

 

“Your dad is in my room.” I tell him. 

 

“Why?” Jacob asks.

 

“We wanted to sleep in the same room.” I tell him. 

 

“Why?” Gus asks with his eyes closed.

 

“It's what people in relationships do.” I tell them.

 

“But don't you end up all over each other? I like to stretch out all over the bed.” Jacob asks me. 

 

“Your Dad and I don't mind” I tell him, trying not to laugh.

 

“I'm never sharing my bed.” He tells me. 

 

“Me neither.” Gus mumbles. 

 

“You'll change your mind one day.” I tell them.

 

“Are you going to make us breakfast?” Jacob asks me. 

 

“NO, we'll end up eating stuff that’s good for us.” Gus tells Jacob. 

 

“You have real juice don't you?” Jacob asks me. 

 

“Not that guava stuff.” Gus tells me. 

 

I open the refrigerator and thank Justin and Daphne for putting orange juice in there. I pick it up and show the comedians the real juice. They both look relieved to see the orange.

 

Justin walks straight to the refrigerator and grabs eggs, bacon, and milk out. Then walks over to get the bread. I watch as he seems to be cooking in his sleep. I grab a cup of coffee and start reaching for the sugar. Justin grabs the cup and downs it. I refill it and wait to see if he's going to drink it too. When he leaves it alone I pull it to me and add sugar.

 

“Justin are you awake?” I ask him. 

 

“He always cooks like that.” Jacob informs me.

 

“Asleep?” I ask him.     

 

“I'm not asleep, I just don't want to open my eyes all the way.” He tells me. 

 

“How about enough that I don't think you're sleepwalking.” I tell him. 

 

“How about you sit down and shut up.” He tells me smiling.

 

“Daddy, it's better to leave him alone until he's eaten. Dad doesn't wake up till he's full.” Jacob tells me. 

 

“Me neither.” Gus tells him. 

 

Justin delivers everyone breakfast, toast for me. I watch as the sleepy heads eat with barely open eyes. At least breakfast will always be interesting.  

 

Chapter 14 by starlight

MEL 

 

On the way to Deb’s house, I realized all I need to do is let Brian see Gus and all this will end. I won't have to worry about either Ron or Russo leaving me to take the blame for all of our fuck ups. A part of me wants to just say fuck it and leave with my daughter. Lindsay isn't worth this much trouble. I could start over with Kate, who doesn't have a Brian in her life. The only problem is, Lindsay’s a vindictive bitch and knows everything. I could see her using it as a way to integrate herself back into Brian’s life, she and Michael have that in common. It took every ounce of acting skill I had to tell her I still loved her on the way here, but I need her to keep her mouth shut. She sat there and tried to act like it was about Justin, which is crap. All she cared about at the time was that her sister got a third wedding and her parents wouldn’t offer to help her. I wonder how much she would care if she knew her beloved Brian had been sitting in the hospital every night with Justin. She was thrilled when Brian seemed to spend more time with Gus than with Justin. I didn’t tell her about his nights at the hospital, because it made it easier for me to convince everyone what a selfish piece of shit he was. I was also staying away from Justin because I felt guilty for my part in the trial. I’m ashamed to admit it, but Justin’s leaving was a relief, every time I saw him, all I could see was myself sitting in Russo’s chambers. I took everything that happened in Justin and Brian’s life and twisted it to sound like they both got off on playing games with people. Truthfully even without my help the defense could have stood in Liberty Diner and asked anyone who Brian fucked over to talk. So what I did was save them the time of asking scorned gay men to tell what they knew about them. 

 

I pulled up and went straight to the door. Hopefully Lindsay’s here and I can cart her ass back to the hotel. I really don’t want to listen to Deb tell me what a bitch I am. Carl opened the door and seemed surprised to see me. He moved to the side and let me walk by. Jenny is in the kitchen eating with Deb.

 

“Deb, honey, I need to make a call.” Carl tells her and walks out of the house, shutting the door.

 

“Hi Deb, I see Lindsay brought Jenny to see you.” I tell her.

 

“I doubt you were going to.” She tells me.

 

“Of course I was, I just needed to clear up things with Gus first. I was hoping to see Lindsay here, I think it’s time for her and I to re-evaluate what we did two years ago.” I tell her.

 

“You mean when you forced Brian out of his son’s life?” Deb asks me. 

 

“I mean when I was trying to do what was best for my child. It would be only a matter of time before Brian chose to trick over seeing his son.” I tell her.

 

“Mel, you really like making excuses don’t you?” She tells me.

 

“It’s the truth, he left Gus with Justin and went out one night. At the time Justin was nothing more that a repeat bed warmer for Brian. It was irresponsible, and just showed me that Brian couldn’t be trusted with Gus.” I tell her.

 

“The way you and Michael rewrite history is amazing to me. I almost wonder if Jen would be a better choice to raise Jenny. At least she can admit to what she did, with her only excuse being her love for Justin. I let Brian take the blame for all Michael's problems because it was easier than looking at myself. I can at least say none of it was Brian, it was me smothering my son. Which made me change letting Michael get away with his crap. All of you need to take a long look at where your problems are really coming from, because Brian and Justin aren’t it. My son spends all his time blaming Justin because Brian wouldn’t return his feelings, instead of seeing that Brian doesn’t love him that way. You blame Brian for the fact that you left Gus and Lindsay with no way to take care of themselves every time you took off. Unlike you, Brian took care of his son. Lindsay only benefitted from Brian wanting his son to be taken care of, because Gus was all Brian cared about. Which to me, makes him the better parent. Before you start about Justin taking care of Gus, remind me who was watching Gus for you and Lindsay when you two wanted to go out? If my memory is correct, it was Justin. I guess it only became a problem for you when Brian asked Justin. How is your affair Brian’s fault? How is Brian to blame for you leaving Lindsay and Gus with no way to support themselves, while you swan off like you owed your child nothing? I have to tell you, for claiming you wanted to be Gus’s mom you fell down on the job practically the minute he was born.” She tells me. 

 

“I'm here to get MY DAUGHTER, not listen to the world according to Deb. I'm not going to listen to you tell me I'm a bad mother, when Michael is the proof of your mothering. You raised a spoiled brat, who will never take responsibility for his actions. Doesn’t say a lot about you, does it?” I tell her. 

 

“Nope it doesn't, but instead of punishing Brian for Michael not growing up, I realized I needed to change what I was doing. You're still trying to show Brian who has the bigger dick. In case you haven't figured it out, Brian does.” She tells me. 

 

“Yet you can excuse Brian for leading Michael on. Why is he excused from hurting everyone?” I ask her. 

 

“Why can't you see beyond the lies you and Michael tell each other?” She asks me. 

 

“So Michael was lying about Brian coming onto him, then dumping him. Maybe we should ask Justin what it felt like to have to constantly have Brian betray him with your son.” I tell her. 

 

“We could ask Sunshine, but I don’t think he sees it the way Michael told everyone. Obviously he didn’t think you were right either, because the first person he went to was Brian, when Gus showed up at his door. He knew the one thing you keep forgetting about Brian.” She tells me. 

 

“What, that Brian liked Justin’s ass enough to keep him around for more than one night?” I sneer.   

 

“No, that Brian loved Gus from the minute he was born. That no matter what Gus thought because of what you told him, Brian loves his son. He knew Brian wouldn’t have abandoned his child unless there was a reason. I'm proud of Sunshine for knowing Brian in a way none of us ever tried to.” She tells me. 

 

“He left him and took Brian’s kid from him too. Justin seems to also know Brian shouldn't be around a kid.” I tell her. 

 

“I'll admit keeping Jacob away was selfish, but listening to Brian tell Justin that to him it was different than what you girls did, made it easier for me to understand it was. Justin would walk through fire for his son. If having to share Jacob was what Jacob wanted, he would have put aside his feelings and brought his son to Brian.  He wouldn't have let his child suffer for his and Brian’s mistakes. You want to know what Gus’s running taught me?” She asks me. 

 

“That Lindsay can't take care of her kid?” I snap.

 

“That a true parent wants to make their child happy, not use him to one up someone. To me it says a lot that you refer to Gus as Lindsay’s child.” She tells me. 

 

“I'm not going to stand here and listen to you saint ‘Brian Fucking Kinney’. I'm here to get my daughter and leave. Say goodbye to her, because I'm through letting her be around people like you.” I tell her. 

 

Deb and I stand staring at each other. I hear the door open and see Carl and another officer standing there. 

 

“I kept her arguing to give you time.” Deb tells him. 

 

“Time for what?” I ask her. 

 

“For him to have Officer Kilpatrick get here to arrest you.” She smiles. 

“For what?” I ask him. 

 

“Right now, for your part in Justin’s case. Who knows if there's more, but Ron is rushing to cover his ass. I'm sure when Internal Affairs gets through with Russo and the DA, they are going to want to talk to you. Take her in.” Carl tells the officer.

 

“I'm not speaking to anyone without an attorney.” I tell him. 

 

“Good luck in finding one, because apparently a lot of morally upstanding attorneys seem to have done favors for Russo. Most of them are going to stay away from anyone in this case.” Carl tells me. 

 

“I want Jenny kept away from Deb.” I tell him. 

 

“Tell us where you want her to go. From what I've been told, your family would leave her on the street. Michael would just let his mother take care of her, so she'd end up here anyway. Give me someone who would be better than Deb and I'll see if they can keep her.” He tells me. 

 

“Justin, I want Justin.” I tell him. 

 

“Why?” Deb asks me.

 

“Because he'll love her, the way I do.” I whisper.

 

“I'll talk to them in the morning. Tonight she needs to stay here.” Carl tells me.

 

“Tell him I need to talk to him.” I beg.

 

“Let's hope he is willing to talk to you.” Deb tells me. 

 

JUSTIN 

 

Carl called to ask me to come to Deb's house. He told me Mel was taken in and asked to see me. Brian didn’t like the idea of Mel wanting to talk to me. We decided to take the boys to Mom's house and go to see Carl together. I walked in to see Jenny crying and did what I would have done if it was Jacob or Gus.

 

“We can't have pretty girls crying.” I say, as I kneel down to wipe her eyes.

 

“I'm an orphan.” She cried harder.

 

I look up to Deb to see if she could make any sense of this.

 

“Mel signed her custody of Jenny over to you. She had Brad bring her the paperwork.” She tells me. 

 

“Why would she give Jenny to Justin?” Brian asks. 

 

“She said she wanted someone who would love Jenny.” Carl tells us.

 

“Are you going to love me?” Jenny whispers to me. 

 

“I already do, because you're you.” I whisper back. 

 

“She thinks Michael is going to agree to this?” Brian asks Deb.

 

“I think she's actually worried about Jenny. We all know that Michael isn’t father material. He can't support Jenny and doesn't have a place for her to live.” She tells me. 

 

“What about you and Carl?” I ask her. 

 

“We'd love to keep her but I think Jenny should be raised with Gus. She and Gus love each other. I think Jacob would love having a sister too. Carl and I are both getting on in years and want to be grandparents who can spoil all our grandchildren.” Deb tells me with tears in her eyes.

 

“Deb, if you want to keep her, I'll help you fight Michael and Mel.” Brian tells her. 

 

“Of course I want to, but Carl and I work crazy hours and would end up having to find other people to keep her. Carl gets called all hours of the night.” She tells him. 

 

“No one wants me.” Jenny tells me. 

 

“No Princess, it’s that we all want you.” Brian tells her. 

 

“We just want to make sure you’re happy.” I tell her. 

 

“Gus said you love him, but he's afraid if he calls you Dad you'll go away.” Jenny tells me. 

 

“I plan to stay and make sure he knows I love him as much as his Dad does.” I tell her. 

 

“Can you love me like my Dad does?” She asks me.

 

“Yes, if you'll let me.” I tell her. 

 

“Will I still get to see him?” She asks me. 

 

“As much as you want.” I tell her. 

 

“Then I'm going with him, Grandma.” She points to me.

 

“Why does that line keep coming up?” Brian asks me with a smirk

 

MEL

 

I was still in the interrogation room when they told me Justin was here. I knew I wasn't going to come out of this without jail time and I prayed Justin would take Jenny. I wanted Jenny and Gus to have someone like Justin to love them. Justin walked in and closed the door. Instead of taking a seat he walked over to me and kneeled down so we were facing each other.

 

“I won’t hate you, but I don’t like what you did to me or to Brian.” He tells me. 

 

“I'm praying you will forgive me for betraying you.” I tell him. 

 

“I don’t understand how you could do it and still pretend you gave a shit.” He gets up and sits on the seat next to me.

 

“Russo was going to give Gus back to Brian and tell Brian the adoption wasn’t legal. I knew Brian would never give me back his rights.” She tells me. 

 

“I wouldn’t have blamed him, he gave up the one person who he loved to save your relationship. He didn’t do it because he didn't want Gus. He did it for Gus, and instead of having the same faith he had in you, you shit all over his rights. He gave you something that means more to him than his life. Why couldn’t you have let him see Gus?” He asks me. 

 

“I wanted him out of our lives. It was like I disappeared when he was around. Lindsay would act like Brian was her husband and Gus was barely talking to me already.” I tell him. 

 

“That was your problem, not Brian’s. You married Lindsay knowing that she wasn’t going to let Brian go. Part of me wonders why you let her have Brian’s child. All I could come up with is you and Lindsay needed the drama, because I can’t think of another reason.” He tells me. 

 

“None of it matters anymore. I just need you to promise me that you'll raise Jenny.” I tell him. 

 

“Why me?” I ask her. 

 

“Michael isn’t isn’t her best interest. He loves her, but he has no idea what raising a child alone is like. Sooner or later, he'd dump her off on Deb.” I tell him. 

 

“Why not Deb or Lindsay?” I ask her. 

 

“I want Jenny raised to be responsible and no matter what Deb says I think she'd make the same mistakes with Jenny. You and Brian need to be careful with Lindsay, she isn't little miss innocent.” I tell him. 

 

“You really think I fell for her shit?” I tell her. 

 

“I think Lindsay’s real motivation will come out, and if you're not careful she'll stab you in the back.” I tell him.    

 

“Just so you can have your revenge, you chose me for Jenny? I have to tell you that's all I'm hearing from you. The only reason I'm willing to take custody is because Jenny needs someone to make it about her.” He tells me. 

 

“That's why I want you, she’s never going to doubt why you’re there.” I tell her. 

 

“I would have felt better if you had included Gus in that statement, but then you proved how little anything you do is about him. By the way, I just want you to know that Brian and I are going to share custody of Jenny, just my way of saying fuck you for betraying both of us.” Justin tells me as he walks away from me.

 

“I don’t care as long as my child is loved.” I tell myself. 

 

BRIAN 

 

Justin told Brad he wanted us to share custody of Jenny. I told Brad I wanted all the kids to have the same rights. I knew Mel did this because Justin just loves and doesn’t expect anything in return. I bet she's wishing she went to the sperm bank now. 

 

“Brian, Michael is probably going to try to fight this.”Brad tells me. 

 

“Michael can barely support himself. We aren't going to take Jenny from him, just raise her for him.” I tell him. 

 

“He has to be informed of the change in custody. If what I saw is any indication, he'll use this as a way to integrate himself into your life.” He tells me. 

 

“Then we put in the agreement he picks Jenny up from Deb. I don't want him in my house.” I tell him. 

 

“He doesn’t have custody but visitation now. Mel really did a great job in the new agreement. You know Michael owes her child support and made sure to document anything he paid for, which other than some clothes wouldn’t be considered support.” He tells me. 

 

“Guess while she was screwing Justin and me over, she wanted to include her babydaddy.” I tell him. 

 

“If she hadn't been fucking over the legal system, I'd have hired her. She thought of every angle to keep Michael off her back. What I don't get is she could have kicked Michael out of her lives by just suing him for the support alone. Why didn’t she?” He asks me. 

 

“She'd have to admit using Michael was a mistake. Mel refuses to be wrong.” I tell him. 

 

“Michael is going to have to prove he is in Jenny’s best interest in order to take her from you and Justin. Justin has enough money to provide for all three of the kids without help from you. Adding your finances to Justin’s will make it harder for Michael to win. It helps that you both cleaned up your lives.” He tells me. 

 

“Cancer changes your views on life.” I tell him. 

 

“Just be glad that Michael couldn’t use that as you're inability to take care of Jenny. The only person he has to fight is Justin and his health.” He tells me. 

 

“No one knew about the cancer except Ted.” I tell him. 

 

“Is there a reason you only told Ted?” He asks me. 

 

“I didn’t need clients running to other firms, in the ad business it's about their long term needs. If it got out I had cancer, they could have looked for someone else who might not die on them. I could have told them my chances were excellent but the big C scares people. Ted had to know because he was stepping in when I got to sick to work.” I tell him. 

 

“Brian, what do you really think of Lindsay’s motives.” He asks me. 

 

“I think she's a rat abandoning a sinking ship. I really loved how she played off Gus running away like it was a good thing for a thirteen year old to do. Lindsay’s not the innocent caring mother she pretend to be, but I played into it to get Gus.” I tell him. 

 

“You think she's going to cause problems?” He asks me. 

 

“I think she hasn't played all her chess pieces yet.” I tell him.    

 

MICHAEL 

 

I was sitting in the shop when a messenger hand me a letter. I'd been trying to call my lawyer all day. He keep telling me to schedule an appointment, not just show up. I was hoping he wouldn’t charge me for asking a question. 

 

The letter informed me that Mel transferred her custody of Jenny to fucking Justin. I'm Jenny’s dad, not the fucking twink. My fucking lawyer is going to straighten this shit out. I grabbed my coat and kicked the kid who sits here like it's his home out. I got to my lawyers office and ran passed the receptionist. 

 

“Mr Novotny, you can’t go in without an appointment.” She tells me. 

 

“Just sit down and answer the fucking phone, my lawyer needs to do his job.” I tell her opening is office door. 

 

“I'm sorry Mr. Coleman, I couldn’t stop him.” She tell him.

 

“It's fine, just buzz me when my next clients are here.” He tells her. 

 

“Like I said go answer a phone.” I tell her. 

 

“Michael don't talk to her like that. Why don't you tell me why you showed up again without an appointment.” He tells me. 

 

“It's got this, you need to make sure fucking Justin Taylor doesn’t get custody of my kid.” I tell him handing over the letter.

 

“Michael do you have your custody agreement with Jenny’s mother? I really need to see it, before I can tell you what is possible.” He tells me. 

 

“I put it in my filing cabinet years ago, I'll get it, but Justin isn't related to Jenny I am. If Mel thinks she can give my child to the little bastard, she's lost her mind.” I tell him. 

 

“Before we proceed any further, we need to talk about you paying you passed due bills. I don't work for free.” He tells me. 

 

“I want to know why you charged me for times I wasn’t in your office. Until you can explain that I'm not paying you.” I tell him. 

 

“I charge for every call and any paperwork you send me. You asked to keep a log of the girls and I did. Every hour I work is listed and billed. Right now you owe around two thousand for the work you asked me to do. I'm going to warn you now, custody cases are anywhere from two to ten thousand depending on how much time I spend in court. With those kind of cases you need to pay the retainer, and once it's used, you'll need to pay as we go. I won't do anything until you pay what you owe already.” He tells me. 

 

“We signed an agreement that you'd represent me. You need to uphold your part.” I tell him. 

 

“You also signed to pay for my services. I'll do you a favor and not add this to my bill, but don't come back until your account is up to date and expect me to help. Goodbye Mr Novotny.” He tells me as he ushers me out of his office. 

 

I leave and go to Emmett and Drew’s house. Hopefully Emmett can help me out. Drew opened the door and rolled his eyes at me.

 

“Emmett is with a client, so unless it's life or death come back later.” Drew tells me. 

 

“It's about Jenny.” I tell him. 

 

“Stay here and let me interrupt Emmett.” He tells me shutting the door.

 

I wait and hear Emmett apologizing to someone. He opens the door and lets a woman out.

 

“I'll make time to call you about the flowers.” He tells her. 

 

“Emmett, I just needed someone to calm me down.” She tells him. 

 

“Honey, don’t let your mother-in-law tell you what to do.” He tells her. 

 

“I'll just sic her on you.” She tells him. 

 

Emmett walked past me without saying anything and took her to her car. He waves at her and turns with a frown to look at me.

 

“What is so important that you had to interrupt my time with a client?” He asks me. 

 

“Can we talk inside?” I ask him. 

 

“Drew asked that I keep you outside our house. So tell me what's so important.” He tells me. 

 

“Mel is trying to give our daughter to fucking Justin.” I tell him. 

 

“How did she find Baby?” He asks me. 

 

“Justin showed up in Canada.” I tell him. 

 

“Did he tell her where he's been?” He asks me. 

 

“Who fucking cares, I need you to help me.” I tell him. 

 

“Is he here?” Emmett asks me.

 

“Of course, he ran straight to Brian with his brat.” I tell him.

 

“Justin has a kid?” He asks me.

 

“With Brian, if you believe that shit. Can we talk about you helping me, your actual friend.” I tell him.

 

“With what?” He asks me. 

 

“My lawyer said unless I pay his bill he isn’t going to help. So I'm asking as the friend who was there for you, to loan me the money.” I tell him. 

 

“How much is the price of your friendship?” He asks me. 

 

“I didn’t mean it like that, but I owe two thousand and he said it could cost up to ten to fight for my baby.” I tell him. 

 

“Sounds like you're going to have to sell some collectables, because I'm not loaning you that much money. You'll never pay it back.” He tells me. 

 

“I can’t sell those, people come to the shop to see them. Don’t the years we’ve been friends count for anything?” I ask him.

 

“Not really, I assumed friendship was a gift, not a way to get payment from someone. I also promised your mother and Drew to not get sucked into your problems. So work it out yourself and pay your lawyer, that’s all I can do for you.” He tells me and walks in shutting the door and locking me out.

 

EMMETT

 

I run to Drew’s man cave all excited, Baby’s home. I tackle my man and run kisses all over him. Drew looked confused because Michael usually causes me to take headache medicine after he leaves.

 

“Michael had something good to say?” He asks me.

 

“Yes but I doubt he thought it was good.” I tell him.

 

“Tell me, because truthfully I was about to kick his ass for coming here to whine to you.” He tells me.

 

“My Baby came home.” I tell him.

 

“Justin?” He asks me.

 

“Yes, so you finally get to meet him.” I tell him.

 

“So you're done being upset with Brian about Justin leaving?” He asks me.

 

“As long as he treats him right I am.” I tell Drew.

 

“Then let's go see Justin, it’s been hard being friends with Brian because you were so upset about Justin.” He tells me.

 

“Justin is the only good thing knowing Brian was to me. I don’t hate Brian, but if he had treated my Baby better he wouldn’t have left.” I tell Drew.

 

“Emmett you don’t know why Justin left, and maybe you need to find out before you judge Brian.” He tells me.

 

“What do you know?” Emmett asks me.

 

“I know that when Brian is drunk enough he tells you what he doesn’t want anyone to know. That he loved Justin and felt Justin would eventually leave. Brian wouldn’t use his love for Justin to keep Justin with him.” Drew tells me.

 

“Brian’s a idiot. Justin loved him.” I tell Drew.

 

“But he did the one thing Brian expected. Your Baby should have made Brian talk to him.” He tells me.

 

“Let’s go see Baby and apparently Baby’s baby.” I tell Drew.

 

“As long as we don’t have to deal with the whiney boy outside, I’ll take you anywhere.” He tells me.

 

“If he’s still there we just keep driving.” I tell him.

 

Drew grabs his keys and we go to the garage. We pulled out and I realized I don’t know where Justin would be. I call Teddy to see if he knows. Ted tells me Brian was at the new house last he was told. 

 

“Have you seen Justin?” I ask him.

 

“No, but there is a lot going on, Brian and Justin have been really busy.” He tells me.

 

“Drew and I were going to go to Brian’s.” I tell him.

 

“Call Brian first, I don’t think he wants surprise visitors.” He tells me.

 

“Drew call Brian and tell him I’m coming whether he likes it or not.” I tell Drew.

 

Drew picks up his earpiece and dials Brian. I ask Ted to fill me in. What he tells me is crazy as hell. I hung up and stared at the phone. I want to go to the police station and have a long talk with Mel, but I want to see my Baby first.

 

“Brian said to meet at Deb’s if you want to see His Justin.” He tells me.

 

“Possessive already, good lord they always did move fast.” I tell Drew.

 

“It’s why I came back to you, I was tired of moving slow.” He tells me and gets a kiss for that.

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 15 by starlight

BRIAN 

 

Emmett is bound and determined to see Justin. I know it's why he's been pissy with me this whole time. Justin never realized that Emmett loved him as much as he did. Hell, Ted respected Justin’s intelligence. Sometimes I think they were more Justin’s friends than mine. 

 

We walked into Deb's house with the boys. Justin was swallowed in an armful of Emmett the minute he walked in.

 

“I missed you.” Emmett tells him. 

 

“I missed you too.” Justin answered.

 

“I need to introduce you to Drew, and you need to introduce me to the cutie next to Gus.” He tells Justin. 

 

“Emmett this is Jacob, Jacob this is my friend Emmett.” Justin tells them.

 

“It's nice to meet you Mr Emmett.” Jacob tells him. 

 

“How about we go with Em or if you want Uncle Emmett?” Emmett asks Jacob. 

 

“Uncle Emmett is that Drew Boyd?” Jacob whispers to him.

 

“Yes Sweetie he is.” Emmett whispers back.

 

“He’s like my favorite football player.” Jacob tells him. 

 

“Drew come over here and meet our nephew.” He tells Drew.

 

“Dad, is he really my Uncle?” Jacob asks.

 

“Emmett is like Daphne, so his partner would be like an uncle too.” Justin tells him. 

 

“Hi Jacob, so you watch me play?” Drew asks Jacob.

 

“Every game.” He tells Drew.

 

“I could arrange for you and Gus to come to a practice if your Dad doesn't mind.” Drew tells him. 

 

“Daddy can Gus and I go?” He asks me.

 

“I can take the boys, if that works for you.” Emmett tells us. 

 

“I think you just made Jacob's year.” Justin tells Drew.

 

“Emmett and I could use the practice, we been talking about having kids.” Drew tells us. 

 

“I think I told you I was ready, you're the one who wants to wait.” Emmett tells him.    

 

“I have a football in the car if you boys want to play outside with me. “ Drew tells the boys.

 

Jacob ran out the door with Gus and Drew.

 

“So tell me where you've been?” Emmett asks him.    

 

“I lived in Chicago for a while then moved to New York.” Justin tells him. 

 

“Why didn't you call me?” He asks Justin. 

 

“I wasn't ready to talk to anyone.” He tells Emmett. 

 

“What caused you to leave without telling anyone?” Emmett asks him. 

 

“Just tell him, he isn’t going to be less pissed than he's been for the last twelve years.” I tell Justin when he looks at me. 

 

“I thought Michael finally convinced Brian they should be together.” He tells Emmett. 

 

“How?” Emmett asks him. 

 

“He saw us in the comic shop that night.” I tell Emmett. 

 

“Baby, that wasn’t what you thought.” He tells Justin. 

 

“I know, it was just more than I could deal with at the time.” Justin tells him. 

 

“You should have banged on the door and told Michael to get off your man. It would have saved us years of Michael trying to turn it into something it wasn’t. He showed up at my house just now, trying to get money for his lawyer.” Emmett tells us. 

 

“I guess he got the letter from Brad. God this is all so crazy.” Justin tells him. 

 

“What’s going on? Ted told me Mel is in jail and Gus ran away to find you.” He asks us. 

 

“It started with Mel pushing Gus’s adoption through without following proper procedure.  The judge who tried my case was the one who helped Mel and her partner Ron do it. Only Russo expects a favor from anyone he helps.” Justin tells him. 

 

“What was the favor?” Emmett asks him. 

 

“To give the defense enough dirt on Brian and I to turn the case into us pushing Chris to bash me.” He tells Emmett. 

 

“That’s how they knew so much about you two.” Emmett growls.

 

“Well thanks to Lindsay we got to hear first hand what happened in Russo’s chambers with Mel. She got the tape Mel made of the whole thing and brought it to Carl.” Justin tells him. 

 

“What's she getting out of this?” Emmett asks us. 

 

“That’s what we haven’t figured out yet.” I tell him. 

 

“She never does anything without a reason. I'm sure you'll find out why when she feels you both fell for her shit.” Emmett tells us. 

 

“I think we'll find out when she realizes Justin has custody of Jenny.” I tell him. 

 

“I’ve got to say, that shocks me. Mel just put you two in the middle of a war. I mean, Michael is practically foaming at the mouth.” Emmett tells us. 

 

“Unless he can support Jenny, there's nothing he can do.” I tell him. 

 

“That would require him to find close to twelve thousand dollars, according to him. I told him to sell some of the toys he hoards, because I wasn't giving it to him.” He tells us. 

 

“Is that junk really worth that much?” Justin asks us.

 

“Depends on how much a collector is willing to pay.” I tell him. 

 

“Which won't matter because Michael won't sell it.” Emmett tells me. 

 

“So the toys are more valuable to him than Jenny?” Justin asks, puzzled by it.

 

“Justin, he doesn’t see Jenny the way you do.” I tell him. 

 

“As a little girl who needs him to be a father? Because that’s what should matter.” Justin tells us.

 

“He isn't you.” I tell him. 

 

“Or you, because I know you'd give up anything to be with our kids. You were willing to move if you had to, for Jacob and I.” He tells me.

 

“That’s because you and the kids are important to me.” I tell him. 

 

“Are you moving here?” Emmett asks Justin. 

 

“We haven't…” I start to say, before Justin interrupts me.

 

“Yes.” Justin tells him. 

 

“I thought you weren't sure.” I tell him. 

 

“We have three kids now. They need both of us, we can't raise them in two different cities. I'm done running.” Justin tells me. 

 

“So am I.” I tell him. 

 

LINDSAY 

 

I left Deb's to go see my parents. I honestly didn’t want to, but I can’t stay with Deb. Brian isn’t going to help me now that he has Gus. I waited for him to tell me we could share Gus, but he can’t see past Justin to realize I should be in their lives. Why can’t Brian stop chasing Justin? 

 

My parents told me they would help with a down payment on an apartment for me, but that I was too old to keep running home. I told them I was through with Mel.

 

“Until you want to rebel again. It’s time you stand on your own two feet.” She tells me. 

 

“Yet Lynette can run home when her marriages fail.” I tell her. 

 

“Lynette never brought home someone we didn’t approve of. “ She tells me.

 

“No, just her future ex-husbands.” I tell her as I leave.

 

The next morning I went to my appointment with Child Services. The case worker and I waited for Brad to get there. Brad asked if I had an attorney to read them over. I just signed everything. I asked the caseworker how Brian’s loft could be considered suitable. 

 

“Mr Kinney’s loft isn't, but his house was more than suitable.” She tells me. 

 

“Brian owns a house?” I ask Brad. 

 

“He’s owned it for a few years.” He tells me, as he collects his copies.

 

“Did he sell the loft?” I ask him. 

 

“He still owns the loft.” He tells me.

 

“I guess I should talk to Brian about where the house is.” I tell him. 

 

“Brian doesn’t want his address given out. So you would need to talk to him.” Brad tells me and walks out.

 

“Shouldn't I be told where my child is going to live?” I ask the caseworker.

 

“You need to worry about showing you can be a responsible parent first, then I'm sure Gus’s father will be more willing to meet you halfway. Let me get you some information on classes that could help.” She tells me. 

 

I wait for her to leave the room and look through the papers on her desk. I finally find an address under Brian’s information and sit back down before she returns.  She hands me the information she went to get and tells me to contact her if I have questions. I left so I could go to the address. 

 

I stood in front of the house of my dreams. 

 

TED

 

Michael was standing at my front door when I got home. Blake is going to kill me if Michael is here when he gets home. I pulled out my phone to warn Blake that Michael is here.

 

“Blake, Michael is at our house, why don't you stay at work long enough for me to get rid of him.” I tell him. 

 

“I would but I'm just about home. Just don’t expect me to deal with him.” He warns me. 

 

“I'll find out what he wants and send him home.” I tell Blake. 

 

“Why is he even at our house?” He asks me. 

 

“I know that he went to Emmett trying to get money for a lawyer, so I guess I’m next on the list. Mel signed over custody of Jenny to Justin.” I tell him. 

 

“Anybody would be better than Michael.” He tells me, as he pulls up next to me.

 

Michael comes over to my car and waits for me to get out. Blake gets out of his car and waits to see what Michael wants. 

 

“Ted can we go somewhere to talk?” Michael asks me, ignoring the fact that Blake is standing right next to me. 

 

“Blake and I just got home Michael. I want to fix dinner and spend time with him, not you.” I tell him. 

 

“You have to help me convince Mel, she can’t give my kid to Justin.” He tells me.

 

“I don’t have to help you with anything.” I tell him. 

 

“Michael you need to go.” Blake tells him. 

 

“I'm talking to Ted, why don't you let him talk for himself.” He tells Blake. 

 

“Ted already told you we don’t want you here. Yet you are still here. Obviously you weren’t listening.” Blake tells him. 

 

“Ted, tell Blake to let us talk.” He tells me. 

 

“Blake, Michael wants to talk. I want to cook and relax with you, shall we?” I tell Blake. 

 

“Ted I need help, my lawyer charged all sorts of fees.” He tells me. 

 

“Imagine that, you mean he expected payment for working?” I ask him. 

 

“Ted what if Justin keeps Jenny away from me?” He says. 

 

“Than he does, it's not my problem.” I tell him. 

 

“Brian and I should be raising the kids, not fucking Justin. “ He tells me. 

 

“Brian is raising the kids, he’s just doing it with Justin.” Blake tells him. 

 

“You need to mind your own business.” Michael tells him. 

 

“I would but you're standing at my door.” Blake tells him. 

 

“You mean Ted’s door. Why don't you go in Ted’s house and cook Ted dinner.” Michael tells him. 

 

“Michael get the fuck out of our yard. Go find someone who wants to listen to you.” I tell him and follow Blake in the house, slamming the door in Michael’s face. 

 

Chapter 16 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

Deb was standing outside with Jenny and Carl watching the boys play catch with Drew when we came outside. Brian got a phone call from Brad and walked away to talk to him. I went over to Deb to find out when she wanted me to take Jenny. I didn’t want to uproot her too soon.

 

“Deb, do you want Jenny to stay with you for a couple more days? I want to make this move easier on her.”  I tell her. 

 

“I think it would be better for her if she got settled in at Brian’s house. It will get her settled with her new family sooner.” She tells me. 

 

“I'm going to have to go back to New York to pack my house up. Do you think she'd be okay with going with me? I think she and I spending time together without the boys will help her.” I tell her. 

 

“I can go with you if you want some help.” She tells me. 

 

“We could go for a couple days, I'll take you and Jenny around the city.” I tell her. 

 

“Justin you don’t have to entertain me.” She tells me. 

 

“It would be something fun for Jenny too.” I tell her. 

 

“What would be?” Brian asks me, when he comes back from his conversation with Brad. 

 

“It was telling Deb I need to go to New York to pack the stuff I need for here, she offered to come help.” I tell him. 

 

“Justin offered to make it a mini vacation for Jenny and me.” Deb tells him. 

 

“Why don’t we all go?” Brian asks me. 

 

“It was thinking it could be something for just Jenny, to help her know we want her.” I tell him. 

 

“What about the boys?” He asks me. 

 

“My mom could keep them, if you want to go too. It should only take a day or two to pack what Jacob and I need. The rest Thomas can take care of later.” I tell him. 

 

“I just think that we should start the way we plan to raise them. Jenny isn’t our only child.” He tells me. 

 

“I know she isn’t, but she's being taken from all the parents she knows, the boys are just gaining a parent.” I tell him. 

 

“She's gaining two fathers who are going to welcome her into their lives. My granddaughter needs to see she’s part of a family, so what Brian is saying does make sense.” Deb tells me. 

 

“What do you mean Jenny is gaining two fathers?” Lindsay asks, coming up behind us.

 

“Jenny is going to live with Brian and Justin.” Deb tells her. 

 

“I thought she was staying with you.” Lindsay tells Deb.

 

“Mel signed custody over custody to Justin.” Deb tells her. 

 

“What about me and Michael? We're her real parents. We should be allowed to make those changes.” She tells us. 

 

“According to all the paperwork Brad looked over, Michael only has visitation and you were just given the rights of a guardian. Mel has all the say in Jenny’s life.” Brian tells her. 

 

“I'm more of a mother to her than Mel, she should be given to me.” She tells us. 

 

“Aren’t you the one who said you weren't the kind of mother your child needs right now?” Deb asks her. 

 

“I just couldn’t do it alone.” She tells us. 

 

“Not that it matters, but you would be doing it alone if you had Jenny.” I tell her. 

 

“I know you're right but maybe I could find a place close to where you plan to live. I could help with the kids.” She tells us. 

 

“There isn't any place close by my house you could afford.” Brian tells her. 

 

“When did you buy a house?” She asks me. 

 

“Right after you and Mel decided to kick me out of my son’s life.” Brian tells her.

 

“When are you moving back to New York?” Lindsay asks me, ignoring Brian.

 

“I’m moving back here.” I tell her.

 

“Don’t you think that’s kind of sudden?” She asks me.

 

“Justin and I are going to be raising three kids together, so to us it makes sense for him to be here. Who knows, we could decide later to move to New York.” Brian tells her.

 

“Justin, you shouldn’t change your life without taking time to think about it. An artist needs to be where the art scene is.” She tells him.

 

“I just need to be where I can work, and Brian and I are going to try again. It won’t work with us living in two places. Kinnetik is growing and in a few years if Brian decides to expand then we have a home there as well as here. I want Jenny where, if she wants to see Michael, she can.” I tell her.

 

“She is going to want to see me too.” She tells me.

 

“That’s up to Jenny.” I tell her.

 

“Maybe it would be good for me to stay with you and Brian, until she’s settled in.” She suggests.

 

“Sorry Lindsay, but my house isn’t going to become a home for wayward lesbians.” Brian tells her.

 

“Brian, you need to put aside your anger. This is about what is best for the kids. I think having me around will make it easier for Jenny and Gus.” She tells Brian.

 

“Gus doesn’t want you around right now. I’m not going to let you move in, I doubt you’d ever leave. I don’t plan on starting married life with other people living in our house.” Brian tells her.   

 

“Married life?” Lindsay asks him.

 

“Yes, married life, because I plan to marry Justin. I don’t want to waste anymore time screwing around when I know what I want.” He tells me.

 

“Mr. Kinney, are you asking me to marry you?” I ask him.

 

“No, I’m telling you to marry me.” He smirks at me.

 

“Are you sure?” I ask him.

 

“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.” He tells me.

 

“You pick the place, and the kids and I will be there.” I tell him.

 

“I wanted to pick New York, so we could do this with only the people we want there.” He tells me.

 

“YOU'RE GOING TO GET MARRIED?” Lindsay screeches.

 

“Lindsay calm down.” Deb tells her.

 

“Brian you can’t marry Justin.” Lindsay tells him.

 

 

BRIAN

 

I look at Lindsay and want to know why she thinks she can tell me anything.

 

“Yes I can. All it takes is a license and for him to say I do, because I know I’m going to.” I tell her.

 

“What about m… Gus?” She asks me. 

 

“He’s probably all for it. Since he ran to Justin looking for someone to love him. Hell Lindsay, you were right, Gus running away brought Justin back to me, so maybe a thirteen year old child running off was a good thing. Not that I think it was, but you sure made it sound like it.” I tell her.

 

“Brian, I was hoping you would help me out for a while. With Mel in jail I don’t have many options, until I get back on my feet.” She tells me.

 

“Use some of the money I sent you for Gus. It’s not like you needed to use that money for anything, since Mel was supporting you.” I tell her. 

 

“Brian, I used it when I needed it, so there isn’t much left.” She tells me.

 

“I hope there is enough for you to take care of yourself, because Kinney Bank closed the day my son ran away from home and his mothers didn’t notice.” I tell her.

 

“You should be thanking me, because if Gus was still in Canada you wouldn’t be able to see him.” She tells me.

 

“Only because you and Mel were keeping us apart.” I tell her.

 

“You wouldn’t let Daddy see me?” Gus asks Lindsay with a scowl.

 

“Mel didn’t want your Dad around.” She tells Gus.

 

“He could have just come and gotten me, Mel didn’t have to see him.” Gus tells her.

 

“Mama, not Mel.” She corrects Gus.

 

“She stopped being my mom when she took Daddy away. I don’t want you around either, because you didn’t tell me the truth when Daddy stopped coming.” Gus tells her.

 

“Gus, we thought it would be better for you if you only had us.” She tells him.

 

“So it was better that I thought my father forgot about me?” He asks her.

 

“I wanted you to see your father, but Mel wanted us to be a family.” She tells him.

 

“No, she wanted you and Jenny, I was ‘the Bastard’s kid’. I should know, I heard it all the time.” He tells her.

 

“Gus, it’s not the time to talk about this.” She tells him.

 

“I think it’s the perfect time. You can’t lie to me in front of all these people. Maybe Daddy should hear what you told me.” He tells her.

 

“I just told you that you couldn’t see your father. Don’t start lying to make me look bad.” She tells Gus.

 

“I don’t lie, you do. Daddy, she told me the reason you didn’t come was because she wouldn’t leave Mel for you and that you didn’t want to see us if she wasn’t going to be with you.” Gus tells me.

 

“That’s not what I said.” She tells us.

 

“Gus, how about you, Jenny, and Jacob come inside with me and I’ll make some snacks.” Emmett asks him.

 

“She’s telling my Dad and Daddy lies.” He tells Emmett.

 

“Don’t worry Gus, we believe you.” Deb tells him.

 

“I don’t want to see her anymore.” Gus tells Justin, running into his arms.

 

“You don’t have to see her unless you want.” Justin tells him.

 

“Gus, you don’t mean that. I was telling your father that I could live with you, that we could still be a family.” Lindsay tells him.

 

“Can I go in Dad?” Gus asks Justin.

 

“Why don’t you let your DAD take you in with Emmett. In fact why don’t all the kids go in the house.” I tell them.

 

“Brian, he’s just upset. He mistook what I said.” Lindsay tells me.

 

I wait until the kids are taken into the house. Justin walks with Gus but turns around before he goes in the house.

 

“I just wanted to say ‘Yes’, before I went in.” Justin smiles at me and turns back to go in.

 

“Lindsay understand me, you will NEVER live in my house. At this point you have to depend on me to see either of the kids. I’m going to warn you now, until they ask for you, you won’t see them. They are going to know that if they want to see you they can, but it won’t be in my house. So do me a favor and forget my address.” I tell her.

 

“Until someone tells me where you live, I won’t know the address.” She tells me.

 

“Then you just magically drove there on your own?” I ask her.

 

“I didn’t drive to your house.” She tells me.

 

“You didn’t lie to my son, you didn’t imply that the only reason I was gone was because you wouldn’t leave Mel for me, and you didn’t drive your rental car to my house. Your honesty is leaving a lot to be desired here. In case you don’t know, Brad has his investigators following all of you for me. So yes, I know you drove to my house, but enjoy the one glimpse you got because it’s the last time you need to come to Justin’s new home.” I tell her.

 

“You're leaving me with no place to go.” She tells me.

 

“You and Mel still own the place in Canada, go there. Go anywhere you want, just stay away from me and my family. You know, the way you made me stay away from Gus. Pretend I have an order against you, because if you show up at the house, I will. Now I’m going to go in the house and take MY family home.” I tell her.

 

“What happened to my Peter?” She asks me.

 

“Peter left when he found love under a street light.” I tell her and walk away from her.

 

Chapter 17 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

Emmett and I left Deb's together to get things for Jenny. Brian told me to get her things she needed, because the clothes Lindsay and Mel packed for her wouldn’t be enough for a long amount of time. 

 

“You know, Lindsay is really working it.” Emmett tells me. 

 

“What happened to all of them after I left?” I ask him.

 

“A lot of it was their own fault. Michael couldn’t seem to see that Brian wasn’t going to give him what he wanted. Lindsay and Mel were fighting and making up all the time. Of course Lindsay had to constantly try to drag Brian into the middle of every fight. It left Mel using Brian as the reason they were fighting all the time. I told them both the affairs were the reason they had problems, not Brian. I tried to stay neutral, but Drew is firmly in Brian’s court. I was mad that you left, so Brian got to feel it from me.” Emmett tells me.

 

“Emmett, neither of us were right. Brian didn’t do anything that should have caused me to keep Jacob out of his life.” I tell him.

 

“He could have let Michael hang himself with Ben, but Brian was always protecting Michael.” He tells me.

 

“I think he thought it would be harmless. In a way, if I hadn’t seen it, it would have been.” I tell him honestly.

 

“It kind of sucks, because Drew told me that being pissy with Brian because you left was wrong when I didn’t know why you did it. Now I know I kind of owe Brian an apology for my less than welcoming attitude.” He tells me.

 

“At least you weren’t trying to castrate Brian.” I tell him.

 

“Who did that?” He asks me.

 

“Daphne seems to think that I wouldn’t need Brian’s balls.” I tell him.

 

“Ball.” Emmett comments absently while looking at clothes.

 

“What?” I ask him.

 

“Shit, he didn’t tell you.” Emmett says to himself.

 

“Didn’t tell me what?” I ask him.

 

“Maybe you should ask Brian. I’m sure he is going to tell you.” He tells me.

 

“Emmett what is it?” I ask him.

 

“Brian had cancer a few years ago, he only told Ted. So I’m not really supposed to know.” He tells me.

 

“But he’s fine now?” I ask Emmett.

 

“Yes Baby, according to Ted, they removed all the cancer and gave him a clean bill of health.” I tell him.

 

“He had chemo and everything?” I ask shaking.

 

“Justin calm down, he’s fine.” Emmett tells me.

 

“I left him alone Emmett. He needed me and I wasn’t there for him.” I tell him, feeling more guilty than ever.

 

“He probably wouldn’t have told you either. Brian handles everything on his own, you know that.” He tells me.

 

“Do you think he’s going to tell me?” I ask Emmett.

 

“Justin, I doubt he thinks about it much anymore. I mean I’m sure it’s always in the back of his mind, but he survived and that’s all Brian would really think about.” He tells me.

 

“So I shouldn’t bring it up?” I ask him.

 

“Unless you plan to have another kid, it’s not going to be an issue. I heard that chemo can cause sterility.” He tells me.

 

“I don’t know if either of us needs another kid. I mean we already have three right now. I'm not sure either of us wants to add a baby in the mix.” I tell him.

 

“So Jacob was all you ever wanted to have?” He asks me. 

 

“Emmett, I didn’t get pregnant on purpose. I love being a father, but Jacob wasn’t planned. I wouldn't change having him, but I'm not sure if I want another child.” I tell him. 

 

“Well Drew better be sure.” He tells me. 

 

“So you're ready?” I ask him. 

 

“And pregnant.” He smiles.

 

“You're telling me but not Drew?” I ask him.  

 

“I don’t know how to tell him.” He tells me. 

 

“How about ‘Drew we don't need practice, you already got it right’.” I tell him. 

 

“I was going to tell him his baby makers scored a touchdown.” He tells me. 

 

“Or that the receiver caught the pass.” I tell him giggling. 

 

“How about the quarterback crossed the goal line.” He tells me. 

 

“I'd try to come up with something else, but Jacob’s the football fan.” I tell him. 

 

“It's exciting and scarey at the same time.” He tells me. 

 

“Be excited now because by the time you should be scared you'll be too tired from being up all night to care about anything but going to sleep.” I tell him. 

 

We finished shopping and loaded everything in the car. Emmett told me he was going to tell Drew tonight. I tried to act like I wasn't still thinking of Brian and cancer, but one of my issues was that he didn’t talk to me about anything. To me cancer is a big thing, but Emmett’s right, it's in his past. I just want us to be able to tell each other everything. 

 

BRIAN 

 

I stayed behind at Deb's with the kids and Drew. I wanted to give Jenny time with Deb. Jenny was really quiet after coming back in the house and I hoped she'd tell Deb if she needed someone to talk too. I watched her walking around the room touching things with her thumb in her mouth. I wasn’t sure what that meant, so we waited.

 

“She’s tired.” Gus tells me.

 

“You don’t think she is upset about your mom?” I ask him.

 

“Jenny is used to Mom being like that.” He tells me.

 

“Jenny, are you ready to go?” I ask her.

 

She nods her head and walks over to me for me to pick her up. When I picked her up she put her head on my shoulder and closed her eyes.

 

“Brian, she’s been playing with me and Carl all day. She’s probably going sleep all the way home.” Deb tells me running her hands through Jenny’s hair.

 

“Yeah, she’s tends to just pass out.” Gus tells me.

 

“Take care of my grandkids and call me to let me know when we’re going to Justin’s place.” Deb tells me.

 

I carry the sleeping bundle to the car and realize I have a little girl. I never thought I’d have more than Gus, and now there are three. Drew climbs in the car with me. Emmett was going to meet us at my house with Justin. I rounded the car to get in when I hear Michael calling my name. Nope, not my problem, so I jump in and drive off before he reaches the car.

 

“Interesting way of dealing with Michael.” Drew tells me.

 

“That guy still running after the car is the Michael guy?” Jacob asks.

 

“I wonder why he is running after us.” Gus asks as the boys look out the back window.

 

“How long do you think before he stops.” Jacob asks Gus.

 

“Michael would follow Daddy over a cliff.” Gus tells Jacob.

 

“I think he’s slowing down.” Jacob tells Gus.

 

“How much you want to bet that Michael starts running again when you have to stop for the stop sign?” Drew whispers.

 

We get to the stop sign and I wait until Michael gets a couple feet away. I roll down my window and wave at him then hit the gas. Michael stands there for a second then starts trying to chase us down the road. 

 

“That was mean.” Drew tells me.

 

“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had with Michael.” I tell him, laughing when we reach another stop sign.

 

“Daddy, he’s still running.” Jacob tells me.

 

“Don’t worry, he won’t be able to keep up when we get to the highway.” Drew tells them.

 

I look in the rear view mirror to see Carl following Michael in the squad car and hit my brakes. Michael looks at Carl’s car then at mine and starts running for my car. I let off the brake and gun the car out of Deb’s neighborhood. 

 

“He standing in the middle of the road, I think he’s yelling.” Jacob tells me.

 

“He’s just telling us to have a safe trip home.” I tell them.

 

“Only in your dreams.” Drew whispers to me.

 

MICHAEL

 

I was going to Ma’s house to tell her about Jenny. I saw Brian go to his car and decided that he and I needed to come to an understanding on who was going to raise my daughter. He must not have heard me calling him because he gets in the car and pulls out. I start running to try to catch him and when he stops I was glad. He must have realized I was running to catch him. I was almost to the car and he waves and starts down the road. I run to try to get him to stop, but when we reach the next stop sign, Carl pulled up behind me and told me to get in the car. I look at both cars and see Brian’s brake lights and run after him. He just guns the engine and keeps going.

 

“Michael get in the car, you look like an idiot running after Brian.” Carl tells me.

 

“WHY CAN'T HE JUST STOP?” I yell.

 

“It's probably the same question he asks about you.” Carl tells me.

 

“He and I need to talk. If he wants to help me raise Jenny, I'm fine with that, but no way is his piece of ass raising my kid. Well, Ma will just have to keep Jenny until Brian talks to me.” I tell him. 

 

“You know what Michael you might want to keep running then, because Jenny is on her way to said piece of ass right now.” Carl rolls up his window and turns his car around and leaves me standing there.

 

“Carl, where are you going?” I yell.

 

My answer is him gunning his engine and driving away. Ma is going to hear about everyone leaving me standing in the street. I turn and start walking back to Ma’s house. When I get there she is standing there waiting for me.

 

“Michael, it's late and you need to go home.” She tells me. 

 

“Ma they all left me.” I head towards her.

 

“What were you expecting when you've been nothing short of a pain in the ass to everyone?” She asks me.

 

“Why does Justin get it all?” I ask her. 

 

Ma walks over to me, I walk to her so she could hold me. SLAP.

 

“Sunshine gets it all because he isn't sitting around expecting to live someone else's life.” She tells me. 

 

“Brian belonged to me first.” I tell her. 

 

“I'll tell you what you want to hear, yes Michael, Brian belongs to you. You should be the one he marries, not Justin. Does that make you feel better?” She asks me. 

 

“Yes.” I tell her. 

 

“That's wonderful but it’s still a lie, just like it’s always been.” She tells me, walking into the house. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 18 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

Emmett and I made up Jenny’s room while we waited for the others to get home. Brian called and told me Jenny was already asleep. Emmett was nervous about telling Drew and kept saying he could wait.

 

“How long are you planning to wait? Drew is going to notice when you start showing.” I tell him. 

 

“He hasn't noticed yet.” He mumbles. 

 

“Emmett, exactly how far along are you?” I ask him.

 

“The doctor told me we might be able to tell the sex at my next appointment.” He tells me. 

 

“Emmett that's usually around month four or five. What were you going to do wait till it's born?” I ask him. 

 

“I didn’t know I was pregnant till last month when I went for a check up. Then I hinted to Drew that we should consider having one and he kept saying it was something we should talk about before we do it.” He tells me. 

 

“So you're waiting for what?” I ask him. 

 

“What if he thinks I got pregnant behind his back?” He asks me. 

 

“I don’t know him well enough to say how he'd react, but if he knows you at all, he knows you're not that kind of a person.” I tell him.   

 

“I'm probably creating a problem where there isn't one. I always thought we would have planned a baby, not accidentally gotten pregnant.” He tells me. 

 

“Accident or not, I wouldn’t care.” Drew tells him from the doorway. 

 

“But you acted like you wanted to wait.” Emmett tells him. 

 

“I did, but obviously we aren’t going to.” Drew smiles as Emmett runs to him.

 

Brian walks in with Jenny in his arms, raises an eyebrow at Drew and Emmett. Emmett looks over at Brian.

 

“Drew and I are having a baby.” Emmett tells him smiling.

 

“Congratulations.” He tells them. 

 

We put Jenny in bed and she stays asleep. Drew and Emmett wave bye and leave us with Jenny. 

 

“I wondered how long it would take Drew to notice Emmett’s weight gain.” Brian whispers. 

 

“You knew?” I ask him. 

 

“Suspected. Emmett started slacking off at the gym. Then he was coming out of the shower and I noticed the bump. I just figured he was gaining weight at first. Then he started caressing his stomach more, so I just assumed they weren’t telling anyone yet.” He tells me. 

 

“He said he just found out last month.” I tell him. 

 

“Emmett deserves to be a father. He can love without conditions.” He tells me. 

 

“We kind of talked about it. He was asking if I wanted another baby, before he told me.” I tell him. 

 

“Do you?” Brian asks. 

 

“I honestly don't know if I need another one. Right now we're dealing with three.” I tell him. 

 

“I'd have to get tested to see if the chemo made it impossible for me to father a child.” He tells me. 

 

“You didn’t check when you had it?” I ask, stunned that he told me.

 

“I didn’t see a reason to, but if you want one then we'll find out.” He tells me. 

 

“You're not mad I know?” I ask him. 

 

“I guess Ted told Emmett?” He asks me. 

 

“I don’t think Emmett meant to tell me.” I tell him. 

 

“I planned to tell you. We aren’t going to hide things if we want us to work.” He tells me. 

 

I get up and go to him. He opens his arms and I hide my face in his chest, as the tears run down my cheeks. Brian walks us to his room and sits me down on the bed.

 

“I'm fine. The cancer didn’t spread and I've been clear for ten years.” He tells me.

 

“I left you alone to deal with it.” I tell him. 

 

“If you'd been here, I most likely would have hidden it from you.” He tells me. 

 

“Why?” I ask him. 

 

“I wouldn’t have been perfect anymore.” He tells me. 

 

“I wouldn’t have cared.” I tell him. 

 

“It wouldn’t have mattered. I wasn't going to be someone you stayed with because I was sick.” He tells me. 

 

“I loved you, to me it's what you do. It wouldn’t have been any different to me than you taking care of me after the bashing.” I tell him. 

 

“It was the first time you needed me, and it made me understand that part of the reason I kept you at a distance was you never needed me for anything.” He tells me. 

 

“I needed you when my parents kicked me out.” I tell him. 

 

“Justin you would have found a way to take care of yourself. You were always capable of that, I just wanted you safe. It’s why I let you live at the loft.” He tells me. 

 

“Just so you know, I always needed you.” I tell him. 

 

“One of the reasons I wanted you around was because you never made me feel like I had to do things for you to stay. You never made me feel like I had to buy your feelings for me. When you left, I figured you were tired of the crap I put you through. I just always assumed you'd come back and I would be able to tell you I was ready for more.” He tells me. 

 

“I should have come back sooner.” I tell him. 

 

“In a way you came back when I needed you the most.” He tells me. 

 

LINDSAY 

 

Mel better explain what she was thinking. I was counting on keeping Jenny. Mel put all her savings into an account for Jenny and told me I would have access to it if something happened to her. At the time I let it go because Brian was sending money for Gus, but now I need it to pay for things. I waited for them to bring Mel to the room. She walked in looking more tired than I've ever seen her.

 

“What do you want?” She asks me. 

 

“I want to know why you gave Justin custody of Jenny.” I tell her. 

 

“It’s really none of your business.” She tells me. 

 

“I'm her mother, so of course it's my business.” I tell her. 

 

“I could say it was to hurt you or to put Brian in the middle of the drama you and Michael are going to cause, but the truth is Justin will just love her. The way he loves Gus and Brian, I want that for her.” She tells me. 

 

“You don’t think I love her?” I ask her. 

 

“I don’t think you know how to love anyone.” She tells me. 

 

“I love Gus.” I tell her. 

 

“No, you love that Brian is Gus’s father. You twist things to make people think you love them, but when we step out of line, you use everything in your arsenal to make us pay.” She tells me. 

 

“I was planning on raising Jenny so she would know you. Now, because you think Justin would love her more you'll never see her.” I tell her. 

 

“I think your thinking Justin would be as selfish as we were. Justin doesn’t think that way.” She tells me. 

 

“Justin isn't as innocent as you make him out to be, he kept his son away from Brian, who he supposedly loves. What makes you think he is going to let you see Jenny, after what you did to him? I'm sure he hates your guts for it.” I tell her. 

 

“It's funny that you keep acting like Justin thinks the way you do. You want to know the first thing he said to me when he came here?” She asks me. 

 

“That your a cunt.” I tell her. 

 

“Nope, that he wouldn’t hate me, he just didn’t like what I did to him and Brian. Even after I betrayed him, he still didn’t hate me. It's hard for me to understand how he could still talk to me. Don’t get me wrong, he told me Brian would have custody too, as his revenge for what I did, but in the end he and Brian are going to give her a good life.” She tells me. 

 

“I guess there isn't much more to say is there, except that I need to start settling everything in Canada. We need to get papers drawn up so I can do that.” I tell her. 

 

“I already have that taken care of.” She tells me. 

 

“Mel, I should be the one to dissolve everything, you're going to need a lawyer and that costs money.” I tell her. 

 

“I plan on pleading out, so no lawyer needed. It’s my way of telling Justin how sorry I am for my part in this. You'll just have to find a way to support yourself because Jenny’s money isn't going to be going to you, it will go to Justin and Brian.” She smirks.

 

“You bitch, I've put up with your shit all this time and you pay me back by throwing me out in the street.” I tell her. 

 

“I'm sure you can find someone else to fall for the innocent routine you do so well. Maybe you could look up Sam, by now he's looking for his next ex-wife. Play your cards right and you and Lynette could be rich divorcees together. Mommy and Daddy will be so proud.” She tells me. 

 

I get up and walk out on her, the bitch thinks she's won. Well, Michael is bound to fight for custody, I'll just have to make sure Brian and Justin look like the worst fathers a kid could have. With that in mind I decide to go talk with the social worker.  

 

Diana was in her office with another client when I got to Child Services. She told me she would see me next. When I was called in she asked if I looked at the brochures she gave me.

 

“I haven’t had a chance.” I tell her. 

 

“Lindsay it's important you start trying to help yourself. Until you do, Gus won't have the mother he needs.” She tells me. 

 

“It's just I'm worried about Gus living with Brian and Justin.” I tell her with a few tears in my eyes. 

 

“He seemed fine with living with his father and Justin. Is there some reason you're worried?” She asks me. 

 

“Brian lifestyle has me worried and the fact that Justin and Brian’s relationship has always been rocky. It's not Justin’s fault, it's just being only seventeen when they got together was not really the best decision a twenty-nine year old man should have made.” I tell her. 

 

“Their past isn't what we look at, it's the present that counts. I saw nothing that indicated Gus could be in danger.” She tells me. 

 

“Brian’s club doesn't have you worried, or the fact that he could be bringing strange men around Gus?” I ask her. 

 

“Since the club is his business and unless Gus tells us Brian is bringing strange men in the house, we don't have a reason to investigate anything. From all the letters his lawyer brought to me, every indication is that Brian no longer lives the life you're suggesting. Lindsay right now you're my main concern.” She tells me. 

 

“What have I done?” I ask her. 

 

“Nothing and that's the problem. Your child went missing and you didn’t know about it, that’s not something we take lightly. Instead of coming here to tell me you read the information I gave you, your trying to slander Mr Kinney. For what purpose I don't know, but let me explain my position as Gus’s Social Worker. I only care that he is being taken care of and loved by his parents. I will not be put in the middle of whatever game you seem to want to play with your child's life. Do I make myself clear?” She tells me. 

 

“I guess you won't care when my son gets hurt.” I tell her. 

 

“I care that you hurt him enough that he ran away to a person he barely knew because he needed to find someone who would love him. Now, unless you are here to tell me you plan to straighten out your life, I have other parents waiting to show me they are making progress.” She tells me. 

 

She opens her door and waits for me to walk out. I couldn't believe she talked to me like that.

 

“I think I'll need your supervisor’s name.” I tell her. 

 

“She's standing at the reception desk, good luck.” She tells me. 

 

I head towards the woman she pointed out to complain about my treatment.

 

“Excuse me, but I need to file a complaint about Diana.” I tell her. 

 

“How can I help you?” She asks me. 

 

I tell her what was said in the office and wait for her to tell me she'll help me.

 

“Is this the case where the child ran away all the way from Canada to New York?” She asks me. 

 

“Yes.” I tell her. 

 

“And you're one of the mothers who didn’t know the child was missing?” She asks me.   

 

“What does that have to do with how I was treated?” I ask her. 

 

“Because Diana fights for the child, not the parents. I would advise you do what she asked instead of trying to cause trouble. We see parents like you all the time, so we know what kind of things you'll try to make the situation worse. If you want to fill out the complaint form, that's fine, but each form is attached to your file, so we know your history as well.” She tells me. 

 

“I'll have my lawyer handle this.” I tell her. 

 

“Here’s my card, tell him to contact me.” She tells me.

 

I take the card and walk out the door.                   

 

 

 

Chapter 19 by starlight

BRIAN 

 

Justin told me to sleep while he started breakfast, I walked into the kitchen to see my sleepy boys and a bright eyed Jenny. She was smiling, watching Justin make breakfast. 

 

“He's making real food.” Jenny tells me. 

 

“Dad always makes real stuff.” Jacob tells her.

 

“But the waffles aren’t frozen.” She tells him. 

 

“Why would the waffles be frozen?” Jacob asked, confused. 

 

“The moms bought the frozen kind.” Gus tells him. 

 

“There are frozen ones?” Jacob asks.

 

“They aren't very good, you toast them.” Jenny tells us. 

 

“Dad gets real bacon too.” Gus tells her. 

 

“Like the kind at Grandma's diner?” She asks him. 

 

“Yeah, but Dad lets us eat as much as we want.” Gus tells her.

 

I walk over to check if Justin had his eyes open. I could tell he was trying not to laugh about the comments. 

 

“Until I met Lindsay and Mel, I didn't know they came frozen either.” Justin tells me. 

 

“Think about the food they served, most of it was fruit and bread. Nothing you really had to cook.” I tell him. 

 

“I learned that Jacob started the day better if he had a warm breakfast.” He tells me. 

 

I grab coffee and toast and sit down as the kids get their breakfast. 

 

“Are we going to daycare?” Jenny asks me.

 

“Why would you go to daycare?” Justin asks her.

 

“I usually do.” She tells us. 

 

“I work from home, so no daycare. We could go see your Grandma, if you want. ” Justin tells her. 

 

“She's working today.” I tell him. 

 

“We could meet you there for lunch.” Justin tells me. 

 

“I was going to work late tonight so I could wrap up everything before the weekend. I figured we could go get your things.” I tell Justin. 

 

“Plus I could get the information from Thomas about the Warhol.” He tells me. 

 

“So he has a thing for Daphne?” I ask him. 

 

“He can't get the nerve up to ask her out.” He tells me. 

 

“He does realize she's the kind of girl who will expect him to prove he's man enough for her?” I ask him.

 

“Thomas seems to be confident in everything but women.” He tells me. 

 

“Is he a troll?” I ask him. 

 

“What's a troll?” Jenny asks me.

 

“It's someone who isn’t as pretty as you.” I tell her. 

 

“No he isn’t, but he's been burned a few times. In fact if he'd been gay you and he could complete for men.” Justin tells me. 

 

“He'd have to complete alone, I'm fine with you.” I tell him. 

 

I get up and rub the boys on the head, but Jenny wanted a hug and kiss, so I lifted her and kissed her nose. The boys were snickering at her. I walk to Justin and hug him from behind and kiss his neck. As I drove off I was smiling at how I plan to start my days.

 

TED 

 

I was grabbing a cup of coffee when a smiling Brian strolled by. He stopped and fixed my collar then kissed my head and continued to his office. 

 

“What the hell was that?” Cynthia asks me. 

 

“That, is Brian Kinney in love.” I tell her. 

 

“He met someone?” She asks me. 

 

“Justin came back.” I tell her. 

 

“The Justin he went to see?” She asks me. 

 

“You never met Justin?” I ask her. 

 

“Unlike now, Brian separated his work and home life. I only knew Michael because he was always showing up and calling.” She tells me, rolling her eyes. 

 

“Well what you're seeing is what he was like when Justin was around. Not that he ever kissed me before.” I tell her. 

 

“Maybe I'll have to hang around with you every morning, who knows he could kiss my head too.”  She laughs.

 

“Who drew this shit?” We hear come out of Brian’s office.

 

“Guess that kiss was the last peace we are going to get.” Cynthia tells me as we hurry to Brian’s office.

 

“I thought we hired artists, not kindergarten children?” Brian asks us. 

 

“Let me call Murph in and find out where this came from.” Cynthia tells him.

 

“Tell him I better not have paid overtime for this shit.” Brian tells her. 

 

Cynthia went to get Murph and I turn it to see what the hell it was supposed to be. 

 

“Brian what's the problem?” Murph asks as he walks in.

 

“Look at this and tell me what it's supposed to be, because I couldn't tell you.” He tells him. 

 

“Where did it come from? It's not one of ours.” Murph tells us. 

 

Brian looks around his desk and I see a note on the floor. I hand it to him.

 

“Lindsay must be getting desperate.” He tells me. 

 

“Lindsay did this?” I ask him. 

 

“This note says she was submitting samples of her work.” He tells me. 

 

“What for, and why would anybody submit work this bad?” Murph asks him.

 

“She seems to need a job, and wants yours.” Brian tells him. 

 

“Hopefully this is an example of what you don't do.” I joke.

 

“Brian, Lindsay would like to see you.” Cynthia tells him.

 

“I want you both to stay, if this is her fucking with me, I want witnesses.” Brian tells me. 

 

We wait as Lindsay walks in dressed for the club not an interview. I’m not sure what she was thinking with that outfit, but Murph is married and we are gay and not interested.

 

“Brian, I was hoping to sit and talk about my coming to work for you.” She says to him in a husky voice.

 

“How did you get this in my office?” Brian asks her.

 

“I told the receptionist that you were waiting to see it. I think it shows you the kind of work you can expect from me.” She tells him.

 

“Well I’m not really an artist but Murph could probably tell you why we wouldn’t hire you. I could ask Justin to critique it, but then you’d be compared to his talent and I doubt you want that.” Brian tells her.

 

“My work would hold up to anything Justin could do.” She tells Brian.

 

“Who’s Justin?” Murph asks me.

 

“My soon to be husband, but he’s showing in New York.” Brian tells him.

 

“What’s his last name?” Murph asks me.

 

“Taylor.” I tell him.

 

“You have seen his work haven’t you?” Murph asks all of us.

 

“No, but he just came back into my life.” I tell him.

 

“Brian it’s not just his art but his Ad copy. He’s really good. Remember the commercial with the cartoon dog in it.” He asks Brian.

 

“Yeah, the graphics were amazing.” He tells Murph.

 

“My buddy at that firm told me they hired this guy from Chicago. I wanted a name because I wanted to offer him a job. He told me Justin Taylor, but that he quit Ad work and start painting instead. Hopefully you’ll convince him to help us out sometime.” He tells me.

 

“Excuse me but I was trying to interview for a job.” Lindsay tells Murph.

 

“Not for me. My artists have to be able to create a concept, your talent is mediocre at best. With more time you could eventually become better.” Murph tells her.

 

“I think that is something for Brian to decide.” She tells Murph.

 

“Murph only hires qualified people to work under him. You heard him, you aren’t qualified.” Brian tells her.

 

“Brian I could be an asset, this was my field in school.” She tells me.

 

“You ended up an art teacher, not an artist.” Brian reminds her.

 

Lindsay gets up red faced and walks out the door. I follow her out because Brian hands me the board to give her. 

 

“Lindsay you forgot this.” I tell her.

 

“Ted you should remember who helped you when you needed us.’’ Lindsay tells me.

 

“I do, Emmett and Brian. You and Mel didn’t bother with me until I was out of rehab and that was only to bake cookies. They were good, but I don’t call that help.” I tell her and go back to Brian’s office.

 

“Brian you really need to see if he will help us with the video game campaign.” Murph tells Brian.

 

“He’s working on a show for the Warhol, I don’t know what kind of time he would have. We are also raising three kids.” Brian tells him.

 

“Blake and I could watch the kids, if Justin needs time to work.” Ted tells me.

 

“Don’t tell me you or Blake are having kids too.” Brian asks me.

 

“No, who else is having kids? Because you and Justin work fast, but not that fast.” I tell him.

 

“You know, your best friend Emmett, who knows about something only you should.” He says as he glares at me.

 

“I didn’t mean to tell him but he noticed how you looked.” I tell him.

 

“I’m assuming you're done with me?” Murph asks us. 

 

“Yes, I’ll talk to Justin but unless he can find the time, you need to bring me the best you have before lunch.” Brian tells Murph.

 

We wait for Murph to go before I explain.

 

“Brian, you were puking your guts out and barely able to stay awake most days. Emmett was on the verge of forcing you to see a doctor. I told him and he never told anyone, well until now.” I tell him.

 

“Well Emmett is having a kid. Make sure he know’s I told you first.” Brian tells me.

 

JUSTIN

 

I hung up my phone and stared at Jenny. She was playing happily with the boys. I have to say everything is making more sense after that call. I need to talk to Brian. We got to the diner and Deb greets the kids with hugs and kisses. I ask her if she could stay with the kids while I talk to Brian. I see Brian sitting with another guy and head over.

 

“Justin this is Murph, the head of my art department.” Brian tells me.

 

“Nice to meet you. Are you having lunch with us?” I ask him.

 

“Justin, I’m going to take a break and eat with the kids.” Deb tells me.

 

“I’m actually here to see if you have time to work on a campaign with me.” Murph tells me.

 

“Is there some reason you think I could help?” I ask him.

 

“I think your past work speaks for itself. I know you no longer do Ad work, but this campaign is huge for us. With the kind of graphics you create, the campaign would be in the bag.” He tells me.

 

“Brian can tell me what he’s looking for and I’ll send the ideas I have with him.” I tell him.

 

“Justin, I don’t want you to stretch yourself too thin.” Brian tells me.

 

“If I can’t do it, I’ll tell you when I see what kind of work you're asking for.” I tell him.

 

“Either way it was nice meeting you. I’m going to meet my wife for lunch now.” Murph tells me.

 

“He wanted to meet you. Apparently he’s a big fan of your art.” Brian tells me.

 

“I don’t know that I could come up with anything better than he could.” I tell him.

 

“It would have to be better than the painting of the fruit bowl Lindsay sent.” Brian tells me.

 

“Is there a reason she sent you that?” I ask him.

 

“She thinks I should give her a job.” Brian tells me.

 

“You should, unless conniving bitch is taken.” I tell him. 

 

“Something going on?” He asks me.

 

“Someone named Katie just called to inform me that Jenny’s account is being turned over to you and me.” I tell him.

 

“Jenny has an account?” Brian asks me.

 

“Mel was putting all her savings in an account for Jenny. Jenny’s guardian gets it to raise Jenny.” I tell him.

 

“How much has Mel put in there?” Brian asks me.

 

“Twenty thousand, which if we invest for Jenny will start her out well.” I tell him.

 

“I wonder if Lindsay knew?” Brian asks me.

 

“I thought it was strange that she was willing to hand Gus over without a fight but not Jenny.” I tell him.

 

“She wasn’t going to get another dime from me, so having Gus wasn’t going to help her.” Brian tells me.

 

“Katie pretty much said the only thing Lindsay was going to get was the money she made working.” I tell him.

 

“Daddy, are you coming home with us?” Jacob asks Brian.

 

“I have to get back to work, but I’ll be home before you go to bed.” He tells Jacob.

 

“He works like my mommy.” Jenny whispers to Jacob.

 

“How about I promise to be home for dinner.” Brian tells them.

 

“Brian if you need to stay late one night, it’s not a problem.” I tell him.

 

“I can work from the house.” He tells me.

 

Brian gets up and whispers to me. “I decided that my parenting is going to be the opposite of the munchers.” 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 20 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

After Brian left to go back to work, Deb asked if she could take the kids home with her. She and Carl wanted to spend some time with all of them. I agreed because I wanted see about the campaign Brian was doing. I didn’t quit ad work because I hated it, I liked being given a concept and finding a way to bring it to life. It helped when I needed to walk away from a painting to be able to take my mind off it. I stayed until Deb was ready to leave and drove them to Deb’s house. Deb told me that we could come to dinner tonight so we wouldn’t have to worry about doing anything when we got home. I figured it would give Brian time to work if we stayed in town. 

 

I got to Kinnetik and started looking around at Brian’s business. The receptionist asked if I needed help and I asked if Brian or Ted were free.

 

“Mr Kinney had an unexpected appointment but Mr. Schmidt is free.” She tells me.

 

“Could you let him know Justin Taylor is here to see him?” I ask her.

 

She calls Ted and he comes out of his office looking worried. 

 

“Justin, it’s good to see you.” He says while looking at Brian’s office.

 

“Is everything okay?” I ask him.

 

“Look I just don’t want you to get the wrong idea, but someone Brian was seeing is here.” He tells me.

 

“I’m just here to see if Murph wanted to work with me, he asked for my help.” I tell him.

 

“Brian wasn’t expecting him to visit, I just want to make sure you know.” He tells me.

 

“Ted, we both had lives that didn’t include each other. I have to trust that Brian isn’t interested in someone else. Why not take me to Murph and let me see if I could be of any help.” I tell him.

 

We both turn to see Brian hugging a really good looking guy. I turned and asked Ted to point me to Murph’s office. Ted, not knowing what to do, walked me to the art department. Murph seemed excited to see me and started showing me what he needed. I asked to use the computer and started working on a concept that I thought would bring the game to life. It was fun to play with other mediums. I honestly couldn’t tell you how long I was sitting there, but I looked up to see no one around any more. I saved the finished work and turned to see Brian sitting behind me watching me.

 

“Can I see what you were doing?” He asks me.

 

“It’s finished, but we need to get to Deb’s.” I tell him.

 

“Send it to my email and I’ll look at it at home.” He tells me.

 

“Sure.” I tell him.

 

We get up and head to the cars, the whole time Brian is looking at me strangely. I hope I wasn’t ignoring people, it’s something I do when I work. We pulled up to Deb’s and Brian grabs my arm before I head to the door.

 

“Is everything okay with us?” He asks me.

 

“Yeah, why?” I ask him as I reach up and kiss him.

 

“Ted told me you were at the office.” He told me.

 

“I just wanted to see what Murph wanted me to work on. Deb offered to take the kids so I decided to at least try to help.” I tell him.

 

“Do I need to explain?” He asks me.

 

“Are you still seeing him?” I ask him.

 

“No, John and I haven’t seen each other for a few years. He did ask if we could have dinner with him while he’s here.” He tells me.

 

“Do you want to have dinner with him?” I ask him.

 

“I do, but only if you do. We were only really friends who occasionally slept together.” He tells me.

 

“Brian I trust you.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t want any misunderstandings between us. I tell you I plan to work late on the one day an old friend appears, it sounds bad to me.” He tells me.

 

“We said we would talk to each other, if you wanted to be with someone else I’m trusting that you would tell me. Brian, I’m not going to get upset that you had a life when I wasn’t around. I expect you to feel the same way when you meet someone I once knew.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t want anyone else. John was never more than a friend.” He tells me.

 

“Then call and tell him we’ll have dinner one night. It’s not a problem.” I tell him.

 

“Daddy, you kept your promise and made it home for dinner.” Jacob yells from the door.

 

I reach up and kiss Brian and can see the tension leave him. I’m not going to queen out over people who have nothing to do with us now. I think it would only cause more problems. I also didn’t see anything but two friends when I saw Brian with John. I just hope I put his fears of me running at rest finally. 

 

BRIAN

 

I got back to my office to see John standing at the desk. I hadn’t seen him in a few years. I lead him to my office past Ted, who looked like he wanted to say something but minded his own business. I can be friends with the guy I use to fuck on a regular basis.

 

“What brings you here?” I ask him.

 

“I was just in town for a meeting and wanted to see what you were up too. Maybe dinner?” He asks me.

 

“I honestly can’t go to dinner, I’m having dinner with my kids and new partner.” I tell him.

 

“When did you have kids?” He asks me.

 

“I only had two of the three. Justin and I took custody of Michael’s daughter.” I tell him.

 

“Justin? The one you told me about?” He asks me.

 

“Yes, we recently got back together. We have an eleven year old son together.” I tell him.

 

“I’m glad, you really deserve to be happy. How about you, me and Justin get together one night for dinner? I’m in town for a week.” He tells me.

 

“I’ll see how Justin feels about it and get back to you.” I tell him.

 

We walk out the door, I hug him and tell him I’ll call. I returned to my office thinking that Justin would probably like John once they meet each other. They are both artists, John with a camera. Ted walked in looking like I was an asshole. 

 

“Ted, leave it alone. John is just a friend and nothing more.” I tell him.

 

“Let’s hope Justin sees it that way.” He tells me.

 

“What are you planning to do, call him and tell him my old fuckbuddy was here in my office?” I ask him.

 

“I don’t have to, he saw you two hugging and went to the art department. He didn’t ask to see you or even say hi when he was standing in reception watching you two.” Ted tells me.

 

“Did he say anything?” I ask him.

 

“That you both had lives without each other.” He tells me.

 

I got up and went to see if I needed to keep Justin from packing his bags. He didn’t talk to me for hours and finally finished what he was doing and looked up. I want to say he was lost in his work and that was why he was ignoring me. Instead of trying to find out if he was upset I asked to see what he’d been doing. What I saw while he was working was amazing and the finished work would probably be award winning. He told me the kids were waiting and started leaving for the cars.

 

All the way over I was trying to figure out if Justin was upset or not. I honestly couldn’t tell, he was acting like everything was okay. I wanted to explain about John because I don't want him to think there is anything going on between the two of us. Justin got out of his car, smiled at me and started walking to the door. I stopped him to try and make sure he understood John wasn’t someone he needed to worry about. Justin seemed to accept my explanation without me really needing to explain it to him. He was right, we'd been apart for twelve years and there were bound to be people in his life just like mine. Didn’t mean I had to like the idea, just accept that Justin had a life without me too.

 

We got in and sat at dinner with Deb, Carl, and the kids. Apparently Jacob was making plans to go to the toy store when we went to New York.

 

“Daddy, did you know they have a toy store that has everything in New York.” Gus asks me.

 

“Dad and I always go and play there.” Jacob tells me.

 

“Do they have girl stuff there?” Jenny asks Justin.

 

“They have any kind of toy you could want.” Justin tells her.

 

“Are we going to go there?” Gus asks.

 

“We can go tour the city and see the toy store and anything else you want to see.” Justin tells them.

 

“Emmett wants to go too.” Deb tells us.

 

“I guess we need to see if Ted and Blake want to go, along with your mother and sister.” I tell him.

 

“That is a lot of people to be there this weekend.” He tells me.

 

“I want us to get married this weekend.” I tell him.

 

“You don’t want to take time to plan a wedding?” Deb asks me.

 

“Unless Justin wants a big wedding, I was hoping to just do it while we were there.” I tell them.

 

“Brian, I think I would rather do it at the house here. It would be too much to try to do over the weekend. We could plan it for two weeks from now. The kids are going to expect more than us standing in a courthouse.” Justin tells me.

 

“As long as we get married, that’s all I care about.” I tell him.

 

We finished eating and start loading the kids in Justin’s car. I took off to meet them at the house. I still can’t believe he’s not asking about John. I need to get over the fear that something I do could have him running off. 

 

After we get the kids to bed, I wait for him to come to the bedroom. I want him to tell me if there is a problem, so we can solve it now before it blows up in my face again. I refuse to lose him again over someone who means nothing to me. Justin comes in and starts the shower.

 

“Are you coming, I need you to wash my back.” He smiles.

 

I follow him in the shower and take the soap and start cleaning all of him. I can honestly say Justin is still beautiful at thirty. He filled out more, but is still the kid who I worshiped as much as he worshiped me. I pull us under the water to get the soap off and kiss his soft lips. Justin kisses down my neck and chest and works down to my cock. I watch as he gets down on his knees and takes my cock into his mouth. Justin masages my balls and continues to pleasure me with his mouth. I moan as he starts to work faster but want us to be joined when it happens. I pull Justin up and turn him around, grabbing the condom he brought with us, I put it on and thrust into him. Justin pushes back to meet me and I put my arms around him and began thrusting faster. Justin was moaning loud enough that it was echoing off the walls. I grab his hips and make sure to angle my thrusts to hit the spot that will have him cumming like a fountain. Justin starts stroking himself to my rhythm and I can feel the silky walls starting to tighten around my cock and wait for him to tell me I can find completion. Justin cums all over the shower wall in front of us and I thrust one last time and fill the condom. I pulled out and turned a smiling Justin around and start cleaning him again.

 

I realized he didn’t need me to explain anything, he was trusting me to be the man he loves.


Chapter 21 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

I really like John, he's funny and he's not making an issue of him and Brian once being together. We invited the guys to come along, because none of us have spent much time together since I got back. Michael was having his first visit with Jenny and I couldn't help but worry about her. She needs Michael to make tonight about her, not him. Deb told me she would check on them, so just have fun. The boys were hanging with Tucker and Mom. So we were childless for the first time. John about tripped over his feet when Brian introduced us, apparently he's a big fan of my art.

 

“I'm truly jealous Brian. You had to pick one of New York's biggest new artists.” He tells Brian. 

 

“I picked him up on the street.” Brian tells him tongue in cheek.

 

“Seriously, how did you two meet? I know he talked about a Justin, just not my favorite artist.” He asks me.   

 

“He's actually telling the truth, we met under a streetlight in front of his club.” I tell him. 

 

“Maybe you could show me that streetlight.” John jokes to Brian. 

 

“I could, but there's only one Justin and I don't share.” He tells John.

 

“Are you working on anything new?” John asks me.

 

“I need to start looking at some of the paintings I haven’t shown, and I was working on a new one when Brian needed me to help with Gus.” I tell him.

 

“You're able to see Gus?” John asks Brian.

 

“Only because my son ran away from home and went to find Justin.” He tells John.

 

“I’m glad that that was resolved. I honestly worried about that.” He tells me.

 

“I just wish Gus didn’t have to run away to make it possible.” I tell him and like him more for being worried for Brian.

 

“Any chance I could see some of your work?” He asks me.

 

“I need to get a place to store the work I have here. I have a vault at my house in New York, but haven’t really had a chance to see if there was a place I could store my work here.” I tell him.

 

“I have a gallery that we could store your work in.” He tells me.

 

“You bought that?” Brian asks him.

 

“I’m thinking of settling here, between assignments. I like traveling, but a place that is home would be nice.” He tells us.

 

“Where are you staying now?” I ask him.

 

“At a hotel for the week. I wanted to visit Brian and check out the gallery.” He tells me.

 

“Why not stay with us?” I ask him, to see Brian looking surprised.

 

“I could if you want me too, I just don’t want to impose.” He tells me.

 

“Justin, we have to leave on Friday to go to New York.” Brian reminds me.

 

“If John doesn’t have any plans he could come with us and see my work.” I tell him.

 

“I’m still trying to figure out how you're able to help Murph and get ready for a show.” Ted tells me.

 

“I like being busy, with being here, the kids are visiting with people and freeing up a lot of my time.” I tell Ted.

 

“Maybe you could help Emmett. I really think he should be slowing down.” Drew tells me looking at Emmett.

 

“Drew, other than planning the events I am taking it easy. I have my assistant doing most of the work.” He tells him.

 

“Justin might need your help planning the wedding.” Brian tells Emmett.

 

“Emmett can help, but I was thinking of having everyone over for a small party and getting married at the end of the night.” I tell him.

 

“When are you two getting married?” John asks.

 

“Two weeks from this weekend.” Brian tells him.

 

“I could take the pictures if you want. I don’t really have plans to do anything for a month. I was going to see my family next week and then just travel around.” He tells us.

 

“Why not stay with us? With the kids, I’m going to need all kinds of help to get painting done.” I tell John.

 

“Are you sure? Because I don’t want to impose.” He asks me.

 

“I was hoping you could help me with a concept. I need a photographer to help with some pictures I want to manipulate.” I tell him.

 

“Okay, but just a warning Brian. I’m going to be fanboying it, my favorite artist wants to work with me.” John tells me.

 

“As long as it’s just fanboying, because I would hate to dump you off at the nearest landfill.” Brian tells him.

 

“You want to come to New York with us?” I ask him.

 

“If I get to see your work, than yes.” He tells me.

 

“I want to come too.” Emmett tells Justin.

 

“I already thought you were, we could go look at baby clothes for you.” I tell him.

 

“Why don’t we all go?” Brian tells Ted.

 

“We could go see the opera you wanted to see.” Blake tells Ted.

 

“You like Opera?” I ask Blake.

 

“Ted turned me onto it. We haven’t seen one in New York.” He tells me.

 

“Thomas could get you into one showing on Broadway if you want.” I tell him.

 

“Ted, please?” Blake begs him.

 

“How about ‘Justin pretty please’.” Ted begs me.

 

“I’ll call him and promise to bring Daphne, you’ll get the best seats in the house.” I tell them.

 

“Drew are you going to come?” Brian asks him.

 

“I have a penthouse there so we might as well use it. Emmett could at least relax this weekend.” Drew tells him.

 

“How far along are you?” John asks Emmett.

 

“The doctor said five months.” Drew smiles.

 

“Did you find out what you're having?” I ask Emmett. 

 

“A boy, I’m so excited. I hope he looks like Drew.” Emmett tells me.

 

“So you all have kids?” John asks.

 

“Blake and I don’t, but right now we are too busy for one.” Ted tells us.

 

“We honestly like being able to do things when we want. I can play uncle to all your kids.” Blake tells us.

 

“Don’t have kids if you aren’t ready to give up everything for them.” I tell Blake.

 

“I think that’s why I’m not having baby fever. I like that Ted and I can be selfish with our time.” Blake tells me.

 

“I like being able to do what I want too, but I want what Brian and Justin have one day. I just have to find someone other than Justin.” John jokes as Brian sneers at him.

 

“I have a friend who lives in New York that you could meet.” I tell him.

 

“Save me from the matchmaker.” John throws himself at Emmett.

 

“There there sweetie, I’m sure Justin has a fine man for you to meet.” He tells John.

 

“As long as HIV doesn’t scare you.” I tell him.

 

“Ben?” Brian asks me.

 

“You’ve seen Ben?” Emmett asks me.

 

“He teaches at NYU, we ran into each other and became friends.” I tell Emmett.

 

“Yeah, he didn’t seem to want to mention that there was nothing going between me and Michael.” Brian growls.

 

“Brian I told you, he respected my decision not to want to hear about it.” I remind him.

 

“Is this the guy who was dating Michael?” John asks.

 

“Yeah, but he’s really good looking and a nice guy, no matter how Brian feels about it.” I tell John.

 

“I have to wonder about anyone who would date Michael.” He tells me.

 

“He give you shit too?” I ask John.

 

“Of course, Brian’s his and I’m just a placeholder. The fact that Brian and I were only just friends didn’t stop the never ending speeches.” John tells me.

 

“I’m just hoping that everything goes well for Jenny tonight.” I tell Brian.

 

“He finally called to see Jenny?” Emmett asks us.

 

“It’s only been a few days, but Deb told us he requested to see her. We thought it would be good for Jenny. It better be or Michael is going to wish he never called.” Brian tells us.

 

“Gus told us that he wasn’t a shitty father to Jenny.” I tell Brian.

 

“I just love that Gus put shitty in a sentence.” Brian tells me.

 

“Well he’s been around Deb, what do you expect?” I ask him.

 

“That he learn to spell it out the way Jacob does.” Brian jokes.

 

“They both are probably being told by Mom that either way isn’t acceptable.” I tell him.

 

“My God, you two are so domestic.” John tells us.

 

“Three kids.” Brian tells him.

 

“Are you going to add to the bunch?” John asks.

 

“We aren’t sure right now.” I tell him.

 

“Maybe, it would be nice to actually be there to see one of my kids being born.” Brian tells us.

 

“I’m sorry.” I whisper to him.

 

“I didn’t say it to make you feel bad. I just would like to be there from the beginning. If we decide to have another one, then I will.” He kisses me.

 

Brian’s phone rings while I listen to Emmett talk about the latest bride’s mother-in-law.

 

“The poor girl can’t make a decision without her mother-in-law saying they should do it her way.” Emmett tells us.

 

“Did she tell the mother-in-law it was her wedding, not the mother-in-law’s.” John asks.

 

“I think she’s afraid of the mother-in-law.” Emmett tells us.

 

“Does she realizes when she marries the guy the mom comes with him?” Blake asks us.

 

“Justin, we need to get to Deb’s.” Brian interrupts.

 

“Is everything okay?” John asks.

 

“Jenny showed up at Deb’s. No sign of Michael, hopefully he dropped her off and the kids aren’t all practicing running away.” Brian tells us.

 

“We’ll get the bill, just go.” Ted tells us.

 

“I can come with you.” John tells us.

 

“Ted why don’t you help John get his things and take him to the house. You could get settled while we see what happened.” I tell him.

 

“We’ll meet you at the house.” Emmett tells us.

 

“You want me to come with you?” Drew asks us.

 

“Let us find out what’s going on.” Brian tells them.

 

We leave and head straight to Deb’s, Michael better have a good reason that Jenny ended up at Deb’s alone. I get there to see Michael standing on Deb’s lawn yelling at Deb. Carl looks like he’s about to kick Michael’s ass. 

 

“Michael, how did Jenny end up here and not with you?” I ask him.

 

“None of your business, maybe Brian and I should discuss what you think my daughter should call you.” He sneers at me.

 

“Please tell me that you didn’t fucking let Jenny run off by herself because she likes Justin.” Deb tells him.

 

“She didn’t run off by herself, she just told me that she wanted to come here.” He tells me.

 

“HOW THE FUCK DID SHE GET HERE?” I yell at him. He better have been with her the whole goddamn time. I will not have her on her own, no matter what she said to Michael.

 

“I FUCKING DROPPED HER OFF!” Michael yells at me.

 

“You didn’t stay to make sure Deb knew that?” Brian asks him.

 

“She told me she was mad and wanted me to leave.” Michael tells us.

 

“Brian, Deb, go check on her. I need to talk to Michael alone.” I tell them.

 

“I don’t want to talk to you.” He tells me.

 

“Then you don’t see Jenny unless your mother is with you at all times. I won’t have you acting like a jackass around her.” I tell him.

 

“Justin, maybe I should deal with Michael.” Brian tells me.

 

“No, he won’t learn if he thinks you guys are there to coddle his ass.” I tell him.

 

Brian takes Deb into the house and Carl tells me to yell if Michael causes anymore problems.

 

“We are going to talk and then you are going to go in that house and tell your daughter that you love her when we’re done. You only have this one chance to get it right, because I’m here for her, not you. Jenny only asked to see you when she found out she would be living with me. Which to me means you must being doing something right when it comes to her. Be the fucking father she seems to love, not an immature child. What did she say that caused this?” I ask him.

 

“She called you Dad.” He glares at me.

 

“Michael, the boys call me that, she probably thinks it’s my name. I don’t think she did it to piss you off and I haven’t asked her to call me anything. If you want me to tell her she can’t I will, but you need to explain that to her. I can be Uncle Justin or whatever name we can agree too.” I tell him.

 

“It’s feels like you are taking everything and didn’t have to work for it. I’ve been there for everything for Jenny. She shouldn’t want you.” He tells me.

 

“Michael, I didn’t take Jenny, but I sure as hell want her to be raised knowing that we all love her. I can’t change that Brian never chose you and truthfully, I don’t understand why you keep fooling yourself into thinking he’s ever wanted more from you. This isn’t about that, it’s about your daughter. It’s decision time Michael, do you want a good relationship with her or are we going to keep playing this game where you think I’m the person taking everything from you?” I ask him.

 

“I want her to live with me.” He tells me.

 

“Then do what it takes to get her, but understand, I love that little girl and plan to stay in her life. It won’t matter where she lives and who she calls what. She’s special for being her, and you need to remember that when you get pissy that everything isn’t the way you want it.” I tell him.

 

Michael doesn’t say a word but walks by me and goes in the house. I didn’t want to go in there because I was angry that he couldn’t manage to curb his jealousy to take care of his daughter. Brian comes outside and puts his arms around me from behind. He rest his head on my shoulder.

 

“So this was because she referred to you as Dad?” He asks me.

 

“I don’t know what to do about it. I love that she’s that comfortable with me, but she really should call me Uncle Justin. How do we tell her that without her feeling left out.” I tell him.

 

“Believe it or not, Michael told her if she loved you enough to want to call you that, he would accept it. Jenny told him that she just calls you what the boys do. Maybe he listened to you.” Brian tells me.

 

“I want Jenny to have the father she seems to love.” I tell him.

 

“I guess even with all the stupid shit he was doing, he was at least getting it right with Jenny.” Brian tells me.

 

“Think I could talk him into giving up on you?” I joke.

 

“You ever manage that and you will have accomplished the impossible.” He tells me.

 

“He seemed to listen when I was talking to him.” I tell him.

 

“It’s because you won’t let him talk out of his ass. With me he only seems to hear what he wants to hear.” He tells me.

 

“As long as Jenny is okay, he can dream all he wants. I know the truth.” I tell him.

 

“What’s the truth?” Brian turns me to look at him.

 

“That you're my home and I’m yours.” I tell him.

 

“Guys, Jenny wants to stay with Michael tonight. Are you okay with that?” Carl asks us.

 

“I want to go with my Daddy.” Jenny tells me running down the steps with Michael behind her.

 

“We aren’t going to be getting any calls that there’s a problem are we?” I ask Michael.

 

“I promise that you won’t hear anything but Jenny had a wonderful time with me.” He tells me.

 

“Than take Jenny and show her what a good father you are.” I tell him.

 

“Brian, could we talk?” Michael asks him.

 

“Michael, this is your time with Jenny, use it wisely.” I tell him.

 

“Come on Jenny, let's go get some ice cream and videos.” He tells a smiling Jenny.

 

Jenny hugs me and Brian and runs off with her father. Deb shakes her head at me.

 

“He does love her, Deb.” Brian tells her.

 

“I know that, but when is he going to stop being a child. I should have made him take responsibility for his life sooner.” She tell us.

 

“None of us helped him, we keep letting him get away with shit.” Brian tells her.

 

“Apparently Justin won’t.” She tells us.

 

“He can chase Brian till the end of time and I won’t care. Jenny loves him and he needs to make sure he shows her that he deserves that love. I’m going to tell you now, if this happens again, Michael get’s grounded.” I joke.

 

Brian and I leave to meet the guys at the house. Brian isn’t thrilled with Michael but told me that this is pure Michael. 

 

“He always pouts when he gets upset.” He tells me.

 

“Pouting is fine, but he doesn’t dump her when she says or does something he doesn’t like.” I tell him.

 

“He’s probably going to try to prove to her he’s the best Dad.” He tells me.

 

“That’s up to him. It’s not a competition to me. I want the kids to grow up happy, and if Michael can make his daughter happy, then fine. If Jenny wants to see Mel, we do that too.” I tell him.

 

“Like I said, we do the opposite of all of them.” He tells me.

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 22 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

When we got to the house Emmett was waiting outside for us. 

 

“Brian why don't you head in, I needed to ask Justin a pregnancy question.” Emmett tells him. 

 

Brian walks in the house and closes the door.

 

“So Baby, why the hell did you ask John to stay at your house?” He asks me. 

 

“He's nice and Brian seems to like him. I wanted to get to know him. This isn’t me trying to do anything and I trust Brian.” I tell him. 

 

“I couldn’t invite someone who slept with Drew to the house to stay.” He tells me. 

 

“I just think I could be friends with John. He's easy to talk to. He seems like he wants to stay in the area and could probably use more friends.” I tell him. 

 

“It doesn't bother you that he and Brian used to fuck.” He asks me. 

 

“Emmett we've been apart for twelve years. We both had other people in our lives. I would have to alienate a lot of Liberty Avenue if I thought that way. Brian and John are friends which if you noticed is healthier than Brian and Michael. John doesn't rub in my face that he was with Brian, and in truth he seems to be a really good guy.” I tell him. 

 

“If you suddenly get cozy with Michael, I'm having your head examined.” He tells me. 

 

We walk in the house and I see Brian and John come down the stairs laughing and cutting up. I like seeing him carefree. I think John really only wants what's best for his friend. We all sit around the living room to talk.

 

“When do I get to meet the kids?” John asks me. 

 

“We pick them up at the diner in the morning.” I tell him.

 

“You and Justin will have to entertain them, after breakfast it's work for Ted and me.” Brian tells us.

 

“What happened with Michael?” Blake asks us.

 

“He didn’t like Jenny referring to Justin as Dad.” Brian tells him. 

 

“That’s going to be tough on her, the boys call him that.” Emmett tells us. 

 

“Michael had a change of heart after talking to Justin. Michael walked in the house and told Jenny he was glad that everyone loves her. He said if Jenny wanted to call Justin Dad it was up to her.” Brian tells us.

 

“That must have been some talk.” Ted tells me. 

 

“I just felt he needed to hear something I should have said years ago. I just pray he thinks of her before he starts acting like an ass to her. Michael loves her, but in a way he's having to learn how to parent her. Mel and Lindsay aren’t going to be around.” I tell him. 

 

“Like they were doing a great job.” Emmett tells me sarcastically. 

 

“I'm not saying they were, but Mel wouldn’t let Michael pull this on Jenny.” I tell him. 

 

“Are you going to let Lindsay and Mel see the kids?” Ted asks me. 

 

“Only if the kids ask, which neither of them have.” I tell him. 

 

“How did you guys end up with them?” John asks us. 

 

“Gus took off without the girls noticing he'd been gone almost a week. Gus ran away to find Justin and met Jacob. I got a hostile Daphne telling me where Gus was and to lose the number after I called. She didn’t want me fucking with Justin’s head. Instead of calling I went to see Justin. I needed to be there for Gus, but I also wanted to see Justin. When I got there, Jacob opened the door, I have to say I almost fell off the steps. I was looking at a perfect copy of Justin and me combined. When I went in I was still reeling from that and managed to piss Gus off. After a lot of talking, Justin wanted to see what the girls were thinking and went to see them. He came back telling me they didn’t even know Gus was missing. I got a new lawyer and found out the adoption wasn’t done through legal channels and the judge who signed off on it, was the same judge who ruled over Justin’s bashing. It ended up that he had Mel help the defence and now they are all being investigated. Mel wanted Jenny with Justin. So three kids and a husband are my lot in life.” Brian answers, kissing me.

 

“I still want to tell Mel she's a shit head.” Emmett tells us. 

 

“Just don’t say anything in front of the kids. I want them to make their own decisions about their other parents.” I tell him.

 

“Justin, how can you not hate her for what she did? We sat in that court room watching the fucker get simple assault, now we know it was because Mel helped them.” Emmett tells me.

 

“I think hate takes to much out of you. Do I love her like I used to? No. She doesn't deserve that from Brian and me. She has to live with what she did and I think she has a lot of guilt. In a way I think she took it out on Brian.” I tell them.

 

“What do you mean?” John asks me. 

 

“Brian was a constant reminder of me. She couldn't escape what she did, and Brian being around probably made her have to think about it when she didn't want to anymore.” I tell him. 

 

“Lindsay didn’t make it any better, I only went to see Gus, not her. They started fighting and apparently it was my fault.” Brian tells me. 

 

“Brian, that was her excuse, because they seem to thrive off fighting with each other.” Ted tells him. 

 

“Ted’s right when you think about it. Their whole relationship was a series of fights. Mel blaming you for their issues and Lindsay running to you to piss off Mel. Then they magically get back together in lesbian bliss.” Emmett tells us. 

 

“Mel did seem to distance herself from me, when I came out of the hospital. The only people I saw were Mom, Daphne and Deb.” I tell them.

 

“Baby, I should have been there too.” Emmett tells me. 

 

“I honestly don't think I was ready to see everyone. I couldn’t be around large crowds for a while. Brian really had to help me through my fear.” I tell him. 

 

“I remember you backing away from being touched. I didn’t want to do anything to upset you.” Emmett tells me. 

 

“I found out Brian was there, but in a way I think not knowing he was there made me work harder to get better.” I tell him. 

 

“Is that where you were every night?” Emmett asks him. 

 

“Yes.” Brian answers. 

 

“I only ask because when Michael came home, he kept running off to your loft and complaining you weren’t there most nights.” Emmett tells him. 

 

“I was watching him sleep.” Brian tells Emmett looking at me.

 

“I'm trying to get how Justin thinks Mel treated you like shit because of him.” Blake tells us. 

 

“Why move Canada, why not just move to another state or town? She was looking for a way to escape. I doubt Russo wasn't just going to keep asking for favors. He doesn’t have any power over her in Canada. She was running from what she did. Having to see Brian, the person who took care of me, was a reminder of it. I could be wrong but it would explain a lot of it.” I tell them.

 

“If she'd been smarter, she'd have let Brian see Gus. None of this would have come down on her.” Ted tells us. 

 

“I was gone, so she probably thought it was safe to exert power.” I tell him. 

 

“I stupidly hired her partner in crime to fight it.” Brian tells me. 

 

“You hired someone who knew the case. You're supposed to be able to trust a lawyer to be honest with you.” John tells him.

 

“Justin’s mother deserves a big thanks for Brad.” Brian tells us.

 

“He's kind of yummy, too bad he's not gay.” Emmett says absently.

 

“Emmett, stop fantasizing about other men.” Drew growls.

 

“I meant for John.” Emmett kissed the growl off Drew's face.

 

“I think we'd better get home, we have an early morning.” Ted tells us. 

“I'm getting tired too.” Emmett tells us. 

 

We see them out the door and John heads up to his room. Brian follows me to our room. The minute the bedroom door was shut, Brian started undressing me. He lifted me into his arms and laid us down on the bed. I smiled up at him.

 

“I love you.” He tells me. 

 

I bring his lips down to meet mine. I grab a condom to put on him but he hands it back to me. I look at him and realize what he wants. Rolling us over so he's on the bed with me over him, I grab the lube and prepare him the way he did my first time. Using my fingers to massage his opening, I encircled his entrance then push my finger slowly in. Laying down to give attention to his weeping cock, I taste the precum leaking out as I thrust my fingers in and out. I listen to Brian so I can hear when he is ready for more. I hum around his cock as he fucks my mouth. I want him to enjoy everything we do tonight. 

 

“Justin I want to feel you.” He tells me. 

 

“I reach for the condom and make sure I use enough lube so I don't hurt him. Pulling my fingers out of him, I pull his legs on my shoulders and hold my cock to tease him. I watch as I push in and pull back in shallow thrusts. Brian moans as I continue to slowly make my first full entrance into him. He was so tight that I worried I would hurt him. Brian seemed to think I was taking to long and pulled his legs down and wrapped them around my waist and pulled me into him. I stopped to make sure he was okay. He pulled me down to kiss him and I started thrusting because I needed to. Sitting back up I withdrew my cock and started surging back in. He moaned as his channel milked the hell out of my cock. I wanted to see him cum first, I began stroking him in rhythm with my thrusts. Brian strained to meet each inward thrust and I changed my angle to give him what he needed. Brian drove himself to completion, I felt his channel tighten around me and stoked his cock faster. Brian moaned louder as he started to cum on my hand and chest. I pushed in one last time and found my pleasure. I pulled out slowly and went to get a washcloth to help hm with the soreness. I cleaned us both up and laid down next to him.

 

“Are you okay?” I ask him. 

 

“We had another first together.” He tells me. 

 

“Brian, I've topped before.” I tell him. 

 

“I know, but I never bottomed before.” He tells me. 

 

“Why now?” I ask him. 

 

“You're the first person I trusted to do it.” He tells me. 

 

I use my kiss to tell him how much that means to me. Brian pulls me to straddle him and reaches for a condom. I honestly don't need the sleep.

 

JOHN 

 

I wonder if they know they were that loud last night. I ended up putting a pillow over my head. I get downstairs to see Justin leaning on the refrigerator as the coffee drips. His eyes were closed, but he managed to pull the pot out and fill his mug, without spilling a drop.

 

“He cooks in his sleep too.” Brian tells me from the table.

 

“Wait, are you hungry? I didn’t even think about that.” Justin asks me opening his eyes.

 

“I can wait till we get to the diner.” I tell him. 

 

Justin sits on Brian’s lap and finishes his coffee. Brian tells him to get ready so we can go. I watch as he walks off, admiring the view. 

 

“Don’t enjoy it that much.” Brian growls.

 

“I'm red blooded, and Justin is beautifully made. Get over it, because you get him, while we can only look.” I tell him. 

 

“I can't help hating that people look at him. I was really surprised that he invited you to stay. I couldn’t invite someone he slept with to stay at my house.” He tells me . 

 

“I'm not a threat to your relationship, we were just friends.” I tell him. 

 

“I was just friends with Michael too.” He tells me. 

 

“Brian, Michael tries to make it seem like only he knows you. If Michael was sniping at Justin all the time and you were defending him the way you told me you did, Justin would have to wonder who you loved more.” I tell him. 

 

“It didn't help that I could tell Michael I loved him and couldn't tell Justin.” He tells me. 

 

“Are you fucking serious? Why the fuck would you even do something like that to your boyfriend?” I ask him. 

 

“It couldn’t admit Justin was anything to me. I always thought he would leave eventually and look for someone less fucked up.” He tells me. 

 

“Then you should be down on your knees thanking fate for bringing him back to you. Most people don't get a second chance, hopefully you’ve learned to put Justin first.” I tell him. 

 

“Just what I need, another Team Justin in my midst.” Brian smiles. 

 

“I'm Team Brian and Justin, you give me hope for finding someone to love me the way you two love each other.” I tell him. 

 

“Just don’t fall for Ben.” He tells me. 

 

“I'm not afraid of HIV.” I tell him. 

 

“I know, but the dick head could have told Justin the truth and didn’t. I don't feel very charitable towards him.” He tells me. 

 

“I'm having a hard time imagining being with someone who thought Michael was a catch.” I tell him. 

 

“Don’t listen to Brian, Ben is a great guy. Michael pulls out the whole protector gene in people he knows. Ben fell for it, but then so did all the gang at one point or another.” Justin tells me.

 

“I'll reserve judgment until I meet him.” I tell him. 

 

“I'm judging him, nothing excuses him not telling you the truth.” Brian tells him. 

 

“Brian, I doubt he care if you're his friend or not, but for Jacob, be nice.” Justin tells him. 

 

Brian drives to the diner in his car, so we won’t have to get him later. I walk in and see Michael sitting with a little girl at the counter. Brian walked past him without saying anything but gave the kid a kiss on the head. Michael looked like he wanted to say something but Justin came in and he stopped. I watch Justin walk over to the table with two boys and a couple sitting with them.

 

“Daddy, Gus and I built a fort with Papa.” this has to be Jacob. Brian was right he is the perfect blend of them.

 

“Did you thank Papa for doing that? “ Justin asks both boys.

 

“Of course they did Justin.” The woman tells him.

 

“Mom, Tucker, I want you to meet Brian’s friend John. John this is Jacob and Gus and over by Michael is Jenny. ” He tells them and me. 

“Just call me Jen, Justin never remembers I have a name.” She tells me smiling. 

 

“He's going to stay with us for a while so I wanted him to meet you guys.” He tells her. 

 

“Are you having breakfast Sunshine?” A red hair woman asks Justin. 

 

“The usual for me and Brian, I'm not sure what John wants. John this is Deb, Michael's mom.” He tells me. 

 

“Didn’t you use to hang out with Brian?” She asks me. 

 

“We've been friends for a few years.” I tell her. 

 

“That’s all it better be.” She tells me. 

 

“Deb, they are just friends. Don’t get all protective.” Justin tells her. 

 

“Whatever you want Sweetheart.” She tells him and asks for my order.

 

We sit with Brian as the boys talk to him from their booth.

 

“Why do I feel like they think I'm here to steal Brian from you?” I whisper to Justin. 

 

“It adds flare to you hanging out with us.” Justin giggles. 

 

“Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind with either of you, but I'd end up heartbroken when you didn’t love me the way you two love each other.” I tell him. 

 

“Too bad you weren’t around when we met, we could have done all sorts of fun things.” Justin tells me. 

 

“Fortunately those days are over.” Brian tells me. 

 

“I'm happy for you.” I tell him. 

 

“Brian, don't you think Justin would rather not meet the guy you were screwing.” Michael tells us. 

 

“Michael, I know about them, but unlike you, John isn’t trapped in the past. So unless you're here to talk about Jenny, don't say something to cause problems. I happen to like John and invited him to stay with us.” Justin talks to him like a child.

 

“I was going to see if Jenny could stay with me today.” He asks Justin.

 

“I'm fine with it, just drop her off at your mother's house so Brian can bring her home.” Justin tells him. 

 

“Dad is going to take me to the zoo.” Jenny tells us. 

 

“Have fun, do you need anything for her?” Justin asks Michael. 

 

“I can take care of it.” He almost snipes.

 

“I just meant clothes, we only packed enough for today.” Justin tells him. 

 

“Ma had some play clothes for her.” Michael tells us. 

 

“Then have fun.” Justin tells him. 

 

I watch Michael smile at Jenny and take her out of the diner.

 

“It's like he thinks you're his Dad.” I tell Justin. 

 

“He knows Justin will just tell him to shut up, in his own polite way.” Deb tells me as she puts food on the table.

 

“I'm just not playing his game. I think that's half the problem, everyone was careful not to upset him, because he pouts and whines for days.” Justin tells her. 

 

“Well whatever works, because Jenny told me she had a good time.” Deb tells him. 

 

We finish eating and grab the boys. Brian leans down and kisses Justin goodbye then pats the boys and smiles as he goes out the door. 

 

“Do you want to see my gallery? We could see if there is a space you could work in and check if the storage room is adequate to store your work.” I tell him. 

 

“Do you mind if we do that?” Justin asks the boys.

 

“Am I going to see your stuff?” Gus asks him. 

 

“It's still in New York, but I'm sure there's stuff you can see here. Do you like art?” Justin asks him. 

 

“I want to be an artist.” He shyly tells Justin.

 

“Then we need to get you stuff to work with.” Justin tells him. 

 

“REALLY?” Gus says excited. 

 

“It will be fun to have someone to work with me, since Jacob prefers sports.” Justin tells him. 

 

“You'll let me work with you?” Gus asks him. 

 

“You can tell me if my work is up to par.” Justin tells him. 

 

I'm completely jealous that Brian found Justin first. He is the kind of man I would want raising my kids. Maybe I can find my own Justin soon.            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 23 by starlight

BRIAN 

 

Deb called to let me know that Michael and Jenny were at her house waiting for me. I really wish he had dropped her off and left. I arrive to see Michael sitting outside on the steps and just want to drive off, but Jenny is here too. As soon as I get out Michael stands up and walks towards me.

 

“Can we talk before you leave?” He asks me. 

 

“Michael what's left to say? It seems like no matter what anyone tells you you only hear what you want.” I tell him. 

 

“Tell me why you couldn't love me?” He asks me. 

 

“You don’t want to hear it. It’s like you filter everything until it comes out with me loving you.” I tell him. 

 

“I think you're afraid you do love me.” He tells me. 

 

“There you go, changing everything to fit what you want. I don't love you the way you want because I couldn't. I never saw you as more than a brother. Part of it is that you expect everyone to take care of you. The other part is that I fell in love with Justin. He showed me what love should be like. It's not selfish and greedy, it’s given without strings.” I want to kill myself for even saying something so lesbianic.

 

“What makes Justin the person you love and not me?” He persist.

 

“Do you really want me to answer that?” I ask him. 

 

“I want to know why he gets you.” He tells me. 

 

“Because I love him. In a way I never thought I would love anyone.” I tell him. 

 

“I don’t get how you could love someone who disappeared with your kid. He left you and I stayed with you. I was always there but you never gave me the chance.” He tells me. 

 

“Michael you can’t make someone love you because you want them to. I can tell you why Justin, if you honestly need to hear it.” I tell him. 

 

“I want to know why it isn’t me.” He tells me. 

 

“Because loving you is conditional. You expect everyone to be who you want them to be. If we don't do what you want us to, you write us off, until you need something. Ben and I fucked years before you knew him and when you found out we spent a week with you acting like we betrayed you. Instead of realizing Ben loved you, you ran around being a miserable bastard. In a moment of complete stupidly I thought you needed to see that Ben was nothing more than a trick I barely remember. My mistake was thinking that I would get through to you. I lost Justin because you couldn't be happy with Ben, who loved you.” I tell him. 

 

“I would have been happy with you.” He tells me. 

 

“Would you have been happy knowing that you'd be a placeholder for Justin? Because that's all you would have been. I wasn’t ready to give Justin what he wanted twelve years ago, but I knew that when I was ready, he was going to be the person I committed to. Justin needed time to grow up and see what else was out there, I wasn't going to stranglehold him. I saw what that does to someone and refused to be my mother. Did I like the idea he might not chose me in the end? No. But I wanted to know that if he stayed with me it would be because he wanted a life with me. He had the perfect way to keep me and didn’t use it, which is something you would have done. Justin loved me enough to walk away so I could be happy. If I could have told him I loved him, I wouldn't have spent the last twelve years without Jacob.” I tell him. 

 

“See, you told me, that just proves you loved me.” He tells me. 

 

“I couldn’t tell Justin because it gave him the power to destroy me. All my saying it to you proves is that you didn’t mean as much to me as Justin did.” I tell him.

 

“Why?” He seems to really have a hard time grasping that it wasn’t him.

 

“You need someone to be there to tell you how to walk, talk and when to do things. You can’t do anything on your own. I need someone who could be my equal, and it wasn’t you. I need to get Jenny to the house, maybe if you think really hard you’ll figure out that you’ve wasted a lot of years on me. Don’t waste the rest of your life waiting for me, because I won’t be there.” I tell him and leave him on the steps.

 

Jenny was sleeping on the couch. Deb told me she was really tired from the trip to the zoo. I picked her up and she woke up and smiled at me.

 

“I had fun today with my Daddy.” She tells me.

 

“I glad you did.” I tell her.

 

“Brian, can you let Carl put her in the car? I wanted to talk to you.” Deb tells me.

 

“Deb, leave it alone.” Carl tells her.

 

“I just need him to tell me why John is staying with him and Justin.” She tells Carl.

 

“Justin invited him to stay.” I tell her.

 

“Why would he do that?” She asks me.

 

“Because he trusts me and that’s all you need to know. I’m not going to have everyone trying to tell us how to run our lives. John is a friend and nothing more.” I tell her.

 

“Deb, don’t get involved in their business. It’s not our place.” Carl warns her.

 

“Listen to him, because I won’t listen to anyone telling us what we should be doing.” I tell her.

 

“Can we go home, I miss Gus and Jacob.” Jenny tells me.

 

“Yes we can Jenny girl.” I smile at her.

 

I put her in the car, Michael comes over and tells her that he’ll see her this weekend. I prayed he wasn’t going to queen out when he found out she wouldn’t be in town.

 

“Justin and I are taking the kids to New York this weekend. We’ll be back on Monday if you want to see her.” I tell him.

 

“Couldn’t you leave her here with Ma?” He asks me.

 

“No he can’t, because I’m going to help Justin pack to move here.” Deb tells him.

 

“So I can’t see my daughter because you want to help Justin?” He pouts to Deb.

 

“Michael, not in front of Jenny.” Carl warns him.

 

“We need to go, so say bye Jenny.” I tell her.

 

“Bye Daddy, love you lots.” She tells him.

 

“Love you too, honey bun.” Michael tells her.

 

I drive off to see Michael in the yard waving his hands at Deb. I really don’t care. 

 

JUSTIN

 

John and I were watching the boys swim in the pool. I spent the afternoon getting Gus supplies to create with. He showed me his notebook where he draws things. I could see he was developing his skill and if encouraged, could really do well one day. I was looking through pictures John took on his last trip, when Brian and Jenny came out to the back. Brian walked over to me and leaned over me for a kiss. Jenny went to the side of the pool to talk to the boys.

 

“Everything go okay for Jenny?” I ask him.

 

“She seemed to have a good time with him.” He tells me.

 

“What happened, you seem tense?” I ask him.      

 

“Michael wanted to know why I couldn’t love him.” Brian tells me.

 

“Did you tell him because he was a petulant asshole?” John asks Brian.

 

“Maybe it would have saved time. I’m just tired of it all.” Brian tells us.

 

“John can you watch the kids, I want to help Brian get changed?” Justin asks John.

 

“Sure.” He tells us.

 

I follow Brian into the house and up the stairs to the bedroom. He starts taking off his suit and piling it on the bed. I put his jacket on the hanger and wait for him to tell me what’s bothering him.

 

“It can’t be just Michael, what’s really bothering you?” I ask him.

 

“Deb kind of pissed me off, questioning why John is staying here.” He tells me.

 

“It’s not really for her to question.” I tell him.

 

“Justin, why is he here?” He asks me.

 

“I like that you're more carefree with him. To me you two have a healthy friendship. I also think he is looking for a place to call home. I know how that feels, because I’ve been searching for twelve years.” I tell him.

 

“How can you not have a problem with my past with him?” He asks me.

 

“Do you want me to be jealous?” I ask him trying to contain my laughter.

 

“YES, you could at least act like it bothers you.” He tells me then rolls his eyes and starts smirking.

 

“Oh Brian, how could you not have saved yourself for me? I mean you could have lived without sex for twelve years. It would have been so romantic.” I tell him in a girly voice, putting my hand over my heart.

 

“Shut up twat.” he tells me.

 

“Brian, I don’t know what to say, but he doesn’t even bring it up. When I see him looking at you, I see someone who respects my place in your life. I’m also shamelessly using him to help me with what I need to get a painting done.” I tell him.

 

“Just don’t use your twink power on him, we might never get him to move out.” He tells me.

 

“Twink power can only be used for good.” I tell him.

 

He pulls me to him and I reach up to kiss his chin.

 

“You can only use it on me.” He tells me and pecks me on the lips.

 

“What if I need it to get something from Emmett or Ted.” I joke.

 

“Ted would be blinded by it and you’d have Blake up your ass. Emmett wouldn’t fall for it.” He tells me.

 

“Guess you’re right, only on you.” I tell him.

 

“Think John can watch the kids while you soap my back?” He asks me.

 

“See he already has his uses.” I tell him following him into the shower.

 

DEB

 

I was excited to see where Justin lived in New York. Emmett and Drew were letting Ted, Blake, and John stay with them. Justin wanted Jen and me to stay with him and the kids. Justin had a four bedroom house in a good neighborhood. Jen told me that she insisted that he look outside the city for a place to raise her grandson.

 

“You and Jenny can have one of the guest rooms, Mom usually uses the one Gus was using.” Justin tells me.

 

“Gus and I will have to share, just don’t hog the bed.” Jacob tells Gus.

 

“You're the one who takes up a whole bed.” Gus tells him.

 

“Or you can sleep on the daybed in my office.” I tell Gus.

 

“It’s better than being kicked off the bed.” Gus sticks his tongue out at Jacob.

 

“They swear they are never sharing a bed with anyone.” Brian tells us.

 

“Like that would happen with your genes in them.” I tell Brian.

 

“Deb, help me make up the room for you and Jenny.” Jen tells me.

 

I walk in the room and can tell Jen isn’t happy with me. I try to think what would have upset her and can’t come up with anything.

 

“What Jen?” I ask as she shuts the door.

 

“Deb, Brian doesn’t need you bring up his past all the time.” She tells me.

 

“I was kidding.” I tell her.

 

“You’re saying it in front of his children. You do realize that Jacob and Gus absorb every word said around them.” She tells me.

 

“I’m not saying it to be mean, it’s just how I always talk to him.” I tell her.

 

“I don’t think he takes it that way, but you need to realize that he is not that Brian anymore. I listen to you go on and on about John staying with them, but it seems like they are all getting along. I didn’t need to know that Brian and John slept together, it’s their past, not what is going on now. As long as Justin doesn’t have a problem with it, we need to stay out of it.” She tells me.

 

“I just don’t get how he could let Michael run him off and be okay with someone Brian actually slept with.” I tell her.

 

BRIAN

 

“I really think you let John stay with us just to confuse everyone.” I tell him.

 

“Hey, they’re too busy gossiping to worry about us. I figured it would give us time for us.” He tells me.

 

I hear a knock on the front door and Jacob yells he’ll get the door. I asked Justin why he always wants to answer the door. Justin said Jacob thinks that it was a privilege he got for turning eleven. I asked what he was going to use for twelve, Justin’s answer ‘mowing the lawn’.

 

“Dad, Uncle Ben wants to see you.” Jacob yells up to us.

 

“I’d like to see Uncle Ben too.” I whisper to Justin.

 

“Brian don’t be an ass to him. Let me talk to him first.” He tells me.

 

I follow Justin down the stairs and see Ben standing there, he definitely didn’t like seeing me here. He’d better get used to it or walk away.

 

“Justin can we talk outside?” Ben asks him.

 

“If you need to, but Brian is going to come with us.” Justin tells him.

 

“I’m surprised he’s still standing, unless Daphne doesn’t know.” He tells Justin.

 

“Daphne is here with Thomas, he finally managed to ask her on a date.” Justin tells him.

 

We walk out the back of the house and Ben sits at the table outside like he belongs here. I grabbed a chair and pulled Justin to sit with me, just loved the look he was giving me.

 

“Why are you back with him?” He asks Justin.

 

“We talked and found out that there were things that I didn’t know.” Justin tells him.

 

“Justin, you were doing fine without his shit in your life.” Ben tells him.

 

“He’s Jacob’s father. Jacob deserves the chance to have Brian in his life. I love him, Ben. I need you to support me in this decision because I won’t change it.” Justin tells him.

 

“Justin, all he ever did was hurt you, can’t you see he’s not someone you should want to be with.” He tells him.

 

“Ben, what I do with Brian is my business, not yours. Brian isn’t responsible for Michael, and you need to stop letting that color your decisions.” Justin tells him.

 

“He and Michael couldn’t stop playing games, they didn’t care who was hurt or left out by it, as long as they were happy.” Ben seems to be trying to convince Justin I’m an asshole.

 

“Since I’m sitting right here why not just tell me what your real problem is, because I don’t think Justin’s figured it out.” I tell Ben.

 

“I just don’t want him to have to watch you and Michael play games. He’s better than being a toy for you to screw over while you mess with his head.” Ben tells me.

 

“Ben, this isn’t your decision.” Justin tells him.

 

“I don’t want you and Jacob hurt by him.” Ben tells Justin.

 

“You don’t want Justin to have a life without you in it.” I tell Ben.

 

“Ben, Jacob and I aren’t going to forget you.” Justin still hasn’t figured this out.

 

“I wanted…” Ben seems to not know what to say, so I guess it’s my turn to tell Justin the truth.

 

“You wanted my son and Justin.” I tell them both.

 

“Brian, not everyone wants me.” Justin tells me.

 

“Maybe not everyone, but Ben does.” I tell him.

 

“Ben, we’re just friends, you know that.” Justin tells him.

 

“I hoped we could move on and work on a relationship.” Ben tells him.

 

“I love you like a friend, I just don’t feel more.” Justin tries to let him down nicely.

 

“I would have treated you like a prince.” Ben tells him.

 

“I want to be treated like man, not something breakable.” He tells Ben.

 

“No, you want to be treated like Brian’s boy toy.” He tells Justin.

 

“Ben, maybe you should leave. Brian and I are getting married and I won’t have you trying to tear us apart.” Justin tells him.

 

“I don’t know if I can be happy for you.” He tells Justin.

 

“Then I don’t know if we can still be friends.” Justin tell him.

 

Justin sags down on my lap as Ben leaves through the gate. It’s hard on him to lose friends, but I’m not going to sit back while people try to convince him to leave me.

 

“I didn’t know.” Justin tells me sadly.

 

“It’s why he didn’t tell you anything. He saw a chance to have the family he always wanted.” I tell him.

 

“I never gave him any reason to think I was open to the possibility. I was dating and he never seemed to care.” He tells me.

 

“He was waiting for you to be ready to settle down.” I tell him.

 

“I guess I shouldn’t introduce him to John?” He tells me.

 

“I doubt John would want someone who wanted Michael.” I tell him.

 

“I just thought it would be good for Ben to start seeing someone. He was always available to watch Jacob. He never seemed to even try to see people. Fuck me.” Justin puts his head on my shoulder looking up in the trees.

 

“I will when everyone goes to bed. Justin, you didn’t notice because you weren’t thinking of Ben like that. He’ll eventually get over it.” I tell him.

 

“If he can’t be civil to you then it won’t matter. I just hope he doesn’t ignore Jacob.” He tells me.

 

“We’ll make sure Jacob doesn’t notice, if he does.” I tell Justin.

 

I turn his head and press our lips together. Justin opens to invite me in. We sit outside with each other and ignore the world for a few minutes. I want days like this where no one matters but each other and the kids.

 

EMMETT

 

Justin and I were shopping while the guys took the kids out with the Grandmas. Brian told me to let Justin talk to me about Ben if he needed to. I was confused at what was going on with Ben.

 

“So, Ben wanted you?” I ask him.

 

“You don’t have to sound like it’s a huge leap to believe.” Justin tells me pulling out a sailor suit. 

 

“Baby, I’m just trying to figure out how you didn’t know.” I tell him.

 

“I think Brian’s right, I didn’t notice because I only saw a friend.” He tells me.

 

“Ben will get over it.” I try to sound reassuring.

 

“I’m not going to let it matter. Brian and my kids have to be first.” He tells me.

 

“I can go see Ben and talk to him. I know you don’t want him hurt.” I tell him.

 

“If you want to you can. Hopefully he only thinks he wants me.” Justin pulls out a baseball outfit.

 

“Baby, Drew plays football.” I tell Justin.

 

“Is there a difference?” Justin asks me.

 

“Yes there is, you are going to spend some time with Jacob and me so we can explain it to you.” I tell him.

 

Justin and I finish shopping and I decide to go see Ben, because I can tell Justin isn’t happy that Ben is pulling this shit. I go to his office at the school and wait for him to come in.

 

“Hi, can I help you… Emmett how are you?” Ben asks me.

 

“Pregnant and not too happy with you.” I tell him.

 

“Emmett, I really don’t want to talk about it.” He tells me.

 

“You don’t get a choice, you’ve got Justin upset because you can’t accept that he’s with Brian.” I tell him.

 

“He deserves someone who will love only him and Jacob.” He tells me.

 

“He isn’t going to make what Michael did go away.” I tell Ben.

 

“I don’t care about Michael anymore.” He tells me.

 

“Yet you want someone who was hurt by Brian and Michael.” I tell him.

 

“He would understand what it was like.” He tells me.

 

“Ben for a smart man, you can be an idiot.” I tell him.

 

“Because I think Justin deserves to be treated like a treasure?” He asks me.

 

“No, because beyond being hurt, you two don’t have a lot in common. What did you plan to do, go sit and talk every night about how Brian and Michael were bastards to not think of you two?” I ask him.

 

“Justin and I don’t even mention them.” Ben tells me.

 

“Why, so you could keep Brian away from his son?” I ask him.

 

“Jacob had me, why did he need Brian?” He asks me.

 

“Because Brian is his father, not you. Don’t you understand that Justin will never love anyone the way he loves Brian?” I ask him.

 

“Shit, why do they all love the bastard?” He asks me.

 

“I couldn’t really tell you. Justin does and that’s all that matters to me.” I tell him.

 

“Can you tell Justin that I need time, but I hope we can still be friends.” Ben tells me.

 

“Sure Sugar, but don’t forget Jacob in all of this.” I tell him.

 

“I’ll call Jacob.” He smiles at me.

 

“Hopefully I’ll see you around.” I tell him as I leave. I did what I could to make Baby happier. Now Daddy needs a donut.

 

 


Chapter 24 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

I couldn’t sleep, so I pulled out a sketchpad and went out back to draw for a while. I just needed to not have to think for a while. I hear footsteps and see Ben walking over to the table. I wondered if I would see him before I left. It's only been two days, but it seems longer.

 

“You're really going to marry Brian?” He asks me. 

 

“Ben, he's who I want.” I tell him. 

 

“How does he keep this hold on men?” He asks me. 

 

“Maybe it's that he seems so unattainable. Everyone wanted more but couldn't get him.” I tell him. 

 

“Except for you.” He tells me. 

 

“Twelve years ago, I was one of those guys. I wanted the god, not the man. I was chasing a myth along with everyone else. Being away for so long changed the man I saw.” I tell him. 

 

“Or maybe Brian finally changed.” He tells me. 

 

“He's no longer trying to prove everyone wants him. I think that just comes with growing up. I know that when I was with him, I liked that men were looking at me and him. I was also a teenager discovering my world at the time. In a way, Michael and Brian were still in their teen years when we all met. I honestly think if we’d stayed together, we would have had a lot of problems.” I tell him.

 

“Do you ever think ‘if only I had turned left instead of right’?” He asks me.

 

“I wouldn’t have Jacob if I thought that way. Jacob is one of the best things that Brian and I ever did together.” I tell him.

 

“You loved Brian all this time didn’t you?” He asks me.

 

“I never loved anyone else but him.” I tell him.

 

“Didn’t you ever want to see what loving someone else was like?” Ben asks me.

 

“Why bother when I’d already found my other half, but trust me, I tried, they just didn’t touch the part of me that Brian did.” I tell him.

 

“You think he loved you, don’t you?” Ben asks me.

 

“In Brian’s way he did. I know if I’d never been hurt things would have been different.” I tell him.

 

“How can you be so sure?” He asks me.

 

“It’s the look I saw that night, he came to my prom to make me happy. I saw things were changing when I looked in his eyes that night.” I tell him.

 

“Did you ever talk about it?” He asks me.

 

“When we could have, I didn’t remember.” I tell him.

 

“You could be remembering it the way you wanted it to be.” He tells me. 

 

“Ben, I saw it in his eyes. If we are going to sit here with you trying to convince me to leave Brian, this conversation is over.” I tell him. 

 

“I came to tell you, if you're happy, that’s all I want for you.” He tells me and gets up to leave.

 

I  couldn’t let him leave like that, he was hurting. I go to my friend and put my arms around him. Ben stands there then wraps his arms around me and holds me close.

 

“I think we all fall a little in love with you, but maybe it’s so we can heal.” Ben tells me.

 

“I hope you find someone who makes you happy.” I tell him.

 

“I did, but he wanted Brian Kinney, maybe it’s time for me to look for someone who never met Brian.” He tells me.

 

“Just stay in touch because we still want you around.” I tell him.

 

“I’m thinking of moving back, I got offered my old position in Pittsburgh.” Ben tells me.

 

“Jacob would love that. Just make sure you're doing it for you. Please come to the wedding, I want all my friends there.” I tell him.

 

“I won’t miss it.” He tells me and kisses my head. 

 

BRIAN

 

I woke up and noticed Justin wasn’t here. I wandered around the house until I heard the voices outside. I listened to Justin and Ben talking about the past and hear Justin telling Ben he knew I loved him by the look in my eyes the night of the prom. When did Justin remember that? 

 

It gives me a way to show Justin that everything was changing that night. I go back to the bedroom and grab my phone and start a play list. I wanted it to be just Justin and I so I waited for Ben to leave and go outside. 

 

“Ben wanted to clear the air.” Justin tells me.

 

“Good.” I tell him.

 

Justin looks up at me confused when I put my phone in the middle of the table. I find what I’m looking for on my phone and hit play. As “Save the Last Dance for Me” begins, I pull Justin from his chair. I see the same smile he gave me that night. I want him to see the same look I gave him while we danced the same steps. I watch as Justin seems lost in the memory of that night. We continue to dance until the song ends, when the next song started “I’m going back to the start”. We slow danced to the song that to me says everything that I could never say to him. When the song ends “Stay with me” starts. 

 

“Always.” Justin tells me.

 

JUSTIN

 

I didn’t want to wait to marry Brian. I think I was postponing because I was scared. Last night dancing under the stars made me realize twelve years didn’t mean a lot when you still love each other. 

 

“What are you thinking about?” Brian asks me.

 

“I think that being married is more important than where we do it.” I tell him with my head on his chest.

 

“What are you saying?” He asks me pulling my face to look at him. 

 

“I'm saying marry me now.” I tell him. 

 

“We have to get a license.” He tells me. 

 

“We can do that next week. I just need to say the words now.” I tell him. 

 

“Why the hurry? I was all for us doing it here, but you didn't seem to want to.” He tells me.

 

“I was scared that we were moving too fast.” I tell him. 

 

“What changed your mind?” He asks me. 

 

“A ridiculously romantic man.” I tell him. 

 

“Then Justin, I take you to be my everything. I promise to you that nothing will ever be more important to me than you and the kids. That I'll love you for the rest of my life and beyond that.” He tells me. 

 

“Brian, I take you to be my everything. I promise to you that I'll listen to the things you don't say and say the things we should. I promise that nothing will come before you and the kids. I'll love you till the end of time.” I tell him. 

 

Brian leans over me to seal our vows with a kiss. I run my hands through his hair and savor my first kiss with my husband. 

 

We hear a commotion at the door, and Gus, Jacob, and Jenny run in. Brian smirks at me, but in a way this is the life we chose.

 

“Daddy, are you going to come down for breakfast? The Grandmas are starving us.” Jacob complains.

 

“They told us we had to come get you if we wanted any.” Gus tells us.

 

“Grandma Jen cooked the waffles like you do.” Jenny tells me. 

 

“So get your lazy A S S E S out of bed.” Jacob tells us.

 

“Deb, if my grandchildren keep repeating you, I'm going to wash your mouth out with soap.” My mother tells Deb from outside the bedroom. 

 

“He didn’t say it, he spelled it.” Deb tells her.

 

“He shouldn’t be spelling it either.” She tells her.

 

“Jacob, Gus, no more cussing, it gets Grandma Deb in trouble.” Jenny tells them.

 

“I’m almost twelve, not a baby.” Jacob tells them.

 

“Until you reach the ripe old age of eighteen, no cussing.” Justin tells him.

 

“Dad that’s a long time, what if I hit my hand with a hammer. I mean you said all sorts of words when you did.” Jacob tells me.

 

“I’ll give you a free pass if you ever hit your hand with a hammer.” I tell him.

 

“That does not mean hit yourselves with hammers, boys.” Mom tells them.

 

Gus and Jacob both look disappointed that she add that. Brian and I wait to see if they have a counter offer. 

 

“What if we accidently hit ourselves?” Gus asks her.

 

“Then I want you to tell me how you accidently hit yourselves, before you start cursing.” Mom tells them.

 

“But it would be an accident and they just kind of happen.” Gus tells her.

 

“Brian you deal with this, Deb and I are going to finish breakfast.” Mom tells him.

 

“Just don’t get caught.” Brian tells them.

 

“But it’s like she hears through walls.” Jacob tells him.

 

“She does, it’s how she knew when I did something. It comes with being a parent. You don’t know we know, but we do.” I tell them.

 

“I didn’t mean to cut my Barbie’s hair off this morning.” Jenny tells me.

 

“Why were you cutting your dolls hair?” I ask her.

 

“Gus and I kind of painted it blue.” Jacob tells us.

 

“I thought when it grew back it would be blond again.” Jenny tells us.

 

“You know that it won’t grow back right?” Gus asks her.

 

“I don’t want a bald Barbie.” Jenny tells me.

 

“Get her a wig like Grandma Deb.” Jacob tells her.

 

“How about we just get a new Barbie.” Brian asks her.

 

“What do I do with the old one?” She asks Brian.

 

“Get her a girlfriend.” Gus tells her.

 

“But then I would have to make her look like the old one.” Jenny tells us.

 

“Why?” I ask because I’m truly lost.

 

“Because my old Barbie is a troll now. She can’t date pretty Barbie.” She tells us.

 

“This is your fault.” I tell Brian.

 

“She’s right, I mean I picked you because I needed someone as pretty as me.” Brian tells me.

 

“Dad, aren’t boys supposed to be handsome?” Jacob asks me.

 

“You’re right, your dad is rather handsome.” Brian tells me.

 

“I think he’s pretty.” Jenny tells Brian.

 

“Well if you think so it must be the truth.” Brian tells her.

 

“Um, can we go eat?” Gus asks us.

 

“I swear he’s your kid, not mine.” Brian tells me.

 

I roll my eyes and take my children down to breakfast. Deb cooked like we were having a hundred people over. The boys and I were thrilled. 

 

“Good morning, Mr. Taylor-Kinney.” Brian whispers in my ear.

 

“Good morning, Mr. Taylor-Kinney.” I whisper back. 

 

Brian pulls me towards him and delivers our first kiss as husbands at breakfast. It would have been perfect if Gus and Jacob hadn’t started gagging.

 


Chapter 25 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

John was at the house when Ben came to say goodbye to Jacob. I waited to see if John was interested, but he barely looked at Ben.

 

“You have to admit he's gorgeous.” I whisper to him. 

 

“It's just hard to get past his taste in men.” John whispers back.

 

“I suck at matchmaking.” I tell him. 

 

“It would have helped if you picked a guy that wasn't interested in you.” Brian tells me. 

 

“He really wasn't.” I tell John.

 

“Justin tends to ignore the obvious.” Brian tells John.

 

“I would never have gotten past the whole Michael thing.” John tells us. 

 

“Everyone has someone that makes you wonder what you were thinking when you dated.” Emmett tells him. 

 

“You weren't when you dated Ted.” Brian tells Emmett. 

 

“I still can't see that.” I tell Emmett. 

 

“It was painful, be glad you didn't.” Brian tells me. 

 

“There's this tiny part of me that would love to take Ben for a test drive.” John admits.

 

“He's coming to the wedding.” I tell him. 

 

“Probably hoping you'll need help getting away.” Brian muttered. 

 

“As you once told me, there's no turning back.” I tell him. 

 

“Do you ever feel like they speak in code?” Emmett asks John.

 

“Dad, Uncle Ben said he's moving to Pittsburgh.” Jacob tells me. 

 

“So you decided?” I ask Ben.

 

“The job offer has been there for a while. I never took them up on it, because you and Jacob were here.” He tells me. 

 

“You’re welcome to stay with Drew and me until you get settled.” Emmett tells him. 

 

“Ben, you could stay with Carl and me if you want.” Deb tells him. 

 

“The school has temporary housing. It will give me time to find a place.” He tells her. 

 

“I just want you to know you’re always welcome in my house.” Deb tells him. 

 

“Do not invite him to stay at our house.” Brian whispers to me. 

 

“When are you coming to see me?” Jacob asks Ben.

 

“I have to finish with my classes, so I should be there next week.” Ben tells Jacob. 

 

“Isn’t it cool Daddy, Uncle Ben is moving too?” Jacob asks Brian. 

 

“Is it?” Brian asks me. I kiss his scowl.

 

“Ben, I forgot to introduce you to John.” I tell him, elbowing Brian when he snorts.

 

“It was really very tiny.” John whispers. 

 

LINDSAY 

 

I was standing in Sydney’s gallery, hoping to get a job. My parents were playing hardball about the place they would help me with. 

 

“Lindsay, how have you been?” Sydney asks me.

 

“Great, I'm moving back to the area and wanted to give you the first chance to hire me.” I tell him. 

 

“Oh, well…” He looks around at everything but me.

 

“I could start whenever you wanted.” I tell him. 

 

“Maybe we could talk about this in my office?” He asks me. 

 

“If you want to, but I have another interview and just wanted to give you the chance first.” I tell him. 

 

Sydney leads me to his office and shuts the door. 

 

“Lindsay you should see what this other job is offering you first.” He tells me. 

 

“I loved working for you and even if I have to start at a lower rate, to me it would be worth it to work with you again.” I tell him. 

 

“I'm not really looking for help, but leave your information and if someone in town is, I'll let them know you were looking.” He tells me. 

 

“I'm sure you could find a position for me. Remember when I convinced the guy to buy? You told me it was the first time he ever bought anything. I'm sure you would love having me here.” I tell him. 

 

“Lindsay, I just don’t feel it would be good for my business to have you here.” He tells me. 

 

“I helped you bring in customers and you don't feel it would be good?” I ask him. 

 

“I just don’t want another incident like what happened before you left.” He tells me. 

 

“He came on to me.” I tell him. 

 

“It shouldn't have mattered, you were expected to behave professionally.” He tells me. 

 

“I can promise you it won't happen again.” I tell him. 

 

“I hope for your sake it doesn't, but I'm just not comfortable offering you a job. Hopefully your interview will go well.” He tells me. 

 

“I'm sorry you feel that way, and hopefully you'll rethink hiring me. I just think that my record for sales should be considered, not the other thing.” I tell him. 

 

I get up and leave his office and head to the interview that I was hoping to avoid. It was years ago and I don’t know why Sydney seems to think that anyone cares about that anymore. I get to the Big Q and just want to turn around. I waited at the registers as the manager is talking to a customer. I look to see that it was already past the time when my interview should have started. She finally turns to me and tells me to follow her to her office. 

 

“Hi, I’m Tracey. So you’re interested in joining the team?” She asks me.

 

“I was looking into my options. I was hoping to look into a management position.” I tell her.

 

“I was looking at your resume and didn’t see any retail experience. Is there a reason you feel you qualify for management?” She asks me.

 

“I was once a gallery manager and I taught school. In Canada, I worked in an art supply store, so I do have experience.” I tell her.

 

“We look for people who have worked in a chain retail environment before when we consider them for management. I do have a position on the front end, as a cashier. Right now it would be seasonal and full time. If you do well then it could lead to management.” She tells me.

 

“You don’t think that I might be overqualified to be a cashier?” I ask her.

 

“I think with no actual retail experience you would need to start in a position that is easy to learn. I started that way and now I run the store.” She smiles like she’s offering me a career.

 

“I think you're underestimating my capabilities, but I could start there and when you see my work we can talk about it again.” I tell her.

 

She hands me the paperwork and tells me that I will get a uniform when my drug test and background information comes back. I honestly can’t believe they expect me to start out as a cashier. I was hoping to interview with the new gallery but the girl there said that the new owner was out of town and she’d let him know when he came back. I told her to make sure he got my information. If he offers me a job then I can tell Tracey to keep the shitty job.

 

JOHN

 

We were all back in town and Michael was apparently waiting at his mother’s house for us to deliver Jenny. Brian asked if I would take her over there for Justin who was waiting for his paintings to arrive at my gallery. I pulled up and Michael was there waiting for us. When he saw me, he looked disappointed, guess he was hoping for Brian.

 

“Jenny, why don’t you go in and I’ll get your things.” He tells her.

 

He waits for Jenny to go in and turns to look at me.

 

“Why didn’t Justin or Brian drop her off?” He asks me.

 

“They were both busy and I’m on vacation, so I’m who you get.” I tell him.

 

“They shouldn’t let strangers take my daughter anywhere.” He tells me.

 

“I’m a friend, and you know me, so, not really a stranger.” I tell him.

 

“If they want a fuckbuddy around their boys, that’s their decision, but I don’t want you around my daughter.” He tells me.

 

“You know if this is you mad because Brian didn’t show up, get the fuck over it. I’m no one's fuckbuddy.” I tell him.

 

“Justin must have really wanted to please Brian, to let you stay with them. Is he already worried he isn’t enough?” Michael smirks.

 

“I’m curious, is it that Brian never fucked you that was the problem, or that Brian took one look at Justin and you became a distant memory. I’ve tried to figure it out, and I think it’s a combination of the two.” I tell him.

 

“Just tell them that I expect them to drop my daughter off, not you.” He tells me and walks in the house.

 

I went to the gallery and Linda, the manager, told me that someone inquired about a job. I looked at the message and told her to throw it away. No way am I going to have Lindsay working for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 26 by starlight

BRIAN

 

I was going to leave the whole Ben thing alone. Then when Ben came to town, he was calling Justin and Jacob and trying to make plans for them, without me. Ben didn’t seem to mind John tagging along but wasn't happy when I came too. I decided it was time for Ben and I to talk boundaries. I called and asked him to meet me at Woody’s. Justin told me that if I felt I needed to have this talk then talk away. I was sitting at the bar when Ben sat down and ordered us both a shot of Beam.

 

“To the winner.” Ben tells me.

 

“It was never a contest, he was always mine.” I tell him.

 

“I keep asking this, but why do they seem to always run to you?” Ben asks me.

 

“With Justin, it was just luck. I could have missed him completely the first night. I might have acted like I didn’t give a shit one way or the other if Justin stayed or went, but I wanted him to make his own decisions, so he didn’t regret staying with me.” I tell him.

 

“Why couldn’t I get lucky just once. I get HIV from my partner and then think I found the one in Michael but he was too busy being your number one fan.” He tells me.

 

“I couldn’t tell you professor. I spent my life being my father’s punching bag and my mother’s way of keeping the fucker. I just don’t dwell on it, having Justin helps.” I tell him.

 

“He’s like a breath of fresh air, there are no games. I wanted easy for once.” He tells me.

 

“Then you don’t really know Justin.” I tell him.

 

“He doesn’t play games.” He tells me.

 

“I’m talking about the easy part. He can be a giant asshole if you piss him off. Don’t even get me started on how he doesn’t always tell you what he’s doing.” I tell him.

 

“Brian, it won’t work. You won’t convince me that Justin is anything other than who he is.” He tells me.

 

“I was hoping to make this easier on you. Justin isn’t going to love you no matter what you do.” I tell him.

 

“I know he isn’t, and I can honestly say I was confusing his friendship for more. I just want someone who will put me first, the way he does you.” He tells me.

 

“Don’t know what to tell you there, like I said, I was one who got lucky that I saw him the first night.” I tell him.

 

“Now you get the kid and Justin.” He tells me.

 

“No thanks to you.” I tell him.

 

“Brian, he didn’t want to hear anything if it involved you and Michael. When I first saw him, he was smiling and happy. The minute I said anything about Michael, it’s like he was deflating in front of me. So I decided he was right and we didn’t need to talk about you.” He tells me.

 

“He had my child, you should have at least called me.” I tell him.

 

“I wasn’t going to do you any favors. I also talked to Daphne and was told that you didn’t need to be anywhere near Justin or Jacob.” He tells me.

 

“Daphne and I are fine now. She was protecting her friend. Am I pissed that she helped keep Jacob from me? Yes. But she was protecting them from someone who hurt Justin. You weren’t doing it for any reason but spite.” I tell him.

 

“I was, sorry but you didn’t deserve any help from me.” He tells me.

 

“I just need to know if you and I can get along for my son’s sake. Before you say anything, understand that Justin will never return your feelings.” I tell him.

 

“I can live with that as long as you don’t hurt him.” He tells me.

 

“I don’t plan on hurting him.” I tell him.

 

“Then explain John.” He tells me.

 

“That would be the twat’s idea. He thought you two could hook up. John can’t get past you dating Michael.” I tell him.

 

“Justin doesn’t seem to understand that I kind of go for twinks, not someone like you?” He asks me.

 

“The guys and I decided that Justin is the worst matchmaker in history.” I tell him.

 

“Yeah, don’t get me wrong, John’s nice to look at, but I like someone I can handle.” He tells me.

 

“Then look across the bar, the guy staring at you wouldn’t mind.” I tell him.

 

Ben looks over at the guy smiling at him. “Maybe he could leave the matchmaking up to you.” Ben tells me and smiles back. My work here is done.

 

JUSTIN

 

I was looking at the loft to see if this would work for a studio. John’s gallery would work to store things but I like privacy when I work. Brian told me he wanted to talk to Ben alone. I let him, because he and Ben need to find a way to get along. Mom wanted to take the boys and Jenny to the movies and have a slumber party with them, so I came to town to wait for Brian to get back. John was hanging out with Ted and Blake tonight, so Brian and I could have some time alone. When the buzzer rang, I was kind of surprised to hear it.

 

“Hello?” I ask

 

“Justin, could you let me up?” Michael asks me. 

 

“Why?” I ask him.

 

“I just wanted to talk to you alone.” He tells me.

 

I buzzed because Michael has been sticking to seeing Jenny and not bothering Brian. I guess quiet time is over. He came in with a bag of food and started putting it on the table.

 

“Are you planning a long talk?” I ask him.

 

“I haven’t eaten yet and I thought we could eat while I talk to you.” He tells me.

 

I sat down but waited for him to eat first because this was strange for Michael. When he dug in I grabbed a slice of the pizza and waited for Michael to tell me what he wanted.

 

“Do you think I’m a good dad?” He asks me. 

 

“You're doing something right, Jenny seems to think so.” I tell him.

 

“I just want her to love me.” He tells me.

 

“She does Michael, but be careful not to smother her.” I tell him. It was one of Deb’s biggest mistakes.

 

“I just want to be the dad I never had to her.” He tells me. Are we really having a conversation where he isn’t bitching at me?

 

“I’m going to ask you this and don’t take it as me bitching at you.” I tell him.

 

“Go ahead, you’d be the first person who didn’t bitch at me lately.” He tells me.

 

“Why didn’t you sell some of your collectables so you could afford a place for you and Jenny?” I ask him.

 

“They really aren’t collectables anymore. I bought replicas to replace the collectable ones, every time I needed money to visit Jenny.” He tells me.

 

“Then why not tell everyone? At least they wouldn’t think you thought your collectables were worth more to you than Jenny.” I ask him.

 

“I didn’t want anyone to know, the shop was barely making it.” He tells me.

 

“Michael, if the business isn’t working why are you still doing it?” I ask him.

 

“Everyone else was successful and I wanted to look as if I was doing well.” He tells me.

 

“How bad is it Michael?” I ask him.

 

“I’ll most likely have to close this year, no one is buying them from me when they’re cheaper at Big Q.” He tells me.

 

“Is there a reason you and I are talking like adults?” I ask him.

 

“Because of Jenny, she told me that she wanted us to get along.” He tells me.

 

“So you're doing this for Jenny?” I ask him.

 

“You and I are never going to agree that you’re the best for Brian. I know if given a chance we could have… No, I promised myself that this would be us getting along for my daughter.” He tells himself.

 

“Michael you need to understand that Brian and I are going to get married next weekend. To us it’s just a formality, we already feel married. I think you need to hear this and maybe you’ll finally see that he isn’t going to love you the way you want. Brian loves waking up in the morning just to watch our sleepy boys wake up for breakfast and a bright eyed Jenny raving about the waffles not being frozen. He likes that we live far enough away that he can walk the yard and hear the boys playing. He’s happy to just be. I give that to him.” I tell him.

 

“He never wanted that life.” He tells me.

 

“He did, he just didn’t know it was possible. He’s not going to be the guy who is the life of the party, tricking and drinking till dawn. He doesn’t have time to rescue you and Lindsay from the crap you get yourselves into. He has Gus, Jacob, and Jenny to think of first. Michael, your hero retired, it’s time to find someone to share your life with.” I tell him gently.

 

“I wanted him.” He tells me.

 

“It’s not possible. Look around your world and give yourself a chance with someone you can have.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t know how not to want him.” He tells me.

 

“I couldn’t tell you the answer to that either, I never stopped wanting him.” I tell him.

 

“Why couldn't  you be interested in someone else?” He pouts.

 

“I could ask you the same thing.” I tell him.

 

Michael starts eating and offers me a biscuit, wasn’t sure what caused the peace offering but hopefully he and I can get along to take care of Jenny.

 

Michael was leaving when Brian came in, I waited for Michael to do something. Michael simply nodded and left the loft.

 

“What the hell was he doing here?” Brian asks me. 

 

“He wanted to talk about Jenny.” I tell him. 

 

“Really, not about you disappearing from my life?” He asks me. 

 

“He stopped himself in the middle of explaining how he was better for you. I think Jenny told him she wants he and I to get along.” I tell him. 

 

“I guess we'll see if he listened to her.” He tells me. 

 

“How did it go with Ben?” I ask him. 

 

“He and I agree you shouldn't put matchmaking on your resume.” He smirks.

 

“It was just an idea.” I protest.

 

“He said John was too much like me. He likes twinks.” Brian tells me. 

 

“See, twink power is everywhere.” I tell him. 

 

Brian comes to me and maneuvers us towards the bedroom. I smile as I pull his shirt over his head. He undoes my belt and starts removing my pants and underwear. I stand as he pulls them down my legs. Looking down, he smiles as he kisses my cock. I run my hands through his hair. He pushes me on the bed and continues to blow my mind with his tongue. I lay there and realize he wanted me to cum first tonight. I start moving with his rhythm and moan as the man who knows just what to do to make my body play like a symphony continues to pleasure me. Just as I felt the beginnings of my body ready to give him what he was working for, Brian pulls off and grabs a condom. I grabbed his hand.

 

“When we decide we want this, we need to do it right.” He tells me. 

 

I let go of his hand and let him put the condom on, he's right, this is something we can't do spur of the moment. Brian pushes through my threshold and I loved the burn. We slowly moved together, watching each other. I felt more loved by him with each thrust. Brian leaned down and fused our lips together as we both felt the contraction of my climax coming. When I came he started moving faster to reach his peak. I felt him growing inside me and with a final thrust he found his completion.

 

“I want us to try for one more.” I tell him. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 27 by starlight

BRIAN 

 

“We might have to wait a second.” I tell him. 

 

“More like a few months.” He tells me. 

 

“My stamina isn’t that bad.” I joke with him, because I want him to tell me that he wants this. 

 

“I was talking about a baby.” He tells me. 

 

“Are you sure?” I ask him. 

 

“I want us to do this together.” He tells me. 

 

“Then we need to find out if I can still father a child. If not, there's always my sample in storage.” I tell him. 

 

“Why did you store it?” He asks me. 

 

“I wanted the possibility to exist. I didn’t want to not have the option one day.” I tell him. 

 

“Then let's find out if you need it, we can get tested and make sure there's nothing else to worry about.” He tells me.

 

“You've been tested and it's been a year, right?” I ask him. 

 

“Yeah, they came back clean.” He tells me. 

 

“Then we just wait for my results.” I tell him. 

 

“Six months isn't really long.” He tells me. 

 

“Four.” I tell him. 

 

“You haven't been with anyone in two months?” He asks me. 

 

“I've haven't had sex in four, just a couple blow jobs.” I tell him. 

 

“It will give us time to get everything settled.” He tells me. 

 

“Justin, for me the minute you moved in it was settled.” I tell him.

 

“I just want the kids to be comfortable with a new baby.” He tells me.

 

“They’ll love a baby, as much as we will. Justin we don’t have to wait, even if I can father more children, the sample is there.” I tell him.

 

“I want all the bells and whistles. I want to know that we are making a child. If we need to use it, then we do.” He tells me.

 

“Make sure it’s a girl this time.” I tell him.

 

“I’ll get right on it, but you know you determine that.” I tell him.

 

“Maybe I should carry the baby so I can blame you if we get another boy.” I tell him.

 

“You’d really carry my baby?” He asks me.

 

“If you wanted me to, I would.” I tell him.

 

“But do you want to? It was amazing to feel Jacob grow inside me.” He tells me.

 

“I don’t really know if I want to, I just wanted the offer on the table.” I tell him.

 

“You're not offering because you think you might not be able to father one?” He asks me.

 

“I have a way to father a child, I just don’t want you to feel like you have to be the one to carry the baby.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t have a business to run, so it makes sense that I do it.” He tells me.

 

“Let’s just find out and decide when we actually do it.” I tell him.

 

“I love you, for offering to lose your perfect waist for our baby.” Justin tells me.

 

“Wait, you mean I have to gain weight? I want to be the guy who never looks pregnant but pops out a kid ten minutes later.” I jokingly tell him.

 

“Those people don’t exist. Man, I turned into a butterball.” He tells me.

 

“Tell me about it.” I tell him, wanting to know how it was for him to be pregnant.

 

“I couldn’t figure out why I was eating everything that smelled good. I went for a physical for school and got to find out you left me with a parting gift.” He tells me.

 

“Did you have any problems?” I ask him.

 

“Not really, I mean there was the diabetes, but I controlled my diet and didn’t have complications from it. It went away the day I had Jacob. I was paranoid about the medication that the doctors prescribed me for my allergies. I stopped talking some of them because the doctor couldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t have side effects. I found out that I was taking things I didn’t need, so that was a good thing.” He tells me.

 

“I just wished I could’ve seen him being born.” I tell him.

 

“I need to call Daphne.” He tells me.

 

“Can we at least wait until you're pregnant.” I tell him.

 

“Just let me call Daphne, you’ll understand when she gets here.” He tells me.

 

JUSTIN

 

I realize I can give him this, it won’t change the fact that he wasn’t there but it’s more than he had. I call Daphne and ask her to bring the videos over. Brian deserves to see Jacob’s firsts. Daphne tells me she’ll be over with the CD’s.

 

“Daphne recorded the birth, if you want to see it. She also has every important event in Jacob’s life recorded.” I tell him.

 

Daphne shows up with the box and tells me that Brian and I need to watch it together. I put the CD of Jacob’s first ultrasound in. 

 

“He was sucking his thumb.” I tell Brian.

 

Brian walks to the big screen and touches Jacob’s face and traces his hand. When the heart beating starts, Brian stood at the side of the TV and put his ear to the speaker. 

 

“He was beautiful.” Brian stares at the image as it fades out. The next thing was me sitting in the bed at the hospital with monitors on me. Brian puts his hands over my stomach on the screen at the same time I was doing it on the video. The video shows me holding my mom’s hand as I was waiting for them to take Jacob. I forgot that I was talking about Brian to her.

 

“Mom, if anything happens to me, make sure Jacob goes to Brian.” I tell her.

 

“Justin, you're going to be fine.” She tells me.

 

“I just mean if anything happens I want Jacob to be with Brian.” I tell her.

 

“Well Justin, this little boy wants to meet you.” The doctor tells me and brings a crying Jacob to me.

 

“Oh god, he’s beautiful.” Mom tells me tears in her eyes.

 

“How could he not have been. He’s got the best parts of us.” I tell Jacob in the video.

 

Brian was glued to the screen watching as Jacob’s hand comes out of the blanket and Brian puts his hand over it. 

 

 

“Justin what are you going to name him?” Daphne asks from behind the camera.

 

“Jacob Kinney Taylor. It’s so you always know you're loved.” I tell Jacob.

 

When the screen fades, Brian pulls the CD out and heads to his computer. I watch as he puts it in to make a copy. Brian is watching it on the screen again. I pull one that I think he needs to see. I put it in the player and watch my son take his first steps. Brian comes up behind me and watches Jacob fall and pick himself up again. Jacob kept pulling himself until he made it across the room to me.

 

“I always thought he got that determination to do things from you.” I tell him.

 

“Well he was trying to get to you.” He whispers to me.

 

We watch the video as Jacob smiles with his cake at his feet.

 

“Happy Birthday, Baby.” I tell him in the video.

 

“DaDaDaDa” Jacob repeats as he smashes the cake with his hands.

 

We watch as Jacob picks up his hand and looks at me worried. I grabbed Jacob’s hand and put it in my mouth. Jacob looks at me then puts his other hand in his mouth and smiles my smile. Then face plants into his cake to all of us laughing. I feel Brian’s chest moving and hear him laughing at our son.

 

I let it play and turn to hug Brian, who is watching the screen. “I’m so sorry you missed this.” I whisper into his chest.

 

“I won’t miss it again.” He whispers as he kisses my head, watching Jacob the whole time.

 

“There are recordings of everything in that box, I can’t give you the years back, but I can give you a chance to see all the important parts.” I tell him.

 

“Justin, we made mistakes. WE, not just you. I have you and Jacob now, so let's make more important parts.” He tells me.

 

“We have you, so we have the important part.” I tell him.

 

Brian pulls the next CD out and puts it in. We spent the night watching Jacob grow up.

 

JOHN

 

I was sitting at the bar at Babylon when I see Ben walk in with some guy. I kept out of Brian and Justin’s interactions with Ben, because it wasn’t my business. I’m just glad he is with someone else.

 

“I couldn’t keep any of them.” Michael said from behind me.

 

“It’s your own fault.” I tell him.

 

“How did you not fall in love with Brian?” He seems genuinely curious.

 

“We were just having a good time, nothing more. If I had to choose, it would be my friend over the other things.” I tell him.

 

“I wish I could say the same.” He tells me.

 

“You could be the one Ben was with, instead of alone.” I tell him.

 

“I never loved him the way he deserved to be loved.” Michael watches Ben and the guy dance.

 

“It’s why you're here alone.” I tell him.

 

“So are you, but Brian didn’t seem to want anyone around but Justin.” He tells me.

 

“I’m alone because I want more than a one night stand. I want what they seem to have.” I tell him.

 

“Justin disappears for twelve years and for Brian, it’s like he was gone for a few minutes.” Michael tells me.

 

“Michael, Brian might not have been proclaiming his love for Justin from the roof tops, but hell, even I’ve heard Brian talk about Justin. Brian respected Justin for being proud of who he was.” I tell him.

 

“I was too busy hiding my life.” He tells me.

 

“I doubt it would have mattered, Justin was the one for him.” I tell him.

 

“Why are you being nice to me?” He asks me.

 

“I’m going to put it down to temporary insanity, because I think I’m breaking out in hives from all the talking about our feelings we’ve been doing.” I tell him.

 

“I’ll go, I guess I just wanted to be around people today.” He tells me.

 

“Why not stay, we can make fun of Ben’s date.” I tell him, plus I was bored.

 

“I can’t say a lot, the kid can at least dance without Ben showing him how to do it.” I tell him.

 

“What kind of gay man are you, you trash the new boy, not compliment him.” I tell him.

 

“I’m usually the one getting trashed on.” He tells me.

 

“Why not just get trashed, at least you can wake up feeling like utter shit for a reason.” I tell him and order shots for us.

 

“Where are Blake and Ted?” Michael asks as he downs the shot.

 

“They were decided to be old men and go home.” I tell him.

 

“So I was the last resort?” Michael asks as he takes the next shot.

 

“No, you just came up as I was feeling charitable.” I tell him and toast his shot.

 

“Not planning on looking for a hookup?” He asks me.

 

“I was actually kind of hungry.” I tell him.

 

“We could go to the diner, or raid my Ma’s kitchen.” He tells me.

 

“Did she cook lasagna? Cause man, Justin had some and it was good.” I tell him.

 

“She keeps it frozen.” He tells me.

 

Michael and I decide to stumble our way to Debs. Michael seems okay when I’m wasted, maybe that’s how Brian dealt with him. We tried to silently make our way into the kitchen, but the twat keep giggling.

 

“SHUUUUUSH, YOUR MOM COULD HEAR US.” I whisper to him.

 

“You're the one shouting, but here, hold this while I turn on the oven.” He dumps a huge pan in my arms.

 

“Are we going to eat all of this?” I smile at the thought.

 

“If Justin were here we would probably need twice as much.” He tells me without making Justin’s name sound like a curse.

 

“I can’t figure out where it goes on him.” I tell Michael.

 

“He’s one of the lucky ones.” He pats my chest and takes the pan.

 

We sit and watch the lasagna, Michael pours us some wine. He gulps it down and I figure why the hell not. When the lasagna was ready we grabbed forks to eat and I had to take Michael’s and show him how to hold it. 

 

“Want to watch the new Batman?” Michael picks up the food and stumbles to the living room.

 

“I really like the old one.” I tell him.

 

“Like the classic, or the updated ones?” He asks me.

 

“Updated, not a huge fan, but I’ll watch if they come on.” I tell him.

 

We sat around watching and eating, Deb came in and shook her head and cleaned up our mess.

 

“You might as well sleep here, you're in no shape to drive anywhere.” She tells us.

 

“Thanks Ma.” Michael tells her falling asleep.

 

“How did you end up with Michael tonight?” She asks me.

 

“I really couldn’t tell you, normally I would run away from him, but he was pleasant tonight. I hung out with him.” I tell her bewildered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 28 by starlight

BRIAN

 

Justin went to get the boys and Jenny from his mother, I told him I would pick up some lunch and meet him back at the house. I was walking in and John comes flying past me and runs to his room. What the hell was that about? I decide he can tell me when he wants to. Justin and the kids come in about an hour later and John finally shows up and keeps silencing his phone. 

 

“Are we going to stay home?” Gus asks me.

 

“I thought we could play in the pool today.” I tell him.

 

“Dad, can we work on my sketches?” Gus asks Justin.

 

“If you want to, just bring your stuff outside. I can paint out here today.” He tells Gus.

 

“I want to draw too.” Jenny tells them.

 

“Let’s get a sketch pad and you and Gus can show me your stuff.” Justin takes them with him to get stuff from the study.

 

“What do you want to do Jacob?” I ask him.

 

“Do you think Uncle Drew would come over and play catch with me?” He asks me.

 

“Go ask your dad to call them, and Ted. We could have a barbeque.” I tell him.

 

Jacob runs off to ask Justin to call them all. I look to see John rolling his eyes at his phone.

 

“Walk of Shame?” I ask him.

 

“No. Night of a thousand stupid ideas.” He tells me.

 

“Brian do you want to invite everyone over tonight? It would be a way to get Deb off our backs about not having a family dinner.” Justin tells me as he comes back to the kitchen.

 

“Might as well, Carl might have to cook, because none of us have used the grill.” I tell him.

 

“It’s not that hard.” Justin tells me.

 

“You ever managed to not burn everything?” I ask him.

 

“Good point, but you know that we are going to have to include Michael, for Jenny.” He tells me.

 

“Is there any way you could tell Michael you lost his phone number?” John pleads with Justin.

 

“Why would you care?” I ask him. 

 

“Wait, what were you doing last night?” Justin asks him.

 

“Nothing.” John tells us as his phone goes off again. 

 

“Who’s calling?” I ask him.

 

“I’m nice one fucking time and this is my punishment.” John whines.

 

“Is this making any sense to you?” Justin asks me.

 

“Nope, but I think it has something to do with Mikey.” Justin and I look at John who hangs his head.

 

“Oh God, you didn’t?” Justin asks John.

 

“He was acting all needy and friendly, I was bored.” He tells us.

 

“I’ve never been bored enough for Mikey.” I tell him.

 

“Wait, I didn’t do anything like that, I just hung out with him. We ended up sleeping on Deb’s couch while watching Batman.” He tells us.

 

“Then what’s the problem?” Justin asks him.

 

“The problem is, when we got up he started planning on us doing something together, like we were friends.” He tells us.

 

“Just tell him you're busy.” Justin tells him. 

 

“I was hoping that ignoring him would do the trick.” He tells us. As another text message came in.

 

“I have to invite him, Jenny would expect it.” Justin tells him.

 

“Maybe by then he’ll think of a way to get you to go to Comic Con with him?” I smirk at John.

 

“Fuck you Kinney.” John tells me.

 

“Just saying, he is probably already planning the ‘John and Mikey Show’.” I joke as John’s phone goes off again.

 

Justin tells me that I need to go get stuff we need while he begs Carl to grill for us. Jacob and John decide to go with me. I call Deb and Emmett and ask what to get, because I honestly have never done this before. Emmett tells me to wait for him to get here and we can go together. Jacob tells me that if Drew was coming he wouldn’t mind staying home. When Emmett arrives with Drew and a football, we take off and leave Justin and the gang to get stuff. 

 

“What’s wrong with you?” Emmett asks John.

 

“He hung out with Mikey last night.” I tell Emmett.

 

“You and Michael hung out?” Emmett asks John as if he needed to hear it from John to believe it.

 

“I was at Babylon watching Ben and some guy dancing, and Michael comes up behind me acting really pathetic, I felt bad for him.” He tells us. 

 

“That's how it starts.” I tell him. 

 

“What?” John asks me. 

 

“Michael latching on.” Emmett tells him. 

 

“We don't even like each other.” He tells us as his phone goes off again.

 

“How did he get your number?” I ask him. 

 

“I didn’t give it to him. I only figured out it was him because I answered the first time.” He tells us. 

 

“What did he want?” Emmett asks him. 

 

“He was just asking if I wanted to go out tonight. I told him I was busy.” He tells us. 

 

“What exactly did you do with Michael?” Emmett asks him. 

 

“He came up and said he couldn't hold on to anyone. I told him it was his fault. Then he just seemed resigned to the fact that he was a loser. I was bored so I told him we could trash on the guy who Ben was with. I have to say, the guy has zero self confidence, because he was saying at least the guy could dance, unlike him. I ordered shots and got him trashed with me. We went to Deb's for food and watched a movie. Deb told us to stay because we were too drunk to drive. I woke up to Michael drooling on my chest. I left him on the couch and ran to Brian’s house. Now he's calling every ten minutes.” He tells us.

 

“Brian, I guess Michael found a new best friend to stalk.” Emmett tells me. 

 

“I guess John did what no one else has.” I smirk.

 

“What?” John asks us. 

 

“Got Michael to stop pining over Brian.” Emmett laughs.

 

JUSTIN 

 

Mom told me that Molly was coming tonight. I was excited because we haven't seen each other for a couple of months. She's been at college working on a degree for marketing. I hadn't told Brian that my sister was looking into advertising because she wanted to get a job on her own. I figured Brian would most likely offer her an internship if he was told, but like me, Molly wants to get things on her own.

 

“Aunt Molly, you're here.” Jacob runs to her.

 

“Like I’d miss a chance to see you.” She tells him. 

 

“How about me?” Brian asks her.

 

“Let's see, my childhood crush or my adorable nephew?” Molly pretends to think about it.

 

“Adorable nephew.” Jacob begs.

 

“Definitely adorable nephew.” She smiles at him.

 

“I'm crushed, Justin come over here and save me from my broken heart.” Brian tells me. 

 

“There there Baby, I still think your crush worthy.” I tell him in my best Emmett impression.

 

“And that's why ‘adorable nephew’ wins, no way you'd leave Justin for me.” She tells him. 

 

“Aunt Molly, come meet Gus and Jenny.” Jacob tells her answer drags her with him.

 

“Was that Molly?” Brad asks staring at her.

 

“When's the last time you saw her?” Brian asks him. 

 

“When she left for college.” Brad tells us. 

 

“I haven’t seen her since Justin left, but she grew up gorgeous.” Emmett tells him. 

 

“Yeah, too bad.” Brad tells us. 

 

“You wanted her to be ugly?” Brian asks him. 

 

“No, just that she's way too young.” He tells us. 

 

“How old are you?” Emmett asks him. 

 

“Thirty-three, too old for her.” He tells us and I start laughing hysterically.

 

“Stop laughing twat.” Brian tells me. 

 

“Brad, you realize that Brian is twelve years older than Justin, right?” Emmett asks him. 

 

“It's different for me, she's like my niece.” He tells us. 

 

“Not really, if you think about it. Tucker is my stepdad, not my actual dad.” I tell him. 

 

“Don’t you think it would be weird that I date my brother's step kid?” He asks us. 

 

“We kind of don’t really think anything is weird. Well, other than Michael’s new best friend.” I tease John who is walking quickly to us to get away from Michael.

 

“What do I have to do to get rid of him? He’s planning every night, he even said we could do stuff with Jenny.” John asks us.

 

“Wish I could tell you, I just got rid of him.” Brian tells him.

 

“John, we could take the boys to see the new Spiderman.” Michael tells him as he walks over.

 

“Why don’t you see if the boys even want to see it.” I tell Michael.

 

“All boys want to see superheros.” Michael tells me.

 

“I didn’t.” I tell him.

 

“I only did because you would whine unless we went.” Brian tells him.

 

“I was smart enough to run when you wanted to go.” Emmett tells him.

 

“I would have gone but you never asked me, not that I was interested.” Ted tells him. 

 

We all look at John, who’s squirming.

 

“I was drunk and Deb’s food was too good to resist.” He tells us.

 

“We could eat at Ma’s if you want before we go.” Michael tells him.

 

“How about we just have fun tonight and decided things later.” I tell Michael so John can figure out a way to get out of it, without hurting Michael’s feelings. Okay, so I was kind of thrilled that Michael latched on to someone other than Brian.

 

“Dad, can we go swimming?” Jenny asks Michael.

 

“Sure baby, let me go change.” Michael runs off with Jenny.

 

“I swear if he keeps this up, I’m going to Tibet.” John tells us all and looks confused when we start laughing.

 

Carl yells at everyone to come and get food an hour later. I was sitting on Brian’s lap when Michael comes over to sit with us. He wasn’t pissing anyone off and that had Brian curious.

 

“What’s going on with you?” Brian asks him.

 

“Not a lot, I started looking for a job.” He tells us.

 

“What about your store?” Brian asks him.

 

“Like I told Justin, it’s most likely going to close by the end of the year. I’m barely making it.” He tells him.

 

“Michael, you need to branch out into something other than comics. Most kids are gamers.” Brian tells him.

 

“I just always thought kids wanted comics.” Michael tells us.

 

“They do, but they are trending at games.” Brian tells him.

 

“We’ve been studying how to advertise a dying business and bring it back to life.” Molly tells him as she sits down next to Michael.

 

“You didn’t tell me Molly was getting into my field.” Brian tells me.

 

“I want to succeed on my own.” Molly tells him.

 

“Then do it with me, I don’t give people jobs as favors. I’d start you where all new people start.” Brian tells her.

 

“I was hoping Michael would let me use his comic shop as a project for school. I think there is a way to get kids to want the comics more than games.” She tells him.

 

“Tell me what you would do?” Brian asks her.

 

“Do you sell only new stuff?” She asks Michael.

 

“No. I have vintage too, but it’s hard to find.” He tells her.

 

“What’s your biggest issue right now?” She asks him.

 

“That they can go to Big Q and buy them cheaper.” He tells her.

 

“Why not turn afternoon’s into book parties? Like a group comes together to discuss the latest or past comics. Big Q might sell cheaper, but they don’t have a place where people can come and discuss their heros. It would work even better if you were to throw a party anytime a new comic is coming out, get them excited to come to your place because they get to get their geek on without having people think they’re strange. Put flyers up to tell people when the event is going to happen. Let them dress up for it. Do you have internet awareness?” She asks him.

 

“Molly, you're hired.” Brian tells her.

 

I got up and went to where John was hiding with Ted and Blake. I hadn’t really spent much time with Ted or Blake. 

 

“Escaped Michael?” John asks me.

 

“Molly was interested in seeing if she could help turn his shop around. Michael is about to lose it.” I tell him.

 

“Why didn’t he talk to me about it?” Ted asks me.

 

“I think he didn’t want to admit he was failing at it.” I tell Ted.

 

“There's no love lost between Michael and me, but I wouldn't want him to lose his business.” Blake tells us.

 

“Hopefully he won't use this to get sympathy from Brian.” Ted tells me. 

 

“For some reason he told me, not Brian at first.” I'm still puzzled by it.

 

“Maybe he wanted you to give him a reason to hate you?” Blake asks.

 

“There are hundreds of reasons he could choose, why one that makes me want to help him?” I tell him. 

 

“He probably expected you to be thrilled he wasn’t successful.” Ted tells me. 

 

“I couldn’t do that to anyone.” I tell him. 

 

“Michael could and would if it had been you.” John tells me. 

 

“I guess.” I tell him. 

 

“Just don’t let his problems come between you and Brian.” Ted tells me.

 

“I think John solved that.” I tell them as John groans.

 

“How did John solve it?” Blake asks us.

 

“After I told Michael that Brian retired as his hero, I think he found a new one.” I tell Blake.

 

“Man, you were nice to him, weren’t you?” Ted ask John.

 

“It was just sad watching him be down on himself. I mean he’s not bad looking, but his whining makes you want to throw his ass into traffic. Last night he was civil, so I just hung out with him.” John tells us.

 

“I think that’s how it started with Brian.” Ted tells him.

 

“I am not going to be his next Brian. I want to have a life and will not lose someone because Michael thinks he should come first.” John tells us.

 

“Just pray you’re a phase.” Blake tells him as Ted and I nod.

 

“Hey, I forgot to tell you, Lindsay is working at the Big Q as a cashier.” Blake tells us.

 

“Big Q can have her, she was trying to get an interview with me.” John tells us.

 

“I don’t think Big Q is going to work out for her either.” Blake tells us.

 

“Why?” I ask.

 

“She was having problems with the register and then told the customer she was waiting on that it would go faster if they would bag their stuff.” Blake tells me.

 

“Wow, guess we could skip the Big Q.” I tell him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 29 by starlight

BRIAN

 

I wanted to get the loft renovated so Justin could work there. John and I were at the gallery waiting to see Miles, the guy who designed my loft. John was still hiding from Michael and his never ending phone calls. I just laughed every time the phone rang.

 

“John, that woman that wanted to ask about a job is here again.” His manager tells him.

 

“Elle, tell her that I’m not hiring.” John tell her.

 

“I did but she insists that you would if you talk to her.” Elle tells him exasperated.

 

“Is it Lindsay?” I ask him and he nods.

 

“She’s been coming in three times a day. John you need to handle her, I don’t get paid enough for this crap.” Elle tells him.

 

“I’ll talk to her.” John tells Elle.

 

Elle and I stand in the office and watch as John walks over to Lindsay. She at least dressed for an interview this time.

 

“May I help you?” John asks her.

 

“No, more like I could help you.” She smiles until she sees John.

 

“I doubt it, but since you don’t seem to understand when Elle tells you, I’m not hiring.” He tells her.

 

“Don’t let Brian cloud what could be a lucrative opportunity for your gallery.” She tells him.

 

“I think someone who sleeps with Sam isn’t someone I want working in my gallery.” He tells her.

 

“Brian and Justin need to learn to keep their mouths shut.” She hisses.

 

“It’s not like Sam could either, I didn’t put it together until Brian told me you fucked an artist at your gallery. Hell, Sam likes to tell people how he bagged a lesbian.” John tells her.

 

“It was years ago and it has nothing to do with selling art.” She argues.

 

“Does she really think it’s wise to argue with the boss?” Elle whispers to me.

 

“She’s not exactly thinking.” I tell Elle.

 

Lindsay looks up when she hears us talking.

 

“So you're here too. Wonder how much Justin would trust you if he knew you were spending time with him alone.” She tells me.

 

“Justin is fine with me being around Brian, but then, I’m not after Brian. I think this is where you do your dramatic exit, because Honey, I wouldn’t hire you to shine my shoes.” John tells her.

 

“Brian, you used to be my friend and now you're turning on me.” She tells me.

 

“I just decided that I needed better friends.” I tell her.

 

Lindsay walks out in a huff and we all just roll our eyes at her.

 

“You were friends with her?” Elle asks me.

 

“She’s the mother of his kid.” John tells her.

 

“Please tell me you were on drugs when you thought she would be a good mother?” She asks me.

 

“I was high when I gave the sample, does that count?” I ask.

 

JUSTIN

 

Jenny came to me and finally asked to see Mel. I wanted to make sure Mel wanted her to see her in the jail and to prepare Jenny for seeing Mel there. Mel told me she would love to see Jenny, and I got Carl to at least let us see her in an interrogation room. Carl told me that he was going to at least get her some clothes so she look normal for Jenny. Deb begged Carl for that much.

 

“Is Mama in a lot of trouble?” She asks as we pull up to the station.

 

“She did some things she shouldn’t have.” I tell her.

 

“Is that why Gus doesn’t want to see her?” Jenny asks me.

 

“Gus is still upset he didn’t get to see his dad.” I tell her.

 

“They shouldn’t have done that to him.” She tells me.

 

“No they shouldn’t have, but like my mom said, parents don’t always make the best decisions.” I tell her.

 

We walk in and Carl leads us to the room they have Mel in. Mel smiles at Jenny.

 

“Do you want to see her alone?” I ask Jenny.

 

“If it’s okay.” She tells me.

 

“Just call out if you want me.” I tell her.

 

Jenny walks in and hugs her mom. I don’t get how Mel is like mom of the year with Jenny but not Gus. I walk over to Carl to see what’s going on with the case. I’ve been busy with my life and didn’t want my past to get in the way.

 

“Have they made any decisions on how they want to handle this?” I ask Carl.

 

“Mel plans on pleading out. Russo hired an attorney and isn’t talking to anyone. The DA has been fired and plans to help against Russo.” He tells me.

 

“What about the Hobbs family?” I ask him.

 

“They lawyered up and are letting the lawyer do the talking.” He tells me.

 

“Guess we are going to see them all get out of it.” I tell him.

 

“Brad is pushing hard to keep it from happening. It’s just that there are a lot of criminals that could go free if we prove Russo is corrupt.” He tells me.

 

“How do you know they are criminals and not someone Russo fucked over.” I snap.

 

“Justin, I want them to get what they should, I’m just telling you why everyone is being careful about this.” He tells me.

 

“I just want this to end so I don’t have to think about it anymore. I want to think about my life with Brian.” I tell him.

 

“Then do that, this isn’t going to be about you, it’s about justice.” Carl pats my shoulder.

 

I wait outside the door for Jenny. 

 

“Mama wants to talk to you. Is Grandpa busy?” She asks me.

 

“No, I think he would love to see you.” I tell her as she walks to Carl’s office.

 

I walk in and wonder why she thinks we have anything left to say to each other. 

 

“Thank you for bringing her to see me.” Mel tells me.

 

“I honestly didn’t know if this would be good for her.” I tell her.

 

“I’m going to ask you a favor.” She tells me.

 

“I’m not doing you any favors.” I tell her.

 

“This is about Jenny, not me. If I go to prison, don’t let her come see me. I don’t want her to see me there.” She tells me.

 

“Mel, she knows you're in trouble.” I tell her.

 

“I just don’t want her to ever see the inside of a prison. You can tell her I had to go somewhere for a while.” She tells me.

 

“So I should lie to her, that’s really smart. I mean everything started with lies and half truths, why not continue to lie to Jenny. Gus isn’t going to help us lie to his sister. I agree she doesn’t need to see a prison yard, but I won’t lie to my children.” I tell her.

 

“Jenny’s MY child.” She tells me angrily.

 

“No, she’s mine now. You gave her away.” I tell her.

 

“I wanted her to have a good life.” She tells me.

 

“She will, because Brian and I will give it to her.” I tell her.

 

“I spent years wanting a child and now I have to let someone else raise her. Can’t you see how hard this is for me?” She asks me.

 

“Then why didn’t you just turn and walk away when you understood what Russo wanted? Brian would have done what he told you he was going to do.” I tell her.

 

“He kept dangling Gus and pulling it away, I couldn’t risk Brian finding out that he still had a chance to keep custody.” She tells me.

 

“Yet you stopped being Gus’s mom as soon as you got Brian out of his life.” I tell her.

 

“I love Gus, but he didn’t want me.” She tells me.

 

“Really, are we going to sit here with you telling me how you love Gus but never bothered to see where he was. Jacob was shocked to hear Gus could run around without you knowing where he was, and it’s because my other son knows I’d ground him for scaring me like that. Gus acted like it was normal for you and Lindsay.” I tell her.

 

“He wanted to leave.” She tells me.

 

“You should have told Michael to leave if he was give Gus problems.” I tell her.

 

“Michael is Jenny’s father. I didn’t want to deprive Jenny of her father.” I see the minute she realizes she said the wrong thing to me.

 

“And this conversation is over. I have a man to marry and three children to raise, neither of which includes listening to you try to make yourself sound like a wonderful mother.” I tell her.

 

I go to get Jenny and smile as she sits next to Carl and writes on a piece of paper like he is. In a way my revenge is that Brian and I will get to see Jenny’s moments, while Mel sits in prison. 

 

“You ready Jenny? We have a dress to buy for my flower girl.” I tell her.

 

“I want purple and flowers on it.” She tells me smiling.

 

“Grandma Deb will probably love that.” Carl tells her.

 

BRIAN

 

I left the gallery and head to the loft with Miles. I noticed John paying attention to every word coming out of Miles’s mouth. Could he be more obvious? Miles was telling me that most of the plans were going to be easy because I never enclosed anything but the bedroom. I wanted it started after the wedding because I wanted Justin and I to spend our first night married there. I finally decided to get Miles to the loft before John melted into a puddle at his feet.

 

“Honestly other than more light and counter space, we aren’t looking at a lot of work here.” Miles tells me.

 

“I just want to make sure that he has everything he needs.” I tell him.

 

“So you're officially going off the market?” Miles asks me.

 

“I’ve been off the market for a long time.” I tell him.

 

“I don’t blame you, Justin’s a good guy.” He tells me.

 

“What about you, ever think of settling down?” I ask him.

 

“If I found someone worth having, I would.” He tells me.

 

“Come to the wedding this weekend. There are a few guys that haven’t been snatched up.” I tell him.

 

“Is John going to be there?” He asks me.

 

“He’s staying with Justin and me right now. Maybe you could come over and have dinner.” I tell him as we leave the loft. 

 

“Let me know.” He tells me smiling.

 

I can’t wait to see Justin’s face when I tell him I’m the king of matchmaking.


Chapter 30 by starlight

JUSTIN

 

The night before we were going to get married everyone wanted to get together at Babylon. Brian invited Miles because he said John practically had his tongue hanging out when they met. I told him I just wanted Ben to be happy. Brian pointed to Ben and Jerry. Okay, the guy’s name was actually Kevin, but they are giving me a toothache with all the kissing they seem to be doing. Michael wanted to come too, but Brian thought we should give John a break from his number one fan.

 

“Sure you aren’t jealous that Mikey’s got a new hero?” Emmett asked Brian.

 

“I kind of enjoy watching John play evade the whiner, but Miles might get laid if John isn’t looking for places to hide.” Brian smirks at me to make sure I remember who set John up.

 

“You don’t know for sure that it will work.” I tell him.

 

“I know better than to set up a guy with another guy who thinks he’s in love with me.” He tells me.

 

“Mr. Kinney, smug isn’t attractive.” I warn him.

 

“I didn’t say you were wrong to want to help your friend, just that you suck at matchmaking.” He tells me.

 

“Where is Michael anyway?” Ted asks us.

 

“Deb convinced Michael to stay with Jenny tonight.” I tell him.

 

“Wanna dance?” Blake asks me.

 

“Sure.” I tell him.

 

We go out to the dance floor and I watch John and Miles talk with their heads almost glued together. I can see why Brian would choose to put them together. I do suck at matchmaking because Ben looks like he could eat Kevin alive.

 

“Justin, Brian just watches people and sees what they need.” Blake tells me.

 

“I’m not really that upset about it. I just feel like an idiot thinking Ben and John could make a go of it.” I tell him.

 

“In a way it would be like a rerun, Brian was with both of them at one time.” He tells me.

 

“Yeah but neither of them thought it was a big deal.” I tell him.

 

“It was a big deal, I only pick prime pieces.” Brian says as he pulls me back to dance with him.

 

“I guess Justin is the best you had.” Blake teases.

 

“I’m marrying him in the morning, so yes he is.” Brian tells Blake as I turn and kiss him.

 

“God, I feel like this baby is jumping on my bladder every time I try to dance.” Emmett tells us.

 

“You still look good for being over half way through your pregnancy.” I tell him.

 

“My Emmett always looks good.” Drew tells me.

 

“Your Emmett is going to have to go back to the bathroom again. Come on Baby, you can tell me that this is normal.” Emmett drags me out of Brian’s arms.

 

“Emmett, I know you’ve been potty trained so Justin doesn’t need to go with you.” Brian tells him.

 

“You get to swear your eternal togetherness tomorrow, tonight he’s still free.” Emmett tells him.

 

“Just don’t lose him, I’ve waited twelve years for him to marry me.” Brian tells Emmett.

 

Emmett and I walk away from Brian and Drew. I couldn’t figure out why we weren’t headed to the bathroom, instead Emmett was dragging me out the door.

 

“Emmett where are we going?” I ask him.

 

“You are coming to my house and Brian is going home.” He tells me.

 

“Why are we going to your house?” I ask him stopping.

 

“I want you two to follow at least one tradition. Not seeing each other till the wedding.” He tells me.

 

“Emmett this is just to make it official, we said our vows while we were in New York.” I try to go back.

 

“That’s sweet, but I’m pregnant and determined to have my way. Blake is going to meet us at the car so we can go to my house and have a spa night. To make you even prettier for your wedding.” Emmett tells me as he yanks me to his car.

 

“Man, we better hurry. I think Brian figured out you didn’t take Justin to the restroom.” Blake rushes us in the car.

 

“Shit, buckle up because he’s made it out the door.” Emmett tells us as we peel out and head away from Brian.

 

Emmett’s phone rings and he puts it on speaker as he drives like an indy racer.

 

“Emmett you're carrying our son, you can’t drive like that.” Drew growls.

 

“I just wanted a clean get-away, I promise I’m driving normal now.” He lies.

 

“Brian told me to tell you you’re lucky I’m your husband because he would kill you for this.” Drew tells him.

 

“Tell Brian that I can handle anything he dishes out and as my loving partner, not my husband, you should be threatening to kick his ass.” Emmett tells him as we giggle.

 

“I could be both if you would just say yes.” He tells Emmett.

 

“Drew asked you and you haven’t said yes?” I ask him.

 

“I’ve been asking him for years, he’s the one telling me we need to wait.” Drew tells us.

 

“I’m not marching down an aisle looking like I have a beer gut. I want to look good when we get married.” Emmett tells him.

 

“Emmett you look perfect. You having our child inside you makes you even more gorgeous in my eyes.” Drew tells him.

 

“I love you.” Emmett tells Drew with tears as he slows the car down.

 

“I love you too. I’ll handle Brian tonight just take care of my reasons for being, you and our baby.” Drew tells him and hangs up.

 

“You really need to marry him.” Blake tells him.

 

“You and Ted seem to do fine without getting married.” Emmett tells Blake.

 

“We got married last week.” Blake tells us.

 

“You didn’t tell us.” Emmett swerves and then dials his phone.

 

“Emmett, Brian is going to kill you.” Ted tells him over the speaker.

 

“How could you not tell me you got married?” Emmett yells at him.

 

“Blake, I told you not to tell him yet.” Ted tells Blake.

 

“I’m trying to convince him to marry Drew. He tried to point out that we didn’t get married.” Blake tells Ted.

 

“Congratulations Ted.” I call out.

 

“Thanks, um I need to help Drew keep Brian from running after you guys, so I’ll see you later.” Ted hangs up.

 

“I’m surprised Brian isn’t calling to order us to take you back.” Emmett tells me.

 

We get to Emmett’s house and he rushes us in and locks his door.

 

“Emmett, we aren’t going to be invaded.” Blake tells him.

 

“Have you met Brian Kinney, because we just kidnapped Justin? You honestly think he isn’t trying to figure out a way to get him back.” Emmett tells us as we head to the kitchen.

 

“I really wanted to be with Brian.” I started whining.

 

“You do Michael so well, and that wasn’t a compliment.” Blake smirks.

 

We sat around eating the snacks Emmett had waiting for us and he tries to do facials. I just couldn’t put green goop on my face. Blake told him that if it left him green he was going to get him back in five months.

 

BRIAN

 

I should have known that Emmett was up to something. It was the minute Blake took off and Ted was trying to keep a straight face.

 

“You are going to help me scale the walls to the fortress.” I tell Ted and John.

 

“Brian, it’s just one night.” Drew tells me.

 

“You like sleeping alone?” I ask him.

 

“I get it, but Emmett wants you two to at least observe one tradition, since you two seem to do everything out of order.” Drew tells me.

 

“I plan to keep doing it that way. I got my kids and Justin that way so why screw it up.” I tell him.

 

“We might as well help him.” John tells us.

 

“I promised that I wouldn’t open the gate.” Drew tells us.

 

“Like I said, scale the walls. It would be boring if we just walked in.” I tell him.

 

We head over to the house a couple hours and shots later. We were all staring at the fence around the house.

 

“Is there some reason you put up a eight foot fence?” I ask him.

 

“So crazies didn’t get in.” Drew tells me, drinking his beer.

 

“Brian, you’ll see him tomorrow, let's get you home so we don’t look like we never slept. You don’t want to look like shit in the pictures.” Ted tells me.

 

“I can airbrush it.” John tells us while sitting on the hood of Drew’s car with Miles.

 

“You aren’t helping.” Ted growls at John.

 

“Dude, did you honestly think that keeping those two apart was a great idea?” John snorts.

 

“See, that’s what I’ve been saying.” I tell Ted.

 

“Well genius, how do we get over the wall?” Ted asks me.

 

“You don’t, you come in the front.” We hear from the other side of the fence.

 

“Does Emmett know you're helping Brian?” Ted ask Blake.

 

“Justin’s been pouting, whining, and trying to convince us that he can’t sleep without Brian next to him. Emmett decided if you show, Brian can stay until Justin is asleep.” Blake tells us.

 

“Keep Emmett busy, cause I’m about to kidnap my Sunshine.” I  tell them all.

 

“Brian you can’t drive, you’ve been drinking all night.” Ted tells him.

 

“The loft is only a few miles away, why do you think I brought you? Once you get us there you can go play hubby to Blake. Stay here and have the car ready to go.” I tell him.

 

“Just come on, I honestly would like to get home tonight.” Blake tells me.

 

“Then why did you help Emmett?” Ted asks him.

 

“I wanted to see Brian chase someone. It was something I never thought we’d see.” He tells us smiling.

 

We walk through the gate and I see Justin standing there smiling when I come through the door.

 

“Just one night, that was all I wanted. Baby is going to be yours the rest of your life, I wanted to take care of him.” Emmett complains.

 

“You have a baby of your own, Justin’s mine.” I tell him.

 

“Fine you can stay until we go to bed.” Emmett tells me and turns to the kitchen. 

 

I hold out my hand to Justin who runs to me and we run out the door to a yelling Emmett. We laugh as we head out the gate and into the getaway car. Ted peels out as Emmett gets to the gate and waves at us with a smile. My phone rings and I answer Emmett.

 

“You alway said never to chase after anyone.” He tells me.

 

“I never had anyone I wanted to chase until him.” I tell Emmett while looking at the man I love.

 

 

Chapter 31 the wedding part one by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

I was still lying in bed when I heard the loft door open.

 

“I was nice enough not to interrupt you two last night, so out you go. The kids are waiting for you.” I hear Emmett tell Brian. 

 

“Nice is what you call trying to keep us apart last night?” Brian asks him. 

 

“Like I really thought you wouldn’t show up. We just wanted you to chase him.” Emmett tells him. 

 

“Justin, I'll see you at the house, I'll be the best looking guy there.” Brian tells me as he walks out with Drew.

 

“Get out of bed, we have a lot to do.” He tells me. 

 

“Emmett we are only having a dinner and ceremony. It's not like what you do.” I tell him. 

 

“You still need to get dressed and we're having a lunch with Daphne and the grandmothers.” He tells me. 

 

“Why are you acting like this is such a big deal? Brian and I are happy with simple.” I ask him. 

 

“Oh God, it's just that for a long time I honestly never thought any of us would get a happily ever after. Michael couldn’t keep a relationship. Ted was constantly screwing up relationships. I was with a series of loser after loser. Then this adorable kid managed to do the impossible, he kept Brian Kinney. You gave me hope, then it vanished when you left. I stopped believing it was possible. I looked at the people I helped get married and saw the stars you got in your eyes when you used to look at Brian. Then they’re hiring me to throw a divorce party and the next wedding. It's why I haven’t said yes to Drew. I know I want to though, because when you came home, I got to see the look of real love, not only in your face, but in Brian’s. Twelve years didn’t matter to either of you, just that you share the same breathing space.” He tells me. 

 

“Instead of living through us, live it with Drew.” I tell him. 

 

“I will, but could you at least let me share some of yours, it's too beautiful not to share?” He asks me. 

 

“As long as you get me there on time, I'm in.” I hug one of my biggest supporters.

 

Emmett tells me that the suits were delivered to my house, and suddenly I realized everything is changing. It's our house, they're our kids, and I'm about to have the husband I always wanted. Suddenly getting out of bed seems like the biggest moment of my life. 

 

I jump out of bed and rush to the shower. 

 

“You don’t have to be in that big of a rush, we have an hour before we meet everyone.” He tells me. 

 

“Emmett, I'm about to get my happily ever after, there's every reason to rush.” I yell from the shower.

 

“You just realized that?” He asks me. 

 

“You just reminded me.” I tell him. 

 

BRIAN 

 

Drew and I got to the house to see three excited kids and… Michael? I look at Drew trying to figure out why Michael is here.

 

“He volunteered to help with the kids.” Drew tells me.

 

“Who thought that was a good idea?” I ask him. 

 

“Jen. She said Michael needs to see that this is the life you want, not the one he thinks.” He tells me. 

 

“He fucks up this day for us and my mother-in-law is going to eat her words.” I tell him. 

 

“Don't worry about it, team Kinney is here to back you up.” He nods to John and Ted.

 

“Then let's get this show on the road. Ted did you pick up the rings?” I ask him. 

 

“In my pocket along with the other thing you wanted.” Ted tells me. 

 

“Emmett has the dinner set up with the food I wanted?” I ask Drew.

 

“Yeah, but even I'm confused at the choices.” He tells me. 

 

“Just trust me, Justin will get it.” I tell him. 

 

“John, did they get the song list I wanted?” I ask him. 

 

“Your DJ said your wish list is ready.” He tells me. 

 

“You know Justin thinks you two weren’t going to a lot of trouble for this?” Ted tells me. 

 

“You understand that I'm marrying the man who is going to be with me the rest of my life.” I tell him. 

 

“That’s Brian Kinney, he doesn’t do anything halfway.” Michael says from the doorway to the living room.

 

“No, not if it's about Justin.” I tell my one time best friend.

 

“Why wouldn't you love him? You always have and always will.” Michael says with a touch of melancholy.

 

“I always hoped my best friend would stand by me when I married Justin.” I tell him. 

 

“I'd be proud to prove I deserve the title.” He tells me. 

 

I walk over to him and stare at the man that at one time I considered my closest confidant and can see he believes Justin and I belong together. 

 

“Welcome back Mikey.” I whisper hugging him.

 

“I finally left wonderland and came home.” He whispers back.

 

“Then show me you can be happy for me and stand next to Ted when I marry the only man I could ever give my heart to.” I tell him. 

 

“No, I have to be next to Justin, he deserves to have me show him that I can be a better person. Daphne told me it was okay.” He tells me. 

 

“Enough expressing our feelings, let's get the streetlight up.” I tell them.

 

“I thought he was kidding about that?” John asks them.

 

“He better not be, it took all kinds of favors to get that streetlight here. We had to promise it would be put back tomorrow.” Drew tells him. 

 

JUSTIN 

 

Emmett and I meet Mom, Daphne, Molly, and Deb for lunch. I was really ready to go to the house but Emmett told me everything was being done and to relax. Daphne seemed wary for some reason.        

 

“Just tell him.” Molly tells her.

 

“Don’t get mad, but Michael wanted to stand with you and I when you marry Brian.” She tells me. 

 

“Really?” I ask her. 

 

“He talked to me and Jen and told us that you deserve his support for the shit he did to you. Normally I'd tell him to jump off a building, but he really seemed sincere.” She tells me. 

 

“Sunshine, I think he finally sees the only reason he never got Brian is because of him, not you.” Deb tells me. 

 

“I also told him that if he fucks this up, I'd make sure this high pitched whine has a permanent reason.” My mother smirks.

 

“Mother Tanner, you are the coolest, will you be my son's grandmother too.” Emmett asks her.

 

“It will be my honor and privilege to keep your son from cursing like Grandma Deb.” She tells him and gets up to hug him.

 

“Well then, let's eat before we enter the history books for the marriage no one ever thought could happen.” Emmett holds up his glass to toast.

 

BRIAN 

 

“Daddy, why does the backyard look like a street?” Jacob asks me. 

 

“I wanted to recreate my first night with Dad.” I tell him. 

 

“So, do Emmett, Ted, and I get to stand on the sidewalk cussing you out?” Michael asks smiling. 

 

“You cuss? Cause Grandma Jen told Jacob and me we could only cuss if we explain why.” Gus asks him. 

 

“No cussing, last thing you want is a bar of soap in your mouth.” I tell him. 

 

“I get to be a princess tonight.” Jenny tells us. 

 

“You'll always be a princess, baby.” Michael tells her. 

 

“Tonight you're going to a fairy princess.” I tell her. 

 

“I am, how?” She asks me.

 

“Uncle Drew got you a wand that shoots out confetti at everyone. So make sure to hit your dad with it.” I tell her smirking at Michael.

 

“Him or the other dad?” She asks me pointing at Michael.

 

“Your dad, let's leave your Jus as pretty as you always tell me he is.” I tell her.

 

“Maybe it would be easier if she called him Daddy Jus.” Michael offers.

 

“I think Justin likes that she calls him her Jus.” I tell Michael.

 

“I want her to be as happy as she makes me.” He tells me.

 

“Let’s go look at the cake again, why is there a pole on top again?” Jacob asks us.

 

“To hold it together.” Michael hurries out.

 

“Yeah it’s kind of big so that makes sense.” Jenny tells us as she and the boys take off.

 

“Brian they are on their way, so if you want this to be a surprise, someone has to keep Justin away from the back.” Drew tells me.

 

“Don’t worry, Emmett and I are going to whisk him to the front bedroom.” Blake tells me.

 

“You think this is too much?” I ask Michael as we look at my backyard turned into the street in front of Babylon.

 

“As you told me your first morning with Justin, it’s never enough.” He smiles at me.

 

I run up to get dressed and hear Justin ask why he’s wearing flannel to his wedding.

 

“Brian wanted you to be casual.” Emmett tells him.

 

“I thought we’d wear dress shirts and pants at least.” He tells Emmett.

 

“Look you can change if you don’t like it when we get down there.” Emmett tells him.

 

I run in and get dressed in the outfit that still fits after all these years. Michael is waiting for me when I walk out and I grab him and we run down the stairs to celebrate everything good in my life.

 

JUSTIN

 

I know I said casual, but even I have to wonder about jeans, T Shirt, and flannel. Emmett insisted that I at least wear it until I see what everyone else is wearing. Emmett gets dressed in leather pants and a pink shirt. Blake grabs jeans and a T shirt so at least I’m not the only one feeling underdressed. 

 

“Justin, everything is ready.” Daphne tells me as she opens the door.

 

“I know I wanted simple, but I didn’t mean dress down.” I tell her.

 

“Justin we are all coming back to get dressed for the ceremony after.” She tells me.

 

“Why not do it now?” I ask her.

 

“Look princess, he wanted to do this for you, so just march down there and see what the man you love has been working on for you.” Daphne tells me pointing down the stairs.

 

“Wow Daphne, that was kind of hot.” Emmett tells her.

 

“Thomas thinks so.” She smirks.

 

We all walk down to see the boys dressed in jeans and T shirts with a shirt like Brian used to wear when we went out. 

 

“Who styled your hair?” I ask them.

 

“Daddy told us we are never too young to have the world know we have style.” Jacob tells me.

 

“You ready, because we want the cake?” Gus tells me.

 

The boys open the door and Emmett runs past me to stand with Ted and Michael. I look at the streetlight that looks like the one across the street from Babylon. Brian is standing there waiting for me. I walk over to him and looking at the whole yard that looks like the front of Babylon. When I get to him I ask him the one thing that I’m curious about.

 

“How did you make the grass look like a road?” I ask him.

 

“Drew told me we could get chalk that would wash out and change the color, so, street.” He tells me.

 

“Since no one told me what to do, what am I doing, are you going to tell me?” I ask him looking at everyone standing around watching us.

 

“Ask me.” He tells me and I get it.

 

“How’s it going? Had a busy night?” I ask him.

 

“Just, Uh, checking out the bars, you know? Boytoy, Meathook.” He tells me.

 

“The Meathook. Really? So you're into leather?” I ask him.

 

“Sure.” He tells me.

 

“Where you headed?” I ask him.

 

“No place special.” He tells me.

 

“I can change that.” I tell him.

 

“You already did.” He leans in and kisses me to the hooting and hollering in the background.

 

Brian and I wandered around so I could see the things that were set up in the yard.

 

“We are still having dinner first, but I wanted our kids to see us, when we met.” Brian tells me.

 

“As long as they don’t see us later at the loft, this was perfect.” I tell him.

 

“Would you object to us staying dressed like this tonight, I want us to get married the way we started.” He asks me.

 

“I wouldn’t have it any other way, Mr. Kinney.” I tell him.

 

Dinner was Jambalaya and Thai food. I almost laughed at Emmett asking everyone why on earth would anyone serve something so different.

 

“The first meal Justin and I ate as a couple, because that was what we were then, was Jambalaya. So I wanted everyone to taste what I tasted my first meal, from Justin. You can thank Jen for making this because I wanted Justin to just enjoy his day. The Thai is because it was my contribution to dinner, since I don’t cook, at all.” Brian tells everyone. 

 

The kids seem to like all of it. I was happy that Brian ate the Jambalaya and not the Thai. 

 

When it was time for the ceremony, Drew and a couple of guys from his team moved the streetlight and put up a tent that was covered in ocean blue cloth and lights all along the edges. Emmett’s assistant, Charles, was putting yellow gerber daisies in huge urns around the inside. It was pretty but even I wondered what Brian was thinking.

 

We walked up to the tent where Blake stood to marry us. 

 

“Justin, Brian wanted to celebrate this night surrounded by his Sunshine, the daisies, and the color he sees when he looks into your eyes. He wanted to make sure you know that these things always reminded him of you when he saw them.” Blake tells us as Emmett starts crying loudly.

 

“These da… darn hormones are going to be the death of me, go on.” Emmett tells everyone.

 

“Justin do you take Brian to be your everything?” Blake asks me.

 

“I do.” I tell Brian.

 

“Brian do you take Justin to be your everything?” Blake asks Brian.

 

“Forever.” Brian tells me.

 

“Ted and Michael can you give them the rings to show the joining of Brian and Justin.” Ted hands Brian my ring.

 

Michael walks over and hugs me whispering, “I was wrong, you were always the best choice. Forgive me someday?”

 

“I already have, Mikey.” I whisper to him. Michael smiles at me and stands back next to Daphne who put her arm through his.

 

Brian and I put the rings on and turn to Blake.

 

“Then I pronounce you married you can kiss the sh… him.” Blake tells us as everyone laughs.

 

“Before I do that I have one more thing to give Justin.” Brian tells me.

 

“Justin this used to be a symbol of freedom to do as I please, to me. Now it’s a symbol of my freedom to love you.” He tells me and slips his cowrie bracelet on me.

 

“I love you Mr. Taylor-Kinney.” I tell him.

 

“I love you Mr. Kinney-Taylor.” Brian tells me.

 

As we walk away, Jenny and the boys are looking at a baton and pushing on the handle.

 

“I think it’s broken.” Jenny complains.

 

“No, there has to be a button.” Gus tells her.

 

“Maybe you hit things and it goes off.” Jacob tells them.

 

“Wait, let me show…” Michael says as he gets hit by a massive amount of confetti.

 

“I found the button… opps sorry dad.” Jenny tells Michael who starts laughing and picks up his daughter and helps her rain confetti all over everyone.

 

 

 

 


Chapter 32 part 2 wedding by starlight

BRIAN

 

I nodded to Ted to get the music started. I wanted to get this evening over so Justin and I could get to the loft. 

 

“Can I have everyone's attention. Brian planned this evening the way he plans a campaign. So every detail has been gone over to make sure you understand that Brian wanted Justin to know nothing is more important to him than Justin. This first song, ‘Far Away’ is his away of letting Justin know he will always be forgiven for all the mistakes they both made.” Ted tells us as the DJ cues the song.

 

“Listen to the words, every one is true.” I tell him.

 

Justin and I sway as the singer tells Justin that I forgive him and that he’s been away far too long. He listens to the ‘I loves you’s’ in the song that I always said with my actions and when the song comes to an end he holds me tight and I know he isn’t going to let me go.

 

“Now for the one that Brian felt tells you about their beginning.” Ted announces. Wicked Games starts up and we laugh as we dance to it. I wanted something slow to dance to with him. In the song he hears that he was my salvation. When the part of ‘the girl is gonna break your heart’ repeats, I whisper boy to replace it.

 

I told Ted just mix my songs between other requests so Justin and I could wander around and talk. Ted whispers to Justin and me that Ben had a request for Michael. 

 

“I want to see this.” Justin tells me.

 

MICHAEL

 

I was dancing with Jenny and Ma most of the night. I saw John and Miles all over each other and I could be happy that John was falling for someone. Maybe that was why I couldn’t hold on to anyone, because I couldn’t be happy for anyone when it didn’t involve me. I wandered around watching Drew and Emmett dance with Drew’s hand covering Emmetts stomach. Blake and Ted in their own world. Ma was smiling at Carl. Watching Brian showing everyone that Justin will always be the one and I can say that I’m okay with it. I think seeing Justin love the best thing I ever did, Jenny, changed the way I viewed him. Jenny is my world the way all the kids are Justin and Brian’s. I look across the stage to see Lindsay hiding behind a tree crying at Brian being happy and know that isn't who I want to be. No way am I ever going back to that. It’s lonely place and not the life I want Jenny to see me have. Maybe one day she’ll get it the way I finally did.

 

“Would you like to dance, I picked this song for us.” I turn to see Ben standing there.

 

“You should dance with the guy you are seeing.” I tell him smiling.

 

“I could, but I think maybe Kinney was just showing me that twelve years changes people.” He tells me.

 

“What’s the song?” I ask him talking his hand.

 

“Okay, we are going to take a break from Brian’s list for this song requested by Ben for Michael. It’s called Precious by Depeche Mode. Ben told me to tell you that sometimes things get broken Michael, but he only ever wanted the best for you. ” Ted tells everyone.

 

I listen to a song that describes me, that I broke things in Ben but a lot was left unsaid. When the song said praying to learn to trust and have faith in us. I look at Ben to see if he meant that about us. He sings the next line about keeping room in my heart for two. I smile and hope maybe he has faith in us, because he was worth it, I was just too blind to see it.

 

“Thank you Ben.” I tell him.

 

“Give me time, and let’s see if we can let's do what Brian and Justin managed to do and forgive each other.” He tells me.

 

“It was my fault they were apart.” I tell him.

 

“No, I think it wasn’t their time yet. They’re older and wiser now, and going to do what no one thought possible, love each other till the end of time.” He tells me.

 

“We all knew it, even if we didn’t want too. It was there for them from the start.” I tell him.

 

“I’m proud of you Michael. You are becoming the person I always hoped you were.” He tells me.

 

“Maybe with time you’ll want to see more of me.” I tell him.

 

“I’m here, so give me a reason to stay.” Ben tells me.

 

“How about lunch, and if you want I can cook.” I tell him.

 

“You just don’t want tofu.” He teases.

 

“Ben do you really think I’m worth it?” I ask him.

 

“I think if you continue to show us this Michael, then yes.” He tells me.

 

“Then get ready for the “Michael Show’.” I tell him and continue dancing with him.

 

I look to see Justin smiling his famous smile and I give him one of my own. I realize that he was being my friend when he made me face what I was doing. He wanted my daughter to always see the man she thinks of as her hero, me.

 

EMMETT 

 

I know it's time to tell Drew that I want forever too. He deserves it for always standing with me, even when I was wrong. 

 

“Marry me.” I tell him. 

 

“You're finally ready?” He asks me. 

 

“I've been ready since you came back to me.” I tell him.  

 

“What changed your mind?” He asks me. 

 

“I've realized I was afraid of the wrong thing.” I tell him. 

 

“What were you afraid of?” He asks me. 

 

“That happily ever after was a myth. Watching them made me see that it's real. They never stopped loving each other. I believe again.” I tell him. 

 

“I would be honored to marry you.” Drew tells me and leans in to kiss me with his hand over our child. 

 

MOLLY

 

My brother found his prince, and all I can think is ‘when do I find my Brian?’. I watch the happiness radiating off them and think that's what I want one day. My mom even found a wonderful man to marry. 

 

“Would you like to dance? I waited for a slow song.” Brad asks me. 

 

“Sure handsome, why didn’t you bring a date to the party?” I ask him. 

“I was hoping to find one here.” He tells me. 

 

“Brad, there are mostly gay men here.” I tell him giggling. 

 

“There are also some beautiful women.” He tells me as we dance to “I Do It For You’ by Bryan Adams.

 

“Brian really picked some great songs for Justin.” I tell him as we dance.

 

“I think he just wanted to make sure everyone had something to dance to.” He tells me. 

 

“Okay guys, Brian asked me to get my butt up here and tell Molly and Brad this one is for you, and that we all approve of the possibility, including your mom and brother.” Ted announced.

 

“What is he talking about?” I ask Brad as ‘Love Story’ by Taylor Swift starts.

 

“Really Brian?” Brad asks as my brother-in-law walks up.

 

“I figured that Molly deserves to know you have the hots for her.” Brian tells him and walks away to dance with Mom.

 

“I swear, Brian must love messing with everyone.” I tell Brad who is looking really serious at me.

 

“He tends to try to throw the truth in our faces.” Brad tells me. 

 

“Then tell me your truth.” I ask this beautiful man.

 

“That I can see a future when I look in your eyes.” He tells me. 

 

“Then give me the love story.” I tell him and pull his lips to me.

 

BRIAN 

 

“Are you done setting the world up?” Justin asks me. 

 

“I just though Brad didn't need to take twelve years to ask her out.” I tell him. 

 

“Molly would have seen it eventually.” He tells me. 

 

“Only our family tree could twist this much.” I smirk. 

 

“I think we should add the new branch tonight.” Justin tells me. 

 

“I know the test I just took said I was clean but it's only one more month before the next one.” I tell him. 

 

“Brian, I trust you.” He tells me. 

 

“With your life?”I ask him.

 

“You are my life.” He tells me. 

 

“Dad can we have cake now?” Jacob asks Justin. 

 

“Sure, let's go see it.” Justin tells him. 

 

“Michael told us the pole was to keep the cake together.” Gus tells Justin as we walk up to it.

 

“Really Brian?” Justin stares at it.

 

“You were the hottest winner they ever had.” I smile as Justin stares at the six tier cake.

 

I wanted something that told our story. At least I didn’t put a guy in his underwear on the top, Emmett talked me out of doing it. The pole had a small cowboy hat leaning on it. There were two guys dancing in tuxedos with a dance floor under them behind the pole.

 

“I just thought you'd like to remember the night you showed me you weren’t scared to challenge me.” I tell him. 

 

“Can we eat it?” Jenny comes over with her empty wand.

 

“You're supposed to cut it, Uncle Emmett told us.” Jacob tells me. 

 

“We never cared for tradition, why start now.” Justin tells me. 

 

Justin and I pull the top tier off, and let the boys and Jenny help cut the rest. I looked at my boys as they cut pieces as big as they could for themselves. Justin grabbed a slice and shoved it in my protesting mouth and ran as I tried to give him a kiss. We were finally ready to go.     

 

I take his hand and walk over to tell the kids goodnight. Jen told me that Michael was taking Jenny tonight and she had the boys. Justin and I left everyone to whatever their night would bring.

 

“I want to be the one.” I tell Justin as we drive away.

 

“The one for what?” He asks me. 

 

“To carry our child.” I tell him. 

 

“Is there a reason you want to do it?” Justin asks me. 

 

“You looked so happy in the videos Daphne had of you being pregnant. You did what Emmett does, smiled and talked to the baby. I don't know what to say except that I want to experience it.” I tell him. 

“Then have my baby.” He tells me. 

 

“I'd be honored.” I tell him as we pull up to the loft.   

 

Emmett had Charles come here and make up the bed and stock us for breakfast in the morning. I pull Justin in and smile as he throws off his shirt. I start taking off my clothes and grab a bottle of water and pour it over me. Justin smiles as he lets me pull him to me and take off his clothes. We go to the shower and I wash him first. I wanted to touch every inch of the man that was now my husband. Justin grabbed the soap and started working on me. 

 

“What were you thinking that first morning?” He asks me. 

 

“That Anita really should have her ass kicked for the shit she sold me. Then ‘shit I'm a father’ came next. Then I saw you in the shower and stopped thinking.” I tell him. 

 

I pull him to me and remember how I couldn’t seem to get enough of him that night. Justin opens the door and grabs a towel, walking into the bedroom. I finish and grab a towel then follow him a few minutes later. I see him lighting candles around the bed.

 

“I always wanted to make love with candles being the only light.” He tells me. 

 

We get on the bed and face each other, “We can wait.” I tell him.

 

“I want it to be tonight.” He tells me. 

 

I pull Justin to me and hope we make our child tonight. My doctor cleared me and let me know I could father as well as be a father. Justin kissed down my chest until he reached my stomach and kissed it gently as if the baby was there. He continued down to my cock and wasted no time in swallowing me to the root. He slowly came up making his tongue massage my cock. I felt him bring his finger to open me for him. He’s the only one who ever got this privilege with me and knew I couldn’t just take him without some help. He continued to use his mouth as a distraction as he used his fingers to scissor me open. I started moving my hips because I wasn’t going to be able to hold back. I felt the moment when Justin would receive what he was working so hard for and pushed his hair back to warn him. Justin kept going until I gave him what he wanted. With one last thrust into his mouth I let go and felt him swallow me. We lay there for a second then I feel his lubed fingers re-enter me.

 

“Tell me when you feel ready for me.” He tells me.

 

“I’ve been ready the whole time.” I tell him.

 

 

Justin rubs against my entrance then begins the slow slide into me. I watch as pleasure washes over his face with each inch he adds. When he is finally all the way in he leans over me and begins moving until he sees he found the right place inside me to make me moan out loud as he uses his cock to stroke it. He starts moving faster and 

I reach to stroke myself with his rhythm. 

 

I was still high from my orgasam but everything he was doing felt good so I keep myself hard for him later. Justin thrust three more times and I feel him fill me with his warmth.

 

“It feels different, when you know there could be a life.” I tell him as he pants on my chest.

 

 

 

 


Chapter 33 by starlight

JUSTIN 

 

I was putting the finishing touches on the last painting for the Warhol exhibit when Jacob comes running into the loft with Gus behind him. Jenny was walking in with Brian and Michael.

 

“Dad, we have to go.” Jacob tells me excited.

 

“Where?” I ask him. 

 

“To see a baby being born.” He tells me. 

 

“Emmett is being taken in right now.” Michael tells me. 

 

“I wanted to go see the baby coming out.” Jacob tells me. 

 

“Jacob, the doctor has to do it. It's not like the video you guys saw about women.” I tell him. 

 

“I'm okay with seeing blood.” He tells me. 

 

“I'm not really good with blood.” Gus tells him. 

 

“No one is going to see it.” Brian tells them. 

 

“But Daddy…” He pouts.

 

“The baby will already be out by the time we get there, so no use in begging.” Michael tells him.

 

“If only I could have gone with Uncle Drew.” Jacob muttered.

 

“Just be happy we get to meet your cousin.” I tell him. 

 

I drop the cloth back over my painting and wash up, so we can go. Brian told Michael to get the kids in the car. I smile as I put my stuff in the cabinets Brian had installed.

 

“Ready to meet the newest edition to the family?” I ask him. 

 

“What’s that smell?” Brian wrinkles his nose.

 

I sniff but other than the paint fumes I don't smell anything. 

 

“The paint?” I ask him. 

 

“No, I'm used to that, it smells like something rotten.” He tells me as he walks around sniffing. He gets to the cabinet the kids play in and starts gagging and runs to the bathroom. I look and see where Jacob hid the veggie wrap I thought he threw away. It's not pleasant to look at but doesn't smell that bad. I grab a paper towel and throw it in the garbage.

 

“Get it out of here.” Brian yells from the bathroom. 

 

I take the trash out and throw it down the chute. Brian can be prissy about cleaning. 

 

“Brian we need to go.” I tell him walking in the bathroom.

 

“I don’t know if I can move.” He tells me hanging over the toilet.

 

“You'll survive, it's only six months of fun.” I smile at him.

 

“Only you could fuc… make twins.” He tells me.

 

“I didn’t do it on purpose.” I tell him. 

 

“I better not get as huge as Emmett.” He tells me. 

 

“Dad, Uncle Emmett said he wasn't having the baby.” Jacob runs back in to tell me. 

 

“Did the doctor change his mind?” I ask Michael when he comes in.

 

“No, the Queen said he wasn't giving birth unless he was married.” Michael tells me. 

 

“He couldn’t think of this before now?” I ask.

 

“Your mom is trying to convince him to let the doctor take the baby. Emmett’s locked in the bathroom.” Michael tells me. 

 

“Brian, we need to go.” I tell him. 

 

“You know I was jealous when you told me about having the babies, but now I'm just thrilled I'm not you.” Michael teases Brian. 

 

“I could arrange for you to join me. I'm sure the clinic has a sample of someone who looks enough like Ben to knock your ass up.” Brian growls. 

 

Michael and I smirk at each other, we both know Brian’s just cranky.

 

Michael and I seem to have found a way to be friends. He came to see me at the loft a week after the wedding and asked if we could talk.

 

“I came because you deserve to hear me apologize for everything.” He told me. 

 

“Michael, let it go. We all did things wrong.” I answered him. 

 

“I just feel like what I did caused everything.” 

 

“It didn't help, but Brian and I caused our own issues too.”  

 

“I want us to be friends and in order for us to work towards that I think you need to hear that I'm sincere.” 

 

“If you really think you need to tell me, I'll listen.” I decide if he needs to tell me, then I should listen. 

 

“I hated you because in my eyes everything came so easy for you. I felt like everyone was being taken from me. The thing is they were all still there, but I no longer had all their attention. I left and came back and it was like they had moved on without me. It seemed like you replaced me in all their eyes. Then Brian was distancing himself from me too. I think the night we went out after I got back was when it really hit home. I was partying hard and they all didn't seem to want to be there, I tried to get Brian to dance with me and he turned me down. I even used the fact that he liked to dance with you to try to get him to dance. It was then I knew he loved you because he walked away from me like I was shit on the bottom of his shoe for bringing you up that way. In a way, I used the whole Ben sleeping with Brian to get attention from Brian. I'm not proud of the fact that I knew you were standing outside the shop watching me make an idiot out of myself, but at the time I thought Brian would be happy that you were gone. In my screwed up mind, he’d want me if you left. When you were gone, I let myself believe it was the only thing getting in my way. I knew that he never loved me the way he loved you, but I was willing to be second if he would give me the chance. I spent years trying to win something I wasn’t even in the running for. I feel so stupid and ashamed for trying to use Gus to get to Brian. Something a parent should know better than to do. Watching you treat my daughter like she was yours changed me. Here I am trying to play games with Gus and you're raising my daughter and treating her as if she was yours. My daughter was talking about how you make breakfast and listen to all of them, like what they want was the most important thing to you. You could have used my shop having problems and Jenny to get back at me but you didn't. Instead you forced me to hear what I've been ignoring for years, that I was hanging on to something that was really just fool’s gold. I want to thank you for making me see that my daughter deserves a better father.” He tells me. 

 

“Michael, the one thing I can say is you are a good father, because Jenny loves you. I had nothing to do with it.” I tell him honestly.

 

“I want to be a great father to her.” He tells me. 

 

“I think you're already there.” I tell him. 

 

“Maybe one day I'll make a good friend to you too.”  

 

After that we started working on accomplishing that goal and we are there as we watch Brian clean up.

 

EMMETT 

 

I was locked in the bathroom, trying to convince everyone that Drew and I should be married now, before the baby is born. Deb and Jen keep telling me that it wouldn't be the end of the world to have the baby first.

 

“I just want the baby to know that we were married first.” I tell them. 

 

“Emmett, there isn't a stigma on being unmarried like when I had Michael.” Deb tells me through the door.

 

“I know, but I want to be married.” I tell her. 

 

“Is he still in there?” I hear Justin ask.

 

“He said he won’t come out unless he gets married.” Jen tells Justin. 

 

“Emmett can I come in?” Justin asks me. 

 

“I won’t come out unless I get married.” I tell him. 

 

“I promise not to make you come out.” He tells me. 

 

I open the door and let Justin squeeze in. 

 

“Why now?” He asks me. 

 

“I want to give my baby everything.” I tell him. 

 

“Okay, stay here.” He tells me and walks out.

 

I wait for a few minutes and Drew opens the door and comes in.

 

“Emmett, I checked and it isn't possible to get married right now. We have to get a license first. Brian and Justin suggested that if you want, we could tell each other the words. Brian told me to tell you they are what made him feel married.” He tells me. 

 

“Emmett, when we met you were everything I wanted and was afraid to have. You gave me the courage to stand and stop hiding from myself. When you let me go, I wanted you to tell me to stay. It just wasn’t the right time. I tried to do what you told me to, but everything felt wrong because I wasn’t with you. With the help of your best friend, I got you back. Ted told me that I should either leave you forever or take the chance you could still love me. I knew in that moment I need you. You're my life, and the minute we can get married I promise to make you legally my husband, but right now you already are.” He tells me. 

 

“Drew, you've given me everything by just sitting at my side. I prayed you'd come back to me someday. When you did, I knew I was just waiting for the life we were going to have together. You've made everyday special by loving me. We are about to bring our son into this amazing life and I'm proud you’re the one who he will have as a father. So I promise that when we can we'll legally do what our words just did.” I tell him. 

 

“Then let's meet our son.” He tells me. 

 

I let him help me up and walk out to see the family waiting.

 

“I think I'll let the doctor bring our newest family member home.” I tell them. 

 

“I know you all want to stay but I need to get this baby out, so I ask that everyone leave so my staff can get this show on the road.” The doctor tells us. 

 

I laid down and let them do what needed to be done to bring my child into the world. Drew held my hand and waited with me for the first sight of our child. 

 

“Here he comes.” Drew whispers to me.

 

I hear the most beautiful sound in the world minutes later, my son cries. The nurse brought him to us and I look at the face that we created.

 

“Have you thought of a name?” The nurse asks us.

 

“Theodore Aidan Boyd.” I tell her. 

 

“Ted deserves it.” Drew tells me. 

 

“So does Brian.” I tell him. 

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 34 by starlight
Author's Notes:

After thinking long about this I decided to give you your wish cookiebun

JUSTIN

 

I told myself I love this man, but even that's a bit shaky right now. His queening out over ten pounds made me reevaluate the idea that Brian could do this.

 

“Mr Kinney, you should be twice your weight at seven months.” The doctor tells him.

 

“I'm just trying to figure out how I gained ten pounds in a month.” Brian tells him.

 

“The babies are growing, so you're gaining weight.” I tell him slowly. 

 

“I have managed to only put on ten pounds in six months and suddenly I gain ten more in one. YOU CAN'T SAY THAT MAKES ANY SENSE.” He yells at us.

 

“Mr Kinney it's normal for you to gain weight. It’s the weight of the babies.” The doctor tells him.

 

“Do you understand that this body was crafted to be perfect? Ten pounds will ruin the lines on the Armani suit I just had made.” Brian  complains. 

 

“I'm so sorry our children are ruining your fashion statement.” I sneer and get up and leave the office. 

 

I waited outside for Brian to waddle his butt to the car. I see Brian pouting when he comes outside. I waited for him to get to the car and opened his door. He sits down and watches as I walk around and get in the driver's side.   

 

“Are you going to pout the whole way home?” I ask him. 

 

“YES!” He shouts and turns to look out the car window.

 

“Then you can stay at Michael and Ben’s house.” I tell him. 

 

“This is all your fault.” Brian pouts.

 

“Yes, so you've told me.” I tell him. 

 

“I just wanted to make sure you know.” He tells me. 

 

“How could I forget, you're whining about it every minute of the day.” I tell him. 

 

“I want to go home.” He tells me. 

 

“Fine we'll go home.” I tell him smiling. 

 

“Thanks for not kissing my ass.” He tells me. 

 

“I decided that you have too many people kissing your ass already. Unlike them, I know you well enough to know you’re using this to get them to do your bidding.” I tell him. 

 

“You have to admit it's fun to watch everyone scrambling to take care of me.” He tells me. 

 

“I still don’t understand how they haven't figured out that you're fucking with them. Although telling them that your children will not wear discount retail was genius.” I tell him. 

 

“It got them to stop buying clothes with all the fucking clowns on them. Who likes creepy ass clowns?” Brian shivers.

 

Brian apparently has a phobia of clowns. He told everyone one more outfit with a clown on it and we were moving to New York. I agreed when Deb showed up with two outfits that had a clown face on the back of the pants with the saying “hope you appreciate my present” and the clown with a creepy smile. What would make someone create something like that, or Deb to think Brian would love it?

 

“Can we stop at the store?” He asks me. 

 

“Brian, the woman there is ready to kick our asses. You keep changing your mind about the cribs.” I tell him. 

 

“They look like cages.” He tells me. 

 

“It's to keep the babies from falling.” I tell him. 

 

“Wouldn’t it be better for them to sleep with us?” He asks me. 

 

“We've talked about this, the babies need to sleep in their own beds.” I tell him. 

 

“I want them close by, not in another room.” He tells me. 

 

You know when I said I like Michael, well I changed my mind. He and Brian have been comparing books on parenting. Brian of course reads all the things that could go wrong and spends hours trying to find solutions to problems that don't exist. I keep telling myself two more months and then Brian will be normal again. Well I’m hoping so anyway.

 

“I just want to protect them and I can't if they are in the other room.” He tells me. 

 

“How about we go home and look at the room again. If I can't convince you the babies will be okay then we'll think about putting the cribs in our room.” I tell him. 

 

“At least there I can see them the whole time.” He mumbles.

 

We get to the house and everyone is waiting, the gang wanted to do something for Brian but we all know better than to throw a party. Brian finally explained why he hates celebrating anything, and if I could dig Jack up I would. I am no longer surprised at the shit his parents did. I wouldn't want to celebrate anything either if every party turned into a reason to beat my ass. So I told them to help me set up the room and pretend it's a baby shower. 

 

“I don’t want a party.” Brian tells me as soon as he see all the cars.

 

“It's not, I just needed some help with the house.” I tell him. 

 

“After your last show I told you not to help Murph if you're too busy.” He tells me. 

 

“We won the account and I promised you I'd pace myself. It's not like I'm having twins. Brian you're the one who needs to slow down, you’re working fifty hours a week and still trying to do things with the boys the rest of the time.” I tell him. 

 

“Emmett and John are helping me with the boys.” He argues. 

 

“We should have waited for the twins.” I tell him. 

 

“I'm already in my forties, I wanted us to get this over with.” He tells me.

 

“You do realize as long as this is only one, we can change our names to the Brady Bunch.” I tell him, holding my still flat stomach. 

 

“I just wanted to even the boy to girl ratio.” He smirks. 

 

We found out that Brian was carrying girls and I thought he'd be happy with that, but no, he gets the idea we need another boy. So like the romantic I am, I thought sure, we can do that. What I didn’t count on was Brian deciding that we should do it now. I really thought it would take longer to get pregnant again, but apparently fertility wasn’t an issue for either of us. We've been seeing our doctor practically every two weeks. I'm only starting my fourth month. Which makes our house all kinds of fun. 

 

“Come on, I want you to see my compromise on the cribs.” I tell him. 

 

Emmett was standing by the door with John, they managed not to giggle at Brian waddling in the door. 

 

“Miles got it done.” John tells me. 

 

“Is it a mess up there? Because he wasn't thrilled to find out he gained ten pounds.” I tell him. 

 

“I think I hate him, I gained like forty pounds and he’s having two. How is that fair?” Emmett tells me.

 

“You also slacked off and ate muffins like they were going out of style.” I remind him.

 

“Drew should have kept them away.” Emmett tells me.

 

“Weren’t you the one making Justin drive you to the bakery?” John asks Emmett.

 

“I can’t blame Baby, so Drew gets to be the one.” Emmett tells him like there was any logic to it.

 

I walk away and head up the stairs to see if Brian can be happy with the babies room. Miles is standing with Michael shaking their heads at the door.

 

“He locked us out.” Michael tells me.

 

“Where’s Ben?” I ask him.

 

“He let Ben stay, he said that Ben wouldn’t make fun of him.” Miles tells me.

 

I knock on the door and Ben opens it with his lips pressed together, trying to hold it in.

 

“He doesn’t want anyone to see him but you.” He tells me.

 

I walk into see Brian laying on the bed with a pillow over his head. Shit, I was hoping putting a connecting door to our bedroom would be okay. I ordered the cribs that he seemed to like and all the accessories. With us having an appointment in the afternoon, I’d hoped it gave the guys enough time to get everything done. I wanted Brian to be able to relax about the room.

 

“If you don’t like it, we can change anything.” I tell him as I pull the pillow off his head.   

 

“It’s not that.” He sniffles and Ben snorts.

 

“Then what?” I ask him.

 

“You made it perfect. It was the best thing anyone has ever done for me.” He tells me, putting his head in my lap.

 

“I wanted you to stop trying to do it all.” I tell him running my hands through his hair.

 

“But how do I top that, when this one comes?” He asks me, putting his hand on my stomach.

 

“You don’t we just add the crib that’s in storage.” I tell him.

 

“I’m assuming you didn’t want anybody to know?” Ben asks me.

 

“I want this to be about the twins. This one won’t be born for five more months.” I tell Ben.

 

“I think we should just tell everyone.” Brian tells me.

 

“We will, but I want to find out what this one is first.” I tell him.

 

“It’s a boy, I already told you that.” He tells me.

 

“I’ll tell everyone to start lunch, you two come down when you're ready. I’m happy for you two.” Ben tells us.

 

“Good, because you are going to have to be the parent who keeps the rest of us from going off the rails.” Brian tells him.

 

“I’m good with that.” Ben smiles and runs his hand over Brian’s head.

 

Ben and Brian were able to bury the hatchet. Ben told Brian that part of his problem was that he still loved Michael, but couldn’t see a future with Michael after all that happened. When Ben came back and started dating Kevin, he told us that while fun, that was all it was. Ben and Michael just recently moved in together, after dating for a while. Ben was thrilled that Michael was more interested in talking about Jenny then anything else. He told us that this was the person he always hoped Michael would be. We all started hanging out and Michael showed Ben that he grew up. It went a long way in helping Brian and Ben develop a friendship. 

 

“Can we look? I haven’t seen it yet.” I ask Brian.

 

I help him off the bed and we walk through the new door next to his side of the bed. I see the oak circular dark brown cribs and look to see that John put pictures of everyone in frames all over the walls. I put in an ocean blue carpet and had Miles paint the walls off white. 

 

“I didn’t want the room to become too busy.” I tell him.

 

“What’s on the ceiling?” Brian asks me.

 

“Sit in the rocking chair and let me close the curtains.” I tell him.   

 

I close the curtains and turn off the light. I go to the projector on the dresser and turn it on. We are surrounded by stars.

“I thought that while we took care of the babies we could dance with them under the stars.” I tell him.

 

Brian gets up and we start dancing around the room together. I wanted to remind him that he was the one who made me believe in us when we danced together in my backyard.

 

BRIAN

 

Gus, Jacob, and Jenny seem to think I don’t know they are laughing at me when I waddle in every morning for breakfast. Justin comes in behind me with his unopened eyes and pouts at the decaf we have to drink. I keep reminding him that I get real coffee soon. Well I do it in my head, because I want waffles too.

 

“Daddy, can we talk about me watching you have the babies.” Jacob asks me with his head still down on the table.

 

“You are staying with your Grandmother.” Justin tells him.

 

“I was just hoping to change DADDY’S mind. I have two more months to do it.” He tells Justin.

 

“This is why I told you to not let them watch gory movies.” Justin tells me.

 

“I just want to see if it looks anything like the movies.” Jacob tells me.

 

“I think it would be better to see the babies cleaned without all the gunk.” Gus mumbles, still sleeping.

 

“Which you will, because you have to wait until you have your own to see the whole thing.” Justin yawns and leans against the cabinet, closing his eyes while the waffles cook.

 

“Can we have a princess party when they’re born? I can ask Uncle Drew to get me another wand.” Jenny asks excited.

 

“Yeah and this time we know how to get it to work.” Gus tells Jacob and closes his eyes again.

 

I lay my head on the table next to Gus and think, sleepy breakfast isn’t such a bad thing. 


Chapter 35 by starlight

BRIAN 

 

I snuck into the kitchen to see if there were any brownies left. Justin’s been hiding all the good stuff, saying that he needs it more. I waddle to the cabinet I saw him put something in secretly. I smile at the plate covered with brownies. 

 

I couldn’t sleep tonight, part of it is the girls are really active tonight. The other part is that Justin’s birthday is tomorrow and I wanted to do something for it. Justin told me that he didn’t want anything. I think he’s worried that I’m still doing too much. I got him a new car but feel like it’s not special enough for him. He told me that with the girls coming anytime now, not to worry about it. I wonder if the fact that I don’t celebrate makes him not want to. We planned a party for Jacob for his birthday next month, but when I asked Justin what he wanted he said not to do anything. I even asked Jen about it and she told me he never really celebrated anything but Jacob’s birthday. Daphne finally told me that when they were growing up it was just her and Justin, so they just hung out together on his birthday. I never thought about the fact that Justin never had other friends around.

 

“Brian, those were mine.” He tells me.

 

“I just needed something to help me sleep.” I tell him.

 

“So you picked brownies?” He asks me.

 

“Your daughters insisted… fuck they kick like soccer players.” I tell him.

 

“Brian, are you okay?” Justin comes to me as I hold my stomach.

 

“I just don’t get why it keeps hurting.” I tell him.

 

“We need to call the doctor, you shouldn’t be in pain.” Justin tells me as I gasp again.

 

Justin calls the doctor and tells me that he will meet us at the emergency room. I start to really worry because there isn’t supposed to be any cramping. Justin runs up the stairs calling Michael to see if he can meet us and the kids there. I walk slowly to the car and wait in the passenger seat as the kids sleepily walk to the new car. 

 

“I was going to surprise you in the morning, Happy Birthday.” I tell him.

 

“I love it, but let's get to the hospital. Michael and Ben will be waiting for us.” Justin tells me, looking worried.

 

We drive to the hospital and the doctor has me taken straight in. They start attaching monitors to me and Justin and Jacob walk in.

 

“Dad said I could stay until you make me leave.” Jacob smiles.

 

“Has the doctor told you anything?” Justin walks over to hold my hand.

 

“I was just about to check what’s going on.” The doctor comes in followed by the ultrasound tech.

 

We wait as they start running the wand over my stomach. Another cramp started and the doctor stops the tech.

 

“I think it’s time.” He tells us.

 

“You said another week.” Justin tells him.

 

“The girls are ready to come out. The cramping is just his body’s way of telling us.” He tells us.

 

“PLEASE LET ME WATCH.” Jacob begs us.

 

“I don’t have a problem with that, but it’s up to you.” I tell Justin.

 

“If you can’t handle it then you need to tell us.” Justin tells Jacob.

 

The nurse takes them out of the room to prepare me to have the girls. Justin returns with Jacob who is vibrating with excitement.

 

“I think I want to be a doctor.” Jacob tells us as he watches the staff in the room.

 

I smile at the idea of my son becoming a doctor. The doctor tells Jacob everything he’s doing and Jacob seems to think it’s fascinating. 

 

“Baby girl one is out.” Jacob comes to tell me before running back to see her.

 

“We’re almost done, one more.” The doctor tells me.

 

“I was looking at the baby the nurse was holding. “Why isn’t she crying?” I ask Justin, then she lets out a yell.

 

“Dad, I think they lied to you. Number two isn’t a girl.” Jacob informs me.

 

“What?” I ask.

 

“It’s a girl, that was the umbilical cord.” The doctor tells Jacob.

 

“I was kind of jealous for a second.” Jacob giggles.

 

“Jacob, why don’t you go out and let everyone know that the girls are here.” Justin says blushing.

 

“You realize he was kidding right.” I tell him.

 

“I realize he spends too much time with you.” Justin tells me kissing my head.

 

“You ready to hold your daughters?” The nurse tells us.

 

I look up as the nurse hands me one and Justin the other. “I couldn’t figure out what to get you for your birthday.” I tell him.

 

“I have everything already.” Justin kisses me and shows me the baby he’s holding.

 

“Now you have two people to celebrate with. Happy Birthday Dad.” I tell him.

 

“It’s the best present you’ve ever given me.” He tells me.

 

“Are you going to get the kids?” I ask him.

 

“Have you decided on names?” The nurse interrupts us.

 

“We wanted to let our other children help.” Justin tells her.

 

“Let me finish up and you can meet them in the room.” The doctor tells Justin.

 

JUSTIN

 

Michael and Ben come in with the kids as the nurse brings in the girls. We wanted the kids involved as much as possible. With everything that happened we wanted them to know they were important too.

 

“They’re really tiny.” Jenny tells us. 

 

“You were too.” Michael tells her. 

 

“You really want us to name them?” Gus asks us.

 

“Justin named you, so it's your turn.” Michael tells him.

 

“But it's too important.” Gus tells us.

 

“I want Charlotte.” Jenny tells us. 

 

“Jacob, what about you?” Brian asks him. 

 

“I want to name Dad's baby.” He tells us surprising Michael. 

 

“Why didn't you tell me?” Michael asks me.

 

“I was going to tell you for your birthday. I figured you could be the one that tells everyone. ” I tell a smiling Michael. 

 

“I totally forgot it's your birthday.” Michael tells him.

 

“I doubt you could top Brian’s present.” I pick up one of the girls.

 

“Welcome to this family, Charlotte.” I tell the baby.

 

“You really mean she gets the name I picked?” Jenny jumps up and down. 

 

“I think it's a great name.” Brian tells her. 

 

“So Gus, it's up to you.” I tell him. 

 

Gus walks over and looks down at his sister. He seems to be really thinking hard about this. 

 

“Gus, they'll love it.” Jacob tells him. 

 

“Are you sure?” Gus ask Jacob.

 

“If you tell them why.” Jacob tells him.

 

“I wanted to name her something that would have a meaning.” He tells us.

 

“What meaning did you want?” Brian ask him.

 

“She who brings happiness.” Gus tells us.

 

“Did you find a name for that?” I ask him.

 

“Beatrix, but if you don’t like it…” Gus looks down at the floor.

 

I walk over to him and lift his face to me.”I think it’s wonderful that you thought so hard about Beatrix’s name.” I tell him and pull him in my arms.

 

“So Michael, what’s her middle name?” I ask him.

 

“What?” He asks us.

 

“Jenny picked Charlotte, you get to pick the middle name.” Brian tells him.

 

“Ben you get to pick for Beatrix.” I tell Ben.

 

“Can we name Charlotte after Vic?” Michael asks us.

 

“Charlotte Victoria, sounds like we have your name.” Brian tells him.

 

“Solana, it means sunshine.” Ben smiles at me.

 

“Beatrix Solana, it’s a big name to live up to, but my daughter will.” Brian tells them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 36 by starlight

JUSTIN

 

 

We got home to Mom and Deb waiting for us. Michael and Ben drove the kids home so Brian could sit with the girls. I was glad to leave the hospital because the nurses seemed to think that Brian was their only patient. It was like everything he did was just wonderful. Any other patient would have had the nurses running away, but when Brian did it the nurses were delighted.

 

“Brian, I know you didn’t want a party but everyone wants to celebrate the new babies.” My mother told him.

 

“Then let them.” Brian tells her and heads up the stairs with the girls in his arms.

 

“Brian, do you want me to help you get them settled?” I ask him.

 

“I’m good, help your mom.” He tells me and keeps going.

 

“What the heck was that?” Deb asks watching Brian in his own world.

 

“That’s what it’s been like for the last two days. He won’t let anyone help him with Beatrix and Charlotte.” I tell them.

 

“Justin, trust me, when he wants sleep, he’s going to let you help.” Mom tells me.

 

“Justin, you know Brian has always been protective.” Deb tells me.

 

“At least he let the kids do things, he keeps telling me I have enough on my plate.” I tell them absently.

 

“Did you get another show?” Mom asks me.

 

“I’ve just been busy with Kinnetik.” I tell them, not wanting to ruin Michael’s moment.

 

“Really, because I would bet he was worried about something else.” Deb tells me looking at my hand on my stomach.

 

“Deb, let your son tell everyone.” I tell her.

 

“Tell… Justin… why didn’t you tell me?” My mom smiles and pulls me in a hug.

 

“I wanted it to be about Brian and the girls.” I tell her.

 

“We’ll pretend to be surprised for my son’s sake.” Deb smiles and hugs me too.

 

I let the moms finish with the food and go upstairs to see what’s taking Brian so long. I walk in the bedroom to see him laying on the bed with the girls. He surrounded them with pillows on my side and used himself as the buffer for his side.

 

“You’re determined to have them here aren’t you?” I ask as I move the pillows so I can lay next to Charlotte.

 

“I just wanted them here for now.” He tells me as he watches them sleep.

 

“You have to start letting me help you with them.” I tell him.

 

“I wasn’t trying to keep you out of it, but this is the first time I’ve gotten to be here from the start.” He tells me.

 

“So, it’s just you wanting to do all the things you never got to do?” I ask him.

 

“Yes, and when you have the next one, I get to do it again.” He smiles at me.

 

Now I understand why he’s been hovering, because this time he’s not a visitor in his brand new child's life but the person who gets to do it all. 

 

“You’ve always been a good father.” I tell him.

 

“I always thought that if I was able to have my own child, you would be a great person to have them with.” Brian smiles at Charlotte and Beatrix.

 

We hear the boys and Jenny coming in the room. The three of them stand at the end of the bed staring.

 

“Just get on, but watch out for the babies.” Brian tells them. 

 

They all climb on the end and lay down together at the twins feet, watching the girls sleep. Brian is smiling and looking so content. I look at the bed and all of us laying together and know this is one I have to paint.

 

BRIAN

 

I must have fallen asleep because I woke up alone in bed. I hear everyone in the other room, but I just want to lay and listen because this is what I always dreamed having my own family would be like. Jen came in the room and sat on the bed. I did something I’m sure surprised her and put my head on her lap. I think I just needed a mom right then. Jen put her hand on my head and started running her fingers through my hair.

 

“Thank-you for my granddaughters.” She tells me.

 

“It’s strange, because I grew up thinking that I would never want kids.” I tell her.

 

“I alway thought if anyone would be a great father, it would be you.” She tells me.

 

I look up at her because I was surprised by her thinking that.

 

“Why?” I ask her.

 

“Brian, no matter what, you were there for Gus. He might not have known, but it’s all the things you did. You supported him financially when you couldn’t even see him. I watched you accept Jacob and try to make up for the years you weren’t there. Jenny doesn’t even seem to realize that you and Justin aren’t her fathers. Those  are the little things that make me believe you’re a great father. The big things are that you took care of anyone who entered your world. You could have left Justin to figure out his own way, but stayed with him to keep him from being hurt. I always got to hear how selfish you were, but not one of them ever stopped to think about how each of their lives were better because you were in it. I know, I was one of those people, until I really paid attention to the things you do.” She tells me.

 

“Jen, I was selfish.” I tell her.

 

“Brian, you went out of your way to make sure everyone had what they wanted and never expected anything in return. That’s selfless, not selfish. My son couldn’t have picked a better husband for himself or father for his children. I’m proud to have you as my son.” She tells me.

 

“I’m glad to have you as my mother.” I tell her.

 

“As your mom, we need to go down and let your whole family celebrate with you.” She tells me.

 

I get up and follow her down the stairs to see Justin and Emmett putting three cakes on the table. I looked and realized Justin is getting a birthday party after all. The big cake is for the girls and the last one is for Ben, who apparently was born the same day as Justin.

 

MICHAEL

 

Justin came up and told Ben and John to bring the girls down in a few minutes and grabbed me towing me out of the room.

 

“Come on Mikey, we have to get Ben’s present.” Justin tells me.

 

“What do you mean Ben’s present? I had a small party at home for him.” I tell him.

 

“Do you honestly think everything is going to be about Brian and me?” He tells me.

 

“You just had kids, so of course.” I tell him.

 

“Just come on.” He drags me to a spare room.

 

“Are you giving him one of your paintings?” I ask because his paintings are worth a lot.

 

“No, but if you want one let me know.” Justin tells me.

 

“Then what?” I ask him.

 

“Brian and I wanted to give you two tickets to Tibet. You are giving him the tickets, so don’t argue with me.” Justin tells me.

 

“Justin, you and Brian should give them to him.” I tell him.

 

“I want you to do it.” He tells me.

 

“Why did we sneak off?” I ask because he could have handed it to me.

 

“Because I wanted to give you something else.” He tells me.

 

“Justin, you don’t have to do anything else for me. I should be the one doing those things for you.” I tell him.

 

“I think that you deserve this for changing your life.” He tells me.

 

Justin drags a big box out of the closet. I help him and it’s really kind of heavy. 

 

“Just take what’s in there without argument. It took me months to find it all.” He tells me.

 

Opening the top the first thing I see is Captain Astro issue one. I start looking through the box and it’s all the things I sold to see Jenny. There are even things I’ve wanted but never could afford.

 

“Why?” I ask, sitting down on the bed and trying not to cry.

 

“I wanted to give my friend things that made him happy.” He tells me and sits next to me.

 

“I feel so stupid that I never tried to be your friend.” I tell him.

 

“You shouldn’t, it wasn’t like I made it easy on you. I was jealous of your friendship with him too. In a way we all needed to grow up, and we finally did. I was thinking that maybe you and I could work on creating a comic together.” He tells me.

 

“Seriously?” I ask him.

 

“We could have a superhero, one who not only saves people but learns along the way. I think we should have a hero who doesn’t start out a hero, but becomes one for his daughter.” He tells me.

 

“You know I kind of love you.” I tell him.

 

“Just don’t let Brian hear that.” He jokes.

 

Gus comes in and looks at us. “Why are you two crying?” He asks us.

 

“Allergies.” I tell him.

 

“I came to tell you that there is a lot of cake and I want it.” He tells us.

 

“I think he get’s his eating habits from you.” I tell Justin.

 

“Well if you had seen Brian in the middle of the night lately, you might change your mind. You should have seen him with three brownies just before the girls were born, talking to them as he bit into each one.” Justin tells me, as I pull him up.

 

“What was he saying to brownies?” I ask him.

 

“He was telling them they were taking one for the girls.” Justin giggles.

 

BEN

 

John and I were bringing the girls down when we see Michael and Justin giggling with each other and running ahead of us.

 

“That is one friendship I don’t think anyone thought they would ever see.” John tells me.

 

“I always thought that they should have been friends.” I tell him. 

 

“Why?” He asks me 

 

“Because it wouldn't have been codependency making them friends. Michael would have had a friend who didn’t let him get away with being needy.” I tell him. 

 

“What would Justin have gotten out of it?” He asks me. 

 

“Justin would have had someone who let him play. Justin was always trying to grow up too fast. Daphne didn’t stop Justin from doing anything, but Michael would have at least tried to.” I tell him.

 

“How have things been going for you and Michael?” He asks me.

 

“It's what I alway hoped we could be like. It's about us.” I tell him. 

 

“Could you two hurry, there’s cake.” Gus scowls at us as he walks by.

 

“He’s really got the Kinney scowl down.” I tell John.

 

“Imagine what these two will be like later.” John tells me.

 

We get to the kitchen and Brian walks over to get Charlotte from me. Justin grabs Beatrix from John. I smile at the way they both seem to know which one is which.

 

BRIAN

 

Justin tells me that he got Michael to agree to give Ben the tickets. Everyone sings Happy Birthday to Ben and Justin. The boys just seemed happy to get the cake cut. I watched as my family celebrated being a family. Looking outside I see Lindsay looking through the window, and if she wants to continue being on the outside of life then she can stay there. 

 

Justin looks to see what I’m looking at and I can see he wants to talk to her, but not today.

 

“You can’t solve everything for everyone.” I tell him.

 

“I can’t really help her, Michael at least could see what he was headed for. Lindsay is going to be stuck in her world, because she doesn’t see what she’s doing.” He tells me.

 

“If she keeps showing up uninvited I might have to do something about it.” I tell him.

 

“Let me deal with her.” Jen tells me.

 

“Let her see what she’s missing.” Deb tells her.

 

“She already does, but doesn’t seem to understand it.” Jen tells her.

 

“Nothing anyone tells her is getting through her head.” I tell Jen.

 

“Maybe she needs to hear it from someone who hasn’t said it to her.” Jen tells me and walks out the back.

 

“Your mother really thinks she can say something that will get Lindsay to stop acting like it’s all our fault she doesn’t have the life she wants?” Deb asks Justin.

 

“I think my mother understands the world Lindsay lives in. My mom grew up in it.” Justin tells Deb.

 

JEN

 

When I come outside, Lindsay starts to leave.

 

“Lindsay, can we talk?” I ask her.

 

“I just wanted to see Gus.” She tells me.

 

“I’d believe that if you were looking at Gus.” I tell her.

 

“You wouldn’t understand, you managed to get what you wanted.” She tells me.

 

“I worked to get what I want, all you seem to do is think that it should be handed to you.” I tell her.

 

“I’ve worked hard to be an artist but I keep being told I’m not talented enough. I would have given Brian everything if he would have looked at me the way he does Justin. Instead of helping me, Brian turned his back on the friendship I gave him.” She tells me.

 

“You think Justin got everything handed to him? My son was almost killed and instead of wallowing in it, he worked hard to get better. He was already talented but had to find a new way to create, he didn’t let anyone tell him he wasn’t talented, but kept going. Brian looks at Justin that way because Justin isn’t sitting around whining about not getting what he wants, he works and pushes to get it. Brian didn’t turn his back on you but realized if he wanted to have a family, he couldn’t keep the people around that would just keep dragging him down.” I tell her.

 

“Yet Michael is back in his life.” She rolls her eyes.

 

“Michael finally got a clue, when are you going to get one?” I ask her.

 

“Brian will realize that I was right, and then I’ll be the one in the house, not your son.” She tells me.

 

“I came out here to try to talk to you, but you know what, I don’t think you’ll ever get it.” I tell her.

 

“Get what?” She asks me.

 

“That life isn’t about getting what you want but working for the things you deserve. In case you haven’t gotten it through your head, Brian is gay and madly in love with my son, and that isn’t going to change Wendy.” I tell her and walk off to join my family.    

 

I walked in to Justin pushing Michael to the center of the group. I hoped this would be a chance to celebrate the new life Justin was carrying.

 

“Justin let me in on a secret. So I get to tell you all, that we’re all having a new baby in three more months. Congratulations to Brian and Justin for adding to this already great family. I also want to tell Emmett I'm happy for him and Drew too.” Michael smiles at them.

 

I hug Deb, because even if she doesn’t realize it Michael grew up to be a great adult.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 37 by starlight

BRIAN

 

I had to fight with Justin to keep him from coming to the trial today. I didn’t want him listening to what was happening. Justin finally agreed to stay home because he was really too pregnant to come. I couldn’t believe they took close to a year to even get to trial. Brad and I walk in to see Chris sitting behind his family. Russo was sitting with them and Mel was by herself with her lawyer. 

 

“They better not just hang Mel.” I tell Brad.

 

“Brian she is going to serve time regardless of what happens to everyone else.” He tells me.

 

“How much you want to bet me that they get a slap on the wrist and Mel goes down for this?” I ask him.

 

“Brian, give justice a chance.” I tell him.

 

We sit while the lawyers talk with the judge. I wait to see them called to testify and find out that none of them are willing. The judge then asks for a moment to review the case files again and leaves the courtroom.

 

“Why aren’t any of them testifying?” I ask Brad.

 

“They are within their rights not to.” He tells me.

 

I hear the doors open and turn to see Justin come in and head to the DA’s table. What the hell is he doing? Michael is running in behind him.

 

“Michael, what the hell is he doing here?” I whisper to him.

 

“He said that he wasn’t going to sit back and let people get away with bashing him again. Brian, he needs to do this.” Michael tells me.

 

I sat there and waited to see if they were going to let Justin get involved. The DA hands a piece of paper to the bailiff and he leaves the room. I see Chris staring at Justin and don’t like the way the son-of-a-bitch is looking at him. 

 

“Brad, we might have to get Justin away from here.” I tell him.

 

“Why? This could help more than hurt.” He tells me.

 

“Chris is looking at Justin like he’d like to repeat the bashing.” I tell him.

 

The judge comes out of her chambers and nods to the DA. The DA calls Justin to the stand. They wait while the DA swears Justin in and I keep an eye on Chris.

 

“Mr. Taylor…” 

 

“It’s Taylor-Kinney.” Justin tells him.

 

“Mr. Taylor-Kinney, you asked to be called so that you tell the judge from your point of view, how you felt about the sentencing of Christopher Hobbs and how you felt when you learned about the misconduct of Judge Russo, Christopher Hobbs’s parents, and Melanie Marcus.” He tells us.

 

“Let’s not forget the DA.” Justin mentions.

 

“Yes, so please tell the judge in your own words.” He tells Justin.

 

“At the time of the trial I was still in a coma from the attempt on my life by Chris Hobbs, so I couldn’t defend myself or my husband. From the transcripts I read, the trial became a second bashing on gay men everywhere. I understand that people don’t always welcome alternative lifestyles, but how does that change what happened in that garage that night? I wanted to ask, if I had been a straight man would that have changed the way Russo wanted it handled? Is the fact that Chris’s family was part of the ‘right’ country club a way to say justice didn’t matter? Just as long as Chris didn’t have a stain on his record? If it is, than justice is a myth. In reading the case I noticed that not once during the trial did they mention that I almost bled out in the garage, but they made a big deal out of the fact that Brian hit Chris to keep him from escaping. There was no mention of the trauma I faced or the disability that I continue to live with. Just that I must have taunted Chris to bring a bat and smash my skull in. Then I guess if Russo wanted the case to go that way, he had the power to order people to do it. That the Hobbs family can pay their way out of justice. I’m here because a woman who I once thought of as a sister is sitting in this courtroom and will most likely be the one who gets punished for what Russo ordered her to do. I don’t want to watch another person be a victim of Russo’s abuse of power. I also want to face my attacker and tell him something” Justin stares straight at Chris. “You didn’t beat me, I’m alive and happy.”

 

“Mr Taylor-Kinney, I for one am happy that you have been able to go on with your life. I am also the one who wants to show you justice is real and not a myth. So let me see if I can do that for you.” She tells him.

 

“Thank-you for at least letting me talk today.” Justin tells her, getting up once he is excused.

 

Justin walks past Chris, who stares at his stomach as if he wants to do something. I get up and walk to Justin and make sure Chris knows that he isn’t going to be able to do something because Justin’s back is turned. The fucker turns and looks at his parents.

 

“Before Justin came up here I was honestly having a hard time making a decision. I know that we all don’t want to believe that a judge could break the law because we are here to uphold it. I had hoped to hear from the defendants but apparently none were willing to put themselves on the stand, but the man who was hurt by all of it came in and demanded to testify. It shows a lot of courage to come here, because he was worried that once again we would try to shove this under a table and let people get away with the travesty of his case. I want you to know from me Mr Taylor-Kinney that if I had been the judge for your bashing trial, I would not have turned it into a case about you being gay, it would have been a case about Christopher Hobbs trying to murder someone. Now to my ruling, In the case of Roy Russo, I find you guilty of tampering with a trial under your watch. Mr and Mrs Christopher Hobbs SR, I find you both guilty of bribery and interfering with an investigation. Melanie Marcus, I find you guilty of collusion in the trial of the State vs Christopher Hobbs Jr. I will also add that upon talking to the DA who tried the case, that Christopher Hobbs Jr will be remanded for a trial of his own. Bailiff please take Christopher Hobbs Jr into custody. I hope that I was able to restore some of your faith.” The Judge stands and leaves the courtroom.

 

Brad gets up and walks over to find out why Chris was taken in. We wait and I get to see them all in handcuffs and arguing with their lawyers. To me this was a long time coming, guess it doesn’t matter who you are when there is evidence of your crime. Brad comes back and sits with us.

 

“Justin, Chris was there in the chambers when all this was being decided.” He tells us.

 

“We didn’t hear him.” Justin tells him.

 

“No, but they were all taped going in, apparently the DA wasn’t willing to go down without taking them with him.” He tells us.

 

“So what now?” I ask him.

 

“The sentencing, and trust me they are going for the maximum on this. I think they are worried how the justice system will look if they don’t.” He tells us.

 

“I just didn’t want Mel to be the only one punished.” Justin tells him.

 

“We have to wait and see what the ruling is.” Brad tells us.

 

“I want this to be over.” Justin tells us.

 

“Justin they aren’t going to need you at Chris’s trial, so let it be over for you.” Brad tells him.

 

“Can I take you home? You were supposed to be resting, not running around.” I tell him.

 

“Brian he needed this.” Michael tells him.

 

“I know but he’s a week from giving birth, so I wanted him to rest.” I tell Michael.

 

“He’s fine.” Michael assures me.

 

“Um, maybe we should go to the hospital.” Justin tells us as Brad holds him up.

 

“Why?” I ask him.

 

“Because I’m cramping and the doctor told us it’s your bodies way of saying it’s time.” Justin explains.

 

“Can you walk out of here?” I ask him.

 

“Yeah, just don’t expect me to run down hallways and we’re good.” He jokes.

 

Brad tells us to go to his car because it’s closer and we get Justin in. I was just glad that the doctor had to do this, no babies appearing in the car. We got to the hospital and were in a room as soon as Justin was registered. The doctor smiled when Jacob came in dressed to watch again. We waited while they got Justin ready and after what seemed like hours my new son arrived.

 

We agreed that we would let Jacob name him and wanted to do it once Justin was settled. Jen showed up with the girls and Gus, who still thinks Jacob is crazy for wanting to see. I waited with Justin for them to bring in our son and the rest of the family was filling the waiting room.

 

“I want Mom and the girls in here too.” Justin tells me.

 

I go out and get everyone and when the nurse comes in I let Jacob hold him first. 

 

“So are you going to tell us his name?” I ask him.

 

“I wanted Abraham.” He tells us.

 

“He’s just kidding guys.” Gus tells us.

 

“That’s good, because we saved you from that.” Justin tells Gus.

 

“Lucas, it means illumination.” Jacob smiles down at the baby.

 

“Alexander is what I would pick if it was my turn.” Gus tells us.

 

“Lucas Alexander is a beautiful name.” Jen tells the boys.

 

“And your new brother’s name.” I tell them.

 

 

 

Chapter 38 by starlight

TEN YEARS LATER 

 

JUSTIN 

 

You get all kinds of thoughts when everyone goes to bed. I sat in front of the Christmas Tree thinking about my life with Brian and all our family, friends, and others. I think it’s just that we are all going to be together this year. With college and life in general we’re not always together at the same time. Gus and Jacob take trips together on their school breaks, and we still see them, but they’re out in the world, having fun before they become adults. Jenny is starting college but will be living on campus, so we are losing her to school soon too. When everyone started going to bed I went up to my studio Brian built at the house and started to paint while I thought about our lives.

 

I used to wonder what life would have been like if Brian and I had learned to talk to each other sooner. I now believe that it just wasn't our time. I spent so much time trying to be a grown up to fit in Brian’s life that I forgot who I was. Spending twelve years apart gave us time to be ready for everything that we now have. Would I want to go back and change the way we parted? Definitely. The question is whether we could have made it if we had stayed together then, I can't honestly say that we would have.

 

As each year has gone by, Brian and I have watched the children start becoming people who we can be proud of. Gus is in college and it was hard to let him go so far from us, but he wants this and we want it for him. He got accepted to Harvard Law School, which made Brian and I very proud of him. Brian loves that Gus wanted to work in family law, even though it surprised us. Gus told us that he wanted to help keep families together. I think Brad played a large part in Gus’s decision. Gus still paints, but unlike me it's how he deals with stress. He told me he likes to create but never wanted to make a career out of it. I told him that it's his life to live.

 

Jacob took off to Johns Hopkins for college to study medicine. He told us he wanted to be the person who saves lives. He kept in contact with our doctor and knew this was his calling. He still loves football but didn't want to make a career of it. Drew was disappointed because Gus and Jacob would have made it in football. 

 

Jenny lived with us until this year. She enrolled in PIFA, she wants to become an artist like me. She has the talent to achieve success. Michael is practically vibrating with excitement, Jenny is doing what no one in his family did, going to college. Jenny is incredibly smart but wants to bring beauty to the world.

 

Beatrix and Charlotte couldn't be any more different if they tried. I think a lot of it comes from looking so much alike. They seem to have inherited everything from Brian but their height. Beatrix is the out-going one and wants everyone to be her friend, she’s hardly ever serious about anything. Charlotte is shy and takes a while to warm to people, but once she does she loves them with her whole heart. I told Brian it’s like watching us grow up. Brian told me that as long as they are happy, that’s all he ever wanted for his children.

 

Lucas is always in a hurry to do things but I think it’s because he wants to be with his brothers. Poor Lucas ends up with doing what the girls want all the time. Brian tries to spend time with him when the girls get to be too much, but I think he loves that Lucas wants to sit with him when he works at home. Lucas always wants to tell Brian what’s wrong with his campaigns. Brian smiles and tells me at least Kinnetik will have a future with Lucas.

 

Molly finally agreed to marry Brad, it only took three kids. Molly kept coming up with excuses for not getting married but Brad figured she would run out one day. When she finally did he ran off with her and their three boys to the nearest church. 

 

Mom and Tucker were surrounded by kids and Tucker told me that he didn’t ever regret not having his own. He liked that he and Mom were free to do what they wanted and that all the grandchildren filled the desire to parent for him.

 

Emmett and Drew had one more child, a little girl three years after Theo was born. Emmett wanted to name her after his favorite aunt but went with Lucy instead of Lulu. She has Emmett’s smile and can kick a ball like Drew. Theo is a thinker, he told Brian that Emmett’s flame needed him to keep from burning down buildings. Theo and Lucas are best friends and Emmett and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it.      

 

Michael and I worked on the comic and it’s doing well. Michael wanted to have the hero drawn to look like Ben, but I told him it should be him. Our idea was that the hero didn’t start out as one but through time and experience learned what was important. Jenny has been helping with it because I get busy with shows and Kinnetik. I think Michael loves that she wants to do this with him. When Ben and Michael got married he asked Jenny if she wanted to live with him. She told him that she liked having four dads but wanted to stay where she was. Michael told her as long as she was happy, he could live with it.

 

Ted and Blake never had children but they really like their lives the way they are. Blake told me that he felt that his patients needed him to be there and not running off because of children. Ted told me that he never really wanted any and would have only had them if Blake had wanted them.

 

Mel got five years but only served three. She ended up with the smallest sentence. Russo got ten and the Hobbs’ all got seven. Chris ended up trying to kill another prisoner and got life. Brian and I don’t talk to Mel because Brian can’t forgive her for anything that she did. I don’t because I don’t see the point in listening to her try to justify her reasons. She stayed in Pittsburgh and lives with a new girlfriend. Jenny visits but she told Michael and I that Mel isn’t the mother she remembers. Mel didn’t allow for any contact with Jenny while she was in prison and I know it hurt Jenny. Maybe someday she’ll forgive Mel for it, but that’s Jenny’s decision.

 

Lindsay managed to keep the job at Big Q for a year. She quit when they told her that cashier was the only job she could somewhat do. She met a rich older woman and took off with her. Gus gets invited to things with them but after the first outing decided that he would rather they just send cards to each other. We see her at my shows and she always likes to criticize my work in front of Brian. Brian told her that when she managed to create a painting that sold then he was all ears. Thomas told me that Lindsay tried to get him to be her agent but he told her that he liked having a good reputation and her work could ruin it. Her girlfriend hosted a show for Lindsay but the reviews implied that only someone in love could believe Lindsay should continue. Lindsay insisted that she stopped because she wanted to devote her time to her relationship. 

 

Daphne married Thomas in an over the top wedding but Emmett told her to pull out the inner Queen and have her day. Thomas told me that he was willing to do whatever his Queen wanted. I told him that he needed to pull out the Y gene when the wedding started running into the high double digits. Thomas smirked and told me to get painting and that should cover it.

 

I lay my brush down and stare at the painting. Michael was right, he will be forever young and beautiful.

 

“Are you coming to bed, it’s late and you know the kids will have us up as soon as the sun peeks out.” Brian asks me looking at what I painted.

 

“I think after ten Christmases I know that.” I tell him.

 

“It always amazed me the way you see me when you draw me.” He tells me kissing me.

 

“It’s the way you look to me.” I tell him.

 

“We should at least get one round in, before it’s too late.” He tells me smirking and holding out his hand.

 

“Maybe it’s already too late, I think I hear the girls running.” I tell him as the little feet comes running by.

 

“Like I told you, it’s never too late.” My husband tells me with a kiss.

 


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