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“Are you still of the same mindset?” I ask quietly as I enter and she looks up from her papers.

“Yes, Lindsay. I am still of the same mindset. I take it by that tone and that expression, you are as well.”

“Mel....” I sniff and sit next to her. “...please reconsider. This would bring us closer together.”

“I wasn’t aware we were drifting apart.” She puts her papers down and runs her fingers through her hair. “Look at this place Lindsay; look at it properly. We are not even prepared bricks and mortar wise for a baby. This is a two bedroom cottage, not a house but a cottage…”

“Brian will move us to…”

“For fuck sake, there is no Brian! He is, I repeat, he is going to be a father. He’s not going to do this for you, Lindsay. And once again, it would be for you! I don’t want a baby…”

“You mean you don’t want me to be a mother!” I snap.

“Not if it involves Brian being the father then no, I don’t. I have never wanted that and until such time as he had money, neither did you. You want this now because of what he’s got and that’s not a good enough reason to bring a child into the world. It’s not fair on the baby.”

“I would love the baby enough for the both of us. Brian and I would…”

Brian and you? Interesting slip there. What would you and Brian do? Whatever cache you think that having his baby would give you, disabuse yourself of that notion. Remember, this is Brian Kinney we are talking about. He doesn’t change his mind.”

I scoff and shake my head. “You don’t understand, Mel. I have changed my mind about actually having the baby. I will offer to look after the baby and he pays me an appropriate fee.”


For a few seconds, I think I have run smack dab into a wall and am dazed. “You wanna what now?” I blink rapidly at her.

She smiles. “What I said. I want to bring the baby up for him. While he’s working at the agency, I…”

“Lindsay, he’s managed to keep this under wraps for however long. Don’t you think that he’s got childcare sorted out already?”

“Maybe, but doing it my way works out for all of us!”

Maybe? All of us?

“Can you actually hear yourself? I mean the actual words that are coming out of your mouth not the thoughts that got you here?! There is not supposed to be an us, there is to be a me and you!”

“Kindly do not speak to me like that!” She snaps. “As I said, this works out for all of us and I shall prove it. Now that the dust has settled, I shall explain my wonderful idea to Brian and unlike some…” She looks me up and down briefly. “...he will see the merits of it.”




A father! I still can’t believe it! There has been revelation after revelation! All of which have felt like sucker punches! And on top of that, I’ve barely seen him. He’s either been setting up this fucking agency of his or being out of the state on business. I knew that this would happen! He would start to fall back into his old ways of working but then, if he’s falling into his old ways of working, then surely he’s falling into his old ways of playing too. It stands to reason.

I have to say that this house may be great, but it’s so quiet and the neighbours aren’t all that friendly. As I look out, I spot someone coming out of the house that he and Emmett were in and what a someone! He’s lean and hunky and my neighbour! I take a quick look in the mirror and grab my keys and wallet. After a breath check, I head out to see where that beefcake is going.


So he’s a health food nut. And judging by what’s in the basket, a single health food nut. I follow him down an aisle and take my chance. “Um excuse me, but could you help me? I’m a little short.” I look through my lashes at him and point to the top shelf.

“Oh sure!” He smiles and then gets me down the...whatever the fuck it is. “Here you go.”


“Duck confit, very nice.”

“I’ve never had it, but always wanted to try it. Didn’t realise how big the tin is though. That’s more than enough for one. Well, thanks anyway.”

“You’ll like it and you’re welcome.” He calls back and I make my way to cash desk.

Ten minutes and $37 later, seriously $37 for a can of duck, he’s still not come out yet. Hurry up for fuck sake! This level of cuteness is getting cold! Finally, he comes out and again, I hang back. Gotta make this look as coincidental as possible! And at first my plan is working, but then with those two heavy bags of shopping, he decides to jog!  Well he can fucking forget that!

“Hey! Hi!” I call out and he pauses then turns around.

“Oh hi!” He smiles and waits for me to catch up. “So what are you having with it?”


“The duck confit.”

“Oh that. No idea, what do you recommend?”

“Green beans and lots of garlic bread. I’m Ben, by the way.”

“Michael.” I frown at him and he frowns back. “We seem to be going the same way. Do you live around here?”

“Yep, just up there with Justin.”


“My roommate and fellow teacher. Well he will be, at CG.”

“CG? Sorry just moved here and am not quite au lait with the local landmarks.”

“Au lait? Cute, but I think you mean au fait. CG is Carnegie Mellon, the university we’re both going to be teaching at in a couple of weeks’ time.”

“Yes, I did and of course, it is. What do you teach?”

“Gay studies.”

Thank you god!

“Well, this is me. Nice to meet you, Michael.”

“Nice to meet you, too. I’m just up there. The red brick one.”

“Ah, we looked at that. Didn’t like the roof space, wasn’t big enough. Enjoy the duck.”

“I can bring over the leftovers…”

“Thanks.” He smiles and I virtually skip to my house.




“Justin, you in?!” I dump the shopping on the counter and hear his muffled affirmative, which means he’s got a mouthful of paintbrush handle. “Want a coffee? Two thumps for yes and one for no!”


I switch the machine on and start to put away the groceries and then think about the fortuitous meeting of Michael and chuckle. He must have been very cold waiting for me outside. He may be cute, but he is shrill as we found out when he was yelling and screaming outside our front door when we first moved in. We were saying hi to our new neighbours and resolved to avoid his house like the plague. Much like the rest of the neighbours have. I head upstairs with the coffee and smile at the painting he started a week ago.

“How’s it going?”

“Almost done. What do you think? Who were you talking to?”

“Excellent as usual and The Shrillseeker.”

“The...oh Mr Red Brick House. Did you find out a name?”

“Michael.” I step back a bit and really look at the painting. “You going to take that to class? He followed me to the store and did the too short thing to get me to get something of the top shelf.”

“Oh god, he didn’t?!” Justin looks astonished. “What did you get down?”

“Duck confit at almost forty bucks.”

“Wait, how do you know he followed you? And, yes to show them what can be accomplished from a photo.”

“Good, I’m glad. And because he did a double take when he was looking out of the window and practically ran out of the room he was in. Clearly forgetting that you can also see in a window as well as see out.”

“Mr and Mr Thatched and Clapboard said when he moved in he was just as loud. The only redeeming thing was the guy that he was with. But he doesn’t seem to live here. Said he bought the house for him.”

“Remind us to thank him for that!” He smirks.

“Yeah thank him...that’s what we want to do!”



Oh, this is just perfection! I look around reception and see his little touches. Not a fan of the colour scheme, but we can soon fix that.

I sigh as I am still waiting to be seen. Finally, I can hear the click-clack of heels coming down the corridor. I drum my nails loudly on the counter but that doesn’t seem to speed up their progress. I decide to take matters into my own hands and meet them halfway.

“Lindsay? Two things: where are you going and what are you doing here?”

The ice cold tones of his former assistant, Cynthia bring me to an instant stop before I turn around and make my way back to reception.

“Cynthia. How love…”

“Let’s not bullshit each other. What do you want?”

I square my shoulders and stare beadily at her. “I want to see Brian. He and I have a personal matter we need to discuss.”

“Follow me.” She leads me in silence down a corridor to Brian’s office. “Have a seat.”

“This is very nice, indeed.” I am surprised when she takes the seat as well and just stares at me. “What are you doing?”

“This matter you need to discuss with Brian, he has asked me to handle it.”

“You don’t even know…”

“Brian is currently out on a personal matter and won’t be back in the office for at least two weeks. He received a phone call of a slightly disturbing nature with regards to the future of his child. Or should I say, our child.”


“Yes. Mine and Brian’s child. Who as a stipulation of the surrogacy, you are to have absolutely fuck all to do with the upbringing of.”


“Now take yourself out of our agency and find someone else’s child to mither over and mould into the rancorous and rapacious replica of yourself…”


“Now that our discussion is concluded, I suppose I should see you out. Never to return.”


“Are the third shareholder in this company...so whatever you are about to say I can’t do, believe me I can. Now this way!”

“I can find my own way out!” I sneer at her and I hold it together until I get into a taxi. The driver ignores my tears as I try to fathom what the fuck just happened and then I realise...Mel...Mel happened!



I run after the guy, who I saw coming tearfully out of the maternity ward and heading to the roof. He was muttering to himself that he has to do it! He’s taking the stairs almost three at a time. Damn my short legs! I hear the fire escape door being opened and even though my legs are aching, I speed up and manage to catch it before it closes. I look around frantically and I spot him, heading to the edge.

“Wait!” I shout and thankfully, he stops and turns to face me.


“Please talk to me. Don’t do that, please don’t do that.”

He frowns. “Why not it’s the perfect end.”

“No, not it’s not. Just tell me what is making you think this.” I beg as I slowly approach. “Can I tell you my name at least?”

“Okay, if you want…”

“Hang on, my lungs are on fire. You have longer legs than me and move quick.”

“My legs…”

“Justin. Want to tell me yours?”


“So Brian!” I yell as he takes another step. “Want to tell me why you are doing this? Why you were crying?”

“I’m a dad…a little boy.”

“Then surely that’s a reason not to do this…”

“But it’s the perfect golden moon. I want to take the picture while it’s clear enough, so I can show him when he’s older.”

“Golden moon? Pic...oh god! I’m so sorry, I thought…” I point to the edge of the roof. He looks at me for a few seconds before a smile splits his face and he is roaring with laughter and I am mortified. “It’s not that funny! And seeing how upset you were and the...well it was a perfectly plausible thought.” I huff as my face flames. “Well congratulations on being a dad; it’s a good moon.”

“Thanks and I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have laughed. It was a very kind thing you attempted to do.”

“It’s starting to cloud over, I would wait a few, it will pass soon.” He looks up and I peer over his shoulder. “Get your finger ready, I‘ll set the focus.”

“Thanks. Need me to hunker down a bit? You know to accommodate your little legs.”

“If you could that would help.” I laugh and then focus on the focusing. “Now.”

“Perfect. Thanks.” He smiles at the picture. “As a matter of interest, why are you here?”

“Roommate tripped over his barbell and did his ankle. Just getting it strapped.”

“Ouch. Thanks for the photo assist. We should be getting back. Hopefully, he should be nice and clean now.” I laugh at the grimace on his face. “He was covered in ickiness and I am wearing Dior!” I raise an eyebrow. “Okay, so I was wearing a set of scrubs and then Dior and there could’ve been a hole…”

“I suggest you don’t tell your son that sweet bit about how he came to have his first cuddle.”

“Yeah, definitely not.” He laughs as we head down the corridor. “Well it was nice to meet you, Justin.”

“You too, B…”

“Watch it!” He pulls me back against him as two people come running down the corridor at such a lick that people get out of the way.

“BIG BAD! BIG BAD!” Someone is shrieking as they run passed.

“Thanks, makes us even.” I smile and he chortles, then turns to look at the running couple.

“HONEYCUTT! SCHMIDT! HEEL!” He bellows and you could hear them screech to a halt and then thunder back towards him. He is soon engulfed by their clamouring questions and it isn’t until I get to A&E when I realise that the person screaming was Emmett and Brian is Big Bad!




Another family lunch, I could get used to this! Michael is looking happier, but that’s most likely due to the fact that he’s finally going to be spending time with his best friend even if we have to be there too. Very noble of him, I’m sure. Mel and Lindsay are here, but not speaking to each other. No doubt that will come out later. Lindsay is not one to shy away from letting the world know her woes when she is feeling slighted.

Ems and Ted have been whispering among themselves for the last couple of hours and I have no idea where Brian is!

“Car's coming!” Carl calls out and I head to the front door.

“Uh Ma, this is my best friend’s house and…”

“Sit down and shut up, Michael. Mother outranks son!” Mel snaps.

“And a sworn enemy outranks your fiancée, doesn’t he, Mel?” Lindsay snipes but Mel just ignores her.

I shut the lounge door on their bickering and open the front door and stare and blink and then stare again. “Can we come in then?” I step aside in silence and he comes in. “So want to take him grandma?” He asks quietly and I just hold out my arms.


“Let’s tell them all at once, I wanted you to have the first hold in private.” He kisses my temple and guides me gently back into the lounge.

“You are kidding me?!” Carl whispers and comes over for a closer look. “Oh my God son he is beautiful. Debs come on sit down, sit down before you fall down!” He orders quietly.

I look around the room both Ems and Ted have tears in their eyes and are grinning from ear to ear.

“When?” I ask.

“Midnight on Friday. She was in labour for 24 hours, we’re not her favourite people, but he’s so cute she’s forgiven him.”

“The baby is here? As in here now?” Michael, for once, is rendered almost mute!

“Yep. Everyone this is my son. Gus Kinney.”

“Big Bad, it was 1136 not midnight.” Ems corrects him sniffing. “You were on the roof at midnight, remember?”

“The roof?” We all echo.

“Yeah, I had to take a picture of the golden moon as it is a symbol of hope and rebirth.”

“Hope I get.” Carl sniffs. “But rebirth?”

“I am reborn. I am no longer the Stud; in fact, the Stud is no more. Instead, I am a father. And I am going to do everything and be everything to make Gus proud to call me dad. And, nothing and nobody is going to change my mind.”


Chapter End Notes:

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