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It took some judicious manoeuvring but I have managed to head off Lindsay's pathetic attempts to get between myself and Edward. As if she could possibly match up to me! I stretch out on the sofa as I hear the key go in the lock and she blusters in.

“Mother!” Her voice is unusually shrill, so I am guessing that he has called to sadly cancel her.

“In here, just resting before I…” I stop, stare and then sit up. “...what have you done to yourself?” I swing my legs to the floor and approach her. “There is…”

“Oh nothing, just had a little bit off the ends.” She simpers and flicks back her hair in that now very immature manner. “Did you call me for a reason? It’s just that I have to go back out again. I need to speak to Sidney…”

“Sidney? I thought your association with him was over and done with?” I am still staggered by her transformation. It’s not a big thing, nobody outside her very close set would recognise anything has changed, but there is a glow about her. A satisfied glow that I don’t like one little bit!

“Although our professional relationship has ended, our personal one is still as strong as ever. Yes, we had a minor falling out, but that has been resolved. Now really, I must be going, Mother, I have to change and then go and meet him before dinner.”

“You are going to dinner with Sidney?” I probe nonchalantly, wishing I had read her appointment book when I had the chance.

“I am going to dinner with a...a friend, but meeting Sidney before, don’t wait up!” She trills, and then heads upstairs swishing her mane like some prancing Andalusian dancing pony!


Well that should set the cats about her bat belfry! I start to select my outfit for this evening. I may have been cast out of my original country set, but I have been accepted into a new one. I am quite the coup...well that’s what Mother will think when she hears! And hear she will!



He is going to punish me severely, but hopefully the C&C...cool and cute...factor will add to my oh-so-delicious punishment.

With one more bubble blown, I gently push the glasses back over his eyes and start heading towards Woody’s when I see Blake going inside with a big box. “What you got there?!” I call out, and he looks relieved to see me. “You okay?” I ask as I catch up with him.

“Yes and no. Can you keep a secret?” His eyes are moist but he’s smiling.

“Is it about Brian?”

“Yes and no.”

“I won’t keep a secret from him. I won’t tell him but will say you have said something to me.” He nods and we follow him in.

“Tedproposedandisgoingtoaskhimtobebestman.” He blurts out and bursts into tears.

“I am so pleased for you!” I gasp and hand him napkins.

“Th...thank you!” He weeps. “Poor Teddy!”

“Why poor Teddy?”

“Because I love him so much! And I am so happy and he’s going to be cross when he gets either fat or over muscled!”

“Okay.” I know I have moments of twinkerish, but generally I am ripped and either Ben pours coffee down my throat or Brian kisses me to stop me from talking. “Nope, not following any of that! Now sit and explain.”

He gestures behind me and then I get it! “How long have you been in here?!” I drool as I take in the full majesty of all the cakes!

“Since he proposed last night...” He grins sheepishly. “...I came straight here and started to plan a theme as I was so happy! When I am happy, I…” He clears his throat, bringing my attention back to him. “...bake. Would you like to taste any…”

“Everything. Just give him one of everything.” Brian makes us both jump as he comes in with Ted and a sniffing Ems, Cyn, Mel and Debs, who are all beaming but not crying. “So I call to order the first tasting of the...what the fu...fudge are you calling it? That name has to go.”

“Sip, Eat and Stay.” Blake takes Ted hand and kisses it gently.

“Stay, Sip and Eat, maybe?” Brian suggests.

“Yeah, it flows better. Now this is why he is the best man and…”

“I am the officiant!” Ems wails, flailing his arms about and almost smacking Brian in the head. “Sorry! But I am. I need to get ordained, have to get a minister's outfit, get the licence and...and...and…!”

“Honeycutt, breathe!” Cyn orders, chuckling. “Give him Gus, he has a miraculous calming…” She looks at me after she looks in the buggy. “...you will tell me if they come in an adult pair?”

I tense up as Brian comes to see what she looking at. “Justin, you can explain why, right?”

“It was…” I stop as he unbuckles Gus and takes him out and, on seeing him, Ems is off again. “...very sunny at the time.”

He is looking at the glasses. “Ray-Bans, very nice. And how many pairs did you buy?”

“Just the one?” He shakes his head sighing. “What?”

“You have learned nothing. I shall have to teach you again. He needs a pair for every day, a pair for best and cherished best pair for the weddings.”

“What’s the difference? I mean between best and cherished best?” Blake asks, and I almost pout...for obvious reasons, I wanted to ask that!

“Stole your uh...thunder there didn’t he?”

“Just a bit.” I smirk.

“The difference, dear Blake, is that cherished go in his memory box, along with anything else from the weddings.”

“Awww now look what you've done! This is Zenga!” Ted grumbles as he starts to guide a hysterically weeping Ems to the bar. “The next person out of this kitchen is you, Blake. You’ve done enough, you need to sleep!”

“Yeah. I do a bit.” Blake concedes. “I don’t know how I am going to do both weddings and open the shop.”

“Wedding wise, I can help you.” Mel pipes up. “Remember the cupcakes from the fayre?”

“Oh yes, they were wonderful!” Debs sighs. “I gained about 20 pounds just looking at them!”

“Del made them.” Mel licks the frosting off her finger. “Looks like I will have to take this one and eat it, such a terrible shame! And maybe we can get Jennifer to help too. I can ask them both on Saturday.”

“Why are you seeing my Mother on Saturday?”

“The country club picnic. It’s a triple date. Me, Diana and Henry.”

“Henry?” Blake and I ask.

“Diana’s son.” Brian rolls his eyes and after adjusting Gus hands me a cupcake. “You need sugar, have a strawberry bunny.”

“Thank you…” I grin and inhale the scent of strawberry frosting and delicately nibble on the strawberry ear. “...the cream is later?” He just winks at me.

“Blake!” Ted calls from the door. “Please come and sit down for a few minutes.”

“But what about all of these?” He gestures tiredly.

“Leave this with me.” Brian declares, and puts Gus back in the buggy, which promptly leads to the GGF from him and blind panic from his Dad as he hates to see him upset. But now is not the time for the let him cry lecture from Debs, which I know she is itching to give, so I clear my throat and she stands down.

“Okay, not back in the buggy right now, Little Grub! No need for Grumpy Gus Face! Uh...”

“May I take him?” Mel asks, putting down the cake and stunning us all.

“You sure?” Brian recovers quickest.

“Yes.” She replies, reaching for him and Brian puts him in her arms. “Well, hello there, Little Grub, my name is Mel.” She smiles and tickles him under his chin until his expression softens and he starts to suck his fist.

“Well I’ll be damned.” Debs looks awestruck. “Taken to you from the get go!”

“As I was about to say...seriously, Blake, go and lie down in the office!” Brian orders, and he jerks awake. He pauses as Blake makes his way wearily towards Ted and is out of sight. “I think...what’s that face for?”

“His eyes were open!” I gasp blinking rapidly. “He sleeps with his eyes open!”

“No he doesn’t, I mean well he does, but not all the time it’s a habit thing” A calmer Emmett comes back in dabbing his eyes. “Old user trick.”

“User trick?”

“Hmm, look like you’re awake and nobody will touch your stuff.”

“Or you.” Debs laments. “The things those boys have put themselves through, so glad that they found each other and came out on the other side together.”

“Yeah. As for him, I could’ve knocked his block off when I found out!” Cyn seethes.

“But he had stopped when you found out.” Brian looks at Ems who nods, nobody is understanding Cyn’s anger.

“That’s as maybe, but he still should not have used it, and you should not have said yes.”

“Said yes to what?” Brian frowns.

“Using your card to pay Anita.”

“That most definitely did not go on the company card! I kept that separate! As well as being heroically focused, I was heroically sensible!”

“One time it did, you were going through treatment and he...you do know who I am talking about right?

“Michael?” I sigh, exasperated as yet another discovery is made.

“Yep. Whenever he did drugs, he’s always gone to Brian’s supplier, never bought his own. Said to put it on the tab, but only after I said what I would do if he found your card again!”

“He did drugs? He did?!” Ems growls. “Oh, wait until I get a hold of that hypocritical little…”

“Oh not the hardcore shit that Brian did, but yeah he did, so Anita and I came to an agreement and decided that placebos are a wonderful thing.” Cyn smiles. “He wasn’t paying for it, so he wasn’t getting it.”

“And this is why she is the Mother of our child!” I mumble around a mouthful of cupcake.

“Back to the cupcakes.” Debs laughs as Brian hands me a napkin with a disgruntled expression.

“Mel? You alright?” Ems questions. “You have that same look you had when you warned Lindsay off after the housewarming.”

“Yeah, it's most likely too late now, but that was fraud.” She rocks Gus who rests his head on her shoulder and starts to drift off.

“Look, let’s just leave him where he is, in the past, until he tries to fuck with our futures.” Brian declares. “I am determined to get these cakes on Liberty Avenue before they go stale or someone eats them all, so everyone but Mel, grab a pile and get moving!”

“Wait!” I exclaim and quickly dump out Gus’s cool bag before I put one cupcake from each platter in. I am so focused on what I am doing, making sure they don’t topple and aren’t touching, that it takes me a while realise that it has gone quiet. Slowly I look up. “I have no reasonable excuse, sorry!”

“Pillock!” Brian shakes his head and brushes my flaming cheek. “Okay, now that the Blue Moon House Gannet has finished packing, let's take these out. Mel, he’s due a feed in about an hour. He will let you know, trust me!”

“Is this the DEFCON?” She looks nervous.

“Yep! Want me to stay?” Debs suggests.

“Um, no, I will have to be alone with Henry at some point, so might as well start small...very small and very cute!”

“How old is Henry?” I put the bag under seat and then adjust it flat.

“Just coming up to two.” She replies, putting Gus in without waking him. “She always wanted to be a mom and did it alone. He's very cute, well what I have seen of him.”

“Little Grub is a good judge of character, you will be fine...now what are you doing?” Brian grouses when he sees me on my phone.

“Calling Mom to see if we can get places for the picnic.” I explain, and then nod at Mel and soft smiles spread across faces as they watch her gently tuck him in. “Hi, Mom, the picnic on Saturday, can you see if...ah, okay, thanks bye.”

“Sorted?” Cyn asks quietly and I nod but there is something in her smile. “Good, very good.”



As I turn the corner on Liberty and Bakers, I stop and stare. There is a huge crowd outside my old store, but as I can see Ma there, I can’t go too close. I crane my neck to see what’s happening, and although I can't see, whatever she has smells good! But I must focus because if it is opening sooner than they said it is, then I shall call about them too, finish it before it starts!

I can hear laughter and then see Brian and the Humungass coming down the street, and while part of me is proud of his new name, the other part is flabbergasted at what Brian is doing! He is carrying a platter of pansy ass cupcakes like some barboy from Woody’s! What has become of him? Humungass has desecrated the sanctity of the Stud!

There is a lull in the chatter and I wait for the pisstaking to happen as everyone stares at him.

“What?” Brian looks at the stunned crowd. “They are called double pleasure cupcakes, he gets to he gets the pleasure of eating them and then of me eating him…”

“If it works for the Stud…”

“Retired!” Humungass calls out and people applaud!

“...then it’s good enough for me! Two, please!”

“Ah, Mr Novotny, care to sample the wares?!” Humungass calls out. “They’re free! You don’t have to find anybody’s company card to pay for it.”

“No thank you. I like to maintain my physique…”

“Who for? Nobody wants it, not even you.”

“Actually, I find myself very desirable, which is more than can be said for you.”

“Why would I want be desired or lusted after by the Beast when I get that and bedded from the Beauty, who is a big Beast admittedly.”

“Thank you for highlighting my talents.” Brian drawls.

“No problem, Stud. Oh, just one thing Michael, I would suggest contortionism for your onanism.”

“Is that how you solved yours?” I return slightly sharply.

“No, I don’t need to make like a pretzel to put my dick in my mouth because nobody else will put it in theirs. I repeat, I am lusted, loved and regularly bedded by the Beauty and his Beast!”

“Are your talents on the wane, Brian? I mean...” I bite out fuming at the sniggering.

“Definitely not. It has to have been you, as they never once rose whilst in your company. Drunk, sober or even when I broke my hand, he was always dead when you were around! Justin, we must leave immediately so that you can administer mouth to cock resuscitation!” He shoves the platter of cakes into my chest, causing me to stagger back a bit. “They’re mostly carrot, good for the eyesight, you know, so you can find that tiny dick in the dark!”

“Oh, touche!” Someone laughs.

“Fuck you, Brian, and you, fatso!” I snarl.

“What's good for hearing?” Humungass laughs.

“Using your ears to listen with?” Brian takes a cupcake and bites it in half before he feeds him the rest. They take their time and I tighten my grip on the plate. “It has been established that the only person I am going to fuck for a very long time is him.”

“Brian!” He growls.

I am thrilled at the discord I seem to have caused, time to push the knife in deeper and set fire to the one thing he values, his image! “Oh, looks like you’ve upset your Master, Mr Sub! Not au fait on the rules, but I am pretty sure you’re not allowed to speak to him like that!”

“Shows how much you know, then doesn’t it? I am not upset, I am horny, oh so very horny and need him right now! So you call the Library and I’ll speak to Grandma!”

“It’s okay, Justin!” Ma springs up from somewhere and smacks me on the back of the head, much to everyone's amusement! “I will drop him off...judging by that look, tomorrow would be good, yes?”

“Definitely! Grab that cab, Mr Fatcock!”

“Now if anybody else has anything to say about their lovelife form an orderly queue behind the King of the Jealous Idiots and watch how I deal with him!”

“Very funny, Ma!” I shove the plate into her hands and start to walk off, only to be sent painfully sprawling as someone kicks me in the ass! It takes a minute to right myself, and when I do there is only Ma there. “Who did that?!” I demand as I get up. “You must have seen!”

“Nope, didn’t see a damn thing…”

“Ah, Debs, there you are!” Mel calls out. “Oh, hello, Michael. Not that I am surprised to find you getting up from the gutter, but why were you there this time?”

“Someone kicked me, but of course nobody saw anything!” I grind out and start to walk away.


“Bye then!” I turn back to Debs and pinch another cupcake. “Anyway, Debs, can you do me a favour? Can you tell Brian that I have finalised all the paperwork, and the purchase of the two blocks of houses on Cherrytown Crescent has been finalised and they will be his in a couple of…”

“What did you just say?!” Michael demands as he sprints back to us.

“Can I help you with something?”

“Cherrytown Crescent, you mentioned that! Brian has bought it... all the houses?!”

“I am not at liberty, even though we are on Liberty Avenue, to discuss that. So can you pass that on, Debs? I have to be going. Damn, those are good!” I lean in and kiss her cheek before striding down the street.


I look expectantly at Michael, who is now pale and confused. “Why are you here, where again, you are not wanted?”

“He’s bought the blocks, does that include where I live?!” He clamours.

“Not at liberty...not sorry. Now excuse me…” I smile as Cyn wheels Gus down towards us. “...I have a grandson to mollycoddle.”

“Ma! Does Brian own my house?!”

“What is he mithering about now?” Cyn glares at him.

“Mel just said that Brian is buying Cherrytown Crescent, I live in one of the houses, is that true?!”

“Cynthia is…”

“Yes. As one of the shareholders of Kinnetic Inc., and a key decision maker, I am not beholden by any NDA or legal constraints…” Gus starts to grizzle so I take him out and start to bounce him.

“Which means?!” Michael seethes.

“That if you want to know the answer to your question, you will pull your manners out of that underfucked ass of yours!” His mouth puckers so tight that it looks like a pinhole. “Come on, I know you can be polite when you need to be…”

“Can you tell me what…”


“Oh my fucking god!” He screams as the remains of Gus’s projectile vomit drips down his sleeve. “That is disgusting! This is suede! I shall send Brian the bill for this!” He bitches as he gingerly takes off his jacket and pulls out a handkerchief to start clean up.

“Please do so, and he will take it off your next month’s rent, because the answer to that question is yes.” Cyn chortles. “Now come on, Grandma, let’s get our boy cleaned up!”

“And to think, Michael, for a man who never wants kids with Brian, you and his son have something in common.” I taunt him. He freezes and goes slightly pale. “Oh, yes, we found your little love notes. But back to this matter in hand...or should that be sleeve? Carrots, they don’t sit well with him either.”


I try to keep both the nausea and the panic down as they walk away. He owns my house! He owns my fucking house! What the hell am I going to do?!


Cyn and I head back to Woody’s with a contented looking Little Grub. “Is it me or did Gus do that deliberately?” I chuckle.

“He’s much too young to have mendacious thoughts...but then again, the Kinney/Moore combination has been known to kick an ass or two!”

“So, Cherrytown Crescent, when was that decided?” I ask, looping my arm into hers.

“It wasn’t. I got a text from Mel to say yes to anything he might ask about it if I see him.”

“And he’s going to be shitting himself, waiting for the post…”

“Pity.” She snickers.




“Are you sure you’re alright? You’ve been very quiet.” I ask Mother who has been brooding for days.

“I am fine, Lindsay. Just waiting for Edward to call.”

“Edward? I thought he was in Houston, doesn’t fly in until late this evening, and I think he’s on a plane now.”

“Hou...how do you know that? Are you his personal secretary now?”

“No, and as to how I know that, he told me, when he invited me to the society picnic on Saturday.” She almost sucks her face down her throat she swallows so hard. “Naturally, I said yes, but only after checking that there wasn’t any residual toes to step on, he assured me there wasn’t.”

“Oh, did he?” Her dentures clack in fury. “Well, have a nice time then, dear. I shall…”

“Be coming with us, if you like. He has a friend that is in town, maybe we could make it a foursome?” I pinch my thigh to stop the smile of victory blooming onto my face as my fishwife of a Mother takes the bait.

“Well, since I wasn’t doing anything, I might as well come along. It will be nice to catch up with some old friends.”

“Oh, I am so glad. I will confirm it with Edward and Gus.”

“Gus, what a sweet name.” She barbs but I don’t flinch. “And his surname?”

I shrug. “He never said. Oh...are you going up now?”

“Yes, for a bath. I am suddenly tired. Goodnight Lindsay.”

“Goodnight, Mother.”


I wait for the sound of the water running and throw my hands up in the air in victory! Oh yes, Mother, the name Gus is very sweet. Such a shame in your case it short for Gustav! And you won’t find out about it being decrepit Gustav Fieldmore until you get there!

Chapter End Notes:

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