- Text Size +

Chapter 9

“You’re joking, right? There is no way we can have a wedding tomorrow.” Aaron’s eyes searched Julian’s face to see if he was serious.

“Aaron, Jessi has been planning it with Fi for four days.”

“Wait, you said your parents are here?”

“Yes, and so is Victoria.”

“And did you say my grandparents?”

“Yes, love, I think all the most important people in your life will be here.”

Julian pulled Aaron to him and kissed him. “Now, I have a feeling if we don’t head to the house, they will come find us soon.”

“Have I told you lately how much I love you, Dr. Remington?”

“I never get tired of hearing that, Dr. Taylor-Kinney.” They picked up the blanket and basket and put it in the back of the ATV. Aaron got behind the wheel and Julian got in next to him.

Before taking off, Aaron slipped the ring off.  “I am sure this is for the wedding.” He held the ring out to him.

“No please keep that on.” He took it and put it back on Aaron’s finger. He pulled another ring out of his pocket and slipped it on his own finger. “You better start driving and I’ll keep talking. If you notice, this ring is a little thin but there is another band that will interlock with these. They will snap together. I’ll show you when we get to our bags.”

“That sounds great.” Aaron was pulling onto the main road and from a little distance away, he heard a beep.  He turned and looked behind him and then slammed on the brakes and put the ATV into park. 

“Aaron, is something wrong?”

“No, it’s Gus,” Aaron said over his shoulder as he ran toward the vehicle coming toward them. Gus stopped and was soon running to meet him. 

“Aaron, welcome home!” Gus said as he hugged his little brother. “I’m so glad you’re moving back. I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you, too. Julian, come.” Aaron waved his fiance over.  He turned to his brother, “I am guessing you already know but I guess we are getting married tomorrow.” Julian woke up and slipped his left arm around Aaron as he extended his hand to Gus.

“Julian, I’m so happy to meet you, and welcome to the family,” Gus shook Julian’s offered hand. “I hope you know what a great guy you are getting.  We had our moments but I can’t think of any time that we were really angry at each other.”

Julian kissed Aaron’s temple, “I realized that soon after I met him. I promise I will always treat him the way he deserves to be treated. Oh, and remember, I have met Jessi.  She has threatened me already.”

“Damn straight, I did.” Jessi’s voice came from behind them. And then she ran into Aaron’s arms.  “I told him you’d say yes. By the way, the Dads sent me down here to get you.  They want to meet Remmie and see you before Grandma and Grandpa and the Remingtons arrive.  Oh, and Emma has been cooking the last two days making all your favorites.”

“Doesn’t she know she is retired?” Aaron asked.

“She is still the house manager and ‘no one could cook them the way you liked them best’,” she said in her best imitation of Emma’s Irish accent.

“You better not let Emma hear you talking like that,” Aaron said with a laugh in his voice.

Gus looked over at Remmie. “Do you prefer Remmie or Julian?” 

“I’m fine with either,” Julian responded.

“Aaron, why don’t you take Jessi, and I will have a five-minute conversation with your soon-to-be husband.” Gus looked at Julian and Julian nodded.

“Gus, if you didn’t have your beautiful wife I wouldn’t let you alone with him.” Aaron jumped in behind the wheel and Jessi got into the ATV next to him and then they were flying.

“Now I can see why Aaron missed this place,” Remmie said as Gus followed his siblings but at a much slower pace.

“We are very spoiled here. We live…” Gus started but Remmie interrupted.

“Aaron pointed it out to me. I can’t imagine seeing this every day.”

“You better get used to it. You are staying here, right?”

“I am.”

“Aaron told you all about Teddy?” Gus asked.

“Aaron has to be the strongest man I know. They loved each other so much,” Julian commented. “I know how important Teddy was to him and I will always respect their relationship.

“Jessi said you were perfect for each other and she was right,” Gus said as they parked by the house just as the house door flung open and Brian and Justin strode out.

“Wow!” Remmie said softly

“The house pretty amazing.”

“I was talking about your dads. I knew they were a beautiful couple but seeing them together I can see where Aaron and where you get your looks.”

“We both did take after the father we are related to by blood, not that it ever showed in the way we were treated.” Gus smiled, “And there is Fi and our daughter, Katie.”

“You have a beautiful family.”

“I do, don’t I,” Gus commented as they closed the distance between them.

“It is so good to see you, Aaron,” Justin said as he pulled him into his arms. 

“Let me hug him, Sunshine. It’s my turn. You go meet our new son.”

As Brian reached out for Aaron, Aaron rushed around Justin to Julian’s side. In his excitement, he kissed Julian and by the time he turned around Brian had walked up behind Justin and wrapped his arms around his shoulders, kissing Justin’s head above his ear and he softly said, “So good to see him happy.”

Aaron took Julian’s hand and they walked to his dads. “Julian, I want you to meet my dads, Brian Kinney and Justin Taylor, Dads this is my fiance…I love how that sounds…Julian Remington.”

“Aaron, don’t get too used to the fiance thing.  Tomorrow he will be your husband.” Brian gave Aaron a quick kiss on the cheek and then extended his hand to Julian. “Welcome to the family, Julian.” Rather than just shaking his hand, Brian pulled him into his arms. 

“Thank you, Mr. Kinney. I’m very happy to be a part of it.”

“He’s Brian and I’m Justin,” Justin repeated Brian’s actions. “We haven’t seen Aaron look this happy for about five years.”

“I have to tell you, I’m a little starstruck.  I saw an exhibition of yours a few years ago, in Barcelona and I had never seen more compelling work.  They moved me somewhere deep inside.”

“You have two fathers-in-law you should be shitting here,” Brian said, now draping an arm around Aaron’s shoulders.

Gus introduced his wife and daughter after that. Fi smiled at the handsome doctor, “It is nice to meet you. You can’t imagine how happy I am that we will have a doctor living here again. With wee ones here, the nearest doctor is too far away.”

“I will be happy to check on this lovely little ginger any time,” Julian said as he looked at the baby, now in Jessi’s arms.

“Are you all going stand out there all day?” Emma called out from the doorway of the house. 

“We better go. You don’t want to get Emma mad at you.”

After greeting Emma and each eating a cookie, Aaron gave Julian a quick tour of the downstairs and then they moved upstairs to Aaron’s childhood room. “I love this house.  There is a view from every window and that whole area downstairs was for your cats?”

“It was.  I still miss KC and JC. They both lived a long life but once one passed away, the other just had no reason to live. I am glad they left a little bit of the cage to have the small aviary. I like hearing life around us and I can imagine little Katie watching them soon.” 

 “I thought our suitcases would be in here,” Julian said after he realized none of their things were in there.”

“I hope you don’t mind but we are going to stay in the room across the hall.  It was Gus’ room and it is nicer.  It has a balcony.” Aaron’s voice sounded slightly distant.

Julian held him close and kissed him. “I understand.  You shared this room with Teddy for several years, off and on.  Of course it would make you uncomfortable. Let’s go check out the bed in that room.”

Together they stumbled across the hall and fell onto the bed. “You know, this is why I love you so much.”

“Because of the way I kiss?” Julian asked as he nuzzled Aaron’s neck.

Aaron stopped him and made Julian look him in the eyes. “I didn’t need to say what was going on in my head. You just knew.”

“That’s because I learned to love when I met you.” Julian pinned Aaron to the bed but before they knew what was going on, the door flew open, and the next thing they knew Jessi had pushed them apart and was lying on the bed between them. 

“You two know you can’t sleep in here together tonight.  It is the night before your wedding.”

“Jessi, you are the least traditional person I know and why did you just barge into the room without knocking.” Aaron realized he sounded just like he had when they were kids. “What are you doing in here anyway, or did you just come to interrupt us.”

“Oh, ya, I almost forgot.  The car from the airport just came through the gate so they should be up here in about 10 minutes.  We thought you both would want to be downstairs when they arrived.” Jessi kissed Aaron and then Remmie on the cheek. “Oh, one more thing, you better ask Grandpa to be your officiant.  I mentioned it to him when I told him about the wedding but I know it would mean more if he heard it from you.” She stood up and the men followed.

Aaron hugged his little sister, “Thanks, Jess, we will do that. We will be down before they get here.”

After Jessi had left them alone, Julian asked, “Your grandfather is a priest, right?”

“Yep, but he never wears the collar.”

“I just can’t get over the fact that he is accepting of our lifestyle. I guess he adapted when he found out his son was gay.”

“It has nothing to do with my dad.” Aaron took Julian’s hand and they moved to the hall. “Grandpa just believes that when the Bible says ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ it means it.”

“I like him already,” Julian said as they walked across the foyer and opened the front door as the cloud of dust showed the guests were nearly here.

The next hour was spent with the families getting to know each other.  Emma had laid out a spread of all her specialty treats along with tea and coffee. More than once the laughter surprised a dozing Katie, who whimpered but went right back to sleep.

Aaron saw Kevin separating from a small group and moving toward the coffee pot. He linked his arm with Julian and politely excused both of them from a conversation with Jessi and Victoria. As they walked toward Kevin, they heard Jessi telling Victoria what they were up to.

“Hey, Gramps, can we talk to you for a minute?”

Kevin set down his still-empty coffee cup and extended his arms, “I always have time for one of my favorite grandsons.” He put an arm around each of the men and directed them out the back door. They strode across the yard without a word until they got to the mini farm.  All the mini livestock of Aaron’s childhood had passed away but they had continued the tradition and still had highland cows, pygmy goats, donkeys, and horses, all in miniature.

“They are so cute!” Julian said as he reached down and ran his fingers across the flank of one of the horses.

“Let’s sit on the bench,” Kevin said. “It seems counterintuitive but sitting on the plane and in the car has made my knee tighten up so I need to sit.” All three laughed. “Funny but true at my age.”

“Oh, Grandpa, you have a lot of good years left,” Aaron said as they sat on the bench they had put nearby just for this reason.

“I hope so but I’m closer to 80 than 70. Now, I think you wanted to have a discussion. I am guessing it isn’t about the birds and the bees since I am sure you gentlemen have that figured out and I have no experience in that department, not with a man, anyway.”

“We know that Jessi mentioned officiating our wedding for us.”

“I understand if you have other plans.  I am just so happy you two found each other.”

“Father Cain, we would be honored to have you marry us,” Julian responded.

“Julian, you’ll have to either call me Kevin or Grandpa just like the other grandchildren.”

Aaron turned toward Kevin and said, “Grandpa, we want you to marry us.  We want you to say all the normal, love one another stuff.  Could you leave out the words until death do us part? I have had enough of that.”

Kevin put an arm around Aaron and pulled him tightly against him.  “You have had enough of that in your young life. I won't use that phrase. Julian, I want you to know that your understanding nature when it comes to Teddy couldn’t have been handled any better.”

“I can’t expect Aaron to forget his first love and I am grateful to Teddy for showing Aaron how to love. Of course, your whole family taught him to love but…”

“I know what you mean,” Kevin said and patted Julian’s shoulder. “Is there anything you want me to say at the ceremony?”

“You have done plenty of weddings.  Just say what you want and we will come up with our vows,” Aaron said as he stood and walked over to the fence to look at one of the goats. “I wonder if my dads know this goat is about to give birth.”

“You examine your new patient. I have a service to plan. I’ll let your dads know about the goat.”

“I can’t believe we are going to be living here,” Julian said as he stood with Aaron on the balcony.  “I have done my share of traveling but I can't imagine anything more beautiful.”

“Please don’t say anything stupid using me and beautiful in the same sentence.”

“You are stunning.” Julian’s hand wandered down to Aaron’s ass, pulling him tightly against his own need. “But as stunning as you are, I’m not going to sleep with you. I’m going across the hall to your old room.”

“Are you sure, Julian?” Aaron asked after kissing him.

“Yes, I’m sure. Now,” after one last kiss, Julian grabbed a bag Aaron hadn’t noticed and pulled the door closed behind him.

Aaron stood at the French doors looking into the sky. He had tried to sleep but he couldn’t even close his eyes.  Every time he tried his mind went to tomorrow and the wedding. The thought of living the rest of his life with Julian was exciting but somewhere in the back of his mind, there was just a little spot of sadness. He kept thinking of what it would have been like to be married to Teddy.  He kept feeling like he was two people inside one body. He had no doubt he was doing the right thing. 

He turned and sat on the edge of the bed when he heard a whisper of a knock and then the door creaked open. As soon as Aaron saw it was Justin he said, “I’m awake, Dad. You can come in.”

“I didn’t wake you, did I?” Justin asked as he shut the door behind him and came to sit on the bed next to him.

Aaron moved over and patted the pillow.  Justin laid down and put his arms around Aaron who curled up next to his dad. “You having trouble sleeping, too?” Aaron asked.

“I kept thinking about you and just had an idea you were still awake.”

“You don’t think I’m making a mistake, do you?” Aaron questioned.

“Not at all.  Brian and I both love Julian. I just thought you might be fighting with memories.”

“Oh, Daddy, how did you know?”

“I may have worried about you just a little more than your brother and sister. Not really more, I guess. With Gus, we always worried about the relationship with his moms. We never wanted him to feel unwanted.”

“I can understand that and you always did a good job of that.”

“And your sister, Jessi always got the best of us no matter what she did.  We worried about her being overconfident and worrying she would say the wrong thing to the wrong person.”

Aaron had to smile at that. “The world will never be dull with Jessi in it. Why did you worry about me?”

“You know I never thought of you as anything but my son but we both know how we are related by blood. You were too little to remember our fight to keep him away from you and there were times I wondered if we should have let him at least have a little contact with you.”

“Dad, I didn’t miss out on anything.  You and Dad gave me everything I ever needed.  We had Grandpa and Grandma, not to mention all of the rest of our village.  Auntie Emmett and Uncle James and then there was Kate and Quinn, not to mention Terry and Griff. We didn’t have a village, we had a country taking care of us but you and Dad, we always knew you were there for us.” Aaron yawned.

“Here I was coming to try to calm your nerves and instead you helped me with mine.” Justin kissed his cheek and sat up. “I will let you sleep after I say this. Brian and I have learned so much from your example. The way you dealt with Teddy, all the strength and dignity in that horrible situation, at such a young age. We don’t know where you learned that but we are so proud of you and what you have accomplished.”

“Thanks, Dad. I could never have done it without my family.: He yawned. “I think I better get some sleep now.”

Justin walked to the door. “We’ll see you in the morning, Aaron. I love you.”

“I love you, too, Dad, and remember, everything you did for me, for all of us, was all we could have ever asked for.”

Justin climbed into bed, next to Brian. “Where have you been?” Brian turned over and threw a leg over his husband. “Don’t tell me.  You were with our groom.”

“I was.  I couldn’t sleep and I figured he would be awake, too, and he was.”

Brian pressed his lips against Justin’s neck and began to leave a trail of kisses. “Damn, you taste amazing but then you always do.”

“Bri, as good as that feels, I think we both need some sleep.”

“Are you sure I can’t relieve a little tension for you?” Brian’s hand moved under Justin’s waistband and it only took a few strokes of Brian’s skilled hand and Justin was fully erect.

Justin gently pushed Brian down below the blankets, “If you must.” Justin sighed as Brian’s mouth closed around his erection. “Brian Kinney, I love you.”

You must login (register) to review.