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                “Justin – I think it might be time for…Justin!  Justin!  No, no, no, no, no!”






                “Hey Je…what’s wrong!”


                “It’s Justin he’s had an accident and I have to get to New York, but I need to find Hunter!”


The diner goes quiet as Jennifer tries to gather herself.


                “He was in his studio and he must have slipped on something and hit his head…”


                “Shit not again.”  Carl mumbles


                “When did you find out?  Faal get going I’ll call ahead.  Have you booked tickets?”  Zee is eerily calm.


                “Just now Brian called, he’s a wreck.  No to the flights I need to get Hunter to be there for Gus, whilst, whilst, oh God I can’t go through this again!”


Zee puts both hands on her face and makes Jennifer look at her and again is so calm.


                “Listen, I will get you to New York.  Carl will take you home and you will pack.  Carl take her straight to the airport ask for Hanger 5 when you get there.  I will find Hunter and get him there too.  Have you understood what I have said?”


Jennifer nods and heads out with Carl.  Zee calls Hunter and tells him to meet her at the Brownstone in 20 minutes.  Then she’s making another call still amazingly calm.


                “Is there anything we can do?”  Emmett asks trying not to cry.


                “Yeah, actually Emmy Lou you come too, is that doable?” 


He nods and gathers his things, before pulling out his phone. 


                “Okay tickets for 5 are you coming too?”  He asks her.


                “No, one of the advantages of being rich is owning a private plane.  Now go pack and again Hanger 5 as soon as you are done.”


Emmett flies out the door and finally Zee’s calm evaporates.


                “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck please no.”  She whispers before taking a breath and following him out.


I stand there in shock, the bell goes above the door and David comes in.


                “Morn…what’s happened?”  He immediately picks up on the tension.


                “David, I’m so glad you’re here, look...”


 Michael had followed behind him and is oblivious as usual.


                “Michael hush.  It’s Sunshine, he’s had an accident and hit his head.”  I tell him


                “When did it happen?”  David asks.  “Here Debs sit down, someone get some water.”


                “Not sure, Jennifer just told us, she’s on her way to New…oh God why him, why again?”






I feel foggy.  Why is that?  What is that beeping sound?  Where’s Brian I need Brian.






                “Everyone here, okay get in, seatbelts on and we should be cleared for take-off in about half an hour.”


They are all too worried about Justin and Brian to do anything but sit quietly, each praying hard.


                “Ah we are good to go now.  He will be fine guys I am sure of it.”


I blow a kiss to Zee and taxi out.






Please I will do anything, anything in the world don’t take him away from me please. 


                “Mr Kinney?” 


I snap my head up and am looking at a nurse who smiles at me sympathetically.


                “Maybe you should get changed, we can give you some scrubs to wear?”  She suggests gently.


                “Not leaving him until he wakes up.” 


                “Okay, let me know if you need anything.”  She quietly walks out.


                “You listen to me you little twat, you aren’t going anywhere until I say you hear me!”


I am holding onto his hand and slowly stroking his fingers, I love his fingers, they are slim and elegant and his skin is so soft.




                “Hey baby, you scared the shit out of me!  How you feeling?”


                “Fuzzy, where am I?”


                “Hospital, you hit your head.  You’ve got to stop doing that.  Want some water?  Am gonna call the nurse okay?”


He smiles as I give him some ice chips, whilst brushing back his hair.


                “You are going to have one heck of a goose egg.”


                “Mr Taylor, how are you feeling?”  The nurse has brought a doctor with her.  “I am Dr Strong, you must be Mr Kinney?”


I nod and watch as he does some tests for eye co-ordination and gently examines the back of his head.


                “Well there is no trauma to the previous injury, any headache, dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears?”


                “No just tired.”  He replies.


                “Well we will reduce the medication but right now I suggest you get some sleep both of you.” 


He smiles kindly and leaves with the nurse and I gently nudge him onto his side and curl up behind him. 


I am woken about 30 minutes later by loud voices, I could swear that was Faal’s voice I heard.  I check on Justin and he’s still asleep, gently I move off the bed and head into the hallway.


                “Brian!  I…oh my God!”  Jennifer cries going ashen and holding onto the wall.


I look down and realise that I am still wearing the clothes I found him in.


                “Not blood.  He’s fine just tired and asleep right now, did I hear Faal?” 


                “You did.  Here get changed, they may be a bit big but they will do yes?  I have spoken to the nurse you can use the showers down there.  Come.” 


                “Wait, Jennifer can you sit with him, I don’t want him to be alone.” 


She nods and heads inside. 


                “Brian do you want something to eat, a good coffee anything like that?”  Emmy Lou calls out.


I nod, and then realise he’s actually here and not a figment of my tired mind.


                “Emmy when did how did?”  I stammer


                “Let’s get you cleaned up first and then we explain yes?” 


Faal puts his arm round me and leads me to the showers.  Twenty minutes later I feel much better and when I get back to the room he’s awake and sitting up.  Faal moves to allow me to sit next to him.


                “So what the hell happened?”  Jennifer demands.


                “I slipped on something and the next thing I woke up here.  How long have I been here?”


                “It’s just gone six so about 9 hours.”  I reply.


                “The doctor came by and said that he can be discharged later, he sees no reason for him to remain overnight.”  Faal tells me.


                “Oh shit Gus.  He’s on his own…”  He begins to fret


                “No Hunter’s with him.”  Emmy Lou tells us


                “Hunter?  Wait when did you guys get here?”  I ask


                “About 1130, the traffic was a bitch, but we dropped him off and came straight here.”


                “1130, but how did you get here as in New York so quickly.”  I ask Jennifer.


                “By plane of course.  Hopefully we can go back to the Pitts tonight if we get clearance or first thing tomorrow.”  Faal explains.


                “Private plane no less.”  Emmy Lou adds smiling at Faal.


                “Who has a private plane?”  We both ask.


                “Zee does and I have a licence, well we both do but she knew I would be better…”


                “Shit the family, I said we’d call as soon as we knew what is happening.” 


Jennifer reaches for her purse and heads outside tugging Emmy Lou with her.


                “I will go and make some calls hopefully get a window for tonight.  And Justin…don’t do that again please and thank you.”


We sit there stunned for a while.


                “You heard the man, do not do that again!”  I chide him and place a gentle kiss on his mouth.


Luckily we were able to get a window for midnight and so it was a mad dash to get everything sorted out and get to JFK in time for take-off.  Justin mostly just slept through everything and we went to the airport from the hospital.  Once we were in the air everyone visibly relaxed.  Hunter and Gus were playing games and Jennifer and Emmy Lou ended up sleeping on either side of Justin in the bedroom in the back. 


I head to the cockpit, take the co-pilot’s seat and put on the headphones.


                “It reminded you didn’t it?” 


I just nod.


                “Have you and he ever talked about it with someone?”


I shake my head.


                “Well if you ever want to I am here.”


                “Thanks Faal, for, for everything I…”


                “You stop that, you would do the same.  Now where are we dropping you?”


                “You cannot land this at Britin or your place surely?”  I gasp.


                “Britin no, ours yep.  I meant the car service, where are they dropping you.  We should land in about 20 minutes.”




                “Zee made up the room.  Now go back to your seat and get everyone to buckle up for landing.”






I open my eyes to an overcast sky and am slightly confused.




                “Treehouse, how you feeling?”  Brian’s hazel eyes cloud with concern.


                “Much better, you look…”


                “Like shit?” 


I nod, then wince when my goose egg rubs against the pillow.


                “Let me get some ice for you, don’t move.”  He orders.


                “Need to piss.”  I grouch sitting up slowly.


                “Fine I’ll hold it for you.” 


He scoops me gently out of bed and carries me to the bathroom.


                “Brian I hit my head not broke my legs…”


                “Please Justin…”  He murmurs into my hair.


                “Okay, we can play doctor and patient.”  I snuggle into his arms.






                “Grandma, do you think we can go see Uncle Justin today?”


                “I don’t know it depends on how he’s feeling.  I am sure he would love to see you.  Let me give Alice a call.”


                “Oh don’t bother Alice, they’re at the Treehouse.  So eggy bread sandwiches?” 


Hunter looks hopeful and I am confused.


                “Eggy bread…”


                “Yes and you’ll love it.  Go check on grandpa and ask if he…”


                “Did I hear eggy bread sandwiches?”  Grandpa calls out


                “I would really like to...” 


Just then the doorbell rings and its papa, I run to him and he gives me a big hug.


                “Any news?”  He asks.


                “Apparently they are at the Treehouse but Jenny really wants to see him before she flies out.”  Grandma answers


                “Maybe, Hunter can you get that, maybe I should give them a call and see?”  Grandpa suggests


Grandma nods and he goes for his phone, I follow him waving at dad as I go.


                “Zee, it’s Carl, how’s he doing?  Well it’s…”


                “Grandpa may I have the phone please?”  I ask


He hands it to me.


                “Hey Aunt Zee, can I come and see Uncle Justin and you and your nice new house and I promise, I promise I will be extra super quiet and not ask you to make cookies I won’t even shout when I see him I promise, please, please please?!”


I wait and take a few calming breaths and hand back the phone.


                “Yes she does.  You want us to bring what?  Okay, I’ll get Red to make the calls.”  He hangs up.  “As you can tell that’s a yes.  And there will be a surprise for you later this evening.  Now go get packed.” 


Grandpa ushers me out of the room and heads to the kitchen and speaks to Grandma and she starts to laugh, I want to know what was so funny but I want to see Uncle Justin more.




                “Where’s Jenny going, I haven’t even had a good morning from her.”  I grouse


                “She’s packing, she wants to see Justin before she goes.”  Carl tells me.


                “She’s not going to New York, you can’t be serious?”  I am astonished.


                “No Michael, we are not going to New York, if you had bothered to ask you’d know that Justin and Brian came back last night and are at Zee’s so we are going there for a pyjama party lunch and then Jenny will go home from there.”  Ma tells me.


                “A what?”  Ben asks


                “That’s what I was thinking.”  I mutter


                “A pyjama party lunch.  I can’t wait to see her try and get Brian into PJs!”  Ma cackles.


She bustles out making calls.






I love Zee, I love her with all my heart and I know she’s worrying but the sheer amount of worry she has bought is astounding.  She’s bought blankets and cashmere, wait cashmere…ah not worry this is full blown panic.


                “Darling, stop he’s fine.” 


I take her into my arms and feel her tremble before the tears flow.  Slowly she calms down and sniffles into my chest.


                “I’ve started cooking?”  She mumbles


                “I see that, but why so much?  What have you done?”


                “Jenny wants to see Justin before she goes and I kinda invited everyone for a pyjama party lunch…”


                “Ah and who are the blankets for we have a set for each room?” 


                “Them.”  She replies.  “They like them you see.”


                “And the little sheepskin rug?  That’s for Lilah because she liked ours yes?”


She nods and goes to speak but I silence her with a kiss.


                “Okay.  So we are having what for this lunch?”  I ask.


                “Rice peas and chicken.”  She answers wiping her face.


                “Good, now give me a smile please.  That’s better.”


                “Oh we need to call Mace in.”




                “He’s flying them home.  But don’t say anything to her okay?”


I nod and go make the call.  Looks like it will be an interesting day.




I can’t believe these last few hours, but the most important thing is that Justin is okay.  When I saw all that red on Brian’s clothes I thought the worst but he’s okay and apparently we are going to a pyjama party lunch at Zee’s.






I am helping Debbie clean up the kitchen and Michael is being helpful by sitting there brooding. 


                “You know what Michael it would be nice to turn down your help.”  I point out


                “I helped last night.”  He thinks that drying up two glasses is helping.


                “Honey are you going to call Steve and get him to bring Taylor, I’m sure that Justin would love to see her.  And Michael why don’t you bring David?”  Debs asks.


                “I can call Steve not sure what he’s doing…”


                “No coordinated your diaries yet?”  Michael snipes.


Before I answer Jenny comes in with her case in hand.


                “Hi dad, where’s David?  He’s coming to lunch too isn’t he?  Call him now, actually let me speak to him.” 


She holds out her hand for his phone and he seems to be reluctant to give it to her but he does after dialling the number.


                “Hi David, its Jenny.  I’m fine but you’re not here.  We’re going to a pyjama party lunch at Zee’s in about an hour, I know a PJ party that’s what she said.  We’re at the Brownstone, no they can wait for you okay see you later then.”


She hands the phone back to him and takes her out.


                “Aunt Zee, hi, dad and David are coming too and I think Uncle Steve is bringing Taylor what are we having…schweet…great see you soon!”


                “What just…”  I begin.


                “Gus, Hunter, Matt come on we’re on prep duty!”  She hollers up the stairs


The boys clatter down the stairs.


                “Again what’s…?”  I begin


                “Grandpa you stay here with dad and wait for David.  Papa you call Uncle Steve and tell him to pack Taylor’s bunny ears, I think that Uncle Justin will like the bunny ears.  Nana Jen is coming to pick us up in 5 minutes and we’re going ahead to do prep duty with Aunt Zee and Auntie Em and Grandma you are coming with us too.”


She looks at us as if that makes perfect sense.


                “Well let’s go!” 


She starts to drag Debs out with her as Matt just shakes his head and Hunter takes her case.  I decide to call Steve.


                “Hi Steve, look apparently, oh you’ve heard too?  I have no idea.  But Jenny said to mention Taylor’s bunny ears, great I am glad someone knows what’s going on.  No hadn’t thought of that, yep will meet you by the house in say 20 minutes.”


I wave my goodbyes and head out.




                “Is there anything in the house you need to collect if so go do it now.” 


Slowly he gets up and heads to the door for once we have the same feeling…dumbstruck by the whirlwind that is Jenny.






                “A what?  Look I know you mean well Zee but Justin’s…”


                “Not made out of glass and is fine, please it sounds like fun.”  He bats his eyes at me.


Faal nods his head to the back kitchen.


                “Look this is her coping mechanism, it is one day and it will be fun I promise you.”


                “The moment you feel tired you go to bed got it.”  I tell him as we head back inside.


                “Got it thank you Dr Kinney!” 


Faal plants a kiss on my cheek and hands me a wrapped bundle.


                “What’s this?”  I look at it warily.


                “PJs for the PJ lunch, now shower and change!”  Faal grins at me.


I head back upstairs trying to hold off Justin from grabbing the parcel and find a basket on the bed, which he immediately opens.


                “Seriously where does she find these things?” 


He murmurs stroking the blankets before heading to the bathroom


                “Come on let’s get dressed for this thing, seriously if there is…”  I begin as I open the parcel


Justin pokes his head out.


                “If there is what?  Brian you okay?”  He comes back to the bed and gasps.


Inside are two sets of PJs, one black and one dove grey, both silk on the outside and cashmere lined, they are plain but feel like heaven and come with matching socks. 


                “Beautiful.”  I murmur.  “Right shower I need to get these on…and you’re wearing your socks!”


Thirty minutes later we head to the kitchen and find Faal and Zee neither of whom are in their PJs, I pull her to one side.


                “Thank you.  But where are yours?”  I murmur kissing her on her cheek.


                “Changing after prep.  And you’re welcome, but a little tip, don’t sleep in these and use the blankets you will sweat like a hog seeing a spit roast.”


When the door goes Faal returns with the kids, Emmy Lou, Debs and Jennifer.  Jenny is unusually subdued. 


                “What’s wrong?”  I ask her.


                “I promised and I never break my promises.”   She looks so sad and fit to bursting.


                “This one you can break.”  Zee smiles


                “Uncle Justin!”  She shrieks and runs into his arms.


                “She promised she wouldn’t scream and shout if she got to see him.”  She explains.


                “Okay everyone come lots to do, except you two, have a seat either here or in the lounge.  After that you can all go and get changed, your PJs await.  So Emmy Lou you are on bubbles yes?” 


Faal smirks as he spots Emmy Lou’s head in the fridge.


                “Way ahead of you.  Are we indulging them now or later?”  He asks swinging the bottle around.


                “Later with dinner and yes Justin that goes for you too.”  I say before he says anything.


                “Brian.”  Faal chides me gently.


                “Sorry.  But baby, it’s just…” 


                “I know, I will be careful I promise.”


Hunter and Matt guffaw at the endearment.


                “Nice hickey.”  I remark, which shuts them up.


By the time everyone else arrives dinner is almost prepped and smells incredible.   I am surprised to see David, who looks a little uncomfortable at first but is too swept up in the prep, helping Hunter and Matt with the pork belly.


                “Right prep is done!  Everyone upstairs to change!”  Zee orders.




                “You don’t think that people will think I am being “proud”?” 


                “No my lig and if they do then they can simply leave them behind.”  Faal snorts.


We head downstairs; I worried for nothing.  Emmy Lou is on his phone trying to order another set of PJs, Taylor is trying to put her ears on Ben, Brian and Justin have commandeered a corner of the sofa so the only person not really participating is Michael…him being quiet I can live with.


                “They’re gorgeous Aunt Zee, so comfy, what’s the furry stuff?”  Gus asks.


                “Cashmere and the outside is silk.” 


There are gasps and Debs immediately but carefully puts her red wine down.


                “At least we don’t need to pack PJs when we’re next here.”  Ben jokes.


                “Actually you can take them home with you if you want.  Call them celebration PJs or whatever – in honour of Justin being well and home.  Please?”  I know I am begging.


                “Thank you.  I am going to call them my Sunday PJs.”  Carl kisses me on the cheek.


                “Isn’t this really difficult to clean?”  Michael asks.


                “They’re dry clean.  Make a mess, take them to a store and they clean it simple really.”  Blake replies.


I head to the kitchen trying to hide my smirk and am surprised to find David following me.


                “It’s a beautiful house.”  


                “Thanks.”  I notice Faal’s slow approach.


David leans against the counter and sighs. 


                “So this, I’m going with problem.  How about you just spit it out?”  I ask.


                “How do you get Matt to forgive your mistakes?  You and Faal have such a great relationship with him and I just wondered?”


                “Depends on the mistake.”  I stop Faal’s approach with a look.  “Was it an ooops or a clusterfuck?”


                “Clusterfuck.”  He grimaces.


                “You did mention something when we last met, is that the clusterfuck?”


                “Partly, but I am fixing that, it’s the rest I am having a problem with he thinks I lied to him.”


                “And did you?”


Before he can answer Jenny comes in concentrating on not dropping the tray full of glasses.


                “Uh a little help please, I don’t think I can do the counter?”  She gasps.


David takes the tray off her and smiles.  She tugs his hand and pulls him out of the kitchen yelling about games.


                “Seriously what the fuck was that and can we not catch a fucking break?”  Faal grouses.




Ben and Steve manage to get Taylor settled for a quick nap, after she insisted that Justin wear her bunny ears.  Debs had brought some board games and we are in the process of splitting into teams.  Faal is insisting that Zee is on his side and Brian that Justin is on his.  Debs overrules saying that partners have to be on opposing teams as they know their weaknesses; so naturally Michael ends up on Brian’s team with Faal and I end up with Zee and Justin.  We settle on trivial pursuit and in no time at all there are shouts of unfair play and cries of distraction.


                “A bra strap is not a distraction for heaven sake!  It just slipped.”  Jennifer argues.


                “Helps if you do the buttons up Jen!”  Tucker rebukes her.


                “Oh hadn’t noticed.”  She murmurs.


Zee leans over to Hunter and whispers something, he looks incredulous, but she shrugs and smiles.  It’s our turn to pick and we’re in the lead.  Zee smiles and clears her throat.


                “This question is for Michael.  What is a braai is it a…”


                “Oh I know this one it’s a bush.”


There is a stunned silence.


                “Um what?”  Faal asks


                “A bush as in briar bush with thorns where Peter Rabbit hid from the wolf…no the fox.”


                “Is there any chance we can get that as a pity point for mishearing?”  Blake asks




                “Why is that wrong?”  Michael asks.


Jenny gapes at him.


                “Because it is.  It is braai as in bri not briar as in bri-er.  Bush was not even an optional answer.”


David just stares at Michael.


                “So what is a braai then?”  He asks folding his arms.


                “South African BBQ.  And why not wait for the options?”  Faal shakes his head.


                “Seriously a pity point please?”  Brian begs.


Justin just giggles and shakes his head but his whimper, face draining of colour and slight sway immediately cause Brian to fly to his side.


                “You okay?”  He gently cradles him in his arms and looks into his eyes.


                “I’m fine just forgot about the goose egg, so a bit of a head swim, honest, I’m okay.” 


                “You want water baby?  Gus go get your papa some.”  Emmett tells him


Gus runs to the kitchen.


                “Can you also wrap some ice in a towel and bring that.”  David calls out.


                “I’ll get it.”  Jennifer follows him down the corridor


                “Brian let me have a look at him.  Please?”  David asks.


Reluctantly he moves to the side to let David in but keeps a firm hold of his hand.


                “Should we take him back to the hospital?”  Jenny asks peering worryingly at him


                “Nope he’s fine like he said, I can’t see anything wrong with his eyes and there’s no nausea with the dizziness?”




                “Maybe you should eat something sweetheart?”  Jennifer suggests.


                “Yes he should, how long until dinner?”  David looks at Zee


                “Shit another hour at least, it’s a slow cook dish.  Oh wait the belly is done can do a roll?”


                “That’s perfect.  How soon can he have it?”


                “5 mins tops.”


                “Actually why don’t we all have something, come on Jen let’s give her a hand.”  Deb calls.


Brian scoops Justin off the floor and back onto the couch in their corner, I see Michael’s eye roll.


                “Jenny, go bring down a blanket from one of the bedrooms please?”  Faal turns her to the door.


                “Please can everyone stop making a fuss, I’m…”


 Justin’s objections are cut off with one look from Brian.   Jenny makes a fuss out of covering them with the blanket then dashes to the kitchen.  True to her word, the rolls start appearing, Jenny has taken the time to cut his into quarters.  Within about 10 minutes his colour starts to come back and he starts on Brian’s who lets him have it with a smile.


                “You’re coming back to me.”  I hear him whisper.


                “I am now stop worrying.”  He whispers back.


We decide that a game show on TV is a better idea than the rest of the game until dinner.




                “Okay people so here’s the thing, since it is a PJs lunch we bowl it.  So come ahead, not you two.  Zee will sort you out.”


They follow me into the kitchen and help themselves.  Zee comes back with a bigger bowl and loads it up for Brian and Justin.  Soon everyone has their food and are back in the lounge.


                “What’s this called, this is delicious?”  Jennifer asks.


                “Rice, peas and chicken…”  Zee starts to reply


                “But there are no peas.”  Michael states the obvious but hasn’t started to eat.


                “I know but that’s what the kidney beans are called in the Windies hence the name.”


                “Windies?”  Tucker questions.


                “West Indies…short Windies.”  I explain


                “Is there a problem Michael?”  David asks.  “You don’t seem to be eating.”


                “Well after the last time Zee cooked and I was ill…”  He trails off.


                “Dad how can you be so rude?!”  Jenny is horrified.


                “Actually the last time mom cooked you didn’t eat, you were ill because of the food you brought!” 


Matt snaps, Hunter puts his hand on his and whispers in his ear, Matt then looks at his mom.




                “Hey it’s a perfectly reasonable tactic.”  She shrugs.


                “What you have to share now?”  Debbie calls out.




                “Mom don’t you dare!”  Matt squeaks.


                “My son has spoken.  Therefore I cannot.”


                “Text us later?”  Jennifer asks.


                “Of course she will.” I reply.


                “Seriously what did I do?  I was a good foetus, never gave you morning sickness!”  Matt mutters


                “Guys.  I would rather not hear talk of foetuses whilst I am eating.”  Carl grumbles


                “This is really good Zee, can I have the recipe…hey that’s my bit you like breast!”  Justin gripes.


                “Turkey not chicken.”  Brian kisses away his pout.


                “Wait isn’t it over 3 months or more, you must celebrate!”


 Jenny is bouncing on her heels, where does she get the energy.


                “Isn’t what over 3 month’s honey?”  Debs asks.


                “Hunter and Matt.  It’s like a pregnancy, you wait for 3 months until its safe and you know it’s going to be forever and good and lovely.”


                “I’m not quite following Jenny maybe you explain this simply?”  David suggests.


                “It’s over 3 months since Hunter and Matt met and they should celebrate that.”  She sighs.


                “It is!”  They both look surprised.


                “Boys are so rubbish at romance!”  She gripes heading to the kitchen.


                “Not all boys.”  Zee smiles.


                “Uncle Faal doesn’t count!”  She calls back.


                “Wait why don’t I count?” 


                “The same way Uncle Brian doesn’t count.”  She settles back into her seat.


                “Again Jenny, I’m not quite following.”  David prods gently.


She sighs heavily and puts her bowl of food down.


                “Uncle Brian and Uncle Faal don’t count because they show their love every day with little things.  I don’t know about everyone else but that’s what they do.  Like right now, Uncle Brian really wants that piece of chicken but Uncle Justin needs it more see it’s the little things.”


She goes back to eating her food for a bit before turning her attention to David.


                “I never got to ask you.  People say I talk to much do you think so?  How did you and dad meet?”


                “We got back in touch after we drifted apart.”  David answers.


                “Why did you drift apart?” 


                “Jenny this is not the time or the place?”  Michael interrupts sharply.


The room is quiet.


                “I had to move to Portland for my son and…”


                “Wait, Portland?  Are you the same David that David?” 


                “What David?”  Brian asks having stopped feeding Justin.


                “The David that dad said…”


                “Jenny Rebecca enough!  No more questions about this do you understand?  It is private.”


Michael snaps and storms to the kitchen.  Jenny looks shocked but then frowns, puts down her bowl and follows him.


                “Jenny honey now just wait!”  Debs calls following her down.


                “Dad what exactly did I do to deserve you embarrassing me like that!”  Jenny demands.


We all make it to the kitchen to find Michael with his back to us and Jenny standing in front of him with her hands on her hips in full Debbie mode.


                “Watch your tone young lady!” 


                “I asked you a question what did I do to deserve that?”  She is holding her ground good for her.


                “The questions you were asking were inappropriate and…”


                “How, explain to me how those were inappropriate?”


                “They just were, they were about my private life and I…”


                “Did I ask about you two fucking?   No, I was going ask if he was the same David that I heard about the one that you moved to Portland to be with, if you had let me finish the question!”


                “My life before you is…”


Jenny took a step back like he struck her.


                “None of your business is that what you were going to say?  Fine.  My life from this point onwards is none of yours!” 


                “No that’s not what I was going to say!  It’s just that David and I are just starting out again and…”


                “And what daddy?”  She snarls derisively.


                “I don’t want things from our past to ruin it.”


                “So don’t repeat your fuck up, it’s really that simple!” 


She snaps and stalks to the door we part like the Red Sea and let her through. 


                “I need to kick some ass whose coming?!”  She demands and heads upstairs.


The boys follow in silence. 




                “Do you mind if we had the room I would like to speak to Michael alone?”


They all nod and leave with Debbie closing the door behind her.




                “Michael stop.”


I take a breath.


                “We have to talk, seriously have to talk but not here.  Let’s just get through the rest of the day without any further incidents okay?”


He nods and I follow him out.




                “So Dr Kinney can the patient have a really watered down brandy or whisky since he didn’t have wine with dinner?”


Brian has resumed his position on the couch but with Justin now between his legs with his chest to his back and the blanket over both of them, they look so content.


                “I suppose he can.  As long as he drinks slowly.”


Justin wiggles happily and beams at me. 


                “What time’s Jenny’s surprise?”  Carl asks.


                “Oh shit good point.  Um eight, so they should be home before midnight.” 


                “Wait does Gus know?  And he’s kept that quiet?”   Carl is amazed.


                “Hunter can be amazingly persuasive when he wants to be.”  Ben chortles


                “Yeah just ask Matt.”  Zee smirks.


                “Oh wait that reminds me.   What happened to you two?”  Justin asks Emmy Lou.




                “When we found the motocross centre, you two disappeared pretty quickly.”


                “That’s true.  Drew, you lost so what did you have to do?”  Steve asks excitedly.


Drew shakes his head at Brian but grins at the same time.


                “In fairness, I should say what I would’ve had to do first in case I lost.”  Brian drawls


We all turn to look at him.


                “I would’ve had to dance on the Iron Men touchline in a tutu during their next charity match.”


                “No you are kidding me?!”  Justin looks up at him in amazement.


                “Which is why I didn’t lose.”  He shrugs.


                “So what did Drew have to do?”  Ted asks.


                “Anything Ems wanted.”  Drew replies


                “You’ve missed something out there Mr Boyd.”  Brian chides him


                “In bed.”


There is an astonished silence.


                “Well!”  Jennifer demands.


                “A lady never tells.”  Emmy Lou demurs.


                “Oh come on!”  Tucker begs


                “Wait you wouldn’t deny a poorly Sunshine would you?”  Justin feigns fainting.


Emmy Lou looks at Drew and arches a brow.


                “The floor is yours Ems, but bear in mind your reputation is at stake…”


                “Think of the one thing that this nelly bottom has never done.” 


There is silence before realisation sinks in.


                “You topped Drew!”  Carl splutters.


                “Yep he popped my cherry!”  Drew laughs.


                “Wow.  So how was it?”  Jennifer asks.


Emmy Lou for once looks embarrassed but pleased with himself.


                “Oh that good?”  Deb chuckles.


Drew smiles and nods.


                “On the subject of beds, who’s overnighting?”  I ask.


The only hands that don’t go up are David and Michael’s, which I don’t think anybody is surprised about.


                “So who wants brandy and who wants whisky or there is red or white wine hot chocolate and…”


                “What and what chocolate?”  Emmy Lou is advancing like a tigress.


                “This is where I go to the kitchen and show you how it’s done right?”  I ask.


Twenty minutes later we come back with trays of hot chocolate and cookies. 


                “I took some up to the kids without the wine of course, Taylor’s sleeping I think she’s done for the night.  And judging by the mardy ass expressions on their faces she’s been kicking ass.”


                “Mardy ass?”  Blake asks.


                “Mardy ass, it’s a quaint English colloquialism for miserable.”  I explain.


Michael scowls in reference to Jenny’s bad mood.


                “Oh don’t you get that face on you, you caused it!”  Deb rebukes him.


                “She’s right Michael.  Before she goes home why not try and make it up to her?”  Steve suggests.


                “Make it up to her if anything she owes me an apology!”  He growls.


                “Fine you think what you think and we know what we know.”  Steve ends the conversation.


                “That doesn’t even make sense!  Ben seems your boyfriend is only pretty on the outside.”  He sneers.


                “For the last time Michael, we are not boyfriends!”  Ben snarls.


                “Why not?”  Jenny asks.


Everyone turns to look at her.


                “Uh…”  Ben looks towards Steve for help who looks like a deer in headlights.


                “Dad’s got David, why can’t you have Steve.  Hunter says he goes all schmoopy when he looks at you.” 


                “Schmoopy, uh Jenny are you okay?  I mean after earlier?”  Ben asks.


                “Yep, now that I know where I stand.  So back to this dating thing, have you been on a date?”


                “No we are just friends, good friends but…”


                “Aha the “but”, so you could be more than that.  I think you should, you deserve to be finally happy papa.  You don’t have to go on a date now give it time but I think you should.  And before you say anything remember I am a Marcus I can argue anything.  Hey what’s that noise?”


Suddenly the external lights all go on.


                “Is that a plane?”  Jenny is awestruck.


                “Your carriage awaits milady.”  Faal bows deeply.


                “My car…what I am going home in this!”  She gasps.


I nod at her and am soon engulfed in a hug.


                “Gus come on plane’s here!”  I shout.


Gus and Matt bring their luggage down and we after some gentle, tearful and cool goodbyes we get them into the plane and they are away.


                “Actually we should be going too, can I call a cab?”  David asks.


                “Nope.  We’ll call the service for you, um you going to change or you just going to face plant when you get back?” 


He chuckles and pauses as if to give the question some serious thought.


                “Face plant, definitely face plant.”  He answers with a smile.


Faal is already calling and when he’s finished he turns to Michael.


                “Are you going to change?”




Faal frowns at his tone but lets it go, with some considerable effort. 


                “Uh David, before you go thanks for Justin you know…”  Brian starts.


                “You’re welcome.  He’s going to be fine as long as he doesn’t overdo.  Justin, I am serious you need to rest nothing too strenuous.  So go easy on him Stud.” 


Brian looks gobsmacked and just nods and Michael again rolls his eyes.


                “Well thank you for a curate’s egg of a day which is not a reflection on you or Faal.” 


                “Want some cookies?”  I ask.


                “Please, any chance of one of each?” 


I nod and he follows me to the kitchen 


                “About earlier…”


                “Car’s here!”  Faal calls out.


                “Another time, at least I have a good example of how not to do it in Michael.  Goodnight.”








                “Michael, before you say anything, I’m tired.  Let’s meet tomorrow and we will talk then.”


I don’t wait for his response and just close my eyes.






                “Curate’s egg?”


                “Good in parts.”  Jennifer answers.


                “Well on the MNRS where was it?”  Red asks


                “About 8 may 8.5.”  Ted laughs.


                “Is it me or was Jenny being a bit of a…”


                “Snot nose?  Oh yeah, did you hear the “I know where I stand” and “you deserve to be finally happy” comments!”  Red guffaws.


                “And when, when she said I am a Marcus I can argue anything, I almost had to jam my fist in my mouth!”  Emmett is holding his sides.


                “And it’s a bush…”  Blake splutters.


                “I wanted to cry when he said that!  Jenny was so ashamed.”  Faal groans.


                “I wonder if there is ziti at home, notice he only ate the cookies?  Oh God when he said that about the food I seriously thought Matt was going to slap him.”  Tucker was shaking with laughter.


                “Did you see his face when you mentioned the bet and that you topped Drew?  And David calling Brian Stud?  He looked like he discovered that Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny are fake.”


 I wipe my eyes.


                “Oh my God the horror!”  Steve feigns shock and collapses against Ben, clutching his heart.


                “And the coup de gras, the plane taking them home.  He looked like someone dripped lemon juice down his ass!”


                “Hunter!”  Red hollers laughing.


                “Well he’s pissed because he can’t get the money back on the ticket.”


                “Please stop, I can’t laugh anymore, poorly person remember!” 


                “And on that note, I am taking said poorly person to bed.”  Brian chuckles.


                “Remember to go easy stud, a proper doctor’s orders!”  Faal calls out.




Justin is still chuckling quietly when we get to our room.  At some point the fire has been banked so it’s not overwhelmingly hot. 


                “How’d it feel?”  He asks.




                “Didn’t you notice?  Michael didn’t talk to you once.  So how’d it feel?”


I blink a couple of times and realise he’s right.


                “Good it felt really good, he’s most likely still waiting for an apology, which he’s not going to get.”


He beams at me and goes to get into bed still dressed.


                “No Zee says that with the blankets and the PJs we will be too hot…”


                “However will I keep warm then?”  He smiles coquettishly at me.


                “Are you sure?”


                “Just go slow okay?”  He murmurs.


I cover his mouth with mine in a deep tongue fucking kiss, cradling his head gently.  I kiss a trail down his neck and back behind his earlobe, causing him to wiggle and sigh.


                “Wait shouldn’t we at…”


                “And I quote, those sheets are made for fucking on, so get on with it.”  I tell him nipping at his neck.




                “Faal, now shush.”


Softly I kiss a trail to his chest and bring his nipples to hardness, sometimes I miss his ring.  I kiss down both sides of his chest leaving hickeys over his heart.  He arches his back when I get to his belly button and swirl my tongue inside and he lets out a little mewl of pleasure.  As I slide down his body I leave a trail of precum on his thigh.


                “Turn over.” 


Slowly he rolls onto his stomach and sighs happily.  I grab the honey dust and oil from the gift basket and warm the oil between my hands.


                “What’s that smell, it smells so nice?”


I press both hands onto his shoulders massaging the still tense muscles there and sweeping down his arms, paying particular attention to his hands, easing the tension in his fingers.  I stroke back upwards and then massage his back, easing the kinks out in every vertebrae.  He is starting to purr.  Ignoring his bubble butt, I sweep more warmed oil down his legs massaging his thighs, his calves and each of his toes.  He starts to rut and whimper.


Pouring more oil, I start at the base of his spine before sliding my hands over my idea of heaven, squeezing gently but firmly.  Spreading his cheeks I sprinkle some honey dust down his crack and a drop of oil, as my tongue makes contact he squeals.


                “Oh God!”


Even without them he tastes good but now he tastes better I work my tongue from top of his crack to his balls, lathing them one by one, he grabs frantically at the blankets.  I apply more honey dust and oil and after pushing a pillow under his hips work my way inside and squeeze his cheeks.


                “Unh, oh, oh!  Don’t stop please don’t stop!”


I slide in an oiled finger and reach his prostate, slowly massage it.


                “Oh my, oh Jesus, there, yes there, um, ah, I think, Brian wait, I…oh fuck!


Suddenly he explodes collapsing in a boneless heap, I put the pillow on the floor and shudder out my release onto it as I watch him twitch and jerk.


                “Was that what you had in mind?”  I whisper pulling him into my arms.


                “What about you?”  He mumbles as he starts to drift off.


                “I got mine, now sleep.”






I am pacing waiting for David to come.  I have decided not to open up today, we need to talk without interruptions or fawning over poorly Boy Wonder.  I am still smarting that neither Brian nor Ted have apologised to me yet but I need to fix this with David first.


I hear the door knocking and let him in with a smile.


                “I got coffee, the good stuff not the stuff from the diner.”  I tell him.


                “I wouldn’t let your ma hear you say that.”


                “So, look I know I have been a bit off lately…”


                “A bit off?”  He repeats.


                “But I was just so worried about…”


                “No you weren’t.”


I look surprise at that.


                “Whatever it is you are going to say you were worried about you weren’t.”


                “I don’t…”


                “I have to admit Michael that I came here with an ulterior motive but even that’s not even is enough to keep me seeing you.  You’ve only demonstrated that nothing has changed in your life, you’re still the same man-boy I sent home all those years ago.  The only thing that’s grown for you is your jealousy of the people around you who have grown up and moved on in their lives!  You led me to believe all kinds of bullshit about Brian still being the Stud of Liberty Avenue; he and Justin love and always will love each other and that was never more evidenced than yesterday.  The fact that you even entertained keeping Jenny from Ben and Hunter is despicable to me.  And then the way you treated her, what did you tell her about us Michael?  I have to admit that I was jealous of Brian and his relationship with you but I’ve now realised from these visits Michael, it’s not nor was it ever him pushing that it was you.  And it is still is you chasing that ghost…the ghost of your past with Brian.”


                “I want my money back.”  I demand.


                “What money?”  He asks.


                “The $50K I lent you to invest!”  I shout.


                “You gave it to me Michael so you can’t have it back.”


                “What stocks did you invest it in?”  I ask.


“I didn’t.  I used it for some expenses I had.  For that I am sorry but it’s done and there is nothing you can do about it.  Now I’m going, do not contact me and when I am back for the perspective don’t approach me either.”


As I sag against the counter in shock he leaves.




                “Hey Charles, I’m on my way back, I’ll explain then, yeah you were right.  See you soon.”




I can’t believe what just happened, why me?!  I’m a good person.  Well if he thinks he’s getting away with that then he can think again.  I want my money back and Brian and Ted are going to help me get it!





Chapter End Notes:

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