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Jesus he can kiss!  His mouth is so sweet tasting and he has the softest hair.  I wonder what his skin feels like…


                “Why’d you stop?”  He pants looking confused


                “So we can breathe.”  I reply with a grin.


He giggles, yep giggles, and then looks at me.


                “You are gorgeous.”  He whispers


                “Bottom lip.”




                “You said you wanted to do something with my bottom lip.”


He grins and rolls us over.






Zee is still shivering a bit but at least she’s dry.  As we head downstairs I glance at the open door and see Matt and Hunter on the bed.  We hear the rest of the kids chattering in Gus’s bedroom and leave them to it.


                “They making out?”


                “Yep.  He seems a nice young man.  His papa, Michael, not so much I think.  But Ben I like.”


She nods and takes my hand, the sweats that Justin left out for her are much too big and she looks adorably small in them.  We head into the lounge and space is made for her in front of the fire.


                “Where are Brian and Justin?”  I ask.


                “Cooing over their new additions to the family.”  Alice chuckles.


                “Oh how many?”  Zee asks


                “Four and they seem to be okay.  Would you like a brandy Zee?”  Alice asks.


She nods and then leaps up.


                “Crap be right back.” 


She dashes out and they all look a bit confused.


                “The smoker gun for the brandy, remember that’s what she went out for in the first place.”


She comes back and is followed by Brian and Justin.


                “So you are now slaves to cats.”  Ben chuckles


Brian smirks but says nothing.


                “What is she doing?”  Justin asks me.


                “Smoking the brandy.  It enhances the flavour and adds sweetness, takes off the burn.”


She pours a glass for Brian first, tentatively he takes a sip and then smiles.


                “This is really good, where’d you get that thing?”




                “Oh any hardware shop sells them.”


                “Can you get them online?”  He asks heading for his computer.


I nod and follow and soon not only do we have a smoker gun for him but he has ordered enough cat stuff to open his own store.


                “Like Ben says….you are now slaves to cats.”


He rolls his eyes at me and shakes his glass.


                “A small one though.”  I call out to him.


                “Why don’t you both stay?”  He calls back.


                “We’d love to but we have to get the rest of the kids back to ours, think Matt drove.”  I reply


                “They can stay too.  Think Gus and Hunter would love that.  Hang on.”  Justin bellows upstairs and Gus and his friends come down, they are more than happy with the new arrangements.


                “Um where’s Hunter?  He didn’t come down.”  Ben asks.


                “Making out with Matt.”  Zee replies




We all whirl round to face Matt and Hunter, they both look thoroughly kissed.


                “So that’s not what you were doing?”  I tease him.


                “Parents!”  Matt sighs and stomps back upstairs followed by Hunter who has gone bright red.


                “Consider that payback for the shirt!”  I yell at him.


We all burst out laughing.




                “So we’re staying then?”  I nuzzle Faal’s neck.


                “Mmm my lig, we stay tonight.”


                “Alice do you need a hand setting up the rooms?”


                “Oh no you don’t…”


                “Alice we’ve had this conversation before…”


                “Alright come on then.”  She shakes her head and leads me out.




                “Justin may I have a word with you and Brian in private?”


Looks are exchanged but they follow me out leading me to the study.


                “About the gun.  I apologise.  I know it scared you a little but I always carry it but if you wish me to leave it at home whilst I am here I will.”


                “Does Zee carry one too?”  Justin asks quietly


                “Yes, we are in the security business and to us it is habit like putting on a tie.”


                “Justin it is no different than the security we have here, they have guns too.  And Carl carries one.”  Brian hugs him.


                “Yeah but that was a little close to home no?  And to see Matt panic a bit too didn’t help.  He’s never seen it either.  Dad in work mode.”


Justin nods and thinks for a bit.


                “If, if you don’t mind, since we have security here, could you both not wear them in here?”




                “No Brian, it is his right this is his house and I will respect that and let Zee know.”


                “Thank you Faal, for, for understanding.”


I smile and head out to leave them to their discussion calling out to Zee.


                “What why are you trying to wake the dead with your yelling?”  She smiles at me.


                “Funny.  Justin would like us…”


                “Not to wear our guns?”


I nod and head to what is our bedroom for the night, taking it off I put it under the pillow.  She had already taken hers off and put it there, I look at her quirking an eyebrow.








I hold onto Justin and let him cry.  I stroke his hair until he quietens.


                “I know it’s silly…”  He begins.


                “It’s not silly if it makes you uncomfortable to have one so close.  Come on sit down and explain.”


                “It’s not that, it’s just, it’s just.  I can’t explain it properly.  He was just so…”


                “In work mode and you’ve only just met him and the first thing he does is pull a gun to protect her.”


He nods into my chest.


                “They’ve been together for 15 years you know?”


                “Wow.  And they are still like that?”


He nods and pulls my head down and kisses the breath out of me.


                “You should be thanking him too.”


                “Wh…oh it was his idea was it, letting me take Mikey out.”


                “Mmm.  Do you think we have time…”


                “We always have time.”  I growl.




Zee and Faal come back in and settle back by the fire place. 


“Everything okay?”


Faal nods and tightens his embrace round her.


                “So what did you want to talk to them about, that couldn’t be said in front of his friends, his best friend and family?”  Michael demands


Steve clears his throat and starts to rise.


                “I think it is time for me to be going now, this little lady needs her bed and has been using Ben as a pillow long enough.  Say goodbye Taylor.”


A sleepy Taylor is reluctantly prised out of Ben’s arms and I show them out as I pass the study I hear a deep moan, right so we won’t be seeing them for a while.  I head quickly back into the lounge and my face must have said everything.


                “Ah they are having a nice talk yes?”  Faal teases


                “Um yeah, let’s uh go with that.”  I stammer


Everyone chuckles and shakes their head.


                “Well?”  Michael’s imperious tones cuts through the silence


                “Well, if you or anybody else needed to know what was discussed then the discussion would’ve included you, as it did not you don’t need to know.”  Faal replies starting to lose patience


                “You might as well tell me, Brian will anyway…”


                “No I won’t.  Like Faal said if we needed you to know you would’ve been with us.”  Brian tells him.


Michael folds his arms over his chest and pouts.  Luckily we are saved from anymore histrionics by the kids coming down.  They are teasing Matt and Hunter who are taking it in their stride, suppose it is not so bad when it is your friends doing it.


                “You okay Matt, I mean about earlier?”  Faal asks him.


He smiles and nods.


                “We’ve just come down for…”




                “Mom please!” 


Gus laughs and then looks at Alice.


                “Food?”  She asks, he nods.


                “We’re going to the media room to watch a movie and then we’ll head up after that okay?”


Brian nods and pulls Justin into his lap who is asleep within minutes.


                “Seriously how does he do that?  He can sleep anywhere!”  Ted sounds bewildered.


                “Amazing how soporific a good fucking is.”  Brian murmurs.


                “Brian!”  We all yell, apart from Zee and Faal who are too busy making out.


                “Maybe you should take that upstairs!”  Michael snaps


                “My turn?”  Zee asks and Faal shakes his head.


                “For once you have a good idea.  Come my lig to bed.  Good night everyone.”


Everyone bids them goodnight and they leave giggling like school children.


                “Okay I have had enough!  What the fuck do you think you were doing earlier and don’t give me that bullshit you told your mother.  I said there is only so much of you being a dick I can take and it ends now!  You had every intention of letting Matt know about Hunter but Ben took the hit.  It is not your story to tell!  This is the second time you’ve run your mouth over someone else’s business and I swear to God Michael either buck your ideas up or stay out of our home, you will not, I repeat, will not hurt Hunter – he saved Ben’s life for fuck sake and this is how you treat him!”  I snap.


                “Dad is that true?”  Jenny’s quiet voice stuns us all.


        “No of course not, like I said I was merely talking about being open minded….”


        “From out of nowhere, you decide to talk about HIV?”  She demands


        “Yes, that is all.”


Jenny stares at him for a long time, she nods and leaves.


        “Come on Red time to go home.”  I pull a stunned Debs to her feet and we head out.


Justin had woken up during the yelling and follows us out, with everyone but Brian, Michael and Ben following suit.


        “Sorry Justin…”


        “It’s okay we can always rely on Michael to…sorry Debbie.”


        “No honey it’s fine.  He really is a dumb asshole and if he thinks I am backing him on this he can think again.  Now time for us to go, time for Carl and I to follow Zee and Faal’s lead.”


Justin shudders.


        “Eww old people sex!”


        “Hah good night Sunshine.  Say goodnight to Brian for me.”


He nods and closes the door.




        “You have a month Michael.  That’s all I will give you a month.”


I head out shouting to Hunter that we are going now, he comes down the stairs looking sheepish and slightly dishevelled. 


        “So tell me about Matt…”


Michael sulks for the journey home, rolling his eyes at any mention of Matt and Faal.


Over the next month Michael does adjust his behaviour towards Hunter, just enough not to incur Ben’s wrath.  As for Hunter and Matt well they are getting on fabulously agreeing to take it slow.  Ben always knows when Matt is calling as “It’s Alright” by Khayree is the ring tone and the soppy grin on his face.  Through Matt, much to Michael’s chagrin, Hunter has discovered a love of rap, hip-hop and house music and judging by the bopping of Ben’s head sometimes so does he. 


And of course the cats rule the roost and are thoroughly spoilt, Justin pretends not to notice the amount of times Lilah, one of the kittens, has curled up on Brian’s chest whilst he dozes in the study…


…but Michael can’t hold his tongue for too long, I mean look at the title of the chapter….






Well here I am bored out of my mind listening to Steve and Ben, not that I am really interested if I am honest, talk some shit about exercise.  Why can’t they go to gym and talk there.  Oh this is beyond dull, I am going to the diner to see Ma. 




Now that hit the spot, might have to walk this off a bit…wait a minute, is that Hunter, yes it is what the hell is he doing going to Brian’s loft?  What the fuck is that about?


Over the next couple of weeks I follow Hunter when I can and although he doesn’t go to the loft every time when he does go on Saturday he spends all day there.  Oh just wait till dinner on Sunday!






The kids have been out shopping, most of the day, they come in laughing and joking.


                “Hi Jenny…”


She looks round the room.


                “Where’s papa?”


                “Upstairs having a nap.”  Carl says smiling at her.


                “Is he okay?”  She and Hunter say at the same time


Carl pats their shoulders and smiles.


                “Fine, like I said just a nap, relax…”


                “I said hi Jenny…”


She heads towards the stairs, taking the 2 at a time.


                “Honey, aren’t you going to say hello to your dad?”  Carl is frowning


                “Yes, grandpa that’s where I am going.”  And with that she’s gone.


I am spitting with fury.  Hunter saunters to the kitchen and takes something from the pot, ducking out of the half-hearted swipe aimed at him by my mother. 


That’s it enough I have had enough!  I am beyond pissed and can barely contain myself.  Ben had noticed that I have been agitated but I have been telling him it’s nothing, well come on our little squatter, let’s see you get out of this


                “So Hunter, explain to us, to the family that took you in why you would do this?!  I knew you would going to be trouble, took you a long enough time to show your true colours!  It’s not enough that you took the money from Brian but to betray my best friend and me like that…”


                “What are you talking about?!”  Hunter yells blushing


                “Wait till Brian hears about this he will leave you with exactly what you deserve…nothing!  You took away our trust now we are going to take away yours starting with the college fund…”


                “What the fuck is all the yelling about?  We could hear you in the street!” 


Justin bellows silencing the room as he and Brian walk in


                “Brian!  You are not going to believe what this…”


                “Wait Mi...”  Hunter began again


                “He stole my key to the loft, made a copy and has been going there for at least 2 weeks maybe longer, I have no idea, like I said he’s a liar and a thief, are you using it as a fuck pad for you and your boyfriend…”


                “Oh Michael I really wish for once you used your key instead of that line…”  Justin began


                “This has nothing to do with you Justin, this is between Brian, me and Hunter!”


                “When was the last time you were at the loft?”  Justin continued


                “Over the last few years there’s been no reason for me to go there…”


                “It’s never stopped you before!”  Hunter yells back with tears streaming down his face


                “I gave him the key Mikey, the locks were changed about 2 years ago, so your key would not have worked.”  Brian says calmly.


                “But…but why would you, when did you…?”  I stammer my face burning


Carl stood next to Hunter and gently tugged on his arm leaning in he whispers


                “I have it on good authority from my other grandson over there that I give the best hugs, want to test that theory?”


Hunter follows him outside giving me one last filthy look.


                “Hunter I…”


                “Quiet Michael, just be quiet!”  Drew snaps


                “In answer to your question, this, this is why!  You have been like shit to Hunter ever since Ben came home, so I gave him the key so he could get away for a break, he’s not done anything in there, he always lets us know when he’s going and when he’s leaving, he’s been respectful, he’s Gus’s best friend for fuck sake and we trust him…”


Ben clears his throat and we all whirl round to face him and Jenny.


                “Hey J let’s go see Hunter, do you think we should…uh dad?”  Gus asks


Brian just nodded and they left


                “I want to go home.  Can someone take me and Hunter please?”


Drew nods and gets up followed by Emmett, who looks at me with disgust, he heads out back and calls to them, Hunter has red eyes and is sniffing, he walks straight into Ben’s embrace.


                “He didn’t even let me explain…”  He whimpers


                “Sssh, let’s just go home and talk there okay?”


Hunter nods and they start to leave when Brian calls out to them


                “I want you to hear this Hunter.  Michael if you give him any shit about this key or try and interfere in anyway with his time there, I will sign the loft over to him, are we clear?!”


I blink rapidly, round the table are gasps of shock, but nod my agreement


                “In fairness, if you or he had told me; well then I wouldn’t have…”


                “You just couldn’t help yourself could you?  I am sick of it!  Grandma can I stay here, I can’t be in the same room as him!”  She yells, her face is red and tears are starting to fall


 “Enough Jenny you will not talk to me that way!” I retort


“J, come on stay with us.  That’ll be okay dad, papa right can she stay?”


                “Out Michael get out!  How could you treat my grandson like that!  I never thought I would say this again, but once again you have made me ashamed of you!”  Ma yells and points to the door.


I grab my coat and head out to the car and drive home.  When I get there Drew and Emmett were just pulling away.  Once inside, I find Ben and Hunter sitting on the sofa.


                “Hunter if you had just told me what was going on…”


                “Amazing, just fucking amazing, instead of leading with ‘I’m sorry’ you try to put the blame on me, well fuck that, I’m going to bed, goodnight dad!”


Ben watches as he storms upstairs.




He hold up a hand and gets up.


                “Don’t just don’t.  I told you, I told you that I would give you a month, well we need space some serious space.  Don’t come upstairs.  I want you out of this house by tomorrow.”


He says tiredly and goes upstairs.






I cannot believe how dad just talked to Hunter and about Hunter, I pick up my phone and dial the number


                “Honeybun…listen I…”


                “This shit you have going on with Hunter stops or I won’t speak to you until you do!” 


With that I cut off the phone and head downstairs.




What the hell just happened?  I sit down in shock, but I know they are just angry right now, I know it will be fine by morning.






I come downstairs to Hunter who on seeing me immediately leaves.  I sigh and put the coffee on and hear Ben approaching.


                “Morning Ben.  How’d you sleep?”


                “How do you think I slept Michael?”


                “I missed you too.”


He sighs and leans against the counter.


                “No that’s not why I slept badly Michael!  I slept badly because I should’ve been protecting Hunter from you.  I slept badly because I should’ve said something to you about our anniversary, you know the one you forgot because you were so busy!  What were you doing Michael that you couldn’t remember that we have been together for this long?  Or did you just not care?”


                “Ben of course I care!  I simply forgot that’s all there is nothing sinister about it.”


                “So what happened to the food?”


                “The food?”


                “Yeah the fois gras, champagne and caviar where is it or did you have a party all by yourself!”


                “What are…”


                “The Thursday before Gus’s birthday BBQ the food came and we opened one box and it had all this fancy stuff in it.  At first we thought it was a mistake until J pointed out it was our anniversary the following week so we resealed it and pretended like nothing happened.  And I waited Michael, I waited for you to bring that food in, so what happened to it, who was it for?”


                “It was for me and you…”


He shakes his head angrily.


                “Then where is it, it’s not here so where is it!  You know what never mind, just be gone by the time I get back home at lunchtime!”


He storms upstairs slamming the bedroom door shut.


I just stand there for a minute before dashing upstairs to our room


                “Ben you cannot be serious!  I made a couple of mistakes…”


                “Michael start packing.”


He closes he bathroom door in my face.




Shit I don’t want them to split up but he was so nasty to me, maybe if I leave it will be better, yeah that’s what I will do.  I’ll ask Brian if I can stay at the loft so they can work out their problems.  I start putting stuff in my bag.


                “Don’t you dare, it’s not your fault.”  Dad comes into my room and starts taking the stuff out again.


                “But if I’m not here, then maybe you can talk better, I can go to the loft to give you space.”


                “No Hunter, this is your home and you have done nothing and I mean nothing wrong.  This is all on Michael and the sooner he learns that the better.  Now don’t you have a boyfriend to go see?”


I nod and give him a hug.


                “We will be okay no matter what happens between Michael and I, you will always have me, OK?”


I nod again and call Brian to say that I am going to the loft and would be meeting Matt there, Brian was in the middle of teasing me when I hear him yell at Justin to get his damn cats off his Gucci suit, yep totally owned by the furballs.


I head to the loft and am surprised to find Matt already there, he takes me into his arms and I just burst into tears.


                “What is it, what’s wrong come on tell me!”  He pulls me into the elevator and holds me tight, I feel so safe in his arms.


                “They’re splitting up and it’s all my fault!  No matter what dad says!”  I hiccup.


He takes the key and shuffles us in before depositing me on the sofa.  He hands me the coffee he bought me, which I could smell but not see, how did he manage not to spill it.


                “Here drink this and start from the top.”


Settling into the corner of the sofa he pulls me into the vee of his legs and I tell him all that happened.


                “Fucker!”  He growls.  “Sorry I know he’s your dad and all but who says that to their kid!”


I take his hand and give it a squeeze, feeling happier that he is defending me, turning round to face him I kiss him and then curl up in his lap, he strokes my hair.


                “Not my fault?”  I mumble




He turns on the TV and we spend the day just watching TV, chatting and making out…a lot of making out.




I really hope that Hunter took on board what I said and Michael takes what I said seriously, we need space and time to see if each other is what we really want.




He’s not serious about this, he’s just angry about the way I humiliated Hunter, well once I apologise it will be fine.






He’s still here but I had a feeling he would be so am prepared.  He’s smiling like nothing happened this morning.


                “Where’s Hunter do you know?”  He asks


                “With Matt, they are spending the day together.”


                “Oh that’s nice, I wanted to apologise to him.  And to you of course, so Ben…”


                “Let’s get out of here for a bit shall we?”  I say.


He looks surprised but eagerly follows me out, we go to the diner.  Debbie looks warily at us.


                “So you two okay?  How’s my grandson?”


                “We’re fine ma and so will Hunter be don’t worry.”  He replies smiling at me.


Carl comes in and head straight for us and hands me the keys.


                “Thanks Carl I appreciate it.”


                “No problem.”  He nods.


“We are not fine Debbie and we haven’t been for a while, I knew you wouldn’t leave Michael so I have had the locks changed.  Am I to send your things to your mother’s?”


                “What the fuck are you talking about?”  Debbie snaps


                “You’re throwing me out!”  Michael shouts the entire diner goes quiet.


                “I said I needed space Michael and you had to be out and now you are.  Take this time to think properly, I know I will be.” 


I head out ignoring him shouting my name.




                “Michael what the fuck did you do now?”  She yells at me.


                “What hasn’t he done Deb and no before you even think about it, he’s not staying at ours.”  Carl retorts


                “But Carl…”


                “No Debbie.”  He folds his arms and stares me down.


                “Ma…”  Michael begins.


                “Sorry honey…”


                “You’re abandoning me!  That is my home!  You have no right to dictate when I come and go Carl!”


                “Actually Michael, it hasn’t been your home for a while now, it is mine and your mother’s it is my name on the deed along with hers and I have warned you time and time again that your behaviour will have you unwelcomed and now it has.  Until you sort stuff out with Ben and Hunter, you are not welcome!  Red I have to go, see you tonight.”


With that Carl kisses me on the cheek and is gone.


                “Well at least I know where I stand!”  Michael snaps at me and storms out.


                “The shows over people back to eating!”  I snap and bustle back to the kitchen.






Lilah is looking at me with those big blue eyes of hers, how, just how she has managed to twist me round her little paws is beyond me.  I am currently trying to resist the quiet demand she is making for the salmon on my plate.  And here comes the winding round my feet.


                “Oh for fuck sake here!” 


I hand her the salmon and she takes it away to eat in peace with her tail up in the air.


                “If you stop giving into her so much she won’t win you know.”  Justin teases me.


                “You tell anybody that I am kitten whipped I will castrate you.”  I pull him into a hug.


He giggles and hugs me back, just as we decide that kissing is a good idea the phone rings.


                “Let it go to the answer machine…”  He mumbles starting to unbutton my shirt.


                “Mmm good idea.”


And like a dash of cold water, all desire is lost by the tearful voice of Michael, my first thought is of Debbie and I dash to grab it.


                “Michael what’s happened is ma okay?”  I gasp out.


                “What oh she’s fine, a traitor but fine, no I need to stay with you guys for a while Ben has kicked me out, he’s being totally unreasonable!  And don’t get me started on Carl who has the nerve to say that I am not welcome in my home and ma backed him up.  I am on my way to collect some things and I will be there in about an hour.  I’m not sure how long it is going to take for Ben to cool down…”


                “Um no you won’t.”  I interrupt him.




                “No you won’t be coming here…”


                “Oh I can use the loft then?  Even better it’s nearer the store and…”


                “No not the loft either.”


                “Then where am I going to go.”


Justin takes the phone off of me and sighs.


                “They are called hotels Michael, now go and sort this problem out yourself.  Goodbye.”


I can hear him shouting my name.


                “You know he’s going to come here anyway?” 


                “Most likely but until he does then we will have to find a way of entertaining ourselves won’t we…”


I nod and take his hand pulling him up the stairs all thoughts of Michael and his problems a swift and distant memory.



You’d think that he would take this time to evaluate his behaviour see things from Hunter and Ben’s perspective but of course he doesn’t.  He misses his creature comforts having finally found shelter with Drew and Emmett.  He blames Justin for no stay at Britin and Hunter for not telling him about the loft key because if he had then he wouldn’t have blown up on him and Jenny is still not talking to him…but things can only get better right….

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