Brian came home from work shortly after Justin had finished reading Daphne's diary. He found his fiance in the kitchen chopping vegetables, tears running down his face. "Purple Rain" by the late, great Prince was playing out of Justin's smartphone sitting on the counter.
"Funny, it doesn't look like you're cutting any onions," Brian cracked before giving Justin a kiss on his forehead. "Is it the song making you wheepy?"
Justin shook his head. "Delia brought over Daphne's diary today."
Brian pulled the chef's knife out of Justin's hand, sat it down on the cutting board, and gathered his blond up in his arms, knowing that he needed to be comforted. They swayed together to the slow song.
You say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you better close it and let me guide you to the purple rain...
"Where is everybody?" Brian quietly asked as he rubbed Justin's back.
"Gus took Keegan to Mel's. She's making eggplant parmesan."
Brian shuddered, having had a hatred of eggplant since the first time he tried it at Debbie's house as a teen. "Blech."
Justin chuckled. "We all knew you wouldn't want any, so I'm trying to make a cobb salad for us."
"Want some help?"
Justin pulled back to look up at his fiance. "Since when do you cook?"
"Hey, I can cook," Brian said in fake offense. "I just don't like to cook. Luckily I don't have to, since I have a great little chef right here who loves to feed his man delicious meals. Besides, how badly could I fuck up a salad?"
Justin gestured to the cutting board. "Wash your hands and have at it, Bobby Flay."
As it turned out, Mr. Kinney knew how to use a chef's knife very well.
The men were laying in their bed later that night after putting Keegan down. Justin was still feeling very emotional after reading Daphne's diary and decided to read it to Brian.
The blond wiped his eyes after finishing the last entry. "Why didn't she tell me how bad things were between her and Curtis?" he asked Brian, his voice hoarse from crying so much. "The money problems, the cheating, the fighting... I just can't understand it. I thought their marriage was perfect, because she never told me otherwise."
Brian reached over and wiped away one of his fiance's stray tears. "I think she was ashamed."
"Daph had no shame with me," Justin said with a snort. "I took her virginity, remember? She literally used to tell me everything, even things I absolutely did not need to know. She even told me when she first started her period when she was like, twelve."
"It was different with her marriage," Brian began to explain. "I know my relationship with you is the most important thing in my life, and I imagine it was the same with Daphne's marriage. She said in the diary that she had suspected for years that he cheated. Did she ever tell you that?"
Justin shook his head.
"She was probably ashamed of herself, thinking that she wasn't enough to keep her man satisfied. Probably wondered what was wrong with her, what she didn't have that Curtis needed... I've been there."
Brian continued after seeing Justin's curious expression.
"The greasy, chinrat fiddlefucker, remember? When I first started to suspect that you were seeing someone, more than just as a casual fuck, I asked myself what this other guy had that I didn't. It turned out to be not one fucking thing, but I knew at the time you weren't being emotionally fulfilled with me. Nobody could blame you for feeling that way. I was as emotionally deep as an oil slick back then."
"I was an idiot," Justin said. "You showed me you loved me every single day, in all that you did for me and how you made love to me. I just couldn't see it and you were too scared to say the words, with good reason. Luckily, I eventually opened my eyes and you let yourself love me."
Brian took the diary from Justin and started to skim through the pages. "Daphne though, she probably felt like she failed at the most important thing in her life, her marriage. She didn't want to admit it to anyone, not even you. Once she was pregnant, she was terrified to tell you her marriage was failing, because she was carrying your child."
"Wow, you're probably right," Justin agreed.
"‘I don't want him to regret making this baby with me,'" Brian quoted from the diary. "She didn't want you to feel like you helping her conceive ruined her marriage or regret it because her child wouldn't have two parents. Daphne being pregnant with someone else's child, even if it was because he couldn't do it himself, probably caused Curtis to pull away from her like he did in those last few months. It was probably a major blow to his ego that he was sterile, and it hurt worse that you were able to do what he couldn't. That wasn't Daphne's fault, your fault, or the baby's fault, of course. He admitted to Amanda that he cheated on Daphne before they were even married, remember? Their marriage probably would have crumbled even if he could have knocked her up himself.
"Daphne's reasonable brain probably knew that you would have gladly stepped in to be Keegan's father and help her raise him, but she was doubting everything she knew after the man she had trusted her heart to had broken it. She'd been suffering for months with Curtis's abandonment of her after she got pregnant, and it caused her to fear that you or her family would abandon her, too. He ruined her trust in other people, until she finally decided she had enough."
Justin closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "That motherfucker... I wish murder was legal, because I want to kill Curtis slowly and methodically to cause the maximum amount of pain."
"I know, me too," Brian admitted. "Just remember that Daphne's wish came true: Keegan belongs to us, and we're going to raise him to be the best person he can possibly be. Curtis is history, unworthy of our time and thoughts. We have nothing but good things ahead of us now."
Justin looked down at the tattoo of Daphne holding Keegan on his bare chest. "Yeah."
Brian leaned over and kissed the part of the tattoo with Daphne's face. Justin had done a beautiful job with the portrait and the tattoo artist transferred it perfectly onto his skin. Daphne would have loved it.
Moving back up, Brian captured Justin's lips, licking softly at his bottom lip before sucking it into his mouth. Justin held the back of Brian's head, loving the way Brian was devouring him.
Brian's long arms enveloped the younger man and he rolled them over, spreading his legs and wrapping them around the blond. Justin pulled back from the kiss and looked down into the hazel eyes. Brian looked back at him with such love and devotion, it nearly made Justin cry again.
"Make love to me, Justin."
Justin loved it when Brian asked for it with those words, since he usually just said "Fuck me" when he wanted it. He moaned and kissed Brian roughly, forcing his tongue into the brunet's mouth. Brian reached under the pillow and handed Justin the lube.
Justin stripped off his and Brian's pants, then carefully prepared his lover, wanting to build the feelings slowly because he knew that Brian enjoyed it when he took his time. Once Brian was ready, Justin slowly pushed himself into his man, loving the way Brian's ass grabbed onto his steel hard cock.
Rocking slowly, the two men stared at each other, all the love they felt showing through their eyes. Justin angled his hips, brushing lightly against Brian's prostate, sending shivers through his older lover. Brian arched his back, trying to direct Justin's cock to rub his sweet spot with each thrust, wanting more contact.
Justin was having none of it. He was determined to prolong their coupling, needed the connection and to be in control after such an emotional day. Brian could see this, so he let the younger man take care of him as he knew he would. Justin slowly increased the pace of his lovemaking over several minutes, hitting Brian's prostate more directly and causing the brunet to make the most erotic sounds. It was a good thing that the walls were insulated with sound dampener.
Finally neither man could stand the delicious torture anymore and sped up, moaning and shouting each other's names. They both soon erupted, Brian shooting ribbons of cum between them and his ass clamping down, which caused Justin to empty himself deep inside his lover.
They laid together while catching their breath. Brian ran his hands over Justin's sweaty back, pressing lightly up and down his spine the way the blond liked it.
"Love you," Brian whispered in Justin's ear.
Justin smiled. "I know."
Once she had been released from the hospital after her three month stay, Lindsay called Melanie and asked that she and Brian meet with her. After JR had gone to bed that night, Melanie noticed that the kitchen light was on at the main house. Hoping that it wasn't too late, she knocked on the back door.
Justin opened the door smiling. "Hey Mel, what's up?"
Melanie walked in and found Brian sitting at the breakfast nook. A Scrabble board was laid out in front of him on the table, and Melanie had to bite her lip to keep from commenting on how domesticated Brian had become. He was even wearing slippers, albeit crocodile skin Ferragamo slippers that cost more than a grand.
Looking back and forth between the men, Melanie told them, "Lindsay called and requested that Brian and I meet with her."
Brian looked annoyed. "If she wants to meet, Justin will be included or the answer is no."
"She specifically said that she doesn't want Justin there, because she doesn't think that he deserves an apology for anything."
"She has to accept Justin as a part of my life, a part of our family," Brian replied. "We have a son together now and we'll be married next month. If she doesn't like it, tough shit."
Melanie nodded. "I agree. Her decisions and how she's been acting have affected all of us, especially Justin. Gus and JR look to him as a father, too. I'll call her back and let her know the deal. Also, I think the meeting should be in a neutral place, not here. Maybe at Deb's house if we want privacy, or would you rather meet somewhere public?"
Brian and Justin had one of their silent conversations.
"Let's see if we can use Deb's," Brian said. "Everything in our lives is always the talk of Liberty Avenue, so we need to keep it private."
Justin called Debbie and she agreed that they could meet at her house. She even offered to drive to Britin and watch the kids so that they wouldn't have to be there, in case things got heated. Justin happily took her up on that offer.
Lindsay agreed to meet Melanie, Brian, and Justin at Debbie's the next afternoon. The three of them got to the house a little early, and they patiently sat in the kitchen wondering what it was that Lindsay had to say to them.
"If she makes one snide comment or gives us even one nasty look, Justin and I are out of here," Brian said to Melanie. "You're free to speak with her, and we'll come back to pick you up when you're done."
When the doorbell rang, Melanie answered and invited her wife inside. Brian and Justin were seated next to each other at the kitchen table. Melanie took a seat next to Justin, and Lindsay sat across from him, trying to keep her distance.
Brian started, asking in a clipped tone, "Well Lindsay, you've got us all here, so what is it that you want to tell us?"
He was still very pissed at her for what she had done and said since coming back to Pittsburgh, along with how she treated Gus after Melanie had left Canada. Brian could also feel the tension in his fiance and took his hand, threading their fingers together and laying their joined hands on the table for Lindsay to see.
Lindsay took several deep breaths before she started speaking, having rehearsed what she wanted to say for the past couple of days. "I want to apologize to all of you for the way I have acted lately. As you know, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and while I know that does not necessarily excuse my behavior, I hope you will take that into account. I've known for several years now that there was something psychologically wrong with me, but I didn't want to get help. It was a way for me to stay in control, although I was anything but in control of myself. I've probably had this since I was a teenager, but I never sought treatment for my depression or mood swings. My parents always viewed therapy as a sign of weakness. I'm going to continue seeing my psychiatrist three times a week and I'm on medication to help keep me stable. I'm living in an apartment complex for mentally ill and disabled people, paid for by the county, until I can support myself again. I'm actually about to start working in the complex part-time as a housekeeper.
"Justin, I didn't want you to be here today because I'm still working through my issues, when it comes to my jealousy of you. I have to constantly remind myself that you are not my enemy. I'm genuinely very sorry for the way I have treated you and for the things I have said about you over the past few years. I'm sure you've gotten an earful from both Mel and Gus. I'm sorry for testifying for Curtis at your trial, and I'm glad that you were able to keep your son. You've done nothing wrong, and I appreciate the love you've given Brian, Gus, and JR over all these years. You're a wonderful role model to the kids. I hope that you can someday forgive me for how awful I've been towards you.
"Brian, I'm sorry for trying to get between you and Justin. I know that you and I will never be together romantically, and that you are building a family with Justin. I'm happy that his son will have you as a father. I am especially sorry for misusing all the money you sent me for Gus over the years. I know you never owed me a penny and were only trying to help with our son. I'm glad that you and he are getting to spend so much time together, now that he lives with you. What I said about you at the trial, about your parenting ability... it was so wrong. I was only angry about Gus not wanting to live with me anymore. He won't answer my emails or anything. He's even blocked me on social media and I don't blame him. I hope he gives me another chance someday."
Lindsay had started to cry as she thought about the impact her actions had on Gus, which was what she felt the most guilty over.
"And Melanie, I am so, so sorry about how my behavior has impacted our marriage and our family. I've been so unfair to you, and you didn't deserve any of this. You asked me so many times to get help for my anger and depression, and I ignored you. I don't blame you at all for leaving me and taking JR with you, and for not sending Gus back to me. Please let the children know that I love them and only want what's best for them. I've decided to voluntarily give up custody of Gus and JR, and I have a meeting with a lawyer scheduled tomorrow to get the process started."
Brian and Melanie looked at each other in surprise.
"I just hope someday that we can all be a family again," Lindsay said as she pulled a tissue out of her purse. "I want to be in our children's lives, but I need to make myself a better mother for them first. I would like to get to know Keegan, too. That... that's all I have to say."
Justin spoke up first. "Lindsay, I appreciate you coming here and apologizing, and I'm glad you're getting the help you need. For now, I really don't want to be around you and I certainly don't want you around my son. I also don't want you in my home or at our wedding. I'm sorry if that offends you, but that's the way I feel. Maybe someday that will change, but it will take time."
Next, Brian said, "I feel the same way, Lindsay. As far as I'm concerned, if Gus or JR want to speak to you, they may, but I don't want you coming to Britin. If they want to see you and one of us is available, we'll bring them here to see you for a supervised visit. I'd prefer to do it here at Deb's, if it's okay with her. Right now, I just don't trust you."
Finally, Mel spoke. "I agree with everything Justin and Brian have said. I will be filing for divorce next week. I've been back in Pennsylvania for six months, which is the minimum time required for me to legally file here. I really appreciate that you're willing to give up your parental rights, and you should know that I will be petitioning for Brian to have his parental rights to Gus reinstated and for him to adopt JR. That means that Justin will be their step-father and will remain an important part of their lives. I only wish that this state had third-parent adoption, so he could also have legal claims over them. Hopefully someday we'll all three be able to forgive what you've done and accept you as our friend again, at least for the sake of the kids. I would like for you to have a healthy relationship with them in the future."
Lindsay nodded. She had not really expected them to be so harsh, but knew there was nothing she could say to just fix everything.
"Just tell the children that I love them, please. I'm glad that they have three great parents to take care of them."
That said, Lindsay left to think about all she had lost.
Melanie filed for divorce from Lindsay on August twenty-fourth. Lindsay signed the papers right after being served, and the court would grant their divorce after the mandatory ninety day waiting period. Lindsay kept her word and filed to voluntarily terminate her parental rights to both Gus and JR. She also let the court know that Brian wanted legal rights to both kids.
Melanie was soon granted full legal and physical custody. The court took Brian's petition to have his parental rights to Gus reinstated and his petition to adopt JR under advisement.