This story may occasionally include explicit depictions of sexual acts between consenting adult males.  If you are underage or it is illegal to view this for any reason, consider yourself warned.  If you find this material offensive, I have to wonder why you came here in the first place.

 

This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entirely a coincidence. As author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me.  This work is copyright Fitz, 2013.

 

I love to hear any feedback you have, be it positive or negative.  Send me an email with any comments or questions at movingonstory@gmail.com

 

My wonderful husband gets a shout out for being so supportive and allowing me to bounce ideas off of him. I would also like to thank my editor, David. All errors that remain are mine, and mine alone.

 

I also now have a mailing list. You can sign up for it at my website, www.movingonstory.weebly.com, or by emailing me.

 

I didn't like the way chapter 4 ended. There's a difference between an 'evil' cliffhanger, and leaving it at 'the news was very, very bad' regarding an unborn baby. While chapter 5 will not suddenly answer all the questions, it doesn't leave things hanging as badly as four did. I delayed posting chapter 4 until I had chapter 5 waiting to submit.

*NOTE* I strongly recommend having tissues handy, as this chapter gets a little emotional.

~Fitz

 

      *  *  *        *  *  *        *  *  *        *  *  *        *  *  *        *  *  *       

 

Chapter 5

 

I was awoken by something large jumping onto the bed. It was immediately followed by something wet jabbing me in my ear. I tried to ignore it, but then I was being shaken.

"Dad, get up!"

"Huh, what's going on, buddy?"

Zach sighed exasperatedly before saying, "C'mon. It's almost time to leave. Hurry up, or I'll be late for school."

I rubbed my eyes and glared at the clock. Sure enough, he was right, and I'd overslept. Groggily, I got out of bed.

"Alright, I'm up. Sorry about that, Zach, but I must've been exhausted. Let me take a quick shower and get dressed. Make yourself a bowl of cereal or something."

"I already did that, Dad. I even put the bowl in the sink."

"Did you put the milk back?"

"Oops...I'll go do that!" he said, as he dashed out of the room, Beso hot on his heels.

 As I showered, I struggled to clear my foggy head. It was a not-so-subtle reminder why I hated taking something to help me sleep. Some nights like the night before it was necessary when my mind began to run away to dark places, but I always regretted it the next morning.

The car ride was quiet. I was still struggling to wake up, and Zach seemed content to sit quietly. The tension within the silence seemed better, though, and I was hopeful Zach and I had turned a corner. When I pulled up in front of the school, he gave me a hug without hesitation.

"Oh, I can still ask Tommy if he wants to come over, right?"

"Sure thing, bud. He can't stay too long. We're having dinner at Uncle Tom and Aunt Tina's tonight."

"Ok. Can I stay and play with Stevie while you and Uncle Tom go sing?"

"Of course, bud. That was already the plan," I responded.

"Awesome. See you after school, Dad," he said excitedly as he hopped out of the car. I watched as he raced toward the building.

Stevie, Tom and Tina's son, was just over a year old. He was a great little guy, named after Tom's twin brother. Scott cried when Tom told us the planned name. For some reason, Zach worshiped the little boy, volunteering to do everything from playing to feeding and changing him. The way Stevie's eyes lit up every time he saw Zach was proof the feeling was mutual.

On the way to the office, I pulled through a fast food restaurant and grabbed breakfast, which I devoured as soon as I sat behind my desk. Once finished, I glanced over a couple emails before allowing my mind to wander again.


*** *** *** ***

 Scott and I sat in stunned silence following the doctor's diagnosis. Mary, our surrogate sat in a chair next to me, trying her best to look composed, but was continuously wiping away tears that threatened to form. Our daughter had a very rare genetic disorder, and the prognosis was not good. She would most likely require surgery to her diaphragm after birth, if there was any chance of her making it past a week. On top of that, she would probably suffer from heart defects and epilepsy. She would always be developmentally and intellectually delayed. Dr. Winslow couldn't even guarantee that if all went well, our child would survive into her teens, let alone grow out of them emotionally. When she finished explaining everything, Dr. Winslow excused herself and allowed the three of us to talk. We sat in silence for several minutes until Mary finally broke the silence.

"So... I guess this is when you tell me you want me to have an abortion," Mary said hesitatingly, a hint of guilt in her voice.

"Is that something you would consider?" I found myself asking. Without a word, Scott stood up and walked out of the room. I thought about following him, but knew it would be best to leave him alone.

"Should you go after him?"

"No, he needs some time to clear his head. I'm sure he's also pissed about the direction of the conversation, but it's one we need to have. Obviously, I'm not making any decisions without him, though. Anyway, would you consider an abortion?"

Mary's body tensed before she spoke. "Well, I've always told you that I considered myself nothing more than a vessel to bring a child into the world for you and Scott. I'll agree to anything you request of me. Yes, that includes having an abortion, if that's the option you think is best.

"I've spent a lot of the past three weeks thinking about what to do after we found out the results, and I think it's best for me to put aside all the hormones and maternal instincts kicking in. You hired me to provide a service, and I'm going to do my best to uphold my end of the bargain. Thinking dispassionately, you're paying me a good bit of money, and I get that money regardless of what you decide to do. As much as I want to involve myself in the decision making process, I think it's best if you and Scott decide what to do, and then let me know. I'll agree to whatever you decide."

Mary stood up, gathered her things, and headed towards the door. She hesitated, turned back to me, and said, "Noah, I'm so sorry. I just wish there was something I could..." Mary choked up, and bit her fist before fleeing the room.

I continued to sit in my chair for a few minutes, my mind awash in a vast empty sea of despair. I realized I needed to find Scott not just for comfort, but I knew he needed me as much as I needed him. I walked out of the room, and found him in the waiting room, curled up in the fetal position in the corner, sobbing.

Fortunately, Dr. Winslow had requested we come in after normal business hours. In hindsight, I'm sure it was to prevent us making a scene and scaring other soon-to-be parents. I walked over to him, and gently put my hand on his shoulder.

"Don't you fucking touch me, asshole," he yelled, jerking away from my touch as if I had burned him.

I sat down on the floor, and placed my hand on his back, firmer than before. He turned, and took a wild swing at me, a fire in his eyes I had never seen before. To be honest, it scared the shit out of me, but I knew why it was there, and I wasn't about to withdraw. Just like me, he felt like his world was crumbling down, and he needed me to blame, if only for a minute. I easily dodged his first punch, and before he could regroup for another, I wrapped my arms around my husband.

He continued to try to flail for another minute or so, before wrapping his arms around me, sobbing into my chest. I wanted to cry with him, but I knew he needed me to be strong, so I fought back my own tears, and repeatedly whispered soothingly in his ear while rubbing his back. It took several minutes, but he eventually calmed down.

I broke the embrace, and noticed two security guards standing in the hallway carefully watching us.

"C'mon, babe. Let's go home. We have a lot to talk about tonight."

Scott nodded in response. I helped him up, and told the security guards we would call Dr. Winslow in the morning, but right now, we weren't in a position to make any decisions. They looked confused, but agreed to pass the message along. I half-carried Scott back to the car.

When we got home, I was thankful we had convinced Tom to watch Zach for the night. Scott and I needed to have a long talk, and it would be best for Zach not to be there. He had been getting really excited about the fact he was going to be a big brother, and this conversation was not one I wanted him to overhear.

I made coffee, and we sat in the backyard in silence for a while, before I decided enough was enough, and it was time to talk.

"So about the baby..."

"You want to go ahead and abort it, don't you? You've already made up your mind, haven't you?" Scott angrily demanded.

"No, hun, and you know that, or at least I hope you do. Hell, you're more pro-choice than I am. It's just that you and I need to decide what's the best course of action, and we need to consider all the options."

"Bullshit...you jumped at asking if she would have one immediately after the doctor left!"

"Scott, I know your upset, but please calm down a bit. I never asked Mary if she would have an abortion. I asked her if she would consider having one. I'm not about to make any decisions and I mean any decision about our child without you being in full agreement with me."

"You're a fucking liar, Noah, and you know it. You talked with her after I left didn't you? I'm sure you already scheduled the procedure and everything!"

I was seeing red, but I fought the urge to leap out of my chair and beat the living shit out of my husband. Instead, I forced myself to take deep breaths and gave myself a moment to calm down. I'll admit, I didn't wait as long as I should have.

"Scott, you are completely out of line right now. You have no goddamned clue what you're talking about. You need to grow the fuck up, and accept that shit happens, and sometimes you need to make the best of it. I ought to..."

I forced myself to stop talking, because I could feel my anger growing again.

"You ought to what, Noah?" Scott shouted defiantly.

"Scott... what are we going to do if she..." I asked quietly, unable to finish the sentence. Immediately, I could feel his anger dissipate.

I waited for him to respond, but he didn't.

"What if she makes it, but never even learns how to talk? We need to figure out what to do."

"I'm scared, Noah," Scott said quietly, choking back tears.

"I know, babe, I know. I'm just as scared as you. But we need to talk about all the 'what-if's. We need to be prepared in case she..."

"I know."

Silence fell between us again. I'm not sure how long passed before I spoke up, but it felt like an eternity.

"You know, we're lucky in a sense."

"How on earth are we lucky? Our child may not live for a week, and if she does, she'll likely be deformed."

"We're lucky because we can afford all the surgeries and all the specialists to give her the best chance at a good life."

"Yeah, I guess."

Again, the air was filled with silence. As I was about to broach it, Scott spoke up.

"So you don't want to have an abortion?"

"I don't know. There's so many variables. If she...if she dies... I'm scared what it will do to Zach, what it'll do to me, to you... to us."

"But what if she lives?"

"Even then, we don't know for how long. The doctor even said people rarely survive to their teens. It might not happen right away, but it will probably happen."

"Zach's strong. He survived neglect and abuse from Willow. He'll hurt at first, but he'll find a way to make it through mostly unscathed. You and I have both dealt with loss. You're parents died when you were in high school, and you've done alright for yourself. I lost my first husband, and found a way to pull myself together and fall in love again. It's worked out pretty good so far, I guess."

"Thanks for the glowing endorsement," I said wryly, before getting serious again. "However, neither of us handled ourselves well. I sank into depression. I tried to keep up with everything, but I ended up dropping out of school. Hell, I was basically a bum when I met you I had no job, or ambitions. I "

"Yes you did," Scott cut in. "Have ambitions, I mean. Hell, you had lots of ambitions, but you also had priorities. Your son was more important than your ambitions, and you couldn't bring yourself to do what you wanted to do for fear of losing time with him. He's a part of your world in a way that I could never be. He's your son."

"Yeah, you're right... I guess, but that's what scares me the most."

"What do you mean?"

"How you'll react. I know I wasn't around when Steve died, but I've heard all the stories, and not just the ones you've told me. Your parents, Ethan, Tom, Will; all of them have told me their versions of events. Steve died, and you struggled to deal with it, but eventually, you got overwhelmed, and you just left town. You jumped from one bad decision to another. It took a long time, but eventually, you started to heal. I thank my lucky stars every day that I met you when you were finally getting your life back together. If I'd met you any earlier, none of this would have ever happened. What if Mia dies, and you get overwhelmed? What if you can't handle the loss, and you just leave me and Zach?"

"No, I can promise that won't happen. Not this time. I'd lose so much more than I had back then. Besides, if she dies, you'll need me, too. So will Zach. Wait...Mia?"

"I don't know, it just kinda came out. That was my mother's name."

"I thought her name was Amelia?"

"It was, but everyone called her 'Mia'."

"I like it. Mia Hudgins. That sounds right."

"Are we really doing this? I know you can promise me now you won't just leave, but if she dies, all of our emotions are going to go overboard. How do I know you'll treat yourself better?"

"I don't know. I guess you'll just have to trust me. But it's also not just about how any of us would react. It's also about her," Scott replied strongly.

"So what do you think?"

"I think we should give her the best damn shot at life we can, and give her every opportunity to carve a place in the world for herself. We'll be there every step of the way to make sure she has the best life that she can have."

"And if that doesn't work?"

"I don't know. We'll just have to figure that out if it happens. Together."

"Together? I can do that."

We sat there silently for a several minutes, just trying to take in the magnitude of what we would be facing.

"Scott?" I asked suddenly

"Yeah?"

"What do we tell Zach?"

"Shit. I don't know. At least we have a few months to figure it out."

"Yeah, I guess. I just kept thinking how badly he would take no longer being an only child when he starts to feel like the baby is getting more attention than him. Now, we're going to have to spend so much more time with Mia because of her condition. The poor kid is going to feel so neglected. And what if Mia... how do we explain to our son that he's getting the sister he really wants, but she might not be around long."

Scott thought for a moment before responding. "Like that, I guess. There're two of us, so one of us can look after Mia while the other does something special with Zach each weekend. That way he won't feel too left out."

"This is going to be hard. Are we sure we're up for it?" I asked, consumed with fear over how everything would turn out.

To my surprise, Scott looked at me, and I had never seen him look so confident and sure of himself. "Yes. You and I can do this, babe. I'm positive we can. It may not be the circumstances we wanted, but it's the hand we were dealt. We'll just make the best of it. Sure, it'll be hard, but I just know it'll all be worth it."

* * *

The next day, it was our turn to pick up the carpool from School. Immediately after Scott left, I drove to my campus. Since I was only taking online courses, I normally wouldn't need to, but I needed to talk to my advisor. She didn't like my request, but acquiesced when I explained what was going on in my life. I filled out a few forms, and walked back to my car. I had been hoping to beat Scott and Zach home in order to buy time to figure out what to tell Scott, but seeing the SUV in the garage, I knew I'd missed that opportunity.

"Hey guys," I said when I walked in. Scott was sitting at the table with Zach, who was happily coloring and telling him about every facet of his day. Zach really loved kindergarten.

"Hey, babe. Where'd you go?"

"Umm... about that... please don't be mad," I said cautiously.

"Uh oh. That'll make Papa mad, Daddy," Zach said.

Scott smiled, but his eyes told a different story. "Yeah, not the best way to start. Now where were you?"

"I talked to my advisor."

"Why didn't you just email her, or call?"

"Because I knew I'd have to fill out forms," I said, still hesitant to drop the bombshell.

"You didn't..." Scott said, his voice beginning to raise.

"No, I didn't drop out. I'll finish up at the end of this semester, with an associate's degree."

"What the fuck were you thinking?" Scott half-yelled.

"Papa! No-no!" Zach said fiercely. I'll give it to that kid; he's never been one to back down from a fight he believed in.

"Zach, why don't you and Beso go play outside? I'm pretty sure there's going to be a lot of no-no words in the conversation Papa and I are about to have," I told him.

"But it's cold outside!"

"Then go play in your room!" Scott roared. I guess I failed at keeping him from getting angry. Zach looked scared for a second, but quickly raced up to his room, the dog right behind him.

"That was uncalled for, taking your anger out on Zach," I said. I immediately regretted my words, because I was only adding fuel to the fire.

"Says the one who decided to drop out of school instead of getting the bachelor's degree he claims he always wanted. What the fuck Noah?!"

"I had to make a decision about my future. I would've talked to you about it, but I knew it would devolve into this. I wanted to act first, so I wouldn't change my mind."

Scott tried to cut in and say something, but I wouldn't let him.

"Yes, I've said repeatedly how excited I was to be finally going to school. We're having a kid together, Scott, and not a perfectly healthy one, either. She's going to need lots of time and attention, and it's important to me to be able to give that without letting my school work suffer. I'll still have a degree, and can get a job. If I really want, my advisor assured me I can go back and pick up where I left off in a few years. It's not a perfect decision, but neither is our situation."

"But why didn't you talk to me? Remember me? You know, your husband?"

"Because you would've tried to talk me out of it," I said simply.

"You're damn straight, I would've!"

"Look, we've talked about you bringing me on board to do your graphic design. Is there any reason we can't do that sooner rather than later? If there is, I know a few people, and the ad work I did last semester went over really well. I can always freelance for a bit and see what happens. This isn't something I went into half-assed; I've had it in the back of my mind since we decided to have another kid. I was going to wait until we got closer to the due-date and figure it out from there. There's a reason I'm in the classes I'm in this semester; I knew if I stopped now, I'd have all the requirements for an associate's."

 "Anything else you've been hiding from me?" Scott asked, still seeing red.

"Listen to me, asshole. I didn't hide one goddamn thing from you. It was just something I was considering. I wasn't going to do anything without talking to you first," I yelled, losing my temper.

"Oh I'm the asshole? If you didn't hide anything from me, then why did you wait until I left to go drop out?"

"Stop!!" a voice yelled out from behind us. We both swiveled and saw Tom standing in the entryway.

"Now I don't know what's going on, but I just got a call from Zach, who's apparently barricaded himself in his room because you two are about to start World War Three or something down here. We're going to sit down, and you're both going to talk to each other not yell, talk."

"But..." Scott started to protest.

"No buts. Now sit!" Tom demanded. We quickly complied.

"Can I bring Zach down? Or are you two going to start yelling again? He was crying on the phone. I'm pretty sure this brought back memories of his mother."

"No!" we quickly said in unison. Scott and I glanced at each other and chuckled.

"It's not that we're going to yell, although I still want to," Scott said, glaring at me. "It's just that we got some news on the baby that we're not quite ready to tell Zach about yet."

We filled Tom in on the diagnosis we got from the doctor, and I told him about my decision regarding school. Scott once again stiffened, but to his credit, he kept his mouth shut.

"Is this what you want?" Tom asked me when I finished.

"Well, not really, but weighing the options, I thought it was the best one. I still feel like a free-loader, since I can't contribute, and we're going to have to focus on Mia a lot. I figured this way I can bring in some income to help support us, and my schedule will be more malleable. I'll work throughout the night if need be, but more and more of the classes have set times I have to participate in. Scott, you're right, I should've talked to you first, but I knew you'd be disappointed with me, and try to talk me out of it."

"Yeah, I would have, but I can understand your reasons. You should've talked to me first. You know I'll support whatever you decide to do."

"You wouldn't have in this case," I pointed out.

"No, probably not," Scott said with a grin. "So it's final now?"

"Yeah. I graduate in May."

"Are you sure this is what you want to do? I know you can theoretically go back and finish whenever you want, but do you really think that's realistically going to happen?"

"Honestly, no. It's not what I really want to do, but it's a sacrifice that I think is best for all of us, and I'm more than willing to make any sacrifice that will benefit my family. And as far as going back and finishing up, I have a feeling that won't happen either. That's why I want to at least wrap up my associate's. I'll have a degree, and I'll be able to contribute financially. Who knows, maybe it'll happen. I'm not counting on it, though. And I'm fine with that, Scott. I really am."

Scott sat there for a minute while Tom and I watched his facial expressions. It was clear he was trying to work through everything, since his face would flash through anger, then break into a smile, before his brow would crinkle with worry. Eventually, he looked in my eyes and smiled. His blue eyes twinkled, and I could feel his love for me radiating through.

"You know what this means, right?"

"What?"

"I need to plan a graduation party for you," he said mischievously.

"No you don't. Maybe you and Zach could take me to dinner or something."

"Nope. That's not how I roll. Besides, my parents will give me hell if I don't invite them down. They'll want to be here."

And so a couple months later, I found myself in a private room at one of the nicest Italian restaurants in town. Scott's parents, Mike and Fey, were there, along with Lydia and Richard, Tom and Tina, and Suze and Solice. Miranda was there as well, and had brought a date, some guy I had never met before. I had never seen her with anyone before, and had always assumed she was a lesbian, but I guess I was wrong. Emma and Ethan brought Justin, who had nearly mastered walking, and seemed intent on zipping between the legs of adults if we were standing.

Will had brought Jason along. It was the first time since the wedding that I'd seen him. Actually, I hadn't seen too much of Will, either. I knew he and Jason had broken up, but Will told me they were trying to work through their issues. Will had gone so far as to cut back his time at his coop and open up a second office in Macon, where he worked Mondays and Tuesdays. He and Jason seemed just as happy together as I could remember seeing them.

The lead up to the party had been stressful and emotional. One by one, we informed our family and closest friends about Mia's condition, and what we were expecting to deal with when she was born in a few months. Fey was convinced we made the wrong decision, and should have aborted the baby. Who knows, maybe she was right, but the decision had been made. It was too late, anyway, as our surrogate was already too far along to legally have an abortion unless new information revealed that her life was at risk. Still, she offered all the support she could, even offering to move into the guest house to help look after Mia when she was born.

By this time, we had also told Zach, although we left it at the fact that when Mia was born, she would be very sick. Being the thoughtful five-and-a-half (he would never have forgiven for me leaving off the 'and-a-half') year-old he was, he insisted he would devote all his time into making her better. We did our best to downplay his expectations, but he was still convinced he would be able to 'fix' her.

We had a fantastic dinner, but was shocked when everyone gave me gifts. I had repeatedly insisted that I had everything I needed. Scott's brought tears to my eyes, though. He handed me a plain white envelope. I opened it up, and found a blank piece of the stationary he had ordered for his company for the few clients that weren't content with electronic bills. I looked at the blank letterhead for a second before casting a questioning glance at Scott.

"Read the letterhead out loud, babe," he prompted.

"Hudgins Design," I said. "I don't get it."

"Keep reading the contact info."

I read the phone number, email address, and website aloud. That's when I finally noticed what he was getting at. "Noah Hudgins, CEO. Are you sure?"

"Definitely. We'll talk about your new duties and pay, or lack thereof, later. I told you I'd have a job for you when you graduated, and I meant it. I still wish you'd stuck around for your bachelor's, but I do understand, and want you to know how much I support you."

After dinner, Zach excitedly announced he was going to ride back to the house with Emma and Ethan. Scott's parents were staying there as well, so Scott and I stayed behind to say goodbye to the rest of our family and friends. When it was just the two of us, we walked outside, and I handed my ticket to the valet. It would have made more sense for us to take the SUV, so we could carpool, but Scott insisted I drive my car. As we waited for my clunker, a brand-new looking Porsche 911 convertible pulled up to the curb. As the valet got out, I glanced around, but it was only Scott and I standing there. He walked over to me, key in hand.

"Sir, here's your car. She's a nice one, too," the valet said.

"Um... I'm sorry, but I think you've made a mistake. That's not my car."

"Yes it is," Scott piped up. "Did you move everything over like I asked," he added to the valet.

"Yes, sir," the valet replied, casually slipping the two bills Scott handed him into his pocket. I was positive they weren't ones.

"Thank you very much. C'mon, Noah, you're driving," Scott announced, and walked towards the car.

I stood there on the curb, with my jaw scraping the concrete.

"You bought me a Porsche?"

"Yep, happy graduation. Now c'mon. I want to see what this puppy can do!" Scott said excitedly.

"You didn't have to get me a new car. There was nothing wrong with my old one. What did you do with that anyway?"

"Lydia and Richard took it back to Tom's. You can decide what you want to do with it, but I've been planning on getting you a Porsche for graduation ever since you practically begged for one our first Christmas together. I almost changed my mind and got you a Lamborghini Aventador, but I'm not dropping over four hundred grand on you just for getting an associate's degree. Maybe if you go back and finish your bachelor's, I'll reconsider."

"Scott..."

"Relax, I'm just teasing. I lucked out, and was able to find all the features I wanted without having to custom order it. Granted, it was shipped here from California, but still. From what I understand, the only time it's been driven off the lot was just now. I had it towed on a flat bed here from the dealership earlier today. I sat in the driver seat and steered when they pushed it into the space," he added proudly. "Actually, I'm pretty sure they thought I was crazy for insisting it not be driven. And now that I think about it, all that was negated by having the valet pull it up, but surprise! You have a new car! Go ahead, walk around it and take it all in."

I did as he said, and I had to stop myself from drooling on the car a few times. Sure enough, the mileage showed it had been driven a total of three and a half miles.

"Why didn't you just drive it over here?"

"Because it's your car. Honestly, they scare me a little. I didn't even actually test drive it. The salesman thought I was crazy, too, since I rode in the passenger seat while he drove. I did get to play with the buttons, though."

"This isn't a prank, right? You really did buy me a car?"

"Yes, now get over the shock and let's cruise! Let's put the top down and burn rubber," Scott exclaimed.

He was clearly more excited than I was, and I think he was getting frustrated that I wasn't as excited about it as him. Our first Christmas, I kept hinting at getting a Porsche because he kept insisting I had to ask for something, even if I didn't actually want anything. So I picked something I knew he would never buy me. Apparently I was wrong. I wanted to put my foot down, or complain that it was too expensive, but one glance at my husband showed how proud he was of his surprise, and I knew how little he cared about the money. If he wanted to buy a gift, he would. The fact he could go overboard like this without breaking the bank was just icing on the cake. Still, thoughts about our future gave me pause.

"I love it, Scott, I really do," I started.

"There's a but. Why does there have to be a but?"

"This seats two. It's completely impractical, since I can't even take Zach anywhere in it. With another child on the way, it just doesn't make sense. I doubt it can really hold much in the trunk anyway," I said, pointing at the small space behind the seats and the rear bumper.

"Apparently, that's the engine. The trunk is up front, because Germans are weird or something. I get what you're saying. I almost got you the four-seater instead, but I really wanted you to have a little sports car you could baby. I did get the option that turns off the passenger airbags so kids can ride, if that helps.

"I know it's impractical, especially with everything that's coming. That's why it's the perfect gift. We'll both be working from home, so we can always take the SUV. If it really boils down to practicality, we can keep your old car. That way, you can use it if you need it. Besides, it's paid for. Do you have any idea how much money I'd lose trying to turn around and resell it now, Mr. Penny-pincher?"

I realized Scott was right. He'd clearly been thinking about this surprise for a long time, and there was no talking him out of it. Plus, the sale was finalized, so it was already mine.

"Alright, I give in. Now get in the car before I change my mind," I said teasingly.

I opened the driver door and got in. I searched for a button, or keyhole, or something, frustrated I couldn't even figure out how to turn it on. Scott started giggling as my irritation grew.

"I'm glad you find this funny. You bought me a new car, and I can't even start the damn thing."

"Look on the other side of the steering wheel. The ignition button is over there. Like I said before, Germans are weird."

"You're part German. That explains a lot," I said, finally finding the button. The car roared to life.

"Now put the top down!" Scott exclaimed.

"How do I do that?"

"I don't know. There's got to be a button somewhere."

It took about five minutes of searching and trying buttons before we finally figured it out. Actually, it was the valet who did it. He saw us struggling, and came over to see if we needed help. It took him two seconds; apparently it was the one button I didn't push.

I peeled away from the restaurant. It wasn't on purpose, but it had so much more power than I was used to. I drove around the city some, getting a feel for it, and loving the feel of the wind blowing through my hair. Music was also blasting, but Scott was running that, so no surprise the station was changed every few seconds.

By the time we got home, I was in love with the car. It was an excellent gift, capping an amazing evening. For one evening, I completely forgot about what we were facing, and just lived in the moment temporarily without a care in the world.

*** *** *** *** ***

A knock on my office door pulled me from my thoughts. It was Heather with my lunch. I glanced at the clock, surprised that I had managed to daydream the entire morning away. I went through a mental checklist of everything I needed to do for the rest of the day while I ate, before thinking back once again on the night I got my car. That night, I was positive, was the last truly happy memory I had up until that moment. Sure, there were many great memories, such as holding my daughter for the first time. However, they were always shared with fears about what the future would hold.

 

      *  *  *        *  *  *        *  *  *        *  *  *        *  *  *        *  *  *       

 

This scene is why Scott first looked at Porsches in Moving On. While this is not exactly how I originally envisioned the scene, it's one of many little things set up in the first story that I hope to eventually tie into this one. Also, my warning of having tissues handy applies to next chapter as well. This part of the story is a bit... heavy.

 

Let me know where you're from! I have a map of readers from around the globe. I currently have readers in 32 states, and 11 countries on 3 continents. I'd love to fill the map in some more!! I really want some Latin America, South America, Africa and mainland Asia (but I'm not picky, I'll take anything!)

 

My story is also hosted at http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/story/fitz/moving_on, http://saberpeak.com/st_fitz.php and on my story website, http://movingonstory.weebly.com. The map of readers and the signup form for the mailing list are on the website for all who are interested.

 

The story's Facebook group, 'Moving On' is a good place to communicate with me and fellow readers. It is a 'closed group', meaning nothing posted in the group is visible to nonmembers, and the group does not show up on your timeline for others to see.  The downside is that you receive a message that you joined a 'closed group', and have to wait until I approve adding you, which I do as soon as I am able. Several times, by the time I get the chance to add someone (even immediately after getting the notification), the person has removed their request. I have not, nor will I deny someone from joining the group, although I reserve the right to remove someone if necessary (spammers or people who are rude). All content will be kept at a PG-13 level.  All are welcome to join by clicking on this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/226097850809679/.

 

Don't forget to send me any questions or comments to movingonstory@gmail.com.