We arrived in New York at seven fifty and got a cab to Manhattan, arriving in front of Adam's brownstone at nine twenty. Friday morning traffic in the busiest city in the world was unlike any I'd ever seen. This was my first trip to New York, and though I wouldn't really get to see much of it, it was kind of exciting for me. I was like a little kid in the taxi; cranking my head from side to side looking at everything. I guess the best part was it made me forget that I'd ever been nervous about meeting this kid. I hadn't thought a thing about that since we'd landed. Mark paid the driver and we stepped out of the cab, looking around us and then at each other. I smiled at Mark.
"Welcome to New York I guess. Did you text Jared to tell him we were here?"
"I did. He said he'd be down in a minute; he was trying to get out of the house without Adam's parents seeing him. I guess the four of us are the only ones who know where he spent the night. I wonder if that dumb bitch has even missed him yet."
"I guess it depends on their morning routine. I wonder when her husband goes to work."
"I don't know, but he'll be going to jail lat..."
I watched as this younger, skinnier version of my boyfriend walked down the steps of the brownstone and ran to his dad. I was starting to wonder if the boy's mother had anything to do with his birth; he looked just like his dad. He was about five eight or nine and about hundred thirty pounds. His hair was the same color as mine and Marks, just longer and he has brown eyes, like mine. But facial features; well, other than the beard, were like looking at Mark at fourteen. I mean I'd seen numerous pictures of him, but standing here looking at him was something else.
Mark spun around. "Jared!"
They threw their arms around each other and held on tight. I could see Jared close his eyes and just melt into him. I knew how he felt; I melt into him the same way every time he holds me. They finally broke the hug after about a minute, Mark kissing him on the side of the head and then holding him at arm's length, looking at his face. Even I could see the red mark from where I was standing about a foot away. I was standing behind Mark and saw him shake his head and then reach up and touch his son's face, gently rubbing his hand along his cheek. Jared smiled at him and then looked at me and blushed. I smiled at him and he gave me a shy smile in return. He looked at Mark.
"So do I get to meet your boyfriend?"
Mark jumps back a little and turns sideways so he can see both of us. He smiles at me and then back at Jared.
"Of course. Jared, this is Brian. Brian this is my son, Jared."
Jared and I smile at each other and reach in front of Mark to shake hands.
"It's great to finally meet you, Jared. I wish it were under better circumstances, but I've really been looking forward to this."
He smiles. "It's nice finally getting to meet you too. I've been really curious about meeting the guy who made Dad fall in love."
I blush and grin. "Well he's really easy to fall in love with."
Jared smiles. "So I heard. One day with him and you were head over heels."
I blush and grin again. "Yeah, well... I couldn't help it. So are you alright? How's the face? That looks like it hurt like a mother."
He grins. "It did. It feels better this morning. My friend Adam got some ice for me last night and we put it in a sling and strapped it around my head. I didn't sleep all that well but the stinging is gone."
"That's good. Sorry about the lack of sleep, but at least your face doesn't hurt."
"Eh, I'll live. You guys probably haven't had much sleep either." He looks at Mark. "I'm sorry, Dad; I didn't know what else to do; who else to call."
Mark grabs his face in his hands. "Don't ever apologize for calling me for help. You did the right thing. What time does that sorry fuck go to work?"
Jared smirks. Family trait. "He's gone already; or should be. He has to be there at eight thirty. Mom should be home though."
"I wonder if she's even noticed you were gone."
"I doubt it. She doesn't exactly check on me every morning."
"I want to ask you something, Jared. Brian and I've talked about this before, and even more so last night. Do you want to come home?"
"Do you guys want me home?"
"Yes! For God's sake, yes, son; we want you home. You don't belong here; you never did. I'm sorry I didn't fight harder for you. I did what I thought I could and I lost. I want you back; I want you home. We both do."
Jared looks at me. "You too?"
I nod and smile. "Yes; very much. Part of my mission in life is to make the old man happy; and that includes you."
Jared laughs. "The old man, huh? Yeah, I guess we should keep him happy, huh?" He turns back to Mark. "I would love to come home, Dad. The only thing here that keeps me going is Adam, and I'll miss him like crazy but I want to be with you. I've always wanted to be with you, Dad."
Mark smiles at him. "That's damn good news; especially since I already bought the dumb ticket. Come here, boy." The wrap themselves around each other and hold tight; both of them smiling this time.
They break the hug and Mark looks at Jared. "Let's go see your mother. I have a few things I'd like to get off my chest. While I'm doing that you can pack. Our flight leaves at four fifteen. We'll stop back here and you can say goodbye to Adam if you want."
Jared smiles at him. "That's the best news I've had in forever. I would like to come say bye before we leave. Thanks, Dad."
"You're more than welcome. Let's go."
We turn and start walking to Jared's house, Mark turning to look at me, a guilty expression on his face.
"I don't even know how to say this... Please forgive me ahead of time. I don't think it will help our cause any if Jackie finds out you're my boyfriend. I hate myself for saying this, but you and I are friends while we're in that house. I'm sorry, baby, but I just think it's better right now. I need the bargaining room."
I turn and smile at him. "I understand, baby; believe me I do. It's OK. Don't feel bad about this. I know what's at stake; don't feel bad."
He smiles. "Thank you. I feel rotten about it but I think it's what we have to do right now. I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry; you haven't done anything wrong. You're right; it's what we need to do. Don't sweat it. I love you."
He smiles. "I love you too." He turns to Jared. "I love you too. My two favorite men in the whole world; I'm a lucky guy."
Jared grins at him. "I kinda think Brian and I are the lucky ones; we have you. I love you too, Dad."
When we get off the elevator in front of their door I look at both of them and grin. "Let the games begin." They both smirk. I roll my eyes and watch Jared unlock the door and walk in, Mark and I trailing behind him. The first thing I hear is his mother.
"When did you go outside; I didn't even see you pass by?" She sees Mark. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Mark gives her a cold stare. "Good morning, Jackie. Your dead husband home?"
She pales. "No, he's at work. What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to kill your husband. He bitch slapped Jared and now he's gonna die."
"He did not bitch slap him! He smacked him across the face for being a smart-ass."
"Is that why his face is still red; even after spending the night with an ice pack on it? Where does he work? He's dead meat, Jackie; I don't care. He does not have the right to hit my son!"
"Our son. And as his step-father he has every right to discipline him." She turns to Jared. "What the hell have you been telling him?"
Jared stares her down. "I told him exactly what happened last night. I may have been a little bit of a smart-ass to him but he was being a total dick to me. And he's your husband; not my step-dad. I don't need a step-dad; my real dad is standing right here!"
Jackie looks back at Mark. "If you lay one hand on him I'll have you put in jail. And who is this guy?"
"His name's Brian. He's my friend from home; I thought I might need a little backup. And I'm not the one going to jail. Your husband's going for child abuse." He turns to Jared. "You and Brian go get your gear, please."
Jared smiles at him and turns to me. "Let's go, friend Brian." He grins.
Jackie jumps in. "You're not going anywhere, young man! You live here!" Jared and I keep walking. "Jared!! Get your ass back here, right now!"
Mark turns to Jackie. "Shut up! That's count two. You do not scream at my kid. Here's the deal. I'm taking Jared home with me. You can scream and holler about it and call your attorney and the cops and I'll call the cops on your husband for hitting Jared. Or... You keep your fuckin' mouth shut, sign the goddamned paperwork giving him back to me and I'll let this drop; I won't see the motherfucker in prison. Your choice. You've got as long as it takes him to pack. Think about this nice house and all that money before you make your decision. Do you really wanna lose all of this? You know damn well he'll be safe and well taken care of with me. He'll be happy again. You chose your husband over your son last night; do it again. For his sake."
Jackie glares at him. "You son of a bitch! You're fucking blackmailing me for my son!"
"I'm not blackmailing you; I'm giving you a fucking choice. Make the right one or that sorry motherfucker will be in prison before lunch."
"You don't have proof anything happened; it's Jared's word against mine and Sean's!"
"He still has the fucking bruise on his face, dim wit! You don't think that's proof?"
"I'll tell them you did it!"
"My God, you're dumber than I thought. I can prove I was on an airplane all night. A doctor would be able to tell the court how long he's had that bruise. And that means it was either you or dipshit that put it there."
She starts to talk but stops short; she's running out of ammo. She groans and then starts pacing the room, giving Mark dirty looks about every five seconds, finally coming to a stop and looking at him.
"You'd really take Jared from me?"
"I really would. I never should've let him go in the first place. You made your choices; you chose money. Let's not destroy Jared's life anymore than we already have. Just think; Sean will probably be happy to have him gone so you guys will have a happier relationship. Jared will be happy to be back home with his family. You'll never have to worry about him; you know I'd do anything for him. This is what's best for him, Jackie; not us. He wants to come home."
"He is home..."
"No... He hasn't been home in three years. Let's just stop fucking up our child's life; he doesn't deserve that. He didn't do anything wrong."
She sighs. "No, he didn't; he got caught in the middle. You know he still hates me, right? He's hated me since the day we left."
"He doesn't hate you. He's angry with you but he doesn't hate you. You ended his family and he's angry; nothing more."
She groans again. "You give me your word you won't have Sean arrested if I agree to this?"
"I give you my word."
She closes her eyes and sighs. "Alright. You win. He hates it here anyway. I want him to be happy. He's happy with you; fuck, he never stops talking about you. Take him."
"Thank you, Jackie. This is what's right for him. You're doing the right thing. And you know you can see him whenever you want."
She smirks. "Are you going to start asking for child support?"
"No. I'll use what I've been sending to you; I think I have it covered."
She nods, her eyes wet. "Please love him and take good care of him. He's my little boy, you know?"
"I know, Jackie. I'll always love him and take good care of him."
She sniffs. "You'd better."
"I give you my word."
"I guess we have to make this somehow legal, huh?"
"We do. You need to call your attorney. Tell him whatever you want but make sure he knows this is your decision. Tell him dipshit is being transferred out of the country or something and you're going with him, but don't want Jared to be so far from home, family and friends."
"I guess that works. When are you leaving with him?"
"My flight leaves at four this afternoon. I already bought him a ticket. I told him we'd stop at Adam's so he can say goodbye to him."
"Yeah, do that; they're best friends. I guess Adam's his only friend here. Three years and he only trusts one person here." She looks at Mark. "I guess I fucked up, huh?"
"Yeah, you kinda did. You destroyed a perfectly happy family for money. I have to tell ya; I was reeling for almost a year; I never saw it coming."
"That's the problem, Mark; you never saw a lot of things. You didn't see me. You only saw Jared and you didn't see how miserable I was."
"I'm sorry about that. I really am. I guess I need to learn to communicate more. I'm getting better at it but still have a long way to go."
"Well let's hope the next woman you marry can learn to share you better than I could."
"Like I said, I'm getting better at talking and telling people what I'm feeling. Who knows..."
"I want you to know something. For some reason your opinion of me still matters. I didn't just leave with Sean for the money. I do love him. I am in love with him. It wasn't about the money. I love having the money but it's more than that."
"I'm happy for you. I'm glad you found what I couldn't give you."
"You need to move on too, Mark. You need to find someone too."
"I'll go call my attorney."
She turns and walks out of the room; Mark looking around at all the expensive furnishings. He rolls his eyes, whispering softly to himself. "Yeah, right; it's not the money."
I'm in Jared's bedroom with him, packing his belongings. We've got one suitcase packed and are working on the second. He looks over at me.
"Brian, are you really OK with me coming back to live with Dad?"
I look at him and smile. "I'm very OK with it. I have to admit, I was really nervous about meeting you; scared you wouldn't like me."
He looks at me like I'm growing a third eye. "Why would an adult be scared of meeting a kid?"
"Because I was worried about losing Mark if you didn't like me."
He smiles. "I don't think my dad would take orders from me anyway. You were being goofy, dude. I like you just fine. You seem like a nice guy. Besides, I think my dad is a good judge of character. He loves you; so why wouldn't I?"
I grin. "Like you said, I was being goofy. I was just afraid you'd tell him I was no good and try and convince him to leave me. That was awhile ago; I've grown more confident since then."
He chuckles. "I would hope so. I know it's kinda none of my business, but do you really love my dad?"
"I love him more than I've ever loved anyone my whole life. He's my entire world, Jared; I would do anything for him."
He smiles. "That's what I was hoping you'd say. He really needs someone to love him that way. Mom hurt him a lot; I didn't think he'd ever find someone to love again. I'm actually kinda glad it's a man he fell in love with; women are confusing."
I laugh. "So I've heard."
He grins. "Have you ever been with a woman?"
He laughs. "No! I'm only fourteen; what would I do with a woman?"
I laugh again. "Why are you asking me; I've only been with men?"
He laughs. "You're quick; I like you."
I smile. "I like you too. You're pretty quick for a dude that's never been with a woman."
He laughs. "Hey, give me time. I'll come home from school some day and show you two how to take care of a woman."
I grin. "I've seen a guy take care of a woman; it scared the crap outta me."
He laughs again. "Why would it scare you?"
I smirk. "I kinda prefer my body parts hanging out and visible."
He laughs his ass off. He shakes his head at me, smiling. "You're funny." He blushes a little. "So, you like Dad's hanging body parts?"
I blush and grin. "I shouldn't talk about your dad's body parts with his son; but yeah, I do."
He grins. "It's OK; I won't tell. I have seen it. I saw it a couple of times the last time we went fishin' when he was taking a wiz. He's pretty big."
I laugh. "Yeah he is."
He grins. "So you like it?"
"Yep. Don't you like yours?"
He laughs again. "Well yeah; it's my only source of pleasure around here."
"I hear ya. Sometimes you just have to take care of business. So what else are we taking?"
He grins. "You're changing the subject."
"I am. It's kind of embarrassing to talk about my sex life with my boyfriend to his son. Like I said, if it were just some dude we were talkin' about I'd tell ya whatever you wanted to know, but this is your dad and it's a little embarrassing for me."
"OK. I'm sorry. I was just curious."
"I know. Don't be sorry. I want us to have an honest relationship. And if part of that entails me talking about sex then that's fine. But if we're gonna talk about my sex life with Mark then he needs to be here too. I feel like I'm crossing some boundaries."
"I don't think I could talk about it if Dad were here; that'd be embarrassing."
I grin at him. "Now you know where I'm coming from, right?"
He looks at me. "I guess I do. Sorry. I'll stop embarrassing you."
"I'll make you a deal. You can always ask me anything, and I give you my word I will always be honest with you. I will also reserve the right to not answer. I'll go you one further. I'll ask Mark how I should handle it if you ever ask me questions about us; not saying you have, but if you should sometime in the future. If he says to just answer them then I will. OK?"
He smiles. "Deal."
"Cool. Now where's the computer dude's computer? I don't see one in here."
"The sorry bastard took my laptop from me two weeks ago. Said if I couldn't respect him and his house then he didn't respect my things. I don't know what he did with it. He probably took it to the office."
"That's not cool. Did you have a bunch of personal stuff on there?"
He blushes. "Yeah. It has a killer password though; that dumbass will never figure it out."
I laugh. "That's the advantage to being the computer dude, dude. Lock people out yet still be able to see their shit."
He laughs. "No doubt, huh? That's right; Dad says you're a big time computer dude."
"Guilty. I spend my days working on servers and then come home and play on mine."
Jared and I are talking shop while Mark is waiting for Jackie to get off the phone. She hangs up and looks at him.
"He said he'd draw up the papers and have them in front of a judge by noon. He said to stop by after one and he'd give `em to me."
"Thank you. What are you going to tell Sean?"
She sighs. "I don't know. I guess I'll tell him the truth. That we fucked up last night and I lost my son."
"I still can't believe you let him hit our boy. What were you thinking, Jackie?"
"I'd had enough of their battles. I couldn't take anymore. I was just fed up with the constant barbs at each other. I guess I thought if Jared were afraid of Sean he wouldn't spar with him and life would get easier. I wouldn't have let him seriously hurt him, you know. One slap isn't gonna scar him for life."
"That's our son you let another man hit. You and I talked about this time and time again while you were pregnant; about corporal punishment. We both agreed we'd never touch him."
"I know... I'm sorry."
"Tell Jared; he probably really needs to hear it right now."
"You're right; he probably does."
She turns and heads to Jared's bedroom, knocking on the door. Jared stands up and answers it, just looking at her.
"May I talk to you for a minute?"
"Sure Mom; what'd you need?"
"A few minutes with you. Please."
"Sure." Jared turns to me while I'm standing up. "Brian?"
"I'm outta here. See ya in a few."
I walk out and find Mark standing in the dining room, looking around.
"Is everything working out the way you'd hoped?"
He smiles. "Hell yes. She has her shyster attorney drawing up the paperwork as we speak. Judge will sign `em at noon, we pick `em up at one and on the plane by four."
I smile. "That's awesome, Mark! I'm happy for us; really happy."
"Me too; me too. So, what do you think of him? Does he still make you tremble in your boots?" He grins.
"Shut up. I never trembled." I grin. "Yeah, we've been havin' a good time talkin' shop. Speaking of, I guess dipshit confiscated his laptop two weeks ago; he needs to get it back."
"He'll get it back if I have to yank it out of that fucker's ass. So I guess I'm gonna be surrounded by computer nerds now, huh?" He smirks and grins.
I look around and then back at him, smiling. "I got your nerd hangin', cowboy."
He laughs. "I know; we've been formally introduced. So you guys are getting along OK?"
"Yeah, we're gettin' along great. He told me I'm funny and quick with comebacks; he likes me."
He laughs. "Oh man... Two smart-asses in one house; I'm doomed." He grins.
He looks around and then grins. "Stick something in my mouth."
I laugh. "The last time I used that line on you we were standin' on my porch and you were playin' in my shorts."
He laughs. "I wasn't playin' in `em. I should've just stuck it in your mouth. If I'd only known then what I know now."
"What, that I'm good?"
He grins. "No, that it's the best way to shut you up."
We both laugh. "I will get you back for that one. Watch your back."
"I always do when you're in the room." He grins.
"Oooooo, you're on a roll. Keep talkin'... I know where you sleep."
He looks around again. "I love you."
I smirk and grin. "Too little, too late, cowboy. I love you too."
He looks at me. "I'll make it up to ya." He sighs. "I guess we'll have to throttle back on our playing around now. I don't know how comfortable he'd be seeing or hearing us like this."
"We'll play it by ear. No pun intended. What do I do if he starts asking me questions about our sex life? I mean, that would be kinda strange talking about what you and I do together."
"Did he ask you something already?"
"Well not really. I mean he asked me if I really loved you. But yeah, he's bound to get curious about it at some point. And I'm not sure he'd ask you about it. I mean did you wanna talk to your dad about shit like this?"
"Yeah, no kidding, huh? No, I couldn't talk to my dad about it. He wouldn't have anyway. I don't know... I guess if he asks then just answer him without going into much detail. I guess he's at that age, huh? Oh man... The hormones are kickin' in and puberty's in full swing. This could be interesting."
I laugh. "Damn, don't make it sound so bad. We both went through it; it shouldn't be that hard to handle someone else going through it. We'll get him through this. Gee, Dad, don't panic yet."
He grins. "I'm tryin' not to."
"Oooo yeah, I get to call you Dad now. Daddy." I look around. "Spank me, Daddy."
He laughs. "Bend over."
"Later, sexy man. So what's the plan for the morning and afternoon?"
"I say we take that boy out for breakfast. Besides, I'm really hungry; I forgot they don't feed you on airplanes anymore."
I grin. "Nope. No food and you pay more for your luggage than you did your seat. I could go for some breakfast too." I grin bigger. "Should we invite Jackie?"
"If you and Jackie wanna go have breakfast, make yourself happy; she's not coming with me."
"Uh... What if she'd like to spend the morning with him? I mean it is her last day with him."
He sighs. "Yeah, I guess I can't be a total dick about this. We'll see when they get out here. How much more stuff does he have to pack?"
"It depends on what he wants to take and what you wanna pay to stick under the plane. We could box it up and have it shipped by UPS or something; it'd be a hell of a lot cheaper."
"Hey you're smart; I like that." I smirk. "Shut up; you know what I meant. But what about clothes and stuff for now; what's he gonna wear if UPS has his shit?"
"Well not all of it; just the big stuff. We could let him take two suitcases and a carry-on and then ship the rest home."
"Oh. OK. Yeah, I see what you're saying. Good idea."
"Actually, I guess since neither one of us has checked luggage we could take more; just check them as ours. We get one checked bag each plus however much for the second one. He could take six bags with him."
He smiles. "Hey, you are good at this. We might have to buy him some luggage; I doubt he has that many suitcases."
I grin. "Maybe Jackie would be willing to let him take her Gucci luggage?"
He laughs. "Yeah, right; picture that."
"Please don't take this wrong; I'm just trying to see where you're at. Are you ready for all of this? In less than eight hours you're going to be a full-time Dad again. How are you feeling about this; I mean really feeling?"
"I know what you're saying, baby. I guess I'm both excited and scared. I'm thrilled that he's coming home but now I'm going to be responsible for him twenty-four-seven and that's a little scary. I'm the one that's gonna be in charge of doctor's appointments, getting him registered for school, making sure he has everything he needs for school, and the millions of others things that make up a teenagers life. So yeah, honestly, I'm a little scared too."
"I am too; a little. I'll be right there with you; you know that. I'll do whatever I can to help. But yeah, it's a little scary."
He smiles. "Thank you for saying that. I mean I know you will be, but thank you for saying it; it means a lot to me." He pauses a second, staring in my eyes again. "I'm sure glad you chose me; I'm starting to have a hard time imagining my life without you."
"I knew you were the right one for me from the very first day; the choice had already been made." I smile. "My life is nothing without you beside me."
"Hey Dad! Are we allowed to take all of this stuff on the plane?"
Jackie's walking towards us, looking at Mark. "I guess we said our goodbyes. I have an appointment at the salon in an hour. He's all yours, I guess. Lock the place up when you leave and have him leave his key on the table."
I look at Mark. "I'll go see about his stuff problems." I turn and walk back to Jared's room.
Mark looks at Jackie. "OK. What time and where do you want meet for the papers? Should we just meet at your attorney's office?"
"That would be fine. I'm going to be at his office at one. Wait here and I'll get his card; it has his address on it." She walks away.
I walk into Jared's room. "What's up, dude?"
"Hey Brian, can I take all this crap on the plane?"
I grin. "No way, bud; it'd cost more than this house. We were thinkin' about having the big stuff shipped home. How many suitcases do you have?"
"I have two big ones, a medium one and a carry-on."
"Load `em up with the stuff you want to have at home for the next week or so. The rest we'll box up and ship home. How's that work?"
He grins. "That'll work."
"Good deal. I'll help ya; just tell me what you want in the suitcases and I'll start throwin' it in."
"Oh sure, leave me with the big crap to pack." He laughs.
I grin. "Hey, it's your big crap; learn to eat more ruffage."
He laughs. "Are you always this much of a wise guy?"
"Always. I like your version a lot better than Dad's; he just calls me a smart-ass all the time."
He laughs. "I was tryin' to be nice since we just met."
"I appreciate it. OK, I'll do the boxes and you do the luggage; does that work better?"
He grins. "For me it does. I can be a nice guy too; how about we just split it up; we'll just do one suitcase or box at a time and move on to the next?"
"Hey, you're good at this. Let's rock."
Ten minutes later Mark has joined in to help and we get Jared all packed up and ready to ship in about a half-hour. Mark calls the shipping company to have them send a truck over and we head out to find some food. There's a café about a block away so we just walk over to it. It also serves to let us see the street and watch for the truck to pull up. I was thinking this would be like a mom and pop café, but I guess I should've known with the neighborhood we were in there was no such thing. I think I had my first boutique breakfast; certainly the most expensive breakfast I'd ever eaten.
We got out of there with the credit card a little closer to the limit and went back to Jared's house; just standing around out front and talking. The truck showed up about eleven and we brought the boxes down and watched the driver load them. I told them I'd never been to New York and I would like to see a little of it before we left so we went and caught a subway and went downtown. It worked out well since her attorney was there anyway. We had a small lunch at a vendor and then went to the attorney's office and waited around for Jackie to show up.
By three we were at JFK and waiting for our plane to leave. Talk about a whirlwind tour of New York. My first time there and I got to spend a whole two hours seeing the city. Oh well, I was ready to go home; if for any other reason than to get some sleep. We'd make up the four hours on the return flight and be back home by seven-thirty but I had no intention of staying up to my usual eleven; I don't think I was capable of it anyway.
We'd at least been smart enough to drive Mark's Jeep to the airport; we had plenty of room for Jared and his stuff. We made it back to Kent and into Mark's driveway by eight-thirty and I was half asleep in the front seat. Mark looked over at me and grinned.
"We're home; you can wake up now."
I looked at him. "Just leave me in the car; I'll sleep here. Besides, I see why Jared likes to recline; the seats are really comfy."
"Nice try. You're not getting out of helping us unload by feigning sleep."
"Who's feigning?" I turn in my seat, looking at Jared. "You don't care if I sleep in the car, huh?"
He grins. "Nope; make yourself happy. I've slept in that seat plenty of times; it is comfy."
I turn to Mark. "See, he doesn't care. Goodnight."
"Come on, it'll only take ten minutes to unload and then I promise you can sleep. You can even sleep in the car if you want."
"Hey, Jared, has he always been a slave-driver of is this something new?"
He laughs. "Always!"
Mark laughs. "Fine. Both of you can sleep in the car. I'm goin' inside to take a piss and eat a piece of Aunt Carole's pie. See ya." He opens his door and get's out, walking in through the garage.
I turn to look at Jared. "I have to admit, the pie was really good. Maybe I'll stay awake long enough for one or two pieces."
He laughs. "It is really good. Let's go steal Dad's from him."
"I do like the way you think. Let's go."
We bail out of the Jeep and head inside, going straight to the kitchen while Mark's still in the bathroom. Jared grabs the pie out of the fridge while I get two forks. We laugh and grin at each other and then sit down at the table, the pie between us. We're both taking a bite when Mark walks in.
"Jeez, at least use a plate. What, you're both just eating like farm animals now?"
I look up at Mark, my mouth full. "Mmm hmmm."
He rolls his eyes and grins. "Pigs. I'm livin' with pigs now."
Jared looks at him, grinning. "Grab a fork and quit worrying about it. You'd better hurry; we're gonna have this eaten while you're still talkin'."
Mark looks at both of us. We grin at him and he smirks and walks over to grab a fork. He joins us at the table and the three of us devour that pie in about ten minutes. I look at both of them and grin.
Jared laughs. "I'll take some."
Mark looks at him. "Please and thank you." He looks at me. "Me too, please."
Jared looks at me, smiling. "Yes, please. Thank you, Brian."
"You're both welcome. The great part is I can go home and leave you guys with the dishes."
Jared looks at me. "You don't live here? I thought you were gonna move here?"
"No, I still have my own house down the street. Don't worry; I won't leave you guys with the dishes."
Mark looks at Jared. "We should probably move in with Brian; he's a great cook."
Jared smiles. "Really? Let's go. I love ya, Dad, but we can't live on trout and beer."
I bust up laughing. "I told him the same thing!"
Jared turns to me, smiling. "Well let's go; show me this place. I wanna see it. Please."
I shrug my shoulders and look at Mark. "It's alright with me. Feel like takin' a walk down the street, Dad?" Jared smirks.
"Sure, son; let's go." He rolls his eyes and grins at me.
We get to my house, coming in the through the garage door and walk into the kitchen. I turn the light on and Jared looks around, smiling.
"Wow, it even look likes a kitchen."
He walks over to the fridge and opens it, looking in. He spends about a minute looking in vegetable crispers and meat drawers before turning to Mark, grinning.
"Holy crap, there's like real food and everything in here! Meat, veggies, fruit, cheese; all of it!" He opens the freezer and looks in. "Wow! More real food and no trout!" He turns to Mark. "Go get the Jeep, Dad; we can move my stuff here." He turns to me, smiling. "Which room is gonna be mine?"
Mark and I laugh. Mark looks at him, grinning. "I see how it is. My own son's gonna leave me for my boyfriend. That's cold, dude."
Jared laughs. "Hey, you can come too. You sleep with Brian anyway, right? There's plenty of room."
"You don't want your old room back?"
"No, I want food."
Mark smirks. "I can buy food, goofy boy."
"Yeah, but without Brian what are we gonna do with it? Staring into the refrigerator and looking at it will drive us crazy." I laugh.
Mark smirks and grins again. "Down boy. I do know how to cook a few things. Besides, I eat here a lot."
Jared laughs. "I've had your cooking, Dad; why make the walk?"
"We can't just tell Brian we're moving in; that's not fair to him. Besides, we have a home, Jared."
"We have a house with trout and beer in the fridge." I laugh again. He turns to me, grinning. "So, what do you say, Brian? Can Dad and I move in with you?"
Mark jumps in. "Jared, you can't just ask someone if you can move in. You grew up in that house; why are you in such a hurry to get out of it?"
"Why are you two waiting so long to move in together? I thought you loved each other. Aren't people in love supposed to live together?"
"We talked about it and decided this worked for us. We're only three blocks apart and we can still see each other whenever we want. We weren't in any hurry to move in together, I guess."
Jared stares him down. "Yeah, but you lived with Mom when you guys were in love; why not Brian? Isn't that how it's supposed to be? Living with your partner? You guys are in love, right; not just having sex with each other?"
Mark blushes. "Yes, we're very much in love with each other; it's not about sex."
"Then I don't understand. Why aren't you living with each other? If I was in love with someone I would want to be with them; not just visit."
"There's more to it than that. You have to sell the house, get everything moved, learn to share closet space and stuff; it's complicated."
"No it's not, just call a real estate guy and sell the house. And you only have to move stuff three blocks; what's hard about that?" He looks back and forth between us. "Are you guys scared this isn't gonna work; that you're gonna break up?"
Mark and I look at each other. Maybe that's exactly what we've been afraid of. I look at Jared and then back at Mark.
"Are we? Is that what's holding us back?"
"I don't know. Are you afraid of that; afraid we might not last?"
"There's a part of me that's terrified that you'll start to think this was all a big mistake; that you can't be in love with a man. I guess I was waiting to see if you'd be alright with this; with us."
"I'm very alright with us; with being in love with a man. I'll admit I was scared the first couple of weeks. I was questioning my motives; questioning my true feelings. I don't question anything anymore, Brian. I love you like I've never loved anyone in my life. You come second only to him."
I smile at him. "I told you yesterday that I love you with all that I am or will ever be. I will never stop loving you; you are my life. You are my dream come true and my reason for getting up in the morning. I've never doubted your feelings for me. And I'm sorry I doubted your ability to handle being in love with me. I won't do it again."
We'd kind of forgotten there was a fourteen year old boy standing three feet away. Mark walks over to me and pulls me in his arms, holding tight and whispering in my ear.
"I love you, baby; I always will."
"I love you too; forever and always."
We hug for about thirty seconds before he pulls back a little and kisses me deeply, holding it for about twenty seconds. He breaks the kiss and smiles at me.
"So, you feel like having two hungry men move in with you?"
I smile. "I'd love to have two hungry men move in with me. I want to spend my life with you, Mark Reynolds."
"And I you." He turns to Jared, grinning, finding him smiling from ear to ear. "Go pick out your room, boy. I wanna kiss my man some more."
Jared grins. "You just did. It looked like a really great kiss, too. I never saw you kiss Mom like that."
Mark blushes. "Mom can't kiss like Brian does."
Jared looks at me. "Are you being serious, Brian? I know you like to joke around but I need to know you're serious this time."
I smile at him. "I'm very serious. I want you both here with me. I'll cook for you, I'll make you lunches for school, I'll take you out clothes shopping for school; I'll be here for you, Jared. Go find a room you like. There's only two empty ones but they're both nice. And no, you can't have the one with the bathroom; that's ours." I smile at him.
Jared walks up to us and hugs us both, smiling. "Thank you both." He looks at us and grins. "Try not to choke each other while I'm gone. " He grins and runs towards the hall.
Mark smiles at me. "You've just adopted an instant family; are you ready for this?"
"As ready as you are."
He smirks. "I was really hoping you'd say something besides that, `cause I'm not all that ready."
"Don't worry, baby, we'll make it work. We'll be a great family. We'll have lots of fun and we'll laugh and cry and fight and argue and live. It's what families do."
He looks into my eyes again. "I know you said you had a horrible family life and I'm starting to think you're looking forward to this as much as he is. I think he really wants a family again; a real family."
"Well, we'll be as real of a family as three guys can be. We'll make up our own rules about how we live and do it the way we all want to. We'll be fine, baby; don't worry so much."
He smiles. "I'm not worried; I have you here with me."
I grin at him. "I guess you better go get that Jeep, Dad; we have some stuff to move."
He grins. "Let him get it himself; I have other things in mind."
He pulls himself back into me, landing on my mouth and sliding his tongue in, both of us moaning into the kiss.
Thanks for reading. Questions, comments, concerns?