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X Universe - Book 3

I Promise Forever - Chapter 9


There were only a few things that could get me flying, full speed, through a house. Jeff's panicked yell was one of them. I nearly collided with the dining room chandelier as I soared over the table, scattering a couple candles and a flower vase on the way. I stopped, mid-hover, near the couch, as I spun about. "What? What?"

"Get her off! Get her off! Get her off!" Jeff held himself immobile on the couch, one hand gripping the back and one gripping under the front cushions. His legs were rigid and his aura was straining. "Now."

Misty stood, three paws dug into Jeff's groin, and she looked far too content not know where she was. Her claws were just barely poking through his sweat pants as she kneaded and purred. Landing, I scooped her up gingerly, and Jeff sank against the cushions. "What happened?"

Shallow breathed, Jeff pointed at the display cabinet behind the couch as he explained. "I got back from my run, lay down on the couch for a breather, and that beast decided to castrate me!"

I looked up at the cabinet, sensing that there were indeed cat hairs up on top of it. "How the hell did she get up there? She only has three paws."

"I know she has three paws. Three, CLAWED paws. I'm well acquainted with the paws." Jeff was just short of crawling out of his skin.

"Why didn't you put your aura up?"

"And hurt your cat?!? Are you nuts?" He frowned up at me. "She's lucky we had combat training. My gut reaction was to hyper-eject whatever it was attacking my dick."

I scratched an ever pleased Misty under her chin. "Are you trying to get yourself turned into cat paté?" She just purred, seemingly oblivious to the near death experience she'd just had.

"I've had scrotum acupuncture and you're concerned about the cat?" Jeff's blood pressure was rising by the moment.

Reaching down, I stroked Jeff lightly, my fingers playing with his balls through his sweats. Stirring his aura, I cooed. "Honey, I plan to make it up to 'Little Jeff.' Just let me put Misty somewhere 'safe'."

Jeff moaned, his eyes closing as he went hard almost immediately. I kept my palm rubbing the base of his shaft as my fingers toyed with his balls and I stirred his aura mercilessly.

"Oh, fuck."

I kept working Jeff, gently, as I floated Misty over to her food dish. She sniffed at the newly poured cream and promptly forgot we existed. With her out of the way, I gripped Jeff through his pants and gave him a squeeze as I ran my aura across his whole body. He cried out, arching off the couch as he soaked his sweats. He trembled, biting at his lower lip as I tortured him by softly petting his over sensitive shaft.


He groaned. "Now I'm a sticky mess," he complained, looking up at me with a mixture of fading frustration and growing embarrassment. He hated that I could get him off in less than thirty seconds if I set my mind and powers to the task.

I laughed. "You were already a sweaty, sticky mess, Jeff. You're back from your run."

"Yeah, well..." He got up off the couch, adjusting his now sopping lower garments. "Now I've got to shower." He walked around the couch and headed for the stairs.

I eyed Misty as she lapped at her cream. "I think I should make certain nothing was permanently damaged."

"I'm fine, Dan."

I followed Jeff up the stairs, pulling off my shirt as I went. "I'll be the judge of that, mister. Get your ass in the shower. The 'doctor' is in."

Jeff laughed, but cut it short as he watched me I shuck my shoes. A slow grin spread across his face as I stood up. "What do you recommend, 'doctor'?"

"Verification of the proper functioning of the reproductive system will require a complete examination, including prostate stimulation for ejaculate response." Unzipping, I lowered my pants to show him my examination equipment.

Jeff peeled of his shirt, kicked off his shoes, and shuffled out of his soiled sweats as he hustled into the bathroom. "I'll get the examination room ready."

I smiled as I closed the bedroom door. "I love a man who can follow instructions."

"Are you sure it will be okay, Professor?" I looked at Xavier hope filled as I stroked Paulo's hair. Jeff thanked Tyler for the workout room systems while I confirmed our plans with the Professor.

"Paulo's modified identification is in order, Daniel. I see no reason why he can't spend the week with a loving family in a warmer climate." The Professor smiled at Paulo. "He has been anxiously awaiting a chance to spend time with you all month."

"You want to spend the week with us in Florida, Paulo?" I already knew the answer, but it was important that Paulo be given every option to express his wants. He nodded, radiating happiness like a humming tuning-fork. I smiled over at Jeff and Tyler as Jeff mussed Tyler's ever lengthening mop of blond hair. "Hey, Ty, the invite is still open."

Tyler smiled, elbowing Jeff in the gut to get him to stop playing with his hair. "Thanks, but nearly two X-teams are assembled for the next few days. Scott promised to let me train with them. I don't want to miss the chance." He shrugged. "Turkey is turkey, no matter where you eat it."

"What about family, bud?" Jeff wrapped his arms around Tyler and gave him a squeeze.

Tyler's smile drooped for a moment, but he looked at the Professor and it came back a bit softer and just as honest. "I've got family here too, guys. I'm already coming over for New Years. Let the 'little shit' have a week without competition."

Paulo stuck his tongue out at Tyler, who laughed and made a funny face back. "Don't bite that," I chastised as I tried to catch Paulo's tongue between my thumb and forefinger. He giggled, sucking his tongue to safety and clamping his lips closed. It was strange to feel, but not hear a child giggling. Paulo hadn't made a sound since we found him.

"I believe Paulo has everything packed for the week, correct?" The Professor lifted an eyebrow at Paulo, who nodded happily.

I groaned dramatically. "We'll have to take a plane. Gods."

Paulo wasn't about to fall for the ploy. He pulled out of my grip and ran over to Jeff, pulling on his hand. Jeff laughed and nodded. "Yes, Paulo, I'll carry your stuff down."

"I could do that," I grunted.

Jeff flashed me a satisfied smile as they went passed. "I've got bigger muscles."

Rolling my eyes, I smiled at the Professor. "I could float the whole damn school off the earth and Paulo is impressed by Jeff's muscles."

"If he needed something that required that level of power, Daniel, I assure you that Paulo would come to you for it." The Professor watched the boys vanish up the stairs. "He is a very efficient, perceptive child. He selects the most appropriate person for any request."

I laughed. "Okay. It also means everyone gets a little bit of attention."

Xavier smiled. "Precisely." He nodded over at Tyler as he came over. "He reminds me of another young man, one who is growing up far too fast for my comfort."

I grabbed Tyler around the neck and mussed his hair. "Yeah, too damn efficient and mature for his own good."

"Hey," he whined, trying not to laugh, "leave the hair alone you freak!"

I mussed with more abandon as I dropped my voice to a fake spooky tone. "I curse you with irresistibly mussable hair!"

"Aaagh!" Tyler pulled out of my grip, smoothing his hair down as he stood up straight. "Jerk."

"I had to pass it on to someone, bro."

He smiled. "I suppose it's better than your freckles."

"Ouch." I had to agree with him there.

Xavier wheeled off, leaving us to talk in private.

"How'd you guys get a whole week off so late in the semester? England doesn't have Thanksgiving in November."

I grinned mischievously at Tyler. "I had to promise our first born child to most of my teachers, and had to do my assignments ahead. Fortunately, since Jeff has no intentions of getting a sex change, the child promise isn't an issue."

"And Jeff?"

"I think he just let them take a peek at his beautiful self and they gave him anything he wanted." I rolled my eyes. "Being an Adonis has its advantages."

"You'd let them look," Tyler asked in surprise.

I laughed. "Sure. Look all you want. Touch and you answer to me."

"Possessive," Tyler laughed. For a moment, he looked a bit distant.

I hip nudged him out of his thoughts. "What you thinking bud?"

Tyler shrugged. "Nothing."

"Uh huh," I cupped behind Tyler's neck and rubbed my thumb along the base of his skull. "You're a lousy liar. You're missing someone who looks a lot like an all white, shy version of Jeff aren't you?"

"With a scraggly goatee," Tyler grinned. "Actually, I like the goatee. It makes Brandon look kind of sinister and dangerous."

"The killer chef, huh?"

Tyler sighed. "Am I being stupid?"

I wanted to say yes. I liked the brothers just fine, and Kate was old enough to deal with Ben, but even ignoring the age issue I felt Tyler could do better. I copped out. "What does your heart tell you?"

Tyler turned to me and sank his face into my chest, mumbling, "I want him so bad it hurts."

I knew what that felt like. I'd tortured myself over Jeff, trying to keep my feelings a secret. Tyler was being as open with them as anyone could without throwing himself at Brandon. I prayed Brandon would either get his shit together, or let Tyler down easy. Which ever he did, I hoped it would be soon. I hugged my little brother and ached for him. I had more power than just about anyone, and I couldn't do anything about Tyler's problem. It sucked. I hugged him, whispering into his hair, "I know. Been there, done that."

Tyler held the hug for a couple minutes, then pulled out and quickly wiped his eyes. "Yeah. Thanks."

I smiled, lifting his chin. "Sometimes knowing that another person's had similar problems makes it easier."

"I miss you guys."

I hugged him, hiding my own watery eyes in his hair. "Yeah, bud. We miss you too."

Tyler straightened up and grinned as Jeff and Paulo descended the stairs with a suitcase and a book bag. Yeah, that really required a lot of muscle. "You'll take care of little-bro-deux, right?"

Paulo grinned at Tyler as I draped an arm across Tyler's shoulders. I smiled. "Yeah, I think he'll be just fine."

"Good morning, bright eyes," Mom greeted as I came into the kitchen.

I eyed the cinnamon rolls rising on the baking sheet. "Oh, I see how it is. The boyfriend got to cook for this prospective parents-in-law, but the cute Greek boy gets early morning pastries."

Mom snapped her dish towel at me. "As if you'd have accepted special treatment when you came down the first time."

"Okay," I chuckled, kissing her on the cheek as I went past her toward the fridge, "you're right."

"Unlike my red-headed broomstick," Mom chastised as I pulled out the orange juice, "Paulo is able to take sincere affection without guilt or doubt."

"Hey," I whined, taking down a glass, "you got him young. I was already set in my ways by the time I was introduced to the Watkins hug obsession."

Mom rolled her eyes. "What am I going to do with you?"

I smiled, pouring the juice, and lifted the carton at her questioningly. She shook her head, and I put it away. "Admit that I'm a perfect fit for Jeff and you're happy I didn't run when I had the chance."

She laughed. "On those braced legs of yours? You wouldn't have gotten off the property before one of us tackled you."

"That'd have been rich; tackling the groom as he bolts for the door."

She smiled, kissed me on the cheek, and turned back to her cooking. "We'd invested too much in you at that point to let you get away."

I pressed my cheek into her hair as she started preparing the egg batter for omelettes. "Love you."

"We love you too, Dan. Don't ever doubt it."

"When should we wake the boys?" It seemed like the right moment to change the subject. I didn't really feel like crying.

Mom laughed. "Paulo does seem to have Jeff's propensity for late rising."

I nodded. "They look similar too, though Paulo has more angular features. Their coloring is almost identical."

"Good, hearty, Mediterranean stock."

"Hmph," Dad grunted as he walked into the kitchen. "What about the hearty British stock? The boys got their height from somewhere, and it certainly wasn't from the Solana side of the family." He grinned at me. "Norma's as tall as her father."

"Solid, hearty, good foundation," Mom argued, taking a wisp to eggs as she talked, "they definitely got the dreaming, farsightedness from the Watkins. The Solana gave them common sense and practicality."

I sensed movement in the other room and laughed. "What happened to George?"

Mom rolled her eyes. "It's in there, somewhere. At some point I think he decided a gay man can't be practical or use common sense. George stopped maturing at seventeen."

"I resemble that remark," George chirped as he walked over and kissed Mom on the side of her head. "Morning, beautiful."

Mom gave me an evil look as I skipped over to the kitchen table. "You'll get yours, you underhanded witch."

I opened my mouth in mock horror, and then looked at Dad, pointing at my accuser. "Did you hear what she called me?"

Dad shook his head, picking up the paper. "Shameful." Opening it, he eyed his coffee cup.

I groaned, plaintively. "Yes, Master, I will get your coffee."

"Good boy." Dad tried to hide his grin behind the paper. He failed miserably.

"Do you see how they treat me," I asked George as I brushed passed to get to the freezer. I pulled out the beans.

"What are you complaining about, gay boy?" George came over and poked my ribs. "You're the one who married into this family."

"In-law abuse," I whined as I got away from George's ever irritating fingers and back to the counter.

"You're just sore because you aren't being poked for real," George teased.

"George!" Mom snapped him with the towel. "Keep the bathroom humor out of the kitchen."

"Yes, ma'am," George relented, taking his juice over to the table and retrieving a section of the paper from Dad.

I shattered the beans, boiled the water, made the coffee, and floated the cup to Dad while I made my tea. "Serves you right," I quipped, wanting to get the last word in for once.

"Hmmph," George replied, focusing on the funnies. "Where is the dynamic duo?"

"In a food coma," I laughed, "I think Paulo tried to match Jeff in turkey consumption."

"That kid is a piranha," George agreed, sipping his OJ. "Don't they feed him at school?"

"All we need is a yellow, red and green outfit for him and a big black cloak for Jeff." Paulo did seem to be at Jeff's elbow a lot. I'd have been jealous, but Paulo never gave me enough time to be. He knew how to dole out his affection to keep anyone from feeling neglected.

Dad chuckled. George thought about it for a moment. "And I have a friend who does theatrical make-up. We could shave Jeff down, and body paint the costume on. He'd be one hot batman."

Though the mental image was quite appealing, I frowned at George. "Ick... incestuous thoughts, George!"

"Feh. No thanks, but I can appreciate the fact that my brother is built." He looked at me. "You took him off the market before anyone could enjoy him. You really should share him around a little."

"I enjoy him just fine, thanks." George never let go of the fact that we were monogamous since before we got married. "No one can do for him what I do," I replied, trying to sound as self-confident as I could, "so there's no point in testing the waters."

"Boys!" Mom pointed her whisk at us. "Change subjects, or take the talk outside."

"Ah, Mom," we whined in unison. George winked at me and Mom threw up her hands and went back to her cooking.

"I bet you a ten-spot that Jeff will complain about eating too much and will do a double workout today," George challenged me as I sipped my tea.

"He can get his workout carrying all my stuff," Janet answered, coming in looking ready to hit the streets. She had on sneakers, well worn jeans, a sweat shirt, and had her purse in hand. "I've already kicked his sorry ass out of bed. I've been waiting for a half an hour for him to get it in gear. Some stores have already opened."

I groaned, George rolled his eyes, and Dad just shook his head. I really wasn't hip about losing my husband for a day, or three, to his shop-aholic sister. That didn't mean I was willing to tag along either. "You're going to force him into servitude after yesterday's feast?"

"Why have strong, muscle bound brothers if not to make them work?" She glared at George. "You eaten yet?"

"Hey, you've got your slave labor. I didn't get the gay shopping gene, little sister, be thankful Jeff did." George drank his OJ. "You want style and fashion tips, give me a call." He nodded at her feet. "Great shoes, sis. New Balance?"

Janet smiled. "Yeah. Cross trainers. I find with the varied activities of power-shopping, running shoes don't cut it. Running shoes suck to stand in too."

Jeff came into the kitchen, looking half awake, tucking his shirt in his jeans. "I'm here. I'm ready." He blinked, bleary eyed, and looked around the kitchen. "Where's my survival kit?"

I laughed. "Fridge."

Jeff pulled out the bag of U-Turn, Detour bars, and trail mix, and the soft cooler of sports drinks. He wove his way around Mom and kissed me briefly before standing up straight and trying to pull his shoulders back. "Thanks babe."

Janet looked at her watch. "It's six-thirty, Jeff. We're missing the early bargains."

"Okay, okay." He trotted out of the kitchen. "Don't be a bitch all day, Janet."

"I'll be fine after we hit Starbucks."

Jeff stopped, frowning at her from the living room. "Starbucks?"

"Two birds, one stone." She shook her head. "Amateur. They're having a sale on specialty items, and we can get caffeine at the same time."

I shook my head as they left. Jeff would either come back vowing never to shop again, or he'd return with even more bargain hunting skills and would terrorize me with them when we got back to England. I looked at George. "Counter bet: we won't see them until after the stores close tonight."

"Wal-Mart is open twenty-four hours," Dad said flatly as he flipped the page.

"With the survival kit Jeff had with him? We won't see them 'til after midnight." George shook his head. "I just don't understand him at times."

I laughed. "But he's damn cute."

George nodded. "That he is."

Drawing the aroma of fresh baked cinnamon rolls with me, I stood outside Paulo's door and wafted the scent into his room. It took less than five minutes before a sleepy, but hungry, little boy opened the door. He rubbed his eyes and smiled at me.

"Morning, Paulo." I led the morning-zombie down to the kitchen and sat him at the table.

Mom laughed. "There's the little sleep monster."

Paulo grinned and signed at Mom as she set a small plate of rolls in front of him. Dad and George had already eaten, but Mom and I waited to eat with Paulo. Mom signed back as she said, "You're welcome."

I shook my head. I had no idea Mom knew American Sign Language until we brought Paulo home. His vocabulary was limited, and he didn't spell well in English, but I was amazed how much he learned in just a few months. "That just amazes me. Is there anything you can't do?"

Mom smiled. "I can't make things float in the air, or cook without a stove."

I grinned. "You're still amazing."

"Be amazed later." She gestured at the chair next to Paulo. "Sit down and eat before things get cold."

"Want help with the omelettes?"


I sat as she waved me away. Reaching over Paulo, I snagged a cinnamon roll. They'd been torturing me for nearly a half hour. "You're going to have to share, short stuff."

"I'm making Mediterranean omelettes," Mom announced, more for Paulo than for me. I'd already witness the success on the early morning test subjects. "Onion, tomato, olives, garlic, and feta cheese."

Paulo rolled his eyes at me, smiling. He knew she was trying everything to make him feel special. Paulo plopped another roll on my plate before taking his third. I hoped he would have a growth spurt soon, because at the rate he ate he'd be going wide if he didn't go up.

Mom had three omelettes and hash browns served up in short order, and she sat down with us. The omelet was great, the hash browns were buttery and crisp, and the company was wonderful. We made pigs of ourselves for the second time in two days.

I groaned as I stood up. "I think I just grew a size."

Mom smiled. "You're too skinny anyway."

I patted Paulo's shoulder and thumbed at the door. "Beach? George promised to keep us company while Jeff is shopping."

Paulo nodded. The one thing he wasn't good with was large crowds. Apparently, the more people he was around, the more chaotic his emotions became. He wasn't very good at blocking out unwanted input.

We rounded up George and hit the beach. For once, I didn't have to wear the green bikinis. I had a pair of swim shorts that I liked better. George wore something that I could only call 'advertising'. Barely had on a midnight blue bikini with silver rings at the hips where the fabric connected using easy release Velcro tabs. With that little cloth, why did someone need quick release? Must have been a fetish thing. All I could think of as a possible reason was to make it easy to rip the suit off him and not tear fabric.

I sent Paulo into the water while George stretched and displayed himself. I could see where Jeff got his exhibitionistic tendencies from. The difference was that Jeff wasn't aware that the tendencies were purely sex-hunting behaviours of the young gay male. Jeff did them unconsciously, probably mimicking what he grew up seeing George and George's friends doing. George did them consciously, with targets in mind. His present targets were a couple of guys who were all but having to dig into the sand to cover up his affect on them.

I shook my head as we set out our blankets. "Can't you give up the hunt for a day?"

"What?" George looked at me, then his suit, and then me again. "I look hot in this."

I laughed. "Well duh, George. You're wearing a suit that all but screams: ready and will for a hot time."

He smiled. "I am ready and willing for a hot time."

I sighed. George didn't think I understood. Of course I understood. I'd had my dreams, fantasies and fears like any guy. It was George who didn't get it. I wondered if he ever would. "You've never been in love, have you?"

George frowned. "Love's just that fuzzy feeling you get after a really great O, Dan."

I shrugged. "I hadn't even had a sex inspired O when I fell in love, George. Sure, after Jeff and I started going at it the love just intensified, but love was there long before sex was an option."

Snorting, George picked up his tanning oil. "Sex is an option from the moment you figure out what your dick is for." He spread the oil over himself in long, slow, sensual strokes that were mesmerizing. Well, not to me, but I watched the eyes of one guy lying not far from us. George controlled the horizontal as he rubbed across his chest, and he controlled the vertical as he ran his hands down his torso and his legs. I think if he'd done spirals the guy would've gotten motion sick.

I rolled my eyes. "Don't worry, George. Your little brother is getting his share of sex."

"How exciting could it be?" He looked at me, frowning. "Two virgins, no exploration, and no versatility."

I hated that George really thought that monogamy meant boring. "We're smart, creative, and been through a hell of a lot more than you George. Just because our experience is only with each other doesn't mean we don't make the most of it."

"So you guys know what you're doing huh?" He sat down on his towel and slid on his Raybans. "Rimming? Swapping? Sixty-nine?"

"Check. Check. Check."

"Public? Shower? Edible add-ons?"

"Check. Check. Check."

He grinned, lying back with his arms behind his head. George was just as ripped as Jeff, but in a leaner, catlike way. Our neighbour watched the play of George's muscles as he settled into the blanket. Maybe George was a mutant. He certainly seemed to be able to sexually stimulate any male who was even vaguely interested. "Car? Boat? Plane? Train?"

"No. No. No. Not yet." George raised eye brow at me. I shrugged. "We haven't taken an overnight train ride yet. We're in Europe, give us a few months."

"Car, Boat and Plane?" Oh boy, but he sounded superior. His smug smile was annoying.

"No interest, ditto, and boring."

George brought his arms down and propped himself up on his elbows to look at me. "Boring?"

I shrugged, sounding as bored as I could manage. "Mile high is more fun without the plane. Why struggle with a cramped toilet when you have the whole sky to fuck in?"

"Excuse me?"

I grinned. "New Flash, George. Your bothers are mutants. We aren't limited to the 'normal' positions and venues." I decided to up the ante. "Ever fuck yourself while fucking your partner? Ever had your nervous system overloaded by energetic foreplay? Ever had your partner hold you suspended weightless while he used you like a sex toy?"

George frowned. "No."

Lying back, I slid on my sunglasses. "Then don't talk to me about creativity and versatility, George. I'm thinking for our anniversary we might try for making love in orbit. That'd be different." Okay, so I hadn't thought about that at all, but now that I'd said it, it sounded kinda fun.

George laughed, laying back. "You two are as vanilla as they come. You wouldn't know kink if it bit you in the ass. Nice try Dan, but I'm not biting."

I rolled over, ran my hand just above George's chest, and let enough electricity build up to give him a soft tingling that made his chest hair rise, along with his nipples. George flinched, stifling a moan. I grinned as I sat up. "That, George, was baby play. Jeff gets a lot more interesting things done to him than I'm willing to demonstrate." I eyed the waves and decided Paulo was further out than he should have been and needed a chaperone. I stood. "Believe what you want, but the games mutants play are a hell of a lot more versatile and creative than what 'normals' play." I grinned. "If only because we have more options." I jogged into the water to let George stew on that for a while.

I extended my senses, making sure I knew where Paulo was as I swam through the swells. It took me a moment to realize Paulo was moving far faster than he should. He was riding something, something over six feel long with a fin that just barely cut the water. At first I thought it was a dolphin, but the tale fin was vertical, not horizontal. I didn't even think about what I was doing as I launched out of the water and skimmed the surface to Paulo. I plucked him from his perch and stopped staring down at the dorsal fin as the shark vanished below the surface. "What are you doing?"

Paulo looked at me, stunned; probably more by my panic than the fact we were floating above the water. The images and feelings that came to me were confused, a bit jumbled, but I got the impression that Paulo hadn't been scared at all. The shark circled below us, and I felt Paulo push his thoughts down into the water. The shark responded, rising and circling on the surface. Paulo extended his hand, brushing the shark's fin as it swam under us.

"He's your friend?"

Paulo nodded, rubbing the fin again as the shark circled.

I couldn't believe he'd simply made friends with something that was more likely to eat him. The thing was big enough to swallow half of him in a gulp. I knew I could stop the shark if it made an aggressive move, but it was still unnerving. I lowered us slowly into the water, the shark passed by so close that one of his fins brushed my leg. I had to struggle not to flinch. I let Paulo float a couple feet ahead of me, and the shark circled again, letting Paul stroke the full length of it's back. On the next circle, Paulo gripped onto its fin and rode away from me, grinning happily.

How the hell was I going to explain this?

"I still can't believe you let him ride a shark," Jeff remarked incredulously as we pulled the luggage from the baggage claim.

I shrugged. It still creeped me out. "It didn't hurt him, Jeff."

Jeff mussed Paulo's hair. "That's obvious."

It had taken a lot of hand spelling, sign, and Mom's help to get the complete story from Paulo. He couldn't understand why we were upset. Apparently, to him, the shark didn't have a malicious thought in its head. It was simply hunting, which was about eating, which we did also.

"We went over it Friday night, Jeff. Paulo just explained to the shark that he wasn't food and the shark accepted it." I smiled at Paulo. "Who'd have thought a shark would just accept that and then think if it isn't food, and it isn't a threat, then it's a companion."

Paulo signed for a few moments, and I smiled.

"Yes, I know. Very simple thoughts."

Paulo nodded, happy that he'd gotten his point across.

Jeff just shook his head. "What were you doing while all that was going on?"

I shrugged. "Having an in-depth discussion about 'life style' with George. I may have convinced him that his brothers aren't prudes, but you can never tell with George."

Jeff laughed. "Is that why he was looking at me funny at dinner Saturday?

I shrugged. "How am I supposed to know what George is thinking? I'm not a telepath." Paulo made an icky face and I looked at him suspiciously. "Of course, there is a little telepath who probably knows what he was thinking."

Paulo shrugged and sent us images. Jeff blushed as I rolled my eyes. "Only George would pervert our conversation into that." Paulo made another icky face and I laughed. "Try to forget those things, Paulo. You're too young." I frowned at Jeff. "Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to let Paulo within a hundred yards of someone like George."

Jeff frowned at me. "Why? George would never..."

Slid my finger across my throat and looked down at Paulo significantly. "Nothing like that, Jeff. Just that George probably has no more control over his thoughts than he does over his libido."

Jeff snorted. "Okay. Considering we have an impressionable telepath in the mix, you're right."

Paulo sent us impressions and I smiled. "Yes, Paulo, we know you like George. We just don't think it's appropriate for you to be exposed to that stuff at your age."

Paulo shrugged again. I was pretty sure he really didn't understand the whole sex, gay, thing. He probably understood more than I gave him credit for. I just wanted the kid to have a childhood as free of issues as possible.

Paulo fell asleep in Jeff's lap on the train ride back to Upstate New York, and we let him sleep on the ride back to school. We woke him briefly to get him to change him into his PJs, tucked him in, and kissed him good night before we slipped out.

"We're going to be up for another sixteen hours. You know that, right?" Jeff picked up our suitcases.

"Yeah, I say we take a couple travel mugs of something sugary and caffeinated with us on the flight back."

As if anticipating our needs, Tyler came down the hall with a travel bag and two huge travel mugs. "Brandon and his mom cooked so much the H.E. fridge is stuffed. I mixed some of Brandon's dark cocoa and some coffee together. I think it makes a good mocha."

"You're the best, Tyler."

He grinned. "See you in a month."

"Without a doubt," Jeff laughed, floating the goodies aside so he could give Tyler a bone bending hug. "Love you, Ty."

Ty managed not to look weepy as we gathered our stuff on the front steps. "Fly safe. I'll be tracking you."

I blinked. "You can track us?"

Tyler smiled, wiggling his eyebrows. "You can if you know what to look for and have access to military satellites."

I frowned. "Don't get in trouble, Ty. We'll be fine."

"They couldn't trace me, even with help." That was probably true.

"Okay, stand back." Ty did, and Jeff extended his aura. We lifted off slowly, assembling ourselves and the luggage until we were comfortable.

I waved. "See you for New Years." We launched skyward and arched over the school before shooting, just below the speed of sound, east. It was a long, tiring day after we got back, but the Hanson Mocha and Sweets travel pack helped.