The Children of Light

Chapter 18

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful feedback you guys have been sending. It's really great and I'm glad you're enjoying the series.

Here we have the start of the Christmas celebrations. Hope you enjoy, and Seasons Greetings to you all!!!

Once more, another huge thank you to Sam for all the brilliant work you put in.

This piece of fiction contains supernatural themes and eventually sexual interactions between consenting male adults.   Please do not read this if it is illegal where you are, or you are not of age to do so.

All characters are fictional and any similarities to known actual people are coincidental, unless otherwise specified.

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Lachlan - or


`We're going to have a big dinner party on Saturday night. It would be great if you two, the twins, Daxa and Grayson would join us.' Alex said as he and Quinn walked the Leader and his husband out onto the back deck.
`We'll be glad to.' The Leader said. `I'll bring the others along, though I daresay not even I could stop them from coming.' He smiled.
`Lovely. We'll see you then.' Quinn said slipping out from under the Italian's arm and hugging Lachlan. Rama and Alex hugged warmly and they stood back from each other.
`We'll see you soon.' Lachlan said tucking himself back under Rama's arm and the two men vanished.
`And as for you my raggio di luce. We have some decorating to do.' Alex said turning them back inside.
`Decorating?' The blond asked not quite sure what the Italian had meant.
`How could you not know?' Alex asked with a stupefied look on his face. `It's December.'
`OH!' Quinn exclaimed. `Oh, Christmas decorating!' He finished excitedly.
`Sě caro.' Alex said cuddling the little blond to himself. `Excited much?'
`Of course.' Quinn said excitedly. `I love Christmas. And I love decorating.'
`Then tomorrow, we will go decoration shopping. You can pick everything you want to decorate the house with, okay?' Alex said as they reached the new sofa. Alex sat down and pulled his boyfriend down into his lap.
`Seriously?' Quinn asked.
`Absolutely. Anything and everything you can possibly want or need to make this place look festive.' The Italian said with a smile.
`Wicked!' Quinn said loudly which stirred the lump of human on the barrel chair. Mikhail's head popped out from a mass of limbs.
`What's wicked?' He asked with puffed, red lips.
`We're getting Christmas decorations tomorrow.' The blond said with a huge smile.
`Oh, can I come?' Fabrizio asked emerging from the mass of body parts. His hair was standing on end and his lips just as flushed as the Russian's.
`Of course.' Alex nodded. `Everyone can come. I need to pick up the A6 from Mamma's house anyway, so I'll need someone to drive one of the cars home.'
`I can do that.' Mikhail said snuggling his cheek against the smallest Italian's.
`Where's Georgie?' Quinn asked suddenly.
`Upstairs sorting his room.' Fabrizio answered.
`I'll go check on him.' Alex said shuffling Quinn off his lap and standing up. He walked quickly to the stairs and took them two at a time. He turned down the hallway and stopped outside the last door, which was closed. He knocked two times.
`Come in.' Georgio said loudly. Alex opened the door and stepped inside.
`You all right cousin?' Alex asked sitting on the bed looking to his cousin.
`Yeah, just wanted to be alone for a bit. And give those two some breathing space.' The oldest Italian said with a slight grin.
`I see. Well, you're quite welcome to come and hang with Quinn and I.' Alex said with a smile. `Thank you cousin.' Georgio said returning the smile.
`Well, we're going to put a movie on if you want to join us?' Alex asked reaching out to his cousin. The older Italian took the offered hand and followed as his cousin led him downstairs.
`Alright, who wants popcorn?' Alex called out to the lounge.

`How's it going baby?' Alex said when Quinn answered his cell phone.
`It's nearly done.' The Canadian said happily. `I'm glad you asked Caiden to come and help me. It's so much easier putting up decorations with a telekinetic about.' Alex laughed heartily.
`I'm glad it's easy for you. We'll be home shortly.' The Italian said smiling to himself. `How are Georgie and Fabz handling Caiden?'
`They seem fine.' Quinn replied surreptitiously. `They haven't gone into shock yet.'
`Well, I suppose they wouldn't be that surprised really. Aunty Franny was quite open about her gifts in front of them.' Alex added thoughtfully, recalling a conversation he had had with his aunt after he discovered his mother and two aunts were witches.
`Yeah I guess so.' The little blond said. `Drive carefully my love. The snow is a bit heavier today.'
`Always do caro mio.' Alex said warmly. `I'll see you soon.'
`Can't wait.' Quinn said disconnecting the call.
Alex walked back to the kitchen and heard his mother and Mikhail talking.
`Yes Mamma.' The Russian said bashfully.
`Good. Cause his Mamma isn't as forgiving as I am Colosso.' Mrs. Braddock said with a chuckle. `She will castrate you.'
`Of that I have no doubt.' The giant said guffawing. `But she doesn't need to worry. I will look after him.'
`I know you will bambino. I know.' Mrs. Braddock clucked as she cuddled into the massive bulk of her Russian son.
`Alright Mamma. We need to head off now.' Alex said appearing by his mother's side. Aurelia let go of the Russian and wrapped her arms around her eldest son.
`Thank you for visiting piccolo.' She said as she released her son. `And I will be there on Saturday.'
`Thank you Mamma. It will be nice to cook for you for a change.' Alex said happily.
`I look forward to it.' Mrs. Braddock laughed.
`I'll get Sofia to pick you up and bring you over.' Alex said as he walked to the internal access to the garage. He stepped into the shed and pressed the button on the wall which engaged the automatic door. Slowly, the door rose and exposed the three people to a buffet of cold wind.
`Drive safely my son.' Mrs. Braddock said pulling her cardigan closer around herself.
`I will Mamma.' Alex said quickly pecking her on the cheek and climbing into his Audi station wagon.
`You too Colosso mio.' Mrs. Braddock said as the Russian tenderly kissed her cheek.
`Always do Mamma.' Mikhail said as he quick stepped to the Q7, opened the door and jumped in quickly, closing the door behind him. Alex started the engine and reversed slowly past the Q7 and backed out onto the road. Mikhail followed in the SUV and tooted the horn as Mrs. Braddock pressed the button to close the garage door. She waved briefly and vanished back into the warmth of her house.
Alex accelerated carefully and led the way home, slower than he normally would, due to the icy road conditions, with Mikhail following at a respectable distance. It took them about half an hour to make the journey back to the Italian's new home, but they made it safely. As Alex pulled into the driveway in the dark, he was shocked when the large oak tree in front of the house suddenly lit up with hundreds upon hundreds of Christmas lights. The glimmering lights reflected off the copious silver baubles hanging from the many branches of the tree which was miraculously snow free at the moment. Alex waved a hand in the direction of the garage and the door began opening slowly. He drove in and parked the station wagon on the left as Mikhail followed a few seconds parking the SUV on the right. Both men climbed out of their respective vehicles and walked out onto the driveway to look at the large tree. They both were smiling resplendently at the fantastic decorations the two blonds had achieved. Quinn came trotting over with a huge smile plastered across his face. Alex jogged to meet his boyfriend halfway and scooped him up into his arms and spun around laughing.
`It's beautiful babe!' The Italian said with pride.
`I'm glad you like it.' Quinn said with delight. The Italian set him down on his feet and pulled him in close to his warm body.
`I love it!' Alex said happily. `It's just perfect.'
`Wait till you see inside.' Caiden said as he stepped to the edge of the front deck.
`Let's go!' Alex said wrapping an arm around Quinn and reaching out a hand to his Russian friend. Mikhail took the hand and the three men walked inside quickly.
Alex stopped just inside the door and gaped at the amazing decorations. There were white ribbons strung along the coving of the walls, in every room. There were fairy lights hanging down the walls, twinkling serenely in the dimly lit house. Quinn pulled his boyfriend along into the lounge where his greatest master piece was.
Standing at 8 foot was a very life like Christmas tree, in the corner of the lounge. There were baubles of shining silver and blue, large at the bottom of the tree and gradually got smaller further up. There were delicate streams of silver and blue tinsel draped down the tree. Fairy lights blinked from within the thick branches, lighting the baubles and tinsel magnificently. Alex looked up and saw the empty branch at the top.
`There's not star at the top.' Alex queried politely. Quinn's smile nearly outshone the lights on the oak tree in the front yard.
`I wanted you to put the star on.' Quinn said with barely restrained excitement. `It was tradition in our house that dad would always put the star on.'
Alex's heart melted when he heard his boyfriend say that. He was well aware that this was the first time Quinn had actually mentioned his father and did not miss the sadness flicker across his angelic face.
`Thank you my beautiful.' Alex said leaning down slightly and hugging his boyfriend with tenderness. `I would be honoured.'
Quinn nearly exploded with happiness as he handed Alex a large silver and blue star. It was a very delicate looking ornament. The frame made of light metal, a hollowed star shape; tendrils sprawled across the gaps creating a glittering, intricate pattern between the frames. The silver and blue colours crisscrossing beautifully across the decoration.
Alex stepped to the magnificent tree and levitated carefully, reaching out to the top of the tree and placing the final ornament atop. As Alex watched, fairy lights began snaking their way into the star, lighting it from within. When his feet touched the floor, Quinn was by his side, snuggling in excitedly as Mikhail, Fabrizio, Georgio and Caiden all applauded at the completion of the tree.
`It is beautiful my love.' Alex said squeezing his boyfriend to his muscular frame. `Truly beautiful.' The Italian leaned down and passionately kissed his lover for a few seconds.
`I made some dinner.' Georgio said clearing his throat. Alex smiled as he finished kissing his lover and made his way to the dining table with Quinn right behind him.
`Please join us Caiden.' Alex requested gesturing for the blond twin to sit.
`If you insist.' The twin said with a bright and warm smile.

`Alex, can you give me a hand outside please?' The Italian heard from the back yard. He looked out the window and saw Quinn slogging heavily through the snow. The sun had made a short lived display through the clouds. Alex walked to the back door and out onto the back deck. He stepped carefully down the slippery steps and began trudging through the foot deep snow to his lover. As he looked up, he was hit with several white objects. He fell backward into the snow with a yelp. As he sat up and dusted the snow off his chest, he saw Quinn standing in the middle of the back yard with a mischievous grin on his face, his two cousins and Russian friend, all scattered around the blond with devious smiles on their faces. The Italian roared with laughter as he scooped up a handful of snow and hurled it to the Russian, missing him by a few feet. Quinn dove into the snow and lobbed a snow ball at his boyfriend as the two cousins fled for cover. Alex, using his abilities, scooped several orbs of snow from the ground and watched in amazement as they flew and pelted his cousins, friend and lover repeatedly. As the four men all dodged and dived for cover, Alex chuckled merrily to himself as snowball after snowball was formed and zoomed off to one of the moving targets, exploding in a shower of white.
`Alright, alright! You win!' Mikhail yelled from behind a tree. Fabrizio had dived head first into a snow drift with his rear end poking out and being pelted by random snow balls. Georgio had lost it completely and was rolling in the snow laughing to himself at his younger brother. Quinn was trudging through the snow with a lot of difficulty, heading straight for Alex. The Italian helped his boyfriend telekinetically and the blond jumped at his lover. They fell to the ground and Quinn pressed his cold lips to his boyfriend's mouth.
`I love you.' Quinn said slightly out of breath, which misted between them.
`And I love you.' Alex said kissing the blond back tenderly. `Let's get inside before we all catch a cold.' He said slightly louder, addressing everyone.
`Hot chocolates all around I think.' Quinn said standing up and helping his boyfriend get to his feet. Georgio was still in fits of laughter watching his brother struggle to get out of the snow pile. Mikhail plodded over and grabbing his boyfriend by the ankle, yanked him out and held him upside by the leg. Georgio near wet himself, roaring with laughter at the bedraggled looking man dangling upside.
`Thank you babe.' Fabrizio said with as much dignity as he could muster. The Russian juggled him around as if he weighed nothing and had him on his feet in no time.
`No worries zayka.' Mikhail said pecking the smallest Italian on the lips. `Let's go inside.' He took a few trudging steps to the older cousin, reached down and hauled him to his feet. `You too you hyena.' Georgio was giggling madly to himself as he followed the Russian giant and his younger brother up the steps and onto the back deck. All three men shook off the snow and went inside, closing the door behind them.
`I'm going to put some dry clothes on.' Fabrizio said heading upstairs to his room, followed by Mikhail and his brother. The Russian headed for the master bedroom and found Alex and Quinn doing the same thing.
`May I borrow some dry clothes tovarishch?' Mikhail asked politely.
`Mickey, you have a pile of clothes in here.' Alex said pointing to the walk in wardrobe, where sat the selection of clothes Alex had in reserve for his Russian friend.
`Spasibo.' The giant said dashing into the walk in. Alex was wearing a pair of dark jeans, thick woolen socks, a long sleeve white shirt and a cream coloured, angora roll neck sweater. Quinn had just finished pulling on a light pair of jeans, matching woolen socks, a black t-shirt and a white hooded sweat shirt, the hood up and over his head, warming his ears. Mikhail came out of the walk in a pair of blue jeans, black socks, and a large green sweater. The three men left the master bedroom and ran into Fabrizio and Georgio wearing similar attire. They all trotted down stairs and as Quinn and Alex made hot chocolates, the others congregated in the warm lounge.

`Good morning Georgie.' Alex and Quinn said simultaneously as the oldest cousin came down the stairs.
`Good morning.' Georgio said smiling at the dual greeting.
`Did you sleep well?' The blond asked handing the oldest Italian a cup of hot coffee.
`Incredibly. That bed is wonderful.' Georgio answered with a smile.
`That's good.' Alex said smiling.
Georgio shuffled his feet anxiously. `Cousin, I need to get some shopping done for Christmas.' He said looking at the floor.
`Alright man.' Alex answered his cousin with a warm smile. `We can head out today. The weather's cleared up a bit.
`I was hoping that you might be able to help me.' Georgio said going slightly pink around the ears. Alex took a moment to assess his cousin and realised why he was being bashful. He understood immediately and skipped to a side table and retrieved his wallet. He walked back to the kitchen taking a card out of his wallet and held it out to his cousin.
`Here. Use this to buy whatever you need.' Georgio looked at the card in his cousin's hand and then up to Alex's face.
`Alex?' The oldest Italian asked with an embarrassed look.
`Take the card Georgie. I got it especially for you. I have one for Fabz and Mickey as well.' He said dramatically producing another two cards along with the first one. Each card had their respective names embossed on them. `They're all connected to an account my lawyer had created for just such an occasion.'
As Georgio took his card, Alex watched his boyfriends face dim slightly in disappointment. The Italian smiled in triumph as he stepped to the blond's side and took him into a warm hug.
`Fear not my beautiful. I have one for you as well.' Alex said nuzzling into Quinn's neck. The blond giggled at the tickling on his neck and pulled back as Alex revealed a dark silver card sitting between his index and middle finger. Quinn looked at the card and gasped.
`Alex?' The blond said with uncertainty.
`Your card is connected to my bank account. And, if you know anything about JP Morgan, this particular piece of palladium and gold has no spending limit.' Alex said with a slight groan at the pompousness of the card.
`Alex, no. No, I can't.' Quinn said backing away from his boyfriend.
`I know it's a little bit arrogant, but Mr. Williamson suggested it.' Alex said following his boyfriend's retreat. He reached out quickly and collected his lover into himself.
`Alex?' Quinn asked in a small voice.
`You know I love you.' The Italian began with a heavy voice. `And what's mine is yours. Please take the card, and use it without regret or guilt.'
Quinn accepted the card hesitantly, feeling the weight difference between his regular bank card and this rather zealous piece of metal, his hand shaking slightly. He retrieved his wallet from his back pocket and slid the card into an inconspicuous card slot, hidden tidily out of the way. He slid his wallet back into his pocket, subconsciously feeling the new weight. Alex leaned down and passionately kissed his lover, erasing the guilt Quinn was feeling.
`Didn't get enough last night?' Mikhail laughed as he and Fabrizio came into the kitchen.
`I could never get enough of this.' Alex said under his breath, his lips brushing softly against the blond's. Quinn smiled brightly as Alex released him and turned to his friend and younger cousin. He held out the two credit cards toward the Russian and youngest Italian.
`Here guys. These are connected to a bank account Neville Williamson created for me. Help you guys out when ya need a bit of spare cash.' Alex said as the two men took their respective credit cards.
`Wow Alex.' Fabrizio said in amazement. `That's so kind of you.'
`Very kind.' The Russian added as he reached out for his friend and hugged him firmly. `Thank you.' He whispered into the Italian's ear.
`You're welcome big guy. Love you.' Alex replied equally as quiet.
`Alright, everyone finish up your coffees and let's go do some shopping!' Alex said with an excited laugh.
`We can get Mamma and Papŕ a present Fabz.' The oldest cousin said cheerfully. `We should have enough time to get it sent to them.'
`Umm, I don't want to spoil the surprise guys, but, the aunts and uncles are actually coming over here for Christmas.' Alex announced, disappointed in himself for ruining the surprise. `Mamma is paying for them to come over.'
`Really?' Fabrizio asked with excitement.
`That's awesome!' Georgio added.
`So, don't worry about sending the gifts over. Just wrap them up and poke them under the tree here.' The Italian said with a smile.
`Come on guys. Let's go shopping.' Quinn said clapping his hands together. All five men finished their drinks and changed into some warmer clothes, all gathering at the internal access of the garage and piled into the Q7. Alex drove them carefully, as the roads were rather slushy with melting snow, to one of the larger shopping centers in town. As they all climbed out of the SUV, they were discussing their plan of attack.
`Okay, Quinn and I are going to head off and get our presents together. Will you guys be alright?' Alex asked of his cousins and Mikhail.
`Absolutely.' The cousins chimed together as the Russian nodded.
`Excellent. Everyone got their phones?' He added as an afterthought. Everyone nodded in affirmation. Alex stepped to the Russian's side and whispered, `I'm getting them new cell phones. If they head in that direction, try to turn them away.'
Mikhail nodded his head cheerily.
`Alright, let's do this!' Alex announced as the five men all made for the shopping center entrance.

`Okay, so we have the bracelet for Mamma. And the framed family photo. I think she'll like that.' Alex said proudly.
`They're both lovely gifts babe.' The blond said cuddling into his boyfriend's side.
`And for your mum?' The Italian enquired.
`A bracelet as well, and a framed photo of me and her.' Quinn said happily.
`Beautiful caro mio.' Alex said kissing the top of his boyfriend's head.
`And we've got the phones for those two knobs.' Alex noted making sure they'd gotten everything they needed to.
`And the gifts for your brother and sister.' Quinn added.
`The matching bracelets for the aunts.' Alex continued.
`The tablets for the uncles.'
`And of course Mikhail's gift, which we will collect on Christmas Eve.' Alex completed the list. `And the necklace for Nan.'
`I think we're done.' Alex concluded. `I already have your gift at home.' He added with a smile.
`And I yours.' The blond smiled back.
`Shall we get a coffee while we wait then?' The Italian asked rearranging their shopping bags carefully.
`Let's go and put these in the car first, then grab a drink.' Quinn suggested thoughtfully.

`And for dessert I thought a nice pastry with strawberries and cream?' Alex said finishing the menu he was explaining to Quinn, both men half way through a hot coffee.
`Sounds wonderful. I'm sure everyone will thoroughly enjoy dinner.' The blond said sitting back in the café chair. `Do you think we should call them, and make sure they're okay?'
`No need babe. Here they come.' Alex said nodding in the direction the two Italians and Russian were coming, all laden with multiple bags. Quinn turned in his chair, saw the three men and laughed at the display.
`I wonder how much they spent.' Quinn mused more to himself then he was to Alex.
`It doesn't really matter.' Alex said smiling at the three men struggling to carry all the bags.
`Do you guys need a hand?' Quinn asked as they came within hearing range.
`I could do with a bloody coffee.' Mikhail said carefully placing his dozen or so bags on the floor by Alex's feet. These were quickly followed by Fabrizio and Georgio's collection of bags.
`Jesus, did you guys buy enough?' The blond said leaning forward and trying to peer into one of the bags.
`Hey!' Mikhail said flapping a hand at Quinn. `No peeking. Your presents are in there somewhere.' The Russian said with a grin.
`Oh alright then.' Quinn laughed sitting back again.
`Go get yourselves a coffee and let's have a rest.' Alex said gesturing to the café. The three men toddled into the café to order their drinks and came and sat back down with Alex and Quinn.
`Alex was just telling me what's on the menu for Saturday night. It's gonna be fantastic!' The Canadian explained to the cousins and Russian.
`Well my friend has always had a knack of making wonderful food.' Mikhail said puffing out his chest with pride. Alex smiled at the compliment.
`This reminds me, I'll need to stop by the supermarket on Friday and get everything I need.' The Italian added.
`We will help you, of course.' Georgio declared Fabrizio, Mikhail and Quinn all nodding in agreement.
`Thanks guys.' Alex said smiling to them all.
`A long black and two flat whites.' A female announced arriving at the table with three takeaway cups.
`Thank you.' Mikhail said taking the cup marked "L.B". The cousins took a cup each and took a mouthful each.
`Alright guys, hate to rush you, but let's get a move on. We've all got lots of wrapping to do.' Alex said as he picked up a few of the bags and his coffee. Quinn too collected a few bags and his coffee as the cousins and the Russian collected the rest, along with their own coffees.

A few hours later found Alex and Quinn just finishing wrapping their gifts. The parcels were wrapped in either plain silver paper and blue ribbon, or plain blue paper and silver ribbon, the colour scheme from the decorations continuing through to their gifts. They were placing them under the tree as the cousins and Mikhail came down the stairs, their arms loaded with parcels.
`Wow, yours are so pretty.' Fabrizio said kneeling in front of the tree and placing his gifts under the tree.
`I like your wrapping paper.' Quinn said looking at one of the parcels. It was wrapped in a multi coloured paper with a large card taped to the front.
`He helped with mine.' Mikhail said sheepishly as he placed his similarly wrapped presents under the tree. Georgio knelt next to Quinn and placed his parcels under the tree. His were wrapped in a simple brown paper with red and gold ribbons tied around the parcels.
`Look at that.' Alex said looking at all the parcels they had placed under the tree. Quinn stood up and walked to his boyfriend's side. Alex leaned down slightly and whispered in his boyfriend's ear. `Yours isn't under the tree. It's a special gift that has to stay where it is until Christmas morning.'
`That's alright babe. I've hidden yours as well.' The blond said with a laugh.
`Shall we have some dinner then?' Georgio asked everyone as he made his way into the kitchen.
`Let's order in!' Alex announced to a round of cheers.

`What do you need me to do now cousin?' Georgio asked watching his cousin move about the kitchen in a blur of activity. The pumpkin soup was sitting on a low heat on the stove top, the pastry lattice and sheets were sitting off to the side waiting to be dressed. The two legs of lamb and the vegetables were in the oven.
`You can help Quinn with the strawberries please.' The Italian said as he tended to the several pots containing yet more vegetables. Quinn smiled from the kitchen island where he was seated on a stool, removing the tops from the four dozen strawberries and cutting them into quarters. Georgio pulled up a stool and sat companionably close to the blond, taking a paring knife and getting to work. The two of them nudged each other occasionally in good spirits.
`The table is set.' Fabrizio and Mikhail announced standing behind Quinn and Georgio waiting for their next orders.
`Thanks guys.' Alex said shuffling pots about on the stove top. `Can you turn the lights on out the front please? Mikhail dashed to the front door and flicked a switch which turned on the lights on the large oak tree, which was now dusted with a coating of snow. The Russian came back into the kitchen as Alex was placing plates and dishes on a side board. The Italian checked the time and stopped for a moment.
`They'll be arriving in ten minutes.' He said taking a small mouthful of wine from his glass and smiling to everyone. `I'm gonna pop outside for a quick cigarette.' Alex added collecting his cigarette packet from a side board and stepping out the back door into the crisp and still early evening. The Canadian, Russian and two Italian's followed Alex outside and joined him for a cigarette.
`You're very good at this cousin.' Georgio said with a smile to his younger cousin.
`Thanks Georgie. Getting in a trial run to be honest.' Alex said taking a long drag on his cigarette. `I asked Mamma if I can host Christmas lunch here.'
`Well it's going to be fantastic.' The older cousin said with a warm smile.
`Okay, I need to whip up some cream, make some gravy and then put the dessert together.' Alex ticked off his mental list.
`I can whip the cream for you.' Quinn declared as he cuddled into his boyfriend.
`And I can make the gravy for you.' Mikhail said pulling his lover into his side.
`That will help.' The Italian said taking a final draw on his cigarette and tossing it onto the back lawn, where it hissed as it was extinguished in the snow.
`And I'll offer you all moral support from the kitchen island.' Georgio said raising his wine glass and laughing.
`Okay, let's get this done.' Alex said clapping his hands together and stepping back inside. Quinn raced to the fridge and took out the bottle of cream. Mikhail went to the stove top and began getting things ready to make gravy. Fabrizio and Georgio both sat at the kitchen island and refilled everyone's wine glasses.
`Lachlan and the guys are here.' Alex said as he retrieved the pastry sheets and placed them on the kitchen bench.
`I'll let them in.' Georgio said moving to the back door which he opened. Lachlan, Rama, Jaden, Daxa, Caiden and Grayson all came in and greeted everyone in the kitchen while the older cousin closed the door.
`The place looks fantastic.' Rama said hugging the little blond warmly.
`Come have a look.' Quinn said as he handed his boyfriend the bowl of whipped cream and led the Leader's husband out onto the front deck.
`Need a hand with anything?' Jaden asked of the Italian.
`No, we're just about sorted in here.' Alex replied as he began piecing the mille feuille together. In a few minutes it was done and put away in the fridge.
`Gravy's nearly done.' The Russian said as Alex stuck his head around the giant and tried the gravy in question.
`Tastes good Mickey.' Alex said getting a large gravy tureen out and putting it on the bench beside the Russian.
`All done?' The twins asked simultaneously.
`I think so.' Alex said assessing everything. `Yup, I think that's it.'
`Good. Come and have a rest while we wait for everyone to arrive.' Lachlan said gesturing for everyone to move to the lounge. Everyone except Jaden and Daxa moved to the living area.
`They're going to clean up a bit before your guests arrive.' The Leader said when he saw Alex watching the two men stay in the kitchen.
`Thank you.' Alex called to the kitchen as he took a seat in the lounge. Lachlan waved a hand and several full wine glasses appeared in front of everyone.
`Relax while you can Alex.' The Leader said with a smile. Before the Italian could put the glass to his mouth he heard footsteps and laughter on the front deck.
`Here we go.' Alex said smiling, as he stood up and walked to the front door. He opened the door with a flourish to see his mother, brother and sister, all staring at the oak tree.
`Tell me that isn't your Christmas tree brother!' Franco said when he turned to the door.
`Why, what's wrong with it?' Alex asked with a smirk. Mrs. Braddock looked at her oldest son and laughed.
`It's a bit big piccolo.' She said stepping inside and kissing her son on the cheek. `Hello everyone.' She said addressing everyone sitting in the living area. A chorus of greetings sounded as several people stood up and welcomed the Braddock's into Alex's home. Alex poked his head out the door and saw the arrival of his surprise guest. He slipped out the door quietly and rushed to the car to assist them.
`Where did Alex go?' Quinn asked looking around and not finding him.
`Give him a minute.' The Leader said with a wink. The Canadian smiled and turned his attention back to Sofia who was hauling compliments upon him for the decorations.
`Ah.' Mrs. Braddock said just as the door was opening.
`We have two special guests for dinner tonight.' Alex said walking slowly through the front door, his arm tucked under that of Aradia Beauchamp, Quinn's stoic grandmother.
`Nan!' Quinn exclaimed as he rushed to his grandmother and hugged her. `Did Alex invite you?' He asked looking to his boyfriend.
`He certainly did my love.' Aradia said grasping the Italian's arm gently. `And who am I to decline?'
`It was very kind of you to invite us Alex.' Quinn's mother said as she appeared behind her mother. `Thank you.'
`The pleasure is mine.' The Italian said with humility as Mrs. Braddock beamed with pride at her son's thoughtfulness.
`Please, come and sit down.' Alex gestured for the two women to make themselves comfortable in the lounge with everyone else. `I just need to check on dinner.'
Alex disappeared to the kitchen where Jaden and Daxa had just finished tidying.
`All ready to go brother.' Jaden said appearing beside the Italian and giving him a half hug. `It smells fantastic!'
`It really does.' Daxa said with a smile.
`Well, let's get the first course on the table while everyone relaxes for a bit.'

`Alex my darling, dinner was beautiful!' Aradia said from the head of the table. Somehow all sixteen people were seated at a dining table that normally sat ten people.
`It was magnificent.' Sarah declared as Aurelia nodded with a smile.
`I'm glad you all enjoyed.' Alex said with a slight blush.
`I'm going to need to run for three hours tomorrow morning to work that meal off.' Rama said with a laugh.
`As will I.' Georgio added.
Lachlan looked around the table quickly and announced, `Allow me to take care of the dishes and cleaning.' He waved a hand slowly over the table and everything disappeared. The dishes had stacked in the dishwasher, the leftover food had appeared in the fridge, and all wrapped with cling film. All that remained on the table was the center piece.
`I like the way you do the dishes.' Franco laughed loudly. `Wish I could do that.' Everyone began moving away from the table. Aradia shuffled along slowly before Quinn was at her side.
`Are you okay Nana?' He asked quietly.
`Tired my love. Just tired.' She said in her gravelly voice. `We should probably go home before I fall asleep.'
`Well I'm glad you came.' The blond said kissing his grandmother tenderly on the cheek.
`And if it's okay with you both, I would like to invite you to join us for Christmas lunch.' Alex said flanking Aradia on the other side and helping her walk.
`That would be lovely.' Sarah said heading for the door. `We really should be going now though.'
`That's alright Sarah. We shall see you on Christmas morning.' Mrs. Braddock said as she embraced her Wiccan sister.
`Oh?' Sarah said surprised at the invite to arrive earlier than lunch.
`There are presents under the tree for you.' Quinn explained to his mother and grandmother. `So you have to come early to open them.'
`I see.' Sarah said with a smile.
`If it's easier, I can come and collect you both.' Lachlan offered as he watched Aradia shuffling slowly.
`That would be very kind of you young man.' The matriarch said with a wink. `I'm afraid the oil's running low in this old body.' She laughed.
`It would be my honour.' The Leader said with a bow. I will be there at 10am.'
`Thank you for having us.' Sarah said with a smile to everyone.
`Thank you for coming.' Alex said as they made it through the front door.
`May I?' Mikhail asked watching the painfully slow process of walking Quinn's grandmother to the car. He extended his arms asking for permission, to which Aradia nodded in agreement. The Russian swooped over swiftly and collected the old woman into his arms, and carried her carefully to the car.
`Ooh, if only I were younger!' The Matriarch said cheekily to Mikhail.
`Mother!' Sarah said with a red face.
`Goodnight.' Everyone chorused as Alex, Quinn and Mikhail escorted the two women to their car.
`See you soon my darling.' Sarah said kissing her son. `You too Alex. Mikhail.' She nodded as she climbed into the front seat.
`Drive safely.' Alex said waving farewell as the car turned over and reversed out of the driveway.
`We're going to take these guys home.' Lachlan said with a smile as Alex, Mikhail and Quinn came back inside. `Franco wanted to know what it felt like.'
`And the car.' Alex enquired. The Leader waved a hand and winked.
`Alright guys. We'll see you on Christmas day?' Alex asked as his sister, brother and mother all shuffled to the back door.
`Absolutely.' Sofia said as her brother nodded in agreement.
`I can't wait caro mio.' Mrs. Braddock said as Lachlan offered her his arm. They stepped outside as Rama followed with Sofia's arm tucked in his, Franco flanked by Daxa and Jaden, Grayson and Caiden bringing up the rear.
`Make it a good trip.' Alex said with a wink to Jaden who grinned.
`Thank you for dinner guys.' Rama said and everyone nodded and chorused their thanks.
`See you guys.' Alex said with a wave, Quinn and Mikhail waving goodbye.
With a swirl of energy, the party vanished from the back deck and the three men walked back inside.
`What a great night.' Alex said with a sigh. He collected his wine glass from the kitchen island and walked into the living area with Quinn tucked under his arm.
`You did well my love.' The blond said lovingly.
`Very well cousin.' Georgio said raising his glass. Everyone raised their glass in salute to Alex.
`Five days till Christmas.' Mikhail said with a raised eyebrow.
`Are you up for the challenge big guy?' Alex asked with a grin.