See Chapter One for the rules.

Picking Back Up

chapter XVI

The Neighbors

Come Wednesday I was into a new pattern of getting up, the last 2 days, to Ares holding onto me with his head on my chest. Then I would get up and take a quick shower before drying off and throwing on a simple pair of slacks and a dress shirt. With no meetings until the office tower was done I didn't feel the need to wear the jacket. They said it wouldn't be much longer since they were working inside while they working outside, no later than December and the top floor would be done and ready to be furnished over the month of December and then things would be moved into the offices and the final details would be added. I figured by the end of January things would be back to normal.

On another note I had found another plot of land to develop into a small shopping area just next to the one they had already began developing. It was nice and already cleared for development and there was a turn off paved down over the small hill that lead down so the large flat area which made it nice since it would separate the strip mall from the highway. I had already gotten a reservation for a Target and REI store along with a couple fast-food joints and even small local joint that wanted to open another store.

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Coming home Thursday after work I saw my neighbors, the ones at the very bottom of the hill pulling through the gate behind me. The windows were too dark to see in so I just focused on getting back to the house before I had to go back into town to pickup Nicki, Sammy, and Fay who were all coming in for the big weekend. After waiting for the gate at the end of the driveway I didn't have to wait for the other gates since Ares had been opening them for me since he had an idea when I would be home. Today I had taken the Cayenne since I had some cargo to get. Ares had wanted a puppy since before we left and even more since we moved here. For some time I had been thinking about getting a dog, even before I met Ares for company. Dan had mentioned that Ares may be lonely while I'm at work and that was yesterday, that's when I started making calls and found a cute little English bulldog puppy, already potty trained and crate trained. When I called she had one last puppy and said I could pick it up today. That's why I took the Cayenne since she said there was a lot that I would need, like the crate, a bag of puppy chow, toys, and other things.

Opening the back hatch the little brindle and white puppy was trying to wag the nub of his tail but just ended up wagging the back half of his body. I opened the cage door and picked him up and then grabbing the leash to hook it onto his choker collar. I put him down with the Cayenne covering me and him as I let him use the small patch of grass as his bathroom. After he did his business he came over and sat on my foot and looked up at me. I bent down to pick him up but instead got a big wet kiss. It was going to take some getting used to but I guess it came with a dog.

Ares!” I called out, stepping into the den with the puppy in my arms still.

Yeah hun?” I heard him call out from upstairs so I made my way up to the front of the house and then up the steps. He had is back to me as he was going through the boxes in the great room where we had put them.

Babe.” I said softly, scratching the puppies ears as he rubbed his head against my chest.

Yeah?” He asked, turning around. “I'm not sure which is cuter, you or the puppy.” He quickly took the little puppy out of my arms and into his. Before stepping back he gave me a big kiss and then went over and flopped down on the couch. I sat next to him as he began scratching the puppy's belly after he had rolled over in his lap.

What's it's name?”

His name is Rebel.”


Yeah, they named him before I bought him.”

Okay, I like it.” He smiled, leaning over to kiss me once more.

So do I.”

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As I was leaving for the airport the same neighbors from earlier today were pulling out of their driveway as I was pulling under the overhang to wait for the gate to open. It was getting kind of weird. They were always leaving when I was and always getting back when I was. Anymore it was getting weird, maybe I was paranoid but I don't know. Ares said I was just being paranoid, I don't care though, my safety and his safety is my first concern, that's why so many gates and such strong security. I had even bought a couple hand guns since moving, especially with us moving out here. Ashlyn had said she hears coyotes every night and has even seen a bear when she goes home late enough and she doesn't have to go up through the hills like I do.

Pulling out into traffic I didn't have to wait long since most of the traffic was going up hill which was nice and something to remember, traffic picks up later than it does in Miami. My fingers began tapping along with the beat of Double Vision by 3OH!3, one of my favorite songs actually. I slowly began singing along as I rounded the corners of the road and pressed down on the gas to pass up the slower cars. Flipping on my blinker I checked my mirrors and began merging.

In no time I was pulling into the passenger pick-up area of the airport and picking up my phone to call Fay. I had pulled over to the side before calling her since I wasn't sure if they were out here yet or if they were still in the airport. After hanging up I put the car back into drive and merged back into traffic since she had said they were on the curb waiting. After searching the crowds I found all three of them with a large pile of luggage behind them, I figured it was mostly Fay's.

Fay was in this somewhat loose gray dress with black tights that went down to mid calf and then a pair of black stilettos with a small black bag on her arm. Her now dirty blond hair was done up in a tight ponytail on the back of her head. As always, she look amazing. Nicki and Sammy both were dressed in dark jeans with polo shirts, Nicki in slim jeans while Sammy worse bootcut and Nicki had a dark blue polo while Sammy had a nice dark red polo that looked really good on both of them. Nicki had spiked his hair while Sammy left his buzz cut flat. Nicki's hair was a little longer than Sammy's and he had put a bit of blond in it. It was really hot actually. His chocolate brown hair with the blond highlights and tips and his muscles stretching the shirt to a tight fit was actually turning me on a bit.

I threw the SUV into park and jumped out of the driver's seat and lunged myself at Fay. I wrapped my arms tightly around her, so happy to see her. From her I moved on to Sammy who picked me up, like always and squeezed me tightly. It was no surprise that Nicki did the same as Sammy.

Ready?” I asked as Nicki set me down.

Yup.” He said with Sammy and Fay agreeing. We began piling the bags into the back of the SUV and a few ended up in the back seat with Nicki and Sammy. Who didn't mind since it was their bags with most of the back being taken over by Fay's.

Just like old times.” I smiled, closing my door before shifting into gear and merging back into traffic once more.

Yeah, it's been way too long.” Nicki said simply from behind me as he reached over the seat and gripped my shoulder.

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We rode in silence which was weird but I guess after the long flight it was understandable but still I had missed everyone, we had barely seen each other before I moved since I had to pack and finalize things and they were all getting ready to go off to college and stuff.

“You'll never guess what me and Fay got in the mail.” Nicki said, tapping my seat.

Uh, I have no idea.” I laughed, finally getting out of the city and onto the highway.

Acceptance letters. Fay got accepted to Washington State and I got into Montana State!”

NO WAY!” I said, so excited I would have Nicki closer to me. And Fay as well, but she was still a whole state away.


What about you Sammy?” I asked, since he had been quiet through this whole thing.

“I deploy in a month.” He said quietly.


I joined the marines. I deploy next month.”

Wow Sammy. I never thought you would do that. I'm glad though. Proud actually.”

Thanks Jay. It means a lot to me.”

For the next 20 minutes we spent in silent as the darkness surrounded us, even with the bright headlights of my SUV and the few cars on the road, it was still darker than I had ever since things. I could hear the howls of the coyotes which made Fay jump a bit, I had gotten used to them from all the time we spent here checking things out for the house and the tower. The reason that it was going along so quickly was that it was just an addition to an existing tower that was about half the size we needed. As we pulled through the gate Nicki and Sammy were in awe for some reason, it wasn't anything new. Now when we got to my gate they all were in true awe as the second gate slid open. I was still waiting for the family crests though.

Geez guys, its nothing new.”

“Yeah, that is.” Fay laughed as I pulled through the gates as they closed behind me.

When we finally got all the bags unloaded and inside the house Rebel came barking down the stairs with Ares behind him. He stopped at my feet and rolled right over for me so I could scratch his belly which I happily did and picked him up as well. Nicki and Sammy found him cute but also fearsome along with Fay. Ares gave me a quick hug and kiss, moving onto Fay and shook hands with the guys. Everyone had grown to like Ares and had even accompanied me to a few of his fights, not the underground ones though, they didn't know about those. Ares helped Nicki and Sammy with all the bags to pile them into the elevator and up to the guest rooms. Fay stayed in the den playing with the puppy while I went a found some food and drinks for us. I grabbed a couple bottles of soda and some water with a bag of chips.

I didn't realize you were a dog person Jay.” Fay said as I put everything on the coffee table.

Yeah, I got him for Ares since I figured Ares didn't have a job, wasn't a big shopper he might want some company while I'm at work.”

Yeah. So you're like his Sugar Daddy.” She smiled as Rebel came over to me and flopped down in my lap.

I guess. When the housing development is done there'll be a rec center where Ares want to be a personal trainer.”

That'll be fun.”

Yeah. It's just all the time until then.” I laughed, picking up Rebel and putting him in his little doggie bed on the other side of me.

That he gets to be a wonderful house husband.”

House husband?”

Yeah a guy who stays at home all day, like a housewife but its a guy, not a chick.”

Ah. Okay. And no, hes not a house husband. That's just stupid Fay.”

It's not stupid 'cause it's true.” She laughed as the guys came back downstairs.

Ares fell between me and Fay, tucking his arm around my shoulders and Nicki and Sammy each took a couch on either side of the room, falling back onto them so they were laying down. I rested back against the couch with Ares arm as my pillow.


I love the feedback I got from everyone.




To start anew is to forget who you are. . .”